Mr. Hollister to Mr. Seward.

No. 6.]

Sir: I have the honor to state that the condition of this city is growing daily worse. Yesterday the President burned down about thirty houses, and threatened to fire into an orphan asylum where there were about sixty little girls, giving them only twenty minutes to leave. We [Page 359] persuaded him at last to give them a reasonable time. He still declares that he will burn the city. Whether he will I cannot say, but I shall do my best to prevent it. If I had a ship of war here, my moral position would be improved. I send an extract from the Jamaica Guardian, (May 25,) relating to Mr. St. John and myself, stating things which are entirely without foundation. We have never attempted to interfere with matters here, except as I have informed you heretofore.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant.


Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.

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 of Port-au-Prince.

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 the consulates.

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 any injury.

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 Port-au-Prince.

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 great rejoicing.

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.