No. 60.

Mr. Hall to Mr. Bayard.

No. 326.]

Sir: With reference to my dispatches Nos. 311 and 314, of January 22 and February 5, respectively, I now inclose a copy of a letter from the consular agent at Livingston to Mr. Whitehouse, reporting the visit of the U. S. S. Swatara to that port.

From Mr. Sarg’s letter it will be seen that a board of naval officers inspected the sanitary condition of the laborers, investigated the causes of their destitution, and conversed with the contractors and many of the laborers.

The comandante of Puerto Barrios and the jefe politico of Livingston were also visited, the object of the Swatara’s visit explained to them, and promises for the more efficient protection of Americans elicited.

Mr. Sarg also considers the moral effect produced by the Swatara’s appearance as highly, beneficial, and as duly appreciated both by the resident Americans and the native authorities.

The Swatara took thirty-eight destitute men from Livingston, and proceeded to Puerto Barrios to collect others.

I have, &c.,

[Inclosure in No. 326.]

Mr. Sarg to Mr. Whitehouse.

Sir: The U. S. S. Swatara, Commander J. C. Wiltse, anchored off this port on the morning of the 13th instant. The commander had instructions to take off sick and destitute Americans, and foreigners worthy to be taken, and wishing to return to the United States. A board of naval officers was appointed to inspect the sanitary condition of the men, investigate the causes of their destitution, and decide on their claim to relief.

I accompanied Commander Wiltse to Port Barrios, where the hospital was inspected, together with the jefe politico of this department, Don José Ma. Ardon. Mr. Shea, of Shea, Cornick & Co., was interviewed, as also many of the laboring men about the place, and general information tended to show that matters have undergone a material change for the better ever since the management of the line has been put in the hands of Captain Grant, who has expressed his entire satisfaction as to the proceedings of Commander Wiltse, and far from seeing an undue interference in the mission of the Swatara, has assured the commander that his railroad enterprise will be as [Page 91] much benefited by her appearance as are the men she is now carrying back to New Orleans.

A visit was paid to the comandante of Port Barrios and to the jefe politico of this town, the object of the ship’s visit explained, and a solemn promise received from these officials to protect American citizens residing in their jurisdiction in a more efficient manner than heretofore, and it was enjoined on them to inform their Government that the United States insisted on the laws of this country being strictly adhered to whenever they protected the welfare of Americans. Manifestations of the character cannot be evaded by Guatemala as long as her Government persists in maintaining incapable officials in responsible positions.

The moral effect produced by the Swatara’s appearance is highly beneficial, and is appreciated by all resident Americans, who have charged me to express to you and to Commander Wiltse their sincere recognition of your respective actions.

The Swatara has to-day taken on board from here thirty-eight destitute men, Americans and foreigners, without discrimination of nationality, will proceed to-morrow morning to Port Barrios to pick up those that may have collected there, and will sail for New Orleans direct on the morning of Thursday the 19th instant. Inclosed please find list of officers.

I am, sir, &c.,