Mr. Hollister to Mr. Seward.
Sir: I have the honor to state that our situation here is still very critical. The presence of Captain Eastman in this port has enabled me to maintain my position, as well with the government as with those who are trying to overthrow it. Without being able to hear from you, I have been obliged to act on my own judgment, and have done, in my official character, just what I would have done in my own private affairs.
* * * * * * *
I ask, as a special favor to President Salnave, and to me, in behalf of the interest of both republics, that you will intercede with the Secretary of the Navy, that Mr. Melville, of the United States ship of war Penobscot, may be detached from active service for the period of two years. I assure you that, in my judgment, the cause of humanity and civilization responds to this request.
Salnave is the only man in Hayti fit to govern the country. The common people love him as their protector and friend. He has been obliged to do what we did in our rebellion, and has shot, for base treachery, a few persons who were better dead than alive. Perhaps I was in the wrong, but I have interceded in behalf of others. The executions which have taken place, as the President assures me, were not in retaliation for the murder, in cold blood, of five or six hundred common people, some of whom were women, shot by the insurrectionary chiefs.
The state of things here, sir, is truly horrible, and something positive must be done for this desolated country. The poor people are suffering beyond what I can tell you of. Commercial interests are nearly destroyed, and unless decisive measures are taken by the only power which can desire to have any relations with the island, except to plunder its people, everything that belongs to a nationality is lost.
I refer you, sir, to a letter of this date, written to the Secretary of the Navy, by Captain Eastman, of the Penobscot, to confirm the sentiments expressed in this letter.
I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.[Page 362]