No. 247.
Mr. Langston to Mr. Evarts.

No. 159.]

Sir: Referring to my dispatch, No. 157, of the 19th ultimo, I had the honor to advise you of the opening of the National Assembly of this republic, and in that dispatch promised to transmit to you copies in French, with the translations, of the addresses delivered on this occasion by the president of the Senate and the President of the republic. Copies of such addresses I herewith inclose and transmit for your consideration.

Both addresses are brief, and both are well calculated, as presented in the French, to be of service to the people of this country. The address of the president of the Senate, in so far as it attempts a description of the real situation of Hayti, seems to me to be altogether truthful. And that portion of the address of the President in which allusion is made to the want of capital here is very correct. Industry does languish for some reason here, and capital seems to grow steadily less and less.

It is a fact that the fifteenth legislature has done its work and passed into history; and the sixteenth legislature, with its unusual responsibility of making a selection of the successor of President Canal, enters upon the duties of its first session with anything other than a bright and flattering future. Indeed, whether the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate will be able to act harmoniously in the interest of the general good seems even now to be problematical. For, so soon after the formal opening of the National Assembly, the Senate has refused to recognize the election of General Prophéte, sr., to the Senate, alleging as ground for such refusal that the Chamber of Deputies has not been constituted upon a legal majority, and the two bodies are at conflict to-day upon this subject.

I am, &c.,

[Inclosure No. 1 in No. 159.—Translation.]

Address of the President of the National Assembly.

Mr. President, Gentlemen, Senators, and Deputies: In all States governed by parliamentary rules, the period of meeting of the legislature, and especially a new house, is replete with active and legitimate preoccupations; the great powers of state are soon to face each other; the acts of the administration are to be submitted to the control of the chambers; serious political, administrative, international, and financial questions are to be introduced and debated; the people, desiring to be enlightened on the progress of their affairs, pause and observe. If to this ordinary status you add the exceptional condition in which our country finds itself, the important action of the [Page 557] nomination of a chief of state, which the legislature about to be opened will have to accomplish, you will recognize that these causes united are quite of a nature to communicate a greater intensity to these anxieties appertaining to the ordinary course of parliamentary institutions, and to give a new animation to the stirring spirit of our young nation.

The condition of the people, we say, renders them anxious. Admittedly commerce is in a most deplorable state; agriculture is in open decadence; industry perfectly paralyzed; work, in one word, the moral and essential base of all prosperity, is wanting; thousands of hands are idle.

Guardians of the nation, it is in you the country confides her hope. Let us then gauge our patriotism and devotion to the demands of our duty. For this it is necessary to make a perpetual sacrifice of all that is personal, particularly when one remembers that to former sufferings are added the disasters of a cyclone which has befallen the south; that a flood has carried off the greater part of our products in the north; that a fire has obliterated Miragoâne, one of our most important and prosperous towns; the sinking of one of our steamers, together with great loss of life; and, finally, the insurrection in the arrondissement of Marmelade.

To-day we inaugurate a new house, and from this moment each one of us assumes a share of the duties and responsibilities in the work of repair and restoration which imposes itself upon the present administration.

The fifteenth legislature which has just expired had its share of duties and responsibilities. Its mission was confined to the purpose of reorganization of all branches of the administration, conformably to the principles of re-establishment of which was the cause of the revolution of 1876; to settle the control of the management of public affairs; to guard, to the extent of its power, and conciliate the interests of order with those of liberty; to enforce the practice of the constitution of 1867 and the principles which it enunciates; and to occupy itself above all in the determination of the burdens that the nation ought legitimately to assume, and to provide the means of meeting gradually, to the extent of our resources, without paralyzing, the progress of the ordinary public service.

It has done its work; it is for us to take up and continue this work of pacification and civilization.

“When, by the general exposé of the situation of the republic, the chambers will be inspired by the results obtained in a legitimate manner, as in the case of all those to be hereafter sought, they will have resolutions to assume which must be in conformity to the general weal. May such resolutions, assumed with the candid and loyal aid of the executive, tend only to the amelioration and restoration of the material and moral situation of our beloved country.

President, in the name of the National Assembly and of the country, we thank and congratulate you and your council of secretaries of state for having kindly honored this important ceremony by your presence.

In the name of the constitution, I declare open the first session of the sixteenth legislature.

Vive l’Union!

Vive la paix!

Vive la liberté!

Vive l’indepéndence!

Vive le Président d’Haiti!

Vive la constitution de 1867!

[Inclosure 2 in No. 159.—Translation.]

Gentlemen, Senators, and Deputies: In viewing with you the anxiety caused by the convening of a new legislature called upon to decide the most momentous questions in all countries subject to parliamentary rule, I cherish the hope that the great powers of state will find, even in the spirit of present difficulties, in the desire to place the duty of the citizen above personal competition, the calm and reason suited to appease public disquietude.

The sufferings of the country are evident. Are they but the consequence of early or late disasters; or is it necessary to trace past history to discover their origin? Here is the study which demands our attention. The share of duties and responsibilities that you assume in the work of national regeneration is to me a sure guarantee that you will second the efforts of the executive, in the complicated task which devolves upon us.

This task, in fact, embraces questions of every nature. From an economical and financial point of view, one cannot be astonished that in a new country, in which practice has not yet demonstrated the truth of different theories, there are diversities of opinion and tendencies to opposition. Nevertheless, while accepting the principles which a happy reform proves to be each day just and advantageous among the [Page 558] most civilized people, the executive has always hesitated when confronted by measures calculated to destroy the fruit of work which exists, however defective it may he, to the profit of enforced labor. It believes that it is not work that is wanting for hands, but hands that lack for work; it believes that as capital, the primary element of prosperity, is lacking in our youthful growth, it should be encouraged by all possible means, in offering it entire security which will guarantee it against the inroads of past restrictions and the impositions of arbitrary provisions.

Such, gentlemen, is the rule which has governed the acts which the executive will shortly have the honor of submitting to you.

The fifteenth legislature has terminated its career. It is within your province, gentlemen, to profit from the experience that it may offer, and to use such acquired experience to the accomplishment of the work of progress of which our country stands in so much need. In considering the demands of general interest, you will appreciate the results already obtained; you will recognize the causes which have hindered the flight of a higher progress; you will give to the country the means of promptly obtaining its legitimate development. Best assured that all resolutions taken with a patriotic purpose and in a candid and frank understanding with the executive will meet on its part the most complete and sincere support.

Vive l’Union.

Vive la Paix.

Vive la Constitution de 1867.

Vive l’Assemblie Rationale.