Mr. Baker to Mr. Gresham.

No. 8.]

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.,

Lewis Baker.
[Inclosure 1 in No. 8.]

Mr. Baker to President Sacasa.

Mr. President: The unhappy state of revolution in which I have found your country has been to me, personally, as it will have been for my Government, a cause of regret and sorrow, as the American people and our Government would wish for your beautiful country the continued blessings of peace.

The consequences of the present state of things have been sadly brought home to us by the number of wounded soldiers who have come back to the capital, and in conjunction with other foreigners I and my family have tried to bring assistance to the unfortunate by the establishment of a foreign hospital which is doing all it can for the alleviation of the suffering.

To-day there seems to be a breathing spell in the deadly struggle and I ask myself if, at this juncture, the tender of my friendly services as mediator between the contending parties might not be a means of bringing about a cessation of this unhappy war and be conducive to bringing back to your country peace and prosperity.

If such services would be acceptable to you, in a spirit of broad humanity and patriotism by which I am sure you are animated, I would express a willingness to proceed to Masaya and endeavor to see if it is possible to find a basis for an honorable settlement without further bloodshed and devastation.

With assurances of sincere personal esteem, etc.,

Lewis Baker.
[Inclosure No. 2 in No. 8.—Translation.]

President Sacasa to Mr. Baker.

Mr. Minister: I have received your important dispatch of this date, which I have studied with due attention, taking into consideration the circumstances through which we pass.

I am aggrieved by the state of calamities that their regular conduct of certain men, who by their position should be the most respectful to the lawful authority, forces us to witness.

My Government, obeying the laws and animated by the best ideas for the prosperity of the country, has not failed to use every means conducive to give protection to all the Nicaraguans and to better our elements of prosperity.

Trusting in the uprightness of these views, I have given my attention to the betterment of the country only, studying everything necessary to reach that end.

While doing this administrative work the surrender of the garrison at Granada occurs, and with that betrayal the occurrences which your excellency, as well as [Page 188] every civilized person regrets, because the serious consequences have paralyzed the general prosperity and business of the Republic.

In my position as ruler of the nation, nothing would be more pleasing than to have this deplorable state of things ended, for my hope is to have peace, based upon the respect due to the lawfully constituted authority.

The noble sentiments of your excellency relative to the cessation of this unfortunate state of affairs are worthy of your elevated station and views. My Government applauds such dispositions, and has no hesitancy in reporting to you that if you wish to go to Masaya to start work conducive to the establishment of peace, harmonized with the legitimate respect due to the authority and to the dignity of the chief magistrate of the Republic, it would be very gratifying that your excellency reach such patriotic end.

As a ruler of the nation I think the conservation of peace one of my principal duties; and it is on this account that I give all the orders tending to soon reestablish the empire of the law.

With the highest consideration, etc.,

Roberto Sacasa.
[Inclosure 3 in No. 8.—Translation.]

Señor Bravo to Mr. Baker.

Mr. Minister: Mr. Frederick K. Morris has reported to the President of the Republic, that the locomotive which was put at the service of the hospital of the “Red Cross” established by foreigners in this city, under the presidency of your excellency, is in the enemy’s encampment.

The said locomotive was delivered to Mr. Morris because he asked for it with the object of going to pick up the wounded who had not been brought to the hospital.

The confidence which the honorable character of the persons who form the Society of the Red Cross inspires, their position as foreigners, and being’ presided over by your excellency, minister plenipotentiary of the United States, was sufficient to put the locomotive at the disposition of Mr. Morris with the certainty that it would come back to this capital.

It has then been a surprise to the General-President to hear the report of Mr. Morris, viz, that the locomotive remained in the hands of the enemy and that he had to come back to the city on foot.

Your excellency made it known to the minister of fomento that Mr. Morris was an authorized agent of the Red Cross, which made him believe that the enemies would respect its neutrality and all the elements which are at its service for the purpose of fulfilling its humanitarian ends.

As your excellency will well understand, the matter to which we refer is to my Government, under the circumstances, of great importance, and for this reason can not be disregarded. The Government trusts that your excellency will make all the necessary exertions so that the locomotive be returned; and all the more as the honor of the Society of the Red Cross is involved.

For the reasons expressed I have received instructions from the General-President to address your excellency, so that in view of what has happened you may be pleased to proceed in conformity with our right in the premises.

It is gratifying to me to subscribe myself of your excellency, etc.,

Jorge Bravo.
[Inclosure 4 in No. 8.]

Mr. Baker to President Sacasa.

Esteemed Sir: After learning of the unfortunate occurrence last evening, viz, the desertion by the Government engineer to the revolutionists with a locomotive engine which drew the train to which a car had been attached to convey a number of the members of the Red Cross Society to the late battlefield on a mission of mercy, I say, after hearing of this incident, I deemed it best that I remain in the city to-day in order to investigate fully and impartially the facts attending the affair. [Page 189] This course I deemed the more imperative in view of the expressed feeling in some quarters that this Society was in some way responsible for the loss of the engine.

Protesting for myself absolute good faith towards the established Government of Nicaragua, I can not be otherwise than sensitive when even a breath of suspicion is felt in any quarter of the perfect good faith of those with whom both myself and my daughters have become associated in this work of mercy in which much patient labor and money is voluntarily expended.

You must comprehend that the insinuation that I and those associated with me had acted with duplicity wounded me deeply; and you can readily understand that I regard it as my first and highest duty to have a most thorough and impartial investigation of this whole affair.

If this can be accomplished to-day, I will gladly go to Masaya, or to Granada if need be, to-morrow morning on an errand of peace, and during that visit I shall use my best and most earnest efforts to have the engine returned to its rightful owners. With sentiments of high personal esteem, I beg to subscribe myself, etc.,

Lewis Baker.
[Inclosure 5 in No. 8.—Translation.

President Sacasa to Mr. Baker.

Esteemed Sir: I have read your important communication of this date, relative to the occurrence of the locomotive engine which caused a postponement of your excellency’s trip to Masaya and Granada.

My Government recognizes your excellency’s honorable and highly patriotic views and therefore it has not doubted a moment the integrity and good faith of those who compose the Society of the Red Cross with which your excellency and your daughters have associated yourselves.

Your excellency must not mind the interpretations which are made in some quarters; for your excellency knows very well that they always judge what happens by the impressions they receive, which, in the majority of cases, as in the present one, do not rest on a fixed basis.

I trust that the incident of the locomotive will be resolved in a favorable manner to my Government, according to the justice which it has; and that your excellency lency will do whatever the actual facts may call for.

With the hignest consideration, I remain, etc.

Roberto Sacasa.