Mr. Smythe to Mr. Gresham.*

No. 6.]

Sir: I inclose herewith the testimony forwarded to me by Consul Meade, relating to the incident at Azua. This shows the affair practically as reported to me by the commander of the Kearsarge, and is the only official intelligence I have received except the brief dispatch which I forwarded to you.

It seems right to consider, first, that the vessel was anchored at a closed port; second, that the whole countryside was in arms trying to apprehend or prevent the escape of the parties who had assassinated the governor of the province; and, third, that the mate, instead of proceeding boldly to the shore and making inquiries as soon as he saw a few men with arms in their hands turned the bow of his boat to the vessel and retreated, thus confirming the suspicions of the ignorant soldiery in the belief that the vessel was either concerned in the uprising or was there (in a closed port) to carry away the assassins of the governor.

I have unofficial information that the mate is well, and the seaman, Smith (who, it seems, is a Swede), is recovering rapidly.

I have, etc.,

Henry M. Smythe
.

P. S.—I have just learned that it will be impossible to copy the evidence, etc., for this mail, and hence I send this dispatch to give the Department an idea of the situation. My opinion is that no discourtesy was intended to our flag, but think a reasonable indemnity should be demanded for the wounded sailors, unless the circumstances debar them from remuneration.

The papers will follow in next mail, and can then be connected with this dispatch.

Very truly, your friend and servant,

Henry M. Smythe
.
[Page 217]
[Inclosure 1 in No. 6.]

Mr. Meade to Mr. Smythe.

Sir: I inclose you here with copies of the depositions of the master, mate, and sailor (with accompanying medical certificate) of the American schooner Henry Crosby, who were connected in the recent shooting affair at Azua, and an account of which has been telegraphed you as received from Consular Agent Hardy at that port.

I have, etc.,

[l. s.]
John R. Meade,
United States Consul, Santo Domingo
.
[Inclosure 2 in No. 6.]

Mr. Hardy to Mr. Meade.

No. 71.

Sir: Your dispatch No. 2, dated December 16, received and contents noted.

According to instructions I inclose copy of depositions made at this consular agency by A. F. Stubbs, master, William H. Brooks, first mate, and Charles Smith, seaman, all belonging to the American schooner Henry Crosby, now lying at this place, the originals of said depositions being entered and sworn to in the record hooks in this office. I also inclose certificate of medical attendant regarding nature of wound received by the above-named Charles Smith on the 10th day of December last.

You will observe that there is an unimportant addition to the captain’s declaration. This was added at the request of the authorities here, who desired Captain Stubbs to sign a declaration drawn up by them which did not recognize the fact of the vessel’s national flag being displayed. To avoid dispute I advised Captain Stubbs to send a copy of his declaration to the consular agency, which was done in the form inclosed. In explanation of the Dominican Government’s wish that the master certify to the fact that he was anchored outside the limits of any port, I may mention that Azua and Baralrona are the only two ports in this section where foreign vessels are allowed to enter unless under special permit from the Government. Captain Stubbs was misled by the information he received in New York regarding the situation of Azua, and it is to be regretted that he did not provide himself with a United States hydrographic chart of 1886, or sailing directions from the same office, published in 1892, before leaving New York. The arrival of the Henry Crosby occurred while the country was in a state of unrest. The governor-general of the province and Bara Huna having been assassinated on the Sunday previous, the whole population was under arms to prevent the escape of the murderers, and by some error the authorities were advised that the vessel reported at anchor on the coast was from Bara Huna, hence the dispatch of an armed force to watch her motions. Of course a moment’s consideration ought to have convinced the authorities that a vessel engaged in any illegal — would hardly anchor in the middle of the day and remain twenty-seven hours within rifle shot of the beach with her colors flying. In any case, the dispatch of an armed force in a boat from, as afterwards was done, would resolve any suspicions that existed.

The seaman Charles Smith is progressing favorably. Trusting inclosures will be found satisfactory, etc.,

John Hardy,
United States Consular Agent
.
[Inclosure 3 in No. 6.]

Deposition of William H. Brooks.

Be it known that on the 22d day of December, 1893, personally appeared before me, John Hardy, consular agent for the United States of America for the port of Azua, William H. Brooks, chief officer of the American schooner Henry Crosby, who maketh the following declaration and answers under oath;

[Page 218]

That the said William H. Brooks is an American citizen with residence in Rockland, Me.; that he has been attached to the American schooner Henry Crosby upward of one year; that he left New York in the said schooner in the capacity of mate on 24th November last.

That on the 10th day of December, while the vessel was lying at anchor off what was supposed to be the port of Azua, at 11.30 a.m., he received an order from A. J. Stubbs, the master of the vessel, to take two seamen in the small boat to ascertain if the vessel was really in the port of Azua, with the additional order not to land. That in obeying these instructions the boat was taken within hailing distance of the shore, where two men were observed and the question asked, “Is this the port of Azua?” Understanding them to give an affirmative answer, and further alarmed by the sudden appearance of a large body of armed men, the order was given to pull back to the vessel; immediately the men on the beach opened lire on the boat, great numbers of bullets falling near to and passing through the planking of the boat, one of the latter striking him, the deponent, on the hip and for the moment disabling him.

That up to the time of the firing no intimation which he could understand had been given him, that he was desired to land, consequently he carried out the orders given by the master of the vessel, and seated with his back to the shore he was unable to see the soldiers making ready to fire, and with the first volley he became disabled. After a time, finding that one of his boat’s crew was dangerously wounded and the other in hiding, by a great effort he took to the oars in the endeavor to get the boat out of range or on the other side of the vessel. In this he succeeded.

That he further declares that the schooner Henry Crosby held no other communication with the shore from the time of his leaving New York, and that during the time of the vessel lying at anchor off the Boca de Jura the national flag was displayed from sunrise to sunset, and that at the time of the firing the flag on the ship was plainly discernible.

To the above declaration the said William H. Brooks subscribes his name and maketh oath the day and date above written.

Wm. H. Brooks.

This declaration made and sworn to before me this 22d day of December, 1893.

John Hardy,
United States Consular Agent.

United States Consular Agency,
Azua, December 26, 1893.

I, John Hardy, consular agent of the United States of America, do hereby certify that this is a true copy of the original on the record book of this agency. Given under my hand and seal the day, month, and year mentioned.

John Hardy,
United States Consular Agent
.
[Inclosure 4 in No. 6.]

Deposition of Charles Smith.

Be it known that on the 23d day of December, 1893, the following declaration was made and sworn to by Charles Smith, seaman, belonging to the American schooner Henry Crosby, of Bangor, Me., the said Charles Smith being confined to his bed on account of a wound received in the line of his duty as seaman on board the said vessel. Said Charles Smith makes declaration that he is a native of Sweden, but has sailed in American vessels for upward of three years past.

He further declares that he sailed from New York in the above-mentioned vessel in the capacity of able seaman on the 24th day of November last; that nothing of importance occurred until the 10th day of December, the ship then lying at anchor off the coast of Santo Domingo. Shortly before noon of the above date the deponent was ordered to go into the boat, and accordingly pulled toward the shore, with Seaman Johnson pulling and the chief officer, Mr. Brooks, steering. When within hailing distance of the shore, the mate turned the boat’s bow toward the vessel and then the mate ordered us to stop rowing. The mate then asked some man on shore—speaking in English, “If this was the port of Azua?” Whatever answer was given was not understood by me.

During this conversation I noticed a number of men issuing from the bush, armed with rifles and big knives, and called the mate’s attention to it. The mate then gave [Page 219]the order to give way on the oars. Almost at the same moment the men on shore commenced firing, the balls dropping in and around boat in great quantity. Very soon afterwards I saw the mate fall from his seat, face forward, to the bottom of the boat, Johnson having stopped his oar and hid in the bottom of the boat. I seized the two oars and endeavored to pull on board, but very soon receiving a bullet in the front of the thigh, which passed through and left my body at the posterior, and, getting faint from pain and loss of blood, I, too, abandoned the oars and later was hoisted on board and my injuries temporarily dressed by the captain.

Charles Smith further maketh declaration that the ship held no communication with the shore of Santo Domingo than as above stated, and that during the time of the firing on the boat the flag of the vessel was plainly discernible.

To all of which the said Charles Smith declares on oath that the statement is true.

Charles Smith.

This declaration made and sworn to before me on the 23d day of December, 1893.

John Hardy,
United States Consular Agent.

United States Consular Agency,
Azua, December 26, 1893.

I, John Hardy, consular agent of the United States of America at Azua, do hereby certify that this is a true copy of the original on the record book of this agency. Given under my hand and seal the day and date ad supra.

John Hardy,
United States Consular Agent
.
[Inclosure 5 in No. 6.]

Deposition of Capt. A. F. Stubbs.

Be it known that on the 22d day of December, 1893, personally appeared before me, John Hardy, consular agent of the United States of America at the port of Azua, A. F. Stubbs, master of American schooner Henry Crosby, who makes the following declaration and answer under oath:

That the said A. F. Stubbs is a citizen of the United States, with residence in Brooklyn, N. Y.; that as master of schooner Henry Crosby he sailed from the port of New York, bound for the port of Azua, and that nothing of importance occurred until the morning of the 9th day of December, when the vessel was off Salina Point. Acting under the best information he could obtain before leaving New York, and also consulting the chart used by him on board, he was led to believe that Azua was about 15 miles distant in a northwest direction; with the sea breeze a corresponding course was steered until he supposed himself opposite the inland town of Azua, when the anchor was dropped at 1.30 p.m., in 6 fathoms of water, and the colors kept flying in expectation of a visit from custom-house authorities, the tend of the shore showing an indentation of a small port; that the colors were kept flying during daylight of the 9th and hoisted at sunrise Sunday, the 10th; that at 11.30 a.m. of the 10th, no communication having been received from the shore, and observing two or three men on the beach, he ordered William H. Brooks, first mate of the vessel, to take the small boat with two seamen and approach near enough and hail if it was the port of Azua or not, but on no account to land.

Watching the mate, he saw him get near to the beach and turn the bow of his boat seaward. After apparently changing speech with the men on shore, the men in the boat commenced to pull toward the ship. That during the time of the mate’s speaking with the men on shore he was surprised to see a great number of armed men issue from the woods, probably thirty or forty, and the moment the boat commenced to move toward the ship they opened fire on the boat, the result being that the mate, William H. Brooks, having been struck on the hip by a ball which had probably passed through the woodwork of the boat and thus lost a great part of its force, fell from his seat. His injury proved to be a large contusion. The man pulling the after oar hid himself in the bottom of the boat, and Charles Smith, seaman, the bow oar, was shot so severely that he fell from his seat. The crew of the boat being apparently totally disabled the troops on shore opened fire on the ship, the rifle balls passing through the rigging and some few landing on deck, so that it became necessary to order the rest of the crew below for safety.

[Page 220]

The said A. F. Stubbs further declares that during his voyage he held no communication with the shore and was engaged in peaceful and lawful occupation. To all which he affirms under oath the day and date above mentioned.

A. F. Stubbs,
Master of American Schooner Henry Crosby.


John Hardy,
United States Consular Agent.

addition.

As the clause concerning the anchorage of the schooner Henry Crosby is deemed not sufficiently clear, it is acknowledged that through bad information and unacquaintance, the vessel was anchored in a part of the coast not recognized as a port of entry and uninhabitable.

A. F. Stubbs.

I certify to the above signature.

John Hardy,
United States Consular Agent.

United States Consular Agency,
Azua, December 26, 1895.

I, John Hardy, consular agent of the United States of America at Azua, certify that this is a true copy of the original on the record books of this agency.

Given under my hand and seal the day, month, and year above written.

John Hardy,
United States Consular Agent
.