to Mr. Fish.
Quito, Ecuador, August 28, 1873. (Received October 2.)
Sir: Referring to my dispatch 319, concerning the death of William C. Doval, I desire to make the following statement:
Upon my return from Guayaquil, while lying ill in Ambato, I received a copy of a publication made by certain American citizens resident in Quito, offering a regard of $100 for the detection of the author of a shameful outrage upon the grave of the said Mr. Doval.
I inclose a copy and translation, Nos. 1 and 2, of this document.
So soon after my arrival in Quito as I was able to dictate a note, I addressed a communication (No. 3) on this subject to the government of Ecuador.[Page 385]
After a delay of several days, I received a reply, of which Nos. 4 and 5 are copy and translation.
On the succeeding day 1 addressed a second note (No. 6) to Minister Leon, on the same subject. In reply thereto I received his note, No. 7, of date 21st of August, of which No. 8 is a translation.
It will be observed that Minister Leon seemed disposed to controvert my statement that the outrage upon the grave of Mr. Doval was the third occurrence of the kind of which I had informed him during my official residence in Quito.
On the succeeding day, however, I was the recipient of a note, of which Nos. 9 and 10 are copy and translation, which, to a considerable extent, precluded the necessity of an answer to Minister Leon’s note of the preceding day.
On the night of the 22d of August Minister Leon called at my room where I am still confined with inflammatory rheumatism, and in the’ presence of the English minister resident, Hon. Frederick Hamilton, stated to me in so many words that, in his note of the same day, he fully meant to admit that I had previously informed him of the outrage upon the grave of Colonel Phineas E. Staunton, assuring me, however, that for the time he had utterly forgotten the facts in relation to the violation of the graves of Mr. Minister Coggeshall and Colonel Staunton, some three or four years since.
These facts, the Department will find explicitly set forth in my dispatch No. 29 of September 13, 1870.
I likewise have the honor to inclose copy of a note addressed to me by Minister Hamilton, in regard to the interview between Minister Leon and myself, which incidentally occurred in his presence.
Both Minister Hamilton and myself were of the opinion, upon examination, that Minister Neal’s grave had likewise been desecrated.
I am not sure whether the Department is aware’ of the fact that the bodies of Minister Coggeshall, of the United States, and of Minister Neal, of England, remained unburied for more than one year after their respective deaths, having been simply stored away in a room at one of the hospitals.
This sad office was performed by Minister Hamilton, upon his arrival here in the beginning of 1868.
On the 22d of this month the police authorities of Quito, going outside of the municipal limits of the city, presumed to force the gate of the Protestant cemetery, although I am the custodian of the key thereof, and to again disinter the body of Mr. Doval, without any notification to myself.
I immediately wrote a strong note to Minister Leon on the subject. He called on me, however, before I had found time to forward it to him, and at his urgent request I finally withheld it, as he promised to stringently rebuke the police authorities, and attributed their act entirely to an ignorance of the whereabouts of the key, and the impression which would be made thereby upon their part.
The chief of police also called upon me and vigorously apologized for the act of his subordinates.
It seems that they found the coffin of>en, but that the body had its burial-clothes upon it.
I am thoroughly convinced, however, that these were replaced at the second opening of the grave, which was occasioned by the fear of the reward offered by the American citizens, referred to above.
In this opinion I find that all the intelligent foreigners of Quito agree with me.[Page 386]
Great feeling hits been occasioned among the foreigners resident in Quito by the outrage.
I must candidly say that the government of Ecuador has shown great desire to detect and punish the criminals, and the President has exhibited a warm personal interest therein.
Colonel Staunton’s tombstone, presented by the Smithsonian Institution, Williams College, and Ingham University, has not yet been recovered.
I have not received copies of all the evidence taken in the case, but will forward it so soon as I hold it entire. Trusting that my action will receive the approval of the Department,
I have, &c.,