United States. Congress. Senate. Committee on Fore.

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to believe that it is bearing rich metal. This, as suggested, if I recol-
lect it, wa^ tampering, so far as it could be called so. I have no reason
to l)elieve he would do it puri>osely, but that the ore given to me, in-
stead of l>eing from the big pile I spoke of, was taken from the smaller,
which was over in the corner, and which General Bartholow regarded
as very valuable.

Q. You intended that the ores which you were to assay should be
taken from the second-class ore, but you afterwards ascertained that
the.v were taken from the first' <*las8 ore; is that th<^ fact! — A. Whether
I wanted only specimens of the second class ore or whether I asked for



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THK LA ABRA SlLVEli MINING COMPANY. 105

Hiein from both I ilo not know^ but I spoke of that necoiul chuss but I
run not i^ive a positive answer a^ to that ; I only know the explanation
given to uie, as you know how mentions will be made, a person coming
and saying it was done so and so. I do not b<»lieve fraud took place.
It could not have been, for salting, as I understand, is a thing that is
done at the mine itself, while if anything was done it was herot
Q. It was not on that point I was asking. You stated here:

It is, however, true that though I roquosted to bavo the second-class ore of the Lua
luiiju crashed for assay.

That conforms to your present recollection of the result! — A. Whether
I had iiske4l to give me just the second pile, separate and distinguished,
1 can not tell. I only re(5ollect the fact.

Q. Your statement in the letter at the time would probably be the
most iU5Curatet — A. Doubtless so.

Q; .You stated to »ludge Wdson that the result of that assay was satis-
factory f — A. Yes, sir.

Q. Was it satisfactory with the understanding that the ore came from
the second class pile and not the first-class i»ilef — A. I suj»pose that that
essay — I am not sure whether there weie one or two specimens, and
whether I rei)orted on both, but no one ever complained of that little
pile in the corner, but from time to time persons would say there was
a good deal of dead rock, until my attention was called to it.
. Q. Let me make it a little more definite 5 tho assay was satisfactory
to you upon the assumption that the ore had been taken from the place
you expected it taken from f — A. That my request had been complied
with, whatever that request was.

Q. I want to ask you whether subsequent assays changed your
opinion or made your opinion less satisfactory as to the character of the
ores up to the time you left! — A. 1 never made any subsequent assay
of the La Luz ore. The oidy assay of ore was another kind. El Cristo,
which was made at the time of the reduction of the small amount, the
result of which was sent home.

Q. Was that as satisfactory as this first assay T -A. No, sir ; of course
not. Stop, you are confusing me. I just catch it now. The last assay,
and the result erf the crushing, that I know anything about was from
the Kl (Jristo ; the previous assay and report had reference to the La
Luz. They were dittereni ores.

Q. Judge Wilson read from a letter dated Octobers, 1866, addressed
by jou to Mr. Garth, this quotation:

I doubt whother your exiHJct:.tiou8 will be cvor rcalizt'd respectiug tlie looked for
yield of metal from the luiues, thou^jb sulticieut may be bad to repay well, I trubt.

Had you not been reporting from the time of your arrival up to this
date the condition of the mines, and had you not communicated to him
the assay, that first assay of the La Luz mine, made six weeks after your
arrival! — A. I communicated to Mr. Garth the result of that examina-
tion, undoubtedly.

Q. Now, in October, sometune after you had been there and after
you had communicated with him on this subjtct, you refer to his ex-
pectations; did you confine that to the expectations he had when you
had the interview with him in New York, or expectations formed up to
the time you wrote to himf — A. When I spoke of expectations I spoke
of the impression left on me by those expectations when I left New York.
They were convinced they ha<l an El IJonulo; that was the manner in
which they spoke to you. I asked Mr. Garth, especially, whether it
was a s|>eculative thing, or whether it was a legitimate investment of



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106 THK LA AJJUA SILVKR MINING COMPANY.

ca]iitHl. ITo told ine it wsih a Ic^itiinah* ifivi'HttniMit <»f capital, and it
was with reference to what they hiwl said to me in New York more than
anything else; it was in reference lo what they looked for. They looke<i
for a return by steamer and he looked for it very speedily, an<l 1 wjis
satistie4l he was in advance of the true state of things, that he uiiscou-
ceived it, or thought the mill was very much farther advamunl.

Q. You have referred to a trouble you had with the niiners as the
only trouble yon had. Was that not occasional by the inability of the
company to make the cash pay mem due tlie ininersf — A. That was the
iiumedi<ate cause, the pretext, if you choose to call it so; that was the
apparent eoiuse; 1 was out of money.

Q. And not able to meet that! — A. I could iio*^, by stress of circum-
stances, not because 1 did not have money within reach could 1 reach
the bankers, but 1 was obstructi»d fronj access to him. Th(»se miners,
under evil advices, 1 suppose, then armed themselves and came in,
thinking I had made a pretext of not being able to pay, and it was to
force it.

Q. Did the company experience any trouble or end)arrassment by
any act known to you to have originated with Soto I — A. 1 do not know
of his direct participation in anything. It was suspicion on my part
simply, coupled with his manner; his general beai ing toward me showed
he was not friendly.

Q. You have referred, I think, to an old ilisused hacienda on the
property, have you not f — A. Yes, sir.

Q. A lower hacienda? — A. Yes, sir.

Q. Was not that claimed by Soto fr-A. That I do not know. I do
not recollect of his ever urging any claim upon me. It was used as a
place where all the bricks were made under General Bartholow's a<l-
ministration; the brick yard was there, nnd there were one or two rooms,
probably occuj)ied by soiiie of thc^ people attached to our place. I am
not positive about that, but it was a i)lace 1 never went into. It was
dilapidated.

Q. Did you hear anything of a law suit between him and the com
pany as to the title to the hacienda! — A. I do not remember anything
about it. If I did it has gone entirely from me.

Q. You spoke of the interruption of the work at the time of Valde-
spino's attempt to levy a f4)rced loan upon yon, occasioned by the fear
of the workmen; state more explicitly what fear the workmen enter-
tained. — A. I can not tell ; I can only tell the facts. We understood it
to be that they feared im])ressment.

Q. Into the army! — A. Into the army for service; taken away from
the mines and their families to serve a*i troopers, and they tied from
their work; and the people from the village took up their little duil^
and scaiiipered off, where I don't know, disappeared.

Q. You understand that to be the method of recruiting the armyf —
A. That 1 can not say.

Q. What was your information on that subjeet? — A. Simply that fear
existed on their part. 1 can not say how they recruit the army. 1 dtui't.
know.

Q. You referred to the hostility entertained in that region agaiti^t
Americans. — A. 1 do not know anything about what it was. I mtMiii
just that which was under my observation.

Q. You mtMitioned some project (rcneral Butler had ! — A. Yes, sir.

y. Just state that a little more fully what that report was. — A. Th»*
report was, as near as I recollect, I mentioned General Butler's iiume
because he was a prominent factor ccmnected with it



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THE LA ABRA SILVER MINING COMPANY. 107

Q. General Butler of tbe U. S. Array I— A. Geueral Beiijttinin F. Bnt-
ler, as I understood ii ; tbat be and otber Americans bad a design upon
Lower California, tbe state of Sinab)a, and so on ; tbat tbere was a com-
pany raised, that they designed to possess tiiemselves of tbe country,
and that report spread abroad and engendered most bitter feeling in
tbat section immediately around me I don't know about otber places.

Q. Now, was tbe hostility occasioned also by tbe fact of tbe former
war between tbe United States and Mexico ? — A. That 1 can not say.
All I can tell you is tbe conversation between this young man and my-
self; tbat is the only thing; that carried me bsick to 1847.

Q. And be referred to tbat in that conversation ! — A. lie referred to
tbat. He told me their fathers instruct their sons; said, "although I
was a child, do yon suppose my father has not told me ; suppose 1 am
not educated up to it?"

Q. Was this a hostility against any American enterprise particularly
or a hostility against tbe nation ! — A. A general tVeling of dislike, as 1
understood it, generated by this instruction that was given in early
youth; a general hostility.

Q. Did I understand you to say tbat if an American establishment in
the country bad capital and complied with its obligations it would es-
cape trouble and embarrassment! State that a little more explicitly! — A.
I think as long as the interests of tbe Mexican was subserved he would
be amenableand continue in the discharge of his duties. So soon as any
adverse circumstances presented themselves by any cause, under tbe
stimulus of an evil-mindeil person, despite their ordinary quiet tone of
conduct, that they would show animosity if excited. They were easily
roused. You could easily appeal to them if you had their confidence or
their sympathy. 1 never argued at tbe time 1 spoke, only said that it
was self-interest tbat actuated Soto, that they were imlling the chest-
nuts out of the fire; tbat is all.

Q. What do you mean by pulling chestnuts out of the fire f — A. To
benefit him.

Q. In bis business ! — A. In anywise. 1 do not know what, but to
his benefit.

Q. Were tbe revenues of the company and its disbursements a source
of profit and supply to him as well as to tbe miners! — A. 1 presume
there was considerable profit. The ready money, from what 1 was told
and my own observation day by day, passed either to the man who dis-
pensed the wine or tbe man who dealt in cards, and tbat tbe cessation
of tbt* stream of supply caused this ill feeling on tbe part of these people,
and that these gamblers and others — 1 will not throw tbe whole burden
on this old man — but 1 thought be was in this plot — tbat is, so far as
that demonstration at the hacienda.

By Mr. Wilson:

Q. How many American companies disappeared from Mexico along
about tbe same time tbat this one did f

Mr. Foster. He says be don't know tbat this om^ disap|>eared.

Mr. Wilson. 1 asked him bow many disappeared about the same
time this one did. Let him answer.

The Witness. The company at La Puert a — it bad a title which 1 can not
recollect, I doubtless knew it — that bad closed its operations, that was
about a few hours right below. Tbere were otber companies to tbe
westward of me nearer the coast tbat bad almost if not wholly sus-
pended their operations. Tbe names of the companies 1 can not recall.



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108 THE LA ABRA SILVER MINING COMPANY.

Q. The llosario !— A. The Itosario aud Gaiidalaria iniue^, that com
pau>' had 8U8peuded in cousequeuce of au attack upuu it.

By Mr. Lines :
Q. Do you know this of your own knowledge! — A. Everybody knew
about it. i had workmen in aiy employ who were there at the time it
occurred.

By Mr. Wilson :

Q. Was it not common rumor that these companies could not get
along there at all f —A. Yes, sir. 1 met a superintendent out in (Jhina
since and he had given up.

Q. Was it not common rumor that owing to the hostilities of the Mex-
icans to the Americans au Americ^m company could not stay there and
operate! — A, What they alleged it to be 1 can not say. The canda-
laria abandoned because of au attack and the murder of the engineer,
whether more than one I don't know, but I know there was loss of life;
whether by the hands or outsiders I do not know.

Q. What 1 am trying to get at is, was it not notorious that an Amer
ican company could not operate those mines on account of the hostili-
ties of the Mexican people to them ; was not that common rumor! — A.
There was mention of that, but I do not know how far it was true.

Q. Well, was not that common rumor!— A. It was so said among
Americans; yes, sir. I never heard anybody else say it but people
interested in the mines, operatives there.

Q. All this rumor you speak of was while you were there at the
mines! — A. There was no common rumor. When 1 speak of common
rumor I understand a thing that pervades society, that people are
talking of 1 mean things mentioned to me by a few persons. The
Americans couiiecte<l with the companies when I would meet them
would speak that way of the ditHculties and adverse circumstances
under which tliey labored.

Q. Was that at the time you were employed at the mines ! — A. Yes,
sir.

Q. Do you remember the time when the Kosario Company left
Mexico ! — A. 1 do not.

Q. Was it not before you came away ! — A. I could not tell you. I
know nothing of the company ; never saw it.

By Mr Foster :
Q. I understand that your company was able to carry on your euter
prise during the time of your superintendency without serious interrup
tion ! — ^A. Never had any from the Government.

By the Chairman :
Q. At the time you left those mines did you see anything in the eon-
duct of the Mexican people or Mexican (iovernment to indicate that it
was unsafe to continue operations ihere f — A. No, sir ; when 1 left down
through the country 1 could have come alone just as lief as with twenty
men.

By Mr. Foster:

Q. What was the nearest American <*ompany to the La Abra Com
pany! — A. The one at San Dinias, under Mr. Rice.

Q. Name it. — A. The Durango Silver Mining Company.

Q. Were they there when you arrived ? — A. Yes, sir.

Q. Were they in operation when yon left! — A. What they were doing
1 can not say; they must have been.



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THE LA ABRA SILVEK MINING COMPANY. 109

Q. You had freqaent comniuDications with that company t — ^A. I saw
tbem several times; it might be a month or two months.

Q^ Do you know of any interruption being occasioned to that com-
pany, or threats; any violence being done to them during your superin-
tendency! — A, If you want me to tell you what I know or only confine
myself to that question, tell me.

Q. I have asked you whether you have a general knowledge of the
condition of affairs at the nearest company to yours, the Durango
Mining Oompany. I want to know now from your general knowledge
whether they were interrupted, or had any serious difficulty with the
Mexican authorities while you were there! — A. I can not give testimony
as to any act on their part interfering with the company directly. I
recollect one night, the only one night I ever spent in Mr. Bice's hacienda,
I recollect on that occasion the sentiment in the town was so hostile
that they told me they were expecting an attack at any moment and
were prepared to resist it. That I remember perfectly. I slept in the
hacienda that night. As I passed through the town I came— it is a
peculiar place to get in; you have to wind up the side of a formation
that can be barred by a dozen men ; you go through a deep ravine and
then to the hacienda, so that people in the town^ would look down into
Rice's hacienda below. These explosions only occurred, I may say, when
they were possibly half full of liquor, but that is very frequently. That
night I could hear as I lay down to sleep the cries of these people^ black-
guarding and cursing the i)eople in that hacienda; but there is some
excuse to be made for that class of population. When they were sober
I never had discourtesy from any of them.

Q. Did that company continue in its operations! — A. They were there
when I came away.

Q. And during the time you remained there ! — ^A. Yes, sir.

Q. Was not this condition of things you describe in part owing to
the general disturbed state of the country in its warlike condition ! —
A. There was no war at that time. A soldier never appeared in that
part to my knowledge, save this troop belonging to Valdespino.

Q. You are speaking of the particular locality, but war was going on
between there and the sea-port you have already described ! — A. Yes ;
but I am speaking of up in the interior. War was existing, the strug-
gle between the two nations was existing, up to the time al^ut I left

Q. Was not the civil authority somewhat suspended owing to the
war! — A. That I could not tell.

Q. Judge Wilson has referred to the murder of Grove, and read to
you from Mr. Bartholow's letter. I read now from the letter written
April 10, 1866, addressed to Mr. Garth, in which he refers to the mur-
der of Grove as follows :

I wrote yon fully Id my last letter detailing the circnmstances of the mnrder of
William Grove and the finding of his body. Since then the liberal authorities have
taken the matter in hand and arrested one of the murderers at this place. The vil-
lain was actually in our employ , doubtless for the purpose of ascertaining when an
opportunity should offer to waylay and murder another of our men if the prospect
for plunder was sufficient to warrant the risk. When the officers arrested I bad nim
conveyed to the blacksmith shop and securely ironed. The next day he was con-
veyed to San Ignacio and thence to Cosala, where he was tried. We failed to con-
vict him for the murder of Grove, but was convicted for the murder of a woman, who
he killed previously, and sentenced to be shot, and before the execution of the sen-
tence he confessed tlie murder of Grove, and revealed the names of his two confeder-
ates.

Does that conform to your recollection f — A. I know nothing about
it: simply it was mentioned before General Bartholow's departure; he
told me, and substantially as he told me to the best of my recollection.

S. Doc. 231, pt 2 9

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110 THE LA ABRA SILVER MINING COMPANY.

I could not particalarize it like that, but that is the general sense of
what he told me.

Q. Judge Wilson has read to you from a letter addressed by General
Bartholow to the admiuistrador de rentas, who I understand is the tax
collector! — A. Yes, sir.

Q. At 8an Ignacio remonstrating against the heavy taxes. I will
repeat it. I read now from the letter of Mr. Bartholow to Mr. Garth.
Do you recollect this as part of that occurrence I

To give you a better idea than I could do by detailing the transaction in this letter
of one of the many difficulties I have to meet and overcome, I inclose yon a letter
that I wrote to the collector of taxes at San Ignacio, whirb explains itself. The re-
sult was, instead of paying taxes to amount of $3,000 or |4,000, as was demanded, we
only paid about $30, and there was no necessity of troubling General Corona with the
matter.

Do you recollect that as a part of the narrative of General Bartho-
low t — A. I do not recollect it especially. He may have mentioned —
I recollect he spoke of diflSculty with his pack-train, and sending to
General Corona, and his having difficulty about the taxes, but do not
remember the phraseology or his words.

Q. Well, does that.conform to your general impression that it re-
sulted in his escaping from the large amount of taxes as he stated ; is
that your general impression? — A. I could not tell you about the pay-
ment of $30. 1 don't know anything about that. He would not tell
me details in a conversation.

Q. Judge Wilsou has read to you from one of Bartholow's letters to
Garth about the robbery of Scott. I want to refresh your memory by
reading from the letter of April 10 this account :

I so managed it that we never had more than from $1,600 to $2,000 at risk at one
time, and all came througli safe except in one case. This occurred some two weeks
ago, when I sent Mr. Scott to San Ignacio to settle our taxes with the authorities. I
save bim a check on Messrs. Echegnran, Quintana & Co., for $1,000 to bring np.
Besides this he had some money outside of this sum which was left after paying the
taxes in San I^acio. He got the money as directed and started out of Mazatlan to
overtake a tram which was bringing up some supplies for us and Mr. Rice, and when
about 20 miles out from the port, near the town of Comacho, six or eight armed men
sprang into the road and with their guns leveled upon him forced him to dismoant,
and robbed him of $1,178 in money, his pantaloons and boots (the latter, however, be-
ing No. 12, were too large for any of the villains and were returned). He immediately
inK>rmed the nearest commander of the Liberal forces of the fact, who sent for him for
the purpose of identifying the robbers. He complied, but could not find them for the
reason that the officer could not find even half his men. I also at the same tiine
opened a correspondence with General Corona through the prefect, Col. Jesus Ve^^a,
at San Ignacio, who by the way is, I think, one of the most perfect gentlemen I have
met in the country, and I am of the opinion that but for the turn in military affairs
which occurred a few days since, we ^/^onld in some way or other have been re-imbarsed
for the loss, but now I have no hopes whatever, and we may as well charge up $1,178
to profit and loss.

Does that conform in a general way to your recollection of the story f —
A. Yes, sir, as 1 heard it; that amount is charged on the books of the
company.

Q. Judge Wilson has asked you in regard to some interviews bad
with me; can you fix the date? — A. No, sir; I can not tell exactly.

Q. How long was it before you were summoned before this committee f —
A. I suppose about a week.

Q. The first? — A. I think the first interview was about a week; I
may be mistaken about it.

Q. Then it is within the present month ?— A. It is within the present
month; it is recently. I think I have got the letter of introduetion if
yon want it.



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THE LA ABBA SILVER MINING COMPANY. 11]

Q. Was not the book which I gave yoU at your bouse the book which
I now hand you, Executive Document 274, containing a printed copy
of the letterpress and your affidavit! — A. That is what you gave me
and the other one is the thick compilation.

Q. This was handed to you when you were at my house f — A. And
the week after you handed it to me I came here.

Q. Was this second volume handed to you before or after you had
been summoned to appear before this committee; and to refresh your
memory, did not you ask in this room whether or not I could furnish
you any information as to the character of the charges involved in this
claim; was it not in this room that you asked me for that! — A. Ves,
sir; it was in this room. You said you would be there at 12 o'clock
or half-past 12, and I went immediately down and got it.

By Mr. Wilson.
Q. Where is General Slaughter now f — A. I do not know. I never
heiurd of him since.
The Ghaibman. He is in Alabama; he resides there.
The committee adjourned until 10.30 o'clock, October 2.



United States Senate,
Committee on Foreign Relations,

Washington^ D. C, October 2, 1888.
The committee met pursuant to adjournment. Present: Senators
Morgan (chairman) and Dolph ; Hon. Joseph O. McDonald and Hon.
Samuel Shellabarger of counsel, and Sumner Stow Ely, secretary of the
La Abra Silver Mining Company, and Hon. John W. Foster and Bobert
P. Lines, esq., representing the Government of Mexico.

TESTIMOHT OF DAVID J. GARTH.

David J. Gabth, sworn and examined.
By the Chairman :

Q. State your name, age, and present place of residence. — A. My
name is David J. Garth, my present residence is Westchester County,
in the State of New York ; my age is 66 past.

Q. Where did you reside in 1865, '66, '67, '68!— A. Well, I resided in
the city of New York.

Q. What business were you engaged in f— A. In 1865, ^m^ '67, ^QS^ '69,
and up to 1870, 1 believe, I was in the brokerage and banking business
in New York, a broker and banker.

Q. What office did you hold in the company called the La Abra Sil-
ver Mining Company? — A. I acted as treasurer.

Q. You say acted as treasurer ; were you then treasurer f — A. Yes,
sir J I was the treasurer.

Q. When was that company first organized! — A. I believe it was



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 18 of 156)