Mr. Langston to Mr. Frelinghuysen.
Port au-Prince , May 17, 1883. (Received May 31.)
Sir: On the 6th instant the chargé d’affaires of the French Government resident in this capital, Mr. Ernest Burdel, called at this legation, and in a brief conversation represented that it was the judgment and [Page 584] desire of the President of the Republic of Hayti that the propositions contained in the paper a copy of which, with translation, is herewith inclosed and transmitted, should, after being approved by the diplomatic corps of Port-au-Prince, be presented by him to Bazelais and his companions, insurgents, now and since the 26th of March last in possession of Miragoâne, and in open and declared warfare against the Government, and their accceptance pressed upon said insurgents in the interest of humanity. In answer to my question whether Bazelais and his companions had asked the good offices of the corps or himself, Mr. Burdel answered in the negative; and when asked whether he supposed Bazelais would receive and entertain such propositions, he said he should go to Miragoâne in one of the small war vessels of the Government, which would be put at his disposal, and he had no doubt that the insurgents would receive him kindly, and at least treat the propositions to be presented with considerate respect. Assured also that my colleagues would all sign the paper presented, and persuaded that its presentation could do no harm, if it did no good, as the dean of the corps I signed the paper, assenting to its propositions and their presentation by Mr. Burdel, acting in the name of the Government and the corps. The five gentlemen representing, respectively, the Governments of Prance, England, Germany, Spain and Italy, also signed the paper and approved the visit of Mr. Burdel to Miragoâne for the purpose indicated, and on the afternoon of the 6th instant Mr. Burdel took passage on the Haytian man-of-war La Sentinelle, arriving early Monday morning, the 7th instant, at Source Salee, within the lines of the Government troops, and thence in due time made his way into Miragoâne, where he had a conference with Bazelais, who, after due consideration, declined to accept the propositions offered. Returning on Thursday, the 10th instant, Mr. Burdel reported to the President and his colleagues the unsatisfactory result of his mission.
Upon reading the two propositions following the preamble of the paper, to wit, article 1, according to which Bazelais and his companions are required to lay down immediately their arms, which, with all munitions and engines of war in their hands, shall become the property of the state, and article 2, according to which the Government engages to protect them against all ill usage up to the time of their departure to such place in America as they may desire, one knowing the resolute and determined disposition of the men to whom such propositions were offered, the character of the stronghold in which they are lodged, recollecting the apparent victory which they have achieved in the engagements had with the troops of the Government, especially in the engagement had on the 31st of March, and the expectation entertained by them that at an early day, should they hold out, maintaining their position of defiance and fight, disaffected parties that might be in various parts of the Republic would rise against the Government, must have doubted from the very first whether they would consent to such propositions, and not have been at all surprised when they declined to do so.
Bazelais and his companions are still in possession of Miragoâne, as defiant and determined, it would seem, as ever.
But the Government, still enjoying, as it appears, the confidence of the people, with peace and good order prevailing everywhere in the country outside of Miragoâne, is, according to report, preparing for a general and decisive movement upon the insurgents.
I have, &c.,