From Empire to Republic - Arthur H. Noll



Mexico Under Spanish Rule

In the early years of the sixteenth century, the territory to which the name "Mexico" has since been given, was occupied, to an extent now unknown, by various Indian tribes. Of these, the farthest advanced toward civilization, and the most powerful, was that known as the Aztec tribe. It occupied the pueblo of Tenochtitlan, upon an island in the borders of Lake Texcoco, in the center of the Valley of Mexico. In the previous century this tribe had confederated with certain neighboring tribes for purposes of war, and had thereby become elevated to a position whence it could inspire with fear and dread other tribes far and near.

In the year 1519, Europeans appeared upon the coast of Mexico and advanced inland to the pueblo of Tenochtitlan. The capture and destruction of this pueblo by the Spaniards under Hernando Cortes in 1521, and the subsequent subjugation of the Indians of the surrounding country, comprise a series of events embalmed in history under the fascinating but misleading title of "The Conquest of Mexico." These events are too generally known to require recounting here. With San Hipolito's Day (August 13), 1521, when Cortes accepted the surrender of the last Aztec war-chief and formally took possession of the pueblo's site, begins the history of the territory as a province of Spain,—or, perhaps more properly speaking, as a kingdom of the vast Spanish Empire. Officially, it bore the name of Nueva Espana  or New Spain; though it continued to be popularly known as Mexico.

Exploration of this territory soon revealed the fact that it was by far the most beautiful, as well as the richest, of all the possessions ever gained by Spain in the New World. It possessed every feature of picturesque scenery, reaching in many places to unimaginable grandeur. Nature had furthermore been peculiarly lavish of her wealth; she had provided the mountain chains with some of the richest mines in the world, and had furnished the valleys with regions of the greatest fertility, capable of producing every vegetable growth of every clime, in sufficient quantities to support a population of one hundred and fifty millions.

The history of the Spanish Domination in Mexico extends over three centuries. It took a considerable time for Spain to devise and put into operation a system of government for her newly acquired possessions in the Western Hemisphere. The Consejo de las Indias  (Council of the Indies) and the Casa de Contratacion  (answering in Spain very nearly to the English India House) were already in existence in anticipation of the establishment of colonies in the New World; but neither of these agencies was prepared at once to arrange for the government of the vast country brought suddenly within its jurisdiction by the almost incredible exploits of Cortes. For several years the Conquistadores  assumed charge of the country as Military Governors; though the Ayuntamiento  (the Spanish form of municipal government) was established, first in Vera Cruz and afterwards in the City of Mexico. This provisional form of government was subsequently more widely adopted for the organization of cities, the division of land among colonists, and the greater security of the inhabitants of the Province. At the same time, the districts into which the Province was early divided were superintended by Cabildos  controlled by a central government in the City of Mexico. But to a great extent, the ordinances and rules of the Ayuntamiento  of Mexico have been in force in the country from 1522 up to very recent times.

Los Oficiales Reales  (the Royal Officers), appointed to govern the country in the absence of Cortes, were early added to the governing machinery of the new country; and Los Visitadores y Jueces de Residencia  (Visitors and Resident Judges), who were at first sent by the Crown to investigate the conduct of Cortes and the other Military Governors, soon superseded them in the government and exercised extraordinary powers.

In 1528 a body of men styled Audiencia Real  (Royal Audience) arrived in Mexico. It was composed of five commissioners known as Oidores  (Auditors), sent out by the King of Spain to impose a further check upon Cortes. The Audiencia  superseded the Military Governors, Oficiales Reales  and Visitadores y Jueces de Residencia  in the government of New Spain, and performed for a while all the functions relating to the administration of justice.

Mexico, however, had not become a colony in the sense in which that term would be used in England or France. It was governed, in common with the other Spanish possessions in the Western World, by codes of laws distinct from the laws of Spain and intended to suit what were considered the special exigencies of the trans-Atlantic Provinces. Mexico was, in fact, a separate kingdom, and was so termed in all legislation upon the subject; and, with Peru, Buenos Ayres, Chili, and other South American countries, contributed to form that vast empire whose sovereign was enabled thereby to call himself "King of Spain and the Indies."

In 1535, with the arrival of the first of the Spanish Viceroys, the scheme of government finally settled down into that of a Vireinate;  and this system continued for three centuries, until the Mexicans, after long struggle, in 1821 threw off the yoke of Spain, and, as an independent nation, began a series of experiments in self-government. Throughout this long period, however, the Royal Audiences were continued as a permanent institution to which even the Viceroys were subject in judicial matters. The Audiences were to act as a check upon the Viceroys, and had the privilege of placing their President in charge of the government during any vacancy that might occur in the Viceregal office. In a number of cases the President of the Audiencia  not only discharged the functions of the Viceregal office, but took the title of Viceroy. All this was in accordance with Spain's usual policy with her possessions beyond the seas, of setting one part of a government to watch the other. For a similar purpose, an Intendente  was appointed by the Crown, charged with the duty of collecting and applying the taxes, revenues, and imposts, which in New Spain were predestined to be many and exceedingly vexatious.

The Viceroys were appointed for five years, by the King, at the instance of the Consejo de las Indias. They were to be the supreme rulers or chiefs of New Spain, representing in everything, as their political title implied, the King of Spain,—with their authority limited only in certain cases by the Audiencias  or by the Ayuntamientos. They were wholly without responsibility to the people whom they were sent to govern. All the powers of administration were concentrated in this Viceregal authority,—though the holders of the office were of necessity provided with Fiscales, or Administrators of various kinds, whom, because of their own too general lack of familiarity with the administration of justice, they were obliged to consult before taking any important step.

The Viceroys were for the most part Spanish nobles and courtiers who desired the position for their own selfish purposes, for repairing their dilapidated fortunes; and they generally returned to Spain with wealth wrung from the Mexicans, after maintaining a court in Mexico patterned after that of Madrid and accompanied by all the pageantry of the royal administration of the sixteenth century. In their government they seem to have been actuated chiefly by a desire (after recuperating their own fortunes) to secure all that was possible for the royal treasury, to build up and strengthen the government and wealth of Spain, and to extend the dominion of the Church.

As would naturally be expected under such circumstances, the Viceroys were not in every case wise and just rulers. Some were, indeed, distinguished for their honorable services in New Spain. But the list of these is not a long one, and includes few names besides those of Antonio de Mendoza (1535-1550), Luis de Velasco (1550-1566), Fray Payo de Rivera, Archbishop of Mexico (1673), the Marquis of Croix (1766-1771), Bucareli (1771-1779), Matlas de Galvez "the Diligent" (1783-1785), his no less diligent son Bernardo (1785-1787), and the eccentric second Count of Revillagigedo (1789-1794). A majority of the Viceroys exhibited characters reflecting too clearly the deplorable condition into which the affairs of Spain were falling.

Viceroys and Viceregal government were expensive luxuries for New Spain. The fact that some of the Viceroys were able to build churches and aqueducts, and make other expensive public improvements at their own cost and charges (as is so often recorded of those of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries), out of a salary of forty thousand dollars a year, increased about the year 1689 to seventy thousand dollars, indicates a state of affairs likely to awaken suspicion, to say the least. There were many ways by which the Viceroys could gain wealth in the discharge of their official duties. Some of these methods were looked upon as quite legitimate in the easy-going morality of those days. Titles and distinctions obtained from the King upon the recommendation of a Viceroy were made matters of bargain and sale from which the Viceroys derived a profit. The granting of licenses furnished another source of revenue; and there were some offices without salary, for which large sums were paid because of the opportunities they afforded the holders for peculation and the acceptance of bribes.

There were other methods, however, by which a Viceroy was enabled to amass a fortune, not so readily condoned by popular opinion, even in that age of loose public morals. The Viceroys were frequently coming into conflict with the people; and thus were occasioned the numerous insurrections recorded in the period of the Spanish Domination. And it is especially noticeable that on the occasions when the Audiencia  assumed ad interim  the supreme power in New Spain, it seldom failed to distinguish itself by some act that served to outrage the people.

The offices of the government under the Viceroys were generally conferred upon those needing positions. Offices were created for the purpose of providing for such as had claims upon the good graces of the sovereign. And as new abuses were discovered in the new country, new offices were created for the purpose of correcting them, or with the object of espionage; and so the official list grew, until the number of officials and the amount of governing exercised in New Spain exceeded that of any province on record. Yet for all that, even when Spain was made aware of some of the maladies that afflicted her provinces beyond the Atlantic, growing out of defects in her governing system, she showed herself incompetent to cure them.

Even earlier than the Vireinate, an Ecclesiastical government was established in New Spain. As its development proceeded, it supplied to some extent an added check upon the government of the Viceroys; for so closely were Church and State allied in Spain, that interference in the government by the religious and secular clergy was not only possible in New Spain, but was scarcely to be avoided.

This Ecclesiastical government might be traced, as to its origin, to the bull of Pope Alexander VI.,—himself a Spaniard,—who, when news of the wealth of the New World first came to Europe, promptly divided the New West between Spain and Portugal, upon condition that the King of Spain should assume charge of the spiritual destinies of the natives. In 1502 the King of Spain was constituted the head of the Church in America, with the sole right of appointing to benefices and offices therein. Ecclesiastical government was destined, from the start, to exert an important influence upon the affairs of New Spain, and to entail some serious problems for settlement by the subsequent Republic of Mexico. The evangelization of the country kept pace with, or even in many cases outstripped, its colonization, in the early years of New Spain. It was effected by the religious orders, whom Cortes preferred to the secular clergy, as best fitted for the work awaiting them in a new country; and as a consequence, the members of these orders increased in number more rapidly than the secular clergy.

In this work of evangelization by the religious orders, the Franciscans took the lead. They were followed by the Dominicans, and later by a number of other orders. The work of all these extended rapidly, until in a short time the colonized portions of New Spain resembled one vast ecclesiastical establishment. A glance at the map of Mexico serves to strengthen this assertion as well as to illustrate it. The Spanish names to be found thereon are for the most part religious names, and mark points at which the missionaries established their work in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. So widespread had the system of the Franciscans become in 1606 that the entire country was divided into six provinces. Mexico was erected into a Bishopric before the Viceregal government was established therein. New Bishoprics were organized so rapidly that in 1545 Mexico was advanced to the dignity of an Archbishopric, including four other dioceses. Two more dioceses were added within a few years subsequently.

It may be frankly admitted that the influence of the religious orders was in the main beneficial to the country throughout the sixteenth century. The Archbishops and Bishops of Mexico exercised great influence in the affairs of government. They were respected by the civil authorities and venerated by the natives. The Franciscans, by zealous missionary work among the natives, gained a powerful influence over their converts, which they used judiciously to strengthen the position obtained for the Spaniards through conquest, and maintained by force of arms. The Jesuits, who arrived in the year 1572, true to the purpose of their order, tried to foster learning in the new land, though with but limited success. Other religious orders established and maintained admirably appointed hospitals and asylums in every large city.

The Dominicans were not slow in establishing the detestable Inquisition; but it was for the express and very plausible purpose of keeping the colonists and foreigners in order, and advancing the spiritual interests of the Church. The Indians were, by specific command, exempted from its operations. Of all the orders, the Dominicans exerted the most powerful influence in political affairs. It was upon the suggestion of Zumarraga, a Dominican, who was the first Bishop of Mexico, that the Viceregal system of government was adopted for New Spain. And the government was more frequently under Dominican than Franciscan or any other religious influence. The Archbishopric of Mexico was likewise filled with members of the Dominican order. Under the Viceregal system, combined as it was with the system of Royal Audiences, in case of a vacancy a prelate would frequently hold the office of Viceroy ad interim; and thus the names of ten prelates, nearly all Dominicans, appear in the list of the sixty-two Viceroys of New Spain.

In the seventeenth century the beneficial influence of the religious orders began to wane. They had grown rich and worldly; the Carmelites, who had come to Mexico as late as 1585, had become so wealthy that they owned estates in the province of San Luis Potosi one hundred leagues in extent, reaching from the city of that name to Tampico on the Gulf coast. The protection of the Indians from the aggressions of the colonists, previously afforded by the orders, was greatly relaxed. It is not without significance that one great source of the Church's wealth during this period was found in the opulent colonists, who by their munificent gifts to the Church were able to acquire an ascendancy over the ecclesiastical authorities and maintained it ready for use whenever an emergency arose rendering it serviceable.

Feuds arose between the religious and the secular clergy, and led to contentions in the Church. The Franciscans and the Dominicans had but to transfer to their homes in the New World the bitter jealousies that had characterized them in the Old. The management of the Indians furnished a constant occasion of strife between the friars of all the orders and the civil authorities.

So it came about most naturally, and as one of the repetitions to which history is proverbially committed, that the influence of the religious orders proved exceedingly harmful during the last of the three centuries of Spanish rule in Mexico. The Dominicans, who had all along been a dominating power, had, by the exercise of the functions of the Holy Office, engendered a deep feeling of hatred for the religious government, and this hatred reacted upon the political government so closely connected with it. The Dominicans alone might be said to have furnished a powerful cause for the overthrow of Spanish rule, at the very time that they were laboring hardest to uphold it as it manifested signs of tottering. And all the orders,—by seizing and holding vast amounts of property, by building churches and monasteries in times when the people were suffering the most abject poverty, and by enforcing the law of tithes and thus gaining control of wealth which should have been applied to encouraging industry and relieving the needs of the people,—conspired to stimulate the popular discontent which finally broke out into open revolt.

It is too often the custom of nations dominating foreign peoples, or founding colonies, to extort as much as possible of the products of their subjects, and make their happiness and progress a mere secondary consideration or leave them out of the account altogether. Spain exemplified this custom in regard to her possessions in America. After the abdication of Carlos and the accession of his narrow-souled and bigoted son Felipe II. (more generally known to English-speaking readers as Philip II.), the colonial policy was lowered from the high standard set for it by the father. Felipe cared nothing for the New World, save as a source of supply for gold and silver, and as a field for the exercise of his religious bigotry. From the time of Felipe II., the Inquisition, the power of the Church, and unjust taxation, marking the downward course of the Spanish Empire, exercised a dominating influence upon the colonial policy in Mexico. The unwholesome spirit of absolutism in the court of Madrid manifested itself likewise in the Viceregal court of New Spain.

Under Carlos III. (1759-1787), a reform was undertaken in Spain, and the effects thereof were felt in Mexico. The Inquisition was stifled, the power of the Church was curtailed, and taxation was reduced. Viceroys who were men of energy and probity were sent out to New Spain, and with them a Visitor-General with full power to investigate and reform all parts of the government and especially the financial system employed there. Special privileges were granted to the natives, and an attempt was made to give the Europeans in Mexico a better opportunity for self-government. All this, however, lasted but for a time. Then affairs relapsed into their former state, and the evils of that state were worse than at first.

Colonization resulted in the creation of various social classes among his Majesty's subjects in New Spain. There were, first of all, the white colonists of pure Spanish blood. These comprised the only recognized society in the social organization that existed in Spanish America. They were attached to the Viceregal court, or were in thorough sympathy therewith, under a policy of government that permitted only Spaniards to fill the offices in New Spain. They were wild adventurers for the most part,—gold-thirsty traders, often less civilized in their notions of truth and in the refinement of their manners and mode of life than the races whose land they had invaded. Yet to them only were the doors open for preferment in the Church, in the army, or at the bar, for many years previous to the opening of the nineteenth century. They inhabited chiefly the table-lands of the interior of the country, and were inclined to uphold Spain's unjust policy of government in the Western World as against all the other social classes. In the later period of Spanish Domination they became known as "Old Spaniards "; and to the Indians they were known as Gachupines,—a word of dubious origin, always applied opprobriously and probably meaning "thieves."

In the opposite social scale were the Indians, the pure native races,—Aztecs, Zapotecs, Tarascans, Otomies, and many others,—who were scarcely recognized as having any rights which the Spaniards were bound to respect. It is evident, from various decrees of the Crown and of the Viceroys, that the Spanish government never recognized as vested in the Indians any but possessory rights in the land to which they were indigenous, and that it never intended to grant them anything more than this. These people were concentrated mainly in the vicinity of the large cities of the table-lands,—Mexico, Puebla, Oaxaca, Guanajuato and Valladolid.

A third class was composed of Creoles, as they were called,—the white natives of New Spain of pure European descent. These, although the possessors of wealth, and arrogating to themselves positions of equality with the Spaniards, were regarded by the latter in almost the same category as the native Indians. Usually classed with the Creoles, and going by their name, were people of mixed Indian and Spanish blood, more properly known as Mestizos.

There were, besides these three chief classes, various kinds of half-castes,—the mixture of whites and negroes, or mulattoes; Indians and negroes, called Zamhos  or Chinos;  and there were some African negroes, principally upon the Gulf and Pacific coasts, whither the African slaves imported into Mexico were sent because of the unhealthfulness of those regions for the Europeans.

In 1793, according to a report made to the King by the Viceroy of that time,—the energetic but eccentric Count of Revillagigedo,—the proportion of these various classes was about as follows: out of a population of five and a quarter millions in New Spain, there were less than ten thousand Europeans, about two-thirds of a million of white Creoles, a million and a half of the different half-castes, and over two and a quarter millions of Indians. The number of Europeans is supposed to have increased to eighty thousand within the next quarter of a century, and that of the white Creoles to about a million.

The asperities resulting from the mutual repugnance of the Mexican and Spanish stocks were increased by the refusal of the Spaniards, in their pride, to make any distinction between the Indians and the Creoles, even though the latter might be as rich as themselves, and certainly were more numerous; and although, also, they were numerically strong enough at any time, either alone or by uniting with the Indians, to overthrow the power of Spain and set up a government of their own. Yet so great was the Spanish contempt for all but "Old Spaniards" that one of the later Viceroys, after the question of "home rule" had arisen, declared that as long as a Castilian remained in the country, though he were no more than a cobbler, he ought to rule in New Spain.

Not only had the conquest and subjugation of the country been marked by extreme cruelty to the native races, but with the earliest schemes for colonization, the iniquitous system of encomiendas  and repartimientos  had been introduced into Mexico. Thus had been established a kind of slavery for the Indians, partaking somewhat of the nature of feudal vassalage in different forms, ranging from mere wardship to absolute servitude of the most abject type. It is true that laws were enacted by the Consejo de las Indians, apparently emanating from a desire to protect the Indians and put some curb on the extortions and cruelty of the colonists. But Spain was too far distant, and communication was too difficult, for the cry of the oppressed to be distinctly heard, or to enable the mother country to exercise any supervision or exert any great influence in ameliorating their condition.

Some of the decrees for the amelioration of the Indians illustrate, as nothing else can, the extent of the evils sought to be remedied. For example, a royal ordinance of 1554 decreed that no slaves should be made in future wars; that the system of assigning slaves to each colonist should be abandoned; and that the Indians should not as a class be solely devoted to ignoble pursuits. Thirty years later the attempt was made to secure for the Indians employed in the mines, regular hours of repose, and some time to "breathe the fresh air on the surface of the earth."

Decrees abolishing slavery were numerous. Luis de Yelasco, the second Viceroy, by his act manumitting one hundred and fifty thousand Indians held as slaves by the Spanish colonists, gained for himself the title of "The Emancipator." Yet upon a division of the royal domain, sometime subsequently, the government established a bad precedent of inconsistency with its own decrees, by transferring the Indians with the soil. And notwithstanding decrees of manumission and restriction, slavery continued under various forms throughout the Spanish regime;  and cruelty to the slaves bore fruit from time to time in terrible pestilences, whereby nearly two millions of Indians are said to have perished.

The colonists eagerly sought the revocation of the decree of 1554, and were wont to plead, in defense of their cruel treatment of the Indians, that only by the employment of slave labor could they hope to make the country produce the exorbitant taxes levied upon colonial products by the Spanish government. There may have been something in the plea by which they sought to hold Spain responsible for the continuance of an institution which she was ostensibly endeavoring to keep within bounds and eventually to abolish.

The laws enacted by the Consejo de las Indias  for the government of the colonists (who were, however, denied all voice in their enactment) had little or no regard for the needs of the Spanish subjects in New Spain; they were involved in contradictions, and were arbitrarily enforced. The Consejo  was in some respects the most peculiar governing body known to history. It was established in 1511, and gradually usurped exclusive control of the Spanish possessions in the New World. It enacted all the laws and regulations for the government of Spanish America, and made or confirmed all appointments—civil, military, and even ecclesiastical—for that country. The higher officials of New Spain received from the Consejo  orders and instructions regarding the performance of their duties, which had to be explicitly obeyed; and the Consejo  was a final Court of Appeals in all cases involving important questions arising in the New World. Over all its proceedings the monarch reserved the right of veto; but this right was seldom exercised.

Vacancies in the Consejo  were filled upon its own recommendation; consequently it was a self-perpetuating body, both as to its constituency and as to its policy. It soon became forgetful that it owed any obligations to the native Mexicans, or that those people were any other than beasts of burden, bound to eternal vassalage to the Spanish people quite as much as to the Spanish monarch. Someone has remarked that "the worst features of the two worst governments in the world—the Gothic rule and that of the Spanish Moors—had been combined to form the government of Spain; and then the worst features of this mongrel government had been carefully preserved to oppress the native population of Mexico, in the code sent out to it by the Supreme Council of the Indies."

The law in New Spain was exceedingly slow in its course. Redress sought by appeal to the Viceroy might have to go to the Council of the Indies; and matters that ought to have been settled by the Alcalde or Regidor of a provincial town must be delayed until they could reach the Viceroy and await his deliberations. In fact, so impossible was it to obtain, through the Council and the officials sent from Spain, redress for injuries which those in Mexico might receive, that a maxim came into vogue to the effect that "God is in Heaven, and the King is in Spain,"—implying that there was no limit to the power of the royal representatives, and no remedy for the wrongs done to the subject; significant also of the forgetfulness of all humanity on the part of Spanish officials and hopeless submission of the subjects to their rule. In other parts of the Spanish possessions a proverbial expression was current and was applied to any official whose conduct proved unjust, arbitrary, or tyrannical: Es muy Rey, He is very much King!

In regard to commerce, the Spanish monarchs, aided and abetted by the Consejo  and the Casa de Contratacion, manifested a peculiar phase of absolutism. That the trade might be controlled for the sole advantage and benefit of the home government, the colonists were prohibited, under penalty of death and forfeiture of property, from trading with any country but Spain. Even a carrying trade between one colony and another was forbidden; and commerce with Spain was so trammeled with burdensome regulations as to render it far from profitable save to the favored few.

The Casa de Contratacion  had been established in 1501, for the purpose of directing the course of commerce between the colonies and the mother country. It was a court of judicature, and had jurisdiction over the conduct of all persons connected with the trade between the two countries. An appeal from it could be made to the Consejo  after that body was created.

By the regulations of the Casa, all commerce was to be carried on in Spanish ships. Not a vessel could unload a cargo except at a given port,—Sevilla at first, and until Cadiz was made a like favored city,—and an outgoing vessel could receive only such goods as had passed through that port. No foreign vessel could enter any harbor in Mexico. Other ports of Spain were opened to trade in the time of Carlos III., but only for a short time. In Mexico, commerce was restricted to the port of Vera Cruz.

All English goods had to be carried first to Spain, there landed, and thence once more shipped for their first destination in the New World; so that the price was enhanced a hundred-fold by the time the goods reached the consumer in Mexico. Such restrictions upon trade threw it into the hands of a few business houses, and created monopolies with all their attendant evils. When Sevilla enjoyed exclusive commerce with Mexico, the whole amount of shipping employed did not exceed twenty-eight thousand tons. For a long time fifteen ships, voyaging at intervals of one or two years, carried all the trade between Spain and Mexico. The number was afterward increased to fifty or sixty.

The system of prohibitive duties was so exacting that three-fourths of the imports into Mexico were smuggled. The custom-house officers were bribed to connive at the violation of laws which decreed death as a penalty for their infraction. The great wonder is that Spain succeeded for so long a time in maintaining a trade monopoly that, by all the rules of political economy ever formulated, was destined from the start to decline and shrink to dwarfish proportions, and sooner or later to collapse.

Restrictions upon commerce with Mexico might have been to the advantage of that country in stimulating the development of her industries and of her natural resources. But so anxious was Spain to monopolize every possible advantage, that it was made illegal in Mexico to erect factories, or to cultivate any raw products that would come into direct competition with home industries. Mexico was looked to for a supply of the precious metals only. Saffron, hemp, olives, grapes in vineyards, and many other things that Mexico might have raised for her own use or for shipment to Spain, were inhibited by law. Immigration was thoroughly discouraged. No foreigner could enter New Spain without the express permission of the Spanish government. It was in the enforcement of this law that the Holy Office was expected to render its greatest assistance.

Education was discouraged in all the Spanish possessions. It is customary to cite as historic facts, in contradiction of this statement, the setting up in Mexico, in 1535, of the first printing-press in the New World, and the establishment there, in 1551, of the first University on this continent. But neither the printing-press nor the so-called University proved very powerful agents in the dissemination of learning. The printing-press was necessarily limited in its usefulness by circumstances; the one newspaper emanating from it—the Gaceta—was published immediately under the direction of the government, and carefully excluded anything which might be opposed to the Viceregal Court or Audiencia. Newspapers were allowed to be imported from Spain only, and such as came from that quarter once or twice a year gave information only of the movements of the Spanish Court and of the Church. The University was restricted in its usefulness to those who inherited or otherwise possessed a knowledge of the Spanish tongue; and it never had more than two hundred students at any one time. What other schools and colleges there may have been were kept under the sole direction of ecclesiastics who were charged with keeping the people in ignorance rather than with extending their knowledge, and who carefully excluded from the course of instruction such branches of study as were likely to elevate the feelings or strengthen the mind.

The Index Expurgatorius  of the Roman See was extended in its scope to meet the requirements of the Indies; and the literary productions of Mexico belonging to the period of the Spanish Domination comprise a few poems and plays of small value, and some works on natural history and on the antiquities of the country which it would be far from safe for the modern student to accept as authoritative.

The laws which excluded Spaniards born in America—that is, the Creoles proper—from equal rights with those who were of direct importation from Spain, and especially from any share in the government or of the higher dignities of the Church, were sufficient in themselves to make the Creoles discontented and unhappy. Their unhappiness and discontent were readily communicated to the Mestizos, with whom they had much in common, and added to those feelings which the latter had derived from their Indian ancestors. Three centuries of Spanish rule, under Military Governors, Royal Audiences, Viceroys, Religious Orders, and Ecclesiastical Hierarchy, were not sufficient to subdue the proud spirit of the Indians with which Cortes and his soldiers had to contend in the sixteenth century, and which has since been the inheritance of every Mexican born with so much as a drop of Indian blood in his veins. The cruel treatment they had received left a legacy of hatred for their European masters stored up by each successive generation of Indians. It has not yet been exhausted. It is in no way surprising that they should have become sullen and vengeful; nor that they fostered, until it became inveterate, a hatred of the very name of Spaniard.

The most important and the most disastrous result of the long period of misgovernment in New Spain, however, was not the destruction of the present happiness of the people, but the almost total destruction in them of all capacity for self-government in the future. The Mexican people were so long oppressed, that, like all people thus treated, they were unable to establish good government of their own until they had learned by the most painful experiences that freedom is not merely the absence of restraint, but a rule, the correct administration of which requires the sacrifice of the wishes of the individual to the interests of the commonwealth.

Few countries have passed through more political calamities in order to attain to a knowledge of what Constitutional government is, and how people are to be served thereby, than Mexico. The lesson is really in process of learning still; but to appreciate the advancement already made toward that knowledge, and the difficulties to be encountered in the approach thereto, it is not only necessary to consider the three centuries when Mexico was under the domination of Spain, and when her national character was being imperfectly formed, but also the means by which she gained her independence, and her various failures in self-government ere a few of her people awoke to a sense of the obstacles that presented themselves to her progress, and of the means by which these obstacles could be surmounted.



The Beginning of the Struggle for Independence

Throughout three centuries of misrule, Spain had furnished her subjects in Mexico with abundant grounds for revolt. The tide of revolution in America, begun in 1776, reached in time the Spanish provinces, and awakened there, among a people already discontented, a spirit of independence. Any shrewd observer of the social conditions of New Spain in the early years of the nineteenth century would have said that there existed therein every element of revolution. There were aborigines and half-breeds,—all ignorant and superstitious; there was a less numerous class of Creoles,—wealthy but discontented; and there were a few thousand Europeans,—proud and corrupt, profiting by every act of administrative iniquity. Such an observer would have predicted, furthermore, that the people were but waiting for some special occasion or for some competent leader to arouse them to an effort toward freeing themselves from the domination of Spain. Yet when the struggle for independence was finally inaugurated, in 1808, it was directly caused not so much by these conditions in Mexico as by the disruption of the Spanish government at home.

For many years, Spain had been under the spell of the French Revolution, and subservient to Napoleon Bonaparte, who had set his covetous eyes on the southwestern peninsula, and had determined that the Escurial should be occupied by a member of his family. Spain had been making war and peace at his behest, and in 1807 had arranged with him the partition of Portugal. But it was in defiance of all treaties that Napoleon was now proceeding to the military occupation of Spain. Murat entered the country with eight thousand French troops, in March, 1808, and proceeded to Madrid. The movement was nothing less than an attempt on the part of Napoleon to steal the crown of one of the greatest states of Europe, and if successful to rule not only Spain but also a boundless empire in the New World. Everything was favorable at the time for such an enterprise. In fact, had he chosen to wait patiently he might have attained his end in a short time without such an open and flagrant breach of law.

Carlos IV., the Spanish sovereign, was wholly unfitted to be the ruler of a kingdom. He had been reckless of his territorial possessions in the New World, and had, by the Treaty of Ildefonso, in 1801, "not as the spoils of an open war, but as the price of a dishonorable peace," basely and ignorantly abandoned to France what was known as the Province of Louisiana, containing 899,579 square miles; and Napoleon, without even taking possession, had subsequently sold this territory to the United States for fifteen millions of dollars.

The virtual ruler of Spain, however, was the corrupt Manuel Godoy, who, though high in favor with the King, was known to be the paramour of the Queen (Maria Luisa of Parma). The heir-apparent to the Spanish throne was Fernando (Ferdinand), Prince of Asturias,—narrow-minded, incapable of generous emotions, and in no respects better than Godoy, Carlos, or the Queen. He had lately been suspected of harboring designs upon his father's life.

Scarcely had Murat advanced to the capital, when an outbreak occurred in Aranjuez. Godoy fell, the King abdicated, and the Prince of Asturias was proclaimed King as Fernando VII., with all the enthusiasm of which the Spaniards have shown themselves capable throughout their history. That this movement was encouraged by Napoleon, if not actually instigated by him, there can be little doubt, despite his subsequent attempts to relieve himself of culpability in the matter. He at first refrained from acknowledging Fernando, and encouraged Carlos to withdraw his abdication as having been given under duress. When it thus became doubtful who was the King of Spain, Napoleon signified his readiness to act as arbitrator.

Fernando was persuaded to appear before the French Emperor in Bayonne, and was followed thither by Carlos and the Queen. A violent scene occurred between the father and son, and Napoleon succeeded in securing the abdication of both and their surrender for themselves and for their heirs of all rights to the crown of Spain. The two royal refugees then found themselves virtually prisoners in France. Carlos attempted to embark for his dominions in America, but was prevented. Fernando remained a captive in Valencay for five and a half years, with no knowledge of what was going on in Spain save as derived from French newspapers.

The crown thus relinquished by Carlos and Fernando was, much to the disappointment of Murat, first offered to Louis Bonaparte, then occupying the throne of Holland; and when indignantly refused by him, was hastily conferred upon Joseph Bonaparte, another brother of the great Napoleon.

Napoleon's efforts to obtain some show of consent, on the part of the Spanish nation, to the nomination of his brother to the throne, resulted in the submission of the nobles of Spain to the new order of things. The Council of Castile, the chief political body, gave its consent,—somewhat reluctantly, it may be,—and thereby set an example that was followed by the municipality of Madrid. A junta of one hundred and fifty Spanish notables, summoned to Bayonne in July, 1808, accepted a constitution proposed by Napoleon, by the terms of which the Spanish subjects in America were to enjoy the same privileges as those of the mother country, and were to be represented by deputies in the Cortes of Madrid.

Fernando, in this emergency, exhibited the duplicity of his character in the letters and proclamations which he sent forth from his imprisonment. The letters were to Napoleon and Joseph, and contained expressions of satisfaction and congratulation. Of the proclamations, one called upon the Spaniards not to oppose the "beneficent views" of Napoleon; and the other was to the Asturians, calling upon them to assert their independence and never to submit to the perfidious enemy who had deprived the King of his rights.

The first of these proclamations was regarded as having been extorted from Fernando under duress of imprisonment, and was more effective than the other in arousing the indignation of Spain. Excepting in localities where the French arms were dominant, the people rose everywhere in revolt. The city of Valencia renounced allegiance to the government of Joseph Bonaparte. Sevilla did the same, and established a junta to watch over the interests of Fernando and claim the obedience due to him. This junta declared war against France, in June, 1808. England proclaimed peace with Spain, and proceeded to aid the Spaniards in their war against France. The war thus begun continued until 1814, when Napoleon abdicated the throne of France and retired to Elba.

Each of the several political juntas now formed in various parts of Spain sent official notice of its proceedings to the Viceroy of Mexico, demanding his obedience, and asking for money to carry on the war. At the same time, Napoleon had his emissaries in Mexico striving to promote revolution. They brought orders, professedly from Fernando and the Council of the Indies, for the Mexicans to transfer their allegiance to France.

Information of the course of events in Spain was communicated to the Mexicans by the proclamation of the Viceroy dated on the twentieth of July, 1808. Naturally, perplexity and dismay resulted. The whole social system seemed to have been shaken loose. The Mexicans had been taught to regard the possessions of Spain as vested in the King, and not in the state or in the people. They could see no justice in any demand upon their obedience by a government which the Spanish people had established without their consent, and in the absence of their recognized sovereign. As there was no government in Spain, that country being overrun by French troops, were not they of the American provinces left absolutely without a government and was the necessity not clearly revealed of their making some provision for a government of their own?

It is somewhat remarkable, under such circumstances, to find the people generally manifesting a feeling of stanch loyalty to Fernando VII., and of opposition to the French. It was especially so to find the Creoles more loyal to the King than were the Europeans. A former Viceroy had made advances to the people in the name of Napoleon, and the Audiencia  had been disposed to favor the Junta of Madrid. But the Creoles received the news of the declaration of war with France with every demonstration of joy and loyalty, and it was with enthusiasm that they proclaimed Fernando VII. their King.

But for the class hatred that existed between the various components of Mexican society, and for the lack among Mexicans of leaders having a knowledge of the science of government, an immediate result of the perplexing state of affairs in Spain might have been the pacific withdrawal of Mexico, and the organization there of a representative government with, perhaps, Fernando VII. as King. The first effort in that direction, however, unfortunately aroused the class hatred to its intensest degree, and was thereby defeated.

The Viceroy of that time was Jose de Iturrigaray, the fifty-sixth, and by no means the worst, of those who had occupied that exalted office. He was public-spirited, an excellent ruler in many ways, and had shown himself rather favorably disposed toward the people. He had fostered commerce and stimulated home industry, although he had pursued the exactions characteristic of the Viceroys besides such as were necessary to supply Spain with the means to meet the extraordinary demands upon her finances.

In the perplexities that confronted him, the Viceroy declared himself determined to sustain in his government the interests of the dethroned Spanish Bourbons; and this seems to have been the popular determination throughout the Spanish-American provinces. It was with this purpose in view that Iturrigaray announced the establishment of the Junta of Sevilla, and required the Ayuntamiento  of Mexico to submit to the orders of that body. But he encountered most unexpected opposition. In the Ayuntamiento  there happened to be at that time a majority of Creoles; and some ideas of government had been developed in the minds of these, ever since the revolt of the British colonies to the north of Mexico in 1776. These ideas asserted themselves in the prompt refusal of the Ayuntamiento  to submit to the Junta of Sevilla. The Ayuntamiento  proposed to recognize Fernando VII. as the monarch, and to remain faithful to him. But it was recognized that Spain and Mexico were two kingdoms, and that a junta established in the former had no authority in the latter, either directly or indirectly, or by any sort of implication. The Ayuntamiento  therefore recommended the establishment of a junta in Mexico, to be composed of deputies from all the various cabildos  of the province, for the purpose of conserving the interests of Fernando VII. in Mexico and giving to that country a government.

It then seemed to Iturrigaray that the opportunity had presented itself for the establishment of some kind of "home rule" in New Spain, and he was inclined to assent to the suggestions of the Ayuntamiento  if they could be somewhat modified. He accordingly announced his intention of calling a junta or congress, to be composed of the Royal Audience, the Archbishop, and the Ayuntamiento; and to include representatives from each province, and from the several ecclesiastical and secular bodies, the nobility, the military, and some of the principal citizens. He also proposed the adoption of some form of provisional government in which the people would be likely to have confidence.

The Creoles were naturally flattered by the important part conceded to them in this proposed new order of things. There were ideas of independence beginning to crystallize in the minds of a few Mexicans who had studied the course of events in the United States, in Mexico, and in Europe. These also fell in with such a proposition. But the Audiencia, the Fiscales, and the military and civil officers sent out from Spain, were of a different mind; and they formed a powerful oligarchy with whom to reckon. They were naturally disposed to oppose any measure advocated by the Creoles, and especially one that required their cooperation with that hated class. They misconstrued the scheme of Iturrigaray into a treasonable design to set up an independent empire in the country, and to occupy the throne thereof.

The precise details of Iturrigaray's plan do not clearly appear. He may have hoped that during the absence of Fernando VII., who was to be the chosen ruler, the proposed junta would invest him with the government of Mexico; and he would thereby insure his retention of the viceregal office. But nevertheless it was his undoubted purpose to save the kingdom from anarchy, as well as from French intrigue; and the disinterestedness of his motives has never been called in question by representative Mexicans. On the eve of the day set for the accomplishment of whatever it was intended to do (the sixteenth of September—a date which, by a strange series of coincidences, was to be associated with a more prominent effort for the freedom of Mexico), a rich Spanish merchant living in Mexico, acting under the directions of the Audiencia, and jealous of the ascendancy the Creoles might gain from the popular form of government proposed, appeared before the Viceregal Palace at the head of a body of five hundred men. The guards of the palace were overpowered, and the Viceroy and his family were put under arrest, conveyed to Vera Cruz, and confined in the fortress of San Juan de Ulua until they could be sent across the Atlantic to Spain as prisoners of state.

This "counter-revolution," or "reactionary conspiracy," was indorsed by the Spaniards of the viceregal court and of the Audiencia, not only because they supposed the plan of Iturrigaray to be an infraction of their rights and prerogatives, but because they were alarmed, and their bitter class hatred was aroused by the suspicion that Creoles and Mestizos were to be admitted to a share in the government. As the Viceroy had been held in the highest esteem by all classes of Mexicans, this treatment of him awakened universal indignation; and the "Old Spanish party" found it necessary to take some defensive measures. They proceeded, therefore, to arm the Europeans against the Creoles, and to form "patriotic" associations for the defense of their "rights." They went even further, and made several arrests among the Creoles, accusing them, whether justly or otherwise, of being particeps criminis  with Iturrigaray in his schemes.

A leader of these persecuted Creoles was Licenciado Verdad, whose contributions to the cause of Independence had been made in the form of pasquinades and proclamations appearing daily in the City of Mexico. He was arrested upon a charge of treason, and imprisoned in the Archiepiscopal Palace. A few days later, he was hanged in his prison, without having had so much as the pretense of a trial. He was thereupon regarded as a martyr to the popular cause, and his death awakened a widespread sympathy for the upholders of the political principles he had espoused.

There was a mystery attending the execution of Verdad that has never been cleared up, though the crime of his death was laid at the door of Pedro de Garibay, an "Old Spanish" soldier whose whole career had been spent in Mexico, and whom the Europeans hastened to put in the place of the ejected Viceroy. He was a bitter partisan of the Spaniards, and during his brief term as Viceroy ad interim  recognized the Junta of Sevilla, sent to Spain all the money he could raise in Mexico, and vigorously prosecuted those who were under arrest for treason. He sought by a system of bold and oppressive action to drown all opposition to the authority of the "Central Junta," or Junta of Se villa.

The discontent of the people increased. The Creoles were thoroughly aroused. Strength was given to the revolutionary sentiments already spreading. The authority of the "Old Spaniards" began to be disputed, and from that time to decline. Ideas of a government independent of Spain began to take deep root in the minds of the Mexican people. The violence and arrogance of the Audiencia  but increased the Creoles' feeling of hostility to the Europeans.

The question in controversy became purely a class question, as to whether Spaniards or Creoles should govern New Spain during the captivity of the King. By the order of the Spanish Central Junta, ***Garibay was superseded by the Archbishop of Mexico, Francisco Javier de Lizana. He had been in Mexico since 1804, and had taken part in the deposition of Iturrigaray; but he had afterwards changed his views of the political situation, and so expressed himself to the Spanish Cortes. He openly favored the Creoles, although he promptly crushed an abortive conspiracy in favor of Independence discovered in Valladolid, in the province of Michoacan, in 1810, and arrested and executed the conspirators.

The year 1809 was one of great distress in Spain. The French overran the country, and drove the Central Junta from Sevilla to Cadiz. The Junta had summoned a Cortes in which the American subjects of his Majesty were to be represented. This Cortes was to convene in Cadiz, in March, 1810. Consequently there was no time to notify the Mexicans of the concession made to them, and their places in the Cortes were temporarily filled by persons chosen in Spain. The Junta appointed a Regency of five to administer the affairs of the government, and then disappeared from history.

This Regency issued a decree, on the twelfth of March, the declared object of which was "to Furnish the Inhabitants of the Extensive Provinces in America all the Means Necessary to Promote and Secure their Real Happiness." It declared that the Spanish subjects in America "were now raised to the dignity of freemen," and their "lot no longer depended upon the will of Kings, Viceroys, or Governors, but would be determined by themselves "; and it urged them to select deputies to the Cortes from the Spanish possessions in the New World.

Thus the spirit of independence was fostered in the colonies of Spain by the acts of Liberals at home. It seemed to both the governing class and to the governed, that after this action upon the part of the Regency of Spain, nothing could again permanently subjugate those who had been so long the slaves of the iniquitous system of Spanish government. And even before the idea of popular rights gained a firm hold on the minds of the Mexicans, the reverses sustained by the Spanish arms taught them that those arms were not invincible, and that it was a military possibility for them to free themselves from the control of the Audiencia  or of an unpopular Viceroy.

The governing class in Mexico felt that the government of Spain was completely subverted; but there was a lack of unity among them as to what it was best to do in such a case. Otherwise they would have separated from Spain, and compelled the people to continue their submission to the same harsh rule to which they had been accustomed, only under a different name. The loyalty of the people to Fernando VII. naturally inclined some of the Old Spaniards to favor the continuance of the Central Junta; others favored the Regency; others still sought to remain neutral. Could the people—the Creoles and Mestizos—have taken advantage of these divisions among the dominant classes, and of their own superior numbers, or could they have found a competent leader who could have guided them to such a course, a mighty nation might then have sprung into existence destined to achieve a splendid career. But the people lacked leadership and a knowledge of the science of government. There was no one even to tell them the value of the opportunity that was theirs. The news of the disasters in Spain, however, did this at least,—it caused the formation of clubs to further a scheme for independence from the control of Central Junta, Regency, and Audiencia, each of which had become, in the absence of the legitimate government of Fernando VII., a usurper of the supreme power in Mexico.

Lizana's career as Viceroy was brief. He was summoned to Spain by the Regency, to answer charges lodged against him by the Junta, upon representations from Mexico that his lenient policy towards the Mexicans was breeding insurrection. Pedro Catani, the President of the Audiencia, was Viceroy ad interim  until the thirteenth of September, 1810; then Francisco Javier Venegas received the Vireinate in Guadalupe, and arrived in the City of Mexico as the sixtieth Viceroy.

Venegas had been the leader of the Spanish armies, but had not been very fortunate in his conduct of the war then in progress in the Peninsula. He was scarcely the man to cope with such conditions as were then existing in New Spain. The mild Iturrigaray would have done better for Spain in such an emergency. In the first place, Venegas, by reason of his military failures on the Peninsula, was not calculated to inspire popular confidence. He was, furthermore, of hasty and passionate temper. He continued with vigor the policy of the Audiencia, and soon forced the people into resistance to his efforts to compel them to resume a position from which they had been specifically released by the action of the Regency that had appointed him to office.

Three days after Venegas took the oath of office in Guadalupe, the first actual uprising of the Mexicans began in the little town of Dolores, not far from the city of Guanajuato, and about two hundred miles northwest of the capital of Mexico. It was under the leadership of Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, who has since been known as "The Father of Mexican Independence." This distinguished patriot was the cura, or parish priest, of the village of Dolores. He was a Creole, nearly sixty years of age, and had been for several years nursing the idea of the independence of his country. He had mingled with the Indians, had gained a knowledge of their language, and acquired a powerful influence over them. At the same time, his learning and many excellent qualities had made him popular and influential among the Creoles and Mestizos.

From the time of Iturrigaray, the cause of Independence had been fostered in the cities of Valladolid and Queretaro, as well as elsewhere, by means of clubs, nominally of a literary character, but really political in their purposes. The clubs maintained a mutual correspondence, with a view to devising and ultimately cooperating in a scheme for the establishment of the Independence of Mexico. Of the club in Dolores, Hidalgo was president. He was maturing his plans for an uprising to occur during the great annual fiesta of the Indians, which begins on the eighth of December. It was expected that the support of the native races could then be easily obtained. Though the plan was intended primarily for the benefit of the Creoles and Mestizos, yet Hidalgo had been surreptitiously manufacturing lances in a neighboring hacienda for the purpose of arming the Indians.

Ignacio Allende, Aldama, and Abasalo,—officers in the provincial militia, which was composed at that time chiefly of Creoles,—were confidants of Hidalgo, and participants in his schemes as far as he had revealed them. Their plan of action, as at first formulated, included the capture of all public officers and of all persons connected or in sympathy with the Viceregal government and the Audiencia. This plan was by no means chimerical, considering the great disparity in numbers between the Europeans and the Creoles and higher-classed Mestizos whom it was intended to enlist in the enterprise. They were then to proclaim the Independence of Mexico, and to establish a government with a Senate and House of Deputies, all in the interests of Fernando VII, who was to be the recognized sovereign.

To obtain resources for their government, they proposed to confiscate the property of the Europeans, whom they intended to send back to Spain. In its inception, it was not essentially a race insurrection that was proposed. It was primarily a Creole movement. But when it was concluded to call in the Indians and half-breeds, a race feeling in all its bitterness was aroused.

Discussion of the details of these plans at a so called Literary Club in Queretaro, of which the Corregidor of that city and his wife were members, and an effort to enlist confederates and cooperating clubs in some of the principal provincial towns, led to the detection of the scheme by the Spanish authorities at Guanajuato. This followed closely enough upon the suppression of the threatened insurrection in Valladolid to make the Old Spaniards suspicious. The movements of the Corregidor  of Queretaro and his wife were closely watched, and orders were issued for the arrest of Allende, Aldama, and Hidalgo. It was in consequence of all this that the sixteenth of September, and not a later date, became the received birthday of Mexican Independence and Nationality.

At two o'clock on the morning of that date, Allende and Aldama came to the house of Hidalgo, awakened him, and informed him that their plans had been betrayed to the government authorities, and that the whole movement was jeopardized unless the blow were struck at once. Allende had indeed intercepted the order for his own arrest, as well as for that of Aldama and Hidalgo, and showed it to the priest. They accordingly sallied forth from Hidalgo's house, with seven other men hastily notified. They went to the juzgado  (jail), and liberated the political prisoners therein; secured arms from a neighboring cuartel  (military quarters), and armed eighty men whose allegiance they had by this time and by these means secured. They promptly seized the Europeans living in Dolores, and confiscated their property. This open declaration, at the outset, that the campaign was to be one of spoils, was not without its effect in attracting volunteers from among the Indians and half-castes. But it was not long before it had the unfortunate effect of repelling the better class of Creoles.

It was Sunday; and earlier than usual, Hidalgo prepared to celebrate mass in his parish church. To all who were in attendance he announced that the time had come for Mexico to free herself from European rule, which had become no longer Spanish but French, and which threatened to overthrow their most holy religion. He intimated that the Spaniards, who had so long been enemies to the best interests of the country, were now selling them out to French infidels. It was no difficult matter to arouse the feelings of his hearers, and his appeals for the uprising of the people have since been called the Grito de Dolores. They were responded to most promptly and heartily by the Indians of the little town and of the neighboring haciendas, and Hidalgo was able to set out that morning at the head of three hundred men, armed, for the most part, with the rudest kinds of weapons.

Passing the church of Atotonilco, Hidalgo took therefrom a banner bearing a picture of the Virgin of Guadalupe, the special patroness of the Mexican Indians. This banner he affixed to a lance and adopted as the standard of the "Army of Independence," as he called his motley rabble. He thus appealed to the religious enthusiasm of the Mexicans, and excited to the utmost their hatred of their Spanish oppressors; for already a rivalry had sprung up between the votaries of the Virgin of Guadalupe and those of the Virgin de los Remedies, the latter being the special patroness of the "Old Spaniards."

Shouts of "Viva la Religion! Viva nuestra Madre Santisima de Guadalupe! Viva la America y muera el mal Grohierno! Viva Fernando VII.!" (Long live religion! Long live our most holy mother of Guadalupe! Long live America and death to bad government! Long live Ferdinand VII.) rent the air as the insurgents continued their march, their passions inflamed by recollections of years of oppression,—burning for revenge of real or fancied wrongs, and with the prospect of obtaining rich spoils. But they were unfortunate in adding soon afterwards to their war-cry, "Death to the Gachupines!"—f or such a bloodthirsty cry resulted first in alarming and then in alienating the Creoles. Many of these people were distinguished for their wealth and high standing, and they were naturally alarmed at an insurrection which placed them and their property at the mercy of an infuriated mob of Indians. In the first excesses committed by the uncontrollable Indians, many of the Creoles were slaughtered through failure to discriminate between them and the Europeans. The Creoles were therefore forced to the side of the Viceroy, as he prepared to adopt defensive measures.

The insurgents reached San Miguel that night. The regiment to which Allende belonged declared for Independence, and joined them. There the riotous character of the newly formed army became evident to the leaders, and they perceived what difficulty there would be in keeping the insurgents within bounds. A quantity of gunpowder, sent from the City of Mexico for use in the mines at Guanajuato, was intercepted and secured,—more than enough to supply an army having a limited number of fire-arms and relying upon its weapons of a ruder sort. More Indian volunteers were received, all as ill-armed and lacking in discipline as the others. Celaya surrendered to the insurgents, on the twenty-first of September, as they marched through it on their way to Guanajuato. An organization of the "army" was attempted in Celaya, and Hidalgo was proclaimed "Captain- General" of troops numbering twenty thousand men, including some Creole priests, but for the most part a heterogeneous mass without suitable equipment or discipline of any kind.

Meanwhile, the Viceroy had awakened to the dangers of the situation, and was sending out troops under skilled commanders to combat the insurgents and protect the places along the line of their proposed march. The discovery of the schemes of Hidalgo had been made in the time of Catani; and Venegas had been informed thereof on his way from Vera Cruz to the capital. He did not regard the matter as of great importance, however, and upon entering the capital he proclaimed the decree of the Cortes of March 12, 1810, and published a long list of rewards offered for services which might be rendered to the Spanish government. The main article of this decree related to the reduction of taxes and the removal of restrictions upon trade. It was accompanied, however, by a demand for twenty millions of dollars for the conduct of the Peninsular War. The Viceroy succeeded in attaching the Creoles more closely to his government; but his act had no effect whatever upon the hordes of infuriated Indians overrunning the province of Guanajuato, or upon their leaders, who were failing utterly in their efforts to keep them under control.

The Church had also awakened to the dangers which threatened it and the government over which it had established a quasi protectorate. The Bishop of Michoacan was issuing edicts of excommunication against the insurgents. Archbishop Lizana issued a pastoral letter combating the principles upon which Hidalgo justified the revolution he had started, and ordering the Spanish and Creole clergy to declare from their pulpits, and cause it to be everywhere known, that the purpose of the revolution was to subvert the Holy Catholic Religion. The Inquisition charged Hidalgo with every error of which that tribunal took cognizance.

This action would have had greater effect upon the faithful adherents of the Church among the popular classes, had it not been that at that time offices of profit and distinction were being conferred upon all the Spaniards who had taken part in the overthrow of Iturrigaray. For Iturrigaray had come to be regarded as a popular hero and martyr; and the benefits conferred upon his opponents revived the feeling of dissatisfaction aroused by the deposition of that Viceroy. The friends of liberty were stimulated afresh. The Viceroy Venegas was therefore forced to recall his conciliatory proclamation and his list of "inducements," and to publish a proclamation offering a reward of ten thousand dollars for the capture, dead or alive, of Hidalgo and his two chief military companions.

The city of Guanajuato, capital of a province of the same name, had about eighty thousand inhabitants, and was so rich as to divert the Indians under Hidalgo from the direct route to the City of Mexico. It was, in fact, next to the capital in point of wealth, being in the midst of the richest silver mines in Spanish America. The political chief of the province, Rianon, was universally respected for his courage, and was in command of a small body of troops. The people of the city showed a disposition to side with Hidalgo. Rianon therefore determined not to attempt the defense of the city, but he and all the Old Spaniards took refuge in the Alhondiga, or Castle Granaditas,—the fortified warehouse belonging to the Casa de Contratacion. There they put themselves in the best state of defense possible, in anticipation of the arrival of the insurgents.

Hidalgo arrived on the twenty-seventh of September, and, announcing that he had been elected "Captain-General of America," demanded the surrender of the city. The demand was at first accompanied with an offer of favorable terms, but was renewed with the warning that it would be impossible to hold in check the infuriated Indians if the surrender were refused and resistance were made. Rianon, however, refused to surrender, and prepared to sell his life and the lives of his fellow refugees as dearly as possible.

The fight that ensued was a bloody one. The provincial militia fought desperately, under skilled officers, in defense of the city; but without avail. The insurgents,—for the most part savages armed with bows, arrows, slings, machetes, lances, and the weapons to which they had been accustomed in their aboriginal state, without discipline, but fighting with desperate courage,—surrounded the city, occupied the various eminences that commanded the Alhondiga, shouted "Death to the Gachupines!" and emphasized their cries with showers of missiles. They finally forced the gates of the Alhondiga, and captured the place by storm on the twenty-eighth. Rianon was killed as the place was carried.

After the capture, Hidalgo, as he had given warning, found it impossible to restrain his undisciplined army, and the wildest scenes of confusion ensued. Despite his efforts and entreaties, a general massacre took place. For three days the carnage and destruction of property continued, until satiety and weariness stayed the hands of the insurgents. Hidalgo succeeded in adding five millions of dollars, found in the Alhondiga, to the treasury of the revolutionists. The whole province declared for him. Many of the provincial militia deserted to his standard, deeming it unsafe to remain opposed to his army. He continued his attempts to organize his troops, and kept the mint at Guanajuato employed in the coinage of money in the name of Ferdinand VII. He had the bells of the city cast into cannons for his army.

On the tenth of October he left Guanajuato for Valladolid, in Michoacan; and that city declared for independence immediately upon his arrival. The Bishop, the Cabildo, the civil authorities, and the European residents, had evacuated the place upon his approach. He now found himself at the head of eighty thousand men, but with the army of the Viceroy organized to oppose him, with himself excommunicated by the Bishop of the Diocese, and with a reward offered for his head. There was, furthermore, a Viceregal proclamation abroad decreeing that any one taken with arms against the government should be shot within fifteen minutes of the capture, and awarding no "benefit of clergy." The decree offered pardon to all who would return to their allegiance to Spain. Hidalgo received vast sums from the coffers of the Cathedral in Valladolid, and began his march in the direction of the City of Mexico. He reviewed his troops at Acambaro, and was proclaimed "Generalissimo."

On the thirtieth of October the army of the Independents gained a victory over the Spanish forces under General Truxillo at Monte de las Cruces, between Toluca and the capital, and within twenty-five miles of the latter place. In this battle the Spaniards established the precedent of suspending the customary rules of war, and a flag of truce sent by Hidalgo was fired upon by order of Truxillo. Of this act Truxillo boasted in his report of the battle, and it was applauded by the Viceroy. It is not remarkable that such acts, which characterized the Spanish in their conduct of the war that had now opened in good earnest, should have stimulated acts of a like character on the part of the insurgents.

The defeat at Monte de las Cruces completely demoralized the Viceregal army, and might have served Hidalgo a very good purpose, even to the extent of the complete success of his plan. The City of Mexico was panic-stricken, and might easily have been taken had the insurgent leader followed up his victory by a march in that direction. But he manifested an utter lack of military sagacity. After advancing to the hacienda of Quaximalpa,—only five leagues distant from the capital, and in full view thereof,—and sending a summons to the Viceroy to surrender (to which the Viceroy vouchsafed no reply), Hidalgo retreated with his army toward the interior of the country. The only plausible explanation ever offered by the admirers of Hidalgo for this strange conduct is that he dreaded subjecting the capital of his country to the frightful excesses he had seen visited by his troops upon Guanajuato.

Allende conducted the retreat, though it was against his better judgment, and in the face of his vigorous protest; and many of the insurgents, disappointed by this retrograde movement and terrorized by the ecclesiastical edicts fulminated against them, deserted. On the seventh of November the insurgents encountered a train of artillery and ten thousand well-equipped Creole troops under the command of General Felix Maria Calleja del Rey, who had been sent by the Viceroy to concentrate the Viceregal forces. A bloody and desperate battle followed. The Indians under the command of Hidalgo displayed courage, but no discretion. Rushing with their clubs upon the bayonets of the enemy, they fell in heaps. They were so ignorant of the effects of artillery that they ran fearlessly up to the mouths of cannons belching forth death and destruction, and attempted to stop them with their sombreros. As an inevitable consequence, the insurgents were defeated with a loss equal to the entire troops under Calleja del Rey. Such was the battle of Aculco.

Calleja went to Guanajuato after this battle, and made that city the scene of frightful cruelties in retaliation for the excesses committed by the Indians under Hidalgo. The inhabitants of the city were driven into the Plaza Mayor, and men, women, and children were deliberately butchered. Calleja boasted, in his official report, that by cutting their throats he had saved the Viceregal government the expense of powder and shot. The number of the slain is given as fourteen thousand; though it is difficult to believe that such a scene as this actually occurred upon our continent and in the nineteenth century. Its effect upon the Independents may easily be imagined.

Hidalgo succeeded in concentrating his remaining forces in Guadalajara, where he was received with every demonstration of joy. He made an attempt to organize something in the way of civil government. Retaining for himself the title of "Generalissimo," he exercised the functions of political dictator and appointed a "Minister of Grace and Justice" and a "Minister of State and Business." He attempted to send a commissioner to the United States; but the commissioner was made a prisoner by the Spaniards, and from him the exact state of Hidalgo's military resources and plans were learned, and other information wars gained which hastened the overthrow of the Patriot-Priest. Hidalgo had lost, in killed, wounded, prisoners, and desertions, at least thirty thousand men; but he still had an army of about eighty thousand, mostly raw recruits.

From Guadalajara he issued decrees abolishing slavery and stamp duties. He changed his policy somewhat, and removed the portrait of Fernando VII. from his banner. He began the publication of a series of "broadsides" entitled Despertador Americano  in which he sought to justify his acts and to explain his intentions more fully than he had previously had the means of doing. His edicts declaring all slaves set at liberty, and his declarations, both by word of mouth and by printed manifestos which he sent out until he flooded the land with them, that Mexico was freed from the Spanish yoke and released from all obligations to Spanish rulers, had but little effect. The opposition of the Church authorities was being felt in restraining citizens from flocking to his banner, as at first.

Though Hidalgo is now regarded as a national hero, it must nevertheless be admitted that he fell far short of being a model leader or an altogether admirable character. If he were only indirectly or remotely responsible for the excesses committed by the army of half-savage Indians whom he had enlisted and whom he was incapable of disciplining or controlling, there are some acts recorded for which he was more directly responsible, and for which it would be folly to seek justification.

Other Spanish forces were sent against the insurgents, and they suffered a final defeat in a battle fought at Puente de Calderon on the sixteenth of January, 1811. The army of the Independents was completely dispersed. Hidalgo, Allende, Aldama, and another insurgent leader, Jimenez by name, held together, and started toward the North, intending to purchase arms and procure assistance in the United States with which to renew the struggle. They were apprehended and taken under a strong guard, first to Monclova and then to Chihuahua. In the latter city, sometime in June, 1811, Allende, Aldama, and Jimenez were executed. Hidalgo was reserved for more deliberate action. He was tried by an ecclesiastical court, degraded from the priesthood, and then delivered over to the secular arm. He was shot in his prison in Chihuahua, on the thirty-first of July. The old man met his death heroically, with his last breath supplicating Heaven to favor the struggles of his country for independence.

The heads of these four martyrs to the cause of the Independence of Mexico were taken to Guanajuato and placed upon pikes at the four corners of the Alhondiga, as a warning to Mexicans of the fate that awaited any who chose to continue in revolt against the government of Spain. There they remained until 1821 and the dawn of a better day for Mexico. In 1823 the bodies of these heroes were buried under the "Altar of the Kings" in the apse of the great Cathedral in the City of Mexico.

Thus failed, chiefly through lack of a clearly defined purpose, the first great movement on the part of the Mexican people toward Independence. Hidalgo's mission seems to have been to arouse his people, to stimulate them to a struggle which must inevitably result in securing popular liberty, however long delayed. The cause survived its earliest leaders. The revolution had advanced too far to be crushed by the death of its projectors. The ghastly heads upon the Alhondiga in Guanajuato inculcated a lesson very different from that which was intended, and served to inflame the Mexicans with a new sense of their wrongs and to inspire them with a desire to renew the struggle with increased vigor.

Other leaders arose, one after another. But as the conflict deepened in intensity, it was apparent that hatred of the Spaniards was the animating principle of the Independents; and it was scarcely to be expected that a people brought up under the Spanish provincial system should suddenly prove themselves either worthy of liberty or capable of acquiring and maintaining it.

Among the military chieftains who, in irregular succession, assumed the direction of affairs, no man arose of such commanding talent as to insure the complete submission of his fellow-citizens and bind them together by the bonds of a common belief and a common purpose. Personal jealousies began to divide the Independents into factions, each governed by the temporary interests or humors of its leaders. Even in those early days we catch a fore-glimpse of the two great political parties which afterwards kept Mexico in a disturbed condition for more than half a century. The partisans of these several factions ignored whatever at the outset bound them together for common action, and betrayed each other. Otherwise the independence of Mexico had not been so long delayed. For what might not two millions of Indians, and the various castes, have accomplished by concerted action, under wise and efficient leaders, against ten thousand or even a hundred thousand Europeans?



The Continuance of the Struggle for Independence

At the time of the collapse of Hidalgo's insurrection, Ignacio Lopez Rayon was left in command of a remnant of the Army of the Independents that escaped to Saltillo. There he found himself with four thousand men and twenty-two pieces of artillery as the nucleus of an army for a renewed struggle for liberty. Accompanied by Jose Maria Liceaga, he took possession of Zacatecas and made it his headquarters for a while.

From Zacatecas these new leaders sent word to General Calleja that the object of the revolution was to establish a national junta, or congress, which would conserve the rights of the Roman Catholic religion and of Fernando VII., and prevent New Spain from falling into the power of Bonaparte. This explanation was far from satisfactory to Calleja, and he made a military demonstration which forced Rayon from Zacatecas. Rayon next established himself in Zitacuaro, near Valladolid, where he formed a governing board, calling it the "Supreme Junta of Zitacuaro." This board was composed of five members, elected by as many land-owners as could be collected for the purpose, in conjunction with the authorities of the town. Rayon was himself the President; and Jose Maria Morelos, Jose Maria Liceaga, Dr. Verduzco, and Dr. Cos were members.

Previous to this, the insurgents had recognized no authority but force of arms, and their armies existed without any colorable authority whatever. This junta was intended to correct these defects, to give some authority to the military, and to furnish the armies with a systematic plan of attack. It was also expected to regulate the affairs of the "Independents," as they were now generally called, and to unite the people more closely against the Viceroy and Audiencia. Rayon therefore became, to the establishment of civil government in the provinces held by the Independents, what Hidalgo had been, and what Morelos was shortly afterwards to become, to the military conduct of the revolution.

The newly formed junta distinctly recognized Fernando VII. as the sovereign of Mexico, and claimed to govern the country in his name. It claimed an authority in Mexico equal to that of any of the juntas of Spain. Doubtless much might have been gained could all the Independents have united upon some such theory of government as this. It was, indeed, somewhat similar to that which was afterwards embodied in the "Plan" that eventually succeeded. It was scarcely more than a revival, if not actually a survival, of the project of Iturrigaray, as that project is now generally understood. The first principle of the junta was more intimate union with Spain. Events in Spain, however, soon made such a principle untenable, and it was superseded by a principle which involved a separation from Spain, and there was at least one member of the junta who stood out boldly in his refusal to acknowledge a king of any kind or on any terms. The junta's chief importance was in the fact that it served as a nucleus for the subsequent Congress of Chilpantzingo.

Jose Maria Morelos was a greater military genius than Rayon, or any others of his time; and hence he was the logical successor to Hidalgo in the military leadership of the Independents as soon as they could be rallied and reinforced after the battle of Puente de Calderon. He was a Mestizo, and like Hidalgo (whose pupil he had been) a priest of the Roman Catholic Church. He had followed his old schoolmaster into the conflict with the Viceregal government,—starting out with more humane and liberal ideas than those that had prevailed in the earlier part of the conflict, and adhering to them until driven by the conduct of his enemies into an opposite course. He had distinct and clear ideas of the Independence of Mexico; and it was natural that the struggle, as he now prepared to maintain it, should become more definite in its aims, and consequently that it should accomplish more, than those which had preceded it.

Morelos had already fought twenty-six engagements in the south, and had been victorious in all but two of them. In a battle near Acapulco, which he made his first objective point when sent out by Hidalgo in 1810, he defeated a large number of Viceregal troops, and captured eight hundred muskets, five pieces of artillery, seven hundred prisoners, some ammunition, and a large sum of money. It was because of such successes as this, often repeated, that his name has been added by the historiographers of Mexico to their long list of "Heroes of a Hundred Battles."

Among the lieutenants of Morelos was still another patriot-priest, Mariano Matamoros, who is sometimes accredited with even greater military genius than Morelos. Dr. Cos, a member of the Zitacuaro junta, was likewise a priest; so was Nayarete, another patriot-warrior. Later there was a Padre Torres who established an insurrectionary despotism in the heart of the Sierra Madre Mountains, calling it the "Junta of Jauaxilla," where he became a terror alike to Spaniards and Independents. The attitude of these priests in the conflict is remarkable, inasmuch as the revolution was opposed from the first by the leading clergy in accordance with a papal encyclical directing them to oppose all attempts to secure the separation of Mexico from Spain.

A daring plot was discovered in August, 1811. It was no less than a plan to take the person of the Viceroy from the City of Mexico and send him to Rayon at Zitacuaro; there he was to remain in Rayon's custody, and sign such orders as the latter might see fit. This discovery so alarmed the Viceroy that he took steps for the extermination of Rayon and his followers. Rayon being considered the most formidable enemy of Spanish rule in America, General Calleja was sent to Zitacuaro to capture him; but Rayon escaped, together with his junta. Calleja destroyed the town, burned the houses, and killed many of the inhabitants. Prisoners taken at the time were executed.

The junta went to Sultepec, and there Rayon found himself at the head of twenty thousand men, with Manuel de Mier y Teran as his most valuable military assistant. Rayon was a man of unquestioned energy and executive ability. He established foundries in Tlalpujahua for the manufacture of cannon, and factories for the supply of guns and ammunition. He secured some coarse wooden type, and printed in Sultepec the Seminario Patriotica  and the Illustrador Americano  papers (perhaps scarcely more than "broadsides") which upheld the rights of the people and justified the movement for Independence. A paper appeared in the City of Mexico, called El Pensador Americano  in which Carlos Maria Bustamante, an eminent historian of Mexico, echoed the words of Rayon and defended popular rights. It was at great personal risk that Bustamante thus undertook to mold public opinion, and he wrote with such vigor and effect that the Viceroy thought best to suspend the liberty of the press, although it had been guaranteed to the people by the Spanish Constitution and the action of the Regency.

At Sultepec the junta came to be called the "Junta Americana." When driven out of Sultepec, its members took the field in various parts of the country, where the Independent armies met with a discouraging series of defeats. There was finally a bitter disagreement between Rayon on one side and Liceaga and Verduzco on the other, and this caused the influence of the junta to decline.

Spain was still at war with France, and Fernando was still in captivity, when the Cortes at Cadiz adopted a new Constitution, in March, 1812. Fifty Americans had sat in that Cortes, together with one hundred and thirty-two members from other parts of the Empire. By the provisions of this Constitution, the Spanish nation was declared to consist of all Spaniards in either hemisphere. All free men born and residing in the Spanish Dominions, and all those to whom the privileges of citizenship might be granted, were to be included in the term "Spaniards." Spanish citizens alone could vote, or be elected or appointed to civil trusts or offices; and the term "Spanish citizens" included all Spaniards excepting those who were by either parent of African descent. Even these, however, might be admitted to the privileges of citizenship upon certain conditions.

The government of Spain was to be an hereditary monarchy, Fernando VII. being recognized as King. But the royal authority was reduced to little more than a name, and the Regency became a mere show; for the Cortes invested itself with executive as well as legislative powers. The legislative power was to reside in a single body of deputies, and the King was to possess only a limited power of veto upon the enactments of this body. The executive duties were committed nominally to the King, but he was to be aided by a Council of State and act through nine responsible ministers. The application of the laws in civil and criminal cases was to belong to the Audiencias  and courts alone.

The territories of the Empire were divided into provinces, each to be governed by a chief to be appointed by the King and a provincial deputation composed of members chosen biennially by the citizens of the respective provinces. The basis of national representation was to be the same in every part of the Dominions, the number of deputies sent by each province being proportioned to the number of its Spanish citizens.

The Council of the Indies had already disappeared in the course of the political tempest that had swept over Spain. Under the new Constitution, this Council was to be replaced by a ''Minister of the Kingdoms beyond the Seas." The Inquisition was suspended, and the convents and monasteries were dissolved. The press was freed from all restraints excepting such as might be imposed upon it by specific laws.

Generally speaking, though the new Constitution was by no means a perfect one, it was liberal in its provisions, and a long way in advance of anything the Spanish provinces beyond the seas had ever known. It improved the condition of the Indians in some respects, by exempting them from military service and from the payment of the most irksome of the taxes formerly levied upon them. But the Central Government was empowered to delay the extension of the privileges granted under this Constitution in any of the dominions to which it was not considered safe or judicious to apply them at once, and Mexico was liable to be placed in that category at any time at the will of the Viceroy.

Early in 1812, two battalions of Spanish troops, including a famous Regiment of Asturias which had won the title of "The Invincibles" in the Peninsula, came to Mexico, sent there by the Regency of Spain to support the Viceregal government and to assist in reducing the Independents to subjection. The Cortes of Cadiz was furthermore known to be in negotiation with England regarding means for the pacification of the American provinces. The Constitution had been proclaimed in some parts of America before the arrival of the Spanish troops; but in some provinces the proclamation was postponed until after that time, and consequently the Mexicans were suspicious of the concessions made to them therein. They had had a long experience of the falsehood and injustice of Spain, and had little confidence in the sincerity of the Cortes or in the power of that body to maintain the new institutions it had apparently sought to create. Thoughtful men in Mexico felt and expressed distrust, and the more courageous and patriotic of them openly disregarded the new Constitution.

Venegas, the Viceroy, took the view that the new Constitution was in most of its provisions impracticable in Mexico. He proclaimed it, but he soon saw that it was impossible for him to maintain his authority under it, and after two months he began to suspend one provision after another until in a short time nothing remained. He could not, however, revoke the concessions made to the people, and the general effect of his vacillations was to spread the revolution and make it more popular. For though the Mexican people might lack confidence in the ability or even in the intention of the Cortes to secure them their rights, they were ready enough to take the Cortes at its word when it declared what those rights were.

The military exploits of Morelos were checked neither by the publication nor by the suspension of the new Constitution. They included the brilliant evacuation of Cuautla, and the capture of Tehuacan, Orizaba, and Oaxaca, in 1812. The first-named place was a town of about five thousand inhabitants. In some unexplained manner, Morelos had permitted himself to be shut up in this town with several of his brave lieutenants and with not more than three thousand soldiers. General Calleja appeared before the town with twelve thousand men, perfectly equipped and well disciplined. He was certain of success when he attacked the town, on the nineteenth of February. But he was repulsed, and forced to lay siege. The little army within the town suffered all the horrors of siege until the second of May. Attacks were made almost daily during that time, and the conduct of the besieged was marked by the highest heroism.

The evacuation of the place is regarded as an instance of military genius. The soldiers of Morelos formed in three divisions and marched out of the town in the middle of the night, unobserved by the Spaniards until they reached a deep barranca  (mountain gorge) some distance beyond the Spanish lines. The Spaniards then discovered the movement, and made an attack; but the Independents, by a pre-concerted signal, suddenly dispersed to rendezvous elsewhere. The Spanish troops began to fire upon one another in the darkness. So well executed was the manoeuver on the part of the Independents, that only seventeen men were missing at the appointed rendezvous.

After this brilliant retreat, Morelos continued his successes in other regions. In the towns captured by him toward the end of the year, much rich booty was secured. In Oaxaca particularly, sixty cannon, one thousand muskets, and many prisoners, were taken.

In March, 1813, General Felix Maria Calleja del Rey succeeded Venegas as Viceroy. He had been knighted because of his success at the battle of Puente de Calderon, and was now the Count of Calderon. The order for the change in the administration of affairs in New Spain was dated on the sixteenth of September in the previous year,—the date most significant in Mexican history. Calleja was totally indifferent to the provisions of the Constitution of 1812, and continued the pursuit of the Independents, which he had begun in the time of Hidalgo, with such vigor as to gain for himself the title of "The Cruel."

After making the important captures above mentioned, Morelos made a mistake similar to that of Hidalgo, and instead of following up the advantage he had gained and advancing upon the capital with every prospect of taking it, he returned to the scene of his first military operations, besieged Acapulco, and compelled its surrender, in August, 1813. He then called a Congress of Mexicans, numbering forty deputies, from the different provinces under the control of the Independents. This Congress was to combine with the Junta of Zitacuaro, and take steps toward the organization of an independent nation. The deputies were elected by popular vote, and assembled in the month of September, 1813, in Chilpantzingo, about a hundred and thirty miles south of the City of Mexico. Among the members were Morelos, Liceaga, Rayon, Verduzco, Cos, Carlos Maria Bustamante, and other distinguished patriots.

This Congress issued an important manifesto, showing the principles of the revolution at that time. It declared that the sovereignty resided in the people. Spain and America were integral parts of one monarchy, subject to the same king,—equal, and without any dependence upon or subordination to each other. America, because of her fidelity to Fernando, had more right to convoke the Cortes and call together representatives of the few patriots of Spain than Spain had to call from America deputies who were not worthy representatives of Mexico. In the absence of the King, the inhabitants of the Peninsula had no right to arrogate to themselves the sovereign power over these Western dominions, and all orders emanating from such a source were absolutely null and entitled to no obedience. In refusing to submit to an arbitrary power, the American nation was only exercising its proper and inherent rights; and so far from this being high treason or a crime, it was a proof of patriotism worthy of the King's gratitude, and which he would undoubtedly approve if he were on the spot. After what had occurred, both in the Peninsula and in Mexico, since the overthrow of the throne in Spain, the Mexicans were right in demanding such guarantees for the Dominion of New Spain for its legitimate sovereign, free from the intervention of any European people.

After this preamble, the manifesto went on to make the following demands. The European residents of Mexico were to resign the command of the armed forces into the hands of a national Congress, independent of Spain, which was to represent Fernando VII. and secure his rights in Mexico. They might, however, if they so choose, remain as citizens under the protection of the laws, and under a guarantee of safety as to their persons, families, and property. Such Europeans as were then in office were to remain with the honors, privileges, and distinctions thereof, and a part of the emoluments; but they were not to exercise any official functions. The most effective measures were to be advocated with the independence of Mexico in view; and all the people of the land, Creoles as well as Europeans, were to constitute themselves a nation of American citizens, subjects of Fernando VII., bent only upon promoting the public welfare. On such a basis, Mexico would be able to contribute for the prosecution of the war in Spain such sums as Congress might appropriate, as evidence of the fraternal relations existing between Mexico and the Peninsula and as proof of their common aspirations. The Europeans who might desire to leave Mexico were to be granted passports for whatever place they wished, but in such case public officials were not to be allowed any part of their official pay.

An important part of the document was devoted to propositions regarding the prosecution of the war then in progress in Mexico. It was declared to be a war between brethren and fellow-citizens. The two contending parties both acknowledged Fernando VII. as their sovereign. Of this the Mexicans had given proof by swearing allegiance to Fernando, by proclaiming him in every part of the country, by carrying his portrait upon their banners, by invoking his name in their official acts, and by stamping it upon their coinage. The war ought not, therefore, to be more cruel than one between foreign nations. The rights of nations and the rules of war, observed even among infidel and savage people, ought certainly to be regarded among those who were subjects of the same sovereign. The contest, if it were indeed inevitable, should be carried on, as far as possible, in such manner as to be least shocking to humanity. Prisoners of war should not be treated as guilty of high treason, and sentenced to death as criminals for causes purely political. If kept as hostages for purposes of exchange, they should not be placed in irons, but treated each according to his proper condition. By the rules of war, effusion of blood was only permissible in the act of combat. The Spaniards had need to be reminded of this. When the combat was over, no one should be killed, nor should those who threw down their arms or fled be fired upon. They might be made prisoners by the victors. The severest penalties should be meted out to such as entered defenseless towns with fire and sword, or assigned persons to be shot by tenths or fifths, and thus confounded the innocent with the guilty.

Ecclesiastical tribunals were not to interfere in what was clearly and exclusively an affair of the state, and in no way connected with the cause of religion. The Independents avowed their profound respect and veneration for the clergy, and recognized the clergy's jurisdiction in matters relating to their sacred calling. But if the clergy were not restrained in their present inclinations, the Independents would not be responsible for what might result from popular indignation. And if the propositions set forth in the manifesto were not accepted by the Europeans to whom they were submitted, the Independents would be forced to pursue a policy of vigorous reprisals.

Had the offers of this admirable declaration of rights been accepted by the Viceregal government, not only might Mexico have remained to Spain for many years, but the subsequent history of Spain itself might have been differently written. The Viceroy, however, instead of according to the document the courteous consideration it deserved, treated it as a treasonable paper, and had it ceremoniously burned by the public executioner in the Plaza Mayor of the City of Mexico.

The Congress of Chilpantzingo, under date of September 15, nominated Morelos Captain-General of the forces of the Independents, and proceeded to pass decrees abolishing slavery, imprisonment for debt, and the collection of tithes for the support of religious houses. This action indicated some of the abuses existing in the political system of New Spain to which political reformers were beginning to awaken, and foreshadowed some of the reforms which were to occupy the thoughts of publicists at a later period.

The Congress first removed to Tlacotepec, and finally convened in Apatzingan. There, on the sixteenth of November, 1813, it published its formal Declaration of Independence of Spain. "Mexico was declared free from Spanish control, with liberty to work out its own destiny and with the Roman Catholic Religion for its spiritual guidance." The name chosen for the new nation was "The Kingdom of Anahuac,"—under the misapprehension that there had been an Aztec empire of that name before the advent of the Europeans. A Constitution was adopted, liberal in its provisions; and Liceaga, Morelos, and Dr. Cos were named as the Poder Ejecutivo  (Executive Power) to carry it into effect. Both the Declaration and the Constitution had the distinction of being ceremoniously burned in public, by order of the Viceroy, in the City of Mexico and in the principal towns of the country.

The Declaration of Independence made but a slight impression upon the popular mind, for various reasons,—least of all for the treatment it received at the hands of the Viceroy; and the liberal Constitution appealed even less than the Declaration to the Mexicans. For one thing, the fortunes of Morelos had begun to wane. Furthermore, there was lack of harmony in the Congress of Chilpantzingo; nor were the members of the Poder Ejecutivo  wholly of one mind upon political subjects and as to what was best for the welfare of Mexico. Some of the deputies in the Congress of Chilpantzingo desired to establish the traditional colonial system under the Constitution of 1812. Others desired to adopt purely American institutions modeled after those of the United States. The partisan spirit thus rising was marked by great bitterness. There was a similar want of unanimity between Congress and the military authorities of the Independents. But it was news received from Spain at this time that most powerfully affected the fortunes of the Declaration and of the Constitution.

Before the fall of Napoleon Bonaparte, in 1814, he had hoped that by releasing Fernando from his captivity and sending him back to Spain he might create divisions in France by which his own interests could be served. He accordingly executed a treaty with his royal captive, and released him. Fernando ignored the Cortes altogether, and sent notices of his release, and of the treaty concluded with Napoleon, to the Regency of Spain. He entered Madrid in May, and began at once to carry out his plans for the reestablishment of absolutism. He rejected the Constitution of 1812, and restored the religious orders to the dominant position they had held before their suspension by that Constitution. He abolished the Cortes, and burned the official records of its proceedings. He re-established the Inquisition, and appointed a Grand Inquisitor, by whom fifty thousand persons were imprisoned and not a few were put to the torture. In pursuance of Fernando's decrees, all adherents of the Cortes were exiled, and all Liberals, Free Masons, and the purchasers of property nationalized under decrees of the Cortes, were relentlessly persecuted.

The news of the return of Fernando to Spain, and of his action in regard to the Constitution of 1812, caused dissension among the adherents of the Viceregal government in Mexico; and the Independents might have profited by taking advantage of these circumstances, had they maintained harmony among themselves. The action of Fernando rendered him persona non grata  to those Mexicans whose "rebellion" had been against what they had regarded as an improperly constituted authority opposed to him, and who had been all the while loyal to him as their King. For they had learned to rebel against absolutism in any form,—against even a king, if he were oppressive. They were furthermore interested in the Cortes to the extent of being committed to some of the principles set forth by that body. But while the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of Apatzingan, and the Poder Ejecutivo  furnished bases of union and government for the Independents, there was such lack of harmony among the Mexicans that they failed to attract adherents. So, though the revolt against Spain was renewed and invigorated, there was no definite purpose set before the revolutionists, and the general result was anarchical, the government of the Viceroy being the more conservative of the two then claiming to exist in Mexico.

Morelos had been anxious to establish himself in Valladolid and make that place the basis of his future military operations. No doubt there was a sentimental regard for his birthplace as an actuating motive in this matter,—Mexicans are apt to be thus moved, and their national history exhibits many similar instances,—though there was also the possibility of being better connected with the Independents of the Provincias Internas, as the region was called in which Guanajuato, Guadalajara, and other important towns, were located. So he set out for Valladolid, just after the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, having seven thousand men in his command. Matamoros was able to defeat the Spaniards at Palmar, and to capture the famous "Invincibles" of Asturias. This destroyed the prestige of Spanish military superiority in Mexico, and gave the people some encouragement. But less favorable occurrences were in store for the army of Morelos.

Congress and the Poder Ejecutivo  were forced to flee before the troops of the Viceroy, and Ario was selected as the headquarters of the Provisional Government. Discord continued among the members of this body, and of the Congress. Differences of political opinion caused the death of several prominent Independents at the hands of others. Dr. Cos took grounds upon some subject contrary to Morelos, and the latter promptly condemned him to death. He had worked hard and sacrificed much for the Independents, and in disgust at the treatment he received he now sought reconciliation with the Europeans and with the Church, applied to the Viceroy for pardon for his political derelictions, and spent the rest of his life in the discharge of the duties of his priestly office.

It was evident that another act in the drama of Mexican Independence was about to close. Morelos undertook to make a junction with the troops of Mier y Teran (who was in Tehuacan in the province of Puebla), and to place Congress under the latter's protection. He had but five hundred men with him, and had to traverse sixty leagues of a country of which the Spaniards were in full possession. His dispatches were intercepted, and General Mier y Teran did not learn of his projected movements until too late to extend him aid. Morelos was attacked near Texmalaca, on the fifteenth of November. He ordered an officer to continue his march with the main body of the troops, and to escort the Congress to a place of safety, while he with fifty men attempted to divert the attention of the attacking Spanish troops. He regarded the safety of Congress of more importance to the future of the country than his own life.

Morelos was soon captured, loaded with chains, and taken a prisoner to the capital. There his case was brought before the Holy Office, which, after having been suspended by the Constitution of 1812, had been reestablished in January, 1814, partly for the purpose of combating the "spread of revolutionary ideas in Mexico." His condemnation was a foregone conclusion. It was pronounced on the twenty-sixth of November, and his was the final auto-de-fe  of that tribunal in Mexico, if not in the world. After degrading him from the priesthood, as had been done in the case of Hidalgo, and condemning him to do penance in a penitent's robe, the Inquisitors handed him over to the secular arm. The inflammatory effect his execution might have upon the popular mind if too publicly accomplished was fully appreciated by the Spanish authorities, and the Viceroy had the prisoner removed to a small town in the vicinity of the capital. He was shot, on the twenty-first or twenty-second of December, 1815, at San Cristobal Ecatepec. From the time of his capture he persistently refused to answer any questions regarding his fellow-patriots or their plans. At his execution, after praying for the emancipation of his country, he said: "Lord, if I have done well, Thou knowest it; if ill, to Thy infinite mercy I commend my soul." With Morelos ended the heroic days of the Mexican Revolution.

Congress convened in Tehuacan, attempted to fill the vacancy in the Poder Ejecutivo  caused by the capture and death of Morelos, and then gave its attention to subordinate matters rather than to affairs of state. It voted to each of its members an ample salary, and gave to one of them the management of the public funds. It made Mier y Teran (who was the logical successor to Morelos as Captain-General of the army, and who was more of a statesman than any of the Independents had thus far shown themselves to be) subject to the will of a body of men whom he humorously described as ostentatiously calling each other "Your Most Honorable," while neglecting to transact any public business.

Mier y Teran finally dissolved Congress vi et armis, and put its members under arrest. He justified his action in a manifesto wherein he showed that Congress was inimical to him and was about to deprive him of his military command, which, as he declared, had not been derived from Congress and was not under its control. As Congress at that time had little influence, and had begun to practice the dishonest political methods learned of the Spanish officials and in large measure characteristic of later Mexican office-holders, the step he took was a necessary one, whatever question there might be as to his right to take it. He liberated the members almost immediately, gave each some money, and allowed them to depart from Tehuacan. The incident was, however, fatal to the revolutionary movement then in progress. The various military chiefs were again left without any unifying authority over them, and every man became a law unto himself. This permitted the Spanish forces to crush, one after another, the Independent leaders, and to disperse their bands of followers. The struggle rapidly assumed the conditions of guerrilla warfare.

Mier y Teran was the most influential and prominent member of an Executive Junta which succeeded to the Congress and Poder Ejecutivo, and for a while he was the most active of the military chiefs. But it was apparent that the cause of Independence was languishing. There was no directing power to which the various military chiefs could bow. Each was absolute over his immediate followers, and would brook no interference from another. A combination of any two or more forces was rendered impossible by reason of mutual jealousies and distrust. Their movements, independent of each other, though constantly harassing to the Viceregal government, accomplished no good whatever to Mexico. In fact, the Viceroy was justified in regarding them in the same category with brigands and banditti.

Under these circumstances, many of the wealthy and intelligent people of Mexico began to look to the standard of Spain as the symbol of law and good government, and there was every prospect that quiet would be gradually restored to the land. The people were especially flattered by the policy which Spain now began to adopt, of employing the natives of the country—Creoles and Mestizos—in offices of trust and profit. Antonio Perez, a Mexican priest of learning, talent, and character, was, by way of example, made Bishop of Puebla. This had the effect of reconciling a large number of the inferior clergy who had previously been sympathizers with Hidalgo, Morelos, Matamoros, and Navarete, and the most determined opponents of European domination. The government furthermore employed every means consistent with prudence to secure the allegiance of a large body of native soldiers, and to discipline them; and retained only five thousand Spanish troops in the country.

Meanwhile, however, Calleja's cruelties continued. Matamoros had been executed after being taken prisoner at the battle of Paruaran, in February, 1813. Francisco Rayon, the brother of Ignacio, was executed the day of Morelos' death. Some patriotic women were cast into prison. Galeana, another of the old stock of insurgents, was defeated in battle, taken prisoner, and, in violation of the rules of war, beheaded. These are but examples of the methods by which the bloodthirsty Calleja sought to uphold the Viceregal power, at a time when statesmanship would have accomplished far more than military rigor.

When, in September, 1816, Calleja del Rey was succeeded in the Vireinate by Juan Ruiz de Apodaca, the revolution appeared to have been crushed out. The freebooting expedition of Francisco Javier Mina, a Navarrese sympathizer with the Independents of Mexico, was cut short by his defeat at Venadito, in October, 1817; and his execution followed the next month. This expedition was, in fact, scarcely more than an effort on Mina's part to transfer to Mexico the guerrilla warfare he had carried on in Spain. It failed to awaken any enthusiasm in the people generally. He had set forth as his object the establishment of the Independence of Mexico on a constitutional basis without the separation of the country from Spain.

Excepting for Mina's military operations, Mexico was little disturbed by actual war after the capture of Morelos, until 1820., The policy of the new Viceroy was conciliatory, and did more in a short time to suppress the revolution than all the rigors of Felix Maria Calleja del Rey had done in all the years in which he ruled Mexico with a rod of iron. Some of the Independent leaders accepted the pardon offered by Apodaca, and joined the party of the Viceroy. Only a few patriots suffered imprisonment. Rayon, deserted by his professed followers, was captured and detained in prison in the capital until 1821. In 1828 he was a General, held in high esteem by the people; but he disappeared from view in the later history of the country. Verduzco fell into the hands of the Spanish, and escaped execution only by taking advantage of the general amnesty offered under the Constitution of 1812, when it was reestablished in Spain. Liceaga was assassinated by one of his own captains. Mier y Teran surrendered, and retired to private life. In 1819 the Viceroy reported to the Regency that he would answer for the safety of Mexico, and that there was no need of sending any more troops from Spain.

Nevertheless there were a few scattered military leaders v/ho held out against the offers of the Viceroy and the blandishments of the Constitution of 1812. These were destined to become conspicuous in the subsequent history of the country. Felix Fernandez's adventures in the mountain passes read like a romance. Juan Alvarez, a full-blooded Indian, was operating in the south; and Vicente Guerrero was fighting for the Independence of his country in the region already famous by reason of the military exploits of Morelos.



The "Plan De Iguala," the Treaty of Cordoba, and the First Mexican Empire

Upon Fernando's reestablishment of Absolutism in Spain, a revolution broke out in that country. In 1820, the Constitution of 1812 was proclaimed by the revolutionists in Saragossa, and Fernando found himself under the necessity of proclaiming it in Madrid, and convening the Cortes. His speech at the opening of that body was remarkable for its expressions of liberal sentiments, and for its general hypocrisy. The Cortes proceeded to restore its former work: it dissolved the convents, abolished the Inquisition (this time finally), ordained the freedom of the press and the right of holding popular meetings and forming political clubs, and even went so far as to seize the tithes of the secular clergy on the grounds that the money was required by the State in a great emergency.

When the restored Constitution and the decrees of the Cortes came to be promulgated in Mexico, there was a great commotion among the European residents there. The results were almost the opposite of what had been expected in Spain. The people were at the time excited over an election in which they were to exercise the suffrage, and the spirit of Independence was about to break forth again. The Creoles were of course pleased with the restoration of the Constitution, whereby their rights were recognized and enlarged. The Europeans, however, were divided in their opinions. Some were favorable to the new order of things, while others preferred the old system under which they had fattened and grown wealthy. The pay of the army was reduced under the new system, and this caused widespread discontent in that powerful political body.

In Spain, the adherents of the King in his struggle with the liberal party were known as "Serviles." The Serviles among the Europeans of New Spain thought of offering a refuge to Fernando in Mexico, and thus securing to the clergy through him the rights of which they were deprived by the Constitution and the liberal decrees of the Cortes. The Viceroy, Apodaca, was under the influence of the Serviles. After taking the oath prescribed by the Cortes to support the Constitution, he was really planning its overthrow.

The clergy of Mexico now found themselves forced into a curious position. Under orders from the Pope, they had, nine years before, opposed the revolution in Mexico, and had denounced as heretical the idea of Independence or separation from Spain. But that was at a time when they felt that Spain and the Spanish system were the only conservators of their rights and privileges. Now they found their rights and privileges menaced from that very quarter. The liberal Constitution took from them much valuable property and many prized prerogatives. It was the liberalism of Spain, not that of Mexico, that now threatened religion itself. Their interests demanded "an absolute separation from Spain and its radicalism."

The clergy began to hold secret consultations with their closest adherents among the "Old Spaniards," and to devise means whereby the rights and prerogatives of the religious orders might be conserved, the immense revenues of the Church saved, and the cooperation of the people of Mexico (whom they had previously estranged) secured in their interests. The Spanish treasury was known to be exhausted, the army was unpaid and ready to mutiny, and there were other indications that should the struggle for Independence be renewed it would be successful. It was a foregone conclusion that sooner or later an independent nation would be established in Mexico. It seemed best for the clergy and their friends to effect a compromise with the extreme Independents, and get control of the revolutionary movement. With this object in view, meetings were held in the Church of the Profesa in the City of Mexico, and were attended by "Old Spaniards," Creoles, and the more influential Mestizos. The clergy were, of course, largely represented. As a result of these meetings, a plan of action was agreed upon for accomplishing what Hidalgo, Morelos, and thousands of heroes had fought and died for—the Independence of Mexico.

Prominent among those interested in this new movement was Agustin de Iturbide, who was destined to take a very prominent part in the affairs of Mexico. He was a native of Valladolid (now Morelia), and a Mestizo, his father being Spanish and his mother a Mexican; but he was regarded as a Creole, and was generally so termed. He had entered the provincial militia at the age of sixteen, was rapidly promoted until he reached the rank of colonel, and in 1820 was in his thirty-eighth year.

Upon the outbreak of the revolution under Hidalgo, he looked into the nature of the quarrel between Mexico and Spain, and at first espoused the cause of his native land. But he soon afterwards joined the troops organized for the support of the Viceregal government. Up to 1820, the energy, not to say vindictive cruelty, with which he had pursued the revolutionists left no grounds for suspicion as to the direction of his sympathies in political affairs. But he had recently been removed from the army for some malfeasance, and was an idler in the City of Mexico, devoting himself to religious exercises and extending his intercourse with the clergy. He was handsome in person, of elegant address and polished manners, and was highly esteemed by the clergy, through whose influence he regained much of the popularity he had lost by his cruelties and his rupture with the army and the government.

His rapid promotion in the Viceregal army stimulated his ambition, and his observation of affairs in Spain changed his political views. With the entire separation of Mexico from Spain, there would be no chances for his further advancement, civil or military. He had nothing to hope from the Mexicans, having been a bitter opponent of the Independents. If, on the other hand, he were allied to the successful party, and had a hand in effecting the separation which he now concluded was inevitable, his chances for promotion under the new regime would be greatly enhanced. He believed that the cause of Independence could be made to triumph by effecting a union of the Europeans, the Creoles or Mestizos, and the Revolutionists, under a "Plan" then under discussion at the Church of the Profesa. He was taking an active part in the meetings being held there, and afterwards claimed to have originated the "Plan" which was finally adopted.

When the necessity for a military leader arose, the qualifications of Agustin de Iturbide were readily seen by the plotters at the Church of the Profesa, and he was selected for that position. The military leader being thus secured, it became necessary to secure an army for him to lead. This was accomplished by inducing the unsuspecting Viceroy to appoint Iturbide to the command of a native army which was preparing to destroy Vicente Guerrero, and proclaim in the western coasts of Mexico the restoration of the King's absolute authority, which the Viceroy was expecting simultaneously to proclaim in the capital.

General Vicente Guerrero was the one revolutionary chief who had refused all overtures from the Viceroy, and was still in formidable resistance to his authority. He was of humble origin, and was said to possess that drop of African blood in his veins which deprived him of the rights of Spanish citizenship under the Constitution of 1812. He had been a follower of Morelos, and had led bands of guerrillas after the defeat of that great patriot-priest. In March, 1818, he was apparently the only general officer in resistance to the government of the Viceroy. Thus early he set to work to collect the scattered patriots and reorganize them for a final struggle. By a series of victories over the Viceregal forces in 1820, he won recognition as a formidable revolutionary leader. He was destined to become an important factor in the liberation of Mexico from Spanish domination.

The army of Guerrero was threatening a march on the capital, where the military strength of the Viceroy was concentrated, when Iturbide was sent to destroy it and proclaim the absolute authority of the King. Iturbide left the capital, in November, 1820, with twenty-five hundred soldiers, and established himself near the headquarters of the Independent chief. He was in no haste, however, to engage in battle. He was convinced that by bringing the old insurgents to act in concert with the Creole troops, he might easily shake off the authority of Spain and proclaim the absolute Independence of Mexico. On these points there was a perfect understanding between him and the clerical schemers at the capital. The following February (1821), an interview was arranged between the two military leaders. Iturbide disclosed his plan for the establishment of a Constitutional Monarchy in Mexico which should guarantee to the people, (1) the Roman Catholic Religion, without toleration of any other, and with the rights, immunities, and property of the clergy preserved and secured; (2) the absolute independence of the country; and (3) the enjoyment of the same civil rights by all of the actual inhabitants of Mexico, whatever their birthplace or descent,—thus doing away with all distinctions of race or color. The scheme provided for the recognition of Fernando VII. as Emperor, provided he would consent to occupy the throne in person and take an oath to observe the Constitution to be adopted by a Congress of the Mexican nation. Guarantees were to be given for the conservation of the property and rights of the clergy; and provision was to be made for an army to take the Roman Catholic Religion under its protection, for a Mexican Congress to frame a Constitution, and for a governing junta pending the arrival of the King.

On the twenty-fourth of February, 1821, Iturbide assembled the chief officers of his army at Iguala and presented to them a set of propositions for the institution of a national government in Mexico in conformity with this scheme, to which was given the name of Las Tres Garantias  (The Three Guarantees), though it has ever since been popularly known as the "Plan de Iguala" from the little village (now in the State of Guerrero) directly south of the capital, where it was announced to the army of the Viceroy. The "Three Guarantees"—Religion, Independence, and Union—were to be symbolized, in the national flag to be adopted, by the colors red, white, and green.

The "Plan de Iguala" was more definite than any that had preceded it, and gave more certain promise of success. The concession on the part of the clerical promoters of the plan was, of course, in regard to the equality of the various social classes; all class distinctions were to be abolished. Compensation for this concession was to be had in the protection which the clergy hoped to receive for their religious privileges. The proposal of adherence to Fernando was intended merely to deceive. When the Independents hesitated to accept a government under a Bourbon prince, they were assured that there was little prospect of the execution of that part of the plan, though the primary intention was to free Mexico from the domination of Spain and Spanish people, not from that of the King. It was necessary to have this provided for at the outset, though it was generally understood that the provision was not likely to be retained. The Mexicans generally, apart from the Independent leaders, knew little and cared less about the form of government to which they were to submit when once freed from that of the Viceroy and Audiencia; and, visionary and impracticable as it now appears, the idea of giving to Fernando VII. an Empire in the Western World, in place of one he had found so irksome in Spain under the constitutional restrictions imposed in 1812, was very attractive to the Mexican people at that time.

It was, in fact, the Spanish Cortes that objected. The "Plan de Iguala" was a most impudent subversion of their plans. Fernando was, indeed, under their arrangement of affairs, a mere figurehead in the government of Spain and persona non grata  to the Spanish people. But the Cortes preferred to have that figurehead kept at home. It was not the intention to have the King transfer his capital from Madrid to the City of Mexico, and establish on American soil a new Empire to be the rival of the old. And although the Cortes treated the matter with all seriousness when it came before it, it could not fail to see the ludicrous side of the Mexican proposal.

Guerrero received the disclosures of Iturbide's plan, when first made to him, with uncontrolled joy, and at once ceded to the Mestizo Colonel the command of the "Army of the Three Guarantees," composed of his own forces and those under Iturbide, who swore to support the "Plan de Iguala." The news of the movement spread like wild-fire throughout the country. Iturbide went into the Provincias Internas  to arrange for its publication there, leaving Guerrero in command of the troops in the south.

All the Viceroy's offers of money and political advancement failed to win the now revolutionary Commander-in-chief back to his former allegiance. Iturbide not only took with him the soldiers in his immediate command, but he influenced many others to espouse the cause of the "Plan de Iguala." Pedro Celestino Negrete, who up to this time had been in command of a division of the Viceroy's troops, pronounced for the Plan in Guadalajara. Colonel Anastasio Bustamante, afterwards President of Mexico, with his whole regiment, declared in favor of the Plan; and the Creole troops, which had not joined in the previous revolutions, now came forward in support of this. Juan Alvarez, Carlos Maria Bustamante, Jose Joaquin de Herrera, Nicolas Bravo, and many others who were destined to attain to prominent places in the subsequent history of the country, gave in their adhesion to it. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, and others on the Gulf Coast, arose in support of the Plan; Felix Fernandez came forth from his hiding place; Revolutionary leaders who had retired from the struggle discouraged, again came to the front; and Iturbide soon found himself at the head of sixteen thousand men, all enthusiastic over the success of the new enterprise. The Bajio, Valladolid, Toluca, Queretaro, Puebla, Durango, Zacatecas, Oaxaca, and other localities, came into the ranks of the "Three Guarantees." The Independence of the country seemed assured without the sacrifice of another drop of blood.

Such were the conditions which caused the retirement of Viceroy Apodaca from Mexico. It is believed that he was at first inclined to favor the "Plan de Iguala"; but when he saw the true state of affairs, and what it was that Iturbide was seeking to accomplish, he declined the offer made to him of the Presidency of a junta to be created to carry the Plan into effect, and issued a proclamation warning the people against the new movement and offering pardon to all who would abandon the constantly growing forces of the "Three Guarantees." Nevertheless, the Serviles seemed to regard him with suspicion, and brought charges against him of lacking energy in an emergency and of taking no active measures against the Plan. The troops in the capital mutinied, and seemed inclined to go over to the army of Iturbide. So Apodaca resigned, and on the fifth of July, 1821, turned the government over to his Chief of Artillery, Francisco de Novella.

Apodaca is known in history as "The Unfortunate." Novella appears as Viceroy ad interim, but he did little by way of discharging the functions of the Viceregal office, and his term lasted but a few days. His authority was scarcely recognized. The Serviles failed to support him; the officers of the army ignored him. On the thirtieth of July, 1821, General Juan O'Donoju, bearing the commission of Captain-General, arrived in Mexico to supersede Novella. Upon landing in San Juan de Ulua, he took the oath of office as Viceroy, and issued a proclamation declaring the liberality of his principles and the rectitude of his intentions, and holding out the prospect of arranging satisfactorily all that was desired by the "Plan de Iguala." He requested that hostilities might be suspended until he could consult with the Independents and receive instructions from Spain. Vera Cruz was then in the hands of the Independents under Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. O'Donoju was therefore placed in the embarrassing position of having to ask of Santa Anna the privilege of landing upon the continent, and of requesting from Iturbide a safe-conduct to the capital.

O'Donoju (whose name bespeaks his Irish origin) saw at a glance that it would be impossible to arrest the revolution by force, and he proposed to treat with Iturbide. Iturbide answered his letter by offering to meet him in Cordoba; and there they met, on the twenty-fourth of August, 1821. With that date, the Independence of Mexico may be considered as begun. There was apparently no difficulty in getting O'Donoju to sign, on behalf of the government he was supposed to represent, what is known as the Treaty of Cordoba.

This Treaty embodied the "Plan de Iguala." It declared Mexico sovereign and independent, and provided for a constitutional, representative monarchy; for the call of the Bourbon family of Spain to the throne; and for the immediate establishment of a provisional government, pending the arrival of the chosen monarch. The Treaty also assured to the people the liberty of the press and the equal rights of Mexicans and Spaniards then residing in the country, and agreed that the army of the "Three Guarantees" should occupy the capital and that the Spanish troops should be sent out of the country as speedily as possible. In accordance with this stipulation. Colonel Herrera entered the capital, on the twenty-third of September, with a detachment of the Independent troops. The Commandant at San Juan de Ulua and Novella, in the City of Mexico, were the only prominent military officials who remained in opposition to the Treaty of Cordoba; and their following was but small.

The Treaty of Cordoba having been secured, and all things being in readiness, Iturbide, on his thirty-ninth birthday (twenty-seventh of September), entered the capital in triumph at the head of his army. He was hailed as "The Liberator," and the occasion was marked by every demonstration of joy. He at once gave his attention to executing that clause of the Treaty which provided for a government ad interim. The provisional government, consisting of the Bishop of Puebla and two lay associates, selected Iturbide, O'Donoju, Manuel de la Barcena, Jose Isidro Yanez, and Manuel Vasquez de Leon, to compose the Regency.

Barcena, Yanez, and Leon are new names in the history of these times. They were among the promoters of the "Plan de Iguala," and had previously taken no interest in the Independence of Mexico save to oppose the Revolutionists. The five Regents were without delay solemnly installed in the Cathedral, upon taking an oath to support the Treaty of Cordoba. The Regency organized by electing Iturbide President. He appointed a ministry altogether inconsistent with the declared purposes of the "Plan de Iguala," and inadequate to the special demands of the times. The old Revolutionary party was completely ignored, and the portfolios of Hacienda (State), War and Marine, Justice and Ecclesiastical Affairs, and Domestic and Foreign Relations, were given to the new party of Independents,—those who had sought and obtained the separation from Spain through the "Plan de Iguala."

The death of O'Donoju, on the eighth of October, enabled Iturbide to augment his powers still further. The Bishop of Puebla was appointed to the place of the deceased Viceroy in the Regency, and Iturbide conferred upon the prelate the honorary presidency of that body, while he retained for himself the command of the army, with the title of Generalissimo and an annual salary of one hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars, and thus grafted upon the political system of the new nation one of the worst features of the Old Spanish regime—ecclesiastical and military domination. With the further title of "Lord High Admiral" conferred upon him, and addressed by the people as "Serene Highness," the Mestizo Colonel was within a step of the gratification of his loftiest ambition. He separated himself from the old Revolutionary leaders, ignored the services they might render him, allied himself with the army, and ingratiated himself with the clergy and aristocratic classes as most likely to serve him in time of need.

A junta composed of thirty-eight "Notables," and more popularly constituted than the Regency, proceeded to arrange for the organization of Congress, as contemplated by the "Plan de Iguala;" but its members did not propose to accept too readily Iturbide's plans for the organization of that body. Instead of two houses of legislation, they proposed to allow but one, and that was to be composed of deputies elected by the people. In those provinces which were to send more than four deputies, they proposed that there should be one ecclesiastic, one military man, and one lawyer; and although all the members of the junta professed to be guided by the "Plan de Iguala," a diversity of political views became apparent from the outset. Certain writers at this time began to propose openly the adoption of the Republican form of government. The public press began to attack the "Plan de Iguala." An organized movement toward the establishment of a Republic was actually discovered and suppressed by Negrete, toward the end of the year, and Felix Fernandez, Nicolas Bravo, and others, were made to suffer imprisonment in consequence thereof.

When assembled, on the twenty-fourth of February, 1822, Congress was found to comprise three distinct parties, notwithstanding the oath taken by each deputy to support the "Plan de Iguala" and the Treaty of Cordoba. The "Bourbonistas "were the strictest adherents to the Plan and Treaty, and desired a constitutional monarchy with a Prince of the House of Bourbon at its head. They comprised the Spaniards who had been unable to leave the country because of their valuable interests therein, and whose welfare could only be conserved by a strict construction of the Plan, of which they were, in fact, the original promoters.

The "Republicans" desired that the Plan should be set aside, and a Federal Republic be instituted. They fully appreciated the difficulties in the way of realizing their hopes, but they had begun to be suspicious of Iturbide; and being composed for the most part of the old Revolutionary leaders, they were naturally hostile to him personally.

The third party called themselves "Iturbidistas." They accepted the "Plan de Iguala," but, anticipating the action of the Spanish Cortes in regard to the Treaty of Cordoba, they were preparing to substitute Iturbide for the Bourbons named in the Plan and Treaty, and elevate him to an Imperial throne. These partisans of Iturbide comprised representatives of the army, the clergy, and the more influential Creoles. The three political parties thus beginning to crystallize foreshadowed those which subsequently played football with the highest interests of the Mexican nation.

The declaration of the Spanish Cortes that the Treaty of Cordoba was null and void, was received in Mexico at the time that the Constituent Assembly or Congress was organized under the Presidency of a pronounced opponent of Iturbide. The resolution of the Cortes to make an effort to recover the American provinces by reinforcing the troops in the revolting countries, meant nothing more than an emphatic protest against the course affairs were taking; for Spain had neither money nor men to spare at the time. And the immediate result in Mexico was that the "Bourbonistas" ceased to exist as a party, and the interests of the Congress were narrowed down to those of the "Iturbidistas" and Republicans. The latter were led by such men as Guerrero, Fernandez, Bravo, and others of their class, and were augmented by the former "Bourbonistas." They were bitterly opposed to the further advancement of Iturbide. Guerrero naturally felt that he was entitled to some recognition in the distribution of honors under the new regime.

Congress, which was largely dominated by the Republicans, placed further obstacles in the way of Iturbide' s progress toward the gratification of his ambition. The reduction of the army was a blow aimed at his personal support. The Regency was deposed, and General Bravo, the Count of Heras, and Miguel Valentin were placed in their stead. A decree inhibiting the members of the Regency from bearing arms, intended to suppress Iturbide' s candidacy for the Imperial throne, passed to its third reading, and was about to be adopted, when Iturbide made up his mind that it was time for his friends to take the final step necessary to secure the ends he had in view.

On the eighteenth of May, 1822, the "Liberator" obtained a pronunciamento in his favor in the cuartel  of San Hipolito in the capital. The ostensible leader in the movement was one Pio Marcha, a sergeant in the First Regiment of Infantry, who but for this would have been absolutely unknown to history; and despite his important relation to the incidents now brought to our attention, obtained no greater promotion than to a captaincy. He was seconded by Epitacio Sanchez, Colonel of a regiment of Horse Guards, and the movement spread to the various cuartels  of the city and was assisted by demonstrations in favor of Iturbide in the theatres and by salvos of artillery in the streets. Enthusiasm is infectious, and to any disinterested spectator in the City of Mexico that day it would undoubtedly have appeared that the popularity of Iturbide had been increasing rather than diminishing since he made his triumphal entry into the city as the Liberator of his people, and that the whole city had determined upon his becoming the Emperor of the nation.

In a turbulent meeting of the Congress, from which the Republican members were in a measure excluded, and in which the influence of Iturbide was by various means greatly extended,—with the galleries filled with his friends, who were instructed to applaud at any mention of his name,—Iturbide was elected Emperor of Mexico by a vote of seventy-seven to fifteen. If we may accept his own account of these proceedings, his election was greeted with unrestrained enthusiasm, and the air was rent with shouts of "Viva el Emperador! Viva Agustin I.!"

He immediately took the oath of office before Congress, and organized a Provisional Council of State, composed of thirteen persons. Then, to the neglect of matters upon which the welfare of the nation and the happiness of the people depended, he applied himself to the arrangement of the succession to the throne and the titles to be borne by the members of the Imperial family. On the twenty-fifth of July he was anointed and crowned in the Cathedral in Mexico, and assumed the title of "Agustin I., Emperador."



Centralism Under the "Bases Organicas" of 1843

In 1837 Anastasio Bustamante returned from his exile in France, whither he had been sent by Gomez Farias, and was elected by his friends in Congress to supersede Corro in the titular Presidency. One plot after another against the government disturbed his administration. Almost immediately after his accession there was a movement in favor of Federalism, and designed to restore Gomez Farias, (who was being held as a political prisoner) to liberty and to put him into the Presidency in Bustamante's place. Another plot had for its supposed object the division of the country and the setting up of "The Republic of Sierra Madre" upon the eastern slope of the mountains so named. The Republic was to be composed of the States of that locality, which were largely Federalist in their political principles. Doubtless if all the States in which Federalist principles predominated had been contiguous, the disruption of the country would have ensued, or the Centralists would have been earlier forced to yield to the demands of the Federalists. These insurrections were, however, put down before they had gained any headway.

In 1838 General Mexia made a brilliant effort for the emancipation of Mexico from the rule of Absolutists. He advanced as far as Puebla with a brave band of patriots, and with the purpose of proceeding to the capital, but he was encountered by General Santa Anna, who had crept forth from his retirement to recover his lost popularity by some daring exploit of arms, and was entrusted by Bustamante with the command of the government troops sent out against Mexia. Mexia was taken captive, not by superiority of military skill, but by treachery; and was executed by his inhuman captor upon the field of battle.

It was in the same year that a French squadron blockaded Vera Cruz in pursuit of what is known in Mexican history as the "Pie Claim." Santa Anna, taking advantage of this opportunity to recover the military and political prestige lost at San Jacinto, took command of the Mexican troops and drove the French back to their vessels. In this battle he received wounds that necessitated the amputation of a leg. The loss of this member became thenceforth a new and important element in Mexican politics. Santa Anna was able to plead with his fellow-countrymen, when it became necessary to send forth one of those manifestos for which he was famous, that his patriotic sacrifices had been greater than those of Napoleon (with whom he was fond of comparing himself), as he had lost a limb in defense of his native land.

In 1839 President Bustamante left the care of the government to Santa Anna, and put himself at the head of the army to repel another insurrection. This was likewise a Federalist movement, and was headed by Gomez Farias and one of his military friends. It started at some distance from the capital, but soon spread in that direction; and the following year, when Bustamante returned to the capital and to the exercise of his presidential functions, he found himself at one time a prisoner in the hands of the insurgents. Some sort of an understanding was reached by which hostilities were suspended, the lives of the insurgents were spared under a general amnesty, and this insurrectionary movement came to an end without accomplishing anything for the improvement of Mexico.

It was evident, however, that a more serious struggle was pending. In 1842 General Mariano Paredes y Arrillaga pronounced against the government. He was followed by General Valencia and General Lombardini in the capital, and by the irrepressible General Santa Anna in Vera Cruz. Among various indefinite causes alleged for this insurrection was the inadequacy of the Constitution of 1836. There was also a well-recognized popular discontent over certain onerous duties and taxes imposed by the Conservative government.

Bustamante occupied the National Palace at the capital, and with his troops held certain other portions of the city. General Valencia, in opposition to him, controlled the ciudadela  from which he cannonaded the city. For months the city was in a state of siege, with frequent contests in the streets, and some more harmless conflicts between the rival troops on the adjacent plains. The chief damage was done to innocent non-combatants in the city, upon whom shot and shell occasionally descended.

The President finally decided upon a more vigorous campaign, and took the field against the insurgents, leaving the government in the hands of the Senior Member and President of the Government Council, who was virtual Vice-President under the Constitution of 1836. Javier Echavarria, who thus became Acting President of the Republic, was a merchant of Vera Cruz, and a notable exception to the military character of the Mexican rulers. After fruitless battles, and after interviews and negotiations equally fruitless, between the chiefs of the different parties, the revolution was terminated by a meeting at Tacubaya in September. A "Plan," inspired by the followers of Santa Anna, was agreed upon and signed by one hundred and ninety-one persons, by which the then existing Constitution was superseded.

The "Plan de Tacubaya," as it was called, proclaimed a general amnesty to political offenders on both sides, and provided that a Congress should be called to frame a new Constitution for the better government of the Republic. A "Junta of Notables" was formed, the members to be named by the General-in-chief of the army. The junta was to elect a Provisional President, who, by one of the articles of the "Plan," was to be "clothed with all power necessary to reorganize the nation and all branches of administration"—in other words, to be invested with supreme power. The General-in-chief of the army, by the appointment of Bustamante, was Santa Anna. He selected the junta in accordance with the terms of the "Plan." The junta returned the compliment, and elected Santa Anna Provisional President.

The "Plan de Tacubaya" was so far successful that Bustamante left the Presidency and departed for Europe, and Echevarria was superseded as Provisional President by Santa Anna, who thus, after defeat, disgrace, and capture by his enemies, now recovered the Supreme power in the land. A Congress, composed of "patriotic citizens" chosen by the people, met in June, 1842, and was opened by a speech from the Provisional President, in which he positively declared his preference for a firm and centralized government, but intimated his readiness to acquiesce in the decisions of that deliberative body.

After Congress had made two unsuccessful attempts to devise a system of government that would be acceptable to both parties, Santa Anna thought it best to retire from the scene. He placed the affairs of the government in the hands of General Nicolas Bravo and Valentin Canalizo, who were by turns to execute his mandates during his absence from the capital. Bravo promptly dissolved Congress and revived the "Junta of Notables" created under the "Plan de Tacubaya." The junta put forth a new Constitution, known as the "Bases Organicas Politicas de la Republica Mexicana." It was dated on the thirteenth of June, 1843, and centralized the government still further than the Constitution of 1836 had done.

By its first section, the new Constitution declared that Mexico adopted the form of a popular representative system for its government; that the territory was divided into departments; that the political power resided not in the people but in the nation; that the Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Creed was professed and protected to the exclusion of all other forms of religion.

The second section abolished slavery, and declared that no one should be molested for his opinions or called upon for contributions or government loans excepting such as were regularly imposed by law. The third section declared citizens all persons born in Mexican territory, or born elsewhere of a Mexican father, as well as all who were in Mexico in 1821 who had not renounced their allegiance; also all natives of Central America at the time it belonged to Mexico, who had continued to reside in Mexico, and all who had obtained or should thereafter obtain letters of naturalization. It limited the right of suffrage to male citizens of eighteen years and upwards if married, or twenty-one or upwards if not married, provided they were in the enjoyment of an annual income of at least two hundred dollars derived from actual capital, industry, or honest personal labor; and after 1850 the suffrage was to be further restricted to those who were able to read and write. The rights of citizenship were to be forfeited by entering into domestic servitude, by habitual intemperance, by the taking of religious vows, the keeping of prohibited gambling-houses, and by fraudulent bankruptcy.

The legislative power was to reside in a Congress divided into a Chamber of Deputies and a Senate. The first branch was to consist of individuals elected by Electoral Colleges in the departments, in the ratio of one for every seventy thousand inhabitants, except that every department should have at least one deputy. There was also to be a deputy in any department having a population of thirty-five thousand in excess of the seventy thousand or a multiple thereof. The Senate was to consist of sixty-three members,—forty-two to be elected by the Departmental Assemblies, and the remaining twenty-one by the Chamber of Deputies, the President of the Republic, and the Supreme Court of Justice. The Departmental Assemblies were to select five persons each from the classes of agriculturists, miners, merchants, and manufacturers, and the rest of them from the class called "Distinguished Individuals." Those appointed by the President and by the Supreme Court were to be men who had signalized themselves in a civil, military, or ecclesiastical career.

The Executive Power was to be confided for five years to a President, who was to be a Mexican by birth, in full enjoyment of the rights of citizenship, over forty years of age, and a resident of the Republic at the time of his election. Among the duties prescribed for him were the following: He was to impose fines, not exceeding five hundred dollars, on those who disobeyed his orders, and were wanting in respect and obedience to the laws; to see that prompt justice was administered; to visit the tribunals whenever informed of delays or of the existence of disorders in those bodies; to require that precedence be given in the courts to causes concerning the public welfare; to demand information regarding the same whenever deemed proper; and he had the right to veto, within thirty days, any laws passed by Congress not meeting his approval, said veto subject to being overruled by the vote of two-thirds of the members of both houses of Congress; he might declare war, and dispose of the armed forces of the nation as he saw fit, in accordance with the purposes for which they were created; he might expel from the Republic unnaturalized foreigners who were deemed dangerous; and he might name speakers from the Council to defend the opinions of the government before the legislative chambers.

A Council of the Government, composed of seventeen persons to be named by the President, was to perform certain duties in aid of the government in all matters required by the "Bases," and in other matters upon which it might be deemed proper to consult. It was to be the privilege of this Council to propose to the government any regulations that might be deemed necessary for the public welfare in any branch of the administration. The judicial power was declared to reside in a Supreme Court, in Departmental tribunals and others already established by law, and in a perpetual Court Martial chosen by the President. Each Department was to have an Assembly, but, as defined, this amounted to scarcely more than a species of municipal police subject to review by the President and the Departmental Governor appointed by him.

The population of Mexico was divided into sections of five hundred inhabitants each for the election of "Primary Juntas," and the members of each junta were to vote by ballot for one elector. These primary electors were to name the secondary,—one for every twenty primaries; and these latter were to form the Electoral College of the Department. The Electoral College was to elect Deputies to Congress and Members of the Departmental Assembly. Each Departmental Assembly was, every five years, to select a person for President of the Republic. The person receiving the vote of the majority of the Assemblies was to be declared elected. The number of terms for which a person was eligible was not stated, nor was the mode of supplying a vacancy caused by death, resignation, or incompetency, provided for.

Thus had Santa Anna succeeded in forcing upon the country his favorite scheme of government by Centralization of power. He was fortified in his position, and his power was entrenched on every side. He was absolutely removed from the people. Four millions of Indians among his subjects were utterly unrepresented in the government, and were without hope of advancement or of any improvement in their condition. Nothing could be less "popular" than the government organized upon the Bases of Political Organization of the Mexican Republic, proclaimed in June, 1843, as a "Popular Representative Government."

The people were divided into classes of "citizens" and "inhabitants." Property qualifications were created. The voter must have an annual income of at least two hundred dollars, the Deputy to the Departmental Assembly five hundred dollars, the Deputy to the Congressional Chamber, twelve hundred dollars, and the Senator two thousand dollars. Domestic servants and the clergy were disfranchised in the same category with gamblers and drunkards. The direct vote of the people for men to represent them in the Departmental Assemblies, and in Congress or in the Presidency, was abolished. The opinions, sentiments, and preferences of the people were to be filtered through three or more bodies of electors before their representatives could be chosen; and the Supreme Power was vested in a Central government, the people being left with scarcely a shadow of authority over their homes and their political interests in the Departments. Thus, all the revolutions that had gone on in Mexico for twenty years, in which there had appeared now and then some slight evidence of a progressive principle, had culminated in the establishment of what was really a retrogressive system of government; and so far from getting nearer to liberty and enlightenment, the country had at last reached the acme of Centralism and Oligarchy.

A glance at the social conditions of Mexico at this time will in a measure account for this strange situation. The people were forced to submit to a twofold domination especially fostered by the "Bases," that of a military rule and that of the Church. Eight million dollars were annually expended upon the military establishment, and this sum went to the support of the younger members of those families whose influence it was deemed wise to secure for the government. Almost every respectable man met upon the streets of the larger cities wore military dress. But while to a partially informed observer Mexico might thus have appeared as a military nation, to the better informed this military strength was known to be created and maintained, not to protect the nation from foreign aggressions, but to guard the government from the assaults of the people. Although for twenty years the country had been one vast camp and battlefield, the contests had been between the possessors of power and the aspirants therefor. The military strength of the nation was not only being dissipated, but was working a positive injury to the country.

The Church had accumulated a large share of the real property of the country, in addition to the untold wealth which swelled its coffers; and its influence was naturally in favor of that branch of government which preserved its property and protected the religious orders through which it derived its power. These were direct inheritances from the Spanish system, which lingered in spite of the efforts that had been made to cast it off. The result was that there was in the country no numerous and distinctive body of enlightened lawyers or merchants, or educated mechanics or agriculturists, to counterbalance the influence of the two really influential classes of people,—the clergy and the military. An aristocracy of arms and of the spiritual power having been created, agriculture was regarded as a menial occupation. A few Mexicans there were who loved liberty and strove to secure the well-being of the people. Every Congress that assembled contained some of these. They were looked upon as obstructionists by the aspirants to political power, and their efforts were in a large measure thwarted by the people at large, who, hopelessly unhappy in the condition in which they were placed, were indifferent as to the kind of government that was over them.

A Congress was installed in accordance with the "Bases," on New Year's day, 1844, and an election by this Congress confirmed Santa Anna in the Presidency. He at once began to enjoy, to the fullest extent, the pomp and circumstance of royalty, rather than the simplicity presumed to inhere in a Republic. The state he observed as President was, in fact, altogether inconsistent with the Republican institutions he professed to observe. He rode abroad from the National Palace in a coach richly decked with crimson velvet and gold, drawn by four white horses, accompanied by a troop of gaily caparisoned hussars, and with six mounted aides-de-camp  at the sides. He wore the rich gold-embroidered dress of a General of Division. A number of decorations were about his neck, and a medal of great brilliancy upon his breast. In his personal character he was thoroughly inconsistent. He was the habitue  of the cock-pit, as he had been before; for it was not at this time considered beneath the dignity of the grandees of the country to interest themselves in cock-fighting and other low sports. As with the government, so with the people; and the morality of the country was at a lower ebb under the "Bases" than ever before.

Congress was at first disposed to sustain the views of Santa Anna in regard to the re-conquest of Texas, and granted four million dollars of the ten millions he desired for that purpose. But when it was discovered that the first-named sum was impossible of realization, Congress refused to sustain his plans any longer. In point of fact, Congress had become suspicious of the honesty of the President, and was unwilling to entrust so large a sum to his control. And this was but an indication of the bitter opposition to the absolutism of Santa Anna, manifested all over the country. Public opinion was being aroused and was resulting in popular uprisings. So threatening was the aspect of affairs that the President, fearing a serious outbreak and always ready to fly before a coming storm, asked permission of Congress to retire to his estate at Mango de Clava, to arrange his private affairs. The "Bases" had made no provision for the selection of a President ad interim  in such an exigency, and Congress took the matter in hand. Santa Anna was shrewd enough to interpret the meaning of the bare majority by which Canalizo, his candidate for the office of President ad interim, was elected. Canalizo took charge of affairs at the capital, and Santa Anna retired to Vera Cruz to indulge in further intrigues against the country.

He had taken the precaution, however, to mobilize the better part of the army (ostensibly for his proposed expedition upon Texas) eastward of the capital, where he might avail himself of its services in case of need. But his plans were disconcerted by a movement in a most unexpected quarter. General Mariano Paredes y Arrillaga had been one of the chief instruments of Santa Anna in the overthrow of Bustamante and the establishment of the ultra-Centralized government, and he had received as the reward of his efficient services the position of Military Commandant of the Department of Jalisco. He disagreed with Canalizo, the President ad interim  and did not hesitate to express his disapproval in a most public and official manner. He had the Departmental Junta, or Assembly of Jalisco, publish an "Initiative," or "Constitutional Act," as it was called, demanding that the National Congress "make the provisional government amenable to the Plan of Tacubaya;" that it repeal a certain law imposing extraordinary contributions (forced loans); and that it reform those articles of the Constitution which were inimical to the prosperity of the Departments. All the civil and military authorities of Jalisco indorsed this initiative, and the Departments of Aguas Calientes, Zacatecas, Sinaloa and Sonora concurred. Paredes, who was on his way to take command of the Department of Sonora, stopped at Guadalajara with his troops, and from that city dated his pronunciamento against Santa Anna and "assumed the functions of Military Chief of the Revolution." He took up his position, with fourteen hundred men, at Lagos, on the borders of Jalisco. Between him and the City of Mexico were the Departments of Queretaro and Guanajuato. In the latter Department, General Cortazar was established with two thousand men, and Paredes depended upon him for support.

Santa Anna, however, started for the City of Mexico with eight thousand five hundred men, received some additional troops in Puebla, and fixed his headquarters at Guadalupe, a suburb of the capital. The situation was interesting. The Departments of Puebla, Vera Cruz, Mexico, Queretaro, and Guanajuato professed loyalty to the Santa Anna government, and Santa Anna seemed abundantly able to march into Queretaro with thirteen thousand men and crush the little army of Paredes. But he was confronted by constitutional questions. By the "Bases Organicas" the President was prohibited from commanding the military forces in person without previously obtaining the consent of Congress. Such constitutional questions, however, were not wont to trouble Santa Anna; and this Constitution, being of his own creation, one would think could easily be made to stand aside. But he was likewise confronted by a Congress which, while not professedly supporting Paredes, was disposed to support the Constitution. Santa Anna and Paredes were both alike engaged in revolutionary acts.

Santa Anna marched into Queretaro under an order signed by the Minister of War. Congress at once passed a resolution impeaching the Minister of War for issuing such an order, and voted to receive, print, and proclaim, and thus to endorse, the pronunciamento of Paredes. Meanwhile the Departmental Junta of Queretaro adopted the "Initiative" of Jalisco. Santa Anna threatened to imprison the members of the Junta of Queretaro if they did not pronounce in his favor. He carried out his threat upon three of them, sending them under a strong guard in the direction of the capital.

Congress, with great promptness, summoned the Minister of War before it, and demanded of him whether he had authorized General Santa Anna to imprison the members of the Junta of Queretaro. The proceedings of Congress were of such a menacing character that Canalizo, after consultation with Santa Anna, determined upon extreme measures. The Deputies, who repaired to the National Palace on the first of December, found the doors closed and a guard of soldiers to prevent access to the Palace. The following day a proclamation was issued by Canalizo declaring Congress dissolved indefinitely, and all powers of the government, legislative as well as executive, conferred upon Santa Anna as Presidente Proprietario, with Canalizo as Presidente Interino  until otherwise ordered by Santa Anna.

Popular indignation rose to its greatest height. The Commandant General of the Department of Puebla, aided and abetted by the municipal authorities, pronounced against Santa Anna, and a few days later the garrison and people of the City of Mexico rose up, imprisoned Canalizo and his ministers, and thus permitted Congress to assemble. General Jose Joaquin Herrera, President of the Government Council, was advanced by Congress to the place of Canalizo.

The situation increased in interest. Santa Anna was constitutional President, but was unconstitutionally in command of troops and (in conjunction with Cortazar) in military possession of two Departments of the country. The Departments farther north were in a state of revolution under Paredes. Puebla and Vera Cruz adhered to Santa Anna. The Minister of War, under instructions from Congress, now ordered Santa Anna to give up the command of the military forces, with the understanding that if he refused, he would be considered a rebel and a traitor, for the new provisional government was unquestionably constitutional. If he chose to disobey this mandate, and was successful in his opposition to Congress and the constitutional government, he became at once the Military Dictator of the country. To obey the mandates of Congress was to relinquish his military support and place himself at the mercy of his opponents.

The Senate acted with great dignity and firmness. In a document signed by all but four of the Senators, it protested against the absolutism of Santa Anna. The Chamber of Deputies also protested in like manner; and both houses of Congress resolutely expressed a determination to resist any military or other encroachments upon the rights of popular government. An exchange of letters between Herrera and his ministers on one side, and Santa Anna on the other, brought no results; and on the seventeenth of December a decree was issued declaring that the government no longer recognized Santa Anna's authority as President of the Republic, pronouncing all his acts as President null and void, and calling upon the army under him to submit at once to the authority of Congress.

Continuing his march toward the Capital and his messages to the government, Santa Anna proceeded in his now clearly unconstitutional course. But the government cause gained ground steadily. The capital was put in a state of defense, and General Bravo was placed in command, with General Valencia as his lieutenant. The approach of Santa Anna was anticipated with no little concern, and all the roads leading up to the capital were torn up to impede his progress; and although Herrera, in his letters to Santa Anna, had urged him to yield to the will of the people and avoid bloodshed, preparations were made for a desperate struggle.

Paredes followed Santa Anna, and gave to his advance somewhat the character of a retreat. Santa Anna was before the gates of the capital throughout the holiday week, but the battle waged was one of gasconade; and Santa Anna withdrew to Puebla. From the first to the seventh of January, 1845, he made daily attacks on the latter city; but the General in command of it replied to his demands, that he would never surrender the city so long as he had a man left to fire a shot. Santa Anna made an assault while the Poblanos were considering propositions made to them under a flag of truce, but was finally repulsed with the loss of two hundred of his men.

Thus foiled at Puebla, Santa Anna sent General Cortazar, Antonio Haro y Tamaris, and others, to the capital, to arrange terms, while he retreated towards Jalapa. His troops surrendered a week later, and an effort was made to create the impression that Santa Anna had escaped from the country. He was captured, however, and conveyed under a strong guard to Perote. There he was imprisoned, though treated with all consideration due to a distinguished soldier in misfortune.

The capture was treated by Congress and by the press at the capital very considerately. Only the papers of Vera Cruz, Santa Anna's own Department, cried aloud for "the blood of the tyrant." Congress proceeded in a dignified manner with his impeachment for high treason in attempting to subvert the Constitution and to elevate himself to the supreme authority in Mexico as Emperor; for violating the Constitution by an arbitrary exercise of power not conferred upon him; for malfeasance in office in applying funds of the government to his own use, and in sending out of the country, on his individual account, several millions of the public money; for violating the usages of war at Puebla; for robbing the mint at Guanajuato; for pillaging cities, and appropriating public and private property to his own use; and for refusing to deliver up the command of the army when ordered by the government to do so.

Some of these charges might not have been substantiated in all their details, yet there were ample grounds for all of them; and they furnished a commentary upon the character of the man whose highest ambition was to rule Mexico as dictator, and also upon the low moral state of the country where such acts, as he was unquestionably guilty of, could go on unchecked as long as they had in his case. Mexico was learning her need of a wholesome public opinion,—of a quickened, educated public conscience,—and of the necessity of preventing such atrocious crimes being committed against her by those to whom she entrusted the oversight of her highest interests. It was a hopeful sign that the country was awakening to a determination to purge the government of iniquity in high places. It was especially encouraging to those who longed for a reformation in Mexican public affairs, to see the government proceed in a constitutional manner in such a case of malfeasance, and not as Santa Anna himself would have done. The efforts of such men as Gomez Farias were beginning to bring good results.

Perhaps it was well not to deal with the case as it would have been dealt with in an Anglo-Saxon country. In May, a general amnesty was agreed upon, from which were excepted Santa Anna, Canalizo, Haro y Tamaris, the corrupt Minister of War, and others who were regarded as members of the "ring." It was, however, extended to Santa Anna, upon condition of his leaving the national territory forever; and to Canalizo and others, upon condition of their leaving Mexico for ten years. The government was to appoint the place where Haro y Tamaris was to reside.

While Congress and the public press acted with moderation in bringing something like order out of the chaos which Paredes and Santa Anna had precipitated upon the country, it was quite otherwise with the people, who but a short time before had dared speak the name of Santa Anna only in praise. A wild scene ensued upon his overthrow. A statue of him was destroyed by an infuriated mob, and the leg he had lost at Vera Cruz, and which had been entombed with much pomp at the capital while he was at the height of his power, was taken from its tomb and dragged about the streets. Ribald songs about him were sung in the streets, and caricatures were hawked about holding him up to the most scurrilous ridicule. This proved the bitterest potion in the cup of mortification that the fallen chieftain had to drink. It aroused all the vindictiveness of his nature. The treatment he had received while a prisoner in the hands of the Texans, was infinitely more humane, he declared, than that which he experienced at the hands of his own countrymen in the hour of his misfortune. To some intimate friends he announced his intention not to allow a Mexican to govern the country if he could prevent it, but to use his influence to establish a foreign dynasty to be supported by European bayonets. He established himself in Cuba. On arriving in Habana he met General Bustamante, who, taking advantage of the general amnesty proclaimed at this time, was returning to his native land from the exile to which he had been condemned by the "Plan de Tacubaya."



War With the United States, and Its Consequences

Texas had been independent of Mexico for nine years, had established a Republic, and had been recognized as such by the United States and by the principal nations of Europe. All the plans of Santa Anna for its reconquest had come to naught. It was now applying for admission to the United States. The project for annexation was regarded with feelings of great bitterness in Mexico; for not only did this project place the United States in the position of an oppressive neighbor taking advantage of the unhappy conditions that had prevailed in Mexico and enabled Texas to gain her independence, but it also made the United States a party to the dispute over the claim of Texas (under the Treaty of Peace concluded between General Houston and Santa Anna) to the Rio Grande, and not the Nueces, as her boundary. Diplomatic relations between Mexico and Texas were suspended; and immediately upon the passage of the act of annexation by the Congress of the United States, General Almonte, who had been Santa Anna's fellow-prisoner at the battle of San Jacinto and was now Envoy to the United States, demanded his passports and returned to Mexico. President Herrera issued a proclamation declaring the annexation a breach of international faith, and called upon the citizens of Mexico to rally to the defense of the territorial integrity of the country.

Troops were sent to the Rio Grande to enforce the claims of Mexico to the territory in dispute. This prepared the way for the United States government to send troops, under General Zachary Taylor, to take up a position at Corpus Christi. Herrera was evidently convinced of the inability of Mexico, in her then crippled condition, to carry on a successful war with the United States, and he showed a disposition to negotiate for a peaceable settlement of the territorial dispute. Nevertheless troops were forwarded to the frontier; and among the officers in command was General Mariano Paredes y Arrillaga.

During the progress of the war that ensued, the changes in the government of Mexico were unusually frequent. The Federalists were in the ascendant in 1845, and Gomez Farias and Herrera were prominent candidates for the Presidency. The latter was almost unanimously elected. A certain weakness in declaring his Federalism alienated him from his own party, without attracting to him the Church and the Centralists who were the natural enemies of his government. In addition to this, his efforts to avoid a conflict with the United States raised a popular clamor against his administration, and speedily brought it to an end.

General Paredes, on his way to the seat of war, "pronounced" in San Luis Potosi, in December, 1845, and returned to the capital at the head of about six thousand men. A pronunciamento, emanating from the army in San Luis Potosi and Tampico, expressed the discontent that was becoming general over the administration of Herrera. But no acts of violence occurred, and arrangements were made for the surrender of the capital without disorder or bloodshed. Paredes reached the capital on the second of January, 1846. He called together a Junta of Notables, comprising two representatives from each Department; and by this Junta he was elected President two days later.

He took an oath at his inauguration to "sustain the independence and integrity of the national territory against any foreign aggressions whatever, and to maintain the Republican popular representative system of government according to the Plan of Administration of the Republic agreed to by the act of the army on the second of January." The acts of the junta were signed by Bravo, Valencia, Almonte, and other professed enemies of Paredes. In the cabinet appointed by him, Almonte held the post of Secretary of War.

The man who had once built up and now destroyed Herrera's administration was a strangely contradictory character. Many supposed him to be acting at this time under the influence of Santa Anna. He declined to take up his residence in the National Palace, avoided all ostentatious display, and moved about the capital unattended by any military or other escort. But he was nevertheless an advocate of monarchy; and to the neglect of subjects of greater importance then prominently before the people, and of the war then in progress, he used his position to further a retrogressive movement and to propagate his monarchical ideas. Lucas Alaman, the pronounced monarchist, was entrusted by Paredes with the task of drawing up a new Constitution similar in form to the "Bases Organicas." Paredes was favored, in his monarchical plans, by the Spanish minister then in Mexico. He supported a paper called El Tiempo, edited by eminent persons of the Conservative party, and made it the organ of his government. He was intolerant to the extent of active persecution of the Liberal writers on the staff of El Monitor Republicano, who were outspoken in their opposition to his administration. It is remarkable that it should have escaped suspicion at the time, that he was in collusion with Santa Anna to destroy the Republic and to carry out the threats which Santa Anna is alleged to have made when he entered upon his exile.

A revival of monarchical ideas in an extreme wing of the Conservative party was scarcely to be regarded as a novel phase of Mexican politics. It had manifested itself before to such an extent as to attract the attention of publicists. It was one of the phases of political life to be taken into serious consideration by anyone who would attempt to study the constitutional history of Mexico or the various efforts to establish constitutional government therein.

When, as late as 1851, a political pamphleteer attempted to describe the various parties and factions in Mexico, he accorded recognition to the Monarchists, but flippantly referred to them as "calling themselves Conservatives," and stated that they had assumed the task of propagating their "peculiar political heresies," and stirring up feeling against the Republic. He pointed out, however, the impossibility of the Monarchists making any headway toward the accomplishment of their purposes as long as the United States maintained a Republic. In according to Lucas Alaman, the celebrated historian and publicist of Mexico, the chief place in the Monarchical wing of the Centralist or Conservative party, the pamphleteer ignored a more outspoken Monarchist than Alaman, Paredes, or any of the contributors to El Tiempo, and overlooked an event quite worthy of his attention and of ours, being not without its bearing upon the events now under consideration and upon others to which we must shortly pass.

In August, 1840, Jose Maria Gutierrez de Estrada addressed from his home, in one of the suburbs of the capital, a letter "to the President of the Republic, upon the necessity of seeking in a Convention the possible remedy for the evils which afflict the Republic." The letter reviewed, with unsparing frankness and with great accuracy, the attempts and the failures of the Mexicans to govern themselves, and proposed the establishment of a monarchy under the rule of some European prince. In order to write this letter, Gutierrez de Estrada resigned the office of Minister of Foreign Relations in the Cabinet of Bustamante, and also his seat in the Mexican Senate. When read in Congress, the letter created a profound sensation. The writer's position in society, his respectable antecedents, and the widespread popular confidence in the sincerity of his convictions, prevented his being dealt with in accordance with the customs prevailing in Mexico at that time. But the feeling against him was so strong that he concluded that it was best for him to reside in Europe, which he did until near the end of his life.

Paredes was a good soldier but an indifferent executive, and utterly incapable of inspiring the people with any respect for him or any enthusiasm for the measures he desired to have adopted. He summoned a "Constituent" Congress, as it was called, in May, 1846, and it sat until July. On the sixteenth of June it went into a formal election of President, as a result of which Paredes was declared elected President, and General Nicolas Bravo became Vice-President.

In the meantime, in March, 1846, General Taylor of the United States Army had begun his advance from Corpus Christi toward the Rio Grande. On the twenty-sixth of that month he was on the banks of that river opposite Matamoras, within the territory in dispute between the United States and Mexico. On that soil the battles of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma were fought in May, resulting in victories for the superior arms of the Americans. President Polk, who had been elected chief magistrate of the United States upon the issue of the projected annexation of Texas, asserted in a message to Congress that "by the act of the Republic of Mexico, war existed between that government and the United States." From the present point of view, and studied in the light of subsequent events, the statement of the Whig members of the American Congress is verified,—that the war was really begun by General Taylor, who sought an opportunity to cross the Rio Grande and take possession of Matamoras, which was in undisputed Mexican territory. This he did immediately afterward, and proceeded to the capture of Monterey the following September. Upper California had already submitted to the navy of the United States, commanded by Commodore Sloat; and Santa Fe, the key to New Mexico, was in the possession of General Kearney. All this is now proved to have been part of the program upon which Polk had been elected President of the United States, The remainder of the program was carried out in a war of aggression which few historians now attempt to justify, with the acquisition of territory in view from the start.

Paredes was at the head of the party in Mexico favorable to prosecuting the war, as opposed to the policy of Herrera, who, seeing that it was impossible for Mexico to gain anything from a struggle with a superior power, had been disposed to submit the questions at issue to arbitration and arrangement. Again lack of unity proved the curse of Mexico, and internal feuds opened the way for the success of the invading army, and brought the whole land to the feet of the government of the United States.

Paredes, when elected President, received the permission of Congress to lead the army against the United States; and, also with the permission of Congress, he left the government in the hands of General Bravo in July. A pronunciamento at the Ciudadela, in the capital, a few days later, brought the administrations of both Paredes and Bravo to an end, and made General Mariano Salas President. This pronunciamento had evidently been instigated by letters written by Santa Anna, in his Cuban exile. All who had been banished for their political opinions since 1821 were by the pronunciamento invited to return and cooperate with the Mexicans in driving the invaders out of the country; Congress was to take all necessary action relative to the warmth the United States, and Mexicans were to be guided accordingly. General Santa Anna was declared to have had the glory of establishing the Republic, and, whatever his errors, he was still the firm supporter of public liberty and of national honor. Hence he was proclaimed leader of the enterprise proposed in the pronunciamento; and Mexico was prepared for another exhibition of political inconsistency, and for surrender to a man who was acting as the agent of the United States with scarcely an effort at concealment.

Salas was chief of the army at the capital when he took charge of the executive office. He was a Moderate Liberal, and his administration was in the direction of Federalism. He succeeded in reconciling the various parties and factions, in the face of the peril in which all were placed; Paredes was put under arrest, and, though treated with respect, was imprisoned in Castle Perote for a time, and finally sent into exile. The Constitution of 1824 was re-established, by the decree of Salas, upon the recommendation of Santa Anna. Having done this, Salas attempted to extricate the Presidential office from the tangle in which it was found, and convened Congress for a new election. Santa Anna was recalled from his exile as the military leader most competent to cope with the difficulties then presenting themselves.

It seems to have escaped the attention of the Mexicans at the time that for Santa Anna then to land at Vera Cruz it would be necessary for him to run the blockade which the United States army under General Scott had established in front of that city; and it was not until afterwards that it was seen that his presence in Mexico at such a juncture was only possible through the collusion of the United States government. The interest of that government in having him at the head of the armies of Mexico lay in the understanding that the wily and unscrupulous politician would be sure to add to the discord at the capital of Mexico, and thus render the victory of the United States an easier one.

Accordingly Santa Anna landed at Vera Cruz, on the sixteenth of August. He was received by but few friends, and his welcome was of neither a public nor a popular character, nor was it marked by any enthusiasm. His personal vanity received a wound. He was chilled and disappointed by the coldness of his fellow-countrymen. He entertained at a public dinner in Vera Cruz a large number of civil dignitaries and military officers, and thus succeeded in securing something in the way of a demonstration and some show of enthusiasm. He was placed in communication with Salas, and letters passed between them filled with bombastic expressions of patriotism. Santa Anna was nothing if not theatrical. He had learned, however, to be cautious of his countrymen. He tarried, on the plea of ill-health, until General Almonte could go to the capital and make sure what was the popular feeling, and whether his advent in the City of Mexico would be safe.

He then issued a long manifesto, apologizing for his conduct since 1834, and criticizing Herrera and Paredes very severely. He denounced the proposal for monarchy, despite the ugly stories that had appeared in a French paper to the effect that he had sent a memorial to the courts of France, Spain, and England, "offering to put himself at the head of an expeditionary army to plant a monarchy on the Mexican soil, and to place all his influence and resentments at the disposal and for the service of a foreign dynasty." He had denied this story most emphatically from the place of his exile in Cuba; but the evidence seems clear that he had actually entered into negotiations of that character. He recommended that Congress, about to be assembled, be empowered to regulate all branches of the government, and that the Provisional Executive be entirely under its control, and that, until a new Constitution could be adopted and proclaimed, the Constitution of 1824 be revived for the internal administration of the Departments.

On the twenty-second of August, Salas issued a Bando Nacional  or edict, embodying the views of Santa Anna, and at the same time sent word to him to hasten his appearance at the capital. After further correspondence between them, Santa Anna left his hacienda, and reached Ayolla on the fourteenth of September. It is so usual to find Mexican leaders consulting the dramatic features of a situation, that we fully understand the selection of this date for Santa Anna's proclamation, wherein he hoped to enter the City of Mexico on the following day at noon, that he might "celebrate with the people the two great blessings which had fallen upon the nation,—her independence and her liberty,—the Grito de Dolores  and the Constitution of 1824."

The proclamation was otherwise filled with bombastic professions of disinterested patriotism, which are ludicrous in view of his well-known love of power and of the strong dictatorial character of his government. But it was characteristic of the Mexican people that they should accept the proclamation in good faith; and, forgetting the manner in which they had driven Santa Anna out a year and a half before, under accusations of treason and robbery (which charges had never been so much as denied on his part), that they should now receive him in their capital with rejoicings more enthusiastic than had ever before been witnessed in that city. The people were almost frantic with joy, and seemed to behold in Santa Anna their national savior.

The prosecution of the war with the United States was very popular at this time, and Santa Anna's preference was to be at the head of the army. He wisely shrank from openly assuming the political management of the government. He had been placed in power by means of a coalition between the Federalists and his special partisans. But the division of the parties had then recently changed. It was assumed that the old Centralists, the "Escoceses," and the Conservatives, had gone out of existence. All were now Federalists. But the Federalists were divided into two factions. One was called "Puro," or Ultra Liberal; the other comprised the "Moderados," or Moderates, who were scarcely in advance of the Conservatives. These two factions were now in a conflict quite as bitter as any that had formerly existed between Conservatives and Federalists. Santa Anna was shrewdly aware that he could retain his hold upon the popular regard only so long as dissensions were kept alive between these opposing factions.

The election provided for by Salas was eventually held in Congress. Each State cast one vote, which was determined by the majority of its deputies. Santa Anna received a majority of four votes for President. A separate vote for Vice-President resulted in the election of Gomez Farias. This election by no means signified that the popularity of Santa Anna had been fully or permanently restored, or that he had the full confidence of those who were in public life. He was at San Luis Potosi, with a poorly equipped and undisciplined army, and with but scanty means of support. The condition of the country was deplorable.

The army of the United States was rapidly advancing upon Buena Vista. Large territories had been subjugated by the invaders. Santa Anna's position was far from an enviable one. He issued dispatch after dispatch and proclamation after proclamation, to stimulate Congress and the people to uphold him in the defense of the country.

While Santa Anna was thus in the field, Gomez Farias was left in charge of the government. In January, 1847, he proposed, as a means of raising money for the conduct of the war, a forced loan of four million dollars from the Church. The Church was in possession of all the available wealth of the country. Her interests were quite as much imperiled as any in the land, by the invasion of the army of the United States; and she was receiving the protection of the army of Mexico quite as much as any other of the constituents of the nation. It was but right, therefore, that she should assist the government in the prosecution of the war. The Moderates, however, with their Conservative antecedents and clerical sympathies, opposed the measure when it was brought before Congress; and both "Moderados" and Clericals were greatly exasperated when, in spite of their opposition, the measure was adopted. They succeeded, however, in creating dissensions in the troops raised for the defense of the country. They not only resisted all attempts of the government to disarm mutinous soldiers, but they furnished resources for the maintenance of a struggle against the government, and sought to prevent the decrees from being carried into effect by which the Church was to be made to disgorge her wealth for the relief of the national distress.

Thus arose the "Polkos Pronunciamento," as it was called, taking its name from the President of the United States, who was regarded in Mexico as having precipitated this war upon a defenseless country. The name "Polkos" was applied to the ''Moderados," who, under the leadership of General Salas, were practically assisting the United States in their war of aggression. For a month the streets of the capital were scenes of wild confusion and violence. The efforts of Gomez Farias to obtain the assistance of the Church in the prosecution of the war was resisted by the "Polkos." While the squadron of the United States was in the Gulf of Mexico, and preparing to land soldiers in Vera Cruz to march upon the capital of Mexico, the "Polkos" were seeking to make terms of peace with the United States, without even attempting to preserve the integrity of the national territory. It was the action of the ''Polkos" that made the war, on the part of the army of the United States, a mere military progress through Mexico from the borders of the land to the capital.

The adoption of the measure proposed by Gomez Farias brought Santa Anna back to the capital from the battlefield of Buena Vista, where he had suffered defeat. He removed Gomez Farias from office, and himself resumed the functions of chief magistrate for a few days. When he was called again to the seat of war in April, he ignored Gomez Farias, abolished the office of Vice-President, and appointed General Pedro Anaya as Acting President, or Presidential Substitute. Anaya was a man of the highest probity, and his period of rule, though brief, was. honorable. Leading Liberals offered him their services in defense of the country.

Santa Anna suffered another defeat at Cerro Gordo, and returned with the Mexican army to the capital, where he resumed control of the government until the occupation of the city by the victorious army under General Scott. Then he turned the command of the Mexican army over to General Lombardini, resigned the Presidency, and, as one who had accomplished all that he had intended, left the country. He was succeeded in the Chief Magistracy by the President of the Supreme Court of Justice, Manuel de la Pena y Pena, who took charge of the government in Caneleja, near Toluca, and then removed it to Queretaro. Congress, when convened in Queretaro, appointed General Anaya Acting President, in November, 1847. He remained in office until the following January, when Manuel de la Pena y Pena resumed the office, and held it until the third of June, 1848. Then, by virtue of an election. General Jose Joaquin Herrera became President a second time, and something like order was restored for a while to the government of Mexico.



The "Plan De Ayotla"

Herrera was installed in the Presidency, in Queretaro, on the third of June, 1848. The first important act of his administration was to conclude, by a treaty of peace with the United States (the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo), the war which, though he had tried to avert it, had begun in his former term of office. As a result of this treaty, Mexico was deprived of what might have been made her fairest and wealthiest province, comprising 522,955 square miles of territory, including New Mexico and California.

As the armies of the United States retired, Herrera removed the seat of his government to the City of Mexico, the rightful capital of the nation. The tasks confronting his administration were exceedingly difficult. The country had been sadly demoralized by the war, though it had been less devastated thereby, even in the track of the victorious army, than by the almost incessant wars that had resulted from the political turmoils to which the unhappy nation was subject. It was necessary to reorganize the various departments of government; to replenish the national treasury, depleted notwithstanding the fifteen million dollars paid by the United States for the territory acquired as the spoils of war; to establish credit abroad, and to reunite a divided country, before the prosperity of the nation could be advanced.

In the face of all these difficulties, Herrera succeeded in pursuing, in his administration, a course that was wise, economical, tolerant, and moral. His cabinet was composed of men of honor. He was, however, unpopular with the clergy, who lost no opportunity for expressing their disapproval of his liberal and progressive ideas; and, in order to delay the accomplishment of the tasks confronting him in his government of the country. General Paredes "pronounced" in Aguas Calientes, using as a pretext for his revolt his dissatisfaction with the terms on which peace had been concluded with the United States. The outbreak was quickly suppressed by government troops, and the land had peace for a time. But the disturbing elements in the social economy of Mexico were only quiescent in order that they might regain their wonted strength.

General Mariano Arista was constitutionally elected President in 1850 and was installed in office in January, 1851. He had been commander of the Mexican army at the battle of Resaca de la Palma, and had subsequently held the post of Minister of War in Herrera's cabinet. He was a man of no scholastic attainments, but was possessed of correct judgment, having sought to supply the deficiencies in his education by consulting the wisdom of others. He was at least capable of impressing foreign nations as being liberal-minded, patriotic, honest, and as one of the best men of his time and country.

It was impossible long to hold in check the restless spirit of the Mexican political leaders. Arista had begun certain reforms in the army, without which it was impossible to reform the state. Interference with the military branch of the government, like meddling with the religion of the people, was a fruitful source of disturbance in Mexico; and the clergy had already taken alarm at his liberalism. Arista made the further mistake of trying to bring the various political factions into accord. Congress was at the time decidedly Liberal, and united with him in a policy of opposition to Centralism. Arista was himself a "Moderado." In a conscientious endeavor to conciliate the parties, he appointed to his cabinet persons who were not fully in accord with the Federal idea of government. This, like compromises attempted on former occasions, failed of its purpose, and served to hasten the downfall of his administration.

In July, 1852, a revolution broke out in Guadalajara, in the State of Jalisco, and spread to Chihuahua, and even as far south as Oaxaca. It took the name of the "Plan del Hospicio," and was clearly in the interests of the Conservative element. The Governor of the State of San Luis Potosi was assassinated, and the revolution otherwise assumed alarming proportions. Arista found it impossible to act in accordance with the advice of his friends without violating what he regarded as the law of the land, and he was averse to assuming the responsibility of involving the country in another civil war. Disheartened at the course affairs were taking, he resigned the Presidency, without, however, dissolving Congress. Thus Mexico lost, in an important crisis, one of the best of her rulers,—an eminent patriot, a model soldier, and citizen. He left the country immediately, and died a year later, in poverty and obscurity, at Lisbon, Portugal.

Congress installed, as Arista's successor, Don Juan Bautista Ceballos, who was President of the Supreme Court of Justice and a pronounced Moderado. This meant, in his case, that he was strongly inclined to be a Conservative. In accordance with former usages in such crises. Congress, after releasing all prisoners held by the government for political offences, conferred full discretionary powers in all branches of the government upon the President, which was equivalent to constituting Ceballos Dictator.

But Congress was far too liberal in its principles to suit Ceballos, and he forthwith dissolved the body from which he derived both his office and his authority. Congress immediately reassembled in the house of one of the deputies in the capital, passed resolutions branding the doughty President as a traitor, and proceeded to elect Juan Mugica y Osorio to the Presidency; and Mexico returned once more to a state of anarchy and political chaos. Mugica was a merchant of the capital, serving at the time as Governor of the State of Puebla. He declined the rather shadowy office thus offered him (a rare instance of self-abnegation in the history of Mexican public life), and Ceballos, realizing the seriousness of the opposition to his arbitrary administration, resigned the Presidency. A military demonstration was made in favor of General Manuel Maria Lombardini and Centralism, coupled with a demand for a national convention to frame a new Constitution. Lombardini was seated as Acting President; and Ceballos, to relieve himself of further responsibility and to insure the acceptance of his resignation, went through the formality of appointing him President.

Lombardini had been reared a soldier, had participated in the struggle between the "Yorkinos" and "Escoceses" in 1828, and had suffered banishment by Arista after the war with the United States. He was a clear-headed man, but without any ability as a statesman.

The purposes of the leaders of the revolution which was now in progress became apparent when a committee of public men started out for New Granada in search of Santa Anna. That irrepressible person had throughout his exile maintained a correspondence with the Conservative, Centralist, and Clerical leaders, and no one could be more successful than he in influencing the minds of the Mexicans by means of letters. He was far more successful in managing the domestic affairs of Mexico when abroad than he had been in efforts to control them at home. General Lombardini had no difficulty in securing the election, by the States, of General Santa Anna as President of Mexico.

He landed in Mexico on the first of April, 1853, and almost before the people were aware of his presence among them he began a journey which was in the nature of a triumphal procession from the coast to the capital. Banners and bells, cannon, triumphal arches and flowers, were all called into requisition in welcoming the man who had repeatedly threatened Mexico's destruction, and who had never yet answered the charges of robbery and treason brought against him; who had been engaged in secret negotiations with the United States government, through which the issue of the war between that nation and Mexico had been disastrous to the latter country; who had intrigued with European powers for the institution of monarchy in his native land; and whom the Mexican people had more than once declared worthy of death, and had not suffered to remain in their land.

At Guadalupe-Hidalgo, he took the oath as President on the fifteenth of April. He organized his government, with Lucas Alaman, the avowed monarchist, at its head as Secretary of State; and with Conservatives, in full accord with his plans of absolutism, in charge of the other portfolios. Five days later he entered the capital, and issued a proclamation of general amnesty to all who had been charged with political offences. It was an appropriate afterpiece to the farce he had been acting; for nothing could be more ludicrous than Santa Anna, guilty as he was of every political crime, offering pardon to those who had fallen under the displeasure of his adherents because of their efforts to support the Constitutional Government of Mexico.

The Centralists and Conservatives were again everywhere triumphant. The nation had voluntarily placed itself at the feet of its oppressors, and was really entitled to little sympathy. An era of the most despotic absolutism ensued. Congress was dissolved, and the legislatures of the several States were abolished. The government of every city having less than ten thousand inhabitants was suppressed, and the administration of the revenue was centralized. Public employees were deprived of the right to express an opinion upon public affairs. The liberty of the press was curtailed to such an extent as to be virtually destroyed. The militia was disbanded, and the army was increased. The Jesuits were re-established by decree, dated May first, 1853. The Dictator provided himself with ample funds, by the sale to the United States, for ten millions of dollars, of a tract of land known as the Gadsden Purchase. Of this amount, very little found its way into the national treasury of Mexico. While thus depriving the Mexicans of their rights, and using his position for his personal aggrandizement, Santa Anna sought some means to flatter certain classes. He re-established the Order of Guadalupe, originally instituted by the Emperor Iturbide, retaining for himself therein the office of Grand Master. Throwing aside all pretentions to Republican simplicity, he demanded that he be addressed as "Serene Highness."

At the same time, plans for the establishment of a monarchy in Mexico were being revived, as though in fulfillment of his alleged threat; and in July, 1854, Santa Anna appointed Gutierrez de Estrada (who had been maintaining an active correspondence with the Clerical and Monarchical leaders in Mexico) a special commissioner to negotiate with the governments of France, England, Austria, and Spain, for the establishment of a European prince upon a throne to be erected in Mexico. But for the sudden and timely fall of Santa Anna, some results might have been obtained from these negotiations. "Whom the gods would destroy they first make mad." Santa Anna's personal vanity carried him to the extent of madness. To many persons who by no means sanctioned his acts, his assumptions of grandeur were the subject of ridicule. The army was naturally pleased with his policy of Centralism, and some of the garrisons were ready at any time to proclaim him Emperor. There were some who actually believed that his strong personal government was necessary to save Mexico from anarchy and ruin. He had a body of sychophants about him who held him up before the people as a self-sacrificing hero who was giving up his all to the public good. But his pride and arrogance caused his final downfall.

On the sixteenth of December, 1853, he issued a decree declaring himself Perpetual Dictator. A government was thereby established more absolute than any Mexico had ever yet known. The press was muzzled, and a system of espionage was instituted by which the enemies of the Dictator could be discovered and brought to punishment. The Dictatorship was to be largely a government by intrigue. High Liberals were imprisoned, and the "court" of the Dictator was filled with the most vicious members of society.

Alaman promptly resigned the portfolio of State. Monarchist as he was, he was disgusted with the prospect of Mexico under the Imperial rule of such a man as Santa Anna. A revolution long brewing in Acapulco finally broke out. The leader was the old revolutionary hero, General Juan Alvarez. A new order of things was dawning upon Mexico.

Alvarez was a full-blooded Indian, who exerted a great influence over the people of his race. He had served under Morelos, and had never ceased to love liberty. At this time he was over sixty-three years of age, and was serving as governor of the State of Guerrero. The Dictatorship of Santa Anna proposed to deprive him of his governorship and destroy the sovereignty of his State.

The new revolutionary movement was called the "Plan de Ayotla." It called for a Congress to form a new Constitution, by which a Federal Republican system would take the place of the Dictatorship established by Santa Anna. The "Plan" as originally set forth was somewhat modified, in order that it might commend itself to the "Moderados," or less extreme Conservatives, and gain their support, which seemed to mean its eventual success; and more particularly that it might gain the support of General Ignacio Comonfort, who was destined to be a leader in the affairs of Mexico at a critical period of her history.

Comonfort was in many respects a remarkable man. He was at this time about forty years of age, and in addition to his military training (he was a captain of cavalry as early as 1832, and had risen to the rank of General since) he had some knowledge of public affairs. He was prefect of Tlalpa when scarcely more than of legal age, and at the age of thirty was a deputy to Congress; and again, four years later, was sitting in the Congress at Queretaro. He was then chosen Senator by the State of Puebla, and served until 1851. He was a third time elected to Congress in 1852, and served subsequently as Custom-House director. His dismissal from this post by Santa Anna was the direct cause of his joining Alvarez and attaching himself to the ''Plan de Ayotla." He was of the Liberal party, but was disposed to be conciliatory, and proposed the modification of the original "Plan" which was intended to attract the "Moderados."

Comonfort organized and reinforced the troops identified with the new movement, and found himself at the head of an army ready to assume the aggressive and make itself formidable to the Dictator at the capital. The "Plan" received jubilant support from every quarter. It was seconded by distinguished leaders in Michoacan, in Nuevo Leon, in Tamaulipas, in San Luis Potosi, in Vera Cruz, and in the State of Mexico. Santa Anna, being unsuccessful in his efforts to suppress the revolution, now tried to conciliate the malcontents by changing his policy. He removed the Conservatives from his cabinet, and appointed "Moderados" in their places. But it was all to no purpose. His changes of front while he was in office deceived nobody. It was only when he was out of the country that his professions of conversion to Liberalism affected the popular mind. The "Plan de Ayotla" continued to gain ground. The popular elections, proposed by Santa Anna to determine whether or not his government by Dictatorship should continue, were so fraudulently manipulated by the Conservatives as to increase the popular discontent and contribute to the success of the cause of Alvarez and of the "Plan de Ayotla."

Santa Anna gave up the governmental experiment as hopeless. He appointed a triumvirate, composed of the President of the Supreme Court of Justice, General Salas, and General Martin Carrera, to administer the government during his proposed absence from the capital; then he secretly left the city, on the night of the ninth of August, 1855, and was escorted by Haro y Tamaris to Perote. There he issued a manifesto—the last of the remarkable papers of that class by which he was to address the Mexican people. It commended his own services, and laid upon others the culpability of having ruined the country. On the thirteenth of August he went into voluntary exile. He was never again permitted to take a prominent part in the politics of Mexico.

According to the new "Plan," Santa Anna was to be deprived of the Presidency; a President ad interim  was to be appointed by a Junta, or Assembly of Representatives from all the States; and a Congress was to be convened for the purpose of adopting a constitution by which Mexico was thenceforth to be governed. Santa Anna had, by his own act, obviated the necessity of taking the first step in this program and the leaders of the "Plan" proceeded forthwith to convene a "Constituent Congress," as it was called. In the anarchy which followed the flight of Santa Anna from the capital, General Romulo Diaz de la Vega became Acting President, by the nomination of the garrison at the capital and with the consent of the governing triumvirate appointed by Santa Anna. He was quickly succeeded by General Martin Carrera, who resigned within a month, and the duties of the Executive office again devolved upon General Diaz de la Vega, who practically represented the party sustaining the "Plan de Ayotla," and he appointed a cabinet composed of Liberals and adherents of the "Plan."

The Junta of Representatives was convened in Cuernavaca, for the election of a President ad interim  until the whole program of the "Plan de Ayotla" could be accomplished and a Constitutional President could be elected and installed. General Juan Alvarez, General Ignacio Comonfort, Melchor Ocampo, and Santiago Vidaurri, were candidates for the office of President ad interim. The choice fell upon General Alvarez, and he received the recognition of the representatives of the foreign governments at the capital.

Two distinct factions among the professed adherents to the "Plan de Ayotla" made themselves conspicuous as soon as the adherents of the "Plan" entered seriously upon the tasks they had set themselves to accomplish. Comonfort and his immediate followers, calling themselves "Moderados," were disposed to compromise somewhat with the past, and to invite the cooperation of the parties then in existence and lately in power. As a result of their conciliatory action, some pronounced Conservatives had professed adherence to the "Plan." Antonio de Haro y Tamaris, Felix Zuloaga, and others, were among them. These afterwards proved utterly unfaithful to the party supporting the "Plan," and withdrew to organize the party of the Reactionaries, which included the clericals and clerical sympathizers, and the Ultra-Conservatives. The other faction was thoroughly radical, and would make no compromises whatever with the past misgovernment of the country. The members called themselves "Puros," and came to be known as High Liberals, Advanced Liberals, and later as the Reform Party, They brought new names into prominence in the history of Mexico,—Melchor Ocampo, Miguel Lerdo de Tejada, and Benito Juarez, among them.

General Diaz de la Vega tried to harmonize these two factions in the interests of the "Plan de Ayotla," by appointing representatives of both upon his cabinet; but this experiment resulted as similar ones had done before in Mexican public affairs, though the administration of Diaz de la Vega was of too short duration to bring about the disasters that had previously ensued from such attempted conciliatory measures.

The Advanced Liberals sent to Alvarez, immediately after his election, begging him to come at once to the capital and begin his plans for the reorganization and reformation of the nation. The "Moderados," or less advanced wing of the new Liberal party, showed themselves still under the spell of the Conservatives, by seconding the appeal of the clergy and aristocrats for Comonfort to take charge of the government and "free society from the invasion of the barbarians." For Alvarez, himself a pure Indian, was being accompanied upon his march to the capital by a bodyguard of Indians. Between these and the hordes of savage Indians whom Hidalgo had aroused, the Conservative alarmists sought to establish analogies; and they were not averse to arousing a race feeling to carry their ends.

Alvarez arrived in the capital, with his bodyguard of Indians, in November, 1855, and organized his government with Comonfort as his Minister of War, and Benito Juarez as Minister of Justice and Ecclesiastical Relations. These appointments were, in effect, a notice to Centralists, Conservatives, Clericals, and the Military Power, and even to the "Moderados," that Mexico was to be free from their control, and was to be supplied with a government based upon a fundamental law seeking the highest welfare of the governed.

The Advanced Liberals had formulated a definite program for the constitutional regeneration of the country, and it was one of the steps in the reform of the government that was promulgated, on the twenty-third of November, 1855, in what is known as the "Ley Juarez." This law (taking its name from Benito Juarez, its author) was intended to regulate the administration of justice and the organization of courts of law. By certain articles of this law, special courts were suppressed, and jurisdiction in civil cases was removed from military and ecclesiastical courts.

This might seem like beginning at the wrong end to work a great reform in the constitutional government of a nation; and the measure was, indeed, censured by the enemies of the Liberal government as an attempt, from ulterior motives, to humiliate the clergy and limit their influence. The fact is that these measures were in strict conformity to the "Plan de Ayotla," and were necessary to prevent political disturbances already threatening; they formed, therefore, an important part of the Liberal program of reform. It was felt, after long and patient study of the subject, that this measure would strike at the very source of some of the greatest evils from which the country had long suffered. For one of the inheritances Mexico had received from the period of Spanish rule was the exclusive jurisdiction claimed by ecclesiastical and military courts in all cases, civil and criminal, in which clerics or soldiers were involved. The evils of such a system are easily seen when it is considered that half the crimes committed in Mexico were by men amenable only to military courts, and that these courts were exceedingly lax in the administration of justice. More than a quarter of the landed property in the country belonged to clerics, and even the women who kept house for them, and their servants, evaded the payment of just debts because the tradesmen could not enforce their claims in the civil courts.

The ecclesiastical authorities saw at once, in the passage of the "Ley Juarez," an attack upon the rights of the Church,—their petted fueros,—and they protested most vigorously against the passage of the law and against the means which the Liberals proposed should be provided for the administration of justice and for equalizing the operations of law. This clerical opposition brought into prominence the Bishop of Michoacan, the Rt. Rev. Antonio Pelagio de Labastida y Davilos, who had been but recently advanced to the Episcopate. He was a native of Morelia, and had gained some notoriety there, as a parish priest and orthodox pulpit orator, by preaching against liberal and democratic doctrines and against Freemasonry. He had thus made the home of Morelos, and the entire State of Michoacan, a great bulwark for the Conservatives. In March, 1854, he anathematized from the pulpit, as heretical, the doctrines of Ocampo and Miguel Lerdo. His zeal in that regard was rewarded by his elevation to the Episcopate.

Alvarez was without ambition to rule the country, and complied with the request of some of the "Moderados" that he resign. Having all confidence in Comonfort, he practically abandoned the Presidency to him, on the twelfth of December, 1855. Comonfort, with the evident intention of carrying his policy of conciliation and compromise as far as possible, appointed, as his cabinet, men who had been identified with the former governments, as "Moderados" or Conservatives; thus relieving of office Benito Juarez, who was in disfavor with the "Moderados" and Clericals.

Comonfort continued, however, to reform the army and advance the principles of the Liberals. The next decisive step in the direction of reform was the famous "Ley Lerdo,"—the production of Juarez and Ocampo, though revised and introduced in Congress by Miguel Lerdo de Tejada and passed on the twenty-fifth of June, 1856. Lerdo was especially active among the men who were endeavoring to reform the nation, though he had taken a prominent part in the movement by which Santa Anna had been recalled in 1853. He afterwards allied himself with the Liberals, and continued with them to the end of his life. He was a native of Vera Cruz, had received a collegiate education, and had engaged in commercial pursuits. He had likewise acquired a reputation as a statistician and publicist, and had published a history of the State of Vera Cruz. Alvarez appointed him Under Secretary of Public Works, and Comonfort made him Secretary of the Treasury, in May, 1856. It was in the latter capacity, and with extensive statistical and politico-economical knowledge at his command, that he was able to revise and complete the law which is known by his name, and which revolutionized Mexico.

This "Ley de Desamortizacion civil y ecclesiastica," as it was officially called, removed from all corporations, civil and ecclesiastical, the right to own lands beyond what was necessary for the transaction of their legitimate business, and thus prevented the accumulation of wealth in hands where it would be of no benefit to the commonwealth. It gave to all lessees of Church property the right to purchase the same on advantageous terms, at a price to be assessed by commissioners appointed for that purpose; and gave the right of "denunciation," by which any improved untenanted property of the Church could be entered and possessed and the title secured by any citizen. All unimproved land of the Church was to be sold at an assessed value. The Church was to receive the proceeds of all these transactions, but the land was to be freed from ecclesiastical control and no longer exempt from taxation. Up to the end of the year 1856, the total value of property transferred under this decree was over twenty millions of dollars.

The Clericals made strenuous efforts to defeat this law. The bishop of Puebla protested against the intervention of the government in matters belonging to the Church, and preached sermons of a seditious character thereupon. The Archbishop of Mexico desired that the question involving ecclesiastical fueros  be submitted to the Pope of Rome—a proposition which was at once indignantly refused by the government of Mexico. Why should a foreign ecclesiastical potentate be called upon to decide a question between the Mexican government and its subjects?—and especially a question in which the Pope had an interest identical with that of one of the parties?

A reactionary movement was organized in Puebla, where forces variously estimated at from five to fifteen thousand were mobilized by the Clericals. Antonio de Haro y Tamaris was given the title of General-in-chief of these forces. He had never fully accepted the principles of the Liberals, and after recognizing Comonfort and the "Plan de Ayotla," he returned to the Conservatives with whom he had been accustomed to affiliate. In January, 1856, he had been suspected of attempting to establish an Empire, with either himself or a son of Iturbide as Emperor. He was then arrested, and taken to Vera Cruz, to be sent into exile. He escaped to Puebla, and in February placed himself at the disposal of the Clerical Reactionaries.

Puebla was besieged by the government forces. Haro y Tamaris defended the city obstinately; but Liberal ideas spread, disaffection grew up among the soldiers, and on the twentieth of March the gates of the city were opened to the besiegers. Haro y Tamaris was taken prisoner and sent into exile.

Comonfort not only acted with great promptness and decision in regard to suppressing the revolution in Puebla, but he issued a decree punishing the Reactionary officers and causing the sequestration of enough of the Church property in the Diocese of Puebla (whose clergy had been the chief instigators of the insurrection) to pay the expenses of the war and to indemnify the government for all damages sustained thereby. It was a bold step, and created a sensation.

Despite all opposition, Congress passed the "Ley Lerdo," eighty-two out of ninety deputies voting for it. The law took effect on the twenty-fifth of June. On the fifth of that month the Jesuits were suppressed by a decree of the government. The Reform was advancing. But the Clergy were in opposition, and from that time the war-cry of the Clerical Reactionaries was Religion y Fueros.



Benito Juarez and the War of the Reform

The plan put forth by Zuloaga, in his pronunciamento of December seventeenth, 1857, drew off some of the "Moderado" deputies of Congress, and these became members of the Junta of Notables by whom Zuloaga was elected. He proceeded to secure the arrest of the Liberal deputies, but seventy of them escaped from the capital and made a rendezvous in Queretaro. There they organized under the Constitution of 1857, recognized Benito Juarez as Constitutional President in succession to Comonfort, and had him installed on the tenth of January, 1858, several days before the election of Zuloaga. From that time to the end of his life, Benito Juarez was so closely identified with Constitutional Government in Mexico that the history of the one is the history of the other.

Benito Juarez was one of the most remarkable men who has ever appeared in the history of Spanish America. He rose from the humblest origin to the greatest eminence attainable in his country,—not through the army, as was the case with most of his contemporaries, nor by military successes (for he was never a soldier), but by industry, perseverance, singleness of purpose, and the force of an indomitable will, and through the influence of his personal abilities and sterling honesty.

He was born in the small but picturesque pueblo which at that time bore the name of San Pablo Guelatao, lying about forty miles northeast of the city of Oaxaca, on the outskirts of Ixtlan, among the rugged mountains of that locality, and upon the shores of a mountain lake known from the transparency of its waters as Laguna Encantada, or the Enchanted Lake. The pueblo contained, in the early years of the nineteenth century, about two hundred inhabitants—all Zapoteca Indians. The Zapotecas, although of the native races which, under the social organization then in vogue in Mexico, had scarcely any rights that others were bound to respect, had ever been the most independent and self-respecting of the aborigines. Possibly they were the direct descendants of the most civilized of the native races whose architectural remains, plentiful in the State of Oaxaca, still baffle the inquiry of the scientist.

It was said of them, in the periods antecedent to the advent of the Europeans, that they maintained their freedom throughout all the wars waged against them, and gained the reputation of being the boldest and most vigorous of all the native races. They were characterized as a race of virtuous and well-favored women, and of strong, well-built, brave, and often ferocious, but withal honest, men, with powerful frames and rugged looks. And even after the conquest of the land by the Europeans, and the subjection of the other races to the power of the white men, the honest mountaineers of Oaxaca,—the Zapotecas,—maintained a quasi-independence.

The birthday of Benito Juarez was the twenty -first of March, 1806; and both his parents were Zapotecas. He was baptized when a day old, and received the name of Benito Pablo (Benjamin Paul). The second of these names he seems never to have used, and within half a century of his birth the simple name of Benito Juarez became a household word in Mexico, and was known throughout the world in attractive contrast with the long names usually borne by the aristocrats of Mexico and Spanish- American countries generally.

The home of Juarez's infancy was a rude adobe hut with thatch roof, such as may be seen in great numbers throughout the country. No other language was spoken in San Pablo Guelatao than the Zapoteca dialect, and Benito learned no other before he reached his twelfth year. His parents died when he was three years of age, and he was for nine years left to the care of a grandmother.

The reputation for honesty and industry acquired by the Zapoteca mountaineers stood their children in good stead, and made them in demand for house servants in the homes of Oaxaca, the capital and metropolis of that province. A sister of Benito had obtained some domestic service there, and in 1818, alone and unassisted, Benito took his journey to that city, probably intending to assist her in her labors. He was so fortunate as to find a home with a book-binder, who was also a member of a minor religious order,—the third, or lay order, of the Franciscans. By him, Benito was taught to read and write Mexican-Spanish, rudimentary mathematics, and the principles of Spanish grammar, without neglecting his religious and moral training or instruction in good habits. Thus the boyhood of Juarez was spent in the midst of the scenes of the military exploits of Morelos, whose memory was fresh in the minds of all with whom he came in contact.

After this preliminary education, Juarez was put in the Church school in Oaxaca, in October, 1821. The Independence of Mexico had just been established, and Juarez had reached an age when the subjects discussed about him were likely to make a deep and lasting impression upon his mind. During these impressionable years of his youth, while the stirring events succeeding the putting forth of the ''Plan de Iguala" were in progress, down toward the close of Victoria's Presidency, Juarez was pursuing a course in Mediaeval Latin, canon law, dogmatic theology, and philosophy,—the utmost range of study then permitted to a student, education in Mexico being still exclusively in the hands of the clergy. Iguala was within the limits of the Province of Oaxaca, and its importance in the events of the time were not likely to be overlooked by any of the Oaxacans, especially by so bright a student as Juarez was already proving himself to be.

In those days, a few Indians were annually permitted to enter the priesthood, and the door of the seminary was open to these. Not only was the career of the Church the only one open to talent in Mexico in the year when Juarez began his studies, but it was the one which his guardian naturally selected for him. Consequently, in 1827, Juarez began the study of theology, being intended by his guardian for the priesthood. But one of the immediate results of the Constitution of 1824 was a strong impulse given to popular education. The sturdy Oaxacans availed themselves of the exceptional opportunities offered them, and in 1826 the Legislature of the newly organized State of Oaxaca founded an Institute of Arts and Sciences, in the City of Oaxaca. Juarez withdrew from his theological studies and matriculated in the Institute. Two years later he was appointed Professor of Experimental Physics in the Institute. His preference for the law had caused his discontinuance of his theological studies upon his attaining his majority, and he pursued his legal studies while engaged as a professor in the Institute. It required seven years of study to fit him for the practice of his chosen profession. In the year 1832 he received the degree of Bachelor of Laws in the University of Oaxaca, which afterwards conferred upon him the degree of Doctor of Civil Law,—a rare honor in Mexico, with its multiplicity of military titles. He was finally admitted to the bar in 1834, being then in his twenty-eighth year.

Already he had entered upon a political career. In 1831 he was elected Regidor of the City of Oaxaca, and filled the position of Judicial Secretary to the Municipal Council. The following year he was elected a Deputy to the State Legislature. As the result of the close attention he gave to public affairs, he adopted Liberal ideas, and attached himself at once to the Federalist party, which was the popular party of Oaxaca. He remained true to that party throughout his career, and throughout its transformation into the Liberal party of later days. He was ever a stanch supporter of the ideas of Gomez Farias. His was a political fidelity not usual among the public men in Mexico. Few men there have been as consistent as Benito Juarez in acting in accordance with avowed political principles.

It was not long before he was brought into close contact with national affairs, and made to learn that political life in Mexico has its discomforts and may be slow in bringing its rewards. Oaxaca was by no means so provincial as to be withdrawn from all interest in the stirring events of Santa Anna's career of intrigue. That State had always maintained such sturdy Federalist principles that it was naturally regarded with suspicion by the Centralists and Conservatives. In 1836, during the disturbed state of affairs resulting from the change of the Constitution of 1824 to the Siete Leyes  and the Centralized Constitution, Oaxaca, like other States, was deprived, by the new order of things, of her sovereignty. Against this she protested; and because of the boldness of her protest, Juarez with others suffered imprisonment for several months. The allegation was that he was implicated in a revolution against the Conservatives, similar to that of Texas, and with the same end in view. There can be no doubt that Juarez sympathized, as did most of the Oaxacans, with the Texans in their assertion of the rights of their State, although he regretted deeply that the course pursued with them was such as to occasion the loss of such valuable territory to his country.

During the next ten years, while Oaxaca was at the mercy of the Conservative politicians at the national capital, Juarez held the office of Civil and Revenue Judge for two years; acted for a short time as Secretary of the Governor of the State; and served as one of a triumvirate into whose hands the executive power of the State was placed, after the revolution of August, 1846, had restored to the State her constitutional sovereignty. These positions demanded the exercise of a large amount of tact and political sagacity; for the State of Oaxaca never wholly relinquished her sovereignty, and had to be constantly on her guard to avoid an open breach with the Centralized Autocratic Government at the capital of the country, and the appearance of rebellion. That Juarez avoided arrest all these years, attests the clear, cool judgment which dictated his course.

Besides his public career, Juarez practiced his profession, at intervals, with success. In this he was associated with a young man named Porfirio Diaz, his pupil, the inheritor of his political ideas and the future wearer of his mantle.

In 1846 Juarez made his debut  in national politics, being that year a Deputy to Congress from his native State. He supported the measures of Gomez Farias; and when Congress was dissolved, he retired to Oaxaca. He was almost immediately elected Governor of that State, and for five years he administered its affairs with economy and prudence. During his gubernatorial term he prepared and promulgated a civil and criminal code for the State—the first code of laws ever published in Mexico.

On a vague charge of complicity in a revolution in Oaxaca, Santa Anna had Juarez arrested in May, 1853. He was imprisoned, first in Puebla and then in Jalapa. Then, without being permitted to communicate with his family, he was again taken to Puebla, whence he was removed to Vera Cruz. After an incarceration in the dismal dungeon of the prison of San Juan de Ulua, he was sent into exile. He went on an English vessel, first to Havana, and thence to New Orleans, where he resided until July, 1855, finding abundant opportunity, even in the poverty imposed upon him by his exile, to study the institutions of a successful Republic, and to perfect himself in a knowledge of constitutional law and the science of government—a knowledge which he deeply felt was necessary to the working of a thorough reformation in Mexico and bringing to that country permanent peace and stability of government.

News of the "Plan de Ayotla" reached Juarez in New Orleans, and he felt that the time had come for Mexico to free herself from bad government. Going by way of Panama, he arrived in Acapulco in July, 1855. There he found himself in company with men having political views identical with his own. The part he took in the preparation of the new Constitution and the reform in the government was second to that of no one. He remained firm when Comonfort wavered. And he now took up the burdens of the exalted office of President, under circumstances which would have caused another to put them aside.

Without the means to establish his government in the capital, Juarez arrived in Guanajuato on the nineteenth of January, 1858, barely escaping General Tomas Mejia, who was in San Juan del Rio with Reactionary forces. In Guanajuato he was hospitably entertained by Manuel Doblado; and there he formed his Cabinet, and issued a proclamation declaring himself Constitutional President. He received the recognition of some of the States, and these contributed forces for the defense of the Constitutional Government.

As a body of Reactionary troops had left the capital in pursuit of the Constitutionalists, the latter deemed it wise to retire in the direction of Guadalajara. The battle of Estanca de las Vacas was fought near Celaya, and the "Constitutionalistas," or "Juaristas" as they began to be called, were defeated by a superior force of Reactionaries, and retired to Salamanca. On the thirteenth of March the battle of Salamanca was fought. Again the victory was with the Reactionaries.

Juarez arrived in Guadalajara on the fifteenth of February, and established his government in the State Executive Palace there. When the news reached him of the defeat of his little army at Salamanca, he issued a proclamation stating that the Constitutional Government was determined to resist all attacks made upon it. This was intended for the encouragement of his followers, who might otherwise take this second defeat of his troops as evidence that he had given up the struggle for constitutional government.

It was at this juncture that soldiers from the garrison at Guadalajara, having just pronounced in favor of the Reactionaries, entered the palace and arrested all who were found therein. Not content with this high-handed proceeding, the commandant of the garrison gave the order to shoot all the prisoners. For a moment Juarez stood with muskets leveled at him, awaiting the shot that would end the struggle for constitutional government and add his name to the long list of martyrs for the cause of law and order in Mexico. The cool behavior of one of his followers caused the soldiers to hesitate. They were induced to espouse the cause of the Constitutionalists. The report that Juarez had been captured was forwarded to the City of Mexico, and before it could be contradicted caused great rejoicing among the clericals.

Juarez was joined in Guadalajara by a few troops, and with these he advanced to Colima and Manzanillo. But so lamentable was the situation that the President and his ministers gained among the Mexicans (who are fond of bestowing nick-names) the popular title of the "Sick Family." On the way, a battle was fought at Santa Ana Acatlan. In view of the dangers encountered at Acatlan, and in order that his own determination to uphold the Constitutional Government in the face of all opposition and at the risk of his life might not involve the safety and happiness of his followers, Juarez proposed that his ministers might resign if they wished to. But they all declined, and renewed their pledges to support him in what must have seemed to all but Juarez a forlorn hope.

Proceeding on his way to Colima, Juarez appointed General DegoUado to be Secretary of War and Marine and General-in-chief of the army to be raised in defense of the Constitutional Government. Accompanied by his Cabinet, he proceeded by way of Mazatlan and by steamer to Panama. Crossing the Isthmus, he took steamer first to Havana, thence to New Orleans, and finally to Vera Cruz, where he established his government on the fourth of May, 1858. He was cordially received by the Governor of the State, and other Liberals whom he found there.

The city of Vera Cruz was admirably adapted, under the circumstances, to be the seat of the Constitutional Government. It was the principal port of entry in the whole country, by far the greater part of the public revenues being derived from the import duties at this port, and at Tampico, not far distant on the same Gulf coast. The city also afforded admirable facilities for securing arms and munitions from the United States; and within a year the United States (April 9, 1859) recognized President Juarez as the legitimate constitutional ruler of Mexico. From Vera Cruz the Constitutional President continued the war with the Reactionary party and with the usurpers of the Presidential office in the capital of the country. In this he conducted himself in such a manner as to win the admiration of the world.

This war is known in history as the "War of the Reform." It was the bloodiest of all the civil wars ever waged in Mexico, and by reason of the ecclesiastical interests at issue in the struggle it was marked with all the bitterness and cruelty of a religious war. Certainly the ecclesiastical powers did all within the limits of possibility to give it that character; they supplied the Reactionaries with resources for the conduct of the war, and encouraged them by the issue of inflammatory pastorals which kept the popular mind continually stirred up against the Liberal government.

Miramon won the battle of Carretas, and went to San Luis Potosi. The Reactionary forces attacked Zacatecas and killed some of the government officials. Degollado was defeated by Reactionaries under Miramon at Atenquique. Santiago Yidaurri (then a "Juarista") defeated Miramon at Ahaululco. The "Juaristas" met with reverses at Guadalajara and Tolototlan. By the capture of Zacatecas (which, however, he was unable to hold) General Leonardo Marquez attained to eminence as a Reactionary leader, and began a career of cruelty scarcely paralleled in the history of the nineteenth century. The war proceeded with varying fortunes, though for the most part disastrously to the "Juaristas," who lost battles and leaders, not a few of the latter by desertion to the Reactionaries.

Vidaurri held the northern States for the "Constitutionalistas" throughout the struggle, and deserted the Republic subsequently. To General Porfirio Diaz was assigned the task of the "pacification" of the State of Oaxaca, which he accomplished in May, 1860. The seat of the war extended, therefore, across the central portion of the country, but was concentrated upon the eastern slope of the Sierra Madre, between the capital and Vera Cruz.

Encouraged by his successes in the interior, Miramon attempted, in February, 1859, to capture Vera Cruz, the seat of the Constitutional Government. He succeeded in investing the city, but found the resistance so stubborn that he was forced to raise the siege the following month. To hide his defeat, he hastened to join Marquez in the defense of the capital, then threatened by the "Juaristas" under General Degollado. The two armies engaged in battle at Tacubaya; and, not content with victory, Marquez executed a great number of prisoners, and among them six medical men who had gone from the capital to care for the wounded of the army of the "Juaristas"—thereby gaining for himself the title of "The Tiger of Tacubaya." The day following the battle, Marquez made a triumphal entry into the capital, and was presented by the women with a silk sash inscribed with the words "To virtue and valor; a token of the gratitude of the daughters of Mexico." Marquez was subsequently arrested by the Reactionary chief at Guadalajara, for insubordination, and for robbing a conducta  of six hundred thousand dollars, on its way from Mexico to Guadalajara.

Miramon reorganized his army in three divisions, taking the command of one himself and giving the command of the other two to General Marquez and General Tomas Mejia respectively. Mejia was of pure Indian blood, claiming lineal descent from the Aztec war-chiefs. Being a stanch and fanatical adherent of the Church, he had been in arms against the Liberals since 1853, most of the time carrying on a guerrilla warfare in the mountain districts. He was the soul of honor compared with Marquez, for whom no deed of cruelty or robbery was too disgraceful to be perpetrated.

On the fifteenth of November, 1859, Miramon and Mejia defeated Degollado at a second battle of Estanca de las Vacas. Juarez relieved Degollado of the command of the army, and appointed him military governor of Zacatecas. He was succeeded in the command of the army of the Constitutionalists by General Jesus Gonzalez Ortega.

Early in 1860, Miramon returned to his former design of capturing Vera Cruz; and in March he appeared before that city. In preparing to besiege the city he sent to Havana, and, with funds furnished by the Church, purchased two steam vessels and munitions of war, to be brought to Vera Cruz and to cooperate from the Gulf with his forces on land. The approach of the two vessels was disputed by the squadron from other nations in the port of Vera Cruz, and they were regarded as semi-piratical, being unable to show proper ship's papers. Juarez requested the United States squadron to examine the papers of the two vessels; and in the attempt to do so, the United States frigate was fired upon. The commander of the frigate at once seized the ships and took them to New Orleans for further investigation. They were finally released; but the delay gained by their detention was valuable to the "Juaristas," and resulted in Miramon's failure in his attack upon Vera Cruz.

The commander of the British squadron in Vera Cruz, acting in the interests of the merchants of the city and of the foreign residents, offered to mediate the cause at issue between the two governments. An armistice was arranged, and an assembly of prominent Mexican citizens convened to devise some plan by which to settle the difficulties between the "Juaristas" and the Reactionaries, and to avoid the bombardment of the city. The assembly proposed a convention from the several States, to form a Constitution to be submitted to the vote of the people, with a provisional government ad interim: that is, a repetition of the "Plan de Ayotla," but entirely under the control of the Reactionaries. Juarez, who was tired of the repeated proposition for a new Constitution from the party that had showed no capacity for constitutional government, declared, as his ultimatum, that the country already had a Constitution and a government. What he demanded was the calling of a Congress according to the provisions of the Constitution of 1857. Miramon accordingly broke off negotiations and renewed the siege. From mere wantonness, he bombarded the city from the fifteenth to the twentieth of March. Having exhausted his ammunition, and finding that sickness was depleting his troops, on the twenty-first of March he raised the siege and returned to the capital to take his last stand against the Constitutionalists.

It was while these military operations were in progress in the neighborhood of Vera Cruz, and in the very darkest hour of the Constitutional Government, that Juarez issued the decree nationalizing and sequestrating the property of the Church in Mexico. Its ultimate effect was to deprive the Reactionary party of its resources, and thus to break its power. It was followed, on the twenty-sixth of July, by the law regarding civil marriage; and still later by the decrees of religious toleration and the secularization of the cemeteries. These were comprised in the "Laws of the Reform"—the basis of the great economic and social revolution so necessary to the regeneration of Mexico.

The apology offered for the first-mentioned of these decrees is somewhat analagous to that offered by Comonfort for confiscating the property of the clergy in Puebla after quelling an insurrection incited by them. The clergy had been the chief supporters of the Spanish party in the wars for the independence of the country, and since that time had been the most powerful enemies of progress and of popular government. They had promoted the present civil war, with the purpose of overthrowing the Constitution which the Mexican people had adopted, and of retaining their former supremacy in political as well as spiritual affairs. They furnished the active enemies of constitutional government with resources enabling them to maintain the war.

The decree was most sweeping in its effects. By virtue thereof, the nation was entitled to possess all the properties of the clergy, both religious and secular, and the Church was denied the right to possess real estate; religious orders and religious communities were absolutely and definitively dissolved, as being contrary to public welfare; Church and State were absolutely separated, and religious freedom was fully and firmly established. The clergy were thenceforth to receive such compensation for their services as might be voluntarily bestowed by their parishioners, instead of a stipend from the State.

By the other decrees, marriage was thenceforth to be considered in law as a civil contract only, and was thus freed from the restraints and expenses previously imposed upon it by the clergy, which had tended to the corruption of morals throughout the country and had been the means of sustaining among the poor a system of peonage beyond the power of the laws abolishing slavery to efface.

These decrees were intended to correct many abuses which existed in the country, and they were a part of that program of Reform which Juarez had set out to accomplish. As such, they were issued in good faith, although at the time they may have seemed intended merely to cripple the resources of the enemy and inspire the friends of the Constitutional Government with fresh courage. It was several years before they could be engrafted upon the organic law of the land; but their direct result was to secure reinforcements for the "Juaristas," and to turn the tide of popular favor in the direction of the Constitutional Government. For the "Constitutionalistas" were thereby proving themselves honest and consistent. No previous effort at reform had ever been adhered to in the face of obstacles as this had been. One-half the difficulties experienced by Juarez and his adherents would have been deemed, at any time in the previous history of Mexico, ample excuse for suspending any effort to secure popular government, or for throwing over any Constitution. Juarez was honest. He meant what he said, and was determined to do all he promised; and the Vera Cruz decrees inspired the people with confidence in him. Though the Reactionaries seemed at that time to hold the balance of power, and to be able to prevent the enforcement of the decrees, yet they were inspired with dread of the man who could so coolly proceed with the performance of his duty under such trying circumstances as those which they had created.

The position of the Reactionaries was, in fact, becoming critical. They were in possession of the capital, of Puebla, and of Guadalajara. But they were themselves split up into contentious factions. The people were beginning to take cognizance of the cruelties and robberies that marked their conduct of affairs. It was not long before General Ortega was able to capture Guadalajara, reorganize his army, and march toward the City of Mexico. Miramon made an unsuccessful attempt to recapture Guadalajara, and won an unimportant victory in the south of Jalisco. In August, 1860, the army of the "Juaristas" under Ortega defeated the Reactionaries under Miramon, at Silao; and by the tenth of November, Ortega was able to surround the capital. So assured was he of the final success of his plan, that he addressed a circular letter to the representatives of the foreign governments in the capital, making known his determination to occupy the city and to allow no reclamations under any pretext whatever for supplies furnished or for loans made to the Reactionaries.

Miramon gained a partial victory at San Bartolo, on the first of December; and on the sixth he surprised and captured Toluca, taking many prisoners, Gomez Farias and Degollado among them. These reverses did not, however, retard the preparations of the ''Juaristas" for the final decisive conflict. Ortega directed his march toward the east, that he might be between Vera Cruz and the capital. General Ignacio Zaragoza was brought from the defense of Guadalajara, to assist the "Juaristas" in the vicinity of the capital. On the twenty-second of December the "Juaristas" (an army of eleven thousand men under General Ortega) and the Reactionaries (eight thousand men under Miramon) faced each other at Calpulalpam for the decisive battle of the War of the Reform. The battle raged for two days, and the "Juaristas" were completely victorious. Miramon fled to the capital, where he and Zuloaga divided the Reactionary treasury between them. Miramon then went into exile. Zuloaga, Marquez, and other Reactionary leaders, retired to the mountain districts, where they continued to raise partisans to oppose the Liberal government.

The troops of the "Juaristas," under General Ortega, entered the capital on the twenty-seventh of December, and the decree of sequestration issued from Vera Cruz was speedily put into operation. In the spoliation of the Church which followed, it was due to the forethought of Ignacio Ramirez, a famous publicist whom Juarez appointed Minister of Instruction and Public Works, that the valuable paintings previously existing in the monasteries, went to enrich the galleries of the San Carlos Academy of Fine Arts; and that the Bihlioteca Nacional was founded in the San Augustin Monastery, and was made the permanent depository of the books derived from the religious houses.

The defeated and scattered Reactionaries continued a guerrilla warfare, and sought by acts of wanton cruelty to wreak their vengeance upon the victorious Constitutionalists, or the party of the Reform, as they came now to be called. In February, 1861, Mariano Escobedo, who had risen from an humble position to the rank of Brigadier-General, and had been present in the latter capacity with the forces of the "Juaristas" at the battle of Calpulalpam, was sent to check the depredations of Marquez and Mejia. He was surprised and taken prisoner at Rio Verde, and Marquez issued an order to have him shot. His life was spared at the intercession of Mejia, and he subsequently escaped from imprisonment.

In April, Marquez, encouraged by the hope that the European nations would intervene in the affairs of Mexico in aid of the Reactionaries, marched upon Tulancingo, but was defeated in an attempt upon Queretaro. Joining Zuloaga, however, he occupied Villa del Carbon the following month. The Reactionaries now selected Melchor Ocampo as the especial object of their hatred, and encouraged the guerrilla bands which infested the country to capture him. This remarkable man was probably, next to Juarez, the most prominent of the Reform leaders. He was born in the city of Valladolid, in 1815,—the year when another great native of that city (in whose honor its name was changed to Moreha) was executed. He was a man of education, and a graduate in law; but after a few years of practice in that profession, he gave himself up to the study of botany, chemistry, and scientific agriculture, and acquired a reputation in those subjects abroad as well as at home. He served as Deputy in Congress in 1843 and in 1846, and was then unanimously elected Governor of Michoacan. During his term of office he made many public improvements, and established the college of San Nicolas Obispo and had it placed under State and not under ecclesiastical control. He resigned the Governorship in 1846, and retired to his country-seat, which he had named "Pomoca," being an anagram of his name.

He was reelected Governor, in June, 1852, but resigned again in January, 1855. The Legislature, in accepting his resignation, passed a unanimous vote of thanks for his eminent services to the State. He was among those arrested by Santa Anna upon the latter's assuming the Dictatorship in 1855, and was imprisoned in San Juan de Ulua awaiting a vessel to take him into exile. The "Plan de Ayotla" secured his release from prison, and he was for about eight weeks chief of the cabinet of President Alvarez. He resigned because of his lack of sympathy with Comonfort's policy of compromise. As a member of the Constituent Congress, he was active and influential. He was a member of Juarez's cabinet in Guadalajara.

A guerrilla band, under the leadership of a noted desperado named Cajiga, went to Pomoca for the purpose of capturing Ocampo. Meeting a visitor and mistaking him for the man they sought, they arrested him. The prisoner, desiring to protect his friend, refused to disclose his identity, and would have suffered in the place of Ocampo had not the latter appeared and promptly told who he was.

Ocampo was taken before Marquez, and by his orders was shot at Tepeji del Rio, on the road to Morelia, and his body was hanged on a tree. It was afterwards taken to the City of Mexico, and lay in state in the Chamber of Congress until entombed in the Panteon de San Fernando. The tomb of this noble patriot and progressionist bears the inscription, "Sacrificado por la Tirania."

The people in the neighborhood of Pomoca were infuriated by this crime of the Reactionaries, and threatened to sweep them out of existence. A feeling of intense indignation swept over the land. Congress offered a reward of ten thousand dollars for the heads of Marquez, Mejia, Cajiga, and other guerrilla chiefs who had been connected with the crime of Ocampo's murder. Though inexcusable in the eyes of the Liberals of the present day, this action of Congress seemed justifiable then because the City of Mexico was menaced by a reign of terror, and the people were not to be appeased by less drastic measures.

Santos Degollado, then recently elected a member of Congress, and having been guilty of a certain malfeasance in office for which he wished to atone, asked the permission of Congress to take command of the forces sent out to suppress the Reactionary leaders. He was to be convoyed by General Tomas O'Horan, but was impatient of that officer's delay, and left the capital with only one hundred and fifty men. In the dense woods of Monte de las Cruces he fell into an ambush prepared by some bandit leaders. A desperate fight ensued. Degollado was taken prisoner, and was assassinated without regard to his rights as a prisoner of war. It was then discovered that the reason why General O'Horan had not accompanied Degollado was that he had deserted to the Reactionaries. The following June, General Leandro Yalle, a young man of excellent character, was sent against Marquez. He was defeated, and, by the orders of O'Horan, was shot and his body hanged. The list of "Sacrificados por la Tirania"  was being extended.

Such was the disturbed state of the country after the War of the Reform. A great war,—the first real war for a principle in the history of Mexico,—had been fought to a finish, and the victory was for Constitutional Government over the rule of the Church and the army or that of an oligarchy. But Juarez was anxious that the principles involved in the war should be fully and firmly established and decided, not by force of arms, but by the voice of the people. He was occupying the Presidency, as he felt, by a series of accidents. So he called for an election for President in accordance with the Constitution of 1857, knowing full well that the result of the election would be either for or against the decrees he had put forth in Vera Cruz in 1859. These decrees furnished the platform upon which he stood before the people asking their suffrages. There was no uncertain sound about the announcement of the principles for which he stood. In no instance does Benito Juarez stand out more heroically than in this act.

The proclamation for the election was made while Juarez was still in Vera Cruz. Miguel Lerdo de Tejada offered himself as a candidate, but died in March, 1861, before the election could be held. This was much to the regret of Juarez, who looked upon him, not as a rival for political preferment, but as an earnest supporter of his own schemes for good government. The only other candidate was General Ortega. The election resulted in a large majority for Juarez, and General Ortega was elected President of the Supreme Court of Justice, thereby becoming virtual Vice-President. When Congress met, in May, 1861, the result of the election was formally declared, and Juarez was promptly installed, on the first of June, as Constitutional President of Mexico.

The tasks which lay before the Constitutional party were stupendous. The condition of Mexico was pitiable. The country was literally exhausted by successive revolutions. Nearly two hundred thousand Mexicans had been engaged in the war of the past three years, and the loss of life had been frightful. The public administration of the law had been destroyed; robbery and murder had been practically legalized, and were the order of the day. The clergy had been stirring up strife in families by means of the confessional, the pulpit, and the power of excommunication, and by withholding absolution and the right of Christian burial from all who professed Liberal ideas. They had threatened with present excommunication and eternal malediction all who took possession of the property of the Church under the Reform decrees.

Juarez lacked the means to reorganize the Government at once. Of the chiefs of the Reform party, the greater number had but slight knowledge of military science. The old soldiers of the Republic had, with few exceptions, turned to the Reactionaries. There was the same difficulty in finding men of ability and training to serve the State in a civil capacity. The President was compelled, under the circumstances, to expend a large part of his energies and to waste his means in negative activity and in guarding against impending evils and checking present dangers. He was unable to devise measures for the immediate amelioration of the condition of the country, especially as the country was not educated up to the level of constitutional government.

His first measures, after entering Mexico, were severely criticized as indicating a change of temper. Most of the Bishops were banished, and with them were sent the Papal Nuncio and the Spanish Envoy, because they had misused their positions and done all in their power to aid the Reactionaries to drag out the civil war. The small property left to the Church was entirely taken from its hands, and the estates of the clerical communities were let out to farmers on the payment of twelve per cent of their values. Civil marriage was introduced. The opponents of the President, offended at these measures, gave expression to their want of confidence, in an address asking him to resign (September 7, 1861). It was signed by fifty-one of the Deputies. The same day, Juarez received a petition from fifty-two of the Deputies, urging him to retain his office.

Those who complained that the government of Juarez was unable instantly to restore order to the land, or that it lacked energy and spirit, and a sincere desire to deal fairly with its foreign claimants, evidently failed to take all of the circumstances into consideration,—circumstances extending back for years in the history of the country. Those persons were the more just who, allowing that much was to be said in favor of the government of Juarez, thus expressed themselves, in May, 1861; "However faulty and weak the present government may be, those who witnessed the murders, the acts of atrocity, and plunder, almost of daily occurrence under the government of General Miramon and General Marquez, cannot but appreciate the existence of law and order. Foreigners especially, who suffered so heavily under that arbitrary rule and by the hatred and intolerance toward them which are a dogma of the Church party in Mexico, cannot but make a broad distinction between the past and the present. . . . The Mexican Government has been accused, and not without reason, of having frittered away the Church property recently nationalized; but it must be remembered that while forced contributions, plunder, and immense supplies from the Church and its supporters, have enabled General Zuloaga and General Miramon to sustain the civil war for three years, the Constitutional Government had abstained from such acts, and has the sole robbery of the conductaat Lagos, towards the close of the war, to answer for." And again, in June: "Progress has been made. The signs of regeneration, though few, are still visible. Had the present Liberal party enough money at command to pay an army of ten thousand men, it could suppress the present opposition, restore order, and preserve external peace." The government of Juarez was indeed answering for its one act of plunder during the recent war—the robbery of a conducta  near Lagos. This was the act of Degollado, without the knowledge or consent of Juarez, who did all he could to repair the damage done by this act of insubordination,—not only to the owners of the conducta  but also to the reputation of his government.

Taken all together, the Juarez government, whatever its defects, was seen by the foreign powers who chose to examine it dispassionately, even at the time when it appeared least to an advantage, to be the only promising government that had made its appearance for years in Mexico; the only one which was likely to be actuated by liberal and constitutional principles. It had succeeded in overthrowing one of the most despicable, disgraceful, and sanguinary systems that ever debased and exhausted a country.

The British Consul and Charge d'affaires  wrote, in May, 1861, of the President himself: "President Juarez is an upright and well-intentioned man, excellent in all the private relations of life; but the mere fact of his being an Indian exposes him to the hostility and sneers of the dregs of Spanish society, and of those of mixed blood who ludicrously arrogate to themselves the higher social position in Mexico." And Mr. Charles Wyke wrote: "The Church party, though beaten, is not subdued, and several of their chiefs are within six leagues of the capital with forces varying from four to six thousand. The religious feeling of a fanatic population has naturally been shocked by the destruction of churches, and the disbanded monks and friars wandering about amongst the people fan the embers of discontent kept alive by the women, who are as a body in favor of the Church party."

The combined forces of Marquez were defeated by Ortega in August, 1861. Zuloaga, Marquez, and Mejia ceased to menace the capital, and fled to the mountains back of Queretaro. Marquez was finally defeated in Pachuca in October.

In July, 1861, Congress approved of the decree issued by the President, suspending for two years all payments on account of foreign debts. This was intended to gain time for the government of Juarez to straighten out the finances of the country, which were in a deplorable condition. Its best analogy might perhaps be found in the business house which has justifiable confidence in the business in which it is engaged, though it finds itself crippled for the time being by reason of recent misfortunes, but which, instead of going into bankruptcy or making an assignment for the benefit of its creditors, asks for an extension of time on its obligations.

There was special reason why the Mexican government should ask for such extension. The Juarez administration found itself confronted by claims originating with the pseudo-government which had just been put down—some of them of very questionable character. The "Mon-Almonte Treaty" was of that nature. Through the Spanish Minister and General Almonte, the Miramon administration had arranged that Mexico should assume the demands of Spanish subjects for reclamations, outrages, and compulsory loans agreed to in 1855 under the Santa Anna government, in consideration of assistance to be rendered the Reactionary government in the nature of a European protectorate over Mexico. This treaty was in itself sufficient justification to Juarez for sending the Spanish Minister out of Mexico, as a person unacceptable to the Government.

Already English and French squadrons had appeared off Vera Cruz, demanding the payment of so much of the national debt of Mexico as was due the citizens of those countries for indemnity for outrages; and the Spanish residents of Tampico had made complaint to their government of outrages received at the hands of the contending Mexican factions, and of the losses they had sustained by reason of forced loans. A Spanish vessel appeared at Vera Cruz, and demanded satisfaction and guarantees. To these, Juarez gave satisfaction only by diplomatic promises. It required time to look into these claims and determine precisely what ones were valid and what were fraudulent—what ones the government would assume as in honor bound, and what ones would be paid only as a matter of generosity to the claimants.

Nevertheless, the measure suspending payment served to precipitate the action of the European powers, which had apparently been in contemplation for some time. The English and French nations immediately broke off diplomatic relations with Mexico; and, to delay still longer the enforcement of constitutional government, there ensued the Foreign Intervention resulting in the French Invasion and the Second Mexican Empire.



Foreign Intervention, French Invasion, and the Second Empire

On the thirty-first of October, 1861, a treaty was signed in the city of London, on behalf of England, France, and Spain, which proved the beginning of what was at first known as the Foreign Intervention in the affairs of Mexico. Later it was transformed in its character, so as to be more properly known as a French Invasion of the territory; and from it was developed, as it was undoubtedly intended should be from the outset, the Second Mexican Empire.

By the terms of the treaty,—known as the Treaty of London,—the three nations that were parties to it were to send a sufficient naval and military force to Mexico to seize and occupy the several fortresses and military positions on the coast, for the purpose of sequestrating the customs revenues of the principal ports of entry; the treaty providing for the appointment of a commission to determine the just distribution of these revenues among the foreign creditors of Mexico. It was expressly stipulated that no territory should be appropriated by the Foreign Powers, nor should any influence be exerted to interfere with the rights of the Mexican people to arrange their own form of government.

It was deemed expedient that the government at Washington should be invited to acquiesce in the terms of this treaty. The treaty was, however, to be ratified within fifteen days by the respective governments concerned, and its provisions were to be carried into effect without waiting for an answer from the United States. That answer, when it came, was a positive declination by the United States to take any part in the transaction, on the ground that the Federal Government at Washington thought it right to pursue its usual policy of refraining from alliances with foreign powers.

The purpose of this extraordinary proceeding on the part of the three powerful European nations was, as stated in the preamble of the treaty, to demand more effective protection for the persons and property of their subjects in Mexico, and to secure the fulfillment of certain obligations contracted by the Mexican Government. But when this diplomatically worded treaty comes to be examined in the light of contemporaneous documents and subsequent events, it is found to conceal purposes of greater importance than any it expressed.

Upon the earliest suggestion of the advisability of pursuing the course prescribed by the treaty, the English Minister of Foreign Affairs asserted that England was opposed on principle to forcible interference in the internal affairs of independent nations. In every dispatch addressed by England to either Paris, Madrid, or Washington, it was declared over and over again that England would have nothing to do with the proposed expedition if it were not clearly laid down in the beginning that the expedition was not to interfere with the internal affairs of Mexico.

Subsequently it was sought to discover that Mexico furnished an exception to the general rule under which England claimed to be acting. Few cases of internal anarchy, bloodshed, and murder exceeded, according to the English idea, the atrocities perpetrated in Mexico. One instance alone of the many that were cited in this apology was held to be sufficient to place Mexico beyond the operations of the law of nations. That was the robbery of the English bondholders by Marquez, acting under Miramon's orders, on the seventeenth of November, 1860. Coin to the amount of about six hundred and sixty thousand dollars had been collected by Juarez, for the payment of certain English bondholders. The money was deposited, for safe keeping, at the British legation, and was supposed to be further secured by the seal of the British Minister. The robbery of it was indeed a gross violation of the law of nations, as well as of common morality; but it was a crime for which the Constitutional Government of Mexico was not responsible, having been powerless to prevent it.

It seemed to have been generally overlooked that, with scarcely an exception, the wrongs, to redress which the intervention was to take place, were committed by the pseudo-government, and not by the true government then existing. Some of the outrages for which reparation was sought were perpetrated by Marquez and his followers while Juarez and Ortega were trying to capture them. This might not furnish a claim for remission, though it ought certainly to have furnished a plea for indulgence.

England felt, however, that it was no longer possible to deal with Mexico as with an organized and established government. It was asserted, on behalf of the English Government, that the mere presence of a combined squadron in the Gulf of Mexico would serve as a wholesome menace,—would urge the Mexican Government to keep the peace, and convince malcontents that they must seek "some form of opposition more constitutional than brigandage." England's position from the first was apologetic, and was based upon a total misapprehension of the character of Benito Juarez, and of his efforts, and the efforts of his followers, to establish constitutional government. That position was never approved by the mass of the English people, and, as has been said, "nothing in the Mexican expedition so became the British Government as the giving of it up."

Spain and France, on the other hand, had objects in view which were not expressed in the treaty and were not at once disclosed to the public. The hope of Spain was to found an Empire in Mexico, and to place upon the throne thereof a member of the same Bourbon family that had been called to the throne created by the Treaty of Cordoba in 1821. Events interfered to prevent this scheme from taking definite shape, although it transpired that it was with this purpose in view that Spain had been furnishing secret but strong aid to the Zuloaga and Miramon government in Mexico. The object of France was also to establish a monarchy, but it was to be in some way feudatory to France. The Emperor of the French had already offered the crown of the Mexican Empire, which he had in view, to the Archduke of Austria. Yet both Spain and France were all the while assuring England that neither of them had any intention of forcible interference in Mexican affairs. England, however, was suspicious of Spain, and would not have entered the convention at all, or have signed the treaty, but for the positive assurances of both Spain and France that there was no intention whatever of conquest, of reestablishing by foreign influence a monarchical form of government, or of otherwise meddling with the internal administration of the Government of Mexico. It was the scheme of France that was shortly afterwards developed to the serious inconvenience of Mexico.

Ostensibly, it was the purpose of the three nations to act as receivers of the property of their hopelessly bankrupt debtor, and to administer the estate for the payment of its debts. Of these debts, that of England was the largest and of the longest standing. It was based upon an alleged loan of three million two hundred thousand pounds, contracted by the agent of the Mexican Government with a London banking house in the first year of the Republic. It amounted, at the time of the Treaty of London, to nearly eighty million dollars in Mexican money. To Spain, Mexico was alleged to owe a little more than fifteen million dollars, and to France about two million five hundred thousand dollars, in Mexican money.

Each of these debts had a history so interesting that Mexican historians devote whole chapters to the subject, and some of them make it appear that of the sum upon which the enormous claim of England was based, only about a third had been actually received by Mexico, and that the sum actually due at the time of the treaty was seventy millions instead of eighty million dollars; that the debt to Spain grew out of indemnities incurred during the War for Independence, and amounted to a little less than ten millions instead of fifteen million dollars; while the debt to France included a most remarkable claim of the Swiss banking-house of Jecker and Company, for one million dollars and interest thereon at the rate of twelve per cent per annum from its date.

It was alleged by Mexico, and scarcely denied by the other party to the transaction, that less than half the money for which Jecker and Company had received bonds to the above amount had been paid by them to the Zuloaga and Miramon government at a time when the Liberal government was in existence and was contending against the self-constituted dictatorship of Zuloaga and Miramon. So that at the very time when France had acknowledged Miramon as President, and had aided his pretensions against the Constitutional Government, she was holding Juarez and the Constitutional Government responsible for the debts of the insurgents. Jecker, the head of the banking-house, had in some way become a French subject since this debt was contracted, and thus his exorbitant demands were included in the claim of France, and were made to play an important part in the plans of the Emperor of the French for the establishment of a monarchy in Mexico.

It is but just to say that the Mexican Expedition never obtained the slightest degree of popularity in France. It was looked upon with coldness, indifference, dislike, and contempt, by the people; and it was ably combated, in the Corps Legislatif in 1863, by leading Deputies, who were returned by overwhelming majorities in the subsequent election, thus showing that their constituents fully approved of their position.

But whether just or unjust, whether extortionate or legal, these debts were made the basis of operations under the Treaty of London. There were also allegations of attacks made from time to time on the persons and property of foreigners in Mexico, which had been the subject of much diplomatic correspondence for several years without prospect of satisfactory adjustment. Spain's chief injury was the failure of the Mon- Almonte Treaty.

Forty years of almost incessant civil war had wrought utter confusion to the finances of Mexico, as well as to her social conditions. Her government was entirely at the mercy of people of revolutionary spirit. It had not served to render affairs less complicated, that during the three years then past there had been two opposing governments in the country with which to treat, neither being responsible for the acts or promises of the other. It was therefore, viewed from the standpoint of the foreign powers, time for something to be done to obtain the payment of Mexico's obligations and to secure to foreigners in that country immunity from outrage.

The treaty was doubtless precipitated by the decree of the Mexican Government suspending the payment of foreign debts for two years. England and France, as we have seen, at once broke off diplomatic relations with Mexico until the decree of suspension should be revoked. The Spanish Minister had already been given his passports as a persona non grata  because of his too intimate connection with the Zuloaga-Miramon government, and of his part in the Mon-Almonte Treaty.

It is not to be overlooked that an opportunity for pursuing such a course as was now determined upon by France was afforded at that time by the Civil War then in progress in the United States. The foreign powers regarded that war between the States as likely to result in the independence of the Confederate States of the South. Such an opportunity as this afforded was especially appreciated by Louis Napoleon, Emperor of the French, who had long cherished dreams of establishing an Empire in Mexico, to be to some extent under his control. With the United States (as he supposed) likely to be divided, and with the Confederate States, when independent, as his allies, he need have no fear of any trouble with the Government at Washington over "the Monroe Doctrine."

Notwithstanding the stipulation in the Treaty of London that the allied forces should not seek any acquisition of territory, or exercise any influence over the internal affairs of the country prejudicial to the rights of the Mexicans to establish such form of government as they might desire, the Emperor of the French was laying plans to accomplish both the acquisition of territory and the interference in the political affairs of the country. He was already negotiating with certain persons, looking to the future disposition of the Mexican State of Sonora and adjacent territory; and he had been in consultation with General Almonte, General Miramon, Jose Maria Gutierrez de Estrada, Francisco J. Miranda ("Padre Miranda," a turbulent Mexican cleric), Haro y Tamaris, and other banished Reactionary leaders. It was largely upon such ex parte  testimony as these men were able to furnish as to the status of Mexican affairs, that he had laid his plans for the establishment of a trans-Atlantic Empire. How fully he had absorbed this scheme may be judged by his remark, after the complete overthrow of the Mexican Empire was regarded by everyone else as merely a question of a few months, that he looked upon it as the greatest creation of his reign. Subsequent events, however, proved it the beginning of his overthrow—the Moscow of the Second French Empire of the Napoleons.

The allied nations proceeded without loss of time to send forces to occupy the coast cities of Mexico, as provided in the treaty; and early in December, 1861, the Spanish squadron arrived, in advance of the others, at Vera Cruz. A week later, the city was occupied by the Spanish troops. This was regarded as not in accord with the agreement, and was made the pretext, on the part of France, for sending out reinforcements to the number of four or five thousand men. Here again was an occasion for the French Minister to protest that it was not the intention of France to interfere in the internal affairs of Mexico. An assurance to that effect was again asked, and was earnestly given.

The French and English forces arrived on the eighth of January, 1862, and the whole foreign army was placed under the command of the Spanish Marshal Prim, Count of Reus, who was Commander-in-chief of the Expedition and Plenipotentiary of Spain. This army then consisted of about six thousand Spanish soldiers; twenty-five hundred French soldiers, under Admiral Jurien de la Graviere; and one line-of-battle ship, two small frigates, and seven hundred English marines, under Commodore Dunlop. The Count de Saligny and the Admiral Jurien de la Graviere were the diplomatic agents of France; and England was to be represented by Sir Charles Wyke.

Through its minister in France, the Mexican Government had been advised that France and England were taking measures to compel Mexico to accede to their demands, and that Spain was intending to join them, with the hope of establishing a monarchy in that country. A man of less character than Benito Juarez would have been appalled by such news, following closely upon three years of civil war that had sapped the resources of his government. But Juarez was of tougher fiber than others of his countrymen. He rose to the occasion, and took immediate steps to encounter these new difficulties in the way of establishing constitutional government. He appealed to Mexicans to lay aside their private feuds and unite against the common foe. He reorganized his army, and made efforts to defend the country. He raised money by forced loans or voluntary contributions, negotiated upon terms the most unfavorable to the government, as is usual in such cases. If he showed an arbitrary spirit in these measures, it was no more than the emergency seemed to demand, nor was it contrary to precedents established by the previous rulers of his nation. It must also be remembered that all he did had in view the final establishment of a Constitutional Government which was to do away forever with the necessity of applying such arbitrary measures again.

On the twenty-fifth of January, 1862, Juarez issued a decree declaring that all men between the ages of sixteen and sixty who refused to take up arms in defense of the country should be regarded as traitors; establishing courts-martial in the place of the ordinary tribunals; and giving authority to the governors of States and magistrates of towns to dispose of the persons or property of all disloyal persons within their jurisdictions. It declared any armed invasion of the country by Mexicans or foreigners without a previous declaration of war, and any invitation offered by Mexicans or foreign residents of Mexico for such invasion, to be crimes against the Independence of Mexico, punishable with death.

This stern decree was issued, it must be remembered, in times that demanded drastic measures, and for the governance of a people of revolutionary tendencies who were yet unprepared for constitutional government. A Reactionary leader, General Robles, made an effort to join a party in the French camp soon afterward, but was arrested by the Mexican authorities, banished from the capital, and confined on parole in a small town. He violated his parole, and escaped from his imprisonment. Before he could reach other plotters against the government of Juarez, he was again arrested, and under the decree of January twenty-fifth was sentenced to be shot. General Prim and the English Plenipotentiary made an effort to save him, and succeeded in inducing the Mexican Minister to suspend the sentence of death; but the courier bearing the reprieve lost his way, and arrived at the place appointed for the execution after the sentence had been carried out.

Juarez was anxious to postpone as long as possible, and to avoid altogether, if might be, a collision with the foreign troops. He accordingly invited the envoys of the allied powers to a conference, to be held at Orizaba, in April, 1862. To arrange for this conference, a preliminary convention was held at Soledad, near Vera Cruz, in February. The Mexican Government was represented on this occasion by Manuel Doblado, who acquitted himself as an able and influential diplomat, winning the respect and approval of the British and Spanish Plenipotentiaries.

An agreement was reached respecting the matters to be discussed and decided upon at Orizaba. Doblado's argument was conclusive that the robbery of the funds at the British Legation by Marquez was the work of bandits for which the Government of Mexico could not be held accountable; and he also showed conclusively to the Spanish Plenipotentiary that certain assassinations of which he complained, and for which his government sought redress, were acts which the government of Juarez had tried to prevent and was now taking energetic measures to punish.

Although Doblado's efforts and arguments were less successful with the French agents than with the British and Spanish, it was agreed that the allies should recognize the Mexican Government as constitutional and legitimately established; that their troops should be allowed to occupy certain towns, as healthful and convenient garrisons; and that if the conference to take place at Orizaba failed of a satisfactory issue, and negotiations were broken off, the troops of the allies were to fall back from the places they had been allowed to occupy conditionally, and hostilities would then of course begin.

At the Orizaba Conference, the Count de Saligny declared that the Mexican Government had heaped so many fresh grievances upon the French subjects that he could no longer treat with it, and would be content with nothing less than a march upon the capital of the country. General Laurencez had already arrived in Mexico with reinforcements which increased the French army to over six thousand five hundred men. These had been sent in order, as was alleged, that the Spanish forces might not exceed in number those of France.

With these reinforcements came also General Almonte, Padre Miranda, Haro y Tamaris, and others whose characters were odious in the eyes of Mexico, and whose names recalled some of the worst scenes in a civil war that had proved a disgrace to the civilization of the nineteenth century, and who were responsible for many of the outrages for which the allied powers now sought redress. Almonte might not have been precisely in such a category, but he was offensive to the Constitutionalists of Mexico, both because of his former connection with the Conservatives and Reactionaries, and because while living in exile in Paris he had been active in poisoning the mind of the Emperor of the French in regard to Mexican affairs. Under the protection of the French flag, these men assumed an arrogant air, and Almonte went so far as to assume the title of "Provisional President of Mexico," and to issue manifestos and proclamations calling upon the Mexicans to overthrow the government of Juarez. Miranda and the others openly and vauntingly avowed that they had come by the express command of the Emperor of the French, to upset the government of President Juarez. The execution of Robles, which for his offence at such a time was justifiable in any country of the world, was proclaimed as a murder, and was given as a new reason for the French support of the projects of Almonte. Unquestionably, the French expedition was assuming,—by the presence of General Almonte, Padre Miranda, and the others,—the character of an afterpiece to the War of the Reform.

Juarez protested against the presence of these men in the French camp, and his protest was emphasized by the declaration of the English and Spanish commissioners that the persistence of France in protecting the Mexican conspirators was contrary to the terms of the Treaty of London. But all was to no avail. The decisive action of the British Commodore in regard to Miramon was more effectual. Miramon attempted to join Almonte and the others in the French camp, but Commodore Dunlop declared that if he attempted to land he would at once arrest him on account of his part in the robbery of the British Legation. Miramon accordingly thought it wise to withdraw to Havana.

In the attempt to adjust the claims of the allied powers at Orizaba, the French commissioners demanded on behalf of France a round sum of twelve million dollars, without details or items, "as an approximation to the value of the French claims by a million or two more or less," in addition to the Jecker claim of one million five hundred thousand dollars. It was shown, however, that on its bonds issued to the above amount the government of Miramon had received no more than seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars. Jecker was demanding the face value of his bonds from the Juarez Government, on the plea that one government was bound by the acts and obligations of another. Juarez offered to assume the seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars, with interest at five per cent, but repudiated the idea of being liable for the one million five hundred thousand dollars.

The English Commissioner showed that the demands of the French could only lead to war, as no nation on earth could accede to them. It was unquestionably with war in view that the French Commissioners advanced them. The projects of the three allied powers were soon found to be "incompatible," and the English and Spanish troops were withdrawn from the enterprise. The Treaty of London was quickly thrown aside by the commissioners from France, and the French were left in Mexico to carry out the purposes of Napoleon III.

In April, 1862, immediately after the Convention of Orizaba, the French General issued a proclamation declaring a military dictatorship established in Mexico, with Almonte as Supreme Chief of the nation. The same day, the French army was reorganized in two divisions, and advanced towards the capital, one division by way of Jalapa, the other by way of Orizaba. An army of Mexicans, under the command of General Marquez, joined the forces of the Interventionists.

The peril in which Mexico again found herself had the effect of sifting her military leaders. Zaragoza, Escobedo, and Porfirio Diaz remained stanch adherents of the Republic. Comonfort early returned from France, and, joining the forces of Juarez, was appointed Commander-in-chief. Senor Gallardo, father of a gallant young Republican Colonel, raised and equipped two troops of cavalry, and undertook to advance twelve thousand dollars a month for the services of the Republic until its independence was restored. Vidaurri held the State of San Luis Potosi for the Republicans for a time, and then deserted to the Imperialists. Zuloaga refused to fight against his country, and retired altogether from the scene of the approaching conflict. Mejia joined the cause of the Interventionists, and Miramon came back to Mexico to do the same as soon as it was safe for him to enter the country.

One column of the Army of the Intervention advanced toward the capital by way of Orizaba and Puebla. By the French it was supposed that the advance was to be a mere military parade; that the mass of the Mexican people were either indifferent to or absolutely in favor of the Intervention; and that the few who objected to it had neither strength nor spirit to resist. But there was a surprise in store for the advancing army. Puebla was found to be occupied by an inferior force of badly equipped raw recruits, under the very efficient command of General Zaragoza, who had prepared for the advance of the French invading forces by hastily fortifying the hills of Guadalupe and Loretto. No plausible excuse was offered by the French for attacking Puebla. The attacking forces numbered more than seven thousand well-organized and well-disciplined men. Yet notwithstanding their disadvantages the Republican forces repulsed the invaders with terrible slaughter, and won a glorious victory.

The battle was fought on the fifth of May, 1862. It was exceedingly inspiriting to the Republicans, and it gave to Mexico one of her greatest national feast days, El Cinco de Mayo. In appreciation of his brilliant victory and defense of the city. General Zaragoza was appointed Military Governor of Vera Cruz, his name was inscribed in letters of gold upon the walls of the Hall of Congress, and the official name of Puebla was changed to "Puebla de Zaragoza." Porfirio Diaz was promoted to the rank of General for the brilliant part he took in the defense of the city.

The defeated French retreated to Orizaba, not strong enough to attack again, but too strong to be attacked. Zaragoza was soon transferred, at his own request, to the army of operations under Ortega, and returned to the defense of Puebla. He attempted to follow up the advantage he had gained, by marching against the French at Orizaba; but was surprised and defeated at Cerro del Borrego. He withdrew to Puebla, and there he died of typhus fever the following September, to the great loss of the Republican cause, for he was regarded as the greatest military genius the country had ever produced.

Toward the end of September, General Laurencez was superseded in the command of the Army of the Intervention by the French General Forey, who brought from France sufficient reinforcements to raise the army to twenty thousand men. Not only did he assume command of the army, but he also constituted himself Military Dictator over the whole country, declaring that he had come by order of the Emperor of the French, to destroy the government of Juarez, and to free the people of Mexico from his despotic sway. He was so indiscreet as to issue a proclamation confiscating the property of all who failed immediately to give in their adhesion to the new system. This, however, met with no favor in Europe,—not even in France, where the papers sarcastically commented upon the "inconvenience of addressing remonstrances to Russia regarding the confiscations in Lithuania, while Forey was carrying the same system a step or two farther in Mexico."

The French army, thus reinforced, began a second advance toward the capital. Puebla was captured in May, 1863, but not without desperate fighting, for the Mexicans defended their city inch by inch, and preferred death to submitting to any terms of surrender offered by the French. The city was finally taken, however; the soldiers who had held it so valiantly were either slain or dispersed, and some of the officers were taken prisoner and carried away to France. Diaz escaped from imprisonment before he could be carried into exile.

The fall of Puebla broke the heart of the Mexican resistance, and left the City of Mexico exposed to the invaders without means of defense. On the last day of May, President Juarez left the capital, accompanied by his ministers, and set up his government at San Luis Potosi on the tenth of June. There he remained until near the end of 1863.

On the eleventh of June the Army of the Intervention occupied the capital. General Forey was accompanied by Dubois Saligny (the French Commissioner who had conducted negotiations on behalf of France at the late Conferences of Soledad and Orizaba), General Marquez (the "Infamous Marquez," as Europeans were already beginning to call him), and General Almonte. Forey appointed a prefect for the city, and proceeded to select thirty-five citizens to act as a "Supreme Council of the Nation," and as a basis for the establishment of a permanent government. The Supreme Council elected General Almonte, General Mariano Salas, and Archbishop Labastida as Regents, with the Bishop of Puebla as the alternate of the Archbishop, who was in France. Into the hands of the Regency passed the government of Mexico, pending the completion of the plans of the Emperor of the French, which were now no longer concealed, and were found to include the long-cherished schemes of the Monarchical or Imperialistic party of previous years.

Subsequently an "Assembly of Notables" was organized as a legislative body. It was composed of two hundred and thirty-one members, apparently selected at random, representing the twenty-four States of Mexico then in existence, without regard to the population of those States. They were, of course, all of monarchical predilections.

On the tenth of July, 1863, this strangely constituted Assembly passed an "Act" adopting for the country a monarchical form of government, and offering the crown to Fernando Maximiliano (Ferdinand Maximilian), Archduke of Austria. It further provided that in case Maximilian should decline the crown it should be offered to any Roman Catholic prince whom the Emperor of the French should designate. A Committee of Monarchists and Reactionaries (including Gutierrez de Estrada, who was already in Europe) was appointed to proceed to the Archducal Palace of Maximilian, at Miramar, to offer him the crown and hasten his departure for Mexico.

The Regents nominally at the head of the government of Mexico were under the direct control of two agents of the Emperor of the French. They were General Forey, Commander-in-chief of the Army of the Interventionists, and Dubois Saligny, the French Minister who had been unpleasantly involved in the business of the Intervention from the beginning. That all the actions of the Assembly of Notables were brought about by these two persons, acting under explicit instructions from Paris, cannot now be doubted. If not at the time of the Treaty of London, very soon afterwards. Napoleon III had communicated to the Imperial house of Austria his intention of placing the Archduke Maximilian at the head of the Empire he proposed to establish; and this had been the subject of diplomatic correspondence with other European nations. Hence the action of the Assembly of Notables in offering the crown to Maximilian was no surprise to Europeans.

Before the end of 1863, both Forey and Saligny were recalled, owing to the too great precipitancy with which these events had been brought about. Napoleon deplored the actions of these agents, or at least the frank publicity given to them, as of "too reactionary" a character. Forey was succeeded in the command of the army in Mexico by Marshal Bazaine, who throughout the subsequent history of the Intervention proved a faithful servant of Louis Napoleon.

Under the command of Bazaine, the French troops proceeded to occupy the interior of Mexico. The army was again divided into two columns. One of these, under the command of General Marquez, took the road to Morelia. The other, under the command of General Tomas Mejia, advanced toward Queretaro. Within a month, the Interventionists had control of the country as far as Guadalajara in the northwest, Queretaro in the north, and Vera Cruz in the east. The extreme northern States and the extreme southern States,—twelve in number,—were not yet occupied by the Interventionists. There were Members of the Assembly of Notables claiming to represent those States, but they were mere refugees at the capital.

Meanwhile, the Republican forces were scattered but not exterminated. There were bands of patriots in Michoacan, in Jalisco, in Sinaloa, in Sonora, in Durango, in Zacatecas, in Tamaulipas, in the mountains of Puebla and Oaxaca, in Vera Cruz, Tabasco, and the south. A Republican press was maintained by able political writers, and continued to instruct the people in their rights under the Constitution. Porfirio Diaz was made Commander-in-chief of the Republican Army in the South, and invested with full power for the administration of affairs and for the defense of the southeastern States,—that is, Oaxaca, a part of Puebla, Chiapas, Tabasco, Campeche, and Yucatan. He took up and maintained a position between Puebla and Oaxaca.

The advance of the French army in the direction of San Luis Potosi forced the Constitutional Government from that city to Saltillo, where it was established in November, 1863. Being informed that Santiago Vidaurri, Governor of the States of Leon and Coahuila, who had formerly been an adherent of the Constitutional party, was in negotiation with the French, Juarez removed the seat of his government to Monterey. Vidaurri refused to recognize the Republican government, and fled to the City of Mexico, where he openly avowed his adherence to the Imperialists. Juarez maintained his government in Monterey from April to the middle of August, 1864.

The Committee appointed by the Assembly of Notables lost no time in discharging the duties laid upon them. They were received at the Archducal Palace in Austria, and made known to the Archduke their business. Much to their surprise, Maximilian withheld his acceptance of the proffered throne until he could be assured that the people of Mexico had, state by state and town by town, expressed their wish that he should come to reign over them, by suffrage of some kind, certified in such way that he could determine the number of voters in favor of the Empire, and the ratio of this number to the population of the country. He desired also that the European nations should give him guarantees that the throne of Mexico would be protected from dangers which then appeared to threaten it.

The whole matter was therefore, in effect, referred back to Marshal Bazaine, as the agent of the French Government, to secure such an election as would satisfy the scruples of the Archduke and induce him to accept the proffered throne. Shortly afterwards, certificates of election in favor of the Empire and of Maximilian for Emperor were produced from "all places occupied by the French bayonets." These words are significant of the manner in which the election was conducted, and indicate how faithfully Bazaine was prepared to perform the duties entrusted to him by the Emperor of the French. That Emperor furthermore gave the Archduke every assurance that the Empire of Mexico would receive such support from France as might be required, but he believed that it could be upheld without further bloodshed, all "military questions" having been already settled.

Maximilian was therefore prepared to accept the throne as early as the tenth of December, 1863. He concluded all the preliminaries with Napoleon III and with his Imperial brother, Francis Joseph of Austria, who was the head of his family. This was, however, without the participation in any way of the Austrian Government. That government studiously avoided all complication in the affair, and it is clearly erroneous to speak of the "Austro-French" or of the "Franco-Austrian Empire" in Mexico. The Austrian Emperor looked with disfavor upon the scheme from the beginning, and the Austrian people were bitterly opposed to the acceptance of the throne by Maximilian. The "thought of ruling the old Empire of the Aztecs was not devoid of poetic charm and romantic character," said the Austrian newspapers, "but the time had gone by when such caprices were sufficient to compromise the policy of great states and throw them into endless complications." It was deemed especially unwise in an Austrian prince to accept any crown from the hands of a Napoleon. In the official circles of the Austrian capital, the Mexican scheme met with decided resistance up to the last moment. The Archduke's persistence, however, triumphed over all opposition, even though his decision caused a coolness between himself and his Imperial brother; and it was openly declared in Vienna, upon the announcement of his acceptance of the throne, that "Mexico and its Emperor were strangers to Austria and her interests."

In the journalistic phrase about the poetic charm and romantic character of ruling the (supposed) ancient Empire of the Aztecs, in all probability lay the strongest of the motives actuating Maximilian in the matter. His was precisely the character of mind to be dazzled by the romantic traditions regarding Mexico which had been set afloat in Europe; and to be affected by the belief, widespread in Europe, that the Indians of Mexico hoped for the return of a sovereign from the East who was to restore a former government to which they had been accustomed in the beginning. This belief was one of the stock arguments of Gutierrez de Estrada, in his "open letter" of 1840, and in pamphlets upon that subject subsequently issued from his European exile.

Ferdinand Maximilian was at this time in the thirty-second year of his age. He had been trained for the naval service, and had spent several years in travel and upon the seas. In 1855 he was appointed Commander-in-chief of the Austrian Navy, and is credited with the reorganization of the navy and its elevation to a respectable place among the navies of Europe. In 1857 he married the Princess Carlota of Belgium, a woman of lovely character and excellent mind. He was appointed by his brother, the Emperor of Austria, Military and Civil Governor of Lombardy and Venice, where he proved a liberal-minded and public-spirited ruler. The capitals of these provinces still attest the attention he gave to arts, sciences, and public improvements. Indeed, the bent of his mind seems to have been in those directions rather than toward the sterner duties of statesmanship. The books he wrote were of travel and of "aphorisms," and were not likely to attract notice beyond the circle of courtiers among whom his life was spent. His penchant for public improvement was gratified at the expense of the public funds, and with little idea of public or private economy. The magnificent Archducal Palace of Miramar, on the rocks overlooking the Gulf of Trieste, involved him heavily in debt. The French government had not only to provide the money for the payment of this debt, but to supply the means to defray the expenses of his journey to the new Empire.

Unaffected and altogether charming in his manner, spotless in personal character, possessed of pure motives, Maximilian was yet lacking in political sagacity, as he was somewhat effeminate in appearance. He was tall and slender, with blonde hair and beard, both worn long and parted in the middle. His eyes were blue. The rather weak character indicated by his personal appearance seemed to imply that he was one likely to be deluded by the promises of Louis Napoleon and deceived as to the wishes of the Mexican people, as well as unsuspicious of the flattering attentions bestowed upon him by others, and thus easily lured to his ruin.

On the eighth of April, 1864, Maximilian signed at Vienna the "Family Compact" whereby he renounced all rights which he might have in the succession to the Austrian throne, and dedicated himself entirely to the Mexican enterprise. Two days later, at a high function in the Palace of Miramar, the Committee of the Mexican Assembly of Notables again formally tendered him the Imperial crown of Mexico, and it was accepted by him in a speech declaring that he had not the slightest doubt, from the "Act of Adhesion" then presented to him, that an immense majority of the Mexican people were in favor of the Imperial form of government with himself at its head. Before an ecclesiastic present, Maximilian took an oath that he would, "by every means in his power, procure the well-being and prosperity of the Mexican nation, defend its independence, and preserve the integrity of its territory." The Mexican flag was unfurled on the tower of Miramar, salutes were fired by the vessels in the harbor of Trieste, and within the palace and among the crowds without, the greatest enthusiasm prevailed.

The same day was executed the "Treaty of Miramar," a very important document in its relation to subsequent events. It was an agreement, the details of which had been arranged some time previously between Maximilian and Napoleon III., by which Maximilian was to pay the Jecker claims, the sum of fifty-four million dollars for the support of the army, and all the expenses of the expedition of the Intervention,—making a total sum of one hundred and seventy-three million dollars of public debt with which to begin his career as Emperor of Mexico. The Treaty stipulated, among other things, that from year to year the force of thirty-eight thousand men, which then composed the French army occupying Mexico, should be withdrawn as rapidly as Mexican troops could be organized to replace them, but that eight thousand men of the French army should remain in Mexico for six years. The French troops were to be in complete accord with the Mexican Emperor, and the French military commander was not to interfere in any branch of the Mexican government.

Four days later, the Emperor and Empress were on their way to the New World in an Austrian frigate escorted by a French man-of-war. The city of Rome was visited on the way, and the young Imperial couple had an audience with the Pope, the particulars of which are shrouded in deepest mystery. But the papal interests in the success of Conservative, Reactionary, and Monarchical parties having been already engaged, and the new Empire having in its inception been committed to the Roman Catholic religion, the interview is generally inferred to have been of deep significance.

The Imperial party arrived in Vera Cruz on the twenty- ninth of May, 1864. The sovereigns were received by General Almonte as President of the Regency. The seventh of June (the twenty-fifth birthday of the Empress) was spent by the Imperial party in Puebla, on the way to the capital. Five days later, Maximilian and Carlota arrived in the City of Mexico, where they were received with every manifestation of enthusiasm by the Imperialist residents of the city. In selecting his Council of Ministers, Maximilian took many who had been associated with the government of previous Absolutists. He appointed as his Minister of State, however, a pronounced Liberal, thinking thereby to conciliate the Republicans and win them over to the Empire; and the Liberal was induced, by the blandishments of Carlota, to accept the responsibilities of that trying position. But when the Emperor asked Mariano Riva Palacio to take a portfolio in his cabinet, he encountered a person of entirely different character. Senor Riva Palacio flatly refused, on the ground that it would be inconsistent for a Republican to hold office under an Empire.

The Regency continued in office until the arrival of the Emperor, and then dissolved by limitation. The members retired, or assumed other duties assigned them under the Imperial government. The Regents left the record of few official acts performed by them,—only such as were intended to secure the proper accomplishment of what might be called, in a country where every new scheme of government has been called a "Plan" of some kind, the "Plan Napoleon."



Conflict Between the Republic and the Empire

To the apparently few adherents of the Republic and of Constitutional Government in the northern States of Mexico, the events set forth in the preceding chapter must have been disheartening in the extreme. It must have seemed that the end had come to all possibility of a Republican form of government, or of a Constitution that would maintain the rights of individuals irrespective of class and in the face of the claims of the Church. But to the iron-willed man who was at the head of the apparently defeated Republican Government, there v/as no such word as surrender when applied to a great principle.

Juarez felt that the French army was the concrete obstacle he had to overcome. All else was for the time a mere incident to that. He foresaw the end, and with Indian stoicism he bided his time, viewing meanwhile, perhaps with grim satisfaction, all the difficulties which he knew would beset the attempts of Maximilian to maintain himself, and of the Clerical party to keep its hold upon the government of Mexico and to rule it through the Empire. It was well for him and for his country that through this grave crisis he had the tenacity of purpose which is characteristic of the race to which he belonged.

In the middle of August, 1864, Juarez was forced to leave Monterey upon the approach of Imperial forces; and after some detentions in Viesca, Mapimi, and Nazas,—necessary for the re-organization of the slender forces of the Republican Government,—he went to Chihuahua. Here he was able to maintain his government until the following August (1865), when the approach of some Imperial troops again caused the removal of his provisional capital. Accompanied by twenty-two of his most trusted friends, the President went to the frontier town of Paso del Norte (now Ciudad Juarez), and there established his government.

Among his twenty-two close adherents (afterwards dubbed "the Immaculates") was Sebastian Lerdo de Tejada, brother of the late Miguel Lerdo de Tejada, who, in the capacity of Minister of State, exerted a powerful influence upon the affairs of the Republic even in those dark days. From Paso del Norte, Lerdo issued a circular declaring that it was the firm determination of the President not to abandon the territory of Mexico, but to maintain the struggle against the invaders of his country. The circular was followed by a letter from the President confirming it. Both documents gave proof of the energy of the President and of his faith in the final triumph of constitutional government. Juarez declined several invitations from the Commandant at Fort Bliss, on the United States side of the Rio Grande, and gave no opportunities for the enemies of the Republic to gain the impression that he had abandoned the territory.

The term for which, under the Constitution, Juarez had been elected President, expired while he was a fugitive from his capital. It would scarcely seem possible that the Presidency of Mexico under such circumstances could be the object of any one's ambition; stranger yet that one who must have known the situation as well as did General Jesus Gonzalez Ortega should have aspired either to the title or the office. Ortega had virtually abandoned the office of President of the Supreme Court of Justice to which he had been elected, the Court itself having practically dissolved during the peregrinations of the Executive department of the government. Yet in November, 1865, Ortega, by means of a pronunciamento, claimed the executive power. The term of Juarez had expired, he announced, and there had been no election to fill the vacancy thus created. The Presidency was therefore his by virtue of his office as President of the Supreme Court, in the same manner as that in which Juarez had himself first attained thereto.

It was a situation calling for the exercise of that cool judgment which was one of the chief characteristics of Benito Juarez. Willingly would he have embraced this opportunity to escape the cares of the office of President of Mexico, when it was engaged solely in struggling against adversity. But Juarez clearly foresaw the disasters that must inevitably overtake the Republic if a change were effected in the government under the circumstances then existing. He maintained that his term of office legally continued until, in time of peace, constitutional elections could take place and his successor could be elected; and in this position he was sustained by all the Republican authorities remaining in the Northern States.

Probably Juarez was wise enough to see that his best course was to wait for the Empire to expire felo de se. It had, in fact, already reached its zenith, and was beginning to decline. Its earliest months had been devoted to instituting the paraphernalia of Imperial dignity in its alien home. There can be no question of the genuineness of Maximilian's efforts to "regenerate Mexico,"—to quote the phrase he loved to use. That he made every effort to familiarize himself with his new country and its needs must also remain unquestioned. But after the novelty of the situation wore off, he failed to give that satisfaction to his partisans which had been expected. He found that Mexico was not easily governed by the mere issuance of decrees, however wisely and beneficently conceived. He discovered also that the professed partisans of the Empire were not to be trusted, and were not at peace among themselves. Efforts which he made to placate the Liberals, while failing of their direct object, alienated the members of his own party. The difficulties of the situation were enhanced by the fickleness of the Mexican character. We have seen how much Juarez had to contend with in this trait of the Mexicans. Now Maximilian found that the many who had deserted Juarez for what was then apparently the more popular cause, were equally ready to desert the Imperialists when occasion offered.

The Emperor came also into collision with the Clerical party very early. Though decreeing that the Roman Catholic religion was the established religion of the country, Maximilian declared that other religions might be tolerated under some restrictions. The earliest demand of the Clerical party was that the property taken from the Church by the decree of sequestration should be restored. But inasmuch as this property had gone into the hands of third parties, and it was impossible to recover it, the "Reform Laws" of Juarez were allowed to remain in force. Upon the declaration of the Emperor to that effect, the Papal Nuncio then in Mexico at once withdrew, signifying thereby not only that the Clerical party in Mexico was offended, but the Papal See as well.

Between Marshal Bazaine and the Mexican Emperor, during the early days of the Empire, the warmest friendship existed. So great was the Emperor's confidence in the integrity and good judgment of the Commander-in-chief of the French army, that it was not difficult for the latter, in contravention of the Treaty of Miramar, to dictate in many cases the policy of the Empire. When, however, the French soldier discovered that the interests of Maximilian and those of Napoleon were not absolutely identical, he hesitated not as to whom he owed the higher allegiance. He had nothing further to expect in Mexico, while a career awaited him in France, and the friendship of Napoleon III was greatly to be preferred to that of his puppet on the throne of Mexico, whose Empire was already hopelessly in debt and rapidly falling to pieces.

The final downfall of the Empire may be directly traced to the action of the government at Washington. The clouds of Civil War, hanging so heavily over the United States when the Treaty of London was signed, had furnished Napoleon III with the opportunity to carry out his schemes. He looked for the dismemberment of the United States and the permanent establishment of the Southern Confederacy. That the Confederate States of America and the Mexican Empire should be kindly disposed to each other, was thought to be quite natural,—although this might seem strange in view of the fact that the people of the Southern Confederacy were fighting for principles almost identical with those which Juarez was striving to establish, and against a principle of centralization which he was opposing. It was one of the inconsistencies of politics that the professedly democratic Southern Confederacy, avowedly opposed to Imperialism, should be looked upon as the ally of the Empire in Mexico.

Nevertheless, news of every Confederate victory was received in France with enthusiasm, and the French newspapers made much of the reports of a public demonstration in Richmond, the capital of the Confederate States, on the receipt of the news, in 1863, that the French army had captured Puebla. The Confederate States had given definite pledges that an alliance with the Mexican Empire might be counted on as soon as the Confederacy gained its independence. It was an important feature of the Napoleonic Plan.

As long as the United States were engaged in war within their own borders, and especially during the dark days when it was doubtful what the issues of the struggle would be, nothing could be done by the government at Washington beyond protesting against the action of the French Emperor in trampling upon the rights claimed in the Monroe Doctrine. The United States government remained firm in its early recognition of the Juarez government. In fact, in July, 1862, it had been proposed by the United States government to loan Mexico sufficient funds for the payment of all her foreign debts (some seventy-two millions of dollars), and to take as a pledge for the repayment thereof in five years the provinces of Lower California and Sonora—about one hundred and forty thousand square miles. But Juarez felt compelled to decline this offer, as well as another of a loan of ten million dollars on easy terms but with the same pledge of territory as security for its repayment. The charge, once widely circulated, that Juarez had negotiated the sale of, or was desirous of selling, some of the Mexican territory, may have been based upon these offers of the United States. The efforts of Napoleon to sell Sonora to a prominent Confederate sympathizer belong, not to a history of the struggle for Constitutional Government in Mexico, but to a more detailed account of the Second Mexican Empire. Maintenance of the integrity of Mexican territory was one of the political principles which Juarez had adopted; and he was true to it, even when it might seem to have been the better statesmanship or better financial policy to have relaxed it.

The government at Washington had declined to pay any regard to the notification received from the "Under Secretary of State and Foreign Affairs of the Regency of the Empire of Mexico," of the action of "The Assembly of Notables" on the tenth of July, 1863. Its relations with the Minister Plenipotentiary of the Juarez government remained unbroken throughout the years when it must have seemed to many that the Empire was triumphant and that the restoration of the Republic was well-nigh hopeless. On every occasion that offered, it reiterated the interest it felt in the "safety, welfare, and prosperity of Mexico," and whenever it mentioned Mexico it implied thereby the constitutionally organized government of the Republic there. At first it accepted, as though made in good faith, the declaration of France that she was at war with Mexico "for the purpose of asserting just claims" and obtaining payment for just debts due from that nation, and not for the purpose of colonizing or acquiring any territory for herself or for any other nation; that she did not intend to occupy Mexico permanently, nor do violence to the sovereignty of the people; and that "as soon as her griefs were satisfied and she could do so with honor," she would quit Mexico entirely.

So long as these assurances were relied upon, the United States maintained a position of strict neutrality, disclaiming any "right or disposition to intervene by force in the internal affairs of Mexico, to establish or maintain a Republic or even a domestic government, or overthrow an Imperial or foreign one if Mexico chose to establish or accept it." But as it was clearly stated in a letter from the Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, to the United States Minister to France, September twenty-sixth, 1863, the government at Washington claimed to know that "the inherent normal opinion of Mexico favored a government there, republican in form and domestic in its organization, in preference to any monarchical institution to be imposed from abroad, . . . that such normal opinion of the people of Mexico resulted largely from the influence of popular opinion in the United States, and was constantly invigorated by it." The government of the United States was prepared, however, to declare that "should France determine to adopt a policy in Mexico adverse to American opinions and sentiments, that policy would probably scatter seeds which would be fruitful of jealousies which might ultimately ripen into collision between France and the United States and other American Republics."

When the purposes of France became apparent beyond all possibility of doubt, the Senate and House of Representatives at Washington passed a joint resolution to the effect that the occupation of Mexico by the Emperor of the French, or by "the person indicated by him as Emperor of Mexico," was an offence to the people of the United States; that the movements of France, and the threatened movements of "an Empire improvised by the Emperor of the French," if insisted upon, demanded war; and this resolution was furthermore declared to embody nothing inconsistent with what had been held out to France from the beginning. Although the United States did not at that time seem in a position to carry out its threat of war with France, there was no hesitancy about the assertion of the "Monroe Doctrine," and it was hoped that the means to maintain the position thus asserted would be forthcoming if required.

All protests and warnings were, however, unheeded by France so long as the war continued in the United States. But before the summer of 1865, the entire aspect of affairs took a change totally unexpected by Napoleon III. The Civil War came to an end, without any dismemberment of the United States. The Mexican Empire was thus left without any prospect of an ally in the North American continent; while the government at Washington was free to give to the French Intervention the attention it demanded. It returned to the subject, and pursued it with vigor. It declared in the most emphatic terms that France had trespassed upon the rights which the United States claimed as set forth in the "Monroe Doctrine," both in attempting European colonization in some of the Mexican States, and by establishing and maintaining an Empire on the American continent. It demanded that the French troops be withdrawn from Mexico without delay, and that all attempts at colonization cease; and it emphasized these demands by ordering an officer of high rank in its army to the side of President Juarez, and by placing an "army of observation "on the Mexican, frontier.

So resolute was the tone of this diplomatic correspondence, and so unmistakable was the disposition of the government at Washington to enforce its demands by war should this be necessary, that these warnings could no longer be disregarded. Napoleon, finding public opinion in France strongly opposed to his projects and their continuance, yielded to the situation; he agreed to withdraw his troops from Mexico within a specified time, and to abstain from further interference in Mexican affairs or attempts at colonization in that country. The triumph of the "Monroe Doctrine" was complete.

It was after this course had been agreed upon, but before the mobilization of the French troops, preparatory to their final withdrawal from the country, had begun, that Maximilian took the step which sealed his own fate and that of his Empire. It was the issuing of the famous Decree of October 3, 1865. The Mexicans, who are expert in devising nicknames, often call it the "Decree of Huitzilopochtli, "that being the name of the War-god of the Aztecs, who was only to be propitiated by human sacrifices. This decree was so utterly at variance with the temper and spirit of the Emperor's official acts generally, that it has been debated as to whether it originated with him or was a measure dictated by others. It was held subsequently that Bazaine was responsible for the false information upon which the decree was based, and had inspired the decree itself.

The decree purported to be based upon information that President Juarez had abandoned the Mexican territory, crossed the northern frontier, and gone to Santa Fe, New Mexico. It declared that the cause sustained by him with so much valor had at last succumbed, and that the chief had abandoned his country and his government. "Henceforth," it went on to say, "the struggle will no longer be between opposing systems of government, but between the Empire established by the will of the people and the criminals and bandits which infest the country." It therefore declared that all persons carrying arms against the Empire, as well as all persons aiding them by selling them arms or supplies, were to be tried by courts-martial and condemned to death. Punishments by fine and imprisonment were prescribed for all who in any other way opposed the Empire.

The Emperor's recognition of the courage and constancy of Juarez, in the preamble of the "bloody" decree, caught the fancy of the Mexicans and tickled their sense of humor; and one of the papers, published in the capital, produced a caricature of the Emperor fastening upon the breast of Juarez (who wore a Phrygian cap) a medal for courage and constancy. In various ways the Emperor had paid tribute to the wisdom and statesmanship of the President,—sometimes by allowing the measures of the latter to stand altogether unopposed, and often by his failure to reverse them when he tried to do so.

Naturally, this decree has often been compared with that issued by Juarez on the twenty-fifth of January, 1862. But in such a comparison it must not be forgotten that the Imperial decree was based upon more than one false premise, as well as upon information that was untrue and the falsity of which was easily ascertainable. It was a false premise that the President had abandoned the country and his government. It was a false premise that the Mexican Empire had been established by the will of the people, and that the supporters of constitutional government were criminals and bandits. Far different, therefore, were the measures, however drastic, put forth by a Constitutional ruler in support of a legitimate national government threatened with treason within and invasion from without; far different would have been the most cruel decree that could have been sent forth under such circumstances, from a measure adopted to sustain an Empire obtruded upon a people in the first place, and then in the last throes of dissolution, being dependent upon foreign arms for its support throughout.

It was subsequently claimed, also, in mitigation of the criminality of the Decree of October 3, that it was only intended to terrorize the opponents of the Empire, and was not expected to be enforced. Unfortunately it was enforced, and in such a manner as to be the suicidal act of the Imperial Government. A few days after it was issued, and before it could be generally known outside of the capital except in the Imperial army, General Salazar (Military Governor of Michoacan), General Arteaga, Colonel Trinidad Villagomez, Colonel Jesus Diaz, and Captain Gonzalez, officers of the Republican army,—men of excellent reputation and high standing,—were made prisoners in the State of Michoacan by General Mendez of the Imperial army. They were tried by court-martial, condemned to death, and on the twenty-fourth of October were taken to Uruapan and there executed, in total disregard of the rules of war and of civilization.

The force of this ill-advised decree could not have fallen more unfortunately for the fate of the Emperor. The Imperialist newspapers at the capital described Arteaga as "an honest and sincere man, whose career had been distinguished by humanity." Salazar was one who could write to his mother the night before his execution: "My conscience is at rest. I go down to the tomb at thirty-three years of age, without a stain upon my military career or a blot on my name." Two hundred Belgian prisoners, in the hands of the Liberals at Tacambaro, protested most vigorously against this act of inhumanity, and stated in their letter to the Emperor that they had come to Mexico solely to act as a guard of honor to their Empress, and had been forced to fight against principles identical with their own.

The summary execution of this decree upon brave soldiers, in arms in defense of their land and constitutional government, raised a storm of indignation against the Emperor and his ministers in still another quarter. Many who had been favorably disposed toward the Empire now became lukewarm, or turned directly against it; while the neutrals were prompted to declare themselves openly in favor of the Republic. If such were the workings of a monarchical form of government, they were thenceforth in favor of the Constitution which was designed to furnish immunity from that class of experiences which had already stained too many pages of the history of Mexico. Disappointed that the Empire, with its "prince of foreign stock at its head," did not furnish an improvement upon what Mexico already knew far too well, a great many turned toward Juarez with the determination to support him in his efforts to reestablish constitutional government. And thus the fortunes of the little band of stalwart Republicans on the frontier began to turn.

The work of withdrawing the French troops from the interior and concentrating them upon the capital was successfully accomplished by Bazaine before the end of 1866. Some time was spent in arranging the exchange of prisoners between the foreign and the Republican armies, but this was finally done in a manner greatly to the credit of both armies, and the forces of the Republic were augmented by the return of some of those previously held as prisoners by the Imperialists. Toward the close of January, 1867, the foreign army began to retire, "and extended like a girdle of steel along the sandy road from the City of Mexico to Vera Cruz."

Bazaine used his influence with Maximilian to induce him to abdicate and return with the French army to Europe. The only way open to him to discharge the many obligations he was under to Maximilian was, it seemed to Bazaine, to urge him to escape from the fate that must inevitably overtake him if he persisted in remaining in Mexico. This he urged in personal interviews and in many letters; and the last act of Bazaine, before sailing from Vera Cruz, in March, 1867, was to write to Maximilian offering him a final opportunity to escape in the vessels provided for the transportation of the French army.

Bazaine returned to Europe to become the trusted Commander-in-chief of the unfortunate armies of France in the war with Prussia in 1870-71. He was faithful to his Emperor to the very end, but after the surrender of Sedan lost the confidence of the French people. He was court-martialed, and sentenced to death. After an escape from prison, he sank into obscurity, from which his death raised his name for a short time. He carried to the grave the maledictions of the Mexican people, in whose memory dwelt a large number of cruelties practiced in his ready obedience to the behests of the Emperor Napoleon HI.

As the French troops had withdrawn from the towns of Northern Mexico, the Republicans of the northern States reunited and occupied them. Thus, in November, 1865, a few of his soldiers having captured Chihuahua, Juarez promptly transferred thereto the seat of his government from Paso del Norte. He had to retreat, however, before returning troops in December, and was in Paso del Norte again on the eighteenth of that month. Early in June, 1866, the Republican troops were sufficiently reorganized to gain their first decided victory over Mexican Imperialists; Chihuahua was finally evacuated by the Imperial troops, and the seat of the Republican government was established there.

Thenceforth the tide of war turned in favor of the Republican arms. Escobedo, who had been in Texas from June, 1864, to the latter part of 1865, organizing help for Mexico, surprised and captured the Imperial garrison at Monterey. This had the effect of augmenting his forces and bringing together the dispersed soldiers of the Republic. In March, 1866, he was enabled to begin offensive operations toward the South. In June he captured Saltillo, after a brief resistance. He was appointed General-in-chief of the Army of the North, and continued his successful operations. In September he marched toward Guanajuato, and established his headquarters in Celaya. There he was joined by forces from Michoacan and from the north. Thereupon Juarez felt justified in transferring his seat of government to Zacatecas in January, 1867; but on the twenty-seventh of that month, he and his cabinet barely escaped falling into the hands of Miramon, and were obliged to take refuge in Sombrerete. Escobedo defeated Miramon at San Jacinto on the first of February, and the latter retired to Queretaro. Juarez removed the seat of his government to San Luis Potosi, where it remained throughout the closing scenes of the Imperial regime.

After the news came to Maximilian of the final decision of Napoleon III to withdraw his support from the Mexican Empire, the unhappy Archduke pursued for a time a vacillating policy. A self-sacrificing effort, on the part of Carlota, to induce Napoleon to reverse his decision and adhere to the Treaty of Miramar, resulted in disaster to the beautiful Princess. This misfortune made the position of Maximilian the more trying. Plunged in melancholy by his domestic sorrows, and with the support withdrawn upon which his Empire had chiefly rested, he debated with himself what he ought to do. The purity and honesty of his personal motives remain unquestioned. He had accepted the task of "regenerating Mexico," and of giving good government to that country. He had failed to accomplish this. He was confronted by his own mistakes; but he felt in duty bound to embrace an opportunity, if it were extended to him, to make another effort. He finally attempted to shift the responsibility of the choice of duties resting upon him, by calling a meeting of his Council, at Orizaba, in November, 1866, and leaving with that body his abdication. The Council, by a small majority, declined to accept it. At the same time, the Church party stepped forward with an offer of support and a proposition to try the Emperor once more. The Empire therefore gathered itself together for a final struggle.

Miramon, after the establishment of the Regency, entered Mexico by way of the northern frontier, and hastened to the capital to tender his services to the Empire. They were not accepted, and he went abroad again. When Maximilian came, Miramon renewed his offer, and it was accepted; but Maximilian, fearing that his presence in the country might embarrass the Imperial government in some way, asked him to remain abroad and "study the Prussian system of military tactics." Marquez was at the same time sent as a special envoy to Turkey, that the Empire might not be embarrassed by his too close intimacy. When Miramon now opportunely returned to Mexico, he was sent by Maximilian to the capital to take command of a division of the Mexican Imperial army which it became necessary to organize there with the means provided by the Church. Marquez was recalled and made Commander-in-chief of the forces at the capital.

It was then decided to transfer the Imperial seat of government to Queretaro; and in February, 1867, the Emperor, in command of the entire army, and with Marquez as the chief of his forces, set out to march thither. General Tomas Mejia, as commander of the Third Division of the Army of the Empire, had evacuated San Luis Potosi in December, 1866, and retired to Queretaro. After his defeat by Escobedo at San Jacinto, Miramon made Queretaro his objective point; and subsequently General Mendez, from Morelia, added to the number of Imperial troops gathered in that city, which, though supposed to be a stronghold of the Church, was a very poor strategic position, being, as Maximilian afterwards called it, "a mouse-trap."

The troops within Queretaro numbered eight thousand picked men. Maximilian, writing to one of his ministers on the ninth of February, reviewed the condition of his army after he had been abandoned by the French, and acknowledged the mistaken impression under which he had labored when he signed the decree of October 3, 1865. "The Republican forces, wrongly represented as demoralized, disorganized, and united solely by the hope of pillage," he wrote, "prove by their conduct that they form a homogeneous army whose stimulus is the courage and perseverance of a chief moved by a great idea—that of defending the national independence which he believes threatened by the establishment of our Empire."

The opportunity for which the Republican government had so long and so patiently waited had arrived at last, and Juarez took advantage of it. In November, Escobedo found himself at the head of an army numbering fifteen thousand men. He was ordered to advance upon Queretaro. After an obstinate fight with the Imperialists on the heights of San Gregorio, Escobedo, his army now increased to twenty thousand men, surrounded Queretaro, and from the twelfth of March to the fifteenth of May, 1867, held the city in a state of siege.

The Imperialists made a series of brilliant sorties. In one of these, Marquez was sent to the City of Mexico with Vidaurri,—the former to raise reinforcements for the relief of the besieged, the latter to assume the office of Lieutenant of the Empire. Marquez, in disobedience of the Emperor's orders, and perfidious as ever, went to the relief of Puebla, then hard pressed by the soldiers of General Porfirio Diaz. His idea appears to have been that the Empire was about to go to pieces, but that there were chances of three governments being established, one in the North, one with Queretaro as its capital; and that his career lay in the establishment of the third, with Puebla as its capital, if not the City of Mexico. He was defeated by Diaz, and returned to the capital. There he assumed dictatorial powers, marked by the cruelty for which he was always famous.

On the fourteenth of May, a general sortie from Queretaro had been planned, and the Emperor met with his officers in a Council of War. It was then declared by Mejia that the success of the movement was impossible at that time, and upon his advice the matter was postponed for twenty-four hours. After the breaking up of the Council, Colonel Miguel Lopez, a favorite member of the Emperor's staff went over to the Republican headquarters and gave information which enabled a small detachment of the Republican army to enter the city at daybreak the next morning.

The Emperor was awakened by his secretary, in his headquarters in the Church of La Cruz, early on the fifteenth of May, and was bidden to try to escape. He went out hurriedly, and was joined by Mejia on the Cerro de las Campanas. The assault on the city threw everything into confusion. The little party of Imperialists on the Cerro attracted the attention of the Republicans, and the fire of some of the batteries was directed toward it. Maximilian asked Mejia, the stoical Indian soldier at his side, what chances there were, and received the reply that it was utterly futile to prolong the struggle. A white flag was displayed, and Maximilian delivered his sword to a Republican officer who rode up in response to the signal. Thus ended the Second Mexican Empire. Mendez was apprehended, and with the recollection vivid in the minds of his captors of his too prompt execution of the decree of October third, he was unceremoniously shot. Miramon was wounded in the assault upon the city, and was put under arrest.

Shortly afterwards, the Teatro de Iturbide, in the city of Queretaro, was the scene of a remarkable court-martial. "Fernando Maximiliano of Hapsburg, Archduke of Austria," was arraigned, with Miguel Miramon and Tomas Mejia as particeps criminis, on charges of filibustering, treason, and putting forth the Decree of October third, 1865. Nothing was said in the process about an order, issued as lately as the fifth of the preceding February, for the prompt execution of Juarez and his ministers should they fall into the hands of the Imperialists, though that order was then actually in the hands of the President. The process against Maximilian was not actuated by a spirit of revenge.

The conduct of Maximilian throughout these scenes was heroic, and such as to awaken the interest and attract the sympathy of the entire world. He had been a weak ruler, the dupe of more than one unprincipled person, and the tool of those who were seeking to overthrow constitutional government in Mexico. But he was a brave and noble prince. Too ill to be present at the trial, he placed his defense in the hands of Mariano Riva Palacio (the noted Republican who had declined a place in his Council), and gave his attention to the arrangement of his worldly affairs in the prospect of death. He made several propositions to leave the country, but they were not accepted.

Senor Riva Palacio, with the assistance of other distinguished lawyers, did all in his power to save his unfortunate client, but without success. The court-martial, sitting from 10 A. M. on the fourteenth of June until 10 P. M. on the fifteenth, brought in a verdict of guilty, and fixed the death penalty. The death sentence was approved at once by the General of the army, and the execution was ordered to take place the next day. It was postponed, by telegram from Juarez, until the nineteenth.

In the interval, every effort possible was made to save the life of the unfortunate prisoners. Senor Riva Palacio went to San Luis Potosi to plead with the President. The Princess Salm-Salm rode across the country, a hundred and twenty miles, on a similar errand. Those who were in San Luis Potosi at the time tell how the President suffered during his interviews with those who pleaded for the lives of the condemned men. Although personally inclined to show clemency, it seemed to Juarez necessary to strike a decisive blow in behalf of the maintenance of the Republic. The possibility of Mexico's having to go through similar bitter experiences was to be obviated at all cost. "Now or never," said Lerdo de Tejada, "we must consolidate the Republic." Juarez felt that he was compelled by stern necessity to take the life of the noble Maximilian and of his two companions in arms. "If all the kings and queens of Europe were prostrate before me, I could not save the life for which you plead," he said to those who approached him. "I do not take it. It is the law,—the people demand it, not I. If I fail to do the will of the people, my life would justly be the penalty."

A protest from the United States government was also received, but all to no avail. Maximilian sent in an appeal, not on his own behalf but on behalf of his companions in misfortune, which met with no better success.

On the morning of the nineteenth of June, at seven o'clock, the stern sentence of the court-martial was executed upon Maximilian, Miramon, and Mejia, upon the Cerro de las Campanas, the spot where Maximilian had surrendered to the Army of the Republic. The bright dream of Napoleon III, of the establishment of an Empire in the New World, was at an end. The Republic of Mexico was triumphant.

It has been customary to blame Juarez for this apparently needless taking of the life of the noble-hearted but weak Maximilian. But it would seem, upon carefully looking at all the circumstances, that it was the great occasion in the life of Benito Juarez when he was to be pitied rather than blamed, and that throughout that trying period he was acting contrary to his own inclinations, and in obedience to what he regarded as the stern law of duty and necessity. He may have erred in his judgment as to the necessities of the case, but he was honest as to his convictions, and he had the courage to act in accordance therewith, even though the penalty was to bear the odium of having needlessly executed the death sentence.

If we are to look at the matter from the standpoint of Juarez, we must take into account his whole career, give due weight to the tasks he had assumed, and consider what must have appeared to him the probable result of his leniency to the most important personage he had ever held in his power. He could be lenient with anyone else with less risk to the future welfare of his country. He had taught stern lessons to conspirators in the Conservative and Reactionary parties; it was absolutely necessary to extend the lesson, and show that conspirators were not to be allowed to succeed even though they used a European prince for their foil. Nor were foreign princes henceforth to think it safe to lend themselves as tools for the schemers against constitutional government in Mexico, or to be carried away with the glamour of an imagined monarchy in the "Halls of the Montezumas." It was necessary that Emperors, and Emperors' sons, be taught that they could not join with impunity in plots against the independence of a nation. Neither high admiration for the virtues of the Archduke, nor pity for his sufferings, should blind our eyes to the baneful consequences that must have ensued from the suppression of independence and nationality in Mexico. It was a disagreeable lesson which the New World had to teach the Old, and we may pity rather than blame the master who had the courage to teach it.

Diaz, in the south, had gained possession of Puebla, had defeated Marquez, and dispersed the soldiers of the latter. He had followed up his advantage by advancing and laying siege to the capital. He was joined by part of the army from the north, after the fall of Queretaro. The capital surrendered on the twenty-first of June. Marquez hid himself from the fury of the citizens, from whom he had kept all knowledge of the fall of Queretaro, and upon whom he had inflicted his accustomed cruelties. He succeeded in escaping to Habana. Vidaurri, the traitor, was discovered in hiding, and, without the formality of a trial, was executed.

With the indisputable title of having saved the honor, the independence, and the national dignity of Mexico, Juarez returned to the City of Mexico on the fifth of July, 1867, and established the seat of his government in its proper place. His moderation in dealing with the conquered enemies of the government was in striking contrast with the conduct of Conservatives and Reactionaries whenever they had been triumphant. It promised well for constitutional government. The Imperialist chiefs, and their followers to the number of about two hundred, were imprisoned in old conventual houses until they could be regularly tried; but only nineteen were executed, and these were guilty of more than political offences. Among them was General Tomas O'Horan, who had proved treacherous at the time of Ocampo's assassination. There was but little confiscation of property, and the Constitutional Government directed its energies toward the repair of the evils wrought by the war.

Before the end of the year, the body of Maximilian was requested on behalf of his family; and after a delay, in which it was necessary for the New World, through Benito Juarez, the Indian President of Mexico, to teach another lesson to the Old World,—a lesson in diplomacy and international courtesy,—the body was delivered to an Admiral of the Austrian Navy, and was taken to Vienna. There it was received with Imperial honors, and entombed in the vaults of the Capuchin Monastery.



The Restored Republic and the Death of Juarez

By the triumph of the Republic over the Empire, Benito Juarez reached the pinnacle of his fame, and vindicated his right to be regarded as the greatest of national heroes of Mexico up to that time. His name was already a household word throughout his own country, and was well known in Europe. Europeans, however, having lent too ready an ear to tales related for political effect by Conservatives and Reactionaries, and having been remiss in more honest efforts to learn the character of the man, did him an injustice in regarding him as an Indian savage, "less civilized than Theodore of Abyssinia," and as quite capable of devising a plot to "exterminate the entire white population of Mexico "and to sell a part of the territory to the United States.

His return to the capital, in 1867, after an absence of five years, furnishes an opportunity to pay somewhat closer attention to his personality than has been permitted heretofore in the course of this history; and without some knowledge of this man's personality it is impossible to understand the history of the struggle for constitutional government in Mexico. He was now in the sixty-second year of his age, though in his personal appearance giving little indication of his years, as was characteristic of persons of his race. A somewhat stoical temperament, a reserve in matters of public importance, coolness and self-possession in the face of danger, patient endurance of adversity, dignified courtesy at all times—these were other racial characteristics which he possessed to a marked degree.

He was short of stature, but of powerful frame, like most of the Zapotecans, and had small hands and feet. His was a "very dark complexioned Indian face, which was not disfigured, but on the contrary made more interesting, by a very large scar across it. He had black piercing eyes, and gave the impression of a man reflecting much and deliberating long and carefully before acting." His dress was that of the Mexican student or professional man—plain black broadcloth, unrelieved by any official or military insignia. This placed him in such striking contrast with the brilliant dress affected by other Mexican officials, who were, almost to a man, military officers, and with the foreign diplomats with whom he came in contact, that he was known in semi-diplomatic language as "The President in the Black Coat." While other public men in Mexico had military titles, he preferred to be known simply as Ciudadano—Citizen.

They were greatly mistaken who supposed him deficient in mental acquirements. He was able to write French with ease; and could read English, though he never attempted to speak it. He was well read in Constitutional law. History was his favorite study. He received the degree of Doctor of Civil Law from his alma mater  and the honor was worthily conferred. His state papers were models of clearness and exact style.

The conduct of the Church in Mexico had been such as to embitter him against that phase of religion which manifests itself wholly in institutionalism. On the subject of personal religion he maintained such an impenetrable reserve as to make it impossible to say to what extent he was a religious man. He was doubtless affected by the reaction from the devoteeism, at one time so prevalent in Mexico, and represented by men of the Santa Anna stamp,—a reaction that carried many of the public men into religious indifferentism, if not agnosticism.

Juarez was excommunicated by the Church in which he was born and for whose ministry he was at first intended. He never sought to have the ban of excommunication removed. He instituted in Mexico a policy of religious toleration; and not unlikely, could the influences of a purer form of Christianity than what he saw around him have extended to him, he might have sought to give his religion some expressive form. His attitude toward the Church of Rome probably gave some color of vengefulness to the measures of reform which he advanced; but they were in reality actuated by his regard for the rights of man and the welfare of the State. He had an innate sense of justice, and desired to see the privileges which the Church was enjoying at the people's cost restored to the people to whom they properly belonged. Even Maximilian, devotee of the Church though he was, bore frequent testimony to the wisdom of Juarez's statesmanship and to the justice of his measures in regard to the Church.

Despite the Decree of January, 1862, and his refusal to interfere to suspend the law in the case of Maximilian, and despite the seeming hardness of his Indian nature, Benito Juarez was a humane man, rising in that respect far above the average of Mexican public men of his time. He sought to prevent the execution of the death sentence upon Robles, though that sentence was justified under the circumstances by the rules of war in any civilized land. There is small doubt that he would have been glad of Maximilian's escape could it have been effected without any dereliction on his part. Vengeance was foreign to his nature. Bloodshed was no part of his policy. After the close of the War of the Reform, he was provoked to no reprisals by the constant cruelties and reckless military executions which had characterized the conduct of his savage opponents; and there is no act of wanton bloodshed or popular vengeance chargeable upon the successful party in that struggle. He was the author of more than one decree of amnesty at times when he had his enemies in his power. The French prisoners taken at Puebla, in 1862, were sent to the French camp under safe conduct; their wounded were cared for; their medals and decorations were restored to them, and money was provided them for their expenses. While in Paso del Norte, and his government was at its lowest ebb, Juarez, who was in other matters a poor financier, managed to dispatch more than twenty thousand dollars to France for the relief of the Mexican prisoners taken to that country by the French after the fall of Puebla in 1863.

Juarez stood out conspicuously in the history of Mexico as a thoroughly honest and incorruptible man. He was thus placed in striking contrast with the representatives of some of the European nations with whom he was called upon to treat in 1862. Not the least difficult of the tasks which confronted him in his public career, and in his efforts to establish constitutional government, was that of maintaining a high standard of morality in his administration. The public men of Mexico, who had been trained in the old Spanish school of politics, or in the later school of Santa Anna, were accustomed to no such distinctions between right and wrong as the new Constitution presupposed or as Juarez in his government made. They were incapable of appreciating the nice distinctions between honesty and fraud being constantly made by their Indian President. The robbing of the conducta  at Laguna Seca, in 1860, by Degollado, was an ordinary transaction in the history of Mexico—quite characteristic, indeed, of the Zuloaga-Miramon-Marquez regime. But it was absolutely unique in the administration of Benito Juarez, who was deeply mortified by it and did all in his power to make apology and restitution.

Juarez was a patriot. Love of country, and the desire to set her far forward toward the realization of the destiny which he felt to be hers by nature and by the will of Providence, actuated his whole life and engaged all his energies of body and mind. It took strange forms sometimes,—as, for example, at the breaking out of the war with the Interventionists, when he refused all offers of foreign troops for his army, declaring that he would invite no foreigner to shoot down men who, though in rebellion against Mexico, were yet citizens of that nation.

Simple in his tastes, not personally ambitious, deprecating pomp or display, Benito Juarez gave his life to the effort to set law above force in Mexico, and served his country in honorable poverty in the Chief Magistracy for thirteen years, the greater part of the time an exile from his capital.

In August, 1867, Juarez called for a general election for Members of Congress and for President. The election was to determine the propriety of his action in continuing in the Presidency in Paso del Norte after the expiration of his former term of office. He was elected over Sebastian Lerdo de Tejada and Porfirio Diaz, and his action at Paso del Norte was thereby fully sustained. He began a new constitutional term in the Presidency, upon his installation in that office in December.

It might seem that the country had now had its fill of revolutions and pronunciamentos, and was ready to cooperate with the President in an effort to maintain peace and constitutional government. But the administration of Juarez was much disturbed by revolutionary attempts made by those who were still under the spell of the ancient Spanish methods of "practical politics." Santa Anna entered the Republic with no very honorable intentions, we may be sure. He was taken prisoner and sentenced to be shot, but was allowed to escape, and returned to the place of his former exile. Probably the measure by which Juarez himself would have preferred that his administration of the government from 1867 to 1871 should be best known was his decree of General Amnesty. Under its provisions, even Santa Anna was enabled to return to Mexico and spend the remainder of his days at the capital.

As the electoral campaign of 1871 approached, Juarez was advised by many of his best friends to decline a reelection. They urged that, inestimable as was the value of the services he had rendered in securing the Constitution and in maintaining the government of Mexico thereunder during the period of stress and storm from 1861 to 1867, he was not a pronounced success in the administration of the Presidency. His preeminent quality—adherence to a great principle in the face of opposition—did not especially fit him for the task of building upon the foundation he had laid. He was blind to the actual needs of the nation, it was said. His mind was giving way, some alleged,—and such might well have been the case, in one who had passed through all that he had suffered. He remained, however, firm in the belief that his presence in the administration was necessary for the continuance of the effort to maintain good government in Mexico, and prevent a suspension of the Constitution which had been established at so much cost. He therefore entered as a candidate against the same opponents as four years previously. The contest was an exciting one, and his election was extremely close. Congress met on the sixteenth of September, and it was not until the twelfth of October that Juarez was officially declared elected by the vote of a plurality of the States. Pronunciamentos followed, but Juarez, with indomitable energy, confronted every attempt to overthrow the Constitution and return to the former methods of governing the country by force.

On the seventeenth day of July, 1872, he who had never before known more than a day's sickness, was taken suddenly ill with heart disease. Near midnight on the eighteenth he died. Two days later the body was taken to the National Palace, where it lay in state, under guard of government officials, and was visited by throngs of Mexicans of all classes. On the twenty-second it was borne through the streets of the capital, followed by five thousand people, and laid to rest in the Panteon of San Fernando. There, over the dust of Benito Juarez, now rests an exquisitely sculptured marble group representing the grief of Mexico over the death of her great national hero. Thither, on the eighteenth of July every year, lovers of constitutional government go to rehearse the story of his noble and devoted life, and of how through his efforts the Constitution of Mexico came into being. And it is well that this annual pilgrimage be made, and this commemoration be observed, lest in the midst of the prosperity and peace, and the national greatness to which they have recently attained and the progress they are now making, the people of Mexico forget how much of all this is due to the Zapotecan who spent his life in an honorable endeavor to give a Constitution and Constitutional Government to a previously misgoverned land.



Constitutional Government Bearing Fruits

Juarez had not been inducted into office in December, 1871, without a formal protest from Porfirio Diaz, whose action in regard thereto—taking the name of the "Plan de Noria"—might be regarded as revolutionary and reactionary. His proposition was to avoid threatened evils by convening an Assembly of Notables, and to reorganize the government. The movement collapsed with the death of Juarez, who was immediately succeeded in the Presidency by Sebastian Lerdo de Tejada, the President of the Supreme Court of Justice, and constitutional successor to the Presidency.

Sebastian Lerdo de Tejada, like his brother Miguel, was a scholar and a gentleman. He had long been identified with the struggle for constitutional government, and was, as we have seen, one of the "Immaculates" of the fugitive government of Juarez. He had been perhaps unpleasantly influential in that government in the trying time when it had the condemned Austrian Archduke to dispose of. In the subordinate positions he had occupied under Juarez, he passed readily for a statesman and a patriot. But both statesmanship and patriotism failed to stand the severe test to which his sudden call to the Presidency subjected them.

Nor was he the man to lead turbulent Mexicans on to an appreciation of the blessings they might enjoy under constitutional government. He was somewhat under the spell of the old system. He sought at first to maintain the policy of Juarez, and retained his cabinet, which was something of an affront to the leaders of the movement under the "Plan de Noria." He looked upon Porfirio Diaz from the start as a dangerous rival, and had him proscribed. He tried to strengthen himself in the affection of the people by a Decree of General Amnesty, and then ordered a special election. He thus began a constitutional term of four years in the Presidency, in December, 1872.

For three years his administration was tolerated, and the country was quiet and progressive. His contribution to the history of Constitutional revision was the adoption of the following Reform laws as Amendments to the Constitution on the twenty-fifth of September, 1873.

"Article 1. The State and the Church are independent of one another. Congress may not pass laws establishing or prohibiting any religion.

"Art. 2. Marriage is a civil contract. This and the other acts relating to the civil state of persons belong to the exclusive jurisdiction of the functionaries and authorities of the civil order, within limits provided by laws, and they shall have the force and validity which the same attribute to them.

"Art. 3. No religious institution may acquire real estate or capital fixed upon it, with the single exception established in Article 27 of this Constitution.

"Art. 4. The simple promise to speak the truth and to comply with the obligations which have been incurred, shall be substituted for the religious oath, with its effects and penalties."

And to Article 5 of the original Constitution were added the words:

"The law, consequently, may not recognize monastic orders, nor may it permit their establishment, whatever may be the denomination or object with which they claim to be formed."

The immediate effect of these additions to the Constitution was the suppression of the last remaining religious order in Mexico—the Sisters of Charity.

It was evident, as the expiration of his term of office drew near, that Lerdo was preparing to secure a reelection. It was alleged also that his administration had lost the confidence of the Mexican people. It had been guilty of gross abuses under certain election laws, the passage of which it had secured. It had subverted the Federal system and reestablished Centralism. It was charged with corruption in the granting of subsidies and franchises to railroads, with reckless financiering in refunding the English debt, and with jeopardizing the territory to the United States. A remedy for the evils thus alleged to have been brought upon the country was not to be secured by pacific means, owing to the outrageous manner in which the elections were conducted. There were hints, also, that Lerdo had taken at least the sub-diaconate in the Church, and was hence ineligible to the Presidency under Article 77 of the Constitution, which says that the President shall "not belong to the ecclesiastical order."

The days of "Plans" and pronunciamentos had not fully passed; for in January, 1876, the "Plan de Tuxtepec" was put forth in the State of Oaxaca, and by midsummer the whole country was again in a state of revolution. General Porfirio Diaz appeared upon the scene early in April, emerging from a place of exile not far from the Rio Grande. The last of the "Plans," as endorsed by him, furnishes a fair specimen of this class of pronunciamentos, which has played such a prominent part in the history of Mexico. It was as follows:

"Article 1. The Supreme law of the Republic shall be the Constitution of 1857, the Reform act promulgated September 25, 1873, and the Law of December 14, 1874.

"Art. 2. The same law making the President and Governors of the States ineligible to the same position will be maintained, this being a measure of constitutional reform which we agree to sustain by all the legal means afforded to us by the Constitution.

"Art. 3. We repudiate Don Sebastian Lerdo de Tejada as President of the Republic, and all those persons employed by him or occupying positions under him, or elected at the elections of July, 1875.

"Art. 4. All State Governments adhering to this Plan will be recognized; those refusing to do so will be placed under a provisional government to be appointed by the executive officer of the army.

"Art. 5. The election of the officers of the Union will be held two months after the capture of the capital of the Republic, at such places as the Executive shall appoint one month after the capture, and will be held under the election laws of February 12, 1857, and October 23, 1872. At the time appointed for the interior elections. Congress shall assemble, and shall proceed immediately to carry out the provisions of Article 51 of the first-mentioned laws, in order that the constitutional President of the Republic may enter upon the discharge of the functions of his office, and that the supreme tribunal may be installed.

"Art. 6. The executive powers, except those which are purely administrative, will be conferred during the elections upon the President of the Supreme Court of Justice, or upon the magistrate discharging the duties of his office, provided they shall have accepted in all their parts and provisions the conditions of this Plan, and shall have signified their said acceptance by publishing the same in the public press within one month from the day the said Plan shall have been published in the newspapers of the capital. The neglect or refusal on the part of the functionary will invest the chief military officer of that State with the powers of chief executive."

The situation was complicated by a pronunciamento issued by Iglesias, President of the Supreme Court of Justice, whose argument was that if Lerdo were not President he was his constitutional successor. Iglesias attempted to establish his government in Guanajuato, and it seemed for a time that Mexico had gone back to the old unhappy days of rival parties and revolutions. The three new parties received the names of "Lerdistas," "Porfiristas,"and "Iglesistas, "respectively.

Diaz took command of the revolutionary army, and pursued an energetic and finally successful campaign. The decisive battle was fought at Tecoac, in the autumn of 1876, and the victory was with the "Porfiristas." The "Iglesistas" promptly collapsed. Lerdo fled to the United States, taking with him some of the public funds. General Diaz advanced to the capital in November, and was proclaimed Provisional President. The following April he was elected "Constitutional" President, and was so formally declared by Congress for a term ending November 30, 1880.

There is, of course, much reasonable doubt as to the legality of the steps by which the Presidency of General Porfirio Diaz was brought about. The career of this wonderful man, who was now at the head of affairs, reflects much of the history of his country at the time the struggle for constitutional government was going on, and explains many of the strange features of a movement by which a man attaining to power by means that can only be called unconstitutional, and subversive of all law, should finally establish constitutional government in his land.

Diaz was a Oaxacan, born on the anniversary of the Grito de Dolores  in 1830. Through his mother he derived some Indian blood. Like many of his time, he was at first intended for the Church; but at an early age he volunteered for service in the war with the United States, though he was not sent to the front. He then decided upon a career at the bar, took a four years' course at the Institute with which Juarez was connected, and, entering the law office of Juarez, became Professor of Roman Law in his alma mater. In war and politics, he took lessons under Herrera in the revolt against Santa Anna. He received honorable wounds on the side of good government in the little wars waged in the neighborhood of Oaxaca, until he got a Lieutenant-Colonelcy, and finally came to be Chief of a Brigade in the War of the Reform. The bare record of his military exploits, wounds, captures, and escapes, in the War of the Reform and in that of the Intervention, would read like a romance.

As the Empire fell to pieces, the effort was twice made by the Imperialists to make Diaz President. But Diaz was loyal to the Republic as established under the Constitution of 1857, and to his friend and early benefactor Benito Juarez. After the fall of Queretaro he secured the surrender of the City of Mexico, and prepared for the return of Juarez to his capital. He then retired to his estate of "La Noria," in the State of Oaxaca. The "Progresistas" made him their candidate for the Presidency, against Juarez, in 1867; but he made little effort on behalf of his election. When, however, Juarez was reelected in 1871, and showed a laxity about the reforms which he had promised to institute, and gave further evidence of failing powers, Diaz protested in the famous pronunciamento, or "Plan de Noria." Friendly as he was with Juarez, he placed the principles for which Juarez stood before Juarez himself.

It would have been remarkable indeed if, when the "Plan de Tuxtepec" was proclaimed, it had failed to appeal to Porfirio Diaz. It would have been remarkable indeed if such a man had failed to see, in the course events were taking, the great opportunity for Mexico to establish constitutional government permanently. He was by training a military strategist. His mind was trained to seek ends, irrespective of the means employed. To secure the vantage-point from which to render the Constitution operative in the government of Mexico, no other course was open to Diaz and his followers than that which was successfully pursued under the "Plan de Tuxtepec."

It may be that none of these considerations were in the mind of Diaz and his followers at the time, or until long subsequently; and in such a case the history of Mexico is by no means unique. In other nations, the path to independence and to constitutional government has led through acts that were in themselves unconstitutional. And Mexico's training for national life had not been such as to prepare her to take in every case a course of unimpeachable legality.

Whether or not these ideas were in the minds of Diaz and his followers before the success of the "Plan de Tuxtepec," it is obvious that, immediately after the establishment of General Diaz in the Presidency by means of a constitutional election, his unquestioned purpose was to confine every act of the government within the limits of the Constitution of 1857. It was a slow and tedious process by which the nation and those employed in the national government were to be trained up to such a course. Nor is it to be doubted or denied that the earlier administration of Diaz was full of mistakes. But nevertheless Mexico began forthwith to develop all the resources of a great and powerful nation.

Soon the time came to furnish proofs of the intention of the new administration to maintain the Constitution. In accordance with the "Plan de Tuxtepec," the Constitution was amended to inhibit the President from holding office for consecutive terms. When, in 1880, the term for which Diaz had been elected expired, he steadfastly adhered to his purpose of abiding by the constitutional provision which rendered him ineligible for a succeeding term. In vain was it pleaded that there were no others who could be trusted to carry out his schemes for constitutional government; he declined to allow his name to be exploited as a candidate for the office. There were no less than eight presidential candidates in the field; and of these, General Manuel Gonzalez—by no means the best of the eight—was constitutionally elected.

Gonzalez was not a man of the new type of statesman needed in Mexico, and his administration was in many respects a reaction from the high principles which had begun to prevail. The influence of Porfirio Diaz was all that kept it from reverting to the days of Santa Anna. Diaz was for a time a member of the cabinet of Gonzalez, at another time Senator from the State of Morelos, and at another time Governor of Oaxaca. In each capacity he sought the material welfare of Mexico. The friendly relations cultivated with the United States, and the investment of American capital in railroads and other enterprises in Mexico, went on with success, even though the moral tone of the government seemed retrogressive.

In 1884, Diaz was, with practical unanimity, reelected President. But ere the administration of Gonzalez gave place to that of Diaz under the Constitution, an incident occurred which, while it seemed for a time about to engulf the country in revolution, gave signs of a regeneration, and that the lessons of the Constitution were being learned.

Under the spell of the old system of politics, a measure was proposed by which the English debt was to be refunded. The measure was in most particulars acceptable to all persons interested, but there were certain features which were clearly in the category of contracts made by the government in the most corrupt periods of its existence. It was evidence of an awakened national conscience that the measure met with opposition when it came up for final passage in the Mexican Congress. And it was a healthy sign that the insurrection that resulted was led by the students of the University. The postponement of the measure until after the inauguration of Diaz was celebrated as a triumph for Los Estudiantes  who obtained credit for the success of their opposition. Thenceforth a new element was introduced into national affairs. Indifferentism in the citizens had been an evil with which the advocates of constitutional reform in Mexico had always to contend. Now there was evidence that the young citizens were taking an interest,—that there were young men in course of training for an intelligent participation in national affairs.

The second constitutional term of President Diaz was inaugurated with financial reforms which were in themselves an earnest of greater things to come. It was not very long before the finances of Mexico were placed upon a firm and altogether satisfactory basis, and the credit of the nation was recognized in all the exchanges of Europe. Alcabalas  (local duties which goods of all descriptions had to pay at state and city boundaries), a long surviving relic of Spanish domination, were abolished. The whole system of tariff was revised and improved. Home industries were encouraged, and the railroad and telegraph lines, begun in a feeble way in the time of Juarez, were extended until distances were annihilated in Mexico as in all parts of the United States.

Immense sums were spent upon public improvements. The improvements made in the harbor at Tampico increased the facilities for Mexico's foreign trade. The drainage canal, intended to solve the problem of protecting the Valley of Mexico from those inundations with which the Spaniards had begun to struggle three centuries before, was begun and carried to a successful termination. The agricultural resources of the country were developed, and manufactures were encouraged. The prison system was improved, and reformatories have already taken the place of what were in former times nests of crime and harbors for the criminal classes. In the reorganization of the army, the matter was managed with such statesmanship that the country was rid of the banditti, who now find it to their interests to serve the country as soldiers, with the prospect of promotion, rather than to pursue their nefarious calling as outcasts from society.

But the greatest result was attained in the stimulus given to education. A system of public schools has been built up which is surpassed by nothing elsewhere in the world. It fixes a minimum of instruction, beyond which anything that is useful and honorable may be taught.

It was not at once that all this was accomplished; and it is, in fact, only in process of accomplishment at the present time. President Diaz learned, and the country learned with him in 1888, that in one important particular the "Plan de Tuxtepec" proposed a political principle that was very defective, and that the changes it had wrought in the Constitution of 1857 were far from desirable. Rotation in office might be in theory advisable in a country which was likely to be governed by time-serving politicians, and where politicians are not educated up to a sense of their duty and responsibility; but when reforms are to be instituted, and a nation is to be regenerated, time is required, and the work is not benefited by a change of administration and of policy every four years. And for a nation such as Mexico to learn self-government thoroughly, a long paternalism is necessary. Juarez had some such idea, but had been unable to put it in practice.

So, when the second constitutional term for which Porfirio Diaz had been elected President drew toward its close, and thoughtful men who were beginning to have a high regard for the needs of the nation cast about them as to who could be found to take his place and carry out his work of reform, it was generally conceded that it would be far easier to amend the Constitution by eliminating the clause, added after the "Plan de Tuxtepec," making the President ineligible for two terms in succession, and leave the Constitution as it was adopted in 1857. And though good-natured critics called attention to what they chose to call the inconsistency of a man's consenting to this amendment of the Constitution after he had come to power upon a "platform" or "plan" expressly declaring against such a succession in office, yet nearly all are ready to recognize that an effort to be precisely "consistent" about details which stand in the way of progress may sometimes amount to stubbornness.

So the Constitution was amended, in 1888, to allow a President two consecutive terms; and in 1892 all limitations were abolished and the Constitution was made to conform in that regard with the instrument which was adopted in 1857, through the efforts of Ocampo, Gomez Farias, Miguel Lerdo de Tejada, and Benito Juarez. In 1892, in 1896, and again in 1900, there was no one to run against Porfirio Diaz for the Presidency of Mexico. Nor is it likely that any one will be found to compete with him for the Presidential office, or for his place in the popular regard, until he concludes that his work of reform is in such shape that it can be safely committed to the hands of another, or until death shall close one of the most remarkable careers of recent times. And it is to be greatly hoped that whoever then succeeds him will be a man who has learned, by close observation of the lives of Juarez and Diaz, and of the course of Mexican history for the past half -century, what blessings are to be obtained by means of a true Constitutional Government.


THE END


Appendix A:


CHRONOLOGICAL SUMMARY OF PRINCIPAL EVENTS RELATED TO MEXICAN HISTORY



1469  Marriage of Ferdinand and Isabella, union of Aragon and Castile, and virtual beginning of Spanish national history.
1481  Inquisition established at Sevilla.
1492  The Great Voyage of Discovery.
1493  The Papal Bulls of Partition.
1501  Papal Bull entitling Spanish sovereigns to tithes in the colonies.
1503  Casa de Contratacion established.
1508  Papal Bull giving to King of Spain right of collation to benefices in the colonies.
1511  Consejo de las Indias  instituted by Ferdinand.
1518  Expedition of Grijalva to Yucatan.
1519  Carlos I. of Spain elected Emperor and becomes Charles V. of Germany. Cortes lands in Mexico.
1520  Retreat of Cortes from Tenochtitlan.
1521  Tenochtitlan captured and destroyed by Cortes and virtual subjugation of Mexico.
1522  Cortes Governor, Captain-General, and Chief Justice of New Spain.
1523  Pedro de Alvarado sent by Cortes to Guatemala.
1524  Consejo de las Indias  perfected by Charles V. Arrival in Mexico of the Franciscan "Twelve Apostles."
1527  Bishopric of Mexico created. Juan de Zumarraga, Bishop.
1528  First Audiencia  in New Spain.
1529  Second Audiencia  in New Spain.
1530  "La Puebla de los Angeles" founded in Mexico.
1531  Alleged apparition of the Virgin of Guadalupe in Mexico.
1534  Four Bishoprics created in New Spain.
1535  Antonio de Mendoza, first Viceroy of New Spain. First printing-press and first book published in the New World, in Mexico. Peninsula of Lower California discovered.
1536  Cabeza de Vaca and three companions, survivors of the Narvaez expedition of 1528, meet Spanish explorers in northern Mexico.
1540  Expedition of Francisco Vasquez de Coronado in search of the "Seven Cities of Cibola."
1541  Guadalajara founded in New Spain.
1542  Death of de Soto on the Mississippi. Valladolid (now Morelia) founded in New Spain.
1544  Las Casas Bishop of Chiapas in Mexico.
1545  Archbishopric of Mexico created.
1550  Mendoza promoted from vireinate of New Spain to that of Peru. Luis de Velasco, "the Emancipator," Viceroy of New Spain.
1551  Alonso de Montufar, Archbishop of Mexico.
1552  Santa Hermandad established in New Spain.
1553  University of Mexico founded.
1556  Abdication of Carlos I. and accession of Felipe II.
1563  City of Durango founded in New Spain.
1566  Gaston de Peralta, Viceroy.
1568  Martin de Enriques de Almanza, "the Inquisitor," Viceroy.
1571  Inquisition established in the New World.
1572  Arrival of the Jesuits in Mexico.
1574  First Auto-de-fe  in Mexico.
1577  Drake lands at Bodega Bay and takes possession of California for England calling it "New Albion."
1580  Lorenzo Juarez de Mendoza, Viceroy.
1584  Pedro Moya de Contreras Archbishop of Mexico and Viceroy.
1585  Humana's expedition into New Mexico results in the settlement of Paso del Norte. Alvaro Manrique de Zuniga, Viceroy.
1590  Luis de Velasco, son of "the Emancipator," Marquis of Salinas, Viceroy.
1595  Gaspar de Zuniga y Acevedo, Count of Monterey, Viceroy. One of the dates assigned for the foundation of Santa Fe, New Mexico.
1596  Expedition of Sebastian Viscayno along the Pacific coast.
1598  Death of Felipe II. and accession of Felipe III. First Spanish settlement in New Mexico by Juan de Onate.
1602  Second expedition along the Pacific coast reaches point two degrees north of Cape Mendocino on coast of California.
1603  Juan de Mendoza y Luna, Marquis of Montes Claros, Viceroy.
1607  Velasco, Marquis of Salinas, Viceroy a second time.
1608  Probable date of founding of Santa Fe.
1612  Diego Fernandez de Cordova, Marquis of Guadalcazar, Viceroy.
1621  Diego Carrillo Mendoza y Pimentel, Marquis of Gelves, Viceroy.
1624  Rodrigo Pacheco Osorio, Viceroy.
1635  Lope Diaz de Armendariz, Viceroy.
1640  Diego Lopez Pacheco Cabrero y Bobadillo, Viceroy.
1642  Juan de Palafox y Mendoza, Bishop of Puebla and Royal Visitor, Viceroy for about five months and then succeeded by Garcia Sarmiento Sotomayor, Co ant of Salvatierra.
1648  Marcos Lopez de Torres y Rueda, Bishop of Yucatan, Viceroy.
1650  Luis Enriques de Guzman, Count of Alba Liste, Viceroy.
1653  Francisco Fernandez de la Cueva, Viceroy.
1660  Juan de Leiva y de la Cerda, Viceroy.
1664  Diego Osorio Escobar y Llamas, Bishop of Puebla, Viceroy for a few months and then succeeded by Antonio Sebastian de Toledo.
1665  Death of Felipe II and accession of Carlos II.
1673  Pedro Nuno Colon de Portugal y Castro, Viceroy for six days and then succeeded by Fray Payo de Rivera, Archbishop of Mexico, who proves one of the best of Viceroys.
1680  Tomas Antonio Manrique de la Cerda, Viceroy.
1686  Melchor Portocarrerro Laso de la Vega, Count of Monclova. Viceroy.
1688  Gaspar de la Cerda Sandoval Silva y Mendoza, Viceroy.
1696  Juan de Ortega Montanez, Bishop of Michoacan, Viceroy, quickly succeeded by Jose Sarmiento Valladares, Count of Moctezuma (more properly Moteczuma).
1700  Death of Carlos II., end of Hapsburg line of Spanish Kings; accession of Felipe V. and beginning of the Bourbon dynasty.
1701  Montanez, Bishop of Michoacan, Viceroy a second time, succeeded in a few months by Fernandez de la Cuevas Enriques.
1711  Fernando Alencastro Norona y Silva, Viceroy.
1716  Baltasar de Zuniga Guzman Sotomayor y Mendoza, Viceroy.
1718  Casa de Contracion transferred to Cadiz.
1722  Juan de Acuna, Viceroy.
1734  Juan Antonio de Vizarron y Eguiarreta,Archbishop of Mexico, Viceroy.
1740  Pedro de Castro Figueroa y Salazar, Viceroy.
1741  Jose Antonio Villasenor y Sanchez, "Cosmographer of New Spain."
1742  Pedro Cebrian y Agustin, Viceroy.
1746  Death of Felipe V. and accession of Fernando VI. Juan Francisco de Guemes y Horcasitas, Viceroy.
1747  City of Mexico reported by Villasenor, the "Cosmographer," to contain fifty thousand families of Europeans and Creoles, forty thousand Mestizos, mixed castes and negroes, and eight thousand Indians.
1755  Agustin de Ahumada y Villalon, Viceroy,
1759  Death of Fernando VI. and accession of Carlos III.
1760  Francisco Cajigal de la Vega, ex-Governor of Cuba, Viceroy for a short time, succeeded by Joaquin de Monserrat.
1763  Louisiana acquired by Spain.
1766  Carlos Francisco de Croix, Viceroy.
1767  Expulsion of Jesuits from Spain and Spanish America.
1771  Antonio Maria de Bucareli y Ursua, Viceroy; the best of rulers in New Spain.
1779  Martin de Mayorga, Governor of Guatemala, becomes Viceroy.
1783  Matias de Galvez, "the Diligent," Viceroy.
1785  Bernardo de Galvez, Viceroy.
1787  Alonso Nunez de Haro y Peralta, Archbishop of Mexico, Viceroy for a few months; succeeded by Manuel Antonio Flores, Governor of Bogota.
1788  Death of Carlos III. and accession of Carlos IV.
1789  Juan Vicente Pacheco de Padilla, Viceroy.
1794  Miguel de la Grua Talamanca, Viceroy.
1798  Miguel Jose de Azanza, "the Bonapartist," Viceroy.
1800  Felix Berenguer de Marquina, Viceroy.
1801  Retrocession to France of Louisiana by secret treaty.
1803  Jose de Iturrigaray, "the Monarchist," Viceroy.
1808  Intervention of Napoleon Bonaparte in Spanish affairs. Revolution in Spain. Abdication of Carlos IV. and accession of Fernando VII. Joseph Bonaparte usurps the throne. National revolt and establishment of Juntas. English Alliance and Peninsula War. Iturrigaray deposed and Pedro Garibay, "the Revolutionist," made Viceroy ad interim.
1809  Francisco Javier Lizana, Archbishop of Mexico, Viceroy.
1810  Pedro Catani, President of Audiencia, Viceroy ad interim, succeeded by Francisco Javier Venegas. Grito de Dolores (September 16).
1811  Execution of Hidalgo and other Revolutionists.
1812  Liberal Constitution in Spain.
1813  Congress of Chilpantzingo. Mexican Declaration of In dependence and first Mexican Constitution.
1814  Release of Fernando VII. from captivity. Absolutism reestablished in Spain.
1815  Capture and execution of Jose Maria Morelos,—"the last victim of the Inquisition."
1816  Juan Ruiz de Apodaca, "the Unfortunate," Viceroy.
1817  Freebooting expedition of Mina into Mexico.
1820  Restoration of Constitution of 1812 in Spain. Inquisition finally abolished. Vicente Guerrero becomes formidable Independent chief in Mexico.
1821  Francisco de Novella, Viceroy ad interim. Plan de Iguala and Treaty of Cordoba. Independence of Mexico. Iturbide, the Liberator. Regency installed. Juan O'Donoju, the last of the Viceroys.
1822  Mexican Congress organized. Bourbonista, Republican and Iturbidista political parties formed. Iturbide, Emperor.
1823  Abdication of Iturbide and collapse of the First Mexican Empire. Centralist and Federalist parties formed. Monroe Doctrine proclaimed.
1824  Federal Constitution proclaimed. Mexican United States organized. Guadalupe Victoria, President.
1828  Yorkino and Escoces party names become prominent. Rise of High Liberal or Radical, Conservative and Moderate parties. Election of Manuel Gomez Pedraza as President.
1829  Vicente Guerrero proclaimed President. Spain's effort to reclaim Mexico. Jose Maria Bocanegra, , Acting President.
1830  Anastasio Bustamante, President.
1832  Melchor Muzquiz, Acting President. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, President; Valentin Gomez Farias, Vice-President.
183i  Gomez Farias proclaims program of Government Reforms.
1835  Constitution of "Las Siete Leyes" replaces Constitution of 1824. Central Republic established.
1836  New Constitution proclaimed. General Barragan, Acting President, followed by Jose Justo Corro as Acting President. Spain acknowledges the Independence of Mexico. Revolt of Texas.
1837  Anastasio Bustamante, President.
1840  Gutierrez de Estrada's letter proposing an Empire/
1841  Santa Anna, Provisional President.
1842  Javier Echavarria, Acting President pending the Plan de Tacubaya; succeeded by Santa Anna, Provisional President.
1843  Bases Organicas Politicas de la Republica Mexicana and final centralization of the government.
1845  Revolutions culminate in deposition and impeachment of Santa Anna and elevation of Jose Joaquin Herrera to the Presidency. Annexation of Texas to the United States. War between Mexico and the United States.
1846  Mariano Paredes y Arrillaga, President with Monarchical tendencies. Advance of General Taylor to Monterey. California and New Mexico captured by the United States. Paredes succeeded by Nicolas Bravo and the latter by Mariano Salas, pending the election of Santa Anna as President.
1847  Presidential functions exercised by Santa Anna, Gomez Farias, and others. Constitution of 1824 in force for a short time. American army under General Scott advance from Yera Cruz to the Capital.
1848  Jose Joaquin Herrera elected President. Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo ends war with the United States.
1851  Mariano Arista, President.
1852  Juan Bautista Ceballos, President, succeeded by Manuel Maria Lombardini as Acting President.
1853  Santa Anna, President,—Absolutism triumphant. Santa Anna decrees himself Perpetual Dictator.
1854  General Juan Alvarez pronounces in Acapulco. Plan de Ayotla proclaimed. Final deposition and exile of Santa Anna.
1855  Alvarez Provisional President under Plan de Ayotla, succeeded by Ignacio Comonfort. Ley Juarez proclaimed.
1856  Ley Lerdo proclaimed. Constituent Congress adopts "Estatico Organico Provisional de la Republica Mexicana," as tentative Constitution.
1857  Final Constitution adopted and Ignacio Comonfort elected and installed as Constitutional President. Reactionary movement headed by Felix Zuloaga.
1858  Comonfort abandons Presidency and is succeeded by Benito Juarez as Constitutional President. Reactionaries elect Zuloaga and he, Miguel Miramon and others attempt to control the Presidential office and are known as Anti-Presidents.
1859  Juarez finally establishes his government in Vera Cruz. War of the Reform.
1860  Juarez issues Reform Decrees from Yera Cruz. Decisive Battle of Calpulalpam, collapse of Reactionaries, and return of Juarez and Constitutionalists to the capital.
1861  Juarez constitutionally elected President. Decree suspending for two years' payment of foreign debts. Forces of England, France, and Spain arrive in Vera Cruz to carry out provisions of Treaty of London.
1862  Convention of Soledad and Conference at Orizaba. Treaty of London dissolved. England and Spain withdraw from Mexico. French army advances and is defeated at Puebla in battle of Cinco de Mayo.
1863  French capture Puebla and advance to the capital. Republican government retires to San Luis Potosi, thence to Saltillo, and thence to Monterey. French organize government at capital and elect Maximilian of Austria Emperor.
1864  Maximilian arrives in Mexico. Juarez at Chihuahua.
1865  Juarez at Paso del Norte. United States Government demands withdrawal of French troops from Mexico. Maximilian's famous decree of October 3.
1866  Withdrawal of French troops from North of Mexico. Republican forces, recruited and re-organized, advance toward the South. Juarez returns to Chihuahua.
1867  French troops withdraw from Mexico. Collapse of the Second Mexican Empire. Execution of Maximilian. Juarez returns to the capital and is re-elected Constitutional President.
1871  Juarez again elected Constitutional President.
1872  Death of Juarez and accession of Sebastian Lerdo de Tejada to the Presidency.
1873  Reform Laws incorporated in the Constitution of 1857.
1876  Successful Plan de Tuxtepec and Provisional Presidency of Porfirio Diaz.
1877  Porfirio Diaz elected Constitutional President.
1880  Manuel Gonzales elected Constitutional President.
1884  Porfirio Diaz elected Constitutional President.
1888  1892, 1896, 1900. Diaz again elected President.


Appendix C:


NOTES ON THE HISTORICAL GEOGRAPHY OF MEXICO


A study of the historical geography of Mexico properly begins with a consideration of Spain's possessions on the North American continent prior to the year 1821.

It was about the middle of the eighteenth century that Spanish territory in North America reached its maximum extent. With the changes which subsequently took place in the northern boundaries on the Atlantic coast, we have little to do, for Florida was not a part of New Spain. On the Pacific coast, Spain claimed all the territory from Panama to Prince William's Sound, though no permanent settlements had been made north of San Francisco. By the Treaty of Nootka (1790), to which Spain and England were parties, the former renounced all sovereignty to the North Pacific coast. Subsequently (1795), she fixed the limits of her territory on what is now the northern boundary of California.

By the Treaty of Ildefonso in 1802, Spain gave up to France the Territory of Louisiana, which had been hers since 1760. Napoleon, the following year, sold Louisiana to the United States. Spain and France were at the time rival claimants to the territory lying west of the Sabine River in Texas, and the United States succeeded, by the terms of the purchase, to the claim of France in that territory. It was not until 1819 that the boundary line between the United States and the northern provinces of New Spain was established, and then it was as one of the terms of the Treaty by which the United States effected the purchase of Florida.

This boundary line began at the mouth of the Sabine River and ascended that river to the thirty-second parallel of north latitude; thence it ran due north to the Red River; thence up the river to a point one hundred degrees west of Greenwich; thence due north to the Arkansas River and up that river to its head; thence to the forty-second parallel of latitude; thence along that line, which was the line adopted by Spain in 1795, to the Pacific Ocean. This line, so far as it affected the boundary of Texas, was affirmed in a treaty with Mexico in 1828 and tea years later in a treaty with the Republic of Texas.

The blue line on the accompanying map shows the extent of territory comprised in the First Mexican Empire and in the United States of Mexico up to the year 1836. In that year Texas revolted and established her independence of Mexico. The boundaries of the new Republic of Texas were by no means clearly defined and the lands between the Rio Grande and the Rio Nueces were in dispute between Mexico and Texas. A further dispute would undoubtedly have arisen in regard to the western boundary of Texas had not the war between the United States and Mexico resulted in the loss to Mexico of the territory including the dubious boundary line. A green line upon the accompanying map indicates the boundary of Mexico after the revolt of Texas, according to the claims of the latter.

By the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo at the close of the war with the United States in 1848, the northern boundary of Mexico was established upon the Gila River and extended eastward to the Rio Grande, and down the Rio Grande to its mouth, as indicated by a red line upon the accompanying map.

By a treaty concluded in 1853, with James Gadsden representing the United States, Mexico sold to the latter a tract south of the Gila River which is known historically as the "Gadsden Purchase," and is indicated upon the accompanying map by a red tint. Thus the northern boundary of Mexico became fixed as it is to-day.

It is in no way remarkable that, after the loss of so much territory, the "maintenance of the territorial integrity of Mexico" should become one of the fixed principles of government in that country, answering to the "Monroe Doctrine" in the United States in the tenacity with which it is held, the emphasis with which it is asserted, and, it might be added, the curious manner in which it has sometimes been applied in political argument.