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VOLUME LXXXIII.— NO. 87.
THE NATION PREPARES FOR WAR WITH SPAIN THE PRESIDENT WILL NOT BE CARRIED AWAY EVIDENTLY HE FEARS THE WORST Time Is Wanted in Which to Get Ready for Hostilities. There Is Such Grave Danger in the Situation It Is Essential to Calm the Public Mind i if Possible. WASHINGTON, D. C, Feb. 24.-The Call correspondent was informed to night by one of General Lee's closest friends that a letter has been received by him from the American Consul=Gen= eral at Havana in which he states his firm belief that the Maine's destruc= tion did not result from accident, but from design. But, notwithstanding General Lee's letter and the press reports cabled from Havana, the President is await= ing the result and cannot be carried off his feet by the excitement, which has been renewed. It is stated on the best information that, notwithstanding the reports from General Lee and other officials, he will await the report of the Naval Court before making any recommendation to Congress. There seems little doubt, however, that the administration is preparing for trouble. The hope that war may be averted is growing weaker, but the little hope there is left will sustain the Government in the effort to keep down public excitement as long as possible. The sudden conservatism of the Senate arises from a conviction that a rupture with Spain is about to oc cur, and a desire not to run the risk of any false step which would enable Spain to shift ground and fix the im mediate responsibility for the con flict upon this Government. The situation, too, demands that nothing should be done in this country to give excuse, however poor, for a popular uprising of the Spanish in Cuba. The declaration by Senator Thurs ton in the Senate that it would be a grave misfortune if our strained re lations were to come to a crisis be fore the completion of the Maine in quiry, voiced an apprehension which is felt by those most familiar with the situation. The accident theory of the explo sion is no longer seriously consid ered. The most conservative view is that the chances of an accident being shown are so slight that they are not worth arguing. There is good reason for believing that the theory has been abandoned entirely by every one officially i n touch with the situa tion and that the men in Congress i who would be relied upon for advice ! and support are no longer in ignor- I ance. & But it would be folly, and it is so recognized by the strong men in | The San Francisco Call Congress, no matter what has been their attitude toward Spain, to have anything said or done by responsible authorities which might hasten the crisis. Indiscretion here, either on the part of Congress or of any executive official, might endanger not only the prosecution of the inquiry, but the lives of General Lee and our officers now in Havana. Moreover, there is need of time for preparation for war. There are many things to be done which might be impossible after a declaration. For this reason it is be- I lieved that the investigation by the board will be prolonged as much as j possible. The danger cf their posi tion will render it necessary that the investigation in Havana be finished speedily, but on the return of the board to Key West their work will proceed with deliberation. There is an impression about Con gress, in quarters where "impres sions" usually have semi-official foundation, that sufficient evidence has already been found to make it no longer a matter of doubt that the Maine was destroyed by design. A cable message was received in Washington from Madrid to-night i saying Senor Sagasta denounced as ' absurd the report that a submarine mine destroyed the Maine. He says such reports are circulated in order SAN FRANCISCO, FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 1898. PREPARING FOR WAR. TOPEKA. Kans.. Feb. 24.—Al though every effort has been made to suppress it. active prep arations for war have been in progress in Kansas for several days past. Orders were re ceived from Washington by offi cers at Forts Leavenworth and Riley to have all men ready to take the field within twenty-four hours' notice. Both forts were the scenes of great activity yesterday and to-day. It is said the men and accoutrements are now ready for immediate action. to excite the American citizens to recognize the belligerent rights of the Cubans. But, notwithstanding Sagasta's cablegram, the Govern ment officials are to-night strongly convinced that the Maine was blown up by design or by the Spaniards. The Call correspondent learned to night that when Sagasta's cablegram was received the State and Navy De partment officials, after searching the archives of the State Department, found a letter from the Premier of Spain in which he sought to prove to the satisfaction of the United States t*»Tt *h<? rebels could never succeed in taking Havana because the harbor was so well defended by torpedoes and submarine mines. It is under stood that the Spanish Government even went into details as to these harbor defense works, and that the letter will be given out for publica tion to-morrow. The tone of the conservative press of the East has entirely changed, and to-day, without exception, the newspapers declare the accident theory must be abandoned and that preparations for war cannot be ignored. Even the Philadelphia Ledger, heretofore conservative, changes tone to-day and says it must be ad mitted the Government recognizes the gravity of the situation and the combination of circumstances that may lead to war, and is preparing for trouble. The refusal of State. War and Navy Departments to give out some of the dispatches from Havana is considered ominous. There seems to be no doubt that preparations for war are being made. The commandant at the Marine Bar racks has received orders to hold his entire force of marines ready to de part on a moment's notice. To-day an intimation was given that they might be sent to Key West the pres ent week. Word has been sent to the Naval Academy at Annapolis that the cadets there may be required to hold themselves in readiness. The gradu ating class, it is said, will be the first called out, but all of them may be pressed into service. It is undoubtedly the present plan of the Government, in the event of actual hostilities, to blockade the port of Havana and shut off all sup plies. It is believed Havana could not resist such a blockade two weeks and that a surrender would follow. GRUESOME RELICS FROM THE MAINE. The Divers Still at Work Bringing Up Ghastly Fragments From the Murky Waters of the Harbor. Copyrighted. IS9B, by James Gordon Bennett HAVANA, Feb. 24.— The scene on and around the wreck to-day was one of great interest. All day long divers i from the wrecking tug Right Arm were 1 descending into or ascending from the j murky waters that wash sullenly about the Maine's scarred fragments. Now and again one of them came up with some grim souvenir of the horror. A few personal friends Have been given some of these relics by officers of the Maine. Dr. Gallagher, an American physician now visiting here, has a piece of the table at which poor Jenkins was believed to be sitting, when, at the sound of the explosion, he started to his post of duty, only to go to his death. Other relics fondly cherished by those who have them are the little nickel number plates, scores of which have been brought to the surface clinging to splinters of wood that were once portions of the officers' berths. All this floating debris is being re moved as rapidly possible so as not to MENACE TO A HOSTILE FLEET. Battery of Sixteen Twelve-Inch Rifled Mortars at the Presidio. Each Gun Is Capable oF Throwing an Eight Hundred Pound Steel Projectile a Distance of Six Miles. impede the divers as they work farther into the bottom of the hulk. Captain Magee of the wrecking tug will soon begin using dynamite in small quantities to remove such portions of the iron and steel beam--, deck braces, etc., as now obstruct his men's work. Thin slings of dynamite, much like thin pieces of tape, are used for this purpose. The tape is wrapped about the obstruct ing portion of the wreck at a point where it is desired to sever it. The dynamite girdle is then exploded ana amputation is made as neatly as bread is cut with a knife. Around the Maine, until 5 o'clock this evening, when the little Rache ran over toward Key West with four more of the wounded, lay the Mangrove, the Bache and the Fern. The Mangrove, on which sits the Board of Inquiry, is the center all day long of a fleet of small boats which seem drawn toward her as a magnet attracts steel filings. These are the boats of the newspaper correspond ents, to whom nothing can be vouch safed officially until after the close of the session, and not much then. A hundred yards or so beyond the Bache, wallow ing idly at her anchors, rides a dingy black barge. There is no life aboard her. but across her thwart rest several white pine boxes newly made, and above her two or three of the harbor's great winged scavengers flap their pinions lazily and soar around in circles. This is the Maine's floating morgue. Tnto this grim barge of death are car ried such bodies as are now recovered and there they swing with the tide until taken away for interment. In a close cordon tightly drawn around the wreck and the wrecking tug, which lies close against what used to be the Maine's star board quarter, the blue-clad tars of the Alfonso XIII still keep watch and warn off boat loads of curious persons who attempt to come too near. I boarded the Mangrove this afternon while the Board of Inquiry was still in session, just as a party of Cubans, in cluding four ladies, came alongside, re questing permission to inspect the ves sel. They evidently shared the impres sion, quite common here, that the little lighthouse tender is one of America's ships of war. Captain Belden received them with genuine naval courtesy, and through the aid of the Herald's inter preter bade them welcome and detailed an officer to escort them through the boat, all of.it. save the cabin, where the august tribunal which no man may ap proach was still hard at its task — a task which may be pregnant with the fate of nations. The session of the Court of Inquiry this afternoon was devoted to taking the testimony of two civilians (Americans) who saw the explosion from the deck of the Ward Line steamer iCty of Wash ington, that was moored a few hundred yards from the Maine, and of two divers who have been at work on the wreck for several days. j CONCLUSIVE PROOF THAT FIENDISH TREACHERY DESTROYED THE MAINE Even the Naval Officers at Havana, While Officially Silenced by Orders, No Longer Seek Seriously to Hide the Appalling Fact From the Newspaper Correspondents. Copyrighted, 1898, by James Gordon Bennett. HAVANA, Feb. 24.— 1n the light of discov eries made yesterday and this morning there is no longer any reason to doubt that the explosion which wrecked the Maine came from underneath the vessel, and that her magazines had nothing to do with the initial explosion and played a much smaller part in the general disaster than was at first supposed. I can say it as coming direct to me from a source as authentic and trustworthy as any that exists here that siuce the important discovery re ferred to was laid before the court yesterday after noon the one member who was inclined to give the accident theory the benefit of the doubt has wholly abandoned the* view that the initial explosion came from the inside of the ship. The evidence that has served to con vince the board was secured by Ensign Powelson, an officer attached to the Fern. Mr. Powelson was formerly in the construction corps and took a two years' special course in the Glasgow School of Naval Architecture. He is, therefore, a competent witness. What he discovered was that the forward part of the keel of the Maine with its ribs and plates were stove upward so far that parts of the shattered double bottom show out of the water, and in places sections of the green-painted outer hull are visible. My informant did not think it was necessary to make any comment; neither do I. The lips of navy officers have been sealed by one of the most stringent ar-i peremptory orders ever issued by the Navy Department, and by which they are commanded to give no information to any one regarding this investigation. Right here I wish to fully exonerate Mr. Powelson. He has held no com munication with me of any sort and I would not know him if I were to see him. In a previous dispatch I have de scribed how the ten-inch and six-inch magazines were unseated and hustled from their place in opposite directions and diagonally with the line of the keel. To this I am able to add that the for ward boilers were overturned and wrecked. There were no fires under these boilers at the time of the explo sion. The fires were under the after boilers only. Corroborative of the evidence given by Powelson and of equal significance and importance is the result of the close examination made' by divers yes terday. What they found indicated that PRICE FIVE CENTS. the explosion came from a point be neath the keel. A plumb line dropped from a point just forward of the con ning tower would have lain the lead, I am told, exactly on the spot where the explosion that hove the keel and plates and ribs almost to the surface occurred. The main force of the explosion seems to have been exerted slightly on the port side of the vessel. This is consistent with the facts heretofore as certained. Collectively these now in dicate that the contents of the reserve six magazines were exploded by the in itial blast and that there was no explo sion in either of the other two. In the reserve magazine was stowed 2500 pounds of powder in coppe tanks, each of which contained 200 pounds. A number of these tanks have been found by the divers, all crushed and shapeless masses. It is important to note that in the six and ten inch tanks recovered the excelsior used for pack ing the charges shows no injury from flame or gases. The powder stowed in the six-inch icserve was used for saluting purposes only. The magazine itself appears to have been utterly destroyed, only a few traces being left to show the spot where it was once located. The underpart of the ten-inch maga zine is wholly inaccessible to divers. In the upper aisle is a tightly wedged mass of powder cylinders, too heavy for the divers to extricate, but appar antly containing unexploded charges of powder. The Dow torpedo tube of the Maine has been located in the wreck. It lies in the debris forward, submerged several feet under water. These are the facts as I have obtained them from sources that I believe to be entirely trustworthy and authentic. Now I have not had the slightest hint from any member of the court as to what the verdict will be. That would be impossi