Mr. Biddle to Mr. Fish.
San Salvador, April 10, 1873. (Received May 5.)
Sir: Referring to my dispatch No. 111, I have the honor to inform you that the late earthquakes have sensibly diminished, both in force and frequency, and it is hoped that there may soon be an entire cessation.
None of the inhabitants have other shelter than that of tents or temporary shanties, and, as the rainy season is making an early approach, many anticipate epidemic fevers from the continued exposure and excitement.
Santa Secla, a neighboring city, about eight miles distant, and some seven hundred feet higher than San Salvador, seems to rest on a firmer foundation, for its buildings have been but slightly disturbed, and many refugees have found shelter there, not only in the dwellings, but in temporary sheds erected in the open squares.
The same exemption from injury in this locality was observed during the earthquakes of 1854. Hence a large body of the population favor the transfer of the capital to this city, but I have not heard that the governmental resolve to construct anew San Salvador has been reconsidered.
It is worthy of observation that while all buildings of brick, adobe, stone, plaster, &c., have been utterly demolished, the few light frame houses remain unscathed, and will greatly influence the character of future structures.
Prices of food, furniture, and of all necessary articles have risen greatly, and a monetary distress is apprehended.
The general financial prospects have for some time been precarious, and the late “temblores” have checked the pursuits of the metropolis and vicinity, not to speak of the actual agriculture.
The peace has been admirably maintained, and President Gonzalez has received many enconiums for his successful efforts to this end.
Alluding to the late commotions in Guatemala, he assured me that they consisted now of only a few guerilla bands, who lurked in the fastnesses of its mountains, and that all really organized insurgents had been dispersed; that the trifling difficulties in Honduras were subsiding to rest; and that there were no indications that enemies abroad or at home would avail themselves of the present confusion to disturb the peace of Salvador. But news has since been received of the arrival at San José de Costa Rica, en route to their native land from foreign asylum, of ex-President Cerna, ex-Minister Enrique Palacios, and other leaders of the reactionary party in Guatemala, who may there fan into a fierce blaze the dying embers of revolt, and involve Salvador in the general conflagration.
I have, &c.