Gambar halaman
PDF
ePub

not make his appearance I went to his place of business. He was out. I returned the following day. He was again out. I left word for him to call at the legation. He did not come. I then received a telegrann from Shields asking for an answer to his letter; whereupon I went to the Palace and had an interview with Señor Mariscal, to whom I read the letter (No. 1), and requested him to have the matter investigated, which he promised to do. In this interview I used such arguments as occurred to me to convince him that the arrest of the men bad been made in the interest of private individuals, and that they should not be countenanced.

If it occurs to you that I should have written an official note to Señor Mariscal upon the subject, I answer that I had in my recollection a re. cent correspondence with Señor Mariscal respecting the arrest and im. prisonment of Mr. Coffin, in which Señor Mariscal declined to consider bis case because Mr. Coffin had not been matriculated at the foreign office. (See my dispatch No. 325, December 28.) I had no reason to believe that Señor Mariscal had changed his views upon that subject. Neither Thomas Shields nor Charles Weber had matriculated, I knew, and I felt certain that Señor Mariscal, if applied to officially, would make the same reply which he did in Coffin's case. My action in the matter would have thus been suspended until I could have reported the case to you and obtained instructions.

Assuming that you would have directed me to demand of the Mexican Government the recognition of these men as citizens of the United States, and an investigation of their case, six weeks at least would have intervened before I could have heard from you, and in the meanwhile the men would have remained in prison. I desired to effect their release, and I deemed I could do so more easily by applying personally to Señor Mariscal than by opening a diplomatic correspondence with him.

On the 23d January I received another letter from the parties, in the sense of the first one, a copy whereof I inclose; and on the 26th I re. ceived a telegram from them asking for an answer, a copy and transla. tion whereof I inclose.

On the 26th January I wrote to Mr. Shields. In this letter I stated to him that his case was being investigated in the proper quarter; that I regretted I was not able to send him a lawyer, and I advised him to apply to ove in bis neighborhood. A copy of my letter I inclose.

I heard nothing further upon the subject for some time, and had hoped that the matter was at an end, when I was called on by a gentleman bere, who informed me that the men were still in prisou. This gentleman suggested to me that if a bond could be furnished they would be released, and that they could find employment in a company in which he was interested. I was not able to furnish the bond required, but I naturally suggested to him that his company should furnish the bond, a suggestion which did not seem to accord with his views. He left with me a slip taken from the Pittsburgh Dispatch, which contains Mr. Shields's letter, upon which I suppose the resolution was introduced into the House of Representatives. This slip I inclose.

In this letter he says, “We wrote to Minister Morgan and got no answer." You will observe that his letter to the Dispatch is dated 16th January, while his first letter to me is dated the 13th of the same month. Had I answered him on the day it was received it would not have reached him when his letter to the Dispatch was written.

You will observe that there is quite a discrepancy between the two letters in respect of the cause of their arrest. In his letter to the Dispatch, Mr. Shields says "they kidnapped us up here under false pretense; they have trumped up a charge against us for violation of con

tract, when they broke the contract first," and this appears to be the basis of the House resolution. In their letter to me they say “they had us arrested in Vera Cruz on a trumped-up charge of getting goods on false pretenses."

To cause the arrest of a man under a charge of a breach of a contract of labor is one thing, and I suppose is a proceeding little known in civ. ilized countries; but to arrest a man for obtaining goods under false pretense is, I believe, an every-day occurrence throughout the world.

Mr. Shields having stated to me that he had been arrested upon the last-named charge, I had no idea that he had not stated his case as it was. However, I proceeded immediately to Señor Mariscal and showed him the extract from the Dispatch, and urged upon him the necessity of some action. He promised to take it.

On the 2d of this month, not having heard from Señor Mariscal, and having determined to bring the matter before him diplomatically in case they had not been released, I sent an employé of the legation to Apam for the purpose of ascertaining whether the men were still in prison, and in what condition they were. furnished him with written instructions as to what he was to do when he reached Apam. A copy of these instructions I inclose.

He returned to-day and made his report, a copy of which I inclose. You will see that on his arrival at Apain he proceeded tofthe jail, where he found the men in custody. From them he learned that they had been acquitted of the charge of obtaining goods under false pretenses some time ago; that they had been confined thereou for about a month; that on their release they had again gone to work for their former employers at increased wages, and that they were then in prison charged by the authorities of the place with drunkenness, riotous conduct, and disturbing the peace.

I called on Señor Mariscal this morning, and I asked him whether the matter had been investigated by him; he said it had, and that he would give me the result thereof very shortly. When I receive his communi. cation I will forward it to you. In the meanwhile, I have detailed at length all the circumstances connected with the case within my knowl. edge, that you may be able to furnish the honorable the House of Representatives with all the information I possess relating to, and which is called for by the resolution of the 6th February. If I have not done so at an earlier date it is because your dispatch in which the resolution was forwarded, while dated on the 10th February, was only received this morning. I am, &c.,

P. H. MORGAN.

(Inclosure 1 in No. 370.)

Messrs. Shields, Weber, and Salm to Mr. Morgan.

APAM JAIL, January 13, 1882. Sir: We are two American citizens and one German, glass-blowers froni Pittsburgh, Pa. We hired for $130 per month in American coin to come to Appazaco to blow, inderstanding that we were coming to an old established factory and would go to work.

Immediately after onr arrival, instead of going to the above place they sent us to Apam. There was no furnace built. We did not start to blow until December, nearly five months after we signed the contract. We claim $130 per month from the 14th of July, 1881, np to the time we stopped work, the 20 of January, 1882. We asked for a settlement several times and was refused. We told them that we would not work without a settlement. We started for home, took the regular train. They had us

arrested in Vera Cruz on a trumped-up charge of getting goods on false pretenses. We got some clothes on our bodies from the company. They have kidnapped us here under false representations. They advertised in the Pittsburgh papers for four blowers, their passage and expenses would be paid free to Mexico, also bed and bedding and cooking utensils. Now, sir, they charge 118 with the blankets and our passage, and have us in jail in a strange land unable to speak the language. We ask you to send us a lawyer to plead our case, and

we can prove our innocence of any crime. We remain, &c.,

THOMAS SHIELDS.
CHARLES WEBER.
PHILIP SALM, German Citizen.

(Inclosure 2 in No. 370.]

Yr. Thomas Shields to Mr. Morgan.

APAM JAIL, January 23. SIR: We are three American citizens confined in jail for no cause that we know of. We hired in Pittsburgh last July for $130 per month to blow window glass at Appazaco, expecting to blow immediately after our arrival.

Instead of bringing us to the above place, they brought us to Apam. There was no furnace nor no pots-nothing but the shell of a factory.

We claim the above wages from the time we signed the articles in New York. We were to have $1 per day when the fire was not in blast.

N. B.-The word “not in blast” means if they want us to stay the next fire they give the blower $1 to stay per day.

We repeatedly asked for a settlement and was refused. We told them we wonld go home if not. We left for home on the regular train for Vera Cruz. They arrested us upon a trumped-up charge. They brought us here from our homes and families under false representations.

We claim protection from you. If you will send us a lawyer we can prove ourselves clear of any charge and be honorably discharged.

We have no money, no friends, cannot speak the language, and are at their mercy. We wrote to you before, and have received no answer. If you cannot do anything for as we will have to write to our Representative and to the department at Washington. I remain, in behalf of my companions, &c.,

THOMAS SHIELDS.

(Inclosure 3 in No. 370.–Translation.—Telegram.]

APAM, January 26, 1882. Mr. MORGAN, United States Minister:

Do us the favor to answer our two letters, in order that we may act as occasion requires.

WEBER.
SHIELDS.
SALM.

(Ipclosure 4 in No. 370.)

Mr. Morgan to Mr. Thomas Shields.

MEXICO, January 26, 1882. Sir: Yonr case is being investigated in the proper quarter. As regards sending you a lawyer, I regret to say that I am not able to do so. I would advise you to apply to one in the locality where you are. Yours, &c.,

P. H. MORGAN.

(Inclosure 5 in No. 370.-From the Pittsburgh Dispatch of the (about) 1st February, 1882.)

GLASS BLOWING--UNUSUAL WIND-WORK IN THE BUSINESS IN MEXICO ACCORDING TO

LATE REPORTS-PITTSBURGH MEN, ENTICED BY FAIR PROMISES, ARE UNDECEIVED, KIDNAPPED, AND LODGED IN JAIL.

A gentlemen of this city, not engaged at the present time in the manufacturing business, but more or less interested in several phases of it, was somewhat surprised yesterday to receive in his mail a letter with a peculiar-looking office stamp upon it, of which the following is a fac simile:

[blocks in formation]

Upon opening, the gentleman found it to be a letter from Mexico, dated from the Apam jail. Its story was the sequel to an advertisement which appeared in the Dispatch, and so the gentleman turned the document over to a reporter of this paper.

GLASS-BLOWERS WANTED.

This brings the present article to a point where it is necessary, in the language of the ordinary novelist, to “retrace our footsteps.”

On the 17th day of June, 1881, the following advertisement appeared in the Dispatch:

“ WANTED—4 sober, good window-glass blowers, to go to Mexico under a yearly contract; free passage iu second-class berths; salary $1330 monthly when furpace is in blast, and $1 daily when pot; furnace runs constantly, unless stopped by accident; house and table utensils free; only have to furnish board and washing. Only highlyexperienced and well-recommended men need apply, stating reference, age, nationality, and experience. I. Durand, P. O. box 2933, New York, N. Y."

So far as the records of this office show, the advertisement was probably sent on from New York. However, the firm bad an agent here, in the person of Attorney S. M. Boyd, whose office is on Fifth avenue. Others in the city are said to be interested with the person advertising.

WORKMEN OBTAINED.

The advertisement, of course, brought out numerous responses. Among those who expressed their willingness to go to Mexico was Thomas Shields, one of the best-known glass-blowers hereabout, long employed at various establishments on the South Side, and somewhat of a character in his way. Shields is a drinking man, but bas never been regarded as by any means a drunkard. He is looked upon as a clever workman. His services were accepted by Mr. Boyd, the agent. Two other Pittsburgbers, at least, were taken-brothers, named Weaver-who, it is presumed, are with Mr. Shields at this time in his quiet retreat, of which more will appear below.

It was from Thomas Shields, the glass-blower, that the letter already referred to above was received yesterday.

His presence in the body of the Apam jail is best explained by the document itself.

MR. SHIELDS'S PLAINT. The letter is as follows:

APAM JAIL, MEXICO,

"January 16, 1882. "DEAR SIR: We are three American citizens, hired last July in Pittsburgh to come to Mexico to a place called Appazaco, for $130 per month in American coin, and our passage and expenses paid, and $1 per day when not in blast.

“(N. B.—The words not in blast' mean, if they want us to stay the next fire, they pay the blowers the dollar to stay while the fire is out.)

"Instead of taking us to the above place, they brought us to Apam, another place entirely. There was no furnace, no pots, nor hardly anything on the premises, and for five months we did not blow; no fault of ours. We asked for a settlement, and they refused us one. We told them we would not work. We left and went to Vera

Cruz, intending to go home. They sent a telegram and had us arrested and put in jail; they kidnapped us up here under false pretense; they have trumped up a charge against ns for violation of contract, when they broke the contract first; they have charged us with our passage and expenses here, and only want to allow us $1 per day from the 14th of July until the 6th of December, the day we commenced to blow. We have no money, and cannot speak the language; consequently, have no counsel. We wrote to Minister Morgan, and got no answer. The advertisement was in the Dispatch and in the Chronicle, I think, the first or second week in July. S. M. Boyd, No. 144 Fifth avenue, was the agent that sent us here. Please to send us that advertisement, as it will be of much importance to us. If you would confer a favor on your countrymen, tell them not to coine to Mexico on private contract; they have no sense of honor.

"Apam is 57 miles from the city of Mexico, on a line of the Vera Cruz Railway. Please to answer. 6. Yours, truly,

6 THOMAS SHIELDS."

|Inclosure 8 in No. 370.)

Mr. Yorgan to Mr. J. A. Certucha.

UNITED STATES LEGATION,

Mexico, March 2, 1882. On reaching Apam, you will proceed to the jail and request to be allowed to see and to communicate with the citizens of the United States who are therein confined. You will ascertain

1st. At whose instance they were arrested. 2d. The cause of their arrest.

3.1. Whether they were arrested by virtue of any warrant. If so, is the warrant in writing? Ascertain upon whose atðidavit the warrant issued, and the name of the judge who issned it, and the place of his residence. You will obtain, if possible, a copy of the affidavit upon which the warrant of arrest issued ; also, a copy of the warrant. If you cannot obtain both or either of these, you will give me the reason therefor. 4th. How long have the men been in prison !

5th. Have they ever been subjected to a preliminary examination? If so, when, and what was the result thereof?

6th. Have they ever been tried for the offenses with which they stand charged ? If so, what was the result of the trial? If they have been convicted and sentenced, when did the conviction take place, and to what punishment have they been subjected? Are they now under sentence, and are they complying with the terms of the sentence ?

7th. If they have not been tried, is there any reason for the delay Ascertain, if possible, when their trial is likely to come off.

8th. Ascertain the name of a respectable lawyer at Apam, call on him, and inquire upon what terms he will undertake their defense.

9th. You will be careful to inquire as to the condition of the prisoners with reference to their health, and the treatment which they have received since they have been in durance.

P. H. MORGAN.

(Ipclosure 7 in No. 370.)

Mr. J. A. Certucha to Mr. Morgan.

MEXICO, March 4, 1882. SIR: According to your instructions, I left Mexico on the 3d instant, and proceeded to Apam. Arrived there, I went to the jail and inquired of the jailer about the prisoners whose case you had sent me to investigate. He informed me that they bad been bronght there, first, about the middle of last January, charged with the crime of swindling; that about a month ago they had been acquitted of the charge, and that they had returned to their former employers.

When I asked him npon what charge they were then imprisoned, he said that they had been arrested for being drunk and disturbing the peace. I then requested to be allowed to see them. My request was granted. I was shown in a room in which were

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »