Mr. Lane to Mr. Hay.

No. 17.]

Sir: I beg to refer to my respects of the 2d instant regarding Mr. Clancy’s request for war vessels at Bluefields.

On the 5th instant I telegraphed the Department as follows (translated): “Consulate Bluefields 30th asks two war vessels. Merchants ordered pay Government; otherwise suffer consequences. Martial law enforced. Government refused consul use wire. Unable communicate minister. Lane.” And on the 6th instant I received your reply, reading (translated): “Lane, Chargé, San José, Costa Rica, Instructions telegraphed minister; Detroit goes Bluefields. Hay,” for which I beg to tender my best acknowledgments. The only additional information that I have regarding affairs at Bluefields is contained in the inclosed copies of Mr. Clancy’s letters to Minister Merry, dated the 30th ultimo and 3d instant, together with inclosure called for in the former and a translation of same.

When I wrote Mr. Clancy on the 3d instant, acknowledging receipt of his first dispatch, I inclosed and called his attention to a copy of that of the Department to him, dated Washington, March 6, to serve in event of his not having received the original, since it relates to the matter of second payment of duties and asks for a detailed report of any such demand.

Minister Merry’s acknowledgment of my message to him of the 2d instant reached me, after much delay en route, on the evening of the 6th instant, and then reported my telegrams as only partially legible. He advised his being due at Corinto on the 9th instant and requested me to wire him there, which I shall do, giving him the Department [Page 563] message to me. He should find at Corinto letters from me to the 5th instant, inclusive.

With assurances, etc.,

Rufus R. Lane.
[Inclosure No. 1.]

Mr. Clancy to Mr. Merry.

No. 19.]

Sir: I have the honor to inform you that I wanted to send the inclosed telegram to you this morning and was refused point blank the use of the wires by the Nicaraguan authorities at this place, although I informed them it was official business, and am compelled to send this in a special boat to Port Limon, so that Hon. S. C. Braida, our consular agent, can transmit it to you for immediate action.

I refused to answer the questions propounded in the inclosed, unless I first obtained permission to do so. The excuse made by General Estrada, the governor intendente and inspector-general of the Atlantic coast, was that, as I refused to answer the questions of the executive delegate, he would refuse to telegraph the President for permission for me to use the wires, and walked off in anger.

This morning the American merchants requested me to go with them and talk this repayment question over with Colonel Torres. He refused to answer any questions and said in substance if I wanted information in my capacity as consular agent I must address him in the proper way.

This was merely a subterfuge on his part to gain time, and we left his presence without having obtained any satisfaction on the subject.

He was much annoyed that I did not answer his questions at once, and brought this matter in several times during the interview.

These people must be taught the salutary lesson of acting with justice and moderation in the execution of their laws and decrees issued by His Excellency President Zelaya.

Just think of it! The President sent a man from Managua, who asks our merchants to call on him on business, and when the merchants appear before the person so sent he is informed that he must pay a certain amount of money to the present Government within twenty-four hours or suffer the legal consequences, (martial law being in force) without having the least opportunity to reply or defend his action. And when the judge is asked the penalty for noncompliance he says he does not know, and when the same question is put to the executive delegate he also pleads ignorance.

Decree just issued at 4.30 p.m. increasing duties 50 per cent, to take immediate effert.

I am, etc.,

M. J. Clancy.
[Inclosure No. 2.]

Mr. Clancy to Mr. Merry.

Sir: Cable for two men-of-war to be sent here at once for the protection of the property of American citizens.

Martial law in force and courts closed by order of President Zelaya since the 18th instant.

Col. Francisco E. Torres, executive delegate, says the merchants must pay to-day the amounts of duties paid the late revolutionary government; also, if not paid as summarily demanded by him, they must suffer the consequences.

The Nicaraguan Government refuses point blank the use of the wires for sending this telegram, although the wires are in working order.

Interviewed Colonel Torres this morning and recieved no satisfaction.

M. J. Clancy.
[Page 564]
[Subinclosure No. 1.—Translation.]

Mr. Torres to Mr. Clancy.

Dear Sir: Invested as I am with the high functions of delegate of the executive power on the Atlantic coast, and the object of the Government in sending me to this department being as much the application of the law to those who, in the rebellion of the 3d of February last, arose in arms against the constituted authority, as to investigate the cause of the uprising, and who were in it, I believe it my duty, in the conception of filling my commission with justice and equity, to take or collect the data that is the most trustworthy to me and comes from people or authorities whose integrity is above question; therefore, I address the consular agent by means of the present, asking information that he, no one better informed, will be able to give the Government, rendering in that way an inestimable service, and which I hope, from his impartiality and uprightness, will not fail since he represents the Government of a brother country and friend of Nicaragua, and you have always shown, in the name of the United States of America, the desire of strengthening the friendly relations between both countries.

Please tell me the date of the notices which warned your countrymen of the strictest neutrality, and if this warning was caused becaase the authorities of this city had disavowed the government or Gen. J. Santos zelaya.
What causes alleged or had the American citizens to interfere and take arms, swelling the ranks of the rebels, and had they promises from the rebel chiefs, and were these of pecuniary remuneration, command, or control in the government of the country or of this littoral?
For what motive or with what object did the commercial houses of the New Orleans and Central American Trading Company, Brown & Harris, Peterson, Allan & Caldwell, Sam. Weil, and Sam. D. Spellman give the Americans under the orders of Gen. Juan Pablo Reyes clothing and other things to organize the body commanded by the American citizen Kennedy?
Why, in spite of your prohibition, were the Americans present at the hour and moment when the rebellion, headed by the civil and military authorities of this city and Rama, began assisting to foment it, some with arms, others with money for the payment of import duties, and provisions?
Why did the Bluefields Steamship Company give steamers for the transportation of troops, permitting steamers like El Condor to come into port, closed from the moment the rebellion started, with merchandise that arrived without consular invoices that same steamer carried and brought to Rama tind from San Juan del Norte?
For what motives, and authorized by whom, went various Americans like Jacob Conn to the Government palace, from whence they took arms and ammunition to the International Club?
Why, knowing that the Government employee had been taken from the custom-house on the Bluff, and that in his place had been put the American, H. W. Mallitz, did they continue passing their merchandise and paying duties to the rebellion in person of H. P. Salter, rebel employee, as was evident to all?
If you and the captain of the war steamer Marietta endeavored to render your countrymen more obedient and even threatened them, in the case of not being so, would they lose their American citizenship?
If; on the contrary, you and the captain of the Marietta and the rest of the American citizens recognized as legitimate the authorities created by the rebellion that took place in this city and Rama and that was headed by Gen. Juan P. Reyes.

Expecting that you will reply with pleasure to the questions made by the present, I thank you in anticipation in name of the Government and subscribe myself,

Yours, etc.,

Francisco E. Torres.
[Inclosure No. 3.]

Mr. Clancy to Mr. Merry.

No. 20.]

Sir: I have the honor to inform you that no action has been taken by Col. Francisco E. Torres, executive delegate, up to 6 p.m. to-day about collecting the duties, mention of which was contained in my No. 20.

[Page 565]

I am credibly informed that he will proceed in either of the following ways:

To allow no goods arriving from the United States for the merchants refusing to pay to be delivered them unless they pay the duties over again.
A squad of soldiers acting under orders of Colonel Torres will enter a store, take forcible possession of a certain amount of goods, and compel the owner to turn over the daily sales of all merchandise sold, until a sufficient amount has been collected to pay the amounts they arbitrarily demand, as well as the expenses connected therewith, and the executive delegate considers this the just and only proper way of getting the money.

“J. A. Belanger & Co.” and “Brown & Harris “have paid, the former English and the latter half English and American.

I am, etc.,

M. J. Clancy.