No. 63.

Mr. Hall to Mr. Bayard .

No. 330.]

Sir: With reference to my dispatches No. 322 and No. 327, the latter of this date, I have the honor to inclose herewith, and to invite your attention thereto, copies of two letters from the consul of the United States at Nicaragua, wherein he reports upon the general state of affairs consequent upon the recent decree of the President of Guatemala, and the hostile attitude of the Government of Nicaragua to its enforcement.

I have, &c.,

HENRY C. HALL.
[Inclosure 1 in No. 330.]

Mr. Leavitt to Mr. Hall .

[Extract.]

Sir: I have the honor to herewith present a report on the general state of Nicaragua and the feeling of the people in the present unfortunate situation into which the proclamation of President Barrios has thrown the Central American Republics.

[Page 97]

The country is profoundly agitated. Business is suspended. The sound of the bugle and the roll of the drum, as the soldiers and raw recruits march through the streets, are constantly heard, while eager crowds gather at the corners to hear the proclamations read when issued by the Government.

Prior to the receipt of intelligence from Costa Rica and Salvador as to the position those Governments would take on the proclamation of the President of Guatemala, the greatest uncertainty and alarm was felt for the ultimate result. Upon the receipt of telegrams, first from Costa Rica and then from Salvador, that these Governments would oppose Guatemala, anxiety and alarm gave place to joy, and when, later, a telegram was received from the Mexican Government denouncing in strong terms the step Guatemala had taken, the people were exultant, and on all sides “Death to Barrios!” was shouted by an excited populace. Troops are being rapidly recruited. It is stated that at present there are five thousand men under arms, and this number is being augmented. As fast as men are enrolled they are pushed forward toward the frontier of Honduras.

The Government has decreed that bank bills are legal tender and refuses to redeem them in silver; as a consequence, silver has suddenly disappeared.

It is proposed by the Government to issue fractional currency of the denominations of 50, 20, 10, and 5 cents.

On the 10th instant I called upon President Cardenas, and during my call a telegram from Salvador was handed him, stating that Salvador would furnish twenty thousand men.

The President stated to me that Nicaragua lacked arms and ammunition; that a cablegram had been sent to the Remington Arms Company asking for an immediate shipment of arms to Nicaragua. They replied it would require four months to fill the order and that they had none on hand.

* * * * * * *

At this interview he informed me that it was the intention of Nicaragua to invade Honduras and Guatemala for the purpose of deposing President Barrios, saying that the peace of Central American would never be assured as long as Barrios was President of Guatemala, and that he had communicated with the Governments of Salvador and Costa Rica for the purpose of securing their co-operation. Thereupon I immediately sent you the following telegram:

“Nicaragua President has just told me that the Nicaraguan Government intend invading Guatemala and Honduras, and have asked the co-operation of Costa Rica and Salvador.”

In the afternoon of the same day a decree was issued declaring Nicaragua under martial law and I telegraphed you as follows:

“Nicaragua declared under martial law.”

The Congress is adjourned until 1886. The President has been appointed commander of the army of Nicaragua, and ex-President Pedro Joaquin Chamono has been appointed provisional President.

All male citizens between the ages of eighteen and fifty are declared to be enlisted in the army.

On the 12th a proclamation was issued that Mr. Chamono had assumed the office and duties of provisional President.

To-day I learned that President Cardenas would leave Managua for Leon to take command of the army, and I sent you this telegram:

“Chamono assumed the duties of provisional President yesterday. Cardenas leaves to-morrow for Leon to take command of the army.”

* * * * * * *

I am, &c.,

H. H. LEAVITT.
[Inclosure 2 in No. 330.]

Mr. Leavitt to Mr. Hall .

[Extract.]

Sir: * * * I have forwarded copies of all telegrams sent by me, except the last, which was sent by President Cardenas and placed by me in cipher. It was as follows:

“We expect rifles from Punta Arenas. Can you authorize the captain of the Honduras to take them to Corinto?

“CARDENAS.”

[Page 98]

The President desired me to telegraph to the captain of the Honduras to take the rifles. I declined to so telegraph unless authorized by you. Whereupon the President desired me to send the above telegram. At the same time I told the President that I saw no reason why the Honduras should decline to carry articles, even though contraband of war, between two countries at peace with each other, although a state of war exists between them and a third, and I did not think the captain of the Honduras would object to take them.

I am in receipt to-day of a telegram from the captain of the U. S. S. Ranger that she will be in Corinto in a few days.

* * * * * * *

The Government seem to insist on invading Guatemala, and do not desire peace. It is rumored that they fear the good offices of the United States; that nothing will satisfy them unless Barrios is overthrown. Recruitings are going rapidly forward and new troops are being constantly hurried to the frontier; but the greatest number that Nicaragua can place in the field is 8,000, as there are no more arms.

The Government are issuing more paper money. Coin has disappeared, and already some of the people object to accepting paper, but are forced to under the decree.

President Cardenas postponed joining the army at Leon, but proceeds there to-day.

I am, &c.,

H. H. LEAVITT.