No. 218.
Mr. Bassett to Mr. Fish.

No. 215.]

Sir: Referring to my No. 212, of the 6th instant, I have the honor to represent that since the date of that dispatch there have been taken some few additional steps in the political drama which is now being enacted here in Hayti.

In my 214, of even date, the changes which have occurred in the ministry of President Saget are recorded. On the 8th instant a meeting of the chamber of deputies was called. General Brice, the gentleman claimed to be president of that body, issued a pathetic appeal (see inclosure A) to his colleagues urging them to present themselves in the chamber that day. But in spite of all the exertions of the majority, only thirty-six members, or one less than half of the seventy-four members that compose the chambers, were present. These thirty-six members drew up and signed a remonstrance against the course pursued by the Domingue faction. In this remonstrance they animadvert upon the course pursued by the Executive in regard to the elections in January and February last. They say upon this point: “The Executive, in demanding the majority of two-thirds should be taken from the seventy-four deputies that should have been elected, has not chosen to note that the proclamation of the state of siege, and the intervention of the military authorities in certain localities, have been the principal causes of the non-election of (the full number of) deputies; that it (the Executive) has no right to profit by the irregularities committed by its own agents, and that it (the Executive) has done nothing up to the present time to remove those difficulties.” The manifesto then calls upon the Executive to order new elections to fill the vacancies which exist, and denounces before the nation the course taken by the minority, calling each one of that minority by name. It alludes also to “intrigues, open and secret,” in a caustic connection.

On the following day the President issued two proclamations. In one of these proclamations, (see inclosure B,) the President expresses in a peculiar tone regret at the dissidence which had arisen in the legislative body. He speaks of his counsels for reconciliation to both factions in that body, and says, touching upon the proceedings of the chamber, that it was not for him to range himself on one side or the other. He says, also, that it would not become him to infringe upon the rights of [Page 471] the people now, when he is at the end of his presidential term, and promises tranquillity and regularity of administration.

In the other proclamation, (inclosure C,) the President convokes the corps législatif in extraordinary session for the first Monday in July next, and this last proclamation has been followed up by another from the minister of the interior, ordering new elections to be held between the 20th instant and the 10th proximo, in the communes which failed to return their full complement of deputies.

I scarcely think any well-informed person here believes that there will be any material bridging over of the dissidence which has arisen in the corps 1égislatif, and consequently that there will be a meeting of that body in July. The Executive having outwardly manifested a conciliatory spirit as to the difficulties and disagreements already shown, will, in case there be no meeting of the legislature according to the President’s proclamation, probably assume, or at least will have little apparent excuse for not assuming, full responsibilities in the matter of carrying forward all the duties devolving upon the government after July next.

I have, &c.,



Chambre des Representants.

Mr. Brice sent the following letter to the deputies present at the capital:

Port au Prince, May 8, 1873.

The president of the chamber of representatives to his honorable colleagues:

Dear Colleagues: The opening of the national assembly is about to take place this morning at 9 o’clock precisely. If we fail to have a majority we shall naturally be obliged to return to our homes, and then what will become of the country? Who will vote the laws? Who will authorize the budgets? Who will regulate the imposts of the people? In a word, who will aid President Nissage to terminate the noble career that he has fulfilled up to the present time?

The failure to have a majority this morning is the dictatorship! . . . . Dear colleagues, it will be those who fail to be present that will bring it about. It will be they alone who will assume in future its responsibility. Reflect well upon all the consequences of your refusal to meet. Reflect well upon the duties and responsibilities of your mandate as deputies of the people. See on which side public opinion leans, and enter not into your respective localities with the conscience charged with the heavy responsibility of having failed to be present at the meeting of the legislative body of your country.

Dear colleagues, I make a last appeal to your patriotism, to your hearts as honest men, to come to the hall of representatives to inaugurate with the senate the opening of the fourteenth legislature of our glorious but too unhappy Hayti.

I salute you, fraternally,





Nissage Saget, President of Hayti

Haytiens: Seeing the time arrive fixed for the meeting of the legislative body, the government awaited with anxiety its organization to submit to it the exposé of the situation and to obtain its co-operation in the acts necessary for the administration of the country.

[Page 472]

But how great has been its deception in seeing break out among the citizens called to compose this grand body, from the commencement of their conference for the verification of their powers, one of the most stubborn misunderstandings.

This misunderstanding has degenerated into a regrettable conflict which has divided them into two opposing parties, thus destroying the majority which ought to have been formed out of their number.

Almost the entire month of April thus passed away in barren discussions, and in spite of my counsels for reconciliation, given to both sides, the matter has become each day graver and graver.

One portion of the chamber, composed of forty-four of its members, met in the usual place of its sittings, and notified me “that they were about passing in open session to the continuation of their labors which had for object the accomplishment of all the acts necessary for the installation of the fourteenth legislature.” This notification was very soon followed by an act of organization in spite of their unconstitutional minority.

It was not for me, in view of the express terms of the constitution, and above all in the face of the protestation of both parties, to range myself either on the one side or on the other.

Finally, an attempt has been made having for object the opening of the national assembly; it has not been able to succeed.

Haytiens, all the acts relating to this regrettable circumstance will be placed before your eyes; examine them, weigh them; you will see that my conduct has been always the same, invariable.

It is not on the eve of the end of my presidential term that it would become me to infringe your rights; but I have the task of preserving the public peace, the security of families; I will not fail to do so.

While awaiting the return of your representatives to accomplish their part of the public duties, the greatest regularity will continue to be maintained in the public service. Long live the republic free and independent!

Long live the constitution.


By the President:
    Secretary of War, &c.
  • O. RAMEAU,
    Secretary of Justice, &c.
    Secretary of Interior, &c.




Nissage Saget, President of Hayti.

Whereas there is a necessity of convoking the legislative body, see the 76th article of the constitution;

And on the advice of the council of the secretaries of states who have recognized its urgency;

Decrees as follows:

  • Art. 1. The legislative body is convoked in extraordinary session for the first Monday of next July.
  • Art. 2. The present decree shall be executed under the diligence of the secretary of state of the interior.


By the President:
    Secretary of War, &c.
  • O. RAMEAU,
    Secretary of Justice, &c.
    Secretary of Interior, &c.