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The Haitian President's Proclamation

IN the Moniteur, official organ of the Republic of Haiti, for September 4, 1915, in a column headed "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity," the president of Haiti published a proclamation on the situation arising from the occupation by American troops of the customs-house at Port-au-Prince.

Haitians! At the very moment when the Government, engaged in negotiations to settle the question of the presence of American military forces on Haitian territory, was looking forward to a prompt solution in accordance with law and justice, it finds itself faced with the simple seizure of possession of the customs administration of the capital.

Previously the customs-houses of several other cities of the republic had been occupied in like fashion, and whenever the news of such occupation reached the National Palace or the Department of Finances, it was followed by an energetic pro[39]test, demanding that the diplomatic representative of the American Government residing at Port-au-Prince restore the customs-houses and put an end to acts so contrary to the relations at present existing between the Government of Haiti and the Government of the United States of North America.

Haitians! In bringing these facts officially to the attention of the country, I owe it to myself to declare further, in the most formal fashion, to you and to the entire civilized world, that the order to carry out these acts so destructive of the interests, rights, and sovereignty of the Haitian people is not due to anything which can be cited against the patriotism, devotion, spirit of sacrifice, and loyalty of those to whom the destinies of the country have been intrusted. You are the judges of that.

Nor will I conceal the fact that my astonishment is greater because the negotiations, which had been undertaken in the hope of an agreement upon the basis of propositions presented by the American Government itself, after having passed through the ordinary phases of diplomatic discussion, with frankness and courtesy on both sides, have now been relieved of the only obstacles which had hitherto appeared to stand in their way.

Haitians! In this agonizing situation, more than tragic for every truly Haitian soul, the Government, which intends to preserve full national sovereignty, will be able to maintain the necessary resolution only if all are united in exercising their intelligence and energy with it in the present task of saving the nation....

Sudre Dartiguenave
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miles to the southwest of it; so that it is placed, as it were, right 
in the center of the four great Antilles, of which it is one and the 
next in size after Cuba. It is, besides, within 600 miles of the 
northern coast of South America, and to the north of it, not far 
away, are Inagua, Turk's, and other smaller islands. It lies be- 
tween 17** 37' and 20° north latitude and between 68® 20' and 
74** 30' longitude west from Greenwich, so that it is to be noted 
that the whole island is well within the tropics, and that its topo- 
graphical position is such as to command the entrance to the Gulf 
of Mexico from the southeast and to give it importance on the 
great ocean highway leading from Europe and the United States 
to the isthmus which joins the two Americas and which must, in 
the opinion of many, open some day a convenient passage between 
the great oceans. 

The island under consideration is very large, so large indeed 
that a person on any central part of it would find it difficult to 
conceive that he is not on the mainland of a continent rather than 
a mere island. Its greatest length from east to west is a little more 
than 400 miles, while its breadth from north to south varies from 
about 160 miles, measured from near Point Isabella to Cape Beate, 
to about 17 miles across the narrowest part of the extreme western 
peninsula, and it is estimated that its perimeter, not including 
its very numerous bays and inlets, would measure not far from 
900 miles. Compared with European countries as to square miles 
of surface, it is nearly three times as large as Belgium, one- 
fifth larger than the Kingdom of Greece, more than twice the 
size of Denmark, and is only a little smaller than Portugal or 
Ireland. Compared in this respect with the States of the American 
Union, it is one-fourth larger than the whole area covered by 
Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut together; 
it is more than six times as large as Connecticut, or a litde 
larger than South Carolina; that is, it contains about 31,000 
square miles of surface.

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