Deposition of Mr. John T. Doyle, with exhibits.

Be it remembered that on the 26th day of August, 1902, before me, Jas. T. O’Keefe, a notary public in and for the county of San Mateo, State of California, United States of America, personally appeared John T. Doyle, who, being by me first duly sworn according to the laws of the State of California, deposed and said as follows:

My name is John T. Doyle, age eighty-two and a half years, residence Menlo Park, near San Francisco, California. I was born in the city of New York. I was admitted to the bar in May, 1842, in New York; afterwards I practiced law in San Francisco for very many years, but ceased to do so about 1889. Since then I have been a person of leisure. I am and have been from the time this claim was first presented to the Government of the United States one of the counsel [Page 400] for the bishops of California in the demand for the interest of the Pious Fund. I am interested personally in the case to the extent of any fee I may receive for my services, and have the natural interest a lawyer feels in the success of a case to which he has devoted much time and attention. If such things could bias my testimony (which I do not believe they could) I must be accounted a biased witness.

My first connection with this business resulted from being professionally employed by Bishop Joseph S. Alemany, then bishop of Monterey, and the immediate successor of Francisco Garcia Diego, the first bishop of the Californias, to recover from the Government of the United States the mission buildings, churches, graveyards, vineyards, and orchards belonging to twenty-one missions within the State of California, and one or two ranches claimed under grants from Mexico. The decision in that case was in favor of the claimant, and patents were afterwards issued in pursuance of the adjudication of the land commission for these properties. During the course of that proceeding Bishop Alemany called on me, I should say from memory, about the summer of 1854, though it may have been earlier, and showed me a bundle of papers which he had found in the archives of the diocese, transmitted to him from his predecessor in office, from which it seemed to him he had some claim perhaps against the Government of the United States as successor of Mexico in the sovereignty of California. He wished me to read the papers over and tell him what I thought of it. The papers consisted of five small pamphlets printed in Mexico and the collection of letters (copies) constituting a correspondence between Don Pedro Ramirez (the apoderado of Bishop Diego) and General Gabriel Valencia, appointed by the Mexican Government to administer the Pious Fund under a decree of February 8, 1842, and some other papers which were put in evidence on the first arbitration.

I examined these papers and advised the bishop that he had no claim against the Government of the United States, but I thought he had a valid claim against the Republic of Mexico, which at some time or other might be recoverable whenever a claims convention might be agreed upon between the two Governments. After that—but I can not fix the date—he spoke to Mr. Casserly and myself about employing us in the effort to recover whatever was due to him from the Pious Fund, and in the spring of 1857, as I was then about to remove to New York, he pressed us to enter into a contract with him and Bishop Amat for professional services in the case for a percentage of the amount collected. We assented, and as I was leaving before the contract could be executed, I asked Mr. Casserly to draw it up and sign for me. Some time in June or July, 1857, I learned from Mr. Casserly that he had signed such a contract, but I never saw the text of it nor knew its exact terms till long afterwards, I received a power of attorney from Bishop Alemany who had by that time been translated to the newly created see of San Francisco, as well as one from Bishop Thadeus Amat, who had succeeded him in the diocese of Monterey, authorizing me to represent them in the demand on Mexico for whatever they were entitled to from the Pious Fund and to request the interposition of the United States Government to that end. In July, 1859, on their behalf, I addressed a letter to the Hon. Lewis Cass, then Secretary of State of the United States, outlining in a general way the right of the bishops to the Pious Fund and asking his interposition with Mexico for redress.

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My object in presenting the claim at that time to him was to have it on the files of the Department of State so that if afterwards a claims commission were constituted it might be included. Not knowing what view of the claim might be taken by the United States authorities or what the terms of the possible future convention, the claim was stated in a very general way, the facts given, and the aid of the Government “asked. Thereafter I continued to search for information concerning the Pious Fund, concerning which all I had learned so far was what was shown by the papers the bishop showed me. I read all the Mexican history and politics I came across, and everything that held out any hope of information on the subject. The political condition of Mexico at that time, and for many years thereafter, was so disturbed that the prospects of a claims convention seemed very remote, and my study of the case was rather a matter of duty, and to a certain extent for historical interest, than with any immediate hope of being able to present it judicially. I returned from New York to San Francisco and resumed practice there in the summer of 1863.

In 1868 Mr. Casserly was elected to the United States Senate and took his seat in Washington in 1869. On the 27th of March, 1870, I learned of the convention of July 4, 1868, between the United States and Mexico and having examined it, sent, on the 28th of March, a telegram to Mr. Casserly, who was in Washington, of which I now hand the notary a copy transcribed from one made by me at the time. It is marked by him “Exhibit No. 1” to this deposition. I was not then on good terms with Mr. Casserly, and as Archbishop Alemany was absent from the State, I thought it judicious to have my telegram confirmed and countersigned by the vicar-general of the diocese, Reverend James Croke, as coming authentically and by authority, which was done. I learned afterwards from him that Mr. Casserly wrote him that he had received it seasonably and had presented the claim, but I had no answer from Mr. Casserly himself. I never knew till after the case was decided the form in which Mr. Casserly had presented the claim to the commission. I learned, however, that he had employed Mr. Nathaniel Wilson, in Washington, to act with him in the case, at or about the time of receiving my telegram, and after vain efforts to obtain from them a copy of the rules of the commission, I was finally fortunate enough to obtain a copy of them in the city of San Francisco from Don Juan Robinson, and drew up the memorial of the claim for the commission. It was printed, signed, and sworn to by Bishop Alemany, who had by that time returned, and sent to Mr. Wilson seasonably to file with the commission within the time allowed by law. Somebody there—I presume Mr. Casserly and Mr. Wilson—detached the last leaf of the memorial, containing a few lines of the text, viz., beginning with the word “estrangeros” and ending with the words “page 516,” and the signatures and jurat, printed my concluding lines with two additional paragraphs, added my name to it, and had it verified by Reverned Hugh Gallagher, who was in Washington and held a power of attorney from the bishops, and in that altered condition, as shown on page 15 of the printed transcript, it was filed. I state these facts because Mr. Avila in his argument of the case suggests that my memorial was an ingenious effort to change the form of the claim from that adopted by Mr. Casserly; but that is an error on his part, as will be seen from the above.

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Among the papers given me by Archbishop Alemany in 1853 or 1854, whichever it was, was the one which I now produce authenticated by my signature (and which the notary marks “Exhibit No. 2” to this deposition), being the answer to his demand on Mexico for moneys of the Pious Fund made in 1852. It has remained in my possession ever since it was given me by him. I produce it in evidence because Sir Edward Thornton in his decision of the case indulged the presumption that the Archbishop’s demand on Mexico and Mexico’s refusal to pay must both have been verbal, and I produce this paper to show that such was not the case. I did not put it in evidence before the former arbitral court because I did not, at the time, regard it as important.

With respect to the sale of the hacienda Ciénega del Pastor by the Mexican Government a discovery has been asked from Mexico, first, of the letter from Señor Trigueros dated October 25, 1842, to the Señores Encargadosde la Tesoreria General, and, second, of the official communication of Señor Trigueros of the ministerio de hacienda dated November 23, 1842, to the same parties with endorsements thereon and the memorandum of November 23, 1842, etc. While I assume that such discovery will be made by Mexico in pursuance of the engagements of the protocol, yet lest anything should prevent the same I should state here that the copy, which in the demand for discovery is proposed for admission as authentic in case of the discovery not being made, is taken from a pamphlet the full title of which is as follows: “Documentos relativos al piadoso fondo de misiones para Conversion y Civilizacion de las numerosas tribus bárbaras de la Antigua y Neuva California, Publicalos el lie. Juan Rodriguez de S. Miguel, apoderado del illmo. Sr. Don Fr. Francisco Garcia Diego, primer Obispo de aqnella Diócesis. Mexico Año de 1845, Imprenta de Luis Abadiano y Valdés, Calle de las Escalerillas Numo. 13.”

In the said pamphlet the text of said first-mentioned letter is given as in the copy thereof I now hand the notary, and which is marked “Exhibit No. 3” to my deposition, with the following entry immediately after it shown on said Exhibit No. 3; and that of the second letter above mentioned is given in the same pamphlet in the words of the copy thereof I now hand the notary, and which is marked by him “Exhibit No. 4” to my deposition, with the entry and memorandum immediately after it as if copied from the letter itself, as shown on said Exhibit No. 4.

I am also informed by a person whose name I do not feel at liberty to give, but whom I confidently believe to be correctly informed, that the escritura de venta in the exhibits referred to is now in the official custody of a notary in the City of Mexico named Gil Mariano Leon; that it bears date November 29th, 1842; was executed in the presence of the notary, D. Ramon Villalobos, by Señores D. Tranquilino de la Vega y D. Nicolás María Fagoaga, como Ministros de la Tesorería General de la Nacion, and conveys to the Señores Liquidatários y demas socios de la estinguida empresa del Tabaco, las tres cuartas partes que le supreme gobierno tenía en la hacienda Ciénaga del Pastor y sus anexas, y en la hacienda San Augustin de Amoles con sus anexas de San José, Lavaya, San Ignacio del Buey, Custodio, Buena Vista, y todas las otras tierras y rancherías que cons tan en los respectivos documentos y se han considerado y consideran como pertenecientes á dicha finca, excepto la de San Pedro de Ibarra. Estan ubicadas estas propiedades [Page 403] en los estados de Guadalajara, San Luis Potosi, y Tamaulipas; Fueron pertenencia del fondo piadoso de Galifornias; el preeio de venta fué de $428,500. And that the document contains an entry in the words:

Acceptaron la escritura los Señores Francisco Paula Rubio y Manuel Fernandez como socios liquidatarios, y en representacion de los Señores Rubio Hermanos, Joaquin Maria Errazu, Filipe Neri del Barrio, Manuel Escandon, Benito de Maqua y Muriel Hermanos, que formaron la estinguida empresa del tabaco.

The price named, $428,500, is arrived at by capitalizing the several sums which said several properties produced as rent and adding thereto $3,000 for the llenos on the Ciénaga del Pastor; thus, the rent of the haciendas “San Agustin de Amoles,” “El Custodio,” “San Ignacio del Buey,” and “La Baya” was $12,705; three-fourths of the rent of the “Cienaga del Pastor” was $12,825; total rents, $25,530.

The price of the three-fourths of the Ciénaga del Pastor therefore was $12,825 capitalized at 6 per cent, which was $213,750, plus $3,000 for the llenos makes $216,750. This item we were entitled to our share of, but lost it by the deduction made in consequence of an attachment, which appears not to have affected the price for which Mexico sold it.

2. The charge in the memorial that $7,000 was erroneously deducted from the capital of the fund as a bad debt involves merely a correct appreciation of the expression of D. Pedro Ramirez in his enumeration of créditos activos del fondo, under the heading la hacienda pública, in these words:

Otro de siété mil ps (pesos) que por órden executiva del supremo Gobierno para que entregaren los Señores Revillas veinte mil, exibió su apoderado D. Francisco Barrera en 20 de Octubre de 1829, y un pagare contra la Compañia Alamania Mexicana, que no se cobró.

In this passage the words “que no se cobro” (which was not collected) refer in my opinion to the pagaré or promissory note of the German Mexican Company, and I therefore understand the transaction here mentioned to have been this: The Government, desiring to pay to the Señores Re villas $20,000, ordered that amount to be paid to their apoderado D. Francisco Barrera, out of the Pious Fund, on his depositing against it the pagaré of the German Mexican Company for $7,000 of the amount. The relation is not complete, but considering the habit of the Government of resorting to the Pious Fund, when other sources of ready cash were not available, this appears to me the most probable interpretation of it, and if it be correct, instead of asking for seven thousand dollars here, I should have demanded $20,000. It is for the official interpreters of the tribunal to say whether my interpretation of it is correct. I think it undoubtedly was intended to state a demand on behalf of the fund against the Government, which must have been solvent for this sum as for the other and larger demands enumerated against it.

My authority for stating in the memorial, on information and belief, that the Mexican Government borrowed from the Pious Fund about July, 1834, various sums amounting to $22,763.15 is the letter of D. Pedro Ramirez of January 28th, 1842, addressed to the minister of justice and public instruction, where, discussing the question whether the costs of the expedition of colonization therein mentioned should be borne by the Pious Fund, he mentions (Transcript, p. 160) that, examining last evening a bundle of papers containing an account of the rents of the Arroyo Sarco, which was one of the estates of the fund, he found an acknowledgment that there had been taken from [Page 404] that source $5,200 for the purpose, and in another it is seen that the late General Parres, who then administered the hacienda Ciénega del Pastor, had expended $6,000 in the comisaria de Jalisco, which were remitted to the treasurer of the navy at San Bias for the expense of embarking, and that in another it appeared that the late junta del fondo piadoso had turned over $5,154.4 reals which were in the fund for its proper objects, and had given a draft in favor of the supreme Government for $6,008 dollars odd reals and grains for the same purpose, to which should be added $400 already employed in the same way, amounting in all to $22,763 and over.

The name of the vessel (La Corbetta Morelos) and the point of embarcation (San Bias) identify this enterprise with the colonization (expedition) which sailed from San Bias about August 1st, 1834, under Padres and Hijar, of which an account will be found in any history of California of that period. In Bancroft’s it occurs at Vol. III, page 259 et seq.

The same letter of Ramirez discloses another transaction of the Mexican Government with the Pious Fund, which should lead to an augmentation of its capital over what the Mixed Commission allowed it, is that, as Mr. Ramirez points out, the Government had borrowed sixty thousand dollars at two per cent per month interest, and hypothecated the whole of the Pious Fund as security for the loan. Mr. F. Ramirez had already paid more than thirty thousand dollars out of the fund on account of this transaction, for which reason he was forced to ask indulgence in the way of time to pay Mr. Barron two thousand which he was pressed to do (p. 160, Transcript).

After the ratification of the treaty of Guadaloupe Hidalgo, between the United States and Mexico, the U. S. Congress passed an act under which a commission was appointed for ascertaining and settling private claims to land in the State of California. It consisted of three commissioners, with their secretary and interpreters, and before them all private claims to land within the State were required to be presented and proved. The United States were represented before the tribunal by a law agent and his assistant, as mentioned in the first part of this deposition. I was retained, in conjunction with Mr. Eugene Casserly, by Rt. Rev. Joseph S. Alemany, then R. C. Bishop of Monterey (who was afterward translated to the archdiocese of San Francisco), to present to and prove before this commission court the claim of the Catholic Church, represented by him, to the church edifices, cemeteries, mission buildings, orchards, vineyards, and gardens, etc., at each of the missions in this State, as well as some other lands claimed by the church under grant from the Mexican Government for ecclesiastical purposes, as, ex. gr., the support of a particular church, the founding and support of a college, etc., and with Mr. Casserly conducted the said proceedings.

Certain correspondence between Bishop Francisco Garcia Diego and the Supreme Government of Mexico, a copy of which, certified by the U. S. surveyor-general for this State (in whose custody the records of the proceedings of said commission court are now retained by law), is now produced and maked Exhibit No. 5 to the deposition of John T. Doyle, and identified by my signature. That correspondence was proved, offered, and accepted in evidence in the aforesaid proceedings in the said land commission court. 1 have myself compared the [Page 405] copy certified by the surveyor-general of the “peticiones que ha hecho al Supremo Gobierno el I. Sr. Obispo de Californias” and the official memorandum and certificate at the end thereof, which occupy the first six pages of said exhibit, with the original document on the files of the surveyor-general’s office, and found the same to be a correct copy thereof and of the whole thereof. The seventh page of said exhibit 1 did not personally compare.

The lands petitioned for by said Bishop Alemany in said proceeding were, by decree of said commission court, confirmed to him on behalf of the church, and patents therefor were duly issued by the United States, under which said lands are now held. I now present an extract from the opinion and decision of the court in that case, which is marked Exhibit No. 6 to the deposition of John T. Doyle, and identified by my signature. It is a correct and true extract from said opinion and shows the ground on which the decision proceeded. The whole opinion is too long to be quoted in extenso, as, besides quoting decisions by other courts of the legal questions presented, it contained a description of the various parcels of land, the title of which was confirmed, rendering it of very great length.

The appeal from the decision of the land commission court to the district court of the U. S., which was by the law directed in all cases where the decision was adverse to the United States, was dismissed by the Attorney-General of the U. S. of his own motion, thus distinctly acquiescing in the propriety of the decision of the commission court.

In examining the printed transcript I have discovered various typographical errors, more especially in the paper in foreign languages. Most of them I think are to be accounted for by the bad handwriting in which originals are written, and in almost all instances the errors are explainable on the face of the papers. On page 172, however, the words “que no sé cobro” are omitted at the end of line 25 and should be supplied as [illegible word] correctly on page 491, line 12, where the same document is repeated. The bull of appointment of Bishop Alemany on pp. 43 and 44 is full of blunders, but they are of no materiality, and I believe the document appears correctly in another part of the transcript.

John T. Doyle.

And therefore I, James T. O’Keefe, being such notary public, in. and for the county and State aforesaid, hereby certify that the foregoing deposition so made by said John T. Doyle was reduced to writing by me personally and was thereafter carefully read by me to the said deponent and was corrected and signed by him in my presence.

I further certity that the said deponent, John T. Doyle, is personally known to me and that he is entitled to full faith and credit in everything he says. I further certify that I am not the attorney for either of the parties in the above-entitled suit and have no interest in the claim before the court. Nor am I the attorney for any person having such interest.

Jas. T. O’Keefe,
Notary Public in and for said San Mateo County,
State of California.