Mr. Fish to General Sickles.
Washington , January 8, 1873.
Sir: I have received and have read with interest your dispatches numbered 501, 505, and 506, the last bearing date December 15, relating to the alleged intention of the Cuban authorities to sell the slaves upon the embargoed estates, and to other measures relating to the administration of affairs in that island.
I have remarked with satisfaction the declaration of the colonial minister in his remarks of December 10, to the effect that he had prohibited the sale of slaves upon the embargoed estates. The circumstance to which you call attention that the minister omits to state that slaves belonging to the government have been liberated, agreeably to the law of July 4, 1870, is significant. The terms of the fifth article of that law appear to be explicit, that “all slaves belonging to the state, for whatever cause, are declared free.” Humanity, as well as good faith, requires that these provisions should be carried into effect, and that these slaves should be set free without delay.
I am, &c.,