Lands of the Slave and the Free eBook

Henry Murray
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 679 pages of information about Lands of the Slave and the Free.

The future of this rich and lovely island, who can predict?  It is talked of by its powerful neighbours as “the sick man.”  Filibustero vultures hover above it as though it were already a putrid corpse inviting their descent; young America points to it with the absorbing index of “manifest destiny;” gold is offered for it; Ostend conferences are held about it; the most sober senators cry respecting it—­“Patience, when the pear is ripe, it must drop into our lap.”  Old Spain—­torn by faction, and ruined by corruption—­supports its tottering treasury from it.  Thus, plundered by friends, coveted by neighbours, and assailed by pirates, it lies like a helpless anatomical subject, with the ocean for a dissecting-table, on one side whereof stands a mother sucking its blood, and on the other “Lone Stars” gashing its limbs, while in the background, a young and vigorous republic is seen anxiously waiting for the whole carcass.  If I ask, “Where shall vitality be sought?” Echo answers “Where?” If I ask, “Where shall I look for hope?” the very breath of the question extinguishes the flickering taper.  Who, then, can shadow forth the fate that is reserved for this tropical gem of the ocean, where all around is so dark and louring?...  A low voice, borne on a western breeze, whispers in my ear—­“I guess I can.”

Cuba, farewell!

[Note:  The subsequent squabbles between the Cuban authorities and the United States have taken place long since my departure, and are too complicated to enter into without more accurate information than I possess.]


[Footnote X:  I put up at “The Havana House,” where I found everything very clean, and the proprietor, an American, very civil.  It is now kept by his son.]

[Footnote Y:  This was written in January, 1853.]

[Footnote Z:  The Filibustero movement in the United States has caused Spain to increase her military force considerably.]

[Footnote AA:  When first suspected of treason, he had been hunted with dogs like a wild beast, and, with considerable difficulty, escaped to America.]

[Footnote AB:  Those who desire more detailed information respecting Cuba will find it in a work entitled La Reine des Antilles.  Par LE VICOMTE GUSTAVE D’HARPONVILLE. 1850.]


Change of Dynasty.

The month of February was drawing to a close, when I took my passage on board the “Isabel,” bound for Charleston.  A small coin removed all difficulty about embarking luggage, cigars, &c.; the kettle was boiling, hands shook violently, bells rang rapidly, non-passengers flew down to shore-boats; round go the wheels, waving go the kerchiefs, and down fall the tears.  The “Isabel” bounds o’er the ripp’less waters; forts and dungeons, as we gaze astern, fade from the view; an indistinct shade is all by which the eye can recal the lovely

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Lands of the Slave and the Free from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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