No. 502.
Señor de Zamacona to Mr. Blaine.


Mr. Secretary: The Government of Mexico has sent the two inclosed documents to this legation, with instructions to communicate them to the Department of State. Both have reference to the frequency and magnitude of the thefts committed in the frontier State of Chihuahua by outlaws from Texas, who usually find shelter and a market for their plunder on this side of the boundary line.

The interviews which I have had, since the advent of the present administration, at the Department of State, and some of the communications with which I have recently been honored by the said Department, have convinced me that the Government of the United States realizes the situation of some districts bordering on the Rio Grande, in respect to security for life and property, and that it is disposed to use all the means at its command for the repression of lawlessness; at the same time the facts convince me that the measures which have thus far been taken to that end have not had such an effect as could be desired, and that it is necessary to repeat or add force to them in order that they may prove efficient.

The Government of Mexico, in instructing me to call the attention of the Department of State to the insecurity of the property of stock-raisers in Chihuahua, and to the desirability of vigorous action against Texan cattle-thieves, reminds me that the United States Government has, for a long time, acted upon the principle that it is the duty of a nation to prevent the organization, on its soil, of expeditions whose object is the commission of depredations in a neighboring country, and that, on this basis, certain measures were adopted which are no longer in force, the design of which was to promote the welfare of the two republics and to strengthen fraternal relations between them.

The inclosed documents show up the evil in two aspects, since they refer not only to the robberies committed in Mexico by outlaws having their residence in the United States, but to the dangers to which the owners of the stolen property are exposed when they cross to this side of the Rio Grande, in the hope of recovering it.

The murder of the two young men Jáuregui and Sanchez, which is referred to in one of the inclosed documents, shows the ferocity and audacity of the frontier outlaws, and also (which is a still more serious matter) the apathy of the judicial authorities after they had been made aware of that crime.

The authorities of Chihuahua point out (and with reason) one fact which is deserving of the attention of the Department of State. This is, that when cattle are driven, in the way of lawful trade, from one republic to the other, this fact never escapes the notice of the frontier custom-houses, while the large numbers of cattle stolen in Mexico and driven to Texas go almost unnoticed.

I have written this note without waiting for the full and authentic details of the investigation which is now being held in Chihuahua, and to which allusion is made in the inclosures, because prompt action may be a condition of success in the measures which I hope the Department [Page 832]of State will cause to be taken in order to facilitate the recovery of the cattle mentioned in the aforesaid documents and in order to strengthen the tenure of property and to impart vigor to the action of the courts on the frontier.

I have, &c.,

[Inclosure 1—Translation.]

Governor Terrazas to the minister for foreign affairs.

No. 125.]

The political chief of the district of Bravos, in a communication numbered 66, and bearing date of the 11th instant, writes to the secretary of this government as follows:

“I have this day addressed the following communication to the second judge of the circuit criminal court of this district:

“The citizens Inocencio Ochoa and Juan José Sanchez have appeared before me and declared that for some days past certain Texans have been stealing from this township cattle belonging to them and to other citizens of Mexico, and that they have positive knowledge that the thieves secretly drive said cattle to a place called Rancho de Santa Teresa, where they kill some and rebrand others.

“And as such disorders call for severe punishment and full indemnity, I bring this matter to your notice, although it is my intention hereafter to report it to the proper superior authorities, and to adopt such measures as may appear suitable, in pursuance of the request of the parties interested. I inform you of this matter, that you may be pleased to hold a proper investigation, the result of which you will send to me for such legal action as may be deemed necessary.

“And I have the honor to transmit the foregoing to you, that you may be pleased to report the matter to the citizen governor, and that he may be pleased, if he shall think proper, to adopt such measures as may be at his command for the prevention of such scandalous proceedings. To this end I shall promptly transmit the result of the inquiry which has been ordered when said inquiry shall have been concluded by the competent judicial authorities.”

I have the honor to transmit the foregoing to you for your information, asking, moreover (although I shall send the result of the judicial inquiry in question to the secretary of your government, as soon as I receive it), that you will be pleased to obtain from the citizen President of the republic the adoption of suitable measures for the prevention of the thefts which are now so frequently suffered by our citizens at the hands of certain adventurers from the United States of the North, for this government fears that if these abuses are not corrected, they may give rise to a serious international conflict, since it would not be strange if the citizens of Mexico, seeing that they are robbed of the fruit of their labor, which it has cost them many years of toil to get, should cross over into the territory of that nation, in which case even this government might be unable to prevent such a conflict in due time.

By the inclosed copy of a communication which I have received from our consul at Franklin, and by a slip from the “Progresista,” a newspaper published at Paso, you will see that two young men, named Gilberto Jáuregui, and José Sanchez, were treacherously murdered by some Americans while endeavoring to recover some cattle which had been stolen from them, and that the authorities did not cause the arrest and punishment of the murderers. To this fact I beg leave to call the attention of the supreme government.

It is to be remarked that when any cattle are sold by their owners, and driven out of the State, custom-house officers are there in abundance for the purpose of collecting the duties, but when large numbers are driven off by thieves, this goes unnoticed, and the aforesaid officers seem not to have the slightest knowledge of what is taking place.

Liberty and constitution.

[Inclosure 2—Translation.]

Messrs. Herrera and Gonzalez to the governor of Chihuahua.

We, the undersigned, Herrera and Gonzalez, respectfully appear before the chief magistrate, whom we have the honor to address, and declare that we have certain [Page 833]knowledge, having been informed by trustworthy persons who have lately passed through the vicinity of San Vicente, that at a place called San Simon, and others near there, all of them being near to the boundary line between Mexico and the United Spates of North America, there is a considerable number of cattle from our estate “Providencia.” The aforesaid persons say that while on North American soil they counted, at various small ranches, more than 400 head of cattle bearing the brand of our aforesaid estate Prpvidencia, which cattle rightfully belong to us, we never having sold or transferred them, but they having been, stolen from our pastures. We are, therefore, obliged to bring this matter to your notice, you being the governor of the State, for the prevention of the evils that would arise from a conflict between the American authorities and the keepers of the cattle, who claim the stolen animals wherever they may be found. Moreover, in behalf of the property on the estates of the frontier, we earnestly beg you to be pleased to order that proper means be used to enable us to recover the cattle which belong to us, but which are now in the United States of the North, before they shall be killed by the parties who stole them.

We think it proper for us to state that we also have knowledge that cattle belonging to other Mexican citizens are likewise held by thieves in the United States. The undersigned, therefore, not only in their own behalf, but in that of others, respectfully ask that measures may be adopted, without delay, for the recovery of the cattle thus stolen.

Feeling confidence in the energy and sense of justice of the high officer to whom we apply, we again offer him the assurance of our highest respect.