This is a letter that was written to the family by General Slaughter detailing Dn. Santiago’s public murder. Mr. Benjie Castrillo was kind enough to translate it from the original, into Spanish and English. The two articles below are other detailed accounts of the murder, that are painful to read, but needed to be documented.
My Esteemed Friend,
By the time you receive this letter, the newspapers will have already informed you of the death of your father, Don Santiago Vidaurri, who was my good and faithful friend. It is now my painful duty to inform you about the details of this sad event. When the Liberals entered this city on the 21st of the past month, Mr. Vidaurri decided to seek refuge here until he could find a way to leave the country. On the morning of the 8th, he was discovered in the house of an American by the name of Wright. Mr. Taylor, whom you know and who has access to the Government Council, took him to this house.
Upon learning of his arrest, I went to the American Consul to seek his help; at the very least I felt Mr. Vidaurri should have a hearing before a judge. The Consul refused to get involved in any way. I then sought the help of General Diaz, requesting and pleading that Vidaurri be allowed to appear before a judge, however this proved to be useless. In vain, I tried to convince him to see the cruelty of proceeding with the death sentence already passed, now that the war had ended and clemency should prevail. All of our efforts failed, so we left. Hinojoso and I went to see Vidaurri, our longtime and good friend. It already was 1 o’clock in the afternoon when we found him in the church with some faithful friends. Four sentinels guarded the door. Upon seeing us, he arose to greet us with his ever present and pleasant smile.
Without being concerned in the least he embraced us. Upon seeing tears falling from Hinojoso’s eyes, he placed his hand on Hinojoso’s shoulder and said to him, “My dear Pedro, I have always known you to have a noble heart.”
We informed him of our meeting with Diaz and that little hope existed for his release. He answered that he had already received the order for his execution which was to take place at 4 o’clock this afternoon.
He said that Wright had betrayed him, and Wright had asked him for 5000, five thousand pesos and he had given him some money. The previous afternoon he sensed that he had been betrayed and would have left the house but the police had it under surveillance. He frequently begged Wright to contact me so we could talk but Wright refused to do so and said it would not be a good idea for me to come to his house.
He asked me if I knew where you were and I told him you were in Brownsville. I asked him if he wanted to see Indalacio. I also informed him that I had spoken to Diaz about this and he said if Indalacio was not directly involved in these matters then there would be no risk for him to come forward. After reflecting upon this, Vidaurri decided he preferred not seeing Indalacio and ordered me not to make Indalacio suffer any more until after Vidaurri’s death.
He then told me where I could find the little money he had left and ordered me to give it to Indalacio. He mentioned something about having given your wife something of equal value. He said his greatest consolation was the knowledge that you would take care of his beloved daughter, and he commanded me to tell her that his last thoughts were of her.
And he related that soon he would appear before the Supreme Judge and trusted in His Judgment but he protested against the order to be shot without being accorded a hearing and “it was an atrocity of the highest order which would leave a stain upon his mother country.”
He was completely at peace with himself and did not give his impending death the slightest thought. He requested that we be present at his death. Fifteen minutes before 4 o’clock the Priest appeared. We said farewell to our good friend for the last time and with his customary smile, he said “Goodbye General, until I see you again.”
Outside the Government Council there were many shouts and a squadron of cavalry. We remained outside and at 4 o’clock he came out accompanied by an official and a priest. There was a white handkerchief loosely covering his eyes. He entered the coach which then proceeded to move. Fulfilling his wishes, we accompanied him until the end, we followed the coach, I saw him step out, I heard the guns fire, and his soul ascended to Heaven.
In a corner of the San Pablo cemetery rest the remains of your noble father and friend. There is a tombstone there that reads, “Here lay the remains of Don Santiago Vidaurri, former Governor of Nuevo Leon and Coahuila, he died on the 8th of July 1867 at the age of 58.”
There were four of us who accompanied him on his final journey upon this land, with the Priest and his assistants.
His request was for his remains to be taken to Monterey and that his and those of his beloved wife’s remains should be re-moved to the Mesa, and buried there in a modest and plain Chapel to be built there in case his family from the Mesa returns to power. And if not, he should remain in Monterey with his wife in a plot to be bought there.
I had cut a lock of his hair with the intention of sending it to you for your wife, so that it may be placed in the shrine as soon as it is built.
Now it is your duty to relate these sad events to her. Her father’s last thoughts and sentiments were of her as cited in this letter. May God keep your soul in his Holy safe keeping.
James E. Slaughter
P. S. I should tell you that I had arranged everything for the departure of Mr. Vidaurri, but he resolved not to leave until after Juarez was in place.
Also, General Diaz positively says that Vidaurri was not betrayed by Wright or by any other American.
Indalacio is well, he is in Ensenanza, and I expect him to be freed in a couple of days. He came forward upon learning about the death of his father. I don’t know anything about Quiroga.
The (???) concerning Taylor are in my opinion completely false.
Carta del Gral (General) Slaughter, (Mexico?) July 10, ‘67
Mi estimado amigo, antes de recibir esta, los periodicos informara a V (usted) de la muerte de su padre, y de mi bien y firme amigo, Don Santiago Vidaurri.
Ahora es me penoso deber informarle sobre las pormenores de esta triste suceso. Cuando entraron los liberals a esta Ciudad el 21 del Pᵒ (pasado?) el Sr. Vidaurri se determino buscar un refugio, entre tanto podia salir fuera del pais.
En la mañana del dia 8 fue descubierto, en casa de un Americano llamado Wright acuya casa fue llevado por el Sr. Taylor, quien V(usted) conoce; y con derecho a la deputacion. Al instante de saber su arresta fui a ver al Consul Americano para procurer su apoya con el fin de consequir que fuere juzgado si quiere, el consul se nego a tomar parte alguna, entonces fui a buscar al Gral (General) Diaz mas nuestras ruegos, y suplicas, para que fuere juzgado fueron inutiles. En vano le hice ver la crueldad de poner en practica la orden dado ya, haciendole ver que ya la Guerra se acabo, y que por lo mismo debe reinar la clemencia, todo fue inutil, asi es que salimos, Hinojoso y yo, y fuimos a ver a nuestro antiguo y buen amigo, siendo ya la una del dia, le encontramos en la Iglesia con algunos amigos fieles. Cuatro centinelas quardaban la puerta. Se levanto al vernos para saludarnos con su habitual sonrisa agradable, y sin
estar desconcertado en lo mas minimo, nos abrazo, Notando que de los ojos de Hinojoso caen lagrimas, le puso la mano en su hombro, diciendole, “Mi querido Pedro, hace mucho ql(?) conoci que tenia V (usted) un corazon noble”. Le manifestamos nuestro entrevista con Diaz y la ningun
esperanza que existio. Nos conteste que habia sido la entregado una de la orden para su ejecucion para las cuatro de la tarde. Dijo que Wright, le habia vendido, “que le habia pedido 5000 cinco mil pesos, que le habia dado algo” que la tarde anterior sintio que estaba vendido y hubiera salido de la casa, sino tenia que las policias estaban cuidandola, que frecuentamiento suplico a Wright para avisame que deseaba hablarme, que se nego ahacerle, protestando que no convenia que yo me presentaria en su casa.
Me pregunto si sabia en donde estaba V (usted) le dije que en Brownsville, Le pregunte si deseaba ver a Indalacio, que habia hablado con Diaz sobre esto, quien me dijo que si Indalacio no tenia empleo efectivo que no habia riesgo para el, despues de reflecciones me dijo que preferia no ver a Indalacio y encargo que no sufrira nada hasta despues de su muerto.
Entonces me dijo en donde encontraria el poco dinero que tenia, y me ordeno darle a Indalacio. Dijo algo sobre que habia dado a su esposa alguna cosa de iqual valor, dijo que su consuelo mas grande era su conviccion que V(usted) cuidara a su querida hija, y me mando decirla que sus ultimas pensamientos serian para ella. Que pronto estaria
ante el Juez Supremo que confiaba en su decision, pero que protestaba contra la orden de ser fusilado sin ser oido “que era una barbaridad que mancharia a su patria”
Estaba completamente tranquilo, sin tener la muerto en lo mas minimo, nos pidio que assisteramos a su Muerto quince minutos antes de las cuatro se presento el Padre y nos despedimos de nuestro buen amigo por la ultima ves. Y se despidio de mi con su sonrisa acostumbrado, “ Adios General, “hasta luego”. Fuera de la deputacion habia mucho gritos (?) y
un escuadron de Caballeria, nos quedamos afuera, a las cuatro salio con un oficial y un Padre, tenia un panuelo blanco amarrado sueltamente sobre los ojos, entro al coche y se puso en marcha. Cumpliendo con su deseo le sequio hasta el fin, segui el coche, le vi bajar, oyi la descarga, su alma volo al Cielo
En un esquina del Cemeterio de San Pablo descansa los restos de su noble Padre y amigo, una losa dice, “Aqui descansa los restos de Don Santiago Vidauri, antiquo Gobernador de Nuevo Leon y Coahuila, Murio el 8 de Julio 1867, edad 58.”
Somos cuatro los que le acompana en su ultima viaje sobre esta tierra, con el Padre y assistentes.
Su deseo era que se llevan sus restos a Monterey y que el y su amada esposa sean removida a la Mesa, y depositado alli en una Capilla modesta y sencillo, que se fabricera, en caso que vuelva a poder de la familia dicha Mesa, y sino, que sea en Monterey con su esposa, Comprando un terreno con esto fin.
He cortado algo de su pelo, con el fin de mandarle a V (usted) para su esposa, tan luego como este arreglado el relicario que mande hacer.
Ahora es el deber a V(usted) comunicar estas tristes noticias a ella, a quien fue dadas sus ultimas pensamientos en esta carta (?). Que Dios tenga su alma en su santa guardia.
James E. Slaughter
P. S. Debo decirle que yo tenia arreglado todo para la salida del Sr Vidaurri, mas se resolvio no salir hasta despues que entraba Juarez.
Tambien que el General Diaz dice positivamente que no fue denunciado por Wright ni ningun Americano.
Indalacio esta bueno, esta ne la Ensenanza, y espero que estara libre in pocos dias. Se presento al saber la muerte de su Padre. Nada se de Quiroga. Las m___?___aciones relativa a Taylor son en mi concepto falsas