Page:Haiti- Her History and Her Detractors.djvu/251

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231
The Pelletier and Lazare Claims

the courts the cancellation of the contract, this proceeding being the usual one taken by all creditors against their debtors. Great Britain affected to consider this as a grave attack upon the interests of one of her subjects, which caused her in due time to resort to threats to extort an indemnity from Haiti.

Even the United States, whose relations with Haiti were at that time most cordial, introduced unjust claims against the country, those concerning Lazare and Pelletier being among the most unreasonable.[1]

In September, 1874, the Government of Domingue had granted to A. H. Lazare, an American citizen, the privilege of establishing a bank in Haiti. Of the metallic reserve to the value of $1,500,000, one-third, viz., $500,000, was to be furnished by the Haitian Government, and the balance, $1,000,000, by the grantee. It was agreed that in case the bank should not be in operation a year after the signature of the contract, which occurred on the 1st of September, 1874, the concession was to be held null and void. On the 1st of September, 1875, A. H. Lazare was unable to make the deposit of the $1,000,000; the Haitian Government agreed to wait until the 15th of October, notifying him, at the same time, that they would consider the concession cancelled if on that day he was not ready to fulfil his part of the contract. On the 15th of October the Haitian Government deposited in the bank the $500,000, its share in the transaction; but neither Lazare nor his million were forthcoming. The concession consequently was declared void. Lazare, knowing full well that he had no money with which to establish a bank, accepted the accomplished fact. The Haitian Government, with its usual benevolence, had the extreme kindness to give him $10,000 to cover his traveling expenses and the cost of advertisement; besides which, he was appointed Haitian Consul-General in New York. Nevertheless, as soon as he heard of the overthrow of Domingue he began intriguing, until the United States Legation at Port-au-

  1. See pages 237, 239.