Mr. Douglass to Mr. Blaine.
Port-au-Prince , April 25, 1890. (Received May 5.)
Sir: Although the date fixed by the constitution of Haiti for theofening of the annual sessions of the Corps Législatif or National Congress, which is composed of two houses, is the first Monday in April, yet it was only on the 18th instant that the lower house or chamber of deputies, all the members of which were recently elected by the people, found a quorum of its ninety-five members present and succeeded in organizing, while as yet the senators are not even elected.
The senate having been dissolved by the revolution which overthrew President Salomon in August, 1888, that entire body must now, for the first time in several years, be elected ab initio. It is composed of thirty-nine members. They are chosen by the chamber of deputies from two lists of candidates submitted to it, one by the executive and the other by a sort of electoral college (assemblée électorale) named directly by the people for that purpose.
The first duty of the deputies is, therefore, to elect the senators. Inasmuch as a clear majority of the chamber is friendly to the executive, the probability is that a majority of the senate also will be selected from those equally friendly to the executive branch of the new Government.
It seems to be expected that the senate will be formed within the coming week, and that as soon thereafter as it can complete its organization the two houses will meet in national assembly to receive the President’s message.[Page 524]
There appears to be quite an interest felt in this forthcoming message and in the attitude which it and the newly elected Corps Législatif will assume toward the obligations created by the fallen government of General Legitime, toward public improvements, toward some relief of the general financial situation, and toward supplying the need of money in the form of small coins, or paper currency of the same value as these coins, a need which has become so general here as to touch all classes of the community.
From the probable complexion of the legislature and from the present outlook, I am led to believe, and, in fact, there is every indication, that the Government of General Hyppolite is still strong, and that the prospect for a period of peace and reasonable prosperity is encouraging, notwithstanding the rumblings of discontent which seem never to cease here, and which I presume to be in this Republic simply what in some other countries takes the form of outspoken, fearless criticism and sometimes vigorous condemnation of the party in power for the time being.
President Hyppolite’s tour through the south appears to have been a sort of triumphal march. He was absent from the capital 22 days, during which time he visited some places in the interior which had never before been visited by a chief of state. I hear from all sides that it is considered that His Excellency’s tour has added to his popularity and has thus contributed to the era of good feeling and to the prospects of peace and tranquillity.
I am, etc.,