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George Clarke Musgrave website - Return to America Return to America

Lies, Misconceptions and Public Opinion ...
American Authors  - thumbnailAmerican Authors
Despite the pleasures of my recuperation under the Red Cross and the tender ministrations of my lovely volunteer nurse, Mary, I knew that I had to leave my hospital bed and rally again to the cry else all that had been achieved in Cuban fields might be for nought. My book "Under Two Flags in Cuba" was to have been published in the spring of 1898; but the manuscript, together with three hundred photographs illustrative of Weyler's regime in Cuba, and some historical letters that had passed between the Captain-General and Premier Canovas, were seized in Havana with my effects when I was deported to Spain at the beginning of the war. Thus the circulation of that work was curtailed and now, during my convalescence from a prolonged attack of fever contracted in the campaign, and a chest wound from the pistol of an incensed Spanish officer, I must prepare a new work. Yet even as I write, a number of books on Cuba are being issued from the pens of writers who have never set foot on Cuban soil. In each of these the primary cause of the war is omitted, and frequent criticism of the Cubans, based entirely on misconception, is raising doubts of the justification of American intervention in the Island. With the State elections now just a few short weeks away, these false and sycophantic accounts are being taken up as the clarion call of the Democrats, in their pandering to the post-war, anti-imperialist sway of public opinion. ...

From Cuba to Campaigning for Roosevelt ...
Roosevelt election campaign - thumbnailRoosevelt election campaign
Returning from Cuba as a war hero, my friend and mentor, Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt, now has the Republican nomination for State Governor of New York. An air of over-confidence has somewhat weakened the Republican resolve, though, and Roosevelt is under pressure from The Democrats, headed by Richard Croker who has backed the nomination of Augustus Van Wyck, brother of Robert, the incumbent puppet Mayor of the consolidated City of New York. It is, of course, well known that, as head of Tammany Hall, Croker receives bribe money from the owners of brothels, saloons and illegal gambling dens; and that within Robert Van Wyck's administration, he completely dominates the government of the city. Even though the "New York Times" has described the Van Wyck administration as one mired in "black ooze and slime", there is much to be done if Roosevelt is to take his rightful position as Governor. So this time, it was at the ballot rather than the battle that we had to be victorious, and it was with some urgency that I sent a note by courier to Jacob Riis of the New York Sun, volunteering my services to Roosevelt's campaign. By return, I received an invitation to a meeting with the "lieutenants"; Timothy Woodruff, Sereno Payne, David Healey, Frank Smith and Buck Rogers, who pulled me to safety from the sights of a Spanish sniper at San Juan Hill. It was soon decided that under the banner cry of "No Croker Domination", the real record of the war, and of Roosevelt's own heroic and defining action as leader of the Rough Riders, must be told. My role was to deliver as vividly as I was able, a series of free public lectures laying out in graphic fashion the facts and the truths about the war. Other orators would then pick up the themes of patriotism and support for the national administration, with a special emphasis on the fact that only those men with clear and assured records of action should be considered for office. With venues booked, details circulated to every New York newspaper, and public meetings sheduled for every night through October and up to the day of the elections, support for Roosevelt quickly picked up. Whether or not my lectures helped the cause will never be known; nor does it matter. The elections were held on November 8th. with results that not even the most optimistic could have foretold. Roosevelt was duly elected Mayor, but for the first time in history, the Republican ticket also carried every one of the seven posts in the New York State cabinet office - the ideal platform for "Teddy's" subsequent campaign for the White House ...

1899 - a Turbulent Year ...
Chamberlain ultimatum - thumbnailChamberlain ultimatum
Following Roosevelt's victory in the 1898 State elections, his next target was to run for Vice-President on the Republican ticket with McKinley and, for this campaign, he invited me to become a permanent member of his team. "Winning the fight for the White House," he said, "will be as tough as the fighting at San Jaun Hill, and I want you to be part of it." I was proud to accept his offer, even though this meant more time travelling the lecture circuit and more time away from Mary. Through the Spring and early summer, I was also busy with the re-writing and updating of my book which is now to be published as "Under Three Flags in Cuba." 1899 was a year of turmoil in New York and tensions were also escalating on the world stage. In Britain, Lord Salisbury's political manoeuvrings and negotiations on the issues of the rights of the uitlanders, control of the gold mining industry, and the British desire to incorporate the Transvaal and the Orange Free State into a federation under British control, were causing chaos within the South African Republic. The Boers recognised that this would eventually result in the loss of ethnic Boer control and, under a blatant display of filibustering, they ensured that the June 1899 negotiations in Bloemfontein failed. In response, Salisbury's Colonial Secretary, Joseph Chamberlain, formally demanded full rights and representation for every uitlander residing in the Transvaal. This left the Boer with no options and it could now be only a matter of time before war with the British was declared. ...

October - a Turbulent Month ...
Engagement - thumbnailEngagement
1899 drew towards its turbulent conclusion during the first few days of October. My book was published on the 1st; and on the 3rd, I received a telegram from the editor of "Black and White Review," informing me that passage to South Africa was booked for me on the SS Assaye, leaving in two days time. Salisbury's force of 10,000 extra troops landed in Capetown on the 4th, and war with the Boer was now imminent. On top of all this, my head was in even more of a spin because I had fallen hopelessly in love with Mary, my "ministering angel." I could not imagine life without her so, as I was leaving to join my ship on the 5th, I plucked up the courage to propose, and left a much happier man when she accepted ...

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