Minister Dawson to the Secretary of State.
Santo Domingo, January 16, 1906.
Sir: Continuing the subject of my No. 202 of January 2, political events in this Republic, I have the honor to report that on January 2 a body of about 200 or 300 men under the leadership of the insurrectionist chiefs, Demetrio Rodriguez, Fermin Perez, and Eugenio Deschamps, which had come from Monte Christi on the gunboat Independencia and landed some 5 miles west of Puerto Plata, attacked the latter town. The government forces made a desperate resistance, but after bloody street fighting were driven back toward the citadel. In the meantime a body of government troops had come down the railroad from Santiago, and the insurrectionists withdrew from the town to meet this attack in their rear. They were defeated, retired to their original landing place, and reembarked on the Independencia for Monte Christi. The losses on both sides reached 162. Among the killed was Demetrio Rodriguez, the ablest and most active leader of the Jimenista party.[Page 544]
On the same day Santiago was attacked by the main body of the insurrectionists which, under the command of Gulito Pichardo and Andres Navarro, had marched by land up the Yaqui Valley from Monte Christi. This attack does not seem to have been seriously pressed, since the losses reported are small. The insurrectionists were repulsed, and on receiving news of the defeat at Puerto Plata they retired slowly down the valley, the Government immediately making preparations to pursue in force and carry the war into Monte Christi Province. On the 4th the government telegraph line from Santiago to Puerto Plata was reopened, and on the following day the French line was repaired, placing this capital again in communication with the outside world.
On the 3d a letter written by President Morales from his hiding place reached my hands, but the bearer could give me no information as to his whereabouts, which every precaution was taken to conceal from even his most intimate friends. He asked for diplomatic intervention to save his life, offering to resign and leave the country.
Telegraphic communication having been reestablished I cabled you as follows:
Santo Domingo, January 5, 1906.
No revolutionary movements reported, except the attacks from Monte Christi on Puerto Plata and Santiago; reported repulsed. Telegraphic communication everywhere reestablished except with Monte Christi. Morales hidden near this city. Has written me offering to resign if the cabinet will guarantee his free passage abroad. Cabinet and the vice-president consent. Morales informed, but has not appeared as yet.
Our hopes of an early appearance by Morales were disappointed, and day after day went by without even getting an answer to our communication.
About 9 o’clock the Spanish chargé found Morales and his two companions making their way along the road, about 7 miles from town. The lookout had, it seems, caught sight of Señor Albinana in the afternoon, and from the description given Morales had come to the conclusion that he was being looked for without hostile intent. Although his leg had been broken above the ankle by a fall of his horse on December 25, his faithful companions had managed to carry and drag him to the road and a considerable distance along it when Señor Albinana met them and got him into the carriage. The party were stopped twice by guards, but were allowed to proceed on producing Caceres’ pass, and as they neared the legation the governor met them and they reached shelter without incident.
I at once notified the minister of foreign affairs (copy of my two notes and copy and translation of the reply inclosed) and procured surgical assistance for the suffering President. The next morning the minister of foreign affairs, the French and Spanish chargés, and myself met with the President, who readily agreed with the minister upon the terms of his resignation. This was immediately laid before Congress, and after a stormy debate on the question as to whether the resignation of a President under impeachment could be accepted common sense prevailed. I inclose copy and translation of the resignation and the resolution of Congress accepting it, and of the note from the minister of foreign affairs announcing these facts and Caceres’ assumption of the presidency.
Mr. Flandrin and Señor Albinana remained with the President during the day helping him to clothes and food and sending for his [Page 545] family, while I busied myself arranging with the minister of war, the governor, and Commander Fechteler, of the U. S. S. Dubuque, the details of his safe passage through the town and transfer to the latter ship. The town was greatly excited and some apprehensions were expressed that there might be dangerous demonstrations on the part of either Morales’s friends or his enemies. These apprehensions I believed to be groundless, but the governor thought it safest that the minister of foreign affairs, Mr. Flandrin, Señor Albinana, and myself accompany the ex-President to the landing and that a strong guard should be present. Morales’s leg was so bad that he suffered much in being lifted from the house to the carriage. The whole population of the city lined the streets where he passed, but there were no demonstrations except of curiosity and sympathy for his pitiable physical plight. At 5 o’clock he was safely on board the Dubuque, which at once weighed anchor for San Juan.
In the meantime the Independencia, after leaving Puerto Plata for Monte Christi on the 2d, proceeded from the latter place, to Samana Bay, and on the 5th landed about 70 men under the command of Joaquin Barba. The latter has many followers in Samana Peninsula and thought he would be joined by large numbers and be able to take Sanchez, where the English railway has a coal supply, of which the Independencia stood in great need.
However, the Government had sent adequate reenforcements under Luis Maria Cabrera down from Moca and La Vega to Sanchez, and Barba’s attacks were unsuccessful. On the 7th the expedition weighed anchor and returned to Monte Christi.
Meanwhile the main body of the government forces had advanced from Santiago down the Yaqui Valley toward Monte Christi. About the 10th Pichardo and Navarro made a feeble stand at Guayacanes, some 30 miles west of Santiago, but were easily defeated and fled under hot pursuit toward Monte Christi. The same day Barba and Perez, with the Independencia, made a last attempt in Samana Bay, appearing there on the 11th. But without coal and money and with numbers greatly inferior to the government forces in that vicinity, their position was hopeless, and they soon entered into negotiations looking to the surrender of the vessel. On the 13th I received the following telegram from the acting American consular agent in Sanchez:
Sanchez, January 13, 1906.
Dawson, Santo Domingo:
Referring to resignation Morales Catrain and Fermin Perez, request be informed whether agreement made will include disposition of their case; if not, and because they do not consider themselves revolutionists, desire you communicate to Dominican Government. Will surrender gunboat if Government permits them to leave country. Are without funds and need pecuniary assistance.
Leroux, Acting Consul.
On consultation with the minister of foreign affairs, I ascertained that the Government would give them honorable terms. Accordingly I answered as follows:
Santo Domingo, January 13, 1906.
American Consul, Sanchez:
Government will agree that Catrain and Perez may remain on American war ship until they take passage Seminole, Turks Island or New York. Consult American captain, whose aid I would appreciate.
On the afternoon of the 14th the minister of war called on me to ask the assistance of the commander of the American war ship at Sanchez in facilitating the transfer of the Independencia to the government authorities. After he had showed me the telegrams he had received from there, I telegraphed to the U. S. S. Paducah as follows:
Santo Domingo, January 14, 1906.
Dominican Government informs me General Cabrera is authorized to receive Independencia.
Yesterday afternoon, January 15, the Government received word that the transfer had in fact been made.
Just before Morales left my legation on the 12th I asked him if he did not want, by sending a message to his Jimenistas allies, to aid in restoring peace and repairing as far as possible the damage he had done. He accordingly wrote the following telegram to Governor Arias and Gulito Pichardo, which I sent to Puerto Plata with the request that it be taken by messenger to Monte Christi at once:
Santo Domingo, January 12, 1906.
Desiderio Arias, Monte Christi:
Forced by circumstances I have resigned. The necessity of peace for the country requires sacrifices. If the Government offers effective guarantees, do not neglect measures to save the country.
This message reached Arias’s hands the next day through the kindness of Commander Southerland, who went from Puerto Plata to Monte Christi on the Yankee.
The government troops had continued to advance down the Yaqui Valley toward Monte Christi, the insurrectionists all retiring into that town or dispersing, except a body of about a hundred men under a desperate and murderous guerrilla chief called Neney Cepin, who went to Copey, a town 15 miles south of Monte Christi and 3 or 4 miles from the Haitian border. By the 13th and 14th the position of the insurrectionist chiefs in Monte Christi was so precarious that they offered, through Commander Southerland, to surrender and make peace on conditions. They proposed the status quo ante as a basis, but the Government being desirous of putting an end once for all of the extraconstitutional autonomy heretofore enjoyed by Monte Christi Province instructed Horacio Vasquez to offer amnesty and guarantees for life and property.
On the morning of the 15th the U. S. S. Scorpion took Vasquez from Puerto Plata to Monte Christi to arrange the terms of the surrender. Simultaneously the government troops reached the town, and the Horacista political prisoners whom Arias had locked up broke out, got arms, and took possession of the citadel. Governor Arias and Eugenio Deschamps fled on board the American man-of-war. Navarro was still in the gobernacion when the last telegram came from Vasquez to the Government, but it was expected that he would surrender to-day on the Government’s conditions, and that at the same time the surrender of Cepin’s band would be arranged for.
I confirm my telegram to you as follows:
Santo Domingo, January 16, 1906.
Rebel gunboat has been surrendered. Monte Christi insurrectionists again defeated and asking for terms. Trouble is all over.
Inclosed is a copy of my answer to the note of the minister of foreign affairs notifying me of Caceres assumption of the Presidency on account of the resignation of Morales.
I have, etc.,