AMERICAN WRITES OF AFFRONTS
AND WRONGS COMMITTED
BY THE REBELS.
TAFT MUCH TO BLAME
Writer Places Responsibility for Do-
Nothing Policy of American Govern-
ment on the President and State
Department-Intervention Seems to
Be the Only Solution.The following communication from the interior of Mexico to The Missoulian gives a graphic description of the conditions in the war-ridden republic to the south. It is a vivid portrayal of the acts and deeds occurring daily which are causing distress and suffering to Americans and other foreigners who are practically without protection of any kind against the depredations of the roving rebel bands. It contains a drastic arraignment of the do-nothing policy of the state department at Washington. The letter was forwarded from Madera, in the state of Chihuahua, through a conductor on the Mexico Northwestern railroad. It was mailed from El Paso, Texas, after a journey of several days through a region infested by rebels and outlaws. It follows:
Editor Missoulian: Believing that some of what has happened in this blood-stained, war-scarred country in the last few weeks would be of interest to the people of the northwest. I will make an effort to make known a few of them in this locality. We have had no communication with the out-side world for some time, on account of the destruction of the Mexico Northwestern railway, running from Chihuahua, Mexico, to El Paso, Texas, a distance of about 400 miles, since the first of August to El Paso, but finally did get trains running to Chihuahna on the eighth of the month, which helped out some, so far as supplies were concerned.
Brigand Rojas arrived here with 1,500 drunken looters on the 26th of July and proceeded to take everything portable. The Madera company's large store was completely cleaned out by this set of evil-faced thieves. The company claims they took about $60,000 worth of stock and proceeded to sell it on the streets for whatever they could get for It. The most of them were full of Tequlla, a vile drink sold in this country. They filled the Madera hotel full of lazy, lousy peons, who never ate in a dining room before, nor enjoyed the comforts of a comfortable bed in all their miserable lives. It took three days to fumigate and rearrange this large hostelry after those lawless vagrants left. They made a demand on the Americans for firearms and backed it up with the threat that unless they did they would search the houses and take the arms by force. This was too much of a demand. They were politely told they might ruin and wreck corporation property, but when it came to enter the sacred doors of a private home they would meet with stubborn resistance and the only way they could accomplish their brutal desire was to kill every American in the colony. They were also told that while they were killing the Americans would not remain idle, but would get many of them in the meantime. This threat made the cowardly army of thieves think differently of the matter. Then the fear of those drunken ruffians insulting the women of the foreign colony brought on another nervous feeling worse than the first, but this was happily averted. The next day Mr. Wisdom, manager for the Madera company, arranged for a special train to remove women and children [End of Page One][Pg. 4]
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from the zone of danger to El Paso. and also procured first-class accommodations at the leading hotels until all danger was over, all free of charge.
The same train is now on its way back to Madera again, and tied up at Pearson last night, August 25, on account of high Water. Pearson is about 100 miles north of here and has another $5,000,000 lumber plant of the Dr. Pearson property.
Now is the time of year they call the rainy season, raining every afternoon with even regularity, causing raging torrents of water in river beds that are dry at all other times of the year.
In other parts of this unhappy country foreigners did not fare so well. The Mormon colonies, north of here, suffered untold misery and plunder through a band of brigands under a cruel monster named Salazar, who took everything they had and insulted them in the most outrageous language, as well as all Americans in general. I will quote a few words he used in a speech at Pearson to the Americans and Mexicans assembled:
"We have been listening to the blow-hard talk of American power and strength for years and really believed you did amount to something, but in fact find you are a lot of blowhard cowards. For we have killed your men, outraged your wives, spat in your face and what more can we do to insult you. You have a spineless president at Washington aiding the Madero government, and bringing on the enmity of all Mexicans."
This was most humiliating to hear. Americans keenly felt the insult but what could they do, as they were out numbered 50 to 1, and had no fire-arms. One word of resentment would have brought about an indiscriminate slaughter.
The government at Washington is a complete mystery to Americans in Mexico, who seemed dumfounded at its action. For instance, instead of the state department making any effort to help relatives get a fair sum of money for those killed a year ago last March, during the so-called battle of Juarez between the Diaz and Madero forces, it is actually preventing the fair settlement of those just claims. The German government compelled the payment of $25,000 gold for two subjects killed in a most brutal manner. The Chinese government forced the payment of $5,000 per head for 300 Chinese killed in a like brutal manner at Torreon. The Mexican consul at El Paso offers in a sneering manner $1,000 gold for each American killed on American soil and $500 for those who lost part of their anatomy under the same conditions during these later battles across the Rio Grande river at El Paso. To sum it up, one German is worth five Americans. so you can see how the Mexican government values the life of an American citizen, aided by the rotten state department at Washington, with its dollar diplomacy in trade.
If there is any doubt of the above statement it can be easily verified by writing to the El Paso Herald or Times or any public officer (except federal) of the city of El Paso.
Now a little more about Chief Bandit Rojas. While here he had six concubines in his army of plunder and remained here in a drunken stupor considerable of his time closed up in a room at the Madera hotel with those wretched women. He also had several of his looters shot for some cause or other while here. When the wholesale looting of American property took place here, a Mr. Lethbridge, an Englishman, in charge of a livery stable, run up the British Jack on his flag-pole. Even as bad as those robbers wanted horses they took immediate notice of this danger signal and after muttering many "mucho que da dos para Brittinaca," meaning in English, "Take care, this is British," they did not disturb nor take one of his animals. It shows the wholesome fear the British government has instilled into these mongrel natives, who have no regard for decency nor word of honor, although the Madera people are mostly British subjects, but unfortunate in having most of their properties chartered from the states.The Next Move.
After their looting and drunken revelry here they started for the state of Sonora, due west from here, encountered an American ranch west of Madera, killed all his goats, confiscated horses, destroyed his growing crops, and worse than all, shot his arm off. This unfortunate man walked several miles to Madaera for medical treatment. They also plundered the Dolores Mining company store of $6,000 cash and $30,000 worth of goods. That is the last we heard of the bloodthirsty, murderously inclined, drunken Rojas, with his 1,500 thieves, making descent on the unhappy state of Sonora.Great Railway Losses.
The property loss to the Mexico Northwestern Railway company is beyond estimate; all their bridges on about 400 miles of track have been repeatedly destroyed, but the company seems equally determined to rebuild as fast as destroyed. Against the inaction of the Mexican government, making little if any effort to rebuild the 224 miles of track on the old Mixican Central, between Chihuahua and El Paso, that does not require one-sixth of the labor nor expense that it does to rebuild the Northwestern road, which runs through a rough, mountainous country, requiring long, high bridges. This inaction is characteristic with the Mexican government in everything else, even to the movement of troops to protect life and property, and were it not for the Mexico Northwestern it would be impossible for Madero to get troops to the border town of Juarez before December.
Several troop trains passed through here 4n the last 10 days for the north on their way to Pearson, Casa Grandes and Juarez. They were well supplied with the requirements of war. The soldiers were well dressed, not like the Diaz soldiers of the past. The officers in command were very friendly to all foreigners and natives alike. The soldiers were very orderly and respectful toward foreigners and natives alike, but their movements were very slow, as most of the trains remained here two or three days, when all this trouble was going on north of us.
All this destruction of American property and the insults are caused by the blundering state department at Washington aiding the Madero government against the rebels in stationing American soldiers at the north side of the internationa1 border at El Paso and searching all persons crossing into Mexico for contraband of war, using American soldiers at the request of Madero for this purpose, utterly disgusting the soldiers, pleasing no one, and bringing on the enmity of all classes of Mexicans. We are in receipt of a copy of the Mexican Herald of recent date, with a leading editorial stating that moderate intervention by the United States in Mexico would not be offensive to the Mexican government, but on the contrary would be welcome to protect home and foreign property until such time as the Mexican federal troops could be moved to those brigand strongholds. This paper is American property and very close to the Mexican government officials. I presume this editorial was inspired in order to remove any doubts entertained by Americans in regard to this troublesome matter. I am also forwarding you under separate cover clippings from the El Paso papers conveying the sentiments of all classes of people from the border city who know from experience and asociation with Mexico what is most needed. It is also safe to say that fully two-thirds of the industrious people of the northern states of Mexico would be in favor of American oocupation. The most of those people understand Engligh, a great many have either worked in the states or lived there for some time. They read American papers and magazines and are very much pro-American in manners and ideas. These are not the people that molest you, on the contrary they will protect you if they can. The disorderly element here are the robber bands that President Diaz suppressed for many years and which are now breaking out with renewed energy under a feeble government unable to hold them in check. Conditions are bad and constantly growing worse. It is a disgrace to modern civilization to see miles of the finest land on earth going to waste on account of this robber instinct coming to the surface, bringing on strife where there is neither principle nor honor involved, but pure personal ambition of the unlettered monster, Orozco to get control of the federal government in order to loot that, aided by an old sorehead ex-governor of Chihuahua, an adherent of the Diaz party. Terrazas, who owns more than half of this state, and in the trail of this men, women and children going naked and hungry. The scene is a most touching one and baffles description.
If the American people ever did a charitable act they would be doing a lasting one to stop this criminal butchery going on among these poor, robbed and deluded people. They are more like children than grown people and look to Americans for advice and information. They are easily controlled and make fairly good and obedient servants when properly treated. But proper treatment from the governing class in Mexico is a foreign article they know nothing about. They are treated more like beasts of burden than living human beings.Our President.
All the people here from the northern republic are on edge over the degration they have had to submit to and wonder what sort of imbecile brains rule at Washington. This burlesque on the honorable name of a president that eats well, sleeps well, thinks little and takes on more fat, makes the public statement that history will uphold his act to have citizens of the country he has the honor to preside over as president murdered, robbed, kicked and cuffed in a foreign country by an organized band of robbers, for they are nothing else. Who ever read of history upholding a cowardly knave like him? The pages of history are not to be disgraced by mentioning his hated name. There are many people here with the Madera company from Montana who respectfully request The Missoulian to give this letter the widest publicity, so the patriotic people of the country will know what has taken place. We all believe the truth has been suppressed by the Washington authorities or public sentiment would force the unfeeling president to act.
Just picture the scene in your mind's eye, of honest, industrious, inoffensive people driven from their well-supplied homes at Casa Grandes and robbed on the way of the few dollars they possessed by a band of highway robbers, to accept charity from the citizens of El Paso and sleep in a lumber yard at the same place with no cover except the azure blue vault of the heavens for cold comfort, and what is left of their once comfortable, I might say, beautiful homes they have labored so hard to acquire, we have not yet heard. However, you can believe with some certainty that the hand of the d[e]spoiler fell heavily upon them.
Taxes have gone skyward; an increase of 5 to 15 per cent has been added to nearly all import duties. Corn and beans are the chief articles of diet here among the poor and are taxed three times between the pot and the peon's stomach. The Americans also help to pay the penalty of these bushwacking hoboes. A 1-cent package of American tobacco, made by the American Tobacco trust, costs 50 cents here and everything else is in proportion.
Among the many Montana people here is Mr. Thomas Kilpatrick, mana[g]er of the Madera hotel, an ex-conductor of the Rocky mountain division of the Northern Pacific, well known to the old settlers of western Montana. It is unnecessary to say he makes equally as good a hotel manager as he did a railway conductor.
In conclusion will state that I passed through another so-called mongrel republic, Guatemala, last December. The only thing of note I saw or heard there was that notorious tyrant, Cabrera, president of the country, was shot at every time he appeared in public.
Trusting this will meet your approval for publication, I am sincerely yours,
P.H. Lavelle, Madera, Chihuahua, Mexico, August 26, 1912.[The Daily Missoulian, Missoula, Montana, Sunday Morning, September 15, 1912. Vol. XXXIX. No. 133. Pgs. 1 & 4]