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This grizzled old hero, with nearly seventy years behind him,
was at once an inspiration and a host within himself. An army of 6,000
men was ready for his command, and the revolution took on new life and
began in all its fury. On May 19th the insurgents met their first great
disaster, when Jose Marti was led into an ambush and killed. But his
blood was like a seed planted, from which thousands of patriots sprang
up for the ranks. Within a few days there were 10,000 ill-armed but
determined men in the field. They had no artillery, nearly half were
without guns, and there was little ammunition for those who were armed.


THE PLANS OF CAMPOS THWARTED.

In April, 1895, Captain-General Calleja was replaced by Martinez Campos,
the commander in the preceding war, and one of the ablest of the Spanish
generals. He sought to conciliate the people and alleviate the
prevailing distress, but the rebels in arms had lost all faith in
Spanish honor, while the veteran Gomez proved so wily that Campos could
neither capture him nor force him into an engagement. Everywhere Gomez
marched he gathered new patriots. Near the city of Bayamo, Maceo
attacked Campos, and the Spanish commander barely escaped with his life.
He was besieged in Bayamo, and had to stay there until 10,000 soldiers
were sent to escort him home. That was the last of Campos' fighting. By
August, Spain had spent $21,300,000 and lost 20,000 men by death, and
39,000 additional soldiers had been brought into the island, 25,000 of
them the flower of the Spanish army, and she was also forced to issue
$120,000,000 bonds, which she sold at a great sacrifice, to carry on the
war.

[Illustration: CAPTAIN C.D. SIGSBEE

Commander of the "Maine" at the frightful catastrophe in Havana Harbor,
February 15, 1898.]

The patriots met September 13, 1895, at Camaguey and formed their
government by adopting a constitution and electing a president and other
state officers. This body formally conferred upon Gomez the commission
of commander-in-chief of the army. Before the close of the month, there
were 30,000 rebels in the field. Spanish war-ships patroled the coast,
but the insurgents held the whole interior of Santiago province, and
government forces dared not venture away from the sea. The same was true
of Santa Clara and Puerto Principe. Matanzas was debatable ground; but
Gomez made bold raids into the very vicinity of Havana. Spain continued
to increase her army, till by the year 1898 it numbered about 200,000
men.

As if the cup of Cuba's sorrow were not sufficiently bitter, or her
long-suffering patriots had not drunk deep enough of its gall, General
Campos was recalled, and General Valeriano Weyler (nicknamed "The
Butcher") arrived in February, 1896. He promptly inaugurated the most
bitter and inhuman policy in the annals of modern warfare. It began with
a campaign of intimidation, in which his motto was "Subjugation or
Death." He established a system of espionage that was perfect, and the
testimony of the spy was all the evidence he required. He heeded no
prayer and knew no mercy. His prisons overflowed with suspected
patriots, and his sunrise executions, every morning, made room for
others. It was thus that General Weyler carried on the war from his
palace against the unarmed natives, his 200,000 soldiers seldom securing
a shot at the insurgents, who were continually bushwhacking them with
deadly effect, while yellow fever carried them off by the thousands. How
many lives Weyler sacrificed in that dreadful year will never be known.
How many suspects he frightened into giving him all their gold for mercy
and then coldly shot for treason, no record will disclose; but the
crowded, unmarked graves on the hillside outside Havana are mute but
eloquent witnesses of his infamy.

[Illustration: SUNRISE EXECUTIONS.

Outside the prison walls, Havana. Weyler's way of getting rid of
prisoners.]

Under these conditions, Gomez declared that all Cubans must take sides.
They must be for or against. It was no time for neutrals and there could
be no neutral ground, so he boldly levied forced contributions upon
planters unfavorable to his cause, and extended protection to those who
befriended the patriots. Exasperated by Weyler's atrocities upon
non-combatant patriots, he dared to destroy or confiscate the property
of Spanish sympathizers.


THE DEATH OF GENERAL MACEO.

On the night of December 4, 1896, the insurgents suffered an irreparable
loss in the death of General Maceo, who was led into an ambush and
killed, it is believed, through the treachery of his staff physician.
Eight brothers of Maceo had previously given their lives for Cuban
freedom.

At the close of 1896, the island was desolate to an extreme perhaps
unprecedented in modern times. The country was laid waste and the
cities were starving. Under the pretext of protecting them, Weyler
gathered the non-combatants into towns and stockades, and it is
authoritatively stated that 200,000 men, women, and children of the
"reconcentrados," as they were called, died of disease and starvation.
The insurgents remained masters of the island except along the coasts.
The only important incident of actual warfare was the capture of
Victoria de las Tunas, in Santiago province, by General Garcia at the
head of 3,000 men, after three days' fighting. In this battle the
Spanish commander lost his life and forty per cent. of his troops were
killed or wounded; the rest surrendered to Garcia, and the rebels
secured by their victory 1,000 rifles, 1,000,000 rounds of ammunition,
and two Krupp guns.

In the spring of 1898 the United States intervened. The story of our war
with Spain for Cuba's freedom is elsewhere related.

[Illustration: CLARA BARTON.

President of the American Red Cross Society.]

Spain has paid dearly for her supremacy in Cuba during the last third of
the nineteenth century. Notwithstanding the fact that the revenue from
Cuba for several years prior to the Ten Years' War of 1868-78 amounted
to $26,000,000 annually--about $18 for every man, woman, and child in
the island--$20,000,000 of it was absorbed in Spain's official circles
at Havana, and "the other $6,000,000 that the Spanish government
received," says one historian, "was hardly enough to pay transportation
rates on the help that the mother country had to send to her army of
occupation." Consequently, despite this enormous tax, a heavy debt
accumulated on account of the island, even before the Ten Years' War
began.


FEARFUL COST OF THE WAR.

At the close of the Ten Years' War (1878) Spain had laid upon the island
a public debt of $200,000,000, and required her to raise $39,000,000 of
revenue annually, an average at that time of nearly $30 per inhabitant.
But Spain's own debt had, also, increased to nearly $2,000,000,000, and
during this Ten Years' War she had sent 200,000 soldiers and her
favorite commanders to the island, only about 50,000 of whom ever
returned. According to our Consular Report of July, 1898, when the last
revolution began, 1895, the Cuban debt had reached $295,707,264. The
interest on this alone imposed a burden of $9.79 per annum upon each
inhabitant. During the war, Spain had 200,000 troops in the island, and
the three and one-half years' conflict cost her the loss of nearly
100,000 lives, mostly from sickness, and, as yet, unknown millions of
dollars. The real figures of the loss of life and treasure seem
incredible when we consider that Cuba is not larger than our State of
Pennsylvania, and that her entire population at the beginning of the war
was about one-fourth that of the State named, or a little less than that
of the city of Chicago alone. Yet Spain, with an army larger than the
combined northern and southern forces at the battle of Gettysburg, was
unable to overcome the insurgents, who had never more than one-fourth as
many men enlisted. But she harassed, tortured, and starved to death
within three years, perhaps, over 500,000 non-combatant citizens in her
attempt to subjugate the patriots, and was in a fair way to depopulate
the whole island when the United States at last intervened to succor
them.


THE FUTURE OF THE ISLAND.

What the future of Cuba may be under new conditions of government
remains to be seen. Certainly, in all the world's history few sadder or
more devastated lands have gathered their remnants of population upon
the ashes of their ruins and turned a hopeful face to the future.

[Illustration: A SPANISH MESTIZA.]

But the soil, the mineral and the timber not even Spanish tyranny could
destroy; and in these lie the hope, we might say the sure guarantee, of
Cuba's future. In wealth of resources and fertility of soil, Cuba is
superior to all other tropical countries, and these fully justify its
right to the title "Pearl of the Antilles," first given it by Columbus.
Under a wise and secure government, its possibilities are almost
limitless. Owing to its location at the entrance of the Gulf of Mexico,
which it divides into the Yucatan and Florida channels, on the south and
north, the island has been termed the "Key to the Gulf of Mexico," and
on its coat of arms is emblazoned a key, as if to imply its ability to
open or close this great sea to the commerce of the world.

Cuba extends from east to west 760 miles, is 21 miles wide in its
narrowest part and 111 miles in the widest, with an average width of 60
miles. It has numerous harbors, which afford excellent anchorage. The
area of the island proper is 41,655 square miles (a little larger than
the State of Ohio); and including the Isle of Pines and other small
points around its entire length, numbering in all some 1,200, there are
47,278 square miles altogether in Cuba and belonging to it. The island
is intersected by broken ranges of mountains, which gradually increase
in height from west to east, where they reach an elevation of nearly
8,000 feet. The central and western portions of the island are the most
fertile, while the principal mineral deposits are in the mountains of
the eastern end. In Matanzas and other central provinces, the
well-drained, gently sloping plains, diversified by low, forest-clad
hills, are especially adapted to sugar culture, and the country under
normal conditions presents the appearance of vast fields of cane.



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