Mr. Williamson to Mr. Fish.
Steamship Honduras, off Acajutla,
San Salvador , October 12, 1873. (Received November 4.)
Sir: I have the honor to inform you that the day before I left Guatemala, (October 9, 1873,) it was officially communicated to me by Mr. Samayoa, prime minister of President Barrios, that news had just been received that Palacios was still at Puerto Cabello and had about five hundred men; that he had furnished a military chief called Barron a (who had some reputation as a sort of barbarous guerrilla) with arms and about fifty men; that this man had marched to a point within a few leagues of Comayagua, and having gathered on the way about four hundred additional men, gave battle to the troops of Honduras and defeated them. He was not strong enough to pursue his advantage, but was threatening Comayagua, where President Arias was with about four hundred men, who had no military commander of any experience. He also stated that he believed Arias would be overthrown unless the troops of Guatemala and San Salvador arrived in time to save him. He said Guatemala had dispatched into Honduras five hundred men in addition to the seven hundred she already had there, and that San Salvador had sent one thousand. He also expressed the opinion that Medina, the ex-President of Honduras, who has been for a long time held as a prisoner at Comayagua, had been shot. All these statements were corroborated by information conveyed to me on the same day, in unofficial conversations, by the British minister and the French and Italian chargés d’affaires. These gentlemen also expressed an opinion, which I had also formed, that the main object of Guatemala and San Salvador in sending troops into Honduras was to suppress the revolution inaugurated by Palacios, but that when that point was gained the two governments would unite to compel President Arias to resign, so as to give way for a man of respectable talents and character, called Ponciano Leiva. This [Page 108] person was at one time minister of foreign affairs under Medina, in which position he acquitted himself very well. The complaint of the governments of Guatemala and San Salvador against President Arias is, that he is unpopular and inefficient. I know nothing of the justice of this complaint, hut my information is that he is a lawyer of fair reputation and has neither military skill nor tastes.
I postponed writing from Guatemala so as to be able to gain further information at this port. Here I am told President Medina has escaped and joined the troops of San Salvador, and that San Salvador has sent two thousand instead of one thousand troops into Honduras, and, moreover, that it is reported the forces of Palacios are scattered in the mountains around Comayagua.
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You are too familiar with the difficulties of obtaining reliable information here to feel any astonishment if all the facts and inferences above set forth should prove incorrect.
I expect to arrive at San Salvador to-morrow.
I have, &c.,