Minister Powell to the Secretary of State.
Port au Prince, Haiti , April 5, 1905 .
Sir: I have the honor to state to the Department that since the closing of the small Syrian stores the Haitians have opened theirs.
Since the closing of these stores prices have advanced on all classes of merchandise and provisions from 15 per cent to 20 per cent, which is bearing very hard on the poorer classes in the Republic, who even before the closing of these stores, found it a hard matter to secure food and clothing for their families, now that the prices have increased on all classes of provisions and goods, it is almost an impossibility for them to feed their families, which is causing great discontent. There are many families here among the middle class that are in a state of almost semistarvation. Many of these people have not eaten meat for weeks on account of its high price. Bread is almost as dear as meat, and vegetables and fruit, while plentiful, are hard to obtain on account of the price demanded for them. Many families are parting with their jewelry and articles of wearing apparel to obtain money to buy food. The cost of living is nearly double what it was this time last year and bids fair in the near future to double the present figures.
I have, etc.,