Mr. Springer to Mr. Rockhill.

No. 244.]

Sir: With further relation to the Cespedes case, I have the honor to transmit copy of a letter from the United States consul at Matanzas, with copies of an affidavit of Walter W. Thompson, of Key West, and the deposition of Oscar Cespedes.

I also transmit a translation of the publication of the disposing part of the finding of the superior court of Matanzas, as reported in the Matanzas newspaper referred to in my telegram.

I am, etc.,

Joseph A. Springer.
[Inclosure 1 in No. 244.]

Deposition of Walter W. Thompson.

State of Florida, County of Munroe:

Walter W. Thompson, being duly sworn, deposes and says: That my name is Walter W. Thompson; I reside in the city of Key West, State of Florida, and I am the editor of the Key West Herald, a daily newspaper printed and published in said city and county.

I know Oscar Cespedes, and hare known him for twelve years, during which time he resided in the city of Key West. Owing to the lack of authentic news from the Spanish and Cuban war, I, as editor of said Key West Herald, engaged Mr. Cespedes to go to Cuba and represent the said Key West Herald.

Walter W. Thompson.

[Page 667]

State of Florida, County of Munroe:

The above statement is this day sworn and subscribed by Walter W. Thompson, to me known to be the editor of the Key West Herald, a newspaper printed and published in the city of Key West, County of Munroe, and State of Florida,

W. Hunt Harris,
Notary Public of the State of Florida at Large.

[Seal. Certificate of the Spanish vice-consul.]

[Inclosure 2 in No. 244.]

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

I am a native of Key West, Fla., 20 years of age; came to Cuba on the 3d of July, 1896, on board the 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 on the roadside under 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 Macurijes, 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 Macurijes 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 desire 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 became hopeless of life. I have been fairly treated at the jail infirmary.

Oscar de Cespeders.

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

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

United States Consulate,
Matanzas, Cuba.

I, the undersigned, consul of the United States at Matanzas, Cuba, do hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and faithful copy of the deposition of Oscar de Cespedes, the original of which is on file at this consulate.

A. C. Brice,
United States Consul.
[Inclosure 3 in No. 244.—From La Region, of Matanzas, November 26, 1896.—Translation.]


On Tuesday noon, the hearing to resolve the question of competency raised between the war jurisdiction and the court of Alfonso XII, took place in the case against the American citizen, Mr. Oscar Cespedes y Figueredo, for the crime of rebellion.

The following is the dispositive part:

Considering that although citizens of the United States, by virtue of the protocol of the 12th of January, 1877, enjoy the privilege of not being tried for any offense whatsoever, committed in Spanish territory by any other tribunal but the ordinary, they are excluded from such a privilege upon committing any offense, the cognizance of which may correspond to a special jurisdiction if captured with arms in hand.

Considering that from the copy of the proceedings furnished by the war jurisdiction there appear sufficient data to accuse Mr. Oscar Cespedes as the perpetrator of the crime of rebellion, and to be comprised in the exception above referred to, because of having been captured with arms in hand, for which reason it is proper [Page 668] that he should he tried by the war jurisdiction and not by the ordinary, as provided by number 3, of article 9, of the Code of Military Jurisdiction;

Seen: Legal provision to article 1st of the protocol of the 12th of January, 1877;

We hereby declare that the cognizance of the case which has originated this question of competency corresponds to the war jurisdiction. Report this decision to his excellency the Captain-General and to the judge of instruction of Alfonso XII.

Matanzas, 25 November, 1896. (There are several signatures.)

Note.—The Oscar Cespedes landed in this Island on the 23rd June last in the expedition commanded by Ricardo Trujillo and joined the insurgent band of Lacret. Was made a prisoner in the Jicarita hills by the column of Colonel Molina and is at present in the San Severino fort of this city.