No. 271.
Mr. Langston to Mr. Evarts .

No. 54.]

Sir: On the first day of this month the fête of agriculture was celebrated in this city. The approach of this celebration was announced, on the evening of the 30th of April, by the firing of cannon, and the dawn of the following morning, the day of the fête, was saluted by the firing of the same great guns. At seven o’clock in the morning of the 1st instant, the various functionaries of the government, national and local, present at the capital, assembled at the national palace, and, at eight o’clock, the President, supported by the several ministers of his cabinet, and accompanied by a large escort of troops, repaired to Place Pétion, where, in the presence of a large gathering, the products of agriculture were exhibited and the addresses delivered. Subsequently the assemblage, forming in line of march, led by bands of music and soldiers, accompanied by the President and his cabinet, repaired to the cathedral, where a Te Deum was chanted and high mass celebrated. At the close of the exercises here the competitors to whom prizes had been awarded, accompanied by the secretary of the interior and agriculture, went to the Hôtel Communal, where they were served with a sumptuous dinner. The conduct of this celebration seemed to give general satisfaction.

The present constitution of Hayti (the one of 1867) provides for two national celebrations. One occurs on the 1st day of January, and commemorates Haytian independence and the character and deeds of its chief hero, Jean Jacques Dessalines; the other occurs on the 1st day of May, and is intended, at present, to be an agricultural exhibition with competition for prizes awarded to those who excel in cultivation of quality and quantity of agricultural production. The language of Article 201 of the constitution reads as translated: “The national fêtes are that of the independance of Hayti, and its hero, the 1st of January, and that of agriculture, the 1st of May. The legal fêtes are determined by law.”

On the 21st day of September, 1877, the government, through the department of the interior and agriculture, provided that the administrations of communes and arrondissements should arrange for local agricultural exhibitions; and at the same time and through the same agency provided for a national exhibition to take place at the capital on the Ist day of May. In accordance with such regulation there was held in this city, as already stated, on the 1st day of this month an agricultural exhibition.

The products had on display were neither numerous nor various. A few specimens of coffee, sugar-cane, and fruits constituted the sum total of what was to be seen. There were no horses, no sheep, no hogs, no cattle, no fowls on exhibition. Neither were cereals exhibited, nor such vegetables as potatoes, Irish or sweet. Corn, as grown in this country, is sometimes very good, although very inadequately cultivated generally, and very good specimens of it might have been produced. Horses, especially those used for saddle purposes, donkeys and mules used for draught, sheep and cattle, especially bullocks used in teams, are very abundant, and many of them of excellent quality. The sheep, of course, are valueless for wool, but furnish excellent mutton. Beautiful specimens of such animals as are here enumerated might have been put on [Page 447] exhibition. It is not to be understood that improved breeds are referred to in this connection.

There was, however, no suitable provision made for exhibition, for anything like agricultural display. Every one presenting products held them in his hands. Neither table nor platform was provided as places of deposit and display; and yet, in spite of this very great inconvenience, the earnest attention given by those in attendance, both at Place Pétion and the cathedral, discovered intelligent interest and improving understanding as to the subject of agricultural advancement.

The address of the Hon. Em. M. A. Gutierrez, the secretary of state of the interior and of agriculture, delivered on this occasion, herewith inclosed as translated, marked A, was received with intelligent appreciation and approval. As a representative of the government, presenting its purpose with regard to agricultural improvement in the country, this utterance of Mr. Gutierrez is worthy of special consideration. Other addresses were delivered; one by the magistrat communal; another by the president of the conseil of the arrondissement; but that of the secretary is the one which is significant. His views with regard to improving the machinery and implements of husbandry used in this country are correct and wise.

There is the largest room for improvement, for all the agricultural implements used in this country are rude enough. The chief ones are the common hoe and the machete; sometimes plows are seen, but I think never used. The ax is used for cutting and hewing timber and wood. But it is not a common instrument, and the style is by no means the best. Some machines of the smaller sizes and less improved styles are used in some localities for cleaning coffee and cotton, and grinding and pressing sugar-cane. But, in the main, the laborer here does not use improved implements. As far as the cultivation of the soil is concerned, its preparation and tillage, the harvesting of crops, the thrashing of grain, the cleaning of coffee and cotton, the preparation of rice, sugar, sirup, and taffia, the implements used are primitive and crude; they are faulty and inadequate to prosperous and advantageous tillage. It is not because they cannot be obtained that improved implements are not used; but because the people do not know about their value and are not disposed to learn. They prefer, as at present informed, to follow the old ways, cultivating industrial habits and methods which seem to be more easy because better understood, if they are less remunerative and advantageous. Of the methods of cultivation adopted it is only necessary to say that, as far as the tillers of the soil are concerned, there is not only a general lack of intelligence, but an indisposition, as already stated, to adopt new ones, with improved implements as required. It is hardly true that they are indisposed to labor; for they are, as a class, men and women, good workers. If the field and garden here could only be cultivated according to the well-tested and improved methods of enlightened nations, the same amount of labor—less labor in fact—would bring the abundant harvests of wise tillage to the Haytian laborer.

As more, fully explanatory of the purpose and policy of the government with regard to the subject of this dispatch, I transmit herewith inclosed, as translated, circular numbered 12 of the department of the interior and agriculture. This circular will also render the address of the secretary more intelligible and easy of apprehension. Soil as fertile and easy of cultivation as that of Hayti, so generous in products, deserves kindly treatment of its tillers. And were the tillage improved by the introduction of better implements, and suitable [Page 448] machinery used in harvesting and preparing its products for market, the rewards of agricultural industry would be greatly enhanced, and the general interests of the country promoted.

I have, &c.,

[Inclosure 1 in No. 54.—Translation.]

Address of the secretary of agriculture.

Gentlemen: The fête of agriculture of this day terminates the series of fetes which are no longer in rapport by the method of award with the progressive march of the age. To the legitimate aspirations of the nation the government has responded in prescribing to the administrations communal and of the arrondissements the agricultural exhibition, September 21, 1877.

The dissensions which have broken out in the conseil communal of Port au Prince, the trouble which was introduced into the elections, the treason of March 14, have produced some deplorable results, among which must be reckoned the failure to execute measures which should tend on the part of each administration to establish the agricultural exhibition.

The government does not make light of difficulties which are connected with the execution of every measure the importance of which is not yet appreciated by agriculturists. To-day the government is happy to announce, in the presence of the chiefs of section, the councillors of agriculture who will shortly be proclaimed by the conseil d’arrondissement, the agriculturists here assembled, that the best method of encouraging the development of our tillage is to induce every citizen to offer to the appreciation of the conseil d’arrondissement, in the place of the exposition, the fruits of his labor, at stated periods, to compete in point of superiority and quantity, in order to obtain prizes more or less valuable, each conseil d’arrondissement being appraiser, ex officio, of the prosperity of agriculture in its locality.

The government is deeply interested in the introduction of central manufactories for making white sugar, machines to hull, to winnow, to clean coffee, to gin cotton, to extract the oil from our oleaginous grains, to grate, to press tapioca, to prepare rice, to grind our different cereals. It will avoid to the conseils d’arrondissement, who have not yet adopted the excellent plan of importing machinery, the expensive experiments to procure for themselves the best models of this kind, in order to recommend them. These conseils, called to endow their localities within the limit of their resources with suitable machines for the improvement of the product of our soil, should alone appreciate by the agricultural exhibition the merit of those agriculturists who ought to obtain them. The exhibition will only be closed at the end of this month.

Thus it is by the exhibition of your products, citizen agriculturists, that you will succeed in obtaining improved machines, good instruments pertaining to husbandry, proper to supply the insufficiency or the unwillingness of laborers.

The government will not hesitate to give encouragement to all real and well-directed efforts. Your productions are numerous and varied. The names and the prizes will be made known among you through the diligence of the conseil d’arrondissement.

Gentlemen, the chiefs of section, you are requested to second the efforts of the commandant d’arrondissement, the commune, the conseil d’arrondissement, the conseil communal, the commissaire of the government, and the justices of the peace. Your rôle to be well performed requires activity without limit. Remember that agriculture, like commerce, lives of guarantee and trust; the more severe you are against disorder, vagrancy, and theft, the more you will encourage the industrious agriculturists. The more you maintain the respect of person and property, the more you will see new establishments built in your rural sections, attracted by the good order which shall be established there by you.

Let us follow the Presdent of the republic to the Temple of the Savior to implore His benedictions upon your families and your laborers.

Vive l’Agriculture!

Vive la Constitution!

Vive le President d’Hayti!

[Page 449]
[Inclosure 2 in No. 54.—Translation.]

Circular of the Department of Agriculture.

Circular No. 12.

Liberty! Equality! Fraternity!

Republic of Hayti, section of agriculture, seventy-fourth year of the independence. Office of the secretary of state for the department of the interior and agriculture.

To the conseils d’Arrondissements of the Republic:

Gentlemen: The plan of an agricultural exhibition at the headquarters of arrondissement having been proposed and accepted as a measure calculated to bring about an amelioration of our productions and the increase of our resources of exportation, it now only rests with the government to point out the means of realizing this by a course which is as easy as it is encouraging. You ought, above all, to labor to attain a complete uniformity of views with us for the classification of the prizes to be awarded, the preparation and the order of arrangement as to quality and quantity of the principal products to be exhibited, which will tend to show that we purpose, more and more to maintain those principles of order and unity, indispensable, above all, in the variety of work which has been confided to us.

The exhibition known as the fête of agriculture ought to be preceded, from the 15th to the 22d of April, by preparatory exhibitions in communes, to take place at the seat of the conseil communal. These preliminary exhibitions have in view to afford you leisure to verify and appreciate the productions placed in competition, according to the order of their condition, in order to determine upon the selection of those worthy of being exhibited at the central exhibition on the 1st of May.

Once classified, these productions must be conveyed to the headquarters of arrondissement, at the risk of the producers, in order to be shipped in good season, in vessels destined to receive them.

The competitors whose products have been approved of by the conseils communaux, from whatever section of the country they may come, must appear in person on the day of the fête of agriculture, with said products, at the grand distribution of awards. By this means the industrious agriculturist, in whatever section of the territory he lives, will have the satisfaction of seeing the fruits of his labors appreciated and enjoying the advantages of the exhibition and the benefits accruing therefrom.

It now only remains to classify and define the natural products of the first order for which prizes will be reserved by the conseils d’arrondissements according to the limit of their means. You will keep me informed of these amounts in arranging a price on each article. We enumerate: Coffee, first prize, superior quality, quantity of pounds to minimum, good condition of cleanliness; second prize, ordinary quality, clean, quantity of pounds to minimum; third prize, quality called Moka. Cotton, first prize, superior quality, quantity of pounds to minimum; second prize, inferior quality, quantity of pounds to minimum. Cacao, first prize, superior quality, quantity of pounds to minimum; second prize, ordinary quality, quantity of pounds to minimum. Indigo, one prize, quantity, pounds. White sugar, one prize, quantity, pounds; brown sugar, one prize, quantity, pounds. Sirup, prepared for exportation, at 45 degrees, in barrels. Camphor, quantity ad libitum. Vanilla, quantity ad libitum. Tobacco in leaf, seroons, of 25 to 50 pounds. Chitterling, three feet minimum. Ginger, quantity, barrels. Pistachio, quantity, barrels. Nuts of Pomme d’Acajo (mahogany apple) quantity, barrels. Divers cereals, corn, &c., quantity, barrels. Hoholy, quantity, barrels. Yams, in quantity of ten pounds. Potatoes, quantity, barrels. Couscans, quantity, barrels. Starch, quantity, barrels. Arrow-root, quantity, barrels. Ordinary pineapples, one prize. Loaf-sugar, one prize, superior quality. Divers textures, one prize. Cords, one prize. Hammocks, one prize. Stallions, superior quality, ad libitum in size of breed. Mules, one prize. Mares, superior breed. Fat cattle, one prize. Fat swine, one prize. Fat sheep, according to weight, one prize. Fat goats, according to weight, one prize. Superior game, according to weight, one prize. Divers animals, improved breeds, to raise for exportation. Palma Christi oil, one prize, quantity, gallons.

Such is the plan which must serve as a basis and which permits the country, according to the degree of administrative ability and the intellectual development of the population, to produce its elements of life and prosperity.

Please accept, Messieurs les Conseillers, the expression of my distinguished consideration.