previous next
[138] eyes, said: ‘I want you to understand, sir, that, martial law or no martial law, the rights of American citizens must be and shall be respected, and I demand the immediate release of this American citizen, whom you have no right to hold.’

Lee immediately returned to his office, put his demand in writing, cabled the situation to Washington, and asked for a war vessel to enforce it, if necessary. Our State Department cabled him to know ‘why he had changed his policy.’ Lee replied:

I have made no change of policy.

I am simply demanding that the rights of American citizens shall be respected. If you approve of my course, send me a war vessel. If you do not, accept my resignation, which goes by to-day's mail.

Weyler reconsidered, released the prisoner, and Lee cabled that the vessel was not needed.

Some time afterward the department informed him that the Maine would be ordered to make a friendly visit to Havana. Lee remonstrated; his common sense convincing him that the visit of a war vessel to Havana, in its then excited state, would probably be disastrous. Unfortunately, the war vessel had sailed, and was beyond the reach of recall. You know the result. What was left of the Maine, after it was blown up, lies undisturbed in the harbor of Havana, but still remains a vivid memory. I recall this matter because of the erroneous, popular belief at the time, and to some extent since, that the Maine was sent at the request of General Lee.

The war soon came on, and General Fitz Lee returned to headquarters at Washington, where, upon arrival, he received the most genuinely spontaneous and heartfelt ovation ever accorded, I believe, to an American citizen by the rather blaze residents of our capital city.

He had fairly won the hearts of the country, and from that time became its most popular citizen, and so remained until death cut short his brilliant career, to which, I firmly believe, fresh laurels would have been added if he had been spared to gather them.

So manfully and triumphantly had he maintained the rights and interests of American citizens on foreign soil, as the representative of the United States, that all prejudice against him as

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Havana, N. Y. (New York, United States) (3)
United States (United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Fitz Lee (6)
Weyler (1)
George Washington (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: