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greatly-reduced Spanish military force at that time in the island, and the fact that much of it consisted of regular regiments and native militia, are sufficient proof that to the solid good sense of the inhabitants, rather than any show of force, should be attributed the immediate disappear. ance of those germs of disquietude. Not even the weakness of General Kindelan could induce the planters to lose sight of their chief interest. Though General Vives subsequently desired to impress the constitutional party with the idea that they might be carried farther than they meant to go, and with that view took especial care that a well-concerted scheme for throwing off the Spanish yoke should appear to have been devised, it must be acknowledged, that notwithstanding he caused the persecution and imprisonment of many individuals, and occasionally the ruin and misery of their families, he oftentimes also interfered to mitigate the appalling and unavoidable excesses of those menials of government, ever ready in such circumstances to exceed the wishes of the leading statesmen, and to make political difficulties subservient to the vilest purposes. That which should have warned the Spanish ministry of the inexpediency of establishing such inappropriate institutions, brought upon the island all its subsequent misfortunes. I refer to the Royal Order of 1825, which being the existing law of the land, I take the liberty to translate:
WAR Department. The King our master, in whose royal mind great confidence has been inspired by your excellency's proved fidelity, indefatigable zeal in his majesty's service, judicious and wellconcerted steps taken since Y. E. had charge of the government, in order to keep in quietude his faithful inbabitants, confine within the proper limits such as would deviate from the path of honor, and punish such as forgetting their duties would dare commit excesses in opposition to our wise lawe; well convinced as H. M. feels, that at no time and under no circumstances whatever will the priuciples of rectitude and love toward H. M. royal person be weakened which pow distinguish Y. E.; and being at the same time desirous of preventing the embarrassments which under extraordinary circumstance might arise from a division in the command, and from the complicated authority and powers of the different officers of government, for the important end of maintaining in that island his sovereign authority and the public quiet, it bas pleased H. M., in conformity with the advice of his council of ministers, to authorize your excellency, fully investing you with the whole extent of power which by the royal ordinances is granted to the governors of besieged towns. In consequence thereot' H. M. most amaply and unrestrictedly authorizes Y. E. not only to remove from that island such persons, holding offices from goverument or not, whatever their occupation, rank, class, or situation in life may be, whose residence there you may believe prejudicial, or whose public or private conduct may appear suspicious to you, employing in their stead faithful servants of H. M., who shall fully deserve your excellency's confidence; but also to suspend the execution of whatever royal orders or general decrees in all the different branches of the administration, or in any part of them, as Y. E. may think conducive to the royal service; it being in any case required that these measures be temporary, and that Y. E. make report of them for his majesty's sovereign approval
'In granting Y. E. this marked proof of bis royal esteem, and of the high trust your proven loyalty deserves, H. M. expects that in due correspondeuce to the same. Y. E. will use the most wakeful prudepce and reserve. joined to an indefatigable activity and unyielding firmness, in the exercise of your excellency's authority, and trusts that us your excellency shall by this very pleasure and graciousness of H. M. be held to a more strict responsibility, Y E, will redouble his vigilance that the laws be observed, that justice be administered, ihat H. M. faithful vassals be protected and rewarded, and punishment without partiality or indulgence inflicted on those who, forgetful of their duty and their obligations to the best and most benevolent of monarchs, shall oppose those laws, decidedly abetting sinister plots, with infraction of them and disregard of the decrees from them issuing. And I therefore, by royal order, inform Y. E. of the same for Y. E.'s intelligence, satisfaction, and exact observance thereof. God preserve your excellency's life. Madrid, 28 May, 1825.
AIMERICH.' The sad effects of this royal order, which the king only meant to be observed temporarily, and under a strict responsibility, le mas estrecta responsibilidad,' were not immediately felt. “Truth and justice compel me to assert,' says one of the most enlightened Cubans, on being rejected from the Cortes, in common with all the depuries from this province,
that notwithstanding the terrible authority conferred on the Captain. General by this royal order, Vives, who then held that office, far from
putting it in execution during his long government, discovered that its application would be equally disadvantageous to Cuba and Spain. Under a mild and conciliatory policy this island became the refuge of many unhappy proscripts, who were expelled from the peninsular territory by the arm of tyranny.'
The very judicious administration of the Count Villaneuva, as Intendant, which had undoubtedly an influence materially advantageous to the country, was likewise calculated to make every one forget the depressed political condition to which the new law had reduced the inhabitants of Cuba. Under its fearful and comprehensive provisos, since become the scourge of the land, public bodies were respected. Some of them constantly consulted together on grave subjects, such as the rural and domestic police for the management of slaves, the imposition of taxes and judiciary reform, and enjoyed the privilege of printing their reports, without applying for the consent of the executive officers; and the press was moreover very far from being restricted as it now is.
As a proof that the political servitude created by the royal order of 1825 was not intended to be permanent, I make an extract from an article on the dangers of the slave-trade, published in a periodical of Havana, in 1832, under the despotic government of Ferdinand, and seventeen years after issuing the royal order above referred to. Immedi. ately following a very precise detail of facts, of the numbers of imported slaves, and of the relative position of the races, we read :
"Thus far we have only considered the power which has its origin in the numbers of the colored population that surrounds us. What a picture we might draw, if we were to portray this immense body acting under the influence of political and moral causes, and presenting a spectacle unknown in history! We surely shall not do it. But we should be guilty of moral treason to our country, if we were to forget the efforts now making to effect a change in the condition of the African race. Philanthropic laws, enacted by some of the European nations, associations of distinguished Englishmen, periodicals solely devoted to this subject, eloquent parliamentary debates whose echoes are constantly repeated on this side the Atlantic, bold exhortations from the pulpits of religious sects, political principles which with lightning rapidity are spreading in both hemispheres, and very recent commotions in several parts of the West Indies, every thing is calculated to awaken us from our profound slumber and remind us that we must save our country. And should this our beloved mother ask us what measures we have adopted to extricate her from her danger, what would those who boast themselves her dutiful sons, answer ? The horrid traffic in human blood is carried on in defiance of the laws, and men who assume the name of patriots, being no other than parricides, cover the land with shackled victims. And as if this were not sufficiently fearsul, with criminal apathy, Africans freed and brought to this country by English policy, are permitted to reside in our midst. How different the conduct of our neighbors the Americans! Notwithstanding the rapid increase of their country; notwithstanding the white has constantly been four-fifths more numerous than the colored population, and have ten and a half millions to offset two millions; notwithstanding the importation of the latter is prohibited from one end of the republic to the other, and European immigration immense ; potwithstanding the countries lying upon their boundaries have no slaves to inspire dread, they organize asso. ciations, raise funds, purchase lands in Africa, establish colonies, favor the emigration of the colored population to them, increasing their exertions as the exigency may require, not faltering in their course, and leaving no expedient untried which shall prove them friends of humanity and their country. Not satisfied with these general measures, some States have adopted very thorough and efficient measures. In December, 1831, Louisiana passed a law prohibiting importation of slaves even from other States of the Uniou.
Behold the movement of a great people, who would secure their safety! Behold the model you should imitate! But we are told your efforts are vain. You cannot justly reproach us. Our plantations need hands, and if we cannot obtain negroes, what shall we do? We are far from wishing to offend a class equally deserving respect and esteem, including many we are happy to call friends. Wo are habitually indulgent, and in no instance more so than in that before us. The notions and examples to which they have been accustomed justify in a great measure the part they act, and an immediate benefit and remote danger authorize in others a course of conduct which we wish may never be generally and permanently adopted. We would not rudely censure the motives of the planters. Our mission requires us only to remark, that it is necessary to adopt some other plan, since the change in politics is inconsistent with and hostile to the much longer continuance of the illicit traffic in slaves. We all know that England has, both with selfish and humane motives, made and is still making great efforts against it by means of treaties. She is no longer the only power thus en. gaged, since France is also taking her share in the enterprise. The United States will soon appear in the field to vindicate down-trodden humanity. They will adopt strong measures, and perseveringly
pursue the pirate negro-dealer. Will he then escape the vigilance of enemies so active and powerful? And even should some be able to do so, how enormously expensive must their piracy be! It is demonstrable that the number of imported negroes being then small, and their introduction subject to uncommop risks, their cost would be so enhanced as to destroy the motive for preferring slave labor. À proper regard to our true interests will lead us to consider henceforth other means of supplying our wants, since our present mode will ultimately paralyze our resources and be attended with baneful consequences. The equal distribution of the two sexes in the country, and an improved treatment of them, would alone be sufficient, not merely to prevent a diminution of their nuinber, but greatly to increase it. But the existing disproportion of the sexes forbids our indulging in so pleasing a hope. We shall however do much to effect our purposes by discontinuing certain practises, and adopting a system more consonant to the good principles that should be our guide.
. Would it not be advisable to try some experiments that we may be able to compare the results of cultivating cane by slaves, with such other method as we may find it expedient to adopt ?'
*If the planters could realize the importance of these propositions to their welfare, we should see them striving to promote the introduction of white and the exclusion of colored hands. By forming associations, raising funds, and in various ways exerting themselves vigorously in a cause so emiDently patriotic, they would at once overcome the obstacles to the introduction of white foreigners, and induce their immigration by the guarantees of good laws and the assured tranquillity of the country.
"We may be told that these are imaginary plans, and never to be realized. We answer that they are essays, not difficult nor expensive, if undertaken, as we suggest, by a whole community. If we are pot disposed to make the voluntary trial now, the day is at hand when we shall be obliged to attempt them, or abandon the cultivation of sugar. The prudent mariner on a boisterous ocean prepares betimes for the tempest, and defies it. He who recklessly abandons himself to the fury of the elements is likely to perish in the rage of the storm.
How imprudent,' 'some may exclaim 'how imprudent,' to propose a subject which should be forever buried in lasting oblivion! Behold the general accusation raised against him who dare boldly arow new opinions respecting these matters. Unfortunately there is among us an opinion which insists that silence' is the true policy All feel the evils which surround us, are acquainted with the dangers, and wish to avoid them. Let a remedy be suggested and a thousand confused voices be simultaneously raised ; and a significant and imploring 'Ilush!'—'hush!' is heard on every side. Such infatuation resembles his who conceals the disease which is hurrying him to speedy death, rather tban hear its unpleasant history and mode of cure, from his only hope, the physician's saving science. Which betrays censurable apathy, he who obstinately rushes headlong to the brink of a mighty precipice, or he who gives him ibe timely warning to beware? Who would thus save a whole community perhaps from frightful destruction? If we knew most positively that the disease were beyond all hopes of cure, the knowledge of the fact would not stay the march of death, while it might serve but as a terrifying annunciation of his approach. If however, the sick man is endowed with a strong constitution, that with timely prescription, promises a probable return of health, it would be unpardonable to act the part of a passive spectator. We heed not what the selfish say, that the sell-admiring wise censure. or the parricidal accuse us. Reflections of a higher nature guide us, and in the spirit of our responsible calling as a public writer, we will never cease to cry aloud, ‘Let us save our country — let us save our country!!!
To those who even now assert that the present military and personal government is advantageous to those who dislike and fear novelties, to those who contend that it is the same system the island enjoyed under Ferdinand, we say: Dare publish now at your peril the above document, or any thing discreditable, or disparaging to the slave-dealers. That I may not lose sight of the order of events, I remind you that immediately after the overthrow of the constitution, and precisely at the time the persecution for revolutionary opinions commenced under the order of 1825, the country was in its most flourishing and healthy period. The fruits of the several acts for promoting the country's wel. fare and the development of its resources, which owed their origin to corporations, when they had vitality in them, were gathered then. Moreover the judicious and liberal policy above described was continued by the present Intendant, who could then act with great independence. As chief of the financial department, the Count de Villanueva regulated the mode of keeping accounts, corrected abuses and introduced greater simplicity in the collection of taxes, and established several facilities beneficial to the merchants. By means of his great influence at Madrid, he was enabled to supersede the Captain-General in the Presidency of the Consulado, and directing the labors of that, body, he made them subserve the development and improvement of the country. Availing himself of the general wealth, and of the increasing agriculture of the island, he daringly
taxed its products; and it is generally believed that it was during his administration, duties of various kinds were imposed without the consent of those to be affected by them. He represented . de facto' the people of Cuba; was the chief fiscal agent; the friend and adviser of the CaptainGeneral; the favorite of Ferdinand's government. A skilful and mighty authority like his could, at such a period, draw abundant resources from the country to the metropolis, and promote at the same time the interests of the former by reforming abuses. To both these objects were his exertions successfully directed. To his discriminating judg. ment it was very evident that a vast territory, capable of great agricul. tural production, could not maintain its position, much less make progress, should its commerce be again limited to the mother country. He was aware of the probable results of such limitation.
First, the total annihilation of the surplus revenue, of which they were so desirous at court;
Secondly, the immediate paralysis of agriculture, the fountain of the island's wealth ; and
Thirdly, a very extensive contraband trade.
Villanueva had the waters of the Husille brought into the city by a well-devised though costly plan; the roads near Havana Macadamized, and a mud-machine erected to clear the anchorage and preserve the wharves. He established the more modern and rational system of selling at auction to the lowest bidder the performance of various services, particularly for the government or the public. He enlarged the Spanish navy from the navy-yard of Havana; the regular intercourse between the two countries by mail packets was his suggestion, and the Guines rail-road is a crowning, ever-memorable and enduring monument of his enterprise and genius. Amidst these improvements, beneficial to Spain and the island, the Count was enabled to make frequent and heavy remittances to the general treasury in Spain, which was so relieved by them that the demands were gradually augmented without any regard to the means of meeting them, and the inevitable consequence was, the sacri. fice of the necessities of the island to the urgency of their payment. Thus it happened that the Bank of St. Ferdinand, the establishment of which was one of the acts which do honor to Villanueva, had no opportunity of doing any service to the public, as its capital was specially sent for from Madrid. In brief, Count Villanueva's administration can in no way be better appreciated than by bearing in mind that whatever liberal and enlightened views he carried into practical effect, he had nothing similar to guide him or excite his emulation, in all the Spanish territory. His power in Cuba was great, his influence in Madrid had no equal, and his credit abroad was such that his promise and acceptance was a source of revenue at court. The authority of the captaingeneral himself being eclipsed by his, it is certainly no matter of sur. prise that public bodies and individuals should have sunk into insignificance.
It was in such a state of political weakness and general prosperity, that the Estatuto Real, which was the first liberal act of Christina's regency, found Cuba.
Under it the inhabitants of the island observed, as they always had done, the laws promulgated in the mother country. A
number of members were added to the municipalities, equal to the num. ber of hereditary members, and the former were by express proviso to be individuals who were highest on the tax list. Thus formed, these corporations elected the deputies who represented the interests of the island at the Spanish congress. This slight political change, which enabled the corporations of Havana, Santiago de Cuba, and Puerto Principe, to name three deputies in the · Estamentos' without other free insti. tutions, was certainly not calculated to alarm the royal authority, how. ever jealous it might be supposed. Three votes, more or less, could not of course cause any uneasiness; but it is ever the consequence of free institutions, in just proportion to their worth, to diminish the importance of individuals. We see then one of the causes of that strenuous opposition so successfully exerted to deprive the island of deputies to Madrid. Such a refusal, where there is an immense amount of productive capital to be benefited injured, or destroyed by the enactments of government, and where the colony is not allowed delegates to represent its interests at court, has no parallel in any civilized country professing to approve of liberal institutions. The island was at that time governed by General Tacon, whose short-sighted, narrow views and jealous and weak mind were joined to an uncommon stubbornness of character. Never satiated with power, it was through his influence that the wealthy portion of the community was divested of the privileges conferred on them by the Estatuto. He even deprived the old municipalities of Havana of the faculty of naming the under commissaries of police. In his own immodest report of his reign, as it was justly termed, he enu. merated the very extensive and costly buildings and public works he had constructed, and from the singular manner in which he accounts for procuring the ordinary means, we must suppose he had the power of working miracles. To sustain his absolute government by trampling on every institution, was the necessary consequence of his first violent and unjustifiable act. It was consequential upon his own and his fol. lowers' efforts. Any power, any institution, not dependent on the palace of the captain-general, might be the means of denouncing abuses, of exposing the real deformity of his and their pretended patriotism; and the numberless parasites whose interest ever was to blind the royal eyes, magnified the virtues of their hero, while they were rapidly accumulating fortunes at his side. In order to obtain credit in the management of the police, he displayed a despotic and even brutal activity in the mode of exacting from the under officers, distributed in the several wards of the city, under personal responsibility, the apprehension and summary prosecution of criminals. They soon found that there would be no complaint, provided they acted vigorously and brought up prisoners. So far from presuming their innocence, or requiring proof of their crimes, those who were once arrested were put to the negative and difficult task of proving their innocence. The more unwarrantable the acts of his subalterns the more acceptable to him, since they, in his opinion, exhibi. ted the energy of his authority. They trembled in his presence, and left it to persecute, to invent accusations, to imprison, and spread terror and desolation among the families of the land! It is but just to add, that the banditti and thieves and professed gamblers were terrified by