No. 470.
Mr. Foster to Mr. Fish.

No. 119.]

Sir: On the 2d instant I received a brief telegraphic dispatch from Rev. David Watkins, at Guadalajara, informing me of the assassination on that morning, at Ahualulco, in the State of Jalisco, of Rev. J. L. Stephens, an American citizen, connected with the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. I immediately replied, asking for details, and on the 4th instant I was informed by telegraph that at two o’clock on the morning of the 2d instant the house of Mr. Stephens was assaulted by more than two hundred men, crying “Viva el Cure”— “Death to the Protestants;” that Mr. Stephens was killed by them in a brutal manner, his body badly mutilated, and his head cut into several pieces, and his house plundered. The cause of this outrage, it will be seen by reference to the telegraphic dispatch, is attributed to religious fanaticism.

I at once called in person upon the minister of foreign affairs, and presented him a note, (inclosure 1,) with copies of the telegraphic dispatches referred to, expressing the confident expectation that whatever measures could properly be taken by the federal government of Mexico for the investigation and punishment of the crime would be at once adopted.

The minister, Mr. Lafragua, informed me that the government had been early advised of the event by the governor of the State of Jalisco, and that prompt and vigorous measures had been taken to arrest and punish the criminals; that the town was occupied by three hundred troops, and order restored; that the principal assassins and two priests had been arrested, and that a judge had been dispatched to the district with an extra corps of clerks to insure a speedy investigation and trial. The official dispatches which appeared in the Diario Oficial of yesterday are herewith inclosed.

I am, &c.,


Mr. Foster to Mr. Lafragua.

Sir: On Monday last, I received a telegram from Mr. David Watkins, of the American Protestant Mission in Guadalajara, announcing, without details, the assassination of his companion, Mr. Stephens, an American citizen, in Ahualulco. I immediately telegraphed for details, and have just received an extended reply, from which it appears [Page 735] that the crime was due to religious fanaticism, and was attended by revolting barbarities.

I herewith inclose copies of the three telegrams, and very earnestly call the attention of your excellency to this lamentable event, in the confident expectation that whatever measures can properly be taken by the federal government of Mexico for the investigation and punishment of this crime will be at once adopted.

I am, with great respect, your excellency’s obedient servant,

[Inclosure in inclosure in No. 119.]

Mr. Watkins to Mr. Foster.

telegrams on the murder of mr. stephens.

No 1.]

To the American Minister:

In Ahualulco they have assassinated the American citizen Stephens.


Mr. Foster to Mr. Watkins.

No. 2.]

D. J. Watkins, Guadalajara:

Send by telegraph brief particulars of the murder of Stephens.

American Minister.

Mr. Watkins to Mr. Foster.

No. 3.]

Mr. J. W. Foster:

At 2 o’clock on the morning of the 2d of March the house of Stephens was attacked by a horde of more than two hundred bandits, crying “Long live the Curé! (priest,) Death to the Protestants !” After having forced the doors, they broke in, destroying or robbing everything they found. Stephens escaped to the yard, which was invaded by assassins, who inflicted upon him a horrible death. His body was mutilated, and his skull divided into several pieces. The prison-guard, instead of protecting the victims, aided the assailants. The soldiers are said to have taken a leading part in the sacking. The origin of this horrible affair, according to well-founded information, was the priest, whose textual words, pronounced on Sunday in the pulpit, were, “The tree which bears evil fruit should be cut down. You may interpret these words as you like.” That no circumstance of audacious barbarity might be lacking in this crime, the church bells were twice rung in token of joy.