Mr. Thompson to Mr. Bayard.
Port au Prince, December 20, 1888.
(Received December 31.)
Sir: Yesterday afternoon it came to my knowledge that a crew under one Captain Williams were on board of the Atlas steam-ship Arran, which arrived in this harbor Tuesday, the 18th instant, and that there seemed to be something mysterious about such crew. Later I learned the crew were destined for the steamer Haytien Republic, that great secrecy was given to the matter; and through a gentleman that left New York for Kingston, Jamaica, with the above-named crew and transferred therewith them to the Arran, I found out that it was by [Page 491]some scheme of Mr. Stephen Preston with the Atlas Steam-ship Company that this crew were sent here by special steamer from Kingston. From items picked up here and there it seems as if designs to recapture the vessel or to clandestinely take her from this harbor to New York; arrived there, place her in the custody of our courts. Imagining what Mr. Preston’s sentiments regarding such steamer must be, and not knowing what means under cover the Atlas Company might consent to take against this rival company, and hearing it whispered that during the night such vessel was to be taken out of the harbor with the connivance of the authorities here, I deemed it necessary as a precautionary measure to take a hurriedly prepared dispatch to the counselor of foreign affairs. I transmit herein copy of such dispatch, that holds the authorities responsible absolutely in the premises. There was a plot of some kind, and from present indications, since it was frustrated to-day, I believe it will be fully exposed shortly.
I have, etc.,