No. 217.
Mr. Bassett to Mr. Fish.

No. 214.]

Sir: Referring to my dispatch No. 212, and dated the 6th instant, I have the honor to report that on that day the four secretaries of state were called before the senate, to be there interrogated as to the views and purposes of the Executive relative to the then existing condition of affairs, and that soon after this interrogation the minister of the interior and the minister of foreign affairs tendered their resignations, which were promptly accepted by the President. The late minister of foreign affairs told me that he had retired because he found himself without support to his views in the council of ministers, and it is freely said on all hands here that the former had given his demission because he could not face the storm of popular indignation created against him in consequence of the fire reported in my No. 211, of the 6th instant, and because he lacked the fortitude to breast the crisis which many supposed then to be upon the country. There is scarcely room for doubt, however, that both these gentlemen were influenced in their retirement by the critical circumstances and responsibilities which seemed then likely to come upon the chief functionaries of the government.

Two distinguished citizens of Hayti, Mr. Thomas Madion and Gen. Joseph Lamothe, were thereupon consulted by the President as to their views upon the situation of public affairs, and each in turn was offered a position in the cabinet. Mr. Madion, of whom mention is made in my No. 83, of May 27, 1871, and again in my No. 180, of February 17, 1873, was tendered the appointment to be minister of finance and foreign affairs, as the same was tendered to him in May, 1871. But he declined to accept the tendered appointment, and the minister of justice, Mr. Rameau, was temporarily charged, with the duties of those departments. It is now well supposed that the President has decided to call to the bureau of finance and foreign affairs Mr. Charles Haentjens, father of the secretary of the Haytien legation in the United States. Mr. Haentjens is now supposed to be in the United States, on a visit to his son there. Immediately after it was understood that the President desired Mr. Haentjens to take a seat in the cabinet, his eldest son, a member of the city council here, took passage for Kingston, to telegraph to him the President’s wishes upon this point. Should Mr. Haentjens still be in the United States it is probable that he will avail himself of an early opportunity to return home and assume the duties said to be assigned to him by the President.

The charge of the interior department was offered to General Lamothe, to whom reference is made in my No. 170, of January 6, 1873. After some hesitancy he accepted the appointment. He is a man of experience and intelligence, and will, I trust, prove a material addition to President Saget’s cabinet.

It is worthy of remark that Mr. Madion and Mr. Haentjens were both called to the cabinet here in 1871, and were both compelled to retire on account of charges and assertions made against them at that time by the chamber of deputies, the former being declared under accusation as a minister of President Geffrard, and the other as having once gone into bankruptcy. There can be no question as to the high intelligence and wide experience of both these gentlemen, but the fact that the President has now, in the full presence of the members-elect of the corps législatif, [Page 470] ventured again to call them into his councils, is significant, and seems to show that he must now feel more independent of that body than he did in May, 1871.

I have, &c.,


P. S.—I have just received official notification that Mr. Rameau has retired from the temporary charge of the bureau of foreign affairs, and that the minister of interior, General Lamothe, has assumed that temporary charge.

E. D. B.