« הקודםהמשך »
ence that it could not now be instituted or dishes for poison, he would not be making a tolerated by the Spanish people. Similar friendly visit. The harbor could not be considerations might be thought to apply to dragged without giving offense; it could our own prize-fights. During the progress not be patrolled by our own picket-boats at of the last bull-fight that I attended, several night, nor could the search-lights be kept poor, docile horses were killed under circum- going: but every internal precaution was stances that were shocking to the American exercised that the situation suggested. mind. In a box near that which my friends There were sentries on the forecastle and and I occupied, a little girl ten or twelve poop, quartermaster and signal-boy on the years of age sat apparently unmoved while bridge, and a second signal-boy on the poop, a horse was prostrate and dying in prolonged all of whom were charged with the necessity agony near the middle of the ring.
for a careful lookout. The corporal of the As to the circular that was given to me guard was specially instructed as to the port before going to the first bull-fight, it may be gangway, and the officer of the deck and the stated that I received a second copy through quartermaster as to the starboard gangway. the Havana mail. That copy was probably Instead of the usual anchor-watch, a sent by some American, who judged it to be quarter-watch was kept on deck at night. important. I sent it home, and afterward it The sentries were supplied with ammunition; was reproduced in the newspapers. I think a number of rounds of rapid-fire ammunition General Lee sent a copy of that circular to were kept in the pilot-house and in the spare the secretary-general of Cuba, Dr. Congosto. captain's pantry inside the after-superstrucThere was nothing to do in respect to the ture. An additional supply of shells was circular, even though I had believed it an kept at hand for the six-inch guns. In order influential attempt to foment disturbance. to be prepared more completely to work the Every precaution that could be taken against hydraulic mechanism of the turrets, steam injury or treachery was taken on board the was kept up on two boilers instead of one; Maine, so far as could be permitted under the special instructions were given to watch all restrictions of my orders requiring me to the details of the hydraulic gear and to remake a friendly visit. If one, when dining port defects. The officer of the deck was with a friend at his home, were to test the charged by me to make detailed reports, even
CAPTAIN SIGSBEE IN THE CAPTAIN'S CABIN ON BOARD THE “MAINE."
in minor matters, acting on the suspicion that Cubans. These were chiefly representatives we might be in an unfriendly harbor. I per- of the refined class in Havana, who took sonally instructed the master-at-arms and great pride in visiting the ship-more, perthe orderly sergeant to keep a careful eye haps, than I could have wished, in view of on every visitor that came on board, and to the situation. There must have been three charge their own subordinates to the same or four hundred of them on board from time purpose. I instructed them to follow visitors to time. They were warmly demonstrative about at a proper distance whenever the ship toward us, and at first were inclined to ask was visited below; they were carefully to us to return their visits. I believe some of watch for any packages that might be laid the Maine's officers took advantage of their down or left by visitors, on the supposition invitations; but I always explained that my that dynamite or other high explosives might position in Havana was a delicate one, that be used. They were also required to inspect I desired to know socially both the Spaniards the routes over which visitors had passed. and the Cubans, but that I should not feel The officer in charge of the marine guard free to accept hospitalities until the Spanish was required to make at least two visits dur- people first showed a willingness to accept ing the night to the various posts of the the hospitalities of the ship. I often made vessel. The purport of my own orders and inquiries in a rather jocular way as to the instructions was that we should consider the politics of the ladies who visited the ship. Maine in a position demanding extreme vigi- The ladies pointed out to me visitors of differlance, and requiring a well-sustained routine ent shades of opinion, but I have my doubts both by day and by night.
whether any of them were really in sympathy Until the night of the explosion nothing with the Spaniards. I let it be known everywhatever was developed to show that there where that it would please me greatly to was any special need for extreme vigilance. entertain the Spanish people on board, and Many people visited the ship, chiefly in made considerable effort to bring about the parties. It is probable that nearly all were desired result, but without success. It was
evident that the Spaniards would not visit would not come at all, and that there was a us socially; they would do their official duty, general understanding that the ship should but would not go beyond it.
not be visited by Spanish officers, except I finally decided to make a very special officially. effort. I knew two charming young Spanish I then believed that I had made all the ladies of American descent on their mother's effort that was proper to put the visit of the side. Both were engaged to be married to Maine on a friendly plane socially. I made Spanish army officers. Their father had been no effort thereafter beyond continuing to a Spanish officer. All their associations had make it known in a general way that Spanbeen in Spanish military circles. They as- iards would be welcomed. For about two sured me that it was a mistake to suppose that days after the arrival of the Maine, her the Spaniards would not visit us in a friendly officers were not permitted to go ashore; way. To demonstrate their view, they offered after that they went freely, day and night. to bring aboard the Maine, on a certain day, During the whole visit the crew remained a party of Spanish officers. The ladies came on board, with the exception of an occaat the appointed time, their mother being sional visit to the shore, on duty, by some one of the party; but with them there was well-trusted petty officer. I regretted very only one Spanish officer, and he was in what much to retain the crew on board, because we might call a civil branch of the army. it had been my custom to give liberty freely Each lady gave a somewhat different excuse before visiting Havana. Even the bum-boatfor the absence of the officers, which only men did not seem to care especially for the served to make it clear that the officers custom of the men, doubtless because of the
THE WARD-ROOM OF THE "MAINE."
background, and facing him is Lieutenant Jenkins, who was lost.
undercurrent of feeling against us. The tary authorities; but it had never been excrew never complained - not in a single in- pected of me to visit the members of the stance that I am aware of; they took the legislative council of a British colony. I situation philosophically. I myself drove was therefore greatly surprised to find that through the streets of Havana, day or night, it had been reported to the United States entirely alone, just as I liked, without hin- government in Washington that I had failed drance of
any kind. To all outward appear- to visit the members of the autonomistic ance Havana was as orderly a city as I have council. I got several telegrams from the ever seen.
Navy Department referring to the matter. Prior to the destruction of the Maine, I The despatches may not have been clearly was unwittingly involved in one case of deciphered on board the Maine, but I did not official friction. According to precedents, I gather from them that I was required to was entirely in the right. The autonomistic make a visit to those officials. I hesitated government of Cuba had been established to act without decisive orders after the by General Blanco. The members of the matter had been carried to the government government were much-respected gentle- at Washington. Finally, I thought that I men of the island. As captain of the Maine, could detect in the telegrams a desire on the I was not expected to show any political part of the Navy Department that I should, preference, but it was my duty to preserve of my own volition, make the visit. good relations with the government as it General Blanco had then returned to existed. In visiting the captain-general, Havana, where he resumed his custom of who, as already stated, is also the gover- giving receptions to gentlemen on a certain nor-general, and the naval authorities, I night in each week. General Lee had made thought I had fulfilled all the courtesies re- an appointment for me to visit General quired by usage; therefore it had not oc- Blanco officially the next day, and I took curred to me to visit the civil members of advantage of the reception to promote good the autonomistic council. In my cruises feeling. In civilian's evening dress, I atabout the West Indies, I had made visits to tended General Blanco's reception with Gencolonial governors and to the naval and mili- eral Lee, and took pleasure in the act. I said
to General Blanco that I attended his recep- position. I informed the gentlemen that tion that evening informally, and that I there had been no time since my visit to would come officially the following day, ac- Havana when I should not immediately have cording to appointment. General Blanco is given myself the honor of visiting them had a fine type of the Spanish gentleman-a man I received an intimation that a visit would of distinguished bearing and address. I re- be agreeable. I stated that I had not made marked to General Lee that General Blanco a visit because I knew no precedent for it might pass for a very benevolent United in naval etiquette, and that visits to civil States senator. This was a double-edged officials on shore, if in excess of usage, might compliment intended to cut favorably in not be taken kindly, because a return visit both directions. At the reception and on all afloat might not be convenient. I expressed other occasions General Blanco received me the pleasure that I should take in going as most kindly.
far beyond precedent as might be agreeable Soon after our arrival at the reception, to them. If permitted, I should visit the General Lee introduced me to Dr. Congosto, council officially the following day, after the secretary-general of Cuba. Dr. Congosto which I hoped the gentlemen of the council immediately said, “May I introduce you to would visit the Maine and receive a salute. the members of the autonomistic council ?” The next day, with General Lee, I called on I replied that the introduction would give me General Blanco officially, just as I had called great pleasure, and that I should gladly have on General Parrado when he was representing acted on an earlier invitation. I was then General Blanco. I admired General Blanco as introduced to several members of the coun- a man and as a patriot, and desired to receive cil, including Señor Galvaez, the president. him on board the Maine and do him honor. All were men that one would feel greatly I gave him an urgent invitation, stating at the honored to meet, whether officially or pri- same time that I knew it was not necessary vately. I thought that I had a right to speak for him to return my visit personally. He plainly, because I had been put in a false seemed pleased, and remarked pleasantly