to Mr. Foster.
Washington, January 15, 1879.
Sir: Your dispatch No. 854, of the 14th ultimo, has been received. It is accompanied by a note to you from the Mexican foreign office, and by your reply, relative to Areola and his depredations and those of other bandits, from Mexico into Texas.
You appear to have omitted nothing toward refuting the allegations of Mr. Avila on this subject.
One of these, however, namely, that the raids into Texas are planned by citizens of the United States in Mexico, is at once so strange and so incredible, that proof of the charge should be asked for. Granting, however, for the agument’s sake, that it be as represented, yet as the conspiracy was entered into within Mexican jurisdiction, the offenders are liable to prosecution under Mexican law, if there be any, making it penal to organize an expedition to rob and murder in a neighboring country.
You are aware that there is a statute of the United States which provides ample punishment for that offense. (Revised Statutes, section 5286).
While alleging that this government has omitted to furnish such proof of the acts complained of as Mexico expects, it is gratifying to notice that Mr. Avila has the candor to acknowledge that that proof need not be as conclusive as would be required for the conviction of individuals.
The unquestionable facts are that persons in Texas are shot down by armed bands from Mexico, who then run off with the animals which the [Page 774] victims were watching. Even supposing that these were only wounded, their assailants were probably at too great a distance to be identified, while a murdered man cannot testify.
Mr. Avila also has the candor to assent that nothing would be so efficient for checking the raids into Texas as a good understanding between the military chiefs and local authorities on both frontiers. In this I heartily concur, and hope that such a good understanding may be had and preserved. If, as he also says, the crossing of United States troops into Mexico in pursuit of bandits is offensive to the government, and to public sentiment in that country, it is hoped that he will make a due allowance for a similar sentiment here, and especially in Texas, at the murders and robberies and burnings by Mexican outlaws.
I am, &c.,