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This very artful letter had no effect on either Sagasta or the
Government. The sentence about the approval of the people of Spain and
of some of the parties in power was undoubtedly meant as a hint to the
Prime Minister that the General had powerful friends, and that it would
not be a wise thing to interfere with him.
Sagasta, however, replied to him, that while the ministry recognized and
valued the work he had done for Spain, a change was considered
desirable, and so he had decided to recall him.
When the news of Sagasta's action reached the people, there was much
excitement both in Spain and Cuba.
In Spain it was reported that General Weyler meant to defy the
Government, and keep his post in spite of Sagasta's orders, and that he
had threatened that he would use his influence with the soldiers, and
carry them with him over to the Carlists, if Sagasta did not instantly
withdraw the recall.
The Cubans, on their part, were panic-stricken. They have such a dread
of Weyler that they expected he would revenge himself on them for his
In Havana some of the Cubans hired armed men to protect them from
attack, and others crowded the steamship offices in an endeavor to
escape from the country before the catastrophe came.
The fears of the people were, however, set at rest by a statement from
the Captain-General that he would never be guilty of any act which could
Sagasta of his willingness to obey the wishes of the Government, and
gave up his command in Cuba.
He asked permission to leave the island at once, but Sagasta cabled to
him that he must remain where he was until Oct. 20th.
General Ramon Blanco will sail for Cuba on Oct. 15th.
The newly appointed commander of the forces in Cuba was Governor-General
of the Philippine Islands at the outbreak of the war there, but was
recalled for political reasons.
Unfortunately, his record for cruelty is not far behind Weyler's, and so
the savage character of the war in Cuba is not likely to be changed by
the change of commanders.
The Cubans know Barman Blanco well. He was Captain-General of the
island in 1879, when the second insurrection against the Spaniards
Under him was Camilo Polavieja, who as Governor of the Philippines has
made for himself an unenviable reputation for cruelty.
To these two men was intrusted the task of suppressing the revolt.
The insurrection of 1879 was not a very serious affair; the Cubans as a
body took no part in it; but notwithstanding this fact, which was well
known to the authorities, fully fifteen hundred men of position in Cuba
were arrested, and many of them put to death without being tried or
given an opportunity to prove their innocence.
The Cubans have not forgotten this, and they have little to hope from
General Blanco, especially as he has announced his intention of dealing
with the present trouble in the same manner that he did with the revolt
He will find, however, that matters have changed considerably since
In those days a mere handful of the Cuban people were in arms against
Spain; now he will find himself among a people who are unfriendly to the
cause he represents, and who have besides organized themselves until
they have a government to direct their movements, and an army of
veterans to protect them.
Were this not enough to make his task a difficult one, he will find to
his cost that the soldiers of Spain on whom he must rely are ill, poorly
fed, and angry with the Government because it does not even pay them the
pittance due in return for their services and sufferings.
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