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Title: Industrial Cuba

Author: Robert P. Porter

Release date: November 23, 2012 [eBook #41463]
Most recently updated: January 25, 2021

Language: English

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Every attempt has been made to replicate the original book as printed. Some typographical errors have been corrected. No attempt has been made to correct or normalize the printed accentuation or spelling of Spanish names or words. (note of etext transcriber)









The Knickerbocker Press

Copyright, 1899

Entered at Stationers’ Hall, London

The Knickerbocker Press, New York











THIS volume deals with the living questions of Cuba—the questions which confront the United States in the reconstruction of the Island. It aims to give a description of Cuba as it appeared to the author when, as Special Commissioner of the United States, he was sent by President McKinley to report on its industrial, commercial, and financial condition, soon after the signing of the protocol of peace, August 12, 1898. It is the result of nearly seven months’ inquiry and hard work, in which the Island has been visited three times, over five hundred witnesses have been examined, and innumerable statements have been studied and analysed. In the course of this inquiry the author has visited all the provinces and nearly all the principal cities and towns. The merit of the book lies in the freshness and originality of the material brought together, and the demerit in the fact that it has been written by one who was obliged to snatch a few hours at a time to map out or write a chapter. The author realises the defects and asks the indulgence of the reader on the ground that it is the first attempt to discuss the economic and political future of Cuba under its new form of government.

Whatever the future may have in store for this wonderful and unfortunate Island, the author can truly say that the task allotted him by the President has, so far as Cuba and the Cuban people are concerned, been conscientiously and faithfully performed. The measures inaugurated for the government of the Island, which were based upon the author’s reports, have been scrupulously framed in the interest of Cuba and not with a view of benefiting by discrimination the United States. The machinery of the new government has been set running in Cuba, and though some time may elapse before it is working as smoothly as we would wish, it has been inaugurated with the sole desire of doing the best possible by Cuba. Of the rest, the reader must judge for himself. The subject at least is interesting, even though its treatment here may be a little statistical. The account of the visit to General Gomez was deemed sufficiently interesting and important to give it in full, exactly as the report was made through the Honourable Secretary of the Treasury, Lyman J. Gage, to the President.

Recognition is due to Mr. W. J. Lampton for his assistance to the writer.

R. P. P.

36 East Sixty-fifth Street,
New York.

February 9, 1899.


I.Cuba—Political and Economic1
II.Conditions which Confront us14
III.Political Future of Cuba32
IV.The English in Jamaica47
V.The Americans in Santiago62
VI.Outlook in Cuba for Labour73
VII.The Population of Cuba90
VIII.Sanitary Work in Cuba108
IX.Cities and Towns of Cuba122
XI.Colonel Waring’s Sanitary Report154
XII.Municipal Problems in Havana172
XIII.Banks and Currency190
XIV.Payment of Insurgent Soldiers204
XV.The Revenue of Cuba—Customs Tariffs211
XVI.The Amended Tariff—Official221
XVII.The Revenue of Cuba—Internal Taxes248
XVIII.How the Revenue was Spent256
XXII.Mines and Mining318
XXIII.Agriculture and Stock329
XXIV.Timber and Fruit338
XXVII.Education and Religion376
XXVIII.A Meeting with General Gomez390
XXIX.Conclusion—The Outlook for the Future408



      From a photograph by J. F. Coonley, Nassau, N. P.
      From a photograph by J. F. Coonley, Nassau, N. P.
      From a photograph by J. F. Coonley, Nassau, N. P.
      From a photograph by J. F. Coonley, Nassau, N. P.




A NATION, like an individual, must be gauged by its endowments, its environment, its opportunities, and the various causes which from time to time accelerate or retard its progress.

Cuba is richly endowed with natural resources, it is within a short distance of the best and most profitable market in the world, and its opportunities, under favourable conditions of trade, should have made its population contented and prosperous. Had it not been for the numerous causes which have retarded all progress in this Island, what would have been its industrial, commercial, and social conditions at the close of the present century?

Numbering over a million population fifty years ago, the Island of Cuba, at the rate of growth common to the more prosperous countries of the western hemisphere, ought to number at the present time between four and a half and five millions of inhabitants. With this population, and a government giving everyone the right to the fruits of his own labour, Cuba’s sugar crop alone would have been more than double the high-water mark of the last prosperous year, exceeding two millions of tons, with a value of one hundred millions of dollars.

Tobacco, coffee, tropical fruits, iron ore, other minerals of various kinds, lumber, cattle, and innumerable other products which form the commercial wealth of this marvellous Island, would have increased the annual value of its products to figures ranging between two hundred and two hundred and fifty millions of dollars, and thus more than doubled, perhaps trebled, its commercial importance. Laws favourable to trade, and a government interested in development of home industry would have retained for Cuba a large proportion of this wealth, and there would have sprung up an industrial system giving actual employment to as many people in the gainful occupations as will be found in all Cuba when the last Spanish soldier departs from the desolate and prostrate Island.

Cuba should have developed some diversified industries, if only those branches of manufacture which are necessary to supply the requirements of its own population. In its mineral resources it has the basis for the manufacture of iron and steel and for the establishment of machine-shops to supply home demands. In its untouched forests of excellent hardwood, Cuba possesses the chief raw material for the manufacture of furniture and other articles for which the Spanish race are justly famous. With steel and wood for the first quality in abundance, and a water tonnage of considerable magnitude, there should have sprung up, in many of the unequalled harbours of the coast of Cuba, shipyards of no mean dimensions. Without becoming a manufacturing country, except in sugar and tobacco and a few other products in which Cuba excels, it might, under favourable conditions, at this period of its industrial history have been producing many articles of home consumption which, by reason of the unhappy management of its affairs, it has been compelled to purchase abroad. Not abroad in the open markets of the world, for that is another story; but of Spain, because the most infamous discriminating duties have shut Cuba out of the cheaper markets; and while thus gagged and bound, the Island has been plundered and despoiled by the mother country. In this manner have resources and revenue alike been drained away and nothing left, either for home enterprise or improvement, nor for reserve capital with which to do business.

Cuba should have established a central railway system running the length of the Island from east to west, with branches extending on all sides, like its rivers, to the many good towns and harbours on both north and south coasts. Instead of this it has a little less than a thousand miles of line, operated by seven timid companies, extending in various directions, but leaving the two ends of the Island farther apart in actual days of travel than are New York and San Francisco. The capital city of Cuba, Havana, has within it the possibilities of a great and beautiful city; the commercial and industrial city of a prosperous country of five millions of people, and the winter health-resort for the rich and fashionable families of all North America. Its public buildings should have been of the best, its tropical parks and gardens the most fascinating in the world, its streets and pavements the most substantial, its healthfulness unquestioned, and its harbours and docks thronged with shipping and resonant with commercial activity. The merchants of Havana should rank among the richest and most prosperous in the world, and the business, manufacturing, and social interests of the place be equal to those of Boston or Baltimore or San Francisco. What applies to Havana applies only in a lesser degree to the other cities of Cuba, many of which are excellently located and should be important industrial and commercial centres, with numerous fields for the modern municipal enterprise which has done so much to improve the condition of the urban population of Europe and of the United States. Last, though not least, the Island should have been dotted over with the trinity of civilisation—the home, the schoolhouse, and the church. It is the lack of these three great elements of national strength and progress, underlying Cuba’s ills, that is the cause of much of its misfortune.

The building of the home, the establishment of the school, and the tolerance of religious worship in half a century changed Texas from a wilderness to a great and prosperous State, with the possibilities of an empire. These same forces, had full play been given them in Cuba during the same period, would have transformed that Island into all that has herein been depicted. Its resources are abundant to maintain five and even ten millions of persons, for only a small proportion of its area is populated. The climate is healthful and the dangers to those unacclimated which lurk in its seaport towns may all be controlled by sanitary and engineering science. That these possibilities have not been realised does not lie with Cuba itself, but is due to the numerous causes which have retarded and stopped its development, and which have finally, after years of strife and war, left the Island with population depleted, agriculture prostrate, industry destroyed, and commerce devastated.

It may be necessary for a clear view of the subject in hand to review briefly the causes which have led to this unhappy end; but, happily, a work dealing with the rehabilitation or industrial reconstruction of Cuba does not require the author either to dwell long upon nor to emphasise the gloomy side of the picture. The results of Spanish robbery and misrule speak too plainly. The reader has seen what Cuba might have been under an honest, stable government, or under the protecting ægis of the United States. The picture presented is not exaggerated, but is coloured by a moderate brush. What Cuba is, alas! is too well known to American and English readers to call for more than a brief summary of conditions as they existed when the author was requested by the President of the United States to visit the Island, report upon its industrial condition, and suggest plans for the relief of the population and for the commercial and industrial reconstruction of the country.

Visiting the Island immediately after the signing of the protocol of the cessation of hostilities between the United States and Spain, August 12, 1898, and again returning to Santiago in December after that province had been in charge of the United States military authorities for nearly six months, he had ample and satisfactory opportunity for the study of conditions and future needs of the people. Surely the horrors and the desolating hand of war were never laid more heavily upon a once prosperous country. Nearly a third of the population wiped out by battle, wholesale slaughter, starvation, exposure, or disease, and a large proportion of those left enfeebled by deprivation and too weak to take up their occupations; the cane-fields and tobacco plantations, which formed the basis of prosperity, burned, and whole sections of country swept of every vestige of civilisation; sugar-centrals, houses, and structures of all kinds destroyed, and inhabitants either dead or huddled half starved in miserable huts near the towns and cities; not a living creature to be seen where once browsed innumerable cattle, and death, destruction, and desolation spread throughout this land that should, and under ordinary circumstances would, be as full of life and prosperity as the richest agricultural section of our own country.

Nor were the cities and towns exempted. Trade and commerce at a standstill; the few sickly manufacturing industries which at the best struggled under the most adverse conditions closed, the ruined buildings emphasising the scene of desolation. In Havana, the wharves and numerous large warehouses were empty, or converted into rendezvous and hospitals for Spanish troops. Hungry and discouraged, the native population stood listlessly on the streets and in the public places. At each station the railroad trains were boarded by half-starving women or children begging for bread or coppers. The principal signs of life were exhibited by the Spanish soldiers, who, with their blue cotton uniforms and Mauser rifles, seemed to form the greater part of the population of the cities and towns, while at the small country railroad stations the squads of woe-begone soldiers alongside the blockhouses comprised the only living relief to miles of waste. The Cuban railways, like all other implements of industry in the unfortunate Island, show evidences of the conflict. Stations burned, bridges destroyed, tracks torn up, freight-cars made into portable blockhouses, locomotives blown to pieces, and passenger-cars dilapidated and dingy. In short, a country more systematically pillaged, more infamously deprived of its resources, more wantonly plundered of its revenues, and a population more completely deprived of its rights by those who had every reason to foster and protect a valuable possession cannot be found recorded in ancient or modern history. Cuba, as it was left at the close of this year by the Spanish, who to the last moment seemed loth to leave the emaciated body which their inordinate greed had thus reduced, presents a picture so sad and sorrowful that, for the sake of our common humanity, it is better to draw a curtain over the past and direct attention to the happier omens which point to the possibilities of the future.

The work of industrial, commercial, and social reconstruction of Cuba must date from the eventful day when the Stars and Stripes were unfurled above Morro Castle. It is with this work that the present volume deals. Whatever form the government of Cuba may take, the responsibility of the commercial and industrial rehabilitation of the Island must rest with the United States. The power that forced the Spanish to evacuate the Island is the power which the world will hold responsible for the future welfare of its people. The timid, the weak, and the craven-hearted who contend that the United States has no responsibility, after it has assumed all responsibility, are entitled to no voice in the disposition of Cuba. The cost to the United States cannot be put in the balance against the duty of the United States. The moral obligation, therefore, toward Cuba and humanity must come first. The war was a war of humanity and not of conquest. The same principle must guide those upon whose shoulders will fall the more difficult task of restoring peace, forming a stable government, and reviving commerce and industry. For the United States to desert Cuba in its hour of greatest need would be more inhuman than it would have been to have left it to Weyler and his policy of extermination. The plain duty of the hour, so far as the United States is concerned, and the best means of solving all political questions which may arise in connection with the Island, is to begin at once the work of economic or industrial reconstruction, postponing for future discussion all political questions. To this end the mission already referred to was projected. To this end a firm military government, capable of keeping law and order, will be established. To this end the attention of the people of Cuba should be at once directed toward the economic questions upon which depend the progress and prosperity of the population.

The destruction and disorganisation brought about by the war will make the work of placing the Island in a favourable economic condition costly and protracted, and many years must elapse before Cuba will take its rightful place in the economies of the world. By this is meant the position to which its resources and location entitle it. If it is true, and I doubt it not, that the causes which have led to war, both in 1868 and in 1895, were more economic than political (and the greater importance of economic over political questions in such a colony of small and mixed population as Cuba is easy to understand), then Cuba to-day is free. The Spanish Government would have more willingly granted political freedom to Cuba had it not been for the well-grounded fear that economic concessions would have necessarily followed. Those United States officials who have been in Cuba since the signing of the protocol of peace understand this fully. The United States Military Commissioners, in their daily intercourse with Spanish officials, have found no sentiment of resentment toward the United States. The regrets have all been of a sordid character and may be summed up in loss of revenue and commerce for Spain.

The war which has just been brought to an end really began in 1868. Although between 1878 and 1895 there was some appearance of peace, the real situation in Cuba during these seventeen years was one of silent economic struggle with Spain. The meaning of the peace of Zanjon (1878) was that Spaniards and Cubans were to be treated alike. The fact has been, however, that the Cuban native population has been kept in a condition similar to slavery. The means employed have been skilful and full of cunning. Leaving to the Cubans complete liberty of discussion by means of the press, the Government has felt itself powerful enough to despise them, and when warned of the danger of a new revolution, always considered impossible this last extremity. This feeling of absolute confidence and reliance on the military power of Spain has constantly been expressed in Madrid, both officially and privately, and also by the Spanish party in Cuba. During the years 1878-1895, a political organisation (the Autonomist party) was formed in opposition to the obstinate Spanish party. It would be too tedious to go now into the details of contemporary Cuban politics; it is enough to say that the Spanish Government has been to the last moment strenuously opposed to any plan of real autonomy, that is, to an autonomy that would grant industrial freedom to Cuba. Even the laws of autonomy actually conceded in 1897-1898, as a last and desperate resource against the revolution, were not granted in good faith, as is well known to those who have carefully watched the course of Cuban-Spanish politics. Therefore, although the Cubans knew very well how superior to their own strength was the Spanish power, and understood equally well how great and numerous were the dangers of a new insurrection, nevertheless the sufferings of the entire native population were such that the popular sentiment became irresistible, and after a few fruitless outbreaks the war was renewed in 1895.


The long contest between Spain and Cuba has been finally decided by American intervention, without which the war must have been protracted until the Island was completely devastated and ruined; and even then Spain would never have given it up. Not from patriotic motives, but simply and solely because it yielded revenue to Spain’s depleted treasury, and gave her sons an opportunity for pillage and plunder. The tenacity with which these officials have clung to the offices, and the difficulty which the United States Commissioners encountered in obtaining a relinquishment of the custom-houses, all point to the cupidity of the Spanish, and show that they were in Cuba for revenue exclusively.

Considering now the political aspect of Cuban affairs after the protocol of August 12, 1898, it will be found that no well-defined scheme of political organisation exists in Cuba, and that the only really popular and, it may be said, unanimous feeling is that liberty, in all the legitimate meanings of this word, is necessary. The actual situation may be compared to an anarchy, for there is really no supreme authority. How to discuss and establish any political laws in the midst of this existing legal anarchy and complete lack of political experience, is the question confronting the United States Government. This situation and many other conditions that are the natural consequences of the last events point out the necessity of forming provisionally a strong government in Cuba, under the guidance and protection of the United States. Under such protection the work of rebuilding the industries destroyed, and of once more making productive the fields burned and the plantations dismantled and devastated, can be carried on, and in no other way.

With these general conditions in mind, it may be well to ascertain if there exist any facts of a promising nature, which will contribute to make easier the work the United States has undertaken. It is undoubtedly true that the people of Cuba can be brought together on economic questions, if not on those of a political character. The United States has specifically disclaimed “any disposition or intention to exercise sovereignty, jurisdiction, or control over said Island,” except for “the pacification thereof.” If, therefore, the pacification can be more easily and surely accomplished by giving Cuba industrial freedom,—the right to buy in the most advantageous markets in the world, and sell where the natural demands for its products exist,—the United States has the right before all the world to carry out that programme. Spain never granted this right to Cuba, not even in the alleged Autonomist Government wrung from Madrid when war with the United States seemed imminent and Spanish diplomacy was in the last ditch.

The signs and omens for crystallising public sentiment in the Island of Cuba on all industrial questions are far more hopeful at the present moment than are those which indicate the possibility of establishing a stable government, and thus leaving the management and control of the Island to its people. There is now no opposition nor rivalry of different interests among the Cubans, as the strong and important industries in Cuba, most of them agricultural, are of such a nature that they may all thrive at the same time. Until now the condition has been different, because the prosperity of all Cuban industries has been thwarted and impeded by the protection and privileges which the Spanish Government had to grant to the Peninsular industries, whose interests (always in opposition to the legitimate wants of Cuba) have ever been systematically preferred to those most vital in the Island. Another fact is that the productive energy of Cuba and the fertility of its soil are so great, and the real needs of the population so very small, that the process of accumulating capital will become very rapid, after the worst results of the late war are over and a settled and stable government has been established. How far the natural resources of the country will contribute to this result will soon be understood and appreciated. Heretofore, the yearly increase of public wealth has been a very doubtful quantity, and it has never been possible to build any hope on that ground, because all industrial profits have been absorbed by Spain, without leaving any surplus to provide for the accumulation of capital and the material progress of the Island. The consequences of the Spanish colonial system have been such that even before the present war Cuba was already ruined. The 1895-1898 war has completed and aggravated to the utmost degree the material ruin of the Island. The ultimate result of this industrial thraldom has been the never-ending removal of Cuban wealth to Spain, without any return. The means employed for securing that object were numberless.

The irresponsible methods of governing Cuba converted the Island into a powerful means of political influence in the hands of the Ministers. The most difficult political questions, either personal or otherwise, were usually decided at the expense of Cuba. Very often the single signature of a Minister of the Colonies was sufficient to make the fortune of a man for his whole life; and it is easy to understand that every political party in Spain would be opposed to any reform that should deprive it of such efficient means of influence and power. With very few exceptions, all the Spanish officials in Cuba, from the lowest to the highest, came from Spain. Their number was extraordinarily large, and their work, as a general rule, pitifully bad; their constant aim being to do as little work as possible, and to enrich themselves, at the cost of Cuba, as quickly as they could. The fleet of the Spanish transatlantic steamers was constantly employed in transferring impecunious officials from Spain to Cuba, and taking them back again with more or less wealth acquired during their residence in the Island, and sometimes with pensions during their lives and the lives of their widows and daughters. Even a share of the passage money of these officials “both ways” was paid by Cuba.

Besides this salaried staff of officials, backed by the army and navy (which were wholly paid by Cuba), Spain depended for the support of its rule in Cuba on the so-called Spanish political party, known since 1878 as the “Union Constitutional.” This party comprises the whole of the Spanish population in Cuba, which is very numerous; and the blind and unconditional support it gave to every measure of government, or of misgovernment, whether the ruling party in Spain was liberal or conservative, was paid for by the Government in many different ways, and in such a degree that whatever might be the economic situation of Cuba, the men belonging to the Spanish party had always the means of enriching themselves. To these causes of impoverishment must be added the results of the commercial policy of Spain; a subject which will receive attention later in this volume. In vain the productive classes of Cuba protested, during many years, against this deadly regime. It is no wonder, therefore, that the insatiable ambition of Spain should have led to such an antagonism of interests as to render a Cuban insurrection necessary, there being no peaceful means of convincing Spain of its folly. In the same measure as Cuba was reduced to utter bankruptcy and poverty, the importation of Cuban wealth into Spain, without any return, increased year after year. More particularly after the price of sugar fell permanently (in 1884) to about one-half of its former value, and after the complete abolition of slavery took place (in 1885), was the contrast strikingly manifested between the gradual exhaustion of Cuba and the ever-increasing exactions of the mother country. It may with accuracy be said that after the slavery of the negroes came to an end, Spain possessed the power of reducing to real slavery the whole native Cuban population, both white and black.

For this systematic process of thorough draining, Prime Minister Canovas invented the name or appellation of realidad nacional (national reality), meaning thereby that the necessity of maintaining the old colonial system could not be avoided, as it had become interwoven with the Spanish economics in such a degree as to make it impossible for any Government, either conservative or liberal, to interfere with it. The Cubans could not accept, without repeatedly protesting against it, the oppressive system of the “national reality,” for which name they substituted, very properly and accurately, the denomination of “economical slavery.” It is now useless to explain in how many forms, and how often, the Cubans have appealed to the Madrid Government, especially since 1890. But all their efforts failed, and the necessary outcome of those failures was war. Cuba, no more a European colony, will henceforth be an entirely American country. It is now completely ruined and devastated, and many years of peaceful industry will be necessary in order to convert its unhappy people into a prosperous nation. How that can best be accomplished is of far more importance to the people of Cuba at this time than the question of who shall administer the government. For the present, at least, if its people are wise, the Island will be content with the industrial freedom which has been accorded to it, and rejoice in the fact that it is an American country, and not a Spanish dependency.



TO treat of Cuba as an American country is the purpose of this volume. If the people of the Island, regardless of nationality, will only postpone the question of the particular form of government for the present, and give all their attention to the new economic questions which confront them, the future will be full of promise. Cuba is no longer a European colony, but an American country, under the protection of the United States. So long as the Island is occupied and governed by the military forces of the United States, law and order will be maintained and equal rights will be granted to all the people. From an industrial point of view Cuba will have practically obtained what she has been fighting for for nearly a generation: namely, industrial and commercial freedom. The United States will administer the laws for the Cubans in the interest of Cuba. The United States asks nothing in return but the same opportunity for trade and commerce as is accorded to the other countries of the world. The Republic will levy no tribute, nor will it exact a dollar of taxation over and above the revenue necessary for protecting life and property, and the cost of inaugurating such works for the improvement of sanitation, or the carrying on of industries, as may become necessary.

Many Cubans, and a very large number of Spaniards, who appeared before the author when in Cuba, for the purpose of giving testimony on industrial and commercial matters, took it for granted that the United States would, in making up the new fiscal laws for the Island, exact discriminating duties in favour of the United States and against European countries. When told nothing of the sort was contemplated, the Cubans were surprised and the Spaniards incredulous. Indeed, the latter were astounded, and seemed to wonder what the United States was in Cuba for. Even American citizens interested in pushing their Cuban trade have expressed surprise at the absolute freedom which has been allowed all fiscal legislation, and the scrupulous care exercised by our Government not to exact any right itself which is not accorded to other nations. In such matters we are of course bound by our international treaties, and so long as Cuba remains under the protection of the Republic, and not part of it, she must be treated, so far as customs regulations and navigation laws are concerned, as a free country. In the preliminary work of economic reconstruction these sound principles have been kept in mind and adhered to. In fact, the fullest and broadest plan was chosen by the Administration to secure information in Cuba; and the refrain of the instructions, both from President McKinley and his able and broad-minded Secretary of the Treasury, was, to spare neither time nor money to secure the views of all the people of Cuba; for whatever the United States Government finds necessary to do in the Island must be done, as far as possible, by the people of Cuba, for Cubans, and in the interests of Cuba. By this it must not be inferred that those of Spanish birth were to be excluded, but, on the contrary, that the views of all who proposed to remain in Cuba and help by their labour and thrift to build up the industry and commerce of the Island should be sought and considered.

In following out the spirit of these statesmanlike instructions, the author invited, through the newspapers, all persons interested in the industry, trade, foreign commerce, and currency and banking system of Cuba to express their views on these and kindred topics. Many responded, and as may be imagined the information gathered took a wide range, and will, it is hoped, be of practical value in adjusting the questions with which the Government of the United States will have to deal during the military occupation of the Island. In the prosecution of this work, public hearings were given in Havana, Cienfuegos, and Santiago; and to committees of persons representing interests at Trinidad, Caibarien, Sagua la Grande, and other parts of the Island an opportunity was given to express their views as to the industrial necessities of their respective communities. In New York and Washington opportunity was given to those interested in Cuban commerce and such American citizens as represent large sugar estates, iron mines, and tobacco and fruit interests in the Island of Cuba, to present a full and free expression of their views on all topics included in the scope of the investigation. A large amount of information was thus obtained, and no inconsiderable assistance rendered by these gentlemen. With hardly an exception, such assistance has been rendered freely and disinterestedly, and the author takes this occasion to thank a large number of business men who have been found ready and willing to drop their business at any moment and devote much valuable time in an endeavour to elucidate the somewhat complicated conditions which surround the commerce and industry of Cuba.


In Cuba every possible consideration was shown to the writer and no pains nor trouble were spared on the part of the Spanish officials and business men to give all required information and to aid in the inquiry undertaken. In this work neither political prejudice nor nationality took any part. The Spanish bankers and merchants, whose influence a few weeks previously had been arrayed against the United States, came forward and placed such information as they had at the disposal of the United States Government. The Cubans engaged in business, and the military commanders in the field, from Generals Gomez and Rodriguez down, have alike assured me of their sympathy in the work thus instituted by the United States, and proffered their services in its prosecution. The following expression from the veteran warrior, General Gomez, dated Boffill Plantation, October 3, 1898, will be read in this connection with interest:

“I must congratulate you cordially for the high mission which you have had entrusted to you. I am completely identified in all and with all concerning it; I reserve for a better opportunity giving you my personal views on the matter.... On my side I am working in the same sense; I am doing all I can for the immediate reconstruction of the country; its wounds will heal with the rapid promotion of the work. This is the battle we are now fighting, and all men of good will should join us in our struggle. I avail myself of this opportunity to tender my services.”

The business men and merchants of Havana and other large cities, regardless of nationality, have rendered services of incalculable value to this inquiry, on the ground that the one thing that Cuba wants more than all else is, as General Gomez truly says, that its people should lay down their arms and take up the implements of peace. The Presidents of the Chambers of Commerce of Havana, Cienfuegos, and Santiago have all taken an interest in this work and elaborate reports were prepared by committees appointed especially to aid in gauging the industrial necessities of the Island. A similar report has been prepared for Matanzas.

Whatever may be the shortcomings of this volume on Industrial Cuba, they must not be attributed either to lack of interest on the part of the people of Cuba, or to any failure on their part to give information, especially on all matters relating to foreign commerce. There is, of course, a dearth of statistical information, in consequence of which it has been difficult to work out certain fiscal statements and estimates with the degree of exactitude easily attainable on the same lines at home. The information which has been obtained, however, would seem to leave no room for doubt as to the wisest course for the United States Government to pursue in adjusting Cuban customs duties, in establishing a sound currency, in protecting the savings of the people, in preventing usury, in abolishing onerous and iniquitous taxation, in establishing free schools, in starting new and reviving the old industries of Cuba, in increasing commerce, in improving the sanitary condition of the cities, in distributing labour, and in the general industrial and moral upbuilding of the people.

The present volume touches on all these topics, and endeavours to give the reader a clear and practical idea of the present industrial condition of Cuba. The present chapter aims to present in a concise form a few of the more important problems which the United States Government was called upon to face January 1, 1899, and with which it may have to grapple during the first years of the new century. No attempt is made to forecast the manner of their settlement. It is not, as a rule, wise to worry about how we are to cross a bridge until we get to it. Many Cuban economic problems which at a distance seem to be complicated, will simplify as we come within close range. Once the United States military authorities are in possession, ways and means will suggest themselves to overcome obstacles which now seem almost insurmountable. The most urgent needs of the Island, when it was turned over to our Government, were those briefly discussed in this review of the economic conditions of Cuba.

First among these needs of the Island was a tariff that should bear lightest in directions where the people could least afford the burden of taxation, and heaviest on commodities which the well-to-do and those engaged in large enterprises required. The Spanish tariff was made by Spaniards, for Spain, in the interests of the Spanish. That seems to be the actuating principle of it. On any other theory it was inexplicable. In adopting, July, 1898, for an exigency measure, the rates of duty which Spain levied for her own commodities, the United States acted wisely. These rates, however, were full of inequalities, and were not levied on any sound principle, but on the “heads, Spain wins; tails, Cuba loses” idea which prevailed in the whole fiscal fabric. It was found that the only way to remedy these inequalities, equalise the rates of duties, improve the administration, and reduce the rates of duties on all articles of general consumption, was to frame a practically new tariff. This was done, and the new tariff now in force will undoubtedly do its share in the industrial reconstruction of Cuba. In this tariff it was not thought advisable to make radical changes in the administrative branches, nor to change weights and measures into United States equivalents, because the people of Cuba are accustomed to the metric system. As a rule, all duties in Cuba are levied by the kilo and hundred kilos. United States currency, however, was substituted for the Spanish pesos. This will simplify collection of taxes, as customs duties were collected by Spain in three different classes of currency: gold, silver, and bank notes, all (for the gold coins used in Cuba have fictitious values) fluctuating in value.

The tariff adopted by the United States, when the military forces took charge of the custom-houses, reduced all duties about sixty per cent. on the old Spanish rate, and averages fully two-thirds less than the rates exacted by Spain in Cuban ports during the last five months of its occupancy of the Island. The reasons for these reductions, together with the reasons which led up to the decision of the President to admit cattle and agricultural implements free into Cuban ports in possession of the United States, are fully given in another chapter. Still another chapter will be devoted to an analysis and discussion of the Cuban Budget, in which the effect of the new tariff on the revenue of the country, together with the other sources of revenue, are explained and discussed. It will naturally be asked: With such a large reduction of duties, how does the United States expect to secure revenue for the purpose of administering the government of the Island? There are several answers to this question, and the facts bearing on the subject are given in full in the chapter on the Cuban Budget. The general answer is that by reason of fraudulent classification and smuggling, much of the revenue collected from the people of Cuba never found its way into the treasury of that Island, nor of Spain. The cupidity and rapacity of the Spanish officials in Cuba are beyond conception, and, if one may judge by the reports of the United States customs officials at Santiago, as much revenue will be received from a tariff whose duties are from a half to two thirds less than the Spanish tariff as was received under the iniquitous and exasperating law which has been abolished by the advent of the American forces. As the officials recommending the measure believed, the reduction to a reasonable rate of duty in certain schedules—such, for example, as those relating to machinery and railway supplies—would increase importation, and certainly the revenue would be greater than during the period of prohibitory duties. A railway company naturally hesitated to import a locomotive when the duty was equivalent to the value of the engine. With a revised tariff of twenty-five per cent. ad valorem, it may import two, or four, or even six. In adjusting such schedules, the revenue features alone need be considered, because Cuba has no locomotive works, or any iron or steel industry. The same is true of a variety of other articles.

In all cases where there are home industries in Cuba capable of supplying a manufactured product made by home labour, care was exercised by those who framed this tariff (either by making free the raw material, or by not making a too radical reduction of duty) not to injure their prospects. In so doing, the Administration is only carrying out the policy which has been fruitful in developing the industries of the United States and in securing diversified employment for its labour. If honestly enforced, the new tariff established in Cuba by the United States will yield sufficient revenue, enable Cuba to buy in the cheapest markets of the world, and not compel her to purchase from Spain inferior commodities at a high price. In every section it is a Cuban measure, and in no single case can there be found a section that discriminates in favour of the United States as against any other market. The United States purposes to take its chances for the Cuban trade with the rest of the world. If Cuba can purchase cheaper and better articles on more favourable terms of the United States than of Europe, we shall secure the trade. If not, the Cuban consumer is free to purchase in the markets of the world. In this one act alone, conservative, thoughtful Cubans must realise that they have attained to the commercial freedom which some, not without reason, contend was the real object of the two insurrections. However that may be, Cuba has secured a right which England would never concede to Ireland, namely, a separate revenue system. In granting this economic freedom to her other colonies, England has strengthened their ties to the mother country. With industrial freedom assured, a colonial country may be indifferent to the form of its political government.

Next in importance to the fiscal laws for the revenue of the Island comes the currency question. No country can be permanently prosperous unless its currency is sound and its credit good. Bad financial management of state affairs begets bad credit, and impaired credit is the forerunner of depreciated currency. Although Cuba is afflicted with many kinds of depreciated currency, the established basis is strictly gold, and in any commercial engagement the value is understood to be in Spanish gold, unless there is a specification to the contrary. Indeed, there is something almost pathetic in the manner in which Cuba, though plundered and depleted of her resources and wealth, has never wavered from the gold standard. The business interests of the Island are, as the author found, unanimously in favour of a continued gold basis; for the Cubans have suffered so much from Spain’s various attempts to force upon the people a depreciated currency, both in the form of silver and bank bills, that they want no further experiments with the currency. The Spanish silver money current in the Island is taken at the daily value only, which is fixed, partly by the larger or smaller demand for wages and necessities of the Government to pay troops, but principally by the continually fluctuating value of the Spanish money in the European markets. As this Spanish silver is legal tender in Spain for its face value, it is able to maintain a fictitious value for purposes of shipment to that country. This silver dollar, therefore, fluctuates in value with the fitful changes in Spain’s credit, and it is probable, should the United States establish American currency as sole legal tender for the Island of Cuba, that all the Spanish silver dollars will be shipped to Spain. There was in Cuba during the last months of Spanish control a margin of thirty per cent. on the silver dollars. It is not probable that these dollars will go down to a point where it will not pay to ship the Spanish silver to Spain and utilise the American dollar in Cuba. In this event the United States Government will, of course, ship its own silver dollars to Cuba; which, with the subsidiary coins, will be required for small payments. At Santiago the immediate disappearance of Spanish dollars and minor coins has made small transactions extremely difficult. Some think that the present stock of Spanish silver in the Island exceeds the necessities; but however this may be in the western part of the Island, it was evidently not the case in Santiago.


Besides the silver, there is a bank-note circulation, but that has no actual bearing on the question of currency, as the trade and business of the Island has refused to accept it, and the present quoted value is less than ten cents on the dollar. The greater part of this emission, which was a war issue made by the Spanish Government at Madrid through the Banco Espanol de la Isla de Cuba (not by that bank), is largely in the hands of speculators and government contractors. The only public application is for the payment in the custom-house of the so-called ten per cent. ad valorem duty assessed on the official value of imported merchandise in addition to the regular specific rate of duty exacted. The abolition of this duty, under the new tariff, ends the life of these bank bills. There still remains a question as to whether the Spanish Bank of Cuba was in any way responsible for these bills, and the question will come up for future adjustment. The Bank will probably deny responsibility and refer those who hold this depreciated currency to the Spanish Government at Madrid. It is an interesting fact in this connection that the credit of the Spanish Bank of Cuba is of a higher standard than the credit of the Spanish Government, for the Bank has never failed to redeem its own paper during nearly half a century of its existence, first as the Bank of Spain of Havana and subsequently under its present name. It has at times suffered embarrassment, but ultimately the bills of the Spanish Bank of the Island of Cuba have always been redeemed.

The gold coins current in Cuba are the Spanish and French coins, the bulk of which consists of Spanish twenty-five-peseta pieces, so-called Alfonsinos, which for many years have been inflated by royal decree to $5.30, and the French twenty-franc piece, so-called Napoleons, which have also been given a legal value of $4.24 and decreed since the end of 1893 as legal money.[1] When the necessity for adopting and inflating another gold coin besides the Spanish Alfonsino was under discussion, the suggestion was made that the United States gold eagle would make an excellent coin for this purpose, as it would figure out almost exactly eleven dollars Spanish gold.[2] The idea was not entertained, because of the general distrust of Americans, and the fear lest the relations between the United States and Cuba should become too intimately interwoven.

 Spanish Alfonsino$5.
 French Napoleon4.
Spanish Alfonsino, value in Havana$5.
Value in United States mint ($4.80 less shipping
expenses, .024)
French Napoleon, value in Havana$4.
Value in United States mint ($3.84 less shipping
expenses, .0192)
 Exchange 4-11/16%
Value of $5, less ½% shipping expenses $4.975. At 4-11/16%
Quotations: £ Stlg., Spain, $39.40 currency in Havana, 10% £ in U. S. 4.84
100,000 dollars Spanish silver can be bought to-day here with $66,000 Spanish
gold, equal to $60,000 U. S. currency.
100,000 silver dollars shipped to Spain after deducting 1% shipping expenses
would produce $99,000.
99,000 dollars Spanish silver on Spain will buy at rate of £1, which is $7.88,
£12,563. £12,563 would produce in the U. S. at $4.84, $60,804.92.
 $  804.92, from which deduct commission, revenue stamp, interest,
and profit.

While the principal banking concerns are unanimous as to the gold standard, there is a difference of opinion in relation to the advisability of squeezing the inflation out of these gold coins. Some of the Cuban bankers and financiers contend that the United States Government should add another gold coin to the currency, namely, the American eagle; and, by maintaining the fictitious value given to the other two gold coins, leave it equivalent to eleven dollars in Cuba. This, it is claimed, will be a very easy way of leaving matters in statu quo, as it were, until such time as permanent government and laws shall be provided for the Island. They fear that to make the United States currency legal tender would work an injury to the creditor class, whose contracts would then be payable in gold worth six per cent. less than the gold specified in such contracts. There are others, whose opinions are equally worthy of consideration, who recommend as the only logical remedy for this situation the substitution of the American currency as sole legal tender. Such action on the part of the United States Government it is believed would not seriously interfere with present contracts, which are invariably expressed as payable in Spanish gold, and which might be arranged for accordingly.

The premium on Spanish gold was never agreed to by the business people. Having thus arbitrarily put a premium on Spanish gold, the same authorities later put a premium on French gold, and to make the matter more complicated, the United States Government is now requested, by some of the Cuban financiers, to introduce another gold coin, which, practically, will be worth ten per cent. more in Cuba than in the United States; that is, a man owing $1,100 gold in Cuba may pay that debt with $1,000 gold in United States currency. As a temporary measure, and in view of the fact that this inflation so far as Spanish coin goes has been in force for over half a century, this may be justifiable. The process, however, is entirely artificial, and to continue it would certainly result in many complications. Some Cuban financiers think it inadvisable to introduce American money at this time, while certain planters are fearful lest their labourers should refuse to take one American silver dollar instead of two Spanish silver dollars. The latter looks larger in amount, it must be granted; but if the purchasing power of the American dollar, by reason of the sound credit of the United States, is double that of the depreciated dollar, with only Spain’s guaranty between it and its intrinsic value of fifty cents, there will be no difficulty in the end. A country which is just now going through an operation involving its very existence will hardly be seriously affected by taking this fictitious value out of the gold coin and establishing once and for all a sound currency that will be good for a hundred cents on the dollar—no more, no less—the world over.

Cuba has no banks in the national sense. There are some excellent private banks, and since its establishment, nearly half a century ago, the Spanish Bank of Cuba has cut an important figure in the finance of the Island.

In another chapter, a brief history of banking in the Island from the earliest period to the present time will be given. For the present, the banking facilities are adequate to the business, because it would be extremely hazardous to loan money in Cuba on any kind of collateral or property. Upon the revival of business, however, the agricultural interests will require facilities for obtaining money in advance of the crops at reasonable rates of interest, and protection from the abominable usury which heretofore has blighted the strongest industries of the Island and added materially to the burdens of the Cuban planters.

There are so many forms of obnoxious taxes in Cuba that even a brief description of them would occupy considerable space and convert this volume into a treatise on the evils of Spanish taxation. Foremost among the taxes which the United States will abolish is the “consumption tax,” on the killing of cattle, which is an exaction that greatly increases the price of food to the people. This tax, like many others, was simply farmed out to private firms or corporations, whose emissaries in its collection became a constant menace to thrift and industry in their respective districts. Another tax, which will fall of its own weight, now that the United States forces control the Island, is the “cedula,” or head tax, which varied in amount from a few cents to one hundred dollars, according to the rank and importance of the individual. Curiously enough, this tax, when not collected, became under Spanish rule a greater source of injustice and annoyance than when collected. It was generally allowed to run until some occasion came for the unhappy victim of Spanish rapacity to require a public document, a permit to bury a child or relative, a licence to marry, a transfer of real estate, or a notarial acknowledgment. Then it was that the petty rascals in charge of public business came down heavily, and unless the fines and back “cedula” and a handsome “gratification” to the official was forthcoming, the body must await interment, the marriage must be postponed, or the transaction be delayed.

The United States Government will not continue taxes that yield nothing in revenue and were simply the means by which unprincipled officials whose cupidity seemed to know no bounds were enabled to plunder and distress the weak and the unfortunate. The “consumption tax,” the “cedula,” and the revenue from “lotteries,” must necessarily disappear with the advent of United States administration of affairs.

Until the tax laws of Cuba can be thoroughly revised, the revenue from customs, from the various forms of internal revenue (and there are many), and from the receipts from taxes upon municipal real estate will, if the strictest economy prevail, suffice for immediate wants, without resorting to measures of taxation which are alike debasing and tyrannical. It is impossible to make specific suggestions at this time in relation to a subject so hopelessly complicated. After the administration of affairs of the Island has been longer in the hands of United States officials, these matters may be carefully studied and adjusted on a basis of equality and justice to all concerned. The true inwardness of Spanish taxation, as developed in the Island of Cuba, can be studied and remedied only after time has elapsed and all the facts are in possession of those who have assumed the responsibility of control.

The question of education is one that will receive early attention, and in which the President of the United States has personally evinced considerable interest. Free public schools exist, but the teachers have the right to take pay scholars, and naturally those who do not pay get little or no attention. In the cities from which data are available it was found that only a small portion of the school population attend school. There were 888 schools for boys and girls in 1893 and the amount paid for their support was $775,646. It is impossible even to approximate the situation at the present moment. In a general way, it may be described as simply deplorable. A free public-school system must be immediately established, for much of the misfortune and suffering Cuba has undergone may be traceable to the neglect of education. The number of people who are illiterate is very great. Some statistics show only one in forty of the labouring classes able to read and write. There can be no stable government in Cuba until this has been remedied.

The reader familiar with Cuban history will remember that the first movement toward the emancipation of the slaves was the practical freeing of all children born subsequent to 1868, the year the revolution started which ended in the abolition of slavery. In the same way, the first act looking toward political emancipation should be the establishment of a free public-school system, which shall have for its aim the preparation of the young Cubans for self-government, whether exercised as part of a Cuban republic or part of the greater republic the basis of which is industrial freedom and the common school.


Manufacturing in Cuba is limited to a few industries in Havana, to the manufacture of sugar and tobacco, and to machine-shops and small foundries scattered over the Island for the convenience of the railway companies, sugar-centrals, and harbours. The author visited all the manufacturing plants in Havana, some of which were located in quarters of the city reeking of filth and teeming with disease germs. There is little hope for industrial enterprise in the broader sense until the sanitary conditions have been improved in all the industrial centres of the Island. The fear of that deadly enemy to all enterprise and thrift, yellow fever, which lurks in the vicinity of the most flourishing industries of Havana, makes it dangerous for those unacclimatised to enter these occupations. The initiatory success of manufacturing in Cuba must depend upon the importation of skilled labour from the United States or Europe. With this invisible and deadly foe in the background, ready to strike when least expected, and against which, as a Confederate officer now in the United States Army at Havana said, “You cannot even raise an old-fashioned rebel yell,” the outlook is far from attractive.

Not only the commercial prosperity of Cuba, but to a considerable extent that of the southern portion of the United States depends upon the possibility of destroying the foci of yellow fever which exist in the larger cities and towns—especially in Havana and Matanzas—and which have been the cause of the epidemics of this disease which have occurred in the United States during the present century. It is believed that to destroy these germs is possible, and from a mere industrial and commercial point of view it would be a paying investment to spend several millions of dollars, if necessary, to effect it. Until this has been accomplished, and the centres of industrial activity of Cuba made safe for the influx of skilled artisans, whose advent alone will make it possible for Cuba to diversify its industries and elevate the condition of its labour, it will be vain to hope for the establishment of new manufactures. The importance of sanitation is so great and the subject of so much general interest to all those looking towards Cuba with the idea of residence or investment there, that considerable space in this volume will hereafter be devoted to a consideration of the subject.

The railway system of Cuba, consisting of seven companies, the aggregate length of whose lines is only 1,467 kilometres, or 917 miles, is entirely inadequate in bringing the extreme ends of the Island together; Santiago and Havana in point of time being as far apart as San Francisco and New York, though only separated by a distance of a few hundred miles. The facts gathered on this subject and the maps presented elsewhere point to the advisability of immediately constructing a trunk railway from end to end of the Island, with branches extending north and south to the important cities and ports. From whatever standpoint it may be viewed, no one enterprise could do so much to improve the situation on the Island. No revolution could have existed in Cuba if such a railroad had been completed by the former Government, and nothing will so rapidly tend to the revival of commercial and general business as the facility for quick passage from one end of the Island to the other, and from the trunk line over branches to the seaboard cities. All political turbulence will be quieted thereby and prevented in the future. The entire country will be open to commerce; lands now of practically no value, and unproductive, will be worked; the seaport towns will become active and commerce between the Island and the United States will soon be restored to the former figures of approximately one hundred millions of dollars per annum. Business enterprise, ever alert to conditions such as herein described, has already surveyed the route, and there are several projects on foot looking toward prompt action in this direction. After a careful study of the situation, it would seem extremely doubtful if such an enterprise could be made a commercial success for many years to come, without material assistance from those responsible for the industrial future of Cuba.

The questions arising in relation to navigation between Cuba and the United States are delicate, and involve, as does the question of discriminating duties in favour of the United States, in a greater or less degree our international relations with other countries. Those interested in American shipping suggest discrimination in favour of American vessels between Cuba and the United States, and some go so far as to indicate that a joint arrangement of the American and Cuban flags would be a solution of the problem. Much of this is mere speculation. We cannot discriminate in favour of American vessels in the trade between Cuba and foreign countries, just as we cannot do so in the case of American vessels in trade between New York and foreign countries, on account of our commercial treaties. The chapter on this subject has been submitted to Mr. Eugene T. Chamberlain, Chief of the Bureau of Navigation of the Treasury Department, and this experienced and efficient official has thrown considerable light on the subject which, it is believed, will be of value to the commercial interests of both Cuba and the United States.

These are some of the most important economic questions with which the United States will be called upon to deal during its military occupancy of Cuba. That we are capable of dealing with them intelligently and satisfactorily can hardly be doubted. Questions of far greater magnitude are continually presenting themselves at home, and as a rule the people of the United States have been found equal to the task of adjustment. To doubt our capacity as a nation to bring about complete pacification of the Island, industrially and politically, is to throw a doubt on our most cherished institutions and to cast a shadow on the Republic itself.



THE political future of Cuba is a matter of much speculation and interest. Considerable will hereafter be said in this volume on the economic and industrial future of this wonderfully productive Island, and little doubt can be entertained that with an honest effort and stable government the commercial future of Cuba will be full of promise. What of the political future? The industrial independence of the Island attained, what, if any, steps are likely to be taken for the political independence? At the present moment, it is difficult to discern any nucleus around which is likely to crystallise sentiment strong enough to form, with any degree of unanimity, a cohesive, independent government. The strongest and uppermost sentiment in the Island, as I have found it since the close of the war, is for peace and reconstruction under the guidance of the United States. Those who have made the greatest sacrifice for independence are apparently willing to rest for a while and enjoy the glorious results of industrial and commercial independence and a release for ever from Spanish misrule. Let the future shape its own political policy, is the desire of all intelligent Cubans. In commercial and business circles (and it must be remembered that the author has, in the course of his inquiries, been very largely thrown in contact with business people), the desire for ultimate absorption or annexation by the United States is almost unanimous. Those who have property, those engaged in industrial pursuits, those carrying on commerce, those interested in affairs, regardless of nationality, see the greatest future for Cuba in ultimate annexation to the United States, and openly advocate that policy. There are others who advocate annexation on grounds of sentiment, and who take the stand that the degree of real freedom enjoyed by a State of the Republic is greater, and the advantages far in excess of those likely to accrue to the mixed population of Cuba by the establishment of any sort of independent government. This is not a matter for surprise when it is recalled that a large proportion of the most enlightened Cubans have been educated in the United States, while no inconsiderable number of the most active participants in the war for Cuban freedom carried individually, alike into battle and into conference, the grandest badge of freedom so far vouchsafed to mankind—United States citizenship.

These ideas are admirably set forth in a pamphlet just written by Fran Figueras, who makes an eloquent plea for the annexation of Cuba to the United States. The title of the little book—for it is more than a pamphlet—suggests the line of argument: Cuba Libre—Independence or Annexation. Exactly! Cuba is free to-day! Liberty came when Spanish sovereignty ended. Adapting the lines of Kipling, the Cubans may truthfully say:

“If blood be the price of liberty,
Lord God, we ha’ bought it fair.”

Liberty, therefore, has been won and paid for. By the very nature of things there can be no forcible annexation to the nation representing the absolute liberties of the people. If Cuba becomes part of the United States, it will be because the Cubans, having won their liberty, shall so decree. Intelligent Cubans understand this perfectly well and none better than the author referred to above.

After reviewing the state of public opinion in Spain late in 1896 and the sentiments predominating in Cuba among the native population in regard to the mutual relations with the mother country, Mr. Figueras analyses the present situation, and considers that public opinion in Cuba is divided into three classes. Those wanting:

1.Immediate and absolute independence.
2.Independence under American protectorate.
3.Annexation, more or less immediate.

He allows independence to be the ideal of all peoples, but considers Cuban independence to be still in embryo, and compares the sudden liberation of the island from Spanish dominion to a premature birth, brought on by American intervention and subject to the dangers attending its early advent at an unexpected time. The author contends that to form a nation it is important that the inhabitants shall have some common interests, usually apparent in countries where one element predominates. He finds that in Cuba there are three races equally strong: the autochthonic or white Cuban (pure white), the Cuban with unmistakable and acknowledged signs of black descent, and the white Spaniard; the first of which by its number, the second by its greater acclimation, and the third by its wealth preserve the balance. The fact that these people do not live in different provinces but in the same places makes this adjustment all the more noticeable. Sometimes in one house you will see a patriarchal Spanish father with conservative ideas in the same room with his son of high-flown, Robespierre-like ideas, convinced that a country progresses more in a year of revolution than in a century of peaceful campaigning; while in a dark corner the negro servant, a slave only yesterday, to-day free and taking an interest by no means meagre in the revolutionary legend, curses his colour but does not fail to realise how better fitted he is for rough work than his white neighbours.

“And in the present situation which, pray, of these elements,” the author asks, “is victorious? Which has conquered and is ready to take under its protecting ægis the other two? Is it perchance the revolutionary party that has had its work crowned with success and that can therefore force its criterion of independence on all the inhabitants? Facts answer this question negatively and it would be sheer madness to constitute one nation out of such heterogeneous elements.”

The author establishes comparisons with the other southern republics, contends that Cuba will be in a chronic state of revolution if left to herself, calls attention to the handicap to Cuban sugar, tobacco, and coffee industries by the annexation of Puerto Rico and the Philippines, and asks if it is to be expected that the United States understands that her interest in Cuba’s welfare is to justify damaging that of the new colonies for Cuba’s exclusive benefit.

Arguing against a protectorate, the author calls attention to the fact that Cuba has nothing to fear from foreign nations. Her dangers are at home; it is pronunciamentos and the like that threaten, and a protectorate will not avoid this; it is only absolute annexation that will.

“If before 1895,” continues the author of Cuba Libre, “all Cubans were satisfied with a Canadian autonomy system given by Spain, why should the United States be refused a trust given to a nation like Spain, which has treated Cuba with injustice, bad government, and extortion, against the tested ‘cash’ good faith of the other?”

Refuting arguments upon the offensiveness of annexation to Cuban dignity, the author calls attention to the fact that dignity does not always accompany independence, as, for example, it is often seen how an English, German, or Italian schoolship silences the dignity of some independent states by firing a few shots.

In conclusion he says:

“We Cubans have been tyrannised by an unscrupulous mother country and the proceeding has dishonoured the nation which did so, and we victims have withstood the humiliation with dignity. We stood with dignity when we were burdened with a system of colonial servitude, it was with dignity that we rebelled, staining the chains that bound us with our own and foreign blood; we have kept our dignity whilst the Americans have cut them for us; when to-morrow comes, and we ask for annexation to the United States, we shall do so with the same dignity.”

There is sentiment, force, and good hard business sense in this attitude. A flag, after all, is nothing in itself, but all in what it represents. The Stars and Stripes have for a century or more represented human liberty and have taken into their folds millions of the people of the old world. The historic flags of all nations have been fully and freely and joyously repudiated by them, in search of broader liberties, for that fascinating emblem of the people’s rights; and under it scarred and impoverished Cuba may in truth rest with dignity and content.

Adolfo Muñoz, one of the ablest and most thoughtful Cubans it has been my pleasure to meet, gave utterance to similar views in relation to the future of Cuba, though he approached the subject more from a commercial than a sentimental point of view.

“A new community,” said Mr. Muñoz to the author, “particularly a small one, after a long and destructive war, is always surrounded by many dangers, both internal and external; and the only safety Cuba may find against them is a close connection with the United States which will afford the immediate protection of the American Government. Cuba left alone could not enjoy a high credit, either public or private; neither could she build a respectable navy, which her geographical position renders necessary. In these, and in many other respects, Cuba has to depend exclusively on the United States. The political connection between both countries becomes consequently a matter of extreme importance, which cannot be discussed, and much less decided upon, in haste.”

Continuing, Mr. Muñoz said:

“The liberty which, by the aid of the United States, Cuba has now conquered, will enable her to frame an entirely new tariff. This work, which must be done in accordance with other financial laws, will prove to be a rather easy task, because the commercial relations between Cuba and the United States are naturally beneficial to both countries. Perhaps the best arrangement, both on commercial and political grounds, would be to convert these relations into a coastwise trade, so that the productions of either country should be admitted free of duty in the other; provided that the question of the United States sugar industry could be settled by means of some compensation or otherwise. Cuba expects to be placed, in what respects custom duties, on the same footing as Puerto Rico; as it is necessary to save her sugar industry from its present depression and ruin.”

Here is annexation clearly marked out though not actually advocated. A country without credit cannot start up the machinery of government. To make the trade coastwise for Cuba, as we have already done in the case of Puerto Rico, means ultimate annexation. If, therefore, as Mr. Muñoz says, Cuba “expects to be placed on the same footing as Puerto Rico,” she expects annexation—nothing more, nothing less.

Attention is next directed to another, though not less interesting view of the future of Cuba. When in Cienfuegos the author had the honour and pleasure of meeting the Marquis de Apezteguia, President of the Conservative party, and, although a Cuban born, a strong sympathiser with Spain. There are few abler men in Cuba than the Marquis de Apezteguia. Educated in London, Paris, and Madrid, and at home in the best circles of New York, the Marquis is, in a sense, a cosmopolitan. His interests, however, are all bound up in Cuba. If Cuba once more flourishes the Marquis will become rich again; if it does not his large fortune will have gone, and he himself have been reduced to penury. Asked to give his opinion of the present and future condition of the Island of Cuba, the Marquis de Apezteguia did so without hesitation, clothing his thoughts in English so pointed and vigorous that it would be an injustice to the reader to abridge or change it, and it is therefore made part of this chapter.

“In regard to the disposition of Cuba,” said the Marquis de Apezteguia to the author, “you have first of all to consider the population of the Island, then you have its geographical position, which makes it of importance to the United States; nay, if there is anything in geographical position, which makes it dependent upon the United States. Key West is not an offensive position, it is simply a defensive position for the United States, because it commands the defence of the American coasts. The defence of your coast, with the Island of Cuba, is trebled with the same number of vessels, as its 750 miles practically makes the Gulf an inland sea, outside of the possibility of incursions from foreigners. Up to Cape Hatteras, Cuba defends your eastern coast. Therefore, to you as a military nation and as a naval power, Cuba is a necessity; without Cuba, you have simply Key West, and Cuba is an excellent substitute for Key West. Having this naval defence, which makes the United States non-attackable from Cape Hatteras to the Rio Grande, with how much more efficacy, and without danger, you can move your armies! Cuba is of immense value to the United States, and therefore from that point of view we will develop the others. Under the naval and military aspect in regard to the concentration of the army, we command the Gulf of Mexico as an inland sea of the United States, and we are the principal factor in the trans-oceanic traffic.


“The Cuban question is not a difficult one, because there is an imposed issue. In commercial development, to all evidence, you have been a long time a borrowing country, but to-day you have great banking centres: New York, Philadelphia, and Boston constituting an eastern centre; Chicago, St. Louis, and Cincinnati constituting another; with a smaller one at New Orleans, and a western one at San Francisco. Certain centres, such as the New York one, which has an excess of capital, will act in this annexation of Cuba as a multiple in the matter of capital. The capital will in preference come to Cuba, instead of going west.

“In the political problem, the condition of the population of Cuba must be considered. It is not a new country, but four hundred years old,—a totally different nation, with different habits, ways, and languages. Then how can you profitably absorb that population as a State? You cannot afford to sacrifice the United States for Cuba, but must lend Cuba both moral and material riches without forgetting yourself. Is it profitable for the United States to absorb Cuba as a State? If I were an American, I would oppose it. I do not think the Cuban people have sufficient adaptation; in fact they will not Americanise for quite a while, and therefore you must create an empire and a public right that is not within the federal bounds. Your territorial laws pursue colonisation towards the end of absorption, and have placed in your Constitution a limit of population, which we initially possess. Were I an American, I would not be for annexation of Cuba as one of the units of the Union. I think there is a condition of injustice which would be felt by both parties, if you held Cuba in an inferior political state so close to Florida. I say that this is inevitably American, from the material defence which it procures to the United States, and it is a military necessity. It cannot, however, be absorbed and governed rapidly, and for a time you will have to create a new political right, for it is inevitable. You cannot absorb it without creating a different political right.

“Now I have said that, in my belief, the issue is imposed and inevitable; Cuba has to be American territory, and cannot be anything else, with restringent or lax ties uniting it; but in the exterior life it will have to be American. You have no laws so far that can be established here; the new political right will have to be created because of the way in which you acquired the Island. You cannot govern it until you give it those things which have been assured it. You have acquired responsibilities which you are not at liberty to throw away and go back on; that is your position towards Cuba and towards the world, and therefore towards yourself. The American people must not feel that they are making of Cuba a business, but a necessity, to be maintained by force if necessary until evolution can be accomplished.

“Since we see the problem is one with an imposed ultimate solution, the easiest way is to continue the same action that brought the Island. You need, as a guaranty to yourself, and to the Cubans not in arms (which are the majority), a material force here that cannot be disputed with any chance of success. After Spain has abandoned her sovereignty here you are under the responsibility of keeping a force here which will make it a crazy enterprise to dispute. This is a moral duty which you are obliged to fulfil; you cannot have the excuse of want of power that Spain had. The first element of success is the destruction beforehand of all insurgent or insurrection element. All minor things should be put aside and the American mind have a national policy toward the colonisation and final prosperity of Cuba. You do not want the Cuban question to become one of those burning questions of American politics; but it will, unless you have strength to determine it in the way it should go. If it is disputed now in the transient state, you will convert it into an interior American question, which would make things worse than if you had never come into the thing at all. It is the duty of your Administration to mark out these lines and tell the American people that it is a duty outside of small political lines.

“What is the duty of the Cuban people? Your trouble comes from having to handle an unknown land. The business of the President is, not to show business people how they can make money, but to show the people their duty, and leave the rest to American ingenuity. The Cubans are a good people. The population is divided about equally between whites and blacks, and has decreased about one third during the war. I do not wish to discuss the inferiority of the black race, but, so far as I can see in this country from whatever cause, they do not meet worry. The act of force is the determining one with them, and in it they are of great value. In all other social determinations they count very little indeed. From this you derive two lines of conduct: you must try to satisfy the whites as far as possible, and you must content the black so that he will not lend his brutal force to the discontent of the white. The insurrection caused a great fraternity, that is to say, the distinction of race which existed before the war does not exist now. This is not, however, one of the elements that is going to cause trouble, if you do not let them conflict. The insurgents have fought many years for independence, making great sacrifices for the sake of it, and therefore they will not be satisfied with anything short of independence. If you leave them in the future to their own inferior force, I do not think there will be a strong fight towards acquiring total independence in the exterior world, because they recognise the fact that their country is comparatively small and the United States is large, but if these people see that this independence at any moment is not given to them, they will rise in arms—to what extent I do not know. A man who has lost family, suffered sickness, and has no interest now in the home where he was born, is a very reduced moral being. He has not the energies of a total being. The Island of Cuba has been debased by a war of extermination, brought about by its own manner of warfare, and by the Spanish warfare. The Island of Cuba is now totally inert and totally incapable of any governing faculties, not only because of the dead, but by making the rich poor, by making the poor indigent, and the indigent dying. You have in the Island of Cuba a reduced specimen both of material and moral wealth, and these individuals are not capable of determinations of value and worth towards the natural end of civilisation. You then see how much you can depend on the help of the individual. If you attempt to govern by carpet-bag legislation, you will bring on an insurrection. If you help the indigent, and bring them to a condition like they were before the war, you will do them no good. Therefore, you must have a force to establish an indisputable power, and then you must have a policy in which each one finds a solution to his own interest and welfare, under the idea that the Cuban people are unable to take care of themselves to-day, and that none of them have definite ideas or definite plans for their welfare. These plans must come through a strange guidance and not from the Cubans. I have on the Constancia in my care about five thousand people to-day, whom I have helped all I could. I shall have to employ means of coercion to throw these people outside of my house, so little is the sense of dignity in them to-day, and shall have to give them lands, and help them, in order to get them to find their own way in life. This is the real condition of things. The more energetic element is the one in the insurrection, but these on my estate are such as constitute the element which took no sides but suffered the distress of both.

“The size of property was one of the causes of the war, together with the total neglect of the lower orders of population.

“Of the element in arms, you have to distinguish between those who made the war and those who are wittily called the ‘Veterans of 1898’—about one half are Veterans of 1898. These people have energy, and these people have accustomed themselves to that life of civil warfare, but their condition is very bad to-day, and because of this they would like to come into order, although they have great inclination to continue. This is about the only energy left here, but it will be of no use to you except by getting these people out of the way. They have gone to war and acquired honours and salary to the extent of probably $10,000,000. The only way you can do is to offer them the security of what they have acquired so far as material welfare is concerned,—that is, their salaries. It would be an error not to give it all to them. If you give them work in the face of that inert mass I have shown you, and let them see their superiority, giving them certain annuities or monthly payments, you can bridge over the troublesome part of this population, but you cannot do it through their moral nature. You will have to bridge over several months by a strong occupation, by destroying the insurgent energy, by helping the other people, and by drawing general lines which all parties in the United States will accept. You must outline a distinct American policy which must be followed by both parties, and which no party can differ from. With these conditions you will have no trouble in the Island of Cuba.

“If you name your high officials Cubans, this will run off into Cuban solution, and not American. If the occupation is made by sufficient force, and you name only a few high officials who have the confidence of the Administration and have a general plan to carry through, and these appoint lower officials, taking the best class of Cubans and insurgents, the problem is solved. As a Spaniard born in Cuba and wishing this country all the good I can, I think it would be absurd to hope for the peace of the Island without a strong military force. The place must be occupied on strategic lines and not as Spain occupied it, and with good means of communication. This is the solution of the question. If this is not done, guerrilla warfare will have the advantage and it will be the same as when the Island was occupied by the Spanish forces; there were no enemies and no battles and it was like making a cavalry charge on a cloud or a mist.”

The above is a vigorous statement of the situation from the standpoint of one who has lost his all, not in fighting for independence, but in a contest for what he believed was a strong government. The Marquis wastes no sentiment. He tells some hard truths which all who know Cuba will recognise as such. Few foreigners know the United States better than the Marquis de Apezteguia and few have his ability of touching the weak spots in our armour. He tells us we cannot absorb Cuba, and as an American he would oppose annexation. These observations, as well as some others, will delight Mr. Andrew Carnegie, Mr. Edward Atkinson, Mr. Charles Francis Adams, and other opponents of annexation. The talk of strategic necessity, the exertion of power, and the material force necessary to make Cuba American territory will give these gentlemen who have raised the anti-Imperialist cry sentences which will greatly increase their stock of phrases, but in no way solve the question of what shall be done with our new possessions. Indeed, the Marquis, consoling the so-called anti-Imperialists with his well turned sentences, offers them medicine more stringent and a remedy more drastic than annexation. The word “Empire” has no terror for this Cuban-born Spaniard. You must create an Imperialistic policy, or right, not granted in the Federal Constitution, you must maintain American ascendency at any cost, and do your duty toward the people of Cuba and the people of the world. Cuba must, for all time to come, be American territory. It is only by a policy of this sort the Marquis thinks we shall succeed. In carrying out this plan, we are warned not to allow the Cuban question to become a burning question of American policy, but we are enjoined to hold up President McKinley’s hands in establishing a stable government in Cuba. It must not be made into a business, but a necessity. Carpet-bag legislation, he thinks, would bring on an insurrection. In this the Marquis is undoubtedly right. Lastly, he offers the good advice that something must be done and done quickly for the insurgents in arms, whose deplorable condition he vividly portrays. That these soldiers should be speedily paid off there can be no doubt, for until that is done, the rural districts of Cuba can never become productive.

Presumptuous as it may be to pass judgment on the utterances of a man of such wide range of experience in Cuba as the Marquis de Apezteguia, I believe the President of the late Conservative party of Cuba underestimates the Cuban capacity, both for self-government and for annexation to the United States. The work of final absorption may take a generation, but it will surely come. Once annexed, Cuba would become an English-speaking country, and the alert Cuban mind would grasp those great principles of fundamental liberty with far greater alacrity than the Spanish. Let the word go forth to teach English in every schoolhouse in Cuba, and the work of amalgamation would be half done. The more the Cubans know of the United States and of our institutions, the better they will like us. As confidence takes the place of distrust in the minds of the population of Cuba,—native or foreign-born, black or white,—the sooner all will reach the conclusion that the most promising future for Cuba can only be attained by complete union with the greater Republic.


In support of this opinion as to the political future of Cuba it is only necessary to quote the utterance of one whose opportunity for making such a forecast has been exceptional. Major-General Matthew C. Butler, of South Carolina, combines in his make-up and experience both soldier and statesman. The Confederate cause can point to no more brave and capable officer than General Butler. For sixteen years he represented his State in the United States Senate, and during that period grappled with all the important questions of the day. No man on the Cuban Evacuation Commission was so well equipped to study the political and economic side of the Cuban question as General Butler; and no man took so much pains to ascertain the facts in relation to the condition and sentiment of the people of Cuba. For a month last autumn the author was daily and closely associated with General Butler at the Vedado, near Havana, where the Military Commission had its headquarters. Between acquaintances of many years, in Washington, it is not strange that conversation during those long evenings at the Hotel Trotcha turned on the future of Cuba and that the exchange of thought was both free and frank. Summed up, the opinion of General Butler on the future of Cuba is as follows:

“You ask an expression of my opinion before leaving Cuba as to the character of the people of the Island and their future prospects. If they will be patient, following the dictates of prudence, and trust the Government of the United States, a very prosperous and happy future awaits them. The process of rehabilitation may be slow, but by cordial co-operation of all classes it will be more certain and permanent.

“The army of the United States is here to guarantee public order and enforce obedience to law. Its use will be controlled very largely by the conduct of the people themselves. If they uphold the law and insure public tranquillity, if each will respect the rights and persons of the other, there will be no occasion for interference by American troops. And you may take my word for it they will not interfere with the people in their peaceful vocations, if the conditions I have suggested prevail.

“The officers and soldiers on duty in the Island of Cuba are American citizens as well as American soldiers, accustomed to rendering loyal obedience to law; and they will not abandon on this Island their devotion to the principles of American liberty regulated by law. I therefore repeat that the people of Cuba may safely trust the officers and soldiers of the United States to establish and maintain the principles of government as set forth in our Constitution and laws, which mean freedom, not licentiousness, and equality before the law for all.

“We have no such thing as ‘one man power’ in the United States, and cannot so far depart from our devotion to popular liberty as to tolerate it here. So I say, if the people of Cuba (I include in the word ‘people’ all classes and conditions) will await with patience and resolution the establishment of good government, honestly and impartially administered, a brilliant future is in store for them. If, on the contrary, bickerings among themselves, unreasonable complaints, and demands in disregard of the rights of persons and property should lead to bloodshed and breaches of the peace and the disturbance of public order and tranquillity, as they most surely will, the day of their deliverance will be indefinitely deferred.

“You ask me whether I think the people of the Island of Cuba capable of self-government. This is a very difficult question to answer. I may, however, say that I have no sympathy with the harsh and unjust judgments of those who condemn them without a hearing and settle in advance a problem which requires time for solution.

“Officially I have no opinion to express as to the status of such a commonwealth, for that is a question to be settled by the people themselves in their aggregate capacity, but personally I should like to see Cuba a State in the American Union, enjoying all the rights of local autonomy and self-government on terms of equality with the other commonwealths of the United States. She would then have liberty, regulated by a written constitution, where the military is subordinate to the civil power, and where each of the three great co-ordinate branches of the government, legislative, executive, and judicial, execute the will of the people.”

The above statement, which, with General Butler’s consent, is made part of this chapter, was prepared with great precision and care and only after long deliberation. Moreover, it was submitted to some of his colleagues, and the subject-matter fully discussed with the author, who is in full and hearty accord with the views expressed. Officially the author has no opinion to express as to the status of such a commonwealth, for the work committed to him was purely of an economic and fiscal and not of a political character. Personally, however, the author, with General Butler, looks forward to the day when Cuba will be a State of the Union, in the enjoyment of that full degree of liberty and self-government which is accorded the other commonwealths of the United States.



HAVING sought light and information in relation to the future political government of Cuba from both Cuban and Spanish sources, for the Marquis de Apezteguia is more Spanish than Cuban, it may be well to ascertain if any useful lesson may be found in British colonial administration. With this thought in view, the author, after completing the work in Cuba, made a brief visit to the island of Jamaica. Through the courtesy of the American Mail Steamship Company, the S.S. Admiral Sampson stopped at Santiago and thus enabled me to reach Port Antonio, Jamaica, in seven hours. At this point I met Captain L. D. Baker, the head of the vast American fruit interests of Jamaica, and with him visited Kingston and had an interview with the Governor-General of Jamaica, and with the heads of nearly all the Departments of Government. In this connection it affords me pleasure to mention the name of Dr. James Johnston, member of the Jamaica Council for St. Ann’s Parish and member of the Commission now revising the revenue law of Jamaica. Dr. Johnston was a fellow-passenger on the S.S. Sampson, on its return voyage to the United States, and furnished much valuable explanatory information in relation to the government of Jamaica, for which this opportunity is taken to express thanks.

The information thus obtained and the data gathered from the various blue books and the reports of the Royal Commission on the British West India Islands, all have a special bearing on the problem the United States is now confronting in Cuba, and hence on the political future of the Island. Better to appreciate the present aims of British administration in Jamaica, one should read the following extract from an article in the December number of Scribner’s Magazine, by the Right Honourable Joseph Chamberlain, British Colonial Secretary:

“In the first period of this eventful history the territories acquired by conquest or discovery were treated as possessions to be exploited entirely for the advantage of the occupying nation, and little or no thought was given to the rights or the interests either of the original inhabitants or of the colonists who had dispossessed them. This view of the relations between a state and its outlying territories continued more or less throughout the eighteenth century, although the War of Independence in America did much to modify and dispel it. The success of the Revolution not only destroyed the hope that colonies could be made tributary to the mother country, but led ultimately to the conclusion that, since they would never be a source of direct revenue, we should be better without colonies at all. Assuming that an entirely independent and separate existence was the ultimate destiny of all our possessions abroad, and believing that this consummation would relieve us of burdensome obligations, we readily conceded self-government to the colonies in the temperate zones, in the hopes that this would hasten the inevitable and desirable result. We found, not without surprise, that in spite of hints to this effect, our kinsfolk and fellow-subjects resented the idea of separation and, fortunately for us, preferred to remain, each ‘daughter in her mother’s house and mistress in her own.’ Influenced by the same idea, we elaborated constitutions by the score for every kind of tropical dependency, in the vain expectation that the native population would appreciate forms of government evolved in our own civilisation, and would learn quickly to be self-supporting and to develop for themselves the territories in which we began to think we had only a temporary interest. We were disappointed, and we have had to recognise the fact that, for an indefinite period of time, the ideas and standards of our political and social order cannot be intelligently accepted or applied by races which are centuries behind us in the process of national evolution. The experience of Hayti and Liberia under independent native government, of many of the South American republics, of Egypt and of India, and the stagnation of all tropical countries, in regard to matters dependent on local effort, make it evident that wherever the white man cannot be permanently or advantageously acclimatised and wherever, therefore, the great majority of the population must always be natives, the only security for good government and for the effective development of the resources of the country consists in providing this native population with white superintendence, and with rulers and administrators who will bring to their task the knowledge derived from the experience of a higher civilisation; and, constantly changing, will be always under the influence of the standards and ideals which they have been brought up to respect.

“This is the root idea of British administration in the tropics. At the same time we have abandoned forever any desire to secure tribute from these possessions, and we no longer seek any direct or exclusive advantage.

“We find our profit in the increased prosperity of the people for whose interests we have made ourselves responsible, and in the development of, and access to, markets which we open at the same time to the rest of the world. Our primary obligation is to maintain peace, and safety of life and property, and equal justice for all irrespective of race or class. Subject to these conditions, we interfere as little as possible with native religions, customs, or laws; and under this system we are successfully administering the affairs of hundreds of millions of people of almost every race under the sun, with trifling cost to the British taxpayer, and with the smallest army of white soldiers of any of the powers of Europe. In India, where three hundred millions of people acknowledge the Queen as Empress, the total white garrison is only seventy thousand men; in Egypt, with a population of nine millions, the normal white garrison is thirty-five hundred men; while in Ceylon, the Straits Settlements and protected States, the West Indies, and West Africa not a single white regiment is stationed for the maintenance of our rule, which is secured entirely by coloured soldiers and police under British officers. Our experience should at least go far to satisfy the objections of those Americans who anticipate that the occupation of tropical countries would involve the retention of vast numbers of American soldiers in an unhealthy climate, and would lay an intolerable burden on the American treasury.”

The Spanish idea in its government of Cuba was purely and absolutely the idea of possession, and the facts pointing to this will be abundantly set forth in the several chapters in this volume relating to the fiscal, commercial, and industrial condition of the Island of Cuba. The work of reconstruction already so auspiciously begun by the United States Government in Santiago, and described in a subsequent chapter, is absolutely in line with what Mr. Chamberlain aptly terms the root idea of British administration in the tropics. The primary obligation of the United States in Cuba is to maintain peace, the safety of life and property, and equal justice for all, irrespective of race or class. The final instructions given by the President of the United States, last August, to the author, leaving for Cuba, were to the effect that the United States desired to secure no tribute from Cuba, that the work of reconstruction must be performed in the interests of the people of Cuba, only, and that the profit to the United States must come in the increased prosperity of the people of Cuba, and in the benefits accruing from a peaceful, instead of a constantly warring neighbour. According to Mr. Chamberlain, this is the fundamental principle underlying England’s operation in her tropical colonies.


In comparing British administration in Jamaica with any possible operations of the United States Government in Cuba, the fact of the great difference in the population must be considered. In Jamaica not over 15,000 of the 700,000 population are white. When England began to treat this island as a trust, and not as a possession,—say about 1834,—the population was made up of 311,070 slaves, 15,000 whites, 40,000 coloured, or brown people, as they are called in Jamaica, and 5000 free blacks. In Cuba a majority of the population are white—the census of 1887 showing 1,102,889 white and 528,798 coloured—in all provinces; Matanzas, with forty-five per cent. coloured, and Santiago, with forty-two per cent. coloured, representing the strongest coloured sections of the Island. That half a century of British rule in Jamaica has improved the population of Jamaica, nearly all of whom were slaves when the work was begun, is self-evident, though it is equally true that similar government in Cuba would have resulted, by reason of the preponderance of white population, in more far-reaching results. That is, Cuba, under such a government as England has given Jamaica, would, in all reasonable probability, have numbered at this time a population of from four to five millions, with a greatly increased commerce, diversified industries, magnificent main and parochial roads, an adequate railway system, many prosperous and well-built cities, and a degree of prosperity and civilisation far in excess of that which the United States officials found when they took possession of the Island. With the disadvantages of race, with the scars of slavery, and, until recently, with the single industry of sugar and its allied product, rum, the policy set forth so clearly by Mr. Chamberlain has been successful in making habitable and law-abiding and measurably prosperous a tropical island which might have been in a condition little better than that of savagery.

To be sure, England has not made Anglo-Saxons of these people, but it has made of them peaceful, law-abiding, and, in the main, self-respecting citizens. There is little doubt that the bulk of the inhabitants of Jamaica are in a position which compares not unfavourably with that of the peasants of most countries in the world. The facts given farther along show that the condition of the labouring classes of Jamaica is infinitely better than that of the labouring classes—especially the coloured population—of Cuba, who are in a deplorable state, even on plantations where work is abundant. The number of holdings in Jamaica is 92,979, of which 81,924 are under ten acres each. In 1882 there were only 52,608 holdings, of which 43,707 were under ten acres each. Even allowing for the fact that some persons may hold two or more plots of land, it is clear that the island already contains a very large and increasing number of peasant proprietors. The Crown Land Regulations offer facilities for the settlement of the labouring population on the land, and as sugar estates are abandoned some of them will probably fall into the hands of small cultivators. In the last ten years the number of savings-bank accounts of the amount of twenty-five dollars and under has nearly doubled. The census returns of 1891 show that in the ten years, 1881 to 1891, there had been an increase of thirty per cent. in the number of persons able to read and write. The acreage of provision grounds has increased more than thirty per cent. in ten years. There are 70,000 holdings of less than five acres. The area in coffee, usually in small lots, increased in ten years from 17,000 to 23,000 acres. More than 6,000 small sugar-mills are owned by the peasantry. The number of enrolled scholars was 100,400 in 1896, as against 49,000 in 1881; while the actual average daily attendance at schools had increased from 26,600 to 59,600. These facts indicate considerable advance, though no doubt in certain districts the people are poor. The Royal Commission appointed to investigate and report on the agricultural, commercial, and industrial condition of the West Indies came to the conclusion that the depression in Jamaica was the result of the almost entire dependence of the island on a single industry. Here is what they say:

“The general statement regarding the danger of depending on a single industry applies with very special force to the dependence of the West Indian Colonies upon the sugar industry, for the cultivation of sugar collects together a larger number of people upon the land than can be employed or supported in the same area by any other form of cultivation. In addition to this it also unfits the people, or at any rate gives them no training, for the management or cultivation of the soil for any other purpose than that of growing sugar-cane. The failure, therefore, of a sugar estate not only leaves destitute a larger number of labourers than can be supported upon the land in other ways, but leaves them also without either the knowledge, skill, or habits requisite for making a good use of the land. In those colonies where the sugar industry cannot be carried on without imported coolie labour the position of dependence upon this one industry is still more dangerous. In these cases not only is there a yearly charge upon the public revenue to meet the cost of immigration, but a liability for back passages is incurred, which a failure of the industry would leave the colony without funds to meet. Whilst, therefore, the vital importance of the sugar industry to the present prosperity of nearly all the colonies is beyond dispute, we wish to observe that so long as they remain dependent upon sugar their position can never be sound or secure. It has become a commonplace of criticism to remark upon the perpetual recurrence of crises in the West Indian Colonies, and we submit that the repeated recurrence of such crises, as well as the fact that the present crisis is more ominous than any of the previous ones, illustrates the danger to which we have referred, and adds much force to our recommendations for the adoption of special measures to facilitate the introduction of other industries.”

The special remedies recommended were as follows:

“1. The settlement of the labouring population on small plots of land as peasant proprietors.

“2. The establishment of minor agricultural industries, and the improvement of the system of cultivation, especially in the case of small proprietors.

“3. The improvement of the means of communication between the different islands.

“4. The encouragement of a trade in fruit with New York, and, possibly, at a future time, with London.

“5. The grant of a loan from the Imperial Exchequer for the establishment of central factories in Barbadoes.

“The subject of emigration from the distressed tracts also requires the careful attention of the various governments, though we do not find ourselves at the present time in a position to make recommendations in detail.”

The fact is, Captain L. D. Baker, of the Boston Fruit Company, and the other companies engaged in the banana and orange business of Jamaica, have pointed a way out of the present difficulties, and that industry, in the course of a short time, bids fair to be as important as the sugar industry was in former times. Last year this single company shipped five million bunches of bananas to New York. There are now over one hundred thousand orange trees planted in Jamaica, which in a few years will be bearing finely and give additional prosperity to the country. With the American fruit market inadequately supplied, and the English market practically untouched, there is hope both in Jamaica and Cuba—especially Santiago province—for diversified industries created by rapid transportation. The recent establishment of a fleet of fast steamships between New York, Philadelphia, Boston, and Baltimore, and the various ports of Jamaica, and the probability that these or similar lines will be established between the United States and Cuban ports, are all factors of promise for the industrial future of both the British and the American West Indies.

While Jamaica is a well-governed country, and its revenue is all honestly expended for the public good of the people, it is far from an economically administered government. Order is thoroughly established, laws are obeyed, justice for the humblest is easily obtainable, education is general, sanitary matters admirably administered, roads maintained, the rights of all conserved, and the revenue honestly collected and expended. In these particulars the government of Jamaica differs widely from that which the author found in Cuba. In that unhappy Island all is absolutely the reverse of this. The cost of governing Jamaica, however, is nearly twenty-five per cent. of the value of its commerce, whereas the cost of governing Cuba—if gauged by the actual revenue raised—under Spanish rule ranged from 12½ to 15 per cent. of the value of its commerce. The comparison, however, is of little value, because Cuba got nothing for the money exacted by taxation, while Jamaica not only gets all, but also the taxpayers are informed in advance of the purposes for which much of the money is wanted, and the sums thus raised are rigidly applied to the purposes for which they are appropriated. The most useful lessons for those responsible for administering the affairs of Cuba can be learned by a study of the Jamaica Budgets. The methods of raising the needed revenue are intelligent and simple, and the method of expenditure not only enables the authorities to get as much as possible for the money, but also makes possible the strictest accountability. The Legislative Council of Jamaica discusses every item of the budget as closely as the Town Council of Glasgow or the County Council of London, both model public bodies, so far as honesty of purpose goes, even if some of their legislative experiments fail. The humblest Jamaica negro, if he can read and write, may at least know the purposes for which the revenue he pays in taxes is expended. He may even have the pleasure of deciding which of these items of expenditure he regards the least important. At the present moment the annual cost of education, $350,000, is regarded as too high, and a proposition to reduce it to $250,000 is pending. The total expenditures of Jamaica have reached nearly $4,000,000 and additional revenue is necessary to meet these expenses. The customs tariff is in course of revision, with a view of increasing the revenue, and many articles formerly on the free list will have to be put upon the dutiable list, while the general ad valorem rates of duty must be raised from 12½ to 16-2/3 per cent. Before going into the future sources of revenue, it may be well to look at the present sources, and for that purpose the subjoined table has been compiled from official sources:

Tax on Stock[3]
Court Fees8,28441,420
Tax in lieu of Education Fees11,24356,215
Fines, etc.4,41222,060
Jamaica Railway2081,040
Revenues now appropriated181,663908,315
Interest on Sinking Funds14,19970,995
Savings Bank3,92719,635
Total 773,527 3,867,635
Immigration Revenue.
Capitation Tax, etc., Laws 7 of 1878 and 14 of 1891,1,4767,380
Appropriated Revenue.
Poor Rates39,339196,695
Kingston Streets4,35421,770
Market Dues
Main Road Revenue, Law 17 of 189028,091140,455
Parochial Roads45,538227,690
Fire Rates, Kingston1,5617,805
Trade, Metal, Hawker, and Gunpowder Licences,
Surplus Fund[4]13,27166,355
Gas Rates, etc.3,79318,965
Parochial General Purposes4,50322,515
Agricultural Produce Licences Law, 37 of 18963,68518,425
Advances from General Revenue in aid of Funds21,122105,610

Customs, excise, and appropriated revenue, as will be seen above, are the principal sources of income, while the expenditures for the same period are divided under the following heads:

Charges of Debt82,417412,085
Governor and Staff7,36836,840
Privy Council62310
Legislative Council2,46912,345
Colonial Secretariat5,61228,060
Director of Public Works17,97989,895
Audit Office3,62918,145
Savings Bank3,27516,375
Stamp Office1,1065,530
Post-Office and Telegraphs35,910179,550
Revenue Departments39,969199,845
Prisons and Reformatories27,836139,180
Harbour-Masters and Harbours and Pilotage2,74113,705
Colonial Allowances and Military Expenditure12,81464,070
Steam Communication1,8009,000
Stationery and Printing7,98939,945
Library and Museum2,40412,020
Plantations and Gardens6,48432,420
Main Roads and Buildings80,467402,335
Pensions, etc16,96284,810
Purposes now supplied by Appropriated Revenue135,842679,210
Total Expenditure from Income765,6073,828,035
Sinking-Funds, etc14,19970,995
Total Payments from Income779,8063,899,030
Less Debt Payments as above14,19970,995
Add Expenditures from Moneys raised by Loans8,12540,625

A glance at the above tables and then a glance at the budget of Cuba, which will be found in a subsequent chapter, is all that is necessary to show the vast difference between the British and the Spanish methods of dealing with the fiscal interests of their colonies. The business-like methods of the one, and the blind, slip-shod methods of the other, are in sharp contrast. In dealing with Cuba, it may be difficult to follow entirely these English methods of accounting at once. The sooner, however, the United States inaugurates its own clear methods of national bookkeeping and official accountability, the quicker the people of Cuba will appreciate sound business principles in the conduct of their own affairs. It makes no difference whether Cuba is annexed to the United States or established as an independent government; these lessons must be learned in either event, or the Island will come to grief. It is hardly necessary to do more than call attention to the principal items of expenditure.

First of all come roads. England has discovered that good roads are not only an important factor in mountainous countries in keeping order, but also the basis of industrial development and prosperity. In the budget given above the following items must be added together in order to ascertain the amount expended in 1897 for roads:

Main Roads and Buildings$ 402,335
Parochial Roads227,690
 $ 630,025

Here may be found a good illustration of England’s policy which is a great contrast to the policy of Spain in Cuba. No money has been spent on the roads of Cuba, all of which are in a deplorable condition. Attention should at once be given to this important question and a liberal sum out of both local and general revenues of the Island set apart for this purpose. The debt of Jamaica is not excessive; it is in the neighbourhood of $10,000,000, with an annual charge of about $400,000. Police and medical charges are about the same, averaging about $300,000 each, or in all $600,000.

In this connection attention is called to the annual expenditure on roads in Jamaica for fourteen years:

Year. Appropriated
revenue for
for Main Roads
and Buildings.
 Pounds sterling.Pounds sterling.Pounds sterling.Dollars.
    Total for 14 years  1,477,2047,386,020
    Average per year   527,573

The necessity of liberal expenditure for maintaining the health of the community is of first importance. A study of this budget may be found a preparation for the subsequent study of the Cuban budget, to which the reader’s attention will be invited presently.

The present Jamaica tariff was evidently framed with the two ideas of revenue for the island and a market for British goods. Food products, for example, such as bacon, beef, beans, bread, butter, cheese, corn, meats, oats, oil, pork, rice, salt, sausages, wheat, sugar, tea, coffee, and many other staple articles are all on the dutiable list, some paying a fairly stiff rate of duty. On the other hand, many articles of merchandise, bricks, bridges, carts and waggons, clocks, diamonds, machinery, locomotives, and a host of other things, which England supplies the island, are all exempted from duty. Under a general ad valorem clause, 12½ per cent. is collected on all articles not enumerated. The enumerated list of the Jamaica tariff is not large, so a large amount of merchandise has been actually imported under this clause. The proposed new tariff, which will probably go into effect next year, takes many articles off the free list and puts them on the dutiable list. It also increases the ad valorem rate to 16-2/3 per cent. This has been found necessary because there has been a deficit in the revenue. The new tariff is expected to yield £400,000, or about $2,000,000, and from internal revenue or excise £150,000, or $750,000, and £250,000, or $1,250,000, from appropriated revenue which will really come from the land and householders. Here it is summarised:

Revenue from Customs$ 2,000,000
Appropriated Revenue (land and household taxes, etc.)1,250,000
 $ 4,000,000

If this amount can be secured, the revenue of Jamaica will be a trifle more than expenditure, and the result will be happiness. If not, expenses must be reduced. Some members of the Legislative Council favour this latter plan. The Commission has the whole fiscal question now in hand, and within a short time will probably reach conclusions.

There is much more of interest that might be said about the present economic condition of Jamaica, but the points herein brought out appear to be the only ones that bear especially on the problem continually facing the reader in a volume dealing with the industrial and commercial reconstruction of Cuba. It will also be interesting to compare the British method of colonial administration with the idea set forth in the previous chapter by the Marquis de Apezteguia, whose point of view in such matters is wholly Spanish. That is, the idea of possession is paramount. The Marquis evidently has no faith in the ability of the United States to administer the affairs of Cuba as a trust.



A VISIT to Santiago should give relief to those suffering from “the craven fear of being great,” for there may be found much that is encouraging. In this province of Cuba may be seen in full operation the work which the Government of the United States has been impelled to undertake, and here may be studied the character of the forces upon which the people of the United States must rely in the work of reconstruction now in progress. The machinery of government is running with a fair degree of smoothness, and the men responsible for it, from the humblest official to the capable commander of the province, understand their business and are masters of the situation. It is a striking illustration of the marvellous adaptability of the American character. Every department of the public service is carrying on its work; the only difference apparent to one so recently in parts of Cuba still in possession of Spain being the absence of Spanish soldiers and the more businesslike methods of the officials. The disagreeable smells of the typical Cuban city are less pronounced in Santiago, and whitewash, limewash, fresh paint, and all sorts of disinfectants have deodorised the surrounding atmosphere and made the old town really habitable. The streets are no longer used as sewers, and the unhappy person who violates the law and escapes the lash of the Sanitary Commissioner’s whip is compelled to work on the streets for thirty days. This official, Major George M. Barbour, with one hundred and twenty-five men, dressed in spotless white, and thirty-two good United States mule-teams and carts, having dug out from the streets of Santiago the filth of ages, is now able to keep them absolutely clean. Every day by the aid of that great disinfectant, petroleum, the garbage of the city is burned. The work of sanitation is not confined to the streets, but extends to the dwelling-houses, shops, and buildings of all kinds. Indeed, the campaign against dirt and disease has been as sharp and hot as the charge of San Juan Hill, and as productive of beneficial results. The resistance on the part of the native population was even more stubborn than that of the Spanish soldiers to our forces around Santiago. The doors of houses had to be smashed in; people making sewers of the thoroughfares were publicly horsewhipped in the streets of Santiago; eminently respectable citizens were forcibly brought before the commanding general and sentenced to aid in cleaning the streets they were in the habit of defiling. The campaign has ended in the complete surrender to the sanitary authorities, and the inhabitants of Santiago, regardless of class, have had their first object-lesson in the new order of things inaugurated by the war. Looking backward five months and picturing Santiago in July, and comparing it with the more hopeful condition existing on all sides at the present moment, it is easy to discern the omens which point to the coming prosperity of the whole Island under intelligent and honest government.

Besides the improved sanitary conditions, there are many other indications of the good work of Major-General Leonard Wood and his capable corps of assistants. Several important thoroughfares have been repaved. All the public buildings have been thoroughly cleaned and put in good order, the work even extending to the large opera house, which is now ready for the opening performance under American auspices; for General Wood believes in furnishing decent amusements for the soldiers of his command. The law courts abolished when General Shafter took the city have been re-organised, and it was the privilege of the author to take part in the brief, simple ceremonies on December 1st, when in a modest speech the American commander turned over the legal business of the province to the judiciary and inaugurated the Supreme Court. This Court was composed of carefully selected Cuban judges, the appointees nominated wholly on account of legal attainments; the Bar Association of the province having been consulted as to the character and qualifications of the new judges. As the occasion of turning over the judiciary of the province to the people was one of considerable moment, a brief description may not be out of place. A committee selected by the Court called at the palace on the morning of December 1st, and after being presented to General Wood, escorted him to the Supreme Court Building. The room in which the Supreme Court of Santiago holds its sessions is one story up a rather rickety-looking stairway. It looks more like a long, narrow store than a court-room. At the far end is the bench where the Court sits. It was draped with scarlet cloth and the chairs are of dark oak. The courtroom was filled by interested spectators. General Wood appeared in a fatigue uniform, taking a position in the centre of the group of jurists, under the canopy over the seat of the Chief-Justice, and in a businesslike manner proceeded to state the object of the gathering. He told those assembled they had met for the purpose of starting up the judicial machinery of the province. While the military authorities still retained the power to revise all cases involving life and death, there was no disposition to interfere with civil matters. Innumerable cases had been piling up during the five months of military occupation, and it was time they were adjusted. He hoped the gentlemen appointed to this, the highest Court in the province, would prove equal to the trust.

“Your enemies who say the Cubans cannot govern themselves,” said General Wood, turning toward the Court, “will watch you critically, and your friends hopefully. Above and beyond all, be honest in your decisions, for absolute integrity must ever be the foundation of a fair and impartial judiciary. I pray you do not follow the example of those who have made the courts of Cuba a byword for corruption. With sincere hope for your success in dealing with these matters, and with assurance of all the assistance in my power, I hereby reinstate the Judiciary of the Province of Santiago de Cuba.”

Then the Chief-Justice, a man of fifty-five or sixty, attired in a rich black silk gown, with handsome white lace cuffs, arose, and in a few graceful words accepted the responsibility in the spirit in which it was tendered, and assuring General Wood of his fealty to the United States Government during the military occupancy, made a profound bow, and the ceremony was over. Two members of the Court then escorted General Wood and the author, who was invited to represent the civil authorities of the United States, to the top of the staircase, and with a cordial adieu the Military went out and the Judiciary came in and was reinstated. In a few moments the Court was in session.

“Let me walk back,” said General Wood, and the waiting carriage was dismissed.

Passing the city jail, General Wood exclaimed to the author, “Take a look at the jail, and see the good work we are doing there.” There were no prisoners, and it was evident the building was being renovated for some new and more inspiring purpose. There is no more practical man in the military service of the United States to-day than Major-General Leonard Wood. He is just the man to build up the city and the province of Santiago.

Not only has the judiciary been reinstated, but also, in the same manner, local government has been restored, and native mayors and officials have been appointed; the only requirement being that persons accepting such offices shall take the oath recognising the military occupancy of the Island by the United States. They are in no way committed to any future form of government. The wisdom of this action cannot be doubted, and the moral effect upon the people of Cuba will be far-reaching.[7]

In constant meetings between General Wood and the author, during the former’s recent brief visit to the United States, he informed me that all arrangements have been completed for the spring elections of Santiago. Thus the next movement is towards a system of local self-government which the Cubans heretofore have never enjoyed.

The Spanish, when in possession of Cuba, assumed absolute control not only of the judiciary, but also of the municipal government, the larger portion of the taxes raised for municipal purposes being diverted, with the other revenues, into channels which either led to Spain or into Spanish pockets. It will be even a greater stroke of wisdom if these taxes are hereafter used exclusively for local purposes, and, as far as may be deemed practicable, collected and disbursed by properly constituted local authorities.


There could be no wiser expenditure of local revenue for several years than upon the streets and sewers of the cities and towns of Cuba. For years the money which should have been used for these purposes has been drained away to Spain, and all local improvements shamefully neglected. The rural districts of Santiago de Cuba have been so depleted that it will be impossible to collect taxes over and above those needed for the bare necessities of schools, for the poor, and possibly, in small sums, for the improvement of sanitary conditions. The dawn of prosperity should, however, be the signal for inaugurating systematic work on the country roads. The province of Santiago de Cuba is similar in geographical and geological structure to the island of Jamaica, where, as is shown elsewhere in this volume, the good main and parochial roads have been the principal stay of the population. In another chapter will be found a brief history of the nearly two thousand miles of good roads in Jamaica, together with an account of the expenditure thereon and cost of keeping them in repair. The British Administration spends on an average annually for roads in Jamaica about $500,000. Without underestimating the strategical importance of a central railway from east to west in Cuba the immediate returns to the population from good roads would be far in excess of the more pretentious enterprise. The money thus expended, whether from the general funds of the Island, or from the local budgets, would come back a hundredfold, and make Santiago one of the richest sugar-, coffee-, and fruit-growing districts of the West Indies.

Santiago Province should be a profitable producing country for bananas. It is good for the poorer classes to undertake the cultivation of this fruit. The banana takes only fourteen months to grow and therefore, unlike coffee and oranges, the cultivator does not have to wait several years for the crop. All the capital in this business can be turned quickly, and the banana can be planted near the hut of the small planter and attended easily. Banes, Sigua, and Baracoa are good ports to export them from. The Dumois family invested considerably in the business and used to ship to the United States. This business is soon to be revived on a much larger scale. The extension of good roads would largely increase the possibilities of this industry in many parts of Santiago Province. With quick transportation the market for bananas is rapidly extending to Europe, while the United States market is only partially supplied with this fruit and with oranges.

The internal, industrial, professional, licensing, and other miscellaneous taxes have so far been remitted in this part of Cuba, but the military authorities are now preparing to enforce them. In this connection the author suggests that, now the customs tariff has been disposed of,[8] an immediate scheme be prepared for levying and collecting internal revenue taxes for the entire Island. The question of separating these taxes from purely municipal taxes should also be considered at the earliest possible moment, in order that no revenue shall be lost.

Methods of local administration differ so greatly in different provinces in Cuba that the wisdom of appointing a governor or commander for each province is unquestioned. As much latitude as possible should be given to these officials. The provincial governors should have power to decide all questions appertaining to local matters, for the fewer the references to Havana the sooner the people of Cuba will realise the difference between Spanish possession and United States occupancy. For military purposes, the government of the Island may be easily vested in one central authority at Havana. For civil purposes, each province should be made as absolutely independent as is possible, with general supervision by the commander of the United States forces. The secret of General Wood’s success in Santiago is entirely due to the fact that he has good judgment, the courage to use it, and full power in Santiago Province to exercise both. The supervising power over the civil department-commander should be made, as far as possible, advisory on such matters as relate to the general welfare of all the people of the Island, but all department questions should be scrupulously relegated to the provincial governors. There will of course have to be some general scheme inaugurated as to the collection and the expenditure of the general revenue, but before this can be intelligently arranged it will be necessary to designate what revenue shall be considered local, what, if any, for the exclusive use of the department, and what may fairly be regarded as revenue applicable for the general purpose of the whole Island. In thus distributing the revenue, the greatest care should be exercised not to hamper the provincial governor by an arbitrary division of the purposes for which the money must be expended, until he has been given ample opportunity to ascertain the needs of his department. A country undergoing such changes as Cuba is, cannot be judged by ordinary circumstances, and the most successful results will certainly be obtained by giving the generals in command of the several provinces the rein, and with the excellent example of the commander of Santiago before them tell them to go and do likewise. Apportionments and divisions of revenue will come later. The present emergency demands large sums for sanitary purposes, for cleaning up cities, for fighting disease, for renovating public buildings, for maintaining order, and for establishing a decent, efficient administration of public affairs. These operations must be done quickly and be planned chiefly by the judgment of the man on the spot, acquainted with local conditions. The results of a free hand are plainly visible in Santiago. The same policy must be followed elsewhere, or summer will bring dangers from which the unacclimatised population may well seek to escape.

As this is being written, the first difficulty has arisen at Santiago in relation to the distribution of the customs revenue. The order of General Brooke to send the customs receipts to Havana has met with opposition. This is a natural result of the peculiar conditions existing there, and no one can be blamed for it. For nearly five months no municipal, internal, or local taxes have been collected; and with the exception of about ten thousand dollars collected by Mr. Donaldson as cemetery and meat taxes, the entire revenue of Santiago Province was derived from customs dues. This money has been expended, as above shown, by General Wood in cleaning up the city, in making new streets, in renovating public buildings, in fighting disease, and in many other ways, all with a view of benefiting the community. All this and much more was justifiable in the emergency with which he was confronted. Meanwhile the machinery for collecting local and other public dues was, for various reasons, not put in motion until a few weeks ago. The taxes from these sources rightfully belong to the municipality, and hereafter will be expended thereon. The Spanish authorities collected all the taxes, local and general, returning of the local taxes but a small percentage to the municipalities. There is no intention on the part of the military authorities of the United States in Cuba to use these local taxes for other than local purposes, but it stands to reason that the customs taxes must be collected by one central authority, equalised and expended for the general welfare of the whole community. The ports of Santiago Province, being practically the only ports in possession of the United States, naturally used all moneys collected. January 1, 1899, all other Cuban ports came into possession of the United States, and Santiago becomes again part of the Island of Cuba, and as such is entitled to equal, but not special consideration.

The people of Santiago have had over one hundred thousand dollars of local taxes remitted, in consequence of the delay in getting the tax-levying and tax-collecting machinery at work. This has been saved to the community. All these taxes, being local, would have probably been spent on local works or would at this time have been available for such purposes. It is not the intention of the Government to have these sent to Havana, nor does the order include them. New York might as well demand that she be allowed to keep all the customs dues collected at that port, or, more to the point, Havana. Over sixty per cent. of all Cuba’s customs dues are collected at Havana, but Havana will have to pool her receipts, just as New York does, and take back such portion as appropriations for public works as may hereafter be decided to be rightfully her share. There is really no need for the people of Santiago to get excited over the order, which is reasonable, just, and in the line of fair government. On the contrary, the people should rejoice to think they have had so much of the money expended in improving the city, and that for several months they have practically been relieved of local taxes.

The Custom-House at Santiago the author found to be under very capable management. Mr. Walter A. Donaldson, who has had charge of the office, has performed the rather difficult initiatory duties devolving upon him with enthusiasm and ability. His knowledge of Spanish and his long training in the customs service of the United States have enabled him to recast the old Spanish methods and inaugurate the more businesslike methods of our own custom-house without much friction; and as a result we find to-day a complete organisation at Santiago, with branches at all the other ports in the province, working efficiently and collecting the revenue. While Mr. Donaldson has been able to dispense with about twenty of the seventy employees, he has retained fifty of the Cuban and Spanish already in the service, and with five United States officers is able to collect the revenues expeditiously and administer the affairs of the port with general satisfaction to the merchants and shippers of Santiago.

Mr. Donaldson estimated, that at the end of December, the total custom-house receipts in his entire district would aggregate in the neighbourhood of four hundred thousand dollars. It is safe to say that the collections in this port for the twelve months under American administration will be twice the amount collected during the last twelve months of Spanish control. As the rates of the tariff have been reduced two-thirds this fact would seem to be a good sign alike for the interest of American administration and the possibilities of a low tariff for producing sufficient revenue. As is stated elsewhere in this volume, the hope of sufficient revenue to manage the affairs of the Island is largely—under greatly reduced taxation—based upon honest and efficient collections. If it were otherwise, the natural consequence of reducing the rates of duty by two-thirds (a measure which the President of the United States has authorised) in a tariff capable of producing a revenue of fifteen million dollars per annum, would mean a revenue of five million dollars per annum. To accomplish this feat and still have fifteen or even ten millions of revenue the future management of the custom-houses in Cuba must be more businesslike and more honest. The industrial importance of Santiago will be treated in the chapter on Mines and Mining, the idea of this chapter being to give a glimpse of some of the changes in this old city already brought about by American military occupancy.



THAT the wounds of Cuba will soon heal with the rapid promotion of work, is undoubtedly true. This is the struggle the United States is now entering upon, and the employment of the people should be the first aim of those responsible for the management of affairs. There will naturally be many disappointments, some disillusioning. The condition of labour in the Island requires the most serious attention of our Government. A brief history of it during the present century may elucidate the existing situation.

In 1815, after the Napoleonic wars, the principal nations of Europe came together and agreed upon the Treaty of Vienna. An important provision of this Treaty was that henceforth slavery should be abolished. Spain, in common with other nations, signed this agreement, but, as is her habit, kept it not. The horrors of slavery were continued in her colonies, and in the middle of the present century almost reached the depths of inhumanity. At this time the population of Cuba was nearly a million people, and the traffic in human flesh and blood was a prosperous and profitable business. How long it would have continued is impossible to say, had not England interfered. After painful delays, much threatening, and innumerable broken promises on the part of Spain to observe the Treaty of Vienna, England agreed to give that country two millions of dollars to compensate those who owned “slave factories” in Havana, provided the nefarious business was stopped. Spain simply pocketed the money, told her noble sons engaged in the slave business in Cuba to look out for British cruisers when bringing slaves, assured them that no harm beyond the loss of cargo should come to them if caught—and the plantations of Cuba continued to be supplied as usual with slaves. Interesting facts in relation to conditions in Cuba during this period, when British cruisers kept watch of Spanish slave-ships, have been recently given in a series of articles in the Century Magazine, written in 1859.

According to this chronicle, the Spaniards in Cuba were in open sympathy with the slave-dealers, and a story is told of a slaver chased by a cruiser into the harbour of Havana, the shores being lined with people cheering the slaver. The cruiser would have effected a capture, but the slaver, dodging into a corner of the harbour, came to anchor, and her officers told the slaves on board to jump overboard and swim ashore, as the British were cannibals and would eat them all if captured. The slaves escaped to the shore, where the Spaniards picked them up and laughed at the British and the trick.

The same writer notes that by law the British must sell captured slaves by a mixed commission at fifty dollars each for a seven years’ term of labour. These slaves were known as emancipados and each wore a tin tag on his neck, showing the date of his sale and the date of the expiration of his slave service; but emancipados, strangely, seldom reached the end of their terms; the Spaniards prevented that, by taking the tag from an emancipado whenever one of their slaves died and putting it on the corpse. This was sufficient evidence that the emancipado was dead, and the Spanish owner had a new slave. As for the general condition of the emancipado, it was much worse than that of the real slave, for his master, knowing he must soon lose him, treated him cruelly, by overwork and starving, and when at last the poor emancipado had his freedom, he had neither strength nor health to enjoy it.

A Cuban gentleman, now over threescore years and ten, told the author, in Cuba, that nothing in ancient or modern history exceeded in horror the slave-trade of Cuba during this period. In spite of England’s watchfulness, it could be made profitable, even if occasional mishaps sent a shipful of unhappy Africans, chained together below decks, to the bottom of the sea, or a catastrophe set fire to the load of writhing humanity, fettered to prevent escape. Naturally a large percentage died on the voyage, and the condition of those landed was so awful that a description would be impossible in these pages. It will suffice to say that upon one occasion a young Cuban, who had been sent down by his employer to land some of these unfortunate creatures, was so impressed by the awful spectacle that he shot himself through the brain with a revolver and died on the spot.

So long as this traffic continued, and the plantations of the Island were supplied by the unhappy African victims of man’s inhumanity to man, there was no labour trouble in Cuba. Under such conditions sugar-growing was a comparatively simple process, and those engaged in it became wealthy. The day of reckoning, however, was at hand. After repeated disappointments, England succeeded in absolutely stopping further importations of slaves into Cuba. Up to the time of the breaking out of the insurrection of 1868, black labour had been almost exclusively used on the sugar estates of Cuba. Bad as slavery is at the best, there was in Cuba probably the worst system ever known. The work was of the hardest, the climatic conditions severe, and the unhappy victims of cupidity were ill-treated and brutalised. With such a beginning, continuing in one form and another until 1885, how could such conditions produce aught but dissatisfaction and misery at the present time?

The same causes demoralised the Cubans. They were reared in luxury and idleness and looked upon work as fit only for slaves. The owners of plantations were rich men, their children were educated abroad, and, as a rule, spent most of their time in foreign travel. A large proportion of them were simply alien landlords. Unskilled in business, when the change took place and the slaves were freed, these people were not prepared to meet the new conditions which confronted them and to adjust themselves to a new form of life. Here the Spaniard, who is always anxious for gain, took advantage of the situation, and at the end of the rebellion of 1868-1878 the Cuban planters, who were formerly rich, found themselves impoverished. Their slave labour had been taken from them, their opportunities for further employment of contract coolies had been lost, and they found themselves in need of outside assistance. The Spaniards and some others responded by advancing money to them at the current rate of interest (twelve per cent.), but the planters, unaccustomed to economise, could not pay expenses and interest, and year by year their debts grew heavier. Some managed to continue operations, but many broke down under their burdens and their plantations went to satisfy their creditors, chiefly Spaniards. Short of labour, the crops declined; and to add to their troubles, beet-sugar made its advent. The European beet-growers, with a clear knowledge of conditions in the Island, were quick to take advantage of them and push their product forward to supply the Cuban cane-sugar deficit, and so successful were they that at the end of the insurrection of 1868, say in 1878, Cuba was practically bankrupt. Competition with the European beet-growers was difficult, and it was impossible to induce capital from the United States to restore the sugar industry of Cuba, owing to a lack of confidence in the stability of the government of the Island.


During the ten years of rebellion, the planters were able to protect their property by paying regular taxes to the Spanish Government, and at the same time allowing a certain amount to the insurgents, who agreed for this not to destroy the plantations. During this period they employed slave and coolie labour; but they were then subject to the Moret law, which was, in effect, that each planter should liberate a certain number of his slaves each year, and this was to continue until slavery had disappeared. Before this occurred, however, the treaty of Zanjon was made, whereby all slaves were liberated. By the Moret law, numbers were given to the slaves by the municipality, the name and number of the slave written on a slip, which was put in a box and each year ten per cent. of the names were drawn out. The owners were then officially notified that certain slaves, giving their numbers, were free, and this was published in a local paper. Most of these slaves remained with the planters. This law had a very good effect.

Returning for a moment to the outbreak of the rebellion of 1868, it is necessary to refer to another sad page in the history of labour in Cuba; namely, the introduction of coolie labour from China. In 1869 the importation of slaves into Cuba was stopped, and then commenced the traffic in coolies, who were shipped from China, cargoes of them being landed at Havana. They were brought over under a contract for eight years by a company in Havana which had its own line of steamers. The contracts were sold to anyone who wished to buy them, at from four hundred to five hundred dollars per contract. The conditions of a contract were that the Chinaman was to serve for eight years. He was to be paid at the rate of four dollars per month, with rations, and was to receive two suits of clothes and a blanket. If ill for fifteen days, his wages were to be deducted and his time lost.

One of the conditions of the contract was that at the end of eight years he was to be considered a citizen of Cuba with such privileges as were extended to Spanish subjects. Before the expiration of the eight years, however, those holding these Chinese contracts were notified by the Spanish authorities that at the expiration of the contract of any coolie in their employ they were to deliver said coolie to the authorities of the locality where they were at work. Here, the authorities placed the coolie on public land, obliging him to work for the municipality, and held him there until someone offered to take him under a new contract. This was entirely by force and not optional on the part of the coolie. The conditions of the new contract were for four years more at seventeen dollars per month, twelve dollars of which were to be retained by the municipality, and five dollars were to be given to the coolie. At the expiration of the four years, if the coolie’s conduct had been satisfactory to his employer, then the municipality was to return to the Chinaman the money it had retained. The treatment of these coolies was quite as severe as was ever meted out to an African, and when this condition of affairs was learned by the Chinese Government, a commission was sent to Cuba to investigate. A report was made to the Chinese Government, which resulted in the prohibition of further coolie emigration from China to Cuba.

Confronted by the loss of his slaves and by the prohibition of further contracts for coolie labour, the Cuban was at a loss whither to turn for help. His only hope lay with the Spanish peasants and the Canary Islanders, and these, in as large numbers as could be secured, were imported. They were much more valuable than the slaves or the coolies, but jealousies arose among the Cuban labourers, and the newcomers, being less numerous, were unable to protect themselves and in many instances were forced into the towns for protection, thus leaving the planters quite as short of labour as before, and at the same time increasing the complications of the labour problem.

In this condition we find Cuba to-day. The great problem will be how to obtain labour for the plantations, for the mines, and for agricultural purposes, in order to carry on the work of industrial reconstruction. All sorts of schemes have been suggested, but upon examination of the conditions in Cuba, it is feared they will prove impracticable. The life of the labourer, in consequence of the lack of diversified employment, and the fact that labour in Cuba is the severest kind of toil, has few attractions. If the Spanish soldiers are willing to remain and take up peaceful pursuits, it will aid in the solution of the problem. Possibly Italians may be induced to emigrate to Cuba, if assured of a stable government and plenty of work. The opportunity (small allotments and homes) is limited, and the drudgery on large plantations, without family life, is not likely to attract those from Europe who are ever eager to seek homes and broader opportunities in the United States.

When in Cuba, the author visited many plantations and talked with many planters and overseers on the labour question. The extracts from notes taken on the spot will be found instructive on this point. The following excellent explanatory account of farm labour was prepared by an American who has spent the best part of his life on Cuban plantations and is now working a prosperous colona, or cane farm:


“From the 1st of December to the 1st of June an average of about 350 people were employed; of these ten per cent. were Canary Islanders or Spaniards, ten per cent. negro women and boys (white women do no field work), twenty per cent. native whites, and about sixty per cent. negroes and mulattos. From the 1st of June to the 1st of December an average of about 150 were employed. Women do no field work during this period.

“During harvest I give the negro women preference and pay them the same salaries as the best male labour; they are more constant, their work is usually well done, and each one keeps her man straight, which is an appreciable item.

“Next I prefer the negro, because he is, as a rule, a more faithful worker than either the native white or mulatto, the most of whom are addicted to gambling, and they cannot be depended on from one day to another.

“For stowing cane on the cars, ploughing, ditching, road repairing, and railroad work, Canary Islanders and Spaniards are preferable; they are more used to this kind of work, more constant, and have fewer vices.

“For cane cutting, carting, planting, and cultivating, native labour, in particular negro labour, is preferable; because the natives, being experts, work more rapidly, the cane plant suffers less injury, bringing in more remunerative returns, and its life is prolonged, which is a big item to the farmer; the natives are also much less addicted to smoking in the field, and danger from this source is materially reduced. But as a rule they are dishonest, and untruthful in the extreme, and this is general and applies both to whites and blacks, the latter being the champions. Canary Islanders and Spaniards are cigarette smokers and they are dangerous in the cane fields.

“At the present time labour is very poor and very much demoralised. Many of the abler men are in the insurrection, a great number of those remaining have seen mothers, wives, and children dying a lingering death from hunger; some could obtain work for their food, while others earned a salary of from six to eight dollars per month in depreciated Spanish silver. Provisions were high, and the Government increased taxes on meats and other necessaries, until these poor ignorant people, bent down by great sorrow and seeing no help for themselves, gave up in despair and became indifferent.

“During the past crop, as well as at the present time, I employ a considerable number of Asiatics, but many of these are opium smokers and much debilitated, and we calculate on sixty per cent. only being at work, while forty per cent. are resting in their barracon.[9]

“The average salaries paid by this colona during normal times, that is, previous to the insurrection, were about as follows:
Administration permonth, $166.66gold,andmaintenance.
Second overseer35.00
Steward and bookkeeper50.00
Pumping water6.00
Night watchman20.00
Mounted field-guard30.00
Mounted field guardpermonth,$25.00gold,andmaintenance.
Waiter for operatives’ table15.00
Vegetable gardener20.00
Foreman with cartmen30.00
Foreman with stevedores28.00
Cane cutters21.00
Cane lifters15.00
Cane loaders (stevedores)21.00

“During the summer months wages for field labour averaged about $17 per month. Cost for maintaining labour averaged about $7.50 per month in gold; cost for maintaining overseers, foremen, carpenters, cooks, stewards, guards, etc., amounted to about $12 per month.

“Rations for each man per day were as follows:

“Clear beef, one pound, or its equivalent in tasajo or salt fish.

“Rice, one pound, or its equivalent in beans, peas, macaroni, etc.

“Lard, two ounces.

“Coffee, one ounce.

“Sugar, two ounces.

“Bread, six ounces, or instead of bread, sweet potatoes, plantains, or melanga.

“Sweet-oil, bacon, salt, and spices sufficient to season the food.

“During the winter months, cabbage, tomatoes, and turnips are served every day without regard to rations.


“When a labourer enters his name on the pay-roll he receives his machete or hoe, tin plate, tin dipper, and spoon, the same being charged to him and credited when returned.

“Time-keeper makes his rounds twice every day.

“Away from the batey[10] smoking is absolutely prohibited, and the penalty is immediate dimissal.

“Salaries are paid any day between 11 A.M. and 1 P.M., Sundays excepted, to those who desire the money.

“Except in case of sickness, meals are charged to those who are not at work.

“To the sick such medicines as we have are given free; the most prominent of these is quinine.

“If a man remains in the barracon sick for more than two days he is sent to his home, or to a hospital. If it is an injury received in the service of the colona, he is cared for until able to work again.

“The bell tolls at 4 A.M. for the people to get up; at break of day, after having drunk a cup of coffee, they go to the field; at 11 o’clock they return to breakfast; at 1 o’clock they again go to the field; at 6 o’clock they come in to dinner, and at 8 o’clock the bell sounds silence, after which absolute quiet is enforced. The negro is fond of his music and dancing, and this is permitted at seasonable hours, and sometimes the overseer gives special permission to prolong their amusements beyond the usual hour.

“Gambling is prohibited, but the rule cannot be successfully enforced.

“In the dry season (at mid-day) when the people are in the batey, sentinels are stationed on the hills to give timely warning of cane fires.

“Armed guards patrol the fields by day, and guard the cattle at night—this applies to times of peace.


“During my experience in this vicinity I have never known a single instance where a small colona prospered or was able to extricate itself from debt, and this condition is owing to various causes. A colona employing from three hundred to four hundred men can be carried on more economically than one employing from one hundred to two hundred men. The high-salaried men in the one are very nearly the same as in the other, but the small farmers with fifty or two hundred acres fare much worse. These purchase everything they require at retail, often paying from fifteen to thirty per cent. more than the large farmers, who purchase at wholesale and receive rebate for prompt payment. A small farmer employing ten men requires a cook; the larger, employing three hundred men, requires but two cooks. The small farmer is always cramped for money, has but a limited credit with the central, and outside of that none, except with an occasional country storekeeper, who may consider the risk and accommodate him by charging exorbitant interest. The money which ought to be expended on the cane fields goes to pay this interest, his fields get to such low ebb that the cane no longer pays the expense for harvesting, he can obtain no money for replanting, fails to pay his rent, and the owner of the land takes possession of what remains, resulting in some other poor fellow stepping in only to repeat his predecessor’s experience.

“The cost for preparing, breaking up, cross-ploughing, making, furrowing, seed cane, planting, cultivating, wear and tear to implements, and weeding one caballeria[11] of cane to maturity, and doing it well, is from $1400 to $1600, according to conditions of soil, salaries, etc., and under normal conditions will here require from three to four years before the farmer can see any profits, and then only by intelligent management and good soil; soil which requires planting every three to five years will ruin any man.

“The average yield of cane per caballeria in Guabairo for 1895 was about 71,500 arrobas,[12] and the cost per one hundred arrobas for weeding, cutting, carting, and delivering to the central amounted to about $1.84.

“During the crop time we employed from one hundred and fifty to two hundred Chinamen; of the balance of the labourers, probably there were more negroes than Spanish, with the white Cubans in a distinct minority. The Chinamen we have here now make very steady workmen, but they are weak, and not able to do as much work per day as either a negro or a Spaniard can do in the field. The best workmen we have, if we can get enough of them, are the negroes. One negro in cutting cane, can do as much as two of any other class; but I do not think this country is adapted for the American negro, from what I have heard of him, as he would have to put up with hardships here, and a style of eating and living which, I imagine, is not as good as he has in the southern part of the United States. The immigration of Chinese is prohibited, although a few manage to get in at a time. I do not know of any other restrictions on immigration. I do not believe the Jamaica negro would make a good workman; for, from what I have heard of him, he is very lazy, and would not be at all a desirable labourer. Thus our only hope for labour is to retain here the Canary Islanders, because they are harder working and can stand the climate better than others. They are men who can save money here, and that in itself is proof that they must be steady workmen, because they earn so little. Galicians are also good workers, but so far as I know of the men working here, the Canary Islanders are the best. The white men are mainly employed as stevedores in the batey, though they are also good labourers in the field.

“As a rule the labourers are not married. The families of the married labourers live in the villages in the neighbourhood. The men must sleep in the batey at night. Sunday they work half a day, and get paid for a full day, provided they have worked five full days during the week; otherwise they only get half a day’s pay. The men sleep in large rooms called barracones; sleeping in hammocks, and not taking their clothes off. Many of them possess but one suit, and on Sundays, after breakfast, they go to a stream, wash their clothes, lie around until they are dry, and then put them on again. For the better class of workmen, employed in the factory, the machinery helpers, etc., we have bath-houses. These men have rooms, and as a rule they are unmarried. Most of the labouring men, if they have families, when they are paid off, go away for a day, or a day and a half, and take their money to their families, and then come back to work. Those who are not married, keep on working or stay off a few days. It is quite uncommon to find a labouring man who can read and write. Their chief vice is gambling, the Cuban and Spaniard being similar about this, though we try on this estate to prevent gambling as much as possible. The Chinese gamble and smoke opium. The bell rings at 8 P.M., at which time the men are supposed to be in their barracones, and are not supposed to walk around the batey, this rule not being enforced except during the last two years.

“The price of labour, in 1895, for cutting cane, etc., before the insurrection commenced, varied from fourteen dollars to twenty dollars per month, Spanish gold. This has fallen off to from twelve dollars to fifteen dollars, Spanish silver, paid during the past crop for the same labour—in American gold about fifty-five per cent. of this. The maintenance per month per man is nine dollars, Spanish gold. This fall in wages was necessitated by the fall in the price of sugar, and by the fact that but few plantations in the neighbourhood were able to continue working.”


Labour seeking employment in Cuba must face these conditions. That the field will prove sufficiently attractive to tempt immigration in large numbers, even from the poorer sections of Europe, is doubtful. Still, with more prosperous times, the Canary Islanders may try their fortunes in the future as they have tried them successfully in the past; and so with Italians, Spaniards, South and Central Americans, and even the Southern negro of the United States, despite the fact, as stated above, that the American negro will not come to Cuba because the work is too hard and the food and accommodations too poor. But the American negro will, unwittingly, no doubt be the pioneer of a new labour era in Cuba. With the coming of the new order and new people, will come higher ideas of labour, and that which has ennobled labour in the United States will have its elevating influence among the labouring people of Cuba. Herding labourers in barracones like so many cattle, sleeping them, feeding them, bathing them, with less care than is shown to fine cattle, ruling them with whip and spur, making no provision or allowing no time for their mental or moral improvement, regarding them merely as so much live stock, but of less value than cattle, because when too old to work they cannot be slaughtered and eaten, it is small wonder that the crying need of the sugar-planter for two centuries has been sufficient and efficient labour. When the planter, under the newer influences which shall soon prevail, learns that by education, by the adoption and enforcement of sanitary regulations, by the establishment of homes, by the observance of the decent amenities of life, by the liberalising of religious belief, by the recognition of human rights, and by the general uplifting of the sentiment of work, a sufficiency of labour may be easily secured, and its efficiency guaranteed, the problem so long unsolved will be made as clear as day, and Cuba will enter an era of prosperity for all classes that will astonish and attract the world.

There is at this time a steady increase in the demand for labour on plantations and, in Santiago Province, for the mines. While in Cuba the author received one cable despatch calling for fifteen hundred labourers for the mines, while three large planters stood ready, among them, to employ a thousand men to work in the sugar fields. In the neighbourhood of the sugar plantations all the able-bodied men had either been killed in battle, died of disease and starvation, or were still in a state of practical destitution, hidden away in the insurgent camps. Those who offered themselves for employment were, as a rule, too weak to endure the hard labour. Three years of privations and lack of food had destroyed their stamina. To be sure, there is surplus labour in Havana,—able-bodied labour,—but those who applied there had no means of transportation to the localities where they could obtain work. Through a suggestion made by the writer to an enterprising American concern, four hundred of these Havana labourers were sent to Santiago. It is estimated that at least three thousand additional labourers could be well employed in these mines at once, if it were possible to send them from the spots where starvation stares them in the face to the localities where work can be obtained for those able to endure, as already indicated, the hardest toil under trying climatic conditions. Many Spanish soldiers desire to remain in the Island. They have formed alliances in Cuba; some of them have married and have families there. These men have come before American officials and entreated them to aid in finding them employment of some kind, either as Civil Guards, in the mines, or on the plantations. As a rule they make industrious and faithful labourers. Attention is called to an extract from a letter written by a prominent business man of Havana,—the man, in fact, who in October was employed to send the four hundred labourers from that city to Santiago:

“I advertised for labourers in the Santiago mines in our principal newspapers, and, in consequence, have had for the last three days at least one hundred and twenty men calling at my office for situations. They are willing to accept the price offered, but not one of them can pay the passage from this port to Santiago.

“Lots of soldiers, lots of labourers, many of whom have already worked in the Santiago mines and know all about the work, living, and everything else, but were taken away from there as guerrillas, volunteers, and soldiers of some kind, are willing to go; but, as you will understand, the people here have been without work and the soldiers without any pay, and therefore nobody can pay the passage.

“While I have been writing these lines several men have called on me, but it is the same thing over and over again; they need work, and are willing to work, but they have not got one cent to save their souls.”

It is believed this indicates clearly and without exaggeration the present conditions in Havana as regards would-be labourers and their suffering for want of work. During fifteen years’ experience in operating iron mines in Cuba, those who know say, the labour question there has always been the unsolved problem, as never during that time have they been able fully to supply their wants in this direction. If the number of labourers has not in normal times been sufficient to satisfy the requirements of all industries in Cuba, how much will it fall short under the new conditions? The only hope for the renewal of prosperity in the Island is, first, the rehabilitation of the sugar industry; second, a revival of work on the tobacco plantations; and third, a full complement of men in the mining districts. These industries are the basis of the prosperity of the Island. A better distribution of labour will aid somewhat, and if this is accomplished intelligently by the United States Government, employment can be found for thousands whose presence in Havana without work is a menace to the city. It should be borne in mind that the Cuban harvest is in the winter months, and therefore plans should at once be inaugurated by which those who want work can be immediately brought to those anxious to give them employment. A small expenditure of money in this direction now will save a large expenditure in the future in some other and less desirable ways.

It is useless to try to create new industries until the old and strong industries of the Island are re-established. If it is difficult, after the Spanish soldiers leave, to secure the necessary labour for the plantations, producing, as they will this year, a maximum of 400,000 tons of sugar for export, where are the labourers coming from to produce the high-water mark of 1,100,000 tons of sugar? The process of industrial reconstruction will necessarily be slow and depend in a large degree upon the stability of the Government and the rapidity with which the people settle down to work. There is no possibility, however, of a surplus labour supply. Work can be found for all capable and willing to perform hard labour now that the affairs of the Island have passed into the hands of the United States military authorities and the new customs tariff has gone into force. From this time the work of repairing the dismantled sugar plantations should go forward and thousands of labourers will be required. Whatever may be the future of Cuba, the present must be provided for and life and property and the right to labour be protected.

The disposal of the insurgent troops is so intimately interwoven with the labour problem that it is difficult to separate the two. Some of the insurgent troops should be, and probably will be, utilised as Civil Guards, supplementing the United States forces; but those who are not needed for this purpose should be systematically aided as far as possible in any endeavours they may make to secure work. Men with hardly clothes to cover their nakedness, who have existed for three years on a diet that would kill the ordinary American labourer in three weeks, and who have practically foraged for their daily existence, must be helped a little before they can stand alone—helped at least to the extent of food and raiment and transportation to the locality where there is work in abundance.

Lastly, in this connection, the need of homes in Cuba is one of the most pressing. The condition of those who labour on the plantations is truly deplorable. They literally have none of the necessities of civilisation. A complete state of savagery would be preferable to the condition of those employed on the sugar estates, who toil from early sunrise to sunset on rations of the plainest sort, and live in huts built of the bark of palm trees and thatched with the palm leaf.



THE number and the characteristics of the people of Cuba are matters of doubt. If not of doubt exactly, at least there seem to be many discrepancies in relation to the numerical side of the problem, and great variation in opinion as to the qualities and peculiarities of the several classes of inhabitants which constitute the people of the Island. Before attempting to discuss the traits of the people, it may be advisable to ascertain, as far as practicable, the component parts of the population, and for that purpose recourse must be had to such statistical data as may be found available. The census report of Cuba can be obtained, but it is not issued, like our own, in book form, or even as printed reports. The results, moreover, are not worked out with any degree of detail as to age, sex, race, marital condition, occupation, and such other data as make an analysis of the population of the United States a comparatively easy task. The first census of Cuba was taken as far back as 1774, and since then the population has been enumerated at various periods, apparently when it suited the convenience or desire of the authorities at Madrid. The last count of the people was in December, 1897, but the returns from this enumeration have not been tabulated. The authorities admit they are imperfect in the four provinces of Pinar del Rio, Havana, Matanzas, and Santa Clara, and that they lack entirely the population of Puerto Principe and Santiago de Cuba. It may, therefore, be expedient that this work should be abandoned and that the United States authorities should take a complete and satisfactory census of the Island in December (for it cannot be taken in the month of June), 1899, or December, 1900, either of which dates will be near enough to the date of our own Twelfth Census, which will be June 1, 1900—the earlier date will probably be better for Cuba and nearer our own census. Such an enumeration should elicit information in relation to occupations and such social topics as will aid in constructing a suitable government for the people of Cuba. The method of taking the Cuban census has been crude and the returns not very reliable. The organisation for the work has always been made in Spain and delegated to a Central Board in Cuba, which board is presided over by a Cabinet Minister—the last by Mr. Montoro, Secretary of State. The Secretary to this Board is the Director of Census. The schedules are then forwarded to the municipalities, who thus control their own enumerations. Fortunately for Cuba, there are no “boom towns,” so the returns are not unduly padded. The schedules for the rural districts are handled from the capital of the province. When the schedules are filled, they are sent to Havana, where the work of tabulation is performed. The completed work is sent to Spain for approval and promulgation. The method seems roundabout and cumbersome and must result in a large percentage of errors. The official who had charge of the last census admitted it was not exact—excepting possibly for some places where the municipal authorities took pride in the work. This was the case in Matanzas, where a census was taken in 1893, which seems on the face to be careful statistical work. A study of the census columns of unfortunate Cuba reveals the story of that Island in unmistakable terms. (See table on page 92.)

Disease and war have performed their fatal work and from time to time decimated the inhabitants. The cheerful side of the picture is the constant increase of population from 1852 to 1867. These few years were called the Golden Age of Cuba. The cholera visited Cuba at the end of the year 1868, and the Ten Years’ War began October 10, 1868, at which time many Cubans emigrated. This will explain the decrease of the year 1869. From 1870 to 1877 Spanish soldiers poured into the country, and not less than 200,000 Spaniards were sent there to crush the insurrection of 1868 to 1878 (Ten Years’ War).

Per cent.
Per cent.
1899 (est.)1,200,000....2.65


Then came the last war, which has been even more disastrous, and many competent authorities put the loss by disease, starvation, and slain at 400,000. It is impossible to verify these figures until we shall have an accurate enumeration of the population, so it must remain guesswork until then. Whatever the result of the next census may show, the fact remains apparent that the population of Cuba, by reason of its misfortunes, is far behind the natural increment; that is, the growth by excess of births over deaths. This is shown by the following table, giving the estimated population of the Island of Cuba from 1774 to 1894, by decades, taking the average rate of increase of the native population in the United States by census decades:

  Year. Estimated
From 1850 to 1890 native
and foreign were given
separately by census
takers; previously no
such count was made.
1774171,620 As by Mr. Bonnet’s
table as increased by
United States census
rates, estimated averages.

In the opening chapter of this volume the point was made that Cuba, had it been permitted to remain in peace and enjoy its advantages, should have had a population ranging from 4,500,000 to 5,000,000. That this statement is borne out may be noted in the subjoined table, which gives the estimated population of the Island of Cuba from 1774 to 1894, taking the average rate of increase of the total population in the United States, by census decades:

1774171,620 —As per Mr. Bonnet’s table.
1824686,832} —Increased at United States census
rates for decades, estimated

The rate of growth of the Western Hemisphere, had Cuba been allowed to enjoy her natural advantages, would have found her at the close of 1900 with close upon 5,000,000 population and a country as flourishing as that pictured in the early part of this volume.

The population of the Island of Cuba, as enumerated on the 31st of December, 1887, was 1,631,687. This population was scattered over an area of about 122,606 square kilometres. These figures give an average density of population of 13.31 inhabitants to the square kilometre, the maximum of which appeared to be in the province of Havana (52.49), and the minimum in the province of Puerto Principe (2.10).

Province. Number
Density per
Havana 451,928 8,610 52.49
Matanzas 259,578 8,486 30.59
Pinar del Rio 225,891 14,967 15.09
Puerto Principe 67,789 32,341 2.10
Santa Clara 354,122 23,083 15.34
Santiago de Cuba 272,379 35,119 7.76
  1,631,687 122,606 13.31

Distributed as white population and coloured people, the latter comprising negroes and half-breeds and Asiatics, the proportions were as follows:

Province. Number
Density per
Square Kilometre.
Whites. Coloured. Whites. Coloured. Whites. Coloured.
Havana 335,782 116,146 39.00 13.49 74.30 25.70
Matanzas 142,040 117,538 16.74 13.85 54.72 45.28
Pinar del Rio 166,678 59,213 11.14 3.95 73.79 26.21
Puerto Principe 54,581 13,208 1.69 0.41 80.52 19.48
Santa Clara 245,097 109,025 10.62 4.72 69.27 30.73
Santiago de Cuba 158,711 113,668 4.52 3.24 58.27 41.73
 1,102,889 528,798 9.00 4.31 67.59 32.41
  1,631,687 13.31 100.

It will be observed that the number of whites is greatest in the province of Havana, but the highest percentage of whites is found in the province of Puerto Principe (80.52). The province of Matanzas shows the greatest number of the coloured race, which is explained by the fact that slavery prevailed more extensively in that province than elsewhere. The proportion of males and females was as follows:

Province. Number of
Males. Females. Males. Females.
Havana 243,966 207,962 53.98 46.02
Matanzas 148,876 110,702 57.35 42.65
Pinar del Rio 122,829 103,062 54.38 45.62
Puerto Principe 35,843 31,946 52.87 47.13
Santa Clara 193,496 160,626 54.64 45.36
Santiago de Cuba 137,590 134,789 50.51 49.49
  882,600 749,087 54.09 45.91

Notice that in each province, males are in excess of females. The immigration of women into Cuba has always been small. The proportion of males and females of the white and coloured races is as follows:

Province. Whites.
Number of
Males. Females. Males. Females.
Havana 188,269 147,513 56.07 43.93
Matanzas 79,362 62,678 55.87 44.13
Pinar del Rio 91,627 75,051 54.97 45.03
Puerto Principe 29,473 25,108 53.99 46.01
Santa Clara 134,412 110,685 54.84 45.16
Santiago de Cuba 84,044 74,667 52.95 47.05
  607,187 495,702 55.05 44.95
Province. Coloured.
Number of
Males. Females. Males. Females.
Havana 55,697 60,449 47.95 52.05
Matanzas 69,514 48,024 59.14 40.86
Pinar del Rio 31,202 28,011 52.69 47.31
Puerto Principe 6,370 6,838 48.23 51.77
Santa Clara 59,084 49,941 54.12 45.88
Santiago de Cuba 53,546 60,122 47.20 52.80
  275,413 253,385 52.46 47.54

Notice that the proportion of males is larger in the white race than in the coloured. The enumeration of the population of Cuba in 1877 resulted as follows:

Province. Number of
Density. Percentage.
Whites. Coloured. Whites. Coloured. Whites. Coloured.
Havana 321,951 113,945 37.59 13.24 73.86 26.14
Matanzas 160,806 122,315 19.11 14.41 56.80 43.20
Pinar del Rio 128,986 53,218 8.62 3.55 70.79 29.21
Puerto Principe 57,692 11,553 1.78 0.36 83.32 16.68
Santa Clara 219,294 102,103 9.50 4.42 68.23 31.77
Santiago de Cuba 143,706 86,115 4.09 2.45 62.53 37.47
1,032,435 489,249 8.42 3.99 67.85 32.15
  1,521,684 12.41 100

The increase in population from 1877 to 1887 was 110,003 individuals, or 7.23 per cent. The number of whites increased 70,454; the number of coloured people increased 39,549. Asiatics in this census, numbering 43,811, were included with the whites.


There are four classes of Cuban residents: the whites, the coloured, the blacks, and the Chinese.

The whites comprise native Cubans, Spaniards, and foreigners; a certain proportion in the interior being Canary Islanders, who are fitted by constitution, habits, and tastes for farm work.

The native Cuban is usually bright, and is gifted particularly with a remarkable memory. Children are very precocious, and, when given educational advantages, they develop into men of no mean ability. In addition to the intelligent Cubans residing in the Island, whose reputation in different branches of learning extends abroad, there are many who have attained honourable distinction in foreign countries, in competition with others whose advantages were conspicuously greater. Dr. Albarran, the well-known Paris physician, and Albertini, the violinist, are two of the many Cubans who have struggled and succeeded in Europe by dint of their individual exertions and natural talents. In America, a most distinguished professor of civil engineering, two leading civil engineers in the navy, and the most eminent authority on yellow fever in the country are native Cubans.

Havana is the only city in Cuba where any instruction is obtainable, and it is noticeable there that even the boys of the poorer classes are anxious to follow the university courses after leaving school.

In former days the sons of wealthy Cubans led the typical life of gentlemen of leisure. It was customary among them to take a profession, if that could be accomplished with little or no exertion. The remainder of their lives was usually spent in travelling through Europe. The present generation, however, is very different. It is composed of the sons of men who have been on the verge of bankruptcy for many years, owing to their thoughtless extravagance. They have had to work for their living from the moment they have left college, and, owing to the increasing poverty of the Island, they have never been able to reconstruct the fortunes ill spent by their forbears. The consequence is that one finds in Cuba the younger generation to be, as a class, vastly superior to the older men in principles, education, and working capacity.

The Cuban is more analytical than inventive. His mind easily grasps subjects on which he has received very little information; but he is decidedly lacking in inventive and constructive power.

The Cuban mother is very affectionate, but her maternal fondness often leads her into indulgence of the many failings of childhood, that, in later life, are impossible to overcome. Prevarication and pilfering are no uncommon failings of child-life in Cuba. Despite these weaknesses, children are so generous that their parents find it hard to prevent them from sharing their pocket-money with their young friends. Their politeness and affability are striking.

Cuban hospitality is proverbial. In the old and prosperous days of wealth it was a common thing for whole families to constitute themselves guests at the country-house of some friendly sugar-planter, and spend Christmas or Holy Week there without having given the host a word of warning. The planter, far from resenting this proceeding, invariably provided entertainment for his self-invited guests in the shape of riding parties, picnics, and dancing, considering himself highly honoured by the unforeseen advent of his friends. Like most Southerners, the Cubans are musically inclined. They dance well, and prolonged dancing parties are a favourite form of amusement.

There was an old Spanish law, in force up to some years ago, which entitled all suitors in marriage, whose proposals had been opposed, to demand that the lady’s parents state before the courts the reasons of their objections. There are interesting cases recorded of proud young Cubans who, animated by a high sense of honour, have availed themselves of this harsh expedient, in preference to breaking their vows to their lady-loves. The opposition in most cases was due to the fact that the father of the young lady was Spanish and the suitor Cuban. There is an instance of a man prominent in Havana circles who, taking advantage of this privilege, married a lady, and refused to accept his wife’s patrimony, and the father-in-law brought suit to compel him to do so. It was only after many years, when the allowance, handed periodically to the court, had accumulated to a considerable sum, that a compromise was reached and a reconciliation took place between the father and the married couple.

Cubans are very much attached to family life. Deep affection usually exists among the members of families, and they follow each other’s affairs with great interest, even after the families break up.

In Cuban houses, the first morning meal, or “coffee” as it is called, consists of coffee and rolls; breakfast then follows at ten or eleven o’clock, consisting, usually, of fried eggs, hash, fried plantains, sweet potatoes, meat, and café au lait. Dinner takes place at six or seven o’clock. Occasionally fruit is served at two or three o’clock. Visits are exchanged in the evening; but ladies follow the European custom of calling in the afternoon. Most families have an “at home” one evening every week to receive their friends. Married ladies may go out shopping alone early in the day. Among intimate friends young men occasionally call on their young lady friends alone, but this is not general, European customs prevailing.

The Cubans are very fond of fencing, and it is remarkable that the good fencers scarcely ever have duels, or seek quarrels. Duelling is practised ad libitum in all Cuba among the upper class. Just before the war it had become an everyday occurrence; in fact, in one week as many as five duels took place between men well known in Havana society and clubs. As a rule the seconds manage to stop the fight after the first wound, even catching at the pretext of a flesh wound on the forearm; appealing to the attending surgeon to state whether he considers the wound will impair the free use of the arm, and also if there is any chance of nervous twitches setting in from the pain. It is unnecessary to add that the surgeon invariably finds that it is very likely that all of these contingencies may occur—thereby stopping the duel, and “honour is satisfied.”

Baseball, bull-fights, and cock-fights were the most popular entertainments until recently; cock-fights have waned now in popularity considerably, whilst bull-fights are patronised by the Spanish element exclusively. Baseball continues to hold public favour, and since its introduction some twenty years ago a taste for athletics has developed among the Cubans, which was lacking before. Horse-racing was in vogue while there was capital to import foreign half-breeds, but it has now completely died out.

The foreign population of the Island is comparatively limited. A large number of German merchants are engaged in all branches of the tobacco business, which they practically control. It will be found that the knowledge and experience of the Germans in this respect have given them preferment in the direction and management of the largest syndicates and tobacco firms. A sprinkling of English, Americans, and French are to be found throughout the country.

The coloured inhabitants of Cuba (mulattoes) are usually the children of black women and white fathers—the cases of a white woman having children with a black father being so rare as to be nearly unknown. In the cities the mulattoes are servants,—not hotel waiters, for they are all Spaniards,—barbers, and occasionally musicians. Mulatto women, though usually very statuesque in appearance, are unprincipled and insolent.


The Cuban negro inherits from his forefathers, the African slaves, a physique and a character strengthened and tempered by the toil of generations. During the sugar season he works steadily, from four in the morning until sunset every day, taking only two hours of rest with his meals. The coloured population shows no inclination to be on terms of equality with the white, and though under General Calleja’s administration negroes and mulattoes were all granted the handle of “Don” (Mr.) to their names, and though the right to be recognised in hotels, theatres, street-cars, etc., on equal terms with the whites has been extended to them, they have not availed themselves of the privilege to any extent.

The savagery of the African negro has, unfortunately, shown itself among his descendants in the Island. Some years ago a secret society called “Ñañigos” was introduced in Havana. These Ñañigos are divided into bands, whose object is to fight and kill each other. They commit all sorts of depredations and crimes. It has often been shown that the police have been in their pay. Some four hundred were banished some time ago to Spanish penitentiaries, together with political suspects, with whom they were chained in couples and marched through the streets of Havana prior to embarking. This is one of the many acts of refined cruelty that the Spaniards committed during the late insurrection; most respectable and honourable men, accused of sympathising in the cause of the rebellion, were chained arm to arm with negroes of the lowest caste, who, besides being convicted for crime, defiled the very atmosphere around them from the filth of their attire. The Ñañigos have lately been returned to Havana and set free, where they have lost no time in renewing their criminal work.

The Chinese element was brought over by contract for working on sugar plantations. They were virtually slaves until the Chinese Government intervened in their behalf.

The following extract from the comprehensive report of Mr. Robert T. Hill, of the United States Geological Survey on the Island of Cuba, may be considered as authority on the subject of population:


“Seventy-five percent. of the native population of the Island is found outside of the Spanish capital of Habana, which, being the seat of an unwelcome foreign despotism, is no more representative of Cuban life or character than is the English city of Hong Kong of the rural Chinese. While the Habanese have had the freest communication with the United States during the last three years of the revolution, Americans have had little opportunity to hear from the true white Cuban population. The Cubans are mostly found in the provinces and provincial cities, especially in Pinar del Rio and the eastern provinces of Santa Clara, Puerto Principe, and Santiago. Although of Spanish blood, the Cubans, through adaptation to environment, have become a different class from the people of the mother country, just as the American stock has differentiated from the English. Under the influence of their surroundings, they have developed into a gentle, industrious, and normally peaceable race, not to be judged by the combativeness which they have developed under a tyranny such as has never been imposed upon any other people. The better class of Camagueynos, as the natives are fond of calling themselves, are certainly the finest, the most valiant, and the most independent men of the Island, while the women have the highest type of beauty. It is their boast that no Cuban woman has ever become a prostitute, and crime is certainly almost unknown among them.

“While these people may not possess our local customs and habits, they have strong traits of civilised character, including honesty, family attachment, hospitality, politeness of address, and a respect for the golden rule. While numerically inferior to the annual migration of Poles, Jews, and Italians into the eastern United States, against which no official voice is raised, they are too far superior to these people to justify the abuse that has been heaped upon them by those who have allowed their judgment to be prejudiced by fears that they might by some means be absorbed into our future population.

“Notwithstanding the disadvantages under which the Cubans have laboured, they have contributed many members to the learned professions. To educate their sons and daughters in the institutions of the United States, England, and France has always been the highest ambition of the creoles of Cuba and Porto Rico. The influence of their educated men is felt in many countries, the most distinguished professor of civil engineering, two leading civil engineers of our navy, and the most eminent authority on yellow fever in our country belonging to this class. Thousands of these people, driven from their beloved Island, have settled in Paris, London, New York, Mexico, and the West Indies, where they hold honourable positions in society, and even the exiles of the lower classes, with their superior agricultural arts, have been eagerly welcomed in countries like Jamaica, Mexico, and Florida, which hope to share with Cuba the benefits of its tobacco culture.


“In addition to the white creole population, thirty-two per cent. are black or coloured—using the latter word in its correct signification, of a mixture of the black and white. This black population of Cuba has been as little understood in this country as has been the creole, especially by those who have alleged that in case Cuba should gain her freedom the Island would become a second Haiti. The black and coloured people of the Island as a class are more independent and manly in their bearing than their brethren of the United States, having possessed even before slavery was abolished on the Island the four rights of free marriage, of seeking a new master at their option, of purchasing their freedom by labour, and of acquiring property. While the negro shares with the creole the few local rights possessed by any of the inhabitants, their social privileges are greater than here, although a strong caste feeling exists. Miscegenation has also produced many mulattoes, but race mixture is no more common than in this country.

“The coloured people of Cuba belong to several distinct classes. The majority of them are descendants of slaves imported during the present century, but a large number, like the negroes of Colombia and the maroons of Jamaica, come from a stock which accompanied the earliest Spanish settlers, like Estevan, the negro, who, with the two white companions of Cabeza de Vaca, first crossed the United States from the Gulf of Mexico to California in 1528-36. The amalgamation of this class in the past century with the Spanish stock produced a superior class of free mulattoes of the Antonio Maceo type, unlike any people in this country with which they can be compared.

“The current expressions of fear concerning the future relations of this race in Cuba seem inexplicable. The slaves of the South were never subjected to a more abject servitude than have been the free-born whites of Cuba, for they at least were protected from arbitrary capital punishment, imprisonment, and deportation without form of trial, such as that to which all Cubans are still subjected, and the white race of this or any other country has furnished few more exalted examples of patriotism than the mulattoes Toussaint L’Ouverture or Antonio Maceo.

“The experiences of the past have shown that there is no possibility of Cuba becoming Africanised without constant renewal by immigration. The 520,000 coloured people, one-half of whom are mulattoes, represent the diminished survival of over 1,000,000 African slaves that have been imported. The Spaniards had the utmost difficulty in acclimatising and establishing this race upon the Island. While Jamaica and other West India islands are a most prolific negro-breeding ground, the race could not be made to thrive in Cuba.

“Those persons who undertake to say what the social conditions of Cuba would be under independence should look elsewhere than to Haiti for a comparison. Even were the population of Cuba black, as it is not, the island of Jamaica would afford a much better contrast. This island, only about one-tenth the size of Cuba, is composed of mountainous lands like the least fertile portion of Cuba; has a population wherein the blacks outnumber the whites forty-four to one; yet, under the beneficent influence of the English colonial system, its civilisation is one of which any land might be proud, possessing highways, sanitation, and other public improvements even superior to those of our own country, and such as have never been permitted by Spain in Cuba. Even though Cuba should become a second Haiti, which it could not, there is some satisfaction in knowing, in the light of historic events, that Haiti free, although still grovelling in the savagery which it inherited, is better off than it would have been had Napoleon succeeded in forcing its people back into slavery, as he endeavoured to do.

“Another fact which will stand against the Africanising of Cuba is that it is highly probable that nearly one-half of these five hundred thousand coloured people have been destroyed during the present insurrection. A large number of them had but recently been released from the bonds of slavery, and were naturally the poorer class of the Island, upon which the hardships have mostly fallen, being generally the field hands in the sugar districts of Habana, Matanzas, and Santa Clara, where the death-rate of the terrible Weyler reconcentramiento has been greatest. Three hundred thousand of the five hundred thousand blacks belonged to these provinces, and of this number fully one-half have been starved to death. The population of Cuba has undergone great modification since the collection of the statistics given. What changes the deplorable conflict has wrought can only be surmised. Beyond doubt, however, the population has at least been reduced to a million inhabitants by emigration of non-combatants, destruction in battle, official deportation of suspects and political prisoners, and by the reconcentration.

“The rural population of the four western provinces of Pinar del Rio, Habana, Matanzas, and Santa Clara has been totally obliterated. Estimates of this extermination are all more or less conjectural, but the Bishop of Habana is authority for the statement that more than four hundred thousand people have been buried in the consecrated cemetery.”

Mr. Charles M. Pepper, in one of his newspaper letters, speaking of the negroes in Cuba, cites instances of their industry and thrift, and says:

“These notes are perhaps not conclusive, yet they have established in my own mind that the negro in Cuba is not an idler or a clog on industrial progress. He will do his part in rebuilding the industries of the Island, and no capitalist need fear to engage in enterprises because of an indefinite fear regarding negro labour. In the country, for a time, the black labourers may be in the majority. That is one of the results of the reconcentration. The blacks stood it better than the whites, and relatively a larger number of them are left for the work in the fields. When the present conditions are improved the question will arise over the immigration of labour. No need for discussing it has yet arisen. The leading blacks are opposed to the wholesale negro immigration to Cuba, and the mass of their people apparently agree with them.

“On its political side the black population of Cuba has a definite status. Social equality does not exist, but social toleration prevails. There is no colour line. Visitors to the Island invariably remark this fact. In places in the interior I have seen the coloured serving-woman occupying a box at the theatre with the family, and no one seemed to be the worse for it. The custom is not general, yet the toleration of the white and black races is strong enough for an incident of this kind to pass without notice. I have heard Americans say it won’t do at all after the Island is Americanised. One ambitious young fellow from a Southern State said to me that he was going back because the coloured race occupied too prominent a place in Cuba. He did not speak with bitterness or intolerance. He had been brought up under different conditions and felt that he would not be in harmony with such surroundings. Those who feel as he does had better stay away.

“The part taken in the insurrection by the blacks has unquestionably strengthened their future influence. In order to depreciate the white Cubans the Spaniards were in the habit of giving all the credit for the warfare of the bush to the black insurgents. Some Americans have thereby been led into error. When the insurrection began the population of the Island was about two-thirds white and one-third black. That proportion was maintained among the insurgent troops. In some of the regiments more than one-half were black, but in others they did not amount to twenty per cent. In the beginning Maceo drew a large following in the eastern provinces, and this was almost entirely of blacks.

“When the insurrection spread over the entire Island the disproportion between the two races was removed. Many of the officers among the insurgents to-day are blacks. They have few officers of the higher rank, because most of these were killed. Of all the insurgent generals who are seen in Havana—and there is a legion of them—the one who attracts the most attention from Americans is General Ducasse. He is a mulatto, and was educated, I think, at the French military school of St. Cyr. A brother, more famous than he, was killed during the last year of the insurrection in Pinar del Rio Province. This General Ducasse is of polished manners and undeniable force of character. A few weeks ago I read an address of his to the black insurgents, in which he counselled them with moderation, and impressed on them the duty of preparing for their new responsibilities.

“These coloured Cubans have at no time been clamorous for recognition. They seem disposed to ask less than is due them. At least they are not forward in their demands. Back of all this is a consciousness of their own strength. In the States a jovial piece of advice used to be given the negroes—‘Don’t hit the white man, but if you do hit him, hit hard.’ Such advice would be unnecessary in Cuba. It is not probable that a temporary influx of Americans with inherited race prejudices will ever succeed in creating a colour line in political affairs. If that should happen the black Cuban would not need to be advised about hitting the white man hard. He would hit both hard and quick, and it would be a long time before Anglo-Saxon civilisation recovered from the blow and proved its superiority. Fortunately, this is never likely to happen. The black man will share the future of Cuba with the white man.

“The race has far more than its proportion of criminals. Some tendencies toward retrogression have to be watched. But in the midst of many discouraging circumstances the unprejudiced student must recognise the great advance that has been made. When Cuba has a system of common schools the advance will be greater. What is significant in the present is that the black man has been doing very well. He will continue to do well, and even better, if too many people do not stay up nights worrying other people with their fears of the future.



UNDERLYING the prosperity and happiness of the people of any country is health, for without it there can be no strength, no energy, no success, even if all other conditions be favourable. This is true of every section of the world, and is notably true of Cuba, which with almost every advantage that nature could bestow has ever been feared for its malarious diseases, the fatal typhus, and the dreaded “yellow jack,” which acknowledges no master save the frost. For years the world has quarantined against Havana, and other cities have drawn away from this sister in the tropics as from one plague-stricken. Yet this condition is not of nature’s making, but of man’s, and by man shall it be changed into something better. Spain in herself was a tyrant contagion and everything she touched became diseased and rotten to its vitals. And this terrible condition was not only physical, but moral, for moral uncleanness is sure always to follow physical uncleanness. This truth constitutes a corollary out of which has grown the maxim, “Cleanliness is next to Godliness.”

The first consideration, then, with the American authorities who have undertaken to clean Spain’s Augean Stables in Cuba is sanitation; and already the best thought and knowledge and experience we have are being brought to bear upon the stupendous task before us.


As has been stated, Cuba is not naturally unhealthful for a hot, wet country; and among the mountains in its interior and in many places along the coasts, removed from the filthiness of aggregated population, the average mortality is not higher than it is in lands of better repute for healthfulness, and the general health is quite as good. As might be expected, there is not that strength and robustness of physique characterising the people of the higher latitudes, nor is the climate conducive to the pink-and-white health of northerners; but though the people are less rugged of constitution and frame and lungs, and lack the outward signs of northern health, they are by no means constant subjects for physicians’ care and they are anything but chronic candidates for the cemetery. Even in the nasty cities they are not all so, for there are many who are able to have their own houses well located, and to adopt modern methods of sanitation for their own private use. But the public health is not considered of importance, and there is not a city in Cuba which is not wofully lacking in good water, good drainage, and good health. One or two towns, which in America would have a contagion flag run up over them, are so much cleaner than the average that in every description of them by any writer appears the statement that they are said to be the cleanest towns in Cuba. It may be said in this connection that the towns are not large.

Beginning with Havana, the capital of the country and the largest city in it, the stories of its great filthiness can scarcely be believed by those who have seen the place upon the surface and moved about in beautiful parks, in brilliant cafés, on the lovely drives, and elsewhere, among pleasure-loving people, all clothed in their clean white suits and smoking their dainty cigarettes. Yet Havana is viler than words can express; and the vileness has slopped over until her harbour is a veritable cesspool, whose waters are deadly, and whose bottom is so covered with filth that ships will not drop their anchors in it, because it is necessary to clean and disinfect them before they can be taken on board. Havana has been in Spain’s possession for four hundred years, and that harbour is a typical result of Spain’s good government. In the city itself the poor people are huddled in ill-built houses—there are only about eighteen thousand houses in the entire place—more densely than in any city of the world, on narrow streets without sewerage, upon the surface of which garbage and all kinds of refuse are thrown. No attention is paid to ventilation. The houses are built so low that the floors rest upon the soft, damp—in many places swampy—ground; the material is a porous conglomerate which absorbs moisture as a sponge does. Sinks are totally inadequate or absent. Water is not sufficiently supplied, and there is scarcely any effort by the authorities to exercise that care and provision for the public well-being which is characteristic of every properly governed city in the world. As an indication of what might be expected from such a condition of affairs the following table, prepared for American officials by the Havana Department of Sanitation showing the number of deaths for the first eleven months of 1898, is cited:


And this out of a population of about 200,000, in which there were only a few, if any, reconcentrados to starve to death. During this period there were only 2,224 births, showing a net loss of 14,336, or about seven per cent. of the population; a condition of health which would produce a panic in a northern city as soon as the figures were known. Speaking of these figures, Captain Davis, who has been inspecting hospitals, prisons, and public buildings under General Greene, says:

“Vienna, with its million and a half of population, has been called the pest-hole of Europe, because of its death-rate of more than twenty-five to the thousand; yet Havana, with less than one-sixth of its population, has more deaths in one month than Vienna in twelve. The deaths this year in Havana will outnumber those in Chicago by probably five thousand, and will exceed the totals of Boston, St. Louis, Baltimore, and San Francisco combined.”

New York City at this rate would have a death-roll of 270,000 a year and London 450,000, and the deaths in the United States, which are now about 1,000,000 a year, would be about 7,000,000. Of course the figures for 1898 are greatly in excess of other years, owing to the war and the generally disturbed condition of affairs, but even in the healthiest years the death-rate was two or three times greater than the average of other cities.

The leading diseases are consumption, a common disease in hot, wet countries; diarrhœa, dysentery, cholera infantum, and fevers, worst of which is the yellow fever, which is present in Havana every month of the year, although much worse at certain times than at others. It is said that portions of Havana are permanently infected by yellow-fever germs, but Surgeon-General Sternberg, Dr. Wyman, Supervising Surgeon-General of the Marine Hospital Service, and other authorities say that by proper sanitary regulations and careful quarantining, the city may be made free of the disease and kept so, as is the case in Jamaica, where the English have had control for years. The work of sanitation will be difficult and expensive, and years will be required to accomplish it, but it must be done before Havana’s future is assured. Sewers are few and far between, and those which exist are filled with refuse from the streets and are never cleaned, as the odours that rise from them constantly most disagreeably testify. They empty into the bay. Most of the drainage is surface, and as the city lies so low that a heavy wind across the waters of the bay will inundate many of the streets, it will be understood that the drainage is sluggish, and that what should be carried off by water is usually left to be rotted and dried by the sun—except in the rainy season, when it rots without drying. Much of the lower part of the city is built on swamp and “made-land,” and what this means for the health of those who live upon it needs no elucidation.

The following statement, made by José M. Yzquierdo, civil engineer, of Havana, under date of September 28, 1898, will throw some light upon street-sweeping contracts in Havana, show why the work cannot be properly done, and also indicate the part that the city authorities have always taken in the good cause:

“I now have the contract for cleaning the streets and have been connected with the city government a long time. The present system of cleaning the streets is a combination of old and new. When I took up the work about five years ago, I ascertained that the system was very deficient, so I went to New York and studied up the matter. To begin with, the pavements were very bad. The automatic street-sweepers cannot be used to advantage, though I have two sweeping-machines. At night time my people go out with the sweeping-machines and a sprinkler and clean the streets, and from there the dirt is taken to the railroad cars and from the station about nine miles from here, and there I do some business with it; that is, I make a kind of fertilizer. I employ 230 men. We have no furnace to burn up the garbage. I am now going to make a proposition to the city council to clean the cities for the same price and use crematories, doing it on the American plan. For cleaning the city I am to be paid $2350.50 weekly, but I do not get the money; they owe me $180,000. A year or two ago, by giving ten per cent. to the city mayors, etc., I collected $20,000 in one week. Immediately after I got the contract the aldermen called upon me and directed my attention to certain articles in it, so that I finally had to take these aldermen into partnership in order to collect the money.


“I have also had the slaughter-house privilege. I paid the city council $800,000 per year for the privilege of collecting the slaughter-house taxes, and one year I collected nearly $880,000, out of which, of course, I had to pay my men. This has fallen off a great deal. To slaughter cattle, you have to pay 4½ cents per kilo, $1 per head for the corral, $1.25 to kill and dress it, and then 50 cents to take it to the market. The present slaughter-house is a new one, and not very efficient at present, but it could be made into a good one. All the refuse from the slaughter-house now goes into the bay.”

What is true of Havana is true in lesser degree of the other cities and towns of the Island, the degree being governed chiefly by the difference in size; the larger the town, the nastier it is.

Cienfuegos, which, by the way, is the most promising town in the Island, in the commercial sense, is notoriously ill policed, and is a sprouting-ground for all manner of diseases. A report dated November 21, 1898, made by D. E. Dudley, Sanitary Inspector, U.S.M.H.S., notes the fact that its elevation above sea-level is only about eight feet and it is surrounded by a belt of lowlands from eight to ten miles wide. The streets are seventy feet wide, unclean, and out of repair, and in the wet season are fields of nasty mud. There are three sewers, one from the Hotel Union, and another from buildings in the same block, and the third and only public sewer is from the Civil Hospital. The first two of these sewers empty into the bay at the steamer wharf, about two feet above the water-line, and when the wind is in the right direction the gases and vile odours are blown back into the buildings, filling them with stenches. The Hotel Union, the Charity Hospital, and a few private dwellings have modern water-closets, but elsewhere over the city the houses have shallow privy sinks, which are emptied at night and the contents dumped against the cemetery walls. Around the cemetery is also the dumping-ground for garbage, dead animals, and all the refuse of the city, the disposal of which is not under any especial authority. This dumping-ground is a mile and a half from the Hotel Union. Dr. Dudley says:

“Here in this garbage reservation can be seen large numbers of buzzards, feasting on dead horses or dogs, or perched on the cemetery walls, waiting for fresh consignments. Extensive lagoons and lakes of fœcal matter taken from privy vaults lie spread upon the ground. A small section of this reservation faces the bay, and here the collector of the garbage has his living-quarters, in an old tumble-down hut.

“The only cemetery is situated a mile and a half from the heart of the city. It is surrounded by a wall twelve feet high, which furnishes vault room. The cemetery is very small and the section reserved for paupers is more than overcrowded. During my visit ten graves were being dug. By actual measurement I found these graves three feet in depth. Coffins are loaned by the municipalities to paupers, and the bodies alone are buried. In these pauper graves three bodies are buried, one over the other; and then, in less than one year’s time, they are reopened and made ready for new bodies. Portions of skeletons were thrown out of each of the ten graves I saw. In consideration of a dollar, a grave was opened for me, and I counted four skulls. In closing up the graves, these bones are packed around the new bodies. As a rule the topmost corpse is so near the surface that the earth has to be banked up a foot in order completely to cover it.

Water.—This is one of the most serious problems which confront the municipal authorities of this city, and one of much concern to us, if American troops are to be quartered there. The supply is absolutely inadequate to the demands of the city. The hotels and a few residences have cement cisterns built in the ground and use rain-water; but the chief supply comes from a small (and said to be badly polluted) stream, the Jicotea River, a small branch of the Cannau. The water is pumped into two aqueducts; the principal one, which is called after the Jicotea River, holds four hundred thousand litres; a smaller one, the Bouffartique, holds three hundred thousand litres. Pipes from these two aqueducts run through a few of the streets, above ground, alongside the curbing. The gates are open only two hours daily. The hospitals use this water, after boiling. As a remedy for this condition, I am told, there was a project to bring water from a point twenty miles distant, from the falls of the Hanabanilla River, 1200 feet above the sea. Absolute freedom from pollution was claimed. It was abandoned on account of the war. The estimated cost for this work was $1,000,000. The Jicotea aqueduct is simply a large open cistern, built of rock and cement, attached to a brick building in which the Spanish quartermaster has his stores. There are about two hundred wells in the city, but infected, the privy sinks being within a few feet.

Quarantine.—At a point nine miles from the city, on the western shore, I found, in my opinion, an ideal location for a quarantine station. The place, the Concha, owned by the Marquis de Apezteguia as a winter resort, can be purchased. The palace, built on a terrace near the water’s edge, was burned by the insurgent forces. A pier thirty to fifty feet can be built so that steamers can have eight fathoms of water. An island about one-half a mile distant could be used, and a hospital for infectious and contagious diseases built.

“In concluding this report I wish to call your attention to the probability of an extensive spread of smallpox in the interior. At a town eight hours’ ride from Habana to Colon, I saw beggars convalescent from smallpox.”

During the first ten months in 1898 the total number of deaths in Cienfuegos was 3626, out of a population which before the war was 21,500; adding soldiers and reconcentrados, it might be said to be 25,000, and at these figures a monthly death-rate of 362 is something fearful to contemplate. Estimating the deaths for a year at 4144, we have a rate of 166 per 1000. In the ten years ending December 31, 1889, reported by Dr. Luis Perna, over fifty per cent. of the deaths were from infectious and contagious diseases due almost entirely to bad or no sanitation. During the same year the births exceeded the deaths by 1982, a much better showing than in Havana, the difference there being 12,433 against the population in four years, and in Matanzas, 2397 lost in eight years.

Of the effect of proper sanitary regulations and personal attention on tuberculosis, Dr. Perna says:

“There can be no doubt that the ravages of tuberculosis could be materially arrested by compliance with the laws of hygiene. Infractions of civil law may or may not be punished, but infractions of the laws of hygiene are inevitably paid for sooner or later. In combating tuberculosis we must consider the air we breathe, the food we eat, the roof that covers us, and the clothes we wear. The disease should be recognised as contagious. Phthisical patients should be kept in well-ventilated apartments; sputa should be disinfected, and clothing and utensils used by such patients should be disinfected.”

Matanzas is situated on high ground, with the rivers San Juan and Yumuri running through it, and the natural facilities for drainage are excellent; but only two streets have sewers, and these drains have few or no connections with buildings. The water supply is of excellent quality, from springs seven miles away; but only two thousand of the five thousand houses take it, and the majority of the people prefer to buy water from street vendors, who are quite as likely to get it from fever-infected wells as elsewhere. There are public fountains, but those who need Cuban water most are too lazy to carry it home. Privies and sinks are more numerous than modern closets, and are handled as elsewhere, with the usual results. The streets are narrow (thirty feet wide), dirty, and unpaved; in the wet season they are vile. The houses are built of porous stone, which absorbs the dampness; the floors, laid on the ground, are overflowed by the rains, and their smell at all times is difficult to describe and dangerous to health. The deaths per year for 1895 were 1465, with a nominal population of 50,000, although it was cut to 35,000 by the insurrection; in 1896, 2399; in 1897, 6795; and in 1898, to September, 3901—which fearful figures may be accounted for by the fact that Matanzas was the centre for reconcentrados, and they died like sheep—eighty per cent. of them from starvation. The only disinfection that could reach this condition was applied to Spain by the United States, and there will never be any more epidemics of starvation in Cuba, or any more reconcentrados, for that matter. But even without her reconcentrado population, Matanzas is no health resort, and the cleansing hand must be applied to her early and rigorously.


Cardenas, a city of twenty thousand people, more or less, is set down in the midst of a swamp, rarely more than ten feet above sea-level, and oftener only three or four. Its narrow streets are lacking in pavements or sewers. Lying contiguous to the south-east side of the city are more than thirty thousand acres of swamp, a fecund breeding-ground for typhus-and yellow-fever germs. Twenty years ago a commission was appointed to inquire into the construction of a canal to drain this swamp into the Anton River, but at this present date no canal is in sight, and the fever germs go merrily on in their work of supplying the cemeteries with subjects. The water supply is good, but many of the people prefer to buy dangerous well-water from street vendors, because of its cheapness. At Cape Hicacos, near Cardenas, are extensive salt-pits, the chlorides of which are supposed to act as a disinfectant, and that immediate locality is said to be the most healthful along the coast.

Puerto Principe, a town of forty thousand inhabitants, the largest of the inland cities, is situated on high ground, well watered and well drained, and though antiquated and utterly lacking in modern conveniences or sanitary regulations, as they are known among northern people, is so much more healthful than other Cuban towns as to warrant a milder animadversion than in the case of others. Yellow fever is only known sporadically, if at all, and contagion and infection are so much less flourishing than in the coast towns that Puerto Principe seems positively healthful in comparison, albeit in an American community the condition of the city would warrant the impeachment of any board of health having control of its sanitation.

Santiago de Cuba, with a population of, say forty thousand, is next to Havana in importance among the cities of Cuba, and has been accumulating filth since 1514, when the first Spaniards settled there. Just what nearly four hundred years of Spanish sanitation means is better imagined than experienced. Moreover, its location is down among hills which shut off the breeze, and in summer the city becomes intolerably hot and dangerous to health. It is situated on a hillside, with a landlocked bay before it, removed from all sea or coast currents, and for 384 years the drainage of the town—not by sewers, for they do not exist—has gone into this bay, until its bottom and waters are vile beyond expression. In the city itself filth everywhere prevails—or did prevail until the United States authorities took charge, since which time Governor Wood and his assistants have done an amount of cleaning up that is as wholesome as it is difficult to accomplish. This work has been so vigorously prosecuted and the results so beneficial that a chapter has been devoted to the subject. It is said that in time man may become accustomed to any condition of life, and the dozen generations of Santiagoans seem to have got used to their town, for its ordinary death-rate was but 29.8 per 1000, with an increase to 33 to 35 when yellow fever or smallpox became more violent than usual. In 1895 the death-rate went up to 51.2 per 1000, and in 1896 to 82.77. Four thousand people died in that year, and this is the last record known. This large increase was due to the presence of unacclimated troops from Spain, and though it may explain the high death-rate, it scarcely can excuse a sanitary condition which is so fatal to Spanish soldiers, who have had experience with Spanish sanitary regulations in their own country until they ought to be almost used to it. In 1896 there were 372 deaths from yellow fever and 509 from smallpox. Santiago has one inventive sanitarian in the person of Dr. Garcia, who, five years ago, devised a “cold box” for the case of yellow-fever patients. As is known, the frost will kill the germs of yellow fever; and as natural frost is impossible in Cuba Dr. Garcia hit upon the idea of producing artificial cold. His device is simple enough. The main feature is a small house, say five feet by seven, and six feet high, which is practically a refrigerator, with double roof and walls for packing the ice. A window is put in for light, and the patient is laid in his bed in a temperature of about freezing. He has no attendants inside, except when needed, and he is watched through the window. This method usually kills or cures the patient in from twelve to thirty-six hours. At first the box was not successful, for condensation practically drowned the patient out; but that was remedied by draining the water off. There is a great difference of opinion in relation to the efficacy of this treatment; some physicians entirely disapproving it, while others as strongly recommend it.

What may be done for the proper sanitary regulation of Santiago is a serious problem, as, owing to the distance from the sea and the landlocked character of the bay, the sewage, which may be easily drained down the sloping streets of the town, is bound to remain near the shore. For the present, Major Barbour, Superintendent of the Santiago Street Department, disposes of the sewage by sprinkling it with petroleum and burning it.

Manzanillo, population nine thousand, with a large and beautiful military plaza, has filthy streets and no public improvements of any kind looking to the health or comfort of the people; and the people seem to like it. The streets are unpaved, and Manzanillo mud is an alliterative term which has become a household word for the nastiest mud on the Island. The town is twenty feet above the bay, with hills to the rear, and near it are great swamps filled with mosquitoes and malaria, which spread themselves abroad in every direction.

Guantanamo, population nine thousand, seven miles inland, one hundred and fifteen feet above the bay of the same name, is situated on the river Guaso, and might be easily and thoroughly drained; but no efforts have been made in that direction, and malaria and fevers prevail. With any kind of decent care, the city could be made as healthful as any in the same latitude.

Pinar del Rio, the capital of its province, with 5500 population, is situated 25 miles from the sea, 160 feet above it, and on a hill 70 feet high. It is in the midst of the famous Vuelta Abajo tobacco district, and it might be made a clean town; but its streets are narrow and filthy, its people are a mixture of French and African, and it is a reflection on the great American Republic, in that it was founded in 1776.

Batabano, the southern seaport of Havana, thirty miles away, in its narrow, dirty streets presents a condition of neglect and nastiness suggesting that it is also a receptacle for the surplus refuse of the capital.

Guanabacoa, a high and beautifully located city of twenty-five thousand people, just outside of Havana, several degrees cooler than the capital city, in the midst of pleasant breezes and cool groves, has narrow, filthy streets, no pavements, no public improvements, small houses with no modern conveniences, huddled together, and is a dozen times worse than if nature had not done so much for it.

Güines and Marianao are so much cleaner and sweeter than any other towns as to make one wonder why they are the exception instead of the rule.

Possibly it is hardly fair to call attention to or animadvert upon the sanitary regulations and conditions of Santa Clara, an inland city and capital of Santa Clara Province, seeing that in ten and a half months of 1897 there were over one hundred thousand deaths in the province, of which nearly one third occurred in Santa Clara district. These were chiefly reconcentrados, and show that there are some things Spanish even worse than Spanish sanitation. The town has a population of twenty thousand, is situated in a healthful locality, and while little has been done toward public health, there is no yellow fever.

As with the cities and towns above mentioned, with the two exceptions named, so of all Cuban aggregations of population. Everywhere there is ignorance, carelessness, filth, disease, and death, and only education, care, and time can remedy the evil. It may not, cannot be that Cuba will ever enjoy the robuster health of the north, but she can be clean, and to that end must every ability of knowledge, labour, and means be directed, not only by those who are in authority, but by those whose direct welfare is at stake.

Outside of the cities, conditions prevail which will be more difficult, if not in many cases impossible, to remedy. Much of the Island along the coasts is swampy; there malaria and fevers breed, and these sections, if not capable of drainage, must be deserted by man, and left to the alligators, toads, and lizards. Many of the swamps may be drained and the land converted into fields yielding rich harvests; these should be given the proper attention. In many places the tropical forests are of such dense and tangled growth that no sunlight ever penetrates them, and here, after nightfall, deadly miasmas arise, full of poison and disease. Vast areas of such forests are filled with valuable timber, and when these woods are cleared and converted into money, and the sunlight can get in and exercise its saving grace upon the land, a wonderful improvement will follow.

Back from the coasts, particularly in the eastern part of the Island, the land is high and well drained, with mountains in some portions rising from five thousand to eight thousand feet above the level of the sea. While the heat and humidity incidental to the latitude prevail all over the Island, they are much less in the uplands than along the coast, and the climate for half the year is very agreeable and the air has a brilliant clearness that has become famous. Over all these lands there should be in the future a population which should develop into a contradiction of the tradition that the people of the tropics live because they are too lazy to die.



THE political divisions of Cuba, known as provinces, are six in number, and are named as follows, beginning at the west: Pinar del Rio, Havana, Matanzas, Santa Clara, Puerto Principe, and Santiago de Cuba; the capital city of each bearing the same name as its province.

Of the provinces it may be said that Pinar del Rio, with an area of 8486 square miles, has a population of 225,891 (167,160 white and 58,731 black), and is the centre of the tobacco industry, the famous Vuelta Abajo district lying within its limits; sugar, coffee, rice, corn, cotton, and fruits are also raised. Havana, with an area of 8610 square miles, has a population of 451,928 (344,417 white and 107,511 black). It is the centre of manufacture, the capital province, and the most populous province of the Island. Matanzas, with an area of 14,967 square miles, has a population of 259,578 (143,169 white and 115,409 black), and is the centre of the sugar industry; corn, rice, honey, wax, and fruits are produced and the province contains a deposit of peat and copper. Santa Clara, with an area of 23,083 square miles, has a population of 354,122 (244,345 white and 109,777 black), and it is rich in sugar, fruits, and minerals, including gold deposits in the Arino River. Puerto Principe, with an area of 32,341 square miles, has a population of 67,789 (54,232 white and 13,557 black), and is a mountainous region, with the largest caves and the highest mountains; building and cabinet woods and guava jelly are its chief products. Santiago de Cuba, with an area of 35,119 square miles, the largest of the provinces, has a population of 272,379 (57,980 white and 114,399 black), and not only possesses all the agricultural products found in the other provinces, but also has deposits of gold, iron, copper, zinc, asphalt, manganese, mercury, marble and alabaster, rock crystal, and gems, and its commerce is most extensive.


There are 115 cities and towns in the Island having an estimated population of 200 and upwards named as follows:

Cities Population Cities Population
Havana 200,000Macurijes4,100
Puerto Principe40,679San Luis3,556
Santiago de Cuba40,000San Cristobal3,522
Cienfuegos25,790Guira de Melena3,500
Santa Clara24,635La Cruces3,000
Cardenas20,505Alfonso XII3,000
Trinidad18,000Arroyo Navanijo3,000
Sancti Spiritu17,540Sabanillo del Encomendador2,991
Sagua la Grande14,000Palmira2,987
Manzanillo9,036Nueva Paz2,737
San Antonio de las Baños7,500San Felipe2,311
San Juan de los Remedios7,230San Juan de las Yeras2,267
San Fernando de Nuevitas6,991Jaruco2,200
San Julian de los Guines6,828San Jose de las Lajas2,170
Colón6,525La Esperanza2,147
Bejucal6,239San Juan y Martinez2,100
Jorellanos (Bemba) 6,000Corral Nuevo2,092
Santiago de las Vegas6,000Consolacion del Sur2,000
Pinar del Rio5,500Santa Cruz2,000
Holguin5,500Quemados de Guines2,000
Baracoa5,213Bahia Honda1,889
La Isabela5,000Bolondron1,758
Artemisa5,000Santa Domingo1,750
Santa Isabel de las Lajas4,924Mariel1,637
San Antonio de Cabezas1,500Ceiba del Agua892
San Diego del Valle1,403Vereda Nueva672
Jiguani1,393Santa Maria del Rosario660
Mantua1,380Rancho Velez656
Cayajabos1,352Santa Ana601
Marianao1,225San Jose de los Remos570
San Antonio de Rio Blanco del Norte1,200Lagunillas520
Ciego de Avila1,167San Matias de Rio Blanco400
Catalina1,165Alto Songo400
San Antonio de las Vegas1,136Limonar330
San Nicolas1,100San Miguel300
Melena del Sur1,082Madruga300
Santa Cruz del Sur1,000Cimarrones300
Sagua de Tanamo981La Boca200
Vinales925Alonso Rojos200

In addition to these are 132 places with less than 200 population, including railroad stations, bathing and health resorts, and farm hamlets.

As will be observed by the student of municipal nomenclature, the Spanish were liberal to Cuba in christening the towns in the Island, however parsimonious the mother country was in respect of all other things; and many Cuban towns have more name than anything else. The oldest town is Baracoa, in the province of Santiago de Cuba. It was laid out in 1512. Its chief products are bananas, cocoa, and cocoa oil, and there are some remarkable caves near by, noted for beautiful stalactites and well preserved fossil human remains.

The largest city in the Island is Havana, the capital, to which a chapter is devoted elsewhere in this volume.


Matanzas, in size the second city of the Island, and the capital of the province of Matanzas, is, in some particulars, the most attractive city of Cuba, although but one-fourth the size of Havana. It lies seventy-four miles by rail to the east of Havana, on the fine bay of Matanzas, with beautiful hills at its back. The town is divided into three parts by the rivers San Juan and Yumuri, two streams which water the valley of Yumuri, situated behind the hills of Matanzas, and presenting the most exquisite scenery in Cuba. The climate and soil of the valley make Yumuri, to Cubans, synonymous with poesy and Paradise. Notwithstanding the commercial importance of Matanzas, the Spanish authorities have neglected the wharves and permitted its harbour to become so filled with sediment from the river that ships are compelled to load and unload by means of lighters in the roadstead. The city was founded in 1693, and has paved streets, usually thirty feet in width, with three-foot sidewalks; interesting stuccoed houses of two stories, coloured drab and ochre, with balconies; pleasant parks, with fountains and flowers; a pleasure promenade and drive—the Paseo; one of the best hotels in Cuba; several theatres, among them the Esteban; some notable churches, including the Hermitage, on Mount Montserrat, at whose shrine marvellous cures are said to be effected. The people are well content.

The leading industries are rum distilleries, sugar refineries, guava-jelly factories, machine and railroad-car shops. Shipments of sugar and molasses to the United States in 1891-95 were about $60,000,000. The city has gas-works and an electric-light plant, but no street-cars, and since 1872 it has had a fine water supply, though only about half the houses are connected with the water system, and many of the people still buy water of street vendors, without knowledge as to the source of supply or purity of the water. Sewers run through only two streets, though the location of the city is well adapted to secure excellent drainage. The suburbs, or rather divisions, of the city by the river are known as Versailles, on the north-east, and to the south-east, Pueblo Nuevo. Through the latter part of the city leads the road to the famous caves of Bellamar, three and a half miles, where many invalids resort for the health-giving qualities of the warm air of the caverns.

The most beautiful and striking feature of Matanzas is the cañon of the Yumuri, a great gorge of perpendicular walls green-clad with tropical vegetation through which the rivers of the Yumuri Valley flow down to the sea. This is a constant resort for the pleasure-loving Matanzans, and they thoroughly realise its beauty and value to the city. There are many interesting drives and excursions by river and rail from Matanzas. The waggon roads extending into the interior, as everywhere in Cuba, are in wretched condition; the railroad connections by several routes are fairly good, the roads being equipped with American-cars and engines. Its population of fifty thousand is nominal, having been reduced about one-third by the war.

The third city in the Island is Puerto Principe, capital of the province of Puerto Principe, and known to the natives as Camagüey, the original name of the town and province. It is forty-five miles from the south coast and thirty-five from the north, although it is forty-five miles from its seaport, Nuevitas, with which it is connected by its only railroad. It is located in the midst of what once was the grazing district,—though the cattle are now destroyed,—and being on a plain seven hundred feet above the sea it is a healthful place. Camagüey is a back-number town, so to speak, having narrow streets with narrow sidewalks, or none at all, old houses, old fashions, and fewer foreigners than any of the other Cuban towns. It is distinctively Cuban, and the new era of Cuba will no doubt work a long time on the good people of Camagüey before they set aside the old things and step out into the procession of progress, clothed in the uniforms of the modern “hustlers.” In this city of over forty thousand people there is not a hotel, and the inhabitants are noted for their hospitality.

Of great commercial significance is Cienfuegos, one of the south-coast cities, and in some respects one of the best towns on the Island. It is situated on the landlocked bay of Jagua, with one of the safest harbours in the world, and though built only since 1819, and restored after a hurricane in 1825, it has developed a spirit of energy and progress rare in Cuban cities. It has an extensive and growing commerce, with numerous wharves and piers for its shipping; a railroad 190 miles to Havana and one to Sagua la Grande on the north coast; electric lights and gas-works; 25,790 people; 3000 stone and wooden houses; the famous Terry theatre and one of the finest plazas in Cuba; a good location for drainage, but with stagnant water in the streets, and no sewers; much bad health, and one of the finest opportunities on earth to take advantage of the new order of things and convert its energy and youth into a power that will make Cienfuegos the Chicago of Cuba. There is one good hotel. The only serious strike that ever occurred in Cuba took place in Cienfuegos among the longshoremen, and resulted in the sending of all the recalcitrants by the authorities to the Isle of Pines as criminals. The bay of Jagua is noted for its beautiful clear blue water with a bottom of the whitest sand. The climate is more variable than that of Cuban coast cities as a rule, the mercury marking as high as ninety-three degrees in summer and going down into the fifties during the night in the rainy season.

The Cuban city held to be the most healthful, though sanitary regulations are practically unknown, is Trinidad, in the province of Santa Clara. It is also one of the oldest, having been founded by Diego Velasquez in 1514. It is three miles in the interior from its seaport, Casilda, though coastwise vessels of light draft can approach it by the river Guaurabo. The town has a picturesque location, on the slope of La Vija (“Lookout”), a hill rising nine hundred feet above the sea. The harbour of Casilda is three miles long by one and a half miles wide, and has only about eleven feet of water. From this bay Cortez sailed for Mexico. There are several fine public parks and drives, and socially Trinidad in the winter season is one of the gayest cities on the Island. It is lighted by gas, and though it has no sewers, its location is such that the rains keep it washed clean. The population is eighteen thousand. In good times Trinidad has shipped to the United States $903,700 worth of sugar, mahogany, coffee, and honey in one year, but times have been poor in recent years, and Trinidad is one of the towns which will feel the reviving effects of the new era of prosperity.

Santa Clara, the capital of the province of that name, has a population of twenty-five thousand, and is popularly known as Villa Clara. It was founded in 1689, and was once known for its great wealth and beautiful women; its glory in this latter regard still continues. It has one excellent hotel, kept in modern fashion, and a fine theatre. Its railway connections are excellent in all directions; indeed, it is the terminus of the Cuban system of railways. It is 248 miles by rail from Havana, and thirty miles from the north and forty from the south coast. Its location is high, and a fine grazing country surrounds it. Minerals also abound, and ten thousand tons of a fine asphaltum have been shipped in a year. Silver yielding as much as $200 per ton has been found, but the mines have not been worked. Evidences of natural gas are present near the town. Santa Clara has wide streets, and despite its healthful location, it is, by reason of poor or no sanitary regulations, an unhealthful place, though there is never any yellow fever.


The capital of the province of Santiago de Cuba is Santiago de Cuba, generally known as Cuba to the natives and Santiago to foreigners. Owing to its war record it is the best-known town in the Island. It is situated on the south coast, one hundred miles from the west end of Cuba, and its harbour is one of the safest and finest in the world, having an opening into the sea only one hundred and eighty yards in width, extending back six miles into a beautiful bay, three miles wide at its greatest width. Santiago has a population of forty thousand (estimated sixty thousand in 1895), and is the second oldest city in Cuba, the capital having been removed thither from Baracoa in 1514 by Velasquez. It is historically the most interesting city in Cuba, and it promises to be for the future second in importance to none in the Island, except Havana. It became a bishopric as early as 1527 and is now the metropolis of the Catholic Church in Cuba, the Archbishop of Santiago being the Primate. The celebrations of church festivals are conducted with ceremonies more elaborate than those anywhere else in the Island, and the cathedral, in the Hispano-American style, is the largest in Cuba, if not the handsomest. It is said that in a Santiago theatre Adelina Patti made her first public appearance, at the age of fourteen years; Velasquez is buried in this city, and so is Antomarchi, the physician of Napoleon, who died, as his emperor did, upon a foreign island. Cuba’s greatest poet, José Maria Heredia, was born here, as were Milanes, Dona Luisa Perez de Montes de Oca, Dona Gertrudis Gomez de Avellanda; and Placido, next to Heredia in merit, passed several years here.

Although well located for drainage, Santiago is one of the most unhealthful towns in Cuba, and its beautiful bay is little better than a cesspool. Yellow fever and smallpox have been the prevailing epidemics for years, but under the new order a new condition will arise. Santiago, with very poor business houses and offices, does a flourishing trade, wholesale, retail, and in shipping. The surrounding country has many people employed not only in agriculture, but in mining as well, for Santiago is the centre of the mining district. Its railway facilities are practically nil, being located two hundred miles east of the last railway leading anywhere. The city is Moorish in its aspect. It is sufficiently ancient to be without hotels, though there are several clubs where civilised beings may be entertained comfortably. The fortifications about the city are interesting: the Morro,—which is one hundred years older than that of Havana,—La Socapa, La Estrella, and Smith Key—all these have received much mention during the late war. The mining interests of Santiago will be considered under a separate chapter.

Cardenas may be said to be the newest town in Cuba, and is known as “the American city,” owing to the fact that many Americans are located here in business, or make it their headquarters, with business interests elsewhere in the Island. It was founded in 1828, is a thriving town, with wide streets, numerous wharves, a plaza with a bronze statue of Columbus, and is a purely commercial city. The harbour is shallow, and the piers running into it are from three hundred to one thousand feet in length. Although without sewers and located on swampy ground, Cardenas is not unhealthful as the term is understood in Cuba. There are fine water-works, but many of the people still prefer to buy water of street vendors. Gas and electricity light the town. Its chief business is in sugar, but, unlike other Cuban cities, it possesses numerous and varied manufactures, producing liquors, beers, metal-work, soap, cigars, fabrics, etc. It has connection by steamer and rail with the chief points of the Island. The population is 20,505, over 15,000 of which is white. Cardenas exported goods in 1894 to the amount of $10,008,565, of which $9,682,335 was in sugar shipped to the United States, as against $10,000,000 the previous year. Her imports in 1892 were $4,900,000, and in 1895 the United States sent 32,283 tons of coal to this port. Situated in one of the richest agricultural sections of Cuba, Cardenas is also not poor in mineral wealth, notably asphalt. Peculiar mines of asphalt are found in the waters of the bay. The mineral is broken loose by bars dropped from ten to twelve feet through the water upon it, and the pieces are scooped up with a net. The supply of the mineral is renewed from some unknown source as fast as it is taken away. One of these mines has furnished as much as 20,000 tons, and the supply is inexhaustible. Asphalt of the first grade is worth from $80 to $125 per ton.

Sagua la Grande, twenty-five miles from the mouth of the river of that name, is almost wholly a sugar town. It has a population of 14,000, and is the northern terminus of the Havana Railway system. Its seaport is La Isabela, with a poor harbour; and its exports in 1895 reached nearly $5,000,000—with a great falling off since, as it has suffered as much as any town in the Island from the insurrection. As an indication of this it may be said that immediately before the insurrection there were 23,500 cattle, 4500 horses, 4000 hogs, 700 sheep, and 450 mules in the Sagua district, practically all of which have been destroyed or stolen. Sagua has an ice plant whose product has sold at $3 per hundredweight. The railway from Sagua to Cienfuegos marks the boundary between the western and eastern districts of Cuba.

Caibarien is another nineteenth-century town, having been founded in 1822. Its houses are of brick, and its warehouses of recent styles of architecture. Its population is fifty-five hundred, and it is said to be not unhealthful, though its general level is not much more than ten feet above the sea, and the country is swampy. Its chief industry is sugar, although recently an active business in sponges has grown up, principally of local consumption, the annual value approaching half a million of dollars. The harbour is extensive, but shallow and poor. A railway extends to San Andres, twenty-eight and one-half miles in the interior. Some waggon roads, unusually good for Cuba, connect it with various sugar estates. The future possibilities of Caibarien are numerous and great.

Manzanillo is the best town on the south coast between Trinidad and Santiago, and was founded in 1784. It has a population of nine thousand, and is the seaport of several interior towns and a rich sugar district, and is also the gateway to the fertile valley of the Cauto River, the most important stream in the Island. It has a fine plaza, and numerous inferior houses on fairly good streets, wider than the usual Cuban street. There are no water-works, gas-works, electric lights, or street-cars. The town is one of the most unhealthful in the Island, and of Manzanillo mud the author has spoken in a previous chapter. The principal shipments are lumber, tobacco, sugar, honey, and wax. In 1892-93-94 four million feet of mahogany and two million one hundred thousand feet of cedar were exported.

Pinar del Rio, the capital of its province, should be particularly interesting to Americans, as it was founded in 1776. It is a brick and stone town of 5500 population and is neither clean nor attractive. It has very few foreigners and is in no sense a modern place. It is, however, of commercial importance, being the centre of the famous Vuelta Abajo tobacco district, which produces the finest tobacco in the world. Pinar del Rio is essentially a tobacco town. It is connected with Havana by a highroad (calzada) and also by railway. The town is lacking in most of the modern conveniences, and the spirit of the people is not quick to respond to new notions.

An alphabetical list of the lesser towns may serve a useful purpose to the reader whose geography of Cuba is as yet not complete.

Artemisa (Pinar del Rio) is a town of five thousand people, with a paved road to Guanajay, nine miles, and a railway to Havana, thirty-five miles. It is in a fine tobacco and sugar district, and is a low and unhealthful place, but beautifully shaded with palms.


Bahia Honda (Pinar del Rio), with about two thousand population, is one of the chief seaports of the mountain coast; and although it possesses none of the visible evidences of future promise, still it is one of the places which impress the visitor with belief in its future greatness. Its population is largely black, its wharves are miserable, its houses are poor; though over one hundred years old, it is not a port of entry—and still Bahia is promising. The harbour is one of the finest on the coast, the surrounding country is rich in tobacco and sugar soil, the climatic conditions are favourable, and the new times will be good times for Bahia.

Cabanas (Pinar del Rio), with a population of fifteen hundred, has a landlocked, shallow harbour, four miles by seven in extent, and its connections with the interior are bad. It came into prominence during the war, and was partly destroyed by General Maceo.

Consolacion del Sur (Pinar del Rio) is, after Bahia Honda, the chief commercial town of the province. It has a population of two thousand, and is in the centre of the Vuelta Abajo tobacco district, with eight hundred plantations tributary to it.

Guanajay (Pinar del Rio) has a population of six thousand, is the junction of several paved roads, and is considerably above the average interior town in progressive spirit. It is lacking, however, in modern conveniences and suffered by the war.

San Cristobal (Pinar del Rio), though one of the oldest towns in the Island, is very enterprising and its people are energetic and prosperous. It has a railway and good waggon roads, and its thirty-five hundred people have a good climate and good health. It is in the midst of the Vuelta Abajo tobacco district.

San Diego de los Banos (Pinar del Rio) is to be especially mentioned for its wonderful sulphur baths. In one enclosure there are four of these springs, having a temperature of ninety degrees, and they have effected cures in leprosy, other cutaneous diseases, and rheumatism which are passing belief. It has beautiful surroundings of hill and sea and its caves of Arcos de Carguanabo are famous.

Vinales (Pinar del Rio), a small town of 925 people, is the interior terminus of the railroad running to the north coast and the celebrated San Vincente mineral springs.

Batabano (Havana) is the southern seaport of the city of Havana, thirty-three miles to the north, and connected with it by rail and paved roads. The town, in two parts, La Plaza and Surgirdero, is meanly built, and has about nineteen hundred people. It has no harbour, but is the western terminus of the south-coast line of steamers. The waters about Batabano are notable for the beautiful submarine views they present to observers on steamers. Batabano is hot and unhealthful.

Bejucal (Havana), built in 1710, has a population of six thousand two hundred, an elevation of three hundred feet, and a situation in the midst of pleasing scenery. The town itself is unattractive to the eye, but its health is good, the people being noted for their long lives.

Cojimar (Havana), four miles from Havana, has a beautiful sand beach, the finest in Cuba, and in time will become a profitable seaside resort, though now unimproved. The British landed here in 1762.

Guanabacoa (Havana) is practically a suburb of Havana and has a population of twenty-five thousand. With every opportunity and possibility of being a clean, modern city, it is quite the reverse.

Güines (Havana), thirty miles from Havana over a fine waggon road, and forty-four by rail, has a population of about seven thousand, and one of the most desirable situations in the Island. It has bridges over the river Catalina, a good hotel, a fine railway station; about it lies a rich agricultural and grazing country, and the town is, in respect of health, thrift, and progress, a model town—for Cuba.

Jaruco (Havana), with a population of two thousand two hundred, claims recognition chiefly because it is clean. Naturally its health is better than that of most Cuban towns.

Madruga (Havana) is famed for its warm mineral springs. It is fifty-five miles from Havana by rail. Population three hundred.

Marianao (Havana), a suburb of Havana six miles away, has a population of twelve hundred, and is said to be the cleanest and prettiest town in Cuba. Its people are entirely of the better class.

Regla (Havana), a suburb of Havana, connected with the city by ferries, has the largest and finest sugar warehouses in the world and a bull-ring vying in popularity with those of Havana.

San Antonio de los Banos (Havana), with seven thousand five hundred people, twenty miles from Havana, is the most popular mineral-springs resort in the Island and its climate is famous for its health-giving qualities.

Colon (Matanzas), on the railway between Matanzas and Cardenas, in the heart of the sugar-producing district of this section, has six thousand five hundred people and is of much commercial importance. Like all the others, it needs public improvements.

Jovellanos (Matanzas), also known as Bemba, is a coloured town, the bulk of its population being negroes, and its only hotel is kept by a Chinaman.

Macagua (Matanzas) is noted for its extensive sugar estates. Some of the largest in Cuba are immediately around it. Population four thousand one hundred. It has a railway to Colon and Santa Clara.

Calaboya (Santa Clara) has a population of fifteen hundred and possesses, in the bridge over the Calaboya River, the longest railway bridge in Cuba. Otherwise it is not important.

La Cruces (Santa Clara) is a railway junction and was at one time actively engaged in shipping horses, cattle, and sugar. The people are active and energetic, and have been complimented with the name of the “Yankees of Cuba.”

La Isabela (Santa Clara), called also Concha and La Boca, is the seaport of Sagua la Grande, and has five thousand people. It is the shore terminus of the railway to Sagua and is of considerable commercial importance, with a cosmopolitan people.

Remedios (Santa Clara), with a population of seven thousand, is in a fine country and is one of the cities of the future, naturally and logically.

Sancti Spiritus (Santa Clara), also known as Santo Espiritu, founded in 1514, is one of the old towns of the Island. Despite its size (seventeen thousand), it is of no great commercial importance, and is a dirty town in a good location for cleanliness.

Santa Isabel (Santa Clara), with a population of five thousand, does a good business in sugar and cattle. Cienfuegos is its seaport and is connected with it by a railroad twenty-five miles long.

Tunas de Zaza (Santa Clara), with fifteen hundred population, is in such a poor country agriculturally and aquatically, that the railway has a monopoly in carrying vegetables and water supply to the people. The town is hot and healthful. It has shipped as much as half a million dollars’ worth of sugar, mahogany, cedar, honey, beeswax, etc., to the United States in one year.

Nuevitas (Puerto Principe), population seven thousand, is a town of promise and no public improvements. Water, in the dry season, commands nearly as high a price as whiskey. It is the seaport of Puerto Principe, Cuba’s largest inland town, and is connected with it by forty-five miles of railroad. It has a fine harbour and a good location for drainage. It was at or near Nuevitas that Columbus first saw Cuba. Its annual exports to the United States have, in a good year, exceeded one million dollars.

Banes (Santiago de Cuba) is noted for its fruit business, as many as 4,651,000 bunches of bananas having been exported since 1890. Thirty-two thousand pineapples were shipped in 1894, but the insurrection ruined the business in 1896.

Baracoa (Santiago de Cuba) is the most eastern port of importance on the north coast. It is the oldest town in Cuba and formerly was the capital. It was founded in 1512 by Velasquez, whose house is still shown to the traveller. Baracoa is far behind the times, but it has all the potentialities for future greatness. The country along the coast is not healthful, but the interior is not only fine scenically but also excellent as to its health standard. There are no good roads and no railways of any kind. Baracoa imports about nineteen thousand pints of beer per annum from the United States, and Milwaukee sells at twenty-five cents a bottle. Copper, cocoanuts and oil, bananas, and cocoa constitute the exports. General Maceo and his followers inaugurated the last Cuban revolution in Baracoa, on the 20th of February, 1895, and within a year had marched through the Island to Mantua in the west of Pinar del Rio.


Bayamo (Santiago de Cuba), with a population of about 4000 and an age of about 350 years, is a Spanish relic city, being very like the earlier cities of the mother country. It has eleven churches. It has none of the modern conveniences and no railways, and its waggon roads are impassable in the wet season. Bayamo never had a boom. It was the cradle of the Ten Years’ War.

Cobre (Santiago de Cuba), founded in 1558, is famous for its copper mines. It has a magnificent sanctuary, in which is the little statue known as the Virgin of Charity, which is claimed to have effected miraculous cures of all kinds.

Gibara (Santiago de Cuba), also spelled with a “J,” is the seaport for Holguin, with which it is connected by a railroad seventeen miles long and by a very bad waggon road. It has a population of about five thousand. It is greatly in need of improvement.

Guantanamo (Santiago de Cuba) has a population of nine thousand, and is the centre of the coffee district. Other agricultural products and minerals abound. It was founded in 1843, and still is not a modern town in the matter of conveniences. It is unhealthful because it has no sanitary provisions. It has a fine harbour and is of much commercial importance. It came into prominence during the late war.

Holguin (Santiago de Cuba), with a high and healthful location and fifty-five hundred people, ought to be a much better town than it is, and will improve under the new order. It is fifteen miles from the north coast, and is in the centre of the hardwood industry. It was of great military importance during the late war.

Jiguani (Santiago de Cuba), with a picturesque mountainous location, and an old castle in the vicinity, will be attractive to tourists and artists.

Of the 570 islands, or keys, on the north coast of Cuba and the 730 on the south, the Isle of Pines is the only one of sufficient size to be of importance; its area being 1214 square miles to 1350 square miles for all the other 1299 Islands. The Isle of Pines belongs to the judicial district of Bejucal (Havana), and was first called “Evangelist Island” by Columbus, who discovered it in 1494. It has a population of 2000, of which 1800 is about equally divided between its two chief towns, Nueva Gerona and Santa Fe. The people are rather superior to those of the Island of Cuba, and the climate is drier and better than that of the main Island. Besides the pines which flourish on the island, there is a great quantity of mahogany, cedar, and other hardwoods. There are deposits of fine marble, as well as of silver, mercury, and iron, yet to be developed. Turtle fishing and pineapple raising flourish to some extent. The Isle of Pines is really two islands, separated by a tide-covered swamp, over which there is a causeway. The south portion is rough and barren, while the northern part is fertile and pleasing to the eye. The towns are poor. Its mineral waters are much recommended for affections of the stomach.

A few of the other islands, or keys, are inhabited in a small way, and the largest of them, Cayo Romano, has an area of 140 square miles, with three hills rising from its flat plain.



“Oh Queen of many-coloured garb
And red-tiled crown!—in glory
The poets who
Have sung of you
Have set your name and story.
“No fairer Queen, they sing, than you,
The fairest of the daughters
Of Southern seas
Who take their ease
Beside the sunlit waters.
“And I, as they, would sing thy praise
As is to be expected;
But ere I sing,
Oh Queenly Thing,
Won’t you be disinfected?”

WHATEVER may be said of Havana, the capital city of the Island of Cuba, however sonorously its high-sounding name, San Cristobal de la Habana, may be rolled forth, what titles of Queen of the Antilles, Key of the New World, or other titular effervescence may be thrown about it by the sentimental Spaniard, or the vivid-minded visitor, the plain, prosaic fact remains that Havana for centuries has smelt bad, and man’s other four senses are utterly routed from any field of enjoyment when his nose goes on the warpath. Unfortunately Havana has, for this reason, never been the city of delight that Nature intended it should be for at least one third of every year of its existence. In the great majority of instances bad smells arise from a condition of sanitary neglect which means bad health; and Havana has been, to all intents and purposes, a plague spot for centuries. Yellow fever is always present, malarial diseases of all kinds are prevalent, smallpox rings the changes at every opportunity, and every ill that tropic flesh is heir to has found a home and government encouragement in Havana.

This chapter on Cuba’s capital city is thus introduced because, before anything else is done looking to the reorganisation and the regeneration of the city and the Island, thorough measures for the health of the people must be formulated and put into immediate and active operation. With the new order must come thousands of new people; and if these newcomers, accustomed, as the poorest of them are, to better sanitary regulations and conditions than have existed in Havana and Cuba, are permitted to enter the Island and inhale its deadly stenches, Cuba will become an international cemetery and it will receive a backset worse than the worst Spain ever did for it.

Whatever Havana is now commercially, the time was when it ranked eighth among the commercial cities of the globe, and the wealth of its people was of the fabulous kind which characterised everything in the New World. The city was founded about 1519, and it received its name, San Cristobal de la Habana, from a small town of that name established by Velasquez near Batabano, on the south coast. This was practically the first settlement, but the second town absorbed the settlers of the less important place. So large was the hope of a great future for the new town that Diego Velasquez, the first Governor of the Island, called it Lláve del Nuevo Mundo, the “Key of the New World.” Later, Las Casas obtained a grant of civic rights for it, and it became the permanent capital. It was burned by the buccaneers in 1528 and was rebuilt by De Soto, who discovered the Mississippi, and he surrounded the city by well constructed fortifications. It was captured and sacked by the pirate Jacob Sores in 1556, but was refortified, and in 1573-1589 Philip II. built the castles, Morro and Los Tres Reyes, which still exist. In 1628 an attack of the Dutch fleet was repulsed, and in 1762 it was taken by the British. It was restored to the Spanish July 18, 1763, who held it until December 31, 1898, when it passed into the hands of the United States as trustee for the people of Cuba.

The approach to Havana from the sea is most pleasing to the eye, the narrow entrance to the harbour (one thousand feet wide) being flanked on either side by castellated forts, the best known of which are Morro Castle and Cabañas, whose names are familiar to all Americans since the Spanish-American war. The harbour is three miles in length by one and one half miles in width, is naturally very fine and of ample capacity for the business of the port; but the Spanish authorities have, for four hundred years and more, permitted it to be filled with the filth of the city and the sediment from various small streams which empty into it, until now a large part of it is useless for navigable purposes, and it is a constant source of ill-health to both native and visitor. The natural depth of the harbour is forty feet, but it has filled up to such an extent that an available depth of only about eighteen to twenty feet is possible. The tide on the Cuban coast rises and falls only about two feet. The water-front of the bay, comparatively of small extent, is lined with docks and piers, some of them built of iron, and of the first class. Still, the bulk of the shipping business is done by lighters, and the harbour is alive with small boats. Two lines of ferry-boats connect Havana with Regla, across the harbour, where the principal coal docks are situated. The harbour sea-wall, which is backed by a wide street lined with parks and fine buildings, gives to the city a most attractive appearance from the water.

Havana has a fluctuating population, variously estimated at from two hundred thousand to three hundred thousand souls; at present it is probably not greater than the former number. The people represent the best there is in Cuba, in point of wealth, education, and progress, and they are largely Spaniards, either Spanish-or Cuban-born. The city is by far the largest and richest in the Island, and has always been to Cuba what Paris is to France. The city is especially noticeable in that its houses, built of the absorbent, porous stone of the Island, are painted in yellows and pinks and greens and blues and whites, with a prevailing red in the tiled roofs. Of the seventeen or eighteen thousand houses of the city, three-fourths are of one story and only about two dozen have four stories. The people live very closely together; the rich and the poor, the good and the bad, are strangely huddled, all of them more or less regardless of the simplest laws of sanitation. It is not so great a wonder that the health of the city is so bad, as that any health exists. Rents are high, with the result that as many poor persons as possible live in one house, and the moral health suffers no less than the physical. If any animals are owned—as, for example, horses—they find quarters on the ground floor. Except in the best houses (and some fine specimens of elegant homes exist in the city), modern conveniences are unknown. Iron bars take the place of glass in the windows and doors, and windows are always open in dry weather. The domestic life of the Havanese is an open book to all who wish to look upon it as they pass, for the houses open directly upon the street, and the lower story is on the street-level. Most of the floors are laid directly on the ground, and it would seem as if the people did all in their power to maintain a low degree of health. All the good houses have marble floors.

Churches are numerous all over the city, the Cathedral in which the remains of Columbus are said to have reposed being the chief in point of interest.[13] The women of Havana constitute a large portion of the congregations; the men give little attention to church attendance.

The Government buildings are numerous, but neither modern nor beautiful. The cigar factories and tobacco warehouses are commodious structures; indeed, some of the former occupy what were at one time official or private palaces. The retail stores are usually small places, with the stocks of goods mostly in the windows.

There are numerous parks. The Parque Central, the first in importance, is the fashionable centre of the city. About it are hotels, theatres, public buildings, and cafés; a band plays there during certain evenings, and at night it is a blaze of light and alive with promenaders. The streets in old Havana, that portion originally within the walls, are very narrow; often the sidewalks are not wider than two feet, and sometimes they are entirely lacking. In the newer portions of the city the streets are thirty-three feet wide, with five-foot sidewalks. Some of the streets are paved with blocks of stone in poor fashion, and some are dirt roads which are almost impassable in the wet season. Naturally, this condition of the streets does not improve the public health. Some effort was making when the war began, looking to street improvement, and contracts were let to an American firm; but the war stopped all operations in that direction. The handsomest street in Havana is the Cerro, running up the hill back of the city, and lined with handsome villas in grounds and gardens of tropical loveliness. Here many of the aristocracy reside. Another fine public promenade-street is the Prado, which follows, as nearly as may be, the line of the old walls. The Prado, and the Paseo de Tacon, are the Champs Élysées of Havana, and on many nights the former is as brilliant as that famed Parisian promenade.

Havana lies so low that a wind tide will inundate the streets near the water; and as much of that portion of the city is built on made-ground, the material being of the worst sort of refuse, it is scarcely to be expected that health will abound. Owing to the narrowness of the streets, the possibilities for street-railway building are small, although there are twenty-seven miles of track in the city, with cars run by horse power; in the suburbs by steam dummies. The field for development in this line presents especial attractions for American capital, and the future promises much. The cab system of Havana was unusually good before the war. At that time there were six thousand public vehicles, with a maximum fare of twenty cents, and many were so cheap that labouring people could afford to use them as street-cars are used in this country. The volante, once the national vehicle of Cuba, has been relegated to the rougher roads of the country districts. There is also a ‘bus line, doing about three times the business of the street-cars.

The sewerage system is in a deplorable condition, and the last effort made to improve it was stopped by the war. What should be done is a problem to be solved by American engineers, and had Colonel Waring, of New York, not fallen a victim to Havanese filth, he would no doubt have done for the city what Spain in all her years of possession failed to do. The task is now upon the shoulders of General Ludlow, whose efficiency is beyond question. The city is lighted by gas and electricity, the works being operated by a Spanish-American company, controlled from New York City.

The water supply of the city has been excellent since the new aqueduct was completed, in 1893, after thirty-two years of delay. The water is gathered from about four hundred springs in the neighbourhood of Vento, ten miles from the city; it is calculated that they will yield nearly forty millions of gallons every twenty-four hours. The aqueduct, tunnel, and receiving basin cost $3,500,000. The reservoirs, four miles from the city, with a capacity of eight millions of gallons, cost $566,486, and the laying of pipes, etc., $1,566,374, or a total of over $5,000,000. The works are owned by the city.

The telephone system, owned by the Government, is leased to the Red Telefonica de la Habana, and had, previous to the war, twenty-one miles of line and fifteen hundred subscribers.

Two companies comprise the fire department of the city, and these are of the old-style “volunteer” variety. One of the companies is supported by the city, the other by private enterprise. Fires are rare and seldom extensive, the annual losses not aggregating half a million dollars, and insurance companies find Havana risks most desirable.

The death-rate of Havana is about 33 per 1000, a figure 25 per cent. in excess of the majority of American cities. In one year (1893) there were 6610 deaths to 4175 births, showing a loss in population of 2435. While yellow fever and diseases due to lack of sanitation are the chief causes of death, it is noticeable that 20 per cent. of the deaths are due to consumption, a disease not generally understood to prevail in the soft air of the tropics. The proportion of illegitimacy, which is 147 per 1000 births in Austria, the leading European country in this regard, is over 250 in Havana among the whites. What it is among the blacks is unknown.

There are 120 tobacco manufactories of the first class in the city, and many of lesser rank, and thousands of people find employment in them. Some of the larger factories employ between 400 and 500 hands each. The shipments of cigars from Havana from 1888 to 1896 reached the enormous total of 1,615,720,000; the United States taking 739,162,000, or somewhat less than half. Owing to the heavy tariff, the shipments decreased from 188,750,000 in 1888 to 60,000,000 in 1896 and for several years previously. Ninety-nine per cent. of the Cuban cigars received in the United States come from Havana.

Havana easily leads the other seaports of the Island in commerce, about one-third of all the shipments from the Island coming from that port. An average of 1200 vessels a year clear from the port, with an aggregate tonnage of over 1,500,000. In 1894, 1309 foreign vessels entered the port, having a tonnage of 1,794,597 tons.

Commercially, Havana occupies a most important position, and when by the adoption of modern ideas in all matters of progress she has regenerated herself, cleansed herself, rejuvenated herself, there is no doubt that she will take her place among the rich and powerful cities of the world.

The Botanical Gardens are situated on the Paseo de Carlos III., next to the Captain-General’s estate. They were originally intended for giving practical lessons in botany to the students of the University of Havana; but there was so much disorder during these lessons that they had to be suppressed. These gardens are on one of the most beautiful places in the outskirts of Havana and have been comparatively well kept. Some ten years ago a stone and iron wall that had surrounded the Campo de Marte was removed from there and placed around the Botanical Gardens. If the Spanish Government had attended to the cultivation and preservation of tropical plants and fruits in the way that has been done in the British colonies, especially in Jamaica, these gardens would be to-day of the greatest utility; but with the characteristic slackness that they have shown in all the branches of administration of public affairs they have neglected botany, and, from a scientific point of view, the gardens are of little or no value. Probably a scientist could find in some of the gardens for the cultivation and sale of flowers just as valuable material as he could here. Let us hope that under the new regime the necessity of studying the tropical flora will be realised.


Education in Havana and in all Cuba is in a very primitive condition—old-fashioned, theoretical systems are general, and the lack of practical applications of the different subjects taught is greatly felt. This difficulty is mainly due to the fact that the Government has hitherto controlled education in all its branches, and, far from applying to its improvement the receipts from other sources, it has attempted to arrange matters in such a way that the bulk of the expense should be borne by a portion of those receiving instruction. In the last Cuban budget the revenue from matriculation fees alone reached $90,000. These fees are paid by students of all schools which are not free. If to this the other items, as, for example, “examination fees” and “inscription of certificates,” are added, the receipts will probably reach $150,000, nearly two-thirds of the total sum of $247,000 yearly appropriated for public instruction in the same budget.

Under Spanish Government control all teaching is divided into three classes: first, or primary instruction; second, or elementary instruction; and professions. To follow these courses, a student must have matriculated and passed the examinations of the preceding ones, either in Spain or a Spanish Government college, no foreign titles being respected. There is only one examination required to pass from first to second instruction; the third instruction, however, is a five years’ course, divided as follows:

First year: Latin and Spanish grammar, geography.

Second year: Latin and Spanish grammar, Spanish history.

Third year: Arithmetic and algebra, universal history, rhetoric, French, English, or German.

Fourth year: Geometry and trigonometry, philosophy (logic, ethics, and psychology), and languages (French, English, or German).

Fifth year: Physics, chemistry, natural history, agriculture, physiology.

After being examined in these each year, the student passes the Bachelor of Arts examination, which consists of two oral exercises on the subjects he has studied during the previous five years. To enter the professional courses at the University a candidate must show the title of A. B.

It must be said to the honour of some schools, that, although they have been bound to follow the plan of studies ordered by the Government, they have not confined themselves to it strictly, and other courses have been taught in them in addition. The best schools in Havana are the Jesuits’, the Pious schools, and one or two others of a smaller number of students. There is a class of cheap day-schools both in the city of Havana and throughout the Island which is very objectionable; the instruction given is very bad and the children are so neglected that they acquire in a very short period of time a number of vicious habits and lose all idea of morality and self-respect. Cuban children are generally gifted with remarkable memories, and this is taken advantage of by some of their teachers, who cram their heads with stuff which they cannot understand and which consequently proves utterly useless to them.

The University of Havana is established in the old convent of Saint Dominic in the centre of the city, facing the back of the Governor’s Palace. The building is over three hundred years old and is a typical specimen of the old Spanish monastical architecture; the quadrangles are surrounded by arched cloisters, the stone steps are long and wide, and the walls are six feet thick of solid masonry. All the mortar on the outer wall has long since fallen off, and the building has more the aspect of an old-fashioned fortress than of a peaceful temple of contemplation and learning.

When the old Dominicans owned the convent they instituted a free school for children, and as the requirements of the city became more pressing they extended their teaching to other and higher branches of learning, among which the study of law, medicine, and philosophy was included. They also had an annex school for special instruction.

At present the lectures are given by graduates of Spanish universities who have taken the degree of Doctor in the course they may have followed. The number of students, in some years, has reached two thousand. None of them sleep in the building. To be a professor it is necessary either to have acquired distinction in the vacant chair of the special profession, or to be the best in a public contest against all the others aspiring to the chair, or to be appointed by the Crown.

The students of the Havana University wear no caps and gowns, but the professors on every official occasion appear in their “togas” and caps, which are black, with tassels, lining, and cuffs of the colour of their respective faculties. Medicine is yellow, Law is red, Science is dark blue, Philosophy and Letters, light blue. Pharmacy, purple, and so on.

In spite of strict orders from the rectors and professors and covert threats from the Spanish Government officers, no student has attended lectures on the 27th of November since 1871, when seven students were unjustly accused by the Spanish Volunteers of having desecrated the tomb of a patriot. It was in vain that a brave Spanish officer, called Capdevilla, showed that the scratches on the glass of the coffin were covered with moss: all he succeeded in doing was to provoke the Volunteers, who did their best to kill him, and to spoil his career; he lived twenty-seven years more and was never promoted. He died in Santiago. The students were executed two days after their arrest. When the son of the man whose tomb had been the cause of so much villainy went to Cuba for his father’s remains, twenty years after that event, a notary public attended the ceremony and the son was a witness to the declaration that all was in exactly the same condition as at the time of the burial. A monument was erected to the memory of the students after the Spanish Cortes had declared that they had been innocent of the charge that had been brought against them. There is a significant statue of a blindfold woman with broken scales in her hand on one side of the monument whilst History on the other side appears recording.

After this disgraceful act it is not surprising that the students of Havana University furnished such a ready contingent to the ranks of the rebellion.

When in Havana last September the author, accompanied by Admiral Sampson, paid a visit to the Boys’ Technical School. It was just starting up again after the blockade, and though there were not many scholars, the opportunity was afforded to observe the possibilities of this admirable institution. Many specimens of the boys’ work were given to the author, and on returning to the United States some of them were shown the President, who expressed gratification at these signs of industrial life and a hope that the school would be provided for in the new budget of the Island. The Havana Provincial School of Arts and Trades is an institution for the promotion of technical knowledge among workmen and the training of youths (preferably artisans’ sons) in the theories and practice of trades. It is maintained at the expense of the Deputation of the Province of Havana.

The first courses given in this school commenced in 1882. In 1889, thanks to the efforts of its founder, Don Fernando Aguado y Rico and some zealous assistants, some shops were added to the school. They succeeded in having an increase allowed in the appropriation voted by the Provincial Deputation. The present cost of the school is $16,350 a year. This school is absolutely a free school. The instruction is divided into day courses and night courses. In view of its limited resources, to provide for boarders in the institution has, thus far, been impossible, consequently all the pupils are day scholars. A good deal may be said of Mr. Aguado’s work in this school. It is to be regretted that, like so many others who work for the public good, the results should not correspond to the labour. He conceived the idea of creating this school a few years after graduating from the University of Havana. After several unsuccessful attempts he managed to start his enterprise, and since then the improvement of the instruction and the general welfare of its scholars have been the main object of his life. The acquisition of a lot of ground and the building of a suitable house for the shops for mechanical training have been the most important steps taken since the foundation. The new building is outside the city and is high and airy. Part of the ground purchased will have a building erected for an agricultural and industrial museum.

It is to be regretted that this school, which is the only one of its class in Cuba, should furnish accommodation for only the limited number of 491 pupils. A city of 250,000 inhabitants, like Havana, should be able to provide more for this object. It is to be remarked that, out of the number mentioned, as many as 316 take night courses.


There is perhaps no branch of instruction that may lead to such important developments in Cuba as the training of her youths in the mechanical trades; the want has been felt for a long time, and with the only exception of this school no efforts have been made to alleviate it. The Cuban, being naturally quick, makes a good mechanic, but unless he is trained to his work and has some knowledge of technicalities he can never reach the degree of skill which the modern mechanic requires to master his trade. However bright a man may be he can never acquire perfection in any branch of industry if he confines himself to the results of individual practice and personal observation. In a place like Cuba, where the wealth and prosperity of the country depend materially on one industry like the sugar industry, which is worked with huge machinery, there is no excuse for bringing over every year foreign engineers and mechanics to oversee any important repairs that may be necessary, or to erect new plants. One would expect that being constantly on the ground, seeing daily the working of this machinery, those interested would acquire such complete mastery of the processes that, far from having to depend on outsiders, they would be making and suggesting improvements. The explanation is, as has been stated, merely the want of technical knowledge; give the Cubans complete mechanical instruction, technical and practical, and tangible results will be seen in a remarkably short period. Let us hope that Mr. Aguado will continue working with the zeal and ardour that he has shown heretofore, and that ere long he may enjoy the satisfaction of seeing his work completed in a way that may exceed his most sanguine expectations.

Havana feels the want of good hotels. There are some where a certain degree of comfort may be had by paying high prices, but even then it falls short of what can be obtained in other places at very much lower rates. Travellers in Cuba have to be satisfied with taking what they can get in this respect, as among those of so-called first-class standard there is little difference between one hotel and another. Anybody who has been in Havana during the winter months can have no doubt how profitable an investment would be an hotel on American lines. As every steamer arrives there is a rush for rooms most uncomfortable for travellers, to say nothing of their disappointment after they have succeeded in securing what, judging by the rate, they expect to find an unusually fine apartment, and which actually turns out to be a small whitewashed den, with very second-rate furniture and an iron bed. No curtains, no carpets, and bare walls. The most frequented are the Inglaterra and Pasaje hotels. Besides these, there is the Louvre, which, though much smaller than the other two, is beyond comparison more comfortable and better furnished.

There are several theatres in Havana. The Tacon, now owned by American capitalists, is the third largest in the world.

The Church of the Merced (Mercy) is the most fashionable in the city. The Belen (Jesuit) is the most frequented. It has, connected with it, a school, a laboratory, an observatory, and a museum of natural history. More men go to the Church of Santo Domingo than to any other because more pretty women go there.

Fine suburbs of hill and seashore hedge Havana in. Notable among these are Jesus del Monte, the highest point, 220 feet; Cerro, Chorreta Vedado (beautiful and fashionable), Marianao, eight miles out; Regla, across the harbour, famed for its bull-ring and large sugar warehouses; Guanabacoa, Casa Blanco, Playa de Marianao (seashore); La Cienaga, Puertos Grandes, and others of less importance. These places are of varying quality, from the very fashionable to the kind which exist because existence there is cheaper than in the city. The roads (calzadas) leading out of Havana are, as a rule, good, though, owing to the war, some are just now in bad repair.

Weather observations have been made in Havana since 1859. The rainy season continues from June to November; the rest of the year is dry, although about one-third of the rainfall of the year comes in the dry season. The average rainfall is about 50 inches. The temperature varies from 64 degrees to 85 degrees, and the humidity, which rarely falls below 75, makes the heat most oppressive. The early morning and late afternoon and evening are the hours devoted to business and pleasure.

The Jersey mosquito is a silken-winged messenger of mercy compared with his cousins in Havana.

There are many asylums and hospitals in the city which are not lacking in funds or attention, but they are all conducted upon antiquated notions, which greatly lessen their usefulness. As in other Catholic cities, Sunday is the amusement day of the week, and all the Havanese are out in gala attire on that day after morning service at the churches. There are many parks and promenades. The Alameda, the Plaza de Armas, the Parque de Isabella, and the Prado are the chief places of resort.



WHEN in October, 1898, the late Colonel George E. Waring, of New York City, who had been sent by the Government to investigate the physical condition of Havana, became the victim of the monster he had sought to throttle, he had already written a large portion of his report, and he left copious notes for the completion of it, from which his efficient secretary and assistant, Mr. G. Everett Hill, prepared a full report. From this report the following extracts are made:

“The death-rate of the city has always been high. In five years (not consecutive) between 1800 and 1819, with a population less than one-third of the present number of inhabitants, 26,576 people perished from yellow fever alone. In 1832 the cholera killed 10,000. The official reports of the Spanish garrison show that up to January 16, 1896, more than 82 per cent. of the total losses were due to yellow fever. In 1897 the total mortality by disease in the Spanish army in Cuba was 32,534.

“At present the death-rate in Havana is enormous. The mortality for the week ending October 6, 1898, was 536—an annual rate of 139.36 per cent. per 1000. Since then owing to the change of season and to the removal of certain contributing causes, it has fallen to 114.4.

“The surroundings and customs of domestic life are disgusting almost beyond belief. Sixteen thousand houses, out of a total of less than 20,000, are but one story high, and at least 90 per cent. of the population live in these—averaging say 11 to each house. Usually the house covers the entire lot, so that there is no yard; though one or two courts are commonly included in the building. According to the general—almost the universal—plan, the front rooms are used as parlours or reception rooms. Beyond them is a court, on which open the dining-rooms and sleeping-rooms. Beyond these, on another court, are—I might say is—the ‘kitchen, stable, and privy, practically all in one.’” In Colonel Waring’s own words:

“The characteristic feature of the whole establishment—perhaps the only feature which is conspicuous in every house without exception—is the privy-vault, and sometimes a second vault for kitchen waste. These occupy a space practically under and almost in the kitchen. It is very rarely, indeed, that a Cuban privy has a ventilating pipe, so it belches forth its nauseous odours throughout the house and pervades the streets.”

“There is no ordinance—at least none in force—requiring a householder to empty his privy vault. He uses it until it threatens to overflow; then he hires a night-scavenger, who comes with a cart, carrying the requisite number of barrels. These are filled through square holes at the top, and discharged through a plugged orifice at the bottom.

“The workmen use tub-like ladles with long handles, with which they scoop up the filth. These they carry, dripping as they go, through kitchen, dining-room, reception-room, and hall to the street.”

“When the barrels are filled, the cart starts, ostensibly for the prescribed place of disposal; but often, in a dark street, the plugs come out, and, before the waggon has gone very far, the barrels are empty.

“Lest the conditions above set forth should fail to do their appointed work of destruction, stimulus for their effectiveness is furnished by an extraneous source of malaria of the very worst character.

“The southerly edge of the harbour is bordered by broad marshes, through which flow a number of watercourses, and to which these bring the offscouring of a very poor quarter of the town, and especially the effluent of the slaughtering-pens and of other foul establishments; while a large portion of the flat is used as a dumping-ground for garbage.

“This intimate relation of marsh and filth is greatly aggravated by the admixture of fresh and salt water, by occasional floods, and by a daily scorching sun.

“The vicinity of such marshes would be deadly in this climate, even to a veritable ‘City of Hygeia.’ Their proximity to this foul, fever-cursed town has always been recognised as disastrous, even by intelligent Habaneros themselves.”

The water supply of Havana is very pure and abundant,—more than two hundred gallons per head per day:

“This and the winds of the Gulf save the city from being absolutely and unqualifiedly bad; but they are powerless to make it tolerable. It is a veritable plague-spot.

“Its own people, largely immune though they are to yellow fever, which has prevailed here without interruption for one hundred and sixty-eight years, fall constant victims under the pernicious malarial and depressing influences to which they are always subjected; and it needs only the immigration of fresh material, which the enterprise of our population is sure to bring here, to create a sacrifice such as we have not yet known; while commerce will carry the terror and the terrible scourge of yellow fever to our shores, until we rise again in a war of humanity, and at all costs wipe out an enemy with which no military valour can cope.


“Can Havana be purified? And if so, will such purification result in the eradication of yellow fever and malaria? Both questions can be answered affirmatively and positively. Havana is no dirtier than many another city has been. In England, in the olden time, the earthen floors were strewn with rushes. When these became sodden with filth beyond all endurance, fresh rushes were thrown over the old ones, and these in turn were buried, until the foul accumulation was several feet deep. Excrement was allowed to remain in and around the houses indefinitely, or was thrown into the streets regardless of consequences. In London, the frequent cry of, ‘Ware below!’ indicated that the household slops were about to be poured from an upper window. These conditions remained until repeated visits of the great sanitary teachers—the plague, the black death, the cholera, and other pestilences, which devastated cities and swept whole villages out of existence—had taught their hard lesson. On the continent the ignorance and neglect were, if possible, even greater. We have profited by the bitter experience of our ancestors; and no intelligent person questions the merit of sanitary works. But their true value is not yet fully appreciated, even by educated men whose interests are at stake.

“The poison of yellow fever is ponderable. It clings to low levels and usually follows the lines of greatest humidity. Like malaria, it is more active—or at least more to be feared—by night than by day. The danger from it in any quarter of an infected locality depends upon the presence primarily of filth, secondarily of dampness; and it increases in direct proportion to the confinement and stagnation of the air. Infected cellars are more dangerous than infected rooms. The holds of ships are notorious hotbeds of the disease.

“In Havana the average height of the ground floor of a house above the soil is but six or seven inches; and this space is unventilated. The earth is not only damp, but is sodden with putrefying organic matter. The houses are closely built, without adequate space for ventilation between them. In the poorer quarters the population is crowded, a whole family often occupying a single room. The emanations from the cesspool and garbage-vault pervade, as has been stated, the kitchen and the sleeping-and living-rooms, even of houses of the better class. The standard of personal cleanliness is, necessarily, very low. These conditions, for which the citizens are responsible, are sufficient in themselves to transform the most healthy locality into a fever-nest. In the case of Havana, they are accumulated by climatic conditions favourable to, but in no case accountable for, the propagation of disease. No amount of rainfall, no high average of humidity, and no degree of temperature will cause zymotic pestilence, if cleanliness be secured and maintained, and proper drainage of the soil established.”

In the notes which Colonel Waring brought with him from Cuba, the following improvements are specified as absolutely necessary for the sanitary redemption of Havana:

(1) The immediate organisation of a Department of Public Cleaning,” under the full control of a single Commissioner experienced in the conduct of such work,” who should have authority to act as occasion may require.

The chief function of the Department would be the maintenance of a “constant state of cleanliness” in all the streets and places of public business or resort, including the abattoirs and markets. “It should also control the disposal of all wastes, except sewage—by cremation and otherwise.”

(2) The construction of a system of sewers “to receive the liquid wastes of all houses of the main city.” The topography of the city divides it naturally into several districts. Each of these should be served by a distinct sewerage system, which should discharge directly into the harbour or the Gulf, as the case may be. “ Before such discharge, the effluent should be effectively clarified by one of the various well known methods; so that it would carry only its dissolved impurities.” The dilution would be immediate and more than sufficient; for the daily movement of sea water into and out of the harbour is about six thousand times as great as would be the day’s discharge of clarified sewage from the harbour slope of the city.

(3) The clearing out and filling with clean earth of all the cesspools and garbage-vaults, and the supplying to each house of a suitable water-closet connected with the public sewer system. The closets furnished should be practically automatic in operation, and not liable to damage from ignorance or carelessness. They should be made so that no foreign substance able to cause an obstruction in the house drain or the sewer could pass out of sight. If more elaborate plumbing be desired, this may be put in by the householder, under proper supervision, at his own expense. The immediate installation of the water-closet in each house is the only course which will make possible the annihilation of the cesspool; and Havana will not be a healthy city until this result is accomplished. The benefit that will be gained when it is done is out of all proportion to the insignificant cost of the doing.

(4) The paving, or repaving, of all the streets with the best quality of asphaltum. Some form of artificial paving of the streets of cities is indispensable. Mr. Edwin Chadwick says that between the two divisions of a town population, similarly situated in general condition, one part inhabiting streets which are unpaved and another inhabiting streets that are paved, a difference of health is observed. He cites instances showing the sanitary benefit resulting from paving.

Laying aside all considerations of comfort and economy, which in themselves are sufficient to warrant its construction, asphaltum is the best paving material from a hygienic standpoint. Being a monolithic sheet it is impervious alike to the rise of exhalations from the earth and the soakage of liquids into the earth. It is easily cleaned; and, as it can be cleaned without sprinkling, it can be cleaned dry. At intervals it can be thoroughly washed with a hose, and all surplus water removed immediately with a squeegee. The absence of dust and the minimising of noise are hygienic benefits of secondary degree.

(5) The erection of a new abattoir, adequate to all the needs of the population, and furnished with modern appliances for the inoffensive utilisation of the entire animal, so that no refuse remains to be got rid of.

(6) The construction of “a suitable and sufficient incinerating furnace, for the complete and inoffensive destruction of garbage and other refuse,” including dead animals, street sweepings, mattresses, discarded clothing, rags, excelsior, paper, and similar substances, which might serve as vehicles of contagion. The experiments made by Colonel Waring while Street Cleaning Commissioner of New York, indicated that such a furnace may produce steam in quantities large enough to be valuable.

(7) The reclamation and drainage of all the marshes, or at least of those bordering on the harbour on the south and west. “This reclamation to be made after the ‘Polder’ method of Holland—by diking out the harbour and the watercourses and removing the water by pumping.”

(8) The establishment of a “power-plant sufficient for this pumping, for pumping sewage where necessary, and for propelling the machinery of the abattoir.”

In concluding his paper, Mr. Hill says:

“It may seem strange that no reference has been made to the dredging of the harbour—so urgently advocated by some advisers—or to any improvement of it, save such as would be effected by the withholding of solid organic matters from the abattoir, sewage, and dumping grounds, and by the construction of the dikes at its southern end. As has been said, the tidal flow is more than sufficient to effect the purification of the clarified sewage, which Colonel Waring proposed to empty into the harbour. So long as solid wastes are withheld, its surplus oxidizing power will gradually destroy the accumulation of putrescible material.

“To dredge the harbour now would be dangerous work; for it would stir up and expose to the air vast quantities of putrid filth. Later, if Colonel Waring’s recommendations should be carried out, it would mean only the removal of innocuous mud. Navigation is not yet impeded by the deposits; and the rate at which the harbour is silting up—one-third of one per cent. per year—makes it evident that a delay of even ten years would not be injurious to commerce. Long before this time has elapsed the harbour should be clean.

“Havana can be freed from her curse. The price of her freedom is about $10,000,000. Can the United States afford to redeem her? For once humanity, patriotism, and self-interest should be unanimous, and their answer should be, Yes!”

General Greene, U.S.A., has submitted an extended report on the city’s condition. General Greene notes that about sixty per cent. of the street surface is not paved, and that which is paved is in very poor condition. In some streets are small drains, connecting by gratings with the gutters, but no official record is kept of them, and no city plat shows whither they go, but as in Havana all sewers lead to the bay, it is supposed that is their destination. Some few private houses have their own sewers, but no official knows anything further than that permits were granted to build them and they are never cleaned. In parts of the city a drain two feet deep and two feet wide, covered or uncovered, runs alongside of the streets and into these all manner of ill-smelling and nasty refuse is dumped and left to wash away by the rain or to rot in the sun. For four years previous to the war the authorities had been considering an elaborate plan of street improvement and sewerage system, submitted by an American contractor, but no action had been taken. The estimated cost was $7,000,000.

For three hundred years or more house drainage has been discharged into cesspools, varying in size from three to ten feet in diameter, and from four to eight feet deep, closed at the top with a stone. While rules for taking proper care of these cesspools are plenty, enforcement of them is so neglected that some of them have not been cleaned in five years. They are not cemented inside and they drain off into the soil and rock, infecting everything in reach.

The paved streets (surface) are cleaned by contract, by methods prevailing in this country twenty-five years ago, and the work is fairly well done. The cleanings are carried eight miles from the city, where they are dumped and left on the ground, and the condition there is fearful. During the blockade the authorities ordered the cleanings to be dumped into the marsh near the Christina Street station, and here in the wet soil they remain, a dangerous menace to health. The thousands of reconcentrados and soldiers in the city used the unpaved streets as open privies, and when the Americans went into the city they found these streets utterly noxious and foul, and set to work at once to clean them, the street-cleaning contractor being permitted to continue his work on the paved streets.

There is but one slaughter-house in the city and it is owned by the municipality. It is mortgaged, like other city properties, to the Spanish Bank. From three hundred to four hundred cattle are killed daily, and the offal, which might easily be saved, and is, in American slaughter-houses, is dumped into Chavez Creek, where it is left to rot in the sun. The construction of a new building in a different locality has been long discussed, but opposition has been made to it, and nothing has been done. In the meantime the dumping continues in Chavez Creek.

The military hospitals have not yet been examined. Of the nine city hospitals, asylums, and homes examined by Surgeon Davis, three were in fairly good condition, two in bad condition, and four are most deplorable. Some of the houses are overcrowded and the inmates half starved. These hospitals can be put in good condition very soon.

The two principal markets, the Colon and the Tacon, are owned by the city and mortgaged to the Spanish Bank. Their sanitary condition is bad as it can be, but it can be remedied easily and quickly.

An elaborate code of Health Regulations, a volume of fifty pages, exists, but it is seldom or never referred to or its provisions carried out. Dairies prevail in many parts of the city, where twenty to thirty cows are kept in stalls in the same house where human beings live; livery stables are located in the most thickly settled parts of the city; dead dogs, cats, and other animals are left in the open streets for weeks; slops, filth, and night soil are thrown out of the windows and doors on the streets in the poorer localities and no kind of regard is paid to health regulations of any kind.

The condition of the harbour is gone into at length, one new fact being noted, to wit: that the water is so foul that the bottom cannot be seen two feet below the surface, while at Marianao, eight miles away, the bottom at twenty feet is plainly visible.

Both General Greene and Surgeon Davis are of the opinion that the harbour is not such a menace to health as are the cesspools, slaughter-house, and general filth of the city, and that it should come last in the cleaning process.

In recapitulation, General Greene says:

“From the foregoing it is apparent that the first steps toward sanitation are the improvement of the slaughter-house, the cleaning of cesspools, the inauguration of a proper system of street cleaning, and the devising and rigid enforcement of health regulations. I have therefore advised that immediately on taking possession of the city government a board be appointed, consisting of three army surgeons and two civilians—one from New York and one from Chicago—of long experience on the Health Boards in those cities; that this board study the sanitary conditions of the city and draw up a new code of sanitary regulations, including the management of the hospitals; and that this code be rigidly enforced by the new city police, assisted by such number of sanitary inspectors as may prove to be necessary. In this manner I believe that the sanitary conditions can be improved and the death-rate enormously reduced before the next rainy season sets in. The death-rate in October last was at the rate of 133 per 1000 per annum; in December it had been reduced to 106, and with only two deaths per week from yellow fever.

“In order completely to stamp out yellow fever it will be necessary to destroy a limited number of the worst infected houses occupied by the poorest classes, to construct a system of sewers, and lay new pavements. This will involve a very large expenditure of money, and it is not at present clear how the city can raise this money. It is probable, however, that a feasible financial scheme could be devised after thorough study, and in the meantime a commission of engineers should be appointed to study the problem, and either acquire the existing surveys by purchase, at a fair valuation, or else make new surveys, and a definite report covering the whole ground, so that the matter may be intelligently considered.”



“This is conceded to be a climatic element of greatest importance, and the ‘annual mean’ to be the chief factor. Throughout the West Indies the mean annual temperature, near the sea, is from 78 degrees to 80, the mean daily range is only about 6 degrees, and the extreme annual range does not usually exceed 20 degrees. At Havana the mean annual temperature varies in different years from 77 degrees to 79; the mean temperature of the hottest months, July and August, varies from 82 to 85 degrees; and of the coldest months, December and January, from 70 to 76 degrees. The minimum temperature is very rarely as low as 50 degrees, and the maximum as rarely exceeds 100 degrees; in fact, the thermometer, in the shade, seldom rises above 94 degrees. There are no records nor any tradition of frost having ever occurred except on December 24 and 25, 1856. It is alleged that even in the sparsely inhabited mountains in the east of Cuba, where the Tarquino peak reaches an altitude of about 8000 feet, frost rarely occurs, and snow never.”


“During the sixteen years, 1859-74, the average number of rainy days at Havana was 113; the minimum number, 97 days, occurred in 1869, and the maximum number, 141 days, occurred in 1862. The average amount of rain for the sixteen years was 49 inches, the minimum was 42.5 in 1861, and the maximum was 70 inches in 1867. The maximum amount of rain falling in any one season is from May to September, inclusive, but especially during August and September. The rain then descends with such rapidity that it runs off in torrents; but, as is seen, the usual belief that the annual rainfall is excessive is erroneous. The annual mean relative humidity varies in different years from about 73 to 74.5, and that of the different months of the year from 66 to 79; the minimum, occurring in any day of the year, may be as low as 34, and the maximum as high as 96. Evaporation is extremely rapid.


by all
in the
and Civil
Deaths by
Diseases in
the Civil
Deaths by
Yellow Fever. Small Pox. Cholera.
and Civil
Civil Population. Military
and Civil
and Civil
1870 10,379 9,451 665 277 681 1,655
1871 9,174 8,290 991 796 1,126 ....
1872 7,031 6,036 515 372 174 ....
1873 7,755 6,932 1,244 1,019 47 ....
1874 9,604 8,523 1,225 1,236 772 ....
1875 8,390 7,044 1,001 94 711 ....
1876 9,122 7,438 1,619 904 160 ....
1877 10,217 7,139 1,374 567 97 ....
1878 11,507 8,594 1,559 758 1,225 ....
1879 9,052 7,826 1,444 737 523 ....
  92,231 77,273 11,837 6,7605,516 1,655

“Spanish army losses to January 16, 1896:

Killed in action and died from wounds405
Died from yellow fever3,190
All other diseases282

“Total mortality of Spanish army in Cuba in 1897 (from Public Health Report, U. S. Marine Hospital Service, April 29, 1898):

Died from yellow fever3,190
Deaths from yellow fever6,034
Deaths from enteric fever2,500
Enteritis and dysentery12,000
Malarial fevers7,000
All other diseases5,000
Deaths from all diseases32,534

“The above table ... clearly proves that ‘the actual sanitary condition of the principal ports of Cuba’ is very unfavourable, since, in recent years, their death-rates have ranged from 31.9 to 66.7. It also proves that the sanitary condition of the inland towns is very little, if at all, better than that of the seaports. The high death-rates of Guanabacoa and of Marianao are especially notable, because these suburban towns, within three and six miles of Havana, are summer resorts, and enjoy, especially Marianao, a high repute for salubrity. Taking a general view of the death-rates for the total population of all the twenty towns in the above list—towns selected solely because the only ones which furnish reliable official reports, though many others were solicited, it will be found that twenty-six death-rates are given; that these range from 23.5 to 66.7, and that, while only eight of the twenty-six are under 35, twelve of them are 50 or more.”

“The portion of the city in worst repute is the fifth district, and especially Jesus Maria, one of its wards. This is, to considerable extent, reclaimed swamp lands, filled in largely with street refuse and garbage. It fronts the bottom of the harbour. Its rough, unpaved streets are in many places almost impassable in wet weather, even to pedestrians. Great mud-holes, covered with green slime, and fit only for the abode of hogs, are numerous. The houses, as well as the streets, have an uncared-for, filthy, and disgusting appearance; and the sickly, anæmic residents look as dirty and cheerless as the streets and houses.

“The Punta or Colon wards in the third district—at least the portions which immediately front the sea—have a reputation almost as bad as the Jesus Maria ward. The foundation rocks were, during the last century, excavated to build fortifications, and these excavations were filled up with street refuse and garbage; hence this ward is, like Jesus Maria, to some extent, reclaimed land. These portions are alleged to be very unhealthful, while houses only six or eight blocks distant are not so; comparatively light rains flood the banquettes and run into the houses. The streets are wider and the houses better than in Jesus Maria. Some consider the location of the latter, at the bottom of the harbour, a chief cause for its unhealthfulness, but the unhealthy portion of the city now referred to fronts the sea.


“The Pueblo Nuevo ward, still farther to the west, also fronts the sea, and is built on a slope which attains an altitude of nearly seventy feet. Notwithstanding these advantages, it is very badly drained, and has, as it apparently deserves, an ill repute for healthfulness....

“The three suburban wards, Jesus del Monte, the Cerro, and Vedado, enjoy the best reputation for salubrity, and also for their freedom from yellow fever. Intelligent residents are readily found, who will assert with great assurance that no one is ever attacked in these wards except those who have been elsewhere infected. The summit of Jesus del Monte has an altitude of 67 meters, or 220 feet, the highest point in Havana, or its immediate vicinity. However, there are few, if any, houses about the summit; the average level of the ward is only 80 feet, and more inhabitants live below than above this level. The natural drainage is excellent, the houses in the elevated portion occupy more ground and are better ventilated than in Havana.”


“The surface soil of Havana consists for the most part of a thin layer of red, yellow, or black earths. At varying depths beneath this, often not exceeding one or two feet, lie the solid rocks. These foundation rocks are (especially in the northern and more modern portion of the city, towards the coast of the sea and not of the harbour) quarternary and especially tertiary formation so permeable that liquids emptied into excavations are absorbed and disappear. In the southern and greater portion of the city, these rocks are of cretaceous formation, and so much less permeable that sinks and other excavations readily fill to overflowing. About twenty thousand persons or one-tenth of the population, live on land reclaimed from the sea, in large measure, by dumping on garbage and street refuse. Much of this reclaimed land was formerly mangrove swamps, and Havana still lies adjacent to these breeders of malarial poison. There are few if any towns in Cuba which are not subjected to malarial effluvia from mangrove or other swamps, and many of these suffer to greater extent than Havana.”

Messrs. Ariza and Herrera reported a population of 3000 on the reclaimed parts of the first district, 5000 on parts of the third and fourth, 5000 on part of the fifth, and 600 on part of the sixth district.


“The sanitarian cannot hesitate to advocate, for general reasons if not especially for yellow fever, the cleansing of the harbour, the cessation of daily additions to it of large masses of filth, and the replenishment of it by constant currents of pure water. To accomplish the last, it has been much insisted on, in the United States, as well as in Cuba, that canals should be dug. Out of Cuba it ought to be better understood that Havana is by no means deficient in highly educated, skilful, practical engineers, who are fully alive to the sanitary interests of the city, and to the merits of this especial subject. Among these, Colonel Albear stands pre-eminent, and in September, 1879, he delivered before the Academy of Sciences an extremely able address on this subject, which is so full of instruction, on other local conditions also of interest to the sanitarian, that this address has been translated and is presented, as a most interesting part of this report. Colonel Albear seems to have conclusively demonstrated the impracticability of these proposed canals; and my own conviction is that if practicable they could not possibly place the small harbour of Havana in as favourable sanitary conditions as are by nature the large harbour of Matanzas and of Cienfuegos, where yellow fever none the less prevails.”


“In Cuban cities, generally, good drainage is not found except in such comparatively inextensive parts where nature required little or no assistance. Even in Havana, the oldest and wealthiest city, the visitor is often astounded, especially in the rainy season, by impassable mud-holes, and green, slimy, stagnant pools in the streets and in the backyards. This condition was found even in the Pueblo Nuevo ward, which is located so admirably for good drainage that little labour would be required to make it perfect.

“Messrs. Ariza and Herrera reported: ‘Havana has no sewers save in a few principal streets. These sewers have been built at interrupted intervals, without reference to any general plan for drainage. They are seldom cleaned and are generally obstructed in part or wholly with sediment or filth from the streets, and exhale offensive odours. As the sewers are few in number, the greater part of the water of the city empties through the streets, into the harbour or the sea; but the quantity flowing into the sea is comparatively small.’ Mr. A. H. Taylor, a civil engineer, thoroughly informed on this subject, testified that the sewers of only three streets subserved any good purpose whatever, and that the remainder were so defective that the city would really be much better off without them. Through the gratings, which have large interspaces, the dirt and refuse of the streets find such ready entrance that a number of these sewers were soon filled up, with apparently solid materials, to within a few inches of the surface openings. Since very few houses or privies are connected with sewers, these are less offensive than they would otherwise be, but no one who has seen them can find any words except of unhesitating condemnation for their grossly defective structure.”


“Less than one-third of the population live on paved streets, and these are well paved and kept as clean, it is believed cleaner, than is usual in the United States. The remainder live on unpaved streets, which for the most part are very filthy. Many of these, even in old and densely populated parts of the city, are no better than rough country roads, full of rocks, crevices, mud-holes, and other irregularities, so that vehicles traverse them with difficulty at all times, and in the rainy season they are sometimes impassable for two months. Rough, muddy, or both, these streets serve admirably as permanent receptacles for much decomposing animal and vegetable matter. Finally, not less, probably more, than one-half of the population of Havana live on streets which are constantly in an extremely insanitary condition, but these streets, though so numerous, are not in the beaten track of the pleasure tourist, in which capacity the writer, in 1856, spent ten days in Havana without witnessing many of the evils now testified to with emphasis.”


“Of the various evils recounted in connection with the subject of houses, there are two which deserve special attention. Many facts, besides those associated with the holds of vessels, justify the belief that the growth of the poison of yellow fever is specially favoured in warm, moist, ill-ventilated places, where air is closely confined. The low-lying floors touching the earth, the small, densely packed houses, the unusually contracted ventilating space in their rear, the large unventilated excavation for privies and sinks, all furnish, as is firmly believed, the most favourable breeding-places for the poison of yellow fever. In addition, statistics prove that in great cities subjected to their ordinary unfavourable conditions, the denser their population the sicklier and shorter-lived their inhabitants. Common-sense and experience unite to teach that the denser a population the more widespread and frightful the havoc of diseases, especially of communicable diseases. Elsewhere will be found a special report on the density of the population of Havana compared with numerous other cities, and it therein appears that more than three-fourths of the people of Havana live in the most densely populated localities in the world. A tropical climate renders this enormous evil still greater. Not only in Havana but throughout Cuba the average number of inhabitants to each house is unusually great, and this fact enables us better to understand the great prevalence in Cuba of those communicable diseases which its climate and other local conditions favour.

“The Registry Office in Havana reports that there are upwards of eighteen thousand fincas in this registry district, which comprises the village of Marianao in addition to the city of Havana.

“A finca is a piece of land, with definite boundaries or limits whether large or small, and whether it has buildings on it or not.

“Of the eighteen thousand fincas in the district about fourteen thousand have houses upon them, and the other four thousand being vacant lots in the city, or fincas rusticas, in the rural districts.

“At least twelve in every thirteen inhabitants live in one-story houses; and as the total civil, military, and transient population exceeds two hundred thousand, there are more than twelve inhabitants to every house. Tenement houses may have many small rooms, but each room is occupied by a family. Generally, the one-story houses have four or five rooms; but house-rent (as also food and clothing) is rendered so expensive by taxation, by export as well as import duties, that it is rare for a workman, even when paid fifty to one hundred dollars a month, to enjoy the exclusive use of one of these mean little houses. Reserving one or two rooms for his family, he rents the balance. This condition of affairs is readily understood when it is known that so great a necessity as flour costs in Havana $15.50, when its price in the United States was $6.50 per barrel.

“In the densely populated portions of the city the houses generally have no back yard, properly so called, but a flagged court, or narrow vacant space into which sleeping-rooms open at the side; and in close proximity with these, at the rear of this contracted court, are located the kitchen, the privy, and often a stall for animals.”

“Messrs. Ariza and Herrera report that in Havana the average height of the ground floor is from seven to eleven inches above the pavement, but in Havana, and more frequently in other Cuban towns, one often encounters houses which are entered by stepping down from the sidewalk; and some floors are even below the level of the streets. In Havana some of the floors; in Matanzas more; in Cardenas and Cienfuegos many, are of bare earth itself, or of planks raised only a few inches above the damp ground.

“The privy and the sink for slops, the open kitchen shed, and the stable immediately adjoin each other, confined in a very contracted space close to sleeping-rooms. The privy consists of an excavation which often extends several feet laterally under the stone flags of the court. Even if the sides be walled, the bottom is of the original porous earth or subsoil rock, thus permitting widespread saturation of the soil.”


“These houses are veritable pig-styes. Houses which rent from thirty to forty-five dollars per month—an extremely high price for a country where wealth has been destroyed by war—are devoid of all comfort. They are unhealthful habitations. A very distinguished stranger, who visited us some time ago, said of them: ‘They are composed solely of four walls and a pavement which are stained with dampness and a privy whose fetid and constant emanations poison the air that must be breathed.’



THE American authorities and American enterprise have jointly taken hold of the municipal problem of Havana with considerable energy. This subject is of such vital importance, not only to the industrial reconstruction of Cuba, but to the future of the Island itself, that no apology is necessary for devoting an entire chapter to it. The problems which General Ludlow, the present Governor of Havana, has taken up energetically are those relating to the reorganisation of the police force, public works, water and gas supply, fire department, and other branches of local government. Private enterprise, both English and American, has lost no time in securing the street-railway system and some of the public theatres, and in various ways engaged in semi-public enterprises, the result of which will be greatly to improve existing conditions, and make Havana a much more desirable city, both for business and residence.

Next to the question of sanitary improvement, which is absolutely imperative unless the United States stands ready to sacrifice thousands of lives next summer, is the organisation of the police force for the preservation of life and property. For several years past it is said the attention of the police of Havana has been directed more to political arrests than to prevention of crime. Whether these rumours are well founded or not, General Greene, whose report upon the sanitation of Cuba was presented in the previous chapter, is not prepared to assert; but he contends that at the time he made his report, last December, the police force was completely disorganised. As it formerly existed, the police force of Havana consisted of two parts, namely: the Government police, under the direct orders of the civil governor of the province; and the municipal police, under the orders of the Alcalde, or Mayor. The functions of the latter were mainly those of inspectors, to look after the enforcement of city ordinances in regard to buildings, public health, and such matters. They numbered 200. The Government police consisted of a battalion called the Orden Publico, the colonel in command of which was chief of police. The battalion numbered about 1200 men, and was recruited from the Spanish army, among men who had passed through not less than six years’ service, who held the grade of sergeant, and who had won certificates of perfectly good character. This force was disarmed and shipped to Spain in November, on the ground of alleged mutiny; the facts being that they claimed the money belonging to them which had been deposited with the regimental paymaster, and by him embezzled.

In addition to the municipal police and the Orden Publico, there was a force, detailed from the Guarda Civil, whose total strength was about 3500 men. This force constituted the rural police of the entire Island, under the orders of the civil governor of each province. About 300 were used by the civil governor of Havana for duty in the suburbs of Jesus del Monte, Cerro, and other outlying neighbourhoods.

At the time the control of the city passed from Spanish into American hands, the police force consisted simply of the municipal police, about 200 in number, with a few additions, all of whom were temporarily organised into a Government police force after the disarmament of the Orden Publico.

The city, according to General Greene’s report, is divided into ten districts, and these are still further subdivided into thirty-nine barrios, or wards. The barrios correspond in a measure to the precincts in New York, and in each there was a celador, corresponding to a sergeant in New York. He received $100 per month, and had charge of the police in his barrio, or precinct. There were five inspectors, each of whom had two of the principal districts under his charge. They received $125 per month. They were in turn subject to the orders of the chief of police, and he to the orders of the civil governor. The appointments to all of the positions named were made by the Governor-General on the nomination of the Governor. Each inspector had an office on the ground floor of the house where he lived, and these were all connected by telephone, through the Telephone Exchange, with the Police Headquarters on Cuba Street, near Quarteles Street. Similarly, each of the celadors had an office in his own house. There were a large number of details for special service at banks, theatres, public offices, and similar places, and while the nominal strength of the Orden Publico was 1200, yet vacancy, sickness, and other causes reduced its effective strength to 800 or 900.

According to this report, in the opinion of the civil governor, a force of 600 carefully selected men, thoroughly well organised, under proper officers, will be ample for the security of life and property in this city. The orders of the President of the United States authorised the organisation of a force of 1000 men. Subsequently the Secretary of War telegraphed General Greene to employ such number of men as was necessary. In the judgment of the commanding general the number authorised by the President was sufficient, and the proposed organisation, inaugurated by General Greene and just completed under the direction of General Ludlow, aided by ex-Chief of Police of New York City, McCullough, is as follows:

 Salary per month
1Colonel (U S V ), Chief of Police
1Deputy Chief of Police $250
1Secretary Inspector165
1Chief of Detectives, Deputy Inspector165
6Inspectors, officers U S V 
6Deputy Inspectors150
48Patrol Sergeants65
10Detective Sergeants115
1Stenographer and Interpreter150

The total expenses for salary would be $56,360 per month, or $676,020 per annum. In addition there would be expenses for rent of office, telephone, telegrams, patrol service, 100 horses for use in suburban districts, and other expenses, which would bring the total cost of the police up to about $723,660 per annum.

It is proposed to put the entire police management under charge of an officer of the volunteer army, and to give him a deputy chief, who shall be a resident of the Island, and, if possible, experienced in police matters. Similarly, to put officers of the army of junior rank as inspectors in the principal districts—six in number—and to give to each a deputy inspector, who will be a resident. At the beginning, it is deemed essential that the police management should be in the hands of army officers who can be relied upon, but each will have a deputy who will be a resident, and if possible thoroughly experienced in the police service. It may be necessary to change these resident officers once or more before the best men for the positions are finally found. After the system has been in operation, and the men have proved their efficiency, it will be possible for the army officers to be relieved, and the native or resident officers to assume full control.

In his report on the organisation of the Havana police force General Greene says:

“There are three sources from which the men can be obtained, namely, the existing police force, the Cuban troops under General Menocal, and the discharged Spanish soldiers. The President’s instructions are positive that this force should be selected without reference to previous affiliations, either for or against the revolutionary movement, and by drawing from the three classes above named; these instructions will be carried out in letter and in spirit.”

In accordance with the President’s instructions, every officer and member of the police force will be required to subscribe the following oath, which will be printed in both Spanish and English:

“I do solemnly swear that I will bear true and exclusive faith and allegiance to the Government of the United States existing in the Island of Cuba, and that I will faithfully and obediently perform my duty as a member of the police force of Havana under the said Government. So help me God.”

The uniform of the new Havana police officer will consist of straw hat, dark blue blouse and trousers, tan-coloured shoes, and white gloves.

The public works needed in Havana are sewers, pavements, a new slaughter-house, buildings for the police, fire, and health departments, and new hospitals. All of these will require a very large sum of money, and the ability of the city to raise this money is not yet evident. For the present, all that can be done is thoroughly to clean, disinfect, and repair the existing public buildings, either owned or rented, so as to make them habitable for the public officials, both American and native. The means of communication are entirely inadequate. They consist of lines of tramways running out to Jesus del Monte, Cerro, and the foot of the Principe Hill. The tracks are in bad order, the cars are old and dirty, and they are drawn by three horses each. The live stock is in bad condition, and the stables are filthy. These lines are owned by a company called the Ferro Carril Urbano y Omnibus de la Habana, under a concession granted February 5, 1859. The same company also runs, in the suburban districts, a few lines of very small omnibuses, drawn by two mules. The service is extremely bad. In addition to these facilities for transportation there is a “dummy” line, running from the centre of the city to the western end of the Vedado, a distance of about four miles. The track is in bad order, and the service is unsatisfactory.

Undoubtedly one of the first enterprises that will be pushed to completion in Havana will be an entirely new tramway system, with mechanical traction. General Greene recognises the necessity of this when he says in his report:

“There is a great need of a thorough and modern system of electric street railways in this city. While the streets are narrow, yet a single track could be laid on each street, near the curbstone on one side, in such a manner as not to impede traffic. It is a question, however, whether these tracks should be laid prior to the laying of the sewers, which would cause the tearing up of every street in the thickly populated portion of the city.”

General Greene is undoubtedly right in saying that the new sewerage, gas, and water pipes, tramways, and paving of Havana should all be done at one time. If a general plan of this sort were inaugurated, the streets could be taken one at a time and finished. It should be borne in mind that this sort of work cannot be done as it is done in American cities, by reason of the fact that the streets are so narrow that to pull part of them up and leave any room for traffic is impossible. Added to this, the paving which should be done in Havana is more like masonry work than ordinary paving, because in consequence of the tremendous rains in the rainy season when the streets practically become small rivers (for it is not an unusual thing to see small boys swimming in the street), the sort of pavements we are familiar with would be entirely inadequate.

In the chapter on Havana mention was made of the excellent water supply. While the following description of the water supply of Havana by General Greene partially covers the statement already made, it brings out an interesting point in relation to the necessity of not only encouraging but also insisting on the additional use of water in Havana. It is nothing less than criminal for a city so abundantly supplied with magnificent spring water as is Havana not to insist upon its more liberal use. The waterworks themselves were built by American enterprise and there can be no doubt that those responsible for their management will be glad enough to increase the use of the water, and in so doing reduce the price to the consumer. However this may be, the water supply of Havana is so closely allied to its sanitary condition, that whatever the United States Government may decide to do in regard to its sewerage should be taken up in conjunction with the water supply. It is not a matter that should be left to the decision of the people of Havana themselves, but should be managed with no uncertain hand by those in authority, and the supply paid for by the city if the people are too poor or too indifferent to appreciate the necessity of cleanliness. Note what General Greene says on this point:

“The present water supply of Havana is excellent, although it is used by only a portion of the population. It comes from enormous springs on the banks of the Almendares River, about eight miles due south of the city. These springs are inclosed in a masonry structure, about 150 feet in diameter at its base, and 250 feet at the top, and 60 feet deep. Masonry drains are laid around the upper surface to prevent any surface water from washing into the spring. At the base of this spring the water is constantly bubbling up, and appears to be of remarkable purity. The supply is so large that it more than fills all the present requirements, and a large portion of it runs to waste. From the spring the water is conveyed under the Almendares River by pipes situated in a tunnel, and from the north side of the river the water is conveyed in a masonry tunnel or aqueduct for a distance of about six miles, where it discharges into a receiving reservoir, the altitude of which is 35 metres, or about 108 feet, above the sea level. From the distributing reservoir the water is carried into the city by gravity in pipes, the highest point in the thickly populated portion of the city being, as already stated, 68 feet. The pipes in the streets are said to be small, and there is not sufficient pressure to carry the water to the upper stories of the small number of buildings which exceed one story in height. In these buildings pumping is necessary.

“There are said to be about 18,000 houses in the city, and from a report made by the municipality in 1897 it appears that the number of houses directly connected with the water pipes is 9233. The poorer houses, which are not thus connected, obtain water either by purchase from the street vendors or by getting it from public taps, of which there are a certain number scattered throughout the city.”

Of the efficiency of the fire department, General Greene, in his report, said that he was unable to speak without further knowledge. “It is generally considered,” he says, “to be very satisfactory, and the inhabitants of the city take great pride in it.”

The fire department of Havana appears to consist of two branches—the Municipal Fire Department and the Commercial Fire Department, the former being partly supported at public expense and the latter at the expense of private individuals.

The Municipal Fire Department is organised as a battalion, as follows:

1Colonel, Chief of Fire Department.      74Corporals.
1Lieutenant-Colonel, Deputy-Chief.10Cornets.
1Adjutant.1Chief Surgeon.
12Captains.4Assistant Surgeons.
16First Lieutenants.1Chief Apothecary.
13Second Lieutenants.2Assistant Apothecaries.

The only paid employes, however, are a few machinists, drivers, clerks, and a telegraph operator. The entire expense in the budget of 1897-98 is as follows:

For salaries$6,713
For materials7,062

The apparatus consists of five steam fire engines in Havana, one in Jesus del Monte, and one in Marianao; two hose-carts, and one hook and ladder carriage.

There are 78 fire-alarm stations and 356 water-plugs distributed in different parts of the city.

The debt of the city of Havana on December 31, 1898, according to a statement signed by the Mayor and Controller, was as follows:

Loan of April 22, 1889, fifty-year 6 per cent bonds (mortgagee,
Spanish Bank of the Island of Cuba)
$6,721,000 00
Loan of October 17, 1891, fifty-year 6 per cent bonds (mortgagee,
    Bank of Commerce, United Railroads, and Regla Warehouses)
2,882,000 00
Floating debt for salaries, materials, interest, and sinking fund2,450,064 78
Total$ 12,076,895 72

By the end of this year the floating debt will be still greater, and the total obligations of the city at that time will probably be about $12,500,000.


The mortgage for the loan of 1889 to the Spanish Bank is a document of 158 printed pages, including the index. It recites that in 1877 the city borrowed from the Spanish Bank a sum of money which, together with its interest, amounted in 1889 to $3,177,053.25; that the city was in arrears for interest and sinking fund, and that lawsuits have been in progress to compel the city to pay; that the city also desired funds for the completing the water-works and other purposes, and it was finally agreed that the city would issue $6,500,000 6 per cent. fifty-year bonds for the purpose of taking up the existing debt and completing the water-works, the expense of which was estimated at $1,850,000; and that the balance of the loan, which was taken at 90, was to be turned over to the city for general purposes. There was a further provision that the loan might be increased to $7,000,000 in case the city found it necessary, and this was done. The sinking fund provides for withdrawal by lot and payment of a certain number of bonds every three months during the fifty years, the amount at the end of the first quarter being $5000 and the last quarter $100,000. As security for the loan the city gave a first mortgage on the following property:

Canal de Vento, valued at$5,030,000
The aqueduct of Fernando VII., valued at153,000
The Cristina market, valued at103,000
The Tacon market, valued at960,000
The Colon market, valued at304,000
Making a total of$6,550,000

together with all revenues and receipts from them during the period of the loan. In addition the municipality mortgaged as further security upward of fifty houses which it owns in various sections of the city. The amount of this loan was $7,000,000, which has been reduced by the operations of the sinking fund to $6,721,000. The mortgage of 1891 is also for fifty years and at 6 per cent., with the same property as security. The original amount was $3,000,000, which has now been reduced by the operations of the sinking fund to $2,882,000. The amount of arrears of interest and sinking fund on the two loans is $343,600.56, which figures as part of the floating debt first above stated.

The floating debt of Havana arises from the failure to pay practically any salaries, contractors, or bills for materials during the whole of the year 1898, and for some debts contracted prior to this year. The items are given as follows:

Public works2,568.59
Interest and sinking fund of debts343,600.56
Notes overdue12,160.00

This is prima facie a valid obligation of the municipality, and should be funded. But before making a new loan for the purpose of paying these debts it would be only proper to have a court of claims established, before which all the creditors of the municipality could appear and definitely prove the amount of their claims and the date at which they accrued.

The debt question of Havana can not be disposed of lightly. In his instructive report on the municipal finances of Havana, General Greene gives it as his opinion that $12,500,000 is not excessive for a city of the size and wealth of Havana. Discussing the question with prominent financiers of Havana, the author found that these gentlemen agreed substantially with General Greene, some going so far as to declare the city could easily stand double the present debt, which would bring it up to $25,000,000. According to the last census, the only city comparable with Havana in the United States that carries a debt approaching this was Cincinnati, which had then a debt of $24,737,611. Cleveland, on the other hand, with a population about the same, had in 1890 a debt of only $6,143,206. The other United States cities of about the same population are respectively Pittsburg, debt, $10,026,806; Buffalo, debt, $10,843,029; Milwaukee, debt only $2,915,900; and San Francisco, less than $1,000,000 of municipal indebtedness. The debts of both Boston and Philadelphia were in 1890 less than $30,000,000. It will be bad financiering to burden Havana at present with more debt. When the budget is fully examined by expert accountants a large floating debt will be found, some of which it may be right and just to pay, and much of which is fraudulent. There will be long past-due gas bills, aggregating over $500,000; unpaid bills for street cleaning; salary accounts unadjusted, and a great variety of debts the validity of which may have to be tried in the courts. To meet current expenses the revenues of the city will have to be increased and honestly expended. Naturally, the city will have to bear its share of the important sanitary work which must be done in Havana, but as this work is for the general welfare of the Island, part of it may rightly be taken from the general funds. Judged from an American point of view, the municipal debt of Havana at the present moment is quite large enough, and great care should be taken not to increase it beyond the danger line.

The revenue of the city is derived entirely from licences and indirect taxation. Real estate is not directly taxed, and the municipality does not receive directly anything from it. The Island of Cuba imposes, among other taxes, a duty of 12 per cent. on the estimated rental value of all houses in the city and country, and it pays over to the city of Havana 18 per cent. of the amount thus collected on rents within the city limit. The Island of Cuba also levies a tax on industry, commerce, and professions, and it pays over to the city of Havana 25 per cent. of all such taxes collected within the city limits. The other sources of city revenue, which are directly collected by the municipality, are the rent of houses owned by the municipality, revenues of the waterworks, slaughter-house, and markets, taxes on meat, coke, and wood, licences on factories and business of all kinds, and various minor licences. The total estimated revenue for the year 1897-98 is slightly in excess of $2,000,000, and the principal items, taken from the budget, are as follows:

1.Rent of houses owned by the city$159,598.16
2.Special taxes and licences:
     Street vendors$15,000.00
     Water rents300,000.00
     Tax on pleasure houses12,000.00
     Tax on wood9,000.00
     Tax on charcoal and coke44,660.00
     Licence on factories26,000.00
     Licence on advertisements and signs8,101.90
     Sundry licences, etc.12,496.00
3.Charities—Income of legacies4,000.00
4.Public Instruction—Income of legacies1,138.80
5.Public Correction—Income from shops, private cells, etc.30,638.42
6.Extraordinary Receipts:
     Building permits$29,000.00
     Fines, municipal ordinances6,000.00
     Special sewer tax50,000.00
     Replacing street openings22,258.57
     Licence on cedulas28,000.00
     Tax on business111,300.00
     Tax on meat663,000.00
     Special deposits20,000.00
7.Contributions by General Government:
     Quota from real estate$165,200.00
     Quota from industry and commerce206,700.00
 Total $2,090,441.95

These receipts amount to something between $8 and $10 per head of a population estimated between 200,000 and 250,000.

The expenses of Havana are such as are common in every city, namely: expenses of the Mayor and Council (Ayuntamiento), police, fire, health, schools, charities, correction, courts, street cleaning, lighting, repairs and paving, interest, and sinking fund. There is only one unusual item, namely: a contribution of $100,000 towards the expenses of the government of the province. The items are shown in the following statement, taken from the budget of 1897-98:

    Cost of collections49,500.00
    Mayor, deputies, etc.43,060.00
    Salaries, municipal police99,470.00
    Fire Department13,974.00
3.Urban and rural police:
    Street lighting134,589.50
    Street cleaning125,577.28
    Tree planting, etc.11,212.00
6.Public works:
    Labor, repair streets170,000.00
    Material, repair streets12,200.00
    Sundries, repair streets4,500.00
9.Justice and Legal Credits:
    Interest and Sinking Fund676,195.00
    Provincial expenses100,000.00
    Repayment special deposits, etc.26,950.00
    Street condemnation5,000.00
    Subsidy in harbour works5,000.00
10.New Works:
    Ditches and Drains$45,000.00
    Subscription private Fire Department2,400.00
    Public Calamities and unforeseen contingencies45,400.00

The current annual estimated expenses of Havana, according to the printed budget, which the author has had translated for 1897-98, were $2,090,441.95, and the revenue, of course, is made to balance. This looks all right on paper, but it is exceedingly doubtful that the present authorities will find the real facts corresponding with these figures. The items that are excessively high are moneys spent for salaries, for office of mayor, for gas, for street cleaning, for charitable institutions, for paving, and for contingent expenses. By “excessive” is of course meant excessive when compared with what the city receives for the money thus expended. The officials do little or nothing for their salaries, the gas is wretched and intolerably expensive, the streets are not cleaned, only the vilest patchwork in the way of paving has of late years been done, and the charitable institutions, so called, are in a miserable and filthy condition. In spite of this, the city of Havana is mulcted to this extent for these purposes:

Salary of employés and experts and expenses of mayor’s office    $120,000
Municipal lighting134,000
Street cleaning125,577
Charitable institutions177,308
Pavements and paving and drains208,000
Provincial contingent100,000

If honestly and economically expended, these sums would produce good results without greatly increasing the taxes. The interest and liquidation of the debt makes an annual charge of $676,195, about one-third of the present total revenue of Havana; which, if not excessive, is quite enough under existing conditions of the population. General Greene thinks the revenues may be with safety increased, say to $3,000,000. There is force in this, but probably the better way would be before the debt and taxes are increased to try what an honest expenditure of the present revenue will do for the rehabilitation of Havana. Here is what General Greene says on this subject:


“I am inclined to think, although further study might modify this opinion, that the wealth of Havana is such that a judicious system of taxation would yield a revenue of $15 per head, or upward of $3,000,000, and this, if honestly and judiciously collected and expended, would probably be twice the actual net revenue now enjoyed by the city. The collection of taxes of all kinds is now farmed out on a basis of five per cent. commission for collection, which is added to the tax. The tax collector states that there are no arrears, but this statement is vigorously disputed. The whole system of taxation is radically different from that used in American cities, and the system has been so long in operation, and is so intertwined with the system of taxation for the Island, that it would probably be unwise to attempt to introduce American methods during the period of military occupation, the duration of which is so uncertain. It would seem that all that can be done is to make an honest collection, substantially on the basis of existing laws, increasing such items as in the judgment of the military governor can stand an increase without hardship. Such arbitrary changes would create no surprise, as the population has for generations been accustomed to having them made by the Spanish Governor-General.”

Arbitrary changes are the one thing the military authorities should avoid in Cuba, for therein lies our greatest danger with these people. The fact that the people were accustomed to such action under Spanish rule makes them far more sensitive to such action than they otherwise would have been. Note the flutter in Santiago because of the order to send the custom-house funds to Havana, a perfectly righteous order in itself, but promulgated in too arbitrary a manner. Notwithstanding this it created something akin to a panic in Santiago, principally because it reminded the people of that province of the high-handed Spanish way of doing things. It is not advisable to increase either the debt or revenue of Havana at present, but, in the opinion of the author, it would be far wiser to keep the total revenues about as they now exist. The sources of revenue may be changed, however, to great advantage; increased in some directions, reduced in others. For example, ordinances should be passed compelling the owners of all houses not having water supply (and, according to General Greene, there are about 18,000 of these) to put in a water supply immediately. If this were done the water tax could be spread over a larger number of population, the individual taxes reduced, and yet the revenue from this source measurably increased. A good water-works, like that of Havana, should be made self-sustaining, and under proper management the profits from this department could easily be made sufficient to pay all the expenses, and at the same time to take care of the interest and sinking fund of the water-works bonds. From the American point of view the most unwise tax in Havana is that which has made the slaughter-houses of that city a constant source of scandal. To-day every kilogram of meat killed and used costs the people of Havana 4¼ cents, and thus the cost of living of the poorer classes is greatly increased; yet the revenues of the slaughter-house are pledged to pay the interest on the water-works bonds, when the water-works themselves are ample security for this purpose.

The real estate of the city should be reassessed fairly and justly, and a tax-rate arranged which would relieve many of the professions and industries of unnecessary taxation. It would seem from a glance at the budget of Havana that, if this were done, and the petty, annoying taxes abolished, sufficient revenue could easily be raised for all legitimate purposes. As a matter of fact, a very large proportion of the taxes collected for municipal purposes in Havana has been diverted from legitimate channels only to find its way into the pockets of those who have had charge of municipal affairs. According to the evidence of several witnesses who appeared before the author in Havana, a large amount of money was exacted from the people of the city by corruption, in the way of petty fines paid direct to officials, and not into the treasury of the state, and also large sums of money in the shape of payment for indulgences, much in the same manner as the Tammany officials exact tribute from those conducting illegitimate business or those engaged in breaking the ordinances of the city. Relief from this sort of exaction has been at once felt in Havana, but will not be fully appreciated until the present Governor of the city is able to ferret out and stop these several forms of imposition.



THE heading of this chapter is somewhat misleading, for, strictly speaking, Cuba has neither banks nor currency—that is, of her own. The basis of the money which circulated in Cuba before the military occupation of the United States was Spanish gold, principally the centen, or twenty-five-peseta piece, the value of which had been inflated to $5.30 by royal decree. Owing to the scarcity of this coin and to the fear that it might leave the Island, in 1893 the French louis, or twenty-franc piece was similarly inflated by royal decree and made legal tender in Cuba at $4.24. The silver coins of Cuba were of Spanish origin: the peso, or dollar, the medio peso, or half dollar, the peseta, twenty-cent piece, the real, or dime, and the medio real, corresponding to our nickel. There are also the usual bronze coins. The silver money of Cuba has for some time been worth only its market value, and that subject to daily changes. At various periods in the history of Cuba the Spanish Government at Madrid has attempted to force bank bills on the people of Cuba, and such attempts, as a rule, have ended disastrously to the people of the Island. The Spanish Bank of the Island of Cuba, a semi-official institution, whose governor was appointed by the Spanish Government, has also at times issued bank bills, and to the credit of this institution they have always been redeemed ultimately. As much cannot be said of the Government, whose repudiated bank bills, aggregating about $17,000,000, are at this moment only worth six or seven cents on the dollar. The passing of the control of the Island into the hands of the military authorities of the United States has happily ended all the currency complications of Cuba, and the order of President McKinley, which went into force January 1, 1899, will in a short time not only bring order out of confusion, but gradually reduce the currency systems of Cuba to a sound basis, making gold and silver alike worth one hundred cents the world over—no more, no less. The object of this order is not only to unify the Cuban currency, but in time to replace the present system by the monetary system of the United States.

There is no need for entering further into the history of Cuban currency, but in the following pages will be given the reasons which led up to the Executive Order of December 28, 1898. Considering that the author was called upon by the President of the United States and the Secretary of the Treasury to make a report upon this subject, and the report was subsequently adopted and acted upon, therefore the facts herein stated may be regarded as official. The real point at issue in relation to Cuban currency and the only one which caused the United States authorities any trouble was that arising from the inflation by royal decree of the Spanish twenty-five-peseta pieces, popularly known as alfonsinos, or centen, and the subsequent inflation of the French twenty-franc piece, the so-called louis, which, as we have seen, were given a legal value of $4.24 and decreed since the end of 1893 as legal money.

The Spanish authorities at Madrid, having thus inflated two gold coins six per cent. above their current value and about ten per cent. above their intrinsic value—for the mint value of these two coins at Havana is $4.776 and $3.8208 respectively—the United States authorities at Washington were now called upon to inflate a third gold coin and make the American eagle worth $11 in Cuba and our $5 gold piece current there at $5.50. As a temporary measure this might have had some justification, and the statements in support of it from Cuban bankers, planters, and business men had a certain degree of plausibility. The process, however, is entirely artificial, and whatever was done in this direction to-day must be undone some other day, and the only question the Administration had to decide was whether the inflation should be taken out when the United States authorities took possession or the operation postponed to some more opportune time. The danger in following the advice of some influential financiers of Havana lay in the adoption by the United States Government of a bad precedent in Cuban financiering, inaugurated by the Spanish Government, a precedent for which the United States was in no manner responsible.

The reckoning day must come for all inflated values, whether of paper, of silver, or of gold; and when that day comes someone will suffer. Fortunately, in this case the degree of suffering was small, varying only from six to ten per cent. The practical question would seem to be how to disinflate these two coins with the least possible disturbance to mortgages, contracts, notes, and all classes of existing agreements to pay money.

Current matters will adjust and take care of themselves. It is generally known that all transactions in Cuba since the close of the war have been made with the belief that the United States would not continue the royal decree of Spain, and that the inflations would collapse with the disappearance of Spanish rule.

In Santiago the author found the bankers and financiers in favour of leaving matters as they existed and adopting similar methods in the rest of the Island, namely, reducing the $5.30 gold piece to $5. This was the view taken by Mr. Schuman, of Schuman & Co., Santiago.

On this question the Chamber of Commerce of Santiago, in a thoughtfully prepared memorial, submitted to the President of the United States, say:

“It is frequently difficult in this market to effect change, especially in small sales, for the want of fractional currency. As this makes considerable difference in transactions, the chamber considers it necessary for the American Government to remedy this difficulty by sending sufficient silver fractional money, utilising it to pay the army of occupation.

“This chamber has heard that the administration of the custom-house of this port has solicited the Government at Washington to declare American money legal and obligatory tender in all transactions which take place in this territory, and we consider this movement premature, as the political situation of the country is not settled; and furthermore, prejudicial to commercial interests and to the public wealth by the depreciation it would cause in the Spanish gold in circulation and for the difficulty it will occasion through the lack of American money in sufficient quantity for these transactions. For this reason we beg that this petition will not be considered, it being even more inopportune, since the resolution of the civil governor of the province on the first of August last, establishing the legal value of Spanish gold, is just and has given satisfactory results.”

Speaking to the author on the same subject, Mr. Brooks, of Brooks & Co., Santiago, a careful financier and capable business man, said:

“Regarding the currency question, we should also be inclined to support the opinion of the Chamber of Commerce, to leave matters as they are at present, i.e., the Spanish and French gold coins having been disinflated, to leave them as current circulating medium, including for the payment of custom-house duties. It is also always a small advantage for the sugar estates to pay their labour in Spanish gold as it represents a saving of three to four per cent. as compared with paying them in American money, as where a planter now pays $5 Spanish, he would, with a change in the circulating medium, have to pay $5 American, which would represent from three to four per cent. advance in wages without receiving any compensation from his sugar shipped to the United States, from which, in former years, and with inflated gold values, he derived an advantage of ten per cent.”

A partial adjustment of the question was suggested to the author by Dr. Antonio Jover, director of the Spanish Bank of the Island of Cuba, and as Dr. Jover is an authority on Cuban finances, the statement thus made is quoted in full:

“The only way to settle all the difficulties of the present Spanish monetary state of things is to declare legal tender the American dollar and admit at par all Spanish gold coins.

“1. Thus the onza should be worth $16; the medio onza $8; the doubloon, $4; the escudo, $2; the centen, $5—that is, pretty nearly its intrinsic alloy and weight value.

“2. The English sovereign ought to be taken for $5, and the French louis (which circulates in Cuba in great numbers) for $4.

“This arrangement, that slightly improves the value of the Spanish gold,—for the centen is worth in the New York market $4.87 or $4.90 at the utmost,—would tend to drive to Cuba the foreign coins of this country, perfectly useless for circulation. As for the Spanish silver, it is considered there almost as a merchandise or stock value subject to daily quotation, and it is really troublesome in its use. Therefore I would propose to give it a fixed value in American gold, thus—

The peso$0.60
The medio-peso.30
The peseta.12
The real.06
The medio-real.03

“This value is a little less than the price of quotation to-day, but it is much more than it was a few months ago, but I do not think acceptable the use of any coin without a fixed, invariable value. Now, as the American currency and the American silver would stand at the par value, and, on the other hand, the Spanish silver is at the present quoted higher in Spain, there too would likely go a large quantity, if not all, Spanish silver coins; that nevertheless would not be objectionable, but rather convenient to both nations. Bronze or copper coins should be received just at half their face value; the centavo for half a cent American gold, and the two-centavo piece for one cent. But as this implies a change in the standard value of the Spanish gold dollar, which up to the present has been the basis of all contracts and dealings of the country, it will be necessary to fix a date to implant the new system, and that can be no other but the 1st of January next. Hence, from that date all money transactions will be understood to be on the basis of American gold, with American currency; Spanish, French, and English gold at par value; American silver to be accepted also at its full value only in quantities not exceeding $5; Spanish silver at the stated rate, and foreign silver coin as merchandise.

“As for all contracts and stipulations in money matters standing at present to be fulfilled after the appointed date of the 1st of January, I believe it would be but right to be paid off with six per cent. discount, which would simply disinflate them, because they were made with the basis of gold coins which had six per cent. premium; and discounting the same six per cent. when they were settled with coins whose said premium had been taken off, although the intrinsic value of which coins had remained unaltered during the time, would only be common morality and fair equity. Lastly, all those who would attempt to alter the value of money ought to be severely punished, according to the law of the country.”

With these supplemental facts, the case is fully and impartially before the reader. To accept the proposition of the Havana bankers meant a continuation of the inflated value of ten per cent. To concede the proposition of Dr. Jover and the Santiago financier would reduce the inflation about six per cent., still retaining Spanish and French gold in circulation at a slightly increased value. (Dr. Jover even includes the British sovereign at $5.) The other and only remaining course would be to accept United States money at its full value for customs and taxes and the foreign coins at their intrinsic or mint value.

After carefully considering all these facts, the Honourable Secretary of the Treasury, Lyman J. Gage, prepared and submitted to the President the following order in relation to the future currency of Cuba:

Executive Mansion, Washington,

December 28, 1898.

“It is hereby ordered that on and after January 1, 1899, and until otherwise provided, all customs, taxes, public and postal dues in the Island of Cuba shall be paid in United States money, or in foreign gold coin such as the Spanish alfonsinos (centen) and the French louis, which will be accepted in payment of such customs, taxes, public and postal dues at the following rates:

Alfonsinos (25-peseta piece)$4.82
Louis (20-franc piece)3.86

“That all existing contracts for the payments of money shall be payable in the money denominated in such contracts, and where French and Spanish gold shall be the stipulated money of payment they shall be received in their present decreed inflated values, i. e., alfonsinos (25-peseta piece) $5.30; louis (20-franc piece) $4.24, or in United States money at the relative value set forth in the above table, namely, $4.82 for alfonsinos (25-peseta piece) and $3.86 for louis (20-franc piece).

“It is further ordered that on and after January 1, 1899, and until further provided, the following Spanish silver coins now in circulation in the Island of Cuba shall be received for customs, taxes, public and postal dues at the following fixed rates in American money:

The peso$0.60
The medio-peso.30
The peseta.12
The real.06
The medio-real.03

“Bronze and copper coins now current in the Island of Cuba will be received at their face value for fractional parts of a dollar in a single payment to an amount not exceeding 12 cents (1 peseta).

William McKinley.


In signing and promulgating the above order, the currency question of Cuba has been settled for all time to come on a sound basis. In offering to accept for the present the Cuban peso or silver dollar for sixty cents, American money, the United States Government merely delays the migration of the coin to Spain. At this price it is profitable to ship them to Spain, but at fifty cents they would have disappeared so rapidly that a commercial disturbance might have followed on account of scarcity of silver dollars and fractional currency. It is not probable, nor is it asserted that this adjustment can be accomplished without hardship to some debtors and a slight financial disturbance. It is not, however, apprehended that the trouble will be as great as some have anticipated. In Santiago the first step to absolutely sound finance was taken last summer and six per cent. of the inflation squeezed out. The business interests in that part of the Island were opposed to a continuation of the ten per cent. inflation, and merely asked of the United States Government that the several gold coins in circulation should be left at their face value. As one of the evils arising from disinflation, certain Cuban bankers put forward the fact that it will mean an increase of from four to ten per cent. in the wages of labour, which Cuban industries cannot afford. Such a result, if true, cannot be regarded as an evil, but, on the contrary, a benefit to the poorer classes, whose condition in Cuba is deplorable beyond description.

In the iron mines at Santiago the large American enterprises have already adjusted themselves to the new conditions and are paying their labour seventy-five cents per day American currency instead of a Spanish dollar worth sixty-five cents in Cuba and only sixty cents in exchange for United States currency. The author, when in the mining districts of this province, heard no complaints, either from the proprietors or the labourers. Stress was laid in the arguments before the President and Secretary Gage upon the loss to the debtor who has borrowed on a fictitious value and must pay the premium, and the unfortunate Cuban sugar-planter is especially singled out for sympathy. That the planter will suffer cannot be denied, but the advent of the United States into Cuba will lighten so many of his burdens that his condition is not without hope. All the customs duties on his imported food supplies, as will be seen in the chapter on the tariff, have been reduced, and many important commodities put upon the free list. The duty on his sugar machinery has been reduced to ten per cent. ad valorem; on his locomotives and railway supplies to twenty per cent.; and all along the line the taxes have been cut down. It is not probable that his land taxes will be collected during the present fiscal year, and the return of peace, establishment of law and order, and protection of property will immeasurably improve his lot. If, therefore, the sugar-planter of Cuba will gauge his present outlook by a glance backward and compare it with his condition last year at this time, he may face the new year with less gloomy premonitions as to his future than some of the testimony taken by the United States Government on the effects of disinflation would indicate. The action of the President, by and with the advice of the able financier at the head of the Treasury Department, will give Cuba a sound currency, which must be the foundation of her future fiscal prosperity.

The proof of the poverty of Cuba is a scarcity of capital, manifest in many different ways. The difficulty, not to say the impossibility, of selling sugar plantations proves the scarcity of capital and at the same time the precarious situation of the sugar industry. The decrease in the price of property is a natural consequence of lack of disposable capital, and this is why the rate of money is so high; it can only be caused by lack of capital, and not of money, since scarcity or abundance of money has only a limited influence on rates of interest. Nearly all the banks established for the last twenty or thirty years in Cuba have disappeared, owing to the losses experienced by the gradual increase of the poverty of the country; the want of resources rendering it impossible to start these banks anew or establish new ones with Cuban capital.

A few years ago there were in Havana, besides the Spanish Bank and the Bank of Commerce, the Industrial Bank, the San José, the Alianza, the Maritime Security Bank, and the Caja de Ahorros (savings bank). Excepting the first two, all have stopped working, and if the two surviving ones have outlived the others, it is because the Spanish Bank enjoys official privilege, and because the Bank of Commerce, though compelled twice to reduce its capital, owns valuable property, as, for example, the Regla warehouses and the United Railroads, which property, if the Island were prosperous, would be worth several millions more than it is to-day.

It is almost incredible that, having such extensive relations with foreign countries, the condition of banks in Cuba should be so precarious, especially as the Island feels more every year the need of banking facilities, without which no modern country can prosper. Although not as important as regular banks, savings banks are a gauge of public wealth, since their object is to gather the economies of the working classes and create capital for the promotion of industries. The only savings bank in Cuba failed in 1884, ruining in its fall not only those who had deposited their funds, but also the shareholders; and to this day no other institution has been established to take its place, and at the present moment there is not a single public institution where money can be deposited in large or small quantities earning interest!

In foreign countries the thrift of the working classes is the corner-stone of new industries. Are there in Cuba any economies or annual profits that can be capitalised? The sugar industry, the base of Cuban wealth, yields to-day no profit save in exceptional cases. The tobacco industry since 1895 has been in a critical condition, and as all the other industries depend on these two, or are of comparatively limited importance, it may be said that work and capital yield no profit in Cuba at present; since either no profits are realised, or, if they are, they leave the Island. This aspect of the present economic situation of Cuba is of immense importance and not only explains the actual situation at this moment, but shows that the hope of improvement alone lies in the prosperity of these industries.

The history of banking in Cuba is sad with financial disasters. The only bank which has survived during half a century is the Spanish Bank of the Island of Cuba. This concern was originally chartered as the Spanish Bank of Havana, and although it was a private institution, owned by shareholders, the Spanish Government maintained the right of appointing the governor, and in many other ways controlled its actions. At various times this bank has itself issued bank bills, and at other times it has been the medium through which the Spanish Government endeavoured to circulate its own paper money. The notes of the bank itself, as already stated, have never been repudiated, though during hard times, as a result of the Ten Years’ War, the bank bills of the Spanish Bank were at a small discount. Sixteen years ago the Spanish Bank of Havana was reorganised and the name changed to the Spanish Bank of the Island of Cuba. At the present time this bank has no bills in circulation; the paper currency now valued at but a few cents on the dollar, which was issued during the war by the Spanish Government through the Spanish Bank of the Island of Cuba, is not regarded by the shareowners of the bank nor by the public as the issue of the bank itself. The history of these bills is briefly as follows: In order to meet the expenses of the last war, the Spanish Government arranged to issue $20,000,000 worth of paper money. As a security and partial fund for redemption of the same, the Madrid authorities deposited in the vaults of the Spanish Bank of the Island of Cuba $6,330,000 in silver against this issue. For a while this bullion, together with the mandate of the Spanish Government that these bills must be accepted as legal tender, kept the currency floating somewhat below par. The people of Cuba, however, had been deceived so many times in relation to paper money that they were suspicious of these bills from the beginning, and when in due course of time Spain gradually and dishonestly absorbed from the bank all silver upon which the paper money had been issued, the bills depreciated until they were absolutely refused in all business transactions. This entailed considerable loss, as the street railways and cabs of the city were compelled to take them in spite of this great depreciation in value. Finally, they were repudiated on all sides. A temporary value was given this paper by accepting ten per cent. in the payment of customs dues. This raised it up to twelve to fifteen cents on the dollar. Immediately upon the military occupancy of the United States the value of these bills fell still lower, and they are to-day worth but a few cents on the dollar, and are held chiefly by Government contractors and speculators.

Realising that a decided change would take place in banking as soon as the United States took charge of affairs, the shareholders of the Bank of Spain met some months ago in Havana and reorganised the bank, making it a private concern, and changing its by-laws so that it could do business as a private institution, untrammelled by Government interference.

Among other uses to which the Government of Spain put the Spanish Bank was that of a collecting agency for practically all taxes other than those of the custom-houses. The value of receipts for direct taxation that have been delivered for collection to the Spanish Bank of the Island of Cuba, from the fiscal year 1885-86, when this institution commenced the collection, with right of seizure, to 1894-95, both inclusive, actual amounts collected, deductions, and amounts pending collection as per vouchers, and accounts rendered to the Treasury by this institution, are as follows:

Fiscal Years. Face Value. Collected. Deductions
for which
Bank was not
Per cent.
of face
  Pesos C. Pesos C. Pesos C. Pesos C. 
1885-86 5,021,271.25 4,561,976.18 438,029.78 21,265.29 0.423
1886-87 5,240,651.50 4,655,776.10 547,435.19 37,440.21 0.714
1887-88 5,386,627.83 4,758,446.22 575,840.11 52,341.50 0.971
1888-89 5,316,367.75 4,694,829.26 549,628.25 71,910.24 1.352
1889-90 4,878,047.21 4,304,196.24 497,220.89 76,630.08 1.570
1890-91 5,336,611.25 4,659,477.26 571,994.17 105,139.82 1.970
1891-92 4,242,982.34 3,696,877.74 428,374.80 117,729.80 2.774
1893-93 5,357,928.97 4,635,278.61 572,890.51 149,759.85 2.795
1893-94 5,092,200.41 4,505,426.32 432,163.62 154,610.47 3.036
1894-95 5,163,321.70 4,421,631.99 534,492.41 207,197.30 4.012
 51,036,010.2144,893,915.925,148,069.73 994,024.56  

The above table gives a good idea of how this arrangement worked during normal times. There were two or three features in it, however, which were bad, and which the author is glad to notice that the United States Government in renewing the agreement of the Bank of Spain for the present fiscal year, that is, the year ending June 30, 1899, has obliterated. The Spanish Government paid the five per cent. on the receipts given the bank, and not on the money collected. This resulted in great abuses, because the delinquents during the years of war were fifteen, sixteen, and forty-three per cent. respectively. The punishment of delinquents has also been considerably modified by the United States authorities.

The following table gives the receipts for direct taxation that have been delivered for collection to the Spanish Bank of the Island of Cuba from the fiscal year 1895-96 to 1896-97, both inclusive, actual amounts collected, deductions, and receipts pending collection up to December 12, 1898, as per data at hand in the Spanish Bank:

Fiscal Years. Face Value. Collected. Deductions
for which
Bank was not
Per cent.
of face
1895-96 $ 4,802,936.66 $3,460,998.24 $ 579,002.52 $ 762,935.90 15.88
1896-97 4,589,735.08 3,283,286.51 547,975.70 758,472.87 16.52
1897-98 4,341,112.87 2,250,806.74 223,119.47 1,867,186.66 43.01
  $13,733,784.61 $8,995,091.49 $1,350,097.69 $3,388,595.43  

This table and the one preceding it were prepared for the author by the governor of the Spanish Bank of the Island of Cuba and differ from the table prepared by the Spanish authorities which will be found in the chapter on the revenue of Cuba. In the report furnished by the officials, the face value of the tax receipts is given in one column and the actual amount collected in another, the third column showing, under the caption of “Total Delinquent Taxes,” the amounts uncollected, without any explanation as to why they were not collected. The governor of the Spanish Bank in the two tables given above includes a fourth column, namely, deductions for which the bank was not responsible. The bank authorities claim that the amounts represented in this column were receipts which were not valid, inasmuch as they were claims in many cases upon persons dead and upon property which had been destroyed by fire. The governor of the bank thinks it an injustice to the bank to add these under the general head of delinquent taxes, without this explanation.

It is easy to enforce and collect the customs duties; but the collection of internal revenue taxes is a much more difficult matter. The United States authorities found, on coming into possession of the Island of Cuba, January 1st, that all the receipts of taxes for the present fiscal year were in the hands of the Spanish Bank of the Island of Cuba; that this institution had not only six or seven branch banks in various parts of the Island, but also in the neighbourhood of 258 sub-district or collecting agencies. The bank assumed all the responsibility of these agencies, and it was decided to place in its hands for the present fiscal year this work, for the reason that it had all the machinery and there would be no loss in revenue. An agreement was entered into between the Spanish Bank of the Island of Cuba and the United States military authorities, and an order issued from Washington to the bank to make the collection, but the arrangement engendered such opposition among the Cubans that the order was revoked and the work was placed entirely in the hands of the American authorities under General Brooke.



THE question of the payment of insurgent soldiers and of certain legitimate indebtedness incurred by the insurgent government has an important bearing upon the civil, if not the industrial reconstruction of the Island of Cuba. This matter was referred to a commission of Cuban officers, consisting of General Garcia, General José Miguel Gomez, Colonel Manuel Sanguily, Colonel José Ramon Villalon, Dr. José Gonzales Lanuza, Señor Gonzalo de Quesada, and Mr. Horatio S. Rubens, who acted as interpreter. This commission came to Washington in November for the purpose of aiding in the pacification of the people of Cuba. General Garcia unhappily was taken ill of pneumonia and died. This delayed the work somewhat and took from the commission one of its strongest members. The commission had several informal interviews with the President, the members of the Cabinet, and finally with the author, who, as Special Commissioner for the United States to Cuba, took the testimony of these gentlemen and prepared a report on the subject for the consideration of the President and Secretary of the Treasury. The substance of this report is of permanent public interest, as it was the first official step towards the settlement of a question that must be adjusted before the entire Cuban army will disband and go to work. It also has considerable bearing upon the industrial future of Cuba.

The gentlemen comprising this commission were briefly informed by the author as to the work committed to him, namely, an inquiry into the economic condition of the Island of Cuba and the recommendation of such measures for the commercial and industrial reconstruction of that country as might appear advisable after impartially consulting all interests. They were told that so far as the United States was concerned, Cuba had won her economic and industrial freedom. That the work had been performed with scrupulous regard to the interest of the people of Cuba. That the aim had been the rehabilitation of its industries and the building up of the country generally with as little friction as possible. That in accordance with instructions received from both the President and Secretary of the Treasury the tariff of Cuba had been framed so that there should be no discrimination in favour of the United States, and that the same tariff laws would be applied alike to all countries, so that Cuba was now free to purchase her supplies in the world’s markets wherever they were best and cheapest, and not compelled to buy in a dear market, as under Spanish rule. They were furthermore informed that hereafter the revenues of the country were to be used exclusively for the economical and honest government of the Island and that the largest portion would not be drained away to pay the enormous interest charged (aggregating $10,500,000) upon an indebtedness which had unrighteously been saddled upon a people already bowed down under the double yoke of war and debt. Lastly they were asked to state fully and frankly, as citizens of Cuba, their views on any subject bearing upon the reconstruction of Cuba.

In reply, these gentlemen said, in substance, that they were entirely satisfied with the course the Government of the United States had pursued in relation to these economic questions, and realised the fact that Cuba had become free, commercially and industrially. They then proceeded to discuss the important problem of how the existing transitory condition of the Island could best be changed to a permanent civil life, without friction in Cuba or trouble and annoyance throughout the United States. Their purpose, they avowed, was simply to co-operate with the United States toward the restoration of order, without which, in their opinion, there could be no reconstruction of industries and no return of prosperity. Their purpose was, they assured the author, to advise with the people of the United States, to the end that everything might be harmonious and that the people of Cuba might get to work as soon as possible.

Speaking for all the gentlemen above named, Colonel José R. Villalon said:

“The discharge of the army of Cuba is a very complex and difficult problem. It has to be done for humanity’s sake, in one sense; those men who have been working and suffering have to be remunerated in some way. But that is not the only point of view. We have got to look towards the maintaining of order and we have got to give them compensation or gratification or a certain amount of money with which they can go back to their homes and their agricultural labours. In doing that we have a duty to our country so far as the Cubans are concerned, but, at the same time, it seems to me that it is a high political measure on the part of the United States to prevent now what would afterwards be very difficult to suppress. If we scatter these 30,000 men (approximately) throughout the country without any resources whatever—men who for the last two or three years have been accustomed to live upon the resources of the country or forage on the enemy and who are used to the hardships of the campaign—it will not be very difficult to foresee that in spite of the good nature and good disposition of the people these men will be forced to do what they do not wish to do by their nature. If the men are left as they are, with their present needs unsupplied, they will go to the woods and will be a source of disorder and brigandage, which will be very difficult for the United States to suppress; and for the sake possibly of saving a few million dollars now the nation will be obliged afterwards to spend many more millions, in addition to the sacrifice of many lives. It is an economic question. Unless something is done to relieve their needs the disorder of the Island will be prolonged indefinitely. As an example, I would call attention to the case of your Indians in this country, who now and then break away. In Cuba the condition will be worse, for there they would have the shelter of the woods, and besides the Americans would not be able to stand the climate as well as they stand their own. Ultimately, of course, they will succumb, but it will be at the cost of a great many lives and a great many millions of dollars.


“Besides, there is another thing; that if to-day we provide for their needs and restore order, it is the wish of every inhabitant of Cuba to contribute their share towards this. If these men are supplied now, they will not have the moral support of the people of Cuba should they not go to work; but the people of Cuba will see that they are punished. If, however, they had the moral support of the people of Cuba it would be difficult to punish them.

“There is another point, and that is with regard to the amount of money required. Although they have not said anything about this, nevertheless, there is a tendency to lessen this amount. We want to say that although the measure, in principle, will be very good, even if it does not attend to all of the needs at present; though it will be a moral obligation from ourselves to the United States, it will not solve the problem, because the sum determined upon is not enough. If the revenues of the Island of Cuba ought to be mortgaged to repay whatever advances they have received from the United States now, it will not be a very difficult matter to make this amount a few millions more.”

The above gives a fair summary of the general tenor of the testimony taken, and it is believed fairly represents the views of these gentlemen. Testimony was also taken in relation to the payment of certain legitimate debts which, as these gentlemen felt, the good faith of the people of Cuba had been pledged to pay. On being asked the probable amount of this indebtedness, they said it was not in excess of $2,250,000 or $2,500,000. The first and most important matter and the one which, they insist, will have much to do with the pacification of the Island, is the payment of some sort of compensation to the impoverished Cuban soldiers. These gentlemen were asked if they had in their possession any estimate as to the number of soldiers, the length of service, and the amount of money necessary for the purpose they had in mind. An itemised account, they were told, would make a useful supplement to the interesting and instructive testimony given.

In compliance with this request, these gentlemen prepared and presented certain tables, with additional verbal testimony. This testimony was subsequently reduced to writing. It purports to be a statement showing the number of officers and privates of the Cuban army and their time of service. On behalf of Cuba, these gentlemen informed the author that had Cuba been recognised as an independent nation, their first duty would have been to pay all legal obligations contracted during the struggle for independence. They request that the United States, acting as trustee for Cuba, will give this subject a careful hearing and enable the people of Cuba to disband the army and complete the pacification of the Island. They recognise the fact that $3,000,000 has been appropriated for a purpose similar to this, but regard it as inadequate. The figures submitted by these gentlemen, as representing the pay which the insurgent army, in their opinion, has earned, are somewhat startling. The summary is as follows:

19Generals of Division296,175
21301st Sergeants3,796,200
31232d Sergeants4,605,600
45,031 $57,304,380

The pay promised the Cuban army is very much higher (except in the grade of generals) than the amounts actually paid the officers and men in the United States army, as will be seen from the following comparison of the salaries of the two armies:

General of Division450...     
1st Sergeant6025     
2d Sergeant5018     

It is not assumed by the gentlemen who prepared the above estimates that claims of such magnitude could be seriously considered by an independent Republic. The resources of the Island at present are entirely inadequate to shoulder such a debt. Upon the reduced basis of the salaries paid the United States soldiers, the reduction would be about one half, or less than $30,000,000, an equally impossible sum. On the other hand, that some aid should be rendered by the United States to enable these soldiers to disband and go to work would seem both feasible and just. It could easily be met by the revenue of the Island, and would have a decided effect in securing permanent peace and the early establishment of a stable government in Cuba. If done now under the guidance of the United States it would prevent excessive payment to the troops hereafter. In the same manner the liquidation of the small amount of outstanding obligation—not exceeding $2,500,000—might settle the debt question for all time to come. Especially if all other advances for these purposes were prohibited until such debt was adjusted to the satisfaction of the United States. In case the ultimate solution of the Cuban question should be, as it is quite within the range of probability, annexation, the independent government will not previously have had the opportunity of incurring improvident indebtedness, which ultimately may have to be assumed by the United States. In short, whatever may be done in this matter, or however it may be done, the United States should control and safeguard the finances of the Island for a considerable period. It has been very truly stated that should an independent government be established and recognised, the United States will no longer be able to control the financial legislation of the Island. It can, however, by the plan proposed, and very properly, not only save money for Cuba while under its military possession or control, but also prevent the making of unnecessary improvident or other loans by such independent government, except with the consent, or approval in advance, of the United States. This can be readily done, if, when making an advance for the benefit of Cuba, the right to apply the customs receipts and other revenues of the Island to the repayment of the principal and interest of such advance be reserved to the United States. In this way all reckless expenditure may be prevented and all speculative or independent bond issues be avoided and at the same time quick assistance be rendered those whose position at present is deplorable in the extreme.



THE revenues and expenditures of the Island of Cuba for the fiscal year 1898-99, according to the reports obtained by the author from the Secretary of the Treasury, Marquis Rafael Montoro, may be thus summarised:

Expenditures. Amount. Receipts. Amount.
Sovereignty Expenditure $22,500,808.59 Custom-Houses 14,705,000
Local. Internal Revenue 1,640,650
General Expenditures 159,605.50 Lotteries1,900,500
State-Church, Justice, and Government 1,612,859.44 Miscellaneous Revenue 1,536,000
Treasury 708,978.51 
Public Instruction247,033.02 Estimates of Total Revenue $26,374,045.68
Public Works and Communications 1,036,582.10
Agriculture, Industry, and Commerce 108,178.52
Deduct Amounts not Specified 17,314.27
Total $26,356,731.41
Receipts      $ 26,359,650.00
Surplus         $2,918.59

While the revenues are all derived from the various species of taxation exacted from the people of Cuba, the expenditures are divided into two important classes: those under the head of “Sovereignty Expenses,” or expenses of the General Government, which, according to this estimate, aggregate $22,500,808.59, and those which, under the head of “Local Expenses” aggregating $3,873,237.09, constitute the expenditures for the immediate necessities of the Island. In order to obtain a clear view of the possibilities of revenue and the probable future expenses of the Island of Cuba, these receipts and expenditures should be further examined.

Taxes in Cuba, as will be seen from the above exhibit, are collected under six general classifications, namely: (1) taxes and imposts, including excise and liquor taxes, and taxes on railway freight and passengers; (2) receipts from custom-houses, which include taxes on imports and exports, loading and unloading merchandise, fines and passports; (3) internal revenue, including stamped paper,[14] postage stamps, warrants for payment issued by the State, diplomas and titles, stamps on letters of exchange or deeds of transfer, on insurance policies, on matches, and on almost every other conceivable sort of deed and document; (4) lotteries, are put down in the above table as yielding $1,900,500; (5) revenue from State property, including rents and sale of lands and rent from docks; (6) revenue from miscellaneous sources, some of which seem somewhat mythical. These comprise the general sources of revenue which appear in this report, and from which the Secretary of the Treasury, Marquis Montoro, informed the author he hoped to secure for the fiscal year 1898-99 the following sums:

Sources of Revenue.Estimated Amount
Spanish Gold.
Taxes and Imposts$ 6,142,500
Internal Revenue1,640,650
State Property435,000
Miscellaneous Revenue1,536,000
Total Estimated Revenue$26,359,650

As to how much of this has been collected or how much can be collected, it is impossible to say with any degree of certainty. Spanish official reports are not very reliable documents at the best, and during the last three years of internal dissensions, frequent changes in officials, and war, they appear to be at their worst. The only possible light on the subject which the author was able to obtain was a statement of the actual taxes as levied between 1887 and 1897, inclusive, and the actual amounts collected at the custom-houses and by the Spanish Bank of the Island of Cuba, for under Spanish administration the latter institution collected all taxes other than customs.

According to these figures, the custom-house receipts of Cuba fell from $14,708,509.10 in 1895 to $9,648,369.94 in 1897-98. While the value of the tax receipts handed to the Spanish Bank for collection for the fiscal year 1896-97 exceeded $5,000,000, the actual money collected was only $3,266,583.37, while for the next fiscal year, 1897-98, out of receipts aggregating in the neighbourhood of $4,500,000, only $2,377,742.21 was realised. The exhibits show that rural real estate, which, under prosperous conditions, should yield in taxes from $880,000 to $1,000,000, is incapable of paying anything. Out of receipts aggregating in 1897-98 over $800,000, the Spanish Bank only collected $89,661.98 from these properties. Nor will it be possible in the reconstruction of the Island to secure revenue from these sources, for the burned and destroyed estates are yielding nothing to their owners. City property which, in times of prosperity, should yield upward of $2,000,000, or even $3,000,000, in 1897-98 only yielded $1,140,230.12.

This tax, however, and the receipts from customs will be the first to recover, as the immediate effects of permanent peace and honest government will be felt in the cities and towns and seaports. Lotteries will become a doubtful, if not impossible source of revenue. The collections from internal revenue may keep up to the estimate, though the income from State property and miscellaneous revenues seems upon examination a rather doubtful resource for the new government to rely upon. Judged from the actual revenue collected in 1897-98, had present conditions prevailed, it is extremely doubtful if the real revenue collected for 1898-99 would have reached more than half the rosy estimates put forth by the Marquis Montoro. The fact is apparent to those who know existing conditions in Cuba that the people of the Island are just now in such an impoverished condition that the agricultural interests are simply incapable of paying taxes.

The cities will soon be all right again, and under honest municipal government, taxes on urban property will be paid. The influx of commodities of all sorts, to make up for losses and destruction by war and low stocks due to the blockade, will increase the custom-house receipts. The reduction of duties on machinery and railway supplies may increase the importations of these articles, and thus the lower rates of duty will yield a revenue which the present high rates, by making importations impossible, fail to do. By putting an end to smuggling, and by honestly administering the custom-houses, the United States Government may increase the revenue, but the proposed reduction of duties of the amended tariff in a measure offsets this. Unless, therefore, some new source of revenue is found practicable (and the Spanish seem to have exhausted all known means of raising revenue), reliance for the future will have to be on five of the six revenue sources above enumerated. If for the first year or two they should yield in all $15,000,000, it will probably be all the revenue that may safely be estimated. Much will naturally depend upon the foreign imports. The cable despatches from Havana, as this volume goes to press, indicate that the customs revenue will be fully up to the author’s estimates.

Aside from special imports, such as specie, leaf tobacco, etc., the value of the imports of merchandise proper into Cuba the last normal year (1895) was upward of $60,000,000. An average tariff rate of twenty-five per cent. on this valuation of imported merchandise would itself yield $15,000,000. As a matter of fact, the duties collected in 1895 were $14,587,920.57, on a total importation of merchandise other than specie of $61,443,334.65, or about an average of twenty-five per cent. To be sure, the nominal tariff rates were much higher in 1895 than they will be in 1899, but there is a possibility of making up for the loss by reason of lower duties by abolishing smuggling and honestly administering the custom-houses. It is impossible, however, to estimate on this, because, to do so with any degree of success, it would be necessary to reduce to figures the losses of revenue by smuggling, undervaluation, and misclassification. This is an impossibility.

The tariff which the Spanish Government enacted and put in force in the Island of Cuba in September, 1897, and which, with modifications in the shape of war taxes, was in force in ports of Cuba in possession of the Spanish Government until the change of government, January 1, 1899, is based upon the preceding tariffs. Both this tariff and its predecessors seem to lack rational basis, so far as Cuba is concerned, the aim apparently being to secure, by the means of exorbitant customs duties revenue for the Spanish exchequer and profits for Spanish subjects, without the slightest regard for the welfare of the people of Cuba. While the duties seem to have been levied with this idea, the classifications and methods of administration are so complicated and obscure that they easily lend themselves to every known species of revenue fraud, from false classifications and undervaluations to smuggling of the most barefaced character. In fact, the author, after a careful inquiry into the Cuban tariff and an examination of several hundred witnesses in Havana and other cities of Cuba, reached the conclusion that almost every form of revenue iniquity has been perpetrated upon the people of this Island by the ruling powers.

Not only was the tariff constructed in a way that compelled the Cuban producer to purchase the articles he needed and could not himself manufacture, of Spain, instead of in the cheaper markets, but also it levied almost prohibitive duties on such articles as Spain could not under any circumstances send to Cuba. For example, the Spanish exporter was able, by a discriminating duty of more than one hundred per cent. against other countries, to import from Minnesota to Barcelona American flour and reship it to Cuba at a price just below the price of the American article shipped direct to Cuba, upon which a duty nearly three times as great as that exacted from Spain had to be paid. On the other hand, Spain took little interest in such articles as machinery and railway supplies, including steel rails and locomotives, because she neither produced them nor could she purchase elsewhere and reship as Spanish production.

The amended tariff for the Island, which went into force January 1, 1899, was framed on the general plan of the “open door” for all nations; that is, the merchandise of all nations will be admitted on an equal footing, or at the same rate of duty. There is but one uniform rate of duty, and that, as far as possible, a revenue, not a protective rate. In a few cases, a protective rate has been allowed, for the purpose of encouraging Cuban home industry, but as over half of all the imports into Cuba are food products, not produced to advantage in the Island, the rates of duty rarely exceed twenty-five per cent. ad valorem. In this connection, it will be interesting to note the value of the merchandise imported, divided by schedules or classes (page 217).

It will be seen from the following exhibit that Schedule 12, “Alimentary Substances,” covering all food products, is the most important of all the schedules, representing more than half the total imports into Cuba during 1895, and aggregating over $31,000,000. Next in importance to this is Schedule 4, “Cotton and Manufactures thereof,” aggregating nearly $6,000,000, or ten per cent. of the total imports; Schedule 1, “Ores, etc.,” aggregating in the neighbourhood of $4,750,000, ranking third, and so on through the list.

Number of Schedule. Commodity. Value Imports,
ClassI. Stones, earths, ores, etc. $ 4,733,358.12
II. Metals, and manufactures of 2,063,281.95
III. Pharmacy and chemicals 2,166,414.92
IV. Cotton, and manufactures of 5,908,202.23
V. Hemp, flax, jute, and other vegetable fibres and manufactures of 3,587,713.23
VI. Wool, bristles, etc., and manufactures of 1,060,192.13
VII. Silk, and manufactures of 315,010.00
VIII. Paper and its applications 1,257,132.94
IX. Wood, etc., and manufactures of 2,054,057.57
X. Animals and animal wastes 3,880,209.64
XI. Instruments, machinery, etc. 2,123,315.43
XII. Alimentary substances 31,179,289.98
XIII. Miscellaneous 1,115,156.51

In conjunction with the above table, the following recapitulation of values of exports and reshipments into Cuba during 1895-96 is given:

Classes of goods:
    Timber$286,190.70$ 267,068.47$ 200,878.03$ 130,463.90$ 848,601.10
    Rum and liquors352,393.44292,808.18267,277.53121,991.001,034,470.15
    Other articles1,332,714.862,538,509.692,738,024.011,112,242.447,721,491.00
Total 35,304,100.99 38,941,260.89 20,427,425.72 15,612,232.71 110,285,020.31
    Foreign goods15,462.658,477.9117,567.0527,524.0869,031.69
    Spanish goods61,343.0827,477.6228,718.1729,276.53146,815.40
Special exports207,477.55166,881.152,092,960.13153,326.302,620,645.13
Grand total $35,588,384.27 $39,144,097.57 $22,566,671.07 $15,822,359.62 $113,121,512.53

The grand total of the trade of the Cuban ports for the last normal year was nearly $175,000,000. Perhaps with allowance for smuggling and undervaluations, this total may have reached $200,000,000; possibly it may have exceeded those figures. However this may be, Cuba, under a satisfactory government and normal conditions, may be easily said to represent from $200,000,000 to $250,000,000 in the world’s commerce. This fact gives some idea of the vast trade possibilities of Cuba after a complete rehabilitation and industrial reconstruction of the Island.

In the following table the author has carefully compiled from the several available sources of information the average receipts from 1886 to 1897, inclusive, of the several custom-houses of Cuba:

Custom-Houses. Total for Twelve Years. Average per Year. Ratio of Total.
Havana $106,132,753.38 $ 8,844,396.11 69.9
Cienfuegos 13,691,144.65 1,140,928.72 9.0
Matanzas 9,381,754.10 781,812.84 6.2
Santiago de Cuba 7,668,501.66 639,041.81 5.1
Cardenas 4,363,935.76 363,661.32 2.9
Sagua la Grande 2,994,082.56 249,506.88 2.0
Caibarien 1,705,523.71 142,126.97 1.1
Nuevitas 1,564,595.30 130,382.94 1.0
Guantanamo 1,380,693.44 115,057.79 0.9
Gibara 1,186,480.34 98,873.37 0.8
Manzanillo 913,896.91 76,158.07 0.6
Baracoa 373,498.11 31,124.85 0.2
Trinidad 194,656.85 16,221.40 0.1
Santa Cruz 107,935.59 8,994.63 0.1
Zaza 91,276.51 7,606.38 0.1
Total $151,750,728.87 $12,645,894.08 100.00

During the twelve years, it should be stated the largest amount of revenue was collected in 1886, when it was $15,330,778.96, and the smallest amount last year, namely, $9,648,369.94. The receipts show the working of the Reciprocity Treaty with the United States, which, while it greatly added to the prosperity of the Island, decreased the revenues which Spain sought to secure for herself.

From the above table it will be seen that the total amount of revenue collected during these twelve years averaged $12,645,894.08 per year; that the custom-house of Havana collected 69.9 per cent, and Cienfuegos—which is an important city, and, in the opinion of the author, the city which, under the new conditions, will show the most rapid development—9 per cent., ranking second. In the custom-house district of Santiago, the average revenue receipts per year have been 5.1 per cent. The inclusion in this district of Guantanamo, Gibara, Manzanillo, and Baracoa will probably increase the collections for the province to nearly ten per cent. of the total revenue of the Island.

The following is a similar table to that given above, but gives at a glance the customs receipts from imports and exports at each port:

Custom-Houses. Imports. Exports.
Twelve Years.
Per Cent.
of Total
Twelve Years.
Per Cent.
of Total
Havana $7,882,855.48 $961,540.63
Cienfuegos 1,094,962.53 45,966.19
Matanzas 723,978.04 57,834.80
Santiago de Cuba 625,517.97 13,523.84
Cardenas 297,738.05 65,923.27
Sagua la Grande 207,422.23 42,084.65
Caibarien 127,011.98 15,114.99
Nuevitas 122,282.25 8,100.69
Guantanamo 103,198.88 11,858.91
Gibara 63,371.21 35,502.16
Manzanillo 60,664.85 15,493.22
Baracoa 31,122.49 2.36
Trinidad 11,963.02 4,258.38
Santa Cruz 4,679.98 4,314.65
Zaza 4,520.12 3,086.26
Aggregate $11,361,289.08 8.33 $1,284,605.00 8.33

During the war, as already explained, the customs receipts have naturally declined, therefore the year preceding that has been selected as indicating the average revenue from custom-houses, when not disturbed by commercial treaty, such as that made in connection with the McKinley Tariff law of the United States, nor the other disturbances, such as civil war and subsequently the blockade of Cuban ports by the United States navy. The value of the following table is in the fact that it shows customs receipts from the several sources other than those which may be considered strictly import duties.

Tariff First
Import Duties $2,464,392.70 $2,387,357.28 $1,947,152.48 $1,977,028.01$ 8,775,930.47
Ten per cent. on Imports 272,162.34 237,673.86 521,216.92 209,483.87 970,536.99
Provisional fifteen per cent. on Imports 84,126.55 312,346.57 302,821.71 267,337.93 966,632.76
Export Duties 344,850.62 227,858.34 359,135.46 369,237.95 1,301,082.37
Navigation Tax 2,539.75 4,635.50 6,232.50 5,305.00 18,712.75
Loading Tax 254,316.53 346,953.59 124,242.98 91,509.85 817,022.95
Unloading Tax 140,562.35 128,938.58 129,965.77 112,984.47 512,451.17
Passenger Tax 8,925.75 7,808.00 6,190.25 6,229.75 29,153.75
Merchants’ Bonds 332.05 143.50 208.56 228.84 912.95
Fines 18,308.40 22,496.45 13,346.50 16,663.15 70,814.50
Interest on Promissory Notes 695.03 ... ... ... 695.03
Excise Tax 333,003.78 252,265.95 333,525.56 205,179.59 1,123,974.88
Totals $3,924,215.85 $3,928,477.62 $3,474,038.69 $3,261,188.41 $14,587,920.57

Having treated as fully as possible on the revenue of Cuba in the past from customs and made such forecasts as to the probable revenue as would seem warranted by the official figures, the next chapter will be devoted to a summary of the schedules of the amended tariff now in force, which will probably remain during United States occupancy the customs revenue law of the Island.




AFTER a careful consideration of the facts given in the foregoing chapter, Assistant-Secretary of the Treasury, William B. Howell, and the author recommended the adoption of the following amended tariff, the order for the establishment of which President McKinley signed on the 13th of December, 1898; and the tariff was promulgated and took effect in all Cuban ports in the possession of the United States January 1, 1899. The new tariff, at the time this volume goes to press, is reported by the several custom-houses of the Island as working smoothly, and yielding an amount of revenue equivalent to the estimates given in the chapters relating to the revenue of the Island.


The undermentioned articles may be imported into Cuba exempt from the duties stipulated in the tariffs on compliance with the prescribed conditions and the formalities established for every case in the customs ordinances:

346. Manures, natural.

347. Trees, plants, and moss, in natural or fresh state.

348. National products returning from foreign exhibitions, on presentation of the bill of lading or certificate proving their exportation from the Island and of satisfactory evidence attesting that such products have been presented and have been shipped to their point of departure.

349. Carriages, trained animals, portable theatres, panoramas, wax figures, and other similar objects for public entertainment, imported temporarily, provided bond be given.

350. Receptacles exported from Cuba with fruits, sugar, molasses, honey, and brandy, and reimported empty, including receptacles of galvanised iron intended for the exportation of alcohol.

351. Specimens and collections of mineralogy, botany, and zoology; also small models for public museums, schools, academies, and scientific and artistic corporations, on proof of their destination.

352. Used furniture of persons coming to settle in the Island.

353. Samples of felt, wall paper, and tissues, when they comply with the following conditions:

(a) When they do not exceed 40 centimetres in length, measured in the warp or length of the piece, even when such samples have the entire width of the piece. The width shall, for tissues, be determined by the list, and for felts and wall paper by the narrow border which has not passed through the press.

(b) Samples not having these indications shall only be admitted free of duty when they do not exceed 40 centimetres in any dimension.

(c) In order to avoid abuse, the samples declared for free entry must have cuts at every 20 centimetres of their width, so as to render them unfit for any other purpose.

354. Samples of trimmings in small pieces, of no commercial value or possible application.

355. Archæological and numismatical objects for public museums, academies, and scientific and artistic corporations, on proof of their destination.

356. Works of fine art acquired by the Government, academies, or other official corporations, and intended for museums, galleries, or art schools, when due proof is given as to their destination.

357. Gold in bars, powder, or coined; also national silver or bronze coins.

358. Wearing apparel, toilet objects, and articles for personal use, bed and table linen, books, portable tools and instruments, theatrical costumes, jewels, and table services bearing evident trace of having been used, imported by travellers in their luggage in quantities proportionate to their class, profession, and position.

359. When travellers do not bring their baggage with them, the clearing of the same may be made by the conductor or persons authorised for the purpose, provided they prove, to the satisfaction of the customs, that the effects are intended for private use.

360. Stone, unwrought, for paving purposes.

361. Ploughs, hoes, hatchets, machetes, cane knives, etc., for agricultural purposes, and other agricultural implements not machinery.

362. Quinine, sulphate and bisulphate of, and all alkaloids or salts of cinchona bark.

363. Hemp, flax, and ramie, raw, hackled, or tow.

364. Abaca, heniquen, pita, jute, and other vegetable fibres, raw, hackled, or tow.

365. Single yarns made of jute for the manufacture of sugar bags only, to be imported by sugar-bag manufacturers only, the importer to give a bond to use the yarn exclusively for the manufacture of sugar bags.

366. Books, maps, and scientific instruments, for the use of schools.

367. Coal and coke.

368. Mineral, carbonated or seltzer waters, natural or artificial, root beer, ginger ale, and other similar non-alcoholic beverages, not otherwise provided for.

369. Fresh fish.

370. Second-hand clothing donated for charitable purposes to needy persons, and not for sale.

371. Articles of the growth, produce, and manufacture of the island of Cuba exported to a foreign country and returned without having been advanced in value or improved in condition by any process of manufacture or other means, and upon which no drawback or bounty has been allowed.

G. W. = Gross weight.
N. W. = Net weight.
G. W.; T. = Gross weight or tare, as the case may be.
T. = Tare.
S. T. = Special tare.
Kil. = Kilograms.
Kilog. = Kilogram.
Hectog. = Hectogram.
Hectol. = Hectoliter.

Duties shall be paid in United States money, or in foreign gold coin, such as the Spanish alfonsinos (centen) and the French louis, which will be accepted at the following rates: Alfonsinos (25-peseta piece), $4.82; louis (20-franc piece), $3.86.

The following Spanish silver coins now in circulation in the Island of Cuba shall be received for customs at the following fixed rates in American money: Peso, 60 cents; medio peso, 30 cents; peseta, 12 cents; real, 6 cents; medio real, 3 cents.

Bronze and copper coins now current in the Island of Cuba will be received at their face value for fractional parts of a dollar in a single payment to an amount not exceeding 12 cents (1 peseta).

The metrical system of weights and measures is in use in Cuba.

Importations from the United States are dutiable like other commodities.

Class I.—Stones, Earths, Ores, Glass, and Ceramic Products
Group I.—Stones and earths employed in building, arts, and manufactures
1. Marble, jasper, and alabaster:
  a. In the rough or in dressed pieces, squared or prepared for shaping, G. W. 100 kil. $0.50
  b. Slabs, plates, or steps of any dimension, polished or not, G.W. 100 kil. 1.00
  c. Sculptures, high and bas-reliefs, vases, urns, and similar articles for house decoration, T. 100 kil. 3.10
  d. Wrought or chiselled into other articles, polished or not, T. 100 kil. 2.00
2. Stones, other, natural or artificial:
  a. Slabs, plates, or steps, G. W. do. .50
  b. Wrought into all other articles, T. do. 1.00
3. Earths employed in manufactures and arts: Cement, lime, and gypsum, G. W 100 kil. .60
4. Gypsum manufactured into articles:
  a. Statuettes, T. do. 3.00
 b. Articles, other, T. do. .75
Group 2. Coal.
(See Free list).
Group 3.——Schists, bitumens, and their derivatives
6. Tar and mineral pitch, asphalts, bitumens, and schists, G. W., 100 kil. $0.60
7. Oleonaphtha, crude natural petroleum and crude oils derived from schists, G. W. 100 kil. 1.40
  a. Crude petroleum to be used exclusively in the manufacture of illuminating gas and only at gas works in Cuba, said gas works to be subject to inspection by the customs authorities, and to be used for no other purpose, provided that the importer gives such bond as may be regarded necessary by the acting collector, G. W. 100 kil. .70
8. Petroleum and other mineral oils, rectified or refined, intended for illumination; benzine, gasoline, and mineral oils not specially mentioned; vaseline, G. W. 100 kil. 4.70
  a. A product from petroleum known under the name of cordage oil, imported by and used exclusively for cordage works in their manufacture of rope and cordage, provided that the importation be made at the direct demand of the president of the cordage company, and that the latter submit their works at all times to the inspection of the customs authorities, and that the importer give such bond as may be regarded necessary by the acting collector, G. W. 100 kil. 2.35
Group 4.——Ores
9. Ores, G. W. 100 kil. .10
Group 5.——Crystal and Glass
10. Common or ordinary hollow glassware; electric insulators, T. 100 kil. 1.00
Common bottles of glass, intended to contain beer, rum, and sparkling wines, manufactured with native fruit, and garrafones or demijohns and siphons to contain mineral, carbonated, or seltzer waters, shall enjoy a rebate of 60 per cent. of the duties stipulated in this number, when imported and declared in the custom-house by the manufacturers of said beverages.
11. Crystal, and glass imitating crystal:
  a. Articles, cut, engraved, or gilt, T. 100 kil. 14.00
 b. Articles, other, T. do. 7.00
12. Plate glass and crystal:
  a. Slabs, paving or roofing, T. 100 kil. 1.65
  b. For windows or in other articles, provided they be neither polished, bevelled, engraved, nor annealed, T. 100 kil. 3.40
  c. Window glass set in lead and polished, or bevelled plate glass, T. 100 kil. $4.90
  d. Articles, engraved or annealed, T. do. 9.80
13. Glass and crystal, tinned, silvered, or coated with other metals:
  a. Common mirrors not exceeding 2 mm. in thickness, coated with red or dark mercurial varnish, T. 100 kil. 10.00
  b. Mirrors, other, not bevelled, T. do. 15.00
  c. Mirrors, bevelled, T. do. 18.00
14. Glass and crystal in statuettes, flower stands, and vases and similar articles for toilet purposes and house decorations; spectacle and watch glasses; imitations of precious or fine stones; enamel, T.kilog..56
15. Incandescent electric lamps, mounted or nothundred. 2.50
Group 6.——Pottery, earthenware, and porcelain
16. Bricks of clay, not glazed, for building purposes, furnaces, etc.; articles of fire clay, G. W. 100 kil. .30
17. Roofing tiles of clay, not glazed, for building purposes, per square (10 by 10 feet) 1.50
18. Slabs or conduits of clay, glazed or unglazed, cement or stoneware, G. W. 100 kil. .50
19. Ceramic tiles of all kinds and glazed roofing tiles, per square (10 by 10 feet) 2.50
20. Hollow ware, glazed or not, of clay or stoneware:
  a. Household and kitchen utensils, T. 100 kil. .80
  b. Dishes or other articles, provided that they be neither gilt, painted, nor ornamented in relief, T. 100 kil. 5.50
  c. Common bottles of earthenware, to contain beer, etc. do. 1.00
  d. Articles, gilt, painted, or ornamented in relief, T. do. 5.60
21. Hollow ware or dishes of faience:
  a. Neither painted, gilt, nor in relief, T. do. 3.50
  b. Gilt, painted, or with ornaments in relief, T. do. 6.40
22. Hollow ware or dishes of porcelain:
  a. Neither painted, gilt, nor in relief, T. do. 5.80
  b. Painted, gilt, or with ornaments in relief, T. do. 9.30
23. Statuettes, flower stands, and vases, high and bas-reliefs, articles for toilet purposes and house decoration, of fine clay, faience, stoneware, porcelain, or bisque, T. kilog. .25
Class II.—Metals, and all Manufactures in which a Metal Enters as a Principal Element
Group I.—Gold, silver, and platinum, and alloys of these metals
24. Gold and platinum in jewelry or goldsmiths’ wares, with or without precious stones or pearls; jewelry or wares of silver, with precious stones, pearls and seed pearls, not set, N. W. hectog. $7.50
25. Gold or platinum wrought in articles, other, of all kinds, N. W. hectog. $2.80
26. Silver in ingots, bars, plates, sheets, or powder, N. W. kilog. 2.60
27. Jewelry or wares of silver, without precious stones or pearls, N.W. hectog. 1.50
28. Silversmiths’ wares, other, of all kinds, and platinum in ingots, N. W. kilog. 8.00
29. Plate, N. W. do. 2.40
Group 2.—Cast iron (I)
(I) Articles of malleable cast iron are dutiable as manufactures of wrought iron,
Cast iron:
30. Pigs, G. W. 100 kil. .10
31. Articles not coated or ornamented with another metal or porcelain, neither polished or turned—
  a. Bars, beams, plates, grates for furnaces, columns, and pipes, G. W. 100 kil. .50
  b. Lubricating boxes for railway trucks and carriages, and railway chairs, G. W. 100 kil. .35
  c. Articles, other, G. W. do. .75
32. Articles of all kinds not coated or ornamented with another metal or porcelain, polished or turned, T. 100 kil. 1.20
33. Articles of all kinds, enamelled, gilt, tinned, or coated or ornamented with other metals or porcelain, T. 100 kil. 2.30
Group 3.—Wrought iron and steel
34. Iron, soft or wrought, in ingots or “tochos”; steel in ingots, G. W., 100 kil. .40
35. Wrought iron or steel, rolled—
  a. Rails, G. W. do. .425
  b. Bars of all kinds, including rods, tires, hoops, and beams, G. W. 100 kil. .90
  c. Bars of all kinds of fine crucible steel, G. W. do. 1.60
36. Sheets, rolled—
  a. Neither polished nor tinned, of 3 millimetres and more in thickness, G. W. 100 kil. 1.10
  b. Neither polished nor tinned, of less than 3 millimetres in thickness, and hoop iron, G. W. 100 kil. 1.20
  c. Tinned and tin plate, G. W. do. 1.50
  d. Polished, corrugated, perforated, cold-rolled, galvanised or not, and bands of polished hoop iron, G. W. 100 kil. 1.30
Wrought iron or steel:
Cast in pieces, in the rough, neither polished, turned, nor adjusted, weighing, each—
  a. 25 kil. or more, G. W. 100 kil. $1.00
  b. Less than 25 kil., G. W. do. 1.35
38. Cast in pieces, finished—
  a. Wheels weighing more than 100 kilograms, fish plates, chairs, sleepers, and straight axles; springs for railways and tramways; lubricating boxes, G. W. 100 kil. .60
  b. Wheels weighing 100 kilograms or less; springs other than for railways and tramways; bent axles and cranks, G. W. 100 kil. 1.40
39. Pipes—
  a. Covered with sheet brass, G. W. do. 1.40
  b. Other, galvanised or not, G. W. do. 1.40
40. Wire, galvanised or not—
  a. 2 millim. or more in diameter, T. do. 1.00
  b. More than ½ and up to 2 millim. in diameter, T. do. 1.30
  c. ½ millim. or less in diameter, and wire covered with any kind of tissue, T. 100 kil. 1.60
41. In large pieces, composed of bars or bars and sheets fastened by means of rivets or screws; the same, unriveted, perforated, or cut to measure for bridges, frames, and other buildings, G. W., 100 kil. 1.80
42. Anchors, chains for vessels or machines, moorings, switches, and signal disks, G. W. 100 kil. .80
42a.Anvils, T. do. 2.50
43. Wire gauze—
  a. Up to 20 threads per inch, T. do. 2.00
  b. Of 20 threads or more per inch, T. kilog. .06
44. Cables, fencing (barbed wire), and netting; furniture springs, G. W., 100 kil. 1.00
45. Tools and implements—
  a. Fine, for arts, trades, and professions, of crucible steel, T. 100 kil. 8.00
  b. Other, T. do. 2.50
46. Screws, nuts, bolts, washers, and rivets; Parisian and similar tacks, T 100 kil. 1.50
47. Nails, clasp nails, and brads, T. do. 1.00
48. Buckles:
  a. Gilt, silvered, or nickeled, T. kilog. .20
  b. Other, T. do. .15
49. Needles, sewing or embroidering, pins, and pens; pieces of clockworks, N. W. kilog. .30
50. Crochet hooks and the like; hooks, hairpins, and surgical instruments, N. W. kilog. .30
51. Cutlery of all kinds; tailors’ scissors; sidearms and pieces for same, T. kilog. .40
52. Firearms:
  a. Barrels, unfinished, for portable arms, G. W. kilog. $ .25
  b. Small arms, such as pistols and revolvers, also their detached parts, T. kilog. 1.00
  c. Sporting guns: Muzzle-loading, and detached parts thereof, T. kilog. .60
  d. Breech-loading, and detached parts thereof, T. do. 2.50
53. Manufactures of tin plate, T. 100 kil. 4.00
Wrought iron or steel:
54. Articles of all kinds not specially mentioned, common, even coated with lead, tin, or zinc, or painted or varnished—
  a. In which sheet predominates, T. 100 kil. 3.00
  b. In which sheet does not predominate, T. do. 2.00
55. Articles of all kinds not specially mentioned, fine, i.e., polished, enamelled, coated with porcelain, nickel, or other metals (with the exception of lead, tin, or zinc), or with ornaments, borders, or parts of other metals, or combined with glass or earthenware—
  a. In which sheet predominates, T. 100 kil. 3.00
  b. In which sheet does not predominate do. 3.00
Group 4.—Copper and alloys of common metals with copper (brass, bronze, etc.)
56. Copper scales, copper of first fusion, old copper, brass, etc., G. W. 100 kil. 3.00
57. Copper and alloys of copper in ingots, G. W. do. 4.00
58. Rolled in bars of all kinds, G. W. do. 4.50
59. Rolled in sheets, G. W. do. 5.00
60. Wire, galvanised or not—
  a. 1 millimetre and more in diameter, T. do. 6.00
  b. Less than 1 millimetre in diameter, T. do. 6.00
  c. Gilt, silvered, or nickeled, T. kilog. .50
61. Wire covered with tissues or insulating materials; conducting cables for electricity over public thoroughfares, T. 100 kil. 7.50
62. Wire gauze—
  a. Up to 100 threads per inch, T. 100 kil. 6.00
  b. Of 100 threads or more per inch, T. kilog. .15
63. Pipes, bearings, plates for fireplaces, and boilermakers’ wares partially wrought, G. W. 100 kil. 4.50
64. Nails and tacks:
  a. Gilt, silvered, or nickeled, T. kilog. .20
  b. Other, T. do. .12
65. Pins or pens, N. W. do. .60
Copper and alloys of copper:
66. Articles not specially mentioned, varnished or not, T. kilog. .20
67. Articles, gilt, silvered, or nickeled, not specially mentioned, T. kilog. .50
Group 5.—Other metals and their alloys
68. Mercury, G. W. kilog. $ .20
Nickel, aluminium, and alloys having for a basis these metals:
69. In lumps or ingots, G. W 100 kil. 3.00
Tin and alloys thereof:
70. In lumps or ingots, G. W. do. 4.00
Zinc, lead, and other metals not specially mentioned, as well as their alloys:
71. In lumps or ingots, G. W. 100 kil. 1.00
Nickel, aluminium, and their alloys:
72. In bars, sheets, pipes, and wire, G. W.. do. 7.00
Tin and alloys thereof:
73. In bars, sheets, pipes, and wire, G. W.. do. 7.00
Zinc, lead and other metals:
74. In bars, sheets, pipes, and wire, G. W. 1.50
75. Tin hammered in thin leaves (tin foil) and capsules for bottles, T. kilog. .04
Nickel, or aluminium, and their alloys:
76. Articles of all kinds, T. do. .50
Tin and alloys thereof (Britannia metal, etc.):
77. Articles of all kinds, T. do. .50
78. Zinc, lead, and other metals, and their alloys:
  a. Articles, gilt, silvered, or nickeled, T. do. .30
  b. Articles, other, T do. .15
Group 6.—Wastes and scoriæ
79. Filings, shavings, cuttings of iron or steel, and other wastes of cast iron or from the manufacture of common metals, fit only for resmelting, G. W. 100 kil. .15
80. Scoriæ resulting from the smelting of ores, G. W. do. .03
Class III.—Substances Employed in Pharmacy and Chemical
Industries, And Products Composed of these Substances
Group 1.—Simple drugs
81. Oleaginous seeds, copra or cocoanuts, G. W. 100 kil. $2.00
82. Resins and gums:
  a. Colophany, pitch, and similar products, G. W. do. .50
  b. Spirits of turpentine, T. do. 2.50
  c. Caoutchouc and gutta-percha, raw or melted in lumps, G. W. 100 kil. 3.00
83. Extracts of licorice, camphor, aloes, and other similar vegetable juices, G. W. 100 kil. 5.25
84. Tan bark, G. W do. .25
85. Opium, G. W. kilog. 6.00
86. Other simple vegetable products, not specially mentioned, G. W. 100 kil. $2.75
87. Animal products employed in medicine, not specially mentioned, G. W. 100 kil. 1.80
88. Natural colours, in powder or in lumps (ochres, etc.), do. .60
Group 2.—Colours, dyes, and varnishes
89. Artificial colours of metallic bases:
  a. In powder or lumps, G. W.; T. 100 kil. 2.55
  b. Prepared in the paste, oil, or water; also lead or coloured pencils, G. W.; T. 100 kil. 5.00
90. Other artificial colours, in powder, crystals, lumps, or paste, G. W.; T.kilog. .25
91. Natural dyes:
  a. Woods, barks, roots, etc., for dyeing, G. W. 100 kil. .20
  b. Madder, G. W. do. 4.50
  c. Indigo and cochineal, G. W. kilog. .20
92. Artificial dyes:
  a. Extracts from logwood, archil, and other dyeing extracts, G. W.; T. 100 kil. 5.00
  b. Writing, drawing, or printing inks, G. W.; T. do. 3.00
  c. Colours derived from coal, G. W.; T. kilog. .20
93. Varnish, G. W.; T. 100 kil. 7.50
94. Blacking, G. W. do. 3.00
Group 3.—Chemical and pharmaceutical products
95. Simple bodies:
  a. Sulphur, G. W 100 kil. .15
  b. Bromine, boron, iodine, and phosphorus. Phosphorus, T.; other, G. W.kilog. .18
96. Inorganic acids:
  a. Hydrochloric, boric, nitric, and sulphuric, also aqua regia, G. W. 100 kil. .30
  b. Liquid carbonic acid, N. W. do. 5.00
  c. Other, G. W. do. 5.00
97. Organic acids:
  a. Oxalic, citric, tartaric, and carbolic, G. W. do. 1.00
  b. Oleic, stearic, and palmetic, G. W. do. 1.40
  c. Acetic, G. W. do. 6.00
  d. Other, G. W. do. 5.00
98. Oxides and oxyhydrates: Of ammoniac, potash, and other caustic and barilla alkalies, G. W. 100 kil. .25
99. Inorganic salts:
  a. Chloride of sodium (common salt), G. W. do. .50
  b. Chloride of potassium; sulphates of soda, iron, or magnesia; carbonate of magnesia; alum, G. W. 100 kil. $0.45
  c. Sulphate of ammoniac; phosphates and superphosphates of lime; nitrate of potash and soda, G. W. 100 kil. .03
  d. Other salts of ammoniac, salts of copper, chloride of lime, sulphate of potash, hyposulphite of soda and borax, G. W., 100 kil. .75
  e. Chlorates of soda and potash, G. W. do 1.80
100. Organic salts:
  a. Acetates and oxalates, G. W. do 2.50
  b. Citrates and tartrates, T. do 3.00
101. Alkaloids and their salts; chlorides of gold and silver, N. W.,kilog. 6.75
102. Chemical products not specially mentioned, G. W.; T. do .05
103. Pills, capsules, medicinal dragees, and the like, T. do .25
104. Pharmaceutical products not specially mentioned, T. do .10
Group 4.—Oils, fats, wax, and their derivatives
105. Vegetable oils:
  a. Solid (cocoanut, palm, etc.), G. W. 100 kil. 2.50
  b. Liquid, except olive oil, G. W. do 3.00
106. Crude oils and animal fats:
  a. Cod-liver oil and other medicinal oils, not refined, G. W. 100 kil. 1.47
  b. Glycerin, olein, stearin, and spermaceti, crude, G. W. do 1.40
  c. Other crude oils and fats, G. W. 100 kil. .50
107. Mineral, vegetable, or animal wax, unwrought, and paraffin in lumps, G. W. 100 kil. 2.50
108. Articles of stearin and paraffin, wax of all kinds, wrought, T. 100 kil. 2.40
109. Common soap, G. W.; T. do 1.50
110. Perfumery and essences, T.kilog. .20
Group 5.—Various
111. Artificial or chemical fertilizers, G. W. 100 kil. .05
112. Starch and feculæ for industrial uses; dextrin and glucose, G. W.; T. 100 kil. 1.40
113. Glues, albumens, and gelatin, G. W. do 3.90
114. Carbons prepared for electric lighting, G. W. do 3.00
115. Gunpowder and explosives:
  a. Gunpowder, explosive compounds, and miners’ fuses, G. W.; T. 100 kil. 4.00
  b. Gunpowder, sporting, and other explosives not intended for mines, N. W.kilog. .20
Class IV.—Cotton and Manufactures Thereof.
Group 1.—Cotton in the wool and yarns
116. Cotton in the wool and cotton waste, G. W. 100 kil. $1.00
117. Cotton yarn and thread for crocheting, embroidering, and sewing; including the weight of reels, N. W.kilog. .33
Group 2.—Tissues
118. Tissues, plain and without figures, napped or not, weighing 10 kilograms or more per 100 square metres, unbleached, bleached, or dyed, having:
  a. Up to 9 threads, N. W.kilog. .13
  b. From 10 to 15 threads, N. W. do .17
  c. From 16 to 19 threads, N. W. do .23
  d. 20 threads or more, N. W. do .35
118 a. The same tissues, printed or manufactured with dyed yarns:
Dutiable as the tissue, with a surtax of 30 per cent., N. W.
119. Tissues, plain and without figures, napped or not, weighing less than 10 kilograms per 100 square metres, unbleached, bleached, or dyed, having:
  a. Up to 6 threads, N. W.kilog. .15
  b. From 7 to 11 threads. N. W. do .20
  c. From 12 to 15 threads, N. W. do .27
  d. From 16 to 19 threads, N. W. do .37
  e. 26 threads or more, N. W. do .50
119 a. The same tissue, printed or manufactured with dyed yarns: Dutiable as the tissue, with a surtax of 40 per cent., N. W.
120. Tissues, twilled or figured on the loom, napped or not, weighing 10 kilograms or more per 100 square meters, unbleached, bleached, or dyed, having:
  a. Up to 6 threads, N. W.kilog. .15
  b. From 7 to 11 threads, N. W. do .18
  c. From 12 to 15 threads, N. W. do .20
  d. From 16 to 19 threads, N. W. do .32
  e. 20 threads or more, N. W. do .42
120 a. The same tissues, printed or manufactured with dyed yarns: Dutiable as the tissue, with a surtax of 30 per cent., N. W.
121. Tissues, twilled or figured on the loom, napped or not, weighing less than 10 kilograms per 100 square metres, unbleached, bleached, or dyed, having:
  a. Up to 6 threads. N. W.kilog. .18
  b. From 7 to 11 threads, N. W. do .23
  c. From 12 to 15 threads, N. W. do .32
  d. From 16 to 19 threads, N. W. do .43
  e. 20 threads or more, N. W. do .55
121a. The same tissues, printed or manufactured with dyed yarns: Dutiable as the tissues, with surtax of 40 per cent., N. W.
122. Tissues for counterpanes, N. W. kilog. $ 0.24
123. Piqués of all kinds, N. W. do .45
124. Carded tissues:
  a. Unbleached, half bleached, or dyed in the piece, N. W. do .08
  b. Bleached, printed or manufactured with dyed yarns, N. W.,kilog. .20
125. Velvety tissues, such as corduroys and velveteens; three-ply plush tissues, cut or not, N. W.kilog. .47
126. Knitted goods, even with needlework. do. .30
  a. Undershirts and drawers of simple finish or rough sewing, N. W.kilog. .70
  b. Undershirts and drawers of double sewing or fine finish, N. W.,kilog. .80
  c. Stockings, socks, gloves, and other small articles of simple finish or rough sewing, N. W.kilog. .70
  d. Stockings, socks, gloves, and other small articles of double sewing or fine finish, N. W.kilog. .90
127. Tulles:
  a. Plain, N. W. do. .70
  b. Figured or embroidered on the loom, N. W. do. .92
128. Lace, blondes, and tulle for borders, of all kinds, N. W. do. 1.47
129. Carpets of cotton, N. W.kilog. .15
130. Tissues called tapestry, for upholstering furniture and for curtains manufactured with dyed yarns; table-covers and counterpanes of the same kind, N. W.kilog. .32
131. Wicks for lamps and candles, N. W. do. .15
132. Trimmings of cotton; ribbons and galloons, N. W. do. .52
Class V.—Hemp, Flax, Pita, Jute, and other Vegetable Fibres, and Their Manufactures
Group 1.—Raw and spun
133. Twisted yarns of two or more ends (including the weight of the reels); also the fibres of abaca, heniquen, pita, jute, and other vegetable fibres, prepared for spinning, not otherwise provided for, N. W. kilog. $ 0.10
133a. Bags for sugar 100 kil. 2.00
134. Rope and cordage:
  a. Twine or rope yarn and cord of hemp, not exceeding 3 millimetres in thickness, G. W. 100 kil. 6.00
  b. Cordage- and ropemakers’ wares of hemp, exceeding 3 millimetres in thickness, N. W. 100 kil. 6.00
  c. Cordage- and ropemakers’ wares of abaca, heniquen, pita, jute, or other fibres, N. W. 100 kil. 6.00
Group 2.—Tissues
135. Tissues of hemp, linen, ramie, jute, or other vegetable fibres, not specially mentioned, plain, twilled or damasked, weighing 35 kilograms or more per 100 square metres, unbleached, half bleached, or dyed in the piece, having:
  a. Up to 5 threads, N. W. 100 kil. $2.00
  b. From 6 to 8 threads, N. W.kilog. .05
  c. 9 threads or more, N. W. do. .08
135a. The same tissues, bleached or printed:
 Dutiable as the tissue, with a surtax of 15 per cent., N. W.
135b. The same tissues, manufactured with dyed yarns:
Dutiable as the tissue, with a surtax of 25 per cent., N. W.
136. Tissues, plain, twilled, or damasked, weighing from 20 to 35 kilograms per 100 square metres, unbleached, half bleached, or dyed in the piece, having:
  a. Up to 5 threads, N. W.kilog. .06
  b. From 6 to 8 threads, N. W. do. .08
  c. From 9 to 12 threads, N. W. do. .12
  d. From 13 to 16 threads, N. W. do. .16
  e. 17 threads or more, N. W. do. .20
136a. The same tissues, bleached or printed:
 Dutiable as the tissue, with a surtax of 25 per cent., N. W.
136b. The same tissues, manufactured with dyed yarns:
Dutiable as the tissue, with a surtax of 40 per cent., N. W.
137. Tissues, plain, twilled, or damasked, weighing from 10 to 20 kilograms per 100 square metres, unbleached, half bleached, or dyed in the piece, having:
  a. Up to 8 threads, N. W. kilog .08
  b. From 9 to 12 threads, N. W. do .12
  c. From 13 to 16 threads, N. W. do .18
  d. From 17 to 20 threads, N. W. do .25
  e. 21 threads or more, N. W. do .35
137a. The same tissues, bleached or printed:
Dutiable as the tissue, with a surtax of 30 per cent., N. W.
137b. The same tissues, manufactured with dyed yarns:
Dutiable as the tissue, with a surtax of 50 per cent., N. W.
138. Tissues, plain, twilled, or damasked, weighing less than 8 kilograms per 100 square metres, unbleached, half bleached, or dyed in the piece, having:
  a. Up to 8 threads, N. W.kilog. .10
  b. From 9 to 12 threads, N. W. do .14
  c. From 13 to 16 threads, N. W. do .20
  d. From 17 to 20 threads, N. W. do .35
  e. 21 threads or more, N. W. do .06
138a. The same tissues, bleached or printed: Dutiable as the tissue, with a surtax of 30 per cent., N. W.
138b. The same tissues, manufactured with dyed yarns: Dutiable as the tissue, with a surtax of 50 per cent., N. W.
139. Velvets and plushes of linen, jute, etc., N. W. kilog. $0.20
140. Knitted goods of linen or hemp, mixed or not with cotton or other vegetable fibres, even with needlework:
  a. In the piece, jerseys, or drawers, N. W.kilog. .80
  b. Stockings, socks, gloves, and other small articles, N.W. do 1.00
141. Tulles:
  a. Plain, N. W. do .60
  b. Figured or embroidered on the loom, N. W. do .75
142. Lace, blonde, and tulles for borders, N. W. do 2.00
143. Carpets of jute, hemp, or other vegetable fibres without admixture of wool, N. W.kilog. .05
144. Tissues called tapestry for upholstering furniture and for curtains, mixed or not with cotton, figured or damasked, provided they be manufactured with yarns dyed prior to being woven; table- covers and counterpanes of the same kind, N. W.kilog. .28
145. Trimmings of hemp, jute, linen, ramie, etc.; ribbons and galloons, N. W.kilog. .40
Class VI.—Wool, Bristles, Hair, Horsehair, and their Manufactures
Group 1.—Raw and spun
146. Bristles, hair, and horsehair per cent. ad valorem 40
147. Wool, raw do. 40
148. Woollen yarn, unbleached, bleached or dyed, single or twisted per cent. ad valorem. 40
 Woollen yarns mixed with silk shall be liable to the following surtaxes:
  When containing up to one-fifth of silk, per cent. ad valorem 22
 When containing up to two-fifths of silk do 50
  When containing three-fifths or more of silk the yarns shall be dutiable as untwisted silk.
Group 2.—Tissues and fulled stuffs
149. Swanskin of pure or mixed wool per cent. ad valorem 40
150. Baizes:
  a. Of pure wool do 40
  b. Of mixed wool do 40
151. Flannels, white or colored, for underclothing:
  a. Of pure wool do 40
  b. Of mixed wool do 40
152. Blankets or counterpanes of wool, pure or mixed with other materials:
  a. Grey blankets (“pardas”) per cent. ad valorem 40
  b. Other do 40
153. Astrakhans, plushes, and velvets of wool, pure or mixed do 40
154. Cloths and other tissues not specially mentioned, of wool, hair, or flock wool, comprised or not in drapery, weighing per square metre:
 300 grams or more:
  a. Of wool, hair, or flock wool, pure per cent. ad valorem 40
  b. Of wool or hair, mixed do 40
155. From 175 to 300 grams:
  a. Of wool, hair, or flock wool, pure do 40
  b. Of wool or hair, mixed do 40
156. Less than 175 grams:
  a. Of wool, hair, or flock wool, pure do 40
  b. Of wool or hair mixed do 40
157. Tissues of bristle or horsehair, with or without an admixture of cotton or other vegetable fibres per cent. ad valorem 40
158. Knitted stuffs, with or without an admixture of cotton or other vegetable fibres, even with needlework:
  a. In the piece, jerseys, or drawers per cent. ad valorem 40
  b. In stockings, socks, gloves, and other small articles do 40
159. Carpets of wool, pure or mixed with other materials:
  a. With uncut pile do 40
  b. Plushy or with cut pile do 40
160. Tissues called tapestry, for curtains and uphol- stering furniture, of wool, pure or mixed with cotton or other vegetable fibres, even figured or damasked, weighing more than 350 grams per square metre; table- covers and counterpanes of the same kind per cent. ad valorem 40
161. Felts of wool, pure or mixed do 40
162. Trimmings of wool; ribbons and galloons do 40
Class VII.—Silk and Manufactures of Silk
Group 1.—Yarns
163. Silk and floss silk, spun or twisted, in skeins per cent. ad valorem 50
164. Silk on reels, including weight of the reels do 50
Group 2.—Tissues
165. Tissues of unbleached silk per cent. ad valorem 50
166. Tissues of silk or floss silk: Not mixed with any other material— Plain, not figured, twilled, or serged—
  a. Black do 50
  b. Coloured do 50
167. Figured, plushy or velvety do 50
168. Mixed with another material:
Plain, not figured, twilled, or serged—
  a. Mixed with cotton or other vegetable fibres do50
  b. Mixed with wool or hair do50
169. Figured, plushy or velvety do50
170. Knitted stuffs of boiled silk, of unbleached silk; or of floss silk, made up in any kind of article:
  a. Of pure silk per cent. ad valorem 50
  b. Mixed with other textile materials do50
171. Tulles of silk or floss silk, pure or mixed:
  a. Plain do50
  b. Figured or embroidered on the loom do50
172. Lace tulles for borders and blondes, of silk or floss silk, plain or figured:
  a. Not mixed per cent. ad valorem 50
  b. Mixed with cotton or other vegetable fibres do50
173. Trimmings of silk do50
Class VIII.—Paper and its Applications
Group 1.
174. Paper pulp, G. W. 100 kil. $0.15
Group 2.—Printing and writing paper
175. Paper, endless or in sheets, white or coloured, uncut and unprinted, for printing purposes, T. 100 kil. 4.00
176. Paper, endless or in sheets, white or coloured, used for wrapping purposes, T. 100 kil. 2.50
177. Paper in sheets, unruled, unprinted, and uncut, white or coloured, used for writing purposes 100 kil. 8.00
Group 3.—Paper, printed, engraved, or photographed
178. Books, bound or unbound, and similar printed matter 100 kil. 1.25
179. Headed paper, forms for invoices, labels, cards, and the like, T.kilog. .10
180. Prints, maps, charts, etc., drawings, photographs, and engravings; pictures, lithographs, chromolithographs, oleographs, etc., used as labels and wrappers for tobacco or other purposes:
  a. Of a single printing and bronze or leaf, including labels printed only in bronze or leaf, T.kilog. .05
  b. Of two printings and bronze or leaf, T. do. .20
  c. Of three to ten printings (inclusive) and bronze or leaf, T.kilog. .40
  d. Of more than ten printings and bronze or leaf, T. do. .80
Group 4.—Wallpaper
181. Wall paper printed:
  a. On natural ground, T. 100 kil $4.00
  b. On dull or glazed ground, T. do 6.00
  c. With gold, silver, wool, or glass, T. kilog .27
Group 5.—Pasteboard and various papers
182. Blotting paper, common packing paper, and sand or glass paper, T. 100 kil 1.75
183. Thin paper, of common pulp, for packing fruit, T. do 2.30
184. Other paper not specially mentioned, T. do 4.60
185. Pasteboard in sheets:
  a. Cardboard paper and fine, glazed, or pressed cardboard, T. 100 kil 3.50
  b. Other pasteboard, T. do 1.00
186. Manufactures of pasteboard:
  a. Boxes lined with ordinary paper, T. do 1.00
  b. Boxes with ornaments or lined with fine paper, T. kilog .22
  c. Articles not specially mentioned, T. do .17
187. Paste and carton-pierre:
  a. In mouldings or unfinished articles, T. 100 kil 1.00
  b. In finished articles, T. kilog .15
Class IX.—Wood and other Vegetable Materials Employed in Industry, and Articles Manufactured therewith
Group 1.—Wood
188. Staves thousand $0.80
189. Ordinary wood:
  a. In boards, deals, rafters, beams, round wood, and timber for shipbuilding, G. W. cubic metre .40
  b. Planed or dovetailed, for boxes and flooring, broomsticks and cases wherein imported goods were packed, G. W. 100 kil .16
190. Fine wood for cabinetmakers:
  a. In boards, deals, trunks, or logs, G. W. do 1.20
  b. Sawn in veneers, T. do 1.75
191. Coopers’ wares:
  a. Fitted together, G. W. do .65
  b. In shooks, also hoops and headings, G. W. do .36
192. Wood, cut, for making hogsheads or casks for sugar or molasses, G. W. 100 kil .06
193. Latticework and fencing, G. W. do .60


Group 2.——Furniture and manufactures of wood
194. Common wood manufactured into joiners’ wares, and articles of all kinds, turned or not, painted or not, varnished or not, but neither chiselled, inlaid, nor carved, T. 100 kil 4.75
195. Fine wood manufactured into furniture or other wares, turned or not, polished or not, varnished or not, and furniture and common wooden wares veneered with fine wood; furniture upholstered with tissue (other than with silk or stuffs containing an admixture thereof, or with leather), provided that the articles specified in this number be neither chiselled, carved, inlaid, nor ornamented with metal, T. 100 kil. $15.00
196. Furniture of bent wood, T. do. 12.00
197. Battens:
  a. Molded, varnished, or prepared for gilding, T. 100 kil. 5.05
  b. Gilt or carved, T.kilog. .20
198. Wood of any kind manufactured into furniture or other wares, gilt, chiselled, carved, inlaid, or veneered with mother-of-pearl or other fine materials, or ornamented with metal, and furniture upholstered with stuffs of pure or mixed silk or leather, N. W. kilog. .68
Group 3.—Various
199. Charcoal, firewood, and other vegetable fuel, G. W. 1000 kil. 1.50
200. Cork:
  a. In the rough or in boards, G. W. 100 kil. 1.40
  b. Manufactured, T. do. 4.50
201. Rushes, vegetable hair, cane, osiers, fine straw, palm, and genista, raw, raw esparto, and baskets and other common wares of esparto, G. W. 100 kil. 1.83
Baskets wherein imported goods were packed shall be dutiable according to this number, with a rebate of 60 per cent.
202. Esparto manufactured into fine articles; rushes, vegetable hair, cane, osiers, fine straw, palm, and genista, manufactured into articles of all kinds not specially mentioned, T. 100 kil. 13.10
Class X.—Animals and Animal Wastes Employed in Industry
Group 1.—Animals
203. Horses and mares:
  a. Above the standard height each $10.00
  b. Other do. 5.00
204. Mules do. 5.00
205. Asses do. 5.00
206. Bovine animals:
  a. Oxen do. 1.00
  b. Cows do. 1.00
  c. Bullocks, calves, and heifers do. 1.00
207. Pigs do. 1.00
208. Sucking pigs do. 1.00
209. Sheep, goats, and animals not specially mentioned do. 1.00
210. Singing birds, parrots, etc. per cent. ad valorem .25
Group 2.—Hides, Skins, and Leather Wares
211. Pelts in their natural state or dressed, G. W. kilog. $1.50
212. Hides and skins, green or not tanned, G. W. do. .02
Wet-salted hides and skins shall enjoy a reduction of 60 per cent. in respect of salt and moisture.
Dry-salted hides and skins shall be allowed a rebate of 30 per cent.
213. Hides tanned with the hair, G. W.kilog. .20
214. Hides tanned without the hair:
  a. Cow and other large hides, whole, G. W. do. .15
  b. Other and backs of large hides, G. W. do. .20
215. Hides and skins, curried, dyed or not:
  a. Sheepskins (basils), T. do. .20
  b. Calf or goat skins, T. do. .25
  c. Kid, lamb, or young calf skins, T. do. .36
  d. Cow and other large hides, whole, T. do. .15
  e. Backs of large hides and hides and skins not specially mentioned, T.kilog. .30
216. Hides and skins, varnished, satiny, grained, dulled, and hides and skins with figures, engravings, or embossed, T.kilog. .50
Leather cut out for boots and shoes or other articles shall be liable to a surtax of 30 per cent, of the respective duties leviable thereon.
217. Chamois leather or parchment of all kinds and gilt or bronzed hides and skins, T.kilog. .60
218. Gloves of skin, T. do. 3.50
219. Shoes of cowhide and similar leather:
  a. For men dozen 2.50
  b. For women do. 2.00
  c. For boys below size 4½ do. 1.50
220. Shoes of patent and similar leather:
  a. For men do. 2.75
  b. For women do. 2.25
  c. For boys below size 4½ do. 1.75
221. Boots of calfskin, with elastics, or for lacing:
  a. For men do. 5.00
  b. For women do. 3.00
  c. For boys below size 4½ do. 2.00
222. Boots of patent and similar leather:
  a. For men do. 6.00
  b. For women, and top-boots (“polacas”) do. 7.00
  c. For boys below size 4½ do. 5.00
223. Other boots and shoes, fancy do. 8.00
224. Riding boots pair 2.00
225. Sandals dozen .40
226. Saddlery and harnessmakers’ wares; valises, hat-boxes, and travelling bags of cardboard or leather, T. kilog. $0.20
227. Other manufactures of leather or covered with leather, T.kilog. .40
Group 3.—Various
228. Feathers for ornament, in their natural state or manufactured, N. W.kilog. 2.00
229. Other feathers and feather dusters, T. do. .40
230. Intestines, dried, N. W. do. 2.00
231. Animal wastes, unmanufactured, not specially mentioned, G. W. 100 kil. .50
Class XI.—Instruments, Machinery, and Apparatus Employed in Agriculture, Industry, and Locomotion
Group 1.—Instruments
232. Pianos:
  a. Grand per cent. ad valorem .40
  b. Other do. .40
233. Harmoniums and organs do. .40
234. Harps, violins, violoncellos; guitars and mandolins with incrustations; flutes and fifes of the ring system; metal instruments of 6 pistons or more; detached parts for wind instruments of wood or copper per cent. ad valorem .40
235. Musical instruments, other do. .40
236. Watches:
  a. Of gold; also chronometers per cent. ad valorem .40
  b. Of silver or other metals do. .40
237. Clocks with weights, and alarm clocks do. .40
238. Works for wall or table clocks, finished, with or without cases per cent. ad valorem .40
Group 2.—Apparatus and Machines
239. Weighing machines per cent. ad valorem .20
240. Machinery and apparatus for making sugar and brandy do. .10
241. Agricultural machinery and apparatus do. .10
242. Steam motors, stationary do. .20
243. Marine engines; steam pumps; hydraulic, petroleum, gas, and hot or compressed air motors per cent. ad valorem .20
244. Boilers:
  a. Of sheet iron do. .20
  b. Tubular do. .20
245. Locomotives and traction engines do. .20
246. Turntables, trucks and carts for transshipment, hydraulic cranes and columns per cent. ad valorem .20
247. Machines of copper and its alloys; detached parts of the same metals per cent. ad valorem .20
248. Dynamo-electric machines:
  a. Exceeding 50 kil. in weight do. .20
  b. Weighing 50 kil. or less; inductors and detached parts do. .20
249. Sewing machines and detached parts thereof do. .20
250. Velocipedes do. .20
251. Machines and apparatus, other, or of materials not specially mentioned, also detached parts of all kinds other than of copper or its alloys per cent. ad valorem .20
Group 3.—Carriages
252. Coaches and berlins, new, used, or repaired:
  a. With four seats, and calashes with two “tableros,” per cent. ad valorem .40
  b. With two seats, with or without folding seat; omnibuses with more than 15 seats; diligences per cent. ad valorem .40
  c. Four or two wheeled, without “tableros,” with or without hood, irrespective of the number of seats; omnibuses up to 15 seats; carriages not specially mentioned. per cent. ad valorem .40
253. Railway carriages of all kinds for passengers, and finished wooden parts for same per cent. ad valorem .40
254. Vans, trucks, and cars of all kinds; miners’ trolleys, and finished wooden parts for same per cent. ad valorem .40
255. Tramway carriages of all kinds, and finished wooden parts for the same per cent. ad valorem .40
256. Waggons, carts, and hand carts do. .40
256a. Salvage from wrecked vessels is prima facie dutiable on appraised value according to its material.
Class XII.—Alimentary Substances
Group 1.—Meat and fish, butter and greases
257. Poultry, live or dead, and small game, N. W kilog. $0.08
258. Meat in brine, N. W.:
  a. Beef, brine or salt, N. W 100 kil. 2.80
  b. Pork, brine or salt, N. W do. 2.80
259. Lard, N. W. do. 2.80
260. Tallow, N. W. do. 2.00
261. Bacon, N. W. do. 4.00
262. Ham, N. W. do. 5.50
263. Jerked beef (“tasajo”), N. W. do. 3.96
264. Meat of all other kinds, T.:
  a. Beef, canned, N. W. do. 5.00
  b. Beef, fresh, N. W. do. 4.50
  c. Mutton, fresh, N. W. do. $4.50
  d. Pork, fresh, N. W. do. 4.00
265. Butter and oleomargarine, N. W.; T. do. 7.00
266. Cheese, N. W. do. 5.00
267. Condensed milk. per cent. ad valorem .10
268. Salt cod and stock fish, G. W.; T. 100 kil. $2.00
269. Herring, pickled, smoked, salted, or marinated, and skate salted, N. W. 100 kil. 1.00
270. Mackerel, pickled, smoked, salted, or marinated, N. W. do. 2.00
271. Salmon, canned, smoked, salted, or marinated, N. W. do. 5.00
272. Oysters of all kinds, and shellfish, dried or fresh, G. W. do. 1.00
273. Eggs (taken out of Group 7) do. 5.00
Group 2.—Cereals
274. Rice, husked or not, T. 100 kil. 1.00
275. Wheat, N. W. do. .60
276. Cereals:
  a. Corn, N. W. do. .30
  b. Rye, N. W. do. .40
  c. Barley, N. W. do. .50
  d. Oats, N. W. do. .40
277. Flour:
  a. Of wheat, T. do. 1.50
  b. Of rice, T. do. 2.00
  c. Of corn, N. W. do. .50
  d. Of oats, N. W. do. 1.20
Group 3.—Pulse, garden produce, and fruits
278. Beans, N.W. 100 kil. 1.10
279. Pease, N. W. do. 1.10
280. Onions, N. W. do. .70
281. Potatoes, N. W. do. .50
282. Flour of pulse, T. do. 2.50
283. Fruits, fresh, T. do. .60
284. Apples, fresh, N. W. do. .60
285. Fruits, dried or drained, T. do. 1.50
286. Apples, dried, N. W. do. 1.50
Group 4.—Seeds and fodder
287. Clover, N. W. 100 kil. 3.60
288. Flax, N. W. do. .82
289. Timothy, N. W. do. 2.00
290. Fodder and bran per cent. ad valorem .25
Group 5.—Preserves
291. Fish or shellfish, preserved in oil or otherwise, in tins per cent, ad valorem .25
292. Vegetables and pulse, pickled or preserved in any manner, per cent. ad valorem .25
293. Fruits, preserved:
  a. In brandy do. .25
  b. Other do. .25
294. Alimentary preserves not specially mentioned; pork butchers’ wares, truffles, sauces, and mustard per cent. ad valorem .25
Group 6.—Oils and beverages
295. Olive oil:
  a. In receptacles of earthenware or tin, G. W.; T. 100 kil. $2.40
  b. In bottles, including the weight of bottles, G. W.; T. do. 3.00
296. Alcohol, S. T. hectol. 14.00
297. Brandy and all compound spirits not specially mentioned:
  a. In casks, S. T. do. 21.00
  b. In bottles or flasks, S. T. do. 34.00
  c. Rum, in casks. do. 18.00
  d. Whiskies, in casks. do. 10.00
298. Wines, sparkling, S. T. liter. .85
299. Liqueurs and cordials:
  a. In casks or similar receptacles, S. T. do. .18
  b. In bottles, S. T. do. .36
300. Wines, other:
  a. In casks or similar receptacles, S. T. hectol. 4.50
  b. In bottles, S. T. do. 13.00
301. Beer and cider:
  a. Malt liquor, in casks. hectol. 3.30
  b. Malt liquor, in bottles. do. 3.66
  c. Cider. do. 1.60
Group 7.—Various
302. Saffron, safflower, and flowers of “tobar” per cent. ad valorem .25
303. Cinnamon of all kinds do. .25
304. Cinnamon, Chinese (“canelon”), cloves, pepper, and nutmegs, per cent. ad valorem .25
305. Vanilla do. .25
306. Tea do. .25
307. Coffee in the bean or ground; chicory roots and chicory, T. 100 kil. 12.15
308. Cocoa of all kinds, in the bean, ground, or in paste; cocoa butter, T. 100 kil. 20.25
309. Chocolate and sweetmeats of all kinds, including the immediate packages. per cent. ad valorem .25
310. Eggs. (See last item, Group I.)
311. Pastes and feculæ for soups and other alimentary purposes, per cent. ad valorem .25
312. Biscuits:
  a. Ordinary, T. 100 kil. $0.60
  b. Fine, of all kinds, including the immediate package, T. 100 kil. 2.50
314. Honey. per gallon .20
315. Molasses. do. .06
316. Sugar, raw. per pound .015
317. Sugar, refined. do. .02
318. Saccharine. do. 1.50
Class XIII.—Miscellaneous Goods
319. Fans:
  a. With mountings of bamboo, reeds, or other wood, T. kilog. $0.15
  b. With mountings of horn, bone, composition, or metal (other than gold or silver), N. W.kilog. .60
  c. With mountings of tortoise shell, ivory, or mother-of-pearl; also fans of kid skin, silk tissue, or feathers, N. W.kilog. .80
320. Trinkets and ornaments of all kinds, except those of gold and silver, N. W.kilog. .75
321. Amber, jet, tortoise-shell, coral, ivory, and mother-of-pearl:
  a. Unwrought, N. W.kilog. 1.00
  b. Wrought, N. W. do. 1.80
322. Horn, whalebone, celluloid, meerschaum, and bone; also compositions imitating these materials or those of the preceding number:
  a. Unwrought, N. W.kilog. .60
  b. Wrought, N.W. do. 1.20
323. Walking-sticks and sticks for umbrellas and parasols. hundred 4.00
324. Buttons of all kinds other than gold or silver, N. W.kilog. .20
325. Hair, human, manufactured into articles of all kinds or any shape, N. W.kilog. 5.00
326. Cartridges, with or without projectiles or bullets, for unprohibited firearms; also primers and caps for such arms, T. 100 kil. 30.00
327. Tarpaulins coated with sand, for vans; felts and tow, tarred or coated with pitch, G. W. 100 kil. .28
328. Oilcloths:
  a. For floors and packing purposes, T. do. 3.00
  b. Other, T.kilog. .06
Pads and brief cases of oilcloth shall be liable to a surtax of 40 per cent.
329. Cases:
  a. Of fine wood or leather, lined with silk; other similar cases, N. W.kilog. .75
  b. Of common wood, cardboard, osier, and the like, N. W. kilog. .20
330. Artificial flowers of tissue, also pistils, buds, leaves, and seeds, of any kind of material, for the manufacture of flowers, N. W., kilog. $1.00
331. Matches of wax, wood, or cardboard, including the immediate packages, N. W.kilog. .20
332. Caoutchouc and gutta-percha manufactured in any shape or into any kind of article not specially mentioned, T.kilog. .05
333. Games and toys, other than those of tortoise shell, ivory, mother-of-pearl, gold, or silver, T.kilog. .10
334. Umbrellas and parasols:
  a. Covered with silk each .10
  b. Other do. .05
335. Oil paintings per cent. ad valorem .25
336. Hats of straw or “guano” bast, straw of Curaçoa, and the like dozen $0.10
337. Hats of “yarey,” leghorn or Indian straw, rice straw or esparto, and their imitations:
  a. Shaped or not, but without lining, ribbons, borders, or trimmings dozen .80
  b. Finished, or with either of these accessories do. 1.40
338. Hats known as “jipijapa,” having:
  a. Up to 4 straws, inclusive do. 4.50
  b. Of from 4 to 6 straws, inclusive do. 8.00
  e. More than 6 straws do. 30.00
339. Hats of woollen felt:
  a. Shaped or not, but without ribbons, borders, or lining, and shapes for the manufacture of these hats dozen .40
  b. Finished, with ribbons, borders, or lining, with either of these accessories dozen .80
340. Hats of felt of hair, carded or not, and those of silk, velvet, cloth, cashmere, satin, or plush:
  a. Shaped or not, but without ribbons, borders, or lining, and shapes for the manufacture of these hats dozen .75
  b. Finished, with ribbons, borders, or lining, or with either of these accessories dozen 1.00
341. Hats for ladies or children, with whatever kind of trimmings or accessories each .40
342. Caps of all kinds dozen .40
343. Waterproof and caoutchouc stuffs:
  a. On cotton tissue, T.kilog. .25
  b. On woollen or silk tissue, T. do. .50
Class XIV.—Tobacco
344. Tobacco:
  a. In cakes, so-called “breva,” or in carrots 100 kil. $10.50
  b. In powder or snuff, or otherwise manufactured per lb. .12
  c. Leaf tobacco, stemmed, or unstemmed, whether wrapper or filler, per pound $5.00
  d. Cigars, cigarettes, cheroots of all kinds, $4.50 per pound and 25 per cent. ad valorem.
Paper cigars and cigarettes, including wrappers, shall be subject to the same duties as are herein imposed on cigars.
345. On all other goods, wares, merchandise, and effects, not otherwise enumerated or provided for, except crude materials, per cent. ad valorem 25
345a. On crude materials, not otherwise enumerated do. 10
Tobacco: Manufactured—
  a. Cigarettes in boxes thousand $ 0.90
  b. Tobacco, cut 100 kil. 3.75
  c. Cigars thousand 1.35
In the leaf or filler tobacco—
  a. Harvested in the Province of Santiago de Cuba and exported through the custom-houses of Santiago, Gibara, or Manzanillo 100 kil. 2.20
  b. Other do. 6.30



IN the two preceding chapters the attention of the reader has been called to the revenue of Cuba derived from custom-house receipts, which aggregates about $15,000,000 of the $26,000,000 required by the Spanish to pay the governmental expenses of the Island. Before ascertaining the way in which this money has been expended, and before making any suggestion as to possible division of revenue for the future, it may be well to pass briefly in review the other sources of revenue; and in this process the land, professional, and internal taxes come in for consideration. The Spanish Government estimated that the revenue from these combined sources for 1898-99 would be $7,783,150. This amount—when added to the customs, $14,705,000; the lotteries, $1,900,500; income from State property, $435,000; and miscellaneous revenue, $1,536,000,—practically completed the budget, as given in the opening of Chapter XV. Dismissing lotteries, the most important source of Cuban revenue has been from land and professional taxes, which should yield under normal conditions the following amount:

Sovereignty taxes650,000
Impost on mining property10,000
Taxes on city property at 12 per cent.1,600,000
Taxes on rural property, irrespective of cultivation, at 2 per cent.150,000
Taxes on industry, commerce, and the professions, including ½ per cent. from contractors1,400,000
Tax on personal drafts (cedulas)150,000
Liquor consumption tax1,300,000
Sale of liquor licences120,000
Additional tax of 10 per cent. on transportation of passengers and 3 per cent. on that of merchandise300,000
Discount on payments70,000
Tax of 1 per cent. on payments400,000
Deduct 5 per cent. commission for the collection of personal drafts (cedulas)7,500

The following important statement in regard to the taxes of Cuba other than customs duties was prepared by José Anton Alcala, chief of the tax bureau of the Banco Español of Cuba, for Hon. Charles W. Gould, of the Department of Justice, and through the courtesy of Mr. Gould has been made part of this chapter:

“We have selected for our explanations the collection of taxes during the year 1894 to 1895 because it is the latest year in which taxes were collected with regularity and the accounts of the yearly production to the State duly verified. In our statements appear only the sums belonging to the public Treasury and by no means the total amount of receipts collected. A reason for this is that with the exception of the capital of the Island all receipts of taxes in Cuba include, as an additional tax, the sums which belong to the municipalities. Both taxes and the agreed expenses for collection are perceived jointly. We hope thus to render clearer which are the real taxes, in behalf of the Treasury. Otherwise it would be necessary, in order to form a judgment, to make in each case a deduction of the sums belonging to the municipalities, which are of 18 per cent. over the Treasury taxes on the city real estates, of 100 per cent. for the country estates, and of 25 per cent. for the industrial taxes. As expenses for collection, 5 per cent. on the total amount belonging to the Treasury is charged.

“Here is the rule followed to impose taxes for real-estate, city, and real-estate, country:

“On city estate, 25 per cent. on the amount of the rent which the proprietor declares to perceive is discounted, and over the remaining 75, 12 per cent. is imposed.

“On country estates, 2 per cent, is charged on the rent which the proprietor declares to perceive, without any previous discount.

“The Industrial Subsidy affects every citizen who should exercise any industry, profession, trade, art, or employ. A relation of them is made, being arranged by tariffs, classes, and numbers, with expression of the portion anyone ought to satisfy according to the last Regulation and Tariffs approved by the Government on 12th of May, 1893. These relations, named matriculas, are made every year.

“There are also the patentes or receipts of taxes on certain industries which satisfy their duties per annum and in advance. If the industrial stops business before the year is over, he has no right to claim the balance. To this class belong certain shops, hawkers (vendedores ambulantes), veterinary surgeons, etc. The amount to be paid in each case is unchangeable and it is fixed in a special tariff for the patentes.

“There are also receipts called of ‘occasional amounts.’ They include the receipts from the taxpayers who begin or stop business. As taxes as a rule are collected quarterly, these receipts are for the amount of time during the three months in which the taxpayer is a debtor to the Treasury.

“‘Occasional taxes’ and patentes amounted, for the whole Island, during the year 1894 to 1895, to the sum of $133,283.31 for the public Treasury. We do not include that total in our statements because it is collected only occasionally.

“It is to be borne in mind that the total of taxes is never collected in Cuba, and that there is always a deficit, which has been less since the Spanish Bank is the collector.

“Here is the total collection of taxes during the year 1894 to 1895:

HavanaProvince90.84 per cent.
Santa Clara87.73
Pinar del Rio78.34
Santiago de Cuba66.59
Puerto Principe93.65

“The last-mentioned province gives such a good result (notwithstanding the very great difficulties in collecting, over only five municipal districts which are on a very large area of land), because the capital of the province and the city of Nuevitas afforded a splendid revenue. In the province of Santiago de Cuba the collection is harder than in any other, on account of the scarce and bad roads and means of communication.

“In the lists of collection of ‘Industrial Subsidy’ in the province of Havana, there appears a great number of taxpayers who have not existed for many years and whom, nevertheless, the administration continues to keep on its records, because every new administrator is reluctant to confess that the taxpayers have decreased during his time of office.

“There are reasons to suspect that there are concealments of taxpayers in the city estates list. A new record (catastro), made by an intelligent and honest administration, would surely give a rise in the collection of taxes.

“The collection of taxes is in charge of the Banco Español de la Isla de Cuba, which has branches at Matanzas, Cardenas, Cienfuegos, Sagua, and Santiago de Cuba, and auxiliary offices at Puerto Principe and Pinar del Rio.

“The Island has been divided into groups of towns near those cities. The representatives of the Bank collect the taxes themselves in the cities where they live, and by delegates in the other towns.

“The actual contract signed by the Government and the Bank began in 1892-93, and holds good for ten years. The Bank receives as a commission 5 per cent. upon the total amount of the taxes to collect, presented by the public Treasury. As the Bank has no interference whatever, when the lists of taxes are made, it confines itself to collecting what the public Treasury declares in its own lists. The Bank, therefore, is merely an agent.

“City and country taxes are collected quarterly, semi-annually, and annually. Industrial Subsidy is only collected by quarterly receipts. Annual receipts are applied to the estates whose taxes do not exceed the sum of eight dollars a year; the semi-annual are for those that do not exceed the sum of ten dollars a year.

“The annual receipts and the receipts for the first six months of the year are collected jointly with the receipts for the first three months. The second six months’ receipts are collected with the second three months’. This explains why there is an increase in the collection of taxes in some places, during the first and second three months of each year. Some sudden increases happen also in some places in the ‘Industrial Subsidy’ during certain quarterly collections. This is due to the collection of receipts from some corporations which pay 12½ per cent. of their profits according to their balances. Railway companies pay 6¼ per cent. of their profits. State contractors pay ½ per cent.

“Taxpayers who do not pay their taxes at the time fixed for it are subject to the procedure called apremios, according to the rules of May 15, 1885, approved by the Government. When apremios are to begin, taxpayers are duly warned by mail, giving them time enough to pay their taxes before incurring trouble.

Apremios are of three degrees: The first consists in an increase on the tax of 5 per cent.; the second consists in the seizure and afterwards the sale at public auction of chattel and live stock, besides a further increase of 7 per cent.; the third consists in the seizure and sale at public auction of real estate, besides a further increase of 9 per cent.

“These rules embody many details. They are obscure and complicated. According to them, long proceedings are made against morose taxpayers, a characteristic of Spanish bureaucracy.”

The two tables which follow show the face value of the tax receipts placed in the hands of the Spanish Bank for a series of years and the actual amounts collected. They have been carefully compiled by the author from official sources and are believed to be reliable:

Years. City
Rural Real
Taxes on
Trades, etc.
1886-87$ 2,520,061.51$ 507,739.70$ 1,963,778.53$ 249,071.76$ 5,240,651.50
 $26,417,540.17$ 7,884,766.50$24,273,078.88$ 1,819,813.52$60,395,193.13


Years. City
Rural Real
Taxes on
Trades, etc.

The following table is compiled from the totals of the detailed tables above, and shows the amount of the taxes collected by the Bank of Spain and the amount and percentage of delinquent taxes in each year for twelve years. It is probable that the amount for the half of the present fiscal year is relatively greater:

Years. Face Value. Actual Amount
Percentage of
Delinquent Tax
Each Year.

Of course this difference does not absolutely represent the uncollected taxes, because the Government officials may have subsequently been able to secure collections from some of the delinquents. The delinquent column is also very greatly enlarged by reason of the fact that the Government authorities place in the hands of the Spanish Bank a large number of worthless receipts—that is, receipts in which the taxpayer is dead or the properties destroyed. This explanation, of course, exonerates the Spanish Bank, and shows that it collects the taxes in a businesslike way; but it does not change matters from a revenue point of view. That remains the same. It is probable, however, that under the new conditions it will be easy so to levy these taxes that they will yield annually from $4,000,000 to $5,000,000 in revenue. In thus proceeding the United States authorities will unquestionably abolish some of the most onerous.

The receipts from internal taxes are estimated as follows:

Stamped paper$350,000
Postage stamps300,000
Stamped paper for payment to the State250,000
Stamps for the same50,000
Telegraph stamps40,000
Bills of Health3,000
Stamps for diplomas and matriculation90,000
Stamped paper for municipal fines1,000
Postal cards2,000
Papal Bulls1,000
Revenue stamps for drafts, etc.60,000
receipts, etc.300,000
Stamps on policies20,000
Revenue stamp on consumption of matches260,000
Deduct commission for sale of the above86,350

This source of revenue will be greatly increased under American control, though it will come from improved postal and telegraph facilities, increase in banking business, and other legitimate sources of internal revenue. The internal taxes of Cuba must be fully revised. If this work is intelligently performed, the same revenue can be obtained in a manner far less odious to the taxpayer.

This table practically completes the sources of Cuban revenue, for the miscellaneous sources are of an intermittent character, and the lotteries revenue is not likely to cut any figure in the future finances of the Island. In the next chapter the author will briefly consider how the money has been expended and give some suggestions as to the future division of the funds collected.



IN dealing with expenditures, the factors become more certain quantities than those present in the forecasting of possible revenue. The money collected from Cuba, whether it was $26,000,000 or more, has all gone, and nothing was found in the treasury when the United States forces took possession but numerous evidences of promises to pay, records of receipts given by the Government for goods not paid for, and debts of all kinds, including the salaries of a large number of the minor officials. The first and most important item of expenditure is, as has been said, for sovereignty expenses, and aggregates a sum exceeding $22,000,000. These expenses are subdivided as follows:

I.Interest on Public Debt and General Expenses    $12,574,709.12
II.State Church, and Justice329,072.63

The largest single item in these expenditures is that of the interest on the public debt and general expenses, which aggregates $12,574,709.12. Of the total, about $10,500,000 undoubtedly found its way to Spain to pay interest and sinking-fund payments on the enormous debt which Spain had saddled upon Cuba. There has been much controversy over this debt, and as the discussion has ended by the American Peace Commission insisting on Spain’s assuming the debt, and thus freeing Cuba forever from the legal obligation, a brief review of the subject will be of interest to the reader. Owing to the fact that Cuba has been, until United States occupancy, a colony without personality and without real representation, the question of the public debt was never properly settled. The Spanish Government, the Cubans contend, arbitrarily burdened the Island with the weight of the whole war debt of 1868-78. The Cubans have rightly taken the ground that this debt was Spanish, not Cuban. As a matter of fact, the Spanish Government, during the insurrection of 1868-78, never admitted that there was any war in Cuba, affirming, on the contrary, that the trouble was only a disturbance limited to some parts of the Island, and that the immense majority of the population of Cuba were loyal Spaniards. The conclusion to be drawn from this official fact and from its assertion by the Government was that Cuba was not bound to pay the expenses of that revolt. A somewhat similar instance occurred in the Peninsula at the same time. The Carlist War was likewise a very serious disturbance spread over some important provinces of Spain. The cost, however, of that war was not charged to the revolted provinces, but was considered a national debt. Besides, there are some items which have been held as forming part of the Cuban debt, which by no means can be accepted as such. Thirty or forty years ago Spain sustained war with Mexico, San Domingo, and Peru, the cost of those three wars having been charged to the Cuban Treasury, which, since then, has annually paid the interest thereon. In 1878 or 1879, a general liquidation of Cuban accounts took place, in which the “Banco Hispano-Colonial” of Barcelona assumed a very important position. Probably the cost of the three above-mentioned wars (in Mexico, San Domingo, and Peru) and some other accounts were then settled.

Not even the smallest part of the whole debt has been employed in any kind of Cuban improvement. A memorandum prepared by the Cuban planters and addressed to Madrid in 1894 thus referred to the debt:

“This debt has its origin in the extraordinary expenses of the civil war (1868-78), and it has since been increased, first by the administrative demoralisation which is so evident to all those who live in Cuba, and which has been so well described in the Cortes by ministers and by representatives belonging to all political parties; and secondly, by the deficits originating in the fiscal laws, the first object, or aim, of which has been (particularly since the year 1882), more than the regulation of public expenses, to secure an excessive protection to the Spanish industries. And, so formed, the public debt, which, as well in the years of insurrection as in the years of peace, has enriched so many people, represents the ruins of the war, the disorders of the public administration, and the injustice of the fiscal laws.”

During the discussion of the Cuban debt by the Peace Commission in Paris last autumn, the Economiste Français contained an article by Paul Leroy Beaulieu, proposing an arrangement or compromise, with the bondholders, of part of the Cuban debt (about $140,000,000). The author of the article admitted that Cuba was not bound to pay the cost of the last insurrection (of 1895-98). As the Economiste Français represents the interests of the French public and of the great French banking houses that have largely invested in Cuban bonds of the issues of 1886 and 1890, the inference to be finally drawn from the above-mentioned article is rather in favour of Cuba. If Spain thus lent her guarantee, she did so in obedience to a necessity and as a business convenience, in order to prop up her colonial and commercial system. The Spanish nation believed that her domination in Cuba would be lasting, and that the remote danger of being called upon to pay the Cuban debt was more than compensated by the enormous amount of wealth which she drew every year from the colony.

If, instead of extorting, yearly, millions of dollars, the Government of Spain had applied the superabundant resources of the Island to the extinction of the debt, it is certain that in 1895 the whole of it would have been paid off. It may unquestionably be asserted that Cuba has, in many ways, from 1878 to 1895, spent enormous sums of money, millions of dollars, in payment of debts not really her own,—but with this difference, namely, that the whole of the money lost to the colony, instead of going to redeem the outstanding Cuban bonds, has been spent in Spain, either in a reproductive way, or otherwise. The amount in Spain of the manufacturing, commercial, and agricultural riches, dwelling-houses, and even palaces, country villas, and other investments, representing Cuban wealth which has been transferred without any return, is incredible. The magnificent fleet of steamers of the Transatlantic Company enters into this category. At the same time, the unhappy Cubans who produced that wealth suffered want and went into bankruptcy; for the Spanish exactions absorbed not only the profits of Cuban industries, but also a part of its gross production, and in that way encroached on the industrial capital of the Island. The encroachment was shown and evinced by the accumulation of public and private debts in all forms. The productive classes of Cuba have always, though in vain, protested against the injustice of having this burden thrown upon the treasury of the Island, which, as is shown above, has been compelled to pay more than $10,500,000 every year for the interest and sinking fund of this unrighteous debt.

The debt which was, so far as Cuba is concerned, wiped out by the American Commission in Paris must have amounted to over $500,000,000. From a variety of rather scrappy data, obtained by the author in Havana, a brief statement of the Cuban debt has been made up. The debts of the Cuban Treasury before the war can be reduced to five.

First: Spain’s debt to the United States.

Second: Redeemable debt of 1 per cent. per annum and 3 per cent. interest.

Third: Annuity debt.

Fourth: Mortgage notes of 1886.

Fifth: Mortgage notes of 1890.

The first debt, $600,000. is an engagement made by Spain and signed in Madrid on the 17th of February, 1834, to pay the United States the amount specified; it was confirmed by the minister of the Spanish Treaty in a royal order, dated April 8, 1841, ordering the payment to be made by the Havana Treasury.

The second and third debts have been almost entirely converted into mortgage notes.

The fourth debt: by a royal decree of May 10, 1886, 1,240,000 notes of 500 pesetas each (about $124,000,000) were issued, redeemable by quarterly drawings and paying six per cent. per annum interest.

The fifth debt: by a royal decree of the 27th of September, 1890, 1,750,000 mortgage notes of 500 pesetas each (about $175,000,000), were issued, redeemable at par by quarterly drawings, and paying five percent. per annum interest.

The notes of these last two emissions are placed in Paris and London, and the redemption and interest thereon are payable in gold or its equivalent. They are guaranteed by the customs, post-office, and stamp revenue of the Island of Cuba, and the direct and indirect taxes, and besides by the Spanish nation. Besides, during the last war, the Spanish Government made an internal loan against the Cuban Treasury of 400,000,000 pesetas ($80,000,000) and another one of 200,000,000 pesetas more ($40,000,000), guaranteed by the Spanish customs. The floating debt, caused by the war expenditure and payments of current appropriations in Cuba, was not less than $100,000,000. These are not exactly official statements, and yet they were obtained personally by the author from official sources, and come close to the mark. Tabulated, we have this:

Spain’s debt to the United States$600,000
Notes by royal decree of May 10, 1886124,000,000
September 27, 1890175,000,000
Internal loan against Cuban Treasury80,000,000
Spanish customs40,000,000
Floating debt, war expenses, etc.100,000,000

Paul Leroy Beaulieu gives the bonded debt of Cuba as 2,032,000,000 pesetas, or $406,400,000. This evidently does not include the large floating debt included in the above estimate. So far as Cuba is concerned, this debt has been liquidated. It will, therefore, in the language of the French economist, be “absolutely necessary for Spain to meet the expenditure.” Why not? Spain lost the game, therefore she must pay the cost.

The largest expenditure, next to interest on debt, was for purposes of war, $5,896,740.73. The expenses of the navy aggregate $1,055,136.13, and of the executive department, $2,645,149.98. Under the last section will be noted the salary of the Cuban Governor-General, $40,000, and the expenses of his office, $46,450, aggregating $86,450. In this division, it appears, the Civil Guards were paid; this body of men received, in all, $2,095,221.12. The second largest item in this total is the subsidy to the Compañia Transatlántica, which amounts to $471,836.68. A study of these several items will at once show that the principal expenditures for the Island of Cuba are those which have, directly or indirectly, to do with the control of the Island by Spain. Ten and a half millions, annual charge for the debt; nearly $7,000,000, the combined cost of the army and navy; while upward of $2,000,000 of the total amount expended under the classification of executive went to the Civil Guards, who have been used for patrolling the various parts of the Island. Here, then, we have a total of $19,500,000 for extraordinary expenditures, the larger portion of which will be abolished now the public debt is wiped out and peace restored to Cuba.

The second grand division of expenditure is the smallest, and represents the amount of money which was spent strictly for local affairs, and not in the defence of the sovereignty, in its possession of Cuba, and the payment of an unjust debt. One of the first items of expenditure under this latter head is the result of the concession last year by Spain of autonomy for the Island, and the round sum of $133,830 is paid under the head of “Colonial Legislature.” The second section is for the church, justice, and executive; also for the courts of justice, expenses for prisons and charitable institutions. It aggregates $1,612,859.44. The next most expensive department of the Government seems to be that of the Treasury, the salaries of the secretary, sub-secretaries, and other officers aggregating $218,725. This does not include general expenses, which make another item of this department, aggregating $33,500. Under the head of contingent expenses may be found the various provincial administrations of the Treasury; the cost of administration of custom-houses and revenue marine, amounting to $472,370, giving a total for the department of $708,978.51.

Public instruction fares badly in Cuba. Under this head, it appears, $247,033.02 were expended. The largest item in these expenditures seems to be for the University of Havana and its educational adjuncts, aggregating $172,840.80. The next largest item is the salary of the Secretary of Education and the inspectors of primary instruction, etc., aggregating $58,300. None of the total amount seems to go for common-school education, as it is understood in the United States. Under the head of “Public Works and Communications,” $1,036,582.10 was expended. The proportion of this money which goes for salaries is very large indeed. The largest single item of expenditure is given under the rather dubious heading of “Communication,” and aggregates $417,640. Repairs and care of public buildings, including rent of buildings, aggregates $79,500; postal communication, $114,514. Marine navigation, including docks and sheds, lighthouses and buoys, aggregates $98,058; and the construction of the San Cristobal bridge, $49,000. The care and repair of public roads cost $100,000; in all making the above-mentioned total.


The agriculture, industry, and commerce of Cuba, like the public instruction, in the broader sense of the word, comes in for a meagre share of the small amount of the total budget, which seems to be reserved exclusively for expenditures for the benefit of the Home Government. The aggregate under the title of “Agriculture, Industry, and Commerce” is $108,178.52, the most of which is used in salaries and expenses for the secretary’s office, for which one-third of the total appropriation is expended. Under the head of “Local Fairs of Agricultural Industries,” $40,000 is appropriated. The forest lands seem to come in for some attention; at least $16,175 is expended for inspection under this head.

These form the chief items of expenditure for all purposes for the Island of Cuba. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say these are the estimates of the appropriations which the Secretary of the Treasury thought would be necessary to run the government on the present plan. It is only necessary to study these interesting tables in detail to see where a large amount of this expenditure can be reduced or abolished altogether. In doing this, however, it must be borne in mind that other expenses will be necessary in order satisfactorily and honestly to administer the affairs of Cuba in the interests of the people of the Island.

At this moment it is impossible to make a satisfactory estimate of the new budget, nor can it very well be done until after the United States authorities have been in full possession for at least twelve months, and are thus able to secure complete data as to the pressing needs of the Government of Cuba. Of course, the large items, such as interest on the public debt and expenditures of Spain for the purpose of conquering the Island will have disappeared, making a reduction, if we include the Civil Guards, of $18,000,000 or $20,000,000. To forecast how much of this amount will be required for immediate expenditures under the new order of things is impossible.

In recommending revenue laws for Cuba, the author was aided by the suggestions of Mr. Fran Figueras, who has given the subject intelligent consideration. To emphasise the importance of giving immediate attention to a careful division of the expenditures for the central government and the expenditures for local purposes (something the Spanish Government, in the whole history of its management of Cuba, has failed to do), the following is given from a statement made to the author by Mr. Figueras:

“The right to impose customs duties has a rational and just limit; it is determined by the legitimate needs of the Treasury. All in excess of these needs converts tax into an unjust, and therefore insupportable exaction. With due attention to these considerations and bearing in mind that the customs duties are the real source of revenue in the Island of Cuba, it is indispensable to determine the total amount of expenditure which this revenue must liquidate. If these expenditures are those used for public defence, central government administration of post-offices, justice, public works, education, and any other which it would not be advisable to turn over to the municipal or provincial governments, we may safely consider that six million to eight million dollars annually would be quite sufficient. This is the largest revenue the American Government should expect from the administration of customs duties in Cuba.”

Another statement well worth attention in this connection is that of Mr. Philip Pelaez, a former official of the Spanish Government in Cuba, who said to the author when in Havana:

“Neither in the administration of the islands, nor in the ministry of the colonies, are there any statistics with respect to the composition of the tariffs, and only a few data with regard to valuations. This is as much as can be stated precisely offhand concerning the said tariffs, an analysis of which, article by article, it would be very difficult to get, seeing that there are no statistics of the real importations. Even without asking these investigations, there remains for the Government of the United States the most interesting problem on the making of peace, with the cession of the two islands. Is free trade convenient? Is a simple tariff preferable? Would it not be more prudent to keep to the existing one? Free trade at the present time would impose the burden of the general expenses without any profit and with great dangers, the most immediate being the paralysation of business, the flight of existing capital, etc. The ad valorem tariff diminishes the receipts and gives advantages to a multitude of foreign articles. The tariffs now in force would, with a few changes, suit the islands and the United States for a long time to come.”

This sets forth substantially what has been done. The United States Government has made no violent fiscal changes in Cuba. Where the old laws and methods and customs could be fitted to the new order of things, they have been so fitted. The first and only radical change in the revenue system of Cuba is the speedy and absolute separation of local and general revenue. That which is local should be collected by local authorities and regarded as municipal revenue, to be expended for municipal purposes; while that which is general should be levied and collected by general authorities and expended for the general welfare of the Island. The general fund, after careful consultation with the governor of each province, should be apportioned geographically, and also into funds, such as the following:

a.—Maintenance of the general government, 20 per cent.

b.—Sanitary and other improvements, and loans to cities therefor, 10 per cent.

c.—Public schools and education, 10 per cent.

d.—To pay the bonds and other obligations issued by the Provisional Government of Cuba and its duly authorised agents since February, 24, 1895, which in the aggregate must not exceed $2,500,000, and to pay amounts due the soldiers of the Army of Liberation, 20 per cent.

e.—Development of the Island by the building of railroads, properly constructed highways, and other means of communication, 25 per cent.

f.—The repayment of the cost to the United States of the temporary military occupation pending the establishment of the proposed stable and independent government, 15 per cent.

As all the expenses of the municipal and local government can be readily provided from taxes on real estate, income tax, liquor licences, and other internal-revenue taxes, the customs revenue can, without embarrassment, be devoted to and amply satisfy all general governmental requirements as scheduled above. The percentages above suggested are, of course, tentative, and must not be regarded as more than a rough apportionment. The widest possible latitude should be given each provincial governor in the expenditure of the share of the general funds allotted him for sanitary and other improvements, public schools, for building railroads, and constructing highways. A study of the Jamaica budget, presented in Chapter IV., might help in a fair apportionment of funds for the new budget of Cuba. The subject has not yet been taken up systematically by the United States Government, but will soon need attention, or the old haphazard Spanish methods will receive a new lease of life. Such a contingency would indeed prove a misfortune.



SPEAKING in round numbers, the commerce of Cuba during the last normal year aggregated about $100,000,000 of exports and a trifle over $60,000,000 of imports. From these figures it would seem that the balance of trade is about $40,000,000 in favour of Cuba. But this is more apparent than real. In one way and another Spain has annually turned away from the Island $40,000,000, which, had it been expended in Cuba every year, would have added immeasurably to the prosperity of the country. This money went to Spain in a variety of ways. Ten and a half millions of it were used in payment of a debt which did not justly belong to Cuba, and with which the people of the Island had been arbitrarily burdened without their consent. Large sums also went to Spain through the constantly changing Spanish civil and military officials, who regarded Cuba as their legitimate field for plunder.

It has been estimated elsewhere in this volume that the total commerce of Cuba, had the affairs of the Island been honestly and economically administered, would have reached from $200,000,000 to $250,000,000, so prolific is the country, and so valuable in the world’s markets are its two staple productions, sugar and tobacco.

To indicate more definitely the extent of Cuban commerce, the reports for 1893, which was a good year, are given below, presenting, among the principal exports from Cuba to the United States, the following:

Fruits and nuts$2,347,800
Wood, unmanufactured1,071,123
Tobacco, manufactured2,727,030
Tobacco, not manufactured8,940,058
Iron ore641,943

In the same year the principal exports from the United States to Cuba, aggregating $15,448,981, were distributed as follows:

Wheat flour$2,821,557
Carriages and street cars316,045
Freight and passenger cars (steam railroad)271,571
Builders’ hardware395,964
Railroad rails326,654
Saws and tools243,544
Stationary engines130,652
Boilers and engine parts322,284
Manufactures of leather191,394
Mineral oil514,808
Hog products5,401,022
Beans and peas392,962
Planks, joists, etc.1,095,928
Household furniture217,126

These tables show the extent of Cuban commerce with but one country, the United States; and though, naturally and logically, that is the country with which Cuba must always do the vast bulk of her business, the other countries of the world have not been shut out; the average annual amount of exports from the Island to foreign countries other than the United States fell between $13,000,000 and $15,000,000, and the imports were upward of $40,000,000, the most of which, of course, was compulsory commerce with Spain.

A casual inspection of the above table of imports to Cuba, covering only a portion of the articles taken from us by the Cubans, shows at once what the demands of the Island are for even the simplest necessities beyond bare existence. The million and a half people of the Island want our flour, our lard and pork, our oil, our barbed wire—our soldiers found samples of it strung around San Juan hill,—our manufactures of leather, our household furniture of all kinds, our locomotives and cars and steel rails, our saws and mechanics’ tools, our stationary engines and boilers, our lumber in its various shapes for framing and building, our locks and hinges and nails, our corn and beans and potatoes; our coal, our street cars and carriages, and any and every kind of the manifold things we produce in this country for the comfort and convenience and economy of mankind. In part exchange for these things, we get from Cuba sugar and tobacco, and control the markets of the world in these products; mahogany and all manner of beautiful hard woods; bananas and cocoanuts and fruits, pleasing to the palate and wholesome to the health; honey from the flowers; glycerine, no less sweet, from the fats of cattle; manganese and molasses; cigars and coffee; beeswax and birds, and the vast fields of tropical wealth and luxuries for the millions of our colder clime scarcely yet touched.

The golden dream of Columbus and his followers, when they beheld for the first time the purple peaks of the strange land rising out of the sea before them, are as poverty and nightmare in comparison with what is actual and real, for the more material age of the twentieth century.

The greatest obstacle in the way of Cuban commerce, and the peculiar disadvantage under which the Island laboured was in a large measure attributable to the fact that Spain compelled Cuba to purchase merchandise in Spain which could have been bought in other markets at prices far below the figures which Cuba was forced by these discriminating duties to pay to Spanish merchants and manufacturers. The most glaring illustration of this may be seen by reference to the following table of Spanish imports into Cuba in 1896, which the author has prepared from the report of the Bureau of Statistics in relation to Spanish trade with Cuba and the West Indies:

Marble, and manufactures of$......
Mineral waters29,031
Glass bottles, etc.66,889
Bricks, tilings, mosaics, etc.28,371
Lime and cement5,036
Silverware and jewelry6,800
Iron bars, etc.176,719
Copper, and manufactures of15,772
Lead, manufactured15,344
Other metals52,654
Oils and paints.117,542
Chemicals, medicines, etc.35,365
Wax and stearin419,124
Perfumery, etc.12,722
Cotton thread67,451
Other manufactures3,676,807
Flax, hemp, etc., and manufactures of740,017
Woollen blankets219,971
Other woollen manufactures73,007
Silk goods74,206
Paper in rolls82,457
Writing paper88,219
Smoking paper377,046
Packing paper284,047
Books, music, etc.39,655
Other paper107,917
Wood, manufactures of451,568
Shoes of leather3,449,952
Machinery and musical instruments.....
Hams and meats, salted, etc.75,679
Wheat flour4,065,376
Other dried vegetables128,254
Onions, garlic, and potatoes241,023
Pepper, ground and unground61,582
Oil, common663,244
Wine, common1,469,409
Preserved food948,472
Pressed meat316,314
Soup pastes (vermicelli, etc.)287,200
Playing cards34,345
Felt hats28,079
All other articles614,196
Total$ 26,892,329
Silver$ 24,288,640

The most casual observer and the person of the most superficial knowledge in trade matters must be well aware that Spain is by no means as good a market in which to purchase such commodities as are noted above as is the United States, or as is any other country, for that matter; yet Cuba, by reason of iniquitous discriminating duties, was forced to buy these commodities of the mother country, and to pay a higher price for them than that at which they could have been bought elsewhere. And not only was the price exorbitant, but the articles were of inferior quality, and, especially in the line of all machinery and the appliances of modern industrial progress, the types were primitive and the models were as old and ineffective as the workmanship and material were poor. To any Government seeking the best interests of the governed, these discrepancies would have suggested themselves; and in the logic of location and the invincible combination of first-class goods, low prices, cheap freights, and quick delivery, the trade of Cuba would have been turned to the United States. The Spanish Government would have been the gainer by the greatly increased prosperity, progress, and wealth of her Island dependency. But Spain pursued a different policy, and by the overwhelming force of natural laws, regulating the relation of the governing to the governed, she has lost not only the trade of Cuba, but also the Island itself, and by trade laws not less immutable than those of civil government, the compulsory commerce she exacted from Cuba goes freely, naturally, and logically, to the United States. It is scarcely necessary to say what the Great Republic will do in the premises. The youngest of nations, it stands to-day to the fore with the oldest and the greatest of the powers of the earth in every field of human intelligence, industry, and endeavour, and it will scarcely leave the great work it has undertaken in Cuba to others for that final accomplishment which it is best qualified to carry to perfect completion. Cuba looks to the United States for encouragement, for strength, for education, for development, for business—for union, shall we say?—and, as her nearest neighbour, the United States will pledge itself that the Queen of the Antilles shall not look in vain.


In strong and hopeful contrast with this compulsory commerce is the amended American tariff of Cuba, which makes no discrimination whatever against the Cuban purchaser; and now and hereafter, so long as the United States Government controls the affairs of Cuba, the Cuban producer may sell his sugar, tobacco, fruit, iron ore, hard woods, and all that he produces to whomsoever he will; and he may buy what he wants from whomsoever he thinks sells cheapest and best. He is in no way bound to the United States and its markets, but is perfectly free to buy his goods in England, or France, or Germany, or Kamschatka, or even in Spain herself, if he can there find the best return for his money. We of the United States shall not so much as expect that the Cuban may, from a sense of gratitude to us for services we have rendered, give his trade to us; but we shall teach him, by the invincible example of the very best goods at the very lowest prices, that the markets of the United States present to the buyer attractions possessed by no other markets of the world, and he will learn early that having been his benefactor in war, we are not less so in peace; and as we have made him free, we have no fear that he will use that freedom to his own disadvantage.

Under the reciprocity of the McKinley Tariff law, Cuba and the United States were brought more closely together in commercial union than ever before in their history. No more competent testimony on this point can be adduced than the following extract from the report for 1892 of the British Consul-General at Havana:

“It will be seen from the above article” [on the lack of reliable statistics] “that the difficulty—especially to a new-comer—of forming anything like a clear and accurate view of the commercial movement of the district is next door to impossible. But, unfortunately, there is one feature of a very unsatisfactory nature which stands out prominently and did not take long to discover, namely, that British trade with Cuba has almost become a thing of the past; and under the recent reciprocity treaty the United States of America practically supplies all the wants of the Island and receives all its produce....

“Machinery, which formerly was largely supplied by England, Germany, France, and Belgium, now nearly all comes from the United States; and the machinery required for the vast amount of sugar manufactured in Cuba is immense and of great value....

“The reciprocity treaty between Spain and the United States would appear to be mainly beneficial to the latter nation. Articles such as machinery, iron, steel, coal, etc., which formerly came principally from Europe and continue to pay duty when imported from those countries, are admitted free of duty when coming from America, so that the former trade is fast disappearing, although some articles of English manufacture and of superior quality are still able to compete, notwithstanding the duty. The free admission of flour makes bread cheaper, but this is the only article which seems reduced in price. The free admission of Cuban sugar into the large markets of the United States is, of course, the great inducement for Spain to enter into an arrangement by which she sacrificed a considerable portion of her customs revenue....

“The effect of the recent reciprocity treaty between the United States and Spain in regard to her West Indian colonies has been to throw nearly the entire Cuban trade into the hands of the United States traders, with whom importers of goods from less favoured nations cannot compete, having to pay, by the terms of such a treaty, higher import duties.”

As a further indication of the benefit of reciprocity between Cuba and the United States, and as a working suggestion of the commercial possibilities presented to the business interests of this country, the following extract from an article on the “Commercial Relations between Cuba and the United States,” by Mr. E. Sherman Gould, in the Engineering Magazine for July, 1894, is given:

“The value of the sugar exported to the United States has no doubt frequently reached, if not surpassed, the sum of $60,000,000 in a single year. At any rate, it will surely be safe to estimate the total yearly value of all exports from Cuba to this country at that figure. This large sum must be paid back to Cuba either in money or in exchange of commodities. In regard to this alternative we must recall the fact that Cuba has no manufactures of any account except cigars; that all the implements and machinery used in sugar-making and all the textile fabrics used for clothing, and even many articles of food, such as breadstuffs, butter, salt meats, and ‘canned goods’ must come from abroad. That is to say, $60,000,000 worth of exports are sent by a country without manufactures to the greatest manufacturing country in the world, and one in which the danger of ‘over-production’ is supposed to be a standing menace. Under these circumstances the mere statement of the question, ‘How should these imports be paid for?’ carries its answer with it.

“In this connection the following table, compiled from the records of the United States Treasury at Washington, and showing the total value of exports from the United States to Cuba for two different years will be of great interest, especially as it gives an idea of the varied character of American products which already find a market in the latter country.

“This table shows that the balance of trade is largely against us, assuming our imports from Cuba to reach $60,000,000. There is evidently room in the Island for at least thirty millions more of American goods. The table shows also that about one-half of the value of our exports in 1893 consisted of breadstuffs, provisions, etc., while wood and woodwork amounted to about one-eighth, and coal, iron, hardware, and machinery entered the list for about a quarter of the total amount.

1889 AND 1893
Description.In 1889.In 1893.
Agricultural implements$74,135$130,341
Brass manufactures32,42044,150
Builders’ hardware80,285395,464
Clocks and watches17,39926,551
Copper manufactures13,69248,656
Cotton manufactures126,180148,178
Flax, hemp, and jute301,29086,478
India-rubber goods27,80442,879
Iron manufactures, not otherwise specified241,1221,343,551
Lamp goods28,32651,389
Leather manufactures166,334181,476
Lime and cement16,50071,570
Marble and stone14,24377,003
Nails and spikes58,112127,583
Railway bars20,240327,411
Railway cars127,533271,571
Saws and tools115,232243,544
Scales and balances35,40662,561
Sugar and candy19,94135,911
Tobacco, manufactured59,65861,494
Wood, and manufactures of1,110,9462,881,095
All other820,987701,656


“The Western Railway of Havana, now in English hands, and recently extended from Havana to Pinar del Rio, in the heart of the finest tobacco region of the Island, has called largely upon the United States for its new work. Many hundred feet of iron bridging were furnished and erected by the Union Bridge Company of New York, the railway company being satisfied with the price, and their engineer, as well as the government inspectors, satisfied with the work. The cement used was also wholly or largely American, the American being adopted rather than the English, somewhat reluctantly, by their engineer, on account of the greatly reduced cost. The stone used for bridge-seats was American granite, and highly praised to me by the engineer, who, being a Scotchman, was naturally a good judge of the material. The fact merits attention, in estimating the value of the Cuban market, that the people are heavy buyers. There is very little saving practised. I do not think there is a single savings bank on the Island.... As a rule, all the money received is freely spent, particularly by the poorer and middle classes, who, of course, form the bulk of the population. Probably the pernicious system of government lotteries has something to do with the absence of saving, as the practice of purchasing tickets is as widespread among the poor as it is destructive and demoralising. Probably, too, the character of the climate and the consequent ease of living prevent people from devoting much forethought to a future that they do not dread, for there is really very little of that pinching want ever felt in Cuba which recent hard times have brought to notice in our own country. Be the cause what it may, the fact remains that all the Cubans are prodigal in their expenditures, which goes far to account for the immense quantities of goods consumed and paid for by a comparatively small population.

“Enough has been said, I think, to show that Cuba offers a most inviting field for American enterprise. Her prosperity and even her very existence may be said to depend upon her commercial relations with the United States; the two are bound together by the strong ties of mutual interest, and everything points to the fact that, commercially, Cuba should be ours....

“I believe that if the trade, not only of Cuba, but also of the South American countries, were first poured into the United States as a receiving reservoir, it would be naturally distributed, directly or indirectly, over the world to better advantage than if distant and various nations were carrying on desultory and independent business relations with them. The purchasing power that would be gathered into and concentrated in the United States by such trade would be largely expended in procuring those requirements of an ever-advancing refinement and civilisation which Europe can, at present at least, furnish better than we can ourselves. We appreciate and want these things—none more so—and the wealth which a practical monopoly of the South American trade would give us would make us Europe’s best customer for those things of which she is the best producer. But this is a digression.

“The Cuban market, like all others, is governed largely by fashion. Hitherto all supplies, except perhaps locomotives and steam-boilers, which have for a long time been chiefly furnished by the United States, have come, for the greater part, from Europe. I think that both in Spain and in South America, French goods, as well as French manners and customs have the preference. Just as there is a certain tendency in the United States to admire and imitate that which is derived from English sources, so everything French is apt to ‘go’ in these countries. It naturally takes time to overcome such preoccupations, particularly as in many cases they are well founded. I have taken occasion elsewhere to call attention to the fact that American houses shipping goods to Cuba put themselves under quite unnecessary disadvantage by careless packing. In the case of many fancy articles the mere appearance of the package goes a great way, and in the case of all goods careless packing entails great loss from breakage. This loss is a twofold one for the American dealer. Not only does he have to make good the damage at his own cost, but he creates a prejudice against his goods and his ways of doing business. This brings up another important point. It is a great mistake to suppose that ‘anything is good enough for Cuba.’ On the contrary, the people there not only want the best, but they also know it when they see it, and, once deceived, they never have any further transactions with the deceiver. The market is perhaps a capricious one, but it is one that fully recognises and appreciates fair dealing, and there is no better or more paying advertisement than to enter it ‘on the square.’

“The market being such as it is, and, moreover, being for many classes of goods a new one, the agents employed in it should be carefully selected. Here, again, Americans are at a disadvantage. Very few of the commercial travellers who are sent out from the United States speak Spanish, whereas nearly all those representing foreign concerns do. The Americans are therefore obliged to put themselves entirely into the hands of agents and interpreters, which is always an unsatisfactory way of doing business. In view of the growing relations between the United States and the South American countries, it would seem as if Spanish should occupy a preferential place, in our educational institutions, over French or German. Our business is to invade the Spanish-speaking territories, whereas we are ourselves invaded by the European nations, and this fact necessitates a more perfect equipment on the part of our business agents entering the foreign field.

“As regards the classes of goods most needed in Cuba it would be impossible and wholly unnecessary to particularise more fully in this paper. We may broadly say that everything needed in this country is needed in Cuba, within the limits imposed by the difference of climate. They want or can be led to want everything we can furnish that is good and cheap.

“I may perhaps be here permitted another digression. We have heard a great deal in times past, and more particularly of late, of ‘overproduction,’ and it is supposed to account for many of our business troubles. Now overproduction is a strictly relative condition, and its remedy is either to produce less or to dispose of more. Political economists tell us that true material progress lies in commonising the good things of life, so that what to-day are the luxuries of the rich shall become to-morrow the ordinary possessions of the middle classes, who will, in their turn, relegate their previous simple comforts to the poor, thus establishing an ever-ascending scale of prosperity, and raising, as it were, the standard of poverty. It is impossible, I think, to deny the truth of this proposition, which dictates a levelling up, instead of the socialistic plan of levelling down. In this view it is plainly to be seen that we are not, and cannot be, in any danger from overproduction. What we and all the world are suffering from is underdistribution. The remedy, as far as the United States are concerned, is not to limit production, but rather to increase it even to its utmost possibilities and then launch out in quest of new markets. It is this policy which has given England her vast commercial supremacy in the past. She has never attempted to restrict the production of her manufactures, but her efforts have always been to open up new markets, until she has forced her way to the remotest regions of the earth. It is said that the sun never sets on the British flag; it certainly never sets on British manufactures.

“In carrying out such a policy for the United States it is evident that the Spanish-American countries offer themselves to us as our natural field for enterprise. As already pointed out, our labours in this field would be of mutual advantage to them and to us, and in more ways than one. While receiving from us our labour-saving machinery and wonderful mechanical appliances of all kinds, they would also imbibe a portion of the spirit which led to their invention and use. We, on our part, would not only receive from them the rich products of their fertile soil, but might also catch, by contact with men of another race, something of that natural grace and refinement in which our national character is said to be deficient.”

Referring to the fact that the railways in Cuba under English control have had their machinery from the United States, the manager of the English railways in Cuba only so recently as October, 1898, informed the author that they had not only purchased of the United States in the past, but that they intended getting all their railway supplies for the future from the same source. Surely no higher tribute could be paid to the manufacturers of our country than this from an Englishman, whose people for hundreds of years have led all competitors in the industrial manufacturing of the world.

And this is but a step in the giant strides of commercial progress the United States will make in Cuba, under the encouraging influence of a reasonable tariff, the abolition of all discrimination, the assurances of a stable government, and that proximity which makes Cuba one with us in temper, in trade, and in territory.



OF Cuba’s 28,000,000 acres, about 2,000,000 are devoted to the raising of her sugar crop, which in amount is a little less than half of the entire cane-sugar product of the world. Historians differ as to when the cultivation of sugar began in Cuba, but in 1523 Philip I., King of Spain, allowed a loan of 4000 pesetas to each person who would undertake to establish a sugar plantation; and although it appears that the people of San Domingo began cane farming about this time, it is not positively known that the industry had secured much of a hold in Cuba until sixty years later. Indeed, some writers assert that the first cane farm was established in Cuba in 1595. In any event, three hundred years—or, to be exact, two hundred and ninety-nine years—later, that is, in 1894, the year before the last rebellion, during which the sugar industry was almost wiped out, 1,054,214 tons of sugar were produced, the greatest quantity ever raised in any one year in the Island.

Although it made so early a start in the history of American agriculture, the sugar industry in Cuba languished for two hundred years, the annual output during that time being only about 28,000 tons. A quarter of a century later it reached 75,000 tons; the middle of the nineteenth century saw it at 250,000 tons, and in 1894 it passed the million mark, with an impetus that would have sent it on the first quarter in the second million by the end of the century, if the wretched mismanagement and criminal culpability of Spain had not brought on the rebellion.

With millions of acres of the richest and best cane land on the globe, yet untouched by the plough, with a climate unsurpassed for the growth and development of sugar cane, and with a prestige for Cuban sugar second to none in the markets of the world, the future of Cuba’s sugar presents a possibility of wealth surpassing the richness of the gold and silver which came to Columbus in the marvellous tales of the interior of the magnificent Island which he had discovered.

Recurring to the effect of the rebellion of 1895-1898 on the sugar industry, it is appalling to contemplate the dreadful decrease in a country’s chief source of wealth and income to the government, as well as to the individual. In 1894, the output was 1,054,214 tons, and the following year, under the first touch of war and its alarms, the crop dropped off 50,000 tons, though it remained still above the million. This was the second year in Cuban sugar history that the million mark was passed. In 1896, the war was raging all over the Island, and with the Spaniards on one side, taking men and cattle, and the insurgents on the other, burning cane and buildings and stealing stock, the sugar planter was utterly obliterated in some sections, and so badly crippled in others that the output reached only 225,221 tons, the lowest figure known in fifty years. Nor was this astounding decrease a matter of gradual accomplishment, permitting the country, the business, and the people to accommodate themselves to the changed conditions, but it happened almost in a night, and an income from sugar of $80,000,000 a year dwindled on the instant to $16,000,000, a loss of $64,000,000 at once as the result of Spanish mismanagement.


As a cane-sugar-producing country, nature has made Cuba superior to any competitor which may appear; but all sugar does not come from cane, and since 1840, when the first record of beet sugar appeared, with 50,000 tons for the year’s output for the world, as against 1,100,000 tons of cane sugar, about 200,000 tons of which was raised in Cuba, the sugar growers of the Island have had their only dangerous rival. Beginning with the small production of 50,000 tons in 1840, principally grown in France, the beet-sugar production increased rapidly in Europe, reaching 200,000 tons in 1850; 400,000 tons in 1860; 900,000 tons in 1870; 1,860,000 tons in 1880; and in 1894 going to 3,841,000 tons. Cane sugar in the meantime only increased from 1,100,000 to 2,960,000 metric tons. Cuba in 1895 produced only 100,000 tons less than the world’s entire output of all kinds of sugar in 1840. The total output of beet and cane sugars in 1893-1894 was 6,801,000 metric tons. The United States in 1894 produced 272,838 tons of cane sugar, 20,219 tons of beet sugar, 394 tons of sorghum sugar, and 3408 tons of maple sugar.

With the growth of sugar production in Cuba have come newer and better methods; and whereas in 1825 the largest plantations rarely exceeded 1500 acres in extent, producing only 350 tons per year, with a total value of land, buildings, machinery, stock, and slaves, of, say, $500,000, with aggregate revenue of, say, $60,000, and expenses of $30,000, leaving a profit of $30,000,—in these later times there are plantations of 25,000 acres, representing an investment of $2,000,000 with an annual revenue of $1,000,000, expenses, say, of $800,000, leaving a profit of $200,000 per year. Contrasting the earlier figures with these later estimates, a profit of ten per cent. is shown in 1894 as against six per cent. in 1825.

In 1840, it is estimated there were 1710 sugar plantations in Cuba; while in 1894 there were 1100. Sugar farms are upland soils, the cane requires to be planted only once in seven years, and no fertilizers are required. Many of the planters in later years are very enterprising, and the machinery they use is the best in the world. The outfitting of one central, or grinding plant, with a capacity of 1000 tons a day, costs $500,000. Houses and stores for the accommodation of the employes are provided; there are locomotives and cars for the miles of railway for bringing the cane to the mill from all parts of the plantations; as many as 2000 labourers are employed; 1000 cattle for work and beef are to be found on this place; and the colonia is conducted upon the most economic, advantageous, and improved lines. This is a model colonia; but all Cuban colonias are not models.

To give the reader a somewhat more definite idea of a sugar farm, a statement by Mr. P. M. Beal, of Beal & Co., lessees of the Colonia Guabairo, owned by Messrs. E. Atkins & Co., of Boston, possibly the largest American proprietors in Cuba, is herewith appended. Mr. Beal says:

“In 1889, when preparations for cane farming were commenced, the Guabairo was mostly impenetrable forest, and not a building of any kind existed; the working people slept under a cart until temporary palm-leaf huts could be constructed to shelter them. At this time the Guabairo proper contained 1333 acres; later some 1100 acres were hired or bought, and the colonia increased in area to about 2433 acres, of which in 1895, at the breaking out of the insurrection, 1100 acres were planted with cane and the rest was pasture, woods, and waste lands. In 1895, at the breaking out of the insurrection, the 1100 acres under cane cultivation produced about 2,500,000 arrobas (an arroba is twenty-five pounds), and aside from this, a sufficient quantity of corn and vegetables were grown for all the requirements of the colonia, so we never had to purchase. From the 1st of December to the 1st of June, an average of about 350 people were employed; of these ten per cent. were Canary Islanders or Spaniards, ten per cent. negro women and boys (white women do no field work); twenty per cent. native whites, and about sixty per cent. negroes and mulattoes. From the 1st of June to the 1st of December, an average of about 150 were employed. Women do no field work during this period.

“For agricultural purposes this colonia keeps nearly 300 oxen and about 20 horses and mules; also a few cows for milk, and a number of animals for beef, which in normal times varies from 30 to something over 100. In normal times this colonia slaughters on an average, about 22 animals per month, with an average dressed weight of about 200 kilos (450 pounds) per head. The cost for preparing, breaking up, cross-ploughing, marking, furrowing, seed cane, planting, cultivating, wear and tear to implements, and weeding one caballeria (33-1/3 acres) of cane to maturity, and do it well, is from $1400 to $1600, according to conditions of soil, wages, etc., and under normal conditions will here require from three to four years before the farmer can see any profits, and then only by intelligent management and good soil. Soil which requires planting every three to five years will ruin any man. The average yield of cane per caballeria in Guabairo for 1895 was about 71,500 arrobas, and the cost per 100 arrobas for weeding, cutting, carting, and delivering to the central amounted to about $1.84.”

The concluding passage of Mr. Beal’s statement indicates to some extent the effect of the war upon his plantation, which escaped happily as compared with hundreds of others. He says:

“In 1896 we had some new plantings, and the crop was estimated at 2,700,000 arrobas; very nearly the whole of this was burned by the insurgents, some of the fields were burned twice and no crop was made. The horses were seized, cattle driven off, storehouses plundered repeatedly, and finally the manager had to flee for his life and seek safety in Cienfuegos; since then the fields have suffered repeated burnings and the crop has been reduced from 2,700,000 arrobas to 1,400,000 arrobas, estimated. In 1897 and 1898 the crops were made under difficulties, the colonia employing a private armed force of sixteen men, and Colonel Luis Ramos Izquierdo kept a small garrison of his guerrillas in the colonia.”

Contrasting opinions as to the matter of profit in the production of sugar in Cuba, we present herewith two statements. The first is by Mr. William J. Clark, in his work, Commercial Cuba, and is as follows:

“We have already seen that Mr. Gollan, the British Consul-General at Havana, estimates the factory cost of sugar in Cuba at the best managed centrals to be 2.50 cents per pound, although in exceptional cases it may be less. But during the month of October, 1898, the selling price of raw centrifugal sugar, 96 degrees test, in the New York market has ranged between 2.40 and 2.60 cents per pound, neglecting United States import duty, which is a fixed rate of 1.685 cents per pound. If we take this selling price at 2.50 cents per pound, and deduct .22 cents per pound freight, wharfage, and commission, we get 2.28 cents as the price paid for raw sugar free on board at Cuban ports. From this amount must be taken export charges of five cents per 100 kilos lighterage at the port of shipment, and the cost of transportation from the central to the seaboard. These together sum up not less than .10 of one cent, which would leave the net price at the central 2.18 cents. But we have already shown that the factory cost of the product has been as low as 1.99 in Trinidad, 1.94 in British Guiana, and 1.86 in Barbadoes. These three costs give an average of 1.93 cents. Deducting from 2.18 cents which we have calculated as the present selling price at the central, 1.93 cents, the present possible minimum cost of production, we shall get .25 cents, equal to 12.95 per cent. as the margin of profit.”

Mr. Clark takes New York prices in October, 1898. These prices were not under normal conditions, the current prices of the year being 2-3/8 to 2½ cents for 96 centrifugals in bond. Mr. Clark gives cost of Muscovado sugars at the British islands of Trinidad and Barbadoes. These sugars test 89, and are worth seven cents less per pound in New York than 96 test centrifugals. He compares cost and values as if they were worth the same money. Properly compared, his profit changes into loss.

In this connection the following figures, especially prepared by an expert for this work, may be of interest:

Bagasse (dry fibre)12pounds
88 pounds of juice containing 16 per cent. in sugar14


“The practical results are difficult to obtain. The best of work seems to be about as follows:
Per 100 pounds of cane:
Juice (extracted)70
70 pounds of juice at 16 per cent. sugar equal in pure sugar,11.20

“This 11.20 pounds of sugar, less loss of working and less the sugar left in the final molasses, reduced the actual yield to about 10 per cent. of pure sugar, or 10½ per cent. of commercial product, besides the mechanical difficulty of increased impurities, whose ratio increases rapidly with better milling, and the loss of fuel in the bagasse, which is an important consideration where such loss must be made up by imported coal.

“With 30 pounds of bagasse per 100 pounds of cane, no other fuel should be required.

“The difficulty of increasing the sugar contents of the cane comes from the fact that cane, unlike beet, has no seed, and must be reproduced from cuttings.

“Improvement in this line is quite possible, but must come from long years of study and experiment and will require the best attention of scientific minds.”

The expert who furnished the above, adds:

“It will seem strange to the uninitiated that the manufacturers can afford to leave any sugar in the bagasse, if there is any possible method of getting it out; but with low prices for the sugar product and expensive coal it can be seen that there is a point beyond which it may not be profitable to pass. With cheap fuel and high-priced sugar products, the case might be different.”

The second statement, which is at considerably greater length, is by Mr. E. F. Atkins, who prepared the following especially for this volume:

The total output of sugar in the world was for some years in excess of the requirements for consumption. This over-production and consequent accumulation of stocks brought prices down to a point which in all probability was considerably below the average cost of production.

Germany, as the largest sugar-producing country, naturally fixes the market prices of the world. The refiner in New York will pay no more for sugars to be shipped from Havana than the equivalent of the price at which he can buy at Hamburg; difference of freight, duties, bounties, and quality, of course, considered.

The present average cost of production of German raw sugar is said to be about 9s. per 112 pounds. At this figure the existing bounty upon exports would allow sales for shipment to England, where no duty is paid, as low as 8s.= $1.71 per pound for 88 analysis beets; this, allowing for difference in values of the two grades, would be equivalent to $1.89 United States currency for 96 test Cuba centrifugals, under like conditions, viz.: f.o.b. at port of shipment, for any country such as England where the two grades enter upon equal terms.

The effect of our countervailing duty assessed upon bounty-fed sugars under the Dingley Act of 1897, has been to raise the comparative value of cane sugar in producing countries, as against beet sugar, and to place Germany and other European sugar countries in exactly the same condition, so far as the United States market is concerned, as if no bounties were paid by them; thus in considering Germany’s competition with Cuba in the United States markets, we may eliminate both bounties and countervailing duties as factors, and say that when Germany can sell to England at 8s. she must obtain 9s. from the United States to give her shippers an equal price; 9s. is equivalent to about $2.18 United States currency, for Cuba centrifugals, 96 test, f.o.b. Cuba.

The export price of German sugar at Hamburg from January 1 to June 1, 1898 (a period covering the Cuban sugar crop season), ranged from 9s. to 9s. 9d. with an average of about 9s.d.

Last crop prices gave the Cuban manufacturers an average of about 4½ reals per arroba, say 2¼ cents Spanish gold, a price at which they could be laid down in New York slightly under the parity of European beets, duty paid.

The imports of beet sugar from Europe into the United States, from January 1 to June 1, 1898, were 22,000 tons against 496,000 tons for same period of previous year; while imports of cane sugars showed an increase of some 60,000 tons; this change in source of supply being brought about by the countervailing duty.

It is not possible to give any figures of the average cost of production in Cuba. In my opinion it is undoubtedly higher than the average of Germany. Of the 2¼ cents net obtained by the Cuban manufacturers, the cane (which is generally purchased upon a sliding scale based upon the current value of sugar) costs them from 1 cent to 1¼ cents per pound of sugar according to yield at the various factories. This would leave them but little over 1 cent per pound, average margin, to cover manufacturing expenses, salaries, maintenance and repairs, office expenses, interest, insurance, and freight to seaboard, and while some factories, thoroughly equipped as regards machinery, skilfully conducted as to business management, favourably located regarding inland transportation, and not dependent upon borrowed capital, have shown fair interest returns upon capital invested, very many have been operated at a loss (aside from such losses as arose from the war), and the margin of profit, both past and prospective, is not such as to invite any large investment of new capital in sugar manufacturing.

The future values of sugar in Cuba are dependent, not upon cost of production in the Island, but rather upon the cost in Germany; and upon the extent to which free sugars are to be admitted into the United States from the Sandwich Islands, Porto Rico, and the Philippines. With new capital and skill the average cost of production in Cuba can be reduced, and with either free sugars or a uniform rate of duty in the United States, assessed upon all sugars (a countervailing duty to offset foreign bounties always maintained), she can hold her own and recover her prestige as a sugar-producing country, but the margin of profit in sugar manufacturing is so small, and the world’s capacity for production so great, that Cuba cannot recover her prosperity in the face of any advantage to be given to sugars from other countries entering the United States. At current prices in Cuba cane is worth to the planter the equivalent of $2 to $2.50 per net ton, out of which price he must pay for his planting and cultivation, cutting, and delivery to factory or nearest railroad point. As the cost of cane production consists almost entirely of labour, and wages in Cuba, for some years previous to the insurrection, ranged about the same in Spanish gold as similar work commanded in the United States, the profits in this branch of the industry have not been great, and have been dependent upon skill in management, quality of lands, and proximity to the factories.

The supply of labour and rates of wages in the future are now most serious questions to the sugar producer in Cuba, and present the greatest obstacle to reducing cost. For supplies of cane the manufacturer must depend either upon his own resources or upon large planters. Factories to be operated at a profit should be kept running day and night, and cane, owing to its nature, must be ground immediately it is cut. The grinding season in Cuba is limited to about one hundred and twenty working days, and small farmers, while they can generally find a market for their cane, cannot be depended upon for a constant regular supply. Had Cuba the power to dictate her own prices, she could maintain sufficient margin to overcome local difficulties, but that power has long since passed and future profits must be dependent upon her economies. The price of cane to her planters is dependent upon the price at which her manufacturers can sell their sugar, and this price in turn is dependent upon the price at which other sugar-producing countries (principally Germany, the great factor in the world’s sugar trade) can place their goods, duty paid, in New York. If Cuba in the future should have to compete to any extent, in the United States, with free sugar from other countries, while a duty was exacted upon Cuban sugars, her case would seem to be hopeless.


Another interesting and valuable statement was prepared for the author by Mr. Wm. Bonnet, of Havana, under date of October 8, 1898, and gives an array of statistical information which is as follows:

The loss to Spain’s dominion of the Mexican Territory (1821-1825) deprived the Island of a yearly allowance of about $1,000,000, which amount was drawn out of the Mexican budget for the needs of the Cuban administration. The Island, up to those days, was considered more as a penitentiary than as a productive colony; convicts were sent to Havana with the principal object of building good ships for the Spanish Armada.

It was only after the loss to Spain of Mexico that Cuba began to improve her general production, and the efforts of the country in growing sugar and coffee were so successful that a few years later, with the help of the slaves that were again freely brought from Africa, and with the co-operation of immigrants that had come from Hayti, etc., the Island, besides covering all her expenses, was able to send large amounts of money to the mother country.

From 1840 to 1850, the production of sugar increased gradually from 200,000 to about 300,000 tons. Prices of coffee began to decline owing to excess of production and competition of Brazil, and all the attention was given to cane growing, so much so that from 1853 up to 1868, the production was rapidly increased to the following figures:


This period of sixteen years was really the so-called Golden Age of Cuba. The Cuban budgets, although heavy at that time, were easily covered, and on this account extra taxes were imposed upon the Cuban people in excess of what the budgets called for and remitted to the mother country; such extra sums reaching as high as $5,000,000 per annum,—an erroneous and fatal system, the consequence of a mistaken policy, which then, as ever, led Spain to consider her colony as a source of income, forgetting that such excessive calls, constantly resulting in a deficit, clearly indicate bad administration.

Cuba was overtaxed and nothing was done to help the growing of our fertile Island. In vain did the Cubans lay their claims for better administration. The mother country was deaf. Commissioners went to Madrid to represent, but they had to return, bringing back only many promises that were never fulfilled. No hope was left to the Cubans, and all these obstinate errors brought on the outbreak of October 10, 1868, which resulted in a civil war that lasted ten years, ending in 1878 with the so-called agreement of Zanjon.

The war at first was not a drawback to sugar production, and the crops gathered during the Ten Years’ War were:

Called the {1869726,000Tons.1874681,000Tons.
twin crops.{1870726,0001875718,000

It is to be noticed that during the period of war the sugar production continued to increase at first, say from 1869 to 1875. Highly remunerative prices were then obtained for sugar; besides, from 1869 to 1870, $70,000,000 in paper money were issued, and money was easy.

From 1876 to 1878, the production rapidly decreased. Mismanagement, enormous taxes to attend war expenses, and depreciation of paper money brought on national distrust and financial troubles. And with all this, the emancipation of slaves was carried through at that time, moreover, without any compensation of any kind to owners.

Prices of sugar, up to the year 1880, were still remunerative (4 to 4½ cents per pound, centrifugals 96 test); but the competition of beet sugars in Europe began to be felt more and more every day, causing a lower tendency towards the crisis in prices of the article which finally reached a value of only fifty per cent. of its former quotation.

Under such difficulties Cuba struggled hard. The Cuban army was disbanded after the war, and many persons who had come to towns for safety went back to work their fields and became a new contingent of cane growers. The system of cane colonias was started all over with marked success. Canes were sold to the mills at remunerative prices and fresh impulse was imparted to the country.

In spite of all these efforts, Spain persisted in considering her colony a source of income. Our deputies to the Cortes went full of faith, but they came back fruitlessly as always. The same mistaken policy that ruled Cuba before was continued as ever, and the outbreak of February 24, 1895, was the inevitable result.

The crops gathered from 1879 to 1898 were:

1888656,7191898300,000 (about)

Notice the decrease of production of the year 1896. We could have ground that year more than 1,100,000 tons of sugar, had it not been for the war.

The amount of the coming crop will depend entirely on the greater celerity that is to be given to the so-wished for political change. Any delay will be of disadvantage to all our productions. The proper season for cleaning cane fields has already vanished, and besides cattle are badly wanted and very scarce. Training for working purposes requires time.

If peace becomes a fact and all the available cane is ground, I would say that 500,000 tons might be reached.

Now I will call your attention to the distribution of our crops these few years back.

CROP OF 1893—815,894 TONS OF 2240 LBS.
Exported to the United States680,642Tons.
Local consumption whole year50,000
CROP OF 1894—1,054,214 TONS OF 2240 LBS.
Exported to the United States965,524Tons
Local consumption whole year50,000
CROP OF 1895—1,004,264 TONS OF 2240 LBS.
Exported to the United States769,958Tons
Local consumption whole year50,000
CROP OF 1896—225,221 TONS OF 2240 LBS.
Exported to United States235,659Tons
Local consumption whole year40,000
CROP OF 1897—212,051 TONS OF 2240 LBS.
Exported to United States202,703Tons
Local consumption whole year38,000


The stock of sugar left in store on December 1, 1897, was 1888 tons, the smallest stock held at an equal date since several years. The returns and distribution of this year’s crop are not completed yet.

Notice the proportion of exports to Spain in 1897 as compared with exports to the United States.

Mr. Adolfo Muñoz del Monte, writing in the Revista de Agricultura, says:

“During the thirty years before 1884 the following classes of sugar were made:

“First. White sugar nearly refined, manufactured with the aid of vacuum pans, filtered through bone-black, and purified in centrifugal turbines; and the inferior products of this manufacture.

“Second. White and brown sugar, manufactured and purified in forms. Some estates use vacuum pans for these sugars.

“Third. Muscovado sugars manufactured directly from the cane juice.

“The best sugars of these three classes were exported in boxes, and the inferior in hogsheads.

“Fourth. Raw sugar, made in vacuum pans and crystallised immediately in centrifugal turbines, there being two varieties of this class of sugar, that extracted directly from the juice and the one extracted from the molasses resulting in the purification of the first product.

“In the year 1857 there was a universal crisis and after that time planters considered that the first class mentioned was the most profitable, and machinery was improved at great expense for the purpose of manufacturing this grade of sugar. A plantation with this machinery could be improved only at great cost, and it would have been impossible to do so to any advantage had it not been for the reduced cost of labour owing to slavery, carried on at the time.

“In the meanwhile, the beetroot-sugar industry was progressing both in its agriculture and manufacture. No one in Cuba foresaw the terrible revolution that this industry was to suffer in consequence. It first became apparent in the crisis in 1884, which may be considered the most important event in the history of the sugar industry. This crisis, which came in a most sudden and unexpected manner, caused the reduction in the price of sugar which, though a benefit to the poorer classes of the world, was the ruin of Cuba, as at the same time slavery was abolished without any compensation whatever, direct or indirect, at the time when the losses of a sanguinary civil war were being overcome.

“It may be stated that absolutely no one could foresee, either in the present or in the past generation, the revolution that since 1884 has shaken the industry; though the French colonists, fearing the competition from the start, solicited the protection of their Government.

“The French colonists feared this competition so much that fifty years ago they solicited from the French Chamber of Deputies a law prohibiting the cultivation of beetroot in French territories, offering to indemnify those who had commenced it. Experience has proved how just their fears were at that early date; but the French Government did not grant their petition, because it was adverse to favouring monopolies, and besides, because Germany, having no colonies, could promote that industry without fear of the rivalry which has proved of material benefit to all Europe, including France itself.

“In the course of human events, time alone will cause considerable changes; just as before 1884 all planters firmly believed that greater profit was obtainable by the manufacture of white sugars than lower grades. They then realised that the unexpected improvements in the manufacturing and refining processes in Europe indicated the necessity of changing their system. Those countries which had, up to that time, imported fine grades of sugar from Cuba have been able since then not only to manufacture better sugar at lower cost for their own consumption, but also to export immense quantities of this article both raw and refined to the principal markets of the world. The production is to-day considerably greater than that of Cuba.

“The change is so marked that there are no longer any estates in Cuba where the white sugar is manufactured which was so desirable from 1856 to 1884.

“Instead of this high-grade sugar, planters are manufacturing the fourth of the above mentioned classes. The founding of these estates or centrales requires investing considerable capital for the erection and running expenses of the works. These centrales require excellent machines and apparatus, furnaces to burn the green bagasse, transportation facilities, usually narrow-gauge railroads, and fuel—without counting the necessity of having well-paid superintendents, aided by competent workmen.

“Many will accuse planters of hasty action and imprudence for having invested so heavily in the sugar business, but this would be an unjust charge, since their object was to keep up an industry which was threatened with destruction, and which is the main source of wealth of the country.

“The consequence is that since 1884 the general condition of planters, considering the circumstances, is remarkably better than it otherwise would have been, and had it not been for the numerous obstacles which have always prevented the growth and increase of Cuban wealth there is no reason why their work should not have been crowned with success. It is the obstacles that have been put in their way at the time when these changes were being carried out that made their work so much more difficult, but upon it depends the fortunes of the present generations.

“It is the principle of accumulation of capital produced by work and thrift, put into effect during one century, which has created the colossal fortune and solid civilisation of the United States; and this simple and natural procedure is the only one that can produce in Cuba results of any importance tending to alleviate the present necessities. To organise a sugar factory of any importance it is absolutely necessary to invest a capital of, at the very least, one half a million dollars, and if the work is to be of great importance the first expense must be increased to from one million to two million dollars. The annual expenditure of the sugar estates can be divided into the following groups.

“First. Cost of cane and its transportation to the mills, whether bought from outsiders or grown on the estate itself. This will absorb fifty per cent. of the gross receipts of each crop.

“Second. Salaries and wages, ordinary and extraordinary.

“Third. Interest, whether on mortgages, running expenses, or accounts current.

“Fourth. Management and running expenses, which are so considerable that a statement of them would seem exaggerated.

“Fifth. The redemption of loans invested therein, taking into account the wear and tear of the plant.

“Sixth. The loss of interest of the capital invested in the lands, factories, and other works of the plantation.

“The gross receipts of the crop are the source of the planter’s income, and naturally the six items specified have been deducted therefrom before the net profit can be estimated.

“In the above expenses no repair items have been included, since they are often virtually an increase in the value of the property and therefore merely constitute an additional amount of the capital invested. Although some companies insure parts of sugar estates, they only take limited risks; so many losses by fire, in addition to hurricanes, impair the value of the property. The fire insurance companies charge very high premiums for the insurance that they effect.

“The result of the crop depends naturally on two factors—first, the quantity of sugar made; and second, the price at which it is sold.

“Before the year 1884 the average price was eight rials the arroba (equal to one dollar for twenty-five pounds) of cane sugar, number twelve, Dutch standard; or centrifugal sugar, 96 degrees polarisation; and when sold under this price the planter could not cover expenses.

“Since 1884 the price of sugar has decreased so considerably that it has reached a ruinous figure. During the last ten years, as can be seen by official quotations, 96 degree centrifugal sugars have been quoted from four to five rials, and although from 1889 to 1893 the prices have several times exceeded eight rials, it has only been for a very short while.

“At the end of 1893 and during 1894, the average price has been five and one-half rials, which is simply ruinous for the planters.

“In Europe there are facilities for obtaining money; and besides, it happens that the beetroot only takes five months from its planting to the making of sugar, while sugar cane, besides having to struggle against many obstacles, requires fifteen months.


“The consequence is that the periods of high prices are always of short duration, since as soon as the prices commence to rise the sowings of beet increase, thereby causing an obstacle to the continuance of the rise.

“The lack of capital makes the problem insoluble to the Cuban planter, and whatever means he can use to overcome his difficulties, the final result will always be the same, as he cannot reduce the expenses of his plantation beyond a certain limit.

“There is no doubt that to-day (1894) the sugar estates do not cover expenses, and this fact is of immense importance, not only because it explains the present misfortunes, but because in it will be found latent the germs of many future misfortunes.

“The causes of the dangerous situation have been well studied; some will be found in history and in the economic management of the Island and others in the effect of beetroot industry on cane.

“Consequently, the unfortunate situation of the sugar industry in Cuba is due to three principal causes which by a strange coincidence have acted simultaneously, to wit: the economic régime in the Island, the abolishment of slavery without indemnifying the owners, and the great reduction in the price of sugar since 1884.

“The efforts of the planters to save their industry have been interpreted by the Spanish Government as signs of prosperity, and that has based on this misunderstanding of facts the indefinite continuance of a disastrous economic system that is moulded on the old colonial system and is bound to ruin this Island, even if it were as rich and prosperous as the Government states that it is.

“This official optimism is deplorable for more than one reason. It is to be noticed that as Cuba’s poverty increases the pretensions of perpetual exactions are greater, and that the bulk is borne by the planters, who, together with the rest of the Cuban population, are possessors, judging by these exactions, of sources of unlimited wealth.”

This chapter may be fittingly concluded with the following table compiled by Messrs. Willet & Gray, January 5, 1899, giving the entire sugar production of all the countries of the world, including those crops which have heretofore been ignored in statistics. These figures include local consumptions of home production wherever known.

  1898-99. 1897-98. 1896-97. 1895-96.
    United States: Tons. Tons. Tons. Tons.
        Cane 270,000 310,000 282,009 237,730
        Beet 33,960 41,347 40,000 30,000
        Porto Rico 70,000 54,000 54,000 50,000
    Canada—beets 300 300 300 500
    Cuba—crop 450,000 314,009 219,500 240,000
    British West Indies:
        Trinidad—export 50,000 52,000 51,000 58,000
        Barbadoes—exports 47,000 52,000 58,249 47,800
        Jamaica 27,000 30,000 30,000 30,000
        Antigua and St. Kitts 22,000 25,000 29,000 24,000
    French West Indies:
        Martinique—exports 32,000 35,000 35,000 35,000
        Guadeloupe 40,000 45,000 45,000 45,000
    Danish West Indies:
        St. Croix 12,000 13,000 13,058 8,000
    Hayti and San Domingo 48,000 48,000 48,800 50,000
    Lesser Antilles, not named above 8,000 8,000 8,000 8,000
    Mexico—exports 2,000 2,000 2,000 2,000
    Central America:
        Guatemala—crop 9,000 9,000 8,000 7,000
        San Salvador—crop 4,000 4,000 3,000 2,000
        Nicaragua—crop 1,500 1,500 500 500
        Costa Rica—crop 500 500 200 200
    South America:
        British Guiana (Demerara)—export 98,000 98,000 99,789 105,000
        Dutch Guiana (Surinam)—crop 6,000 6,000 6,000 6,000
        Venezuela .... .... .... ....
        Peru—crop 75,000 70,000 70,000 68,000
        Argentine Republic—crop 75,000 110,000 165,000 130,000
        Brazil—crop 165,000 195,000 210,000 225,000
Total in America 1,546,260 1,523,656 1,469,405 1,409,720
        British India—exports 50,000 50,000 50,000 50,000
        Siam—crop 7,000 7,000 7,000 7,000
        Java—exports 635,000 541,581 473,420 605,025
        Japan (consumption 125,000 tons, mostly imported) .... .... .... ....
        Philippine Islands—exports 140,000 165,000 197,000 240,000
        Cochin China 31,000 30,000 30,000 30,000
Total in Asia 863,000 793,581 757,420 932,025
    Australia and Polynesia:
        Queensland 65,000 65,000 70,000 60,000
        New South Wales 30,000 30,000 30,000 30,000
        Hawaiian Islands 240,000 204,833 224,220 201,632
        Fiji Islands—exports 30,000 30,000 30,000 30,000
Total in Australia and Polynesia 365,000 329,833 354,220 321,632
    Africa: Tons. Tons. Tons. Tons.
        Egypt—crop 105,000 85,000 100,000 92,000
        Mauritius and other British possessions 150,000 120,000 150,000 140,000
        Reunion and other French possessions 45,000 45,000 48,000 44,700
Total in Africa 300,000 250,000 298,000 276,700
        Spain 8,000 8,000 8,000 8,000
Total cane-sugar production 3,082,260 2,905,070 2,887,045 2,948,077
Total beet-sugar production(Licht.) 4,790,000 4,825,529 4,916,586 4,285,429
Grand total cane-and beet-sugar production 7,872,260 7,730,599 7,803,631 7,233,506
Estimated increase in world’s production 141,661 .... .... ....

The above table shows the relative importance of the sugar-producing countries of the world. The time will come when Germany and the other continental countries will become tired of paying a bounty on the production of beet sugar. Then Cuba will take her rightful place as the greatest sugar-producing country of the world. If Cuba then belongs to the United States we shall control the sugar market of the world just as we now control the world’s market in so many other staple products.



THE companions of Christopher Columbus on the first voyage of discovery in 1492 found what has since been known as tobacco. Two weeks after sighting the first known land in the New West, that is to say, on the 27th of October, the ships of Columbus anchored off the shores of a great land, supposed to be the Kingdom of the Khan, to whose ruler Columbus bore letters of introduction from the King and Queen of Spain. Here—in the Island which is now called Cuba—exploring parties went ashore and proceeded into the interior seeking mines of gold and silver, which they had been told existed. They found no gold or silver, but many strange things, among them natives, with firebrands in their hands, and puffing smoke from their mouths and noses. After investigation into the nature of this peculiar custom the sailors tried it for themselves; but its adoption by the Spaniards was not immediate. The herb bore several names, but tabago, or tobago, or tabaco, seemed to be the one of most general adoption. It was the name of a peculiar-shaped implement, or pipe, which the natives used in smoking, and from this the name tobacco easily grew—though various European writers attempted to fix more romantic or poetic names upon the new narcotic.

Although tobacco was first known to the Spaniards in 1492, it was not until 1560 that it was known at all in Spain, and not until 1586 that it was used in Europe, when Ralph Lane, sent out to Virginia as Governor by Sir Walter Raleigh, returned and smoked the first pipe in England.


Thence very quickly the habit grew, until in the middle of the seventeenth century tobacco was sought and fêted in every civilised country of the world.

It may be appropriate in this connection to call the reader’s attention to the fact that, although every known climate and soil of the earth have been tried in the cultivation of tobacco, Cuba, where it was discovered more than four hundred years ago, is still first in the quality produced, and Cuban tobacco need never fear a successful rival in excellence.

The cultivation of tobacco in Cuba was not begun until 1580, when the Spaniards laid out small plantations in the neighbourhood of Havana. Three hundred years later there were over ten thousand tobacco plantations in the Island. These first plantations were located in or near the Vuelta Abajo (Lower Valley) to the south-west of Havana; and although even at that early period these plantations produced the best tobacco in the Island, the product of the Vuelta Abajo did not reach its world-wide fame until two hundred and fifty years later. Having once reached the summit of tobacco glory, however, the Vuelta Abajo product has never lost its proud position, and to-day ranks as the first tobacco in the world.

This is due, of course, to soil and climatic conditions; for that peculiar skill or strange power, or whatever it may be, which the Cuban tobacco grower possesses is not more a characteristic of the Vuelta Abajo farmer than of other growers in the Island. Indeed, the Partidos leaf is larger in size, finer in texture, and richer in colour than its neighbour, the Vuelta Abajo, but it is lacking in the flavour which can only come from water, soil, and air. The Vuelta Abajo district occupies an area of about ninety miles in length by ten in width, and its province (Pinar del Rio) leads in the Cuban tobacco output, both as to quality and quantity.

Tobacco is the second leading industry of Cuba, with sugar first, and its cultivation is considerably in advance of sugar as concerns not only profit to acreage, but conditions of plantations and labour. A sugar plantation is a wide waste of monotony in appearance; while a tobacco plantation, or vega, as it is known, with its kitchen garden, its plantanos for feeding the hands, its flowering and fruit trees, its stone walls, its entrance gates and, pretty houses, is the most charming agricultural sight in Cuba except a coffee plantation. The average acreage of a vega is, say, thirty-five acres, and from a dozen to forty men are employed in each vega, chiefly lower-class whites. More skill, too, is required in the cultivation of tobacco than sugar, and the class of labour is considerably superior to that employed in sugar planting.

Only a small portion of the acreage of Cuba is occupied by tobacco plantations, notwithstanding tobacco is its second product in value. The bulk of it comes from the western end of the Island: the provinces of Pinar del Rio, Havana, and Santa Clara.

The following report on the tobacco product will show the amounts raised in each province, the grade, the amount consumed, and the amount exported:

“The production of leaf-tobacco in the Island of Cuba before the revolution of the year 1894-95 amounted to about 560,000 bales, averaging about 50 kilos each, say 28,000,000 kilos or 62,173,800 pounds. Of this amount about 260,000 bales are harvested in the province of Pinar del Rio, known in the trade as Vuelta Abajo leaf, which is of the finest quality and of which about 140,000 bales are used by first-class cigar and cigarette manufacturers of Havana, the balance being exported to the United States of America and Europe.

“The province of Havana on an average produced, before the war, only about 70,000 bales known as Partido leaf, one-fifth of which is used in Cuba for cheaper grades of cigars and cigarettes and the remainder exported to Key West, New York, and Europe. The quantity of tobacco grown in the province of Matanzas is so very insignificant that it is not known in the market at all.


“The province of Santa Clara produces on an average about 130,000 bales, generally known as Remedios leaf, of which about 30,000 bales are used in that district and the neighbouring cities, and the remainder, 100,000 bales, goes to the United States; that is, the finer grades, for the lower grades are shipped to Germany, etc. The province of Puerto Principe produces little or no tobacco; nothing at least comes to the market.

“El Oriente, or in other words the province of Santiago de Cuba, had a production of about 100,000 bales, generally called tobacco Gibara or Mayari, of which about 40,000 bales are consumed by the inhabitants of the district, and the remaining 60,000 bales are exported to those countries where a government monopoly of the tobacco industry exists, viz.: Austria, Spain, Italy, etc. This tobacco is very coarse and the greater part suitable only for pipe smoking. The price is in proportion to the quality; often not higher than twelve to fifteen cents a pound.”

While the methods of the tobacco grower differ in detail in the various provinces, in a general way one fairly broad description of tobacco raising will apply to all. The activity begins in September, at which time the seed is sown in the semilleros, or planting beds, which ordinarily lie higher than the common level of the farm. About the end of October, or say in fifty days, the young plants are transferred to a field prepared for them, and are set out at intervals of eighteen inches; great care being taken, as they are so delicate that a slight bruise upon their roots will kill them. The plants are removed from the nursery in the morning and set out in the evening. The growing plant is now carefully watched, the ground kept free from weeds, the tops of the plants pruned, and the suckers removed from the roots. The pruning is done with the thumb nail, as its dull edge closes the wound to the stem and prevents its bleeding. The three enemies to the plant are the common tobacco worm, a slug that destroys the leaf, and a butterfly from this slug, which lays its eggs on the leaves and kills them. These insects must be removed by hand, and the work is hard and disagreeable.

The plant is ready for cutting in January, and after being cut the leaves are hung on poles and dried in the open air and in the drying-sheds. When thoroughly dry, the leaves are removed from the poles, sprinkled with water in which tobacco stems have been left until fermentation has taken place, and the tobacco is packed, first into bunches, then into bales of 110 pounds each. In this form it is ready for shipment. The tobacco is classed according to quality, which also fixes the price. Fertilisers are not often used, as they affect the flavour.

One man can attend to 15,000 plants, which is about the product of two acres, and one acre has been known to yield a crop worth $3000, but, of course, quality, rather than quantity, makes such value. It is estimated that 80,000 persons are engaged in cultivating tobacco in Cuba.

Although profits of from ten to thirty-five per cent. have been realised on tobacco-raising in Cuba, very few foreigners, excepting an occasional German, have undertaken it. English and German companies own the majority of the manufacturing establishments in Havana and elsewhere, but they have found that it is more profitable to buy the raw material than to raise it, although an English company, manufacturing in Havana, is reported to have paid $1,000,000 for 18,000 acres in the Vuelta Abajo district.

Among the great Havana companies are the famous Henry Clay and Bock Company, Limited, with a capital of $2,500,000; the Partagos Company, of London, capital $1,500,000; H. Upmann & Company, a German corporation, and many others (120 in all), of varying nationalities; but no American companies.[16] Of the total exports of cigars and tobacco from Cuba, Havana ships by far the largest percentage, estimated at from ninety-five to ninety-nine per cent. of the whole. The largest number of cigars (188,755,000) were shipped in 1888, out of a total shipment to all countries of 219,892,000. In 1896, owing to the high tariff in the United States, the exports dropped to 60,000,000, estimated, and the entire shipments of Cuban tobacco to the United States decreased from 26,771,317 pounds, valued at $10,613,468, in 1896, to 4,410,073 pounds, valued at $2,306,067 for the first nine months of 1897.

The tobacco interests of Cuba have suffered, as all others have, from Spanish greed, dishonesty, and misrule; and now that the new era is at hand, changed conditions for the better will develop at once. No more fitting conclusion to this chapter could be made than to present the following clear and comprehensive statement of Mr. Gustavo Bock, of the Henry Clay and Bock Company, Limited, of Havana, on the production of tobacco in Cuba, its manufacture, its necessities in the present difficult situation, and the quickest and best means of improvement. Mr. Bock prepared this valuable report especially for the author.

“The war, with its sad and distressing consequences, has been the principal cause of the destruction of the farms employed in the cultivation of tobacco and the ruin of the tobacco industry.

“The principal causes of destruction are three: 1st. Depopulation of the country. It is an undoubted and recognised fact that the scarcity of men employed in the country has greatly reduced the production of tobacco, limiting it to small zones, where at great expense and sacrifice a small production has been obtained. This reduction in the population is estimated at sixty-five per cent., as may be seen by the statistics of the districts of Guane, Remates, Grifa, Cortes, and Sabalo, in the province of Pinar del Rio, to which—not to make these notes too long—we will limit ourselves. Before the war there were 36,000 inhabitants in the province named, and the average production of leaf tobacco was 60,000 to 65,000 bales. To-day there are scarcely 6000 inhabitants, and the last crop was barely 6000 bales; and these were produced thanks to the efforts of a foreign syndicate, which, risking its capital, and with few hopes of future compensation, began the work of reconstruction, thereby saving thousands of families from a certain death.

“2nd. Seizure of cattle. Cattle, which are the most important factor in agriculture, have been reduced to such small numbers that in some tobacco districts there are absolutely none, and in the few places where there are any left, they are entirely insufficient for the most urgent requirements. Cattle in this Island are of the first necessity. Without exaggerating the expression, oxen constitute the right hand of the farmer during the crop. Their work commences with the plough and continues without rest until the crop is gathered and taken to the seaboard. They cannot be replaced by any other animal, as has been proved by experience; practice having shown that horses and mules are unavailable in this service, in view of the special topography of the Vuelta Abajo district and the climate of the Island of Cuba. One of the chief reasons of this scarcity is the constant seizure of the cattle by the Government troops, carried on unmercifully. It is not necessary to prove that this state of affairs will bring about the complete annihilation of cattle, leaving the poor labourer and the majority of the inhabitants of the Vuelta Abajo in the most precarious circumstances. The consequence of this unjustifiable measure will affect not only those employed in the fields of that province, but also those who depend exclusively on the tobacco industry in the towns and in Havana. Without a crop, without raw material, the factories will have to close their doors, and the misery with all its horrors, brought about by the system of reconcentration, will only be renewed.

“3rd. Loss of capital and credit. The disappearance of capital, and the consequent absence of credit, are due essentially to the above mentioned causes. It is unnecessary to prove this statement; it has been the inevitable. These are, I repeat, the principal causes which have brought about the disastrous condition of the tobacco industry.

“That the reconstruction be permanent, it is necessary to give ample protection to the farmer, and for this we need:


“1st. The promotion of immigration. All obstacles to the return of the white man to his labour in the fields should be removed. As the existing number of white labourers is entirely insufficient for the needs of the cultivation of tobacco, it is necessary to favour as much as possible the immigration of Canary Islanders, who constituted before the war the majority of the tobacco growers. Their knowledge and condition make them suitable for the working of these fields in preference to others.

“2nd. Free importation of cattle. The immediate free importation of cattle is necessary, as only a few oxen and milchers are left. As I have already stated, oxen are the principal factors in the farmer’s work in this district, and it is necessary to import them without delay, free of duty, as the farmer cannot afford to pay the exorbitant duties now enforced. Immediate attention should be given this subject in view of the fact that work on the next crop must begin in a very short time.

“3rd. Inducement to capital and revival of credit. With the free importation of cattle, immigration of white labourers, and the establishment of a firm and stable government, undoubtedly this district would return to its former prosperous condition. Peace, order, and work would invite capital to lend a vigorous and impulsive hand to regain the district’s lost wealth and credit.

“4th. Construction of roads. The province of Pinar del Rio has always felt the want of communication with the commercial centres. After three years of war, between neglect and destruction, there are to-day practically no roads. This evil has caused an increase in freight rates, and in some cases the rates exceed the value of the goods. To promote the industry of the province, new roads should be built and the old ones reconstructed.

“5th. Establishment of a corps of rural police. The establishment of a corps of police is an important point to the country districts. They should be organised under conditions similar to those now given to the Civil Guards, an armed force for the persecution of bandits and the maintenance of order in the country districts of Cuba. It is not to be expected that all the vagabonds, thieves, and bad characters who existed before the revolution have decreased in number, considering the irregular lives they must have been leading, and that, now peace is restored, they will become honest and good workmen. Protection against this class of people can be afforded the tobacco grower by a well constituted corps of rural police.

“Protection and guarantee of the genuineness of Cuban tobacco. Now that we have pointed out the measures we consider most urgent to re-establish the industry of the tobacco provinces, we will mention what we consider necessary for the protection of the Vuelta Abajo tobacco leaf. It is not enough that the agriculture of the district should rise to its former state of prosperity; it is necessary, besides, to protect in some way the reputation of Cuban tobacco, and especially the Vuelta Abajo tobacco leaf, considered to-day without a rival in the world. These measures are purely economical. They concern an uncommon article, for the production of which means and expenses are used that entitle it to unusual protection, as will be shown by the following calculation:

“To produce 100 bales of tobacco, of 50 kilos each, a farmer would rent one caballeria of land (equalling 33-16/100 acres), one half of which he would employ for tobacco cultivation and the remainder for vegetables.

Rent of land per year$300.00
250,000 plants @ $1.50 per thousand375.00
6250 lbs. of Peruvian fertiliser250.00
Hiring of oxen102.00
Wages and maintenance of 12 men @ $25 per month each3000.00
Yaguas, Majaguas, and expenses300.00
Taxes, physicians bills and medicines, and living expenses of the planter400.00


“So that a planter would have to sell each 50 kilos of tobacco at $47.27 to cover the cost of production. The foregoing figures show clearly that the production of tobacco in the Island of Cuba is more expensive than that in any other part of the world, special attention being necessary to its raising from the day it is planted to the cutting of the leaf, besides the subsequent treatment necessary to obtain good results; which work goes on night and day, if a good quality is desired. The following measures are therefore necessary for the protection of the industry:

“To insure a planter the sale of his crop at a price in proportion to the cost of production, it is absolutely indispensable that the present regulations prohibiting the importation and reimportation in this Island of all foreign manufactured or unmanufactured tobacco should continue in force; excepting only snuff and chewing tobacco, that have always been imported here and in no way hurt our trade or agriculture. Of the many laws and decrees which the Madrid Government has issued to favour this colony, none has been wiser than this prohibition of the importation of foreign leaf tobacco, thereby avoiding the importation of a leaf of inferior quality by unscrupulous persons, who after manufacturing the cigar in the way usual in this country, made perhaps with a small proportion of Cuban leaf, would export it as genuine Havana; a business which would prove most profitable to the adulterator, but which in time would totally ruin the reputation of our products, both agricultural and industrial, bringing about a decrease in prices which would eventually cause a cessation of the cultivation of tobacco.

“Production of tobacco in the Island, local consumption, exports, particularly those to the United States. The production of tobacco in normal times is estimated at:

In Pinar del Rio, called Vuelta Abajo260,000bales
In Havana, called Partido70,000
In Las Villas Sta. Clara, called Remedios130,000
In the Eastern Provinces, called Mayiri y Gibara100,000

or, on an average of 50 kilos per bale (110 pounds), 28,000,000 kilos, or 62,173,800 pounds.

“Note.—In Vuelta Abajo there is a good deal of uncultivated land, and with permanent peace and a stable government, that could insure protection to capitalists, this production could easily be increased in Vuelta Abajo alone to 500,000 bales. The provinces of Havana, Las Villas, and the Eastern Provinces would increase in the same proportion.

“In the manufacture of cigars, cigarettes, and packages of smoking tobacco for home consumption, the following number of bales of tobacco are used:

Vuelta Abajo140,000bales.
Sta. Clara30,000

and for export as follows:

Vuelta Abajo120,000bales.
Sta. Clara100,000

at 50 kilos per bale, 17,000,000 kilos or 36,956,000 pounds.

“The United States has bought and imported from the Island of Cuba as follows:

In the year 189321,694,881 pounds $8,940,058
In the year 189414,578,248 5,828,954
In the year 189520,175,620 7,271,794
In the year 189626,771,317 10,613,468
In the year 18974,410,073(6 mos.)2,306,067
A total value of leaf exported is estimated per annum at$12,000,000
and the 220,000 bales for home consumption are valued at10,000,000

“Manufacturing: its importance and prospects. Having expressed our views concerning the production of leaf tobacco, we will now refer to its manufacture, an industry which has for several years dragged along, and which is of great importance and deserves the utmost attention. It is impossible to estimate how important an industry it would be to-day, if, instead of the setbacks it has received, its energies had been allowed to develop. The universal reputation which this leaf enjoys, owing to the excellency of its quality and the perfection of its manufacture, would increase threefold if the industry were promoted. In importance, it is to-day the second industry in the country, and in the provinces of Havana and Pinar del Rio it is the foremost. With 100,000 cwt. costing $4,000,000 in 1889, the following has been manufactured:

For exportation250,000,000cigars$11,500,000
Local consumption50,000,0002,000,000

“In addition to this, the manufacture of cigarettes represents from $3,000,000 to $4,000,000 per annum. However, the importance of this industry must not be gauged by these figures, but by the fact that the proceeds of this industry circulate rapidly and give life and movement to other industries that depend upon it, which in the city of Havana alone employ from 18,000 to 20,000 workmen, who, with their families, represent from 45,000 to 50,000 people.

“We have cursorily glanced over its actual importance: let us study its future. Even if under the auspices of peace, with the adoption of proper measures for the future of the agriculture and production of tobacco a brilliant and promising future is assured, the same cannot be said, unfortunately, of its industry and manufacture. The future of the former is most promising; it has no rival in the world; there is only one Vuelta Abajo district. The latter, besides, handicapped as it is by excessive competition, has the insurmountable obstacle of being taxed by the treasuries of countries burdened by a heavy national debt; while other nations, like the United States, levy heavy duties on cigars to protect their national industry in its various phases. As a proof of what we say, we call attention to the following figures showing the gradual decrease of the manufacture of tobacco in this Island, a decrease which nearly reaches fifty per cent. of normal. The following will show how the exportation of cigars decreased from 250,000,000 in 1889 to 123,000,000 in 1897:

In 1889250,467,000
In 1890211,823,000
In 1891196,667,000
In 1892166,712,000
In 1893147,365,000
In 1894134,210,000
In 1895158,662,000
In 1896185,914,000
In 1897123,417,000

“On the other hand, the exportation of leaf tobacco has increased fifty per cent.; from 177,000 bales exported in 1889 by the port of Havana, the exports in 1895 had increased to approximately 250,000 bales. It is easy, then, to understand the actual condition of the tobacco industry and its dependencies, and that of the numerous families who live by the work that this gives them; their future cannot be promising, unless laws are immediately enforced to protect them and raise them from the abject state in which they find themselves.


“Cause of decline. Besides the high customs tariffs on imported cigars abroad, among which we may mention those of the Argentine Republic, as well as the internal taxes of those countries where tobacco is a source of government revenue, one of the main reasons of the decline of the Cuban industry originated in the McKinley bill, which compelled many manufacturers to move their factories to the United States, owing to the want of protection on the raw material, thereby causing a considerable decrease in the production of the Island, and increasing in the same proportion that of the United States, in which country the manufacture has reached the enormous sum of 5,000,000,000 cigars per annum.

In 1889101,698,560cigars$3,970,034
In 189095,105,7604,113,730
In 189152,015,6002,742,285
In 189254,472,2502,859,941
In 189346,033,6602,424,425
In 189440,048,3302,131,981
In 189539,579,4002,050,367
In 189640,601,7502,091,856
In 189734,017,5831,868,610

“Mode of protection. To protect and promote the prosperity of this industry it is necessary: 1st. To maintain the suppression of export duty on cigars ordered by the local Government of this Island on the 31st of last December, both on cigars and cigarettes and packages of cut tobacco, as well as on tobacco in fibre or powdered, which are considered as industrial products thereof.

“2nd. To maintain to its full extent the export duty on leaf tobacco, ordered at the same time, of $12 per 100 kilos for that grown in the provinces of the west and centre of the Island (Vuelta Abajo, Partido, and Remedios). The following data will prove the justice of this step: to manufacture in the United States 1000 cigars weighing 12 pounds, sold in Havana, unstemmed, 25 pounds of filler, and 5 pounds of wrapper, we should arrive at the following results:

For export duty on the leaf in Cuba, 30 lbs. of leaf at $12.00 per 100 kilos$ 3.60
Import duty in the United States on 25 lbs. of filler at 35 cents each8.70
5 lbs. wrapper @ $2 each10.05

The same 1000 cigars imported from Cuba, weighing 12 lbs., at $4.50 per lb.$54.00
Export duty 25 per cent. ad valorem, valued @ $60 per thousand15.00

making a difference of $46.65 against our tobacco.

“3rd. It is also indispensable that the prohibition of importing and reimporting all tobacco, whether prepared or in leaf, be maintained, and

“4th. If, as is to be hoped, the commercial relations between this Island and the North American Republic continue in perfect harmony and well directed, we may soon expect to have complete reciprocity and free exchange of trade.”

In this connection it will be interesting to note the relative importance of the tobacco-producing countries of the world. The following table is the latest and most reliable obtainable:

Countries.Product in Pounds.
United States of America488,000,000
Puerto Rico8,800,000
Santo Domingo8,000,000
Austria Hungary135,000,000
Philippine Islands45,000,000
British East Indies370,000,000
Dutch 66,000,000
Cochin China6,000,000

Thus the primary cost of the world’s tobacco ranges from $200,000,000 to $225,000,000 per annum. It is not in quantity but in quality that Cuba leads the world.



THE first questions asked the natives of Cuba by Columbus and his company concerned gold and silver, and they heard many tales of the riches of the unknown interior, but all their searching produced nothing of value, nor have the succeeding centuries added greatly to what was first discovered. Some little gold and silver was found, but it amounted to really nothing, and the mineral riches of the Island remained hidden until 1524, when copper was discovered near Santiago de Cuba; and here grew up the little mining town of Cobre (copper). Since that date deposits of asphaltum, iron, manganese, and salt have been found and have been worked, but not as they would have been in a well governed and progressive country.

The mining districts of Cuba are confined almost exclusively to the mountainous or eastern end of the Island, and so far the province of Santiago is the chief producer. Its leading product is iron ore, mined principally by American companies with American corporations. The first real iron-mining in Cuba began about 1884, when 21,798 tons were shipped to the United States. This was the first Cuban iron ore received in this country, and was about one-twenty-third of the total iron ore importation. In 1897 we received 397,173 tons of Cuban ore, which was three-fourths of the ore imported. During the years 1884-1897 we received 3,401,077 tons of Cuban ore.


The ore is a brown hematite, in large quantities, easy to work, of excellent quality, about sixty-two per cent. iron, and is especially adapted for the making of Bessemer steel. Though there are many mining properties, three American companies, the Juragua Iron Company, the Spanish-American Iron Company, and the Sigua Iron Company, do all the business. The Juragua does far more than all the others. Its shipments to the United States in 1897 were 244,817 (5932 tons, in addition, to Nova Scotia) to 152,356 tons by the Spanish-American Company, which made its first shipment in 1895, and none by the Sigua Company, which has shipped, in all, 21,853 tons. The Sigua began operations in 1892, the Spanish-American in 1885, and the Juragua in 1884. In 1897, the Spanish-American Company shipped 51,537 tons to foreign countries; bringing its total output for the year up to 203,893 tons.

Although iron ore of the best quality outcrops in many places on the estates once devoted to coffee on the southern slope of the coast range, it was not until the year 1881 that the first claim was located, or “denounced.” Since then more than a hundred locations have been denounced in this range (the Sierra Maestro), both to the east and the west of the city of Santiago de Cuba. Of these denouncements the most important, and in fact the only ones that have ever been worked, are to the east of the city, covering a distance of twenty odd miles along the range, a few miles in from the coast. The deposit is not continuous, but there are numerous separate deposits along this distance; some of them very extensive.

In order to encourage the mining of this ore, the Crown of Spain issued, on the 17th of April, 1883, a royal decree to the following effect: That for a period of twenty years from that date, the mining companies should be free from all tax on the surface area of all claims of iron or combustibles; that ores of all classes should be free from all export taxes; that coal brought in by mining companies for use in their work should be free from all import taxes; that combustibles and iron ore should be exempted from the three per cent. tax on raw materials; that mining and metallurgical companies should be free from all other impost; that for a period of five years the mining companies should be exempt from the payment of duties on all machinery or materials required for working and transporting the ore; that vessels entering in ballast and sailing with ore should pay a duty of five cents per ton navigation dues, and that vessels entering with cargo destined for the mining companies should pay $1.30 per ton navigation and port dues on all such cargo, and on the remainder of the cargo as per general tariff.

Under this charter the Juragua Iron Company, Limited, opened mines in Firmeza, laid a railroad twenty miles long from that point to La Cruz in Santiago Bay, where fine docks and piers were built, and, in 1884, shipped the first cargo of iron ore from Cuba. The company has a fine fleet of iron steamers. The mines of this company were extensively and successfully worked, and, encouraged by this, the Spanish-American Company and the Sigua Company purchased mines to the east of the Juragua properties and at once began the work of developing them.

The Spanish-American Iron Company, incorporated under the laws of West Virginia, and owned entirely by American citizens, built four miles of standard-gauge railroad from its mines to Daiquiri Bay, about sixteen miles east of the harbour of Santiago de Cuba. Here the company constructed a steel ore-dock of 3000 tons capacity, a landing-pier, buoys, moorings, and other harbour improvements at a cost of $500,000. The work of preparing this harbour delayed the opening of the mines for shipment, and it was not until May, 1895, that the first cargo was cleared.

The Sigua Iron Company built a standard-gauge road nine miles long from its mines to Sigua Bay, and there constructed a breakwater and a wooden ore-dock. This company during the first two years of operation shipped 21,853 tons. Later, the mines were closed, and during the war between Spain and the Cubans the dock, roundhouse, locomotives, and buildings of the company at Sigua Bay were entirely destroyed in the course of an engagement between the Spanish and the Cuban forces.

The Spanish-American Iron Company and the Juragua Iron Company remained in operation during the entire war between Spain and Cuba, and, although located at the extreme outpost of the Spanish troops, with Cuban forces in the immediate vicinity, maintained throughout a strict neutrality, and continued shipping ore until they were closed by order of the Spanish authorities, after the declaration of war between the United States and Spain.

The three companies, which are the only ones that have ever operated mines in the province, represent an investment of American capital of about $8,000,000, and the two still operating have paid into the Treasury of the United States more than $2,000,000 in import duties on iron ore. The following table shows the production of iron ore in the province from 1884 to 1897:

Years. Production.
Iron Company.
Sigua Iron
Total Tons.
1884    23,977 .... .... 23,977
1885 80,095 .... .... 80,095
1886 110,880 .... .... 110,880
1887 94,810 .... .... 94,810
1888 204,475 .... .... 204,475
1889 255,406 .... .... 255,406
1890 356,060 .... .... 356,060
1891 261,620 .... .... 261,620
1892 320,859 .... .... 320,859
1893 334,341 .... 12,000[17] 346,341
1894 153,650 .... .... 153,650
1895 302,050 74,992 .... 377,041
1896 291,561 114,110 .... 405,671
1897 246,530 206,029 .... 452,559
Total 3,036,314 395,131 [17] 3,443,444

It is interesting to note that none of the mines are worked underground. The ore outcrops on the sidehills, and the mining is in the nature of quarrying. Daiquiri, the port of the Spanish-American Company, is the point at which General Shafter’s army landed; and the dock, pier, mooring, buoys, and water supply of the place were of great value to the army and to the vessels of the navy. The Spanish forces, who abandoned Daiquiri when the United States troops landed, set fire to the shops, roundhouse, docks, pier, warehouse, and cars of the company. Through the efforts of the company’s men, who were waiting in the hills and who returned as soon as the bombardment ceased, the fire was partly extinguished; but the locomotives, shops, some cars, and a number of buildings were a total loss. The hospital buildings and a number of dwellings at Daiquiri were afterwards burned by order of the United States officers commanding. At Siboney, the Juragua Company’s village, a number of buildings were also burned by order of the United States officers in command.

Rich deposits of iron ore of several varieties are found in the provinces of Santa Clara and Puerto Principe, and some work has been done in developing, but the war put an end to it.

The following list of the mining properties, all in the province of Santiago, with the number of acres, condition, etc., may be useful as reference:

Dorothea and Recrio4mines,300acresFor sale
Cuero6760For sale
De la Plata9975Sigua Company
Uvera and Jaqueca12155710 for sale
Berracoe4502$150,000 refused
Cajobaba8—— For sale
Juragua Group17250011


All these mining properties are from two hundred to fifteen hundred feet above the sea, and though the climate is hot, the region is not affected by fevers or malaria, and it may be said to be the most healthful section of the Island. This location is excellent for mining and shipping also, being from five to sixty miles from Santiago; and nearly all of the properties have excellent outlets to the sea or are conveniently located to rail facilities. Nature as usual in Cuba has done her share, except in the production of man, and the most serious drawback to mining is the want of proper labour. The whites, except of the Latin races, are not equal to the work, and the blacks are inefficient as compared with the same class of labour in higher latitudes. The labour problem here, as in all other Cuban industrial fields, is the most serious which confronts capital, and its solution is to be reached only after careful study and continued experiment. All kinds of suggestions have been offered and many of them acted upon; but so far the problem is unsolved, and now capital looks most to the Latin races of Europe and the black race of the United States for assistance out of its difficulties. What inducements new Cuba offers to these people remains to be seen, but it is apparent that capital must do more in Cuba for labour, if it will secure what is best, than is done for it in those parts of the world where climate, disease, and social environments do not lay additional burdens upon the “hewers of wood and the drawers of water.”

Manganese, which is an essential raw material in the manufacture of Bessemer and open-hearth steel, is found in greater or less quantities in the province of Santiago de Cuba. The deposits lie in the San Maestro range on the south coast, extending over a distance of one hundred miles between Santiago and Manzanillo. As the demand in the United States for manganese was far in excess of the native supply, and the nearest known mines were in the neighbourhood of the Black Sea in Europe and in the northern part of South America, attention was at once drawn to the Cuban deposits and one American company was formed, known as the Panupo Iron Company, sixteen miles north of Santiago, with a railroad extending to that point. Other companies also began work, and the shipments from 1890 to 1893 inclusive amounted to 62,601 tons. In 1894 there was none, and in 1895-96 the total shipments were 750 tons. This decrease in business was due, in some measure, to low prices and to other causes than the insurrection and war, but that was the prime factor in the cause of the decrease, because already, with the promise of peace, mining has been resumed, with every prospect of continued increase and prosperity. Though only comparatively small efforts have as yet been made to develop the capacity of these mines, numerous properties have been staked off, and it is estimated that there are eighty-eight manganese mines in sight along the San Maestro range. The appended list names some of them:

Hatillo  400acres
Cobre2mines,425$50,000 refused
Ramas3330For sale
San Andres5440
Santa Filomena2300
BueycitoManzanillo sectionUndeveloped
Dos Bocas11905
San Juan

In the majority of these, no active mining operations have been carried on. Whatever conditions of taxation, duties, and other expenses on the production of manganese existed previously have been changed by the war, and entirely new conditions are presented now for the continuance of the work. It is believed that the mines are practically inexhaustible, and that the metal, while varying considerably in quantity, is in the main high grade and can be mined and shipped at prices which will extend the industry until the United States steel manufacturers will get their entire manganese supply from this nearest known manganese district.

Copper. It is believed that the natives mined copper long before Columbus discovered the Island, for copper ornaments have been found, not only in Cuba, but in Florida, long antedating 1492. Whatever may have been true of prehistoric periods, it is known that the mines at Cobre in the province of Santiago de Cuba were opened as early as 1524 and became the greatest copper-producing mines of the world. As high as fifty tons of ore a day have been mined from them. Some of these mines were sunk to the distance of nine hundred to twelve hundred feet. Before the development of the great copper deposits in the United States, this country received the output of the Cuban mines, which were worked by English capital. From 1828 to 1840 between two million and three million dollars’ worth of copper was annually shipped to this country, besides shipments to other countries. Owing to the fact that below three hundred feet these mines were beneath the level of the sea, the pumping problem was difficult of solution and expensive, and at last, in 1867, this hindrance, combined with the development of copper deposits in the United States, which cut prices materially, stopped work. The shafts filled with water and have remained so. The only work that has been done was an attempt by a Cuban company to work the copper found in solution in the water. It is believed that there are still rich and valuable deposits of copper in this section and that the time will come when the red glory of Cobre will again be restored to its ancient prestige.

Gold and silver. Some discoveries of gold have been made in various parts of Cuba and in the Isle of Pines, and some placer mining has been done along a few of the rivers, but it is believed that the quantity found will scarcely justify the opinion that Cuban gold will ever make much of a showing in the world’s product of the yellow metal. Silver appears far better. Deposits have been found in the provinces of Santa Clara, Puerto Principe, and Santiago. Some silver has also been found in other parts of the Island and on the Isle of Pines. As early as 1827 silver was mined in the Manicaragua district, province of Santa Clara, said to yield seventy-five ounces per ton; and near the town of Santa Clara deposits yielding $200 per ton were prospected fifty years ago. In the lead mines of Santiago de Cuba, some silver has been found yielding nineteen ounces to the ton. More work was done in the Santa Clara mines than elsewhere; in fact little has been done in any of them, but the deposits in Santa Clara did not continue of sufficient richness to pay for working them, and in recent years nothing has been done in Cuban silver mining. Reaching a conclusion by way of the geology of Cuba and of the other West Indian islands, it may be safely predicted that the prosperity which is promised for Cuba, and which is sure to come soon, will raise the Cuban silver mines to their former productiveness.

Lead. This metal, reported to exist in several localities, has had no development save in Santiago de Cuba, where two or three mines have been opened. One of them shows a twenty-inch vein, forty-six per cent. copper, with some silver and zinc and a trace of gold. The mines so far have been opened by American “boomers” for the purpose of bringing the properties into notice.

Coal. A serious deficiency in Cuban products is mineral fuel; and although coal is said to exist and, again, said not to exist on the Island, Mr. Frederick W. Ramsden, late British Consul at Santiago, made the following report in 1895:

“A deposit of coal has been found at five leagues of the Dos Caminos railway station, or about fifteen leagues north-north-west of Santiago. A sample sent to the United States analysed as follows:


 Per Cent.Remarks.
Moisture13.20Specific gravity 1.368.
Volatile combustible49.20One cubic yard weighs 2303 pounds.
Half sulphur47.76 
Fixed carbon28.48This sample is fairly black, and when
powdered it contains visible layers of pyrites
and no appreciable bitumen.
Half sulphur27.04 

“I understand, however, that since this sample was taken the mines have been partially opened up and a better class of coal found lower down. No estimate has been formed as to the quantity of coal there, as no investigations have so far been made with this object. I am informed, however, that the geological formation is favourable.”

Some of the coal reported in other sections of the Island proves to be either a lignite or a hardened bitumen. Possibly workable deposits of coal exist somewhere, and efforts will be made to explore thoroughly every locality where there is the slightest coal prospect, as so much depends in the development of manufacturing industries upon contiguous and cheap fuel.

Asphaltum. Asphaltum appears to be a very general product of the Island and of the water along its shores. Deposits of it show in every province, in some localities in inexhaustible quantities; the deposits at Cardenas and Santa Clara take the lead in development. As much as ten thousand tons a year have been shipped from Santa Clara. At and near Cardenas the deposits are found in the bottom of the bay, and the method of securing it is peculiar. A shaft eighty feet or more in depth below the surface extends into the sea-bottom; and into this the asphalt runs or filters. It is supposed that the supply is brought from the interior through the subterranean rivers which prevail in this locality,—from which, indeed, Cardenas gets its water supply. Over this shaft the ship is anchored; from her deck a heavy bar of iron attached to a rope is dropped, and the asphalt is broken from the sides of the shaft and falls to the bottom, where it is scooped up into a net and loaded into the vessel. As this work has been going on for years and the asphalt replenishes itself constantly, it is fair to suppose that the run will go on for ever. It is of such quality as to be worth from $80 to $125 per ton in New York, and a ship has gathered as much as three hundred tons in three weeks. This and two other mines, of not such good quality, are immediately in the bay of Cardenas; and near Diana Key is the great Constancia mine, covering a circumference of one hundred and fifty or more feet, from which twenty thousand tons have been taken; yet there is no diminution in the quality of the deposit. There are several other smaller deposits in this locality. As asphalt is so general in Cuba and the mines are so generous in their yield, even under the crude methods adopted, it is only to be concluded that the asphaltum industry of the Island has a bright outlook; and when it is understood what a fine paving material asphalt is, and how greatly paving is needed in the streets of Cuban towns, it seems to be almost providential that so sore a need has healing so close at hand, demanding only enlightenment and energy to apply it.

Quicksilver is known to exist, though in small quantities, and as yet not enough has been found to pay for the working. Nickel is also said to exist. Petroleum is found in several parts of the Island, and in and near Manzanillo it comes out of the ground and rocks in a remarkably pure state. Natural gas may yet be found, for a gasoline mine near Santa Clara clearly indicates its presence. Marble of fine quality is reported in the Isle of Pines and in a number of localities in Cuba, but its superiority may be slightly doubted, as its grain is somewhat coarse and it lacks the proper density. The same may be said of such building stone as has been thus far produced. However, so very little has been done in developing any of these products and giving them fair tests, that definite conclusions as to quantity and quality cannot be justly reached at present.



DATA of any kind on the farming interests of Cuba are difficult to collect, and those obtained are, as a rule, meagre, indefinite, and unsatisfactory. Statements vary as to the acreage under cultivation, estimates vary from 2,000,000 to 9,000,000 of acres. One writer says there are 100,000 farms, plantations, and cattle ranches in the Island, valued at $20,000,000; and Cabrera, in 1862, gives these figures: 18 cocoa plantations, 35 cotton plantations, 782 coffee plantations, 1523 sugar plantations, 1731 bee farms, 2712 stock farms, 6175 cattle ranches, 11,541 tobacco plantations, 11,738 truck farms, and 22,748 produce farms, a total of 59,001. Spanish official figures show a total of 37,702 farms, cattle ranches, sugar, tobacco, and coffee plantations. What these properties may be worth or valued at now cannot be stated; but before the war their value might be fairly estimated at from $275,000,000 to $300,000,000.

The Cuban farmer, despite what nature had done for him in climate and soil, was never equal to his opportunities. True, the mother country, by taxation, had kept him over-burdened with debt, and by not giving him the benefit of progressive ideas had forced him to use only the most primitive implements and farm machinery. When he used these at all, they were of Spanish manufacture, the worst in the world; but even under such adverse circumstances he might have done much better than he did. That he did not is due largely to himself, for indeed there are thrifty Cuban farmers, who have good farms and do as well as farmers anywhere, all things considered. But they are not in a majority. As one evidence of the general lack of thrift, the Cubans imported from the United States in 1893, a good year, animal products (largely hogs), worth $5,718,101; bread stuffs, $3,164,541; provisions other than the foregoing, $1,315,097; a total value of over $10,000,000, all of which except, possibly, wheat flour, might have been raised at home, with a fair amount of care and industry, under a decent government.

While all parts of the Island are not adapted to such agricultural development as is found in higher latitudes, nearly all the products of northern soil may be grown in Cuba. Our common corn is very generally raised, on the uplands especially, and two crops of it will grow yearly. It is smaller than the corn of the north, but is said to be more nutritious. It is fed to stock in the ear and as fodder. Wheat growing has never been attempted to any extent, and while the lowlands are impossible for it, in the mountain regions, according to theory, it might be accomplished successfully. However, all the chances are against Cuba’s entering the wheat market against Minnesota and the Dakotas. Oats and barley are not in the list of Cuban products. A great deal of rice is raised in the lowlands along the coast; but the Cubans are great rice eaters and none is exported. A careful handling of the Cuban rice crop would bring it into the markets of the United States.

Although, to insure good quality, seed potatoes must be brought to Cuba each year from the United States, the crops raised are enormous, and they come twice a year. We do not get new potatoes from Cuba in the spring, but there is no reason why we should not, if the farmer will raise them for export. The Cuban potato is worth considerably more in Havana than those imported. The sweet potato grows everywhere and anywhere, and is not only of great quantity but good quality. To Cuba it is almost what the white potato is to Ireland. The yam, another and larger form of the sweet potato, is prolific and prevalent. It is not cultivated for exportation. In fact it can scarcely be said to be cultivated at all in Cuba, so common is the growth.

Beans are an article of import into Cuba, and the people consume great quantities of them, yet every variety of bean grows there rankly, and that they are not grown not only to meet the home demands but for export as well, is simply because of a lack of industry in their cultivation. Asparagus may be grown and greatly improved, as that now produced is small and inferior. Beets, as far as produced, show that by proper cultivation they might become a leading product. Cabbage, too, is so neglected that it is imported to meet the demand that Cuba easily could supply. Watercress of good quality grows along most of the streams. Spinach is found in the home market-gardens, but none is raised beyond that. The sago palm, furnishing sago flour, is neglected though it grows in profusion. Radishes grow all the year. Two crops a year of fine peanuts might be produced, but not enough for export are raised. So far the Cuban onion, though it flourishes with very little cultivation, is not in competition with the Bermuda onion, so popular in American markets. Lettuce is perennial and of the best quality. The cucumber is another vegetable growing profusely but never exported. Yuca is a root much used in place of potatoes. It is rendered palatable by pressure or by cooking. The sweet variety is used raw as a table vegetable. Bitter cassabe flour, made from yuca, when parched in pellets, is known as tapioca, and is a popular edible in various forms of soups, puddings, etc., in northern countries. Celery, which is found in the local gardens, is inferior by reason of neglect. Millet is raised for local fowl food.

Cotton, although it is mentioned as an agricultural product of Cuba, is only a possibility, for its cultivation has been so slightly attempted as scarcely to warrant an opinion of what may be done in its cultivation. Sea-island cotton, which is of famous excellence in the United States, may be raised along the Cuban coasts; and there is no known reason why the general cultivation of cotton would not be fairly profitable. Whether or not it may be developed under the new order remains to be seen.

The indigo plant grows easily, but it has never been cultivated profitably. The future may bring to its producers more knowledge and better methods than the past has known.

Grasses grow rankly almost anywhere in the Island. In the province of Pinar del Rio one variety grows to the height of six feet; another is a bunch grass similar to our species. Of these two grasses stock is very fond, but a third variety has such sharp edges that stock cannot eat it. Little of this grass is used as hay, and the hay crop has not been of especial significance in Cuban agricultural products, but it might well be, if it were given proper cultivation and care.

The fibre plants of Cuba are numerous, and many of them are of the best quality; moreover, they grow upon soil not very useful for any other purpose. The best known of them are the henequin, lanseveria, and lengua de vaca. The first produces from twenty-five to thirty leaves a year for twelve years, each leaf from five to nine feet long, weighing from four to seven pounds.

So far as Spanish statistics may be correct, there were in Cuba in 1891 a total of 2,485,768 cattle of all kinds; but at the close of the war in August, 1898, it was estimated by American stockmen, who were apprised of the condition of affairs throughout the Island, that not over 75,000 head were left. For a number of years past, owing to excessive import duties and other exactions, shipments of cattle to Cuba have been kept far below the demand, not only for working, but for slaughtering purposes; and as the Cubans raised few cattle, though every natural condition of climate, forage, and water was favourable to grazing, there was never a surplus to meet any emergency. Therefore the result was that, when the war came the ports were blockaded and no new supplies could be brought in, the people, as well as the soldiers, had to be fed, and the cattle were slaughtered indiscriminately. It should be stated here that just prior to the war, cattle were admitted free, and the imports, chiefly from South American countries, reached from 70,000 to 80,000 head per month. These were nearly all beef cattle. From August, 1897, to May, 1898, 83,868 head of cattle were received at Havana, of which 37,129 came from the United States. These cattle came chiefly from Texas, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, and Louisiana, for southern cattle are much better suited to the Cuban climate and conditions than northern or western cattle. The fact that cattle are bought by weight in the United States and sold by the head in Cuba has been against the American stockmen.


From a report of a dealer in Havana, under date of October 5, 1898, these extracts are made:

“The average of cattle weighs about seven hundred pounds, for which I get between $32 and $48. On these I have to pay all the freight and customs charges, etc., so that by the time that the meat gets into the butcher’s shop, it is up to about 42 cents silver (say 38 cents gold) per pound, although it is the same that costs in the United States from 3 to 3½ cents. Cottonseed-fed steers give between sixty-five and seventy per cent. of meat, nett; grass-fed cattle from the United States only nett fifty per cent. Tampico cattle give only about fifty per cent. There is no advantage in selling good cattle in Cuba, as they buy these by the head. On my St. Louis cattle I lost money, they weighing about fifteen hundred pounds and costing in the United States about $65, and I sold them for about $52. A good team (yoke) of oxen for working purposes is worth between seven and eight onzas (an onza equalling $17), and I give a statement of what it costs to get such a team into Cuba”:

Cost in Texas for one team of oxen$90.00
Freight to Havana14.00
Risk, about five per cent.5.00

“Milk cows in Cuba are worth from $60 to $80 each and cost as follows:

Cow costs in United States, with calf    $40.00
Freight for the two8.50
Duty: cow, $8, calf, $412.00

“The food of cattle for the trip from the United States to Cuba costs about fifteen cents a head. We pay an extra twenty-five cents a head for the attention.”

Though Cuban estimates of the Island’s cattle capacity are fanciful and unreliable (one estimate sets the “untilled land for cattle raising” at 28,300,000 acres, every acre of which when tilled will support at least one head), it is an undeniable fact that within a few years, by ordinary care in the selection and handling of stock, Cuba will be in a position to export cattle. The fact is worthy of American stockmen’s attention that at least a million cattle of all kinds, for breeding, beef, and work, are needed in Cuba, that the best cattle so far received in Cuba have come from the United States, and that by contiguity and sentiment the United States is first choice against all South and Central American and Mexican competitors. It is as well worthy of the attention of the Government authorities that in restocking the Island with cattle, careful and scientific attention should be given to the class of cattle used for breeding purposes in order that the very best results be obtained. The estimate of a million head to meet the immediate demands may seem to be large, but when we come to consider that one sugar plantation of 3000 acres requires from 250 to 400 yoke of working cattle, not to mention cows and beef cattle,—and that there are thousands of sugar and tobacco plantations, besides other thousands of farms of various kinds,—and ox-carts for general transportation all over the Island, it will be seen that a million head will be scarcely enough.


“Jerked beef” has been an important article of import into Cuba, and it may become still more so in the future, as Texas, with its millions of cattle, has a climate peculiarly adapted to the preparation of this form of beef product. On this subject a report made by Mr. Modesto Trelles of Cienfuegos, under date of September 19, 1898, may be of more than passing interest:

“The Island of Cuba has about twenty-eight million acres of land. Under cultivation, producing sugar cane, there are 1,980,000 acres, about 1,000,000 in roads, towns, etc., and 1,500,000 acres of fallow land. The cattle here pay consumption duty of 5½ cents per kilo. The jerked beef pays $3.96 import duty, per hundred kilos. The import duty on each head of cattle is $8. The consumption tax $5.50 a head. Buenos Ayres has been sending about 500,000 head of cattle to Cuba in the shape of jerked beef. The reason of this is a treaty between Spain and Buenos Ayres, obliging the latter to take in Spanish wines, in lieu of which provision Cuba was to import jerked beef. We have, therefore, been importing jerked beef to the extent of 500,000 head of cattle, owing to the advantages given Buenos Ayres. One of the secrets of this great importation has been that in the first place, when the Cuban merchant called for jerked beef, he went directly to Spain for it. Certain Spaniards sent a ship from Barcelona to Buenos Ayres, loaded with wine, etc., from which point the ship came here with a cargo of jerked beef. It lands the cargo here, and then goes north with a cargo of sugar; then takes a new cargo of cotton from New York to Europe, and goes back to the first point of shipment. This is one of the reasons why they had cheap rates on jerked beef.

“The whole thing has been done to chastise the cattle breeding in Cuba, owing to this reciprocity treaty which Buenos Ayres had with Spain. One of the greatest errors Spain has made has been in killing the cattle breeding here by these great advantages given to foreign meat markets. I wish to open your eyes in regard to this, because if it remains as it is we will always be under the same disadvantage of importing jerked beef to the detriment of the cattle breeding. You must remember that jerked beef is a great detriment to salubrity, due to being salt, and obliges the people who eat it to drink large quantities of water which generally brings on anæmia. Of 1,500,000 inhabitants 1,000,000 have eaten jerked beef heretofore, and that is equivalent to the amount of 1600 head of cattle per day of three hundred pounds each, and naturally Cuba very well could produce this number of cattle with the utmost ease because the pastures are very good here. It will be an economy of $5,000,000 or $6,000,000 a year of what we pay here for the jerked beef to Buenos Ayres, and if the importation of this jerked beef is avoided an equal amount could be grown, and we would besides have the benefit of the hides, tallow, and the horns of the cattle, which constitute a big industry in itself. Naturally, with the breeding of cattle here, all this land which is now idle could be used, and in addition would give employment to many cowboys, etc. The people here are very fond of cattle raising. Under the basis of having all these farms in a condition to produce cattle, we could employ almost all our idle in this business.”

In 1891 it was estimated that there were 531,416 horses in Cuba and 43,309 mules, yet a report dated as late as October, 1898, is to the effect that there are practically no horses in the Island. The same authority states that there is a great demand for cheap horses, and that now, since the prohibitive duty of fifty dollars a head is gone with other Spanish customs, the American “plug horse” would bring a quick sale all over the Island. The Cuban horse, of Andalusian ancestry, is a fair average animal for a low, hot country, but great improvement could be made in the stock by careful selection and breeding. At present he is a substantial, small horse of the cob style, is very easy under the saddle, and does well in harness. Stallions and mares are needed, and the surplus horse-flesh of the United States, increased by the introduction of electricity as a street-car motor, might easily find profitable use in this new country. The Cuban horse will hardly achieve the proud position of the Arabian or Kentuckian, but he may be as useful in his humbler fashion.


The mule in Cuba as elsewhere, “without pride of ancestry or hope of posterity,” is a most patient and useful animal, and his virtues and his scarcity make him more valuable than the horse. A fine mule commands a fancy price, and a pair are worth from $600 to $800. What the mule raisers of the United States can do in Cuba is left for them to determine.

Sheep of good quality are among the impossibles to Cuba, for the climate has the peculiar effect of straightening their wool into harsh hair, like that of the goat.

Although Cuba has not only every facility for hog raising, including the palm, the seed of which is one of the finest hog-fatteners on earth, and although the people of the Island use more lard, bacon, hams, and pickled pork than any other meat product, nevertheless, instead of raising their own, they have received from the United States over $35,000,000 worth of pork in the ten years from 1887 to 1896. Some hogs are raised, but it is because of the energy of the hog, not of the Cuban. Wild hogs (jabali) prevail in many parts of the Island, and the boar hunts are sometimes exciting sport. The wild hog is merely the domestic hog run away and grown up in the woods.

Poultry of all kinds similar to that found in the United States was common all over the Island before the war. No attention is paid to its cultivation, except in the matter of game-cocks. Cock-fighting is so wide-spread and popular that the game-cock may be well called the national bird of Cuba.

Humboldt has said that the bee is not native to Cuba and came from Europe. However that may be, the busy little worker has found there a land of flowers, and his products of honey and wax are among the reliable exports of the Island. The value of honey shipped to the United States in 1893 was $39,712, and of beeswax, $45,504. The best honey comes from the uplands and the poorest from the swamp flowers.

Agriculture in Cuba promises rich results in the future.



OF the approximately twenty-eight millions of acres in Cuba and its islands, it is estimated that from thirteen to fifteen millions of acres are covered with timber, the vastly larger portion of it yet untouched by the axe. Of this, mahogany and cedar lead in value as lumber, though, for the variety of its uses, the palm, of which there are thirty species in the Island, easily takes precedence. A notable peculiarity of tree growth in Cuba is the presence of the pine, a distinctively northern product, yet here it is found growing side by side with the mahogany; and on the Isle of Pines it is so plentiful as to have given the name to the island. The province of Pinar del Rio (River of Pines) also receives its name from the pines which are so numerous there.


Of the thirty varieties of palm, the first and foremost is the Palma Real, or Royal Palm, called also the “Blessed Tree” because of its manifold uses to man. This tree is common all over the Island, growing alike on hills and in valleys; but it is most frequent in the west, where the soil is generally richest and heaviest. It rises to a height of from sixty to eighty feet, like a tall shaft of rough, grey marble, and from its top springs a great tuft of green leaves. Its peculiar growth does not make it especially valuable as a shade tree, but an avenue of palms is unequalled in its impressive beauty. Of its uses in other respects an inventory can scarcely be made. Its roots are said to have medicinal virtues. The stem of its leaves, or yagua, often six feet in length, is like a thin board and can be used as a dinner plate by cutting it into shape; it may be folded like stiff paper when wet; and is bent into a catana, or basin, or a pot, in which food may be boiled, and there is sufficient salt in the wood to make the food palatable; it serves also as a basket for carrying farm products; it is said a dozen catanas will produce a pound of salt. The seed of the royal palm furnishes an excellent “mast” for fattening hogs. Good weather-boarding is made from its trunk, and the lumber may also be made into plain furniture; its leaves form the roofs of houses; fine canes are made from the hard outside shell, which may be polished like metal; the bud of the tuft is a vegetable food much like cauliflower in taste, and is eaten raw and cooked; and hats, baskets, and even cloth may be made from its leaves and fibre. What further uses may be found for it, future Yankee ingenuity will develop.

Of the other palms, the guano and yarey are valuable for their fibre, from which very fine hats and baskets are made for export; the guano de cana produces the vanilla-bean parasite and makes the best roofing material; the cocoanut palm is another variety, probably better known abroad by its product than any other; the guano de costa is noted for its elastic and waterproof wood.

Mahogany is the most valuable wood for export, although Cuban cedar is probably better known, because so much more of it is shipped to the United States; for example, in 1894, a good year, 12,051 mahogany logs were received here, and 106,545 cedar logs. Cuban mahogany is the most valuable known in the market. The common variety is worth from $110 to $150 per 1000 feet, and the bird’s-eye, or figured mahogany, commands almost any price. Ordinary prices for it run from $400 to $600 per 1000 feet, with more than double that for fancy varieties. Mahogany cutting in Cuba is done in the most primitive fashion and under numerous difficulties, and thus far it has been carried on in only the easily accessible places, leaving millions of feet yet standing in the dense forests of the interior. To begin with, the mahogany tree does not grow in groups, but takes its stand alone, a very monarch of the forest. Here it is found by the hunter, who sights its peculiar foliage from his lookout in some tall tree. Noting all the landmarks, he climbs down and cuts a path through the jungle to his prize, “blazing the way” for his companions. The trees are often large, sometimes thirty feet in circumference, and when they are very wide at the roots, the cutters build rude platforms of poles or saplings, called “barbecues,” around them, and from these platforms the tree is cut from ten to fifteen feet up the trunk. Thus are wasted several hundred feet of the finest part of the wood about the gnarled and curly roots. It is fair to suppose that there are fortunes to-day in the mahogany “stumpage” of Cuba, and it is in the most accessible portion of the Island. A day’s work for a man is to cut down two trees of from eight to ten feet in circumference; two men will cut three larger trees, and when a giant of a quarter of a hundred feet around is found, four men take the entire day, which is very short in the dense jungle, to lay it low. Great care is taken in felling the tree not to have it split or break and destroy its value. When the tree is down, all of it that is available for market is squared. It is hauled either to the nearest stream or to the coast or to a railroad station, as may be. Three hundred trees, averaging 2000 feet each, are a fair season’s work for an ordinary camp. Notwithstanding the poor methods of getting out mahogany timber, the shipments to the United States alone since 1885 have been 235,000 logs, aggregating 35,700,000 feet, valued at upwards of $5,000,000. The following statement of the shipments since 1894 will show the disastrous effects of the war.

1898 (to December)738


Although the mahogany tree in the wilds, when it reaches its best condition, reaches enormous growth, much of that coming to market is comparatively small. Some logs are not over two feet in circumference, but fine logs are five times that. It may be explained that the mahogany which gives prestige to the Cuban product and which commands the highest price, comes from the Santiago district. In other parts of the Island the timber is smaller, but it is noted for its hardness.

The United States is most familiar with Cuban cedar in the form of cigar boxes. The shipments of cedar since 1885 have exceeded 700,000 logs containing over 70,000,000 feet, valued at $4,900,000, allowing $70 per 1000 as the average price in the market. Proportionately, cedar has suffered equally with mahogany by the war, as will be seen by the following table of shipments:

1898 (to November)5,204

Of the supposed forty varieties of hard woods in the Cuban forests, lignum-vitæ is one of the hardest, and it grows fairly plentifully. Not a great deal of it has been shipped, and it is worth from thirteen to thirty dollars per ton according to quality. Cuban ebony is a fine wood growing generally about the Island, and is noted for its blackness. The majagua is a flourishing tree, forty feet in height at its best, and its bark produces a fibre which is made into rope equal to much of the hemp rope now in use. Its wood is also hard and durable. The baria is a fragrant flowering tree of hard wood, and the granadillo, though only a small tree of ten to twelve feet in height, produces a wood of great hardness and fine colour, from which handsome canes are made. The acana, roble blanco (white), roble amarillo (yellow), jique, and caiguaran are hard and durable woods, the last being especially useful for fence posts and other underground work, as it lasts like iron. The cuia is durable in water, and is useful for dock timber and such purposes. The caimitillo, yaya, moboa, and cuen are all useful woods in the making of house frames, furniture, barrel hoops, handles, and carriage shafts. The jaguey is a peculiar tree, beginning as a parasite on some other, from which it sends shoots to the ground, where, taking root, they grow up and choke out the parent tree, taking its place as a tree composed of innumerable stems or vines. It bears a fruit of which bats are fond, and they are thick in these trees in May. Its wood is used for walking-sticks and other small articles.

The ceiba, cottonwood or silk-cotton tree, is a tree of beauty and size, and of very general growth. It bears a pod filled with beautiful white silk-cotton, used for stuffing pillows, but too short of fibre for spinning. One of the notable trees of the world that travellers tell us of is the great ceiba tree in the Plaza at Nassau, Jamaica. The rubber tree has been introduced, in addition to some native gum-producing trees, undeveloped; and though enough was done towards its cultivation to prove that it could be grown successfully, the usual fate of new industries in competition with the Spanish style of taxation proved too much for it, and the business was ruined. The sand box receives its name from the peculiar rattling of its pods as of dropping sand. The trumpet tree is so called because of its hollow trunk which produces a trumpet-like sound. The banyan tree is noticeable along the coasts, where it generally prevails. One specimen, near Marianao just outside of Havana, has hung its branches down and taken root until it covers four or five acres, and is a great curiosity to the traveller.

Rosewood is plentiful in some parts of the Island, also logwood and other dyewoods, but little or nothing has been done to develop business in this direction, and they are holding their riches for the new discoverers from the north who shall explore the Island in good time.

Concerning the practical side of the timber and lumber industry in Cuba, Mr. Charles M. Pepper, journalist, writes as follows:

“I have heard a hint that some of the Pennsylvanians who know something of lumber have got ahead of the Michigan and Wisconsin lumbermen who were expecting to exploit the forests of the interior. It is of no consequence who does it so long as the industry is developed. A civil engineer came to me the other day to ask some points about reaching a certain part of the Island. He also wanted to know a good land-title lawyer. His plan was to take the lawyer along and close up purchases of timber lands at once. The men he represented must have had money or they would not have indulged in the luxury of a lawyer to accompany them to the wilds of the interior. But their idea was the right one. Their money is in Havana banks. When they find timber lands which suit their purpose they will buy the tracts instead of seeking options and going back to the United States to sell these rights. Options on land are hardly known in Cuba. Nobody is likely to make money by that means.

“As to how far the woods can be cleared by native labor I asked the opinion of Major Van Leer, the government engineer who is superintending the construction of Colonel Hecker’s little military railroad across the bay at Guanabacoa. He has had experience in South America, in Santo Domingo and in other parts of the West Indies. ‘Native labor,’ he said, ‘will do for most everything except to boss the job and run the sawmills. They don’t know much about sawmills in these tropical countries, but they quickly learn how to get out the timber. A few lumbermen from Michigan or Pennsylvania would be able to handle the work without trouble.’

“The Cubans have already learned how to get out the mahogany, though only the edges of the forests have been touched. They have also learned something of sawmills, for in Pinar del Rio I have seen the tracts which they cleared of pine and cedar.

“These remarks on lumber are a digression. They may be taken at sawdust value by real lumbermen who have been brought up in Wisconsin or Pennsylvania. They are made because some folks with money have come to Cuba to buy timber lands. As long as it was only promoters forming companies for the exploitation of an unknown timber country it was not worth mentioning. Other phases of investment are becoming live topics for the same reason.”

Next in value to the lumber trees in Cuba are fruit-bearing trees of an almost innumerable variety, some of which are universally known in the United States. With a climate and soil peculiarly adapted to the highest development of all kinds of tropical fruits little has as yet been done, and what has been accomplished has not been by the natives. It is said of too many of them that when they are too lazy to pick the fruit nature so lavishly bestows upon them, they simply lie down under the trees and wait for it to fall. Though all kinds of southern fruits grow luxuriantly, the most valuable commercially thus far developed are bananas, cocoanuts, lemons, oranges, limes, and pineapples, and the north-eastern uplands seem to be, by climate and soil, especially adapted to the highest development. While some degree of progress has been made in the raising of bananas and cocoanuts, very little has been done with the other fruits, and the possibilities are wonderful.

The banana, of which millions of bunches are shipped annually, easily leads its competitors, in point of value. It is scarcely necessary to comment upon a fruit so well known to every American. As usual with fruits shipped out of the latitude of their growth, the banana of commerce is not the banana of its native garden, although it suffers much less by the transition than other fruits, as it ripens almost as well off the tree as on. It is much more wholesome for the foreigner in his own home than in Cuba. The banana has three stages of usefulness: in the first, roasted or boiled, it is nourishing and a good substitute for bread; at three-fourths of its growth it is sweeter, but not so nourishing; and at last it takes on an acid, bitter taste, healthful and palatable. Bananas of various kinds grow wild in many parts of the Island, and the poorer people practically live upon them free of cost. The fig banana, which is much more delicate than the common kind, is used as a dessert everywhere, and is very fine, but it cannot be shipped. During the past eight years, shipments of bananas from the four ports handling the business were as follows:

Baracoa7,570,547  bunches
Cabonico    3,118,007


The war wiped out the banana business at Baracoa. The shipments fell from 1,552,700 bunches in 1894, to 2000 in 1896; but at the other ports the effect was not so serious. Gibara sent away 1,305,000 bunches in 1896 to 1,671,000 in 1894; Banes, 755,000 in 1896, to 1,028,000 in 1894; and Cabonico, 550,000 in 1896, to 643,000 in 1894. The plantain, another variety, may be called the vegetable banana, and is of very general local use as a food.

Cocoanuts are raised in the same north-eastern section, and Baracoa handles, or did handle, the business; 27,430,413 were shipped from 1890 to 1896. Here, again, the war laid its heavy hand, and shipments fell from 6,268,000 nuts in 1893 to 35,000 in 1896. Of cocoanut oil, 4672 barrels were shipped in 1890-1896, with the highest number of barrels, 1500, in 1896, as against 50 barrels in 1893. Shipments of cocoa in 1894-1896 were 2,930,445 pounds.

The cocoanut palm rises to a height of fifty feet or more. The nuts grow in bunches in the tuft at the top of the trunk; bunches which often weigh as much as three hundred pounds. The nut furnishes meat and drink to the hungry native. The milk of the green cocoanut, a most palatable drink, is said to have valuable medicinal qualities in kidney troubles.

A few other Cuban fruits are oranges, lemons, limes, mangoes, rose apples, pineapples, pomegranates, sapotes, tamarinds, citrons, figs, custard apples, guavas, and aguacates. Cuban oranges are considered by many experts to be the best and sweetest in the world and they are the favourite fruit of the better classes of Cubans. One orange and a cup of coffee in the morning to a Cuban is what a chew of tobacco and a drink of whiskey is said to be to a Kentuckian. Although little attention has been paid to the cultivation of oranges, except for local use, they still constitute the second most valuable fruit import from the Island. The United States received $530,680 worth from 1887 to 1896. The imports reached their greatest value ($97,078) in 1887; in 1896 the imports amounted to $58,612. Cuban oranges are of the seedless variety and are extremely cheap all over the Island. The possibilities of their cultivation are limitless, and it is safe to say that within a few years the production for export will be enormous.

The lemon tree, with its white flower and its varicoloured fruit, is one of the prettiest trees to be found in Cuba. Its leaves are almost as fragrant as are those of our lemon verbena. The yield is continuous. Generally the fruit is of large size, though the finest lemons are rather small, juicy, thin-skinned, and of full flavour. The larger variety is thick-skinned. Little or no attention is paid to proper cultivation and no lemons are exported. The same is true of the lime, the fruit of which is very largely used, for its therapeutic qualities, in beverages of various kinds.

The rose apple, or rose fruit, grows on a tree of remarkable symmetry, with glossy leaves, and is as large as a good-sized peach, smooth-skinned and cream-coloured; with an odour and taste of attar of roses, so strong in fact as not always to be agreeable after the first one is eaten. Cubans use it as flavour for soups and puddings. The mammee, or mamey, is an odd fruit, growing on high t