Mr. Douglass to Mr. Blaine.

No. 69.]

Sir: I have the honor to inform you that the complete inauguration of this Government, under the presidency of Gen. L. M. Florvil Hyppolite, for authoritative legislative work, took place here at 10 o’clock on the morning of Monday, the 26th instant, with marked civil, military, and ceremonial observances.

It was the formal opening of the nineteenth legislature of Haiti. That body consists of a senate and a lower house, called the chamber of deputies. The composition and manner of election of the two houses are explained in my No. 59 of the 25th ultimo. When, as on this occasion, the two houses meet together, they are called the national assembly, and the president of the senate is the presiding officer.

[Page 525]

The proceedings of the 26th instant were in all respects creditable to the intelligence and patriotism of the Haitian people and were distinguished by the order, dignity, and decorum befitting the solemn duties which the condition of the country calls upon its lawmakers to discharge wisely.

Special invitations to assist at the ceremonies were addressed to the diplomatic and consular corps, to the clergy, and to many other distinguished persons, and places were reserved for them in the crowded chamber of deputies, where the proceedings took place. To these reserved places we were all conducted by gentlemanly ushers.

At the appointed hour the thunder of cannon, the inspiring notes of martial music, and a general movement of the assembled multitude announced the approach of the President of Haiti. On his entrance into the chamber every member of the national assembly rose in token of loyalty and respect. He was conducted to his seat, which was on a raised platform adorned with flags and flowers. The presiding officer, Dr. A. M. Aubry, then delivered an admirable and eloquent but brief address, to which His Excellency responded briefly in a calm and serious tone. His remarks were characterized by wise and patriotic sentiments.

At the close of these addresses the chamber resounded with the huzzas, “Vive le Président Hyppolite! Vive la Constitution! Vive la République d’Haiti!

At the conclusion of the ceremony the diplomatic and consular corps, the clergy, and the other invited guests were conducted, with His Excellency, to an upper room, where wine was served and President Hyppolite’s health was drunk. Very brief remarks were here made by the president of the senate in behalf of the Corps Législatif, by a distinguished member of the clergy for that body, and by myself in my quality of dean of the diplomatic and consular corps. To each of these His Excellency courteously and appropriately responded. Thereupon the ceremonies and proceedings of the occasion, which altogether had occupied only a little over an hour, were ended.

The legislature being now fully organized, it is probable that President Hyppolite’s message to that body will soon be forthcoming.

I am, etc.,

Frederick Douglass.