Mr. Storer to Mr. Hay.
Madrid, July 10, 1899.
Sir: I have the honor to confirm my cipher dispatch of this day, the true reading of which is as follows:
I earnestly recommend the greatest attention should be given to my dispatch No. 17, dated the 27th June. The public and parliamentary interest increases daily.
Since writing that dispatch No. 17 serious outbreaks against public order in Barcelona, Valencia, Zarogoza, and other places have occurred, and, while the riotous demonstrations have mainly been directed in appearance against the imposition of new taxes, it is perfectly understood they have been fomented by interests antagonistic to the present Government of Spain. The apparent unexplained delay in returning to Spain those who are prisoners in the Philippines is used to excite public opinion, both inside and outside the Cortes, for political ends. At the same time the real public opinion, kept alive by sympathy with the sufferings of the prisoners, which rightly or wrongly are believed [Page 684] to be very great, is liable to be moved against any government which, is thought lax or supine in this direction.
The statement officially made on the 8th by the minister of state that he had received a cablegram from General Jaramillo, dated Manila, announcing the release and safe arrival of the garrison of Baler and other prisoners, both civil and military, has added to the interest. The Government here is pressed with inquiries and interpellations, and up to this moment declares it has not been able to obtain the names of those released by Aguinaldo, although it has sent successive telegrams to General Jaramillo. This legation, it was rumored, had official information on the subject, and a deputation of the executive committee of the women of Spain called on me to obtain some assurance. Any details, or even any generalities, that this legation might be able to offer would have an effect not to be measured by the mere facts which can be given.
The impression of the friendly interest and keen appreciation of the importance of this matter on the part of our Government would have a salutary and pacifying result. If the President could have a telegram sent which could be made public, showing his own deep interest and sympathy in any successful efforts to obtain from Aguinaldo the release of these prisoners, I am confident it would have a gratifying effect. Articles translated from newspapers in the United States, showing renewed respect for Spain and sympathy in their troubles and the suffering of those prisoners, which I have been able to send to the Spanish press, have met with wide and favorable comment. The feeling of injury and veiled hostility to the United States in Spain, to judge from what I have thus far observed, is almost entirely among the upper and most highly educated classes. The mass of the people are careless and indifferent as to the results of last year, except so far as taxation has increased and threatens to continue so to do. It is toward the sentiment of this upper and educated class that approaches made in a sincere, yet dignified way, by the friendly spirit of the United States must be directed if public opinion is gradually to be made favorable to our country. The interest and intense sympathy of all this class in the question of the prisoners in the Philippines make it, in my judgment, an opportunity for showing our own feelings of humanity, which it would be wise to not pass over.
I have, etc.,