Mr. Bridgman to Mr. Hay.

No. 117.]

Sir: Referring to dispatch from the Department, No. 76, dated March 4, I have the honor to state that I have been unremitting in my efforts to secure the trial of Capt. John S. Bowles, as was General Moonlight before me. In demanding his immediate trial I have employed most urgent terms; have quoted verbatim the request from the State Department, and urged everything save threats, which the Bolivian Government fully understand can not be easily fulfilled on account of their isolated position. Had this nation enjoyed 20 miles of seacoast, Captain Bowles would have been tried four years ago.

The man is accused of perpetrating the crime of castration on several half-breed boys. From all I can learn his innocence is doubtful; certainly no reason, however, for refusing trial.

The invariable reply from Sucre to my demands is that the trial “shall be brought about as speedily as possible.” When I have urged the foreign minister to personally expedite matters he has replied that the delay is due to the absence of an important witness, and that as “State official he can not interfere with civil authority.”

What reason they have for this strange action I can not see, unless in line with the fact that all foreign ministers residing outside of Sucre have great difficulty in gaining any concessions from the Government.

During the revolution it was impossible to accomplish anything, as several chairs in the cabinet were vacant most of the time. As soon as the trouble ended I spoke to an official here, Dr. Victor E. Sanjines, [Page 111] who will in all probability be in power under the new government, and he will use all his efforts to bring the matter to an issue. I shall also make the same personal appeal to Colonel Pando, who has just come into power.

Before the inauguration of the new party, several months from now, it will be perfectly useless to make any effort for immediate action. When in Washington last July I personally consulted the State Department regarding the Bowles case, and asked for specific directions. With the government located in La Paz, or even Oruro, I can promise to accomplish something. I have not heard from Bowles since January and have not written since then, as there was nothing new to tell him. Everything shall be at once reported which bears on the case, and I am confident this last move of mine will accomplish more than all I have been able to do during the past ten months.

I inclose herewith a copy of a letter I am on the point of sending to Dr. Victor E. Sanjines, one of the influential men in the new party.

I have, etc.,

George H. Bridgman.

Mr. Bridgman to Mr. Sanjines.

No. 44.]

Dear Sir: An American named Capt. John S. Bowles was arrested in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, on October 4, 1894, for alleged crime and has been ever since that date deprived of liberty and refused trial, although he has made frequent demands to have his case acted upon, and the State Department at Washington has made the same demand in urgent terms many times. The last request from Washington came three days since and I am directed to report the result of my application as soon as possible.

Whether the man be guilty or not, all the demand made is that he be tried before a court of justice, and to delay this fair request for four and one-half years is of course an outrage and is so regarded by my Government. I therefore earnestly beg you, as one liable to have influence with the coming Bolivian government, to use your utmost efforts to simply have the man brought to trial and adjudged guilty or not guilty.

I also trust you will interest Señor Reyes Ortiz in the matter and ask him to use his utmost influence for this act of justice. This is certainly not an unreasonable demand on my part for your services. I shall apprise my Government that I have invoked your aid in this and hope to be able to give you the credit, in a future report, of having brought this most unfairly delayed case to some decision.

I have instructed Mr. Gerardo Zalles to give you all the aid and data he has and to help you in every way after my departure for the States.

With renewed assurances, etc.,

George H. Bridgman.