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were thrown into a turmoil, highly increased by the gradual form in which the occupation of the territory was effected, as well as by the divers measures and resolutions which, with the best intention but without a prearranged agreement, were adopted by chiefs and officers of the army of occupation. The necessity of restoring order in governmental matters and bringing public affairs to a normal condition was felt, so that the complete transformation of all the service, and the reorganization of the institutions that intervened and should intervene in the government and direction of the country could be carried out gradually, cautiously, but at the same time with firmness and progressively. This paramount necessity was attended to by appointing a governor-general for all the island, whose purposes were defined in the proclamation of January 1, and whose essential powers were made public by the order of February 1 of this year. The order of January 11 (creating the four secretaryships) and that of the 24th of same month (organizing this department) completed, in regard to the latter, the plan announced in the proclamation alluded to. Article 5 of this latter order provides that the department of state and government shall be governed by the laws that were in force on December 31 last, in so much as they be consistent with the present régime and until they shall be modified by the proper authorities. This declaration gave us a point from which to start; it established a legal status which, although antiquated in many ways, obscure in others, absurd and deficient in most, was after all a legal order which served to counteract the confusion and disorganization which was spreading all over the island.
Shortly afterwards the civil governments for the six provinces of the island were created, and the governors gradually assumed the functions that belonged to them as per laws declared to be in force (in so much as they did not conflict with the military occupation), by virtue of the circular-order of February 21, regulating the military control and establishing the form in which the military commanders were to exercise the right of supervision in civil affairs within their respective spheres and so long as they were not specifically exempted from their jurisdiction. Before this department bent its main efforts toward the organization of municipal affairs which demanded careful consideration and immediate attention, it proposed to you (with the idea of removing difficulties) the abolishment of the presidency of the council of secretaries of the old general government, the abolishment also of the provincial chamber of deputies and of provincial boards of health, charitable institutions, and public instruction, which was resolved upon accordingly on February 24 and March 9. None of these bodies met the live necessities of the situation, it being unnecessary for me to dilate on matters of which you are already cognizant and in regard to which you have been presented with an exhaustive report prepared by my learned colleague, the secretary of finance, a report that leaves no room for further explanations and reasonings in regard to the origin and reaching effects of the several resolutions and orders already quoted, and of those I may be called upon to quote hereafter.
In my communications of February 20, 21, and 24 I informed you of the most feasible plan which, in my judgment, should be adopted in order to accomplish in a gradual manner, step by step, the complete reorganization of the public service, the restoration of administrative affairs, and the establishment of the stable, definite, and independent government which was proclaimed for the island of Cuba in the joint resolution of April 19, 1898. The first steps had, necessarily, to be given toward the reorganization of the municipal affairs which must form the basis for the future constitution of the country.
The municipalities of Cuba were passing through a most trying financial crisis, partly due to the imperfections of the system then employed, partly to the vices inherent to Spanish administration throughout, and due also, in no small measure, to the natural consequences of the war. The department of finance directed its efforts to the economic side of the problem, to which this department lent its help. The order of February 25 established new fundamental bases for the economic affairs of municipalities in Cuba, and in order to carry its provisions into practicestudying at the same time the scope of their effectiveness-a careful examination of the financial condition of the municipalities in Cuba was imperative. But prior to all this it became indispensable to remove the constant danger which threatened their economic existence by suspending all kinds of claims that might be instituted against them on account of obligations that had matured before December 31, 1898, until the municipal corporations were organized, at which time a solution would be arrived at in reference to said obligations.
The study now being made by this department of the amount, character, and kind of all the municipal debts and, besides, of their actual receipts, extent of their expenditures, and a comparative examination of the old and the new system of taxation, serve as a complement to these resolutions.
The municipal deficits being temporarily covered, it becomes feasible for this department, working in conjunction with the finance department, to prepare a sys
tem of taxes and accounting by which the difficulties at present surrounding the municipalities would be effectually surmounted, laying the foundation for their final economic-legal status, and, as the crowning effort of all these labors, this department has prepared a project for the reform of the municipal law now in force, and which is now being considered by my confreres. As soon as said project of municipal law is finished and approved, the one referring to the organization of the services intrusted at present to the provincial administration-announced in the order of February 24, already mentioned-shall be submitted to you for your consideration. Both these works aim at simplifying the administration, improving the service when necessary, and reinstating the institutions and local bodies in their several rights by means of an ample and rational descentralización.
After making the efforts implied in the investigation of everything pertaining to the municipal affairs, in the construction of almost all the municipal councils which the relinquishment of Spanish sovereignty called for, inasmuch as life in its normal condition was paralyzed in most (a task that was rendered possible and, in a measure, feasible by the fact that the municipal corporations which we found were not of elective character, but creatures of the will of the superior governmental authorities), after studying and preparing, in short, the projects which are to be the culmination of all that has so far been accomplished, this department was considerably relieved, and found it possible to devote its attention advantageously to the many important subjects relative to public charity.
For months past a careful examination has been carried on in regard to the financial situation of the charitable institutions, and the facts so far obtained offer a vast field for governmental action in behalf of said institutions, and bear proof of what may be accomplished in Cuba in favor of the needy.
It was necessary, first of all, to provide for the immediate support of many establishments which lack at present means of their own; then to complete in some, and to change in others, the personnel on whom the management thereof devolved. This department is at this moment engaged in two works of the utmost importance. The first one is the study and modification of the charity laws now in force with the purpose of doing away with defects which experience has revealed to exist in them and of shaping them after the pattern set by modern science, and as practiced in the most enlightened countries. The second is to regulate and carry into execution a conscientious search of all the property rightfully belonging to charitable institutions and which is withheld from them at present.
I deem it unnecessary to enter into further explanations with regard to the other topics embraced in the first part of this report. I beg, however, to be allowed to make a special, though succinct, mention of some of them.
The system according to which the Spanish police was organized and the manner in which the evacuation of the Spanish troops and the present military occupation took place were responsible for the truly hazardous situation that during the first months of this year was created in what referred to public order and personal safety. Many towns were left entirely without police protection and even without officials with enough prestige and means to make themselves respected. Luckily, the detachments of Cuban forces, ably distributed of their own accord over the whole territory as mere auxiliaries of the powers that were, aided by the good sense which, as a rule, predominates in the Cuban people, afforded the means to promptly give the assistance required for such pressing needs.
The organization of the rural police in Santiago, Puerto Principe, and Santa Clara provinces, the municipal police afterwards created in the whole island, and the permits granted to keep private (or sworn) police, has restored to the country the peace which, for a moment, was thought endangered by frequent acts of pilfering, and has reestablished the normal conditions which such radical changes in public affairs had either shaken or destroyed.
It is the purpose of this department to suggest to you such final measures as will complete the establishment of the local police all over the island in such a manner that those primarily interested in maintaining order in their respective districts may be charged with the duty of preserving same.
The problem concerning the management of the cemeteries was a most delicate one, because of the traditional customs of the country. This service must be eminently civil in a country that recognizes no religion as official. But a series of events-the enumeration of which would be very tedious and of no purpose to our object-brought about that the control of the cemeteries was placed in the hands of the Catholic Church, having no right therefor in most cases. Once the municipalities found themselves freed from the onerous and ancient tyrrany which about this matter was exercised through influences and pressure which no longer exist, and empowered in some cases by American chiefs and officers, they took possession in many places-on their own account-of the cemeteries to which they believed themselves entitled, dispensing with the usual formalities.
At the suggestion of this department you saw fit to issue the order of April 12,
which, mindful of the rights entitled to protection, arrived at a general decision on the matter, turning over to the secular authorities the management of the cemeteriesas far as practicable-and establishing the manner in which the claims of the church and of the municipalities could be speedily settled, leaving untouched the question about ownership, which is to be settled by the courts.
Schedule No. 23, annexed hereto, gives a clear idea of how the church had taken hold of the management of the cemeteries, and how a problem-which always was in this country a very annoying one and considered practically without solutionis being now solved without difficulty.
Ahother delicate subject, and one attended with great difficulties, was the consular relations, which were virtually severed on the relinquishment of the Spanish authorities. The well-directed efforts of this department, realized in the prudent manner in which these matters can alone be handled, bore the result indicated in schedule No. 6, by which it is seen that the greater number of established nations have recognized the present condition of affairs and maintain their representatives in this country amidst the most perfect cordiality.
The establishment of the general consulate of Spain, of the consulates, viceconsulates, and honorary consulates throughout the island marks the most important event that has taken place in connection with this matter, and in compliance with what is provided in the treaty of Paris.
in accordance with said treaty, the special register for the Spaniards who wished to retain their nationality was created as per order of July 11 last, affording the greatest facilities, free of all cost, for the fulfillment of this indispensable requisite within the period fixed in Article IX of the treaty of Paris above mentioned.
The monthly statements which I have had the honor to send you, and schedules Nos. 7, 8, and 13 attached hereto, clearly show the unhampered manner in which this matter is being attended to.
The fear that this report might be too lengthy restrains me from going into the examination of all or the greater number of the regulations, measures, and orders issued at the request of this department, and of the questions that have been resolved upon by same. Schedule No. 1 shows the extent of the work accomplished; the enumeration at the beginning of this report completes that exposition; the report of the secretary of finance, to which I have previously referred, serves to form a high idea of the whole, and the remarks herein contained complete the examination of what may be deemed most important.
I can not close this report without calling your attention to the extraordinary work done by the employees under my charge, which can only be appreciated when one thinks of the disorder, confusion, lack of fixed standards and the want of sufficient means with which they have had to contend in the development of their ideas and in performing their tasks, bringing matters at the same time to an orderly basis. By the great number of affairs intrusted to the care of this department you will be able to estimate that the personnel of this office is very inadequate, and their salaries do not appear to be proportionate to the labors required of them. I have thought it my duty to acquaint you with these facts, that you may resolve as you deem best.
The writer is expecting more valuable information with which to complete the data contained in the attached schedules, and, as soon as it is received, you will be furnished with additional statements in reference to those subjects that require it. Respectfully,
Dr. DÓMINGO Mendez Capote.
Laws, decrees, regulations, etc., that are in force and are of the direct concern of the department of government.
1. Powers of the Governor-General, as per royal decree of June 9, 1878.
2. Powers of the civil governors, as per royal decree of July 9, 1878.
3. Provincial law and municipal provisional law.
4. Charity law, as per instructions of April 27, 1875, extended to Cuba by order of January 14, and modified in part by that of July 28, 1881.
5. Electoral laws of November 25, 1897, and regulations of March 3, 1898.
6. Census law of July 12, 1887, and bases for of even date.
7. Water law, instructions on same in Gacetas of February 25 and 26, 1891.
8. Contracts for public service, royal decree of January 4, 1883, extended to Cuba by royal order of July 31.
9. Theatricals and public shows; decree of Governor-General of January 30, 1891, reorganizing this matter.
10. Association law of June 13, 1888.
11. Public-meetings law of August 15, 1880, and royal order of March 23, 1898. 12. Cattle-ownership rights; decree of the Governor-General of August 13, 1880. 13. Jails; regulations of December 23, 1852.
14. Accounting (in the administration); decree of September 12, 1870, and instructions of October 4, of the same year, and those of May 27, 1881, as published in La Gaceta of June 7.
15. Insanes; royal decrees of May 19, 1895, setting the form of admission into asylums.
16. Municipal regulations; those of Habana approved on April 9, 1881; those of Pinar del Rio, on April 19, 1894.
17, 18. Private guards, and private police for country places; royal order, February 17, 1884; decree of military governor, June 19, 1899.
19. Building regulations; decree of the Governor-General of April 30, 1861 (for Habana); at Bauta the regulations in force are those of June 5, 1894.
20. Railroads law; the regulations of May 20, 1893, set down for the interpretation and execution of the police law referring to same. (Gaceta of March 28, 1893.) 21. Press law; November 11, 1886.
22. Administrative procedure; September 22, 1888.
23. Jurisdiction law; July 4, 1861.
24. Cemeteries; royal order of April 28, 1866; decree of the Governor-General of February 25, 1888, and decree of the military governor of April 12, 1899.
25. Organic law of the department of state and government; decree of the military governor of February 24, 1899.
26. Municipal economic system; as per decree of March 25, 1899.
27. Maritime sanitation; royal order of March 3, 1893.
27. Mineral and medicinal water stations; regulations approved on March 4, 1890. 28. Copyright law; January 10, 1879.
No. 1.-Synopsis of business transacted by the department of state and government from the date of its organization, February 1, 1899, to July 31, 1899, showing work attended to by each bureau and what is pending.
No. 1.—Synopsis of business transacted by the department of state and government from the date of its organization, February 1, 1899, to July 31, 1899, etc.-Continued.
Besides, we are terminating the statistics births and deaths from 1896 to 1899.
Besides a synoptical table of the charitable institutions of the island of Cuba, with detailed analysis of its financial status, according to the records of public charities bureau.
Besides, a map showing the political prisoners in Spain has been made; an important reform has been introduced in the manner of recording the prisoners; a general statement is being prepared which will show the age, profession, nationality, etc., of the prisoners in all the penal establishments of the island.
69 35 Besides, the bureau has made maps showing the financial situation of all the municipalities of the island, their inhabitants, the towns and villages destroyed, etc.
59 949 607 1,236 1,167 69
79 works have been censured and authorized.
There is just finishing a general statement of all the police force in the island, showing class of police, number of men, salaries in each municipality.
Besides the Spaniards that have inscribed in this city, 291 certificates of inscription have been received already from other places.