Chargé Sleeper to the Secretary of State.

No. 162.]

Sir: In continuation of legation despatch No. 160, of the 25th instant, relative to the insurrection, I have the honor to report that the general situation is somewhat improved. Although Pino Guerra continues active in Pinar del Rio, and a considerable number of insurrectionists are gathered in Santa Clara Province, conditions in the provinces of Mantanzas and Habana are much better and as yet there has been no disturbance in Camaguey and Santiago de Cuba.

Regarding the number of men in the field, it is generally said that Guerra has about 2,000 well mounted and moderately well armed, the government forces opposing him numbering about 1,200 and being daily increased.

It is difficult to say how many insurrectionists there are in Santa Clara. The Government claims that they number about 1,000, but unofficial reports give them several hundred more.

In this connection I beg to inclose copy of decree No. 370, of the 25th instant, providing for the increase of the government forces, and copy in translation of a note from Secretary O’Farrill, No. 680, of the 28th instant, conveying information as to the relative numerical strength of the Government and the insurgents.

Yesterday the President issued a proclamation (translation inclosed) granting amnesty and promising nonmolestation to all insurgents [Page 458]who will lay down their arms. The Government believes that many of them are anxious to return to their homes and will avail themselves of this opportunity, but I think it useless as yet to venture an opinion as to the probable effect of the proclamation.

I beg to advise the Department that neither Luis Perez nor Carlos Mendieta, the latter being now under arrest, have ever been actually in arms against the Government, the insurrectionist leader in Santa Clara Province being General Guzman.

In closing I beg to say that I have been reliably informed that Cuban bankers are refusing loans to planters and cattle raisers which, naturally, further complicates the present situation.

I have, etc.,

Jacob Sleeper,
Chargé d’ Affaires ad interim.

[Inclosure 1—Translation of Decree No. 370.]

Considering that it is absolutely necessary for the restoration of peace to the country to amplify my decree of the 20th instant, I hereby order the following:

First. A call is issued to all Cubans allied by their ardent love of country, for its order and peace, who are in condition to do so, to form a temporary national militia, which shall not only cooperate in their respective provinces with the government forces to reestablish the reign of law, but shall be subject to orders to assist wherever their services may be necessary.

Second. This militia will be organized into companies and squadrons, said divisions to consist of 1 officer, 2 sergeants, 4 corporals, and 100 soldiers.

Four companies shall constitute a battalion and four squadrons a regiment, under the command of a superior officer (colonel), who shall have an adjutant under his orders.

While they remain in service, the chiefs of battalions and regiments shall receive $200 monthly, adjutants $125, officers $100, sergeants $85, corporals $75, and soldiers $2 per diem.

Third. All those disabled while in the service of the national militia shall continue to receive the stipulated pay during the time of the disturbance to public order.

Widows and orphans, or where these do not exist, mothers of those who die in service, will receive pay during the same time.

Fourth. These forces shall be under the orders of the brigadier chief of the rural guard.

Fifth. To defray these expenses (organizing militia) and any others that may be incurred to establish normal conditions in the Republic, the necessary money shall be taken from the surplus in the treasury.

The secretaries of government and treasury are charged with the carrying out of the present decree in all that appertains to their departments.

T. Estrada Palma.

Rafael Montalvo,
Secretary of Government ad interim.

[Inclosure 2.]

Secretary of the Department of State and Justice to Chargé Sleeper.

No. 680.]

Mr. Chargé d’affaires: As I promised you in our interview of yesterday, I transmit to you herewith a statement showing the insurgent forces operating against the Government and the government forces opposing them.

[Page 459]

In the Province of Pinar del Rio there are 800 insurrectionists, nearly 300 of whom are armed, divided into several bands, the most important of which, under the command of Pino Guerra, took refuge in the hills after being repulsed in their attack upon the town of Guane.

The Government will institute a vigorous campaign as soon as the arms and ammunition ordered from the United States are received, and it hopes to crush the revolt in a short time.

Pino Guerra occupied and abandoned the towns of San Luis and San Juan y Martinez without damaging or attacking property.

In the Province of Habana the number of insurrectionists at one time reached 400. The active campaign of the government forces, however, the frequent encounters in which the insurgents were always defeated, and the death or capture of the principal leaders have reduced them to such an extent that there is but slight doubt that peace will be a realized fact in a few days. Those remaining in the field are constantly surrendering.

The rebellion in the Province of Matanzas is at an end. It did not reach any alarming proportions, because the factions were neither well led nor numerous. At most the insurgents numbered less than 100 men and were without arms.

In the Province of Santa Clara the revolutionary movement is of importance because Gen. José Miguel Gomez, the leader of the present rebellion, was for seven years governor of the province. The various factions number close to 1,000 men, of whom the greater part are unprovided with arms. Several bloody battles have taken place and have been only so many defeats for the rebels. Several of the leaders have been made prisoners, and already many of the insurgents have surrendered.

Santiago and Camaguey provinces remain quiet. Advices received from them assure us that order will not be disturbed.

The Government has sufficient resources to reestablish order and crush the rebellion in a short time.

There are at present in the field against the insurrectionists 3,500 rural guards, 250 artillery, and 2,000 militia, the numbers of the last being daily increased.

Public sentiment is favorable to the Government, and proofs of loyalty and attachment, and condemnation of the rebellion are daily received from all classes of the Republic.

It will afford me great pleasure to advise your honor of all that occurs of importance.

I reiterate, etc.,

Juan F. O’Farrell, Secretary.
[Inclosure 3—Translation.]

Department of Government to Gen. Alejandro Rodrigues, Chief of the Forces in the Field.

General: By direction of the President, I communicate to you as follows:

Give instructions to the chiefs operating in the provinces of Pinar del Rio, Habana, Matanzas, and Santa Clara, recommending:

First. That they grant to all prisoners or others presenting themselves, repenting of their error, the privilege of returning peacefully to their homes.

To this are excepted those prisoners captured while in command of bands. They shall be detained in the respective camps, until the Government resolves to restore them to liberty, or place them at the disposition of the special instructional judge.

Second. All rebel chiefs who in battle surrender themselves together with the men under them, or who voluntarily lay down the arms of themselves and men, shall likewise be allowed liberty in order that they may peacefully return to their families.

Third. All those so returning shall be assured of no further molestation and may rededicate themselves to their occupations without any fear whatsoever.

Rafael Montalvo,
Secretary of Public Works ad interim of Government.