I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant.
Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.
Jamaica Guardian, May
Hayti.—Arrival of Her Majesty’s Steamer Phœbe.
Her Majesty’s steam frigate Phoebe, Captain Bythesea, arrived at Port
Royal on Saturday evening from Port-au-Prince, whither she had been
sent from St. Jago de Cuba, by instructions received at that port
per “Caravelle,” on the 16th instant, from Commodore Phillemore.
On her arrival at Port-au-Prince she found the President entrenched
within the city, the revolutionists surrounding it, and encamped
within eight miles. The President had called upon the inhabitants to
take up arms in his defence, declaring that every citizen, above the
age of eighteen, who refused or neglected to take up arms for the
protection of the government of the dictator, would be treated as a
rebel, and punished accordingly. A general conscription had
followed, and about five hundred men constituted the national guard
The army of Generals Hector and Nassage were hourly looked for, and a
dash upon the capital was expected; for this critical moment Salnave
was preparing, and the fortifications around the national palace
which commanded the town had been strengthened by guns in front of
the palace gates.
The dictatorship had been publicly proclaimed.
The foreign consuls still refused to deliver up the refugees within
Her Majesty’s steamer Royalist had arrived, but not knowing that the
insurgents had got possession of the light-house at the entrance of
the harbor, and extinguished the light, she got ashore in the
channel, being deceived at night by the light of a vessel in port,
which she mistook for that of the light-house.
The channel is difficult and dangerous. The Royalist remained for
fourteen hours in the mud, without being able to obtain any
assistance whatever; she eventually got off without having sustained
Salnave, at the head of a large reconnoitering party, had marched
from Port-au-Prince, to discover the position of the revolutionists
who threatened him, but, after a distressing march of seven miles,
failed in meeting with his adversaries. During the march the troops
of the president were fired upon from heights and from the bush,
where the insurgents concealed themselves. The party, therefore,
returned to Port-au-Prince, with the loss of about ninety men, in
the manner we have described.
Salnave, however, determined upon making an attack, and he was busily
engaged in preparations for the conflict when the Phœbe left
Strong remonstrances had been made by Mr. St. John, the British
consul, and Mr. Hollister, the American minister, against the
threatenings of the authorities, and particularly to the terms of a
proclamation issued to the effect that if the citizens of
Port-au-Prince did not, within two hours after the promulgation of
the order, present themselves in arms, in front of the palace gate,
the most rigorous and determined measures would be adopted against
the city. The said proclamation stated that this would be the last
and only notice the President would give. No person was permitted to
leave the capital, and the expression of opinion was prohibited.
Mr. Hollister, backed by the guns of Commodore Boggs and the United
States steamer De Soto informed the government that it would be held
responsible for any damage that might be done to the property of
peaceful citizens, and for the property of American citizens in
particular. Salnave replied that the proclamation was issued with
the design of frightening his own subjects into obedience, but that
he had no intention whatever of carrying into execution the threats
which the proclamation held out.
When the Phœbe sailed into the waters of Port-au-Prince, there was a
Salnave, in an order of the day, which appears in the Moniteur of the
16th, says the revolution has been brought about by correspondence
from Jamaica, which has influenced the opinions of the foreign
press, run down the government, and destroyed its credit.