"As if it could be that the country of Sergeant Diaz, of Andino, and Vascarrondo's, and all those conspicuous countrymen that irrigated with their blood Martin Pena and Rio Piedras camps could measure either the vigor or the haughtiness of an enemy who has not yet exhibited his face after so many ostentatious and angry vociferations. No! and thousand times no! The light fishermen of Porto Rico's shores, merchants, lawyers, musicians, mechanics, journeymen, all persons who may have strength to grasp a gun must ask for it. All united, with a solid front we shall go to intercept the invader. Behind us and as a reserve legion will come down from the highlands like a raging storm, if it is necessary, the jibaros, our fields' brothers, the most accomplished exemplar of abstinence, probity and bravery; the same that formed the urban militia; the same that were sent to Santo Domingo to defend gentile honor; they, who in number of more than 16,000, covered the plains of the north shore of the island, and compelled the Englishmen in 1797 to re-embark hastily, leaving their horses and artillery park.
"Porto Ricans! the moment is rising when not a single man of this country gives a step backwards, as it is said commonly; the hour of organizing ourselves for defense is sounded. The Spanish lion has shaken his dishevelled mane, and our duties calls us around him. Our temper is to fight, and we shall fight. Our fate is to overpower, and we shall overpower. Honor imposes upon us the obligation of saving home, and we shall save it in this land of our loves. Before North American people carry their boldness so far as to tread our sea-coasts it is necessary that we must be ready to receive them; that they may find in every Porto Rican an inexorable enemy, in every heart a rock, in each arm a weapon to drive them away; that that people feels that here it is detested intensely, and that Porto Rica's spirit is Spanish, and she will ever be so; therefore, inhabitants of Guayama, we invite you for a meeting at the Town House next Tuesday and offer our kind offices to the government, who will give us arms.
"It would be unworthy of our so gentle history, we should deny our blood, if in these moments of struggle we should endure indifferently. Let our enemies know that we are a brave people, and that if we are soft in peace days, we are also fit for war chances; that all his command, all his pride, and all his arrogance may fall out with a wall composed of all Porto Rican breasts."
In the light of ulterior and posterior events, this document is really as comical as anything in opera-bouffe.
"We have no means of knowing," says the New York Sun, in commenting upon this precious effusion, "whether Senor Jose Reyes, Senor Celestino Dominguez and Senor Genaro Cautino actually grasped their guns and immolated themselves upon the altar of four centuries and in the presence of the ostentatious and vociferous invader; or whether they prudently joined the light fishermen, merchants, lawyers, musicians and jibaros of Porto Rico, to whom they had vainly appealed in the name of Spain in yelling themselves hoarse as the Stars and Stripes went up in town after town. Perhaps they took the latter course. Perhaps they will turn out good Americans. In Porto Rico, as elsewhere, times change, and men's minds change with the changes of time and destiny."
NAVAL LESSONS TAUGHT BY THE WAR.
After the remarkable victory at Santiago de Cuba, where Admiral Cervera's fleet, which attempted to steal out of the harbor, with the loss of but one man on the American side, Admiral Sampson, with a portion of his fleet, proceeded to San Juan in Porto Rico. This city he bombarded, directing his principal fire against Morro Castle.
What followed bears strong testimony to the remarkable gunnery of our "jackies."
Morro Castle and the buildings on the high ground in its rear were simply riddled. Great holes were in places blown out by our large shells and the walls were pitted by the hail of the smaller ones.
There was one entire building which was blown to pieces, and a whole section of the Cuartel was laid in ruins. To be sure, many of our shells were wasted in the sea wall, but this is not to be wondered at, as the parapet had embrasures for guns, and from where our ships were lying, these would naturally be mistaken for a sea battery.
Neither in Morro Castle nor in the more pretentious fortifications known as San Cristobal, were there any great number of modern guns. There were a few Krupp guns, but the remainder consisted of muzzleloaders of an ancient pattern; most of the latter were mounted upon parapets of masonry. It may be said that the defences of San Juan were opposed to every theory of modern military science. The defenses might have been considered impregnable some fifty years or so ago, but to-day they are by no means formidable.
Our marvelous naval victories have taught a lesson to the entire world, and America to-day stands stronger than she ever did before. In fact, there is not a nation that does not respect us and fear us, which possibly could not have been said before the American-Spanish war. Prior to that, it was rather the fashion to sneer at the Yankee army and navy, but that will never be done again.
Foreign nations know now what the United States really is.
"Dewey's and Sampson's victories must be very depressing to French, German and Russian naval aspirations," observes a gentleman of Washington, who is a most competent authority. "For years they have been measuring up against England, and quietly calculating what combinations they could make to overthrow British sea power. France, particularly, has been building a navy which she hoped, in spite of past experience, might cope with England's. She has spent immense sums upon it, and relative to the interests it has to guard, it is larger and stronger than England's. But Spain's experience reiterates the old story that it is not so much the ships as the men on them who win victories. Had the Americans been on Spanish ships and the Spanish on the American there would have been a very different story to tell. While the French are very superior to the Spanish, they are of the same Latin blood, and there is just enough similiarity between the two peoples to hint at the success French ships would have in encountering with Anglo-Saxons, either sailing under the Star Spangled Banner or the Cross of St. George. Germany is likely to have the same sort of a chill. The Gentians have never been a maritime nation. A German war vessel has never fired a hostile shot, and Germans may well have solicitous thoughts as to the result of a struggle with men who have shown themselves past masters in the art of naval warfare. Russia is in the same situation. She has never actually fought anybody at sea but the Turks. The wiser among these peoples are very likely to begin thinking that their dreams of sea power are vain illusions, and that they had better save the money they have been spending on navies and resign the dominion of the sea to the English-speaking races."
There is no doubt that our naval victories have taught many and valuable lessons, and it is perhaps proper to make a slight digression here and show what some of these lessons are.
Let us then consider the deliberations of a board of naval officers, some of the ablest experts in the service, appointed by Admiral Sampson, after the battle of Santiago de Cuba, to report upon the condition of Cervera's sunken fleet, the extent of damages done by American shells and the lessons to be learned therefrom to guide the United States in its future ship construction.
The conclusions reached by the board were as follows:
The use of wood in the construction and equipment of war ships should be reduced to the utmost minimum possible.
Loaded torpedoes above the water line are a serious menace to the vessels carrying them, and they should not be so carried by vessels other than torpedo boats.
The value of rapid-fire batteries cannot be too highly estimated.
All water and steam pipes should be laid beneath the protective deck and below the water line and fitted with risers at such points as may be considered necessary.
The board also found that the ships Infanta Maria Teresa, Almirante Oquendo and Viscaya were destroyed by conflagration, caused by the explosion of shells in the interior, which set fire to the woodwork. The upper deck and all other woodwork on their ships was entirely consumed except the extremities. This shows the importance of fireproofing all woodwork on board ships.
Many of the guns on board the burned ships were found loaded at the time of the board's visit, indicating the haste with which the crews were driven from the guns.
With talks with experts the following was developed as to what the war showed:
First—That the gun is still the dominating factor in war.
Second—That rapid-fire guns are especially valuable, but that it is advisable to retain guns of large calibres.
Third—That smokeless powder is absolutely essential for modern warfare.
Fourth—That there should be a great reduction in the amount of woodwork on board ship and that that left on board should be fireproof, some going so far as to say that woodwork should be eliminated entirely, its place to be taken by some other substance.
Fifth—That armor should be distributed over the entire ship rather than be limited to the section where its vitals are located.
Sixth—That monitors are useless for cruising purposes or for fighting in rough waters.
Seventh—That the United States should have a larger navy, with speedier battleships and fast armored cruisers, and with coaling stations in different sections of the globe, where men-of-war can procure supplies and make repairs if necessary.
Captain Charles O'Neil, chief of the bureau of ordnance, gave his opinion as follows:
"I do not think the battle off Santiago de Cuba demonstrated that we should abandon the heavy calibres of guns. Serious injury to an enemy's thickly-armored battleships can be inflicted only by large-calibre guns.
"It is possible that with rapid-fire guns you may shoot away the lightly armored superstructure, but as long as the vitals are protected and the turret armor is intact the guns in the turret will be able to do execution, and large-calibred guns will be necessary to perforate the armor and disable those weapons. Even with her 12-inch guns the Texas can fire at the rate of one round per minute, and this record is as good as that made by any foreign ships. Rapid fire consists in good facilities for handling ammunition and loading the gun with a quick working breech mechanism.
"We are now building at the Washington gun factory an experimental 6-inch rapid-fire gun, different from the rapid-fire guns we have now in service, which are supplied with what is termed fixed ammunition. The powder and projectile to be used in the experimental gun will be separate, and two operations consequently will have to be employed in loading. This can be done so quickly that it is expected that a very rapid fire will be obtained.
"It is the policy of the Department to have our ships a little ahead of those of any other nation, to have them equipped with armor of greater resistive power, and guns capable of doing more execution. The 13-inch gun, as at present designed, is a more destructive gun than a 12-inch ordinarily, and its energy is very much greater, the result naturally being that it has superior armor-piercing powers.
"I think we should keep the 13-inch gun on board of our battleships. On account of the light armor which protected the Spanish men-of-war, it is difficult to compare the ships and the effect of their fire, or to draw conclusions. We would have learned more if the Spanish fleet had been made up of battleships, and the fire of their gunners had been more accurate. As it is, the value of the secondary battery was certainly demonstrated.
"The necessity of eliminating wood to the greatest extent possible and fireproofing what remains, was shown by the destruction of the Spanish men-of-war. Fire mains should be kept below the protective deck. The battle proved that ships moving rapidly can attack other vessels also under way and inflict serious injury.
"The excellent gunnery of the American sailors is entirely due to the practice which they had undergone, but the target fired at was stationary, while their ship was moving. The conditions were different in action. The Spanish were under way, yet the American gunners fired as well as if they were merely practising."
The New York Herald speaks as follows of our naval victories:
"Ramming, that expedient of despair, was not attempted. Torpedoing, despite the opportunities afforded, was estopped by the quick service of rapid-fire guns on board an inferior but superbly handled construction, and that final effort, a 'charge through,' was never allowed to challenge the combined energies of our fleet. If audacity could have merited success, these Spaniards deserved much, but here the marrow of the war proverb was not with them.
"Pitted against similar ships, even in superior numbers, some of the fleeing cruisers might have slipped seaward in hot haste for the breaking of the Havana blockade. Failing that, all might have concentrated an assault upon certain selected vessels and found consolation for final defeat in the foundering hulls of their enemy. But audacity did not count, individual bravery went for naught; because, while heavier constructions barred the way, and superior guns smashed the pathways of escape, energized skill overcame untrained courage and patient discipline crushed unorganized effort.
"The battleships not only fought the armored cruisers in a long, stern chase down the shore, but destroying as they ran, finally forced them blazing in their own wrecks upon a hostile coast. The torpedo boat destroyers engaged single handed by the Gloucester succumbed so quickly to inferior armament and speed that their value in a day attack, or, indeed, their value at any time save as weapons of surprise, need no longer be reckoned with. This will be a rude awakening to the zealots who had seen in this weapon the downfall of the ship of the fighting line, but it will be a heart-cheering confirmation to the loyal seamen who in season and out have never ceased to proclaim that the integrity of sea nations rests on battleships and the well-served guns of a fleet."
"I think sometimes if it had not been for the work of the Oregon the Colon might have got away," was the statement made by an admiral on the retired list. "I am not sure that the Brooklyn, with all her speed, could have stopped the Colon, but I think it quite likely that the New York would have finally overtaken the Colon and stopped her."
More emphasis was laid upon the speed of the Oregon and the closeness of her position than upon her 13-inch shells, one of which played such havoc. The admiral was not seemingly impressed with the difference in effectiveness between the guns of large and small calibre, but continued to lay stress on the admirable speed of the Oregon.
"But," he continued, "the war has proved nothing so far as the navy is concerned. The Spaniards showed no enterprise. If we had come up against the navy of England there would have been some basis for a conclusion, but shooting in the air, as the Spaniards did, proves nothing. They had a fine fleet, with most modern equipment, and yet they could kill only one man in the whole encounter."
Admiral Sir George Elliot, of the British Navy, considers that at least five important lessons have been taught by the war. His opinions are as follows:
"First, in state of peace be fully prepared for war in every respect; second, the value of adequately-protected coaling stations; third, the value of superior speed for the cruiser class, and especially for the more weakly-armored vessels; fourth, the naval defense of seaports by gunboats and the raising of the naval volunteer corps as an integral portion of the naval reserve forces; fifth, that great importance be attached to a steady gun platform for quick-firing guns, looking to the small number of hits compared with numerous shots fired.
"In this connection," said Sir George Elliot, "I am informed that the Americans are likely to adopt Captain Hodgett's form of bottom for their new ships, which must give greater steadiness than bilge keels."
Admiral Sir Henry Nicholson, who was captain of the Temeraire at the bombardment of Alexandria, and has since been commander in chief at the Cape of Good Hope and at the Nore, has spoken thus:
"This war has taught us nothing. The state of the Spanish navy has been for years so hopelessly rotten that when the moment for action arrived its military value was nil. The Spanish gunners hardly seem to have got a hit in on any American ship. Nothing is taught us as to the relative value of the belt or deck armor."
As regards ships versus forts, he said:
"The Spanish forts seem to have been, probably from various reasons, as inefficient as their ships. Both the Spaniards and the Americans in their use of torpedo craft have shown very remarkable absence of dash. Practically neither side has made any use of this dreaded arm."
Captain Montagu Burrow, who is professor of modern history at the University of Oxford, had this opinion to offer:
"There are no new lessons to be learned, but only confirmation of some that are very old. The state of unreadiness in Spain when the war suddenly broke out might, from the unfortunate circumstances of that country, have been expected, but if the United States had had to deal with a Power anything like its own strength it would have found its own position intensely difficult. The war will probably have the effect of inducing their government to keep up a standing army and navy of a very superior kind to that of their present system. The recent warning of their admirable writer, Captain Mahau, will now have a chance of being listened to, but the Americans have only to expand what is already proved to be good. The training of their officers and men must have been of a superior kind to enable them to handle their ships and point their guns with such excellent effect. It was at one time considered doubtful whether modern guns could be as accurately fired at great distances as the old armament at shorter ranges, but they were laid quite as accurately, and were far more destructive."
As the New York Herald declared at the time, the United States had now attained their majority. They were now of age, and their voice must be heard in the council of nations.
There were misgivings all over Europe, especially in Germany and France, old and bitter foes though they are.
A prominent Parisian thus summed up these misgivings:
"The young American giant," he said, "is only trying his strength on Spain, but what if he should use it against us?"
WHAT OUR ARMY ACHIEVED.
Now to turn from the navy to the army, and see what the latter achieved in Porto Rico.
On July 21, 1898, General Miles sailed from Guantanamo Bay with a force of 3,415 men. General Wilson had sailed the day before from Charleston with 4,000 men, and General Schwan and his command sailed from Port Tampa two days later.
The entire army of invasion numbered about eleven thousand men.
The hardships on the transports were very great.
The Massachusetts carried three troops of cavalry from New York and Pennsylvania to Porto Rico and the events of the voyage have been thus narrated by an eye-witness:
"With the penetrating of the tropics come days of languor and nights of inactivity so delicious it seems profanation to move. More than one thousand men, who boarded the Massachusetts with the vigor of the North in their veins, have succumbed, one by one, to the lethargy of the soft breeze of the Bahamas.
But an awakening is at hand. Pumps that have been running steadily day and night slow down and stop. Troopers had become so accustomed to the quick beating of the smaller machines that the cessation of throbs between the slower pulsations of the heavier engines is noticed instantly. A quick inquiry as to the cause brings the answer from one less well-informed: "Only the water pumps broken down." That is all, only eleven hundred parched horses awaiting the answer to the bugle call they had learned so well—"Water horses!"—which sounded at the moment of the fatal break in the pumps. Only a transport carrying ten hundred and thirty men, and no means of extinguishing a fire!
Twenty minutes; one-half hour, and Captain Read, who has gone down into "the hole," asks for five Troop A men. "No hurry," so the order said. Somebody knew better, and the troopers go, hand over hand, down into the ship's hold. A few bales of hay come up and over the side of the ship, and sizzle as they strike the water. The troopers nurse a few burned fingers, and Captain Read reappears on deck, smoked, wet with perspiration, and makes his usual answer to a question, "What's the trouble?" with "Nothing at all." But five men of Troop A and Captain Read knows that a dangerous fire has been extinguished for the third time in one day with men's bare hands.
"Three-quarters of an hour, and no sound from the engine-room, except the steady throb of the propeller.
"'Thirty men from Troop A, thirty men from City Troop, and thirty men from Troop C!' and ninety men in three squads silently are lined around that entrance to Hades—the hole. 'Another fire,' was the quick alarm, but it was worse than that. 'Water! water! water!" the cry comes from the sunken eyes that look pleadingly at men; from harsh breathing; from parched throats; from hanging heads of eleven hundred horses and mules that had not been watered since receiving a scant quart eighteen hours before. 'Let's see,' said the United States cavalrymen, quietly, 'the pumps are hopeless, but we can draw up one bucketful every minute from the hold aft, and one every minute from the forward hatch. We ought to water all in ten hours. Form lines and water solid. The horse you skip will be dead in the morning.'
"The horses stand with swollen legs far apart, instinctively to prevent a fall. Once down, they know they never can get up. Their heads hang low and their breathing comes in a whistle from parched lungs through a long, dry throat and dusty mouth. There is an occasional form in the black galleys. It is some trooper, his big arms around the neck of his beloved dying mount, with tears in his eyes, but petting and talking to the animal as if it understood. Then ropes over blocks begin to draw buckets of water from sixty feet below. Immediately each horse or mule has its draught, it is bathed in perspiration, and skin dry and shriveled becomes soft and pliable. One can feel in the dark, whether a horse has been missed or not.
"There is a delay and an anxious inquiry from above: 'What's the matter?' 'Haul away,' is the response, and the bucket comes heavy this time. Oh, it's only a man, stark naked, fainting, with a rope beneath his arms, and head away to one side. 'Hospital case, overcome, haul away,' and another bucket swings upward."
Of course the objective point of the whole campaign was the capital, San Juan, on the northeastern coast of the island. Nevertheless the troops were mostly landed on the southern coast not far from the southwestern corner. The plan was to drive all the Spanish troops upon the island into San Juan, where they could be captured upon the surrender of that city.
The Spaniards abandoned precipitately the whole southern coast line, and this seemed to promise an easy march for the Americans across Porto Rico.
But this was not exactly the case, as we shall proceed to demonstrate.
There were several causes why the Spaniards fled before the invading Americans.
One was that in the beginning the Spanish forces, from lack of knowledge as to where the Americans would land, were widely scattered. By retreating, the coast garrisons were brought together in bodies of more or less magnitude. More than this in the interior could be found stronger positions for defense, and there only land forces would have to be dealt with.
It is probable that the Spaniards in Porto Rico, knowing as they must have, that the war was virtually over, hoped by a show of resistance at the end to come out with a certain degree of credit, and had resolved to give up the fight only when they received an order to do so from Madrid.
At all events, the Spanish troops disputed the American advance at several points. At Fajardo the American forces raised the Stars and Stripes, but the Spaniards, several hundred in number, pulled it down and even sought to drive away the landing party that held the lighthouse on the shore. This attempt was most manifestly absurd, as in the harbor was a squadron, consisting of the monitor Amphitrite, the protected cruiser Cincinnati and the Leyden. No time was lost in landing men to support the lighthouse force, and to open fire from the ships. The Spaniards were driven back and suffered much from their foolish temerity.
In the beginning the plan of campaign included an advance along three lines.
The first division, under General Schwan, was to advance along the western coast to Aguadilla, in the north-western corner of the island, and then to push to the east until Arecibo, on the northern coast and about half-way between Aguadilla and San Juan, was reached. The second division, under General Henry, was to push directly to the north from Ponce, forming a union with Schwan at Arecibo. The main advance was to be along the military road from Ponce to San Juan. As this road runs for some distance parallel to the southern coast, a division was dispatched under General Brooke to land at Arroyo and capture Guayama, an important city on the military road, about forty miles east of Ponce. By this means, whatever detachments of Spanish troops might be stationed on the road between these two points were exposed to attack from both front and rear.
Before any of these movements could be completed, however, came the armistice and the consequent cessation of hostilities.
Much, though, had been accomplished before this, enough to show what American arms were capable of.
In the east, General Brooke, after landing at Arroyo, had taken Guayama; in the centre, General Wilson had advanced on the military road, occupied Coamo, and had made a demonstration before Aibonito, where there was a large Spanish force; further to the west, General Henry had marched to within fifteen miles of Arecibo; in the extreme west, General Schwan had marched along the coast and taken Mayaguez, the principal port in that end of the island, after a sharp skirmish with a force that outnumbered his own. The slight opposition met by General Brooke at Guayama, General Wilson at Coamo, and General Schwan near Mayaguez, indicated that there would be little difficulty in reaching the capital, and officers and men alike felt that the capture of San Juan was a matter of but a few days.
The third landing of American troops in Porto Rico took place on August 2, at Arroyo, from the St. Louis and the St. Paul. The army then took the place of the navy and accepted the surrender of the town. There was no defense and no Spanish flag was flying. The surrender of Arroyo was important, as there were a large number of manufacturing enterprises there.
The attitude of the civil authorities and the ineffective character of the defense made by the Spanish troops, says the San Francisco Argonaut, was illustrated by the advance made by General Henry's division. General Roy Stone was sent in advance with a small body of about one hundred men to reconnoiter the road and determine its fitness for military operations. The character of the expedition may be gathered from the fact that General Stone and his officers rode in carriages. Yet town after town surrendered to these outposts until they were encamped before Arecibo, on the northern coast of the island. The main body had nothing to do but follow and furnish flags for the surrendered municipalities.
One of the most extraordinary things in the whole campaign was the surrender of the city of Ponce. This was done in response to a telephone communication from Ensign Curtin. Not a single shot was fired.
After the surrender of Ponce it was reported that a large Spanish force had gathered about ten miles in the interior. Two companies of soldiers were sent out by General Ernst to see what this meant. On the outskirts of the town a party of Spanish soldiers, loaded down with guns and swords, was met with. As soon as the Spaniards caught sight of the Americans they ran toward them crying, "Don't shoot!"
They declared that they were coming in to surrender. Although the party was small, they had arms enough to stock a regiment. They were taken before General Wilson, gave up their arms and signed a parole.
There was quite a strong resistance made at Coamo, a town on the main military road between Juana Diaz and the Spanish mountain stronghold at Aibonito. General Wilson effected the capture of this place with the most consummate skill. His plan was simple enough. It was nothing more nor less than an ordinary flank movement, such as Grant and Sherman used so successfully during the Civil War.
General Wilson advanced against the town on the main road with sufficient infantry, cavalry and artillery to drive out the Spanish garrison. But when the latter attempted to retreat they found their way blacked by the Sixteenth Pennsylvania, under Colonel Hulings, which General Wilson had sent round to the rear of the town the night before.
The attack in front was timed so as to allow this force to get into position.
The Battle of Coamo, if indeed, it can be so called, for it was nothing more than a lively skirmish, has been thus described:
"Just as darkness fell, the regiment left the military road and struck at a right angle for the hills to the northward. Porto Rican guides led the way over paths so rough and narrow that the men could move only in single file. It was toilsome progress. Absolute silence was enjoined; no smoking was permitted lest the fitful flash of a match should betray the movement to the watchful Spaniards on the hills. For hours the men toiled on. The officers were compelled to walk and lead their horses. Creeks and rivulets were waded; lofty hills were climbed or skirted; yawning ravines were crossed. The men dripped with perspiration, although the night air was chilly.
"At dawn both General Wilson and General Ernest were in the saddle, and long before the shadows lifted from the valleys the main body of the army was in motion to drive the enemy out of the town and into Hulling's net. Nearer than the village and off to the right was the blockhouse of Llamo de Coamo. The blockhouse was the first place attacked. There was a heavy, jarring rumble over the macadam of the military road. Anderson's battery came along at a sharp trot. At a turn in the road where the blockhouse came into view it halted. Two minutes later the fight opened. For a few minutes the Spanish returned the fire with Mausers, but as shell after shell crashed through the blockhouse, they abandoned it and fell back toward Coamo. Soon flames leaped upward from the roof, and an hour later the fort was but a smoldering ruin.
"Meanwhile the infantry was pressing rapidly forward. General Wilson was wondering what had become of Hulings. Not a warlike sound came from the village, a mile and a half away. Had the garrison escaped? Suddenly from beyond the town came the rattle of musketry. Soon the sound swelled into a steady roar, which the mountains echoed again and again."
The same writer tells a story in regard to one whom he terms a real hero of the war, and he calls attention to the callous manner in which Spanish soldiers were sacrificed to protect political adventurers at home. To quote his own words:
"His name was Don Rafael Martinez. There was no military justification for attempting to hold Coamo under the circumstances. Yet Major Martinez stayed. He was still in the prime of youth and in fine health. In Spain his family is aristocratic and influential, and could have protected him from the consequences of a quixotic court-martial. Martinez knew that resistance was utterly hopeless. But Colonel San Martian had been practically disgraced by Governor-General Macias for evacuating Ponce, and all commanders of garrisons in the path of the American army were ordered to fight. So Major Martinez kissed his young wife and children good-by one day last week and sent them into San Juan for safety. His scouts brought word that an American column of double the garrison's strength was slowly creeping around to his rear. Then Martinez knew that he was trapped, and decided to go out and meet the enemy. He rode in advance of his slender column until he sighted Hulings's men, who were immediately apprised of the enemy's presence by a volley. Soon bullets were flying like hail. Martinez, mounted upon a gray horse, rode up and down in front of his troops, uttering encouraging words. The soldier's death which Martinez sought was not long coming. For a while he reeled in his saddle, maintaining his seat with evident difficulty. Then his horse went to his knees, and Martinez slowly slid from the saddle, a lifeless form. When Major Martinez was found, five wounds, three of which were mortal, were discovered. His horse was shot in four places."
The result of the attack on Coamo was the capture of about one hundred and eighty men, or most of the garrison except the cavalry who took to the mountains by paths better known to them than to the Americans. Of General Wilson's force, none was killed and only a few were wounded.
The whole affair was splendidly managed. As has been said before, all General Miles's plans could be put into action, the war was practically ended.
On the afternoon of August 12, Secretary of State Day and M. Cambou, the French ambassador, who was representing Spain, affixed their signatures to duplicate copies of a protocol establishing a basis upon which the two countries, acting through their respective commissioners, could negotiate terms of peace.
The provisions of the protocol were practically as follows:
1. That Spain will relinquish all claim of sovereignty over and title to Cuba.
2. That Porto Rico and other Spanish islands in the West Indies, and an island in the Ladrones, to be selected by the United States, shall be ceded to the latter.
3. That the United States will occupy and hold the city, bay and harbor of Manila, pending the conclusion of a treaty of peace which shall determine the control, disposition and government of the Philippines.
4. That Cuba, Porto Rico and other Spanish islands in the West Indies shall be immediately evacuated, and that commissioners, to be appointed within ten days, shall, within thirty days from the signing of the protocol, meet at Havana and San Juan respectively, to arrange and execute the details of the evacuation.
5. That the United States and Spain will each appoint not more than five commissioners to negotiate and conclude a treaty of peace. The commissioners are to meet at Paris not later than October.
6. On the signing of the protocol, hostilities will be suspended and notice to that effect will be given as soon as possible by each Government to the commanders of its military and naval forces.
The President at once signed the following proclamation, declaring an armistice:
"By the President of the United States of America:
"Whereas, By a protocol concluded and signed August 12, 1898, by William R. Day, Secretary of State of the United States, and his Excellency Jules Cambon, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the republic of France at Washington, respectively representing for this purpose the Government of the United States and the Government of Spain, the United States and Spain have formally agreed upon the terms on which negotiations for the establishment of peace between the two countries shall be undertaken; and,
"Whereas, It is in said protocol agreed that upon its conclusion and signature hostilities between the two countries shall be suspended, and that notice to that effect shall be given as soon as possible by each government to the commanders of its military and naval forces;
"Now, therefore, I, William McKinley, President of the United States, do, in accordance with the stipulations of the protocol, declare and proclaim on the part of the United States a suspension of hostilities, and do hereby command that orders be immediately Driven through the proper channels to the commanders of the military and naval forces of the United States to abstain from all acts inconsistent with this proclamation.
"In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
"Done at the city of Washington, this 12th day of August, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and ninety-eight, and of the independence of the United States the one hundred and twenty-third.
"By the President. William R. Day, Secretary of State."
It may be interesting to pause here for a moment and note what the London press had to say as to this suspension of hostilities. It will be observed that the comments were extraordinarily favorable to the United States.
The Standard, commenting on the signing of the protocol by the representatives of Spain and the United States, said: "Thus ends one of the most swiftly decisive wars in history. Spanish rule disappears from the West. The conquerors have problems of great difficulty before them. Doubtless they will face them with patriotic resolution."
The Daily News said: "August 12, 1898, will be a memorable day in the history of the world. It is the day which witnessed the death of one famous empire and the birth of another, destined perhaps to more enduring fame. It must be admitted that the results achieved are a substantial record for four mouths of war."
The Morning Post said that the protocol leaves open the two questions regarding which future difficulties that may not concern the United States and Spain alone are likely to arise. It advises Spain, assuming that the United States only holds Manila, to sell the Philippines.
The Daily Telegraph was impressed by the indifference of the bulk of the Spanish nation to the sentiment of national pride, which seems to be extinct. For this reason national life, in the true sense of the word, must sooner or later cease to exist.
The paper discussed the decadence of Spain in connection with the contention that France and Italy have become stationary, and predicts the ultimate disappearance of the Latin race as a factor in the human drama.
The Chronicle said that the American people will never regret the sacrifices they have made to remove the Spanish colonies from the map.
It added that many more difficulties and sacrifices await them, but the result will be the growth of freedom and the extension of human happiness and prosperity.
The Times said it hoped it was not a violation of neutrality to express the satisfaction felt by a great majority of Englishmen at the success of the United States. It added:
"Historians will wrangle for a long time respecting the propriety of the methods by which the war was brought about, but once begun it was eminently desirable for the interests of the world, and even, perhaps, ultimately to the interests of Spain herself, that it should result in the success of the Americans.
"The factor in the situation which is of the greatest immediate importance to ourselves is the fate of the Philippines."
The Times thought it very remarkable that the New York newspapers discovered on the same day that the United States were bound to put themselves in the best possible position for defending the common interests of themselves and Great Britain in China. It concluded:
"Providence in the nick of time has given them the Philippines."
The armistice proclamation was followed at once by orders from the War Department to the several commanding generals in the field directing that all military operations be suspended.
This was the text of the message to General Miles:
"Adjutant-General's Office, Washington, Aug. 12, 1898.
"Major-General Miles, Ponce, Porto Rico:
"The President directs that all military operations against the enemy be suspended. Peace negotiations are nearing completion, a protocol having just been signed by representatives of the two countries. You will inform the commander of the Spanish forces in Porto Rico of these instructions. Further orders will follow. Acknowledge receipt.
"By order Secretary of War. "H. C. Corbin, Adjutant-General."
These orders, coming as they did, undoubtedly prevented the sacrifice of many valuable lives before San Juan. But they were anything but popular among the American troops, for they reached the various divisions just as each was about to strike a decisive blow.
The Spaniards, however, it is said, received the news with loud manifestations of delight.
In General Brook's division, a battery had just been advanced to position and the order to fire was about to be given, when a courier, his steed panting and covered with foam, dashed upon the field and informed the general that an armistice had been concluded.
General Brooke's sole reply was:
"Lieutenant, you arrived five minutes too soon. You should have been more considerate of your horse."
While our army did not have a chance to show all that it was capable of accomplishing, it was proven conclusively that the Yankees are good and brave fighters.
The sight of an army springing up out of nothing, the spectacle of the monumental work of military organization being pushed on to success in spite of mistakes, arrested the attention of all European nations.
One thing is certain—a noble victory has been nobly won; and won, happily at a cost, which, deplorable though it actually was, was relatively small, as must be acknowledged by every student of the warfare of the past.
HOW THE PORTO RICANS RECEIVED US.
Whatever may have been the attitude and feelings of the Spanish officials and Spanish troops, there can be no doubt that the Porto Ricans themselves welcomed most enthusiastically the advent of the Americans and the dawn of a new era. The joy manifested at the sight of invaders in a conquered country was most extraordinary, and we can affirm with truth that it has no parallel in history.
It was most fortunate that little or no fighting took place, as thus many valuable lives were saved. There was no question whatever as to the result.
The number and location of the Spanish troops on the island just before the armistice was declared were as follows:
Aibonito, 1,800 men, and two 4-inch field cannon; Cavey, 700 men; Caguas, 600; Rio Piedras, 180; Carolite, 320; Arecibo, 320, and two 4-inch field cannon; Aguadilla, 320; Crab Island, 100; Bayamon, 395; San Juan, 1,706, making a total of 5,441, to which may be added approximately 500 of the Guardia Civil, doing duty in their own villages all over the island, and 200 of the Orden Publico, doing similar police duty in San Juan. Many members of the Guardia Civil in or near the territory held by the American troops joined the Americans.
It cannot be told with any certainty how much resistance the Spaniards would have offered had hostilities continued, but most of the fighting would have undoubtedly taken place within sight of San Juan. The Spaniards themselves believed this, as the preparations they made sufficiently indicated.
The native people generally were thoroughly delighted with the news that the island was likely to be ceded to the United States. Wherever the American flag went up, it was cheered with a vigor that probably was never given to the Spanish flag during all the centuries it has been in evidence.
Everywhere, the people rushed forward to welcome the invaders, and showered them with hospitable attentions. Pretty women dressed themselves in their richest garments and smiled their sweetest smiles to charm the conquerors.
Food, cigars and wines were pressed upon the soldiers; the civil authorities issued florid proclamations over the glad event of becoming "Americanos," and the whole country blossomed with Star-Spangled banners. The only reason why even more of them were not displayed was because more of them could not be obtained.
It was one of the most unlooked-for and surprising things of this most surprising war, as a writer in the National Tribune of Washington observes.
The same writer goes on to say that really there is good reason for all this.
"The substantial people of Puerto Rico know that it is immensely to their interest to cut loose from Spain, and be grafted on to the United States. The greater part of their trade is with this country, and Spain has been bleeding them for the privilege of carrying it on. Now they can send their coffee, sugar, tobacco, tropical fruits, etc., directly to this market, get American prices for them, and buy American goods in return at regular American prices.
"They ought to be mighty glad to get into this country, but, being Spaniards, we hardly expected them to have so much sense."
Guanica was the first town taken by our soldiers.
The enthusiasm was unbounded, and numbers of the citizens called to pay their respects to the leading officers.
At Guanica the following proclamation was issued to the people of the island under the signature of General Miles:
"Guanica, Porto Rico, July 27, 1898. "To the Inhabitants of Porto Rico:
"In the prosecution of the war against the Kingdom of Spain by the people of the United States, in the cause of liberty, justice and humanity, its military forces have come to occupy the islands of Porto Rico. They come bearing the banners of freedom, inspired by noble purposes, to seek the enemies of our government and of yours, and to destroy or capture all in armed resistance.
"They bring you the fostering arms of a free people, whose greatest power is justice and humanity to all living within their fold. Hence they release you from your former political relations, and it is hoped this will be followed by the cheerful acceptance of the government of the United States.
"The chief object of the American military forces will be to overthrow the armed authority of Spain and give the people of your beautiful island the largest measure of liberty consistent with this military occupation.
"They have not come to make war on the people of the country, who for centuries have been oppressed; but, on the contrary, they bring protection, not only to yourselves, but to your property, promote your prosperity and bestow the immunities and blessings of our enlightenment and liberal institutions and government. It is not their purpose to interfere with the existing laws and customs, which are wholesome and beneficial to the people, so long as they conform to the rules of the military administration, order and justice. This is not a war of devastation and dissolution, but one to give all within the control of the military and naval forces the advantages and blessings of enlightened civilization."
The mayor of Guanica also issued a proclamation, which was thus worded:
"Citizens: God, who rules the destinies of nations, has decreed that the Eagle of the North, coming from the waters of a land where liberty first sprang forth to life, should extend to us his protecting wings. Under his plumage, sweetly reposing, the Pearl of the Antilles, called Porto Rico, will remain from July 25.
"The starry banner has floated gayly in the valleys of Guanica, the most beautiful port of this downtrodden land. This city was selected by General Miles as the place in which to officially plant his flag in the name of his government, the United States of America. It is the ensign of grandeur and the guarantee of order, morality and justice. Let us join together to strengthen, to support and to further a great work. Let us clasp to our bosoms the great treasure which is generously offered to us while saluting with all our hearts the name of the great Washington.
"Augustin Barrenecha, Alcalde. "Guanica, Porto Rico, U. S. A., July 26, 1898."
Yauco was the next to surrender.
When the troops took possession of the town the mayor promptly issued this proclamation:
"To-day the citizens of Porto Rico assist in one of her most beautiful festivals. The sun of America shines upon our mountains and valleys this day of July, 1898. It is a day of glorious remembrance for each son of this beloved isle, because for the first time there waves over it the flag of the Stars, planted in the name of the Government of the United States of America by the major-general of the American Army, General Miles.
"Porto Ricans, we are by the miraculous intervention of the God of the just given back to the bosom of our mother America, in whose waters Nature placed us as people of America. To her we are given back in the name of her government by General Miles, and we must send her our most expressive salutation of generous affection through our conduct toward the valiant troops represented by distinguished officers and commanded by the illustrious General Miles.
"Citizens: Long live the Government of the United States of America! Hail to their valiant troops! Hail Porto Rico, always American!
"Yauco, Porto Rico, United States of America. "El Alcalde, Francisco Megia."
The alcalde is the judge who administers justice, and he also presides as mayor over the City Council.
The citizens of the town hugged the Americans, and some fell upon their knees and embraced the legs of the soldiers. It was a most remarkable spectacle.
On July 29, Ponce was formally given over to the Americans, without the firing of a single shot. The populace received the troops and saluted the flag with enthusiasm. When General Miles entered the city he was welcomed by the mayor, cheered to the echo by the citizens and serenaded by a band of music.
The mayor of Ponce issued a proclamation of the same tenor as that of the mayor of Yauco, although not quite so enthusiastic.
General Wilson was made military governor of Ponce.
A day or two after the taking of Ponce several local judges were sworn into office. This was the first time in the history of the United States that the judges of a foreign, hostile but conquered country, swore to support the Constitution of the United States.
The following was the form sworn to by the various officials:
"I declare under oath that, during the occupation of the island of Porto Rico by the United States, I will renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to every foreign prince, potentate, state or sovereignty, particularly the Queen Regent and the King of Spain, and will support the constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic, and will bear true faith and allegiance to the same.
"Further, I will faithfully support the Government of the United States, established by the military authorities in the island of Porto Rico, will yield obedience to the same and take the obligation freely, without mental reservation or with the purpose of evasion, so help me God."
On July 31, the commanding general sent a message to the War Department, the first official one received from Ponce. It read as follows:
"Secretary of War, Washington, D. C.:
"Your telegrams 27th received and answered by letter. Volunteers are surrendering themselves with arms and ammunition; four-fifths of the people are overjoyed at the arrival of the army. Two thousand from one place have volunteered to serve with it. They are bringing in transportation, beef, cattle and other needed supplies.
"The Custom House has already yielded $14,000.
"As soon as all the troops are disembarked they will be in readiness to move.
"Please send any national colors that can be spared, to be given to the different municipalities.
"I request that the question of the tariff rates to be charged in the parts of Porto Rico occupied by our forces be submitted to the President for his action, the previously existing tariff remaining meanwhile in force. As to the government under military occupation, I have already given instructions based upon the instructions issued by the President in the case of the Philippine Islands, and similar to those issued at Santiago de Cuba.
When the soldiers entered Ponce the people sang the "Star-Spangled Banner" in a mixture of Spanish and English, and every time this tune was heard the police forced everybody to remove his hat!
"The natives are, upon the whole, exceedingly friendly," says a correspondent of the New York Sun, "and almost all of them welcome the American army. The flag is voluntarily displayed from many of the principal stores. If there are any Spanish flags in the city they are kept carefully concealed. In the stores American goods are sometimes to be found, particularly in hardware stores. All fabrics, foods, and luxuries, however, have been imported from Europe, mostly from Spain. The Spanish Government forces its colonies to import from home by levying a heavy discriminating duty upon all goods not Spanish. Prices are very high, notwithstanding which fact business is brisk.
"The soldiers are good customers and buy all sorts of curios as souvenirs for friends at home. The officers, too, buy considerable quantities of light underclothing. It is safe to say that there has never before been as much money in circulation here. All the merchants favor annexation."
In an article in the National Magazine the following is said:
"The Porto Ricans have taken very quickly and kindly to American occupation. Some have been so quick in changing that their conversion may be doubted. For instance, the editor of La Nueva Era, a daily which in two scraggy leaves purports to be a 'journal of news, travel, science, literature and freedom,' was only a few weeks ago raving at the 'American Pigs'; while now he luxuriates under the eagle's aegis and writes eulogies upon Benjamin Franklin, George Washington and William McKinley. Nor is he alone in his devotion to the American idea. The small boy curses his neighbor by calling him 'un Espanol,' and treats you with disdain if you suggest that he is simply a poor Porto Rican. 'No, no,' he says, pointing at himself. 'No, Espanol, Porto-Rican Americano.' His motives are not, however, always of the sincerest, for the boys have learned a trick of saying to the passing Yankee; 'Viva America,' and then putting up the forefinger with this half-asked question, 'one cent?'"
A brilliant writer in one of the magazines says that in speaking with a leading merchant of Ponce, he asked him if the people were really so delighted with the new regime.
"'Well, frankly, no,' he replied, 'the mass will welcome any change, but it is quite a question whether we shall gain by annexation to the United States. I have lived in America. Now the Spaniards taxed us heavily, but when they got their money they went off and let us alone. The custom-house officers stole nearly everything from the government. But then we have yet to see how the American custom-house officers will act. Spain knew us and we knew Spain; there were few complaints. The church tax was not heavy, and I never went to service. We do not want the negroes enfranchised till they are better educated. Then the money question is going to be bad for many of us here. We shall suffer dreadfully if the American government makes our dollar worth only fifty cents.'
"The man who uttered these words is a highly respected citizen, speaks English well, and understands America as well as Spain.
"While we were looking over the town we came upon the jail where there are about one hundred and sixty Spanish prisoners," the same writer goes on to say. "Many of these men were selling their chevrons and buttons and other marks of rank with an alacrity worthy of a better cause. One of our party, however, experienced a chill when upon asking one of the prisoners how much he would sell his chevrons for he got this reply, 'No, por el dinero en globo.' 'Not for all the money on earth."
"There spoke the true spirit of Spain. The Spain which sent armies to Jerusalem, patronized Columbus, conquered the half of America with a handful of men—that Spain, with all her black tragedies, never sold her chevrons. Let us be merciful to a fallen foe; at least, let us be truthful. Thank God Spain's power in this hemisphere is crushed. Yet there was chivalry in the old regime. We can afford to be magnanimous now; he who bends above the fallen forever stands erect."
On August 4, when rumors of Spain's submission reached Porto Rico, the editor of La Nueva Era wound up his leading editorial with these words:
"Hurra por la anexion a los Estados Unidos!"
He also gave this excellent sanitary advice to the invading army:
"TO THE BOYS!
"Keep away from fruit of every description and Rum, if you wish to keep your health in this climate."
Moreover, he published this:
"It is an undeniable fact that wherever the American forces have landed they have been welcomed by the people as liberators amid the greatest enthusiasm.
"A new era has dawned for this country and is the advent of happier times.
"The spectre of suspicion with which we were menaced has disappeared forever. We are now sure that the air we breathe is ours and we can breathe it to our fill.
"The labor accomplished by the people of the United States in taking this island, and we say accomplished, as nothing can oppose their arms, is truly a labor of humanity and redemption, and will be one of the greatest glories of the great republic.
"Let us render thanks to the Almighty for the blessing, and let us be well assured that Porto Rico has before it a future of unlimited progress and well-being."
The most rabid Spanish publication of all, La Democracia, issued an address to the public announcing the demise of the paper under its former name, and giving notice that it would reappear under the name of the Courier with a portion printed in English.
In making this announcement the editor promised in the new edition:
"To explain our ideas of brothership and harmony, answering to the ideas proclaimed to the press by our new military authority, such as that the American army has not come as our enemies, but with the purpose of harmonizing with the citizens of Porto Rico. We are pleased to make known that these ideas have been respected, and that all the acts of the forces occupying our city have been characterized by the most exquisite correctness, and that the American troops fraternize with our people."
At all events, these extracts serve to show the trend of public opinion.
"Mr. Morrisey in speaking of the Ponce of to-day says that 'the city is in a horrible sanitary condition, and I wondered how the United States troops stood it. I learned there had been an improvement since the soldiers' arrival, but there is room for considerable more, I think. I went to the Hotel Ingleterra, which is considered the best one in Ponce, and engaged a room. My first meal there was breakfast, which was served at 11 o'clock. My meal consisted of rice, black beans and coffee, all of which was fair. At dinner, which is always served at 6 o'clock, I had the same fare. I tried to get eggs after the first day, but was successful on only two occasions, and then had to pay 7 cents each for them. I learned that the soldiers had made a corner in eggs and had bought nearly all of them, which, of course, made them scarce at the hotels and eating places. All the water used in the hotel is filtered through a huge block of brownstone and even then it is pretty poor.'
"Mr. Morrisey visited the place known as the market in the heart of the city of Ponce, and saw some very interesting scenes. A few of the better class of the natives visited the market several times during the day and made their purchases. There are no butchers in the city, and it is a queer sight, Mr. Morrisey said, to see the way the merchants deliver meat to the purchasers. This article is bought by the penny and a piece about as long as one's finger is sold for 2 cents. The meat is not cut into steaks but in huge lumps. Another thing in reference to the meat is that it is all killed the day before used, which, of course, makes it very tough. The beer on the island is kept in a warm place without any ice and is served in that state. Most of the beer is imported from Germany, and it is only recently that American beer has found its way in the country. This is kept in bottles and when it is served to a customer a small piece of ice is dropped into it. The beer drinker may imagine the rest. The natives do not use much of the beer, but are satisfied with the black coffee and wine.
"The money question has not assumed any large proportions in Porto Rico. Very little money is in circulation on the island. The better class of the natives who are supposed to have some money, spend most of their time and money in Spain, and the stores and merchants, as a result, do not get much of their money. These stores are plentifully supplied with goods, but there is no one to buy them. As soon as the United States soldiers arrived on the island the shopkeepers saw visions of money rolling into their pockets. The price on every article in the stores was increased, and what a native would buy for ten cents the American would be compelled to pay one dollar for the same article. The fare on the railroad running from Ponce to Playo, a distance of about three miles, is one dollar for an excursion trip. The natives make the same trip for twelve cents. Every scheme that can be thought of is practiced by the natives in order to get money from the Americans. In the street and at the entrances to the hotels numerous beggars can be found, all asking for money. Nearly all the inhabitants seemed to be engaged in this sort of work, and the sight of them lounging around, even inside the hotels, is disgusting, says Mr. Morrisey. It is a hard matter to get them to work, and their appearance in scarcely any clothes on the streets is a sight.
"The women go about the roads and plantations smoking large cigars, and are not affected in any manner by the weed. Children of both sexes up to the age of twelve years are permitted to roam about the streets naked, while their parents are not much better off. Nothing but a skirt is worn by the women and the men wear ragged shirts and trousers. Shoes are rarely seen in Porto Rico and a native who is lucky enough to have them is the cynosure of all eyes. The women do not know what silks and satins are, and, it seems, are not desirous of knowing. When night comes the men prepare themselves for bed. This is not hard work, and takes very little time. They tie their heads up in large towels to protect them from the sting of the mosquito, and then lie down in the streets or roads and sleep. These people live mainly on the milk from the cocoanut. Bread is a stranger to them, and very little food is consumed by them, except the wild fruits and vegetables which abound in the outskirts of the cities.
"Mr. Morrisey said the soldiers at Ponce were in a fairly good condition, but it is his opinion that it is no fit place for them under the present condition of the country. He said when the soldier is taken down with typhoid malaria or dysentery he loses flesh rapidly, and he can never regain it as long as he stays in that climate."
All this, although it is in some respects different from some of the opinions we have quoted, is very interesting as it is from a recent eye witness, and shows how Porto Rico of the present impressed a very intelligent man.
The fourth town to surrender, previous to the news of the armistice and therefore the general capitulation of the island, was Juan Diaz. There was a report that there were some Spanish soldiers there, and four companies of the Sixteenth Pennsylvania were sent to find them. Couriers announced the coming of the Americans to the people of the town, and a brass band came out to meet them. The vast majority of the citizens assembled on the outskirts of the town and as the American volunteers appeared the band played "Yankee Doodle" and other patriotic American airs, while the people cried: "Vivan los Americanos."
A large number had presents of cigars, cigarettes, tobacco and various fruits which they loaded upon the soldiers, and many insisted upon taking the visitors to their homes. Everywhere, the American flag was waving. In the public square the mayor made a speech, in which he said that all the people of Juan Diaz were Americans now, and the crowd shouted:
"Death to the Spaniards!"
While speaking of Juan Diaz, perhaps it will prove of interest to insert the opinion of a correspondent of one of the New York papers as to the women of that town and of Porto Rico in general. He says:
"No one ever walks in Porto Rico. The mule's the thing here. The women ride a great deal. The better class use the English side saddle, although a few prefer the more picturesque and safer, but less graceful, Spanish saddle. In the country districts the pillion is occasionally employed, while among the lower classes many women ride astride without exciting comment. When the natives are both pretty and good riders they display considerable coquetry in the saddle.
"I noticed one rider near Juan Diaz who took my mind back to the old days of chivalry. She was a lovely girl of about fifteen or sixteen, with a face like a Madonna and a figure like an artist's model. One little foot crept out beneath her silk riding skirt, and to my surprise it was devoid of hosiery. The skin was like polished velvet, and was of a pinkish gold of an exquisite tint. It was shod with a slipper of satin or silk, embroidered in color and had an arched instep which made the foot all the more charming by its setting.
"The time to see the women at their best is on Sunday morning, when they ride from their homes to mass in the nearest church or cathedral. On one Sunday morning, while riding leisurely into a small village on my way to this town, I met a crowd of worshippers on their way to mass. Nearly all the women were on mule back, and sat or lolled as if they were in an easy chair in their own homes. A few, probably wealthier than the others, or else delicate in health, were accompanied by little darky boys, who held over them a parasol or an umbrella.
"On Sunday each woman wears a huge rosary, sometimes so large as to be uncomfortable. I saw several that were so unwieldy that they went over the shoulders and formed a huge line, larger indeed than a string of sleigh bells. These are ornamental rosaries and are not used for prayer. The praying rosary is as small and dainty as those used by fashionable women in our own Roman Catholic churches. Besides the fan and the rosary every woman was provided with a neat and often handsomely-bound prayer book and a huge lighted cigar or cigarette.
"This is indeed the land for women who love the weed. A few smoke cigarettes and pipes, but the majority like partajas, perfectos, Napoleons and other rolls of the weed larger than those usually seen in our own land. They smoke them at home and in the streets, at the table or on the balcony, lying in hammocks, or lolling on their steeds, and only desist when within the sacred walls of the church. The moment mass is over and they emerge into the sunlight the first thing the women do is to light a fresh cigar and then climb into the saddle.
"They make a beautiful picture upon the roads. Imagine an intensely blue sky above, with below rich green vegetables and startling dashes of scarlet, crimson, vermillion, orange and white from the flowers which seem to bloom the year through, setting off the bright hues of the costumes. It combines the picturesque side of New Orleans life, of Florida scenery, of the Maine lake country, and of the New Hampshire hills."
At Guayama there was even a greater reception than at Juan Diaz. In fact, everywhere, as soon as the people heard of the landing of our soldiers, the American flag was hoisted and kept hoisted, while the Spaniards were driven from the towns where soldiers were stationed.
A large number of Porto-Rican refugees now began to return to the island. These were men who had been engaged in revolution, and had been deported by the Spanish Government. Their progress to their homes was a continual ovation.
The returned refugees had a conference with the leading citizens and there was no doubt in any one's mind but that ninety per cent. of the people was in favor of annexation. They felt that the United States was their deliverer, and they would rather join the American Republic than have self-government.
There was also a conference between the most prominent citizens of Ponce, and Mr. Hanna, the American consul at San Juan.
The Porto Ricans had views which they wished to have presented to the United States, and were anxious to play some part in the new order of things and to hold some of the offices themselves. They were particularly desirous to know about the American school system and as to the possibility of introducing it into the island. They wished that their children should learn to speak English. Mr. Hanna explained the public school system of the United States, and the Porto Ricans were greatly pleased at what they heard. Then they again brought up the question of how they could participate in the reorganization of the island.
"Gentlemen," said Mr. Hanna, "the best thing you can do is to get together and find out just what you want. You have, of course, very good ideas as to what the American system of government is. You no doubt by this time know whether you desire to be attached to the United States as a territory, with a representative in our Congress. You may differ on the point of having Americans for your own officials here during the time that the government that is to prevail here is being put into shape. But you can safely leave your wishes in the hands of President McKinley."
A New York Herald correspondent has some interesting things to say as to the new Ponce, a town which is representative of the entire island:
"Ponce, only yesterday the base for our military invasion, is to-day the American capital in the West Indies. Ponce is deep in the second stage of political evolution.
"Ponce is learning the English language. Ponce is mastering the mysteries of American money. Ponce is inquiring into the methods of American politics. Ponce is preparing to abandon the church schools and adopt our system of education. Papeti, the chambermaid in the Hotel Francais, has already been taught to say, "Vive l'Americano!" Papeti's brother was shot by the Spanish a few years ago.
"El Capitan," the head waiter at the Hotel Inglaterra, has already mastered one hundred words of English, and his fortune is made. Passing down the street just now I heard a Porto Rican mother crooning her naked babe to sleep to the tune of 'Marching Through Georgia.' The Porto Ricans think that 'Marching Through Georgia' is a national anthem.
"As I write the advance guard of the American prospector to this tropical Klondike of ours are pouring up the broad highway from the playa to the town. They came on the Sylvia, the first merchant ship to reach Ponce from the United States since the town surrendered. They seem to have come literally by hundreds.
"I saw many familiar faces among the newcomers.
"Nearly all these men have come here on commercial enterprises. Porto Rico is a fruitful field. Her agricultural resources, taking the American standard, are as little developed as those of Ohio seventy-five years ago. I imagine the coffee production of the island will be doubled in two years.
"Much American capital will be put into sugar, tobacco and fruits. Many of these men are inquiring about estates in the interior that can be purchased or leased, and about facilities for transportation to the sea-board. This means the building of railroads. Banks are also to be opened in Ponce under our national banking law, and I fancy there will be the liveliest sort of race between rival capitalists as to who shall get the electric railway franchise for the city of Ponce.
"The leading citizens of the island are as wideawake to American enterprise as are these eager gentlemen of the pocketbook who came on the Sylvia."
Colonel Hill of General Wilson's staff was appointed Collector of the Port of Ponce, and he went very carefully into the subject of the probable resources of the island and what the new tariff should be.
In an interview with the Herald, he said:
"Most of my statistics are still incomplete, but I can give you a few facts, which will unquestionably be of great interest to the business men of the States. In Porto Rico everything is taxed, and most articles are taxed in several different ways. There is an impost duty on flour of $4 a barrel. I think that will be knocked off at once. As you know, this island paid no direct money to the former government of Spain. Everything in the way of salaries, pensions, etc., is paid directly out of the Custom House. The commander of the military forces on the island is a lieutenant-general, sent here from Spain. He gets an enormous salary. Many Spanish pensioners of prominence and rank have been sent to the island, and these pensions are paid by the island. Dignitaries of the church and priests are sent here in large numbers. They are paid out of the Custom House.
"Only yesterday I had an application from the widow of a Spanish general, who is pensioned, for the payment of her usual stipend. I had to take that matter under advisement. The priests here in Ponce applied for their usual salary for July. This, under the Spanish law, is a fixed charge. The matter came before me in my capacity of judge-advocate on General Wilson's staff. I had to report that inasmuch as we were operating under the Spanish civil law, which made the salaries of the padres a proper payment from the customs funds, the money was due and should be paid or else the Spanish civil law in that respect should be annulled or suspended.
"General Wilson refused to authorize the payment of the priests' salaries, and the matter went to General Miles, who sustained General Wilson. Now here is a very interesting and unprecedented question. As a matter of policy it might be well to pay these salaries for the present. The padres, of course, the next time they address the congregation will say: 'Here is this new American Government which you welcomed with such pleasure refusing to pay your priests. You thought you were going to be relieved of taxation. We must ask you to go into your pockets and pay us yourselves. Thus you have an additional tax placed upon you.'"
But still the clergy, as a rule, were in favor of the United States.
Father Janices, a well-known and most intelligent priest, had this to say in regard to the attitude of the Catholic Church in Porto Rico toward the United States:
"We are neither cowards nor liars. We do not deny that we have always been loyal Spanish subjects, but it is the duty of the Church to save souls and not to mingle in international quarrels.
"With all our hearts we welcome the Americans. Your constitution protects all religions. We ask only for the protection of our Church. The Archbishop of Porto Rico is now in Spain, and the Vicar General of San Juan is acting head of the Church in the island. But we no longer look to him as our ecclesiastical head; but as soon as possible we shall communicate with Cardinal Gibbons and we await his wishes.
"Should any American soldier desire the administrations of a priest, they always shall be at his service. We have determined to become loyal Americans."
Moreover, on September 23, Captain Gardner, in company of General Wilson, called upon the President and made a report in which he elaborated upon the relation of the Church to the government. He stated that while a large majority of the Porto Ricans were Catholics, by profession, they were not offensively zealous. He placed the number of priests at 240, and the annual cost to the public treasury of their support at about $120,000 in American money.
Colonel Gardner, in addition to his report, also presented to President McKinley, an address signed by many of the leading Porto Ricans. The signers expressed their pleasure at the prospect of becoming citizens of the United States, and announced their hope that the Porto Rican people might some day become worthy to organize a State of the Union.
In this hope we are sure all Americans will most heartily join.
OUR CLAIM TO PORTO RICO.
One great question raised by the recent war was that of territorial expansion, and this question called forth many expressions of opinion both for and against.
There is no doubt, however, but that Porto Rico is ours by the right of conquest, and that it would be a crime from every point of view for us not to retain it.
That we shall retain it, too, now seems certain.
Let us now, in the first place, look back and see what two of our most prominent statesmen have said in the past. They may be looked upon almost as prophets.
The idea of territorial expansion is not a new one. In fact, it dates back half a century, and the thought of this expansion has been silently hatched ever since.
In 1846, William H. Seward, afterward Secretary of State under the administration of Abraham Lincoln, published an open letter under the title, "We Should Carry Out Our Destiny."
To carry out that destiny, said Mr. Seward in this letter, the United States should prepare themselves for their mission by getting rid of the Old World which still continued with ideas of another age upon portions of the American soil.
In the same letter Mr. Seward also said that the monarchies of Europe could have neither peace nor truce as long as there remained to them one colony upon this continent.
This Mr. Seward called buying out the foreigners. In 1846 he counted the ruler of Cuba and Porto Rico among the foreigners which should sell out their possessions to the United States.
It was he who during his term of office purchased Alaska from the Czar of Russia for the sum of $7,200,000. He also negotiated for the acquisition of the Danish Antilles, but this project fell through, chiefly for the reason that at that time the President was opposed to it.
In politics Mr. Seward favored a system which he compared to the ripe pear that detaches itself and falls into your hand.
One thing seemed to him certain, and that was that the United States could not help annexing by force the people who would be too slow to come to them of their own free will.
"I abhor war," he wrote. "I would not give one single human life for any portion of the continent which remains to be annexed; but I cannot get rid of the conviction that popular passion for territorial aggrandizement is irresistible. Prudence, justice and even timidity may restrain it for a time, but its force will be augmented by compression."
It was a half century before the explosion occurred, but when it came its echoes resounded all over the world, carrying joy to some and fear to others, fear of this young giant of the New World.
Again in 1852, in a speech made before the Senate upon the question of American commerce in the Pacific, Mr. Seward thus addressed his colleagues:
"The discovery of this continent and of those islands and the organization upon their soil of societies and governments have been great and important events. After all, they are merely preliminaries, a preparation by secondary incidents, in comparison with the sublime result which is about to be consummated—the junction of the two civilizations upon the coast and in the islands of the Pacific. There certainly never happened upon this earth any purely human event which is comparable to that in grandeur and in importance. It will be followed by the levelling of social conditions and by the re-establishment of the unity of the human family. We now see clearly why it did not come about sooner and why it is coming now."
At a reception given to his honor in Paris, just after the close of the Franco-Prussian war, Mr. Seward found himself the centre of a group, mostly composed of young Americans.
He had just almost completed a tour around the world, and in answer to a question as to what had impressed him most during his travels, he answered practically as follows:
"Boys, the fact is the Americans are the only nation that has and understands liberty. With us a man is a man, absolutely free and politically equal with all, with special privileges for none. Every one has a chance, whereas, wherever I have been I was impressed with the subjugation and oppression of the people. I had all my life talked in public and private of the greatness of our mission of civilization and progress, of the ideas we represented, and the lessons we were teaching the world, but I never realized how true it was that we were of all others the representatives of human progress. Now I know it. I am sure now, from what I have myself seen, that nothing I have ever said or others have said, as to the destiny of our country was exaggerated. I am an old man now and may not see it, but some of you boys may live to see American ideas and principles and civilization spread around the world, and lift up and regenerate mankind."
The opinion of another old-time statesman, given some quarter of a century ago, is of vivid interest to-day.
In 1872, when the Geneva Convention was holding its deliberations, Mr. William M. Evarts spoke words of wisdom to a company of distinguished guests at a luncheon given by him at the house in which he was then living.
Among others present were Charles Francis Adams, Caleb Cushing, Morrison R. Waite, afterward Chief Justice; J. Bancroft Davis, Charles C. Beaman, and others of the American Commission.
What Mr. Evarts said was in substance as follows:
"Gentlemen, God has America in his direct keeping, and lets it work out its destinies in accordance with His own wishes and for His own purpose. When the time came and Europe needed an outlet for its surplus energy, God let down the bars and America was discovered. Then little colonies of enterprising and progressive men, seeking freedom from troubles and oppressions of their native land, founded homes along the Atlantic coast. He had let down the bars again for his own purposes. These men struggled and fought and progressed in civilization and liberty until the time came when again the bars were let down and we had the Revolution, and the colonies became a nation. Again the bars went down, and then came the Mexican war, giving the nation the room necessary for its expansion, the space necessary for the homes of the millions from the Old World who sought the freedom of the New. From Atlantic to Pacific that little fringe of people of the colonial times had evolved until they were a great nation. We needed the precious metals, and gold and silver were found sufficient for our purposes. God had let down the bars. But one thing remained, one canker and sore, one great evil which threatened and worried and troubled, but God in His own good time again let down the bars and it was forever swept away, for He allowed the rebellion. He gave humanity and justice and right the victory. He restored the Union, He will heal the sores, He will lead the people to its final destiny as the advance guard of civilization, progress and the upbuilding and elevation of mankind, and in good time the bars will be again let down for the benefit of humanity—when or why we know not, but He knows."
In the light of recent events, the utterances of these two great men are certainly deserving of the utmost consideration. Both of them really seem to be seers, who, from their observations of the past, saw visions of the future for the native land they loved so well.
The Paris Figaro, in a remarkable article, says that, willingly or forcibly, America must belong to the Americans. The New World must gird up its loins and be ready to fulfill its mission. And this must be done by force when persuasion is not sufficient. And when the Americans shall have rejoined Europe in some portion of Asia, concludes the Figaro, and closed the ring of white civilization around the globe, will they stop or can they stop? That is the secret of the future. Its solution will depend upon what they will find before them—a Europe torn and divided, or, as it has been said, the United States of Europe. At all events, they will have the right to be proud, because they will have carried out their destiny.
Now to turn to an opinion by an Englishman, and be it remembered that England stood by us in a remarkable way from the very beginning of the Spanish-American war and undoubtedly prevented the other European nations from interfering.
The opinion we are about to give is from the pen of Mr. Henry Norman, the special commissioner of the London Chronicle.
Among other things, Mr. Norman says in an article entitled "A War-Made New America":
"The vision of a new Heaven and a new earth is still unfulfilled, but there is a new America. The second American Revolution has occurred, and its consequences may be as great as those of the first. The American people are as sensitive to emotional or intellectual stimulus as a photographic film is to light, but they are also to a remarkable degree, a people of second thoughts. Their nerves are quick, but their convictions are slow. The apparent change was so great and so unexpected that at first I could not bring myself to believe in its reality or its endurance. Unless all signs fail, however, or I fail to interpret them, the old America, the America obedient to the traditions of the founders of the republic, is passing away, and a new America, an America standing armed, alert and exigent in the arena of the world-struggle, is taking its place.