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CONVERSE Source Articles

July 2009

The following text is from "The Biographical History of Pottawattamie County, Iowa" published by the Lewis Publishing Co. in 1891. A ball-point pen copy of the first article was found among the things inherited from Alice Lecretia (CONVERSE) GOSS. One notable discrepancy is noted between the two texts: the name of the first Mrs. CONVERSE. The handwritten text says "Elizabeth Ann WERMER" but book says "Elizabeth VAN WERMER":

"The Biographical History of Pottawattamie County, Iowa"
Lewis Publishing Co., 1891, pp. 500-502

"William CONVERSE a prominent farmer of Valley Township [Pottawattamie Co., Pennsylvania], descended from an old American family, of English descent, who settled in Vermont in early days."

"The grandfather of our subject, a farmer in Plattsburg, that State, was the father of seven children, the sons being Erastus [Sr.], William, Chase, Jesse, and John, and the daughters, Polly and Jemima."

"Erastus [Sr.], the father of William, went to Pennsylvania, and was there married to Elizabeth VAN WERMER, and they had six children: John, William, George B., Henry B., Erastus [Jr.], and a daughter who died in infancy. George B., and Erastus [Jr.] served in the Union Army four years, and George died in the service."

"In 1842, the father brought his family to Iowa, settling on a claim where the land was not yet surveyed, in what is now Greene Township, Iowa County. This State was then an entirely new country and he had to go seventy miles for his groceries, the family having to rely upon their own production for most of their supplies, which consisted mainly of corn, bread and buckwheat cakes, with wild game and fish. For five years they were without beef, pork, coffee, sugar and milk. Tea they made of "red root" (Ceanothus Americanus). The corn they ground with a hand mill. Their clothing was mostly made of buckskin. They lived in a big log cabin, with no sawed timber except the doors and window casings, which were made from their dry-goods boxes that they had brought from Pennsylvania and their floors were of puncheon. But they had a comfortable home and were content. There were no schools, churches, roads, courts, lawyers or even a justice of the peace, and but one doctor who lived nine miles distant. The people were healthy, happy and peaceable; their habits were simple and they were friendly and hospitable, helping each other for miles around."

"Mr. [Erastus] CONVERSE lived to be the age of 43 years, dying from exhaustion brought on by riding 70 miles on horseback without a saddle for a doctor for his sick son. His widow is still living at the age of 80 years, with her son William. When she first came to Iowa, the Sac [Sauk] and Fox Indians were very numerous but friendly, and Keokuk [1790?-1848?], the celebrated chief, used to come to their cabin, and frequently partook of their hospitality.

"William CONVERSE the subject of this sketch, was born in Rockdale Township, Crawford Co., Pennsylvania and was but nine years of age when his parents came to Iowa. He was brought up in the wilderness and received no education when a boy, as the nearest school at the time of his father's death was 22 miles, and he never had the benefit of but 6 months of schooling."

"When his father died his brother two years his senior [John], and himself were the support of the family, and at the age of 14 he did a man's work. He learned from his father and the Indians to hunt, and the meat for the family was procured in this way. He often, when hunting with the Indians, partook of their hospitality, and describes their cooking as being clean and orderly. After his marriage, Mr. CONVERSE settled in what is now Greene Township, Iowa County, where he lived 29 years and where he owned a farm of 226 acres. He sold this place and in 1871 came to Pottawattamie Co., settling on his present farm of 320 acres in Valley Township. It was wild land when he purchased it 19 years ago, but he has since converted it into a fine cultivated farm to which he has since added until he now owns 400 acres. Mr. CONVERSE set out all his shade and fruit trees; also has many good buildings, and a splendid orchard of 300 bearing trees, and a good vineyard."

"Politically he is a Republican, but is an independent thinker, and liberal in all his views, voting for the man instead of the politician. He is a member of the Farmers' Alliance, and is president of the Auto-Horse Thief Society, which office he has held for 17 years. He also has been a member of the Masons, Odd Fellows and Good Templars orders. He is a strong temperance man and has subscribed liberally for the cause. He has taken an active part in the cause of education and the good of the schools, and has served as School Director for years, and also as president of the School Board. Mr. CONVERSE stands high in his community as an upright and honorable man is always found on the side of reform and in defense of the right. He has the honor of being one of the founders of the great and wealthy State of Iowa, as he has been with her from the beginning, endured all the hardships and privation allotted to her eldest sons, and has been equal to the vicissitudes of life in her borders."

"Mr. CONVERSE was married at the age of 19, to Miss Jane C. HENRY, then aged 15 years, daughter of Williamson A. and Sarah (RICHARDSON) HENRY. The father was originally from Kentucky, but went to Ohio, and finally settled in Johnson County, Iowa, between 1835 and 1842. They were the parents of seven children: Nancy, Jane, Rebecca, Fannie, Mary A., William A., and Franklin P. Mr. HENRY was a soldier in the Black Hawk war; was one of the pioneers of Iowa State and city, and assisted in drawing the stone for the State University. He kept a tavern in Iowa City for many years, and lived to the age of 55 years. To Mr. and Mrs. William CONVERSE have been born six children: John, Charles [H.], Mary, Ella, Emma and Clara. Mrs. CONVERSE is a member of the Baptist Church. William CONVERSE has practiced medicine for 40 years, and for the last 25 years has had a large practice. He is now living on his own farm, and is dealing in imported Clydesdales and French draft horses, high-grade mares, high-grade red-polled cattle and pure-bred Poland-China swine."

"History of Pottawattamie County, Vol. II,"
Historic Times Co., 1907, A.J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1907;
by Homer H. FIELD and Hon. Joseph R. REED, pp. 982-986

"William CONVERSE is numbered among Iowa's pioneers of the year 1842. The state organization had not then been effected and in fact it was four years before it ceased to be under territorial rule. There were great tracts of wild land still unclaimed and uncultivated and over the prairies roamed deer and other wild game. The land was rich in possibilities but the tide of immigration had not yet brought to the state the vast number of people who were to make use of its natural resources in the founding of the splendid commonwealth here."

"Mr. CONVERSE was born in Crawford county, Pennsylvania, on the 20th of October, 1833, and was therefore nine years of age when the family came to this territory. His parents were Erastus and Elizabeth CONVERSE, natives of Vermont and Connecticut [sic] respectively. The father always followed the occupation of farming. On coming to Iowa the Indian reservation extended to within three miles of his claim and the land on which he settled had not yet come into the market. He built a log house with clap-board roofing, puncheon floor and puncheon door, and occupied that primitive cabin for five years, meeting with all the hardships and difficulties and bravely facing all the dangers incident to the settlement of the far west. His nearest trading point at the time was Burlington, Iowa, and for five years the family never had any meat except wild game, including deer, turkeys and prairie chickens. Mr. CONVERSE remembers to have seen his father shoot a large deer from the cabin door in the early morning before breakfast. He has seen as many as one hundred wild turkeys in a drove and a herd of 28 deer, in Iowa county, one of which he shot. This scared the others, which disappeared before he could fire again. Deer were killed within three miles of his present home. During his boyhood there were four years that the family did not have wheat flour, sugar, tea or coffee, but lived principally on buckwheat flour ground by hand and sifted with a sieve, while tea was made from red root. At the time they had neither a cow nor a hog. Although they had no sugar for five years, bee hives were often found in the timber and honey was a good substitute."

"After a residence in Iowa of five years the father died but the mother [reared] her children upon the claim in Iowa county, which he had secured, until they had attained majority and started out in life on their own account. In 1880 she came with her son William to Pottawattamie county and here made her home until called to her final rest in 1900 when in her 88th year. In the family were six children but only three are now living: John, a resident of California; William, of this review; and Erastus T., living in Canada. Two of the sons, George and Henry, were soldiers of the Civil war, the latter belonging to the Illinois Sharpshooters, and both died in the army."

"During his boyhood William CONVERSE aided in the arduous task of developing a new farm and bringing the fields to a state of rich fertility. He has known what it is to live many miles from neighbors, the wild unbroken prairie stretching for miles around. Each day brought its task and each night saw their fulfillment, for the members of the CONVERSE household were people of industry who never slighted their work. In those early days dressed pork sold for a dollar and a half per hundred at Iowa City, and Mr. CONVERSE has seen deer sell for a dollar and a half apiece and prairie chicken for 18 cents per dozen."

"Leaving home at the age of 17 years he entered the employ of the government as a teamster, hauling freight from Fort Snelling, Minnesota, to where they were building Fort Gaines. He was also employed as a cook at the latter place for a time. Minneapolis was then known as St. Anthony's Falls and contained but one house, in which were boarded the mill hands. After a year spent in that region Mr. CONVERSE returned home and resumed farming, which pursuit he has since followed. In connection with his farming operations he prepared himself for the practice of veterinary surgery and has followed that calling for 40 years. In 1871 he arrived in Pottawattamie county and bought 400 acres of land where he now lives in Valley township, paying 7 dollars per acre for 320 acres and 9 dollars per acre for the remainder. He has improved the land by tilling it, has erected substantial buildings and has carried on the work of the fields along modern progressive lines. He uses the latest improved machinery in planting, cultivating and harvesting his high grade horses, handling imported stock - French draft Clydesdale and French coach horses."

"in 1852 Mr. CONVERSE was united in marriage to Miss Jane HENRY, who was born in Ohio, May 24, 1836, and is a daughter of William and Sarah (RICHARDSON) HENRY. In their family were 12 children, while unto Mr. and Mrs. CONVERSE were born six children, five of whom are yet living, namely: Mary, the wife of Melvin MACRAE, of Valley township; Charles H., of California; Ella, the wife of Archie TALBOTT, also of Valley township; Emma, the wife of Charles DEWEY, of Dexter; and Clara, the wife of Leslie OLSEN, of Valley township. The wife and mother passed away November 28, 1904, leaving a husband and five children to mourn her loss, beside many friends who esteemed her for her good traits of character."

"In politics Mr. CONVERSE was formerly a republican but now affiliates with the democratic party. Although not a politician in the sense of office seeking he has served as township trustee and for 14 years has been a member of the school board. For 17 consecutive years he was president of the Anti-Horse Thief Association, and he is a member of the Masonic lodge at Avoca, the Odd Fellows lodge at Hancock, and the Good Templars lodge in Valley township, being connected with the last named order for 55 years. His life has been in harmony with the beneficent spirit of these fraternities which have their basic principles in mutual helpfulness and brotherly kindness. Mr. CONVERSE is an early settler of Pottawattamie county and one of the pioneers of the state, having for 65 years resided within its borders. Few men have more intimate knowledge of its history from the standpoint of personal experience and personal observation. His reminiscences of pioneer life are intensely interesting and his memory forms a connecting link between the primitive past and the progressive present."

In May 1924, the widow Amelia S. CONVERSE filed suit against (the Mexican government) for $25,000 each on behalf of both her deceased husband Lawrence F. CONVERSE and his revolutionary comrade Edward M. BLATT for their "false arrest, abduction, wrongful imprisonment, and cruel and inhuman treatment" by the Mexican government. The claim was disapproved citing that the 1912 US military commission investigation had found their "capture was one of the fates they challenged when they embarked in their Mexican insurgent enterprise."

Law Suit Claim
[Page 2]

"...soundness of the propositions of law laid down by the Military Commission and the justice of its recommendations are vigorously, albeit respectfully, challenged by the claimant before this honorable Commission."

"Claimant in this memorandum will endeavor briefly to summarize the salient and admitted facts, with quotations and citations from the Record of the hearing of these cases before the Military Commission (hereinafter cited as Rec., p.--), and briefly to discuss the controlling propositions of law, all growing out of the effect given by the Military Commission to the participation of Messrs. CONVERSE and BLATT in the MADERO revolution in Mexico, the Military Commission having denied relief to claimants simply and solely because of their revolutionary activies."

"Counsel are appearing before the Commission under a power of attorney given May 8, 1924, by Mrs. Amelia T. CONVERSE [sic], widow of Lawrence F. CONVERSE, to Richard F. BURGES and William C. DENNIS and transmitted to the Department of State in a letter of William C. DENNIS, dated May 15, 1924. Counsel are in possession of a prior power of attorney given August 22, 1912, to Richard F. BURGES and A. R. BURGES, constituting the firm of BURGES and BURGES, Lawyers, of El Paso County, Texas, and signed by Lawrence CONVERSE and by Edward M. BLATT. This power of attorney contains an arrangement as to compensation, which, however, probably would not amount to a power coupled with an interest and unfortunately Counsel have entirely lost track of Mr. BLATT and are unable to state whether or not he is still alive, or, if dead, who represents his rights or those of his heirs or representatives may be protected so far as the situation permits. The facts of his case and the legal questions arising out of the facts are substantially the same as in the CONVERSE case."

"II. Citizenship of Claimant"

"The citizenship of Lawrence F. CONVERSE is unquestioned and amply sustained by the Record before the Military Commission. The Military Commission..."
[Page 3]
"...found on this point as follows:"

"'In this case it is clearly proven that claimant * * * is a citizen of the United States, born in Pottawattamie County, Iowa, December 17, 1889.' (Rec., p. 47.)"
"And again, referring both to CONVERSE and BLATT, --"
"'The claiments are both young, native-born American citizens.' (Rec., p. 8. CONVERSE, it will be observed, was a trifle over twenty-one years old at the ime he was kidnapped and imprisoned.)"
"III. Nationality of the Place of Arrest"

"The finding of the Military Commission is equally specific as respects the nationality of the place of arrest. The Commission finds ---"

"'In this case it is clearly proven that claimant [Lawrence F. CONVERSE] was illegally arrested on American territory and carried to Mexico [italics supplied.' (Rec., p. 47.)"

"Again --"

"'The two [CONVERSE and BLATT] were observed and followed by Federal Mexican troops, but succeeded in crossing the Rio Grande at a point where it is the boundary; and having achieved, as they thought, a safe place, they rested near the river on the American side. There they were set upon by Mexicans -- undoubtedly sent by the Federal Mexican officers -- captured, and taken across the river into Mexico.' (Rec., p. 8.)"

"Further --"

"'The commission believes their capture on American soil to have been deliberate and to have been instigated by the military authorities of Mexico, a part of whose forces were drawn up on the southern bank of the river, to receive the two captured Americans, and which, in fact, did receive and hold them immediately after those affecting the seizure had brought them to the Mexican side. The whole procedure was an international wrong done to this country * * *.' (Rec., p. 10.)"

"And finally --"

"'The commission visited in person the scene of this kidnapping, and from this inspection, from the evidence adduced in the case, and from consulting the treaties between Mexico and the United States bearing upon the boundaries of the two countries, it is satisfied that CONVERSE and BLATT were seized upon United States territory.' (Rec., p. 12; see also map to face Record, p. 50.)"

"Conveyance through American territory under arrest:"

"Not content with having violated American territory and infringed American sovereignty in making the arrest, General NAVARRO, Mexican Federal Commander in the State of Chihuahua, into whose hands the claimants were promptly..."
[Page 4]
"...delivered by their captors, conveyed CONVERSE and BLATT from Guadalupe to Juarez across American territory, the so-called 'Island' of San Elizario, which lies on the right or Mexican bank of the present channel of the Rio Grande, but which was formally adjudicated American territory by the International Boundary Commission, United States and Mexico, and formally monumented by the Commission. (Rec., pp. 51, 52, 53, Map B to face p. 51, Rec., p. 59.) General NAVARRO's column comprised from 600 to 800 men, including a detachment of approximately 80 men armed and equipped for military service. (Rec., p. 53) When he was taken across the American boundary line at Monument No. 11, CONVERSE specifically called the attention of one of his captors, the Mexican captain HERNANDEZ, to the fact that they were on United States territory, and demanded that he be released. HERNANDEZ, by way of reply, threatened to recapture or shoot him should he attempt to escape. (Rec., p. 59.) The Military Commission finds, as respects this second violation of American territory as follows:"

"'They [CONVERSE and BLATT] were carried as prisoners from Guadalupe, Mexico, to Juarez, Mexico * * *. In passing from Guadalupe to Juarez the road crosses once or twice into American territory. CONVERSE called the attention of his captors to this fact while on the United States side and demanded release, but was refused.' (Rec, p. 8.)"

"Again, in a supplementary report in regard to another claim, that of one Richard BROWN, the Military Commission refers to the fact that the Guadalupe-Juarez road crosses the international boundary line in the following language:"

"'Much emphasis is laid upon the fact that in carrying this prisoner from Guadalupe to Juarez the rurales passed along a road which at times wanders over the border and pursues for short distances its route upon American soil. Let it be conceded that for armed Mexicans to cross into our territory without the permission of our Government is to affront our sovereignty * * *.' (Rec., p. 19.)"
"IV. Treatment of Claimant"

"The findings of the Military Commission with respect to the harsh and cruel treatment received by the claimant at the time of his illegal arrest on American territory, during his conveyance to Juarez, and during his two..."
[Page 5]
"...months' confinement there are brief but emphatic. The Commission finds:"

"'They were carried as prisoners from Guadalupe, Mexico, to Juarez, Mexico, and incarcerated in the common jail for two months.' Further, 'There were circumstances of humiliation and discomfort connected with their captivity.' (Rec., p. 8.) And finally, 'In this case it is clearly proven that claimant * * * was submitted to indignities, confined in cold, damp, and filthy jail, and that his health was temporarily injured as a result of said imprisonment.' (Rec., p. 47.)"

"The Military Commission would probably have summarized the evidence showing the ill-treatment of the claimant in greater details but for the fact that it had determined not to assess any amount of damages, because, in its view, the claim was defeated by the unneutral conduct of claimant. Had the Commission seen fit to go into further detail, it would have had no difficulty in substantiating its findings from the evidence before it in the Record. (See, in particular, evidence as to binding the prisoners and putting ropes around their necks, Rec., pp. 57, 60, 62, etc.; threatening to shoot them and illustrating the threat with a drawn revolver, Rec., pp. 58, 59, 62; vilifying them, Rec., p. 58; holding them incomunicado for seventy-two hours, Rec., p. 60; thrusting them into the filthy, unsanitary jail without sufficient food, clothing, or medical attention, to the injury of their health, Rec., pp. 60, 61, 67, 69, 70, 71, 73.) Sanitary conditions during the seventy-two hours the prisoners were incomunicado are described by claimant as follows:"

"'We were placed incomunicado for a period of about 72 hours; the term incomunicado means being imprisoned in a dark cell and not being allowed to talk to anyone * * *. We were first confined in separate cells, both of them being dungeons * * * Adobe construction, with a dirt floor; these cells were regularly used for such purpose, and the prisoners are not allowed outside undry any circumstances; consequently all the urine, and so forth, was left in the cell until the prisoner was let out.' (Rec., p. 60.)"

"When the period in which the prisoners were held incomunicado was ended, conditions were slightly improved in certain respects and were described by Mr. CONVERSE as follows:"

"'In the doors of the cells in which we were confined there was a small hole about breast high, which was about 6 inches in diameter; we were locked in for the night and were not permitted to leave the cells until the morning, except during the last few days of our incarceration.'

'At night when we wished to urinated we did so in a small can and then threw it through the hole in the door out into the patio in front of the cells; and that had been going on for 100 years or more. I know..."
[Page 6]
"...the jail has been there for 100 years and may be longer. Every time it would rain a little bit this filthy stench would come up. It was something terrible. During the day the excrement from the food we ate was dropped on a piece of paper and then we had to pick the paper up and throw the whole thing into barrels. These barrels were left in the patio all day and were carried out just before the prisoners were turned out into the patio in the morning. The barrels were carried out by some of the prisoners. As Mr. TURNER, one of our witnesses, stated, these conditions were improved during the last few weeks of our stay there.' (Rec., p. 71.)"

"The Military Commission endeavored to save time and perhaps also the 'face' of the Mexican Government by entering at this point on the Record the following admission:"

"'It is admitted of record by the commission that the food was unpalatable, the service poor, and that the cells in which these prisoners were confined were insanitary and unpleasant and that the toilet arrangements were deficient, and all the circumstances surrounding the incarceration wholly unpleasant to people with any reasonable sense of modern conveniences and brought up under surroundings of ordinary culture, and that they were such as have been generally described by Mr. CONVERSE in his testimony and in the testimony of other witnesses who have already testified on these points.' (Rec., p. 71.)"
V. Effect of Claimant's Unneutral Conduct

The Military Commission failed to assess damages in behalf of the claimants in the CONVERSE and BLATT claims simply and solely because of their unneutral conduct. The Military Commission finds in substance that early in 1911 CONVERSE met an agent of the MADERO revolution in Los Angeles, that he agreed to enter MADERO's service, that he did so, that he went to Mexico and was employed as a messenger between the revolutionary forces operating near Juarez and their representatives in El Paso, and that he was carrying a message to these representatives at the time of his kidnapping and arrest. (Rec., p. 8.) In these circumstances the Commission holds, with reference to his capture on American soil and the incidents flowing therefrom, that --"

"'The whole procedure was an international wrong done to this country; but the individuals captured were captured not as American citizens, but as active insurgents in the very act of carrying out a hostile mission * * * the capture on this side was internationally wrong, but * * * the injury is a public one directed against the sovereignty of the United States. It was open to our Government to demand the release of those captured, the punishment of those involved in the capture, and such further international redress as might be deemed proper by those charged with that phase of public duty; but as to these claimants, capture was one of the fates they challenged when they embarked in their Mexican insurgent enterprise, and the time and place...'"
[Page 7 omitted]

[Page 8]
"[commis]sion in question was not issued to Mr. CONVERSE. MADERO did not sign his commission. His commission, which he received later on in Mexico, was signed by OROZCO and later on supplemented by a commission signed by Eduardo HAY (now Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mexico). All this clearly appears from his testimony almost immediately preceding the passage quoted by the Commission. The pertinent portions read as follows:"

"'I joined the forces of Pascual OROZCO about 4 or 5 miles south of the city of Juarez, and I believe that was about the second or third of February, 1911; for about a week I was with OROZCO and I had received a commission, but I had become dissatisfied with the manner in which he placed his guards at night; I was well aware of the fact that if I should be captured I should probably receive very little consideration, and urged upon Mr. OROZCO the necessity of placing guards; when he refused to do so I left him, going across the river to El Paso, and met a man by the name of Braulio HERNANDEZ, who was the provisional secretary of state of the State of Chihuahua.'

'Q. Under what administration? -- A. Under the provisional administration of Francisco MADERO; Mr. Hernandez told me that Mr. MADERO was expected to join the troops in Mexico in a day or so and told me to wait for him; from the time about the 9th or 10th of February, until the time of my capture I was with Mr. MADERO; however, not every day, as I was carrying messages to the revolutionary junta in El Paso for Mr. MADERO, and there were no Mexicans to cross the river, as every one had been captured for about two weeks.' (Rec., pp. 62-63)

* * *

'Q. Who signed your commission in that service? -- A. Pascual OROZCO signed the first commission and the second was signed by Eduardo HAY, and the name of Francisco MADERO was never attached, as Mr. HAY was separated from Mr. MADERO at that moment on account of the fact the Federal soldiers being close.' (Rec., p. 63.)"

"It is perfectly apparent, therefore, that CONVERSE did not accept the Mexican commission in the United States. True he went to Mexico with the intention of casting his lot with the MADERO revolutionists, but this, however regrettable, was not illegal. 'It is not a crime or offense against the United States under the neutrality laws of this country for individuals to leave the country with intent to enlist in foreign military service.' (Charge of the Federal District Court in Wiborg vs. United States, specifically affirmed on appeal by the United States Supreme Court, 163 U.S. 632, at 640, 653, Chief Justice FULLER reading the opinion, which was unanimous on this point, although Mr. Chief Justice HARLAN dissented on another point.)"

"The Military Commission evidently had its doubts as to whether its opinion that the claimant had violated the neutrality laws was well founded, for it proceeds--"

"'But even if it should be thought that the acts of CONVERSE and BLATT as shown by the evidence would not sustain an indictment under...'"
[Page 9 omitted]

[Page 10]
"The Military Commission agrees that the claimant's capture was 'internationally wrong,' and that --"

"'It was open to our Government to demand the release of those captured, the punishment of those involved in the capture, and such further international redress as might be deemed proper by those charged with that phase of public duty.' (Rec., p. 10.)"

"But, says the Military Commission, no compensation is due the victims of this 'international wrong," which was intensified by two months' wholly unnecessary imprisonment, accompanied by even more unnecessary humiliation and personal outrage, and which was ended finally, not in response to whatever representations may have been made by the Government of the United States in behalf of its injured citizens, but as a personal favor granted by Porfirio DIAZ in his personal capacity to the father of the claimant CONVERSE. (See personal letter of Porfirio DIAZ to General NAVARRO, Rec., p. 52.) If for no other reason, damages should be awarded to this claimant because his country has, so far as Counsel is aware, secured absolutely no apology, amends, or other reparation for the admitted international wrong done by his capture and imprisonment. It is an elementary principle of international law that failure by the offending nation to punish those who inflict injuries upon foreigners, particularly its own servants, or to make reparation or apology, calls for the only satisfaction which can be given, namely, pecuniary damages to the injured party.

The Authorities cited by the Commission

Why should these pecuniary damages not be given? The Commission attempts to support its poistion by the citation of authorities. A few words in regard to these citations may not be amiss. Young's Case (Rec., p. 11; Moore's International Arbitrations, Vol. III, pp. 2752-2754) and Green's Case (Rec., p. 12; Moore, ibid., p. 2756) were cases in which claimant sought before the arbitral commissions to enforce contracts for unneutral services. It is conceded that the majority of the authorities have declined to allow recovery on these contracts for unneutral service, although there is a definite minority view, particularly 'where the political party aided was successful or became at least a de facto government.' (BOUCHARD, Diplomatic Protection of Citizens Abroad, 1916, p. 300.) Incidentally..."
[end of available text]

The court case brought by Amelia was ultimately disapproved because the boys' "capture was one of the fates they challenged when they embarked in their Mexican insurgent enterprise."


"Claim of: Edward M. BLATT and Amelia S. CONVERSE, on behalf of Herself and the minor children of herself and Lawrence F. CONVERSE, Estate of Lawrence F. CONVERSE."

"Docket No.s 2707 & 1899
Amount claimed: $25,000 (each)
Amount awarded: None"

"The claims are based on the alleged false arrest, abduction, wrongful imprisonment, and cruel and inhuman treatment, in 1911, covering a period of 62 days, of Edward M. BLATT and Lawrence F. CONVERSE (the latter now deceased)."

"BLATT and CONVERSE were taken prisoners on American soil near the international boundary line on February 20, 1911, and carried back to Mexico by Mexican forces. They been for some time prior to this date in the service of the revolutionary army of Francisco I. MADERA, and, at the time they were taken by Mexican forces, they were on a mission connected with their employment by Mexican revoluntionists."

"Claims on behalf of BLATT and CONVERSE were considered and disapproved by a Commission of three officers of the United States Army appointed under a Joint Resolution of August 9, 1912. That Commission held that 'capture was one of the fates they challenged when they embarked in their Mexican insurgent enterprise.' For this reason, the claims were withdrawn by the American Agency before the former Special Claims Commission, United States and Mexico. This Commission is of the opinion that it must consider these claims, but that the arrest and subsequent sufferings of BLATT and CONVERSE were caused primarily by their own conduct in participating in the revolution against the Mexican Government and cannot, under the terms of the Convention of September 10, 1923, and the principles of justice and equity, be properly regarded as proximately caused by acts of forces creating liability of Mexico."

"The claims are disallowed."