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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ness, and I have no disposition to shut off anything. Mr. Lines, have
you any other testimony t



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THE LA ABEA SILVER MINING COMPANY. 865

Mr. Lines. None on that point, Mr. Chairman.

The Chaibman. On any other point!

Mr. Lines. I want to ask, as to these payments for the stock of the
company, whether all payments that were made on the stock of the
company by snbscription did not come into the hands of Mr. Garth as
treasurer f

The Witness* No, sir. Sidney Shackleford was treasurer pre-
vious

Q. Hear my question as to time ; yon were treasurer in 1867 and
1868 1— A. I don't remember the time. When Mr. Sidney Shackleford
went back to Missouri ; I don't remember what day of the month or day
of the year.

Q. You signed the letters in 1867 1 — ^A. He had gone back to Mis-
souri.

By Mr. Kennedy :

Q. Now, about the subscriptions on the stock t — A. Uow much they
paid I don't know.

Mr. Kennedy. I was going to say to the chairman, if you will allow
me, that after one counsel has gone so thoroughly into this same sub-
ject it is scarcely right for another counsel on the same side to begin and
go all ov«r it again.

The Chairman. He has been examined by three or four counsel on
your side and two counsel on the other side, and I hadn't supposed that
it was necessary to require one counsel to conduct the examination on
either side } so that, if Mr. Lines has anything material to ask the wit-
ness, I will admit it.

Mr. Lines. It is important, Mr. Ohairman.

Q. Were you treasurer in 1867 and 18681 — A. Yes, sir.

Q. At that time would any subscription for the sale of stock come into
your hands naturally as treasurer ; wasn't that a part of your duty t —
A. Yes, sir ; I suppose so. Everything was paid in ; I suppose so.

Q. Can you say, as a matter of fact, that between January 20, 1868,
and September 28, 1870, there was any money received by the La Abra
Mining Company for subscription on stock I — ^A. Not to my knowledge.

Q. Now, I call your attention to the deposition of G^eorge 0. Collins,
on page 344. First 1 call your attention, and [ will give you time to find
it at the bottom of the page

Mr. Kennedy. To what, Mr. Lines f

Mr. Lines. Here are two documents which I wish you to compare;
here is the annual report, dated January 20, 1868, to be found on page
118 of document No. 274, showing the amount of the capital stock
actually paid in, $157,000. Here is the deposition of George C. Collins,
on page 344 of the present book of testimony, dated September 28, 1870:
at the bottom of the page is the following : ^< Said company obtained
from subscriptions for and sales of its stock $235,000.^ Now, I want to
ask you if there was $78,000 paid into the treasury of that company
between January 20, 1868, and September 20, 1870, for and on account
of subscriptions and sales of stock f — A. Not to my knowledge, sir. I
don't think there was.

Q. Then the statement of Mr. Collins, so far as you know

The Chairman. No.

Q. Do you know what was the basis of the award to the company t

The Chaibman. What do you mean by the "basis!''

Mr. Lines. Whether this $235,000 of subscription as well as of
stock



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866 THE LA ABBA SILVER MINING COMPANY.

Mr. Kennedy. My objection to that is that the award itself is the
best evidence.

The Ghaibhan. Very well.

Mr. Lines. Let it go.

Q. Do yoa know of any stock having been boaght except at part-*
A. No, sir; I don't. I don't think there ever was.

Q. The par value was $100 a share f — A. That was the par valae.

Mr. Lines. That is all.

Mr. Kennedy. Mr. Chairman, I have a very few questions.

The Ghajeman. Proceed.

By Mr. Kennedy:

Q. What was the capital stock of the company — the nominal capital
stock ? — A. Now, I forget.

Q. Was it $300,000 1— A. I think it was in the neighborhood of
•300,000.

Q. When the stock was taken in 1865 or 1866, at the time the com-
pany paid for the mines, was gold at a premium t — A. A big premium;
yes, sir.

Q. In 1877, when the annual report, to which your attention has been
invited, and which is in evidence here, was made, was currency at or
near part — A. I think it was par. I don't remember, particularly,
when we resumed specie payments, but I think it was. We had re-
somed specie payments in 1877. Yes, sir; 1 am pretty well satisfied
they had.

Q. So that in the national currency of the country in 1877, the stock
that was originally taken and paid for in gold had cost an increased
amount by the difference, whatever it was, between gold, in which the
subscriptions were originally made, and greenbacks! — ^A. Yes, sir; I
think so.

Q. That is all on that point. Outside of your personal ventures,
what was the volume of your business in 1865 — say fh>m 1865 to 1868 1 —
A. It was very large.

Q. I just want to have yon give the committee an idea.

The Ohaibman. Do you want to know what it was a day t

Mr. Ejbnnedy. No, sir; I want to show that he was a man of very
large affairs in his own legitimate business, and to remove any cloud
there may be growing out of his apparent indifference to this i>ersonal
venture of his.

Q. In a brief, general way, will you state to the committee what the
volume of your regular business was outside of your own jiersonal
ventures f— A. I should judge $500,000 or $600,000 a day in brokerage
business, carrying four or five million of stocks.

Q. What was the average amount, as near as you can approximate
it, of the deposits that you had Irom your customers f — A. Well, they
went from $500,000 to $800,000. We did a very large business.

Q. Is it not a fact that your claim against the La Abra Company, the
great bulk of it, is evidenced, first, by your shares — ^your certificates for
stock; second, by your judgment that has been put in evidence; and
third, by the note for 1,900 and odd dollars, to which you have testi-
fied!— A. Yes.

Q. Is it, oris it not, a fact that these smaller advances that you made,
that you spoke of, from $20 to $50, were recorded in your firm's book by
your cashier I — ^A. I don't thinkthat the smaller amounts were. I don't
know. Perhaps I might have had the money in my pocket, a small
amount, or something of the sort, and paid it. I don't think they ever
went in at all.



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THE LA ABBA SILVER MINING COMPANY. 867

Q. Give the committee one illastration, a matter of fact, to show how
those small advances of which yon seem to have kept no record were
made: that is, if yoa can remember one fact. — A. I hardly know, sir.
I think that there was some money wanted to be raised once for print-
ing some of the testimony — the Spanish — for translation. I think, per-
haps, the attorney or whoever applied for it, that I paid $50, or some-
thing of that sort, as my contribution. I don't remember — I don't think
that was ever charged at all; things of that sort.

Q. Did yoa ever pay any of the connsel's expenses on to Washing-
ton t — ^A. Yes, sir; several times. I don't think there was any record
made of that.

By the Ghaibman :

Q. How mnch counsel fees did you pay in that way f — A. It was not
counsel fees ; it was expenses on a trip to Washington.

Q. About how much?— A. Twenty-five or thirty dollars.

Q. For several trips t — A. Yes, sir.

Q. Did you make a memorandum of that f — A. I pulled it out of my
IK>cketand paid it.

Q. Did you make a memorandum of it f — A* I did not do it. I do
not know how it happened. It is the way that I have done a great
many things, Senator Morgan.

The Ohaibman. This is a new matter, about currency and gold pre-
mium, and Mr. Lines can examine upon that.

By Mr. Lines :

Q. Do you happen to know what the premium on gold was in Jan-
nary, 18d8 1 — A. I don't recollect now. I have no recollection of it
now. I know it fluctuated from July — sometimes 10 or 15 points in a
day more than at other times. Everybody who is familiar with the
fact knows that it was oftentimes 150 one day, 155 the next, 125 the
next and 180 or 200 the next.

Q. Do you happen to know what it was in September, 1870 !~A. 1
don't recollect : no, sir, I could not tell you.

Q. Do you think that the difference between the amount stated in
annual report of the company for January 30, 1868, as the amount of
tihe capitsd stock paid in, $159,000, and the amount, $235,000, sworn to
by Mr. Collins, on the 28th of September, 1870, is or was intended to
represent the difference between the gold price in 1868 1

Mr. Kennedy. My objection to that is that it is a matter, first, of
documentary evidence which can easily be ascertained from the gold
tables ; and, second, that it is a matter of computation and not one up-
on which the witness who has not examined the evidence should be re-
quired to make a guess.

The Ghaibman. Mr. Garth is an expert upon a question of that kind.

Mr. Kennedy. He says that he does not remember.

Q. Do you think that the difference between the amount stated in
the annual report of the company for January 30, 1867, as the amount
of the capital stock paid in, $157,000, and the amount, $235,000, sworn
to by Mr. Collins, on the 28th of September 1870, is or was intended to
represent the difference between the gold price in 1868! — A. I think
so, sir. I don't know. I think that was the explanation of it. I don't
know. I don't say that of my own knowledge; I think so, but I don't
know.

Q. I ask your attention to the report of 1868 again where there is the



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868 THE LA ABRA SILVER MINING COMPANY.

Statement of the existing debts of the company; the amount given is
•72,000.

The Chairman. What date t

Mr. Lines. January 20, 1868; and again from Mr. GoUins's affidavit,
<' There has been advanced to and paid for said company $64,291.06
more," that is in the addition to subscription and sales of stock.

Mr. Kennedy. Yes, but not in addition to the debts.

Q. What do you know about the latter statement, whether it repre-
sented the indebtedness to the company in 1870 or not f — A. 1 presume
it does. I do not know of my own knowledge.

Q. Then the premium on gold would have no influence on the debts
of the company, although it might have on the sales of stock ? — A. No,
sir.

Mr. Lines. That is all.

By the Chairman :

Q. When did you see Mr. Ely t — ^A. I met him here on the afternoon
that I weut away from here; in October, I think it was.

Q. Is that the last time you have seen him f — A. I have not seen him
since.

Q. Or heard from him ? — A. I wrote to him when the Sergeant-at-
Arms sent me word that he wanted me here the 7th of January, I think
it was. At the same time when I wrote to Mr. Canaday, I advised Mr.
Ely that I had been requested to be in Washington at that time, and
simply stated that I sui^osed he would be here, and I have not seen
him or heard Irom him since.

Q. You don't know where he is now t — ^A. I do not. I directed that
letter to a place called Girard, in Pennsylvania. I think he is now at
home. I do not know. I am told that his brother is dead, and that -he
is managing the estate there; so I have heard. There was nothing re-
quiring any answer; it was simply the fact that it was supposed that
he would be here.

The Chairman. Well, we will close the examination of this witness.

Mr. Foster. We should be glad to know if the counsel will indicate
the time when they will be able to answer the request for the books and
documents of the company, the accounts, etc., that are wanted.

Mr. Kennedy. Our answer, Mr. Chairman, is a matter of record, and
I may add that we have faithftdly tried to get into communication with
Mr. Ely ; that he has been running about between Few York and Girard,
Pa., and I have no doubt that he will be here shortly, but I am unable
to say when.

The Chairman. Mr. Kennedy, do you wish the committee to sum-
mons General Slaughter as a witness f

Mr. Kennedy. Yes, sir.

The Chairman. As your witness f

Mr. Kennedy. Ko, sir; I want to make a formal application for the
committee to summon him, and the affidavit in support of that mo-
tion

The Chairman. Have you those affidavits f

Mr. Kennedy. I know they are in existence. I tried to get them of
the other counsel, but I will see that it is done speedily.

The Chairman. It is about 500 miles from here to Mobile!

Mr. Kennedy. Scarcely as much as that.

The Chairman. The committee does not undeistand that Gteneral
Slaughter knows anything about the original transaction at all ; never
had the slightest indication of his having any knowledge of the facts of



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THE LA ABBA SILVER MINING COMPANY. 869

this case except such as he derived from being an agent of Mexico^ or
one of the counsel in the case, if he occupied that attitude, and the
committee therefore see no occasion for sammoning him on behalf of the
Government, or on behalf of the committee. Now, if you want to sum-
mon him as your witness, I desire to know it.

Mr. Kennedy. Yes, sir, we do, if the committee upon the presenta-
tion of those afi&davits still thinks as you indicate now.

The Chairman. If you want him summoned on that condition, you
had better request it of the Sergeantrat-Arms.

Mr. Kennedy. I do request it.

The Chaibman. The committee will take under advisement and con-
sider your application after he comes.

Mr. Kennedy. I ask whether, under the ruling of the chairman, the
suggestion from the Department of State that a consul's resignation
will be accepted is such a fact as the law allows to impeach the cred-
ibility of a witness

The Chairman. It is not the credibility of a witness, but the con-
duct of the consul, and when another man swears that that consul gives
a certificate to a deposition that he did not make, and the consul swears
that he did make it, it was considered by the Government of the United
States a legitimate subject of inquiry.

Mr. Kennedy. I am not going to discuss that point, Mr. Chairman,
but I was trying to get at what our duty would be, submitting, of course,
as we do to the ruling, and being satisfied with all of it, except that you
do allow this particular fact in contravention — I say it with all respect —
of what seems to be the well-settled rule of law, that you can impeach
the credibility of a witness only by his general reputation for truth and
veracity. Now, submitting as we do to your ruling, the question that
I was going to venture to suggest to you was this, whether we shall
now be allowed to prove the reputation of Consul Sisson for truth and
veracity.

The Chairman. After these gentlemen on the other side go into the
question of Dahlgren's testimony, I should say that you ought to be
allowed to sustain this man by proving his reputation for truth and
veracity, but I do not think the committee would be willing to indulge
counsel very largely in a question of this kind.

Mr. Kennedy. No, sir; we should not expect it.

The Chairman. The opinion of other men would not have very much
impression after we have seen these men.

Mr. Foster. We have no intention of entering upon that question
unless we are forced to.

The Chairman. Then that will end the question.

Mr. ELennedy. Except, if the admission of this forced resignation of
Sisson is any impeachment of him at all, and we think it is an impeach-
ment of him, we just want to call two witnesses, one of them is in town
now, to prove the reputation of the man where he lives for truth and
veracity.

The Chairman. You can see that that would lead to an inquiry of
this kind : Have you heard the ground upon which the Government dis-
missed himt

Mr. Kennedy. No; I do not think the question would be proper.

Mr. Foster. The Senator has apprehended the point that I have
tried to make from the beginning, that this is not a movement to im-
peach the veracity of this witness at all. It is to show his standing as
an officer of the Government in discharging this high duty that was im-
posed upon him as between these two Governments, a selected magis-



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870 THE LA ABBA SILVER MININa COMPANY.

irate, selected by tne Government of the United States to do this thing,
an<l the Government afterwards discredited him by acting as it did.

Mr. Kennedy. I want to make it clear that if the fact that this ez-
oonsnl was forced to resign is going to be admitted in evidence as im-
peaching him in any way, no matter whether he was a magistrate or an
ordinary or extraordinary witness, that we think the committee owes
it to him to say that, so far as his testimony given here is concerned —
that so far as his reputation for tmth and veracity is involved — we shall
have an opportunty to prove that it is good.

Mr. Foster. It is not involved.

Mr. Kennedy. Oh, but I beg to differ from you. The law does not
allow any such distinction as my friend Mr. Foster makes. It does
not make any difference whether a witness is a consul or not. The law
says that a witness can be impeached only in two ways, as I have read
from Greenleaf, and both of those methods must touch the only vital
question, namely, whether he is a credible witness.

The Chairman. Now, any Senator, in argaing this case, without any
reference to anything that the committee have done at all, might in-
quire : V^Tas he discharged from service t Yes. He could bring in this
matter from the Department and read it, and it would have the same
effect as if it were all put in evidence here. It is public property.

Mr. Kennedy. Would it be fair, sir! I think my client has a seri-
ous right in this matter. Here is a statement that says, in the same
breath that asperses Sisson, that our naval officers on our men-of-war —
the same statement that would influence the mind of a Senator, ex parte
and unsworn to — the same statement says that the officers and crews
of our men-of-war down on the Mexican coast were there for the pur-
pose not of protecting our citizens but of smuggling bullion. Now,
my point is that if these statements are to be used in any way against
the witness, if the mere fact of his forced resignation is put on record,
it is properly there only for the purpose of impeaching the credibility
of this witness in those respects where he is in conflict with Dahlgren.
What is the issue t The issue is, which of the two men told the truth
about the alleged blank sheet of paper. Did Dahlgren tell the tmth or
a lie when he said that he put his name on a blank sheet of paper f

The Chairman. If Dahlgren had never been put on the stand at all
these gentlemen would have had the perfect right to have gone there
and got the testimony to show that this man was dismissed from the
Government service. It was a public act. It does not show the rea-
sons of it, but it shows what the result was, that he was regarded by
the Government of the United States as being an unworthy officer.

Mr. Ejsnnedy. It is not in proof that he had had any notice of those
charges.

The Ghaibman. Whatever was done towards discrediting this man
can be referred to. You can not discredit him, turn him out of office,
and then say that he was immaculate. That will be the decision upon
the proposition. Let it stand that way. I think that is right.

Mr. Kennedy. Then, I understand that our offer to produce two wit-
nesses to the reputation of the ex-consnl for truth and veracity in his
neighborhood will be rejected.

The Ghaibman. I do not say that I will reject it. But I think it is
not correct practice on either side when the other side is not trying to
impeach a man that you should try to sustain it. They are not trying
to sustain Mr. Dahlgren, whom you brought this man to impeach, you
know.

Mr. Kennedy. I have not taken that view of Sisson's examination.



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THE LA ABBA SILYEB MINING COMPANY. 871

My jadgment is that all the presamptions are in favor of Dahlgren's
deposition. You know, without my stating, how it looks and how it is
sealed : that all the presamptions are in its favor; and the man who is
alleged to have made it says that, instead of making that deposition,
he signed a blank sheet of paper. We bring the consul, who testifies
here, to verify the presumption of fact in favor of that deposition. Now,
you allow Mr. Foster to get into the record the fact that this consul
was forced by the Department of State to resign. I say, if that is any-
thing that the law will take any notice of, it is an impeachment of the
witness in some respect or other; and I ask you, when you have received
it, when you have allowed the fact of his forced resignation to go into
the recoid, to allow us to bring simply two witnesses to testify to the
good reputation of this man for truth and veracity.

The Ohaibman. That would not be any answer at all to the action
of the Government. That is a public act. He might be a man of very
good reputation and character, and still the Government act properly.

Mr. FosTEB. Mr. Kennedy, let me ask you, if you think his reputa-
tion is impeached, how will it remove that impression to bring the Con-
gressman from his district^ Mr. Ketchum, to testify that he is a man of
good reputation in the neighborhood where he resides, when Mr. Ket-
chum knows nothing about the facts that have occurred at Mazatlant

Mr. Kennedy. My answer to that is this, that the issue between the
two witnesses is, which is telling the truth in regard to Dahlgren's dep-
osition t The law takes no notice of the official character of a consul
or anybody else, so far as the methods of impeaching his credibility are
concerned. If the witness is to be impeached at all, he is to be im-
peached in regard to his credibility, for that is the only fact involved
in determining the value of his testimony. Now, I say that if the
chairman allows the fact of the forced resignation of ex-consul Sisson
to go upon the record, it is allowed not only for the purpose of im-
peaching or clouding his conduct as a magistrate, but also, and I think
chiefly, to discredit him as a witness, and inasmuch as we have brought
him here to corroborate that original deposition, and he is more or less
impeached by the admission of the fact of his forced resignation, we
ought to be allowed to bring General Ketchum, for any man of high
repute who has known the ex-consul for many years — we ought to be
allowed to bring those gentlemen here to testify as to the general rep-
utation for truth and veracity of the witness.

The Ghaibman. Let them make out their affidavits and take them to
the Department of State and file them there.

Mr. Kennedy. I think that is an outside view of the subject.

The Ohaibman. No, I think it is a correct view of it. Any Senator
could go to the Department of State and get the same facts certified to,
and bringthem to the Senate and use them there ; they are public facts.

Mr. Kennedy. Now, I would like to say a word on that point, because
I see how the thing is running in your mind. These same letters tes-
tified to the high character and competency in every respect of Pefia,
who was the subscribing witness to Dahlgren's deposition.

The Ohaibman. Beyond a doubt.

Mr. Kennedy. 1 simply desire to say

' The Ohaibman. I have never heard you when you were willing to
stop.
• Mr. Kennedy. Then I won't say a thing more.

TheOHAiBMAN. I say we will not go into that question. Mr. Slaughter
is a man who professes to have had a good deal of connection with this
case and the Weil case as an employ^ of some kind or other, for the



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872 THE LA ABRA SILVER MINING COMPANY.

purpose of getting ap testimoDj to show that these awards were in-
correct and so on. His name has been broaght into the depositions
frequently when we have been speaking a^out interviews with the wit-
nesses, and the like of that. It is evident that he does not know any-
thing in the world about the original transaction. He was brought into
the case after the awards were made, and has no personal knowledge
about the case at all, at least about the La Abra case. I think he has
some knowledge of the Weil case. Kow, Mr. Kennedy asks that the
committee summons him as a witness, and, I say that I don't want to
summons him as a witness because I don't know of any fact; in fact I
know that there is no fact

Mr. Foster. That is, on behalf of the committee.

The Chairman. Yes ; on behalf of the committee. There is no fact
that Mr. Slaughter could enlighten us about in this transaction, and I
say to Mr. Kennedy though, if he wants Mr. Slaughter as his witness,
to bring him here and the committee will take into consideration the
fact that, he being employed by Mexico and considering all his relations



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 129 of 156)