No. 201.
Mr. Wing to Mr. Fish.

No. 326.]

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.,

[Inclosure 2 in No. 326.]

$100 REWARD.

We, the undersigned, offer a reward of $100 to the person who delivers to us the authors of the exhumation and robbery of the grave of the deceased North American, William Doval, in the Protestant cemetary of the Ejido, leaving his nude body upon the ground.

Any information that can be given, will be received at the house of the North American minister.

  • S. A. De FOREST,

and all the North American residents of this city.

[Inclosure 3 in No. 326.]

Mr. Wing to Señor Leon.

Sir: On the 16th of last month William C. Doval, an American citizen resident in this country, died in one of the hospitals of this city. On the subsequent day he was buried in the Protestant cemetery. On the succeeding night the gate of the cemetery was forced, the grave of Mr. Doval opened, the clothing torn from his person, and his nude body left upon the ground.

In my absence, the American citizens in Quito offered a reward for the detection of the perpetrators of this foul act of desecration, of the publication of which I inclose a copy.

The body of Mr. Doval was again interred, and a second time was torn from its resting-place.

It is with the most painful sensations that I call the attention of your excellency to the fact that this is the third occurrence of the kind which I have laid before your excellency during my short official residence in this capital.

I am not disposed to believe that these outrages were performed by the common Indians of the country, as general report has it.

I need not assure your excellency of the intense feeling which will not only arise in my own country, hut throughout Europe, when a knowledge of these outrages upon the bodies of Protestants deceased in Ecuador becomes public.

I have been informed that certain clews had been placed in the hands of the police of this city, which, if intelligently and honestly followed up, would lead to the conviction of the guilty parties. I cannot learn, however, that any efficient steps have been taken to that end.

[Page 387]

Moreover, I desire to add that the tombstone over the grave of Colonel Staunton, one of the most distinguished scientific men of the United States, was stolen from its pedestal upon the night of the second desecration of Mr. Doval’s grave.

I respectfully but decidedly request the co-operation of the Ecuadorian government in the detection of the parties implicated in these acts of infamy, and for the future I ask that some steps be taken to prevent a repetition thereof.

With assurances of my very distinguished consideration, I have, &c.,


His excellency Señor Francisco Javier Leon,
Minister for Foreign Affairs, &c.

[Inclosure 5 in No. 326.—Translation.]

Señor Leon to Mr. Wing.

The undersigned, minister for foreign affairs for Ecuador, has had the honor to receive and lay before His Excellency the President of the republic your excellency’s esteemed note of date 12th of the present month, in which your excellency informs the undersigned of the outrage that on two occasions has been committed by the disinterment of the body of Mr. W. C. Doval, an American citizen, who died in this city on the 16th of July last, and who was interred in the Protestant cemetery in this city; and also that the marble tombstone on the grave of Colonel Staunton was stolen from its pedestal.

The undersigned, previous to the reception of the indicated note of your excellency, was informed by Mr. Arthur A. Rogers of the particulars of this event, and, in virtue thereof, hastened to give the most stringent orders to the police authorities to inquire into the facts set forth.

In effect, these formalities having been completed, it appeared that no trace whatever existed of the mentioned crime of exhumation except the forcing of the lock of the door.

The undersigned, doubting the exactness of the assertion in this respect, and subsequent to the reception of the dispatch which he has now the honor to answer, ordered anew an examination of the facts, and the direction of the “procès-verbal,” an authentic copy of which your excellency will find inclosed.

As this throws no light upon the perpetrators of the grave crime now being investigated, the undersigned hopes that your excellency will be satisfied with the activity and zeal of the government in the elucidation of the affair, which, were it certain, the government would have deplored like your excellency—a scandalous act of profanation, committed in the heart of a republic essentially humane and respectable.

In addition, the undersigned assures your excellency that he has the impression that, up to the present time, no information has reached him of any act of this nature, when all possible means would have been used looking to the punishment of the guilty parties.

With assurances, &c.,

[Inclosure 6 in No. 326.]

Mr. Wing to Señor Leon.

Sir: I had the honor to receive your excellency’s note of yesterday last evening.

I am indebted for the efforts which your excellency’s government is making to ascertain the perpetrators of the outrage upon the grave of Mr. Doval.

I am likewise fully persuaded that your excellency’s government regards such acts of sacrilege with indignation and regret.

May I request, if any further evidence is taken in the premises, that I be furnished with copies thereof also?

I trust that the search for the culprits will be rigidly prosecuted, and that the beautiful marble tombstone stolen from the grave of Colonel Staunton will be found.

In conclusion, your excellency will pardon me for referring to certain circumstances which will, I am confident, recall to your excellency’s memory the fact that your excellency has previously heard of similar outrages.

[Page 388]

On reference to the archives of this legation, I find that in the first part of the month of September, 1870, (while I was making preparations for the disinterment of the body of my predecessor, Mr. Coggeshall,) I was informed that previous to my arrival at this capital the grave of Colonel Phineas E. Staunton had been violated, and that his body had been reinterred by certain of the police authorities, and that Mr. Coggeshall’s grave had also been opened.

I was in the very act of addressing an official note to your excellency on the subject when your excellency did me the honor to pay me a visit at the office of my legation, in reference to the arrangements for the transmission of Mr. Coggeshall’s body to Guayaquil. I then and there verbally made known to your excellency, through the agency of a distinguished gentleman now in Quito, what I had learned in regard to the profanation of the graves of Mr. Coggeshall and Colonel Staunton. Your excellency immediately promised to give stringent orders to the police authorities to do all in their power to ferret out the perpetrators thereof.

I was afterward the recipient of a note from your excellency of date September 10, 1870, in which I was informed that your excellency had hastened to put a knowledge of the outrage before the superintendent of police, in order that he might take the proper steps in relation thereto.

Subsequently, I informed your excellency, that upon the disinterment of the body of Mr. Coggeshall, it was ascertained that his wooden coffin had likewise been broken open, and that a portion of the interior metal coffin had been cut off and taken away, whilst the remains of the coffins, with the body inclosed, had been carelessly thrown hack into the grave, without any regard to position whatever.

In this matter I spoke advisedly, as I, in common with the English minister and a number of other foreign gentlemen, was present on the occasion.

Feeling assured that your excellency upon reflection will recall these facts, and regretting that I am compelled to refer to matters so unpleasant of themselves,

I have, &c.,


His Excellency Señor Francisco Javier Leon,
Minister for Foreign Affairs, &c., &c., &c.

[Inclosure 8 in No. 326.—T ranslation.]

Señor Leon to Mr. Wing.

I have had the honor to receive your excellency’s esteemed communication of yesterday, and in reply, I am happy to inform your excellency that when possible I shall not fail to forward to your excellency everything that is discovered about the author or authors of the disinterment of the body of Mr. Doval, as the police authorities will continue their investigations.

I have as much interest as your excellency in the detection of this crime.

With assurances, &c.,

[Inclosure 10 in No. 326.—Translation.]

Señor Leon to Mr. Wing.

The undersigned, minister of foreign affairs of Ecuador, has the honor to address his excellency, the minister resident of the United States of America, with the object of rectifying the idea contained in his communication of the 19th of the present month, as he did not remember at the time that other acts of violation of graves had occurred; but now having inspected the archives of this department, he has seen that in effect your excellency addressed the undersigned, notifying him that an act of this nature had occurred in the grave of Mr. Coggeshall, and that in consequence thereof the government of the undersigned used every measure in its power to discover and punish the culprits, as was communicated to your excellency on September 10, 1873.

Thus rectifying the idea alluded to, I am, &c.,

[Page 389]
[Inclosure 11 in No. 326.]

Mr. Hamilton to Mr. Wing.

Dear Sir: In compliance with the request contained in your note of yesterday, I beg to state that in the interview which took place on the 22d instant between you andf Señor Javier Leon, minister for foreign affairs, his excellency frankly admitted that you had personally brought to his knowledge the outrages perpetrated on the graves of Mr. Minister Coggeshall, and Colonel Staunton.

As I was present at the disinterment of the body of Mr. Coggeshall, I remember perfectly well that on arriving at the site of the grave, the ground had every appearance of having been disturbed, and that upon removing the earth which covered the coffin, I observed that the upper outer lid was broken in several places, and that half of the top of the inner zinc coffin had been completely removed and doubtless stolen, as no traces of it were to be found in any part of the grave.

I have, &c.,


Hon. Rumsey Wing,
United States Minister Resident in Quito.