Papers Relating to the Foreign Relations of the United States, Transmitted to Congress, With the Annual Message of the President, December 3, 1889
Mr. Whitehouse to Mr. Blaine.
Mexico, October 9, 1889. (Received October 18.)
Sir: Referring to my telegram of yesterday, I have now the honor to forward, herewith inclosed, text and translation of Mr. Mariscal’s note, and the copies of the official documents furnished by the military department of justice concerning the sentences imposed upon the offending parties in the outrage committed at Eagle Pass, Texas, on March 3 and 4, 1888.
Before discussing the matter with Mr. Mariscal, I would desire instructions regarding the views of my Government as to the just and suitable compensation which should be claimed for White, the deputy sheriff who was wounded in the discharge of his duty.
I am, etc.,
Mr. Mariscal to Mr. Whitehouse.
Mexico, October 7, 1889.
Mr. Chargé, etc.:
Referring to the legation’s note of 17th August last, relative to the disagreeable incidents which occurred in Eagle Pass on the 3d March, 1888, I have the honor to advise you that I have received through the War Department a copy of the sentence pronounced by the supreme court of military justice on the charges brought against the first captain, Francisco A. Muños, and others, responsible for the incidents.
Inclosed I send you a copy of the said sentence, advising you that in case you have instructions to take part in the conference requested by Mr. Ryan you can do so whenever you wish.
I am, etc.,
Judgment of the Supreme Court of Military Justice.
Department of state of the office of war and marine.
On the margin a seal saying supreme court of military justice, Mexico, second court No. 2346.
In the matter of the charge against Francisco Muños, first captain, Miguel Cabrera, lieutenant, José Ma. Castellanos, sergeant, and Pedro Ochoa, all of the Twelfth Regiment, for the faults of not complying with their military duties, wounding, and resisting the civil police of the United States, this court agreed on the following:
“Mexico, September 4, 1889.
“Having considered in the degree of an appeal the charge brought against the lieutenant of the regiment No. 12, Miguel Cabrera, for the faults of having passed into the American territory with some soldiers, in order to capture the soldier Atanacio Luis, thus committing an act of hostility against that nation, and of not complying with his military duties, the sentence of the council of war of 31st May of the present year having taken into consideration what the solicitor asked for, and the defending lawyer asked for, it was accorded, considering that the extent of the fault is proved as well as its author, for although it is true that the first captain, Francisco A. Muños, [Page 610] ordered the lieutenant Miguel Cabrera to pass to the territory of the United States, in pursuit of the deserter, Atanacio Luis, he ought not to have respected said order, because in so doing and in the conditions that the order was given he committed a fault provided for and punished by the article No. 3514, and not the number 3513 of the code of military justice which was mentioned in order of precedence, because although at that time the passage of troops between both Republics to their respective territories was more or less allowed, the group formed by Lieutenant Cabrera and the soldiers which went separately, with their arms concealed, can not be considered as regular troops, and for the same reason not included in the permission to pass to a foreign territory in pursuit of individuals who invade one or other territory to transgress; that the offender is responsible for the immediate consequences of his proceeding, such as the wounding of Sheriff Shad White and the deserter Atanacio Luis, the damage sustained by his regiment in the loss of a man and horse, fault provided for in the article No. 3645 of the military code; that according to the article 3377 of the same military code, in any case when, by one act or by one omission, several criminal regulations are violated, all of which have different penalties, the greatest of these must be applied (article 3377 and Fraction 11 of article 3422 of the military code); preference is given to the circumstances which increase the guilt, and proceeds to the infliction of the maximum penalties is, therefore, in order (articles 3405 and 3414 of the same code). By what is already exposed, and in accordance with the articles 2921, 3340, 3343, and 3364, of the military code, the court decrees:
First. The sentence given by the council of war of 31st May last is confirmed in the part which condemns the Lieutenant Miguel Cabrera to ten years of imprisonment, and a fourth part more in the character of an arrest in his case, in the place designated, and to the loss of his employment, decorations, and military rewards, which time will date from 10th of June last. Second. The same sentence is confirmed in the part in which Lieutenant Cabrera is acquitted of the charge of having directed an attack armed to the United States civil police. Third. As regards the first Captain Francisco A. Muños, be it known. Fourth. As regards the accused José Ma. Castellanos and Pedro Ochoa, be it known.”
“Mexico, September 6, 1889.
“There being no reason to attach responsibility to the functionaries who have intervened in this trial, and the execution of the sentence of the council of war therein given by the desistence of the defending lawyer, in time and form of the recourse of an appeal. With foundation of the articles 3160 and 3161 of the code of military justice; having revised the sentence of 31st May of the present year, in which the first Captain Francisco Muños was declared culpable of the fault of having ordered the arrest of a deserter in the United States territory, thus committing an act of hostility against that nation and of not complying with his military duties, and condemned him to the penalty of ten years’ imprisonment, and the fourth part more in the character of an arrest, and to the loss of his employ, decorations, and military rewards, which will date from 10th June last.”
“Mexico, September 7, 1889.
“In view of these proceedings carried on in the city of Monterey, against the Sergeant José Ma. Castellanos and the soldier Pedro Ochoa, of the Twelfth Regiment, for the faults of not complying with their military duties, wounding and attacking armed the United States civil police, the sentence advised of the 30th September of last year; what was asked by the attorney, and everything being agreed. Considering that it does not appear proved that the accused Castellanos and Ochoa should be responsible for the faults they are accused of, as they acted complying with a legal duty in obeying a military order (12th fraction of the article No. 3398 of the code of military justice) that consequently the necessary conditions to justify a decree of imprisonment do not exist (article No. 3052 of the referred to military code), and the proceeding must necessarily cease, since there is no legal reason for its continuation; that for the same reason the sentence passed, referred to, is passed in accordance with right. By what has been said and according to what is provided for in the articles No. 2922 and 3052 of the code of military justice and 121 of the judicial proceedings of the Federal district the court decrees, first, the decree of 30th September of last year, in which it was declared that there was no reason to decree the imprisonment of José Ma. Castellanos and Pedro Ochoa, who will be set at absolute liberty, is to be confirmed.”
All of which I have the honor to communicate to you for your superior knowledge.
Liberty and Constitution.
Mexico, September 10, 1889.
I. N. Mendez (signature) to the Secretary of the War and Marine Department, City. Copy. Mexico, September 12, 1889.
P. O. de S. T. Ma. Escudero (signature). O. M. into. Copy September 7, 1889.
Mr. Whitehouse to Mr. Mariscal.
Mexico, October 9, 1889.
Sir: I am in receipt of your excellency’s note of the 7th instant, informing me of the sentences passed on the officers concerned in the regrettable incident at Eagle Pass on March 3 and 4, 1888, and in which your excellency also courteously expresses a readiness to proceed with the conference proposed by Mr. Ryan for the purpose of agreeing on just and equitable compensation for Shadrack White, the deputy sheriff who was wounded by the said officers while in the performance of his legal duties.
I have communicated the contents of your excellency’s note to my Government and will await further instructions before accepting your excellency’s courteous invitation to a conference on this matter.
I take, etc.,
Mr. Whitehouse to Mr. Blaine.
Mexico, October 20, 1889. (Received October 30.)
Sir: I have received your instruction No. 103 of the 9th instant, informing me of the receipt of my telegram of the 8th instant, relative to the punishment of the officers concerned in the outrage at Eagle Pass, and instructing me to inform Mr. Mariscal that Mr. Ryan will confer with him on the subject on his return to this legation.
I have transmitted your wishes to Mr. Mariscal as directed.
I am, etc.,
Mr. Whitehouse to Mr. Mariscal.
Mexico, October 21, 1889.
Sir: Referring to your excellency’s note of 8th instant, concerning the punishment imposed on the officers concerned in the regrettable affair at Eagle Pass, I am informed by my Government that Mr. Ryan will, immediately on his return to his post from his leave of absence, be instructed to join in a conference upon the subject of proper reparation to the persons aggrieved by the facts complained of.
I take, etc.