Mr. Baker to Mr. Gresham.
Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Salvador,
Managua , May 23, 1893 . (Received July 6.)
Sir: I have to report to you a very sad condition of affairs in this Republic. For some months a conspiracy had been forming for the avowed purpose of overturning the established Government and installing the members of the conspiracy in control. The fact was no secret, only the acts were hidden so far as possible. It was well known that the 4th of May had been agreed upon as the day for the outbreak; but at what points the blows were to be struck and who were to lead in the revolution was not known. But some of the details of the proposed emeute in the army becoming prematurely public, the blow was struck on the 28th of April by the delivery to the enemy of the military garrisons at Granada, San Juan del Stir, Rivas, San Carlos, and other points in the east and southern portion of the Republic, while the soldiers at Managua, Leon, and the masses of the people inhabiting the more westerly departments remained loyal to the Government. Five of the twelve departments, which embrace in large part the wealthiest and most intelligent sections of the Republic, are in rebellion. It is due to the truth of the history which is here being made to record the fact that the foreign residents of the Republic are almost, if not quite unanimously, in sympathy with the aims of the revolutionists. This has made my situation the more delicate. I have, on every proper occasion, expressed myself in no uncertain terms, as being in full accord with, the established Government; and I have lost no opportunity to impress upon citizens owing allegiance to the United States their duty toward the government which gives them protection.
Several skirmishes have been fought at a barranca about 2 miles from Masaya, a deep cut in the railroad leading to Managua, which the revolutionists have fortified with 4 cannon behind earthen breastworks. On the 19th instant the Government attempted to capture this important position, but after a brisk fight lasting several hours, and the loss on the side of the Government of many killed and wounded, the attacking party withdrew.
The foreign residents of the city with great promptness, energy, and liberality organized themselves into a society of the Red Cross, hired a large building well suited for hospital purposes, filled it with beds, the ladies making the necessary sheets, pillowcases, and changes of clothing for the sufferers, and within five hours from the inception of the movement they were receiving the wounded and dying. No trained nurses were to be had, therefore all the labor as well as the responsibility fell upon our own volunteer fellow-citizens. A number of the native ladies, however, most generously gave valuable assistance to the noble cause.
In view of the formidable character of the revolution, and the destruction of life and property that must ensue, many citizens both native and foreign have solicited with much earnestness the tender on behalf of your minister of his good offices as a friendly mediator between the contending parties. After much reflection, and after having received personal assurances from the President that such a tender would be agreeable, I addressed to him, on the 23d instant, the accompanying paper (inclosure No. 1). I also transmit his reply, with translation (inclosure No. 2).
It had been my purpose to start this morning for Masaya, the President [Page 187] having furnished a passport and a special train for myself and suite, for the purpose, but an unfortunate incident affecting members of the Red Gross Society occurred, an account of which is detailed in inclosures Nos. 3, 4, and 5.
Having succeeded in adjusting this matter in a manner which will assure me the implicit confidence of this Government to-day, I will proceed to Masaya and Granada at an early hour to-morrow morning, accompanied by Mr. J. F. Medina, a gentleman of culture, sense, and large means, a native of Central America, an adopted citizen of the United States, a banker in Paris and in several of these States. I shall also be accompanied by Mr. William Newell, the U. S. consul at this city, who has a large personal acquaintance with the leading men of this country.
I am, etc.,