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LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,
Mexico, October 4, 1887. (Received October 12.) SIR: A case which is attracting some attention here at present is the murder of an American citizen named Leon Baldwin, superintendent or manager of the Valenciana inines at or near a place called Ventanas, in the State of Durango, I deem it my duty to report the case for your consideration, though I do not feel authorized to initiate proceedings with a view to securing the punishment of the assassins, or of obtaining compensation for the widow of the upfortunate victim.
About the middle of last August Mr. Baldwin, while making a tour of a group of mines belonging to a number of American capitalists, was fired upon by some parties concealed behind rocks close by the Ventapas mines. He was badly wounded, but managed to escape into a tunnel near by, and soon after was informed by the foreman of the mines that the assassins threatened to put to death several of the muarmed workmen unless they brought forth the superintendent. Mr. Bald. win directed the foremau to go out and endeavor to compromise with the bandits, authorizing bim to promise the payment of any reasonable suun of money by the company provided they would desist from further hos. tilities, and withdraw peacefully. This the foreman did, and after a parler with the ruflians, reported to Mr. Baldwin that his offer was accepted. Not to go into necessary details in this preliminary state. ment of the case, I will merely add now that Mr. Baldwin, desiring to sare tho lives of his men, and believing that the prime object of the assassius was to secure money, went out of the tunnel and confronted his assailants. He was thereupon placed upon a mule and led a short distance away. A few minutes later on five shots were heard and some of the miners rushing down the road in the direction of the noise, found Mr. Baldwin lying dead with a bullet in his brain. The assassins hail disappeared. This is, in brief, the story of the outrage as related to ine.
If I may believe other statements made, this is only the last of a series of outrages in the same locality, and by the same organized band of assassins commanded by a notorious outlaw named Eraclio Bernal, Two or three other superintendents of the same mine, also Americans, have lost their lives in a similar manner, and it is said that the gor. ernor of Durango was notitied in each case and warned that efficient measures should be taken to protect the lives and property of the people in the employment of this mining company.
I have heard much more about the doings of the bandits of Durango, but I deem it prudent, at present, to confine myself to this simple narration of what have been represented to me as the undoubted facts in the case of the unfortunate Leon Baldwin,
My object in presenting the case is to ask for instructions. Do you wish me to cause a careful investigation to be made, and then lay the case before the Mexican Government? I shall await your instructions. I am, etc.,
THOMAS B. CONNERY.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, October 11, 1887. SIR: I bave to acknowledge the receipt of your No. 239, of October 4, 1887, in which you inform me of the murder, by bandits, in the State of Durango, of Leon Baldwin, a citizen of the United States, at the time of his death manager of the Valenciana mines.
As you are aware, diplomatic intervention for satisfaction or indemnity is a function of great delicacy, which should only be exercised upon adequate proof, inaking out a prima facie case.
In order to secure such proof a circular has been prepared in the Department, a copy of which is inclosed herewith and which will show you in general terms what is requisite in cases of this class to enable the Department to intervene.
In the present instance the first step to be taken by the Department would be to call upon the Mexican Government to institute an investigation as to the murder in question and to inform the Department as to the results of such investigation. But even this step can not be taken until an affidavit or affidavits are laid before the Department enabling it to speak with precision and on responsible information.
You will therefore take such steps as will cause papers of this character to be laid before the Department. You will also see that these are accompanied by proof of the citizenship of Mr. Baldwin. I am, etc.,
T. F. BAYARD.
Mr. Connery to Mr. Bayard. No. 251.]
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,
Mexico, October 19, 1887. (Received October 29.) SIR: In my No. 239, datel October 4 I brought to your attention the facts of the murder of Mr. Leon Baldwin, at or near a place called Ventanas, in the State of Durango. Since then I have noticed by some of the California papers that Congressman Morrow, of that State, has also presented the case to the State Department, and that you have answered him in a letter, promising to give it your earnest consideration when the facts are duly authenticated.
To-day I had what I should call an unofficial interview with Mr. Mariscal about the matter. I was careful to impress upon him that my call was entirely private, that I had received no instructions from
Washington about the case; therefore that any views I might express must not be given an official importance. I think it my duty to report substantially our conversation.
I opened the interview by remarking that the Baldwin assassination bad created a great deal of excitement in the United States, and that the case appeared to be one well calculated to breed trouble. I asked him bad he noticed the tone of the California press.
He answered “Yes;" adding that he had also noticed the proceedings of Congressman Morrow and others. Mr. Morrow, he said, ap. pears to treat the matter merely as a politician, desirous of making a sensation and of profiting politically by stiring up American feeling against Mexico.
I observed that he made a mistake in taking that view of Mr. Morrow's proceedings.
Mr. Mariscal asked then how was the charge to be explained that Baldwin had been murdered merely because he was an American. The real facts, said Mr. Mariscal, contradict that charge. Ho had caused a thorough investigation to be made, and the result showed that before the police or other authorities could act the people of the town or vil. lage nearest the scene of the murder had armed themselves with kuives and other rude weapons, pursued the assassins, and, surprising them in the height of a drunken orgy, put four of their number to death on the spot, and wounded so badly the fifth that, though he escaped from the bands of the enraged populace, he died soon after.
"So that," exclaimed Mr. Mariscal, "they have all their number was five-been punished with death. What more can the Government do! If the cause of Baldvin's murder was hatred merely of the Americans by the Mexicans, it is curious that the inhabitants of a Mexican town were first to take arms and avenge the assassination."
I answered that that part of the tragedy had a favorable appearance, but that in the absence of instructions I could not express an opinion. I was very glad, however, I said, to learn that the Mexican Government had taken the initiative in investigating and prosecuting, instead of awaiting a demand from my Government. The energetic course adopted by the Mexican Government in the Nogales case had produced a most favorable impression in the United States, and the application of the same energy and promptness in this and other cases must bear good fruit. It was an easy, practical, common sense way of avoiding irritating controversies.
Mr. Mariscal then said that, foreseeing that the Baldwin case might lead to some demand from my Government, he had prepared a thorough statement of the results of the investigation, which in a day or two he intended to send to the Mexican legation at Washington for such use as might be found advisable.
I told him then that be had anticipated the object of my unofficial interview with him by thus taking the initiative; that as a true, sincere friend of Mexico, I considered that course well calculated to smooth the way to easy settlement of all troublesome questions.
He thanked me, and added that his Government was always most anxious to adopt the mode best adapted to preserve the most amicable relations with the United States.
Again he alluded to Congressmau Morrow's connection with the case, saying that the expressions used by that gentleman were not the kind calculated to promote good feeling. In a vague sort of way he also referred to the talk in the press of a demand for indemnity, saying noth
H. Ex. 1, pt. 1— 69
ing, however, to indicate how his Government would regard such a claim.
From all the above you will observe that, according to Mr. Mariscal's statement, all the five assassins of Mr. Baldwin have been punished with death by the people, without waiting for their Government to give the signal. Whether the actual assassins were the only persons to blame in the case, whether the Federal as well as the State authorities of Durango were at fault in not heeding the alleged warning of threatened trouble, are points that I shall not attempt to discuss.
This one suggestion I will take the liberty of making: If, as is fore. shadowed by Congressman Morrow and the family of the murdered Baldwin, a demand for indemnity is to be made, the complainant should be prepared to prove by competent evidence that both the Federal and the Durango authorities had been warned and had neglected to take adequate measures to protect the lives and property of the Americans engaged in mining operations at Ventanas. I ain, etc.,
THOMAS B, CONNERY.
(Extract.] No. 255.]
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,
dcxico, October 26, 1887. (Received November 3.) SIR: Shortly after mailing you my recent dispatch concerning the murder of Mr. Leon Baldwin, Mr. Daniel Turner, his brother in law, brought me a copy of the affidavit of Mr. W. W. Carroll, of Durango, sworn to before the consul of Germany, in the absence of our consular representative, Mr. C. B, Jones.
I gave Mr. Turner a copy of your rules for “Claims against foreign governments," and advised him to direct Mr. Carroll to comply therewith as fully as possible.
If the intention was to prove negligence on the part of the authori. ties, then I said they should lay the foundation by gathering all possi. ble evidence showing that the authorities had received timely warning and had sent no armed protection until too late to save Mr. Baldwin's life.
As I noticed a conflict of statements between Mr. Mariscal's explanation to me and Mr. Carroll's sworn declaration forwarded to you, about the number and the death of the assassius, I suggested to Mr. Turner that proof should be obtained that there were really six bandits and not five engaged in the murder, and that one of these had escaped and still lived. Proof on this point, I told him, should not rest solely on the testimony of Mr. Carroll, if corroborative evidence could be procured.
So, on the point made by Mr. Mariscal that, in fact, the people of a neighboring town or village lad avenged Mr. Baldwin's death without waiting for the Government's permission, Mr. Carroll's affidavit condicts, for he swears that this killing of the bandits was caused by popular indignation aroused by the robbery of a Mexican merchant, the kid. napping of his son, and the abduction of one of their judges.
I do not inclose a copy of Mr. Carroll's affidavit, because it has already been forwarded to you from Durango by that gentleman. I am, etc.,
THOMAS B. CONNERY.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, November 7, 1887. SIR: I jnclose for your information a copy of a letter from the sec. retary of the Pacific Mail Steamship Company, dated the 31st ultimo, to the effect that the agent of the Marquis de Campo was on his way to Mexico to make a contract with that Government for the Spanisi Central American line of steamers between San Francisco and Panama, and to obtain, if possible, a differential duty of 5 per cent. in favor of that line.
In this connection attention is invited to the Department's Nos. 145 and 147 of August 3 and 12, 1387, concerning the complaint of this Government against the States of Central America for having discriminated unfavorably against American commercial interests through their contracts with the Spanish line of steamers spoken of.
Recently, however, in view of the urgent remonstrances of Mr. Henry C. Hall, United States minister at Guatemala City, against this upjust action on the part of those States, there is a prospect of a favorable result, and that our vessels in those ports will be granted the same rebate as may be extended to others; and it would be much to be regretted if this Government were to receive a less measure of friendly and equitable treatment in this regard from Mexico than from the Central American States.
You will take occasion to present the friendly remonstrance of this Gorernment to the minister for foreign affairs of Mexico against any measure which discriminates against our commercial interests in this regard. I am, etc.,
T. F. BAYARD.
(Inclosure in No. 203.
Mr. Lane to Mr. Bayard.
New York, October 31, 1887. Sie: I have the honor to advise that under date of October 5 our special agent at Guatemala City, Mr. J. H. Leverich, writes us as follows:
"I beg to advise you that Mr. Irygoyen (special agent of the Marquis do Campo) went to San Francisco, per steam-ship Guatemala, en route for Mexico, to make a contract with that Government for the Campo Line and to obtain, if possible, a differential duty of 5 per cont, in favor of that line.”
Bearing in mind the satisfactory results from the action which the Department has taken, throngh Minister Hall, in practically cansing the Republics of Guatemala and Salvador to withdraw the discriminations against American bottoms, in the shape of differential duties previously granted to the Marquis de Campo, we beg to call the attention of the Department to the overtures which our special agent now advises are to be made to the Government of Mexico, and have no doubt that, in view of the friendly feeling existing between the two Republics, our Government will have no difficolty in securing from the Mexican Government as favorable action towards this rompany's steamers, as has already resulted from the stand which the Department has taken in connection with these ditferential duties toward the Central American Republics. I have, etc.,
W. W. LANE,