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port the measure that became known as the Dingley Tariff bill. It
required only thirteen days for its consideration and passage by the
House. The Republican members of the Finance Committee of the
Senate spent a month considering and amending the House bill. It
was reported to the Senate on May 7, and passed on July 7, with 872
amendments. In conference there was a ten days' struggle between
the friends and opponents of the bill, but on July 17 an agreement was
reached by which the Senate receded from 118 amendments, and the
House accepted 511. The rest, 243, were compromised. After de-
bate, the House adopted it, July 19, after which the Senate took it
up (July 20), and passed it on the 24th. It was promptly signed by
the President, and the Secretary of the Treasury ruled that it was op-
erative from and after midnight of that day.

The following is an exhibit of the increased tariff rates on many
staple articles of food, clothing, hardware, etc., under the opera-
tion of the Dingley law: The duty on jellies raised 5 cents; on oranges
and lemons, more than doubled; nuts increased 1 cent a pound; meats
raised 5 per cent.; chicory, which was free under the Wilson bill,
made 1 cent a pound; chocolate raised half a cent; salt, which was
free, 12 cents per 100 pounds; sugar raised 1 cent a pound; preserved
vegetables raised 10 per cent.; eggs increased 2 cents a dozen; cider,
advanced 5 cents a gallon; green peas, which were free, raised 40
cents a bushel ; potatoes, raised 10 cents a bushel ; onions and honey
doubled; vegetables in general, increased 20 cents a bushel; fresh-
water fish and mackerel and halibut, raised a quarter of a cent a
pound; hay, doubled; plushes and velvets, changed from 40 per cent,
to 9 cents a yard, and 25 per cent.; ready-made clothing and cotton
generally, increased 10 per cent.; hosiery raised 15 per cent.; floor
matting, which was free, taxed from 3 to 8 cents; collars and cuffs,
increased 15 per cent.; lace goods, raised 10 per cent.; dress goods,
raised 20 per cent.; carpets increased from 18 to 60 cents a yard;
silks raised 15 per cent.; beads, trimmings, hats, etc., increased from
15 to 20 per cent. ; flowers, which were free, 25 per cent. ; boots, shoes,
and umbrellas, raised 5 per cent. ; hair and hat pins increased 10 per
cent.; spectacles and eyeglasses, increased 10 per cent.; cutlery and
scissors, raised 20 per cent.; and pens changed from 8 to 10 cents
per gross. There was some further tariff legislation during the regu-
lar session, which began in December, in view of the necessity of in-
creased revenue because of the war with Spain, together with the im-
position of stamp and other special taxes to meet the extraordinary
expenditures of the war. These measures, being temporary in their


nature and of immediate interest only, require no detailed statement
in this place.

Although legislation at the special session was subordinated to the
passage of the Tariff bill, the four Appropriation bills that had
failed in the 54th Congress were passed, after being amended in
some important particulars. The General Deficiency bill carried a
provision accepting the invitation to take part in the Paris Exposition
of 1900, and appropriating $25,000 to meet preliminary expenses;
also $150,000 was appropriated to build a new immigrant station at
New York. A very important feature of the bill was the limiting of
the cost of armor-plate for the three new battleships to $300 per ton.
It was provided that in case the Secretary of the Navy should find
it impossible to make contracts at $300 he should take steps to estab-
lish a Government armor-plate factory, in accordance with rules laid
down for his government. In the Sundry Civil bill was a new provi-
sion suspending the order of President Cleveland, and setting aside
about 121,000,000 acres as forest reservation, with a general scheme
of legislation for the government and protection of the forest reser-
vations of the country. Among the appropriation bills formulated
wholly by this new Congress and passed, were: one appropriating
$50,000 for the relief of American citizens in Cuba; one appropriating
$200,000 for the relief of flood sufferers along the Mississippi and its
tributaries, and one appropriating $5,000 for the entertainment and
expenses of delegates to the Universal Postal Congress, which met in
Washington City.

Soon after taking office President McKinley negotiated a new
treaty for the annexation of Hawaii. It was sent to the Senate but
not acted upon during the special session. It became clear, however,
that the two-thirds vote necessary to the ratification of a treaty
could not be obtained, and it was determined to effect annexation by
a joint resolution to be passed by the two Houses of Congress. Even
this course made slow progress, and the first session of the 55th
Congress had nearly expired before final action. The Sandwich
Islands, known by the general name of Hawaii, are a group of twelve,
situated in the Pacific ocean, 3,500 miles west of Mexico and about
2,700 miles southwest of San Francisco. Four of them Karcla,
Lehrca, Moloniki, and Nihoa are uninhabitable; but eight have
large areas of arable and pasture lands, and were inhabited long
before European navigators first set foot upon any of them (1527).
The eight productive islands have a total area of about 7,000 square
miles, or nearly as much as the State of New Jersey, with its popula-
tion of a million and a half; four times as much as Rhode Island, and
as much as Connecticut and Delaware combined. These habitable


islands are Hawaii, area (approximate), 4,000 square miles; Kahoola-
wee, 05; Kanai, 640; Lanai, 100; Maui, 800; Molokai, 200; Nuhau, 95,
and Calm, 500. In accordance with the policy of expansion, which
the Republican party adopted during the administration of Presi-
dent Harrison, and to which it has steadily adhered, the United
States have taken formal possession of these islands, but the method
of their government remains to be determined by Congress.

While the Hawaiian question was pending in Congress one of
greater importance, and fraught with more important responsibili-
ties, forced itself upon the United States. This was the disturbed
condition of Cuba. The Cuban question was not a new one, and it
had always been the opinion of American statesmen that a protracted
war in Cuba, in the language of Henry Clay, " might bring upon the
government of the United States duties and obligations, the per-
formance of which, however painful it should be, they might not be at
liberty to decline." Many times in the last three-quarters of a century
have the Cubans attempted to throw off the Spanish yoke. The first
time was in 1826, when the insurrection was speedily suppressed and
the tw T o leaders executed. This was followed by the " Conspiracy of
the Bald Eagles," also quickly suppressed and the participants exe-
cuted or banished. In 1855 came the expeditions under Quitman and
others, resulting in another failure and more executions, but the ten
years' war under Cespedes, 1868-78, w r as more formidable, and
was only brought to a close by promises of reform that were immedi-
ately broken by cruel and perfidious Spain. During this ten years'
struggle the United States had threatened intervention, and it w r as
inevitable that if another attempt at Revolution was made in Cuba it
must result in this threat being renewed and carried into effect. The
attempt came in 1895, when General Gomez landed with 500 men near
Santiago de Cuba, and soon raised an army that marched across the
most fruitful provinces of the island from east to west, even encir-
cling and threatening Havana itself. Inland communications were
often cut, and the sugar and tobacco plantations devastated. Spain
augmented her armies in Cuba till a force of over 100,000 men was on
the scene, yet the operations of the insurgents received no serious
check. They passed and repassed the celebrated Trocha, or armed
trench across the island, with ease and without loss, always, of
course, avoiding decisive battles. In strategy they were more than
a match for the Spaniards, and in their tactical delays, forays, and sur-
prises they proved more formidable than if they had sought successes
through direct blows. Here was a condition that claimed recognition,
but whether it should take the form of according the rights of bellig-
erents to the Cubans, or that of an ultimatum to Spain were ques-


tions that delayed action from the last year of President Cleveland's
administration until the expiration of more than a year from the
beginning of the administration of President McKinley.

u Such a war as is now being waged in Cuba," Senator Lodge wrote
in the Forum in 1890, " unrestrained by any of the laws of civilized
warfare, and marked by massacre and ferocious reprisals at every
step, is a disgrace to civilization. It is as useless as it is brutal. Spain
is in truth ' an anachronism ' in the Western Hemisphere. It is
impossible that she should long retain even the last foothold. Span-
ish-American Governments have no doubt fallen far short of the
standards of the English-speaking race, but they have been an im-
mense improvement on the stupid and cruel misgovernment of Spain.
It is no argument to say that, because the Spanish-American Govern-
ments are not up to our standard, the Cubans should be compelled to
remain crushed beneath the misgovernment of Spain, especially
when Ave remember that, although there are many negroes and mulat-
toes in Cuba, the whites are Avhites of pure race and not mixed with
Indian blood as on the continent. This is a world of comparative
progress, and freedom from Spain would be to Cuba a long step in
advance on the high road of advancing civilization. The interests of
humanity are the controlling reasons which demand the beneficent
interposition of the United States to bring to an end this savage Avar
and give to the island peace and independence. No great nation can
escape its responsibilities. We freely charge England with respon-
sibility for the hideous atrocities in Armenia. But it is the merest
cant to do this if we shirk our OAvn duty. We have a responsibility
with regard to Cuba. We can not evade it, and, if Ave seek to do so,
sooner or later Ave shall pay the penalty. But the American people,
Avhose sympathies are strongly Avith the Cubans fighting for their
liberties, Avill no longer suffer this indifference toward them to con-
tinue. If one administration declines to meet our national responsi-
bilities as they should be met, there Avill be put in poAver another
administration which Avill neither neglect nor shun its plain duty to
the United States and to the cause of freedom and humanity."

The progress of the revolution so impressed the American people
that the 54th Congress adopted a resolution expressing detestation of
Spanish methods in Cuba, and by implication conA r eying a hope of the
success of the Cuban struggle for independence. There was a disposi-
tion to make this resolution a joint one, and to grant belligerent
rights to the struggling Cubans, but the indifferent if not hostile atti-
tude of the President stood in the w T ay. Indeed there Avere grounds
for regarding Mr. Cleveland's course as not merely one of indiffer-
ence toAvard the contestants, but as favoritism toAvard Spain. It Avas


charged that he went beyond his duty of preserving neutrality. He
undertook to police the seas beyond the three-mile limit and to arrest
vessels carrying munitions of war for violating neutrality. In only
one case was his course sustained by the courts, a case where the
arms and the soldiers were actually found aboard together. While
these annoying conditions were vexing the American people the
action of the Spanish authorities in Cuba served to kindle a feeling
of indignation in the United States that was not easily restrained. A
vessel called the " Competitor " was seized while engaged in trying
to land war munitions for the insurgents. Her crew was summarily
tried by court-martial and sentenced to death. The trial was a sheer
mockery, the accused being denied time for preparation and counsel
of their own choosing. This action was so hasty and in such accord
with the charges of cruelty to which the Spaniards had already
thrown themselves open, that word of it incensed our people and
spurred the Government to the point of intervention. Fortunately
the finding of the court-martial had to be certified to the government
at Madrid for approval before it could be executed. It was met there
by an American protest that served to call Spain to her senses, and
to postpone the approval of what would have been murder upon false
charges of piracy and treason. None of the elements of piracy were
found in the case. The " Competitor " was engaged in filibustering,
or in a military expedition, which is not piracy. Piracy is a crime
committed on the high seas. Its object is plunder by attack upon ves-
sels that come in its way. A pirate is an enemy of the human race.
International law so adjudges her. But not so an insurgent vessel,
carrying arms to friends, with no intent to depredate in the open
seas^ and without power to do so. Nor was the crime treason, for that
is the crime of a subject against his sovereign. The crew of the
"Competitor" were not Spanish subjects. One was an American.
Pending the solution of this case, a solution which involved the
higher question of peace or war between the two anxious and excited
countries, the Cuban problem worked its way into the politics of the
national campaign of 1896. It brought the Congress to the verge of
passing a joint resolution in favor of belligerency. Many State Con-
ventions of both parties passed resolutions of sympathy with the
struggling Cubans, and as time progressed it became almost certain
that neither the Kepublican nor Democratic party could refuse to
insert a plank in its national platform in favor of Cuban belligerency.
This was done by the Republicans in the declaration in the St. Louis
Platform that " the Government of the United States should actively
use its influence and good offices to restore peace and give independ-
ence to the island," but the Chicago Convention contented itself with


extending " sympathy to the people of Cuba in their heroic struggle
for liberty and independence." Thus the question remained until
after the inauguration of President McKinley.

During the extraordinary session of the 55th Congress the Senate
passed the belligerency resolution introduced into the 54th Congress,
but the House took no action until the demand of the President made
action imperative. President McKinley was not disposed to be pre-
cipitate in dealing with Spain, but brought sufficient pressure to bear
upon the Spanish Government to secure the recall of Captain-General
Weyler, whose name was a synonym for cruelty in Cuba, and a decree
of autonomy for the oppressed island, which came too late and was
rejected by the Cubans. Weyler's policy of concentration had caused
the death of thousands of non-combatants by exposure and starvation
a policy that Eamon Blanco was unwilling or unable to reverse.
This involved Americans as well as Cubans in the hardships and
sufferings of a struggle that Spain had no power to bring to an end,
and rendered the American people impatient and increased the ten-
sion between the two governments. The attitude of the Spanish resi-
dents of Havana becoming threatening, the battleship " Maine " was
sent to that port, January 24, 1898, and was blown up in the harbor
there on the 15th of February. This event caused great indignation
in the United States. A Naval Court of Inquiry was ordered which,
after a long and careful investigation, reported that the battleship
was destroyed by a submarine mine. The findings were sent to
Congress by the President on the 28th of March. In the meantime two
squadrons were concentrated for a possible emergency one at Key
West and one at Hampton Roads. On the llth of April the President
sent a message to Congress, in which he reviewed the history of the
Cuban struggle, and asked for authority " to take measure to secure a
full and final termination of hostilities between the Government of
Spain and the people of Cuba, and to secure in the island the establish-
ment of a stable government capable of maintaining order and
observing its international . obligations, insuring peace and tran-
quillity and the security of its citizens, as well as our own, and to use
the military and naval forces of the United States as may be necessary
for these purposes." The President also asked for an appropriation
to feed the starving reconcentrados. A joint resolution in favor of
Cuban independence and authorizing intervention, but withholding
recognition of the so-called Cuban Republic, was passed by Congress
on the 19th of April, after a brief parliamentary conflict, Spain acted
onthe resolutions by sending General Stewart L. Woodford, the Ameri-
can Minister at Madrid, his passports on the 21st. This date was
accepted as the beginning of a state of war between the United


States and Spain, the formal declaration being made by Congress on
the 25th. It is unnecessary in this place to sum up the achievements
of the brief struggle that ensued, and it would be futile to attempt to
forecast the future of the Republican party in the new era that began
with the signing of the Protocol between Spain and the United States,
August 12, 1898, after a struggle of three months and twenty-two



HE representatives of the Republicans of the United States,
assembled in general convention on the shores of the Mis-
sissippi River, the everlasting bond of an indestructible
Republic, whose most glorious chapter of history is the
record of the Republican party, congratulate their countrymen on
the majestic march of the nation under the banners inscribed with
the principles of our platform of 1888 vindicated by victory at the
polls and prosperity in our fields, workshops, and mines, make the
following declaration of principles:

We reaffirm the American doctrine of protection. We call atten-
tion to its growth abroad. We maintain that the prosperous condi-
tion of our country is largely due to the wise revenue legislation of
the Republican Congress. We believe that all articles which can not
be produced in the United States, except luxuries, should be admitted
free of duty, and that on all imports coming into competition w r ith
the products of American labor there should be levied duties equal
to the difference between wages abroad and at home. We assert that
the prices of manufactured articles of general consumption have been
reduced under the operations of the Tariff Act of 1890. We denounce
the efforts of the Democratic majority of the House of Representa-
tives to destroy our tariff laws by piecemeal, as manifest by their
attacks upon wool, lead, and lead ores, the chief products of a number
of States, and we ask the people for their judgment thereon.

We point to the success of the Republican policy of reciprocity,
under which our export trade has vastly increased, and new and
enlarged markets have been opened for the products of our farms
and workshops. We remind the people of the bitter opposition of the
Democratic party to this practical business measure, and claim that,
executed by a Republican administration, our present laws will
eventually give us control of the trade of the world.

The American people, from tradition and interest, favor bimetal-
lism, and the Republican party demands the use of both gold and
silver as standard money, with restrictions and under such provisions,
to be determined by legislation, as will secure the maintenance of the
parity of values of the two metals, so that the purchasing and debt-
paying power of the dollar, whether of silver, gold, or paper, shall
be at all times equal. The interests of the producers of the country,
its farmers and its workingmen, demand that every dollar, paper, or


coin, issued by the Government, shall be as good as any other. We
commend the wise and patriotic steps already taken by our Govern-
ment to secure an international conference, to adopt such measures
as will insure a parity of value between gold and silver for use as
money throughout the world.

We demand that every citizen of the United States shall be allowed
to cast one free and unrestricted ballot in all public elections, and
that such ballot shall be counted and returned as cast; that such laws
shall be enacted and enforced as will secure to every citizen, be he
rich or poor, native or foreign-born, white or black, this sovereign
right guaranteed by the Constitution.

The free and honest popular ballot, the just and equal representa-
tion of all the people, as well as their just and equal protection under
the laws, are the foundation of our Republican institutions, and the
party will never relax its efforts until the integrity of the ballot and
the purity of elections shall be fully guaranteed and protected in
every State.

We denounce the continued inhuman outrages perpetrated upon
American citizens for political reasons in certain Southern States of
the Union.

We favor the extension of our foreign commerce, the restoration
of our mercantile marine by home-built ships and the creation of a
navy for the protection of our national interests and the honor of our
flag; the maintenance of the most friendly relations with all foreign
powers; entangling alliances with none; and the protection of the
rights of our fishermen.

We reaffirm our approval of the Monroe Doctrine and believe in the
achievement of the manifest destiny of the Republic in its broadest

We favor the re-enactment of more stringent laws and regulations
for the restriction of criminal, pauper, and contract immigration.

We favor efficient legislation by Congress to protect the life and
limbs of employees of transportation companies engaged in carrying
on interstate commerce, and recommend legislation by the respective
States that will protect employees engaged in State commerce, in
mining and manufacturing.

The Republican party has always been the champion of the op-
pressed, and recognizes the dignity of manhood, irrespective of faith,
color, or nationality; it sympathizes with the cause of home rule in
Ireland, and protests against the persecution of the Jews in Russia.

The ultimate reliance of free popular government is the intelligence
of the people and the maintenance of freedom among men. We,
therefore, declare anew our devotion to liberty of thought and con-


science, of speech and press, and approve all agencies and instrumen-
talities which contribute to the education of the children of the land;
but while insisting upon the fullest measure of religious liberty, we
are opposed to any union of church and State.

We reaffirm our opposition, declared in the Republican Platform
of 1888, to all combinations of capital organized in trusts or otherwise
to control arbitrarily the condition of trade among our citizens. We
heartily indorse the action already taken upon this subject, and ask
for such further legislation as may be required to remedy any defects
in existing laws, and to render their enforcement more complete and

We approve the policy of extending to towns, villages, and rural
communities the advantages of the free delivery service now enjoyed
by the larger cities of the country, and reaffirm the declaration con-
tained in the Republican platform of 1888, pledging the reduction
of letter postage to one cent at the earliest possible moment consis-
tent with the maintenance of the postoffice department and the
highest class of postal service.

We commend the spirit and evidence of reform in the civil service
and the w r ise and consistent enforcement by the Republican party of
the laws regulating the same.

The construction of the Nicaragua Canal is of the highest impor-
tance to the American people, both as a measure of national defense
and to build up and maintain American commerce, and it should be
controlled by the United States Government.

We favor the admission of the remaining Territories at the earliest
possible date, having due regard to the interests of the people of the

Online LibraryGeorge Oberkirsh SeilhamerHistory of the Republican party (Volume 1) → online text (page 59 of 61)