Mr. Ryan to Mr. Blaine.

No. 27.]

Sir: I inclose herewith a copy of Mrs. Work’s letter to the press relative to the imprisonment of her husband at Ciudad Victoria, Mexico, as also of Mr. Gifford’s statement on the subject.

On my application the consul at Ciudad Victoria has furnished me with the presentation to the court of defendants case by his attorney, and uncertified copies of the evidence which are now being translated in the legation and will be forwarded as soon as possible.

I understand the case is now before the “court of last resort” of the state.

I am, etc.,

Thomas Ryan.
[Page 564]
[Inclosure in No. 27.—From the Two Republics, June 27, 1889.]

the work outrage.

A statement from Mr. A. W. Gifford, of St. Louis, Missouri, on the subject.

Editor Two Republics:

The inclosed special to the Globe-Democrat from San Antonio, Texas, purporting to come from Mrs. Mary C. Work, is an insult and a great injustice to Mexico and her good people.

Personally I don’t believe Mrs. Work wrote such a letter, for I detect in it the ear marks of Judge W. H. Brooker, a lawyer of San Antonio, Texas, who doubtless thinks this the best mode of serving Mr. Work and wishes to work up notoriety and sympathy by it.

Mr. Work did kill a man, not a robber as stated, but a Mexican miner under the influence of liquor, who picked a quarrel and drew a knife on him. He was accompanied by two other miners, who might have prevented the trouble by taking their companion away. But ill feeling often found in mining camps, the result of enmity and jealousy from conflicting interests doubtless prevented their interference, and a life had to pay the penalty, for which Mr. Work has been tried and sentenced for four years.

I have understood from the time of the trouble, that he has been dealt with in a liberal and generous manner, and under the circumstances with two witnesses against himself, he certainly should and doubtless does feel thankful, that his sentence is no worse.

The taking of life even in self-defense is a serious matter, and must necessarily be accompanied with trouble and mortification, unless you hold the preponderance of evidence. Knowing all the circumstances and surroundings as I do, I am satisfied Mr. Work has had and will receive justice in the Mexican courts.

At the time of the sad affair, Mr. Work was the superintendent of the Linares Land and Mining Company, of which he was a stockholder, and I was the president, the company owning and working the mines known as “San Mauricio,” “El Leon,” “La Parena,” and “Santa Rita,” located in the camp of San José. For the past two years we have had a continuation of petty troubles and annoyances in the camp that has prevented successful development, which I trust will soon be at an end.

A. W. Gifford.

Letter of Mrs. Work.

The following has been made public here, and has caused intense excitement among the people, and immediate steps will be taken to establish its truth or falsity:

City of Victoria, Republic of Mexico,
State of Tamaulipas June 11, 1889.

To the universal press and the chivalry of America:

I appeal to you for aid after long suffering. We came to San José, in this State, about seven years ago, where my husband, Robert C. Work, was operating some mines. Everything went on well until about the time we were getting our interests in operation, when other parties desired our property. Every device was resorted to to drive us from our property and our new made home, and threats of violence to my husband were often and openly made by parties at the mining camp of San José About one year ago, while my husband was returning on horseback from Linares, a town about 50 miles distant, with funds to pay off his miners, he was attacked by three robbers in the gulch near our house. In the trouble my husband ran from the would-be murderers, and in plain view of our home; but the three still pursued him, and one of them with a drawn pistol snatched the reins of my husband’s horse. At this instant my husband drew his pistol and shot one of the robbers dead. The other two fled. For this act of my husband, done in full view of his little home, wife, and daughter, and wholly in self-defense, he has been put to unmerciful trials, lugged from court to court, and incarcerated in vile and filthy dungeons, and sentenced to prison for four years. The courts trying him refused to hear any evidence in his behalf, but distorted every statement he would make. The courts admitted the evidence [Page 565] of the two accomplices, and upon such base evidence—if evidence it can be called—my husband has been sentenced. The whole procedure was a flagrant outrage on justice, and on the rights of a free-born American. While his life is in peril, his wife and daughter are left to the mercy of the infuriated fiends, for while my husband was under ward and surveillance, these same would-be murderers and robbers, joined by four others of their class, attacked our house at night and set fire to the “brush fence surrounding it, and amid their yells and curses heaped upon the despised “Gringos,” myself and daughter, were forced to fly into the mountains for safety. On returning, and while attempting to put out the fire, I was seized and knocked down by these villains, and an attempt at outrage on my person made.

Amid such surroundings I have been almost crazed from fear and exhaustion, while my poor little daughter, now blooming into womanhood, crouches at my feet praying for protection. Is there no help at home for me.? On the testimony of such villians that burn the home over the heads of the innocent and defenseless my husband is held in durance, and subject to every species of humiliation and torture. The officers call my husband an English assassin, and say he ought to be shot.

Our own consuls are made to doubt his nationality, while in truth and fact he was born in Kingston on the banks of the Tennessee River, while I am a native Georgian.

While my husband lies here a prisoner and subject to every indignity his wife and daughter are hooted at on the streets, and no officer of the law lends protection. Human filth is smeared on our door at night, and the vilest epithets are hurled at us as “Gringos” (Americans).

We hold out a longing look for relief, but no comforter comes. Are we unworthy the fostering care of our National Government, because we have been wrecked and are penniless and poor? Brave, generous men of the American Union, we look to you for relief; we pray that our Government lends us its protection.

Very respectfully,

Mary E. Work.