Mr. Brice to Mr. Rockhill.

No. 67.]

Sir: I have the honor to inform the Department that an interview was granted by Spanish authorities with Oscar Cespedes this morning, 9 o’clock a.m., and his deposition taken (see inclosure).

The civil governor sent for me last evening (8 p.m.) and informed me that the case of Mr. Cespedes had been transferred from military to civil jurisdiction, and that I could visit the prisoner at date given above. His apologies for delay in this case were profuse.

I find Mr. Cespedes to be an intelligent young man, barely 21 years of age. He is badly broken down in health, and his memory somewhat affected. If his statement can be corroborated by his friends in Key West and elsewhere I feel sure my influence with the governor of this province can procure him an early trial and release; in fact, I hope to secure his release without trial.

Any instructions or information relative to this case would be greatly appreciated.

I am, etc.,

A. C. Brice.
[Page 664]
[Inclosure in No. 67.]

Deposition of Oscar Cespedes, taken at the jail at Matanzas, October 3, 1896.

I am a native of Key West, Fla., of 20 years of age. Came to Cuba on the 3rd of July, 1896, on board the tug Commodore, as a reporter to the Key West Herald.

I was captured on September 2, 1896, at “Hato de Jicarita,” near Zapata, by the Spanish column of Colonel Molina.

At the time I was captured I was lying by the roadside under the shelter of trees and sick with fever and without arms of any nature whatever.

I was then placed on a horse and started under march and ill-treated all the way to Guira de Macuryes, the leader of my horse striking me with the barrel of his rifle, the blows meant for the horse. I was kept at Guira de Macuryes two days and finally brought to Matanzas and confined at San Severino Castle, and on account of my sickness I was sent to the infirmary at the city jail, where I have remained to date.

I am a native-born American citizen, and do hereby declare under oath that I came to Cuba, as before stated, as a reporter, and that I have been in nowise connected with the insurrection now going on in Cuba, and ask that my early release be procured by the Government of the United States.

I further state that I have been sick with fever during the last three months, on account of which my health is very much broken down, and at times become hopeless of life.

I have been fairly treated at the jail infirmary.

Oscar de Cespedes.

Before me witness my hand and official seal at Matanzas the day and year first above written.

[seal.] A. C. Brice,
United States Consul.

Consulate of the United States,
Matanzas, Cuba.

I, the undersigned consul of the United States at Matanzas, Cuba, do hereby certify that the foregoing is a true copy of the original deposition of Oscar de Cespedes on file at this office, the same having been duly compared with the said original and found to agree therewith word for word and figure for figure.

A. C. Brice,
United States Consul.

References given by Mr. Oscar de Cespedes: Mr. Hiram Seymour, Revenue-Cutter Service, Key West; Mr. B. P. Baker, furniture dealer, Key West; Mr. Andelo Figueredo, at Mr. Gato’s cigar manufactory, Key West; Mr. Fernando Figueredo, mayor of West Tampa, Fla.; Mr. Carlos Manuel de Cespedes (father of Oscar), formerly mayor of Key West (about eighteen years ago).