THE secret of the treaty for Dominican annexation was, as such state secrets go, extremely well kept. To be sure, during the last two months of 1869 the metropolitan newspapers indulged in a tremendous amount of conjecture. The New York Herald as early as November 17 printed a long story about the "probable annexation" of the republic, saying that in the next few weeks the question would be tangibly presented to Congress. The Philadelphia Press stated at the same time that a treaty of annexation had probably been made. Though other newspapers carried denials, hearsay reports and gossip about annexation persisted. Thornton wrote the British Government on November 291 that he thought the United States was taking steps, on the invitation of Baez, to acquire the republic. He had learned from the British chargé at Port au Prince that the Haitian Government was also proposing to the United States a defensive and offensive alliance, to contain a secret clause by which the Haitians would cede Mole St. Nicholas, valuable as a naval base, in return for an American loan. It was clear to him that if the Administration succeeded in effecting the annexation of Santo Domingo, all the rest of the island would soon fall into its hands. To this, it may be said, England had no real objection. Unquestionably many diplomatists, Congressmen, and journalists suspected that a bargain had been made.
Yet all the talk remained mere conjecture. After Babcock's second return from the island, his convention for a fifty-year lease of Samaná____________________