No. 371.
Mr. Bassett to Mr. Fish.

No. 288.]

Sir: Referring to my No. 276, of the 23d of January last, I have the honor to represent that on the 22d ultimo my colleague of France caused to be made at the national palace the formal presentation of the diplomas and decorations conferred by President MacMahon of the French Republic upon President Saget of the Haytian Republic. I did not attend the ceremonies, but. I am assured that there was considerable effort to make them impressive, especially as it was claimed, and probably correctly, that President Saget was, with only one exception, the first President of any of the Latin republics of this continent who had ever received “so honorable a mark of distinction.”

The presentation speech of my colleague (inclosure 1) was read by his chancellor, my colleague himself being absent on account of indisposition. Both his remarks and those which his excellency gave (inclosure 2) in acknowledgment of them I take to be mostly, if not purely, complimentary.

At the conclusion of the presentation ceremonies, toasts were proposed and drunk amid the roar of saluting artillery. Among the toasts, as they are printed in Le Moniteur, was one from the keen, shrewd minister of foreign affairs, (inclosure 3,) who seldom speaks without a meaning. In it may be found, I think, a sort of epitome of some of the very natural reasons which have always kept the eyes of Haytians turned toward France. It struck me as quite worth looking over.

The diploma of President MacMahon (inclosure 4) has a tinge of royalty about it, but I suppose it is given in the ordinary form.

I send inclosed also a copy of Le Moniteur of the 28th ultimo, containing a report of all the proceedings herein referred to.

I am, &c.,

[Inclosure 1 in No. 288.—Translation.]

Speech of the French minister.

President: I am happy to have to remit to your excellency, as a striking proof of the esteem and the sympathy of my government, the cross of grand officer of the Order of the Legion of Honor.

President, may such a testimony, which is merited only by the bravest and most powerful, prove to you that your conduct at the head of the government of Hayti has all the sympathy of the government of France and of the President of the French Republic, Marshal MacMahon, Duke of Magenta.

May you, President, such is the good wish of France for Hayti, assure, as much as it is in your power, peace and tranquillity in the bosom of your country, which nature has made eternally rich and civil discords so often unhappy.

[Inclosure 2 in No. 288.—Translation.]

Reply of President Saget.

It is with sincere gratitude that I receive this so precious souvenir of France.

That noble country was lately most unfortunate, but it inclosed in its bosom the most considerable material resources, and, above all, many devoted and generous hearts, and among them we count in the first rank the marshal, Duke of Magenta.

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France has already regained her self-possession, and all political parties are happily convinced of the necessity of maintaining public peace. By the wisdom of his government, the marshal, Duke of Magenta, maintains and causes to prosper this peace.

From the bottom of my heart I desire the best success to his conciliating and conserving policy toward all the interests of France.

Mr. Consul, you know all my long-standing sympathy for your country, a sympathy which would be increased, if it were possible, since France has accepted the republican form, [of government.] You and myself, Mr. Consul, have learned to know each other since a long time; you could not, therefore, fail to know of my policy all [in the interest] of peace and conciliation.

[Inclosure 3 in No. 288.—Translation.]

Toast proposed by the minister of foreign affairs.

Mr. Consul: We are happy to draw your attention to the enthusiasm with which each one hastens to come to render homage by his presence to Marshal MacMahon, and to thank him for the honor which he does the Haytian nation in conferring upon the chief of its government the cross of grand officer of the Legion of Honor. This mark of high distinction can only cement the good relations already existing between the two peoples.

Hayti, as you know, is the emancipated daughter of France. These two countries have constantly been mindful of the close ties which unite them. It is the French language which is our language; it is French books that instruct our youth: it is most often French ideas which stimulate us and make us gravitate toward progress. Also penetrated with the sympathy of Hayti for France, our statesmen have always endeavored to maintain between the two countries the best relations of peace and friendship. The government of President Nissage felicitates itself for having contributed to tighten again these good relations, and it is from the bottom of my heart that I invite you, gentlemen, to drink with me for their maintenance to the prosperity of France.

[Inclosure 4 in No. 288.—Translation.]

Marshal MacMahon, Duke of Magenta, President of the French Republic, to General Nissage Saget, President of the republic of Hayti.

Desirous of giving you a striking testimony of our personal esteem, we have conferred upon you the cross of grand officer of the national Order of the Legion of Honor, and we hasten to remit you the insignia of this dignity. We felicitate ourselves on the good relations established between our two countries, and we are happy to recognize openly that, under your conciliating authority, a loyal and scrupulous execution of treaties has rendered every day these relations more intimate and more sincere. In sending you this token of the remembrance (marque de souvenir) of France, which so many interests and so many sentiments of sympathy unite to Hayti since its origin, we are pleased to make our good wishes for the prosperity of the Haytian Republic, and to renew to you the assurances of our attachment.

Thereupon we pray God that He will hold you in His sacred and holy keeping.

Duke of Magenta.