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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York, as I understand it.

Q. You were going to make a statement in explanation of how Mr.
Garth received the drafts, and you were going to state the theory upon
which you acted ; procee<l with that. — A. I would further say, when I
was interrupted, ^Uiat I drew, thinking he would instruct them not to
pay in case he determined not to do it. That would be a check upon
me finally and, knowing it was absolutely necessary either to have the
money there as the only means of supply or stop the work, I thought it
was mere justice for the company running the risk to draw the drafts,
and, having found him pay one, it strengthened me in the belief that
when he was determined not to pay further, he would instruct me by
letter, or have written to Mr. Balston to cease paying my drafts. That
is the way I argued.

Q. Do you know whether the last draft you drew was honored ! — A.
I knew nothing except by hearsay. I know now by reading these pro-
ceedings.

Q. State what information you received from General Bartholow,
as I understand, the former superintendent, as to the condition of
affairs when he put you in possession. — A. I received very little infor-
mation, if any, from him. I asked him to give me a clear statement of
the account of every workman. He said some of them had not been
posted, but that there was money due, more or less, wages running on
account. I asked him to give me a written statement of those and give
me a statement of all outstanding contracts and engagements, to in-
form me as to what he contemplate, his plan of carrying up the mill,
and so on ; in fact, supply such information as would be necessary to
help me in my then state pf ignorance. The General was ailing from
time to time, although he was about constantly, but allowed it to pass
until I finally addressed a note to him calling upon him to do it, a copy
of his reply to which I find in one of these little priute4 proceedings of
the court.

Q. You found it in the press-copy book ! — A. I think I read it in one
of these printed proceedings. He did give me a little memorandum on
a piece of paper of the names of his workmen, the date of engagement,
due from such a date; something of the kind.

Q. What was General Bartholow's mining experience! — A. Of that
I know nothing.



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32 THE LA ABRA SILVER MININO COMPANr.

Q. Did you learn nothing from hiui f — A. I do not know that I ever
discassed it. I can not tell; I do not know what it was before I met
him. All these gentlemen were mere acquaintances to me.

Q. What was your expense account, the character of it f — A. What
was thatt

Q. Give ns some idea of your pay-roll ; what were you paying the
workmen from California, esi^ecially the head man and others as you
found the engagements when you went there! — A. The master- work-
man having control was getting $10 a day, gold, and his board; the
other workmen, mill-wright, carpenters, blacksmiths, masons, and
others, $5 a day and board.

Q. How about their traveling expenses!— A. That I am not positive
about. I do not remember whether they were paid down or not; I can
not say ; I do not know. I know they paid their way back when they
left me; the month after my being there they left.

By the Chairman :

Q. Why did they leave f — ^A. That I can not say. I thought it was
personal feeling ; I was told so by parties; 1 do not know whether
there was any truth in it ; but it may have been the approach of the
rainy season and their desire to get out of the country. When the con-
tractor left he violated his contract, and I was doubtful as to paying
him.

By Mr. Foster :

Q. What course did you adopt upon finding this condition of things
at the mine, as to continuing work f — A. I just cut down expenses by
reducing the working force, but not at once— that was subsequently.
The first thing to be done was to get men to supply the place of those
skilled workmen who had left leaving the mill Incomplete and in de-
tached fragments on the patio.

By the Chairdcan :
Q. How long was that after yon got there! — A. A month. They
left in the month of June.

By Mr. Foster:

Q. I find a copy of a letter in the book in which you suggest to cut
down expenses, etc. — A. Without looking I could not tell you at what
moment I did that.

Q. But you did reduce the force f — ^A. I reduced the working force.

Q. Now I would like for you to state a little more particularly the
locality of the mines ; where were they and what was the character of
the country! In the first place, how far were they from the nearest sea*
port, Mazatlan, if that was it!— A. 1 think it is a hard thing to estimate
in a couutry like that where you are up and down all the time ; I shonlcl
think about 150 miles.

Q. What was the character of the country and means of access to
the mines from the sea-port ! — A. From Mazatlan it was almost level
for 30 miles; from there to San Juan or San Ignacip, two little towns
lying about abreast of each other, it was about 50 miles; it was usually
put at that; the rest of the distance lay from that point up. The first
30 was level almost; from 30 miles up to San Ignacio was a broken coun-
try, hill and dale; from San Ignacio up to the miues it became a trail,
up the stream, crossing it continually from one side to the other, and.
across spurs of the mountain where they jut out; sometimes crossing
the stream , sometimes iu the stream, in the water. It was a most abrapt
country for the last portion of it.



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THE LA ABRA SILVER MINING COMPANY. 33

Q. Yoa say trail, what kind of a trail t^ A. A single mnle trail;
nothing else could pass bat a mule.

Q. What is the average traveling distance from the mines to the sea-
port! — A. It depends upon the season you go. When you go this way
I describe I think from point to point about three days, if I am not mis-
taken. It might be done in less by hard riding, but I think three days.
We generally rode, if we started off from Mazatlan in the morning, 30
miles to Gamacho and stopped ; the next ride would be either to San
Juan or San Ignacio, 50 miles, and then finished the third day, although
it was a hard ride, and generally the third day we stopped about half
a day's ride short and made that in the morning.

Q. Did it sometimes require more time t — ^A. If you went by the other
road in the rainy season, as I was once compelled to do, across the river
and passing by way of Ventanas, making a circle, or three-fburths of a
circle, it was eight or nine days.

Q. Kow for transportation ; did it require a longer time to reach the
minet — A. For transportation of freight!

Q. Yes. — ^A. That would come in the dry season; they never come in
the rainy season; the transportation was always in the dry season,
between the termination of the wetand its commencement in the fol-
lowing year, and that was always by the route that I just spoke of to
San Ignacio or San Juan, and from that up along the river to the mines.

Q. How many days would it average! — ^A. I could not tell you. It
was done by pack train, and I could not tell you.

Q. Was it a longer time than for the ordinary travel you just de-
scribed ! — A. Certainly, for we rode fast, fine mules, and they are freight
mules.

By Senator Brown:
Q. The freight was packed on the mules, was it! — ^A. Yes, sir.

By Mr. Foster :
Q. How was the mill and other mining machinery and supplies
brought to the mine; what method of transportation was used! — A.
That was before I arrived there; I can only say that everything was
brought upon the backs of mules, packed on the backs of mules.

By the Chairman;
Q. Machinery and provisions and all! — A. Everything. The ma-
chinery was made especially for packing on the backs of mules. The
pans were in quadrants and were riveted and cemented by rufit on the
grounds.

By Mr. Foster:

Q. They came in pieces! — A. Yes, sir ; each pan was in four pieces.
The shafts for the battery were the most difficult things; they were
long bars of iron and were awkward for the mule to cany in turning,
but everything was brought up on the backs of mules.

Q. You had access to all the books and papers left by General Bar-
tholow and you had knowledge of the accounts while you were there ;
can you give from that knowledge an estimate of the cost of the stamp-
mill, the approximate cost! — A. No, sir; left to myself I could not an-
swer any question of detail of that kind. I have read the printed
statement and I know from Mr. Garth what was the actual cost. He
told me before I started what it cost in San Francisco, its original cost.
From General Bartholow I know what it cost to get it there, and the
printed statement I see confirms it very weU, I believe.



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34 THE LA ABRA SILVER HIKING COMPANY.

Q. Well, if yon know what the mill cost and what it C08t to gel it
there from Mr. Oarth and General Bartholow, can not yon give as that
aggregate!— A. Mr. Garth told me the mill cost $10,000 in gold in San
f^ancisco ; that is, just the iron machinery made at the works ; they
are the castings, and General Bartholow told me it cost about 810,000
to get it ont and on the ground with the parts to be put together and
erected.

Q. What did it cost to erect the machinery and the other improvements
made at the mines which you have described? — ^A. I could not answer
you. I could answer yon from this printed statement; but I recollect
enough about it so that I think I can say it 4M>st about $101,000 or
$102,000. That is the amount named in a statement I sent, and I think
it comes pretty nearly up to the estimate.

Q. What do you include in this $102,000; what are the items! — A.
The purchase of the mill, its transportation there, the payment of all
the workmen, supplies, etc

By the Ohaibman :
Q. In putting up the mill 1 — A. Up to the time I took charge I sup-
pose $102,000 had been spent.

By Senator Dolph:
Q. That amount was up to the time you took charge, you say! — A.
Now you see 1 can not be positive as to the date; $101,000 or $102,000
18 my impression, but the difficulty is I have read this statement and it
brings it up, fixes it. I don't know whether I get it from there, but I
think $102,000 is tlie amount, and I think that that would be about the
amount at the time General Bartholow left, to the best of my knowledge.

By Mr. Foster:

Q. What does that represent ! — A. It represents all the expenses on
behalf of the company, so far as I am informed.

Q. All expenses !-;- A. That is, expenses there in that country. I don't
know what expenses they had in New York.

Q. The amounts disbursed by General Bartholow ! — A. By General
Bartholow.

By the Ghaibman :

Q. That would include the mining and treatment of ores, if any were
treated, and also the erection of the mill and pay of workmen up to that
time! — A. Yes, sir.

Q. Would it include also the goods there! — A. Yes, sir.

By Mr. FosTBB :

Q. And the payment of the mines ! — ^A. The original purchase of the
mines ! That I know nothing about.

Q. Well, the letter-book shows the mines were paid for.— A. Mr. Garth
paid for the mines, I believe.

By Senator Beown:
Q. Then yon state you know nothing about the cost of the mines f —
A. I have been told that they cost Mty odd thousand dollars, and 1
think that that is the amount named in the account in the book ; I am
very certain of it; about $50,000 and a small after payment. I think
possibly, Mr. Garth himself told me, although I am not positive.

By Mr. Fosteb:
Q. This amount of $102,000 represents all the money that passed



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THE hJL ABBA BILVEB MINING COMPANY. 36

through General Bartholow's hands while he was superintendent f — ^A.
As I understand, it does.

Q. How was that transportation made ; by what method ; you stated
by mules t — A. By mules.

Q. By whom were the mules owned f — A. That I do not know.
While I was there 1 always hired them. I do not know whose mules
General Bartholow had, but I am under the impression he hired them.

By theCHAiBMAN:
Q. Did yon find any mules belonging to the company T — ^A. There
were twelve, I think, turned over to me.

By Senator Dolph :

Q. What were they used for? — A. One I rode, one Dr. Hardy rode,
and one General Bartholow rode,. three riding mules; and the others
were used for packing mules. Two of them were stolen while 1 was
there.

Q. You mean packing ore where it was assorted down to the place
where it was to be reduced t — A. Yes, sir.

By the Chaibman :

Q. I want to ask a question as to the character of the country, whether
it was an agricultural country or mountainous T — A. It was a mountain-
ous mining region. There were valleys some miles away where cane«
for instance, was grown.

Q. How many miles away about? — A. From this region?

Q. From the hacienda? — A. I do not understand the question.

Q. How many miles from the hacienda were these productive val-
leys ? — A. This tract of country I speak of was down in the vicinity of
San Juan.

Q. How far away? — About 60 or 70 miles.

Q. The point 1 am coming at is whether yon could rely upon that
country for provisions. — A. Not wholly. There were certain things
came from there, and you had to send in other directions for certain
things.

Q. The immediate country around the hacienda, was that a productive
country? — A. Not at all.

Q. You had to send to a distance ?— A. Everything had to come from
a distance.

Q. How great a distance ? — A. Well, some of the supplies came all
ihe way from Durango.

By Mr. Foster :
Q. How far was that? — A. I never made the trip but once, and I
think I was four or five days, I know over four days, certainly; about
200 miles somewhere.

By the Chairman :

Q. How did you get forage for the mules ? — A. Used to have it brought
in on animals and stacked.

Q. What distance would it be transported ? — A. That I could scarcely
say, bexsause I do not know where that forage came from. It came
from different persons who would come in and offer it.

Q. Was there any grass on these mountains ? — A. Yes ; whenever
the animals were at rest they used to be taken out to grass, but it was
not a subsistence that would last them. We had to carry them through
the bad season ; in fact we gave them com always from the stores and
kept this forage stacked.



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36 THE LA ABBA SILVEB MINING COMPANY.

Q. Were these moautaius timberecM — A. Heavily timbered — high
up. Yoa had to go a distance, however, for the timbers, and the tim-
bers for that mill were brought on the shoulders of men fclly 15 miles.

Q. Brought on their shoulders for 15 miles t — A. Not aM the way.
When it was possible to slide thetn they wouM do so. The path was
zigzag, and where they could make a fovorable chute they could let go
of these logs. The end of the log was notched and a lariat would be
fastened to it. Then they would carry it down to another convenient
point.

Q. They could not bring them in on mule back t — ^A. Ne, sir; thej
had to be brought on ihe shoulders of men.

Q. And that is the way you got timbers for the mill t — A. Bverything,
even the light poles for the roof.

Q. Were the houses in which you resided firame houses or brick f A.
Do you m^n the old building as well as the newt

Q. Yes. — A. The old building had for the lower portion a solid stone
wall that had been built many years, and the other portion was adobe
upon it, and then there was a broad peaked, tiled, roof. The new build-
ing was exactly the same dimensions and built wholly of adobe. The
bricks were made on the ground under contract with Ghsneral Bartholow.

Q. Well, you had no timber out of which to make houses T — A. Not
except by going to this enormous expense in bringing logs and sawing
them up on the ground.

By Mr. Fostbb :

Q. Now state how much silver was obtained from the mines by reduc-
tion during your period as superintendent. — A. Just before leaving
there was a run of a small number of tons — how many I don't recollect;
I suppose about ten. It was shoveled down and thrown into the bat
tery, crushed, passed in the pans, was beneficiated and run into bars,
two bars.

Q. What was the value of that t — A. I did not take any value ; when
they came to me they looked like two bars of gold, and we all thought
it was an immense yield. I sent them, or took them over myself, to Mr.
Bice at San Dimas, who was in charge of the Durango Silver Mining
Company, and asked him to reduce them after first having them as-
sayed, and they found that there was a large admixture of base metal.
I then asked him to have them refined, and in return I had a planchaof
silver, and it was as thick as that [indicating] about in the middle with
a very slight dish to conform to the bottom of the furnace, and the plate
was fully as thick as that [indicating].

By the Chaibman :
Q. That is 18 inches across T — A. I should think fully 18 inches across,
and I should think in the middle of the plate it was 3 inches thick.
I had to have it cut in two pieces, as I was going to take it to New
York to show it to Mr. G^rth. I called in the blacksmith and had it
cut in two pieces, which I packed in a pack-saddle, one each side, and
in entering Mazatlan they were taken f¥om me. They were afterwards
recovered and sent to New York. What the value proved to be I do
not know. If I have ever been informer! it has escaped me. It was
represented to be small, I think.

By Mr. Fostbb:
Q. Oan you approximate the value t — A. No, sir, I can not; some-
where near $300 it is said. I don't know.



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THE LA ABBA SILVER MINING COBfPANT. 37

Q. How does that correspond with yoar recollection? — A. I did not
assay them or weigh them.

Q. Well yon conld form an idea whether it was $100 or $1,000, could
yoa notT — A. Well, looking at them, I thought when they were taken
from me I had vastly more than that, for I trusted there was largely of
gold in it. 1 thought that and was surprised when they told me it
only turned out so small. I never saw them afterwards.

Q. Did you take any other silver from the mine than that reduction
you describe I — A. I never have; I left immediately afterwards.

Q. And that was the only result the company received from the
mine T — A. Up to that time.

Mr. Foster. 1 want now to enter a little upon his estimate of the
character of the ores.

The Chairman. Before you enter upon that allow me to ask a few
questions in order that I may comprehend exactly. Was that the first
crushing of the ores the mill had made during your administration of
affairs f

The Witness. Yes, sir; there had been no ditch. The ditch was a
long work ; the rainy season came in and masonry could not be carried on.

Q. Did you commence to crush the ores as soon as your mill was
ready t — A. Yes, sir.

Q. How shortly was that before you left the hacienda f — A. Only a
week or two ; I can not say exactly, but it was not long. It was almost
precedent to my leiftving. I think I left immediately — that is, twenty-
four hours perhaps, after receiving the plancha from Mr. Kice.

Q. Who took this silver from you in Mazatlan T — A. It was taken by
the custom-house officers, outside the city.

Q. On what pretext T— A. That it was being smuggled. I had it
hidden in the padding of the saddle.

Q. Smuggled out of the country? — A. They were pressing me con-
tinually to send bullion to New York, and I had written to Mr. QrB^th
about that and told him I wanted specific orders to tell me to do it, but
I determined to run the risk.

Q. What risk was there T— A. The risk was the non-payment of the
export duty.

Q. Were you trying to get it out of the country without the payment
of duty? — ^A. Yes, sir; I was running it into the city intending to just
turn it over to the banker and have him arrange with the custom-house.

By Senator Bbown:

Q. YHiat was the penalty T — ^A. I don't know.
By Mr. Foster:

Q. You had a reason for that, had you nott — A. I wanted to get it
to them just in its original shape.

Q. And if you paid the duty would it be permitted to go in that
shape T — A. No. If I had sent it to Dnrango — this was the information
upon which I acted — I had to take that rough silver to Durango to have
it minted, and trust to them to determine its value. They would not
trust my valuation ; the mint officers would say for themselves, and
unless the amount of gold in that plancho exceeded a certain propor-
tion they would simply give you so many dollars, and then I would
have the trip down to the coast, and in addition to that there was the
duty of 5 per cent., as I understand, export duty to send it out of the
country, and then it would come out only in the shape of dollars, and
dollars were plenty in New York. That is not what they wanted. They
wanted the crude silver, and I resorted to this, and nearly got it in. It



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38 THE LA 4BRA SiLiVER MINING COMPANY.

had passed the jastom house officers: had the silver just oatside of the
town; had it taken out of the rolls of the blankets that we carried it in
on the back of the pack-mule. I had two large valises that I took with
me firom New York, and I had brought one piece in each valise. Outside
of Mazatlan there is a low growth. We drove into this low growth and
put the silver in the pads of the saddle. We cut slits in the flap apiece
on either side. I had but the one mule.

By Senator Bbown :

Q. Did you finally get it through! — ^A. No, sir; I did not When I
got to a pond I stopped to water and told the boy to go to the banking-
house of Echenique, Pefia & Co., and he kept straight on, and I rodo up
to the custom-housei which was on one side. There were three or four
soldiers about, and the custom-house officer asked me: *^ What is in that
valise t" and I told him clothing and books. He felt around to see if I
had anything about me, and I was going away when one of the men
leaning against the house (the man had turned off from the house with
the valise) said in Spanish to the officer: <^ You have not examined the
aparejo," and he called me back and said: <'Take off the apar^o," and
when I heard him I saw it was up, and said: ^'Gome here, I want to
speak to you," but he said: "No, it is too late now; all these men have
seen it." So I said: ^'Very well, I am going down to the house of
Echenique, PefLa & Go. Where will that silver go t" He said : " It will
be taken down to the custom-house and given to the proper officer there."

I went into the banking-house of said Echenique, Pe&a&Go., and told
one of the firm what had happened and he said : " You were a fool to do it
that way. That was no way to do it, but you should have left it out-
side and ridden in to me to take care of it" I told him exactly my
motives. I said it was not to avoid payment of duty^ the money I
would pay, but I wanted to accomplish my object of getting that crude
silver to New York in its then state without having any treatment at
the mint It was not a question of evading duties. I went down to
the custom-house and told the officer, Mr. Sepulveda. He said that he
understood that perfectly well, but the law had to be complied with, and
it should be complied with. Just then I came away as the steamer was
on the point of sailing, and lefb the silver, but it was afterwards sent to
New York.

By the Ghaibmain :
Q. In the form in which you left it t — A. I presume so.

The subcommittee adjourned to meet Friday, September 28, 1888, at
10.30 a. m.



Senate of the United States,

gommittee on foreign b^lations,

Washington, D. O., September 28, 1888.

Tbe subcommittee met pursuant to adjournment Present: Sena-
tors Morgan (chairman), Dolph, and Brown ; Messrs. Samuel Shellabar>
gerand J. M. Wilson, of counsel; Sumner Stow Ely, secretary of the
La Abra Silver Mining Gompany, and Hon. John W. Foster and Bobert
B. Lines, representing the Oovemment of Mexico.



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THR LA ABRA SILVER MININO COMPANY. 39



TESTIMONY OF JULIUS A. DE LAOHEL— Contmned.

Tbc Chairman (Senator Morgan). Mr. Foster, yon can proceed
with the examination of Mr. De Lagnel.

By Mr. Foster:

Q. Ton will please state the progress, during your superintendency, in
mining ores, the character of the vein, and the value or quantity of ore
extracted. — A. It is impossible for me to give specific distances oi
amounts ; I have no means of knowing from my memory. I understood
the ores were sulphurets of silver, containing a certain amount of gold.



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