Mr. Egan to Mr. Gresham.
Santiago, April 17, 1893.
Mr. Egan transmits the substance of a petition received of the refugees by him on this day in which they pray that he ask for authority to continue protection until an impartial trial may be had after a subsidence of public feeling. They represent that the military court which was given cognizance of the disturbance that occurred on December 11 last, declared itself incompetent on the ground that the accused parties were civilians and not military men; that the removal of the members of the court has been demanded on that account by a leading newspaper owned by the minister of foreign affairs, and that application has been made to the court of appeals by the public prosecutor for an order compelling the military court to proceed with the cases. This being the actual status, protection is solicited by them until particulars which are sent by next mail may have reached the Government of the United States. In the event of their request being rejected, they ask that they [Page 221]be restored to the position they were in before coming to the legation, by a withdrawal of the police force from the legation’s surroundings and being freed from surveillance for some four hours or any reasonable length of time. This latter request they base on the claim that precedents established by the U. S. Government afforded the ground upon which asylum was sought by and accorded to them.
He asks consideration of the above points which he has believed it his duty to submit to the Department.