United States. Congress. Senate. Committee on Fore.

Compilation of reports of Committee ... 1789-1901, First Congress, first session, to Fifty-sixth Congress, second session .. online

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Q. From the miner in charge! — A. I had it from talking a little with
G^erai Bartholow, and the head miner^ Gheorge Onilins, and from time
to time with the Mexicans ; bat yOu would not regard that as evidence.
I recoUeet this much, that he had a pile set aside by itself to which he
called my attention and told me that that had a spedfic value.

By Mr. Foster:
Q. HeT WhoT — A. General Bartholow told me that he had marked
out some hundreds per ton ; I think he told me how many, but I don't
recollect. This immense pile was the average ore that was coming down.
I regarded the immense pile as being worth $100 a ton and upwards, and
the other was several hundred dollars a ton. I can not say that General
Bartholow uttered that to me in so many words, for his words I do not
recollect

BytheOHAiRMAN:

Q. That is the impression made upon you from your conversation with
himT — A. From my conversation w:th him and with George Gullins, the
head miner.

Mr. Foster. We will not press the inquiry further.

The Witness. I have no personal knowledge.

By Mr. Foster:

Q. Were there assays of the ores extracted made from time to time
during your superintendency ; and, if so, what were the results of those
assays T Begin at the beginning and go through from time to time to
the close of your residence thfiie. — A. When I arrived I found that
there were no means of assaying in the hacienda or within immediate
reach. The first assay made was soon after General Bartholow's de-
parture, probably within a month. I had to go 12 miles to do that, and
to take specimens of the ground in bags, which specimens had been
pulverized at my request, to a place where I had fEusilities. The assays
were made, and the report was made to Mr. Garth.

Q. What was the name of that place T — A. The place was called La
Puerta.

Q. Did it belong to your company, or to some other company? — ^A.
To some other company.

Q. What other company, if you remember f — A. I do not remember.
We always spoke of it as lia Puerta.

Q. Proceed. — A. There the matter rested for some little while. I
came back well satisfied. 1 can not state now from recollection what
the value was, but it was such as to satisfy me.

Q. Satisfied you on what pointt — ^A. As to the value of the ore, the
work of its extraction, its benefitiation and forwarding in Kew York in
money. Some time afterward, in correspondence with Mr. Gkurth, in
one of his letters he wrote to me and questioned whether I had not been
imposed upon.

Mr. Wilson. One moment Have yon that letter?

The Witness. I have not, sir. I have no letters of Mr. Garth ; I
never kept any of his letters. I think I had private letters, but I have
not even one of them now.

By the Chairman :
Q. What has become of them f — A. I could not tell you whether I



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THE LA ABRA SILVER lONING COMPANY 47

threw them away or not. That was years ago, and 1 have no record or
papers of any kind now in my possession.

Q. Are they lost beyond your power of recovery I — A. Yes, sir; I do
not think they are in existence at all.

Mr. Wilson. 1 respectfally submit, Mr. Chairman, that it is not a
question as to their being lost beyond the power of recovery by this
witness. The question is whether the Mexican Gk>vemment has them in
its possession and can produce them.

The Witness. That 1 do not know.

Mr. Wilson. The Mexican Oovernment should be required to produce
these letters or account for their loss before they can enter into any in-
vestigation or give any evidence as to their contents.

Mr. Lines. They are your letters. Are we to be called upon to pro-
duce them or account for them T

Mr. Wilson. Our letters that were written to this gentleman, and that
we say are in your possession.

The Chairman. Do you assert that as a factt

Mr. Wilson. I assert this : tiiat the books and papers of this company
went into the possession of the Mexican Government, just as they got
these letters that we have seen here. They were left there at the ha-
cienda as part of the record in this case, and the Mexican Oovernment
got possession of them.

Mr. Lines. That is denied.

Mr. Foster. I shall have something to say on that point when Mr.
Wilson is through.

Mr. Wilson. I say that it is for them to account for these letters,
and not for us.

The Chairman. I wish you would read the question, Mr. Secretary,
if you please.

The stenographer read the following answer of the witness :

As to the value of the ore, the work of its extraction, its beneficiation, and for-
warding to New York in money. Some time afterward, in oorreepondenoe with Mr.
Garth, in one of his letters, he wrote to me and qaestioned whether I had not been
imposed apon.

Senator Dolph. In consequence of a letter received firom Mr. Garth,
the witness can state that he was induced to do so and so, without
undertaking at this time to give the contents of the letter.

The Chairman. I wanted to find out how the objection arose.

Mr. Wilson. He was proceeding to speak about these letters, hav-
ing written so and so, and that is where I interposed my objection. Now
what Senator Dolph suggests is certainly something that I do not ob-
ject to. He can say that he received a letter from Mr. Oarth, and in con-
sequence of that he can state that he did so and so.

The Chatrmait. As I Understand it, Mr. Wilson objects to Mr. De
Lagnel speaking of the letter which he received from Mr. Oarth unless
that letter is produced. I understand that that letter has not been
traced to the Mexican Government in any way. [To the witness.] Did
you give that letter that you received from Mr. Gharth to the Mexican
Government, or leave it there t

The Witness. I certainly did not give it to the Mexican Oovern-
ment, but when I came away I left tho^e letters there, with others. I
recollect tying up Mr. Garth's letters together with a tape and handing
them over, with the other books and papers, to Mr. Bxall. When I de-
livered the papers it was done on inventories and receipts. He knew
what was there and he signed receipts. The last I ever saw of the
books they were in his hands. Whethei I left these private letters



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48 THE LA ABRA SILVER MINING COMPANY

there I can not tell now. Possibly there might not have been more tha&r
two or three of them. There may be one of those private letters in the
letter-book ; 1 will not say it is not. Bat if it is in the letter-book it
will be found.

l^Ir. Foster. I do not want the Senator to fall into any misapprehen-
sion from the statement of the opposing counsel. I want to protest
against the ntatement that these books and papers were in the posses-
sion of Mexico during this trial. I want to say, on the other hand, that
the testimony produced on that trial before the commission shows that
the letters were in the hands of the company or its agents and under
their control. Now, among others, they produce as one of the five only
original documents that were ever submitted to that commission a
letter written by a Mexican official to the superintendent of the mines,
calling upon him for a forced loan. They produce that original letter.
How did they get itt They got it from Mr. Exall, who was left in
charge of the mines. He had possession of the books of the company,
and he was the man left in charge. Granger produced this original
letter. Where does he get it t He must have obtained it from the files
of the company. The only document that was ever produced on that
trial was brought out by these claimants from their own agent and laid
before the commission. They had the books and documents, or they
were in their control at that time if they were in the control of any per-
son connected with this case. But I utterly deny that Mexico had any
control or any knowledge of them.

Senator Dolph. The question is my mind does not go to the custody
of the letters at the time of the hearing before the commission. It is as
to whether there was anything now before this committee, or of which
this committee— if I may use the term — ^had judicial knowledge, to show
that the letter had ever before or subsequently come into the possession
of the Mexican Grovemment.

Mr. Foster. There is no such case.

Senator Dolph. I have seen a pamphlet — I have not read it — which
appears to contain letters. I suppose, without having examined ity'^that
that is the showing made by the Mexican Government to the Oovem-
ment of the United States when this Government was asked to with-
hold the payment of this money. I do not know but this committee
might examine that and treat it as evidence before it, it being an official
document. My mind is more particularly directed to the point as to
whether or not that statement showed that the Mexican Ghovemmeut
had come into possession of these two letters or the letters which had
been written to this witness or other superintendents while in charge of
the work.

Mr. Wilson. Now, Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, as Oolonel Foster
has stated his side of this matter I want to state our side. When he
says that these things did not come into the possession of the Mexicaa
Government, possibly in a technical sense that may be true. But it is
a mere play of words. The Mexican Soto and this man Granger and
their associates took possession of this hacienda and all the books and
papers of this company, and that is why they got this letter-book ^ and
Granger got to be the sonin-law of this man Soto, and they had these
books and papers in their possession.

Mr. Foster In the possession of Granger and Soto.

Senator Brown. The witness states that the letters and books were
turned over.

Senator Dolph. In ten or twenty years they may have been turned
over a dozen times or destroyed.



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THE LA ABRA SILVER MINING COMPANY. 49

Mr. Wilson. That ifl my point. They might have been destroyed,
and tL«y have not shown that they have not been. They have not
shown that they can not produce them, and this witness has not said
that he has made any search ibr them.

Senator Dolph. Yon have not shown anything here, that the com-
mittee can take judicial notice of, tending to show that the Mexican
Government had those original letters.

Mr. Wilson. The witness stated this : that those letters were tied
together by him and left with Exall, with the books there, and beyond
that he has not made search for them. Kow, they have not shown where
these letters are ; they have not accounted for their absence ; they have
given us no notice to produce them ; and yet they are proceeding tq
give the contents of a letter, the absence of which is not accounted for'.

Senator Dolph. I agree that that ought to be excluded for the time
being. But then comes the question, Have you traced the letter to the
Mexican Oovernmentt 1 still assert that, so far as the statements V
have heard are concerned, the letters have not been traced further than
where this gentleman leaves them, in the hands of ExalL

Mr. Wilson. Pardon me. Senator, one moment. We have traced
them to this extent ; the books and the letters were turned over to
Exall 'j the books that were turned over with the letters we find in the
I>ossession of the Mexican Gtovemment, and presumptively they have all
the others.

Mr. Foster. Presumptively !

Senator Dolph. I can not see the force of that presumption.

Mr. Foster. I want to cite one piece of evidence, not presumptively,
but as a matter of fact $ one established by the claimant himself. I re-
fer to pages 52 and 53 of Granger's deposition, brought forward by the
company, in which he produces and makes exhibits to his deposition
one copy of letter and three other original letters that had been sent to
the company.

Mr.' SHELLABARGhER. Is that part of the testimony that was before
the commission!

Mr. Foster. Part of your testimony ; Granger's deposition, brought
forward by you.

Mr. Shellabarger. I want it to be understood, as you apparently
seem to regard it, that all the old testimony that was before the com-
mission is to be now regarded as in evidence and available for this ex-
amination.

Mr. Foster. 1 accept that.

The Chairman. I do not think the commitee has had any other idea.
The testimony has been heretofore considered in the case.

Mr. Foster. I understand that the committee is going to take judi-
cial knowledge of all the matters that have been sent to them by
the President and that are in the hands of Oongress T

Mb. Shellabaroer. That includes the testimony.

Mr. Foster. Tes. Mr. Granger, in the printed book, at pages 52
and 53, presents this original document from the files of the company,
which had never been out of his possession.

The Ghairman. Does Granger show in his deposition that he wm
the agent of this company T

Mr. Foster. This letter-book shows that Granger was left in charge
of the mines by Exall. Just what he swore to as to that point in that
particular deposition I am not prepared to state.

The Chairman. Is there anything there to show that the company



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50 THE LA ABRA SILVER MINING COMPANY.

reoogoized him as being in charge of their property with their anther-
ity and coiysentT

Mr. Shbllabarger. I think not.

Mr. Foster. 1 have no knowledge just at present.

The Chairman. I wish to observe that in some debate that went on
here, when counsel for the La Abra Company were present, a statement
was made by myself that the La Abra Company had it in its power, as
I supposed, to bring forward the correspondence between that company
and its agent in Mexico at the mines, and that it was desired that it
shoald be done. Following that statement, Mr. Ely, who holds at pres-
ent some official relation to the company — I do not know exactly what —
sent his statement under oath to the committee.

Mr. SHELLABAUaBR. Has that been found t

The Chairman. I have not myself found it. It has been in my pos-
session, but I have been moving my residence to another house in town,
and I really have not had an opportunity to look through the papers
for it. I intend, however, to make search.

Mr. SHELLABARaER. The clerk told me that he could not find it.

The Chairman. I think the clerk handed it to me.

Mr. Baboook (the clerk of the committee). I do not remember seeing
it at all.

Mr. Shellababger. My book shows that I sent it on the 15th of
June.

Mr. Foster. Have you a copy 1

Mr. Shellabaroer. No; not of his affidavit, for that was a long
paper.

The Chairman. The substance of his affidavit was that he had made
very diligent search for the papers of the company in New York, and,
as I remember it, that he was not able to find any at all.

Mr. Shellabaroer. Away back, years ago, if I remember rightly,
before any controversy arose at all, before that law of 1878, and when
no special value was attached to the papers, they were boxed »up, as
they generally box up the papers of an obsolete concern like this that
has gone out of existence and has not anything except its award to
look after, they were boxed up and put away in somebody's room. That
n^an will be here and will tell us all about it. They were lost, as we
think, beyond recovery before there was any moHve for losing them,
before anybody knew there was any quarrel about this thing.

The Chairman. I refer to it for the purpose of showing the strong
probability that these letters which Mr. De Lagnel received from Mr.
Garth, and from other persons connected with the conduct of the busi>
uess of that company, were lost. But we are not occupying our time
proflt>ably, as I understand it, for the contents of the letters have not
been asked for. The witness, as I understand, is not about testate the
contents, but that in consequence of receiving a letter from somebody
he preceded to do something.

Mr. Foster. I want to call the attention of the committee to the
fact that on the page following 125 of the letter-book, which the colonel
has identified as his letter, there is an acknowledgment of a letter of
Mr. Grath, to which he refers, and he goes on to give his explanation
there. It is one of those pasted letters, not paged following page 125.

Mr. Shellabaroer. What page of the book t

'Mr. Foster. I read from page 57 of the book, as follows :

As to the cironmstances mentioned in vour letter, that certain parties had stated
that the specimen ore had been ** salted " for my especial benefit and deception, I can
only refer yon to the mention made of it in one of my letters, I forget which, bnt that
it was done purposely is more than I am prepared to say.

If I nnderstand the term as used by the miners, the facts are not as stated.



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THE LA ABRA SILVEB MmiNG COMPANY. 51

I understand the colonel proposed to go into this matter a little.

It is, however, trae that, thoa^h I requested to have the Becond-claes ore of the
Los mine crashed for assay, speoimens were taken from the first-olass pile and pre-
pared for my ose, bat I can not say that it was designedly done.

As already stated, the ore has been and is being repicked, and thongh a large
qaantity is prononnoed withont valae, I do not assert it as Grospel tratfi, bat will
satisfy myself of the foot by trial.

Senator Dolph. Do yon wish to call out the contents of the letter at
this timet The question does not call for them.

Mr. Foster. He proposes to answer the qnestion in his own way.

Senator Dolph. I think he may state that, in conseqaence of a letter
he received from Mr. Garth, he did something else.

Mr. Wilson. I have no objection to that, and have not had.

The Chairman. Now, let ns go on with the testimony. We will
never get through with it in the world if we do nothing bat debate ob-
jections and controversies abont the receipt of letters. Proceed^ if you
please, with your examination.

By Mr. Foster:

Q. Do you remember w^ere you left off in your testimony t — A. No,
sir.

Q. You were stating that you received a letter ftom Mr. Gkirth, and in
consequence of that—-* — A. Yon asked me if I had ever made assays,
did you not t

Q. Yes, or if assays had bean made, and whether you had forwarded
a letter to Mr. Garth and had received a reply. — ^A. That is the general
impression on my mind, that the results were satisfactory to him, and
I supposed they would be to me. I want to say here that in narrating
this I recollect it in a certain way, but I am not sure of the sequence of
events. 1 can not help that for I have no data to go by. It may have
been previous to this, or just after Oeneral Bartholow left One man,
Manjarres — I didn't know that there was but one man of that name —
came in to see me, introduced himself, or was introduced, and I took it
for granted that he was the one who had been associated with old Don
Juan Castillo, and after talking a little while I asked him in regard to
the mine.

Mr. Wilson. Who is this man t What has he to do with our com-
pany t

The Witness. I was simply mentioning

Mr. Wilson. Did he have anything to do with this company!

The Witness. I don't know who he was ; I was simply going to tell
you what prompted me to repick that ore.

Mr. Foster (to Mr. Wilson). I do not think you are going to affect
the minds of these experienced gentlemen.

Mr. Wilson. There is a right way and a wrong way to do things,
and I would like to have them done the right way.

The Witness. I had the ores picked on the second time.

Mr. Foster. Oo on and tell your story as you choose unless you are
interrupted by the committee.

Mr. Wilson. I would like to say to the committee that he is stating
that he had a conversation with one Manjarres, and I object to his
giving that conversation ; but if they want to prove what he did after
having had this conversation I have no objection.

The Chairman. That is right, I think.

Senator Dolph. He may say that in consequence of the conversation
he did something.

Mr. Wilson. To that I have nonobjection.



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52 THE LA ABRA SILVER MINING COMPANY.

Senator Brown. Yoq mast not state what the conversation was be-
tween yon and him, bat as a coDseqnence of that conversation yon cao
state what yoa did.

The Witness. Simply, then, in conseqaence of the conversation,
having doabts

Mr. Foster. Haviag doabts as to whatt

The Witness. As to the value of this large pile of loose ore— I had
a party of cleauers come down under the head cleaner and take charge
of it to re-clean it. They set aside a very large quantity, a considera-
ble pile, but not at all comparable to the whole. Bartolo Bodriguez was
the head cleaner ; he assured me that that was valuable and good ore^
what valuation he placed upon it I would not now pretend to say — and
that the balance was, as a general thing, very poor. There being no
means of making an assay at the mines, I made none there, relying
upon the product at the mine and the representation of the head miner
and his assistants, the skilled Mexicans, the cleaners particularly. The
reports from time to time, without recollecting the exact date when this
occurred, even from the head miber himself, were in fiavor of a yield of
ore which was small as compared with the mass of rock taken down.

By the Chairman :
Q. Taken down from the mouth of the mine t— A. From the seam
and brought out of the mine. It was taken down and only the good
brought down, and the amount worthy of bringing down to the hacienda
on the river^level was inconsiderable, so that I transferred the force in
great part to the Cristo.

By Mr. Foster :

Q. One of the mines of the company t — A. Yes, sir ; that being rep-
resented as showing more metal in the seam and believed to be of good
quality. There were no assays made at the hacienda until very nearly
the completion of the mill ; when the mill was just about ready to start
or was ready to start, we made assays firom the batter.

Q. What was the result of those assays t — A. Those assays were
made by Mr. Elder ; I was present ; he reported them as very fair.

Q. Who was Mr. Elder f — A. He had been a workman who helped to
erect the mill, a former employ 6, and possibly interested in this com-
pany at La Puerta: I do not know how far. When I was there he
seemed to be the sole one in charge — had possession and had been prac-
tically working it.

Q. Was he a very competent assayer t — A. That I can not say, sir.
I am not so competent myself as to pass judgment upon any one. Yoa
can judge for yourself. He had worked as a carpenter at the mill. He
had also been working at the mines, and made the assay without any
hesitation ; seemed to be familiar with the manipulation. I stood by
and saw him weigh, adjust, and melt in the cup^— that is the name of
the little cup they did it in.

Q. Who was the assayer of the company t — A. There was no assayer.

Q. He was the only one who acted in that capacity t — A. When the
mill was completed be was the only one present and competent to pat
the mill in operation and run it. It was in his custody, and there was
nothing else to do but to depend upon him, as there was no one else
there competent.

By the Chairman :
Q. Operating the mill included the assaying, did itt — A. Yes, sir.



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THE LA ABKA SILYEB MINING COMPANY. 53

By Senator Beown :

Q. He occupied rather the position of master machinist than assayer,
did he nott — A. Well, he was on eqnal footing with another American
employed in the wood work in the mill. Wood work was his specialty,
not iron work.

Q. He was master mechanic instead of master machinist t— A. Yes,
sir ; yon may say he was master mechanic, and then he took charge of
the mill alone. He was a man who understood the mnning of the whole
thing from the time the water was first tnmed on.

The Ohaibman. And that includes the assay.

By Senator Bbown :

Q. Is it usual for a master carpenter to be an assayerf — A. No, sir;
not under ordinary circumstances : but in that mountain country there
was nothing else for us to do, ana we were forced to have jiim do it or
have nobody do it

Q. You had nobody else to make itf — A. No, sir. I anticipated
getting a man who would be a practical assayer, a man sufficiently ac-
quainted with the combination of different materials to tell what was
in a lump when it was presented to him.

By Mr. Foster:

Q. WhatwasElder'sfullname, if you remember t — A. I don't remem-
ber his ftiU name ; his last name was Elder.

Q. You do not remember his initials f— A. I do not

Q. You have just spoken of ores that you had re-assorted ; where
were they t

The Witness. Where were they deposited t

Mr. Foster. Where were they dei)osited ; yes.



Online LibraryUnited States. Congress. Senate. Committee on ForeCompilation of reports of Committee ... 1789-1901, First Congress, first session, to Fifty-sixth Congress, second session .. → online text (page 10 of 156)