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Thinking it a great pity to allow such a valuable property as Cuba to be
allowed to go to ruin, he decided to make an effort to bring the war to
was a republic, before the young King's father was put on the throne by
war in Cuba was only a cruel waste of life and useless waste of money,
Canovas that an attempt to pacify the island should be made by offering
them liberal Home Rule.
A few days later he sent word to Mr. Taylor that he had brought Canovas
around to his way of thinking, and that Cuba was to be given Home Rule.
Mr. Taylor was very happy over the result of his efforts, and shortly
after an offer of Home Rule was made to the Cubans.
It proved, however, to be Home Rule only in name. Spain was to keep
control of the army, the navy, and the courts; the only privilege given
to the Cubans was to be that of paying taxes to support the Government.
This offer was not acceptable to Cuba, and nothing further came of it.
When Mr. Taylor found that this was all the Home Rule Spain meant to
offer the Cubans, he became discouraged, and concluded that Spain did
not mean to do anything for Cuba, and that the offer was not sincerely
made, but merely to gain time in the hope that the Cubans would run
short of ammunition and be obliged to surrender.
Mr. Taylor has been severely criticised for making these statements.
The Government in Washington feared that serious trouble might result
therefrom. What Mr. Taylor knew of the matter was learned while he was
acting as an officer of the Government, and it has been thought that he
should not have made his knowledge public.
The most alarming rumors grew out of the disclosures. People feared that
war would be the result, and for a few hours there was a war scare.
Prices of stocks fell, and one enterprising paper got out a "special,"
stating that war had been declared, because Spain had claimed the right
to search American vessels on the high seas for arms, or what is called
contraband of war.
The spread of the alarm was increased by a report that the Chamber of
Commerce had once again issued a warning to the Government that the
harbor defences of New York city were not strong enough, and had asked
that they be strengthened.
Twice before in the history of our country that body has warned
Congress: once before the outbreak of the Revolution, and again just
before the Civil War.
As the members of the Chamber of Commerce had been right on both of the
previous occasions, the people looked on them as prophets, and a war
scare spread over the country, which caused the greatest uneasiness.
The feelings of the people were, however, calmed by an announcement from
Washington that there was not the slightest cause for alarm. The
governments in Washington and Madrid understood each other perfectly,
and President McKinley intended to allow the promised reforms time to
take effect before he even considered the idea of interference. In the
announcement it was added that the warning from the Chamber of Commerce
would be taken into consideration, but that there was in it nothing to
throw the country into a panic.
The sudden fall in stocks was declared to be a trick on the part of some
Wall Street speculators, and to mean nothing more serious than that a
few sharp men had made money out of a good many foolish ones.
In regard to the threatened searching of American vessels--an action
which would certainly oblige us to declare war on Spain--it was stated
by those in authority that Spain does not contemplate any such course.
American vessels have a perfect right to carry arms to Cuba and fulfil
any orders they may receive for such goods, as long as Spain persists in
saying that war does not exist in the island. It is only when men
accompany the arms that Spain has a right to protest; otherwise it is a
mere carrying of merchandise from one port to another.
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