No. 264.
Mr. Langston to Mr. Evarts .

No. 17.]

Sir: In great haste, on the 6th instant, just as the mail was closing, I wrote and transmitted my No. 15, in which I advised you that a Spanish man-of-war had, on the 3d, anchored in this port, coming for the purpose of making inquiry with regard to the trial, conviction, and sentence of a Spanish citizen, D. José Santisi. This Spanish man-of-war was the Sanchez Barcaïztegui, Capt. Don Antonio Ferry y Rival, from Santiago de Cuba. After remaining from the day of her arrival to the 12th she left, and on the 14th another Spanish man-of-war, the Don Jorge Juan, Capt. José Maria Autran arrived.

The arrival of the first man-of-war produced considerable excitement. Her sudden departure and the arrival of the second, especially since it had been reported that the latter had come bearing an ultimatum of the Spanish Government with reference to matters in difference between it and the Haytian Government, and with instructions, if the “ultimatum” was not accepted, to bombard this city, increased greatly the excitement, and no little anxiety was exhibited by all classes of the people and the government. This whole matter assumed in a few hours a very serious character. The second man-of-war did come bearing the ultimatum of the Spanish Government, translation of which ultimatum is herewith inclosed.

When the Haytian Government had prepared its answer, a translation of which is herewith inclosed, it invited the gentlemen, members of the corps diplomatique, residing in this city, to a conference upon the subject at the national palace, at 5 o’clock p.m. on the 18th. There were present the President of the Republic, members of his cabinet, with several distinguished politicians and statesmen of the country, and the ministers and chargé d’affaires of England, America, Germany, France, Liberia, and the consul of the Netherlands. The ultimatum and the answer were read, and the President and the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Justice gave full and concise explanations of the several matters of grievance presented therein, to which the attention of the corps diplomatique was particularly invited.

After a brief private conference of the members of the corps, it was concluded that each member should submit his own judgment to the [Page 419] authorities of the Haytian Government according to his own sense of propriety and duty. In this conference, as well as at a meeting of the corps held at 12 o’clock meridian of the same day, I stated frankly and positively that I could not consent to allow any one, not even the Dean of the corps, my excellent colleague, R. Stuart, esq., to speak for me upon such matter, under such circumstances. I considered the matter delicate; and by no fault of utterance or injudicious expression of opinion, must my government be compromised. My position was at once approved, and each member of the corps spoke for himself. I simply stated that I should report the facts of this matter as I understood them to my government, and that I should await such instructions as it saw fit to give. This was substantially the position of each member of the corps.

I inclose herewith the note sent me by the government inviting me to attend the conference, the first in its original French and the second the translation.

The President and the members of the cabinet explained with general satisfaction the facts concerning the trial and sentence of Fernandez, Santisi, and Despeaux, as well as the charges of indignity to the Spanish flag, insults to the Spanish consulate, and the “many omissions of respect” to Spanish officers. As against the statement of the ultimatum the explanations of the government were submitted with apparent sincerity and a lively consciousness of their truthfulness. I have not been able to examine the records of the courts to verify the correctness of the explanations forwarded upon judicial investigation, nor to make inquiry as to the others, beyond the declarations of the government.

The members of the corps diplomatique did not go to the palace unadvised as to the attitude of the Spanish Government toward the Haytian. Captain Autran had, early on the morning of the 18th, transmitted to the Dean of the corps a dispatch, a copy of which in Spanish, with translation, is herewith inclosed, communicating the purpose of his visit.

As already indicated, the corps, at the invitation of the Dean, met to hear read and consider as far as the attitude of the Spanish Government concerned the rights and interest of our respective governments and had relation to our duty with respect to the Haytian Republic. At this meeting, after due interchange of views, it was concluded that the position to be taken by each one of us was, first, as far as our different governments are concerned, to put ourselves upon guard as to their rights and interests, and to demand, whatever may be the grievance of Spain as against Hayti, and however the former may attempt to secure redress, indemnity, or guarantee, no right and no interest of our respective governments is to be invaded or jeopardized; and, secondly, in so far as any duty toward Hayti, enjoined by considerations of humanity, or international law, or usage, pertains to all or either of us, it must be met with wisdom and courage.

These propositions I had the honor to advance and sustain to the approval and acceptance of my colleagues and I do not doubt that they will receive your indorsement, and my conduct in this behalf your approval.

Early on the morning of the 19th, the Dean of the corps diplomatique invited the members thereof to another meeting, when we were advised that the matters of difference between the two governments in all probability could be settled in an amicable manner; that Captain Autran might consent to settle, even in the manner proposed by the Haytian Government, all the matters in debate except the one described in Section 2 of the ultimatum. The captain would insist, Ave were told, according [Page 420] to his instructions, that the insult named in this section be effaced by salute of the Spanish Pavilion with 21 guns, by the Haytian Government, as required in the ultimatum. The corps, as a body, simply heard the statement of the Dean, and without advising formally special action by the Haytian authorities, adjourned.

Learning shortly thereafter that the adjustment indicated could be accomplished, and that the Haytian authorities, upon more mature reflection, were prepared to admit that the charge as presented in Section 2 of the ultimatum was substantially true, I concluded and so stated to President Canal and the Hon. Felix Carrié, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, that it seemed to me to be, under the circumstances, wise to comply with the conditions named. The expression of this opinion, I am persuaded, had no inconsiderable influence in bringing the President and his advisers to the conclusion to fire the salute of 21 guns as required, and settle thereafter other matters of dispute according to the terms and their answer.

Agreement was had accordingly, and on the morning of the 20th, fifteen minutes before ten o’clock, the salute of 21 guns was fired from the Haytian man-of-war, le Mil-huit-cent-quatre, (the eighteen-hundred and four), answered by a response from the Spanish man-of-war. The response, though not altogether formal, was satisfactory. Besides, exchange of ceremonies and friendly visits were made by the officers of the Haytian Government and captian of the Spanish man-of-war; and the captain with commendable haste paid his respects to the President of the Republic at the national palace.

Thus a matter of difference which bade fair to become very serious was adjusted without disturbance of national or international relations, without the loss of life or damage of property.

Although the corps diplomatique, as already stated, took no formal action in the premises, and did not in terms direct the Dean as to the course to be pursued, it so far and in such manner expressed the hope and indicated the desire and purpose to have every proper and legitimate step taken to amicably settle the differences, that the Dean, understanding this very well, performed his duty with vigor and wisdom, to its satisfaction.

It is proper that I state, in this connection, that he took no steps without advising freely with me; and the merchants and citizens generally, as well as the authorities of the government, express hearty commendations of our prompt, and, as they say, wise action in behalf of national peace, order, and harmony.

Quiet and good order now prevail here. Business confidence is steady, and the adjustment of the differences of the two governments is warmly approved.

I am, &c.,

JOHN MERCER LANGSTON.
[Inclosure 1 in No. 17.—Translation.]

Commandant Autran to the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

To His Excellency Monsieur the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Haytian Republic:

Sir: The difficulties between the Spanish Government and that of Hayti, resulting out of insults received by the Spanish nation in the capital even of the Republic, have reached such a point, and the opposition of the Haytian Government, at the same time, to satisfy the rightful claims which ours has constantly made is so tenacious, that the Spanish Government has taken, finally, its resolution, in such a violent situation, [Page 421] it pretends as much as it is its right, that its flag be respected, and its representatives be shown the respect which is due to them.

The unjust condemnation which has recently been pronounced upon a Spaniard named D. José Santisi, and the unfruitful results which my predecessor, the commander of the Barcaiztequi, has obtained in favor of his liberty, as result of his innocence, proved by the decree of the Tribunal of Cassation, circumstance which had not been brought to the knowledge of Monsieur Terry, nor the copy of the declarations which were favorable to Santisi, and which prove the unjust decree of the said tribunal, all this indicates clearly that the Haytian Government is not inclined to act with the justice which is proper, and that motives which I do not allow influence it to follow a line of conduct which is as dangerous as it is incomprehensible.

The Government of His Catholic Majesty does not intend to remain any longer inactive, and in the instructions which I have received through the medium of my immediate superior chief, who commands me to press the demands made, confiding this delicate mission to the navy, that it may act in the form and measure necessary, that the Spanish honor and dignity remain at their natural standard.

Now, I must frankly state that the past grievance and the recent one of Santisi are of such a nature that they form part of those for which I came to demand redress. The demands presented by the consul of Belgium, Mr. C. Fitter, in charge of the consulate of Spain, have proved ineffectual, and the desire of the Haytian Government to prolong this state of things, humiliating to the last degree for the glorious Spanish flag, so manifest that I have resolved to take upon my shoulders the responsibility of making the following demands; but before formulating and giving to them the solemn character of last pacific manifestations; before leading you to believe that my absence from this port indicates, for a future more or less near, demands supported by sufficient forces, it becomes my duty to recall to the Haytian Government the number and the character of the injuries received by Spain, in order that by these means the justice and equity of the reparations which I am about to demand may be understood.

1st. The Haytian Government, which ought not to misunderstand the independence of its own judicial power, which, during the command of General Domingue, had condemned to three years of forced labor the insurgent Cuban D. Manuel Fernandez, which ought to know that the sentences of this power are without appeal, that a change of chief, in the executive power, does not authorize them to modify its legal and solemn sentences, which are the only guarantees of social life; and if the sentences of this power, pronounced after having recourse to all the competent tribunals, are absolutely obligatory in the territory where they are pronounced, they are much more so when some interest of the foreigner is in question; that this interest, in the present case, is the honor of the Spanish nation, which peremptorily demands the punishment of a man who, without recognized flag, a prescript and outlaw, has outraged her in this same territory, and who holds the perfect right to let fall the weight of the law itself on him.

This government at length, which knows all this, but which, according to all appearance, is disposed to trample on all, not only despises its own judges and the laws of its own country, but which, by opening new judgment on the said Fernandez, or pretending to annul the last one, darts open insult to the Spanish nation, which holds the unquestionable obligation to repress it.

2d. The President, the government, and the Haytian marine, which ought not to be ignorant of the mutual interchange of courtesy to which are bound all civilized people, without exception, and which received the visits of the commander of the Spanish war-steamer Bazan, in August of last year, allowed themselves the insolent liberty of not returning them. This offense to the flag of Spain and many omissions of respect to our officers as the result of such attitude do not require commentaries, and do not call for any efforts of imagination to show the necessity in which the Spanish Government finds itself to seek immediate redress.

3d. Between the 10th and 11th of October, also of last year, Haytian subjects, and with them some Cubans, insulted the Spanish consulate, with the cries of “Down with Spain, and long live free Cuba!” and the authors of these insults have not even been punished on the pretext that these acts occurred during the night, and that the authors of it could not be recognized, unless they were designated by the consulate. Your Excellency is perfectly aware of the fact that no government whatsoever can, in any case, require of foreign representatives the duty of pointing out and recognizing natives or others; nor hope that in a matter like the one which occupies me, it would be proper for the consul to seek to identify persons, in order to denounce them to the local authorities. Every government has the exclusive mission to guard the inviolability of the foreign domicile, and to use the force at its disposal in order to prevent its being insulted or degraded, and it is absolutely incumbent upon it to punish the promotors of such like acts of savage felony.

4th. The 3d of March of this year, a Mr. Despeaux insulted the Spanish flag hoisted at the consulate. This fact, according to notification of the Haytian Government, was [Page 422] given cognizance of at the Department of Justice, and nothing has resulted from it. Neither does this fact call for commentary of any kind.

5th. During the first days of July of this year, various stupid vagrants trampled under foot the Spanish Pavilion, at the doors of a panorama, without any other satisfaction having been received of the Haytian Government than the inadmissible narration that this flag had been torn by the basket carried by a saleswoman on her head and around which it had become twisted. Your excellency will readily perceive that such an excuse, were it sufficient, is but a new insult added to those which I have just brought to your notice.

6th. and last, comes recently the condemnation to death of the Spaniard, D. Jose Santisi, whose unjust judgment and the unwonted sentence have been qualified by the Belgian consul, who is charged ad interim with Spanish affairs here, as a “judicial murder,” and this signifies that the Haytian Government, denuding itself of all sentiments of honor and justice toward Spain, pretends to throw down the gauntlet to us, not knowing assuredly, in its insane delirium, that it will be taken up at fit time and circumstance.

For this reason, and as reparation to the Spanish nation, so unjustly offended, the Haytian Government will give the following reparations:

1st.
In any one of the batteries of the forts, or on some vessel of war, the Spanish Pavilion shall be hoisted and saluted with twenty-one guns, for the effacement of the insults of which I have spoken to Your Excellency, and which are signaled in paragraphs 2, 3, 4, and 5. The Haytian Government will at the same time officially promise to Mr. the consul of Belgium and to the Dean of the consular corps in this city, that it will effectually seek out and punish, if they are found, the parties to these excesses, and especially Mr. Despeaux, who to the present time has remained unpunished.
2d.
The government of President Boisrond Canal will immediately impose on the insurgent Cuban, D. Manuel Fernandez, the punishment of three years’ forced labor, to which he has been condemned by the competent tribunal and in the full enjoyment of its legal functions.
3d.
The Haytian Government will order that the Spanish subject, D. José Santisi, will be immediately handed over to me unconditionally, unless that in the short delay which remains to the government it be fully proved that he be guilty, and in that event that no other penal laws be imposed on him than the one applicable to his case by the code.

In order that the Haytian Government may have sufficient time to meditate on its future acts, I grant it a delay of seventy-two hours, or three days exactly; this delay passed, and whatsoever shall be the result and the decision which the said government may take, I shall leave the port and will go to Santiago de Cuba, in order to give account of my mission to the authorities which have sent me.

I shall feel a deep sentiment of regret if the Haytian Government, not duly considering the justice of the Spanish cause, should persist in refusing the reparations demanded; but this sentiment would at the same time be counterbalanced, in view of this consideration toward Spain and my government, whose reputation stands perfectly shielded against all censure, since repeated efforts have not been wanting in order to avoid a rupture, which, if it becomes inevitable in a future more or less distant, will fall down forcibly and solely on the heads of those who have themselves provoked it.

In the meanwhile I pray God to have your excellency in his holy keeping.


JOSÉ MARIA AUTRAN.
[Inclosure 2 in No. 17.—Translation.]

Mr. Carrié to Commandant Autran.

Monsieur le Commandant: I have received through the medium of the Chargé of the Consulate-General of Spain your two dispatches of the 17th instant, the first one remitting an extract of the instructions which have been transmitted to you by the admiral of the Spanish squadron of the Antilles, the second containing a recapitulation of the grievances of His Catholic Majesty against the Government of Hayti, and presenting the reparations which, without previous discussion, you demand of it in a space of time which must not exceed seventy-two hours.

I have hastened to communicate your dispatches to the President of the republic, in his council of secretaries of state, and I must not let you remain ignorant of the fact that my government, without wishing to discuss at present all the facts advanced in the last, reserving for itself this discussion for a more seasonable period, has been painfully affected by its expressions, which neither spare its just susceptibilities nor those of the nation whose destinies it directs. Whatsoever the motives which may [Page 423] have dictated a dispatch of such importance, the international right assuredly imposed upon it the obligation of abstaining from all offensive and unmerited expressions, inasmuch as the most constant preoccupation of my government has ever been to conserve always in its intercourse with the foreign agents accredited to us that respect of diplomatic usage which establishes so much better the justice of a cause, inasmuch as it only makes use of the force of real and decisive arguments, completely void of all injurious expressions.

Right and justice commanded, under the circumstances, a kindly reciprocity. In proof of my assertion, I take to witness the high impartiality of all the diplomatic agents constantly in relation with us; and I even doubt that the Consul-General of Spain in Hayti could dispute the evidence and the veracity of it in presence of the long correspondence which my government has had the honor to exchange with him on the different questions which occupy us still until this day.

The opinion which I have just expressed in regard to diplomatic forms and proprieties does not seem to me to be foundationless. It is approved, you will admit, by the authority of the greatest publicists and lawyers, and it is sustained by these masters, whose precepts are followed by all civilized nations of the globe, that my government shall examine, in due time, with your own, if it will allow it, the communications which you make and the grievances which you have accumulated against it.

With a Consulate-General of Spain acting in Hayti, your government has thought that it was necessary to confide to its navy the care of settling the difficulties pending between our two governments, and the first dispatch which you have had forwarded to me sets forth in a lengthy manner your grievances. You do not submit them, as I have already stated, to previous discussion, and, without waiting for any reply from us, you dictate the reparations which you demand.

It has seemed to my government that such a course of proceeding was little in conformity with the usages of contemporaneous international right, audit has always believed, not without some reason, perhaps, that the signification of an ultimatum which gives a mandatory a considerable power, namely, that of placing in peril the greatest national and foreign interests, should only be done after exhausting entirely all measures of conciliation of the nature of preventing a violent rupture.

To listen to the grievances of your government, placing under the eyes of commissioners, provided with full powers, all the correspondence exchanged to that effect by our respective agents, all the papers pertaining to it, enlightening the questions by means of the torch of truth, supported by the opinion of the great masters of the science of law, exposing the causes of the loyal conduct which we have constantly held, placing the commissioners of Spain in position so as to judge in an impartial manner to recognize the grievances, if any are really found, to discuss and establish definitely the just claims which they might occasion—such was Mr. le Commandant, the duty of my government, and it pertained to you to put it in a way to be able of fulfilling it in a manner worthy as well as loyal.

You have thought differently and preferred the resource of the ultimatum.

Our right, our duty, our dignity, demand that we protest against such a proceeding, to repel with energy, but with the circumspection due in such circumstance the intentions and the stand taken which you attribute to us, to have desired to give insult to a nation, whose sovereign has received from President Boisrond Canal, from the very accession of the new government, as proof of his desire of maintaining and of binding more closely our good understanding, a letter which until this day has remained unanswered!

Nothing, however, has been able to alter our sentiments in regard to Spain.

We have attributed to you having more pressing occupations the delay which the President of our Republic has personally experienced. The annoyances of all kinds which we have had to endure, we have attributed them not to resolutions settled on beforehand by Spain, but to interested suggestions, to a concourse of circumstances, the effects of which have been felt as growing out of such a state of affairs, and we concluded that the moment would arrive when all these difficulties would be settled.

After your dispatch, after the signification of your ultimatum, remains there yet place for propositions of conciliation and good understanding? We believe so. For my government, in presenting to you its painful emotions in protesting against your ultimatum, has kept itself within the law, and has respected all the usages enjoined in like circumstances. It is here that the principle of reciprocity would prove blamable, for it is not allowed to do that which is blamable. Hence, if Spain desires it as we do, the moment has arrived for Haytian and Spanish commissioners, clothed with full powers by their respective governments, in order to open conferences in relation to our pending difficulties, that we may settle them, allotting to each the part of responsibility which ought to rest on him; thus we will arrive at establishing for the future real relations of peace and good unity. This is what I have the honor to propose to you in the name of my government. A question of law and justice can only be settled in accordance with immutable principles, wherein lies the force and greatness of nations.

[Page 424]

I shall not conclude, Monsieur le Commandant, without informing you of two resolutions of my government. One will already have been accomplished when you shall receive this dispatch.

The members of the diplomatic corps have been called together at the national palace, and we have given them cognizance of your dispatch and of my answer, which I transmit to you through the medium of your Consulate-General. We have deemed it our duty to act thus under the circumstances, for the foreign interests which will find themselves involved (in case of a rupture), from which may God protect us, are so extended, that we must take all the measures which are necessary to release us from responsibility, and to let those bear the weight on whom it belongs—that of the gauntlet which is thrown to us out of motives which the entire world may be able to appreciate. This last consideration has dictated us the second one of our resolutions.

We will hasten to give publicity to a memorial which shall relate all the facts of our difference of opinion with all the pieces of the demands annexed.

The opinion of my government, I do not hide it from you, Monsieur le Commandant, is that the Government of His Catholic Majesty will feel how necessary it is to enlighten itself before having recourse to extreme measures, which assuredly it would regret later; if it would discover too late that unfortunate promptings had caused it to deviate from the path of right and truth; a path which it has always followed when called upon to settle differences with nations which sustain relations of peace and good friendship with it.

It is in the firm hope, Monsieur le Commandant, that the propositions of my government will be accepted by that of His Catholic Majesty, for whom I have the honor to beg you to be pleased to receive the assurances of my highest consideration.

F. CARRIÉ.
[Inclosure 3 in No. 17.—Translation,]

Mr. Carrié to Mr. Langston .

Mr. Minister: In view of the attitude taken by the commander of the Spanish aviso, the Don George Juan, and of the ultimatum which has just been signified to us, the government, in a conjuncture which threatened as well the foreign interests in Hayti as our own, has thought that it could not do better than submit to you its answer to the Spanish commander as well as the ultimatum which it has received. It begs you kindly to repair to-morrow at five o’clock in the afternoon at the national palace, in order to take communication of these papers.

Be pleased to receive, Mr. Minister, the assurances of my very high consideration.

The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs,

  • F. CARRIÉ.
  • Mr. J. M. Langston,
    Minister Resident of the United States of America at Port au Prince.
[Inclosure 4 in No. 17.—Translation.]

Commandant Autran to the British consul .

To Mr. Consul of Her Britannic Majesty, Doyen of the diplomatic body in this place:

(Aviso Don Jorge Juan.)

Sir: The unjustifiable and violent attempts of which Spain has been the object, on the part of the Haytian Government, at different times, have at length produced the fruits which were to be expected. Those attempts have assumed distinct forms, all of which are most insulting and offensive; and although the Government of His Catholic Majesty, very much occupied with matters of a far different nature and of the highest importance, has not yet bestowed special attention on such a state of things, it considers them now of such magnitude, that they have driven it to demand the reparations which are due to it, and which, if delayed, would cause a deep wound to the dignity of one of the noblest and most valorous nations of the earth.

The conduct pursued by the Haytian Government is inconceivable, and I have the certitude that circumstances would never have arrived at the extreme in which they now are if the Cuban insurrection had not existed. Those separatists of the great Antille who do not find in their breasts sufficient breath to meet the charge of the Spanish bayonets are scattered in the nearest foreign places, with the object of creating at every step international difficulties, and to lend aid to those who have risen in arms. Much injury have they done and continue to do as well to the government [Page 425] which combats them as to their own country to which they owe their existence, and great are the sympathies, likewise inexplicable to me, which they have met with in Jamaica, Nassau, Cayo, Hueso, St. Domingo, Hayti, and other places. But where those sympathies have cast deep roots and caused the perpetration of unheard-of wrongs, has been without dispute in the last-mentioned republic. That state, not knowing to what degree it was bound by its imprescriptible obligations to be very cautious and reserved in the manifestation of such a culpable sentiment, has, nevertheless, trampled on all the rules of propriety and despised the precepts of international right, so that any one of those insults for which I came to demand account is more than sufficient to promote a conflict disagreeable and bloody.

The Haytian Government, imagining that the forebearance and patience of the Spaniard are sure symptoms of weakness or evident demonstrations (proofs) of the want of material resources wherewith to be able to demand reparation, has repeated its acts, shielded, seemingly, behind the apparent indifference of the offended nation. However, it has been deplorably mistaken, and it is more than probable that it will be convinced to its cost that that ostensible and prolonged silence was due to very different causes and motives.

Spain, the faithful depositary and jealous guardian of justice and of right, consequently, with the disposition especially generous of its elevated character, entertains unusual consideration for all other people, and never have her exigencies with any one been intended to humiliate or ridicule; she always succeeds and has succeeded in maintaining herself in her foreign relations at the level of the most absolute equality; and though her pride and susceptibility awake up and break forth easily at the touch of any offense offered by strong and powerful nations, they are very slow in showing themselves when the aggressor is relatively weak and they lack the means to sustain by force their extravagant pretensions.

It may be that the Haytian Government professes principles of national right which are unknown in Spain and in the rest of the world, or does it think it just that its visible material weakness should authorize it to despise the obligatory axioms of the moral nniverse? I know not. The day will come, without doubt, and I hope it with all confidence, for I have sure faith in the real human progress—the day will come when the offenses which one people offers to another will be respected, and they will be solemnly protested against, not only by the representative of the country interested, but also in like manner by all those of other countries. Then would be constituted a moral theory, clearly perceptible, that an insult aimed at any one of them is a threat which is made to the others, who are under the necessity to repel it collectively and vigorously. Nevertheless, so long as that legitimate and more or less distant future of right of nations and of diplomacy is not realized, I see myself compelled to demand, solely from the Haytian Government, full reparation for its irregular proceedings.

And this attitude of mine is not the result of a resolution lightly and inconsiderately taken. It is a necessary consequence of the subject which I have just explained, and which I do not deem inconvenient to place within your reach, inasmuch as it constitutes a debt of conscience, to the end that my country be not accused for the grave events which, at occasion and time still unknown, may take place in this territory, because I am refused by those who are at the front of its destinies the satisfaction they are bound to give. I shall seek that at all times we may in Spain be able to make it appear, and even oblige those who write the pages of history to see that if we are obliged to make use of force, causing grave and irreparable prejudice to individuals of other nations and to the peaceful natives, it has been after exhausting our magnanimity and patience, all the resources of the most measured persuasion and all the helps of words and of writing.

Still, before formulating the precise terms of the reparation which I am in the case to demand in the name of my government, it suits my purpose and before express promise, to inform you of the grave charges to which I have referred, and which are of the following tenor:

1st.
The Haytian Government, which ought not to be ignorant of the independence of its own judicial power, which during the command of General Domingue had condemned to three years of forced labor the insurgent Cuban, D. Manuel Fernandez, which ought to know that the sentences of this power are irrevocable; that a change of chief in the executive power does not authorize them to modify those sentences, legal and solemn, as being the only guarantees of social life; that if the sentences pronounced by this power are obligatory in absolute respect of the territory in which it acts, they are much more so when some interest of the foreigner is in question; that this interest, in the present case, is the dignity of the Spanish nation which peremptorily demands the punishment of a man who, without recognized flag, a proscript, and outlaw, has outraged her (the Spanish nation) in this same territory, and who holds perfect right to what is above the charge, the weight of the law itself—this government at length, which knows all this, but which, according to appearance, is disposed to trample on all, not only despises its own judges and the laws of its own country, but which, by opening new judgment on Fernandez or pretending to annul the past, [Page 426] darts open insult at the Spanish nation which holds the unquestionable obligation to repress it.
2d.
The President, the government, and the Haytian marine, which ought not to be ignorant of the mutual interchange of courtesy to which are bound all civilized people without exception, and which received visits from the captain of the Spanish war steamer Bazan, in August of last year, allowed themselves the insolent liberty of not returning them. This offense to the Spanish flag, and many omissions of respect to our officers, as the result of such attitude, neither require commentaries, nor call for efforts of imagination to show the necessity in which the Spanish Government finds itself to seek redress for them without delay.
3d.
On the 10th and 11th of October also of last year Haytian subjects, and with them some Cubans, insulted the Spanish consulate with the cries “Down with Spain” and “Long live free Cuba” and the authors of such misbehavior have not yet been punished, on the pretext that the acts occurred during the night, and the authors could not be recognized unless the consulate pointed them out. You are perfectly aware that no government whatsoever can require of foreign representatives in any case the duty of pointing out and recognizing natives or others; and in a manner like the present the Spanish consul, in identifying persons in order to denounce them, would be taking the place of the local authorities. Every government has the exclusive mission to guard the inviolability of the foreign domicile, and to make use of the force at its disposal to prevent its being insulted or lowered, and it is absolutely incumbent upon it to punish the promoters of such outrageous and savage felonies.
4th.
The 3d of March last a Mr. Despeaux insulted the Spanish flag hoisted at the consulate, cognizance of which, according to notification of the Haytian Government dated the 2d of April, was taken at the Department of Justice, and there was no result. Neither does this fact call for commentary of any kind.
5th.
In the beginning of July last various stupid disturbers trampled upon (or pulled down) the Spanish Pavilion at the doors of a panorama, and as yet no other satisfaction has been obtained from the Haytian Government than that it was broken (torn) by a saleswoman, having caught in a basket which she was carrying on her head.
6th and last.
Recently has appeared (has been published) the condemnation to death of the Spanish subject Don José Santisi, which unjust judgment and unusual sentence have been qualified by the Belgian consul, who is acting Spanish consul, as a “judicial murder”; and that means that the Haytian Government, voluntarily relinquishing every sentiment of honor and justice with respect to Spain, pretends to throw down the gauntlet to us in its insane delirium, not knowing assuredly that it will be taken up at fit time and circumstance.

On my arrival at this port I took the utmost care to inform myself of the particulars which have brought me here; and the sad reality has shown me that it is not possible for me to obtain any advantage for my country by the ordinary and current means. The circumstances of a stranger being the bearer of our claims, and the little fruit that as yet they have produced, notwithstanding the good desires and recognized talent they have constantly put in action, which induces me to suspect that to any other Spanish agent (encargado) the same would have happened. The same case has resulted from the official demands of my worthy predecessor, the captain of the Barcaïztegui; the marked bad faith with which the Haytian Government acts since years with the Spanish; the propensity of this same government to make delays to all claims, aiming at weakening the course of diplomacy; the same temper of the superior instructions I have received, and above all that, my own conviction that the supreme moment is come to exercise the last peaceful argument, have placed me in the precise case to throw on my shoulders the responsibility of this business, obliging me to extend and magnify my own personality in the identical proportion in which have increased the difficulties which surround me.

In its virtue, and as satisfaction to the Spanish nation, so deliberately and unjustly hurt, the Haytian Government will give the following satisfaction:

1st.
In any one of the batteries of the forts, or in some vessel of war, the Spanish Pavilion shall be hoisted, which shall be saluted with twenty-one guns, for the effacement of the insults of which I have spoken to you, marked with the numbers 2°, 3°, 4°, and 5°; at the same time the Haytian Government will promise officially to the Dean of the diplomatic corps and to Mr. Consul of Belgium, in charge of the affairs of Spain in this place, that it will effectually seek out and punish the parties to these excesses, if there have been any, especially Mr. Despeaux, who, to the present time, has remained unpunished.
2d.
The government of President Boisrond Canal will also inflict immediately on the insurgent Cuban, D. Manuel Fernandez, the punishment of three years’ forced labor, to which he was sentenced by a competent tribunal and in the full enjoyment of its judicial functions.
3d and last.
The Haytian Government will hand over to me immediately and without conditions the Spanish subject D. José Santisi, unless that, from what can be proved in the short time which is to be allowed to the said government, his culpability should [Page 427] be fully proved; and, in such case, that no punishment be inflicted on him other than what is established for his offense.

In order that the Haytian Government may have sufficient time to meditate on its future acts, I concede to it a term of seventy-two hours, or, in other words, three days exactly; that term past, and whatsoever shall be the result and decision which the said government may take, I shall quit the port and pass to Santiago de Cuba and give account of my mission to the authorities which have sent me.

I have likewise to make known to you that, in consequence of the want of courtesy shown to the captain of the Bazan, I shall visit only the Dean of the diplomatic corps and the Belgian consul in charge of the affairs of Spain. If any of the authorities or the President himself should desire to have an interview with me, they will necessarily have to come on board to obtain it.

I have endeavored, in executing my difficult task, to adapt myself strictly to the prescriptions of the law of nations, and which I will always follow (celebraré infinito), that the inflexible severity and firmness of which I give and shall continue to give proofs to that end, and which indicates an unchanging purpose to direct it to the last effort of agreement, will meet a sympathetic echo in your heart and intelligence.

I beg of you as briefly as possible to be pleased to acknowledge the receipt of this communication, for which, by anticipation, I beg you, with all enhancement, to receive the distinguished expression of my gratitude and the most affectionate demonstrations of my greatest consideration and esteem.

JOSÉ MARIA AUTRAN.