Gambar halaman
PDF
ePub

Regarding live stock, the improvement made in this particular is worthy of mention. On the 1st of January the fields were completely desolated and with no cattle; to-day the registries of the rural districts give the following numbers:

[blocks in formation]

The increase in the live stock in the districts within the town is proven by the following results:

[blocks in formation]

The progress attained in this branch of business increases, as is natural, with the advances made in the reconstruction of the fields. On January 1 the peasantry lived herded together in places within the town, without work and subsisting miserably on the charity of persons in better circumstances. In February they began to receive aid from the Red Cross, and partly recovering their lost strength, they commenced to devote themselves, though in poverty and without the resources of labor, to their former occupations, and to day the statistics give the following information:

[blocks in formation]

On January 1 education was in a state of complete abandonment. There were male and female teachers of public schools, but the misery and sickness that prevailed were more than sufficient reasons for the parents to abstain from sending their children to school. Order was gradually established and sanitary conditions improved, and during the month of February the children began to go to the fifteen public schools that were organized, and to-day 1,212 pupils are recorded in them. These schools are to the number of 25 in the new educational system soon to be inaugurated.

Social life has had considerable development from January to date. In the first month there was only one society, called "El Casino Español,” while now there are four more of a cooperative character and of instruction and amusement.

The functions relative to the physical life progress daily in their various orders, as is noticed in the branches of public works and lighting. Regarding the latter, the installation of the electric plant has added to the aspect of the town and has inspired confidence as to public safety.

The making up of accounts has been simplified and now bookkeeping is used, not only in the office of the American Government, but in that of collection and treasury, Formerly the positions of collector and treasurer were discharged by various persons, but to-day the same offices are conducted with an economy of $100 monthly.

In this municipality the respect shown to the authorities is complete, and the inhabitants willingly obey the orders and laws that guarantee and enforce lawful and orderly conduct.

In the way of addition and of further explanation I ought to make known, in what relates to the mercantile and industrial activity, tne important fact that 51 more names are now on record is nou only to be considered, but also that a complete change in the commercial life has taken place, as in January the owners of establishments

, fearing that the effects of the war would bring them losses, did not replenish their stock; but from some months back to this date confidence has been restored, and it is noticed that not only are the shops fully supplied, but that the cost of living has cheapened in an astonishing manner.

The appearance of the town has also improved notably. On January 1 the houses were left in an uncared for state by the owners, and everything pointed to our being on the road to ruin. Since February almost all the houses have been repaired and painted and others have been built, principally in rural localities.

These conditions and the confidence which animates all make the transactions of purchase and sale and of loans on real estate easy of consummation and without any difficulties attending them.

With regard to the sanitary condition, I will inform you that we have already reached a complete normal standing. During the last year and the first months of this the mortality in the town was terrifying, as you will have observed by my last report, but it has decreased so that last August there were only 51 deaths. There is now no malaria or dysentery, and this improved state of health goes to show that the

reconcentrados" have returned to their former labors. This assertion is substantiated by these facts: On January 1 we had in this town 5,054 “reconcentrados,' and in July there were only 3,395, most of whom are women and children.

G. W. Hyatt, Alcalde of Guanabacoa.

[ocr errors]

SPECIAL REPORT OF BRIG. GEN. LEONARD WOOD, U. 8. V., COMMANDING THE DEPARTMENT OF SANTIAGO AND PUERTO PRINCIPE.

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF SANTIAGO AND PUERTO PRINCIPE,

Santiago de Cuba, September 20, 1899. ADJUTANT-GENERAL DIVISION OF CUBA,

Habana, Cuba. Sir: In compliance with your letter of instruction of August 18, 1899, I have the honor to submit the following report on civil matters:

On the assumption of control by the American Government, July 17, 189, of that portion of the province of Santiago included in the surrendered territory, industries were practically at a standstill. In the rural districts all industries were at an end. The estates, almost without exception, had been destroyed, and no work was being done. Such foodstuffs as were being produced in the territory were the work of certain men of the Cuban army who were detailed for this purpose, in order to furnish such corn and vegetables as it was possible to procure for their friends in arms. On the seaboard and near some of the large towns, large sugar estates were dragging on a painful existence, producing from one-third to one-tenth their normal crop. They considered themselves fortunate to have saved their machinery and buildings from destruction. In order to do this they had been compelled to pay both Spaniards and insurgents, and it was not an unusual thing to find small parties representing each force in the immediate vicinity of the same plantation. Their cane fields had been largely destroyed and the cane had become overgrown with weeds, brush, etc. Those individuals who were engaged in the raising of cattle had lost everything, and it was difficult to find a cow or an ox. Horses were few and in wretched condition. Mining had ceased; all industries were practically dead. Every man who could manage it had a tiny garden which furnished very limited subsistence. This he supplemented with such wild fruits as he could gather.

In the towns the effect of reconcentration was shown by large crowds of women and children and old men who were practically starving. They were thin, pale, and barely able to drag themselves about. The merchants and a few large planters were the only prosperous people in the province. The stores all seemed to have a fairly good stock of goods, and to have been protected during the war. Their transactions at first were extremely limited, as people were without money or other means of barter. Hospitals were horribly overcrowded and practically without supplies of either food, medicine, or clothing. The same was true of the charitable institutions for children and old people. In the country towns a condition existed bordering closely on starvation. There was no work and no one with money sufficient to start in on works of any consequence, except a few large planters already referred to. Spanish money was universally in circulation, silver being worth about 50 cents on the dollar, and the centen $5. The amount of money in circulation was extremely limited. Wages were at that time from 60 to 80 cents a day, Spanish money, for ordinary laborers, and from $1 up to $24, Spanish, for skilled mechanics. Such railroads as existed in the province were largely crippled by the destruction of bridges and rolling stock, and greatly in need of repairs, which had not been attended to during the war. On the different country roads and highways the bridges had been entirely destroyed, either by blowing them up or by burning them.

A feeling of bitter hostility existed between the Cubans and Spaniards, and also a very ugly feeling between the Cubans who had acted in harmony with the autonomists in the latter days of the Spanish occupation and those who had been in the Cuban army. At first there was a good deal of talk of a threatening character in regard to what the Cubans would do to the Spaniards now that they were in a position to avenge themselves for some of the many injuries received in the past. This, however, soon passed over and much more friendly and sensible ideas prevailed. There were no schools and no material for establishing them. All officers of the civil government had resigned and left their posts with the exception of one judge of the first instance and several municipal judges and certain police officers. The prisons were full of prisoners, both Spanish and Cuban, many of them being Spanish military and political prisoners. The administration of justice was at a standstill. The towns all presented an appearance of greatest neglect, and showed everywhere entire disregard of every sanitary law. The amount of clothing in the possession of the people was very limited, and in many of the interior villages women were compelled to keep out of sight when strangers appeared, as they had only skirts and waists made of bagging and other coarse material. Many of the children were absolutely without clothing. Evidences of great suffering were found on every hand. A very large proportion of the population was sick in the country districts from malaria, and in the seaport towns from lack of food and water. The death rate was extremely high throughout the province; in Santiago city over 200 per day. About 8,000 Cuban troops were under arms in the department. The small farmers and people whose estates were removed some distance from the villages were afraid to return to them, as quite a number of guerrillas who had served with the Spanish forces were still in the mountains. Custom-houses were closed. In a word, all civil government was at an end, and the operation of the courts, with the exception of the court of first instance of Santiago and one or two municipal courts, had entirely ceased. All towns were without any definitely organized civil government. There was not a road in the province which could be passed over for any distance by wagons. The water system of the city of Santiago had been partially destroyed. Some of the lighthouses had also been seriously injured; in fact, the country was without civil government and without industry, except on a very limited scale. The courts were inoperative and conditions of serious civil disorder were imminent. The questions which presented themselves most forcibly were the questions of feeding the people, finding means to give them employment, and reestablishing civil government. The first two and a half months after the surrender were devoted almost entirely to the distribution of food and to supplying hospitals and charities with such limited quantities of necessary material as we were able to obtain.

The question of reaching the people throughout the province was a somewhat difficult one. It was solved, however, by sending food to all seaport towns, and to such interior towns as we could reach with pack trains. Couriers were also sent through the country to notify people where it could be found. Medicines and clothing were also issued in as large amounts as possible. Garrisons were sent to all important points with the purpose of restoring order and protecting those who wished to work, and the reestablishing of the rural guard was commenced for the purpose of furnishing proper police protection in the interior districts. Medical officers were sent to the interior with these trains loaded with supplies, with instructions to do all that they could to relieve the sick and prevent the spread of disease. Strict orders were given to the rural and municipal police to treat robbers and others severely. Comparatively little disorder existed. The good behavior of the people was quite remarkable under the circumstances. Custom-house officers were appointed and every port of any consequence was soon put in charge of a collector, assisted by a force of native clerks, most of whom had had previous experience in the customhouse under Spanish rule. Courts were gradually reorganized and supplied with necessary personnel and material. The prisoners in the jails were carefully examined and all political and military prisoners were, as a rule, released. Rations were given freely to those unable to work; to those having families able to work, they were given only in payment for labor. The amount of rations issued was very large. The civil government was gradually established, mayors and municipal officers being appointed for the various municipalities. These officers were always nominated by a committee of the best people and were efficient as a class. Such public works as we had means to undertake were undertaken, not only for the purpose of public improvement but for the sake of giving men work with the proceeds of which to support themselves and their families. Light-houses were reestablished, a new one built at Guantanamo and the one at Santiago put in working condition.

Commanding officers in all parts of the island were busily engaged in cleaning up the towns and carrying out all possible sanitary and administrative reforms. Schools were established-some 60 in the city of Santiago and over 200 in the province as a whole.

Affairs have continued to improve slowly but surely, until at the present time we find the towns, generally speaking, clean; the death rate lower than the people have known before; some public improvements under way in all the larger towns, the amount of work done being limited only by the amount of money received. The larger plantations are all working and bid fair to soon reach their former output. Throughout the country the farming and laboring class are at work. The mines are also working and many prospectors are in the country locating and prospecting for zinc, copper, asbestus, manganese, and iron, all of which abound to a considerable extent. The courts have been completely reestablished. A system of public works has been undertaken, which has increased in importance from month to monih, and at present furnishes employment for large numbers of men. Some excellent roads have been constructed and a great deal of country highway has been made passable for wagons. Much sanitary work and paving has been done in the cities of Santiago and Paerto Principe. General repair work and such sanitary work as has been possible with the limited means has been done in the interior towns. The condition of hostility existing at the close of the war between the Cubans and Spaniards has diminished very much. The political situation among the natives is interesting. All sorts of ideas exist and many parties. The general idea seems to be that they are now ready to vote and hold elections for municipal officers, etc. This, however, is very doubtful, as the sentiments growing out of the war are still acute and bitter, and fitness for office depends very largely on the men's record during the war.

Industries of all kinds are springing up. New sugar plantations are being projected. Hospitals and charitable institutions are being regularly supplied and all are fairly well equipped with necessary articles. The death rate among the native population is very much lower than in former years. The people in the towns are quiet and orderịy, with the exception of a few editorial writers, who manage to keep up a certain small amount of excitement-just enough to give the papers in question a fair sale. The people are all anxious to work. The present currency is American currency. A condition of good order exists in the rural districts, the small planters are all out on their farms and a condition of security and good order prevails. The issue of rations has been practically stopped and we have a few or almost no applications for food. In the province of Santiago the issue of rations, except to hospitals and charitable institutions, is practicaily at an end. In the province of Puerto Principe the number of rations being issued is rapidly diminishing. The greatest of our needs now is a thorough reform of the judiciary and in the procedure. I do not mean an entire uprooting of the law of the land, but a radical modification, especially in the methods of criminal procedure. The present judiciary of this province is not doing efficient work. Evidences of indifference, if not corruption, are altogether too numerous. The prosecuting officers are not energetic, as evidenced by prisons full of untried cases. The conduct of the judiciary, taken as a whole during the past six months, has been of such a character as to warrant grave doubts arising in the minds of the people as to the wisdom of giving testimony against criminals and outlaws, whom they find soon turned loose upon them again and in a position to take vengeance on those who have testified against them. There is still too much tendency in municipal administration toward the pomp and ceremony of other days. Every mayor of a town, whether it has six houses or six hundred, deems it necessary to have a certain number of municipal police, municipal secretaries, etc., all of which are unnecessary. In short, there is a strong tendency to the reestablishment of the old Spanish system of multitudinous offices with officeholders drawing salary from the public treasury. The present system of taxation is entirely inadequate to the demands of the situation. It is simply the old Spanish system with a few modifica

a

tions, making it perhaps a little less burdensome, but preserving the vices and defects inherent in it from the beginning. People are not taxed în proportion to the extent of their individual possessions or with any consideration to their individual abilities to contribute. The present system does not encourage, but actually retards improvement and development of the country. It penalizes energy and enterprise and rewards neglect and inactivity. Taxes assessed on values as distinguished from the product of real and personal property are practically unknown.

The immediate establishment of a good school system is imperative. The present system is inefficient and almost worthless. The teachers are not teachers in the sense in which we employ the term. There is not a schoolhouse in the department. Both children and their parents are anxious to have English taught by competent teachers, and I strongly recommend the immediate establishment of an efficient school system based on the school system of the States of New York, Massachusetts, or Ohio. Any of these systems would be acceptable here and would give splendid results.

There is no starvation in the department at present. The people are kindly disposed toward the Americans. Many of the people possessing property are annexationists. This is also true of the Spaniards, as a class. American officers and soldiers can go anywhere without being molested and always receive uniformly kind and courteous treatment. Manifestations of hostility to our occupation are limited almost solely to the press in certain large towns, which find it necessary to serve up exciting and incendiary articles in order to maintain a large circulation. Taken as a whole, I think the condition of the people is comfortable, and there need be no anxiety about their physical wants or welfare.

Municipal elections, I believe, can be safely held upon the completion of the census, and I should recommend that this course be taken, as it will be a very good test of the ability of the people to abide by the decision of the majority.

General public work and sanitary work should still be retained in the hands of the military authorities, as there are few native sanitary or civil engineers who are thoroughly familiar with this class of work, and before turning it over to them sufficient time should have elapsed to enable them to become familiar with our system in these departments. With this end in view it is desirable to employ as many natives as assistants as possible.

The recent payment of the Cuban army has been of great assistance to the people, and as a result many work cattle are being imported and agricultural implements purchased. In a recent ride across the province I found everyone at work and much land being plowed. The output of tobacco this year is about four times what it was last year, and the chances are that next year the output will nearly equal that of the years before the war. The people, generally speaking, look happy and contented, and although very poor, seem to be well fed. They are, most of them, living in thatch houses built on the sites of their former homes. Houses are being built in many of the destroyed towns, and everything points to a slow but steady return to normal conditions. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

LEONARD Wood,

Brigadier-General, U. S. V., Commanding Department of Santiago and Puerto Principe.

ANNUAL REPORT OF THE COLLECTOR OF CUSTOMS FOR CUBA,

FISCAL YEAR ENDING JUNE 30, 1899.

HEADQUARTERS DIVISION OF CUBA,
OFFICE OF THE COLLECTOR OF CUSTOMS FOR CUBA,

Habana, Cuba, August 1, 1899. ADJUTANT-GENERAL DIVISION OF CUBA,

Habana, Cuba. SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of the Habana custom-house and the Cuban customs service, for the six months of the fiscal year ending June 30, 1899:

By Executive order of December 9, 1898, published by the War Department December 13, and from Headquarters of the Army in General Orders, No. 186, on December 17 of the same year, the island of Cuba, and all islands in the West Indies west of 74 degrees west longitude evacuated by Spain, were, during the occupancy of these islands by the military authorities of the United States, (constituted a collection disWAR 99—VOL 1, PT 6

-24

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »