No. 472.
Mr. Fish to Mr. Foster.

No. 90.]

Sir: I transmit a copy of dispatch No. 161, of the 10th instant, addressed to this Department by Mr. Thomas F. Wilson, the consul of the United States at Matamoras. From this paper it appears that the arrest of one Alexander D. Hamilton, charged with a crime for which, pursuant to the treaty with Mexico, his extradition may be required, has been [Page 737] prevented by the interference of General Cortina in his favor. You will lose no time in making a representation to the Mexican government on this subject, and will state that it is expected such orders will be given to General Cortina as will allow the treaty to be carried into effect according to its terms.

I am, &c.,


Mr. Wilson to Mr. Hunter.

[No. 161.

Sir: I have tile honor to acknowledge the receipt of dispatch No. 99, under date of the 20th ultimo, advising me that a warrant had been signed by the President authorizing Benj. Murphy to receive into custody one Alexander D. Hamilton, a fugitive from justice, and instructing me to make application to the local authorities to deliver Hamilton into his custody, and to render him every assistance in my power to secure the fugitive. About the middle of February, Hamilton reached Matamoros, and put up at one of the hotels of the city. Mr. Kingsbury, of Brownsville, Texas, late chief police justice of Cameron County, Texas, called on me on behalf of the sheriff of Cameron County, and asked me to apply to the local authorities of this city for Hamilton’s arrest and detention until the police officers who were understood to be in pursuit ef him could arrive. Gen. John N. Cortina, being president of the ayuntamiento—mayor—and in charge of the police, I at once applied to him for Hamilton’s arrest. General Cortina directed the chief of police of this city to make the arrest. He went with the chief of police of Brownsville to the hotel where Hamilton was stopping, but as I have since learned a messenger had been sent in advance from General Cortina to warn Hamilton, and of course he was not found, It is alleged, and I believe it is true, that Hamilton went from the hotel directly to General Cortina, and that he has been under his protection up to the present time. Mr. Benjamin Murphy informs me that he had an interview with General Cortina on the subject, and that Cortina told him that he could have an interview with Hamilton for fifteen hundred dollars, but that he could not be arrested; that while he, Cortina, was aware that there was an extradition treaty between the United States and Mexico-, that he knew a higher power than the treaty, and that Hamilton should not be extradited.

Under these circumstances, when Mr. Murphy presented the warrant signed by the President, I went with him before the judge of the first instance and applied for an order authorizing the federal troops to make the arrest, which was granted and placed in the hands of Colonel Cristo, military commander of the city. Colonel Cristo declined to act in the matter further than to place at the disposition of the judge whatever troops might be required, as it was the business of the court to execute its warrant. The judge then frankly admitted that he could not make the arrest in opposition to General Cortina; that it would perhaps cost him his life to attempt to use the troops to arrest Hamilton, as he would undoubtedly be assassinated by General Cortina’s followers. This is the situation of the case, and I think that Cortina will be able to set at defiance all the other authorities here and continue to protect Hamilton. I shall, however, use my best endeavors to aid Mr. Murphy in securing the fugitive.

I am, &c.,