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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instance, where a communication came, it came from his house and not
from him as judge. I never knew him as an official, that I recollect.
Q. No wfropi whom did these communications purport to come; these
communications or communication, whichever it was f — A. It was from
:i iVftfwii'iin inilfTA. thft Mexican officer, in reference to duties.

[ can not tell who he was. I would not know
' his name.

icer there as Gefe Politico! — A. Yes, sir.
\ f — A. That I do not know.
I could not clearly define his duties, becauHe
)m ; I never had any intercourse with him.
he Mexican Government f — A. Whether he is
Government or is a State officer I do not know,
tt authority I — A. Yes, sir; a man in autbor-
:ion from him on that occasion of the forced
ber the man's name. It is there given. I do
a,t was one of them, and there may have been



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THE. LA ABRA SILVER MINING COMPANY. 91

Q. 1 anderstxxxl yoa to nay tbat thi.s man 8oto wan a pestiferoos sort
of mau, or you used some ebaracterizing word f — A. I considered him
BO. i thought he was an uuderhaud, a very quiet man. He did not
show anything exteriorly, tor he was always courteous when 1 saw him,
but I thought he was secretly undermining the whole affair.

Q. Why did you think that! — A. I was so intormed. I think it was
attributed to him and others — the excitement among the workmen when
the money gave out, when they came in, eacd man armed with a machete
hidden under his blanket.

Q. Tes, 1 understand; but I want to understand what there was that
came to your knowledge or came to you in the way of information that
satisfied you that he was trying to undermine you in that business t —
A. I do not say undermine. Ue was exerting an adverse inflnence.
The people left to themselves seemed to be quiet, harmless people, easily
aroused and excited, particularly by a man of their own nation as
opposed to a foreigner, and I was told that Soto was at the bottom of
this affair; that he was inimical to the establishment and to me being
connected with it, tor what cause I do not know, and that this evidence
of bad feeling arose not so directly from the t>osition in which I was
placed, but from the desire of the money that was falling and from the
selling of the mine, etc.

Q, You found something operating there to your disadvantage and
embarrassment? — A. It did not embarrass me. The only direct evi-
dence 1 had was that one occasion I speak ot when they came in collision
with me.

Q. There was a secret hostility or animosity in that community against
you uT against the company t — A. My impression was that the feeling
was one of self-interest. That is my general impression in regard to
the whole affair, that as long as their interest could be subserved, as
long as anything could be gotten from us they were complaisant. At
the same time, these miners, if left to themselves, if treated liberally
and fairly and honestly, would go on quietly from one year's end t*) an-
other, but if there was any interruption or excitement or anybody urged
tliem to wrong they were very easy to inflame.

Q. Now, if a Government oflScial was engaged in that kind of opera-
tion it would be very likely to excite and inflame these people and make
them antagonistic to you ? — A. Anybody who had influence with them.

Q. Yes ; and if anything of that kind came from a Government oflB-
cial it would be very likely to excite their animosity an<l hostility to that
company, would it not ? — A. 1 have no doubt of that.

Q. Why did you think this came from Soto, that he was the man who
was doing itt — A. Because he kept h store which conflicted to a certain
degree with the store at the hacienda. They were only across the road-
way, and probably not 100 feet apart When 1 went down 1 supi>osed
that the domain belonging to the company would be under my control
wholly. When I amvecl there I found this house up; this man's domicile.
He owned the house and I never clearly understood my relations with
him, how far I dared with safety to the interests of the company inter-
fere with him. 1 would rather have had him away entirely, but 1 hes-
itated to do anything to militate against the interests of the company.
I know he influenciKl these people, for these weekly entertainments
were held in front of his house and the liquor, the mescal, was sold in
his little shop or store.

Q. Well, you were there in the first place in competition with him in
a store! — A. To that degree.



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92 THE LA ABRA 81LVEK MINING COMPANY.

Q. Still there was competitioii, for he was selling goods and so were
youl — A. Yes, sir.

.. Q. And yon were there working a mine oat of which if any profit
would acorne it would be his interest to have it if he could get itf — A.
Yes, sir.

Q. And he was interested therefore in denouncing that mine if he
could get an opportunity to do it, wasn't he 1 — A. He never denounced
any mine while I was there. As I described I recognized him without
any proof that I could ofter in court— often times a {lerson's manner will
convey much more than his tongue will. I do not want a man to tell
me he means to be impertinent. I can tell it as soon as I look at him ;
but his manner was enough. Although he raised his hat most courte-
ously when we met I knew the man was not kindly aftected towards
me, and I strove al;ways to keep aloof from him. I was asked to be
present at the election of a judge. I said, '' No, I do not want to inter-
tere with your domestic affairs.'^ They said they expected it as the
head of the hacienda ; the head of the hacienda was always present. I
said, ^'no, sir; I do not want to have anything to do with it."

Q. He was one of these kind of men that can ^' smile and smile and
be a villain ;" that is the kind of a man he wast — ^A. Yes, sir.

Mr. Foster. We have them all over the world.

By Mr. Wilson :

Q. Certainly. Unfortunately we had them down there. You do not
know who was the gefe politicot — A. He was not when I was there.

Q. Who was the gefe politico t — A. That I do not know. He lived at
San Dimas, I think. The only communication that ever came from the
gefe politico came from that office.

Q. You have spoken of a forced loan ; will you tell us why you thus
characterize4l it Y — A. Because it is the term always applied to an oc-
currence of that kind in that country where the Oovernment forces come
to you, whether because of necessity or because of evil disposition, and
take from you what does not belong to them by violence or by stress of
oircnmstances.

Q. Well, had you been threatened with violence in this instance t —
A. Never, sir ; I have been asked.

Q. Asked in what way f — A. I received a note from this officer we
have just spoken of; I do not remember the name. The gefe politico
wrote a note stating the facts of the arrival of an officer in his neighbor-
hood who was in great distress and would have assistance, that that
had been levied and my portion was so and so.

Q. That was a polite note I suppose? — A. Perfectly so.

Q. Now don't you know where that note is? — ^A. That was left with
the records of the hacienda, if I recollect 1 don^t know. I never
brought 'it away. 1 left everything. 1 brought nothing but my owu
shirts and underclothing.

Q. Now, you wrote a letter to this gefe politico t — A. 1 answered , 1
suppose, both of them. They were both courteous notes in their tone.

Q. In that letter you make use of this language :

In couolasion permit me to add that it is very utrange to me that the tot-al amonnt
of the tax being $1,200 the share allotted to th»^ two American oompanies should
amonnt to half that snm, when there are in the district, several residents who have
considerable property.

In other words, they had unduly assessed you f — A. That is what Mr.
Bioe and I thought.



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THE LA ABRA SILVER MINING COMPANY. 93

Q. Well, tbatwas yoar conclasioir at that timet — A. Our couclasion
•van, tlu\v did not got it but thoy asked for it

Q. I am not talking al>out whether they got it or not. In your esti- "
mation at that time they had levied upon you more than they ought to
levy u|M)n you t — A. As we thought.

Q. Well, you thought so then t — A. Yes, sir; and I think so now.

Q. Tou were acquainted with the situation, do you think differently
now t — A. That they ought to have levied it t

Q. Do you think tiiat they levied more upon you than your proper
proportion t — A. I was led to that simply by Mr. Rice. There were
wealthy men there; there were others who had means, how many I do
not know, but I thought it was strange to ask a foreigner, two com-
panies, to give half the total in a mining region where tnere were
wealthy natives.

Q. In other words, you thought that they had assessed you more than
was a fair proportion t — A. They asked for it ; yes, sir.

Q. And you do not think differently now 1 — A. No, sir ; I do not.

Q. Now you got a note from the commander of this military force t —
A. At the same time ; both came together.

Q. That was Colonel Valdespino. Where is that note 1 — A. They
were iill together at the hacienda, the same disposition made of all
letters, put in the desk.

Q. Do you recollect what your letter to Valdespino contained 1 — A.
Well, you have got me under oath and you are all lawyers around. 1
would like to say what occurred to me and yet I could not assert it

Q. Well, say the best you can f — A. Because it is an evil suggestion
and 1 have no grounds except the thing just suggested to me.

Mr. Lines. Well, tho note is in evidence and right before the com-
mittee.

Mr. Wilson. Where is itt

Mr. Lines. It is in your case before the commission.

Mr. Foster. I want to ask the chairman to have the original letter
read.

By Mr. Wilson :
Q. Now you received that letter from Valdespino and wrote this:

Sir : Your favor of yesterday iDforms mo of the sad situation iu which you find
yoorself for the lack of resonrcos and of your intention to procure them preparatory
to loaviug the district.

Now, how did you understand his letter t — A. Why it was explaineti
by tht» gefe politic » because they came together.

Q. Very well, but you und«^rstood he was coming to take that ; you
did not give it to him f — A. My impression was that I did give him
something andsent the little gift over because I was so advised; that if
we did not these men would come into the little town or pueblo settle-
ment where i was, and would not only interrupt the work, but possibly
break in and rob the warehouse, take out the property.

Q That was your understanding of the condition of things at that
timet — A. Yes, sir.

Q. Then you go on to say :

Understaoding the ^vetit need that you are in and considering, as you yourself srat^^,
the many evils that wo would suffer if you should bring your forces here, I do all I
can to overcome the difficulties, and I have sent to the political chief of tlie district
two pieces of mohair and two of bleached cotton, those being the only thiugs among
the necessary things mentioned whicb I have.

It is impossible for me to contribute wi*h money in order to provide yon with what
yon need to-day.

S. Doc. 231, pt 2 8

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94 THE LA ABRA SILVER MINING COMPANT,

Bo pleased to consider tlmt our reducing workH are not complete, and therefore tin-
productive, without reckoning the many expeuBes that we yet have t<o make, the
proximity of the rainy Heason, the scarcity of money, and the ahnormal political Hitii-
ation, which can not but cause us serious damages.

I am not, therefore, in a condition to accede, as you desire, to the wishcH of the
political chief, but have sent him what I have, hoping that they be accept/ed n» a
token of my good will.

I suppose that having contributed with what I can I may, as a matter of conrec,
resume my work without fearing the int4)rmption that would be caused by the arrival
of armed forces.

Had you suspended your work iu cousequence of the proximity of
those forces and anticipated raid on your property t-r-A. I had made
no change but the men had left their work, and their families, some of
them, had fled from the village in alarm. They heard this force was
there and coming, and knowing the habits of their own people better
than 1, had taken that course of procedure. The work was interrupted
probably a day or two.

Q. Those were the Mexican forces t — A. Mexican forces.

Q. And they were running away from their own forces! — A. Yes, sir.

Q. Did that stop the workl — A. Not suspended by me, it was inter-
rupted.

Q. Then you say:

I suppose that, having contributed with what I Citu, I may, aH a matter of course, re-
sume my work without fearing the interruption that would l>e caust>d by the arrival
of armed forces.

A. Certainly.

Q. In other words, you supposed A. That 1 mightgive the people

assurance that the whole thing was settled and comeback to work,
that I had arranged it.

Q. You had arranged so that these armed forces would not come in
there! — A. Yes, sir.

Q. Now you. have already said you found this peculiar atmospheric
condition, if I may say so! — A. It was an undercurrent you (50uld x)er-
ceive, without putting your hand upon anything definite.

Q. Yes, you had already perceived that, and knowing that that under-
current existed there, that you could not exactly put your hand on

Mr. Foster. He stated the cause.

Mr. Wilson. What cause!

Mr. FosTBE. The gamblers and liquor seller's house and the lack 'of
funds in the company.

Mr. Wilson. I re8i)ectfully submit that it would be better to re-ex-
amine the witness than to break in in thiw kind of way.

Q. But this undercurrent you were conscious of; this unfriendly state
of feeling you were conscious of, and then this armed force came in in
proximity, and your men quit work! — A. That is it, sir. The author-
ities were always thoroughly civil lo me, and 1 never had any diliicnlty.
I never had any interruption save this I si>eak to you of. l knew that
there was a general feeling of unfriendliness, however polite and court
eons they might be to my face. I knew a man might smile and Htul>
me in the back the next moment. I have that impression from conver-
sations had with different people. The first, I think, the first or early
in my stay there, I used t-o ride alone from the mines to Mazatlan, on tlii;
coast, on a mule. I went armed, but always alone, and the old lady a1
whose house I stoppwi in San Juan cautioned me, saying, " you are wronj^ ;
you will be killed." I said ''no, madam; I think not. I never inter
fere, endeavor to be courteous, try to be, and I go quietly about my busi
ness.^ "Yes," she said, "iMJople know who you are, believe that yoi



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THE LA ABRA SILVEK MINING COMPANY. 95

carry money, aud yon must not trust to them. Take always a mozo
with you.'' He is a safeguard, an attendant. And aj^jiin, whether it
was the same time or another occasion after, I am not sure, for I fre-
quently passed there and staid at this hMl>'s house or sl(»pt out doors
on the porch. One evening an old man ot more than avera^rt* intelli-
gence was in, and they were s|)eaking of the condition — that was after
the expulsion of the French, the withdrawal of the French speaking
of the |K)litical c(nidition of affairs, and a report had reaehed there that
a company was formed by Genend Butler to seize tlu* upper States,
and it created intense excitement generally among the p<H)ple, and
I spoke to this man — spoke badly, of course, but could make myself
understood — and he saitl ho was always ghul to see Amrriciins or any
one else who came with the right motive, but the nnunent he w;is satis
fied they came then* for the puqwse «»f seizing their Government or in
terfering in any way he would cut their throats.

Q. Well, there was hostility to Americans then't — A. That existed
at that time and 1 just mention just what 1 know. My own f*lerk, a
young nan who was employed in the store, a Mexican born and raised
in San Ignatio, 70 inileit from the mines — he had been educated in Cali
fornia, and spoke English as well as I could; in talking with him one
evening discussing this very thing, he just scouted the id<*aof the with
drawal of the French being <!ue to the United States Goveminrnt, and
I tried to show him that without the United States Mexico would never
have got rid ol the French ; but he scouted it, and speaking of what the
Mexicans were cai)able ol and so went on to speak as if tiny were able
to take C5II0 of themselves with any people or peojdes. I said, speak
ing to him : ''You ought not to give heed to these reports," something
of the sort, " because the Americans are friendly to you. They certainly
have shown it in this late action of the Government in assisting in rid
ding you of this foreign control, and you ought to feel kindly towards
them." Ue said, ^*we hate them." I said — he was only a boy — "how
can you !" I said, ''1 was here in 1847 in the City of Mexico, and you
were born about the close of the war. You are a boy now, how can you
have that feelingt" "1 have no feeling one way or another towards
you except, because," he said, '' it was taught us by our fathers. They
have told us all and they keep at it."

Q. Well, there was hostility and ])rejudice in their minds against the
Americans f — A. I judge from these conversations that that sentiment
was hostile, but restrained from self interest, and as long as capiud was
being placed there and workmen paid it would be well. These men,
under an honest einpU»yer, who exacted nothing unfair and treated them
kindly, wouUl have gone on in their work without interruption, but at
the same time this state of feeling existed in the country, and it rc-
(]uired very little effort on the part of an evd dispostMl p«'rson to intlame
their temiK'rh and minds and make them hostile, and when they became
8o they wouhl resort to des|>erate measures.

Q. And whenev*5r their self-interest was adverse to the interests of
the Americans that self interest would be asserted to the prejudice of
the Americiins? — A. That is my belief to the best of my knowledge.

Q. And that wavS the condition of things during all the time you were
there t Now what happened after you were there, of course, you know
nothing aluait f — A. No, Kir; I have been away from the country so
long, and i havi' had no intercourse with any of them, except in the
court in San Francisco when they asked me to testify to the l>ook.

Q. W^hat do you know in i;^^gard to the Mexicans stealing ore from
these pdes on the patio? — A. I know that we always kept an armed



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96 THE LA ABRA SILVER MINING COMPANY.

watcliinaii on the patio, a inau with firo ariiiH who walked (here from
the time he went on until he eanieoli'at daylight, but that i.s all I kuow.
I have heard it spoken constantly that they would pilfer and steal but
I know no insUuice that I had.

Q. Did General IJartholow tell you that they ha<l been stealing from
thesi? piles! — A. I do not recall it. lie may have done so but I do not
recall it.

Q. Well you kept that man there did you not! — A. I kept an armed
watchman.

Q. Did you find him there when you went theref — A. Yes, sir. I
merely followed out General Hjirtholow's rule. lie had it under jruard.

Q. Well he had it under ^uanl, tor what purjioKef — A. To protect
the ore and the property from pilfering; of course. That patio was
cox ered with all kinds ot materials, tools, and material, boxes of axes,
pick axes, things that we had to guard besides the ore.

Q, Do you know whether any was stolen during the time you were
there f — A. I do not.

By the Chairman :

Q. Were y(m a soldier in the Mexican war ? — A. Yes, sir.

Q. An officer of the United States Anny? — A. Lieutenant, Second
Artillery.

Q. Have you visited Mexico since that time f — A. I have never been
back except on this second trip to the West coast.

Q. You were not surprised to find some aversion to the American
people there, were you! — A. Yes, it did surprise me; a youngsUsr like
that speaking so. I did not suppose he knew anything about it.

By Mr. Wilson:

Q. Do you know anything of a train being attacked while you were
there ? — A. I never heard of it that I remember.

Q, You do not know anything about that? — A. No, sir.

Q. Did General Bartholow communicate to you anything on that
subject? — A. I heard General Bartholow speak of a train being inter-
rupted. I do not know whether there was any attack ui)OU it. It wsis
interrupted and delayed, 1 believe. I do not know that his trains hud
been delayed; they were taken — tin re, I scarcely dare to si)eak to you
about it. If you will let me tell you in a conversational way without
it going down

Q. Go along. — A. The General's packing, as he told me himself, was
done by a man of imperial tendencies and had sutfere<l interruptii>ii8
from General Corona's troops. General Bartholow had coutinuetl to
use him afterwards. Whether the interruption took place while tliey
were bringing the machinery up to the mill, or whether it was 8ul>se-
queut, I do not kuow, but he spoke to me of employing this man If it
was possible to get at him, at that time he was not within reach. He
advised me to employ him if 1 could get at him. That is all I know.

Q. The reason I asked about General Bartholow is l)ecause in thv
examination-inchief they asked you this question :

State what inforuiation you received from General Bartholow, as I uuderBts^fn^^
the former superintein I cut, an to tlie condition of alTairn when he put you iu poiii$«.%88iou.

Now 1 want to get all that General Bartholow told you in that eoii-
ne^tion. — A. I do not know that he told me that in connection w^itli
his business instructions, but he mentioned the occurrence* ; he tol<i luc^
of the interruption and his having arranged with General Corona. It
is all I think recorded iu the book there.^



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THE J.A ABRA SILVER MINING COMPANY. 91

Q. I am asking yon what he tohl yon. — A. Ho merely mentioned that
foct, that his trains had been interrupted, but I never heard or had any
knowledge of General Bartholow, that they had been attacked with
violence.

Q. Did he tell you about the murder of Grove f — A. Yes, I heard of
it frequently.

Q. Well, did he tell you! — A. Yes, sir; he spoke of it. The man
was alone and murdered on the highway.

Q. Did he tell you about the robbery that occurred t — A. Yes ; h€
toid me Scott came out with funds from Mazatlan and was attacked by
jien on the rotui ; that they stripped him to the buflf, and that he lost
this amonnt of money that the company was charged with.

Q. Did he tell yon this, that the Mexicans had been levying or mak-
ing undue exactions and money demands of himt — A. No.

Q. Now do you not remember of his telling you this, in substance,
that they had taxed him on some of his goods 65 percent? 1 will read
a [)aragraph here because they have asked you whether Bartholow
told you so and so. I want to see if he did not tell you this. 1 will
read a paragraph hero because it will simplify it. This is addressed to
Senor L. Adininistrador de Rentas. I suppose that is the collector of
taxes.

The Witness. The collector of taxes.

(Reading.)

The bearer of this, Mr* William Scott, goes to San Ignaoio onder my iDBtmotions to
pay the taxoH on the goods I havo purchased to supply my minors and laborers, which
goods have !)oen received here, on which I am informed through several sources that
yon or some one elHO holding office under the Repnblio of Mexico have determined to
force from me as a tax upon these goods a tariff of 65 per cent. I can not be-
lieve that any officer of this Republic can be induced to perpetrate such an outrage
upon a citizen of the United States, the only Government on the globe which recog-
nizes this Republic and is giving it moral and substantial aid in her present conflict
with Maximilian and his European allies. If such a tax as this is impose<l upon me
I desire General Coronii to send here an officer em powere<l with written authority to
take of my effects 8uffici<'nt to pay it, for I shall, if anything like this sura is demandwl
of me, put my goods and property under the protection of the flag of the United
States, and from under it I intend they shall be taken.

A. He told me about that.

Q. He told yon about that! — A. Yes, sir; he told me about having



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