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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Admiral John A. Dahlgren was my father, and I hold tne position sug-
gested in the question, and I am so recognized by said authorities," the
two answers mean exactly the same ; and it is remarkable that after
the lapse of seventeen years Dahlgren could have been so positive
that he made the one answer rather than the other.

Recurring again to the question whether he was sworn, Dahlgren said
(ifctd.,p. 677):

A. I recollect when I wrote my name. I have seen the document and recognize my
name. I handed it to Sisson. I saldi ** Consul Sisson, I put this in your charge, to
have this transcrihed and written — the rough notes ; " supposing of course, as a col-
liague of mine, as one consul for another, that he would act for me. I had Just re-
ceived information that imperatively called me away. It was absolutely necessary
to go. I could not delay. It was not my business to tell them that (he had testified
previously that he did tell them that). When I took this to him he said, ** You swear
that this is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth f I said, '< I do."

By Mr. Ebknedt:
Q. Alluding to the blank sheet of paper f — ^A. Alluding to the testimony I had
Q, And you signed a blank sheet of paper and handed it to him T— A. That is it.

• «•••••

The Chairman. I will have to take this myself.

Q. You now state that yon were sworn f — A. Yes ; that I was sworn at first

Q. ^0 ; you state that you were sworn. When the consul that administered that oath

to you did so, did he have in his hand or did you have in your hand a paper to which

that oath applied T— A. No, sir.

In his cross-examination the same subject was revived. (Ibid., pp.

By Mr. Wilson :
Q. Were you sworn on that examination f

By the Chairman :
Q. Was an oath administered to yon f — ^A. ^o : that was administered to me at tt«

Q. Well, was there at the end f — A. I have stated in my examination that when I
signed that paper and handed it to Sinson he said, ** Is this the truth, the whole
truth, and nothing but the truthf * holding that blank piece of paper in his hand which
I bad requested him to transcribe.

• ••••••

I was not sworn until the examination was over, and I handed to him that blank sheet
of paper, then he said, " Is this the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the
truth T"

Q. And that is your statement now in regard to it f— A. That is. That is my state-
ment. That is the only swearing that was done in the matter.

Before Dahlgren's testimony is further examined, it may be as well
to refer to the testimony of ex Consul Sisson in regard to the manner in
which Dahlgren's deposition was taken. Sisson, who was subpoenaed on
behalf of the company, testified before the committee, on that matter, as
follows (ibid.j pp. 792, 793):

By Mr. Kennedy :

Q. Have you examined the original deposition of Dahlgren that is now on file in the
Department of State T— A. Yes, sir.

Q. When did you first see that document f — ^A. When did I first see it T

Q. Yes ; I mean the 18 pages of which it is now composed?— A. It was made out in
my consulate.

Q. Now, will you state the circumstances attending the taking of that deposition f
I mean the signing of it by Dahlgren, his oath to its truth so far as you are oon-

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oemed. — A. Well, Mr. Dahlgren and Mr. Adams, Mr. Pefia and I think (Governor
Ghdan, came up to the consulate for the purpose of making out an affidavit.

By the Chathman :

Q. Now, do yon mean an affidavit, Mr. Sisson, or a deposition f— A. I do not mean
an affidavit, I mean a deposition.

Q. In this La Ahra case T— A. In this La Ahra case. And they sat down in the office
there and went to writing.

Q. You say they went to writing. Who went to writing f—A. Mr. Pefia did the
writing ; the interpreter. Adams and Dahlgren were discussing the matter.

By Mr. Kbnnbdt :

Q. What time of da^ did these gentlemen whom you have named come to the con-
sulate f — A. Oh, along in the morning sometime. I can not tell exactly what hour
they did come.

Q. Well, now, proceed.— A. Well, Mr. Pefia went to draw up the paper and they
talked it over. 1 was out and in the room while they were at it, and tinallv it wot
finished and all written out. 1 went in there then and swore Mr. Dahlgren^ and it wm
read over to Mm,

Q. You mean this identical deposition f—A. I mean this identical deposition that is
in the State Department to-day, or was yesterday.

By the Chairman :
Q. You examined it through, did you f — ^A. I did. I swore him— the usual form of
oath that was attached there to it— and after it was all through he signed it right
there. Mr. Pefia witnessed it right there. Then I put my oath to it.

By Mr. Kbnnbdt :
Q. That is, the certificate f — A. I mean my certificate. Then I signed it and put
the seal of office to that. Then I turned it over to Mr. Danglado, who put the rih-
bons through it in the form you see. You see how it is done there, put through and
through, brought back, sealing- waxed about the top of it, and he held it up while I
put the stamp on that sealing-wax. Mr. Dahlgren, as soon as he signed it, went off.

After reading to Sisson, from the record, Dahlgren's testimoDy, al-
ready qootedy that he had signed a blank sheet of paper, etc., the ex-
consul's examination was continued as follows (ibid.y p. 794) :

Q. Now, Mr. Sisson, what have you to say to that statement of Dahlgren so far as
it concerns you f — A. I can say that he signed no blank sheet at all there to my knowl-
edge. What he signed was this deposition of his. What he and Adams did and talked
about— they talked a ^reat deal— I can not tell, but this was the result of their work, was
the making his deposition there.

Q. Now! read again to you:

By the Chairman :
Q. There is one part of that you have not answered. He states there that he makes
some declarations to you. What do you say about this f

By Mr. Kennedy:

Q, I will read that again to him :

** ' I will sign a blank sheet of paper and put it in your possession as consul, as be-
tween two consuls ; you are to transcribe these notes and retain the original, and
hand that signature wkh the transcribed sheets ahead of it to General Adams as my
testimony. ' Sisson said he would do it."

Now, you have Just said that Dahlgren never signed any blank sheet of paper in
your consulate to your knowledge, and the chairman invites your attention to what
Dahlgren says he said to you about transcribing the notes and your promise to do
that. Is that true T— A. No, sir ; I don't recollect any such thing.

By the Chairman :
Q. No, but do you deny it T — A. i do deny it ; yes, sir.
Q. You say it is not true T— A. / do.

No affidavit was ever taken there unless it was written out in fhll as a deposition.
By the Chairman (ibid., p. 795) :

Q. Is that your reason for saying that Dahlgren has made a false statement, that
you never do business in that way, or do you state it as your recollection in connec-
Kon with this particular paper t— A. / state that as a reoolleoiion.

Q. In connection w'.th this particular paper f — ^A. Yes.

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Q. That he did not sigD a blank sheet at all, but 9igned the deposition afUir 4i 'had
been filled out, and only after it had heen filled out f— A. That ie whai i eay.

« • « • « m ¥

By the Chairhak :
Q. Wait one moment ; I wish to ask him a question. This document that yon saw
in the State Department was drawn up, you say, in PeBa's handwriting f — ^A. YeSb
Q. Was that read over to Dahlgren in your presence f — ^A. Tes.
Q. Who read it to him T— A. Pefia, I think, and I think I read some of it myself^

By Mr. Kennedy (iWd., p. 799) :
Q. Yon say that every word of the deposition that is now in the State Department
was read to the witness in yonr presence before hcsi^^ed it f— A. That is what I in-
tend to say.

The consvia/r cleric oarroboratea Sisaon.

It will have been notioed that Sisson said that Dahlgren's depoBi-
tioD immediately after he signed it had been turned over to Mr. Dang-
lada, who pat the ribbons through it and held it up while the oonsol
put the stamp on the sealing-wax. Sisson had previously testified
that his consular clerk was Domingo Danglada, a Mexican, who
spoke Spanish, English, and French. After Dahlgren had been ex-
amined by the subcommittee, counsel for the company made inquiries in
San Francisco for PefiLa — the man who read Dahlgren's deposition to
him and subscribed it as witness — in order to have him subpcBuaed. bat
found that he was dead. It was discovered, however, that Danglada
was still living atMazatlan, and when the company's counsel requested
that he should bo subpoenaed (agreeing to bring him to the boundary
line between the two countries), the following telegraphic correspond-
euce was admitted in evidence by consent in lieu of his personal ap-
pearance (Ibid.y p. 938) :

Mr. Foster. Before yuu acyonm we will answer the opposition that we lelnctantlyi
and in order to avoid any excnse for farther delay in this investigation, will adout
that Danglada, if present, would swear to this statement contained in the telemm.

The Chairman. I will read it. Shellabarger & Wilson, counsel of La Abra Silver
Mining Company, sent a dispatch addressed to Domingo. Danglada, at MazatUui,
Mexico, dated February 21, 1889, athis guest
at San Dimas, and had there made examinations of witnesses prelimi-
nary to taking their depositions in court. And Dahlgren testified that
he '' beard the case talked of pro and con in his hacienda" {ibid^j p.

We would sit there of an evening and talk of it.

He had been at San Dimas over two years, and his *• right hand man"
had made a report on the company's mines before he made his deposi-
tion at Mazatlan in September, 1872.

Besides, in referring to his book on the '^ nistoric Mines of Mexic0|"

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in which the compauy's mines "La Abra," "Rosario," "La Lnz," and
"El ChristOj^are mentioned, he said to the sabcommittee {ibid.y p. 687) :

I have always kept carefully a mining diary, and as I got information about mines
I placed it down, tabulated it, and kept it. During the five years I was in Mexico I did
thaty and finally I got snch a inaas of data I put it into shape.

It is also to be remarked that in speaking of his frequent visits to the
company's hacienda in October, November, and December of 187 J, when
he was helping himself to the machinery, he said (ibid.j p. 685) that no-
body at that time was occupying the company's mines. In the earlier
part of his examination before the subcommittee {ibid., top of p. 652) he
said that he did not know " anything whatever of the mines that La
Abra Company abandoned" — alluding to the time when he made his
deposition at Mazatlau — but it afterwards appeared, as already observed,
from a memorandum in his notebook that two months before he was
examined at Mazatlan he had made a personal examination of " El Ar-
rayan." It also appeared that he knew his book-keeper had de-
nounced "ElBosario," and that he (D^hlgren) was intimate with Fran-
cisco Torres {ibid,, p. 686), who worked that mine and " La Luz'' in part-
nership with Granger in J870 or 1871.

The testimony of ex-Consul Sisson or Domingo Danglada was not
necessary to prove that Dahlgren committed perjury in maintaining, as
he did before the subcommittee, the truth of his letter to Lines in re-
gard to the manner in which his deposition was taken at Mazatlan. It
does not appear that his deposition could ever have been of much im-
portance in the case, so far as the award was concerned, for he did not
aiTive at San Dimas until July, 1870, more than two years after La
Abra Company had abandoned its property, and the great bulk of his
deposition was hearsay. It is true that he vouched again and again in
the strongest terms for the honesty, intelligence, courage, and truthful-
ness of his Mexican " mozo," Avalos, whose three depositions, two taken
on behalf of the company, and one alleged to have been taken by a
Mexican judge in court on behalf of the Mexican Government, are printed
in the appendix, and have been already noticed in this report. But
Dahlgreu's deposition takes its chief importance from the fact that he
denied having made it in the form in which it was submitted to the
Joint Commission, and that his denial, coupled with his aspersion upon
General Adams, was made so prominent in the so-called "new evi-
dence oftered by Mexico ^ so early in the efforts of that Government,
through General Slaughter and his subagents, to impeach the award.

The testimony of ex-Consul Sisson and ot Domingo Danglada, with
Dahlgren's own contradictions and inconsistencies, have destroyed his
credibility and relieved General Adams and the company from any dis-
credit or stigma cast upon them by Dahlgren's letter. That Dahlgreu's
lett-er was injunous to General Adams, and, reflexively, to the company,
is beyond dispute : for in an earlier report by Mr. Edmunds for Mr.
Morgan, from the Committee on Foreign Relations, (July 7, 1886), it is
said that the evidence submitted by the Mexican Government in the doc-
ument entitled "Claims against Mexico" shows "that some of the tes-
timony oftered by the company to establish its claim before the Com-
mission \^£L^ forged by its agent and attorney, Adams. The reference in
that report is to Dahlgreu's letter, which was printed therein with the
following caption in italics: ^^ Letter from C. B. Dahlgren to Mr, Robert
B, Lines, stating that his deposition in favor of La Abra Silver Mining
Company has beenforged.^ This charge will now have to be withdrawn

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with the other charges falsely accusing General Adams of having been
short in his accounts as captain and assistant commissary at the close
ot the Mexican War, and of having been thrice court-martialed (and, in-
ferentially, disgraced) during his service in the United States Army in
the war for the Union.

One of the most remarkable and satisfactory features of the recent
investigation was the formal withdrawal of the charges against General
Adams, affecting his military record, by one of the counsel for the Mexi-
can Government (Mr. Lines) in the course of his cross-examination.
The official documents showing the falsity of the charges reflecting ou
the personal integrity of General Adams were received in evidence and
are printed, with the testimony of Mr. Lines on the subject, on pages
931-934 of the appendix.

It seems to the undersigned that the testimony taken before the sub-
committee instead of impeaching the award has shown the strong
foundations upon which it rests and has justified the wisdom and equity
of the umpire.

The Mexican Government has shown by Colonel De Lagnel in this
recent investigation how general and deep-seated were the suspicion
and hatred of the United States and its citizens among the population
in the vicinity of the mines when he was the company's superintendent
in the year 1867 ; how " pernicious " and dangerous was the character
of the local justice of the peace who had esteblished himself on the
company's property j on what slight occasion an armed <^ demonstra-
tion " was made against the superintendent and his American employes
at the hacienda^ how the same thing happened at San Dlmas, and
how unfoanded is the theory of the minority report that events of
importance which were not mentioned in the company's letter-press
copy-book are not to be credited, although the superintendent testifies
to them under oath. The Mexican Government in this recent investi-
gation has shown -by Francisco Torres that of all the ores abandoned
by the company in March, 1868 — from 10,000 to 14,000 cargas— only
500 or 600 cargas remained two or three years after the abandonment,
and it need hardly be said that if the ore had been poor it would not have
been carried away. The Mexican Government in this recent investiga-
tion has shown by Somero and Hermosillo that, in the estimation of one
of the most experienced and competent miners in Mexico, La Abra mine
is still so rich in undeveloped resources that during the last seven or
eight years he has been engaged in tunneling the property — an exten-
sive and systematic operation not yet completed — at a cost of from
$60,000 to $60,000.

The Mexican Government in this recent investigation has shown by
A. B. Elder that one of the most infamous charges it ever made against
the company was utterly without foundation or color of excuse; and
also that no protection was afforded by the local authorities to the wit-
ness himself when the richest of his ores were stolen at La Puerta in
1865, and that it would have been dangerous both for him and the local
magisitrate if the latter had attempted to enforce the law. The Mexican
Government has also put itself under a cloud of suspicion by the testi-
mony of the same witness, and of the " contractor,'' General James E.
Slaughter, and of the detective, Fisher, in regard to the propriety and
integrity of the methods it has pursued in its attempts to re-open the
award. Instead of showing, as it set out to show in the recent investiga-
tion, that the award should be re-opened and the claim readjudicated
on the merits, the Mexican Government has shown that the ancient
maxim which the House committee, in Mr. Daniel's report, has applied

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to this case should be so applied without further evasion or delay: It
is to the interest of the commonwealth that litigation should cease.

Legal objections to the Mil.

The bill (S. 2632) authorizes and directs the Attorney-General of the
United States '^ to bring a suit or suits in the name of the United States
in the Court of Claims against La Abra Silver Mining Company, its
successors and assigns, and all persons making any claim to the award,
or any part thereof in this act mentioned, to determine whether the
award made by the United States and Mexican Mixed Commission in
respect to the claim of the said La Abra Silver Mining Company was
obtained, as to the whole sum included therein, or as to any part thereof,
by fraud or false swearing, or other false and fraudulent practices on
the part of the said La Abra Silver Mining Company, or its agents, at-
torneys, or assigns;" and undertakes to confer jurisdiction upon the
Court of Claims '^ to hear and determine such suit, and to make all in-
terlocutory and final decrees therein as the evidence may warrant, ac-
cording to the principles of equity and justice, and to enforce the same
by injunction or any proper final process, and in all respects to proceed
in said cause according to law and the rules of said court so far as the
same are applicable.'' The bill also grants an appeal to eitlier party
from the Court of Claims to the Supreme Court of the United States,
and undertakes to confer jurisdiction upon that court to decide such

It is provided in the fourth section of the bill <^ that in case it should be
finally adjudged in said cause that the award made by said Mixed Com-
mission, so far as it relates to the claim of La Abra Silver Mining Com-
pany, was based upon or obtained through fraud or false swearing, or
other false and fraudulent practices of said company, or its assigns, or
by their procurement, the President of the United States is hereby au-
thorized to release the Government of Mexico from the further payment
thereof to the extent that the same is so declared fraudulent, and to re-
turn lo said Government any money paid by the Government of Mexico
on account of said award remaining in the custody of the United States
that has not been heretofoie distributed to said La Abra Silver Mining
Company, or its successors and assigns, which such court shall decide
that such persons are not entitled, in justice and equity, to receive out
of said fund".

The fifth section of the bill declares that it shall not be lawful for the
Secretary of State, during the pendency of said suit and until the same
is decided, to make any further payments out of said fund on account of
said award, and that in case said court shall decide in said suit that
said La Abra Silver Mining Company, or its successors and assigns,
are in justice and equity entitled to any part of said award that shall re-
main to be paid or distributed, the Secretary of State shall proceed to
distribute the same to the persons entitled thereto.

Nature of the question which the bill proposes to submit to the Court of


Is the question which it is thus proposed to submit to the Court of
Claims, and on appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States for de-
cision, judicial and justiciable or political and diplomatic in its nature!
The question simply stated is whether an award rendered under such a
treaty as that of July 4, 1868, between Mexico and the United States,

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by a Mixed Commission, sboald be opened on account of allegations of
fraud in the procurement of the proofs upon which it was founded. Or,
in other words, whether the United States, so far as this particular
award is concerned, should in comity and justice release Mexico from
its solemn engagement (in the language of the treaty) " to consider the
result of the proceedings of this Commission as a full, perfect, and final
settlement ol* every claim.'' What department under our form of gov-
ernment has the power to make a final answer to that question whether
Mexico should be released from her engagement in this case or not f
Is that power lodged in the Executive or the Judiciary ; or can it be ex-
ercised by either! Perhaps an exact definition of the thing done and
the authority exercised in rendering the award will be of distance in
answering the question. In rendering the award it was determined that
the Mexican Government should pay to the Government of the United
gtates, for the benefit of La Abra Company, a certain sum of money.
This determination was not the act of either Government alone. The
Commission was the creature of both Governments 5 the umpire was the
chosen agent of both Governments acting through their respective Com-
missioners who chose him.

The particular thing that was ascertained and determined in the Abra
award was ascertaiued and determined by the two Governments acting
conjointly by virtue of and in accordance with the treaty. The judg-
ment rendered — the coin issued from this international mint bears the
stamp of both Republics. An award may be the fruit of a treaty, and it
may be provided in that treaty that the award shall be final, and yet
1 he award may not have an international character. The ascertainment
of what amount is due to A or B may be made by a purely domestic
agency, as in the cases of the Chinese claims under the treaty of 1858, or
the Mexican claims that were decided under the treaty of February 2,
1848 (Guadalupe- Hidalgo), both of which treaties left the ascertainment
and determination of the amount of the particular claims to the United
States acting exclusively by its own agents. Article 15 of the afore-
said treaty with Mexico contained the following provisions:

The Uuited StateS) exoperating Mexico from aV demands on account of the claims of
their citizens mentioned in the preceding article, and considering them entirely and forever
canceled, tchatever their amount may be, nndertake to make satisfaction for the same, to
an amonnt not exceedint; three and one quarter millions of dollars. To ascertain the
validity and amonnt of those claims, a board of commissioners shall be established
by the Government of the United States,

The award to Gardiner by the commission appointed under that treaty
\^i\s a purely domestic act. The Government of the United States had
a direct pecuniary interest in that award ; the Mexican Government had
none. It was not only the right of the Government of the United States,
but i\ duty it owed to all its citizens, to refuse to pay that award on proof
that it was obtained by corruption, and it wa^ in the courts and the courts
ow/y that the Government could enforce its rights and obtain justice
against the wrongdoer after the award was rendered. The wrongdoer
was first indicted for perjury and then was made defendant in a civil
suit to annul the award for fraud. It has been already observed that

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 153 of 156)