Mr. Baker to Mr. Gresham.
Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Salvador,
Managua , May 13, 1893 . (Received June 13.)
Sir: I Lave the honor to report to the Department that, having received my final instructions on the 29th of April, I at once took my departure for Nicaragua, sailing from New York on the above date via [Page 185] Colon, Panama, and Corinto, accompanied by two daughters, the Misses Anna and Virginia Baker. We arrived at Managua on the evening of May 12, and proceeded at once to the legation, which building we found barricaded with sacks of coffee, and filled with American and other foreign citizens and their families, who had fled thither for protection, as the country was in a condition of extreme unrest.
My predecessor, Richard C. Shannon, had left the post about fifteen days prior to my arrival, having left the property of the legation in the hands of the U. S. consul, Mr. William Newell. About the time of his departure a rebellion against the Government broke out, the headquarters of which seemed to be in and near the city of Granada. It was believed to be formidable in both the numbers and the character of its adherents. Serious alarm existed among the inhabitants of this city, which was greatly stimulated by the wild behavior in the chief hotel during the dinner hour of a man, Mr. Bianca by name, who suddenly lost his reason. Unfortunately this man being a foreign citizen, owing allegiance to the French Government, fired his first shot at a Mr. Rivas, a most estimable and popular citizen, and a strong supporter of the legitimate Government, killing him. This act was misinterpreted by the excited populace as a hostile demonstration by the foreign citizens toward the Government, and came near plunging the people of the city into a serious riot. The madman, often rushing in frenzied manner, and firing his deadly weapons at random through the great dining hall which was filled with people at dinner, and through the corridors, breaking into the private rooms of the hotel, wound up the wretched tragedy by killing himself.
The excited feeling toward the foreign residents thus suddenly and innocently, so far as either the citizens of this Republic or the foreigners themselves were concerned, seemed to justify the U. S. consul, Mr. Newell, in tendering such protection as the legation and the residence attached thereto might afford to the Americans and others and their families.
By the time of my arrival this excited condition of the public mind had measurably subsided. Yet it was deemed best for such of our fellow-citizens as could be accommodated to remain in the building with us. There seems to be no reason for apprehending trouble from those under control of either the Government or of the revolution, but an unlicensed mob might breakout at some stage of this contest, when neither the person or property of any nationality would be safe.
I am, etc.,