Dear old friend: I enjoyed
receiving and reading your letter of the 9th of May, which I have
been unable to answer until today.
I too am pleased that your letters
are long, and that mine give me time to speak somewhat at length
You write about how you have been
unable to forget for a moment how my distance from the revolution
puts me in a predicament similar to those suffered by Tantalus and
Prometheus; nor can I forget it, when I think of what my affection
for South America cost me, on that night in Madison Square when I
bid you all farewell, my friends, the loyal followers of that
short but rough campaign of 1870, during which we fought so hard
for independence without having to set foot on the battlefield.
During that farewell, which today
is my nightmare, I said goodbye unknowingly and unwillingly to
the struggle, responsibilities, passionate joys, and fervent
anxieties of the revolution which with such high designs and such
absolute self-denial I have been evoking since my adolescence.
But let's leave my weary person
aside, and discuss Cuba and Puerto Rico.
. Seeing the natural
strength of the separatist movement in Cuba, and reflecting on the
current development and tendency of common international rights,
I hope that the vote of the Congress and people of the United
States will be lost in the indifference, delays, and transactions
which executives live off of in their mutual fawning,
condescension, and servility.
international restraints Cuba is both with, the better for her
future independent Iife. The greatest disgrace of our societies,
after the ill-fated guidance of Spain, is having to owe the form
and essence of our civilization to already-formed societies.
Oligarchy is as fatal to the autonomy of new or weak nations at
the level of international government as government by families is
at the national level. And unfortunately, the very finality of the
constitution of the right of the people is causing this right-in
order to establish, support, and impose itself-to form an
oligarchy of nations that have
taken over the international. Direction of the world, because
based on what the peace treaty between China and Japan has shown,
Western oligarchic influence now extends all the way
to the East.
The United States, because of
their strength and power, are a natural member of this oligarchy
of nations. To be born under their protection is to be born under
their dependence: for Cuba, the Antilles, and America, for the
future of civilization, it is wrong that Cuba and the Antilles
should cross over to the side of the most absolute power that will
soon exist in the world. It is advantageous to everyone that the
noble archipelago, making itself worthy of its destiny, be the
pivot in the middle of the scales, neither North nor South
Americans, but Antilleans: this is our emblem, and may it be the
purpose of our struggle, as much for today's struggle for
independence as for tomorrow's struggle for liberty.
What flows from my pen is not new
to you nor to our fellow collaborators, who so often, and in
times as critical as the 1870's, have heard even more categorical
declarations from my lips and seen them supported by
Yet as there have been times when
a declaration of war from the United States was the only probable
means of increasing our war resources, I came to fervently wish
for that declaration and today I would celebrate it as a good
thing for the war, as long as requirements for peace were not
What you tell me about Puerto Rico
is in accordance with what I believe and am told by others. There
is, nevertheless, a tendency to defy the unknown, which I would
not condemn, if some probability favored it.
My wife and my eldest daughter,
who share with me the kind affection inspired by your spirited
wife, feel today, as I do, even more fond of her after reading
your words that depict her as such a fervent friend of Cuba.
regards to her from all.
of yet I have only been able to
skim through your poems. You do not have to excuse me from it,
because it bothers me very much. However, I have enjoyed the
patriotic poems and the serious and solemn beginning of Hatuey
very much. From what you have told me of your work at La
Equitativa, you already know that I cannot leave here for now.
Anywhere, I remain your ever
dear and true friend,
E. M. Hostos