Mr. Lyon to Mr. Hay.
Monrovia , September 23, 1903 .
Sir: I have the honor to inform you that, in the month of February of the present year, a party of fifty-six colored persons, consisting of males, females, and children, left Erwin County, Ga., as emigrants for Monrovia, Liberia, under the leadership of one B. J. Scott.
Upon their arrival the Liberian Government did its best to assist them in overcoming the rigor of the climate and in supplying them with some food until the land which had been given them could produce something for their sustenance.
Since then, however, twenty of the number have died at Cheesemanburg, the place assigned them by the Government. For the lack of homes they were all put in a house of two rooms, where they died one after another, with the fever, from want of food and medicine.
Thirty-six of this number still remain in a sickly and destitute condition. Sixteen are still at Cheesemanburg. Twenty-two have returned to Monrovia. These are ragged, starving, and homeless. Five of these will return to the States by the first English steamer to Liverpool, on or about the 1st of October, 1903. Their transportation having been arranged for by friends in the United States.
There being no provision for relief in cases of this kind, we had to help them from our private purse. We soon, however, discovered that we could not give much charity to twenty-two persons for any length of time, for food is scarce and the prices are enormous.
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I shall, in a separate dispatch, transmit some emigration documents and the result of an interview with His Excellency, the President, and with members of the cabinet.
I have, etc.,