Mr. Raester to Mr. Seward.

Mr. Secretary: I have the honor to inform you that emissaries from the rebels of Hayti have lately arrived in this city, and among [Page 371] them is a person named Dejoie, ex-commander of the Haytien dispatch-boat Liberté, which he treacherously delivered to the enemy in exchange for arms and munitions of war, to be used against the constitutional government of the country; and, in consideration of the treaty and the good relations existing between the republic of the United States and the government of Hayti, I must ask you to give orders prohibiting the clearance from this port, or any other in the United States, of all arms, munitions, or contraband of war, intended to foment or supply the rebellion in Hayti.

I also inclose a copy of the Moniteur Haïtien, containing the decree of my government in relation to the two vessels, Liberté and Sylvain, which have fallen into the hands of the enemy, and are now used for committing all sorts of depredations upon the coast.

Please accept the assurance of my very distinguished consideration.


Hon. William H. Seward, &c., &c., &c.



Whereas a few ambitious persons, regardless of the responsibility of causing disorder, pillage, arson, and other crimes in the state, have excited a rebellion and seized the two national war vessels, Sylvain and Liberté, to commit depredations at sea as they are doing on land, by using those vessels to rob innocent vessels, to their own advantage, and to the damage of general interests;

And, considering that it is necessary to make known the injury those vessels are doing to commerce, and to retake them as soon as possible;

Announcing that the laws punish piracy by death, and the law of nations sanctions every measure for the suppression of such crimes;

By the advice and counsel of our cabinet, we decree as follows:

Article 1. Let the vessels Sylvain and Liberté, now in the hands of the rebels, and used against the government of the republic, and in depredations on our coast, be seized wherever found, and punished as pirates.

Art. 2. Every armed vessel is authorized to attack and capture them as lawful prizes.

Art. 3. The present decree shall be published and promulgated by the secretary of state, and the minister of war and marine is charged with its execution.

Done at the national palace, in Port au Prince, this 11th day of August, 1868, in the sixty-fifth year of independence.


By the President:

N. Rigaud, Secretary of State, &c., &c.

A. Tate, Secretary of Finance, &c., &c.

Hilaire Jean Pierre, Secretary of Justice, Public Education, and Worship, &c.