Mr. Langston to Mr. Blaine.
Port-au-Prince, Hayti, December 17, 1881.
(Received January 3, 1882.)
Sir: I have the honor to advise you that on the evening of the 4th day of this month President Salomon left this city upon a short visit to Aux Cayes and Jeremie. His purpose was chiefly, as he stated, to visit the latter place, and, in person, express to the people thereof, whose property was very generally destroyed by fire occurring on the 29th of last August, and who have been therefore in a more or less needy and suffering condition for the past three months, his sympathy.[Page 349]
On his way, on the morning of the 5th instant, he landed at St. Marc, and there spent several hours in consultation with his officers and in receiving the people who flocked about him.
Three days thereafter, while the President was at Jeremie, an insurrectionary movement, led by General Désormes Gresseau, formerly the commanding general of the arrondissement of St. Marc, manifested itself in an attempt to take and hold the arsenal of that city. The arsenal was taken, but a loyal sentiment so generally prevailed among the people, and the soldiery behaved so gallantly, that it was soon retaken, and the rebels, who seemed not to number more than fifty or seventy-five, were driven from the city. In the fight several were killed, while five persons who were taken with arms in their hands were shot.
The government has announced that General Gresseau, who has been treated in many respects with kind regard by it, and who has several times in marked manner avowed his devotion to the President, doing so even so late as the 5th instant, took advantage of the fact that General Turenne Luvieux, at present the commanding general of the arrondissement of St. Marc, was sick, to make this movement. It is said, however, that although the regular forces and the national guard of neighboring arrondissements, at the announcement of this attempt of General Gresseau, offered their services at once to the authorities of St. Marc. Before their arrival General Luvieux, assisted by General Prudo, the commanding officer of the commune of St. Marc, had suppressed this movement.
The President in a proclamation addressed to the people and the army, published on the 11th instant, announces the suppression of this movement, compliments his officers and soldiers for their good behavior, declares the number killed and executed, and states that those immediately connected with the movement at St. Marc who have not fallen are in flight; but that the sword shall reach them.
This movement is treated by the government as having extended connections. Hence, besides declaring General Gresseau and sixteen of his companions in insurrection, now in flight as outlaws, to be killed whenever found, it has, by virtue of authority conferred upon it by the constitution and the law of the 13th of April, 1880, declared by its order published on the 11th instant that the arrondissements of Port-au-Prince, St. Marc, and Jacmel are in a state of siege; that is, are placed under martial law.
Many arrests have already been made in the arrondissements named, and it is altogether probable that others will be made from time to time for several days to come.
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Notwithstanding the extreme dullness which continues to prevail in general business throughout this country at this time, the political excitement existing in connection with the pending canvass for members of the Chamber of Deputies, whose election takes place on the 10th of next month, and notwithstanding the natural feeling produced by the late insurrectionary movement and the action of the government taken in view thereof, on the part of the people, general quiet and good order seem to obtain, at present, in all parts of the republic.
I am, &c.,