A year later, writing to his mother from India on 7 January 1897, Churchill
expresses his second thoughts about the articles he had written on his return from Cuba:
`I reproach myself somewhat for having written a little uncandidly and for having perhaps done injustice to the insurgents. I rather tried to make out, and in some measure succeeded in making out, a case for Spain. It was politic and did not expose me to the charge of being ungrateful to my hosts, but I am not quite clear whether it was right.
This above all—to thine [own] self be true And it must follow as the night the day Thou canst not then be false to any man.
I am awar
e that what I wrote did not shake thrones or upheave empires—but the importance of principles do not depend on the importance of what involves them.`
It was not, however. Just courtesy to his hosts that coloured Churchill
`s views when he returned to England after his expedition to Cuba. He foresaw that in the event of a rebel victory the predominant share in government that was likely to be demanded by the negro element among the insurgents, led by Antonio Maceo
, would create renewed and even more bitter conflict of a racial kind and thus reduce `the richest island in the world, the pearl of the Antilles,` to ruin. This was the reason that led Churchill
to view the rebel cause with less enthusiasm than was popular in large sections of the English Press, and among such of his contemporaries as Hubert Howar
d, who was reporting for The Times, but on the rebel side (and who incidentally was one of the war
correspondents later to be killed at Omdurman).
This, too, was the reasoning that led him to look askance at the American Government`s recognition of the rebel forces in March 1896. But when America actually intervened and went to war
with Spain in 1898 there was no doubt where his sympathy lay. Consistent with the views he had expressed more than two years earlier he now saw the opportunity for firm and stable government in an island which was rich in resources but which had been impoverished and debilitated by misgovernment and insurrection. `America can give the Cuban
s peace` he told the Morning Post in an interview on 15 July 1898, `and perhaps prosperity will then return. American annexation is what we must all urge, but possibly we shall not have to urge very long.` The myth has grown up that Churchill
was in Cuba during the Spanish-American war
, and that he had taken the side of the Spaniards against the Americans. Churchill
took every possible step to dispel the myth but it kept recurring, notably at the outbreak of war
in 1939 when an American Congressman implied that Churchill
had actually been an enemy of the United States in the Spanish-American war