to Mr. Blaine.
Mexico, April 1, 1881. (Received April 28.)
Sir: Your dispatch No. 112, of the 14th of March, 1881, referring to cases of American citizens impressed into the military service of Mexico, has been received.
In my correspondence with the Mexican Government in relation thereto, I endeavored to show that their impressment was not only a violation of the laws of nations, but was also a violation of the positive treaty stipulation between the Government of the United States and the Government of Mexico (see inclosures to my dispatches Nos. 125 and 133); and that the latter government is responsible for their illegal capture, detention, and enforced servitude is in my opinion free from doubt. I think also that a demand should be made for damages in their behalf. If you should agree with me in this opinion, I beg to be instructed as to what is to be the measure of damages which I am to demand.
In my instructions contained in Department dispatch No. 71 (9th of October, 1880), I was directed to demand their instant release, and “that they be sent unmolested to their homes in Texas or allowed to proceed likewise without molestation to any point in Mexico where they have business or may desire to go.” I was also directed to ask “for reasonable pecuniary indemnity for the detention, annoyance, and inconvenience to which they may have been thus unwarrantably subjected.”
These instructions I complied with, as you will see by reference to the inclosure in my dispatch No. 125. But I have to call your attention to the fact that the parties in interest have not stated to what extent they have been damaged, and I am not able to determine to what amount their demand should be limited, and, as the Department dispatches are silent upon this subject, I respectfully ask to be instructed thereupon before communicating any further upon the subject with the Mexican Government.
I am, &c.,