Mr. Hollister to Mr. Seward.
Sir: I have the honor to state that this country is in the midst of an insurrection almost coextensive with the limits of the republic. As all regular mails are cut off, it is impossible for me to inform you accurately of the state of affairs, but the large towns, except this, have surrendered to Nessage Saget, the provisional commander-in-chief on the part of the people, who is marching upon this city, as is believed, with about ten thousand men. If this be true, the cause of Salnave is lost, as he cannot have more than one thousand effective troops at this place, and almost all the principal citizens and men of property are ready to join the insurgents on their arrival.
The President receives no visitors, nor advice from any one, but remains at the palace surrounded by a strong guard, and declares that he will burn the town on the arrival of Saget, unless he can repulse him, and that we must all perish together. I have not seen an intelligent person here who doubts that such is his intention. * * * * *
The gallery of my house of legation was fired into by a soldier on the 12th instant. The bullet lodged in the roof of the balcony. I was obliged to go to Mr. Delorme and use very strong language by way of remonstrance. He said it was accidental, should not happen again, and that the offender should be punished. I will say for Mr. Delorme that since my letter to him of the 6th instant, a copy of which I have sent you, he has kept up a strong police in the city and the streets have been quiet.
I beg you to think that my whole time and attention are devoted to the interests of our people here and to the general cause of good order. The house of legation protects from one hundred and fifty to two hundred persons every night, and I have been obliged to sleep there on the floor to keep the inmates quiet.
You would be surprised to witness the consternation that exists here. They think that I am the only person who can protect them and insist on my being with them. Salnave will not allow us to embark any of the men who are in the house, and has kept a guard on the quay to shoot any of them who might attempt to leave the city by ship. As I cannot see you to take your advice, I am compelled to take the best counsel that I can get here, and then act on my own judgment. Firmness alone can avail anything in this crisis, and if I have had any fears, I have at least kept them to myself. I have received but one communication from you since I arrived here. The De Soto remained here twenty-four hours.
Repeating my earnest request that you will send me a ship of war, I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.[Page 358]