Mr. Schmitt to Mr. Fish.
Santiago de Cuba, December 4, 1873. (Received Dec. 18.)
Sir: I have the honor to inclose herewith a list of the captain, Joseph Fry, and crew, captured in the Virginius, who never came to the jail except for a few hours before their execution, ordered by the captain of the port, (commandant of marine, i. e., major of marines,) executed on the 7th day of November, 1873, at 4 o’clock p.m. Yesterday morning the prisoners, ninety-two in all, taken from the steamer Virginius, were conveyed from the city prison to the Morro Castle, and, seeking information, with Capt. D. L. Braine of United States steamer Juniata, of the governor here, he informed us they were sent by his order there, for the health authorities objected to the crowded jail.
This morning at 3 o’clock a.m. these persons were removed on board the Spanish man-of-war Bazan, secretly, by order of the captain-general of Cuba, and conveyed to Cienfuegos, thence by railroad to Havana.
Captain Braine protested against this covert act as contrary to the understanding with him. The governor fell back upon his orders from [Page 1082] superiors. We then visited the hospital, and found ten persons sick there, two of whom claimed to be Americans. The governor informed us that they were all to be sent to Havana as fast as they recovered. The feeling here is intense against Americans. We ought not to be left one day without a vessel of war in port, or probably the vice-consul would be ordered to leave the island by the volunteers or members of the Casino.
The government are now ordering all persons of over twenty-two years of age, residents there, to take arms as volunteers. The organ of the Casino Español in this place has repeatedly called on me, vice-consul, to refute some articles purporting to have been published in the Jamaica and Panama papers regarding Brigadier Burriel; I have not nor do not intend to reply. The three United States ships here intend leaving to-morrow for Key West, to meet Admiral Scott.
I have, &c,