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one thing and so much of another. I remember that he wanted serapen,
and he wanted hats. He enumerated the things that he wanted ; so
many hats and so many blankets, and also a certain amount of ready
money.

Q. What amount was that!— A. Well, sir, if you had asked me be-
fore I read this record I don't know that I could have answered, but I
have read that book and it refreshes my memory. The amount was
about $300.

Q. Is that your recollection ! — A, I think it is. I think the whole
thing was about $1,200, and I know he assessed about half of it upon
Mr. Bice and myself, which would make about one-fourth or $300 for
each of us.

Q. Who was Mr. Bice ! — A. He was the superintendent at San Dimas,
of the Durango Silver Mining Company's works.

Q, So this was a joint demand on the Durango Silver Mining Com-
pany and the La Abra Silver Mining Company! — ^A. Half of the total
amount in ready cash was assessed upon the two companies, each to
pay one-fourth of the total, which would be $300 ; and the other $600
I presume they got elsewhere, the total being $1,200 for the assessment
for that district.

Q. Then, if I understand, that was a general assessment upon the
civil district there ! — A. Yes, sir. I was advised to pay the whole of
it, being unfamiliar with it and desiring to save interruption. I was
advised personally to pay the whole of it, but I could not do so because
I did not have but a few hundred dollars on hand at the time ; only one
or two or three hundred dollars in the box.

Q. About how much did you send him in ready money or goods ?
What did you send him ! — A. I sent him two bundles of strong cotton
goods, with which to make overalls for his men. He wanted pantaloons
for his men ; and I also sent two bolts of unbleached cotton cloth.

Q. How many packages would there be in that bundle !— A. Two
bolts 'y that is what I meant to say.

Q. About 30 or 40 yards each ! — A. I could not say how much they
contained.

By Mr. Foster :

Q. What was the total value of all the goods you sent ! — A. I tliiiik
in the bolts — now I speak after having seen the book 5 otherwise I
would not be able to remember it — and the book says $05 or $75, I for-
get which.

Q. Your letter-book! — A. The printed book, though I presume it
was taken from the letter-book.



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THE LA ABRA SILVER MINING COMPANY. 69

By the Chairman :

Q. Was that receipted for ! — A. They sent a receipt for it.

Q. Was that satisfactory to them!— A. Perfectly. They acknowl-
edged it, and sent a receipt.

Q. Did they trouble you any further !— A. No ; I never saw them
again, and they left in a few days.

Q. Was there any violence used or threatened f — A. I heard of none.
There was apparently a dispersion of the working people, but that was
their own act, caused by fright.

Q. I had reference to violence towards you or your company, or any-
thing of the sort t — A. None.

Q. It was a mere military assessment that was notified to you, and
you complied so far as you could, and that ended it ! — A. Yes, sir.

The Chairman. That is what I wanted to get at.

Mr. Foster. 1 want to fix these facts with some precision.

By Mr. Foster:

Q. You received a letter, you state, from the commandant, and his
name was Valdespinot — A. Yes, sir.

Q. Then you received a letter accompanying that assessment from
the civil authority, or officer of that district ! — A. Yes, sir.

Q. Did you reply to this letter! — ^A. Yes, sir.

Q. What was the character of your reply t Did you reply to each one
of them t— A. Yes ; I must have done so.

Q. Did you accompany those notes with any other communication t —
A. I sent a bill to the civil officer, and asked for a receipt in the other
case I think I wrote. I must have done so, because he was courteous
in his tone, and I wrote him a letter telling him what I had done.

Q. Did you receive any replies to those ! — ^A. I don't remember.

Q. You asked for a receipt or voucher ! — A^ I received a receipt. I
recollect a receipt coming over that was sent me by a messenger.

Q. Was there any answer from them t — A. Possibly there was an
answer, but that I can not say, fori do not recollect. I do not recollect
the circumstances except the occurrence.

Q. What did you do with the letters received from them ; either the
vouchers or the letters you wrote to them f — A. Whatever 1 wrote must
be in the letter-book.

Q. Copied t^A. Copied. Their letters, I presume, were put in the
desk witti the file of letters.

Q. And the voucher as well ! — A. All bills and letters. The bills by
themselves and the letters by themselves, according to dates and sub-
jects referred to.

Q. I want to ask you whether any forced loan beyond this stated
was ever exacted from you while you were superintendent of the com-
pany t — A. I remember none. That is the only case I remember.

Q. Did you see any entry in the books of the company, of prestamos
or forced loans paid by the company, previous to your arrival ! — A. I
do not remember any.

Q. I would like you to state what was the general treatment received
by your company while you were superintendent, by the Mexican author-
ities. — A. So far as the Mexican authorities were concerned, when I
came in contact with them they were civil, and I have no reason to
recollect anything that was to be found fault with. As to some of the
minor authorities, this man Soto, for instance, I must say he was a
pernicious man, 1 thought. But I speak with no personal feeling
against him, for 1 never did anything else but bow to him when I would



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70 THE LA ABRA SILVER MINING COMPANY.

meet him. He had the only good hoase apon the land belonging to the
company. I never went into his house, but I understood that he sold
mescale and wine to the miners and others. It was in the portico of
his house that the balls took place every Saturday night when the
miners would come down. They would come down on Saturday night,
and Saturday night and Sunday and Sunday night there would be a
regular drunken saturnalia. That would begin on Sunday morning,
with ball and masic, and the miners and women assembled, and then
it would degenerate into a saturnalia. The blankets would be spread
upon the ground and there would be gambling. The great trouble of
the place was the presence of the gamblers who came to fleece these
miners every pay-day, and another trouble was the sale of liquor. I
stopped the sale of liquor at the hacienda, and turned it over to this
man Soto.

By Senator Brown:

Q. What position did he hold f— A. When I first went there I do not
know whether he was in office or not, and I am not certain that he
held office during my incumbency. But he was a potent factor there, I
think, in the way of constantly urging others and exciting bad feeliogs.
That was evident in the conduct of the workmen from time to time, and
it was traced to him. When I say traced, I mean that I depend on
what I heard from others who brought me information. I did not go
into his house and held no intercourse with him except simply to bow to
him and speak to him when I would meet him.

Q. His course seems to have stirred up prejudice against the com-
pany! — A. Yes, sir. He was inimical to the company from the first.
The miners were subject to his influence, and they were stirred up to a
demonstration at one time that I witnessed.

By Mr. Poster :
Q. I want to ask you whether the military authorities ever afforded
any protection to your trains or employes at the request of the company
or its officers! — A. I never had any occasion to make any request. I
would hire any packer, and if he was assessed for any duties at the cus-
tom-house he would come out with his papers and deposit them at the
mine, at the hacienda; then I would pay him the money, either by draft
or by ready money — I do not know how I may have done it — and that
was the end of it. He was acquit.

By Senator Brown:
Q. Did he pay the customs and then you pay him ! — A. No, sir j the
banking-house would settle the customs for me.

By Mr. Foster :

Q. I want to make a little more clear the condition of the country
when your friends were engaged in packing. When they left Mazatlau
did they have to pass through the lines of two opposing forces, or not,
to reach the mines ! — A. At first they did. In the early part of the
journey they had to pass the French forces holding Mazatlan, and then
after going an interval they passed into the Liberal line, and after pass-
ing them they came on unmolested.

Q. Did the company sustain any loss from that method of transpor-
tation, other than by the payment of duties exacted by the contending
forces t — ^A. Not while I was there.

By the Chairman :
Q. Was that war ended before you left there!— A. Yes, sir; I think



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THE LA ABBA SILVER MINING COMPANY. 71

Maximiliau was seized and shot just about the time I went away. I do
not know whetber lie had been executed when I came away or not, but
his reign terminated about the time I left, or very nearly that time.

By Mr. Poster :
Q. During your residence at the mines did you become acquainted
with Frederick Sundellt If so^ state who he was, what was his ca-
pacity as a mining expert, and his reputation in that region? — A. I met
Mr. Suudell when I was visiting Mr. Eice, the superintendent of the
Durango Silver Mining Company. I was introduced to Mr. Sundell,
and learned that he was the assayer attached to the establishment.

By the Chairman :

Q. How far is that mine from yours t — A. The hacienda of the mine t
1 do not know whether they were working several mines or not

Q. The hacienda, I mean ! — ^A. That is about two hours' ride. 1 could
not tell the distance in miles. It is up an immense mountain and down
into a long valley, and I could not measure the distance. We always esti-
mate by time. As to his capacity I was not able to judge. He worked
with seeming facility. Mr. Bice depended upon him.

By Mr. Foster :

Q. And had confidence in him ? — A. He seemed to have perfect confi-
dence in him.

Q. What reputation did he sustain ?— A. That I can not say. He
was a very quiet gentleman in his personal bearing, but further than
that I can not say. I never saw him but about some half a dozen times;
probably not so many.

Q. I interrupted you a few minutes ago when you were telling about
the diflQculties with the miners. Did the company have any serious
dif&culties with the miners during your superin tendency t If so,
state what they were. — A. The only circumstance at the time that oc-
curs to me now was some time in the fall — very early fall it must have
been — when I had an intimation, the night before payment, that there
would be trouble the next day when the men assembled. That infor-
mation was brought to mfe by Slone, who was then in charge as head
miner. The cause of the difllculty was stated to be that they under-
stood I could not pay them off in money or pay them the proportion of
money that I had promised them.

By the Chairman :

Q. Before you proceed, what was your method of paying; what pro-
portion of goods and what of money ? — ^A. I think at that time I was
paying them one-third of their weekly earnings in money ; we did not
pay them entirely in money.

Q. Before that time what was it t — A. It was half and half when I
first arrived. But afterwards, on account of the reduction of the amount
of ready money on hand, they agreed to take two-thirds of their pay
in goods and one-third in money.

By Mr. Foster :

Q. And the goods were furnished by the store owned by the com-
pany f — A. Yes, sir.

Q. Go on with your narrative.

The Witness. Where was I !

The Chairman. You said Mr. Slone informed you that there was
going to be an outbreak, and that the cause of it was the non-payment
of money.



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72 THE LA ABRA SILVER MINING COMPANY.

The Witness. I did not pay any attention to that that night. It was
nearly 9 o'clock in the evening, I sappose, when he came in. The next
morning when the men assembled for payment I was in the store. It
was a beantifol bright day. Ordinarily they came in dressed in white,
bnt I noticed on this day, although the day was beantiful and bright,
they had their native Mexican blankets thrown over their left shoalders.
That, however, did not caase any question in my mind. While I was
engaged in writing the tickets, giving them their debit and credit
account, with the signs that are used to express dollars and cents, and
the balance due them written out so that there could be no doubt as to
the balance due, the young clerk who was in attendance at the store
was standing then in front of them and I was sitting back of him, said
to me, ^' Colonel, if ypu are going to do anything you had better be
quick about it." I asked him what he meant. He said that the fellow
who was talking was inciting these men to make an attack upon me,
and he told them not to wait. The clerk told me that the man was
talking about the Oandelaria affair, which had taken place before my
time there, I believe. They had risen there and killed some officer and
sacked the place.

What he was saying, as told me by this clerk, was, that if they only
had a little pluck and unanimity among them, and made the attack at
once, they could clean out the whole establishment. There was some
$15,000 or $16,000 of property lying right around them within reach. I
told him to keep quiet, and I kept them in view from the table where I
was. I then started up from the seat where I was sitting, and that
movement they interpreted, I suppose, as an intention on my part to go
for the money, because when I made payments I would go to the room
where I had the strong box and get the money. I first dispatched Slone
to thesuperintendent of the company above me andasked him to loan me
what ready money he had on hand, so that in case I found I could do
it I could make some oxplanation. He brought $125 or $150. I then
went to my room and brought down what little money I had ; it did not
not exceed one hundred and odd dollars, and I also brought down seven
six-shooters which I had, with ammunition. .

I then called up the workmen and told them to lock up their tools and
put them away, and then put on their six-shooters, and come up to the
old hacienda. Between that and the store where these miners were as-
sembled was a place about 18 feet long, a court, a closed space between
the buildings close by and the stone wall. I told them that I might
have trouble; that I hoped not, however, but to see that everything
was in order, and if they heard any disturbance, to come in and shoot
them down as fast as they could. These men came up, as I directed,
and the Mexicans saw them come in. There was no demonstration on
their part, nor did they cross the court. They staid in the wine room
as much out of sight as possible. I called the head cleaner, Bartolo
liodriguez, who was the only man I had that I could really trust

Q. Did yon find that he justified the confidence that you reposed in
him ? — A. His conduct was unexceptionable as a general thing, but at
that time he either lacked knowledge or veracity in what he told me;
but that may have been on account of lack of judgment. He failed mo
at this time in point of courage. That is the only charge I have to
make against him. I told him to go out and talk to these men, to tell
them the situation ; that I had striven to get the money; that their own
political difficulties lay in the way. (The French must have been there
at that time.) I told him to tell them that I wa« out of ready money^
except a few dollars at the hacienda; that I was willing to pay them



if^



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THE LA ABBA SILVER MINING COMPANY 73

altogether their indebtedness in goods and let them go at once, or tQ
pay them two-thirds in goods and give them a dne-bill for the balance,
or if they chose to let the whole of it stand I wonld settle it eventaally,
if they chose to settle their accounts in that way.

I also told him to tell them that I was perfectly well aware of the in-
fluences to which they wete subjected ; that it was the gamblers who
wanted their money^ and it was the liquor dealer who wanted to sell his
liquors to them ; that they were persuaded by evil-disposed persons;
and that they might feel assured that I would not put myself in their
power at that distance from home without support, if I intended to do
anything but the right with them. But he was afraid to go to them,
and I do not think he did anything at all. Then one of the men came
forward to try and make terms, and endeavored to assure me that these
were good people ; that they meant no harm ; that I must not be fright-
ened, etc I told him I was not frightened ; that my desire was to avoid
difficulty ; that if we misunderstood each other, I wanted to explain
matters; that I would endeavor, as far as possible, to be just and hon-
est with them ; that it was my interest to do so ; but that if they forced
me to extremities, I would deal summarily with them.

He asked me if I had arms and ammunition. I told him I had plenty :
that I had plenty of food to stand a siege and plenty of arms to defend
myself with. But I said, *' I tell you if I commence this work I won't
leave one of you alive unless you kill us." I said, ^< 60 back and try
to explain to those men what I have told you, and tell them I mean
rightly by them." I then sat down and saw what little money I had
and made the distribution. It was very small, but I made the distribu-
tion to each, anyhow, and I then called the fellow who was the ring-
leader. He came up to the counter, when I called his name for pay-
ment, in a sort of surly manner, with his hat on his head. Uniformly
the custom was for a man when he came for his pay to take off his hat
and say Ave Maria. I do not know what they meant by it, except per-
haps that it indicated respect and some deference. But this time his
manner was surly and defiant. I told him to take off his hat; he re-
moved it. Then I told him that I intended to pay him in full and that
he must quit the place at once. I paid him in full and ordered him to
cross the stream to the opposite bank, so as to be off the domain where
I supposed I had control, and ordered him never to return under pains
and penalties.

Q. Did he obey t^A. He went off, and I never saw him again. I
then called up the rest of the men in turn and paid them. I told them
what I had done : that I desired to do what was right and to fulfill my
engagements witn them so far as I could. I told them at the same time
if they were not satisfied with the condition of things, as it might occur
again, I wanted them to quit the place at once. None of them left me.
They all stayed. After that I never had any trouble.

By the Chairman :

Q. Did those Mexicans work faithfully ! — A. Always, to my knowl-
edge, so far as I know.

Q. They are a good set of laborers t — A. They were a quiet, good set
of men. They are easily influenced, and when animated by evil-disposed
persons, or by some supposed grievance, they are very bad fellows to
deal with. On the other hand, if treated fairly and rightly, they are
amiable.

Mr. Foster. I have no further questions to ask the witness.

The Chairman. As Mr. Dolph has an engagement for the rest of the



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74 THE LA ABRA SILVER MINING COMPANY.

afternoon and can not retarn to-day, I propose, if it snits the gentlemen
engaged in the case, to adjourn the hearing until half-past 10 o'clock to-
morrow morning.

Mr, Wilson. That is what I was going to ask the committee to do.

Senator Brown. I have another engagement, but still I am ready to
come here to-morrow morning.

The Chairman. Then, if there be no objection, the committee will
rise and stand ai^onrned until half-past 10 o'clock to- morrow morning.



Senate of the United States,
Committee on Foreign Relations,

Washingtotij B. 0., September 29, 188a

The subcommittee met pursuant to adjournment. Present: Senators

Morgan (chairman) and Dolph ; Messrs. Shellabarger & Wilson, of

counsel for the La Abra Silver Mining Company, and Hon. John W.

Foster and Mr. Robert P. Lines, representing theGovernment of Mexico.

TESTIMOHT OF JULIUS A. SE LAOHEL— Continned.

Julius A. de Lagnel, examination resumed.

By Mr. Wilson :

Q. After you ceased to be in the employ of this steam-ship company
between San Francisco and China, I understand you returned to New
York f — A. 1 came here, sir.

Q. Came here to Washington t — A. Came to Alexandria.

Q. What year was that f — A. That was 1880, 1 think, when I came
finally from San Francisco to Alexandria.

Q. How long had you been in San Francisco after you left the em-
ployment of the steam-ship company! — A. A very little while; I came
directly on.

Q. So that from the time that you weut into the employment of that
steam-ship company until you came to Alexandria in 1880 yon had
practically been out of the country t — A. I had been, just as I told yoo,
the greater part of the time on the broad water. It took a month to go
and a mouth to come, in round terms, and the delay in Hong-Kong and
Yokohama would occupy the balance of the time. In rouud numbers,
we were supposed to make four round voyages to China a year from San
Francisco to Hong-Kong via Yokohoma and return the same way.

Q. And that was the way that you were employed and where you
were during the period the testimony was being taken in this case f —
A. I know nothing about that. I do not know anything about the tes-
timony. I never heard of the case until I was called upon in San Fran-
cisco by the Mexican consul.

Q. Well, between 1870 and 1876 yon were, as you say, on the broad
water f— A. Yes, sir ; with the exception of these periodical returns to
San Francisco, where we remained probably from ten to fourteen days.

Q. Now, I understand you to say that you had had no experience as
a miner or any dealing with minerals until you went to Mexico ; is that
correct f — A. Yes, sir ; I never was a miner.

Q. Had you, prior to the time of the interview with Mr. Garth in the
city of New York which you have described, had any experience in the



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THE LA ABBA SILVER MINING COMPANY. 75

way of testing minerals or examining minerals in any way t — A. No,
sir : and I never made any representation of the kind.

Q. Yon knew nothing about the value of silver or gold ores ? — ^No,
sir J I coald not have any such knowledge.

Q. And from looking at them or any test that you could make you
could not determine their value f — A. Before I left — there was some
weeks' lapse between the first interview with Mr. Garth and the time I
left, and in that interval, having this place in prospect, I went around
to an office in Broadway only a square from Mr. Garth's, and under the
instructions of Mr. Gullins, the head of the firm, was taught to make an
assay. Mr. Garth knew that was all the experience and knowledge I
had. Perhaps I did not understand your question.

Q. What I mean is this : Prior to the time that you made this arrange-
ment with Mr. Garth you had no knowledge whatever of minerals, and
could not, from any knowledge that you possessed, determine the value
of any kind of ore. Is that correct? — A. Before my interview with Mr.
Garth!

Q. Yes, before meeting with Mr. Garth!— A. No, sir.

Q. You could not! — A. No, sir.

Q. Now I want you to tell the committee what it was you did in re-
spect of learning to make an assay and how long you were about it. —
A. There was an interval possibly of several weeks — I can not exactly
say — ^it was the 1st of March I left, and I went to him in January, and
therefore I presume it was that period ; but I can not say exactly what
date — I first met him in January. I went to this place, and they taught
me to make the assay with the cupel, first weighing and taking a pro-
portionate part, a certain weight of the mineral to be tested, reducing
it to powder, and reducing it in a crucible, where the silver and lead
might combine and drop in a fluid condition to the bottom. It would
form a button of lead and silver.

That was done in little bone cup called a cupel, which was placed in
a little arched earthen thing called a muffle. That was placed in a small
furnace. You tap it with a hammer and the button came off; the but-
ton then was supposed to contain nothing but the lead and silver, and
if there was any gold, the gold would be in combination.



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 13 of 156)