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Q. Now I invite your attention to another sentence in your letter of April 8, 1878,
to Mr. Lines : " Through some party, to me unknown, I am offered a good show to go
to China to look after a silver mining company's affairs.'' I ask you who it was that
made you that offer t— A. Well, I don't know who it was that made me that offer.

Q. I ask you whether you have any reason to suppose that it was made to you by
any officer/ or other party interested in La Abra Company f^A. I have no reason to &e-
lieve so. Such propositions were often made to me.

Q. It was nothing uncommon f— A. Nothing uncommon.

Q. You had been mining how long f — A. Ever since 1853.

Q. Now, I want to invite your attention to the statement made by the Mexican Gov-
ernmest in regard to that China business, onnage 430 of that same document, No. 103,
under the title of "New evidence offered by Mexico." I now read to you, Mr. Elder :

'' Either Mr. Elder has exhausted La Abra treasury, or else the persons conducting the
affairs of that company have swindled him, as they did their other witnesses, by failing
to carry out their contract and send him to China.*^



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1026 LA ABBA SILVER MINING COMPANY.

Now, I ask you whether there is the slightest foundation in fact for the allegation
that you had any contract with any officer of La Ahra Companyi or with the company
itselfi to RO to China, or for the allegation that they swindled you by not sending you
there T— A. None whatewr,

Q. Can you think of any reason for such a statement being made T — A. / can not
imagine any. I certainly never received any euoh propoHtionfrom any member of La Ahra
Company,

It will have been observed that the '^ offer to go to China " was com-
municated by Elder in his letter of February 17, 1878, to General Bar-
tholow {8iipra)j and not by General Bartholow to Elder. It is cer-
tainly quite a remarkable feature of this recent investigation by the
subcommittee that one of the most serious charges made against the
company by the Mexican Government in its formal presentation of its
case to Congress and the Department of State, should be proved false
by one of its own witnesses, and that witness of all men necessarily
best informed as to the fact.

It seems clear that if Elder's memorandum book had really contained
what he said it did, he would have sworn to its correctness and sold it
to the Mexican Government, but he never produced it, or any other
papers, although he received the following considerate assurance from
Mr. Lines (iMd., p. 635):

Ton may rest assured that there is no disposition to take advantage of your volun-
tary offers or to use your information which is of unquestionahle value, to your preju-
dice.

Elder failed in his efforts to use Mr. Lines's letters as an inducement
to General Bartholow or La Abra Company to enter into competition
with the Mexican Government for what he had to sell, and he had shown
himself so evidently purchasable, or Mr. Lines was so sure that he had
nothing worth buying, that in preparing the statement of the ^^ new
evidence offered by Mexico,'' Mr. Lines dismissed him, but nevertheless
printed his letters and availed himself of the occasion to make a charge
of the most infamous conduct on the part of La Abra Company, which,
according to the Mexican Government's own showing before the sub-
committee, was without any foundation or color of excuse.

After a lapse of ten years the Mexican Government seems to have
thought that something could still be made out of Elder, and he seems
to have thought that something could still be made out of the Mexican
Government. He was subpoenaed on behalf of the Mexican Govern-
ment by the subcommittee on the 14th of January, 1889, in a telegram
from the Sergeant-at-Arms informing him that he would be allowed
mileage at the rate of 5 cents per mile each way and $3 per day while
detained in Washington {ibid., p. 622). He responded immediately :

I must see money, and more than you offer, before I leave home.

The Sergeant-at-Arms replied :

Ton will be allowed [no] more than the law allows, and the United States Senate
commands you to come.

To which Elder responded :

I am not of the kind that works for $3 per day, nor wiU I leave here withont money
to pay all expenses liberally, and I will come near haping eomeihing to Bay aibout it.

This was January 16. The same day he telegraphed again :

Send 1500. WiU leave on 20.

Elder seems to have been in some confusion of mind, for he testified
on cross-examination, in explanation of his telegrams, that he did not
know which side had subpcenaed him, and that before rex>orting to the



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LA ABBA SILVER MINING COMPANY. 1027

Sergeant-at-Arms he went to see the company's counsel in Washington.
He thonght that perhaps it was the company that wanted him.

As a sample of the manner in which Mexico would impeach Sir Ed-
ward Thornton's award in this case, if the Senate bill under considera-
tion should pass, and the Court of Claims should take jurisdiction, some
extracts from Elder's cross-examination are appended {ibid.^ p. 625) :

Q. Did you report to the Sergeant-at-Arms when you arrived in Washington f— A I
did not.

Q. How long were ^on in Washington before you reported to the Sergeant-at-
Arms f — A. I got in Friday, after 9 o'clock.

Q. When did yon report to the Sergeant-at-Arms f— A. Monday morning. I was
sick Saturday and Sunday; did not get out of the hotel.

Q. What day was it that you were at Judge Shellabarger's office T— A. That toae
Saturday morning,

Q. Now, will you swear that you did not say to me, in the presence of another per-
son sitting in the same room, that you had put a value of f 10,000, during the time
that yon were corresponding with Mr. Lines, upon the memoranda and the letter
mentioned in that correspondence f— A. I believe I said so to yon, and I consider that
if the memoranda was worth anvthins it was worth that to a party

Q. Why did you come to Judge SneUabarger's office before yon reported to the
Sergeant-at-Arms f — ^A. I supposed from that telegram that La Abra Company caused
my oeing summoned here.

Q. Did yon not have at that time a letter in your pocket dated December 28, 1888,
firom the consul-general of -Mexico at San Franoisco, informing you that your preaenoe
woe reauired here ae a witneee f — A. / did.

Q. Did not you show that letter to Mr. Kennedy in the conversation that took
place at Judge Shellabarger's office f — ^A. In your office f

Q. Well, it was my office ; put it that way.— A. Jud^e Shellabarger referred me to
yon. I supposed from the nature of the telegram that it was

Q. The question is, did not you show to Mr. Kennedy in his office the letter now in
evidence addressed by the consul-general of Mexico at San Francisco to you, dated
December 88, 1888, informing you substantially that your presence would be required
here as a witness in this La Abra investigation f — A. I presume I did.

Following is the letter from the Mexican consul-general at San Fran-
cisco, which, it will be observed, is dated about three weeks earlier than
the subcommittee's subpoena {ibid.j p. 573) :

(CoRetpoodontia Partioalar Del Conral-Genenl Be Mexioo. Al^aodrD K. Coney, SOi Clfty street

San Franoiaoo, Oil.]

Deoembbr 28, 1888.
Dkab Sir: It being necessary, in the interest of Justice, that yonr testimony be
heard by the committee of Congress in the matter of the ''Abra'' claim, yonr ex-
penses to Washington and back wiU be pMd, as also during your stay at the capital.
Will yon kindly answer at yonr earliest convenience, and oofige,
* Yonrs very truly,

A. K. Const.
Mr. A. B. Elder,

Santa Clara,

Some light is thrown upon Elder's motives and expectations in the
subjoined passage from his cross-examination {ibid., pp. 624, 625) :

The Chairman. Well, proceed, Mr. Kennedy, if yon please, to lay yonr predicate.

By Mr. ExNNXOY:
Q. I want to ask yon, if yon please, Mr. Elder, whether on or about the 19th day

of January

Mr. Foster. The present month.

By Mr. Kbnnkdt:
Q. Whether on or about the 19th day of January, 1889, while you were crossing the
bay in California on a ferry-boat yon met a man by the name of Alexander 8. Gil-
lespie, or any man at aU, to whom you said that you had been subpoenaed to Wash-
injtton City to testify in reference to soqfie old claim between American capitalist-s
ana the Mexican Government ; that yon were an assayer of minerals, etc. ; that the
claim was about some mines in Mexico ; and whether yon further stated that the



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1028 LA ABBA SILVER MINING COMPANY.

Mexican GoverDmeDt had promised you $50,000 if yon would give evideDce favorable
to them. AIbo, whether you said that unless the other party gave yon more money
yon would likely give the kind of evidence required T — A. I met a man on the ferry
and we were talking. He said he was a blacksmith ; said he had been here, and I
told him. He asked me which way I was traveling, and he had been to San Jos6
hunting a job as a blacksmith. I told him I was coming to Washington, and I said
I had l^n summoned there by telegraph of the Serffeant-at-Arms of the United States
Senate in an award claim of some citizens of the United States asainst the Mexican
Government. He remarked, ** Is there much money depending T" I said, "Yes, I
think there is nearly $1,000,000." ** Well," he says, ** they ought to pay you well to
go on such a trip as that." Now, as to my saying that the Mexican Government had
offered me $50^000, that I never said. There was talk that they ought to pay me for a
trip of that kiifCl. I said, ^^I pre$ume they will pay me. I don't know, but the Ser-
geant-at-Aruis says I will get 5 cents a mile. It will be almost like riding on the
boom to set there and back.*' I says, " If auybodv gives me anything it wiU he voU
untarilyr I says, ** I can not demand anything for my evidence." What I know
is simply what I knew at the mill, and the thought of getting any stipulated amount
has never entered my head.
Q. Did you say anything about the other party T — ^A. La Abra f
Q. The company f—A. Not a word that I recollect of ; not one word.

The letter referred to id the foregoing extract had been received by
Mr. Sherman, chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations, and
handed to Mr. Morgian, chairman of the subcommittee. The .letter is
herewith appended, with the agreement of coansel in regard to it (tMd.,
pp. 687, 688) :

The Chaibman. It is agreed by counsel that if Alex. 8. Gillespie were present and
under oath, he would make the statement in regard to the conversation with A. B.
Elder, which is contained in the following letter, and the presence of Gillespie is by
agreement dispensed with.

The letter is as follows :

Oakland, Gal., January 19, 1889.
To the honorable Chairman Committee on Foreign BelationSf Washington, D, C. :

To-day while crossing the bay here on ferry-boat I met a man who said he had
been subposnaed to Washington Gity to testify in reference to some old claim between
American capitalists and the Mexican Government ; that he was an assayer of min-
erals, etc., and the claim was about some mines in Mexico ; and stated further that the
Mexican Government had promised him $50,000 if he would give evidence favorable
to them : he also said that unless the other party gave him more money that he would
likely oive the kind of evidence reauired. He Rves at San Jos6, Gal., and will be
in Washington about January 26. He is paying his own expenses to Washington for
the present, and expects to have a private interview with Sefior Romero, the Mexi-
can minister, as soon as he arrives in Washington. Perhaps this may be of service
to your committee, as he said both sides subpasnaed him.

Hon. G. R. Tingle (chief seal island agent, Alaska), at present in Washington, D. C.,
knows me and you can refer to him about trustworthiness.
Respectfully,

Albx. S. Gillespib,
752 Brueh street, Oahland, Col.

Dahlgren^s examination.

In availing itself of the opportunity afforded by the Senate to show
that La Abra award should be reopened, the Mexican Government
called but one of the witnesses whose dei>ositions had been filed with
the joint commission. This was Captain Charles B. Dahlgren, whose
deposition on behalf of the company had been taken at Mazatlan before
United States Consul Sisson on the 18th of September, 1872. Five
years afterwards — in November, 1877— Captain Dahlgren was put into
communication with Mr. Robert B. Lines by Mr. Alfred A. Green, who,
it will be remembered, had been sent to Mexico by General Slaughter,
under his contract with the Mexican Government, " for the purpose of
securing testimony in proof of the frafudulent character of said claim,^
Green met Dahlgren in San Francisco, and made a statement to him,



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LA ABBA SILVER MINING COMPANY. 1029

some accoant of which will be fonnd in Dahlgren's testimony before the
subcommittee {ibid pp. 712-715). After his interview with Green, Dahl-
gren wrote the following letter, which has been printed as part of the
*'new evidence offered by Mexico" (Ex. Doc. 103, p. 286), and may be
found in the appendix, p. 644:

8an Francisco, Cal'a, Nov, 12, 1877.

Mr. Robert Lyons.

U. S. Senate P. O., Waehington:
Sir : I have good reasons for knowing that the testimony ander my signature, as
offered by A. W. Adams in the La Abra case or claim, has been perverted, and is
therefore frandalent, and should be treated as snch.

My testimony was taken in rough notes and left for him to copy or fill in over my
signatare on a clean sheet, as I was called off on important business.
I know now that said testimony has been perverted and by said A. W. Adams.
Very truly,

G. B. Dahloren.

My address here is : Capt. G. B. Dahlgren, Pacific Refining and Bullion Exchange,
cor. Brannan 7th, S. F.

P. S. I understand said A. W. Adams boasted he had obtained mv signature by the
use of a " good round sum of gold." Advise me how I can bring him before a court
to substantiate said statement.

G. B. D.

I refer to Gen. Sherman and Rev. BV^ Sunderland.

Dahlgren's interview with Green and his opinion of him appear in
his testimony before the subcommittee as follows {ibid, pp. 644, 645):

The Witness. I was informed that I had testified in the Abra case, and that my
testimony had been purchased for a " good round sum of gold.''

By the Chairman :

Q. Who was your informant T — ^A. A. A. Qreen.

Q. Where does he live T— A. He is living a great deal in the Republic of Mexico.

Q. Was he your acquaintance T — ^A. He was an acquaintance of mine ; yes, sir.

Q. A man whose opinion you respected T — ^A. I knew nothing against him. He
had been the oriffiual owner of the Candaiaria mine, of which I had been the super-
intendent, and therefore I had been brought into business contact with him.

Q. In consequence of that information what did you do T — A. He then told me what
my teeUmony had been, and asked me if that was the case. I was very angry, and I
then put myself into communication with Mr. Lines and wrote that letter to him.

At that time, Green was in the employment of General Slaughter
under his contract with the Mexican Government. Green had probably
examined Dahlgren's deposition in Washington ; at all events, he pre-
tended to be familiar with its contents, and undertook to tell Dahlgren
what his '< testimony had been." There is no evidence that Green
stated the contents of Dahlgren's deposition to him correctly, or that
Adams had ever said he had obtained the deposition from Dahlgren by
bribery. There is not the least likelihood that Adams ever made such
a statement, or would have made it, even if it had been true, for the
award in favor of La Abra Company had been rendered only recently,
and Adams was largely interested in it, and aware of the opposition to
its payment by the Mexican Government, and he would, therefore,
have been the last man to say anything reflecting upon its integrity.
But, of course, Green's representations were calculated, as they were
doubtless intended, to make Dahlgren angry and eager to prevent his
deposition from being of any further service to Adams or the Company.

The measures he would be likely to pursue when in such a frame of
mind can be imagined from his conduct as disclosed in the course of
his examination before the subcommittee. It will be remembered that
Green as well as Dahlgren had a grudge against Adams, and that



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1030 LA ABBA SILVER MINING COMPANY.

Green had besides a pecaniary ioterest under his agreement with
Slaughter in making Dahlgren hostile to the company and the award.

Great importance is given to Dahlgren's testimony before the sab-
committee by the fact, already mentioned, that he was the only witness
produced before the subcommittee by the Mexican Government of all the
witnesses whose depositions were filed with the joint commission ; ^so
by the fact that it was on his letter of November 12, 1877 {aupra)^ that
the Mexican Government based its charge that testimony had been
<< forged" by Adams in favor of the company's claim; and this impor-
tance is enhanced when it is remembered that Dahlgren's examination
may fairly be regarded as showing the best that could be done in the
way of impeaching the award if the question of its validity should ever
be submitted to the Court of Claims as proposed by Mr. Morgan's bilL
In this view it is considered proper to examine Dahlgren's testimony
before the subcommittee at considerable length.

A critical examination of Dahlgren's letter shows that when it was
written — more than five years after his deposition was taken at the
United States consulate at Mazatlan — ^he had forgotten at what length
he had been examined, and supposed that a single sheet would have
contained his deposition. ^^ iMy testimony," he says in his letter, ^^ was
taken in rough noteSj and left for him to copy or flU in, over my signa-
ture, on a clean sheet/' The original deposition on file in the Depart-
ment of State contains eight sheets, written on both sides, and signed by
Dahlgren near the middle of the sixteenth page. He admits his signa-
ture to be genuine, and his testimony shows that his answers to Adams's
questions (which answers were not written out by Adams but by Pefia)
were quite voluminous. These questions and answers which Dahlgren
in his letter calls "rough notes," were, he says, corrected by him — inter-
lined and crossed out to such an extent as to make them unfit for use
as a deposition. A fair copy was therefore necessary, and Dahlgren's
testimony shows that there was abundance of time for making it, for
he testifies that he went to the consul's office " early in the morning,"
and was there on that business until 1, 2, or 3 o'clock in the afternoon.
{Ibid.j p. 660.)

The idea that a man of his intelligence, holding the position of super-
intendent of the Durango Mining Company and consul of the United
States, should leave his " testimony " to be '* filled in," over his signa-
ture^ "on a clean sheet," in support of a claim for such a large sum
against the Government to which he was accredited in his consular ca-
pacity, seems preposterous, and if anybody but himself had made such
a charge against him it would have seemed too improbable for belief.
All the presumptions would have been against it. This is how it seems
to have struck Mr. Lines, for when he was asked in his cross-examina-
tion whether he had advised Dahlgren, as requested in his letter, how
Adams could be brought before a court to substantiate his charge of
bribery, he replied {ibid.^ p. 927) :

I leearded the statement in Dahlgren's letter as a very extraordinary one^ and I
thongbt perhaps an improbable one : tnat he had allowed his testimony to be taken
in roQffh notes in that manner, and I thought that Mr. Dahlgren was much more con-
cerned in the matter than the Mexican Government was. and for that reason I held
no farther communication with him at lUl, I believe, after sending him that tele-
gram.

A careful examination of Dahlgren's testimony furnishes the strong-
est proofs of the falseness of his letter. Before he was examined in
the subcommittee he had inspected his deposition in the State Depart-
ment, where it is filed with the other records of the Joint Gommissioni



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LA ABBA SILVER MINING COMPANY. 1031

and he had seen that the original draft or <' rongh notes" conld not have
been copied or filled in <^ on a clean sheet." So when he came before
the sabcommittee he testified that his deposition *^ filled np a nnmber
of sheets, and when the chairman asked how many, replied : ^Oh, quite
a number; there may have been a dozen or two dozen aheetSy a large
nnmber of sheets ;'" and he continned {ibidj p. 647) :

I then Baid: ''Gtoneral Adams, allow me to read over those papers.'' He said:
** They are yoor answers aa written down by my eeorttarUf and it is long; it is not neces-
sary ; have yon no confidence iu met'' I said: '*! wish to see those papeiSi and unless
I do they can not go ont of this room ; I most see them.''

Dahlgren seemed to have forgotten that the << papers" were of no use
to Adams, because, at that time, they were neither signed nor sworn
to. Dahlgren continues :

He then handed me the sheets, and I read them over. I then said : ' ' General Adams,
those are not the answers as I ^ave them to yon, sir, and I will not allow that to pass
for evidence." " WeU," he said, *' scratch it out or erase it, as you see fit." That
was done, and then I said : '<Now, those answer are satisfiaotory to me, and I will
sign them," and / did »ign them. He then said : ''That is not fit to hand in as testi-
mony, all scarred up in that manner." I said: *' Tou had no husiness to write tho$e
answers in that way."

The witness seemed to have forgotten that his answers had not been
taken down by Adams, but by Pe£La. Dahlgren continned :

And I said. ** Well, I am on the way to San Dimas, and I haven't time to stay longer."
I then caUed to Mr. Sisson, who was consul to Mazatlan while I was United States
consul at Durango —

By Mr. Foster:
Q. At that time?— A. At that time ; yes, sir. I said to Sisson, ** I will slg^ a (latiii;
ikeet of paper and put it in your possession as consnl, as between two consuls ; jron are
to transcribe these notes and retiiin the original, and hand that siffuature with the
transcribed sheets ahead of it to General Adams as my testimony." Sisson said he
would do it. I then Jumped on my mole and rode away, 170 miles back to San Dimas.

It will be observed that Dahlgren said that he signed the original
deposition or '^ rough notes'' after his corrections had been made, and,
in addition, signed a blank sheet to be attached to the new copy which
was to be made by Consul Sisson. Next day, his direct examination
still continuing, the chairman inquired {ibid,j p. 677):

Q. Did you affix your signature at all after that single blank sheet of paper; iUd
you sign your name ttoieet—A, No, sir; I don't think I did, because it was in tw^ bad
shape that I would not,

Dahlgren did not seem to be able to state the same circumstance
twice in the same way. He was greatly troubled about his oath— a
diflSculty which he evidently had not anticipated. When asked whether
he was sworn Ubid.y p. 647), he said, ** I do not recollect, sir; I do not
recollect whetner there was any formality in swearing me or not.''
Asked again after a considerable interval {ibid.y p. 650), whether he had
any clearer recollection than he had already stated as to whether he was
sworn by the consul, he replied, " I don't recollect as to that.'' But
in certain small particulars, not affecting the sense of his deposition,
his memory was most wonderful. He seemed inclined to deny that he
had said anything contained in his deposition— the mere fact that it
was there seemed to arouse his antagonism. For example, his deposi-
tion made him say, "The late Bear- Admiral John A. Dahlgren was my
father." In his testimony before the subcommittee (tWd., p. 651), he
said, " I never said that. To the question, ^ Are you or are yon not a
son of the late Admiral Dahlgren, of the United States Navy/ my re-
ply was, ^I am.^^



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1032 LA ABEA SILVER MININO COMPANY.

An exaiDiBation of the question in the deposition shows that his oou*
sular position as well as his parentage was inquired into, and while it
might have been properly answered by the words^^I am," Instead of
the answer contained in the deposition, namely, ^^ Yes: the late Bear-



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 152 of 156)