"The hour has now arrived for me to raise my voice in justification of my position and to describe the arduous work I have done since my first visit to General Brooke. I protested to him against the sum offered by the United States as insufficient to accomplish the good intended. While waiting an answer to my protest I sought a solution to the question. General Brooke, representing the Chief Magistrate of the United States, announced his inability to add to the sum already settled upon.
"Speculators then attempted to intervene, offering suggestions which were refused by me. They presented a proposition to the Military Assembly, but the scheme was frustrated by President McKinley's refusal to recognize that body. I deemed the formation of militia a practical solution, and General Brooke, who approved the idea, asked me for a summary of my views on the subject. To this I replied that 10,000 men were all it would be possible to get from the former Cuban Army without distinction as to race. My answer was sent to President McKinley, together with a personal letter giving explicit reasons why such a corps was necessary.
"I had many conferences with General Brooke in my endeavors to discover such a plan of payment as would not exclude the men who had never carried arms. General Brooke insisted upon the surrender of arms before the receipt of money. I desired that such arms as already had been surrendered and such as should be surrendered hereafter might be delivered to warehouses, in the care of Cuban armorers, to be paid out of the Cuban Treasury.
"I do not think it a disgrace that the Cuban soldiers should receive, from a Government which is able to pay, sums that will relieve their immediate needs. Special certificates will be given to all, redeemable by the Cuban Republic as soon as it is established. I am convinced that it is compatible with obtaining peace to have an army with arms reserved to defend Cuba to be guarded as the relics of a glorious struggle. In my judgment, whether the arms were disposed of to the municipalities or to armorers , it would be all the same under the intervening Government. The Cuban Commissioners, however, refused to agree with General Brooke and the Americans and declined to fix dates and places where the Cuban soldiery could deliver up arms and receive payment from the American paymasters after identification by their respective chiefs."
"I did not act alone, as seems to be popularly believed, but always consulted with our officers. My advice to you now is to return to your homes with the amounts offered by the intervening Government, and to practice patience, which will be an additional proof of your heroism. In this way we shall reconstruct most rapidly the homes consecrated by the blood of martyrs-blood poured out in behalf of a purpose now attained-and thus begin this cycle of liberty with the grandest prospects, preceded by the heralds of future prosperity and peace. This work is your portion. Let no pretext interfere with the attainment of the independent government for which three generations of Cubans have struggled with all sacrifice, and which is now promised by a noble nation, pledged to obtain for us our rights.
"Meanwhile I shall remain where I am generously invited, among the Cubans. I shall work without cessation for our aspirations, and in a narrow sphere assigned me if necessary. And if it happens that all logical and just methods shall be exhausted without the desired result, I will go to Washington and there tell of Cuba and her sacred ideals of an independent republic, and will arbitrate the destiny of our country, baptized with blood and sanctified with our love of independence and liberty, which we will never cease demanding in tones of subtlest diplomacy, for the sake of the nation that is to be in the near future, always asking that independence and liberty which we covet in the name of right, civilization, justice and democaracy."
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