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There are (we believe) now confined in the jails and prisons of Old Mexico a number of our trainmen who, through no fault of their own, have been unfortunate to the extent of being one of a crew connected with an accident wherein a Mexican subject has been injured or killed. Some of them, we understand, have been confined there for years without trial or bond. We are told if the crew be English subjects they are at no time denied bond, and their trial is speedy and just, invariably resulting in an acquittal.
The action of this committee has been indorsed by such men as Secretary Hay; James Reed, mayor of Kansas City, Mo.; Mayor Craddock, Kansas City, Kans.; Mayor Greene, Argentine, Kans.; Hon. T. T. Crittenden, ex-governor of Missouri and ex-United States consul to old Mexico; Hon. James L. Slayden, member of Committee on Military Affairs, and others of like worth too numerous to mention, who appreciate that a peaceful investigation such as we intend will be fruitful of better and more friendly results than a warlike attitude should it be initiated by our Congressional representatives. We therefore, representatives of the railroad organizations of the entire country, earnestly request your indorsement of our action, thereby giving us confidence to proceed with a cause which will ultimately affect every citizen in the United States.
Any financial assistance you may see fit to contribute will be gratefully accepted.
HARRY H. ADAMS. By order of the committee, record No. 17.
Mr. Clayton to Mr. Hay. No. 1725.]
EMBASSY OF THE UNITED STATES,
Mexico, February 28, 1903. Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of Department's instruction No. 839, of the 9th instant, and the inclosures mentioned therein, relating to the arrest and imprisonment in Mexico of American citizens employed in the railway-train service in that country, by which I am instructed to report any additional cases that may have arisen since the date of my dispatch No. 998, of June 27, 1901, and the present status of the cases beretofore reported.
In compliance with said instruction, I have the honor to report as follows:
Additional cases since report of June 27, 1901, and their disposition. B. M. McVea, brakeman, Mexican Central Railway, arrested at Jimulco, Chihuahua, May 3, 1902, accused of responsibility for the death of a woman who was killed by the train of which he was brakeman, which case was brought to the attention of the embassy May 12, 1902. On the 16th of the same month, the consular agent at Torreon reported that the judge having the case in charge had done all he could to expedite the trial and that the papers would be remitted to the district judge that night-I suppose for revision. In view of this report of the prompt action of the judge of first instance, I did not consider it necessary to call the case to the attention of the Mexican Government. The consular agent at Torreon reports that McVea was acquitted about May 25, 1902, the whole proceedings covering a period of about twenty-two days.
E. R. Meloy and B. W. Enright, conductor and brakeman, respectively, on the Tehuantepec Railway, arrested at Palomares June 27, 1902, charged with being responsible for the death of José Felipe; both released on bail July 29, 1902; Meloy since accidentally killed by being knocked from his train by a bridge about the 1st of September, 1902. As all criminal cases in Mexico go to the higher court for revision, and not having been informed of the action of said court, I telegraphed Consular Agent Stubbs, at Coatzacoalcos, to inform me of the present status of these cases Not having received the information up to the present time I have deemed it advisable not to delay this report awaiting it, but will forward same when received, together with similar delayed information, to the Department.
Jacob House, brakeman on the Mexican International Railway, arrested at Monclova, State of Coahuila, in June, 1901, accused of having willfully disabled an engine
belonging to said railway while a strike was in progress. Case taken up with foreign office on the 21st of May; discharged on the 26th of May, seven days after case came to the attention of the embassy.
Newton H. Horn: On or about December 6, 1902, Mr. Horn, accompa ied by Dr. J. J. Finley, the latter a dentist in this city, called upon me. Mr. Horn stated that he was a conductor on the Interoceanic Railway and that he had been arrested and imprisoned at the City of Mexico during the month of April, 1902, where he was detained twelve days; that he was afterwards transferred to Toluca, where he was imprisoned ten days, making the entire term of his imprisonment twenty-two days. He did not know upon what charge he was arrested, but supposed it was in relation to his controversy with a woman who attempted to smuggle a child through, while he was conductor of the train, without paying fare. He said that he had been informed by a friend that he had been convicted and sentenced to two years' imprisonment; that he was not sure whether he had really been convicted, or whether it was a "bluff" to induce him to leave the country and forfeit his bond, conveying the impression that the judge or some of the authorities would, in that case, appropriate the amount of the bond to their own use. I explained to him that under the law they could not do this; that the money derived from forfeited bonds went into the public treasury. He said that if it was true that he had been convicted that he was not present at the trial, and wanted to know whether I could assure him, if it should prove to be true that he had been sentenced to two years' imprisonment, that I would get him out of prison within one week's time. I told him that I could not assure him of his release within any fixed time, nor at all, upon the statements he had made to me without first having an opportunity of making further inquiries as to the facts of the case, but, if requested by him, upon a proper showing, I would exert every effort to secure full justice in his case. I told him that if he desired me to take any action with the Mexican authorities, to either reduce the circumstances of his complaint to writing or have his attorney do so. When he found, however, that I could not assure him of his release from jail within one week, he said abruptly, “That is all I want to know," and left. A short time afterwards, desiring to know more about the case, I communicated with Doctor Finley, who told me that it was true that Horn had been convicted and that he had taken refuge in the United States. Afterwards, desiring to know still more about the matter, I had Mr. McCreery call upon Doctor Finley, who informed him that Horn had returned and was in the city, and that he would see me personally, which he did the next day. During this interview he informed me that he expected to get justice in the Mexican courts; that he attributed his conviction to the negligence of his attorney, who had practically allowed the case to go by default. He requested that I should not bring the matter to the attention of the Mexican authorities or even inform his Mexican attorney that he had seen me about it. I afterwards saw Mr. W. L. Morkill, general manager of the Interoceanic Railway, about the case. He stated that the charge against Horn was the ejection of a woman from a train; that his company had given $2,000 bond for his release, and that he believed that he had only done his duty concerning his effort to collect fare from the woman referred to, and that upon his advice Horn had returned to await the decision of the revising court, which Mr. Morkill felt confident would give him the necessary relief. He exonerated the court which rendered the verdict, laying the blame upon Horn's attorney, who, he said, had neglected the case and practically allowed it to go by default.
Present status of cases which appeared as pending in my dispatch No. 998 of June 27, 1901.
A. R. Jones, engineer on the El Oro and Mining Railway, arrested at Toluca, State of Mexico, February 1, 1901, for criminal neligence in causing a wreck and the death of a fireman and a car repairer; unconditionally released in May, 1901.
L. L. Granville, brakeman on the Mexican National Railway, arrested at Acambaro, State of Guanajuato, and tried in March, 1901, charged with criminal negligence in causing the death of a Mexican laborer who was run over by the train upon which he was brakeman; acquitted and released in July, 1901.
The cases of the eight Americans employed on the Sonora Railway, arrested and imprisoned, as reported in the tabular statement No. 2 of dispatch No. 998, referred to in your aforesaid instruction, were disposed of as follows:
C. E. Shanahan, engineer, arrested September 8, 1900; charge, running his engine to the American side at Nogales while Conductor Bonsall, under arrest, was on the train, the latter baying returned to the Mexican side the same day. Shanahan was released, having been imprisoned two days.
J. Ritz, engineer, arrested November 22, 1900, growing out of finding José Aldama dead on the track on that morning, over which his engine had previously run. No sufficient evidence having been produced to proceed against him, he was discharged after two days' imprisoment.
W. C. Budge, conductor, arrested November 20, 1900, because two Yaqui Indians were found dead on the track over which his train had previously run on the moming of November 19, 1900. After one day's imprisonment he was acquitted and discharged.
J. Jefferson, engineer, arrested November 20, 1900, upon the same charge as that against Budge. After four days' imprisonment he was acquitted and discharged.
These four cases were disposed of prior to the date of my dispatch No. 998 of June 27, 1901, but at that time the embassy was not in possession of the information.
The other four of the eight cases referred to were disposed of as follows:
N. F. Bonsall, conductor, arrested September 7, 1900, charged with criminal negligence, resulting in the death of the Mexican, Antonio Palomino; convicted by the court of first instance and sentenced to eight months' imprisonment. Upon revision by the third circuit court, Bonsall was declared not guilty of throwing Palomino off the train while it was in motion, but declared guilty of a culpable offense, without changing his term of imprisonment. Against this decision an amparo was taken to the supreme court of the Republic, which was denied. Pending these proceedings Bonsall, becoming alarmed as to the results and being out on bail, took refuge in the United States. I am informed that his sentence of imprisonment has been commuted to a fine. (See dispatches Nos. 1274, Feb. 21; 1357, May 16; 1413, June 11, and 1567, Sept. 6, 1902.)
F. Gordon, engineer, arrested November 3, 1900, charged with running over James Rodriguez, a deaf man, walking on the track at the time; after twelve days' imprisonment was released on $1,000 bond. (See dispatch No. 1274, Feb. 2i, 1902, and inclosure 5, herewith.)
G. E. Langworthy and C. W. Smith, conductor and engineer, respectively, on the same train, were arrested November 17, 1900, on account of an American haying been found dead on the track over which their train had previously run. After six days' imprisonment they were released under bond of $1,000. On December 15, of the same year, the cases were dismissed by the Federal district court for lack of proof, which action was approved by the circuit court in February, 1902. (See dispatch No. 1274, Feb. 21, 1902.)
With a view to ascertaining what cases, if any, have come to the attention of the consular officers which have not been brought to my attention during the period covered by this report, I have addressed communications, as per copies inclosed, to Consuls-General Barlow and Hanna, and similar communications to the consular officers who are under my supervisory jurisdiction within whose consular districts there are any railroads. It is also my purpose to address communications to the managers of the various railroads in Mexico similar to those reported with my dispatch No. 998, of June 27, 1901.
I feel safe in saying that the evils heretofore complained of by American railway men in Mexico of unjustifiable arrests and delays in their trials have greatly diminished since the rendition of my aforesaid report.
Referring to the case of F. Gordon, the present status of which seems to be in doubt, as soon as I can ascertain whether it is still pending, and, if so, in what particular court, I will ask of Mr. Mariscal to procure its expedition.
Soon after the receipt of your instruction No. 839, of the 9th ultimo, in conversation with Mr. Mariscal upon the subject, I showed him a copy of a communication from Henry H. Adams, addressed to the governor of the State of Michigan, transmitted therewith, and referred to his previously expressed purpose to cause a circular letter to be issued to the judiciary of the Republic, as referred to in my dispatch No. 998, of June 27, 1901, asking if he had carried that purpose into execution. He replied that he had not, but that he would do so without further delay.
In a conversation with him yesterday, upon my again raising the question of the circular letter, he informed me that he had, by direction of the President, addressed a communication to the department of justice for the issuance by said department of a circular letter to the district and circuit judges, urging the necessity for their giving preference to the study and decision of actions brought against persons supposed to be guilty of criminal negligence, such as those of accidents on the railways of the Republic. He offered to send me, unofficially, a copy of said communication, which I received the same evening. Not wishing to delay this report until it can be translated for transmission, I send a translated extract from the same and will forward to-morrow a translation of the entire document, from which it will be seen that the Mexican Government is thoroughly aroused to the necessity of removing causes of complaint of unnecessary delay in the trial of the cases of the character referred to.
Copies of correspondence relating to the disposition of some of the above cases are herewith inclosed. I have, etc.,
Extract from communication of the secretary of foreign affairs to the secretary of justice.
The continued international difficulties caused by the tardiness of the judicial proceedings to which I have just referred, and which I have reason to fear will soon arise again, perhaps of graver import, constrain me to address you, by order of the President, in order that you inay be pleased to issue a circular to the district and circuit judges, urging, in such terms as you may deem best, the necessity for their giving preference to the study and decision of actions brought against persons supposed to be guilty of crimes of negligence, such as those of accidents on the railways of the Republic. I have, etc.,
Mr. Clayton to Mr. Barlow, consul-general at Mexico. a
EMBASSY OF THE UNITED STATES,
Mexico, February 21, 1903. Sir: I have to request that you inform me as promptly as possible of any complaints of arrests and imprisonments of railroad employees engaged in train service of Mexico that have been brought to the attention of your consulate-general since the 27th of June, 1901, giving the names and alleged offenses, and the action taken by your consulate-general regarding said complaints.
You will also please obtain and transmit to this embassy similar information from the consular officers under your jurisdiction; but, awaiting this information, it is desired that your own report shall not be delayed, promptly transmitting copies of reports from consular officers under you as received from time to time. Respectfully, yours,
a Same to consul-general at Monterey.
[Inclosure 3.- Telegram.) Mr. Clayton to Mr. Naugle.
EMBASSY OF THE UNITED STATES,
Mexico, February 20, 1903. Kindly wire judicial disposition cases Conductors Gordon and Langworthy and Engineer Smith, referred to in your report December 1, 1900, to Chairman Tweed.
[Inclosure 4.- Telegram.) Mr. Clayton to Mr. Naugle.
MEXICO, February 24, 1903. May I expect an early reply to my telegram of 20th instant?
[Inclosure 5.—Telegram.] Mr. Naugle to Mr. Clayton.
GUAYMAS, February 24, 1903. Hon. PoweLL CLAYTON:
Your wire 23d. Case against Conductor Langworthy and Engineer Smith dismissed by federal district court for lack of proof December 15, 1900; findings approved by circuit court in Mexico in February, 1902. Case against Engineer Gordon, papers supposed to be in circuit court, Mexico, for revision. Men were all released after short term of imprisonment, by Sonora Railway, I furnishing bondsmen for same.
J. A. NAUGLE.
Mr. Clayton to Mr. Carothers.
EMBASSY OF THE UNITED STATES,
Mexico, February 23, 1908. Referring to your communication May 16 last, report by telegram and more fully by mail status of this case, which it appears you promised but neglected to do.
TORREON, February 23, 1905. Case in same status as before. Polte has done nothing to get his case before the courts in proper form. See my letter of to-day.
G. C. CAROTHERS
[Inclosure 8.---Telegram.) Mr. Clayton to Mr. Stubbs.
EMBASSY OF THE UNITED STATES,
Mexico, February 25, 1909. Referring to your letter August 21 last wire quick present status case Meloy and Enright.