Mr. Langston to Mr. Evarts.
Port au Prince, Hayti, May 25, 1878. (Received June 10.)
Sir: The constitution of Hayti requires that the Corps Legislatif assemble on the first Monday of April annually. The members of this body do not, however, seem to trouble themselves about any rigid observance of the day named for their assembling. Individual and business convenience seems rather to be consulted. Not even public threatened danger moves them. Not even difficult problems of national finance and revenue, involving public credit and the maintenance of good order, animate their purpose to be punctual in meeting upon the day designated by law. Hence the national assembly, composed, according to the constitution, of the members of the senate and the chamber of deputies, and which is to be convened and organized at the annual session of these bodies, did not meet this year till the 16th day of this month. More than a month and a half had elapsed before a quorum could be had in these branches of the government so as to organize this assembly. The opening of the assembly was imposing. The president of the senate, assisted by the president of the chamber of deputies, presided. The President of the republic, the members of the cabinet, the corps diplomatique and consularie, the civil and military authorities of the capital, and many of the more prominent and distinguished citizens of the country were in attendance.
As reflecting the general sentiment and purpose of the nation, certainly as reflecting the sentiment and purpose of the earnest and thoughtful portion of the community, that patriotic and sagacious portion upon whose manly resolves and efforts the declining condition of the country is to be changed, and the impulses and activities of the people quickened and guided in its real interest and welfare, as it is to be hoped, I have translated and transmit, herewith inclosed, marked respectively 1 and 2, the addresses of Dr. M. Hippolyte, president of the national assembly, and of Boisrond Canal, President of the republic, delivered on this occasion.
The national assembly includes in its membership several of the more distinguished and influential politicians and statesmen of the republic. There are several persons members who are men of real ability and patriotism, and who very much surpass in their accomplishments and power as statesmen the most advanced Haytian lawgiver of former days. In this fact is to be noted a hopeful promise. Were revolutions less common and expatriations less frequent, this class of more intelligent, efficient, and useful men would be much more numerous.
How far the goodly sentiments and purposes, the appreciation of the unfortunate condition of the country and government, as expressed in the addresses herewith inclosed, and the expectations and aspirations of the people with regard to change and amelioration, will be realized by wise action on the part of the legislature and executive, remains to be determined. No prophecy with regard thereto at this juncture seems to be wise.
I am, &c.,