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Union wished to separate local from state or national politics, and nominated Seth Low for mayor. Many Republicans refused to indorse him, and named General Benjamin F. Tracy. The United Democracy selected Henry George, the great labor leader. The Tammany Democrats put forth Robert A. Van Wyck. The Socialist-Labor party and the Prohibitionists also had candidates. The campaign was extraordinary in both the number of parties and confusion of issues. The Sun turned Republican, and the Tribune favored Low. The contest was furious and exciting. As it closed Henry George died and was at once replaced by his son. Van Wyck was elected by a plurality of 80,000 over Low. The Democrats also elected presidents of the five boroughs. Thus closed one of the most memorable local campaigns in the history of the state. The Democrats were also victorious in the state elections (1897).
Nassau County. In 1898 a new county was created in the state. It was called Nassau, and was the smallest of the 61 counties. Its population was nearly 50,000 and it included the towns of North Hempstead and Oyster Bay and part of Hempstead. The new county runs from the Atlantic 22 miles across to Long Island Sound, and is about 16 miles wide. The assessed value is $25,000,000. It became a separate county January 1, 1899.
A New State Proposed. The agitation about Greater New York led to the proposal to form the city of New York and some of the surrounding counties into a new state. The project was even introduced into the legislature (March 22, 1897). This would make the upper state Republican and the lower one Democratic. The
proposition met with little favor from any section or party.
Primary-election Law. Under Governor Black an effort was made to end the shameful frauds long known to exist in the primary elections of both parties. A law was passed to reform the primaries (March 23, 1899). All voters were required to register before being allowed to vote at a party primary. The preliminary election was to occur before election officials by secret ballots. The law gave general satisfaction, especially in the cities.
CHAPTER LVI.—WAR WITH SPAIN AND ITS RESULTS
Causes of the War. The war with Spain took place while Black was governor. In 1895 the Cubans, for the sixth time in fifty years, rebelled against Spanish rule. A ruinous war followed. President Grant had, during a previous revolt, offered "in the name of humanity . . . to put an end to the strife," but Spain rejected the offer. In vain President Cleveland made a similar proposition. President McKinley declared to Congress that the most important problem was duty towards Spain and the Cuban insurrection." The shameful blowing up of the Maine made war inevitable (Feb. 15, 1898). Congress voted $50,000,000 for war, demanded the independence of Cuba, and authorized. the President to use force (April 19). Spain at once declared war, and the contest "in the interest of humanity" had begun.
New York's Part.-From the first New York took an active interest in the struggle. Wealth fears war, hence many merchants and bankers opposed it. But the masses were with the President. The legislature immediately voted $1,000,000 to pay the soldiers and sailors. The sons of New York volunteered with eagerness. They came from farm, shop, pulpit, desk, and college in overwhelming numbers. They were found among the Rough Riders, in the infantry, cavalry, and on the battle-ships. By May 2, 12,000 troops were in camp at Peekskill and Hempstead. Prominent among the army officers of this state was Theodore Roosevelt, the daring leader of the Rough Riders, who resigned his position in the Navy Department to fight for his country.
End of the War.-The three months' war was notable for the wonderful activity of the daily press of New York City. The people had the details placed at their doors almost as soon as they occurred. On August 12 President McKinley declared the war ended. Spain relinquished her title to Cuba, ceded Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines to the United States, which paid $20,000,000 for the latter. For the first time this country held possessions in the eastern world. Many of the natives of the Philippines refused to recognize the sovereignty of the United States and broke out in rebellion. With the capture of Aguinaldo, their leader, the insurrection subsided (1901).
Dewey Honored.-The reception given to Admiral George Dewey, the hero of Manila Bay, by New York was a magnificent ovation (Sept. 29, 1899). The celebration in the metropolis lasted two days and was wit
nessed by 2,000,000 visitors. On the first day New York Bay and Hudson River were black with all kinds of craft to honor the man who "only did his duty." Mayor Van Wyck bestowed upon him the freedom of the city and said: "The greatest reception awaits you that was ever tendered military or civil hero." The great naval parade was led by Dewey on the Olympia, followed by several dozen vessels that had seen service in the war, 100 steam-yachts, and then merchant marine and excursion boats. The line extended several miles up the river past Grant's tomb. The songs, flags and banners, and roars of saluting cannon revealed the civic pride of a chivalrous people. At night the same spirit was manifested in banquets, balls, and fireworks. Greater New York was ablaze from one end to the other. Brooklyn Bridge was aglow with letters thirty feet high reading "Welcome, Dewey," and the grand triumphal arch at Madison Square was lighted up all night.
The Next Day was given up to an ovation on land. The city's guest landed from his ship early in the morning and was driven to the City Hall, where the mayor presented him with a fine gold loving-cup and 1,500 school children sang national hymns. The military parade was unexcelled by any ever seen in the city. On the grand stand with Dewey were prominent men from all parts of the state and Nation. The troops of ten
states joined the navy in the parade. The displays and festivities of the second evening closed the reception. Cities and villages over the state welcomed the victor with smaller celebrations.
Canal Improvements.-The people had authorized the improvement of the canals to the extent of $9,000,000 (Nov., 1895), and it was decided to deepen the Erie and Oswego canals to 9 feet and the Champlain canal to 8 feet. The work began, and in 1897 it was seen that the large appropriation was not enough to finish the work. An investigation was demanded to see whether the money had been properly spent, and also to estimate how much was needed to complete the work. Seven men of ability and honesty were appointed a committee. Their report charged the state officials with carelessness, fraud, and the misuse of at least $1,000,000. The canal frauds thus became an issue in the coming state election.
The Campaign of 1898 was remarkable for the issues and the candidates. It was soon evident that Colonel Theodore Roosevelt, fresh from his Cuban victories with the gallant Rough Riders, was the popular candidate. This the Republican leaders saw, and nominated him for governor at Saratoga (Sept. 27), with Timothy L. Woodruff for second place. The Democrats met at Syracuse and named Judge Augustus Van Wyck of Brooklyn, brother of the mayor of New York City, as governor, and Elliot Danforth for lieutenant-govThe Silver Democrats selected Henry George, Jr., who declined the nomination, and then Henry M. McDonald.
Election of Governor Roosevelt. The situation was uncommon. The Republicans had been in power four years and Black had been an efficient governor, but the canal scandal was charged up to them, and the superintendent of public works was arrested for the misuse of