Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 17.djvu/59
Memoir of Gen, C. B, Wheat 51
to war for principle. Such was the case in the American Revolu- tion; and the memory of Lafayette and our French allies is hallowed in every American heart for coming to the assistance of our fathers in their struggle for freedom and independence, after they had them- selves taken up arms against the misrule and oppression of the mother country. But the march of mind is onward, and philan- thropy does not now await the uprising of the oppressed before going to their assistance, as was the case in Texas, but hastens to help by striking the first blow for the down-trodden, as we shall do for the Cubans. Does any one doubt the propriety of our under- taking ? Let him remember that it is our duty to do to others as we would have them do to us. Does any one fear to do it ? Let him return.** [Just at this point the Cuban flag was run up to the mast- head and flung to the breeze.] "Liberators, behold your flag! Three cheers for Cuba ! Soldiers of the Liberating Army of Cuba, if we have not been misled by the Cubans themselves, we have under- taken the most philanthropic and praiseworthy enterprise of ancient or modern times — that of giving liberty and equality to an oppressed and degraded people, who have now neither civil nor religious lib- erty. Only let them be true to us and to themselves, true to hu- manity and its inalienable rights, and ere long, instead of their flower-scented air being laden with the sighs and groans of dun- geoned captives, it shall resound with the shouts of deliverance and the songs of praise and thanksgiving to God, the gracious Giver of every good and perfect gift. Yes ! all the people of the land shall hail you as their benefactors for the bestowment of those blessings which are the proud portion of our own dear native land,
' The land of the free and the home of the brave.*
" You are aware, fellow-soldiers, that we have come from the United States without arms, without organization, without previous concert to commit any act which may compromise the peace and dignity of our own government. Nor do we intend to violate inter- national law, unless revolution be so considered ; and we must make ourselves successful, and secure the acknowledgment of Cuban in- dependence. Then, soldiers of the Liberating Army, while you gaze on the Lone Star of Cuba, resolve to make it the bright beacon to victory and renown.
- Ycu will now proceed to divide yourselves into ten equal com-
panies, forming a skeleton regiment, and select your officers ; after which they will draw lots for rank. And may success attend not