Story of Mexico - Charles Morris

Introducing the Reader to Mexico

A glance at the map of North America will show us that Mexico bears among the Latin republics a peculiar relation to the United States, being the only one of them that comes into physical contact with the great republic of the north. This geographical relation makes for a corresponding community of interest, and gives a vital importance to the political relations between the two countries. While they are separated for a considerable part of the border by the flowing waters of the Rio Grande, the remaining boundary is but a mathematical expression. A dweller on the border can readily stand with a foot on the soil of either country, while bullets fired in Mexican streets have found their quarry in the streets of American towns across the dividing line. This happened more than once during the Madero revolution in Mexico, a fact not tending to foster sentiments of amity.

In fact, while so near physically, the natives of the two countries are far apart mentally. They differ in modes of thought, social conditions, racial character, habits and aspirations so greatly that any warm feeling of friendship between them is very unlikely to arise. On the contrary, a lack of sympathy exists, which has deepened into hostility on the part of the Mexicans. On the side of the people of the United States it is less an active hostility than a disposition to regard the Mexicans as an inferior people, if not to despise them as a race of lower kind and class. There may be no just warrant for this lack of accordance in either case, but it nevertheless exists, and the latent sentiment of dislike between the two countries has more than once broken into open hostility, as in the cases of the Texan insurrection and the Mexican war. On the other hand, when France invaded Mexico in disregard of the "Monroe Doctrine," the United States Government came vigorously to its aid, and gave Napoleon III plainly to understand that he must either withdraw his troops in haste or have them try conclusions with the veterans of the Civil War.

The feeling of dislike between the Americans and Mexicans, however, has not stood in the way of a peaceful invasion of the soil of each country by the inhabitants of the other. This on the part of the Mexicans has been mainly confined to the border states, but has been more general on the part of Americans, who have been drawn in large numbers into Mexican territory by the alluring promise of wealth in mining and other enterprises. It is this fact that has forced the government of the United States to take a decided stand whenever insurrections have taken place on Mexican soil.

The unfriendly feeling of the patriotic Mexican towards the United States as a nation, and its people as representatives of that nation, finds warrant in two facts. One of these is the open contempt for natives of Mexico shown by low-class people of the border states, who come frequently into contact with Mexican citizens, and do not hesitate to speak of them freely by the uncomplimentary epithet of "greasers." The Mexicans retort with the title of "gringos," which is said to have had the following origin. In 1846, during the Mexican war, some Mexicans heard American sailors singing a favorite song of that period, "Green Grow the Rushes O" In seeking to mock them, the hearers changed "green grow" into "gringo," and this has since remained a Mexican term of contempt for the hated Yankees. The use of epithets like these is not calculated to cultivate feelings of amity between the two neighboring peoples, even when used mainly by those of prejudiced mind and low estate.

The other fact alluded to is the vast loss of territory which Mexico has suffered from the warlike activity of the United States. Few are aware of the great extent of this and a brief statement of the figures involved cannot fail to be of interest. Though Texas had won independence from Mexico before its annexation by the United States, the rebellion which led to this was fomented and led by settlers from this country, since Sam Houston, the leader of the rebels, and the rank and file of his army were former American citizens. There were none of Mexican birth who perished in the ruthless "Massacre of the Alamo," an act of merciless slaughter that roused widespread resentment in the American heart. On the other hand, when annexation of the "Lone Star State" took place, the Mexicans, who still regarded it as part of their rightful dominion, were bitterly incensed, and the war that ensued was largely in consequence of this feeling, they regarding the act of their powerful neighbor as one of national greed and unjust spoliation.

We are not here concerned with this war, but simply with its chief result, the acquisition of an immense area of territory by the conquerors. This, indeed, took the form of a purchase and sale, the United States paying Mexico $15,000,000 for the territory acquired. But purchase by a conqueror is a very one-sided real estate transaction, and the sum paid was certainly far below the actual value of the property acquired. It is true that, at the period in question, a very vague idea was entertained of the value of the territory transferred, but the eyes of both countries were decidedly opened when the sands and rocks of California began to yield a rich harvest of gold and when Nevada became equally prolific in silver.

As a result of the annexation of Texas and the acquisition of the Mexican provinces of New Mexico and California, the republic of Mexico, which had previously made some approach to the United States in extent of territory, lost about 900,000 square miles of its domain, a vast tract whose extent will be more justly estimated when we state that in area it equals nearly one-fourth of that of all Europe, and is considerably more than half the original area of Mexico, which now possesses only 767,000 square miles.

As regards the United States, its former area was augmented nearly one-half by the acquisition of former Mexican territory. The figures in this case are well worth giving. Before the annexation of Texas and the war with Mexico the United States had an area of approximately 2,100,000 square miles, Mexico one of over 1,600,000 square miles. After its new acquisitions of territory the United States possessed a vast domain of over 3,000,000 square miles, while that of Mexico was reduced to one-fourth this broad area. If we consider what would be our feelings if the territory of the United States had been reduced by conquest in any such proportions we can well appreciate the subsequent feeling in the Mexican mind. The country ceded to the United States had been thinly populated and feebly held by Mexico, its value not being highly regarded. But when, a year later, it was learned that the United States had won an El Dorado, a land marvelously rich in gold, we can imagine the state of Mexican feeling. A vast store of that yellow lure which had led the Spaniard to the New World had been lost, a fact well calculated to inspire regret and resentment.

How long these golden sands, and the rich mines of silver that were later opened, would have remained undiscovered if Mexico had continued in possession, it is not easy to say. That country had already held California for several centuries without finding a trace of the vast wealth locked up in its rocks and river beds. But this was due not so much to Spanish incompetency and lack of enterprise as to the sparse population inhabiting the territory transferred. As regards active search for gold and silver, no one can accuse the Spaniard of lack of ardor and enterprise. He had already extracted a vast wealth in gold and silver from the mountain slopes of his new dominions, and much of this had come from Mexico. Gold has not been found abundantly in the present area of that country, but silver has been mined in very great quantities. There was no special incitement to search more widely for a metal which lay so abundantly within easy reach. The rock-ribbed expanse of the Sierra Madre, so rich in silver, contains gold also, and may yet prove to have large deposits of this precious metal. Mexico also possesses other valuable minerals in great abundance. Of this mineral wealth we shall speak more at length further on, and it must suffice here to say that the output of gold and silver from 1522 to the present time has reached the enormous valve of nearly $4,000,000,000. Of this only a small percentage has been gold, silver forming the great bulk of the total yield.

The story of Mexico has been one full of mystery and romance in its early days, of cruel treatment of the natives during the long period succeeding the Spanish conquest, and of restlessness and turbulence since it was wrested from the control of Spain. It was inhabited in prehistoric times by Indian tribes which had attained the highest civilization ever reached by the Indian race. In architectural skill the Mexican tribes were equaled by those of Peru, but they surpassed the latter by the development of a written language, a stage of progress never reached by the Indians of Peru.

A shadowy race was the Toltecs, to whom the native Mexican civilization is ascribed. They built, they carved, they wove, they wrought in gold and silver, and finally they vanished from human ken. We know of them only by their work; of their history we are ignorant. A later tribe, the Mayas, were also great builders, the ruins of their temples and palaces being abundant in the wilds of Yucatan. These produced a written literature, and their survivors still dwell on their old domain. But the best known history-making natives of the land were the Aztecs, a fierce and barbarous race who fought and conquered, and about 1325 built the lake city of Tenochtitlan (now Mexico).

This became the center of the Aztec empire, which was gradually extended until it reached the ocean on either side. It was the great power in the land when Cortes came with his Spanish band in 1519. There is nothing in history more striking than that which followed, the overthrow of a powerful empire by a handful of adventurers. The only event resembling it is the parallel one of Pizarro in Peru during the same period. Daring, indomitable, fertile in resources, wonderful in success, were those old Spaniards. The pages of romance contain nothing to surpass their exploits, and before their bold enterprise the two Indian empires which had grown up in America went down like houses of cardboard. The names of Cortes and Pizarro stand out with startling distinctness on the pages of historic romance.

During the three centuries that followed the Indian population was treated with shameful cruelty by the viceroys and treasure-seekers of Spain. They were forced to work as slaves on the plantations and in the mines opened by the conquerors, until they perished in multitudes from overwork and shameful barbarity. It is not surprising that their survivors were ready to follow the banners of the patriots who rose in 1810 against the stern and cruel rule of Spain, and lent their utmost aid in the struggles that followed until liberty was won in 1821.

The remaining history of Mexico, the brief empire of Iturbide, the rise of the republic, the revolt of Texas, the war with the United States, the French invasion, the empire of Maximilian, the autocratic rule of Diaz, and the turbulent outbreaks of later years will be dealt with in future chapters and need simply be named here. It must suffice, in closing this brief chronicle, to say that the Indians of Mexico, despite the harshness and cruelty with which they have been treated, and the Mestizos, or half-breeds, of their descent, constitute the great bulk of the inhabitants of Mexico today. The inhabitants of pure white blood number, according to census returns, less than twenty per cent of the whole. But these returns are not very trustworthy, and some declare that whites number no more than ten per cent of the population. Of the Indians and Mestizos, the latter form probably more than half the entire population.

Cruelty in the treatment of the Indians has not ceased. The recent treatment of the Yaqui tribe is a flagrant example of inhumanity, and the laboring class are still said to be shamefully dealt with on some of the large plantations. Yet the sentiment of race distinction, so strongly existing in the case of the whites and blacks of the United States, is less declared in Mexico. This is indicated by the wide scope of intermarriage and the large Mestizo population. It is also shown by the high distinction to which many of the native race have attained. Benito Juarez, the conqueror and executioner of the emperor Maximilian and president of Mexico, was a full-blooded Indian. The late President Diaz was of mixed blood, and Huerta claims to be of pure Aztec descent.

Mexico's troubles have been largely due to the exploitation of the land and its people for the benefit of foreign capitalists introduced under President Diaz, and the flagrant heedlessness of the rights and needs of the people at large. While Mexico is formally a republic, it has long been an autocracy, in which the right of exercise of the suffrage has been a transparent fraud, and the rulers have disregarded the claims of the masses for justice and civil rights. They have held office far more by force of arms than by the consent of the people, and all efforts at reform have been vigorously checked. Such a system may work well in a despotic empire, like that of ancient Rome, but it is fatal to the principle of republican government, and there can be no peace in Mexico until the civil rights of the people are assured and violence and oppression brought to an end.

It may be said with much show of truth that the rebellions in Mexico have been the natural and inevitable consequences of the suppression of the civil rights of the people of a modern republic. They are but stages in the growth of true republicanism in a nation weakened by ignorance and suffering from oppression. A broad and general system of education and the rise of patriots and statesmen to the head of affairs are the only means of overcoming such evils, and rent and torn as Mexico has been, this is but a phase in the progress toward a well-governed and contented state.

The Highlands and Lowlands of Mexico

The traveler from the north whose restless feet carry him into the semi-tropic land of Mexico finds himself in a country of unusual configuration. This will especially appear if his route lies across the country from its eastern border on the Gulf of Mexico to its western boundary upon the Pacific. Entering at the low level of the Gulf, he will plunge at once into what seems the heart of the tropics, a belt of humid climate covered densely with vegetation of tropical type. Crossing this narrow region, he will find himself at the foot of a, steep and rugged slope, leading upward to the elevated tableland which forms the great bulk of the country, much of it lying at an elevation approaching and at points reaching a mile and a half above sea level. Here the climate and vegetation will remind him of those of his native land in the north temperate zone. Crossing this wide plateau westwardly, he will in time reach the summit of a second slope, descending less abruptly than the former to the ocean level. Passing down this he will again find himself in a realm of the tropics, marked by hot and humid airs and dense vegetation. This narrow border of sultriness and fertility brings him after a brief journey to the wave-washed shores of the broad Pacific.

The whole elevated interior of the country forms an immense plateau, much of it composed of broad desert plains upon which the unique and thorny cactus forms the prevailing vegetation. This tableland is an extension southward of that of the western United States, its elevation at El Paso, on the border line, being 3,717 feet. Proceeding to the south it gradually increases in elevation, the city of Mexico lying at a height of 7,400 feet, while at Marquez, 76 miles W. by N. of this city, an elevation of 8,300 feet is attained. South of Marquez the mean level falls little below this. As a result, the air is so rarefied that many persons never become acclimated and foreigners in that land find it judicious not to work too strenuously.

From the foot of the slope on the Atlantic side the tropical borderland slopes gently downward toward the coast through a width varying from a few miles to a hundred miles. The western strip of coastal land is more regular in width, ranging from 40 to 70 miles. The total width of the country, from ocean to ocean, on the United States border is not far from 1,500 miles. Going southward the land gradually narrows until at the narrow isthmus of Tehuantepec it is only about 130 miles wide. While dealing with figures it is well to state that the northern border line has a length of 1,833 miles, 1,136 of which are formed by the channel of the Rio Grande. The area is stated as 767,050 square miles. It is well to speak in passing of the two peninsular regions, the narrow and arid one of Lower California, running southward into the Pacific for about 700 miles, and the broad and fertile one of Yucatan, which extends northward from the southern border into the Gulf of Mexico.

The great difference in elevation between the coast and interior sections of Mexico leads, as above stated, to a wide diversity in climate and physical features. There exist three well-marked climatic zones, presenting the great distinction which elsewhere arises from wide diversity in latitude. The regions of coastal belts and of the ascending terraces to the height of about 3,000 feet are known to the natives as Tierras calientes, or hot lands, being those of tropical temperature and luxuriant vegetation. They are also those of the dreaded yellow fever and of other tropical diseases, epidemics from which the plateau region is free. Above this zone and over the general level of the plateau extend the Tierras templadas, or temperate lands, in much of which the climate may be designated as almost that of perpetual spring, while the humid air which prevails below is replaced by an atmosphere of great dryness. The higher regions of the plateau and the mountain ranges which rise from it constitute the Tierras frias, or cold lands, over which a more wintry weather prevails, the temperature decreasing upon the mountain ranges until the higher peaks ascend to the chilly level of perpetual snow.

The tableland, or great interior plateau, while in great part a broad level, is far from being monotonous in this respect. In fact, it is in many parts a region of mountains. These comprise the Sierra Madre, over 10,000 feet high, extending along both borders of the plateau and stretching through the full length of the country. There are also internal ridges, of volcanic origin, which rise far above the general level. As regards its mountains, however, Mexico is specially distinguished for its volcanoes, of which hundreds are scattered over the plateau, others occurring at points on the western low-lands. Several of these are notable for great height and picturesque aspect. Most prominent among them is the lofty rounded peak of Orizaba, towering 18,250 feet above sea level. Near it in elevation are Popocatepetl ("Smoking Mountain"), 17,500 feet, and Ixticcihuatl ("White Woman"), 16,960 feet in height. These three summits are snow-clad throughout the year. There are others varying from 12,000 to 14,000 feet, and some of lower level which have won fame by destructive volcanic activity, though they are now nearly all extinct or quiescent.

The Sierra Madre may be regarded as the extension in Mexico of the vast mountain backbone of North America, stretching southward from the Arctic Ocean and known as the Rocky Mountains in its northward course. Extending southward along the eastern and western sides of the plateau, their summits about 500 miles apart in the north, these Mexican ranges close in towards the south, the land narrowing and tapering, and inclose in the south the far-famed Valley of Mexico, long the seat of Mexican civilization and empire.

Orizaba in the State of Vera Cruz


It is probable that Mexico originally consisted of lofty elevations, with low-lying river and lake basins between them, as is now the case in the region of the Andes, but in Mexico the intervening region has been filled up by material eroded from the mountains and lava and ash discharged by its numerous volcanoes, until it has gradually risen to a high general level. This material has filled the basins lying between the interior mountain ridges, until these once high peaks are now reduced to groups of lower-sized hills, breaking the broad general level. The total length of the plateau is about 800 miles, and its greatest width, as above stated, 500 miles, while its southern portion is 4,000 feet higher than its northern. Thus it forms a great sloping plain, tipped upward southwardly, a fact which greatly affects the climate of the southern country. This, while lying within the limits of the tropic zone, has climatic conditions resembling those of the temperate zone.

The method of formation of the lofty Mexican plains has produced in them bolsones, or regions of depression, with alluvial soil of great depth and remarkable fineness, it being in some sections absolutely devoid of stones or pebbles. The result is an unsurpassed fertility, though irrigation is needed for profitable agriculture. In the north, however, rock formations become more prevalent, and here are enormous areas of sand-covered desert, hopelessly arid. These continue northward to form the great American deserts of New Mexico, Arizona, and the neighboring states.

The rivers of Mexico are of little use for navigation. South of the Rio Grande, which forms the northern border, they are chiefly impetuous mountain torrents, or flow through rocky gorges in the sierras, some of them 1,000 feet deep. Their only use for navigation is within the limit of the narrow coastal strips. Lakes are somewhat numerous, but usually small, the largest being Lake Chapala, in the State of Jalisco, which is traversed by the Lerma River, or Rio Grande de Santiago. This is a stream of some importance, flowing through a course of 540 miles, and discharging into the Pacific, after forming the great cascade of Juanacatlan, Mexico's chief waterfall. As in the Great Basin of the western United States, the plateau of Mexico has regions without an outlet to the ocean, their waters gathering into lakes. Such is the case with the Valley of Mexico, the waters of which have no escape except through evaporation and at times have swollen to a devastating height.

The general lack of importance of Mexican rivers for purposes of navigation arises from the formation of the country, with its mountain escarpment and slope on either side and the narrow level between the feet of these and the bordering oceans. Greatest among its rivers is the Rio Grande, which, however, is an international stream, rising in the United States, and flowing for 1,500 miles between the two countries. This is joined by two large tributary streams, the American Pecos and the Mexican Conchos. Next in importance is the Lerma, above mentioned, and farther south is the Balsas, or Mescala, 430 miles long. This has its origin in the slope of the hills surrounding the Valley of Mexico, running in a westerly direction and reaching the Pacific at . Zacatula. It is navigable for only a short distance. Farther north on the Pacific side is the Yaqui, 390 miles long, which makes its way through the sierras of the State of Sonora to the Gulf of California.

On the opposite side of the country, the lowland strip bathed by the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, the most important stream after the Rio Grande is the Panuco. This has its source north of the Valley of Mexico, whence it flows in a broad curve, gathering up in its course a number of afliuents rising in the slopes of the Sierra Madre, and finally making its way down the mountain declivity and reaching the Gulf at the port of Tampico. Into an affluent of this stream empty the canal and tunnel which now drain the city of Mexico. Other streams on the Gulf side are the Papaloapam, which reaches the sea near the port of Vera!Cruz, and the Usumacinta and Grijalva, rivers of the peninsula of Yucatan. As will be seen, most of the rivers of Mexico rise in the mountain barriers, descend their slopes in falls or rapids, and cross the tropic lowlands to the bordering oceans. As a result they are, in their present condition, of little value for irrigation. But their rapid descent from highland to lowland must in time to come give them great value for this purpose and also as sources of electric power. Their scenic effect is in many cases very high.

The Nazas, another Mexican river, is of peculiar character, since its flow is entirely inland over the plateau, it having no outlet to the sea. In time of flood its excess waters fall into the lagoon of Parras, and there evaporate. In this respect it is a parallel to the streams of the Great Basin of the western United States. Little of it, however, reaches this lagoon except in times of flood, its waters being almost or entirely exhausted by the irrigation canals along its course, these feeding the prolific cotton plantations of the Laguna region. The land here is extremely rich, its great depth and width of fertile soil arising from its being the bed of an ancient lake. So valuable is the water of the Nazas River that feuds were formerly common between the cotton growers, dams and weirs being at times blown up with dynamite as a result of their quarrels. The trouble was finally checked by a commission appointed by the government, under the control of which an equitable division of the waters was inaugurated. This stream has with some justice been called "the Nile of Mexico."

A characteristic of the Nazas is the fact that its volume of flow varies remarkably at different seasons. Its bed becomes dry during the dry season, while in the wet it is often filled with a raging flood, extending from bank to bank through its 300 feet of width in half an hour's time. Pouring into the Parras lagoon, this great volume of water goes to waste. By damming and restraining the water when in flood the usefulness of the Nazas might be greatly increased. Tiahualilo ("The Devil") is an aboriginal title for this stream, and seems not ill fitting to it when one of its mighty torrents is in flow.

Many of the lakes of Mexico are of the basin type, filling troughs or depressions in the plateau and mountain regions. Most beautiful among them is Lake Chapala, a great sheet of water eighty miles long and widely noted for its striking scenic charm. Into and out of it flows the Lerma River, carrying its excess water to the Pacific, two hundred miles away. Not less picturesque are two smaller lake basins, Cuitzeo and Patzcuaro, in the State of Michoacan. In the Valley of Mexico is a group of lakes interesting from their connection with the history of the country, those of the region in which the Aztec Empire had its center and the remarkable story of the Spanish invasion took place. These have no natural outlet to the sea, though a partly artificial one has of late years been made by the canal draining the capital city.

These lakes are six in number, five of them being of salt water, one (Lake Chalco) of fresh water. Largest and lowest in altitude among them is the famous Lake Tezcoco, on an island of which was built the city of Tenochtitlan, the famous capital of the conquering Aztecs. Four causeways connected this city with the shore, with breaks crossed by bridges in time of peace, these being easily removed in time of war. During the period that has elapsed since the date of the Spanish conquest the waters of this lake have greatly shrunk in volume. The city of Mexico, which replaced the Aztec capital, no longer stands on an island, but is several miles distant from the shores of the lake. This is a result of the draining operations in this region which have carried off the surplus waters and reduced the level of the lake. These are spoken in a later chapter.

Though the most thickly settled half of Mexico lies within the tropic zone, it reaching nearer to the equator than the most southerly point of Europe, yet its temperature is not what might be expected from this fact, much the greater portion of it being at so high an elevation above the sea that its great plateau might justly be called a vast mountain summit. As a result the mean annual temperature of the city of Mexico (61° 34' F.) closely corresponds with that of the southern cities of Italy and Spain. In this city, however, there is a great diurnal range of temperature, due to its elevated situation, the thermometrical markings varying from 89° F. during the day to 35° F. at night. Those who go about lightly clad in daytime are glad to wear winter clothing after nightfall.

Cortes at Mexico


The country has its two climatic periods, the rainy season, extending from May or June to October or November, and the dry season, covering the remainder of the year. During the mid-period of the rainy season very heavy floods are apt to fall, filling up the beds of dried-out streams with torrents that sweep all before them. An example of this kind is that of the Nazas River, above mentioned. In many parts of the desert region deep gullies have been worn in the soil, ready channels for the flood when such a cloudburst takes place, but dangerous ground for the incautious traveler who may be riding along the bottom of one of these treacherous depressions at such a time.

The rainfall varies very much in different localities. Thus in Mexico City the annual fall may be no more than 25 inches, while in Monterey, about 500 miles farther north, as much as 130 inches may fall. Snow, while very rare, is occasionally seen in the capital city. It is as rare in the north, the elevation there being less. When it does appear it is amusing to a stranger from the north to see the peons wrap themselves shiveringly in their blankets and muffle their mouths as though they had suddenly been transported from the torrid to the frigid zone.

The total variation in the annual rainfall is from two or three inches in the deserts on the Arizona border to the great fall of 156 inches in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, a maximum rarely exceeded elsewhere on the globe. This fall, moreover, occurs during six months of the year, rain ceasing to fall during the six months of the dry season alike in the torrid and the temperature regions of the country.

These variations in climatic condition and in rainfall give a great diversity to the products of Mexico, which vary from the utmost luxuriance of tropical growth to the temperate zone products of the plateau and the desert conditions of the arid regions. As one result of the great change in climate within narrow areas we perceive marked examples of power of adaptation in vegetable, forms, the pine, for instance, a native of cool climes, being seen far down the slopes of the bordering hills, while on the contrary the palms of the tropics at times ascend as high as 8,000 feet above sea-level.

One remarkable plant form of the desert regions of Mexico and the southwestern United States is the cactus, a singular family of plants of many species, which flourish abundantly in Mexico, alike on the desert plateau, on the mountain slopes, and in the tropical plains below. Their native locality, however, is the arid region, where their remarkable capacity for absorbing water, which they store up in their succulent stems against the long periods of drought, enables them to serve as cisterns in the desert to the thirsty traveler. As a self-protective device they are covered with sharp spines, but these do not protect them against the wild horses, which break them open with hoof strokes to drink their treasured stores. Much less do they serve as protection against the ingenuity of man.

Most striking among these unique plants is the great organ cactus, the rounded limbs of which stand erect like a series of organ pipes or the branches of a huge candelabra, forming a remarkable feature of the desert landscape. It needs but a few blows with a machete to bring down one of these tree-like growths and open it for the quenching of the desert thirst. While needle-like spines guard the exterior of the cacti, within they are made up of juicy green cells, dilated with the water which they have stored away for future use. The fruit of many species, especially of the prickly pear, is edible and wholesome, while the flowers of other species are of striking beauty.

The great desert tracts, in which the cacti find their congenial home, are devoid of the higher plant life, but the hill slopes of the boundary mountains abound in places with forest growth. As in the United States, however, the axe of the forester has been overbusy among the forest giants, and large areas, once covered thickly with forests, are now bare. They have been freely cut down for fuel, and this denudation has probably had much to do with the decreasing rainfall and changes in climatic conditions.

The fauna of the country includes three species of the cat family, the jaguar, the cougar or puma, and the ocelot. In the lowland forests monkeys are numerous, five species being present. There is here, also, a species of sloth. In all there are more than fifty species of mammals and over forty of reptiles, among the latter being the alligator and the great boa constrictor. In the region of the mountains and on the plateau wolves abound, including the ever-present coyote, the most abundant wild inhabitant of the desert. Bears of several varieties are also present, and the bison and tapir may be named among the fauna.

The great volcano, Popocatapetl


Smaller mammals include the beaver, armadillo, marten, otter, etc., while game birds embrace the wild turkey, quail and pigeon. There are many others noted for fine plumage or of songful fame, among them being the mocking bird and multitudes of tiny humming birds of splendid colors, fully fifty species of these being present. A plant of great importance in Mexico is the maguey or agave, two species of which are largely and widely cultivated. From these are produced pulque, the favorite mildly intoxicating beverage of the people, and tequila  and mescal, two fiery spirits resembling inferior grades of brandy, and with similar effects upon the human system. A more useful plant, capable of growing in the indurated soil of Yucatan, is the henequen, yielding a valuable fiber for which there is an unceasing demand. The cultivation of this plant has converted Yucatan, once among the poorest states of Mexico, into one of the richest, while many of its producers have grown very wealthy. The fiber is used in the manufacture of carpets, rugs, ropes, twine and bagging, and the demand for it is unfailing.

Coming now to a, consideration of the mountain system and the general geographical conditions of Mexico, this country is peculiar from being closed in on both sides by what may be considered a coastal range of mountains, since the narrow lowlands which separate them on each side from the sea may have been largely a contribution from the erosion of the mountain slopes. In the State of Guerrero the rocks rise abruptly from the ocean, the waves bathing the mountain foot. Erosion appears also to have been a common process in the interior plateau region, which in certain localities presents an enormous depth of alluvial soil, formed by rock wear or of volcanic material collected in former great lakes, which are supposed to have occupied this internal region. The whole interior thus gives evidence of a vast filling up process in the far past. Wells have been sunk to great depths in the vicinity of the river Nazas without encountering a single stone or rock, and in the cotton lands of this region the soil is so fine that not a pebble is to be found.

The tableland is, as above said, crossed byinterior ranges of hills, and is by no means a flat expanse, yet it is in general so level that one might drive to great distances from the capital without need of following the roads. The interior country presents the aspect of a vast plain, tipped up southward, its southern section being several thousand feet higher than its northern. In it are great depressions lying below the general level, and, like the Valley of Mexico, having hydrographic systems of their own. In addition to this well-known valley may be named the vast depression of Mapimi, a rock wilderness covering 50,000 square miles, in which are great swamps and lake bottoms. In the northern section of the plateau the alluvial soil spoken of is replaced by wide sandy plains, the waste of the sandstone cliffs of that region. In consequence of this, and of the scarcity of rainfall, we find here a vast arid region, covering great areas in Chihuahua and Coahuila and extending northward into the desert section of the United States. The coastal strips bordering the Pacific and the Gulf are also sandy in texture, but prolific from their abundant rainfall.

The two mountain ranges mentioned, respectively the Eastern and Western Sierra Madres, extend southward from the United States border in a south-southwesterly direction, gradually approaching until they merge together in the far south. A spur from the western range forms the backbone of the long, narrow peninsula of Lower California.

The passes over these ranges vary in height from 8,500 to 10,000 feet, those on the Pacific side being generally the higher. Thus a mountain climb of considerable altitude needs to be made from either coastal region to gain the interior plateau. The peaks of the range rise in places far above the altitudes given, some of them extending above the line of perpetual snow. These include the lofty summit of Orizaba, the highest in the country, its elevation above sea level being 18,250 feet. Next in height is Popocatepetl, the "Smoking Mountain," and the third snow-clad peak is that of Ixtaccihuatl, the "Sleeping Woman." The elevation of these is given on page 19.

These three lofty peaks are of volcanic origin, Popocatepetl receiving its name from its former eruptions and the smoke emissions from its summit. Its last eruption was in 1665, it having since been inactive. Some mountain climbers in the band of Cortes reached the rim of its crater and extracted sulphur therefrom. The sulphur deposits are very large, and attempts, not very successful, have been recently made to mine them. The summit of Orizaba has also been reached. This, named by the natives Citlaltepetl, or "Star Mountain," presents a symmetrically rounded and shapely peak, its gleaming snow-cap being visible from far off on the waters, of the Gulf by the traveler approaching Vera Cruz. Popocatepetl also presents a rounded sloping cone, but Ixtaccihuatl is of irregular outline, named by the natives from its suggestion of the form, of a reclining woman.

The only active volcano in Mexico is Colima, in the State of Jalisco, westward from Mexico City and about seventy-five miles from the Pacific coast. The activity of this mountain is traditionally very ancient, and it has been active at somewhat frequent intervals since 1611. It consists of twin peaks, only one of which is active. This is 12,728 feet high, the extinct cone being 14,430 feet. The city of Colima is 27 miles distant, and Tuxpan, a railroad station, is 10 miles away. Much nearer is Tonila, an Indian settlement, which has more than once fallen a prey to the volcanic activity.

Among the striking eruptions from Colima's crater was that of February 15, 1818, when a violent outbreak took place, thousands of tons of volcanic ash being thrown out, to the destruction of a wide area of sugar cane plantations. Three months later, when the mountain had become comparatively quiet, a violent earthquake shook the city of Guadalajara, flinging to the ground one of the great spires of the cathedral. For fifty years after that period Colima confined itself to smoking, but in 1872 it broke again into active eruption, and in 1875 its explosions were of extreme violence. Since then Colima has been in eruption on several occasions, a few years apart. When not erupting, an everlasting crest of smoke curls fitfully above its summit, rising in dull spirals into the air by day and at night illuminating the neighboring haciendas with its lurid gleam.

The earthquakes to which this part of Mexico is somewhat subject seem to have no immediate connection with the eruptions of Colima, occurring usually during its period of quietude. Violent ones took place in 1742 and 1806, in the latter a thousand persons being crushed to death in one church alone. In 1877 Chilpancingo, capital of Guerrero, was partially destroyed by an earthquake, and the city of Colima was violently shaken in 1900. In 1903 the mountain was in eruption again, volcanic ash falling on vessels 300 miles at sea. The whole region seems to be one of eruption and earthquake, and though these do not occur simultaneously they may have one general cause of origin.

A singular volcanic eruption occurred in 1759, of which it will be well to speak. It came not from a mountain, but from under a plantation, that of San Pedro de Jorullo, then covered with fields of sugar-cane, cotton and indigo. In June of that year hollow noises underground gave warning of subterranean trouble, and in September there was an outbreak of smoke and flames from under three or four square miles of ground, which lifted and fell like a wave. Out of the vent came large leaping masses of rock and earth, heaping into volcanic form. A crater was developed from which lava flowed and volcanic ash was hurled upward, this continuing for several months. The roofs of houses were covered with ashes and the plantation was ruined, the trees being thrown down and buried under the erupted material. After doing great damage the eruptions ceased during the following year, and Jorullo became but a name and a memory, but the mountain with its crater remains in evidence of this remarkable example of volcanic activity.

Condition and Modes of Life of the People

Mexico was originally a realm of Indian civilization, and in some respects it may claim to be the same today. While nominally a white man's land, a "Latin Republic," more than a third of its people are pure Indians still, and probably more than half of them of mixed blood, the pure white being less than a fifth, possibly not more than a tenth, of. the whole population. And while the civilization in its general aspects is one of Spanish introduction, sufficient traces of the old conditions persist to warrant what is above said. It is no easy matter to overcome the habits and customs of a race of people by the instilling of new ideas into their mental machinery, especially in a land in which education has hitherto been almost a thing unknown.

As regards the Indians, while generally ignorant and heedless of anything beyond their everyday life of labor and simple enjoyment, many of them have a good share of natural ability, and any of the race who possess capacity and enterprise have as full opportunity to advance as their fellow citizens of Spanish descent. It is not uncommon for Indians of pure blood to attain distinction in the professions and in political life. It is an interesting fact, in this connection, that Juarez and Huerta belong to the Indian race and Diaz to the Mestizos, or half-breeds, and the same may be said of others of much prominence. In so far as civil rights and opportunity are concerned the Mexican Indian stands on the same level as the whites. Citizens of pure Spanish descent pride themselves on this fact and speak of the "Indio" with some feeling of contempt, but they go no farther than this and the Constitution of Mexico conserves the equal rights of all its people.

The six millions or more in the country of Indian blood belong to about fifty of the former tribes, and are found in all parts of the land, retaining much of the old customs brought down from prehistoric times. While many of them show little sign of change from the savages of the far past, cases of marked ability among them are of some frequency, and this under favorable conditions has developed into fine powers of intellectual ability and of statesmanship.

A water vender.


The Mestizos are not confined to those of Indian and Spanish parentage. Men of many other European nations made their way to Mexico during the centuries following the conquest, and the diversities of race in Mexico are greater than in any other Latin-American nation. Thus the racial assimilation has been considerable, and the Mestizo of today is the result of a wide commingling of Indian and white blood. The class of peons, the laboring people of the country, are drawn from the Indians and Mestizos alike, especially from the former, and upon them the development of the industries depends. Poor, lacking in opportunity, and in many cases in a state of serfhood, their opportunity for education and development has been very small. It is the semi-feudal system prevailing upon the great estates and in the mines of Mexico, and the lack of effort in the government to advance the conditions of the people, that keep the illiterate and oppressed peon in his present condition of servitude as a worker on the broad lands which once were the property of his ancestors.

As for the mode of life of the peon, it is of the most primitive type. The worker on the great haciendas  or estates has little time for enjoyment. His day's toil in the field—a long day for a short wage—is followed by a night spent in his miserable adobe dwelling, in the one room in which the whole family is forced to herd. His wants fortunately are few and it needs little to make him happy. His food is chiefly vegetable, meat being a luxury which he rarely tastes. The main article of food is the tortilla, an unsweetened pancake of corn meal, patted out in the hands and baked on an earthenware dish. Next to the tortillas  are the frijoles. These form a more palatable article of food, made of a small variety of beans, which are boiled in an earthen pot and then fried in lard or other obtainable fat. They gain a rich brown color and form an appetizing dish, which is not unwelcome on the tables of the upper class, despite the tendency to regard it with a certain contempt as an Indian national dish. Potatoes, of a small, poor variety, are added to the somewhat sparse peon dietary, and the pungent chili, a variety of pepper pod, is used to give a spicy flavor to the bill of fare.

For beverage, coffee is much esteemed, and pulque, the intoxicating drink made from the maguey, is an universal favorite. Like the wealthier Mexicans, the peon is very fond of tobacco, and enjoys his cigarette with the highest zest. This he makes himself by rolling a portion of strong tobacco in a piece of corn-husk, with a dexterity acquired by long practice. By means of these few creature comforts the poverty-stricken peon manages to bring a share of enjoyment into his toilsome career.

As for attire, it usually consists of rags and tatters, barely sufficient to cover the naked skin. In such sorry garments the peon may be seen in the cities, carrying heavy burdens through the streets, climbing to the scaffolds of buildings with loads of bricks, or as a wandering salesman offering fruit, charcoal and other commodities for sale. In the country he is the universal farm laborer, and in the mines he is kept busy carrying out heavy loads of ore.

As a farmer on his own account, the peon is a failure. There is no energy and no intelligence in his work. The wooden hoe of his ancestors suffices him, and work is the one thing for which he least cares. His wants are few and easily supplied. A couple of stones to grind the corn for making tortillas, a tin can for boiling water, some native jars, and a few rags of cloth to sleep on are all the furniture he needs. He gets little wages, but his labor is worth little. In the tropical regions, where there is no winter to provide for, it is difficult to get him to work at all. There he can build his own mud hut, take and cultivate a little tract of unoccupied soil, get fish from the streams and game from the woods, and pass life in almost utter sloth.

Tortilla baker's shop


Even under the discipline of the large estates he is a hard proposition to deal with. It needs close watching to make him work in any but his old, slow way. Holidays are numerous, for no one can get him to work on the fiestas  or saints' days, and they come frequently in the Mexican calendar. Sunday, of course, is a day of rest, and his inveterate appetite for pulque  usually gets him into such a state on that day that he needs Monday to get over its effects. As for his religion, it is not to be estimated by his close attention to keeping the church holidays. In fact, much of the idolatry of his ancestors clings to him still, and in spite of all the priests can say or do, the old Indian gods are worshipped at intervals, and many superstitious practices brought down from olden days continue to be observed.

Vices and virtues are strangely mingled in his makeup. Of the former, gambling is one of the worst, and cock-fighting his favorite recreation, on which he is ever ready to wager his scanty wages. Fighting-cocks are everywhere to be seen, and the mode of using them is very cruel. Steel blades or spurs, as sharp as a razor, are tied to the claws of the cocks, and the birds, if not killed at a stroke, emerge from the combat torn and covered with blood. The bull-fight, horse-racing, dancing and the inordinate consumption of pulque  form the remainder of his enjoyments. Pulque, a feebly intoxicating drink, is very cheap. A glass of it can be had for a half cent, a large glass for a cent, and pulque  shops are to be seen everywhere in the low quarters of the town. Mexicans of the middle and higher classes drink little of this beverage, but the Indian population consume enormous quantities of it and drunkenness is common among them.

Of the good qualities of the Indian may be named his spirit of generosity. If any of his neighbors are short of food his scanty larder is freely open to their use, and they in turn are equally ready to aid him in time of need. Cruel to animals, he is exceedingly fond of children, and his politeness is equal to that of the most courteous Spanish cavalier. His battered sombrero is doffed with unaffected polish of manner to those he meets, and it is amusing to see two of these ragged laborers exchanging choice Spanish compliments in their occasional meetings and greetings.

Perhaps from the fact that he gets little from which to save, perhaps from a natural lack of prevision, the peon rarely rises above his condition, and is very apt to fall into one of virtual, bondage, owing to the law concerning debtors in Mexico. He is not forced to labor. But when he does he usually soon ceases to be a free agent. Anyone in debt to his employer is obliged by law to continue in his service until his debt is paid. If he runs away he is liable to be caught and sent back. This is one phase of the situation. The other is that the worker in the fields and mines is rarely out of debt. His wages are small and payment is largely received in goods which he is obliged to buy at the store belonging to his employer, or to some one who has purchased the right to conduct such a store.

These transactions, with the ignorant Indians as customers, are apt to be dealings in which high prices are associated with short weights. Supplies to some extent are granted in advance and the customer quickly becomes in debt to the store. He cannot legally quit his employment until the debt is discharged, and his other wants in the line of necessity or enjoyment are so urgent that the debt is apt to become a fixed quantity and tends to keep him in a state of permanent serfdom or peonage—a word closely fitting his special case. With his love for cock-fighting and other sports, his addiction to gambling, his fondness for pulque, and his general "happy go lucky" state of mind, it is always easy for him to fall into debt; next to impossible to get out of it.

Yet, though the working class is generally in a state of poverty, the workers are usually contented. Their wants are few and simple and are easily supplied. If they lack furniture or household goods of any sort it does not affect their state of content. If a bedstead is lacking, the earthen floor suffices. There the peon sleeps with his family, rolled up in their ponchos or blankets, and heedless of dampness or ventilation. The preparation of food is a very simple process, one needing few utensils. The fireplace, consisting of a few stones upon which charcoal or firewood is kindled, is often outside the house. If inside, a chimney rarely exists, a hole in the roof serving for the escape of smoke. Over the fire is hung the earthen pot in which viands are boiled, and upon it is placed the dish upon which tortillas are baked. As for the cleanliness of these operations, it is safest to ask no questions. Knives, forks, spoons, plates, and all the paraphernalia of civilized meals, are readily dispensed with, the art of the household being reduced by the peon to its lowest terms. Fortunately for his comfort, he does not miss these utensils, as he has never used them. He does not even make use of a match to light his cigarette. Matches cost money, and he has other uses for his spare cash. So he retains the custom of his ancestors, striking steel upon flint and deftly throwing the spark upon his morsel of tinder.

The peon is not destitute of religion, of the Roman Catholic variety, to which his ancestors were converted, and the duties and ceremonies of which have become a part of his life. The outward show of this system of faith strongly appeals to him, and his great veneration for the priests and adoration of saints and their images have become part of his nature. Shrines and crosses are visible everywhere, the latter often marking the spot where some murder or other deed of violence has been perpetrated.

The peon's idea of religion is mingled with many superstitions and traces of the idol worship of his ancestors. The devil, and hobgoblins of various types, often visit him, or at least dwell in his fancy, and the cross is thought potent to hinder the malevolence of these legendary creatures.

Religion with the Indians takes other forms and is accompanied by various rites. A cross is often set up in a fruitful field as a token of thankfulness, wisps of grain and other vegetable decorations being added to it. The songs of the laborers in the field have a religious significance. Thus when a workman, who has been bending over the grain with his short-handled sickle, lifts himself for a moment's rest, he raises his hap and shouts with stentorian voice, "Ave Maria Santissima." Back from neighboring fields comes an echo of his cry, and it may make the round of a dozen fields before the workers bend again to their task.

"At the end of the day's work," says one writer, "when the last red gleam has faded from the mountains, the field hands gather to sing the evening song of praise. A deep bass begins the chant:

"'Dios te salve Maria.'

A shrill childish voice joins in:

"'Dios te salve Maria.'

Then from the long line of men and women rises the chorus:

"'Dios te salve Maria

Leena eres de gracia.'

"The Indian voices vary in pitch from a shriek to a roar. When the whole company joins in, each singing or yelling:

"'Benditi to eres

Entre Codas las maieses,'

One might imagine it to be the fierce war song of the Aztec legions defending their royal city on the lakes. But it is only the 'Ave Maria' sung to the gentle mother."

The hacienda, or great plantation, system has operated to check progress in Mexico. On some of these vast estates several thousand peon laborers are employed, in addition to their families. Yet the land is very imperfectly cultivated and much of it lies waste. It would be of great benefit to the productive power of the country if these estates were broken up among smaller holders and the ground fully cultivated. It is well to say here that this evil has been one of the chief causes of the recent rebellions, there being a vigorous demand that the land should come back to the people. General Villa has recently made a decided move in this direction in confiscating the vast Terrazas estate in Chihuahua, 5,000,000 acres in extent, on which 10,000 men have been employed. His declared purpose is to divide it up between widows and orphans, and restore their property to persons from whom it has been wrongfully taken.

These great estates often possess villages of peons, all of whom are employed on the land. They are so large, indeed, that it would be a day's ride to cross some of them from side to side. The mansion of the proprietor is often kept up like a baronial castle of old, and in past years, before inns became common, any traveler was sure of a warm welcome and hospitable reception, much as was the case on the plantations of old Virginia in colonial times. These houses are usually well furnished, but are medieval in their lack of many household conveniences usual in far more modest houses in our own country. The bathroom is one of these requisites to high civilization that is often lacking, and the cooking is usually of a kind that would not appeal to a cultivated palate. As for the agricultural methods on these estates, they continue primitive, the agricultural implements of the north being usually lacking. And as regards intensive farming, the idea has not yet made its way into the Mexican mind.

The peons of Mexico have the reputation of being arrant thieves, and it would certainly not be wise to leave small valuables unguarded within their reach. But this habit of theft goes little beyond the level of petty pilfering. They do not engage in burglary or concoct crimes of a serious nature for purposes of robbery. There has long been an abundance of brigandage in the mountain regions of Mexico, but President Diaz, with his rurales, or rural police, largely put an end to this, and there are now few districts in which a traveler's life and belongings are not safe.

In the cities and towns of Mexico the peon class is engaged in a great variety of minor duties, such as those of laboring work of various kinds, truck selling and other needful avocations. They dress in a loose suit of white linen, though this whiteness does not long persist. It consists of coat and trousers, the latter being often rolled up to the knees. Stockings are never worn, though sandals occasionally protect the feet. A great, conical, broad-brimmed straw hat protects the head, the brim perhaps as much as two feet wide. This kind of headgear is peculiar to Mexico, where it is worn throughout the land.

A red woolen blanket, the poncho  or serape, is invariably in use, carried over the left shoulder during the day, wrapped closely round the body in the cool air of morning and evening. In some cases it has a slit cut in its middle, the head being thrust through this and the blanket thus hung from the shoulders. At night it serves as a bed-cover, it being in fact an indispensable article of use by day and night.

The women of this class wear a dress of modest proportions, and a blue reboso  or shawl, which takes the place with them of the red serape  of the men. This is generally worn over the head, taking the place of bonnet or hat. No effort is made to ape the rich in style of dress. The reboso  has other uses than as a shawl, being sometimes used by a woman when traveling to fasten her baby to her waist. It may serve also for the gathering of bits of firewood along the road, as the man similarly uses his serape to carry potatoes, corn, or other articles from the market.

The Mexican Indians are often very expert in pottery making, using primitive methods inherited from their ancestors before the potter's wheel was known to them. They make very symmetrical pots, of large size, with no appliance but a small wooden paddle or beater. These pots are first sun-dried and then baked. They are mainly used in carrying water from the springs. The makers can be seen carrying them in great loads bound up in crates, which they take to the villages for sale.

The Indians of Mexico are descended from a large number of tribes, and differ considerably in physical and mental characteristics. Some retain much of their original savageness, but the mass of them have accepted the arts of civilization. These have usually dark or brownish complexions and very dark hair and eyes. They are slight in stature, but sturdy and muscular and capable of severe exertion. One of the most advanced tribes is that of the Mayas of Yucatan, this having a well developed civilization and considerable literature in days preceding the Spanish occupation. Unfortunately their manuscripts were destroyed by the Spaniards. Their language is still widely used in Yucatan. These people differ from the other Indians in having complexions of a brick-red tint and in being shorter and stouter, with very full chest development. They differ also in disposition, being always ready to laugh, a characteristic not possessed by the Indians in general, most of whom are sullen and morose in aspect, even in their hours of play or relaxation.

As regards the Mexican people of pure white descent, these comprise only a small percentage of the whole, the majority of the population being the Mestizos, a class of mixed white and Indian race. Many of these are on the level of the peons, or pure Indians, though others of them are in type closely allied to the pure whites and belong to the class of the property holders of the country. The upper class Mexican does not differ much in habit and appearance from similar persons in other countries. He is usually well educated, dresses in the fashionable attire of other lands, and lives a similar life of ease and observance of the rules of society.

A Mexican gentleman prides himself on being polite and punctilious in behavior, giving much attention to matters of ceremony, and seeking always to treat others with courtesy. This quality, indeed, pervades the whole population, from the rich gentleman to the poor laborer, and their politeness of demeanor does not appear to be a mere mask of courtliness, but seems to express a native kindliness of disposition. As for courtesy, the most ragged peon will take off his hat with a native grace and accost others with words of gracious greeting as if he had been taught courtliness in palace halls instead of in dilapidated hovels.

Life, however, in Mexican cities is apt to appear very dull to those accustomed to the gaiety of American and European cities. Social entertainments are of rare occurrence, the chief amusements of the higher society being confined to driving and family dinner parties, which while very punctilious are often very dull occasions. Mexicans, no doubt, have much of the enthusiasm of the Latin peoples in general. This is shown by their animated gestures in talking and the free use of compliments which are mere matters of form. They will gush freely over something to which they have taken a sudden fancy, and in a short time become indifferent to the person or thing thus honored.

One thing that appeals strongly to the Mexican is music. A good piano is almost always found in the houses of the well-to-do, and proficients in its use are common among the women. Every town also has a band-stand in its plaza, where the regimental or other bands play every night. It has long been the custom to promenade nightly in the inner circle of the plaza while the band plays, the ladies walking in one direction, the men in the other, and greeting their friends as they pass. This habit gives a welcome opportunity for flirtations between young men and maidens, which otherwise are sadly wanting.

One cause of the difference in social customs between Mexicans and the people of the United States lies in the seclusion of young women of the higher classes, girls not being allowed to go about except under the care of duenas, and women until recently rarely going out except in a closed carriage. The growing practice of motoring is putting an end to the latter type of seclusion.

The grilled windows and balconies of Mexican houses, borrowed from those of Spain, is a result of this state of affairs, propriety requiring young ladies, except when with their duenas, to confine themselves to these outlooks into the streets. Girls, indeed, have none of the freedom of familiar intercourse with young men so common in our northern cities. When it comes to a case of courtship, it must be pursued through the medium of the barred windows or the balcony. A young man who has taken a fancy to a fair face seen on street or plaza finds a serious difficulty in following up his amour. For days, perhaps for weeks, he may be seen walking under the window of the adored one's house, watching and hoping.

This silent attention is quickly discovered by the girl, and if she likes his attentions she in due time finds means to let him know that he has won her favor. It may be by a sly glance through the window, a smile, a furtive wave of the hand. This leads to his watching for her on the plaza or following her to mass. The love-letter stage is next to follow, and if the parents do not disapprove of the sighing swain the young lady may soon be allowed to talk with him through the window grille or from the balcony. Such a courtship may go on for an indefinite period, a year or more perhaps, ending finally in marriage, though not always, since some rival may bear off the valued prize.

The Mexican women are not notable for beauty. They are of olive tint of skin, but have expressive eyes and black hair in abundance. Their complexion is bad, probably from their usual close confinement to the house, and they try to atone for this by a liberal use of powder on the face, with rouge to redden the lips. With so restricted an outlook upon life, love and marriage are apt to be the culminating points in their existence. Indeed, the Mexican men and women alike are highly amorous in disposition, and the love passages are the most alluring events in their lives. Next to love, religion plays with them an important part, and between courtship and the varied requirements of religious service and ceremony much of their maiden life is passed. Aside from these, the Mexican young woman has few distractions in her career.

As for the young man in Mexico, the fondness for sport so strong in the Anglo-Saxon rarely exists in him. Tennis, football and polo are played to some extent by those who deem it the proper thing to follow the American and British example in this direction, but such strenuous exercise makes small appeal to one with the Mexican's indolent love of ease. His favorite pastime is horsemanship. In this exercise Mexico leads the world, or at least has no superiors elsewhere. The use of the horse in Mexico is a signal of social standing, and no one of the self-respecting class lets himself be seen on foot beyond the city limits. While the poor laborer trudges on foot along the dusty roads, the. gaily caparisoned horseman dashes proudly by, with the sentiment of one belonging to a nobler planet. The vaquero, the Mexican cowboy, is a horseman of rarely equaled skill, his animal being trained to respond to the lightest touch on the rein, and his swift paso, or running pace, being in comfort far in advance of the English or American trot.

The Mexican riding dress, the charro  costume, is peculiar and gorgeous. It consists of a short coat and tightly fitting trousers of soft deerskin, rich brown in hue, and decorated upon its edges and lapels, also on the cuffs and around the buttonholes, with gold and silver lacework. Ornamental gold lace also runs down the stripes of the trousers. The whole attire is crowned by a Mexican hat of broad brim and high, tapering crown. This is made of felt, with a soft silky surface, and is also profusely ornamented with gold and silver lace. For riding on rough country roads a kind of loose trousers is worn, similarly ornamented. The effect of the whole outfit is dazzling, though the huge hat over the close-fitting raiment gives a somewhat top-heavy appearance to the equestrian gallant.

A wayside Mexican Inn.


On the feet are worn spurs of great size and weight, the wheel part being of several inches diameter. These, weighing several pounds each, are of steel, often inlaid with gold and silver. Their points are blunt, not sharp as in other countries, so that they do not lacerate the horse. This animal is equipped with trappings fitting in richness those of the rider, the saddle being a finely tanned leather of a high color, and profusely decorated. It is very heavy, but it affords a highly comfortable seat, much more so than the lighter saddle of the north. "The horse carries the weight," says the Mexican. The bit is heavy, but not necessarily cruel, as the horses are trained to respond with great readiness to the rider's touch.

An invariable part of the rider's equipment is the riata, or lasso, in the use of which the rural Mexican, especially the vaquero, is usually remarkably skilful. It forms one of the weapons of the rurales, or mounted country police, and the soldiers who fought against the French of Maximilian's army often used it with deadly effect in their scouting or foraging encounters.

While the Mexican is little given to sports that call for active muscular exercise, there is one form of sport of which he is inordinately fond. This is the bull-fight, imported from Spain, and naturalized in its American colonies. This takes place on Sunday afternoons—a time of relaxation in Roman Catholic countries after the religious services of the morning. All classes attend it, the peons equally with the cavaliers, and all welcome it with equal enthusiasm and delight. Even the young maiden, so restrained and demure ordinarily, here enters ardently into the game and applauds its gory outcome as warmly as the men.

Rich Products of the Soil and Precious Metals in the Rocks

Mexico, despite its large areas of desert, is a land of immense fecundity in products of nature, a realm of splendid promise. With its unusual variety of climate, ranging from tropical warmth to wintry chill, its rich natural resources, its vast abundance of valuable timber, its broad extent of ranch land, and its enormous richness in mineral products, it has few rivals in point of native wealth in soil and rocks. This is yet far from its full development and the future is full of rich possibilities. Hitherto the chief attention of capitalists has been given to the mining districts, the large yield of silver and other valuable metals in these having caused the cultivation of the soil to be neglected. It has been said that ii the capital used in mining had been devoted to agriculture the country would be four times as rich as it now is. But when the silver and copper pass, the soil will remain, and in its cultivation Mexico may yet find an unceasing source of prosperity.

The estimate has been made that Mexico possesses 250,000 square miles of well-timbered land, nearly 6,000 of dense forest and the vast total of about 500,000 of uncultivated land, the latter forming nearly two-thirds of the entire area. To what extent cultivation can be applied to this broad domain only time can tell. It is in this that the cattle and sheep ranches are situated, and here, we are told, pasturage for millions of food animals can be found. At present the greater part of this rich food-producing territory remains in a desert condition, awaiting the development of which it is capable.

Drying coffee on a coffee plantation near Cordoba.


How great are its possibilities, how widespread its riches, none but those who have traveled in the land with an observing eye can appreciate. With its wide range of climate and its soils adapted to every variety of vegetable growth, its vast mineral wealth and its enormous area fitted for the pasturage of sheep and cattle, it simply needs intelligent labor and wise processes of agriculture to supply the needs of a much larger population and to add very largely to its export trade. At present it sends abroad silver, gold, copper and other minerals from its mines; mahogany, cedar, rubber and dye-woods from its virgin forests; coffee, tobacco, fruit, vanilla and other products from its cultivated fields; meats and hides from its ranches; and in all these respects there is a wide scope of undeveloped opportunity yet to be taken advantage of.

Passing from the coast inward, alike on the Atlantic and Pacific sides, the traveler crosses zones of tropical climate, from which he may rapidly pass into temperate, and if he cares for mountain climbing, into frigid, zones. The bordering lowlands are hot, at times oppressively so, yet the night breezes from the ocean compensate for the heat of the day, sufficiently so to render agreeable the climate of the Vera Cruz and Yucatan sections. A degree of refreshment also comes from the rains, which last from June to November, the year being divided into two seasons, a wet one and a dry one. The mean temperature varies from 77° to 80° F., but often rises to 100° and at times higher, yet the refreshment brought by the night breezes goes far to mitigate the enervating heat of the day.

In this realm of solar warmth and fertile soil all the chief products of the tropics grow in the greatest profusion. These productions include coffee, sugar-cane, tobacco, pepper and rice; alligator pears, oranges, bananas, limes, cocoanuts and many other fruits; chocolate, vanilla, indigo, maize, and various products of tropical soils. These are not all native, the sugar-cane, orange, grape and coffee having been introduced from Europe; but they all grow as profusely as though at home in this western realm.

Not only fruits, but flowers of every hue are abundant in great variety, birds of beautiful plumage flit in rainbow hues through the verdant groves, and gorgeous butterflies rival them in beauty of wing. In the depths of the woods the twining boa coils round the overhanging limbs, the crocodile haunts the streams, the jaguar and puma prowl through the untrodden wilds and the tapir wanders clumsily by the river bank. Monkeys of many species frolic amid the densely clustered boughs, and the whole scene teems with active life.

The dense forests which cover much of the tropical region with profuse vegetation contain trees of commercial value in the greatest variety, considerably more than a hundred species fitted for building or cabinet wares being known. These include the oak, mahogany, Brazil wood, logwood, rosewood, cedar and others of leading importance, while there is a long list of medicinal plants, dye-woods, fiber and gum-bearing trees, edible plants, fruit trees, etc. The woodlands are so thick and dense as in places to be impassable unless opened by the axe of the woodsman, while they are so infested by malarial exhalations that only the native Indian seeks game and food within their unhealthful depths.

In this region we see none of the stone buildings found in the Mexican highlands. All the people need here is shelter from the sun and protection from the rains, and their habitations are flimsy constructions, built of bamboo and light poles with palm leaves for thatch. Towns are rare and the villages are of the most primitive type, swarming with naked babies and boys and girls in the simplest attire. So rich is the soil that support could be provided for a very large population, but this section is much more thinly peopled than the salubrious and temperate region of the interior.

Among the chief cultivated plants of the lowland region sugar stands prominent. Of this Mexico has now a considerable export trade, while the henequen, or Sisal hemp, is another of the principal exported products. The dry climate and hard, sandy soil of Yucatan are admirably adapted for the growth of this plant, the fiber of which is in large demand in carpet, rug, rope and bag manufacture. The considerable demand has caused large attention to be given to its growth.

Other plants which are now actively cultivated are those yielding India rubber, the useful product of which is now in such active demand. Large sums of money have been invested in the cultivation of rubber plants in Mexico, but the return has not been promising, and it is doubtful if this country will ever be able to compete with Brazil and Peru, Malaysia and Ceylon in this culture. Another plant of high value in Mexico, as it is needed for the tortilla, the chief article of food of the laboring class, is maize, or Indian corn, the leading vegetable product of the country. This is cultivated on the plateau as well as in the tropical region, but in the hot lands its growth is extraordinary. It reaches there a height of fifteen to eighteen feet, and in two months after planting the mature ears may be harvested.

Indian corn is grown widely in the Mexican highlands, it being the leading vegetable food product of the country, but the demand for it is so great that importation from the north is still at times necessary. Wheat is also grown extensively in some districts, its cultivation being confined to the temperate region of the plateau, largely in the State of Chihuahua. Here irrigation is necessary, and only enough grain is produced for local consumption. For bread and cake making in the hotels and restaurants flour is imported in considerable quantity from the United States.

Two important products of the soil are cotton and sugar-cane. Of these, cotton has long been grown, the Aztecs cultivating it and spinning it into clothing. The Aztec warriors wore armor of quilted cotton of much utility as a safeguard against arrows, for which reason some of the Spanish invaders adopted it. The plant has been grown ever since, there being a very large area adapted to its cultivation, greater, indeed, as is stated, than exists in the United States. The most important region for its production is upon the rich irrigated lands along the Nazas. But as cotton clothing is worn almost universally in Mexico, the product falls far short of the demand and this also is largely imported from the United States. Cotton is grown to a considerable extent in the tropical lowland region on each side of the country, but the total product in the country is less than 120,000 bales. Some of this is exported, but there are about 125 cotton-weaving mills in the republic, some of them having very large capital.

The sugar-cane is not indigenous to Mexico, but was introduced by the Spaniards. But the soil and climate have proved excellently adapted to it and its growth is prolific, the yield per acre being high. First grown by Cortes and his followers, it was being exported from Mexico to Spain as early as 1553. The whole of the hot country is well fitted for its growth and along the Gulf coast the canes are enormous in size. In ten months growth they will attain a height of twenty feet and a girth of two inches. Neither ploughing nor irrigation is necessary, and the cane, once planted, will grow without need of care for ten years. The yield per acre is from 30 to 35 tons, producing from 20 to 25 tons of juice, this yielding 15 to 16 per cent of sugar. Vera Cruz is the best fitted state, and sugar-cane cannot be grown profitably at over 3,000 feet in height. About 1,000 feet high is apparently the best elevation, in view of rainfall, labor, transportation and other needful elements.

In addition to the cane, the sugar-beet is also becoming a product of value, and the opinion is growing that it will eventually supersede the cane. It is suited to most parts of the country and can be grown for ten months of the year, while it has the advantage that corn and maguey can be planted in connection with it. Nearly all the beets now grown are used as food for cattle, but with the growing tendency to convert all the sugar-cane product into alcohol there is an open field for the beet as a sugar producer.

Rubber tree grove on the Ubero plantation,


Coffee is of comparatively late introduction into Mexico, the first planting being in 1790. The largest output is that of the State of Vera Cruz. Here labor is plentiful, and the picking of the berries may be done leisurely, only the perfectly ripe berries being gathered. This is a more profitable method than that used in places where labor is scarce and picking hurried, and where the whole branch is stripped at once instead of the ripe berries being selected. The best quality of berries comes from the State of Colima, these being preferred by experts to the best from Brazil. Mexican coffee is not largely used in the United States, but it is popular in some countries, as Germany, France and England.

As the use of tobacco is universal among the male population of Mexico, much attention is paid to its cultivation and an excellent quality is grown. The plant is indigenous to the country, and though Spain at one time restricted its cultivation it is now cultivated all over the republic. It is also everywhere manufactured, cigar and cigarette factories existing in every community. There is abundance of excellent land for tobacco culture, composed of a sandy soil containing decomposed vegetable matter and salts of iron and aluminum, with a little lime. This combination yields a leaf of mild and aromatic flavor which is much esteemed. It is said that the finest Mexican cigars go to Havana and are sold as "Cuban" in all the Central American and the adjoining South American countries.

The Mexican tobacco has a flavor peculiar to itself, which soon appeals to the smoker who makes use of this product, and which is creating an increasing demand for it in the United States. One of the best grades, if not quite the best, is that grown in the San Andres Texla district of Vera Cruz. There are also excellent tobacco lands in the Territory of Tepic, where the plant with good cultivation could be brought to a high state of excellence.

Maguey is one of the most widely cultivated plants, due to the universal demand for its mildly intoxicating product, pulque. Of this plant there are no fewer than 125 species, but the favorite ones are those yielding pulque  and the fiery spirit, mescal. Pulque  is a refreshing and not unwholesome drink, though its flavor does not appeal to the American palate. It is intoxicating when drunk in large quantities. As already stated, the consumption of it by the lower classes in Mexico is something astonishing, while it is scarcely ever tasted by people of the middle and higher classes.

The use of the maguey plant is not confined to the extraction of its juice. In fact it is of somewhat general application, there being, it is said, as many as forty articles made from it. These include paper from the pulp, twine from the fibers, needles from the sharp leaf tips, and from the leaves roofing material for native huts. A fine kind of papyrus was made from it by the ancient Mexicans, and this art is still in use. Specimens made a thousand years ago are still in an excellent state of preservation.

Extracting pulque from the maguey plant, San Juan,


Most important among the fiber-producing plants is the henequen of Yucatan, the soil of which appears to be especially adapted to the growth of this plant. The fibers are taken from the leaves and are excellent for the making of coarse textiles of various kinds, such as rugs and bagging. As to the treatment of the laborers on the henequen plantations, however, it is marked by a barbarity rarely seen elsewhere. A statement upon this unpleasant subject must be left for a later chapter.

We have spoken of the leading vegetable products of Mexico, but there are others that call for mention, including rice, barley, cacao, vanilla, and the numerous medicinal plants and dye-woods. Much attention has been given to the rubber product, though not with very encouraging results. The rubber tree flourishes in the tropical region of the country, and as much as $50,000,000 has been invested in rubber plantations, though with no adequate return. Considerable attention has been given to the guayule plant, which grows wild and the sap of which has been regarded as possessing "valuable rubber qualities." It has attracted considerable capital, as has also pinguay, a rival plant claimed to surpass it in its percentage of rubber. No one has yet grown rich from their cultivation.

The fruit product of Mexico is large and varied, the list including alligator pears, cocoanuts, apricots, dates, figs, limes, oranges, mangoes, pineapple, banana, and numerous others, including the familiar apple, pear, peach, etc. Bananas are very prolific, a growth of twenty feet in a few months being made, while, when properly cared for, each stalk will yield from 75 to 100 pounds of fruit. There are about twenty varieties, and under skilful cultivation a product of from 600 to 900 pounds of fruit per acre can be realized. This fruit, as is well known, has no equal in quantity of foodstuff yielded per acre of ground.

While the lowlands of Mexico are usually well watered, irrigation is in many places needed in the more elevated localities, and it seems to have been practiced in Aztec days. In recent times much attention has been given to this subject, though not much has been done in the way of impounding the waters of the many mountain streams. We have already spoken of the developed systems of irrigation along the Nazas, where there is a canal fifty miles long, with a large flowing capacity, and several others of smaller size, the result being that the river's flow is exhausted in the dry season. But by building dams to hold the excess flow of the wet season a great addition to the area of irrigation might be made. Where artesian wells have been sunk for this purpose they have proved satisfactory, but this method of obtaining water also awaits development. Of irrigation systems one of the most interesting is that of the great Jalpa hacienda. On this estate from 8,000 to 10,000 head of cattle are pastured and the system of irrigation, which was introduced more than a century ago, is kept in a high state of efficiency. The dam, containing some 15,000,000 cubic metres of water, gave way about seventy-five years ago, drowning everything before it, including about 400 natives. The capacity of the present dams is nearly 60,000,000 cubic metres, while the Turbio River, which flows through the estate, has a capacity of 42,000,000. The soil irrigated totals about forty-five square miles of level alluvial soil, and the excess water is sold to farmers farther down stream, where about forty square miles are irrigated.

Cattle and sheep are raised in almost every state of Mexico, Jalisco being the first in value of products, the extensive, but largely desert, State of Chihuahua coming second. But there are vast areas adapted to this purpose which are disregarded or but slightly utilized. Sheep and goat raising is more generally pursued than cattle breeding, the sheep kept numbering over 5,000,000 and the goats several millions. Sheep thrive well on the great central plateau, the chief region of arid lands. Here they are very free from disease and little exposed to attack by predatory animals, while the cost of raising them is extremely small, about ten to twenty cents per head per annum. Much is being done in the improvement of breeds by the introduction of Merino rams, but the standard is yet not high.

Much American capital has been used in the development of cattle growing upon the ranches of northern Mexico. But the pasturage here is very poor as compared with that of the western United States, the cattle having to browse on coarse grass and weeds. They even eat the cactus in spite of the prickles. It is often a long distance to water supplies and in times of drought the cattle die in great numbers. At such times the peons gather quantities of the prickly pear, burn off the sharp points of the spines, and feed them to the cattle, which devour them ravenously. The ranches in this region need to be very large, as it takes about fifteen acres for the subsistence of a single animal.

A strawberry field at Irapuato


Horses also are raised in large numbers on the ranches, some of them having from 10,000 to 20,000 of these animals. Most of them are small, bony creatures, selling for a few dollars, but some fine looking stock has been developed by the use of foreign breeds. Goats, of which large numbers are raised, are profitable animals, they being left to care for themselves and thriving on very poor pasturage. The poorer people are large consumers of goats' flesh and the skins bring a good price.

The ox, used as a beast of burden, is invaluable in Mexico. It will work patiently and ploddingly for eight or nine hours a day, hauling heavy loads of farm produce and standing for hours uncomplainingly in the burning sun. This animal, however, has peculiarities of temper. It may be willing, or it may be obstinate. It can pretend to be doing its part, while leaving the bulk of the work to its mate. It has its likes and dislikes, and is not altogether mechanical in its ways.

We have so far in this chapter dealt with the products of the soil; now the products of the rocks demand attention. Mexico has long been famous for its minerals, especially for its yield of silver, and the story of its many mines has much of interest. The cruelty of the old-time Spaniard was especially shown in his mining methods, the natives of the country suffering severely in order that their heartless task-master might put money in his purse. A frightful system of forced labor was employed, thousands of the natives being seized and forced to work in the mines, from which, with infinite toil and suffering, they carried sacks of ore-bearing rock on their backs from the depths of the mine, to be driven down again by armed men stationed at the mouth. Never have slaves been more cruelly treated, and we can scarcely blame them when they rebelled at the great Valenciana mine and massacred every white man upon the place. It was due retribution for half a century of ruthless barbarity.

The presence of silver deposits was quickly discovered by the Spanish invaders. Thus the famous mines at Guanajuato, opened in 1525, owed their discovery to a fire built on the rocks by some muleteers, who found silver in the ashes, melted from the rock below. Another famous mining center was Zacatecas, where in three centuries nearly eight hundred million dollars worth of silver was obtained. The Pachuca lodes also, now the richest in Mexico, were famed early, their discovery being made by the companies of Cortes. In fact, the Aztecs were familiar with these veins and showed them to the Spaniards. It was here that the method of treating silver ores by amalgamation with quicksilver was discovered by Bartolome de Medina in 1557.

The Aztecs were familiar both with gold and silver, but gold has not proved nearly so abundant in Mexico as the white metal. Thus, of the $3,275,000,000 worth of gold and silver estimated to have been mined between 1522 and 1879 gold furnished only from 4 to 8 per cent of the total. Everywhere the Spaniards prospected for these precious metals and evidence of their burrowing activity may be found in the rocks of all parts of the country. Many of these are corkscrew-like workings, but there are also splendid tunnels, of dimensions that excite the wonder of modern engineers. There are, in addition, ancient ore-reduction works and many other indications of former activity, long since abandoned to dust and decay.

There is a story of Vasquez de Mercado, a wealthy Spaniard of Guadalajara, who in 1552 was told by the Indians that a great mountain of pure silver existed in a region far to the north. After this he set forth, with a following of armed men, and traveled for many days, his eyes alert for the morning when the sun's early rays would be reflected back to him from the mountain of shining silver his fancy pictured. At last the sought-for hill rose on the far horizon. But on approaching, its metal contents proved to be iron, not silver.

The disappointed treasure hunter turned back, had fights with the Indians, some of his men being killed and himself wounded, and reached home to die of his wounds. But the Cerro del Mercado, the hill of iron, is still one of the wonders of Mexico.

We have spoken of only a few of the silver mines. They occur widely through the mountain regions of the state, the mines of which were pronounced by Humboldt to be "among the richest and greatest of the world." Toward the close of the eighteenth century horses and mules largely took the place of human labor in working the mines and treating the ores, and the old-time barbarity declined. But the hatred towards the Spaniard engendered in the Indian mind by long centuries of cruel treatment was a feature in the revolution that led to throwing off the yoke of Spain.

The period of turbulence that followed the gaining of independence put an end in great measure to mining operations for many years. Where working was continued the mine openings were guarded by fortress-like walls. These remain today in evidence of the troublous times of the past century. Mining is now prosecuted under the stimulus of foreign capital and with the most improved methods, and the output promises to remain large for a long period to come. It is American enterprise that has largely brought about this improved state of affairs.

Silver has done much towards the advancement of church architecture in Mexico. A tax on every pound of silver from the rich Santa Eulalia mine was used to build the fine cathedral of Chihuahua, and the splendid church at Taxco, in Guerrero, had a similar origin, as also the cathedral of Durango. It is said that in some mines the miners were permitted to carry out daily a large piece of rich ore, which they presented to the priest for church-building purposes. From this source the two-million dollar church at Catorce was built.

Though silver is the most valuable the rock products of Mexico, there are many others found throughout the Sierra Madre ranges and their offshoots. These include, in addition to silver, gold, copper, lead, quicksilver, iron, zinc, tin, platinum, coal, antimony, sulphur, petroleum, salt and others, as also a variety of precious stones, embracing opals, emeralds, sapphires, rubies, etc.

The yield of gold has not been large, but in recent times it has much increased, the value of the product at present being about $25,000,000 annually. That of silver is very much larger in quantity and considerably larger in value, reaching in some years a value of 0,000,000 or more. Next to silver in yield is copper, a metal not known to exist in Mexico a quarter of a century ago. Today Mexico stands second in the world's output, being surpassed only by the United States. The yield in 1911 was about 62,000 tons, that of the United States being nearly 500,000 tons. What the future yield of Mexico will be is hard to conjecture.

Of iron the most abundant known deposit is that of the famous Cerro del Mercado, already mentioned. This is estimated to contain 460,000,000 tons of ore, assaying 70 to 75 per cent of pure iron. There are deposits in several other states, large ones in Guerrero. The city of Monterey contains a number of iron manufacturing establishments.

Salt is largely produced, and Carmen Island, off the gulf coast of Lower California, possesses one of the leading salt beds in the world. Lead is plentiful and there appear to be large deposits of tin, though these are not worked. It has only recently been discovered that Mexico is rich in coal, no one yet knowing how great are the deposits. There are extensive beds of anthracite in Sonora, the seams in some places being fourteen feet thick. These are being worked by an American company. There are coal formations in other states, the most important in the republic being those of Coahuila. These are worked alike by Mexican and American capital and the output is of growing value.

Another Mexican product of large importance is petroleum. For about twenty-five years past prospecting for oil has gone on in Mexico, and it has been found in many places. It occurs in both the Atlantic and Pacific coast regions, almost, the whole Atlantic coast showing traces of oil and asphaltum, the total oil-yielding area being much larger than that of the United States. Much capital has been employed in oil-producing enterprises, with considerable success, and the promise is encouraging.

One of the best finds was that of 1908, when a rich "fresher" was struck at San Geronimo, near Tampico. Here the oil caught fire and burned freely for two months, the flames, 1,000 feet high, being visible a hundred miles distant. When the fire was extinguished the flow of oil was so great that dams of earth had to be built in all haste to check it. A large export trade from Tampico has sprung up, and war vessels were rushed there in all haste during the rebel attack on Tampico in December, 1913, to prevent the oil wells being tampered with. The interests of production and trade were felt to be more valuable than those of war.

Oppression of the Working People and Terrors of Peonage and Slavery

Mexico is a free country. The constitution says so, and of course constitutions do not lie. They may, however, prevaricate. The law-makers of Mexico have decided that all the people are free and politically equal, but the capitalist class pays little heed to this statesmanlike declaration, and today a large class of the people are in a state of laboring bondage equivalent to that of serfage in past ages. It is debt that brings men into this status of oppression. The laborer in debt loses his freedom, and debt is the common status of the peon class. A debtor cannot leave the estate of his employer, or if doing so is subject to arrest and return; while poor wages and improvidence act together to keep the laboring class in lifelong bondage to debt. The serf of old Europe was a fixture of the soil, and the peon of Mexico is, under the laws governing debt, usually a like fixture. As for actual slavery—well, we shall indicate further on that this state exists also in Mexico.

The conditions of agricultural life in Mexico need first to be stated. From the days of Cortes and the Spanish conquerors the natives of Mexico have been sorely oppressed. The Spanish settlers seized the land with a free hand and divided it into great manorial estates that needed the toil of multitudes of the natives for their development. As for the rights of the latter, they were utterly ignored. And even since the winning of freedom and the formation of a constitutional republic, with assurance of equal rights to all classes, the condition of the laborer is still open to improvement. Duplicity replaces force and much the same state of affairs persists.

In Mexico before the Spanish conquest the people at large held the land and a strong and independent peasant class existed. Great estates were not permitted, and the people were prosperous and satisfied. This system was overthrown by the Spaniards at a blow, and today the Indian lives by sufferance upon the soil that was owned and enjoyed by his ancestors. Enormous estates are now held by single proprietors, one in the State of Chihuahua being the largest in the world. One near Cuautla, in the State of Morelos, has two railway stations within its borders and a railway line of its own, while elsewhere are estates large enough to include whole counties.

The haciendas, or landed estates, of the Spanish worthies in the seventeenth century were like those of the Dutch patrons  of New York in the same period. Immense in size and governed like little kingdoms, no feudal baron of older Europe lived in fuller dominance than the hacienda proprietor. Free from interference by the government, he ruled over his minor domain like a king. The hacienda house, the great stone dwelling of the proprietor of the estate, was surrounded by outbuildings and the huts of the peons. In and out, all day long, went trains of laden burros, carrying wood, food-stuffs and fruit. Over the main entrance, or in the chapel tower, hung an alarm bell, its purpose being to warn the workmen in times of peril—and such times might come at frequent intervals in those semi-barbarous days. On hearing its clanging, tools were dropped and the men made all haste to the mansion, where, armed with rifles, they stood on guard in tower and turret and behind port-holes in the thick walls, ready to defend the master's house against the bands of bandits or plunder-seeking soldiers who threatened it. The sound of the bell is still at times heard, but its errand now is to warn the workmen against rain or hail in time of harvest.

The baron-like style and authority of the past is kept up on many of these great estates. In some cases the descendants of the original holders at the time of the conquest still hold them, and rule over whole villages of peons, field workers on the domain. One of these in the north formerly had within its confines twenty thousand laborers, the owner enjoying a princely income from their work, which he spent with a lavish hand in the capital or abroad. This system has been and still is a serious obstacle to the progress of the people of Mexico. As the case stands, primitive methods of agriculture prevail, the land is not half tilled, and much arable soil lies unused. We have compared the system with that of the former patroons of New York. It might as justly be compared with that of the great landed estates of the English nobility today, in which similar conditions of lack of development prevail. Neither country, England nor Mexico, can offer proper opportunity to its people while a great part of the land lies uncultivated.

Many of these old estates, as above said, retain primitive methods of agriculture, partly from the difficulty of teaching the ignorant workers the use of modern implements, partly from indifference on the part of the proprietors. Old-time wooden ploughs and antique ox-carts are still to be seen, while the grain is often threshed by driving horses and mules back and forth over it and winnowed by tossing it into the air. The American threshing and harvesting machines may at times be seen in operation, but the antiquated methods described are still very common.

When workmen are needed on these estates lawless and brigandish methods are at times employed to obtain them. The statement is made that, in the case of certain capitalists who were eager to found estates, or who desired to form land companies, the following method was pursued. A law was passed requiring that all land should be registered and that any person could claim landed property for which the holder had no recorded title. This law covered all the lands of Mexico, since before this time it was not the custom to record titles.

There were many ignorant small proprietors who knew nothing of this new law, and no effort was made to apprise them of its existence or to help them register their property. What did happen was that land companies were quickly formed and agents sent out, their purpose being to select the best lands, register them and turn their former owners adrift.

"You wish to see my papers," the small landholder might say. "What papers? I have no papers. This property was my father's, my grandfather's, and their father's and grandfather's, and this everybody hereabout knows."

Such a defense was of no avail against the new law, and the small farmers were turned adrift by hundreds or thousands, a species of wholesale robbery which is still being pursued. Nothing remained for the former proprietor but to stay at home and work for the man who had robbed him of his property, or to become a wandering peon, seeking labor wherever it could be found.

It is well to state here that the two recent rebellions against the authorities in power, that of the Maderists against President Diaz, and that of the Constitutionalists against Provisional President Huerta, were largely instigated by the above described condition of affairs. The policy of Diaz led towards greater accumulations of landed property, while the Madero platform pointed in the direction of restoring these lands to their original holders. The Carranza policy is the same, and General Villa has recently made a movement towards putting it into effect by seizing and threatening to confiscate the immense Terrazas estates in Chihuahua. It is not surprising, under the circumstances, that the leaders of rebellions find plenty of hard-fighting followers. A sense of wrong, a protest in arms against robbery, instigates many of them. Others who have suffered no loss in estate feel that the lands of the nation belong of right to its people, not to a few rich landowners, frequently foreigners. It is, perhaps, the sentiment of socialism, which is now making its way widely over the earth, which is dominant in this, but it is certain that so many could not be found to risk death and wounds except from some sufficient cause. In this case it is a bitter feeling of resentment against wrongs which the poor have long endured.

Natives of Tehuantepec Isthmus, Mexico.


The trouble in Mexico is not confined to the wrongs and needs of land laborers and despoiled landholders. There are manufacturing establishments where the condition of the workman is one of severe oppression. We give here a case in evidence, that of the cotton-mill operatives at Tizapan, a locality in the vicinity of Mexico City. Here were six hundred workmen whose wages ran from fifty cents to three dollars a week in American money, while their working time was eleven hours a day. These small wages were constantly reduced by petty fines. Every dirt spot in the calico and each slight dereliction had to be paid for. But the culminating exaction was the taxing each workman three centavos  weekly to pay for the food of the dogs guarding the factory.

This was beyond the limit of endurance. The workers refused to submit to these taxes and the mill was closed. Soon the operatives were in a starving condition. We mention this case in view of the fact that the workers issued a pitiful appeal for redress which shows an aggravated state of affairs.

"We are robbed in weights and measures," says this appeal. "We are exploited without mercy. We are fined down to the last penny of our wages, and are dismissed from our work with kicks and blows. Who can live on wages of three and four pesos weekly, with discounts for fines, house rent, and robbery in weights and measures? We protest against this state of affairs, and will not work until we are assured that the fines will be abolished and also the maintenance of dogs, for which we have no right to pay. Also that we be treated as workers, not as the unhappy slaves of a foreigner."

The above is the main part of this appeal. It will suffice to say that the workmen obtained no redress. Labor was plenty, even at very low wages, and the mill owners had no difficulty in replacing the strikers.

A much worse affair was that of the strike at the Rio Blanco cotton mills, near Orizaba. Here were six thousand laborers who worked thirteen hours a day for wages of from twenty-five to thirty-seven and a half cents a day. For dye-room labor forty-five cents were paid, not a very large wage in view of the poisonous nature of the air of these rooms and the suicidal character of the employment.

In Mexico there appear to be no labor laws, no legal protection for the workers, no means of recovering for damage to life and limb of operatives. As for the wages paid in the Rio Blanco mill, it was not given in money, but in orders on the company's store, where the prices for goods ranged from twenty to fifty per cent above those charged elsewhere.

We cannot go into all the details of the exploitation of the workers. It must suffice to say that a labor union was secretly formed. 'When this fact was discovered by the mill owners action was taken that would have created a practical rebellion in the United States. Men merely suspected of having signed the roll of the union were at once seized and thrown into prison, while a newspaper friendly to the strikers was suppressed and its plant confiscated. A strike having taken place in a mill at Puebla, the Rio Blanco workers contributed from their small wages to help the starving strikers. This fact was duly found out, and at once the Rio Blanco and other mills in the vicinity were shut down, all their operatives being put on the starving list.

The affair ended in a food riot, the men looting the store, and setting fire to it and the nearby mill. But the government had prepared for possible violence, battalions of soldiers having been stationed near the town, these being under command of the secretary of war himself. The outbreak was one that could easily have been suppressed by the local police force, but the soldiers were rushed into the town, ordered to fire, and volley after volley was poured into the unarmed crowd, numbers falling dead and wounded. Those who fled were pursued to their homes, dragged out, and shot to death. Some who hid in the hills were hunted for days and shot wherever found. The shooting continued for two or three days. Of those who were captured afterwards, about five hundred were impressed into the army and sent to Quintana Roo, a torrid territory adjoining Yucatan.

The government sought to conceal the facts of this massacre, but they were too flagrant to be hidden. Some of the details got into the newspapers, with the result that severe retribution was dealt out to the editors. Two of these were imprisoned for long terms, and a third was obliged to flee and was pursued to the borders of the United States. A fourth who published a paper in the capital city printed a mild comment on the affair. For this he was arrested, taken to the mill town, and held in secret confinement for five months, though no legal charge had been made against him. Yet liberty of the press is a sacred institution!

As may be conjectured, this severe discipline put an end to all newspaper dealings with the affair. The government did not approve of publicity. As for the town itself, eight hundred regular soldiers and two hundred of the rural police were quartered upon the company's property. Yet the affair could not be kept secret and in the end it led to the abolition of the company's store, and permission to the workers to buy where they pleased. No other redress was obtained, and the murders went unquestioned. As to the whole affair—and it is not the only one that might be mentioned—we can only say, that this was Mexico, not the United States. It may also be said that President Diaz is stated to have been a large stockholder in the Rio Blanco mill.

It will be seen that the trade union was not favored by the Mexican government. But despite this it has made its way in a measure. The trade unionists are the best paid workmen in the country, but their number as yet is not large. The government has been against them, and the hand of the government is heavy. President Vera, of the Grand League of Railway Workers, has been frequently imprisoned on the score of his activity in union affairs, and a strike of this order in 1908 was brought to an end by threats to imprison and try for conspiracy all men who did not return to work at once. As a result the strike was called off.

Let us now consider the condition of the agricultural laborers, the peons of the great estates. They have been already spoken of and the fact shown that they are content under conditions against which an American laborer would rebel. But this state of contentment does not apply to all of them. There has been developed in Mexico a system of contract labor which amounts to practical slavery. As to how this system of labor is managed and what are its results we may extract some statements from "Barbarous Mexico" by John Kenneth Turner. These have to do with the conditions existing on the tobacco plantations of Valle Nacional. This valley is a deep gorge twenty miles long and from two to five miles wide, in a mountainous district of the State of Oaxaca. The only place of entry to or exit from this valley is by way of a river and a bridle path over the mountain side, the route being very difficult, and guarded so that it is next to impossible for a dissatisfied workman to escape.

The state of affairs existing within this valley are such that the very name of it has become a word of horror to the working class of Mexico. Many are forced to enter; few come out, and those who do are in a dying condition. A railroad station agent is quoted as saying: "There are no survivors of Valle Nacional—no real ones. Now and then one gets out of the valley and gets beyond El Hule. He staggers and begs his way along the weary road towards Cordoba, but he never gets back where he came from. These people come out of the valley walking corpses; they travel on a little way and then they fall."

How are people induced to go into this vale of terrors? At first the planters imported workmen under contract to work for a given time. In cases where these sought to jump their contracts they were forced to stay. The advance money and the cost of transportation were held as a debt against them and under the Mexican law they would be held until this debt was worked out. Good care was taken that it should not be worked out. Low wages and the company system served for that and those who had entered stayed, to endure incredible conditions of ill treatment.

The time came when no laborer was willing to enter the valley. Then other means were taken to obtain them. The simplest one was to bribe the jefe politico. This is an official peculiar to Mexico who rules over districts corresponding to our counties and is also mayor of the chief town or city in his district. He is a little czar within his domain, and when a petty lawbreaker falls into his hand he can send him to jail or Otherwise dispose of him. One way is to sell his services to the Valle Nacional planters. As it apparently costs the jefe  a round sum paid the governor to obtain his office he recuperates himself in a variety of ways, this being one of them.

A second method is that of the labor agent. This is a man who opens an employment office in some town and advertises for workers, with the lure of high wages and comfortable homes, also free transportation. The bait is taken by many who wish to improve their condition. An advance fee of five dollars is paid, and the man—or his whole family if they are included in the contract—is locked up awaiting his removal. If he repents of his bargain there is no escape. When a number are thus obtained steps are taken to transport them. The agents are in collusion with the officials, and the victims, once secured, are held strict prisoners. If suspicious, they are told they are in debt and must work out the debt claim of their creditors before they can be set free. Rurales, rural police, guard them to the train and on their journey, and they are in due time delivered into the Valle National.

This is one way of obtaining contract laborers. There are others. One is a system of direct kidnapping. This may be of drunken men or of children. Throughout, the whole process, whatever the method, is unconstitutional, but it serves. The police officials recognize the advance fee as a debt and there is no escape.

Under the contract the laborer binds himself for six months, the labor agent receiving $45.00 for each man, half that sum for women and children. The work is hot, exhausting, enervating, the wages not enough to buy food and clothing, the store prices far beyond actual value of the goods, so that no one who completes his six months is able to pay his debt, or is set free if capable of any more work. The conditions of labor are very severe; the workers are beaten and starved; at night they are locked up together in a barnlike structure under guard. The whole system is a cruel and barbarous one, but it is one to which the government apparently pays no heed. It resembles in barbarity the state of the Mexican miners under the old Spanish rule.

Such is one of the examples of the oppression of labor in Mexico. Others might be mentioned. One that we shall briefly describe has to do with what may be regarded as actual slavery. This is that of the Indian workmen on the henequen plantations of Yucatan. Peonage exists there in full flower. It is, in fact, carried to its utmost extreme. We are told that the workers get no money, the company stores absorbing their wages; they are half starved, overworked, beaten severely for lack of completing their daily tasks, kept in debt, and seized and brought back if they attempt to escape. Photographs of them are taken, so that if they appear in town or city they can be picked up by the police. Yucatan is a country without springs or eatable wild fruits or herbs. Each runaway is obliged to seek the city or another plantation, and a stranger appearing in either is caught and held until he can be identified.

The work in the fields is to cut the leaves of the henequen plant, as these yield the fiber sought. Two thousand leaves is the daily task, twelve of the largest being taken from each plant every four months. These must be trimmed, piled and counted, and if the workman falls short in any of these particulars a severe beating is his meed.

In this connection it is especially important to speak of the Yaqui Indians, for it is to them in particular that the term of slaves in Yucatan may be applied. The story of the Yaquis is a pitiful one. This tribe is not one of savages. The Yaquis have always been peaceful agriculturists. They irrigated the soil, built towns, had schools and a government of their own, worked mines and possessed other conditions of civilization. Their locality was the State of Sonora, where they were looked upon as the best of laborers, superior as miners alike to Mexicans or Americans.

But trouble broke out with the Yaquis and they were driven into rebellion. For hundreds of years they had held some of the richest lands in Sonora. Unfortunately for the Indians their lands were very valuable. Men connected with the Sonora government wanted them and took means to get them. Mock surveyors were sent to mark out the land, they telling the people that they had no legal claim to it, and that the government had decided to appropriate it. Soldiers were sent into the valley who harassed the Indians, looted the funds of their chief Cajeme, and finally, by ill treatment, drove the Yaquis into rebellion. This took place some thirty years ago, and since then a state of warfare has existed between the government and the Yaquis, an army of several thousand men being kept in the field against them.

After some years Cajeme was taken and executed, but a new chief took his place and the war went on. Thousands have been killed on both sides, while many hundreds of the Indians have been taken and executed. In 1894 the government completed its unjust work. The best of the Yaqui lands were taken from them and handed over to General Lorenzo Torres. The Yaquis continued to resist until the great bulk of them were exterminated, those remaining taking to the mountains, where they were hunted like wild beasts.

Finally most of the Yaquis surrendered and were sent to a reservation in the north which proved to be a barren desert. From this they drifted to other parts of the state and became mine and railroad workers, or farm peons, their identity being lost. But a remnant of four or five thousand kept up the fight from a mountain stronghold. It was a place where water was plentiful and soil existed on which they could raise food plants, and was so easily defended that the soldiers were unable to reach them. Here they exist still, a few hundreds of them, keeping up the fight with unyielding courage.

As a result of this the government has been for several years past transporting all the Yaquis that can be found, whether peaceful or warlike, to Yucatan. Not alone Yaquis are taken, but poor members of other tribes are seized by the agents and transported to the henequen plantations, the payment of $65 for each stimulating them strongly and closing their eyes to the real origin of their victims. It is these poor and friendless souls who may justly be spoken of as slaves, for that they truly are. Thousands have been thus seized and transported, many of them dying on the road, for the government does not supply money enough to feed them properly. On the plantations they are treated in the same way as the peons spoken of, those who resist the treatment accorded being beaten until all power of resistance is whipped out of them. Their beatings are done with wet ropes of braided henequen, the whipping often continuing until the victim falls like a dead man to the ground. This almost daily process is what the overseers call "cleaning up."

The Yaquis, as we have said, are slaves. No question of being held for debt applies here. They are held for life, whether taken from field or mine, or seized in warfare. They make good workers when strong enough to survive the treatment which they have to endure, but, as one of the planters has said, "at least two-thirds of them die off in the first twelve months."

Much more might be said in this connection but the above must suffice. The subject is an unpleasant one at best, and certainly has to do with a shameful system of laws and an open defiance of the Constitution. As evidence of this we give the sections of the Constitution of the Republic of Mexico which apply to such cases as those described:

"ARTICLE I. SECTION 1. In the Republic all are born free. Slaves who set foot upon the national territory recover, by that act alone, their liberty, and have a right to the protection of the laws.

"ARTICLE V. SECTION 1. (Amendment.) No person shall be compelled to do personal work without just compensation and without his full consent. The state shall not permit any contract, covenant or agreement to be carried out having for its object the abridgment, loss or irrevocable sacrifice of the liberty of a man, whether by reason of labor, education or religious vows. . . . Nor shall any compact be tolerated in which a man agrees to his proscription or exile."

Few will maintain that the iniquitous debtors' law of Mexico, or at least the outrages which are perpetrated in its name, are in agreement with these assertions of human liberty, or that slavery like that of the peaceful Yaquis has any warrant in right or constitutional law.

The Mexican Capital and Other Cities

Travelers from the north who make the city of Mexico the goal of their journey, and who go there with vague ideas of what awaits them, are apt to be astonished by what they find. The rule is somewhat general that large cities present their most beautiful aspect when seen from afar and with Nature's adornments to add to their charm. "'Tis distance lends enchantment to the view." In many cases the city when entered fails to bear out the promise of its distant aspect, squalor and unsightliness pervading its streets.

This glamour surrounds Mexico City, when looked upon from the highlands which frame like a picture the beautiful Valley of Mexico. Verdant fields and embowered villages and manor houses spread charmingly on all sides, while the gleam of towers and domes, softened by distance and attractive in form and tint, lend an alluring promise to the distant view. But, unlike the cases alluded to, the city keeps the promise thus made, it being in fact one full of attractiveness. Its handsome public buildings, its extended boulevards and spreading parks, and the various features of its social and commercial life give it a charm that one hardly expects to find in this semi-tropical section of the continent. Yet it is no more than appears generally in the capital cities of the Latin-American republics, in which attractive conditions replace the primitive state of affairs which we are too apt to expect.

The Valley of Mexico, famous from the romance of its history and the warlike events of which it has been the center in past and recent times, is a broad and elevated basin lying in the narrowing southern section of the republic and surrounded by a curving rim of hills, which in the distant south-east tower upward into the snow-clad peaks of Popocatepetl and Ixtaccihuatl. Aside from its general features of attractiveness, its elevation, 7,410 feet above sea level, yields it a pleasant and healthful temperature, varying in its annual range between 60° and 75° F. While Mexico is often hot at midday, and at times bitingly cold in the early morning hours, extremes of heat and cold are rare and the foreigner soon learns to adapt himself to these changes, which the native meets by donning or doffing his warm cape or serape.

Monterey and its public square.


A natural basin, with no external drainage, the waters of the valley collect into a series of lakes in its lower section. The city of Mexico has the disadvantage of lying in the lowest portion of the. valley, near Lake Texcoco, which receives the drainage of the other and higher lakes, and renders the city specially liable to inundation. There have been disastrous examples of this at various periods. In that of 1629 thirty thousand of the poorer people perished. The city has a saturated subsoil due to its position, and this would be serious to its healthfulness but for its bracing and salubrious atmosphere.

The control of the waters of the valley has long been a matter of concern to the rulers of the state. The Aztecs began to excavate drainage canals a half century before Columbus discovered America, and these were continued by the Spaniards at various intervals. It was not, however, until within recent years that effective labor in this direction was begun. An English firm of engineers was employed and there has been made a canal thirty miles long, leading to a six and a half mile tunnel which perforates the rim of the valley. This carries the city sewage and its storm waters, with the overflow from Lake Texcoco. After passing through the tunnel the waters are used for irrigation and for an electric plant. They finally make their way into Panuco River, and by its channel into the Gulf of Mexico. This task was completed in 1898 and has proved of great advantage to the city, while the outflow has been fully utilized.

Why was the city founded in so undesirable a situation? Thereby hangs a tale. We are taken by it back to the time of Cortes and the Aztec Empire and to the exigencies then existing. Mexico had its predecessor in the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan, the capital of the Montezumas. It was founded on an island in Lake Texcoco for purposes of defense, since enemies of the Aztecs swarmed thickly in the surrounding country. Embankments were made to keep back inundations, and four high and well guarded causeways were constructed, leading to the lake borders, the largest of these being four or five miles long. These approaches play a leading part in the story of the Cortes episode in the city's history, a deadly battle being fought upon them. At the present day the waters of the lake have receded and left the city high and dry, the nearest lake border being two miles from the city limits. The remains of one of the Aztec causeways still persists, it being part of a city street.

The Aztec capital was so thoroughly destroyed by the Spanish invaders that very sparse relics of it can now be found. Cortes, for reasons of his own, began his capital on the same site, instead of seeking a more suitable one elsewhere. Perhaps, like the Aztecs, he had in mind the idea of defense against possible Indian assault.

He not only replaced the Aztec city by a Spanish one, but even selected the site of the temple of the Aztec war-god and patron deity for that of his projected cathedral of the Christian faith. Long afterwards, in 1573, during the reign of Philip II, this great work of architecture was begun. It went on with distracting slowness, the marshy nature of the soil rendering the task of the builders a very difficult one. So great was the task that fifty years passed before the walls grew to the height of twenty feet, and nearly a century before the building was in condition for an inaugural service to be held. This was in 1667, and not until 1730 was the ambitious task completed. The total cost was nearly three million dollars, but the small sums paid for material and labor reduced the actual cost in human toil immensely, and at present rates of labor probably fifteen millions would be nearer the sum needed. The building is one of great size and splendor, of Gothic architecture, its exterior profusely adorned with Grecian pilasters and its summit with a superb dome, the total length being over 400 feet, the height from floor to roof 179 feet. Money has been lavished on its interior, the ornamentation of the high altar costing the immense sum of a million and a half dollars. The whole work is one of which Mexico may be justly proud.

There are fourteen chapels in the edifice, each highly decorated and profusely gilded. A fact of interest in regard to these is that under the altar of one of them lie buried the heads of Hidalgo and three others of the patriot leaders in the revolution of 1810. Executed by the Spaniards, their heads were brought here with great pomp and display after independence had been gained, and ceremoniously interred in this sacramental place. Iturbide, who ruled as emperor after the revolution, was also buried in one of these chapels.

Chihuahua, Northern Mexico.


A high railing of richly carved woods surrounds the choir, being connected with the nave by a passageway with a balustrade of rich tombac alloy. This is a mixture of gold, silver and copper of such value that when a speculative American offered to replace the railing with one of solid silver he met with an indignant refusal. There is already a tabernacle of solid silver in the cathedral worth over $150,000, while the lamp that lights the sanctuary is said to have cost $80,000. The walls of the cathedral are so covered with oil paintings that they fairly overlap each other for lack of room, one of them being from the hand of Murillo, and another probably the work of Velasquez. Yet this famous temple, which gives the visitor the impression of a glitter of gems and gold, is patronized chiefly by the poor, those of the wealthier class rarely being seen there. To the poor Indians, who form its most numerous visitants, it must seem like some temple out of the "Arabian Nights."

The city itself stands prominent among the Latin-American capitals from its antiquity and the romance attached to its history. Buenos Ayres much exceeds it in population but has nothing of interest in its history, and Lima, Pizarro's beautiful capital, is much smaller than the city of Cortes, and has no story antedating the conquest. It is its position as the capital of the Aztec empire that gives Mexico its halo of ancient fame.

As for itself, there is much in it worthy of attention, it being a city of wide streets, fine avenues and handsome buildings. The type of architecture reminds one of its Spanish origin, notable in the picturesque facades of the residences, the grille-covered windows, the frequent balconies over-looking the streets, and other features typical of Spain and its mode of living. One of these is the thick walls and substantial character of its older buildings, which seem to have been intended for fortresses as well as residences.

The ornate central point of the city is the Plaza Mayor, a spacious public square which forms its heart, and from which start several of the principal streets. This place is full of historic interest, for it is the spot around which spread the famous Aztec capital, the Tenochtitlan which fell before the Spanish conquerors, and around the site of which the city of Cortes grew. It is spoken of as "an embryo Champs Elysees which threatens to outvie its Parisian rival in stateliness and expansiveness." Upon it rises the towered cathedral, facing which, on the opposite side, stands the National Palace, a gray stone, two-storied building not especially notable for its architecture, but famous for its history. Here stood the palace of Montezuma, and here Cortes built himself a mansion, which, in 1562, his descendants sold to the government. For more than a century succeeding it formed the palace of the viceroys, but was in 1692 destroyed in a riotous outbreak of the people. On its site the present palace was built, being completed in 1699.

The National Palace is in the Spanish style of architecture, and possesses a picturesque quaintness that yields it a degree of attractiveness. Its front has an extent of 675 feet and the building extends backward in due proportion, its wings enclosing a large square. The interior is ample in dimensions and the apartments devoted to the President are decorated and furnished in rich and costly style. Extending the entire length of its front is the regal Hall of Ambassadors, with large windows looking toward the cathedral. Here the President receives the foreign representatives with dignified official ceremony. Among the portraits upon the wall are those of George Washington, Iturbide, Juarez, Diaz and other personages of historic note. The Liberty Bell of Mexico, the one rung by Hidalgo in 1810 in the village of Dolores to call the people to arms in the war of independence, hangs over the main entrance to the palace, and is held in high regard. Brought to the capital in 1896, it is rung every year on the 15th of September by the President of Mexico, a vast crowd assembling to hear its historic peal.

A wing of the palace contains the National Museum, a place of high interest to archeologists, it containing a rich collection of the antiquities of old Mexico, including the idols of the Aztecs and other tribes; arms, utensils and other "relics of the Aztecs and Toltecs; with the few Aztec picture writings which escaped the fury of the bigoted monk who consigned the Aztec archives to the flames on the plea that they were records of idolatry. He will not soon be forgiven by archeologists for this insensate act of destruction. Among its most valuable relics is the famous Calendar Stone, a huge stone circle elaborately carved with what appear to be divisions of the calendar. Its interest is in a measure due to the vain efforts that have been made to decipher the meaning of its carvings. It was found imbedded in the walls of the great Aztec temple.

Near the entrance appears the great Sacrificial Stone of the Aztec temple, a circular, elaborately carved mass of stone, on which victims were sacrificed to the terrible wais god. In addition are many other Indian idols, including a huge statue of the Goddess of Water, eleven feet high and five wide. There are numerous other Aztec relics, weapons, head-dresses, etc., together with relics of the Spanish invaders. In addition are a portrait of Cortes and others of more recent date, ranging as far down as the Emperor Maximilian.

Various other interesting buildings stand in the vicinity of the Plaza, including a row of shops the two-storied buildings of which have their lower stories in the forms of arcades or portales. These, supported by columns and extending over the sidewalk, offer a grateful shade on a sunny day. In them are a number of attractive stores, while many itinerant vendors find shelter outside. Arcades of this kind are a common feature of the plazas of Mexican cities. In the center of the Plaza is a small square called the Zocalo, planted with trees and flowers, in which a regimental band plays several times every week.

We have not named all the buildings around the Plaza. Among them is the Monte de Piedad, or national pawnshop, a kind of establishment which is common in Mexican cities, in which loans on pledges can be had at reasonable rates of interest. There is also the Volador, or Thieves' Market, where goods are offered for sale at low prices and no questions asked. Most of them are probably stolen articles. Near the cathedral is the Flower Market, which forms a very attractive scene with its wealth of floral treasures. These are sold at very cheap rates. A large building is used as a city hall, being the official residence of the heads of the civic administration and containing the offices of the principal departments of the city.

There is a flavor of antiquity about the Plaza which adds much to its interest. The Cathedral and National Palace are very old buildings, and the whole place has probably changed very little during at least two centuries of the past. Here Spanish cavaliers, in times of old, strode proudly about, clad in doublet and hose, discussing the latest—not very late—advices from Europe, and the newest events in Mexico. Here have trod the saddened victims of the Inquisition, on their way to trial in the old Inquisition building, now used as a medical institution. Here rode in regal state the Spanish viceroys, under canopies of silk held by Indian slaves, on their way to the adjoining palace, pompous processions walking in their trains.

Post office in the City of Mexico.


Famous among the streets of the city is the splendid Pasco de la Reforma, a continuation of the wide Avenida de Juarez. This is a magnificent drive and promenade, about two and a half miles in length, leading to the Castle of Chapultepec. Nowhere can be found a finer avenue. Throughout its length extends a double line of trees, chiefly eucalyptus, while it is adorned with a profusion of statues. On each side are rows of handsome houses, with trim lawns and beautiful flower beds. At intervals the Pasco opens into circles, called glorietas, in which the statues are clustered. At the city end of the avenue is a bronze equestrian statue of Charles V, emperor at the time of the Conquest. There is in another circle a finely carved statue of Columbus. The most beautiful and notable of these works of art is the monument and statue of Guatemoc, the nephew of Montezuma II and the last of the Aztec emperors. Scenes from the life of this noble warrior are wrought in bronze on the base, while the statue is in war dress and bears a spear poised in its hand.

The Castle of Chapultepec, at the end of the Pasco, stands on a high bluff, on the face of which some Indian hieroglyphs still remain. The word, in Aztec speech, means the "Hill of the Grasshopper," and here the Montezumas had their summer palace. The present building, a wide, rambling structure, was built in 1785 and was taken by storm by the American army in 1847. Maximilian, who chose it for his imperial palace, decorated the interior and planted the beautiful gardens which now surround it. It is still the summer palace of the Mexican rulers, the President residing there for a month or two each summer. Official visitors of distinction are entertained there and apartments in the castle allotted to them during their stay.

We have spoken so far of only the show places of Mexico City. Around these, spreading out on all sides from the Plaza, lies the city itself, a metropolis of about half a million population, and in its outer aspect bearing a resemblance to the Anglo-Saxon cities to which we are accustomed. It has its miles of wide asphalted streets, bordered by houses built in Spanish style with balconies and barred windows. Electric lights make them brilliant at night, and the trolley car, well laden with passengers, is everywhere in evidence. There is something familiar in all this, but when we seek for the tone of the city, that which gives it its special character, we find ourselves far removed from Anglo-Saxondom.

Here is none of the rush and bustle, the feverish haste in the occupation of money-making, the whirl and worry of business activity which pervades the cities of the great northern republic. On the contrary there is an atmosphere of serenity, of easy-going indifference to the ardent claims of business. It is a state of affairs in which money is doubtless gathered in less rapidly, but in which quiet enjoyment of life exists in a far greater degree.

Avenue Juarez in Mexico City,


Walk the streets at night and the same thing appears. One does not see the crowds rushing to and fro in search of pastime and amusement, but finds instead almost deserted streets. Even as early as nine o'clock few stores and restaurants are to be found open and the sidewalks are almost bare of people. The rush, the clang, the uproar of such cities as New York and London are replaced by a strange aspect of quietness, as if we were in a city of another world.

There is, however, a reason for this other than that of lack of enterprise. It must be borne in mind that Mexico City lies at an elevation higher than that of the tops of the Alleghanies, and while the day, even in winter, is mild and agreeable, the night is apt to greet us with a biting chill. Even in summer, nighttime is unpleasantly cold. In winter the chill is often bitterly severe. Thus after nightfall it is much pleasanter to stay within doors, and those who go abroad need to wear their warmest wraps. There are a few theaters and moving-picture shows open, but their patrons make all haste to their doors, and it needs an attractive company or play to draw a crowd to the halls of the drama. Those who wish to see the gaiety for which Mexico has gained a reputation must do so in the daytime. At night the climate is too much in evidence, and only some strong attraction or urgent business call can bring people abroad.

The plan of the city is in great measure the geometrical one common to American cities in general, that of streets crossing each other at right angles, the main avenues being lined with stores with showily furnished windows. Its charm when seen from a height is largely due to its abundance of domes and towers, there being handsome churches in all quarters of the city. The dominating feature is that of the two great towers of the cathedral, nearly 200 feet in height and conspicuous from any point of view. The style of architecture here, as in all Mexican towns and cities, is that imported from Spain in past centuries and prevalent throughout Spanish America. The house has a wide entrance door, or saguan, an interior court-yard, or patio, and strong grilles of iron bars or scroll work to all the windows. The doors are so heavy that it would need dynamite to blow them open.

The patio  is, in the houses of the wealthy, paved with. marble, the doors of the lower rooms opening into it. The houses are two storied, a broad stairway leading upward to a wide balcony or gallery above the patio. Into this the upper rooms open, and its outer balustrade is generally decorated with flowers or verdant plants. The roof extends out to cover the gallery, being supported by pillars, and thus makes a pleasant shelter from the sun. In these houses fireplaces and stoves are rarely used. The Mexican seer to prefer to sit and shiver under his poncho than to enjoy the comfort and warmth of houses artificially warmed. To the visitor from the north this mode of life has but one advantage, that of the rare occurrence of conflagrations in Mexican cities. A further feature of the Mexican house worthy of mention is the azotea, or flat roof. This is often accessible from the interior and adorned with plants and flowers, making it an agreeable place of resort.

The description given applies to the main or central part of the city. Around it, on all sides except that leading to Chapultepec, are miles of squalid streets, in which dwells the poor part of the population, and which are as unpleasant to the visitor as those of the east side of New York and the east end of London. Indians are here vastly in the majority, and may be seen in multitudes, in ragged cotton attire, blankets and straw sombreros. Next in number are the Mestizos, or half-breeds, who constitute the middle class, the richer being chiefly those of pure Spanish descent. "Whites" the latter call themselves, though their whiteness is usually of an olive-brown shade, indicating that some trace of Indian blood has crept into their veins. The fact is, that marriage with Aztec maidens of the better class was common enough in the past, no one viewing it as out of order, the result being that the Indian stamp is strongly impressed even upon the aristocratic class. The population of Mexico, however, is not confined to the classes named, it being a highly cosmopolitan one, representatives of all nations and races of mankind having made their way hither.

An interesting relic of Aztec times is the Viga Canal, famed of old for its floating gardens and leading from the Indian quarter over swamps, plantations and wastes to Xochimilco, the "Field of Flowers." Daily along its liquid surface ply primitive boats carrying vegetables, fruits and flowers to the native market. As for the "floating gardens," however, if they ever really floated, they have long ceased to do so. What bears this name are areas of spongy soil, irrigated by ditches, and planted by Indian farmers with flowers and vegetables. Similar gardens are still made by driving stakes into the shallow lake bottom, winding rushes around them, and filling in with the fertile surrounding mud.

There is much more that might be said about the capital city, its parks, monuments, art gallery, public library, theaters, water-works, scientific and educational institutions, etc., but these present nothing distinctive from cities in general. The Castle of Chapultepec is not alone a summer palace for the President, but contains also a military academy and is surrounded by a public park. There are numerous other squares and parks, among them the Alameda, dating back to the period of the viceroys. There are also several good theaters and a grand opera house of recent construction. Calle Cinco de Mayo (Fifth of May Street) contains some of the finest buildings in the city, among them a number of new American office buildings of ten or more stories in height, an invasion of the sky-scraper from which no modern city can escape. Other streets bear still more peculiar names, some of them grotesque, such as "Pass If You Can Street," "Lost Child Street," "Street of the Wood Owls," etc.

In one respect Mexico City is not a desirable place to live in, the death rate being very high. This is especially the case in the winter season, and is due to the saturated condition of the soil. In the vicinity are a number of shallow lakes, which receive the entire drainage of the Valley of Mexico. Of these Zompanco is twenty-five feet above the city level, and drains into Texcoco, the nearest to the city streets. The overflow of these lakes is now carried away by the drainage canal and tunnel, but Mexico remains perennially damp and typhoid and malarial fevers are common, while pneumonia is very prevalent. Infant mortality is especially great, and taking this into accent the average duration of life in the city reaches the very low level of twenty-six years.

The remaining cities of Mexico must be dealt with briefly, as they in many respects bear a close resemblance to the capital. One of the nearest of these to Mexico, being within a short distance by rail, is the city of Puebla, situated in the eastern mountain region and capital of the state of the same name. It has a population of 125,000, and ranks next in importance to Mexico City. Here there are extensive cotton mills and surrounding the city is a prolific agricultural and mineral region. A quaint old city is Puebla, its original aspect having been much better preserved than in the capital. It was originally called Puebla de los Angelos (the City of the Angels), from the legend that two angels laid out its plans for the old friar Julian Garcia. It is also often called the "City of Churches," from the abundance of these within its limits. There are also many fine old Spanish mansions, in numerous cases decorated on their outer walls with tiles of ancient Moorish design. These tiles, for which the city was once famous, were the work of Indian potters; but the art and artists alike have vanished, and only these traces of their work remain.

Puebla has the reputation of being the cleanest city in Mexico, and this it well deserves. Streams of clear water run through deep gutters on the streets, and sanitary conditions are heedfully preserved. Of its buildings, the finest is the cathedral, built in 1636, and in size and beauty of decoration a rival to that of Mexico City. Onyx, of which there are large quarries near the city, is profusely used in its interior, the pulpit being carved from it and the high altar a combination of onyx and vari-colored marbles. The chandelier, made of solid silver, is said to have cost $75,000.

Guadalajara, capital of the State of Jalisco in the western Sierra Madre, as Puebla is in the eastern, has the reputation of being the most beautiful city in Mexico. This reputation is well deserved. It lies in a plain surrounded by mountains, its streets intersecting parks and plazas, well shaded with trees, and richly adorned with flowers. Not only the city, but its women, are spoken of as the most beautiful in Mexico.

Seated at an altitude of about 5,000 feet, its climate is all that could be desired, its air dry and balmy, its temperature June-like throughout the year. Its mornings and evenings are never cold, and it has gained a high reputation as a health resort. One interesting feature. about it is the fact that, though it has busy manufacturing interests, it is free from smoke. The people have learned the art of utilizing their water power, and all the machinery is run by electricity.

Guanajuato, near the silver mines.


Guanajuato, the "Silver City," capital of the state of the same name, lies to the northward from Mexico City, and in the midst of the chief silver-mining industry of the republic. The mines here were worked in the far past by the Aztecs, and under Spanish control the yield increased enormously, the district being the richest in silver of any in the country. Money has been produced here by the billion rather than the million of dollars, and spent as profusely. It is said that some of its millionaires, by the practice of scattering silver coins in the streets as they rode past, filled the city so full of beggars that they became a public nuisance.

The city has more than 40,000 population and is built in a very picturesque situation, being seated in a deep and narrow valley between hills, up the sides of which the streets straggle, some of them being mere rock-paved paths too steep for travel except on foot. Its chief structural feature is the Juarez Theater, built of a pale green stone and marble, with a grand portico and magnificent internal decorations. It is said to have cost a million dollars to build, the munificence of some of the silver magnates doubtless aiding in this.

Much farther north, in the mist of the wide northern plateau, a region of deserts, stands the city of Chihuahua, recently notable for the doings of its revolutionary captor, Francisco Villa. Here in past times roamed the savage Apaches, the cruelest and most irreclaimable of all the wild tribes of American Indians. Chihuahua stands at an elevation of nearly 5,000 feet, the climate being a highly healthful one. Its population of 30,000 occupies the center of a broad region of high agricultural capacity, though its development has as yet made little progress. In the surrounding country are the great grazing ranches of Mexico. In its vicinity are the Casas Grandes, highly interesting ruins from the remote past.

Chief among the cities of the tierra caliente  is Vera Cruz, famous as the spot on which the white man's foot first trod in Mexico, and important in the past as the chief seaport of the republic. While other ports, especially Tampico, have come into rivalry with it, it remains a place of considerable importance. At one time it bore an evil name from the great prevalence of yellow fever, but this has been practically stamped out by the new methods of dealing with this terrible plague. The town has in fact actually gained fame of late as a health resort, many seeking it from Mexico City as a seat of warmth and healthfulness. Its population, about 30,000 in number, is mainly composed of Mestizos, and there is a considerable foreign element, composed of people concerned in the products of the adjoining country and the commercial interests of the city. It was in this seaside city that Sir Francis Drake took his first lesson in piracy, and it has been frequently attacked and looted since. It was occupied by the French in 1838, captured by General Scott's army and fleet in 1847, and formed the basis of supply for the French army during the occupation from 1862 to 1867.

There is no harbor, but only an open roadstead between the city and the island castle of San Juan de Ulna, but its status in this direction has of late been greatly improved by harbor works constructed by English engineers.

The best port on the east coast is that of Tampico, which has developed from a small fishing village into a bustling commercial city, largely under the impetus of the highly valuable oil wells which have been opened in its vicinity. It is also connected by rail with the important city of San Luis Potosi, and with Monterey, the seat of the chief iron and steel industry in the country. These advantages and that of its much better harbor facilities have brought it into keen rivalry with Vera Cruz. On the coast of Yucatan is the thriving port of Progreso, which handles the large henequen export trade and the imports needed for the plantations and the city of Merida, the handsome capital of this peninsular state. There are numerous other ports on the Gulf coast, the one of most present importance being Coatzacoalcos, the eastern terminus of the interoceanic Tehuantepec Railway.

Catacombs beneath the Panteon in Guanajuato.


The west coast has a splendid natural harbor, that of Acapulco, the best after San Francisco on the Pacific coast of North America. Its trade, however, has hitherto been an unimportant one through lack of railroad communication with the interior. But more than one railroad is now headed towards it, and the Panama Canal is sure to add greatly to its importance as a seaport and center of commercial traffic. It is surrounded by lofty mountains, the passage to the sea being a narrow and tortuous, though safe one. Its difficulty hitherto has been the almost impassable mountain obstruction in the rear, this prohibiting the building of a railroad except at great cost.

The port of Salina Cruz, at the western terminus of the Tehuantepec Railway, has been changed from an open road-stead into an enclosed harbor by the building of two long and strong breakwaters, giving complete protection from the rough outer sea, and providing an area of some twenty acres of safe and still waters. An immense trade has already developed there, and it has promises of great increase.

There are other harbors of some promise on this coast, the most important among them being that of Manzanillo, in the State of Colima. This has a fine natural harbor, which has been developed by the government through the engineering skill of an American contractor, Colonel Edgar K. Smoot, the builder of the splendid works at Galveston harbor. The contract was signed in 1899, and today Manzanillo has a safe harbor of about 160 acres in area, in which a hundred vessels may ride at anchor in safety. Aside from its convenience the harbor of Manzanillo is said to surpass that of Naples in natural beauty, the circle of surrounding hills which come down to the coast being covered with the most luxuriant and verdant vegetation. In addition to the above may be named the port of Guaymas in the Gulf of California, and Magdalena Bay, on the outer coast of Lower California, of interest from the fact that Japan is said to have been trying to gain possession of it.

There are other cities in Mexico of considerable importance, as Jalapa, capital of the State of Vera Cruz; Oaxaca, the birthplace of Juarez and Diaz; Durango, capital of the State of that name, etc. Oaxaco, and the State of the same name, are of interest from the very numerous ruins of pre-historic inhabitants that occur in the vicinity of the city and throughout the State. Nowhere else in Mexico is there such an abundance of these ruins, in the form of terraces, pyramids, walls and other evidences of a dense and busy population in the far past. Chief among them are the famous edifices of Mitla, elsewhere described.

Sporting Life in Mexico

All parts of the Mexican country present attractions to the hunter, and in time the sportsmen of the world will find a field for sport here to rival that of bear-hunting in the Rockies or wild-beast shooting in Africa and Asia. While game is found throughout the land, certain districts are peculiarly prolific in this direction, and of these especially we shall speak.

In regard to wild-fowl hunting, there is no country that surpasses Mexico. Here are to be found in multitudes such birds as the swan, goose, brant and duck of varied species, pelican, snipe and curlew by the millions, and many others. On Lake Chapala ducks are shot by hundreds of thousands yearly, sport being here so cheap and easy that the facilities are unsurpassed. The fowls breed so plentifully that so far no decrease in their numbers is observable. What will happen if the omnivorous sportsman from the American north or from England makes his way hither is another story.

A favorite way with Mexican sportsmen of hunting ducks and geese is to stalk them from a canoe. They can easily be approached in their feeding grounds under cover of the rushes, and are so tame and numerous that a day's stalking is sure to yield a full bag. Another prolific locality is that of a large swamp region in the State of San Luis Potosi, where aquatic birds flock in vast numbers in the winter season. They have multiplied so rapidly as to be almost a nuisance and the freest liberty is open to the sportsmen. Yet little avail is made of it and the ardent lover of sport of this kind could find here an ample field for his skill.

What some speak of as a sportsman's paradise exists in the tropical belt between the Sierra foot-hills and the Gulf of Mexico. This region is the home of almost every variety of feathered game, pheasants especially being here in abundance. There are five species of these, varying greatly in size, and the sportsman has the fullest opportunity to deal with them the year through, there being no close season for these birds in Mexico.

Quail are also numerous, there being six or seven species. The American quail, or "bob-white," is to be found abundantly along the Rio Grande, where it finds suitable cover and food. A shyer bird, and one that gives the gunner more trouble, is the blue Mexican quail, which avoids the vicinity of human habitations and lurks in the sage-bush thickets of the sheep and goat ranges. Here it displays an astuteness in keeping out of range of the hunter's shot-gun that makes its hunting a matter of difficulty, and thus adds to the attraction to sportsmen. Another species, the Massena partridge, is a beautiful but rather rare bird, its abiding place being the foot-hills bordering the valley of the Rio Grande, where it is apt to seek the most solitary localities. In other parts of the country several other species are to be found, one being the California valley quail, a handsome bird abundant in Lower California.

In the tropical foot-hill region on the Pacific side is a large species of quail, a beautiful bird known here by its scientific name of perdix. It has a round, plump body and scarcely any show of tail, seeks solitary places, and when frightened rises with the whirr of the ruffled grouse, but soon comes to earth again.

Snipe shooting may be enjoyed in marshy places all over the country, a favorite locality being a game preserve held by former President Diaz, on the shores of Lake Xochimilco, which is nowhere surpassed in its facilities for snipe shooting. Other game birds are the golden plover, doves and wild pigeons, which are found in abundance and afford excellent sport. A species of pigeon is found in the Sierra Nevada closely resembling the formerly abundant wild pigeon of the United States, and another species haunts the swamp region, a shy, wary bird that gives excellent sport to the patient hunter.

There are other species of the dove family, also swans, which come annually from the Arctic region, the Canada goose, with cranes, herons, storks and other aquatic birds. The geese frequent suitable localities in multitudes, and there are numerous varieties of ducks, which in some places are slaughtered in the most unsportsmanlike manner, even dynamite being used to kill them. It is said that on the shores of Lake Xochimilco more than 1,500 ducks were killed by a single discharge of a trap battery.

Among the ducks are the favorite canvas-back, the mallard, redhead, widgeon, both blue and green-winged teal, and other varieties. Parrots and other bright-plumaged birds exist in the lowlands in great numbers, and the turkey is found throughout the tropical region and the Sierras. The species include the bronze wild turkey of Texas and an equally large but lighter-colored variety which frequents the western Sierra Madre. In Southern Mexico the Honduras turkey and some smaller species are found.

Such is a rapid survey of the game birds of Mexico. They exist by the legion, and have hitherto as a rule been very inadequately hunted, so that their numbers have scarcely begun to diminish. For the hunters of wild fowl this field promises to furnish sport for generations to come.

While the woods of Mexico thus afford such varied and abundant sport, the same may be said of the waters. The fish supply is equally abundant. Unfortunately the same reckless methods of hunting the fish exist as have been mentioned in respect to duck slaughter. As yet no effort has been made to suppress the indiscriminate killing of fish and game in the localities where this prevails, there being no game laws in Mexico except in the case of a few States, and even in these they are little observed. Such protection as the game of Mexico has hitherto had comes from the high price of ammunition and the local restrictions to hunting made by the large landholders, but some general system of protective laws is needed, preventive at least of such cases of reckless slaughter as have been mentioned.

Among the game fish attractive to sportsmen is the tarpon, the most famous habitant of the Gulf waters. Florida 'has won the reputation of having the best tarpon-fishing waters in the world, but Mexico presents superior opportunities for sport in this special field. The fishing season here extends from November 1st to April 1st. The first rod-fishers for tarpon were two Englishmen, who caught the pioneer tarpon by rod at Tampico in 1899. Dr. Howe, an enthusiastic sportsman of Mexico City, has had the credit of taking the largest tarpon ever seen, it measuring 6 feet 8 inches long and weighing 223 pounds. Since then he has taken a 6 foot 10 inch fish, while Mr. Wilson, British Vice-consul at Tampico, has the honor of landing a 7 foot 22 inch fish, but of less weight than Dr. Howe's prize.

The tarpon, while among the largest of fish taken with the rod, is also one of the gamest. In proportionate size it is as gamy as a black bass, it taking often from one to three hours to land a fish, while its struggles to escape exhaust the fisherman as well as the fish. To the fisher, however, this is an added zest, as he has the glory of having won victory as a solace for his fatigue. Dr. Howe says that the best tarpon fishing in the world is found in the Panuco River, at Tampico, and this seems borne out by results. One American fisherman, in December, 1897, caught there in eleven days fish weighing in all 3,500 pounds, and in 1900 landed in one day six tarpon of an average length of 5 feet 81 inches.

The art of tarpon fishing is said to be that of keeping a steady strain upon the line. If this is intermitted long enough to give the fish a moment's breathing spell, he is freshened for another hard battle. Tarpon fishing is hard work, despite the splendid sport which it affords, this fish having more fight to the pound than any other animal taken with hook and line.

Big game hunting in the wilds is not wanting in Mexico. In fact the opportunities there are said to be better at present than anywhere else in North America, except, probably, Alaska and Canada, and some of the United States preserves where game of this kind is rigidly protected. In Mexico no effort has been made to protect such game, and, in fact, little to protect game of any kind. But the Mexicans are far from being enthusiastic sportsmen in this line of effort, and the wild animals have been little disturbed. The American eagerness in this special field of hunting has not developed in our neighbors beyond the border. As a result the wild beasts of Mexico roam the woods and wilds in comparative safety.

The Sierra Madre mountains, from the United States border southward, harbor several species of bear, including the ferocious grizzly, and the less dangerous cinnamon and brown bears. The puma or cougar is also fairly abundant, and in the plains and foot-hills on both sides of the country exists the jaguar, or spotted tiger. Here is also found the water-haunting tapir, while the small but fierce peccary is abundantly in evidence. On the plateau the coyote is never wanting.

Animals of less perilous character include antelopes and deer, one of the latter being a very large variety of the black-tailed species. Smaller forms embrace the beaver, armadillo, rabbit, marten, otter, etc. In the waters the alligator occurs abundantly on both ocean shores, as also large turtles and tortoises. Of noxious reptiles may be named the rattlesnake, and of poisonous insects the tarantula, centipede and scorpion. Among the insect pests the mosquitoes must be taken well into account, those of Mexico being especially fierce and poisonous. Ticks are also a great detriment to comfort in hunting, as they swarm in myriads on every tree and bulb.

Such is a rapid description of the wild game of Mexico and the opportunities for shooting and fishing offered by that country. As for animal sports of different character may be mentioned those of cock-fighting and the bull-ring, both favorite forms of sport to the Mexicans of all classes. It is a mode of excitement in which the Indian is especially enthusiastic, fighting-cocks being numerous in every Indian village, where they may be seen everywhere outside the tents, tied by the leg to a stake. Victorious birds are carried from village to village, and on their prowess the Indian stands ready to stake his last centavo.

Among those of better estate game-cocks value high, a good one often selling for as much as a horse, or even more. A fairly good saddle horse may be had for sixteen dollars or less, but a game-cock of high fame may bring as much as fifty dollars. The usual price, however, is from six to twelve dollars according to their pedigree and record. These figures refer to American currency, the Mexican dollar having but half the value of the American.

The United States supplies the best of these birds, large numbers being sent to Mexico yearly, for use during the very numerous fiestas or church holidays. Excellent ones, however, are bred in the republic, Japanese hens being used. Special trainers are employed to take care of the birds, feeding, cleaning and exercising them. Each cock has its own abiding place in the house set aside for the birds, its name being inscribed above its coop. These are such Spanish words as those for "Sparrow," "Tyrant," "Cat" and various other names given by their respective owners. Here the cocks eat, drink and sleep, a cord fastening each to a ring in the floor. They are taken out daily for a run, this separately to prevent encounters, and each has also half an hour to roll and dust himself in the dirt box.

When a fight is on, a small curved knife blade, slender and sharp as a razor, and three or four inches long, is tied to the right leg of the bird, as an artificial spur, one capable of inflicting deadly wounds. The birds are now patted on the back, pinched and poked at each other, and allowed to pick at some other bird so as to excite them. Then they are put down in a corner of the cock-pit, opposite one another, and in an instant fly at each other. Frequently one of the birds falls dead or badly wounded at the first stroke and a battle is usually over in one or two minutes. Birds are seldom fought until they are two years old, and some go through five or six battles. Where the wound is clean cut, it is easily healed. Among the gentry the betting is often high, as much as five hundred dollars being wagered on a single fight. With the peons the bet, while small, is apt to reach the narrow limit of their financial resources.

The great national form of sport in Mexico is that of the bull-fight, a favorite recreation in all Spanish and Spanish-American countries. The day chosen for such a fight is Sunday—in the afternoon. In Mexico City the fights are held on the Plaza de Toros, or Bull-ring, near Chapultepec. Here is a great round building with an immense amphitheater, large enough to seat thousands of spectators. The private boxes are at the top and below these are tiers of unroofed tents. They have one sunny and one shady side, seats in the latter costing five times as much as in the former.

Bull-fighting has often been described and is conducted in Mexico much as in Spain, though the Mexicans are less easily satisfied, not being content until several horses have been killed by the enraged bulls. The horses are worthless animals, selected as fit only for killing, and ridden by the picadors  as if purposely in the way of the bull, which the rider meanwhile prods and torments with his spear. Gored terribly by the bull's horns, the horses are kept afoot as long as they can stand. When they fall dead, others of the same caliber are brought in to take their places. The bull are huge horned creatures of Spanish breed, some bred locally, some imported from Spain.

It may be said for the bulls that they are not always fierce and truculent, but have their special character as regards temperament. Some of them are mild creatures, that fall before the sword of the toreador  with a poor show of fighting. But others have lion-like ferocity, and charge the tormenting horsemen with terrible fury, burying their long horns deep in the side of the helpless horse. At times as many as ten horses are killed or ruinously wounded by a single bull, which becomes so enraged by the lance pricks of the picadors  as to rush at and thrust its horns again and again into the prostrate victim. Sometimes the tormentors of the bull become in turn his victim, being injured or killed by a sudden rush and fierce thrust of its terrible horns.

Finally, when the bull has been excited to the utmost, and has seen its gory victims dragged one by one from the blood-stained arena, there enters the espada, the chief of the toreadors, or sword fighters. He is the lord of them all, the favorite of the people, the applauded of gallants and ladies fair. His dress is gorgeous, being adorned with spangles of silver and gold. Taking the sword from an attendant, examining and bending its blade, he lifts his richly embroidered hat to the hand-clapping audience, bows low to the judges and dedicates to death the doomed bull in these words, "Al Querido Pueblo,"  "To the beloved people."

Slowly the bull and the swordsman come together, eyeing each other, the bull with furious glare, the man with keen and wary eyes. When near the animal the espada  extends his shining blade; the bull charges forward with maddened fury; a swift thrust; the blade has touched that fatal spot known well to the expert; the seat of life is reached; the noble antagonist, which has fought its best and noblest, now totters, sways and falls, prone in the dust. The espada  with all his strength draws out the deep sunken blade, a scarlet jet of blood follows it, and the animal rolls over—conquered—dead.

Then the audience goes wild in its shrieking and cheering plaudits. Hats, canes, bills, money are flung into the arena. Nothing they possess is too good for the hero of the day. The band breaks into its liveliest tune and the audience pours into the street, while the carcass of the dead bull is hauled from the arena by a team of horses. The sun is sinking, the long shadows of evening fall upon the scene and the gory Sabbath day's sport is at an end.

Education, Religion and Civilization

Education in Mexico is a subject that reads well on paper. How it exists in fact scarcely agrees with the statistics concerning it. It is, in the words of Hamlet, more honored in the breach than the observance." One writer tells us that under the educational system established by President Diaz in 1876 there are now over 800,000 pupils in Mexican public schools, which have extended until there is not a town, however small, without its establishment for free education. In addition are more than 100,000 students in private schools, religious institutions and others of similar character. There is a law making education compulsory, but, unfortunately, this law is inadequately enforced, and the education of the lower classes is very far from encouraging. Taking the population as a whole, less than thirteen per cent of it can read and write. This ignorance appertains in chief part to the Indians and peons, who constitute the bulk of the people, and whose conditions of life are usually such as to deprive them of opportunity for schooling. The fact is that, in spite of glowing statements to the effect that there is not a hamlet in Mexico of a hundred or more inhabitants without its public school, the cause of education among the bulk of the people is today at a very low ebb. It is doubtful if it stands at a higher level, so far as the poorer classes are concerned, than it was in the days of the empire of the Aztecs.

The Indians are not lacking in mental power. As a rule, they are bright in intellect and quick to learn. It is to long centuries of oppression and enslavement that they owe their present intellectual status. What they need is not brain, but opportunity. Those who have had equal chance of education have brought themselves to the level of educated whites. There are numerous examples of this among the artists, writers, and members of the learned classes in general. Politically they have in various cases risen to the highest position in the state. Witness the Indian presidents Juarez and Huerta; also Diaz, who is half Indian.

It is of interest to find that a system of compulsory education has been introduced in the army, and has even made its way into the prisons. The soldiers are very largely recruited from the Indian population and on entering the ranks are almost entirely illiterate. Instruction is given them in the primary branches of reading, writing and arithmetic, as also in history, science, drawing and singing. An inmate of the prisons, if he shows earnestness as a student, may in the end earn his freedom as a result of his progress in education. President Diaz recognized the value of education to a community when he said, "I have started a free school for boys and girls in every community in the Republic. We regard education as the foundation of our prosperity and the basis of our very existence. We have learned from Japan, what indeed we knew before, but did not realize quite clearly, that education is the one thing needful to a people."

Diaz doubtless meant what he said. Probably he believed it. But he had a large illiterate population to deal with, in great part living under conditions which stood in the way of any progress in schooling, and his good intentions have been very inadequately realized. This is especially the case with women, who, as a rule, are destitute of education; and it applies in a measure to the women of the higher classes. The, average Mexican girl has very little that can be called education. She may learn to read and write, but the scope of her: knowledge goes little farther. Only in the case of the daughters of the rich, who are sent to schools in the United States or Europe, is a more advanced education gained. But a change is coming upon the women of Mexico as it has come upon those of more advanced countries. Their old seclusion and lack of initiative is passing away, and the women of the middle class may now be seen in stores and offices or engaged in business, while they are beginning to move freely about the streets without chaperones. The suffragette has not yet invaded that country, but her coming is only a matter of time. Real manhood suffrage needs first to be won.

For those in a position to obtain the higher education there are various institutions of learning and preparatory schools free to students, in which the requirements for admission to the higher colleges and professional schools may be gained. In Mexico City there is a preparatory college or high school devoted to this purpose. For those ready for the higher branches are the Medical College, the College of Jurisprudence, devoted to law and sociology, the School of Engineering, the Academy of Fine Arts, the School of Mines, School of Agriculture, and School of Commerce, Conservatories of Music and other learned institutions. There are also Schools of Arts and Trades for the instruction of boys and girls, and Normal Colleges for men and women. These institutions are under public support and control and offer abundant opportunity for the advancement of those in a position to avail themselves of them. In the country at large there are over seventy public libraries, chief among which is the National Library in the capital, an institution containing about 300,000 volumes.

In addition to these openings for education there are a number of promising learned societies in the capital. Oldest among these is the Geographical Society, founded in 1833. Others are the Geological Society, the Society of Natural History, Academies of Medicine, Jurisprudence, Physical and Natural Science, Spanish Language, and Social Science, with several others. Museums and galleries include the Academy of San Carlos, a picture gallery with fine specimens of native and foreign art, and the National Museum, rich in objects Illustrative of history and conditions in prehistoric Mexico. Chief among its treasures is the famous Calendar Stone, a relic of high archaeological value. It holds also the Aztec Sacrificial Stone. In the garden surrounding it, and upon the stone pillars of the enclosure, are busts of Mexicans and Indians of historic fame.

The Calendar Stone is the most famous example of ancient Mexican carving, its face being profusely covered with carved designs, the significance of which remains much of a mystery, though they are supposed to have had to do with the Aztec or Toltec ideas of the flight of time. This stone forms a great circle, twelve feet in diameter and weighing 53,790 pounds. Heavy as it is, the Aztecs hauled it many miles over broken country to their capital city, where it was placed in the walls of the great temple. Many efforts have been made to decipher the significance of the carvings on this marvel of prehistoric art, but with no very satisfactory result. Mr. W. W. Blake, of Mexico City, finds in it tokens of four mythologic ages, the Age of Air, Age of Water, Age of Fire, and Age of Earth, these occupying the second large circle. What it actually means, however, will probably never be known.

This stone, with the Stone of Sacrifice, was buried by the Spanish conquerors in the Plaza, and not discovered there until 1791. It was on the latter stone that the many thousands of victims of the Aztec superstitions were sacrificed to Huitzilopochtli, the terrible God of War. This stone is circular, like the former, and is also elaborately carved, the rim containing figures showing the priests dragging victims by the hair to the place of sacrifice.

Theatre Juarez at Guantajuato


The museum has also an image of the ferocious war-god, a huge block of carved stone, with a hideous face and a fringe of snakes' heads hanging down upon the breast. The feet are in the form of a slab in which it is thought the bleeding hearts of the victims were laid as an offering to the terrible deity. There are many other idols, a notable one being that of Chac-Mol, supposed to be the God of Fire, and remarkable for its head-dress, which closely resembles that of ancient Egyptian statues. The museum contains much more of interest, both ancient and modern, and is a place of frequent resort, particularly by Indian laborers, who are probably drawn there from interest and pride in the achievements of their ancestors.

Of the public buildings in Mexico, the greatest and most spectacular are the cathedrals, of which that in the capital city is a remarkable and famous example of religious art. Most of the other large cities have churches of much grandeur in design and elaboration, indicative of the fact that religion has long had a strong hold upon the people of this country. Such was the case with the ancient Mexicans, who erected temples which are found widely throughout the country, some of which must have needed enormous labor in their construction. Idols are found in many places, of a character indicating in large measure a savage and debased conception of the deific nature.

Such was not the case with the leading Toltec deity, the mystic Quetzalcoatl, the "God of the Air," also known as "the feathered serpent." This was a beneficent deity representing a white man of noble aspect, with long beard and flowing garments. The tradition was that he had come from afar and taught the people a sane and mild religion, virtue and austerity being inculcated, and human and animal sacrifices forbidden. This strange personage is stated to have dwelt with them for twenty years, when he disappeared in the direction of the rising sun, promising to return. When Cortes and his followers appeared, the idea that he was the vanished Quetzalcoatl had much to do with the favorable reception given the Spaniards.

As for the Aztecs, with whom the invaders had to deal, their religious ideas were throughout cruel and barbarous and we cannot be surprised at the ardor with which the priests from Spain sought to replace their frightful form of worship with that of the gentle and beneficent Christ. Every effort was made to inculcate the doctrines of Christianity and with much effect, the priests not attempting the impossible task of overthrowing at once a national system of faith, but shrewdly blending the ritual of the two systems, in some cases making Christian saints of the heathen deities. In this way success was rapidly gained, and though the Indians of Mexico today keep up some of the old heathen practices, their belief in the doctrines of the Christian faith is firmly established. The priests sought in vain to stop certain pagan practices, but as these have little significance in the real mental life of the people they are looked upon as of minor importance.

The influence of the priests over the great mass of the Mexican people is very great, especially with women, men there, as elsewhere, being inclined to indifference in church matters. In past times their influence was made very great from a power which they no longer possess, the Church having grown enormously strong from its great wealth and its powerful political influence. The Inquisition, which was introduced in 1571 and was not abolished until 1812, was a powerful weapon in the hands of the Church to prevent the growth of heretical opinions or of any of ,the Protestant faiths and to hold believers under strict discipline, and for centuries the Roman Catholic clergy were leaders in power in the state.

They became, indeed, so dominant in secular as well as religious affairs and stood so decidedly in the way of progress that a natural revulsion took place. A century ago the Church of Mexico possessed enormous wealth, variously estimated at from $200,000,000 to $500,000,000. Gifts and bequests were made by all classes of the people, the best part of the farm lands had fallen into the hands of the clergy, and the Church was all powerful in political matters. Its power was exercised against the steps of development set in motion by some of the leading statesmen, and its persistent opposition began to be looked upon as an abuse against which no political progress could be made.

The sentiment of revolt brought its first results in 1833, an active antagonism having arisen between the political leaders and the clergy. The result was a series of legislative acts of a radical character, enactments being passed to curb the power of the Church. It was declared that tithes could not be collected by aid of the civil law, nor the fulfilment of monastic vows be enforced, and the Church was prohibited from interfering with public education.

This action led to the development of two political parties, the Liberal and the Conservative, dissensions between which were responsible for armed outbreaks. The form of government now existing in Mexico is that established by the Constitution of 1857, which in various respects copies that of the United States. In 1859, under the presidency of Benito Juarez, the political power of the Church was finally overthrown, reform laws being passed which completely disestablished the Church. In these radical enactments Church and State were made absolutely independent of each other, the functions and powers left to the ecclesiastic establishment being rigidly defined and limited to ecclesiastical interests. In this code of laws the property of the Church was confiscated and taken over by the State, the clergy were vigorously accused of being responsible for the sanguinary wars which devastated the country, and charged with a shameful abuse of their power and influence. In short, a complete disestablishment of the Church was made, religious freedom was proclaimed, and religious orders and institutions were abolished. Marriage, also, which had hitherto been a strictly religious ceremony, was now declared a civil contract. The priests were even forbidden to walk in the streets in clerical dress and all religious processions declared illegal. That such laws could be passed in a Roman Catholic country against the authority of the Church indicates that this authority must have been very greatly abused, since those who enacted the new laws did not cease to be adherents of the religious faith thus restricted.

As a result of the declaration of religious freedom in Mexico a number of the Protestant sects have entered that land, and there are in the city of Mexico places of worship for Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists and others. In the census of 1900, while there were stated to be 13,500,000 Catholics, there were about 52,000 Protestants, with a number of Mormons, Buddhists and persons of no declared religious faith. Thus the declaration of freedom in faith and worship has evidently been sincerely carried out.

The changes made by the government in respect to religious authority in no sense have shaken the hold which the Roman Catholic faith has upon the people of the country. They were aimed solely at the political power and undue wealth of the Church, not at its authority in things spiritual. There are probably today more places of religious worship in Mexico, differences of population being considered, than in any other Roman Catholic country in the world, and it is very evident that the control of the Church over men's religious thoughts and moral characters is not weakened by the abolition of the political control of the clergy. As for the latter, efforts have been made to regain for the Church some of its old political autocracy, but in vain, the advanced Liberal feeling in the country being bitterly opposed to any such dominance of the clergy. In localities even the ringing of the church bells is prohibited, while the law against religious processions generally holds good. In 1906 a venturesome priest sought to defy this and led such a procession through the streets. As a result he was promptly arrested and taken to prison in his full priestly vestments. Some of his congregation later released him, but he did not try the procession plan again.

As regards the essentials of modern civilization, Mexico is making progress, but it is still far from the high attainments of various other countries. One of the main essentials, one necessary to any rapid advance in civilization, that of a liberal education, is still in a very primitive condition. It has been shown that there are opportunities for a good education in the capital city for those able to take advantage of them. But these are the few, and the public school system of the country does not seem to have reached any large proportion of the people, if we may judge by the widely prevailing ignorance.

Some of the laws also indicate anything but high civilization. One of these is the enactment enabling debtors to be held subject to the will of creditors, one which, as we have seen, has led to glaring abuses. There is another law alike barbarous in its application, that which permits the police or military to shoot down a fleeing prisoner. This has been freely applied to get rid of political opponents. One instance is that of the recent shooting of Gustave Madero on the transparent fiction that he was seeking to escape. A similar excuse has been offered to palliate the murder of President Madero.

Here is a story in point. An agitator against the Diaz rule was arrested. The case was one in which there could be no serious charge brought against him, and it seemed adviable to dispose of him quietly. The method of the Law of Flight was employed. On his way to prison under guard the train slowed down between two stations, and the officers in charge of the culprit suggested to him that he might escape.

"Not I," he cried; "I have heard of that trick long ago. Here I stay."

The officer and his aids, in the end, seized the prisoner and flung him from the car, so that he rolled down the bank to where opportunely stood a lieutenant of the rurales  and a squad of men.

"I was warned you would try to escape," said the lieutenant.

"But they flung me off the car," said the poor culprit. "That excuse will not serve. You have three minutes for your prayers."

While he was saying them he was shot in the back.

"We have such disagreeable work to do," said the lieutenant afterwards.

We cannot vouch fully for this incident, but have quoted it from what appears to be good authority.

Imprisonment for political reasons, and especially the haling to prison of editors who have ventured to comment, even mildly, upon something which the administration wished to keep quiet, are far from being evidence of advanced civilization in Mexico. Certainly the method of dealing with trade unionists who are daring enough to strike, of which we have given some examples, is far from those pursued in enlightened countries.

In fact, Mexico, for a century past, has been a land in a state of anarchy, not a seat of enlightenment. Like the Latin-American states in general, armed outbreak, rebellion, shooting of prisoners, anarchy in every form have been the rule in that country for a century past, with very few periods of internal peace. And while the leading South American republics, Argentina and Chile in particular, have left that epoch in the rear and settled down to quiet constitutional government, Mexico for the past few years has been in a state of turmoil and bloodshed of a most barbarous and disheartening type. It is true that, under the rule of President Diaz, peace had a long reign. But this was not the peace of law and civilization, but the quiet enforced by an autocrat under the guise of a president, with an army at his beck and call and a stern hand on the least whisper of dissent.

Cigarette factory in Mexico City.


There has been much enterprise in Mexico of late years, but it is the enterprise of foreigners, aided by foreign capital, and engaged in developing the vast natural riches which the Mexicans have shown little ability or purpose to handle. This includes the great mining enterprises, the railroad building, the installation of trolley lines and electric lights in cities, the exploitation of oil deposits and various other lines of enterprise.

Manufactures are developing to some extent in Mexico, but under foreign initiative. The machinery comes from America and Europe and the methods are taught by foreigners. Commerce is largely conducted under the same conditions. Indeed, farming on large estates and the raising of cattle on broad ranches are the most active evidences of Mexican enterprise that appear. As for the latter, the Mexican is a born cowboy. His prowess on horseback cannot be surpassed. But in farming enterprises he is distinctly backward, using obsolete implements and failing to get a tithe of the product the land is capable of producing. On the whole it may be said that Mexico, while on the road to modern civilization, has not yet arrived.

Railroad and Commercial Progress:

Foreign Capitalists and Adventurers

In modern times the development of a country depends very largely on its facilities for travel, transportation of goods from place to place within its limits, and ocean carriage to and from its borders. For the first the railroad has become indispensable; for the second the steamship. It is necessary here to state what progress Mexico has made in this direction, and what degree of commerce, internal and external, has in consequence arisen. The railroad in Mexico is a recent institution. Half a century ago it was not known in that old land except for preliminary work in building a pioneer road. In the earlier era the burro and mule were the great burden-carriers, and the backs of stalwart Indians aided in the task. The load some of these human beasts of burden could bear from place to place was and is at times startling in appearance. For travel the horse was in general use and in a measure the stage coach served. It still serves to some extent, the coaches being great, lumbering, mule-drawn vehicles, of which the weight doubles the load borne. Hung on leather straps instead of being poised on steel springs, the jolting was such that the unhappy victims within needed to be strapped to their seats.

The first railroad built in Mexico was in respect to its boldness of conception the most interesting one. Begun in 1858, it was not finished until 1875, fifteen years later. There was good reason for this slow work. During the interval Mexico was disturbed by the French invasion, the empire of Maximilian, and the successful revolt against the latter. Aside from this the enterprise itself was a daring and ambitious one and its successful completion a marvel of engineering. The road runs from Vera Cruz to the Mexican capital, and ascends from the coast level up the steep slopes of the Sierra Madre to the elevation of the plateau and the Valley of Mexico, its highest station being more than a mile and a half above the level of its starting point.

Such an enterprise as this was one far beyond the power and skill of any Mexican engineer and the work was done by a firm of English builders. The road is still under British control. Some remarkable feats of similar character have been performed in the Andes of South America, but this work compares well with them in point of engineering enterprise. From its terminus at Vera Cruz the road crosses the coastal plain and climbs the hill side through a tropical forest, reaching the level of 2,713 feet at Cordova, 4,028 at Orizaba, and 5,151 at Maltrata. The latter station, alike from an engineering and scenic point of view, has much of the remarkable. Here the road sweeps boldly around dizzy barrancas, brosses profound canyons on lofty iron bridges, or curves along a bed excavated in the solid mountain side, while the passenger may look down on the picturesque town spread out below, or enjoy the view of the tropical scenery a mile farther down.

The Cathedral of Mexico and Zocalo,


Passing steadily upwards, it reaches Esperanza, 8,000 feet high, and gains its highest level in the mountain heights at Acocotla, near San Marcos, at an elevation of 8,310 feet. This height is much surpassed by the trans-Andine lines in Peru and between Argentina and Chili, but the difficulties overcome here were of the same nature. From Acocotla, high up in the Sierra Madre, the road winds and creeps down the opposite mountain cliffs, and finally reaches the capital, at 900 feet lower level. The length of the line is 264 miles, or if its branches to Puebla and Pachuca be added, 321 miles. The cost of construction was nearly $40,000,000, or about $125,000 a mile. It is solidly and substantially constructed, and is highly regarded as a marvel of engineering, while for scenic effects it holds a high rank, magnificent views being obtainable from both sides of the mountain slope.

The passenger cars do not compare well with those on the roads of the United States, many of them being old and shabby, though some improved cars have recently been introduced for first-class travel. The company cannot afford to add Pullman cars to their day trains, there not being enough foreign passengers to warrant their use. As for the native travelers, they are very apt to prefer low fare to comfort. Only night trains use Pullman cars. All trains are divided into first, second and third class ears, the first class corresponding to what are called "day coaches" in the United States.

Next to this line in importance, and much greater in length, is the Mexican Central, opened for traffic from Mexico City to El Paso on the United States border in 1884. It traverses the length of the great plateau, following a rising gradient southward, which increases as the hill-bound Valley of Mexico is neared. The highest point reached is at La Cima ("the summit"), 9,895 feet above sea level, from which a descent to the city level of 7,400 feet is made. On reaching the valley rim the passengers are treated to one of the most entrancing views that could well be conceived. Before their eyes lies the broad, umbrageous valley, with the city, reduced to pygmy size, visible in the distance, the two towers of the cathedral being its dominating points. This road was built by Americans, in the cheaper and more rapid American fashion, and lacks the enduring character of the British-built line.

The main line of the Mexican Central extends 1,225 miles along the center of the country, traversing seemingly endless miles of dry and treeless plains, with many squalid hamlets along its route. With its numerous branches, one of which reaches the Gulf coast at Tampico, another to Guadalajara and beyond, and a third to Cuernavaca, it has a total length of 3,823 miles. The line to Tampico traverses the same kind of tropical scenery as the Vera Cruz route and yields magnificent views to the traveler. The Guadalajara branch, after passing that city, descends the western sierra, its projected terminus being Manzanillo, a Pacific coast port. Another branch has for its final projected terminus the seaport Acapulco, the best harbor, after San Francisco, on the Pacific coast of North America.

The branch to and beyond Cuernavaca, which is about seventy-five miles from the capital, lies through a wonderland of picturesque scenery, climbing the Sierra Madre to a height of 10,000 feet above sea level. Cuernavaca, a beautiful city, has a historic interest, it having been a home of Montezuma and a place of importance under the Aztec government until its capture by Cortes. It is one of the show places for travelers in Mexico. The Guadalajara branch traverses a very rich mining region, prolific in gold, silver, copper and lead. It runs within a few miles of the volcano of Colima, 12,000 feet high, which was built up by recent volcanic activity under what was previously a level plain.

There is another line of railway traversing the plateau region, known as the National Railroad, its route extending from Laredo, on the United States border, to Mexico City. This is a subsidized narrow-gauge road, built by American enterprise, and put in operation near the end of 1888. The narrow-gauge feature proved an error and it became necessary to widen it to standard-gauge, this being completed in November, 1903. The length of the line is 800 miles, it being the shortest route from the northern border to the capital. It has a number of branches, one being the Interoceanic Railway now open from the Western Sierras to Vera Cruz, via the city of Jalapa. It has also communication westwardly with the city of Durango, and eastwardly with Matamoros. The Interoceanic was originally designed to continue westward to the port of Acapulco, and though it has not reached the coast it descends into the fertile State of Morelos, where it makes a junction with the Mexican Central.

American enterprise in Mexico.


The lines of railway above spoken of, with the International, from the border to Durango, have been consolidated into one general system, since the government controls 85 per cent of the capital stock. The authorized capital is 615,000,000 pesos, or $317,500,000, and the profits of its management, after interest in bonds and dividends on preferred stock are paid, will go to the national treasury.

There are in addition a number of railway lines traversing the southern section of the country. One of these, a British enterprise, is a narrow-gauge road between the cities of Puebla and Oaxaca, 223 miles long, known as the Mexican Southern Railway. Vera Cruz is the starting point of two other roads besides those mentioned. One of these, the Vera Cruz and Pacific, extends from Cordoba, a station on the Mexican Railway to Vera Cruz, southward to Santa Lucretia, a station on the Tehuantepec Railway. This was financed in the United States but is now a government line. The other, the Vera Cruz Railway, is a narrow-gauge along the coast to Alvarado, 44 miles long. There are several lines also in Yucatan.

Much the most important of the southern lines is the Tehuantepec Railway, which crosses the republic at its narrowest point, the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, and forms a short transcontinental line from the Atlantic to the Pacific, in position to compete to an important degree with the Panama Canal. The distance in an air line is only 125 miles, the road being 192 miles long. Here the plateau and its mountain borders sink to a low level, the road crossing the backbone of the land at the Chivela Pass, only 730 feet above sea level.

This isthmus has attracted attention ever since its discovery by the Spaniards under Cortes. During the past century several projects for crossing it were devised, the schemes including a canal and a ship railway. Finally an ordinary railway was decided upon as the most feasible project and the existing road was built in 1894. But its construction was faulty, and its terminal ports, Coatzacoalcos on the Gulf side and Salina Cruz on the Pacific side, proved inadequate. In consequence the rebuilding of the road and the improvement of its terminal ports were intrusted in 1899 by the government to a British firm, the same one that constructed the harbor works at Vera Cruz and the drainage canal and tunnel of the Valley of Mexico. The work was completed in the solid and enduring method for which British railway builders are famous, and a fine harbor and large dry dock were constructed at Salina Cruz. As this line of railway is 1,200 miles north of the Panama Canal, thus saving a voyage of considerable length, it is expected to pick up a good share of the transoceanic traffic.

In the northern section of the republic several other railway enterprises have been undertaken under American auspices, one of these being the Rio Grande, Sierra Madre and Pacific Railroad, westward from El Paso, Texas, and designed eventually to reach the Pacific. Another enterprise of importance is that of the Kansas City, Mexico and Orient Railway, this also being intended to reach the Pacific. Of its 634 miles in Mexican territory more than half are completed. The Sonora Railway runs from Nogales on the border line to Guaymas on the Gulf of California, a distance of 265 miles.

There are a number of shorter lines, and Mexico is fairly well supplied with railroad facilities, extending through the length of her territory from north to south and across its breadth from ocean to ocean. The total length of lines is about 10,000 miles. Other lines are under consideration, and the republic has shown active enterprise in this direction, as also that of obtaining control of its railways as governmental enterprises. In this respect Mexico differs greatly from the United States. The management of the National and Central Railways was long almost entirely American, but the government is actively engaged in getting rid of foreigners and replacing them with Mexicans wherever available.

The active railway enterprise shown in Mexico has had a marked effect on the distribution of population. The great mass of the people has always dwelt in the plateau region, the torrid coast strips being avoided. As a result transportation of goods from the coast to the center of population was long a slow and costly process, being by mule trains and a small army of human carriers over the rough mountain trails. The coming of the railroad has made a decided change in this particular, and has aided greatly in the development of commerce.

Telegraph and telephone communication have accompanied the railroad progress, the facilities of electric light and power have come widely into use, and passenger travel in cities has been greatly improved by the introduction of the electric street car, in place of the old-time mule-drawn traffic. These until recently were confined to Mexico City, but are being extended elsewhere, American enterprise being actively engaged in this line of improvement. The cars in use are of American make and carry passengers inside only, the strap-hanging abomination being commonly in use. There are two styles of cars, first and second class, fares in the first class being from three to ten cents, according to distance. In the second class the fares are a few centavos lower.

Various steamship lines reach the Mexican ports, including a number of lines from both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the United States, with others connecting with the ports of Europe and South America. A considerable number of these have contracts with the government for carrying the mails. Ship building has made little progress in Mexico as a national industry, it having proven more convenient to encourage foreign enterprise in this direction. There are, however, some ship-building plants for the construction of steel, iron and wooden ships.

As regards commerce, it appears to be in a good state of development, as shown by the returns for exports and imports. The trade with the United States in 1913 reached a total of $54,383,424 in imports, and $71,543,842 in exports. The total of imports was nearly $100,000,000 and of exports nearly $150,000,000. The exports are nearly all of mineral and vegetable products and of cattle and sheep, those of manufactures being confined to sugar, tanned hides, palmetto hats and minor articles. The great bulk in value of the exports consists in the precious metals, while of vegetable products henequen fiber comprises a considerable percentage of the total value.

Mechanical industries are making some encouraging advance, but the products are chiefly consumed by the home demand. As Mexico is very rich in water-power, this is likely to be employed to a large extent in future industrial development, and there are several important hydraulic plants now in operation, especially those of the jute mills of Orizaba, which use some 5,000 horse-power. This is a British enterprise.

Of other industries, those of textile manufactures are the most important. The cotton mills are of great capacity, the factories being splendidly built and the output large. The mills in operation in 1907 employed 33,000 operatives and had 698,000 spindles, and this has since been increased. The great advantage to capitalists is the cheapness of Mexican labor, and unfortunately this has been exploited to a terrible extent, as stated in a former chapter. Other textile mills include those for jute and woolen manufacture.

The manufacture of tobacco is an active industry, the cigarette factories being among the largest and best equipped in the world. Chief among these is the Buen Tono factory, with a daily turnout of five million cigarettes. There is another nearly as large, and there are in all about five hundred tobacco factories in the country. The iron and steel works of Monterey, the chief in importance, were founded in 1900, and have a capital of $5,000,000. The company possesses large coal and iron deposits. The works include a rolling plant, dating from 1906, which produces structural iron, bar iron, steel rails and wire to a large annual total. There are three iron plants in the State of Hidalgo and one in Guanajuato, all owned by an English firm.

The San Rafael paper mills in the State of Mexico are the leading manufactories of this kind, yielding over 20,000 tons annually and producing paper of great variety. These are situated near the lofty mountain Ixtaccihuatl, in a well-wooded region, the extensive forests giving it an abundant field for pulp. In the cotton-growing district of La Laguna are works for the making of cottonseed oil and soap, and there is a dynamite factory in the same region.

The flour mills of the country number about four hundred in all. There is a large cement works at Hidalgo, and the meat-packing and cold-storage business is well developed in the livestock center of Michoacan. The brewing interest is also well represented, enough good beer being produced to satisfy most of the demand and largely to put an end to the import trade in this commodity. The other industries include distilleries, potteries, chemical works, chocolate factories, leather works and various others of minor importance. Of these industries the large ones are mainly under foreign control and. financed by foreign capital, home enterprise playing a minor part in the development of manufactures.

What has been said would go to indicate that foreign enterprise has taken a leading part in the development of Mexico, and this is undoubtedly the case, so much so, indeed, that the vital interest taken by foreign nations in the existing troubles in Mexico is a very comprehensible one. Humboldt has called Mexico "The Storehouse of the World," and apparently it is the world that has taken it in hand; especially the United States, which has gone far in advance of other nations in exploiting the vast natural wealth and splendid opportunities of this country.

The rebels of Mexico and their Federal adversaries can play at war with little harm to anything belonging to themselves. They can tear up railroads, burn bridges and factories, and injure their own people but slightly, the bulk of the loss falling on the confiding foreign capitalists, who are in considerable measure the owners of Mexico. On a railroad journey in this country the traveler will find himself riding in an American car, drawn by an American engine and handled by an American engineer. In the cities he rides in a trolley car of American build, under electric lights installed by Americans, the power being produced by oil from Mexican wells, but owned and pumped by American and English enterprise. If he wishes to deposit money he will do so in banks owned by foreigners, principally French and German. Even the mines, the greatest source of Mexican wealth, he will find to have been largely absorbed by foreigners. In fact the Mexicans themselves are chiefly interested in lands, houses and live stock, the great sources of wealth having passed largely out of their possession. The American capital invested in Mexico is estimated to figure somewhere near $1,000,000,000, and the suggestive statement has been made that the real capital of the republic is not Mexico City, but New York.

The Mexican "Year Book" says that the capital invested in the mining industry amounts to $647,000,000, of which $500,000,000 is American, $87,000,000 English and $29,000,000 Mexican. Every grade of mining operation is managed by Americans, from the work of the prospector on the flanks of the Sierra Madre to the great smelting plants of the Guggenheims.

Not only has foreign capital made its way in increasing quantities into Mexico, but foreigners themselves have sought that country in increasing numbers. They number probably from 60,000 to 70,000, of which from 15,000 to 20,000 are citizens of the United States. There are probably still more Spaniards, though the latter are not to be classed largely among the exploiters. There are about 4,000 French, 3,000 British and several thousand Germans, the remainder being Italian and other Europeans, Chinese and Japanese. The total population of Mexico, less than 15,000,000, averages only about twenty to the square mile; yet were it populated as fully as parts of Europe it would possess a population of 180,000,000. As may be seen, there is plentiful room for development.

The fact of there being so many Americans in the country in positions of business prominence renders some knowledge of English speech important to those who come in contact with them, and this language is fairly well understood by the better classes in the capital and the other large cities, though little is known of it in the country at large. It is taught somewhat generally in the private, and in many of the public, schools, and some of the merchants of the country are learning it for purposes of correspondence. On the other hand many of the Americans and Britons residing in Mexico are able to converse fluently in Spanish, though very few are competent to write in that language.

While the Americans are so largely represented in the mining and transportation interests of Mexico, the British have taken a considerable part in enterprises of this character and Canadian capital has also been invested in that country. The Spanish, the most numerous of foreigners in Mexico, are chiefly interested in the cities in the grocery trade, the Germans largely control the hardware trade and are engaged in banking, as are the French also, the latter taking active interest in the sale of fancy articles, drapery and clothing. As for the trade of Mexico, it is in great part controlled by Americans and Germans, who have largely superseded the British, once the principal traders. The German commercial travelers, who take care to learn the language and speak it fluently, are especially active in seeking trade for their home houses.

Baron Geiser, writing recently on the Germans in Mexico, tells us that they take no part in the great enterprises, such as railroads, bridges, and other engineering works, these being in the hands of the Americans, and in a measure the English, who control important lines of trade, manage two railroads, and are owners of the largest petroleum industry. The Germans, on the contrary, are foremost in many retail lines of business and are prominent in promoting the electrical interests. They are, as might be expected, the leaders in the brewery business, and handle much of the coffee trade.

When we consider the great extent to which foreigners have pushed themselves into the various lines of business, the Americans and British in the greater interests, the Germans, French and Spanish in the retail business in the cities, it is not easy to see where the Mexicans come in, or of what line of business they have control. Certainly the state and its cities have been largely exploited by foreigners, alike in person and with capital, and we can well understand the deep concern that is felt as to the safety of foreign residents in times of turmoil such as Mexico has been subjected to for several years past. The large moneyed interests there also call for intent care, and the presence of the army of the United States on the border line, and of its fleet on the Gulf coast, is no more than a wise precaution under the distracting circumstances.

The occupation of Vera Cruz in April, 1914, was a natural result of the vacillation of Provisional President Huerta regarding proper reparation for an insult to the United States flag. As the case then stood no prophet existed capable of foreseeing the. future, but President Wilson declared in positive words, when ordering the movement of the Atlantic fleet against Vera Cruz, that the government under his leadership had no thought or intention of permanent occupation of any country of America.

The position of Americans in Mexico has long been one of importance, and concerning this it will be of interest to quote from a competent and careful observer, Mr. Percy F. Martin, author of "Mexico in the Twentieth Century." The preface to his volume contains the following appreciative words:

"The ready welcome which Mexicans are extending to American capital, the unrestricted commingling of Mexicans and Americans upon the same Boards of Directors, joined in the same management and side by side in many social and charitable enterprises, form one of the most convincing signs of future prosperity. There is little of that anti-foreign jealousy and deep-seated suspicion which so often strangle success and poison it when achieved, which characterize inter-commercial association in the Argentine and Brazil.

"The clean-cut, trim-built, stern-faced young American is a familiar sight nowadays in all parts of the world. I have met him in Japan, in Australia, in South and Central America, in the British, German and Dutch colonies, and occupying positions of responsibility and trust in his own new over-seas possessions. Always one notices the same inflexible purpose, the noble earnestness, the indomitable will to succeed. It is as if he took Fortune by the throat, exclaiming: 'No, you shall not avoid me! I will  have you hear me! You shall yield me of your treasures. You shall  recognize my worth! Do you heed me?' And Fortune is caught by the mere audacity of the pursuit."

This unprejudiced eulogy of the young American business man abroad is not overdrawn. And its statement of the position held by the American capitalist and projector in the business world of Mexico is no doubt correctly stated. But such is not the case when the political world is considered, and as regards the great mass of the people, who stand between both these classes, there is certainly a considerable remnant of enmity remaining. The Americans in Mexico evidently felt this in their recent flight from the interior to the coast. They knew the insurgent class and feared to trust themselves to their tender mercy. It may have been somewhat of a panic, but it was one felt by those familiar with the situation and in touch with the sentiment which prevailed, and the warning of the administration to them breathed the same tone, indicating the danger felt of trusting their lives to the tender mercy of an armed body of Mexican peasantry.

The Government and its Administration

Army, Navy and Police Organization

The Government of Mexico, that is, the one which exists on paper, is closely modeled on that of the United States. The actual government has departed somewhat widely from this model, so far as its administration is concerned. It has degenerated into an autocracy of the most decided type, a system of personal and imperial rule sustained by the soldier and the policeman. This was the system which developed under President Diaz, as autocratic in effect as that of Russia under its imperial dynasty and powerless duma or legislature. What result may come from the present series of revolutionary movements it is too soon to say, other than that they have reform and the interests of the people for their alleged motive.

The Constitution of Mexico provides for a Federal Republic, which now comprises twenty-seven States, three Territories and one Federal District. This instrument calls for a President and Vice-President, a Legislature composed of Senate and Chamber of Deputies, and a Judiciary, with a Supreme Court as its dominating tribunal. In these respects it follows the lead of the United States and differs from most of the other Latin-American republics. The President is elected for six years—the term was four years until 1904. As in the United States, he is elected by a body of electors chosen by popular suffrage. The Senators—two from each State—hold their positions for four years; the Deputies—one for each 60,000 of population—for two years. The Judges of the Supreme Court are elected—not appointed, as in the United States. The business of this body relates to questions of law and justice concerning federal, political and international matters. The term of office of the President and Vice-President begins on December 1st of the year of their election.

As regards the States, they, like those of the United States, have governments modeled on that of the Federal Republic. Each has its Governor and Legislature of two bodies, with jurisdiction over State affairs. Thus all the machinery of a Federal republic exists, equal rights for all citizens and the sovereignty of the people being duly provided for, no class distinction being acknowledged in the fundamental law. The Constitution establishing this frame of government was adopted on February 5, 1857. By a series of reform laws passed in 1859, and revised in 1873, Church and State were made independent of each other and the powers and duties of the religious establishments strictly defined. Under these laws the former influence of the Church over secular affairs has been brought to an end.

The President is aided in the performance of his duties by a council and a cabinet of seven members, each at the head of one of the governmental departments. The need and duty of justice to all has been duly considered, the Supreme Court having fifteen judges, while there are numerous courts of minor jurisdiction. Criminal trials are conducted on a system resembling that prevailing in France. Juries consist of nine persons—instead of twelve as with us. These must be men with occupations, education, or independent means. There are also local courts and magistrates, dealing with small offenses, corresponding to those in this country.

With all this machinery one would think that the government should be well administered and justice rightfully and promptly dispensed. Such, however, is far from being the case. Governmental institutions are one thing, human nature is another, and the most elaborately written constitution is of little value to a people unfitted by character or want of education for its requirements. As for the courts and magistrates, prompt justice is a rare occurrence, unless it be for the peons. What these obtain from the courts is usually prompt enough, but that it is always justice is quite another matter.

There is a magic word which seems to control the courts, manana—"tomorrow." The art of putting off—the science of procrastination, shall we call it?—is thoroughly understood and practiced. Thus those who are held in prison under suspicion are apt to stay there indefinitely, awaiting in long suspense the snail-like process of the courts, in some cases serving the term of a long sentence while waiting to be adjudged guilty or innocent. In this matter, however, poor Mexico is not the only culprit. In the United States courts rapid despatch of business is far from being the rule, especially in civil cases, and before throwing mud at our neighbors it is well to make sure that our own skirts are free from defilement.

Let us now take a passing glance at the way government is administered in Mexico. Liberty prevails, the Constitution says so, but a potent ruling class, with absolute control of army and police, is capable of converting any constitution into a useless document. In fact, civil rights in Mexico are very much of a mockery. As for the Congress, it really represents only a small section of the people. Though the Constitution calls for manhood suffrage, ways have been found of limiting this right, the elections being so controlled in many cases that the party in power dictates the result. Every citizen of the republic is eligible by law to membership in the legislatures, except the clergy, who are forbidden to enter either House. But while this liberty is provided for in the fundamental law, by no means all citizens are open to help choose those whom they prefer to represent them, and aside from this, the members of legislatures have very little to do with making the laws. During the long reign of President Diaz ("reign" is the proper word) the laws came from the President's easy chair, not from the seats of the Congressmen. Such a thing as opposition to a presidential decree was almost unknown, and the missions of the senators and deputies seemed to be merely to put the seal of legislative approval upon what Diaz had already determined upon.

Law making, in fact, had grown to be a mere sham of legislative activity. The Houses of Congress, the membership of which had been chosen far more at the order of the President than by the votes of the people, were of one mind in all questions. Such a thing as an opposition party had almost disappeared. There were discussions, but they ended nowhere. The acts to be passed had already been decided upon by the President in sessions of one, and Congress was quick to pass these ready-made laws. The whole process of legislation had grown to be a fraud, and this fact could not be concealed from observant people. An autocratic rule over a supposed free people has its necessary limits. A party in opposition is sure eventually to rise, and the endeavor to suppress that party leads to revolution—in Mexico at least. Such was the story of the Diaz dictatorship, as will be shown later.

An important official in the governing system of Mexico is the jefe politico, or district governor, his district being somewhat similar to an American county, while at the same time he serves as mayor of the chief town of his district. The rural police are under his control and the power in his hands, in any case of loosely conducted government, is very considerable. Thus the drafting for the army of the rank and file, of which more than ninety-five per cent are obtained in this manner, is usually done by the jefe, and on his method of doing this there is little or no check. To get rid of those who are undesirable for any reason, political or other, the army fits in admirably. A laborer who is so daring as to strike, an editor who ventures to criticize any act of the government, rural property holders who claim to be overtaxed, are fair subjects for the draft, and any other citizen from whom graft can be had on any pretense is excellent food for prey. It would not be just to accuse all these officials of such practices, but as they often get their appointments through a round sum paid to the governor they naturally feel like squeezing the costs, and what extra is available, out of the public. We have elsewhere spoken of another mode of money getting practiced by them in the way of providing laborers for the tobacco estates.

It is not only the jefes  who abuse the power of their office. In truth, unjust and oppressive doings are much too common in Mexico, often in disregard of law. Thus the Constitution expressly stipulates that "arrest except for offenses meriting corporal punishment is prohibited," and also prohibits "detention without trial for a longer period than three days, unless justified as prescribed by law."

Mexican Rurales or mounted police at the grave of


So says the Constitution, but not such is the rule. Arrests on very slight provocation, for offenses certainly not calling for corporal punishment, are very common, the offender being marched in police control under public view through the streets to the Comisaria. Such offenses as noisy disputes, brawling, spitting, sitting in the grass in the public park, and like trifles are commonly dealt with in this manner, instead of by warning and reprimand. The detention of an accused person without trial far beyond the period prescribed is also practiced, though not as much as formerly.

A case is told of a Canadian engine-driver, now a wealthy dweller in Mexico City, who some twenty years ago ran his engine over a Mexican, killing him. He was at once arrested, locked up in a filthy prison containing 1,500 others, kept there for three days without the privilege of seeing a friend or lawyer, then detained some days in another prison before he was given a hearing of any kind. Finally he was tried and acquitted, the affair being proved to be a pure accident. Much worse was the case of another man arrested on a similar charge, who was held in prison for eighteen months before being tried. The Habeas Corpus law is in force in Mexico as elsewhere, but little heed seems paid to its enforcement or to the punishment of those who break its provisions.

It is an easy matter to become an inmate of a Mexican prison, but difficult enough to get out of it, and a Mexican prison, even the best of them, is a very disagreeable place to reside in. For what a man in America or England would be summoned to appear and answer, he is seized and locked up in Mexico. In the case of a street accident, not only the witnesses of the affair are arrested and detained, but the victim of the accident as well. They are set free, usually, after a preliminary examination, but they have suffered the disgrace of being marched through the streets under guard of a policeman. The Mexicans do not seem to mind small matters like this, as they attach no sense of disgrace to it, but it is apt to be bitterly resented by a foreign resident.

We have spoken of the conditions of Mexican prisons. There are two in Mexico City, the Penitentiary and Belem, the latter the general prison for the city and the surrounding district, and a horrible place it is said to be. In the Penitentiary only those are confined who are sentenced for more than eight years. Visitors are freely allowed there, for the place is well kept and the prisoners well fed. Belem is an old convent which now serves as a prison. With proper capacity for less than five hundred, it often contains more than five thousand, who are herded indiscriminately within its walls. This, as may well be said, is not a show place like the Penitentiary. The prisoners are inadequately fed, those who have no friends to supply them with food being allowed to die of slow starvation. Disease is rife in the place. Every year or so an epidemic of typhus claims its terrible toll of death, and the skin disease known as the itch, which fairly sets the body on fire, is sure to be contracted by every inmate who is kept for a few days within the walls. It is a result of the filthy condition of the place. Much more might be said of the horrors of Belem, but the above must suffice.

On an island in Vera Cruz harbor is an old military fortress called San Juan de Ulua, which is now used as a prison. A military prison it is called, but it is really kept for political suspects, and these in past years were so largely those who had given offense to President Diaz that it became popularly known as "the private prison of Diaz." In this place of detention for those daring to hold heretical political opinions we are told that the prison cells were under the sea level, and that sea water seeped in upon the captives, while the dark dungeons were too small for a full-sized man to lie in at length. Among those sent there were the vice-president and other members of the Liberal party organized in 1900, a leader in the strike at the El Blanco mills, and other gentlemen of note. Few who once enter within those terrible walls are ever seen again in the light of day.

The Liberal Party spoken of came into existence in the autumn of 1900, after the sixth election of Diaz was assured. It was directed against the Church, not against the administration, and no objection was made to its organization A speech made in Paris by the bishop of San Luis Potosi roused the people, who saw in it danger of an attempt by the clergy to regain their political power. Liberal clubs were soon instituted and increased so rapidly that in less than five months there were 125 of them, and about fifty newspapers to advocate the cause. Then a call for a convention was made to meet in January, 1901, at San Luis Potosi.

The convention, held in the Peace Theater, was crowded, there being many police and soldiers in the hall, while a battalion of soldiers was drawn up in the street, ready for use if needed. This was a peculiar and threatening accompaniment to a political convention, an act full of the odor of autocracy. The speakers, warned by this preparation, were careful not to criticize President Diaz, and the convention pledged itself to use only peaceful means in its campaign of reform.

The new party soon got into trouble, however, by planning to nominate a candidate for the presidency at the next election, three years later. This was far too radical for the government. It smelt of sedition, and the Liberals were soon made to see that they had gone too far. Steps were taken to break up this daring knot of politicians, who had ventured to talk of nominating a candidate in opposition to Diaz. The meetings of the club were prevented by the police, and leading members were arrested on trumped-up charges, being thrown into prison or forced into the army. Let us give an example of the methods pursued. At a club meeting held at San Luis Potosi in January, 1902, soldiers and police in citizens clothes were sent to the hall as spectators. A disturbance was quickly started by the leader of these, a shot fired into the air, and immediately a crowd of policemen pushed into the hall, using their clubs liberally on the members, though the latter had kept quiet to avoid giving any cause for violence. In the end the president, secretary, and twenty-five members were accused of resisting the police, sedition, etc., and imprisoned for nearly a year, the club being dissolved.

Similar methods were used to dissolve other clubs, Liberal newspapers were destroyed by the confiscation of plants and arrest of editors, and large numbers of club members were imprisoned or drafted into the army, while still more violent methods were at times used. In spite of this harsh treatment the new party was kept alive and some of the newspapers continued to appear. In 1908 a number of these were suspended for over-bold utterances. As a result of these persecutions on the part of the government the Liberals were goaded to revolutionary movements. The first of these was launched in September, 1906. But the government had gained information, by aid of spies or other means, of the plans of the insurrectionists, and sternly put down the few risings that were attempted. Most of the leaders had already been seized and imprisoned. Another outbreak was launched in June, 1908, most of the fighting in this being done by refugees in the United States, who crossed the border and attacked the Federals. A month's time sufficed to put down this insurrection, and peace again prevailed, the leaders and rebels seized being dealt with in the usual harsh manner. Powder and shot summarily disposed of many of those taken arms in hand.

Rapid fire squad of the Constitutionalist army at


A revolutionary movement is said to have been planned for October 14, 1909, but failed to get beyond the status of a plan. It was discovered and the leaders of the clubs charged with devising the movement were seized and condemned to two years' imprisonment. After being fourteen months in prison some of them were released, the authorities deciding that they were innocent. It is said, however, that the police seized them at the prison door, took them to the police station, and from there they were drafted for five years into the army. Thus ended the Liberal party in Mexico. Membership in it proved too dangerous an occupation. It was succeeded later by the Democratic party, of which we shall speak in a succeeding chapter.

The government of President Diaz has been spoken of as an autocracy. It would be more correct to call it an oligarchy, a government not by one man, nor by representatives of the people, but by a group of aristocrats who served as aids and advisers of the president. "He governs," says F. Carcia Calderon, "with the aid of the 'scientific' party—a group which believes in the virtue and power of science, exiles theology and metaphysics, denies mystery and confesses utilitarianism as its practice and positivism as its doctrines." The group of advisers of the President did not call themselves cientificos  (scientists). This was a nickname applied by their opposers. They were a body of clever men, friends of the President, not politicians, but men chiefly devoted to their own personal interests, men who managed by this kind of provident industry to add largely to their fortunes. President Diaz saw to it that the governors of states should be cientificos. In this way the government of Mexico was managed: the President, who took good care of his own re-election, at the head; the state governors, chosen by vote but selected by the President, as his pledged supporters; and the jefe politicos, mayors of towns and rulers of surrounding districts, chosen by the governors, as the minor agents of power in the nation. As for the people at large, they had the constitutional right of voting but very little real share in the election of officials.

Whence came the "sinews of war" for the financing of this government? For many years they came in a liberal measure from abroad, being furnished, at a satisfactory rate of interest, by such European capitalists as trusted the good faith of the Spanish American republics. The money raised by taxation or other internal measures was usually insufficient to meet the demands, the country year after year spending more than it earned, and facing a steadily increasing deficit. Such was the case up to the year 1893, the revenue never exceeding the expenditure. After that date there came a change, and until the end of the Diaz administration the balance of funds was annually on the side of the treasury. This was due to progress in Mexican industrial affairs and the increasing commerce of the nation, but especially to the work of an able financier, Senor Limantour, the Secretary of Hacienda (Department of Finance). The progress of industrial development was very largely due to the investments of foreign capital in mines, railroads, and other lines of engineering works, which, as already said, now amounts to a very large sum. As for the national debt of the country, it is largely held abroad, the internal payments upon the foreign debt amounting to about $12,000,000 annually. An equal sum has to be paid to railroad bondholders, while other amounts are paid as dividends to various private enterprises. The total foreign debt is over $300,000,000, payable in foreign Currency with the exception of $68,000,000 payable in Mexican currency. The latest additions to this debt were $13,000,000 in 1899.

The banking system appears to be well founded and solid, the leading banks being the National Bank of Mexico, with $16,000,000 capital and $13,000,000 reserves. The Bank of London and Mexico has $10,750,000 capital, and the Mexican Central Bank, $15,000,000. The total capital of all Mexican banks is given as about $100,000,000. The currency was on a bimetallic basis until 1905, when the gold basis was adopted. The fall in the value of silver, so largely mined in Mexico, was to some extent beneficial to industry, but the continual fluctuation in price had a disturbing effect on commerce. This was checked by the adoption of the gold basis and the fixing of the value of the peso, or Mexican silver dollar, at half an American dollar.

Coming now to the subject of the Mexican army and navy, the latter can be quickly disposed of, since as a navy it is almost non-existent. There are six gunboats of from 1,000 to 1,300 tons each, armed with rapid-fire guns, two transports, two training ships and some small revenue cutters. There is a naval school, a navy yard and a floating dock at Vera Cruz, a drydock at Salina Cruz, and a shipyard at Guaymas. An insignificant equipment for ocean warfare this, but one of the gunboats did good service during the rebel attack on Tampico in the autumn of 1913, aiding greatly in saving that town from capture.

The army, according to a statement of President Madero in 1912, when in full strength had 107 generals, 6,236 officers, and 49,332 men. What it numbered in the succeeding period of insurrection it is impossible to say, as the most strenuous measures were taken to fill the ranks. The system of drafting is the chief means of obtaining soldiers, the volunteer portion of the army comprising a very small percentage of the total. The jefes  are the principal drafting officials. Sometimes a governor will send culprits to the ranks instead of to jail, and in this way considerable accessions are at times made, but as a rule the jefes  perform this duty, and take care to do so in a way that will be profitable to themselves. For those whose political views are radical or in any way disturbing the army is a very convenient dumping ground. The men thus disposed of are prisoners, and this is remembered in their treatment. As a result one may hear the Mexican army spoken of as "The National Chain Gang." Occasionally the impressed soldiers, wild to regain freedom, break loose and run for liberty. In such a case they are hunted like escaping convicts.

It is common to send such convict soldiers to the territory of Quintana Roo, which in consequence has been spoken of as the "Siberia of Mexico," multitudes of political and labor agitators being sent there as army exiles. This is the most unhealthful part of Mexico and the death rate there is very large. The ostensible purpose of sending them there is to fight the Maya Indians, who are in a perennial state of revolt.

The war between Provisional President Huerta and the Constitutionalists made the demand for soldiers so large that they were recruited in the most illegal ways, men being seized in the streets when on their way home from places of labor or abroad on other necessary missions, and forced against all protests into the ranks. The newspaper offices especially felt the ill effects of this system, from the employment of their men late at nights.

The Mexican soldier has the credit of being a brave and stubborn fighter. Recruited usually from the lowest classes of the community, he is not prepossessing, either in dress or carriage. He slouches along in a very unmilitary fashion, but as a campaigner he is sturdy and tireless, surpassing in power of enduring fatigue the soldiers of more civilized lands. He can live upon less food and march farther under a burning sun in a day than the soldiers of northern armies could in two. He smokes furiously all day, and out of barracks is merry as a cricket. Usually an Indian, he at times behaves in a way demanding discipline, but as a rule he is easily managed. While on the march discipline does not always keep him in the ranks, and he slouches carelessly along, whistling gaily, until reprimanded and sent back.

There is another trained body of men in Mexico, half police and half soldiers, men of a very different type from the ordinary soldier, and trained into a splendid and highly efficient body. These are the State Rurales, or rural police. This body has an interesting history. It began with a troop organized by Santa Anna in his rough independent fighting, and received the name of Cuerados, from its costume, that of the cattle herders. When their occupation in this service ended they took to the road on their own account as bandits, in which line they had many a sharp encounter with pursuing troops. Their headquarters were in the Malinche Mountains, near Puebla; from which they swooped in frequent raids, killing all who opposed them, and carrying into captivity all who they thought could pay ransom. They came to be known as Plateados, from the plated gold and silver ornamentation of their dress and horse harness. They kept on excellent terms with the mountain peasantry, none of whom would betray them, and even government officials are known to have at times protected them and shared their plunder.

It was President Comonfort, about 1858, who found a useful way of getting rid of these plundering bands. On the principle of "set a thief to catch a thief," he induced them to enter his service, not as regular soldiers, but on a special footing, and he soon had a body of picked rural police, of unsurpassed ability in their particular function.

The Rurales, as now organized, number about 4,000 men, engaged for a five years' term of service (subject to renewal), and are moved about wherever their service may be needed in case of trouble of any kind. Their first employment was to hunt and run down the hordes of bandits with which the country was then infested, with orders to shoot on sight, never giving quarter to men of this type. Their former mode of life fitted them admirably for this work, and most of Mexico is today as free as the United States from robbers of the bandit class. Since then they have been used in trouble of any kind, and with such excellent results that the idea of employing similar bodies of men has made its way into the United States. Such a body exists in the Pennsylvania Mounted Police, whose admirable services in times of strike or other troubles have won high commendation. Most of these have been trained soldiers and are well fitted for such a duty.

The Rurales  wear a neat but simple uniform, a plain gray cloth jacket and tight-fitting trousers, a gray, corded sombrero and a red necktie. Their equipment consists of a carbine, two revolvers in holsters and one in hip pocket, and a machete, the heavy knife so commonly used in Mexican dissensions. Their horses are serviceable animals, capable of long travel and much endurance, and have handsome trappings, often embroidered in gold thread. The men get low wages, but they live very cheaply, pasturage for their horses costs nothing, and their greatest expense is probably for cigarettes, of which Mexicans smoke enormous numbers.

While the Rurales  have brought order into the country districts, the police have been equally efficient sin the cities. A generation ago the city of Mexico was infested to a frightful extent with beggars, thieves and cutthroats, murders were committed nightly, and crimes of all kinds flourished. The city was filled with police, but it was difficult to eradicate the haunts of crime and disorder. When the electric lights were installed the wires were cut nightly in the worst quarters, and even in the best quarters foul murders were committed. Many said that the police were in league with the criminals. But the government kept up the work. Policemen were stationed in numbers through the worst districts. The prisons were filled. The worst culprits were sent to Yucatan as plantation workers. As a result the city has been thoroughly renovated, and its streets are now as safe at night as those of any city in the world.

Ancient Mexico

Its History and Ruins

The history of Mexico at the present day was preceded by a more ancient history of which we know little, but in which the inhabitants were wholly of Indian origin, and the civilization in some of its aspects equal to that of the present day. We have some knowledge of the history of this people for a century or two preceding the Spanish Conquest, while the character of their civilization is in a measure indicated by the remains of buildings and varied relics found widely throughout the country. These consist of pyramids, temples, tombs, statues, rock-sculpture, idols, habitations, canals, pottery, and various other remnants of the flourishing communities which long prevailed. As for their literature, which was probably considerable, nearly the whole of it was destroyed by the fanaticism of a Spanish priest, who robbed the world by fire of a host of documents which may have been of very great archaeological value and interest.

As regards the stage of civilization reached by the Aztecs at the period of the Conquest, we may quote from the description by Cortes of their capital city of Tenochtitlan in his letters to the Spanish king. He speaks of its flourishing markets, including "one square twice as large as that of Salamanca, all surrounded by arcades, where there are daily more than sixty thousand souls buying and selling." In these were foods in great quantity and various articles of comfort and luxury. He speaks of "cherries and plums like those of Spain. . . skeins of different kinds of spun silk in all colors, that might be from one of the markets of Granada. . . Porters such as in Castile do carry burdens," and other evidences of long settled industry. Chief among the edifices was the great temple to the Aztec god of war, of which "no human tongue is able to describe the greatness and beauty. . . the principal tower of which is higher than the great tower of Seville Cathedral." He goes to show that the Aztec civilization of that epoch was in many respects equal to that then prevailing in Spain. His letter concludes as follows:

Great Teocalli or Temple of Mexico.


"I will only say of this city that in the service and manners of its people their fashion of living is almost the same as in Spain, with just as much harmony and order; and considering that these people were barbarous, so cut off from the knowledge of God and of other civilized peoples, it is marvelous to see what they have attained in every respect."

Such was the character of the capital city of the Aztecs, originally one of the most barbarous among the tribes of the country in question, especially in their religious ideas and services, in which were frightful human sacrifices to their principal deity. The evidences of progress seen in Tenochtitlan probably indicate that this was borrowed from the more advanced peoples whom the Aztecs found in Mexico, some of whom they subdued and others perhaps annihilated.

Our knowledge of the earlier history of this country is what the Spanish chroniclers succeeded in recovering from the traditions of the people after the destruction of the voluminous records. This material is legendary and may contain more fiction than fact. It seems to show, however, that civilization of a primitive type had existed in Mexico for a very long period and that a succession of races had peopled the land, who were generally believed to have come "from the north."

Of these races two appear to have brought with them the seeds of civilization, and to these we may owe the many evidences of progress still existing in the land. These were the Mayas, the apparent builders of the remarkable edifices found in Yucatan, and the Toltecs, who are credited with erecting the vast pyramids and other works of art and architecture of Anahuac, the region surrounding and including the Valley of Mexico.

The Mayas are supposed to have reached Mexico in the third century of the Christian era, though this is very problematical. They made their way, then or later, to Yucatan, where their descendants still live, one of the most intelligent of the native races of the land. To them are attributed the beautiful and unique temples, with their elaborate carving and evidence of remarkable skill in architecture, which have been found at various points in the wilds of Yucatan and are regarded in some respects as the most remarkable structures found in the New World. They have attracted numerous investigators and filled the souls of archaeologists with wonder and delight.

About three centuries later, according to tradition, there came "out of the north" another people, the famous Toltecs, who are credited with a very advanced culture. As they moved southward they built several cities, their final center of empire being the city of Tolima, or Tula, which is supposed to have occupied a site about fifty miles north of the modern city of Mexico. Here eleven monarchs reigned in succession, but in the end the Toltec empire was destroyed and its people dispersed. No trace of them remains.

The Toltecs are held to have been the builders of the remarkable pyramids of Teotihuacan and Cholula, with other interesting structures. In fact, the whole country around is full of remains from their busy hands. The greatest of their erections, the immense pyramid of Cholula, is 200 feet high with a base measure of 1,440 feet, it being thus larger than the great Egyptian pyramid of Cheops, though not, like the latter, of stone construction. All around the modern city of Cholula evidence of the activity of former builders exists, in the form of walls, terraces and pyramids on the summit and slopes of the surrounding hills. Cortes found in the ancient city 40,000 houses and 400 temples, showing it to have been at that date the center of a busy and abundant population.

Great Calendar Stone


The pyramids of Teotihuacan are in the northeast part of the Valley of Mexico, near the shores of Lake Texcoco, and twenty-five miles from Mexico City. There are here large and extensive earth mounds, the largest being the "Pyramid of the Sun," which measures about 700 feet on each side and nearly 200 feet in height. In its vicinity is the lower "Pyramid of the Moon," with a base length of about 500 feet. Around these are many other mounds of smaller size, and nearby the "Path of the Dead," a prehistoric road some two miles in length. It is said that on the great pyramid originally stood a huge stone statue of Tonatiuh, the sun, with a plate of polished gold on its front, to reflect the first rays of the rising sun.

As regards the Toltecs, who are usually credited with the erection of these great monuments of human art and labor, we know only what tradition tells. This speaks of them as a peaceful people, surpassing all the natives of Mexico in culture and highly moral in character, their form of religion being a kind of nature worship, in which fruit and flowers were offered on their altars. Their deity was very unlike the ferocious war-god of the Aztecs. In fact, their object of worship, Quetzalcoatl, the Fair God, was a mysterious stranger, a white man with noble features, long beard and flowing garments, who made his appearance at Tula, taught the people a religion of virtue and austerity, in which human and animal sacrifices were forbidden, instructed them in the arts of civilization, and then sailed away to the west to his own country. The Toltecs deified him, represented him in sculpture as a winged serpent, and built temples to him. When Cortes came from the east, he was hailed by the people as Quetzalcoatl, and his ready admission to the country was due to this error.

While on the subject of the prehistoric ruins of Mexico there are some others of notable character of which it is desirable to speak, as they appear to be due to other builders than the Mayas and Toltecs, yet rival the works of these in art and skill. On Monte Alban, about five miles from Oaxaca, and in the valley surrounding, are numerous mounds and other erections of whose age and builders we are ignorant. In one of the mounds were found four rudely sculptured figures in bas-relief of more than life size, seated in a row like the figures in Egyptian temples. Here also necklaces of agate and golden ornaments, fine in workmanship, have been found.

Montezuma, Emperor of Mexico.


At Mitla, twenty-five miles from Oaxaca, are some of the best preserved and striking ruins in Mexico. The most remarkable is the "Hall of the Monoliths," a building with a row of great stone columns running down its center. Each of these is cut from a single stone, and is fifteen feet high by three in diameter. They are without pedestal or capital, tapering somewhat at the top. Weighing five or six tons each, they were evidently brought from a quarry five miles away and 10,000 feet higher than Mitla. All the buildings are decorated, within and without, in the most intricate manner, the decorations being in mosaic work and forming beautifully executed geometrical designs, a Greek-like pattern enclosed in a quadrilateral. In the remarkable precision with which the stones of the temple are cut and fitted, and the elaborate and beautiful ornamentation, these halls must have presented a wonderful aspect in their prime. In their present condition they are the pride of the archaeology of Mexico.

At Papantla, in the State of Vera Cruz, is another example of interesting native architecture, a supposed Toltec structure. Here there seems to have been a city of considerable size and importance. [Its locality is fifty-two miles north of the city of Vera Cruz, in the tierra calienta, or torrid zone. Here the growth of the tropical forest has been so prolific and vigorous as to swallow up the abandoned city, of which few remnants, aside from the temple, remain. The temple, however, has survived the assault of the forest and exists in an excellent state of preservation, as may be judged from the accompanying illustration.

The temples of Mexico were all built on one general plan, being pyramidal in shape and raised in a series of terraces, the top sufficiently broad to serve for the priestly ceremonies and the human sacrifices to the deities. They were of two types. In some the ascent was made by stairways at the corners, so arranged that the priestly procession was obliged to go around each terrace in succession before reaching the summit. In the second type, to which the temple of Papantla belonged, the stairway ran straight upward in the middle of the temple wall and could be ascended directly. The terraces of this edifice are variously ornamented and it is an excellent example of its architectural type.

Pyramid of Papantia.


If we seek now the southeastern section of Mexico, the extensive peninsula lying beyond the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, and comprising the States of Chiapas, Campeche, and Yucatan, we find a remarkable group of ruins, differing in many particulars from those of the northern region, and probably ascribable to the Maya Indians, who for a very long period have inhabited this region, their descendants being still found there. The ruins exist in a number of localities, each probably the site of an important city of the past. These cities, however, have utterly disappeared, their buildings doubtless ruined by the luxuriance of tropic vegetation, and only the substantial stone temples remain, evidence of a remarkable ancient stage of civilization and of a considerable advance in architectural and sculptural art. These edifices have for many years past attracted the attention of archaeologists, and they have been often visited, the forest growth cleared away, and the buildings studied with enthusiastic ardor.

One of the most interesting of these groups of ancient buildings is that at Palenque, in Chiapas, near the border of Guatemala. Here, in a tropical environment of forest, stands a wonderful series of temples and pyramids, which seemed to those who first observed them in the dense woodland depths to be works of ancient magic. They were covered with dense undergrowth which needed to be cleared away, and which reproduces so rapidly that a similar clearing away is necessary to each party of investigators. Here were found no fewer than twelve great truncated pyramids built of earth, stones and masonry, on the tops of most of which stood imposing buildings, which are believed to have served as temples and perhaps in some cases as palaces. Of the twelve pyramids, eight bear such superstructures, very different in character from anything found in the northern Mexican region. The principal buildings have been named "The Temple of the Sun," "Temple of the Cross," "Temple of the Inscriptions," and "The Palace," the latter an extensive group of ruins. Their walls are of massive masonry, some of it composed of roughly-shaped blocks of stone, some of carefully cut and carved stone and sculpture in stucco. There are numerous doorways opening upon the pyramidal platforms. In the interior the rooms are narrow and high, vault-like in character, and covered by stone roofs, not arched but formed on the lean-to principle of construction, a method which renders narrowness essential.

The group known as "The Palace" consists of a four-storied square tower about forty feet in height, and surrounded by extensive courts, buildings and facades, the pyramid sustaining them being about 200 feet square. The fact that the lintels of the doorways were of wood has led to the fall of the supported walls in many cases as the wood decayed. In the interior are many relics of sculptured human figures, often huge in size. Limestone is the material of the walls, the stone blocks not laid in regular courses, but united with abundance of mortar and stucco, the hard stone preventing the careful cutting and shaping shown at Mitla. The walls appear to have been lavishly painted. The stream which flows down the valley is led through an interesting stone-vaulted passageway, which in part still serves its original purpose. The whole group of structures is evidence of a remarkable development of architectural art among this primitive people.

City of Tula, ancient capital of the Toltec Empire


Yucatan possesses numerous remains of similar structures, the most striking of which are those of Uxmal and Chichen-Itza. In this region, indeed, ruins from the far past are so abundant that the traveler rarely loses sight of them. Their object, where not evidently religious, is often impossible to decide upon. There is very little indication that the buildings were intended as fortresses, and peaceful conditions probably prevailed. Whatever their purpose, they indicate a high degree of architectural skill among the Mayas. The plan and detail of the buildings seem to have been carefully studied in advance, their designs being so perfectly carried out as to indicate a clear previous conception of the desired result. Some of these buildings were in use when Cortes reached Yucatan, and they are still in an excellent state of preservation.

The most remarkable of these groups of buildings are those of Chichen-Itza. These may justly be considered as the most important, as they are also the best preserved, of the aboriginal American works of architecture. Yucatan is a country practically devoid of rivers, and is obliged to depend upon its subterranean waters, which spring up abundantly. There are deep wells, furnishing plentiful underground water supplies, and on these the country depends. Around two of these natural wells the city of Chichen-Itza was built, its name in Maya signifying "Mouth of the Well." In the vicinity of the source of water-supply are now found numerous buildings remarkable for their boldness of conception and skill in architecture and sculptural decoration. The same is the case at Uxmal, a second reservoir of ancient art in the same territory. The strange and interesting buildings at these localities are variously and somewhat fancifully known as "The House of the Nuns," "Temple of Tigers," "House of the Pigeons," "House of Turtles," "Governor's Palace," "The Castle," "The Church," etc., the titles based on some peculiarity in their carvings or other characteristics. Thus the "Temple of Tigers" is ornamented with a sculptural procession of pumas or lynxes. The special feature of the "Castle" lies in its situation, it being erected upon a pyramid of more than one hundred feet in height.

These buildings, upon their outward walls, and to some extent in their interiors, are elaborately decorated with a skill which shows developed powers of workmanship, though the art may be designated as barbaric in general character. When we consider the imperfect kind of tools possessed by those ancient artists, to whom the use of iron and steel was unknown, and the precision with which the stones of the buildings are laid and fitted, we cannot view them without surprise and admiration, though tempered by the fact that in various other parts of the world similar examples of antique skill in this direction exist. In the Americas Peru is a striking instance. The carving of these ancient buildings differs in perfection in different localities, but this is due to the different character of stone employed. That at Mitla is a soft and easily cut trachyte, which yields itself readily to the blade of the chisel, while the imperfection of the stone cutting at Palenque arose from the use of a hard and brittle limestone, incapable of being carved in fine detail. In Yucatan the limestone employed is softer in texture, and lent itself readily to the profuse and beautiful work of the artists of that section.

These antique Mexican buildings are of high interest wherever found, whether upon the open plain in the north or in the depths of the tropical forest, as in Chiapas and Yucatan. We have spoken here only of the buildings, but mention should also be made of the elaborately carved upright stones and the many highly decorated idols found in the vicinity of the temples. At present they stand alone, grim relics of remote times, but they speak to us of great and thickly settled cities, in which they stood, with multitudes of fragile buildings that have failed to withstand the ravages of time. They speak as well of energetic rulers, of busy and able artists and architects, and of a stringent system of public labor in which multitudes of workmen were kept employed, perhaps under the conditions of oppression that prevailed in ancient Egypt, possibly under more humane conditions. The amount of physical labor in these great constructions of the past—the wall of China, the pyramids and temples of Egypt, the temples of Peru and Mexico—must have been very great, and suggests the existence of compact and powerful governmental systems, and enforced labor on the part of the people that has no equal in later history. All we see now in the wilds of Yucatan and Mexico in general are these great and silent ruins, built for purposes largely unknown, but they call up to our minds the vision of thronged cities, splendid palaces, active industries, and developed governmental, social and industrial relations which ages ago passed away, leaving these massive structures as milestones pointing out diversified stages of human progress, in art and architecture, in religious conceptions and governmental despotism.

The form of government prevailing in Anahuac, as ancient Mexico was called, at least that of its two principal national organizations, the Aztec and Texcocan, was that of an elective monarchy, four electors choosing the new sovereign, though the choice was confined to the brothers and nephews of the deceased monarch. The land was partly held by great military chiefs, partly by the people themselves. Democratic in type, the monarchy grew despotic in the end, legislation depending upon the will of the king. Taxes were laid on agriculture and manufacture. In the latter was included a beautiful feather-work, made of the plumage of the many brilliant Mexican birds, which was worn by the wealthy as clothing. Handsome tapestries were also made, woven and richly colored. The making of pottery was an active industry, though the potter's wheel was unknown. Trade was not conducted in shops, but in fairs or market places, and this custom is preferred by the peon class today.

Much more might be said about the arts and customs of the ancient Mexicans, but we must return to the history of the period preceding the Spanish conquest. Following the Toltecs, other tribes made their way into Anahuac, an important one being the Chichemecas, a warlike people who occupied Tula of the Toltecs, allied themselves with the neighboring tribes, and established an empire with its capital at Texcoco, on the lake of that name. Here its people took the name of Texcocans.

Next came the Aztecs, also from the north, another war-like and barbarous race which, from early in the tenth to late in the thirteenth century, made its way gradually southwest, stopping for periods at various localities, one of them Tula, and finally reaching a final resting place at Tenochtitlan, the site of modern Mexico, then on an island in Lake Texcoco. Here they built their great temple and installed the worship of their hideous war-god, to whom thousands of human victims were offered on the terrible Stone of Sacrifice. The city was named after Tenoch, a military priest and chief who died in 1343. Itzcoatl, the real founder of the empire, followed Tenoch, and after him the first Montezuma, who died in 1469. Other emperors followed until 1500, when the second Montezuma, the one who was to prove the victim of the Spanish invaders, ascended the throne.

During this period the power of the Aztecs steadily increased and their empire spread over conquered peoples to east and west. The Texcocans, a much more civilized people, also grew in power and influence and during the latter part of the fourteenth century they entered into an alliance with the Aztecs, together with the Tlasopans, a smaller people dwelling near the lake. It was to the power of this alliance that the Aztecs owed the wide extension of their empire, they proving the leaders in the invading activity of the allies. Only one nation is mentioned that defied them and maintained its independence in their despite. This was that of Tlascala, a people with a republican form of government, who dwelt on the western slopes of the eastern range of the Sierra Madre, surrounded by easily defended mountain walls except on the east, and there defended by a wall built by them to close the only pregnable part of their dominion. In vain the Aztecs and their allies sought the conquest of this brave people. All their efforts were repulsed, and the Tlascalans remained to become allies of the Spaniards and aid them essentially in the conquest of the hated Aztecs. In all other quarters the Aztec dominion extended, they felt the civilizing influence of their allied neighbors, the Texcocans, and in time their city became a center of the culture of Anahuac, though the worship of the frightful war-god still prevailed.

Their city was a natural fortress, surrounded on all sides by water except where causeways of earth connected it with the lake shores. Across these were open canals, with bridges that could be removed in case of assault from without, and flocks of canoes on the lake that could be used in repelling any invader. Such was the state of affairs in the Aztec empire when Hernando Cortes and his small body of armed followers appeared and the death struggle of the great warlike empire of Anahuac began.

On this great plateau apparently for more than ten centuries a unique type of civilization had been growing up, the final outcome of the intellectual, political and artistic development of the North American Indians; to be overthrown in a few years by warlike invaders from abroad, in some respects more barbarous than the conquered race, but representing a far more advanced type of civilization, that of mediaeval Europe.

Cortes Conquers the Aztec Empire

The story of Hernando Cortes is one full of romantic interest. History has no record of greater daring, fertility in resources, brilliant achievements and of striking success than that of this chief of American conquerors. Pizarro in Peru rivaled him in boldness and was his equal in success, but he did not encounter and overcome such mutations of fortune as those to which Cortes was exposed and to deal with which called for daring and judgment of a remarkable type. To subdue an extensive and firmly-founded empire, with millions of inhabitants, possessing a considerable degree of civilization, accustomed to war and conquest, and of the most daring and courageous type among the Indians, was a feat that demanded the highest qualities of leadership, judgment, and mental ability, especially in view of the fact that it was accomplished by a mere handful of invaders, less than a thousand in number. In view of these scarcely credible facts some account of the earlier career of this remarkable man is desirable.

Hernando Cortes was born in 1485 at Medellin, in the province of Estramadura, Spain. Of an old but poor family, it was necessary for him to make his own way in the world and this he was well fitted to do. As a boy he was sent to the University of Salamanca. But he was born for action, not study, and soon left the school for the army, proposing to serve in the Naples campaign under the famous Gonsalvo of Cordova, then known as the "Great Captain."

Fondness for adventure led the young soldier into various escapades, in one of which he fell from a roof, injuring himself so severely that he was unable to sail with Gonsalvo's army of invasion. Now was the period when the recently discovered New World formed the center of attraction for enterprising Spaniards. Here there was hope of wealth, adventure, power and glory, and the young adventurer set sail for that land of promise as soon as he recovered from his injury. He reached San Domingo, the governor of which was a relative of his family, in 1504. There he passed several years, and in 1511 joined the expedition under Diego Velasquez, its purpose being to conquer and colonize the island of Cuba.

Hernando Cortes


The youthful adventurer had already shown himself a man of unusual powers. He is described as of strong and alert form and handsome face, with eyes of wonderful power and charm. There were no manly exercises in which he was not skilful, his courage was of the highest type, and his mental quickness never failed him in an emergency. In addition he had fine powers of persuasion and eloquence, and the faculty of bringing all men under the spell of his influence. Vast in conception, prudent in execution, enduring reverses with fortitude, never losing command of himself through success, he was just the man for the situation existing in the New World at that period.

But with these good points were the objectionable ones of cruelty towards his enemies, base perfidy where it would serve his ends, and a greed of plunder that was a serious defect in his character. Yet taken for all in all he was admirably fitted by nature for the great task which awaited him and to which the softer virtues would have been a serious detriment. Intrepidity, caution, judgment, and quickness to act in an emergency were the faculties his career demanded, and these he possessed in an unusual degree.

With this brief review of his character, we may proceed with the story of his exploits. His first display of courage and ability was in the work of conquest in Cuba under Velasquez. Cortes was rewarded for this with an estate on that island, to the development and increase of which he devoted himself for a number of years. His taste for adventure did not fail to show itself during this period, and there is a tale of his being a rival of the governor for the love of a beautiful young lady, his persecution and imprisonment by Velasquez, his escape, recapture, and incarceration in a ship with a chain around his ankle. He again escaped, in the end married the lady, and finally became reconciled with the governor, who made him alcalde of Santiago de Cuba.

Meanwhile events of higher historical import were taking place. It was known that an extensive country lay in the west. Columbus had reached it in one of his voyages, and Velasquez had sent an expedition in that direction, the leader of which, Grijalva by name, touched land in Yucatan, entered the river of Tabasco, and then returned to report and ask for instructions. Grijalva's report excited the cupidity of the governor. Here were new lands to conquer, perhaps a new empire to found. Velasquez decided to send out a larger and stronger expedition, meanwhile sending to Spain to ask for wider powers and the right to govern any lands that might be gained. He needed a man of bolder initiative than Grijalva to command this expedition, and offered the command to several of his own relatives, all of whom refused. Cortes had now gained a wide reputation for courage and daring, and Velasquez next selected him for commander. The scheme was admirably fitted for a man of the abilities and aspirations of Cortes and he did not hesitate to accept it.

He went to work, indeed, with ardor and enthusiasm, and gathered around him an ample following of the bolder spirits among the Spaniards of Cuba, some of whom had sailed in Grijalva's expedition. Among these were Bernal Diaz, who afterward wrote a history of the Conquest, Alvarado, a rash but bold adventurer, and others noted for warlike skill and daring. But as the work of enlistment and preparation went on, pushed to the highest point by the ardor of the young commander, Velasquez began to distrust him, and it needed all the persuasive skill of Cortes to keep on good terms with the jealous governor. Finally, in November, 1518, the work of preparation was completed and the members of the enterprise on board, full of ardent hopes and of trust in their enthusiastic leader. At the last moment, as the story goes, Velasquez again grew distrustful of the intentions of Cortes and determined to replace him by a more trustworthy leader. News of this came to the ears of the bold commander and when Velasquez rose on the morning of November 18th, bent on removing Cortes from his command, he saw to his dismay the fleet with sails full set gliding out of the harbor. Cortes was the last to leave the shore, and did so with words of defiance for the truculent governor.

Velasquez, his eyes opened too late, sent a swift message to the settlement in western Cuba at which Cortes would be obliged to land for further supplies, ordering his arrest and return. But Cortes was an adept in the art of making friends. Instead of being seized he gained important accessions to his party, and was soon afloat again on the little known seas that led to his goal of hope. His fleet consisted of eleven small vessels, manned by 110 sailors, and carrying 553 soldiers. Of these only thirteen bore muskets, while thirty-two were armed with arquebuses, the others bearing swords and pikes only. In addition there were ten small field-pieces and sixteen horses, the latter being destined to prove of signal service.

Cortes at the Battle of Otumba


It was a small equipment with which to invade an empire, but the companions of Cortes, while in deep ignorance of what lay before them, were inspired with hope rather than dread. Bold and resolute were the cavaliers of Spain in that age and there was no enterprise which they were not ready to undertake. Grijalva had brought back stories of an extensive empire, defended by large armies, but this recital apparently had no terrors for the companions of Cortes. Most of them had met Indians in battle and had little fear of their imperfect weapons.

The route taken by Cortes followed that of Grijalva, land being first reached at an island off the coast of Yucatan. Here they learned of the presence of white men, a ship having been wrecked there in 1511, of the crew of which thirteen reached the land. Of these only two were alive, and one of them preferred to stay with his Indian friends. The other, named Agilar, readily joined the band of Cortes. He proved a valuable auxiliary from his knowledge of the manners and customs of the people, and especially from having learned the language of the country. Thus Cortes was furnished with an interpreter, an acquisition of the utmost value to him in later days.

The first conflict with the natives took place at Tabasco River, which Grijalva had entered. The natives here were not lacking in courage, but the firearms of the Spaniards, and still more the horses, of which they fancied the riders to be part, turned their bravery into terror and they were quickly put to rout. The native king sent gifts to the victors and agreed to become a vassal of the great king of Spain, with very little thought of what this meant.

Cortes passed Palm Sunday in this place, solemnizing the anniversary with high mass. Thence the expedition sailed onward, and on Good Friday, April 21, 1519, the adventurers set foot on the mainland of Mexico at a point which they named Vera Cruz. Here they first met the subjects of Montezuma, the Aztec emperor, feasting and exchanging gifts with them, while on Easter Sunday they again celebrated high mass with great pomp and ceremony.

The story of what followed is one full of interesting and romantic details. Though the distance from the seashore to Tenochtitlan, the Aztec capital, was a long one, and all news had to be carried on foot, a very swift system of couriers had been instituted. So rapid were they that in little over a week the news of the coming of the armed strangers, and the presents sent by them to the Aztec emperor, had reached his capital and they were back again at Vera Cruz bearing rich presents to the newcomers. The helmet sent by Cortes was returned to him filled with grains of gold, and among the other rich tokens of Aztec wealth and magnificence were two round plates of gold and silver as big as carriage wheels. The gold one represented the sun, and its surface bore richly carved figures of plants and animals. With them came a message from Montezuma, the Aztec ruler:

"Come not hither; the road is long and dangerous; return to your country with our greetings to your great king."

This was peremptory, but it was an error to accompany it with such evidences of wealth and splendor, gifts which excited the cupidity of Cortes and his companions to the utmost degree. Men like them were not of the kind to be frightened by the prohibition of a semi-barbaric potentate, especially when accompanied by such enticements to cupidity.

Again went the messengers to the Aztec capital, bearing a new demand, and again they returned with a still more peremptory order to leave the land. At the same time the natives disappeared, the supplies were cut off, and the Spaniards were left in indecision and chagrin. Some of them, fearful of danger, wished to return to Cuba.

"Go," cried Cortes. "On board, all of you. Back to Cuba and Governor Velasquez and see what happens."

None went, and the few who continued disaffected were put in irons. In this critical state of affairs a welcome message came to Cortes. An embassy from a people to the north, the Totonacs, reached the Spanish camp, with a request for the strangers to visit them, and the statement that they were tired of the Aztec yoke and yearned for independence.

Cheered and inspired by this invitation, Cortes lost no time in accepting it, marching along the coast to Cempoalla, the Totonac capital. On learning of this, threats of dire punishment came from Montezuma to the Totonac chiefs, but Cortes succeeded in enlisting them in his favor, and went so far as to insist on their becoming Christians, their idols being thrown down, their altars of sacrifice cleansed, and the image of the Virgin installed in the heathen temple.

The shrewd leader, having the favor of his own king in mind, now sent one of his swiftest ships to Spain bearing the wheel of gold and the other rare Aztec presents, with a written account of what had been done and what was proposed. This was to forestall Velasquez in any movement he might make. Cortes, a genius in affairs and a born leader of men, went much farther than this, taking a step that has become famous. Finding new discontent among his followers, and learning of a plot of secession that would destroy all his hopes, he promptly had its authors seized and executed, and then took the decisive step in question. He sank his ships!

He had burned his bridges behind him. Return was now out of the question. They must go forward, to victory or death. No other course remained.

"Forward, my brave comrades!" cried the daring adventurer. "A mountain road lies before us; beyond it await us adventure, glory, and gold!"

Montezuma, a man lacking mental strength and decision, had been affected by the determination of the Spaniards, and tradition and superstition now wrought upon him in their favor. Quetzalcoatl, the famous white god of the Toltecs, had sailed to the east, promising to return. Was this promise being kept? Was this resolute white stranger the great Toltec deity? If so no human power could stop his advance. He must be dealt with as such a mighty personage deserved. Destiny had spoken; what it had said must come to pass. If this were indeed Quetzalcoatl resistance might lead to disaster, compliance to Aztec good and glory.

Castle at Chapultepec, Mexico City,


Cortes had taken one vital step. He now took another. The messengers of Montezuma were sent back with the same message as before. The monarch was told that the white men must visit him in person, and without waiting for a reply the Spaniards turned their faces resolutely to the mountain barrier and began their eventful march toward the center of the Aztec empire.

Up the mountain slopes they toiled, marching by day, sleeping upon their arms at night. They knew little of what lay before them, but had been told of the small republic of Tlascala, a strong mountain fortress inhabited by bitter and unconquerable enemies of the Aztecs. Soon their journey brought them to the well defended wall that closed the entrance to this stronghold. It was built of stone blocks to a man's height and extended for several miles to rock ramparts on either side.

Here came the second act in the drama of the Conquest. The brave mountaineers were no more inclined than the Aztecs to permit these white-faced strangers to enter their domain. Cortes tried to win their favor by diplomacy, but the Tlascallan chiefs sent back the defiant message that "the strangers who had been thrown up by the sea could come to their great city if they chose, but it would be to become sacrifices to the gods and be served up at a sacred festival."

This defiance led to warfare, two battles following, in the second of which the Tlascallans were in vast numbers and fought with the courage of despair. But the firearms, the horses, the armor of the Spaniards were too much for the poorly armed and protected mountaineers, who after immense losses were forced to flee. This ended the resistance of the Tlascallans. Peace was concluded, the people agreeing to become vassals of the Spanish crown and to aid Cortes in his enterprise. They further consented to accept the Christian faith and to give up human sacrifices, though they refused to yield up their old protecting deities.

This event was of the greatest moment to Cortes. It gained him the alliance of a powerful and valorous people, one inspired by hatred to the Aztecs and eager to assist in their overthrow. Some time was spent at Tlascala, Cortes being so ill from fever acquired on the coast that he could hardly keep in his saddle. While recovering he received a new message from Montezuma, who now invited the stranger chief to visit him. He at the same time warned him against the perfidious Tlascallans, and advised him to come through Cholula, a friendly nation which lay in his way.

At Cholula the Spaniards showed their sanguinary character. What real warrant they had for the act of bloodshed that took place we do not know, but it has brought upon Cortes and his Spaniards the execration of historians. Being told that the Cholulans were planning his destruction, and with no apparent proof of the truth of this story, he launched his forces upon the people while peacefully traversing the city streets, mowed them down with cannon and musketry, and sent the ferocious Tlascallans to attack them in the rear. Three thousand of the unresisting natives are said to have fallen in this perfidious massacre, which deeply stained the honor of the Spanish invaders. A "punitive example" Cortes called it. It was an example of a kind that was afterwards repeated in Tenochtitlan, in the latter case nearly bringing destruction upon the Spaniards.

While at Cholula Cortes received an offer of alliance from one of two kings of Texcoco, then at war, an offer which the shrewd Spaniard was quick to accept, as it was an important step in his favor in the desperate game which lay before him. Encouraged by the events described, the bold adventurer again marched forward with a strong body of Tlascallans in his train. Over the plateau they passed, climbed the rim of hills surrounding the fair Valley of Mexico, and looked down with delight and wonder upon that verdant and fruitful plain, with its numerous towns and villages, its group of shining lakes, and far away the famous Aztec capital, crowned with its great temple, the goal of their daring and dubious enterprise. Farther off was visible the equally fair city of Texcoco, and in the far distance the opposite side of the mountain girdle. It was the promised land which the invaders had so long sought, one destined to become the scene of remarkable examples of daring and disaster.

The capture of the City of Mexico by Cortez.


On the 8th of November, 1519, Cortes and his followers set foot on one of the causeways leading to the city, built of stone and mortar above the shallow lake and connecting the island city of Tenochtitlan with the adjoining shores. The streets reached, the Spanish adventurer was met by Montezuma, the proud Aztec emperor. He came, carried in a royal litter gleaming with polished gold. In descending he stepped on splendid carpets, laid for his royal feet. Cortes met him with the utmost show of respect, and put around his neck a chain of gold ornamented with colored beads, which to the Aztecs seemed like gems of value.

Was this truly the great Quetzalcoatl? A query of this kind may have rested in the monarch's mind as he exchanged compliments with his strangely dressed and white-faced visitor. He bade the two princes who accompanied him to escort the white men to the palace prepared for their reception. The city seemed empty as they passed through. The people had been forbidden to look upon these strangers, whose souls were filled with a feeling of dread as they made their way through the silent and deserted streets.

The striking events that followed must be told with more brevity. In the following days Cortes explored the capital, held other interviews with the emperor, and became fully conscious of the peril that environed him, in a populous city filled with unfriendly people and ruled by a distrustful sovereign. It was a case in which only the boldest measures could bring success. He resolved on the boldest of all measures. He would seize the person of the emperor and hold him as a hostage for the good faith of his people. It was the same bold step that Pizarro afterwards adopted in Peru, but Cortes had a different people than the Peruvians to deal with.

Difficult as was this enterprise, the irresolute and somewhat timid character of the emperor aided in its success, and after an indignant refusal to visit Cortes in his quarters Montezuma was prevailed on to do so. He was held there seemingly as guest, but really as prisoner. Daring and doubtful as was this act, it might have proved successful but for an untoward event. Hardly had Cortes got the emperor in his power than threatening news came from the coast. Governor Velasquez had sent out a new agent, named Narvaez, who was directed to remove Cortes and take his place in command. Quick and decided action was imperative. Leaving the imperial prisoner in the hands of Don Pedro de Alvarado, Cortes hastened with part of his command to the coast, and with his usual boldness in action attacked the newcomer, routed him completely, and gained a welcome addition to his forces from the men of Narvaez. Especially welcome were the horses they had brought. The act of Velasquez had merely strengthened the man he sought to dispossess.

But Cortes had made the serious mistake of leaving Alvarado in command, an error for which he was to pay bitterly. While a man of great bravery, Alvarado had none of the prudence and judgment of his leader. Rash and bloodthirsty, he succeeded in utterly ruining all the good work which Cortes had done. Without cause or provocation, so far as we are aware, certainly without judgment or wisdom, while the Aztecs were holding a religious festival, Alvarado with fifty armed Spaniards entered the hall where they were engaged in dancing and festive entertainment, and made a sudden attack upon them, slaughtering the unarmed guests in the most merciless manner, "so that the gutters ran with blood as in a rain storm," the chroniclers say.

When Cortes returned, startled with the news that had reached his ears, he found the city in arms and Alvarado and his men besieged in their quarters by the furious populace. Cortes and his men succeeded in reaching the palace, but for several days were obliged to fight with desperation. Several sorties were made, in one of which they fought their way to the summit of the great temple, from which they had been seriously annoyed, drove the priests and warriors over its edge, and rolled the frightful idol of their war-god down into the streets beneath.

As the assaults continued with unceasing fury, Cortes persuaded the imperial prisoner to ascend to the palace roof and seek to persuade his people to suspend their attack. Montezuma did so, clad in his imperial robes and bearing his golden wand of office. A few of his nobles attended him. On seeing their monarch a sudden quiet fell upon the dense throng of assailants. His voice was heard asking them to cease their strife against the white strangers. This request was followed by a wild outburst of fury, howls and execrations filled the streets, and deadly missiles were hurled, a stone striking the emperor in the head and inflicting a mortal wound. At this the throng, horror-stricken by their act, melted away, leaving the square before the palace empty. Such is the story of the death of Montezuma, though there is a Mexican account, which may be true, saying that his death was due to the Spaniards, who, considering him an encumbrance, killed him.

The fall of Montezuma.


However this be, the position of the Spaniards in Tenochtitlan had now become too perilous to be maintained. Their numbers were daily lessening before the weapons of the Aztecs, and their only hope lay in a hasty flight. This was decided upon on the day after the emperor's death, and taking advantage of the nightly quiet of the people, the invaders, on the night of July 1, 1520, set out on their retreat. An interesting instance of the sober sense of Cortes took place while the Spaniards were preparing in all haste for flight. Heaps of gold and other valuables lay on the floor and cavaliers and troopers alike greedily helped themselves from this precious store.

"Pocket what you can," said Cortes, "but bear in mind that gold is heavy and we have to travel swiftly."

Well it proved for those who took this advice, for of those who loaded themselves down from the precious spoil few lived through that fateful night.

All seemed quiet as death when the Spaniards filed from the palace and made their way through the dark streets to the causeway across the lake. Hope came back to them as they hastened onward. There were three canals to cross and, fearing that the bridges had been removed, the fugitives carried with them a portable bridge which they had hastily constructed. All seemed going well. The first canal was reached and the bridge laid across it. Over it the cavaliers rode and the footmen dragged their cannon.

At this critical juncture a threatening sound met their ears. It was that of the great Aztec war-drum, calling the people to arms and to vengeance. They were ready for the work. Rapidly they poured in multitudes upon the causeway. The lake suddenly swarmed with canoes. Savage war-cries filled the air; darts and stones rained upon the fugitives; hand to hand was the conflict; death reigned on every side. The second breach in the causeway was reached. "Bring on the bridge" was the cry. Vain proved the demand. The bridge had sunk deeply into the muddy banks under the weight of horses and guns and it was impossible to move it. The fugitives in panic faced the open channel. Wilder grew the war-cries. On the Spaniards and their Indian allies rushed the maddened Aztecs. Down went horse and man; dead bodies fell into the yawning water; living men were borne away in canoes to become victims to the dread Aztec war-god ; terror reigned supreme.

The ditch must be filled. Already this was partly done by dead bodies of men and horses. Bales of plunder and chests of ammunition were hastily flung in. In this way the shallow opening was nearly filled and across it rushed the fugitives, a rear guard under Alvarado remaining to keep back the furious foe. The third breach was reached. Cortes and the leading cavaliers swam their horses across and were pushing onward when a loud cry reached their ears.

"The rear guard perishes!"

"Back and save them!" cried Cortes, and gallantly back went he and his cavaliers, swimming the breach once more and hurrying to where Alvarado and his men were battling like heroes with the yelling horde of pursuers.

There is a striking tale here to tell, a heroic one. Unhorsed and unprotected, Alvarado stood on the inner side of the breach, the others having passed. The gray light of the coming dawn fell upon his solitary figure, and on that of the foemen in his rear. Death seemed imminent. But planting his lance on the wreckage on the bottom of the breach the athletic Spaniard leaped forward and cleared the yawning chasm at a bound. To this day, in Mexico City, the spot is pointed out as "The Leap of Alvarado."

When morning fully dawned its light fell upon the remnant of the fleeing army, staggering onward, bleeding, hungering, gone their baggage and cannon, gone their last carbine, wandering by an unknown road into the heart of a hostile realm. Cortes, for once overcome by disaster, seated himself on the steps of a ruined temple, while hot and bitter tears flowed from his eyes. So closed the Noche Triste, the "Sad Night" of his wondrous career.

All is not lost while a hero lives. For days the fugitives moved slowly on, living on the few ears of maize that could be found along their path. Cortes led them with a brave and cheerful mien until seven days had passed. Then, from the top of a ridge they had ascended, they saw before them a mighty host, filling the whole valley of Otumba, through which their route led. Against these threatening thousands were the handful of Spaniards who had escaped, and the remnant of Tlascallans who had survived the Aztec weapons. Could they cut through that swarming host? No time was lost in considering this question. Forward into the valley they charged with desperate courage, and were soon lost in the battling multitude of vengeful Indians.

For several hours the fight continued with little success for the fugitives. Then the Indian leader was seen advancing, borne on a litter, richly dressed and bearing the royal banner of Tenochtitlan. Around him was a body of young nobles, his guard of honor. It was a critical moment. Utter disaster was threatening the Spaniards, who were being pushed back on every side. The sight of this Aztec chief inspired Cortes with a last hope. He spurred his steed towards him, followed by a small party of horsemen and cutting down all who opposed. Reaching the bodyguard, Cortes forced his way furiously through it, and struck down the prince with a vigorous thrust from his lance. Down sprang a horseman, seized the banner and handed it to Cortes. At the sight of their fallen chief and lost standard sudden terror ran through the host. They broke into utter panic and fled in a confused mass, followed by the Spaniards with thrusting lance and striking sword until the field was covered with the dead.

Thus ended the battle of Otumba, one of the most remarkable in American history. The numbers of the foe may have been greatly exaggerated, but there is no question of the warlike valor and genius of Cortes and the bravery of his men. The Spaniards repaid themselves in a measure for their losses on the causeway by the rich costumes of the dead on this fatal field to the Indians. Gladly pursuing their march, they eventually reached Tlascala, where they, and the remnant of Tlascallans with them, were warmly received.

Six months later, in December of 1520, Cortes returned. He had gained a strong reinforcement of Spaniards, gathered a large army of allies from the various tribes hostile to the Aztecs, and now found a powerful ally in the King of Texcoco, which place he entered on the final day of 1520. He had determined upon a different method of warfare, that of siege of the city and attack from the lake. He had prepared at Tlascala the material for thirteen brigantines, which were put together on the waters of Lake Texcoco, part of their timbers coming from the ships which he had sunk on the Gulf coast. With the large army now under his command he subdued all opposition in the surrounding country, and near the end of May, 1521, began his memorable siege of the Aztec capital.

For three months this siege continued, the Aztecs defending themselves with all their old gallantry, yet steadily losing ground before their powerful foes. Cut off from food and with, little water, for the waters of Lake Texcoco are salt, the brave defenders were reduced to extremities from hunger and thirst, but Guatemoc, the noble young monarch who now filled the throne of Montezuma, utterly refused to surrender. His people slain, his city ruined, all hope at an end, on the 13th of August he sought to escape, but the boat in which he fled was taken and the last Aztec emperor was brought into the presence of his conqueror.

"I have done my best to defend my people," he proudly said. "Deal with me as you will." He touched the dagger in the belt of Cortes, and added, "Despatch me at once, I beseech."

Instead of being slain, his wife, who had been taken with him, was sent for, and the royal pair were treated with kindness, rest and refreshment being provided them. And thus ended the last act of this great drama, the conquest of Mexico by Hernando Cortes and his band of adventurers.

Rule of the Spanish Viceroys

Spain has the credit—the ill credit, we should say—of treating her heroes with shameful injustice and neglect. This was the case with the two greatest and most famous of them, Columbus and Cortes, both of whom were treated rather as malefactors than as benefactors, and were basely robbed of the reward of their brilliant services. It was the fate of Cortes the Conqueror to find his enemies stronger at the Spanish court than himself and to be left to die in bitter disappointment, while another was given the position in the New World which he had so brilliantly won. He had reason to regret his cruel treatment of the emperor Montezuma when he was removed from the government of Mexico and replaced by Antonio de Mendoza, Count of Tendilla, the first of the long line of viceroys who reigned over Mexico and its people during nearly three centuries.

Mendoza proved to be one of the ablest and noblest of the viceroys, and governed the country with a just and generous spirit that few of his successors showed. He manifested a warm regard for the welfare of the Indians, protected them from the rapacious spirit shown by many of the Spanish settlers, and gave them earnest encouragement in the pursuit of agriculture. Sheep of fine breed were brought from Spain, the silk industry was encouraged, and the economic development of the country wisely fostered.

Priests of the Franciscan order had already reached Mexico and founded convents, and they began earnestly the work of converting the natives from idolatry to Christianity. The ablest and most zealous among them was Fray Pedro of Ghent, whose holy life endeared him to the Emperor Charles V, then reigning also as Charles I, king of Spain. Charles chose him for governor and aided him greatly in his work by gifts of money and grants of land. The viceroy and the missionaries worked diligently in promoting the prosperity of the country and in protecting the people from unjust treatment, and had much to do with placing the government of Spain in Mexico upon a firm and enduring basis.

The capture of Guatemoc.


Before continuing the story of the viceroys one must briefly return to the exploits of Cortes, who had made himself master of the Aztec empire and was soon lord of all the tribes of Anahuac. One of his first acts was to build a Spanish city on the site of the Aztec one. Before doing this, however, the vast treasures supposed to belong to the Aztec crown were widely sought in the ruins of Tenochtitlan. Not finding them, Cortes permitted a shameful act to be performed. His noble captive, Guatemoc, was questioned about these treasures, and on denying any knowledge of them was subjected to dreadful torture by thrusting his feet into boiling oil. The same was done to the King of Tlacopan. This cruel deed was without effect. They either knew not or would not tell what had become of these treasures. The bottom of the lake was explored for them, but equally in vain, and these coveted treasures have never been found.

The country was put under military rule by its conquerors, Cortes taking the titles of Governor, Captain General and Chief Justice. He soon began to extend the scope of his conquests. One important addition to his dominion was the strong kingdom of Michoacan, which the Aztecs had failed to conquer. This was invaded and taken by Cristobal de Olid. Being afterward sent to Honduras, Olid tried to make himself king, but lost his life in the attempt. Cortes himself then set out for that country, taking with him his royal captive Guatemoc, whom he put to death during the journey. The excuse for his execution—or murder—was that the Aztec monarch had endeavored to excite a rebellion against the Spaniards. The unhappy captive, who had remained a cripple since his former torture, was hung head downward from a tree.

"Ah, Malintzin [the Aztec name for Cortes], I ever know it vain to trust in your promises," sadly said this last of the Aztec monarchs.

In addition to Honduras, Cortes added Guatemala to his conquests, Alvarado being his agent in this exploit. He also introduced the culture of the sugar-cane, orange and grape into Mexico. But enemies were working against him in Spain, the execution of Guatemoc was disapproved by the king, and the conqueror was removed from his post as governor of Mexico, though the military control was left in his hands. The acts of his enemies obliged him to go more than once to Spain, his final visit being in 1540, on which occasion he found himself treated with neglect and indifference. Deeply wounded by this reception, he lived but a few years longer, dying a bitterly disappointed man in 1547. So passed away the greatest of the Spanish conquerors of the New World.

Cortes had made other attempts than those mentioned to extend the empire of Spain in North America. A vast country lay to the north of his new dominions, and it was from this region that the Indians told him most of their gold had come. They pointed to the northwest as the seat of the gold-yielding land, and the conqueror sent several expeditions in that direction. These explored the country, gave it its present name of California, but failed to find the golden treasures it held.

Meanwhile Spanish adventurers were seeking other Indian empires in the northern country, Ponce de Leon in Florida, Panfilo de Narvaez farther north, and Fernando de Soto in the valley of the Mississippi. Cabeza de Vaca, one of the followers of Narvaez, succeeded in making his way far westward among the Indians, finally reaching California, whence he was taken to the city of Mexico.

Here he told of settled kingdoms to the north, and in 1540 Francisco de Coronado, inspired by hopes of finding a new seat of Indian empire, set out in search of the fabulous "Seven Cities of Cibola." There gold and silver were said to exist in profusion. Far north he led his covetous followers, but found none of the fabled cities nor of the golden treasures he sought. His eager thirst for conquest and treasure led him far into what is now the United States, ending at a stream which is supposed to have been the Platte River of Nebraska. In 1582, another explorer reached New Mexico and founded there the city of Santa Fe. Still later the great domain of Texas was occupied. Thus the possessions of Spain in North America spread far and wide to the northward, that country gaining an imperial dominion in the south-west before the English and French began their work of settlement and conquest in the north and east.

Though these journeys of exploration brought back no treasure for the coffers of Spain, rich veins of silver were quickly discovered in the conquered realm of Anahuac, the Aztec treasure house. Mines were opened in various places and the great work of delving into the rocks for their hidden wealth was begun. The conquest had cost the lives of many thousands of the Indians; this arduous labor was to prove as terrible and cruel. Throughout most of the long period of the rule of the viceroys of Spain the natives were cruelly treated, being seized as slaves, forced to the most exhausting labor in the mines, and mercilessly exploited for the purpose of filling with wealth the coffers of their pitiless taskmasters. The mine workers were even branded with hot irons like so many cattle, an outrage which had to be stopped by legal edict. Others of the adventurers from Spain succeeded in obtaining vast landed estates, on which they dwelt in baronial pomp and pride, while thousands of the natives were forced to labor in their fields, the work often exhausting, the wages poor, the life one of degrading ignorance and poverty. As for Spain itself, its demands for revenue from its American provinces were large and frequent, and for three centuries a great part of the New World was harried to the utmost for the benefit of a land beyond the seas.

Such is a general glance at the career of the Spaniards in their Mexican realm. Some more detailed description needs now to be given. From the period of the conquest in 1521 to that of throwing off the yoke of Spain, in 1821, three centuries passed away. During this long period sixty-four viceroys ruled in New Spain. Some of these were honest and competent, others dishonest and oppressive; some strong, others weak; some vigorously repressing wrong doing, others leaving the people to the oppressive control of the treasure seeker and the land baron. There was little progress, little that can be called history. The land lay in great measure aside from the current of the world's development, and remained in a state of torpid apathy.

Mendoza, the first viceroy, appointed in 1535, did much for the advancement of his dominion. Two cities were founded by him, Guadalajara, now one of the most flourishing cities of the country, and Valladolid (now Morelia), a state capital of importance. His management of the natives was wise and judicious; they yielded willingly to his gentle and capable management. Under the influence of the priesthood they proved ready to transfer their allegiance from their brutal deities to the gentler and more humane Christian faith.

In 1550 Mendoza, after fifteen years of rule, was succeeded by Luis de Velasco, also a just and wise ruler and a sympathetic friend of the Indians. His first decree ordered the liberation of a number of Indians who were being held as slaves by the mine owners and others. This led to an indignant protest from the treasure seekers, who hotly declared that such a step would paralyze their industry. Velasco firmly replied that human freedom was of more significance than the product of their mines; and as for the rents due the crown, they were not important enough to set aside the rights of humanity. He favored the Indians in every way available, though he encouraged in other ways the development of the country, and especially of the mines, several of which were discovered during his term of rule. He actively pushed the building of the Cathedral of Puebla, a city second in importance to Guadalajara, and it was during his period that an expedition sailed westward from Mexico which in 1564 discovered and took possession of the Philippine Islands, so called from Philip II, then King of Spain. In that year Velasco died, mourned alike by Indians and Spaniards. They dwelt with affection upon his wise and just rule, and gave him the honored title of Father of the Country.

There is little of special importance to be said for the viceroys who ruled in later years. There were good and bad ones alternately, but few of them made any decided mark upon the history of the country. While some were kindly and benevolent, others had all the inhumanity of Cortes and his followers. Thus Munoz, a cruel successor of Velasco, put a son of Cortes to the torture, while jails were filled and blood was freely shed for political purposes. In 1571 the Inquisition, much more dominant and cruel in Spain than in any other country, was introduced into Mexico, where in the centuries that followed it found many victims, though it attained no such terrible development as in the mother country.

One mischance arising from the insular position of Mexico City began early to give trouble, that of the flooding of the city by a rise in the waters of the surrounding lake. A flood of this kind came in 1553, and at several successive periods plans to drain the highest of the group of lakes were made. In 1607 work for this purpose first began, 15,000 Indians being set to bore a tunnel four miles long, eleven feet wide and thirteen high. This was completed within the year, but it proved too small, and schemes for enlarging it were subsequently planned and tried. In 1614 Martinez, the engineer who had excavated the tunnel, closed its mouth, perhaps to rouse the people to the importance of improving it. The effect was disastrous. The lake water at once flooded the city, the people having for a long time to go about in boats.

Martinez, imprisoned for his foolish act, was set free when the flood continued and ordered to reopen the tunnel. This he did, but the relief afforded was not sufficient, inundations taking place at intervals. It was finally decided to replace the tunnel by an open canal of sufficient capacity. This was begun in 1767 and completed in 1789. Its result has been to cause a considerable fall in Lake Texcoco, so that the former island on which the city was built is now a section of the adjoining plain, some miles away from the shores of the lake. For the final completion of this task see page 75.

Other events that took place during the period under review were the operations of the buccaneers or sea rovers against the treasure ships and the coast cities of the Spanish domain. Among these was the daring Morgan, famous for his capture of Panama. As a result of the assaults of these freebooters the cities on the Gulf coast were fortified. In 1680 one of them, the town of Campeche, was taken and sacked by British war ships. Vera Cruz was also taken and looted, this by Agrimonte, a piratical leader, who imprisoned the greater part of the population in a church while he sought for treasure.

Spain had its wars with England after 1700 and its treasure ships from Mexico were more than once taken by English cruisers. On one occasion Admiral Anson captured a galleon laden with treasure valued at two and a half million dollars. As a result of these losses, and the costly wars of Spain, her colonists were subjected to frequent exactions in the way of increased taxation, a cause of active discontent. In 1767 the Jesuits were expelled from Mexico; in 1785 the Gulf of Mexico was cleared of the buccaneers who had long infested it, and from 1789 to 1794 work went on for the reorganization and improvement of the city of Mexico.

This work was done by the viceroy Padilla, one of the last in the long roll, who found the city in a wretched state from lack of draining, paving, lighting, and other necessaries. Even part of the palace had been invaded by Indian women, who had stalls there for the sale of tortillas and other eatables. All this was put an end to and the city was brought into a greatly improved condition, both physically and morally. Humboldt, the famous scientist and traveler, who visited Mexico in 1803, found much worthy of commendation in the city, especially the Academy of Fine Arts, which had a spacious building and a valuable collection. He found much else to praise, both in the city and country, but the methods of mining were said by him to be very antiquated, and in no sense improved from those used in the sixteenth century. The Indians carried the ore from the mines in heavy bags, going in long files up and down hundreds of steps, some of these being men of seventy, others boys of ten or twelve. Mexico had not yet learned that methods at once more humane and more efficient existed for bringing up metal from mines.

Mexico had now reached the early years of the nineteenth century, one in which great changes in her condition were to take place. Spain for years had been growing weaker, its government in the New World was poorly administered, and the desire was widely growing in America for the independence which the English colonies had won years before. It was the period when Napoleon was disturbing all Europe. In 1808 his soldiers invaded Spain, the king and court fleeing before them from Madrid with the intention of taking refuge in Mexico. This was not done, the king abdicating in favor of his son Ferdinand. But the new king had to bide his time for ascending the throne, upon which the conqueror placed his brother, Joseph Bonaparte.

This state of affairs, as may be imagined, weakened the hold of Spain upon Mexico, and gave encouragement to those who were dreaming of independence. There were probably many such, for Spain's treatment of the Mexicans had been of the same type as that of England's treatment of the Americans. The industries and trade of the country had been neglected in favor of powerful monopolies and arbitrary acts of repression. Thus the culture of the grape, which had greatly flourished, was forbidden, and valuable vineyards were uprooted and destroyed. Grape culture was an industry at home, and the American province was forbidden to compete. Spain also prohibited a trade which had grown up between Mexico and China, lest it might injure that from Spanish ports.

And while industry and commerce were thus hindered in Mexico, the oppression of the natives in the mines and on the great estates continued, and political rights in general were restricted or denied. The policy in this direction was voiced in the proclamation of one of the viceroys, who said to the people, "Learn to be silent and to obey, for which you were born, and not to discuss politics and have opinions."

Opinions could not be banished by proclamation. The spirit of revolution was in the air. The American colonies had fought for and won independence from Great Britain. The French people had thrown off the yoke of tyranny and oppression. Napoleon was in the saddle and the monarchs of Europe were trembling on their thrones. There was a stir in the Spanish colonies, and the people of Mexico felt strongly the impulse to strike for liberty. The steps first taken toward this may be briefly stated.

In the beginning of the nineteenth century a new viceroy, de Iturrigaray, took control. He belonged to the class of public-spirited rulers, and did much to protect commerce, encourage industry, build public works and develop the army. But the viceroys had not complete power in Mexico. There was also the Audiencia, an administrative council, appointed by the king and given a share in the management of affairs. The Audiencia  then existing did not approve of Iturrigaray's army measures, thinking that it was his purpose to seize the government for himself. Supported by many of the Spanish citizens, they took possession of the palace, seized and imprisoned the viceroy, and soon after sent him back to Spain. An old army leader, Marshal Garibay, was appointed to succeed him, and he was soon replaced by the Archbishop of Mexico.

All this created a feeling of nervous tension that ran throughout the country. The act of deposing the viceroy showed the Mexicans that the thing was easy to do. This act had been done by the pure-blooded Spaniards. Why should not the common people take a similar course? The taxes were heavy. The people at large were at the mercy of the viceroys, with no voice in the government, no part in the making of the laws. The agitation grew and spread, the authority of the Archbishop was opposed, and in 1810 he was replaced by Don Francisco Venegas. He took control of the office at a critical time, one in which the demand for liberty had grown insistent.

Throughout the Americas the spirit of revolution was then everywhere manifesting itself. The voice of Bolivar was ringing through the Andes and the people of Peru, Chile, and Argentina were growing eager for independence. The "Holy Alliance," a compact between the despotic powers of Europe, was viewing with cupidity the Spanish realm in America. The time for action had come. Delay might double the difficulties in the way. Spain had grown weak, and, as if by a concerted movement, a struggle for liberty began throughout the Spanish dominions in the New World, Mexico being one of the first to act.

Winning of Freedom:

Santa Anna and the Revolt of Texas

That Mexico is free today is due to two causes, the tyranny of the viceroys of Spain and the cruel treatment of the natives in the mines and on the great estates of the realm won by Hernando Cortes. Also the weakness of Spain during the career of Napoleon Bonaparte had much to do with it. While Spain could not keep its own kings on their throne, it was not in good condition to keep down the spirit of disaffection in Mexico.

The severe taxes and rigorous rule of Spain, the arbitrary character of the laws, the oppression of the lower classes had exasperated the people to the last degree, and when, in the exile of Iturrigaray, they saw how easy it was to overturn an established government they lost no time in putting into practice this new lesson in revolution. Miguel Hidalgo, a curate in the Mexican church service, who had long cherished hopes of independence, was the first of the patriots to move. On the night of September 15, 1810, roused from bed by Ignacio Allende, a captain of dragoons and a fellow plotter, he dressed quietly and, followed by a few armed friends, went to the prison and set free certain patriots confined there. Before nightfall the little band had increased to eighty men. Their cry, or grito, was, "Up with True Religion and Down with False Government." Such was the famous Grito de Dolores, the "Call of Dolores," so named from the place in which the movement started.

It was a fitting time for such a movement. Napoleon had invaded Spain, the king had abdicated, all things seemed at sea. And the country to the north, the United States, had recently won freedom from English rule. Why should not Mexico win its independence from the still more oppressive rule of Spain? The little army grew rapidly, laborers from the field joined it in great numbers, armed with clubs, spades and other crude weapons. Hidalgo was made its general, Allende his lieutenant, and in a brief period it had grown to more than 50,000 men.

Several places were captured, chief among them the great mining city of Guanajuato, a rich and flourishing place. Here Hidalgo established himself, collected supplies and money, and suppressed disorder in his motley crew of followers by severe edicts. The whole mining province declared in his favor and three cavalry squadrons joined his ranks. On October 17th the city of Valladolid was taken, and shortly afterward Hidalgo, followed by a great multitude of enthusiastic but untrained men, took the bold step of advancing on the city of Mexico.

Success had so far attended the movement. Now disaster took its place. The new viceroy, Venegas, a soldier distinguished in the war with Napoleon, had now reached Mexico and took quick and vigorous steps to suppress the revolt. Hidalgo won a victory, but it was quickly followed by a defeat, all the artillery being lost and the huge army scattered in dismay, while the victors advanced to and took Guanajuato, the chief town held by the insurgents.

Hidalgo collected another army, but his undisciplined troops were no match for the trained forces of the viceroy, and though they fought bravely they were again routed and dispersed. The revolution for the present was checked and its leaders retreated rapidly northward, hoping to reach United States soil and there recruit and discipline a new army. They were overtaken in their flight, carried to Chihuahua, and there shot. Thus ended in death the bold struggle of the pioneers in Mexican revolution.

The seed had been sown, however, and the time of its fruitage was soon to come. The thirst for independence kept alive, and a new leader appeared in Jose M. Morelos, one of Hidalgo's lieutenants. Though the main army had been dispersed, Morelos kept the field with a small but well trained following, and from February to May, 1812, defended the little town of Cuautla against all the efforts of the viceroy's army. Lack of food and water in the end forced him to flee, but his brilliant defense won him widespread fame. He continued in the field, winning victories and increasing his forces, and on the 14th of September, 1813, he called together the first Mexican Congress, whose earliest act was to issue a declaration of independence.

Despite this act of defiance of Spain, the career of Morelos was now on its decline. Calleja, the general to whom Hidalgo owed his overthrow, had been made viceroy, and prosecuted the war with great vigor. This was seen when the insurgent leader advanced on the city of Valladolid and demanded its surrender. By eve of the next day, Christmas Eve, 1813, his army was dispersed and he was a fugitive. He had been attacked and routed by one of the commanders in the city, Augustin de Iturbide, a man whose name became memorable in later years. Iturbide, renowned already for military vigor, pursued the patriot army relentlessly, defeating it wherever met. The congress called together by Morelos continued in existence during the following year, but had a wandering career. In 1815 it decided to hold its sessions at Tehuacan and moved thither escorted by Morelos and what troops he still commanded. Despite the secrecy of the movement, the royalist leader discovered it, intercepted and routed the small army, and captured Morelos. On the 22nd of December, 1815, this second patriot leader was shot, dying with heroic courage. Thus ended the second struggle for Mexican independence. Both the leaders, Hidalgo and Morelos, are now held in high honor by the Mexican people, and one of the last official acts of President Diaz was to celebrate, on the 16th of September, 1910, the anniversary of the "Grito de Dolores," the war cry of Hidalgo, uttered on that day one hundred years before. A marble statue of Morelos, set up September 30, 1865, in the town which bears his name, commemorates the hundredth anniversary of his birth.

The reverses which we have described did not put an end to the struggle for liberty. The patriot forces kept in the field, though frequently beaten and dispersed. Mina, a youthful guerrilla in Spain, sought Mexico and won victories against the royalists, until captured and shot in 1817. Guerrero, a patriot hero, was the most persistent of them all. Many times defeated, often wounded, he refused all offers of clemency from the royalists, set up a new national government in the southern mountains, and maintained himself until 1820, when a new and powerful leader took hold of the cause of the patriots. This was Augustin de Iturbide, the royalist leader who had overthrown Morelos.

Iturbide left Mexico City in November, 1820, as general in command of a large body of troops sent to put an end to Guerrero and his rebel force. But Guerrero was then at the head of 3,000 men, and with these he defended himself with great courage and persistence. In the end Iturbide requested a conference with him. The truth was that the royalist general had lost his enthusiasm for royalty. He had developed patriotic sentiments, and now decided to join hands with Guerrero in the strife for independence. Guerrero, while patriotic, was not ambitious, and willingly turned over to Iturbide the command. On February 24, 1821, they made public the "Plan of Iguala." The chief item in this plan called for the independence of Mexico, as a limited monarchy under a king to be chosen from the royal family of Spain.

The promulgation of the "Plan of Iguala" practically ended the rule of Spain in Mexico. The viceroy sent an army against his renegade general, but Iturbide's proclamation had brought hosts of adherents to his cause, city after city fell into his hands, and finally the garrison of Mexico itself turned against the viceroy, who had just issued a decree for the forcible enlistment of all men between the ages of sixteen and sixty. The whole country was turning in a mass to the patriot cause. The new adherents included most of the royalist chiefs, among them Santa Anna, a personage of whom we shall have more to say. Apodaca, the viceroy, hastened from the capital and took ship for Spain, not knowing that a new viceroy, Juan O'Donoju, had been sent from Spain to replace him, landing at Vera Cruz, July 30, 1821.

O'Donoju found no viceroyalty, but an independent nation, to await him. Iturbide met him, proved to him that the work of independence was complete and final, and signed with him a treaty in which he accepted the "Plan of Iguala." On the 27th of September Iturbide made a triumphant entrance into the city of Mexico, followed by an army of about 16,000 men. He was hailed with vast enthusiasm, the whole people wildly rejoicing at the end of the Spanish dominion, which had held Mexico in its stern grasp for three hundred years.

On the 28th of September, 1821, the "Mexican Empire" was announced as an independent nation. This embraced not only the present area of Mexico, but also Texas, New Mexico and California on the north and the present republic of Guatemala on the south. Mexico, in fact, was at that time the third largest country in the world, coming next after Russia and China. Guatemala remained in the new empire but one year, withdrawing from it in 1822. Later years were vastly to reduce its area. A government, called the Regency, was formed, with Iturbide as its president, a congress was called into existence, and the new nationality swung loose from the shores of Europe and sailed away on a voyage of its own.

Who was to be its commander? A member of the royal family of Spain, as called for in the "Plan of Iguala"? This was quickly settled. On the 18th of May, 1822, a regimental sergeant was the first to proclaim Iturbide as emperor. This proclamation was eagerly accepted by the garrisons and the next day was taken up by Congress, which body, by a large majority, declared Iturbide the emperor of Mexico, under the title of Augustin I.

Thus rapidly had a simple soldier risen to the proud position of holder of the throne of the Montezumas. It was too sudden an elevation to last. Opposition quickly declared itself, even in Congress, which body the new emperor was obliged to dissolve, replacing it by a body of advisers under his immediate control. The next step in opposition was taken on December 6th, at Vera Cruz, by the afterward prominent Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, who boldly proclaimed Mexico a republic. His suggestion was well received and spread rapidly. Iturbide found his adherents falling away in favor of the new idea, and not willing to bring on civil war he abdicated on March 19, 1823, nine months after being crowned as emperor. His succeeding career was a brief one. Having sailed to Europe, he heard there of schemes for restoring Mexico to Spain, and returned to Mexico to give his aid against such an effort in case of need. Meanwhile, without his knowledge, Congress had passed a decree declaring him a traitor, and ordering that he should be put to death if he ventured to return to Mexico. No sooner had he landed than he was arrested. His protest that he was ignorant of the decree had no effect. The Congress of Tamaulipas, in which state he landed, decided that he must be shot in accordance with the decree, and shot he was without delay. He shared the fate of most of the leaders in Mexico's struggle for liberty.

Independence had not brought peace and order to Mexico. It seemed to bring endless insurrection and internal strife. For half a century and more ambitious chiefs; rose in rapid succession, many of them attaining to the presidency—each to give way to another after a few months had passed. Within sixty years the list of presidents and dictators averaged about one per annum, many more than this during some years. And as most of these presidents reached their office through anarchy and insurrection instead of legal election, the state of affairs which this indicated can be better imagined than described.

Prominent among the presidents and dictators was Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, whose name occurs nine times in the extended list. Born in 1798, it was he who expelled the royalists from Vera Cruz in 1821, thus aiding Iturbide to gain the throne, and who, in 1822, proclaimed a republic, the step which brought the empire to an end. He was to act a prominent part on many future occasions.

On October 4, 1824, Congress decreed that a federal government should be established, a Constitution of excellent model being adopted. Guadalupe Victoria, a prominent insurgent leader, was the first president. He had the good fortune, not soon repeated, to remain in office for a full term. During his administration a law was passed banishing the Spaniards from Mexico, the result being that many wealthy and useful citizens left the country, taking their wealth with them.

The tide of insurrection began its flow in 1828 as a result of the second presidential election. Pedraza, the conservative candidate, was chosen against Guerrero, the famous patriot leader, who headed the Liberalist ticket, by a majority of two electors. Upon this Santa Anna, the high priest of disorder, at once proclaimed Guerrero elected and soon the country was in the throes of civil war. The worst results were in the capital city, where a mutiny in favor of the Liberals broke out. Pedraza was forced to flee for his life. Flames burst forth all over the city. The Parian, a storehouse of gold, jewels and rich stuffs, was plundered and destroyed. For several days riot and robbery prevailed. Shops and warehouses were broken into and pillaged of their contents. Utter desolation and uproar prevailed, even the palace servants joining in the work of pillage and leaving President Victoria alone in his palatial, halls.

The trouble spread elsewhere. Santa Anna, supported by a horde of the discontented, entrenched himself in the Convent of St. Domingo, Oaxaca, where he was besieged by the Federal army, and defended himself with great courage and skill, holding his own until the besieging army gave up the contest. In the end Pedraza left the country and Congress gave the empty seat of the presidency to Guerrero.

We must deal very briefly with the confusion of political events that followed. Spain, rather late in the day, sent a force from Cuba to try and win back the revolted province. Santa Anna was at once in the field against it and joined the regulars with his irregular troops, the result being that the Spaniards had to leave the country in haste. President Guerrero now appointed the irrepressible Santa Anna Minister of War and Commander in Chief of the Federal Army. This service his new War Minister requited by turning against him with the army and putting Vice-President Bustamente in his place. Utter discord in governmental affairs followed. The presidential office was tossed back and forth like a ball between the several candidates, Santa Anna himself holding the office for a brief period in 1833, and several times in the following years. A favorite with the army, he was chosen by it dictator, and there were fears in the country at large that he proposed to overthrow the existing system of government and make himself emperor. As for the patriotic Guerrero, he was disposed of in the arbitrary Mexican fashion. Taking the field against his foes, he was decoyed by a trick on board a Genoese vessel, carried to another port, handed over to his enemies, tried by a handful of officials, condemned to death and shot. His fate resembled that of Iturbide. But unlike the latter he was one of the true patriots of the country and is today regarded as one of its martyrs.

Meanwhile trouble for the new republic was developing in the north. That vast section of the country was very thinly settled, the great bulk of the population residing in the south. This was the status of Texas, the great northeastern province, in which the population of Spanish descent was very small, its most numerous and active inhabitants being immigrants from the United States. These, by virtue of their residence, had become Mexican citizens, but their citizenship did not set heavily upon them, since they held themselves still to be Americans and despised their Mexican fellow citizens.

The advent of Americans into Texas began in 1821, the first year of Mexican independence. Moses Austin, an American frontiersman, had penetrated Texas in 1820 and applied to the Mexican government for permission to found there an American colony of three hundred families. Without waiting for a reply he set out to Missouri for settlers and died there in June, 1821.

His son, Stephen F. Austin, conducted a party of emigrants from New Orleans to Texas in 1821, settling where the city of Austin now stands. Here, during 1822, the permission asked for by his father was confirmed to him. Many other American emigrants sought Texas during the succeeding years, among whom in 1832 came Samuel Houston, or Sam Houston, as he called himself, destined to become the leading spirit in the events that followed.

In 1833 the Texan colonists adopted a constitution and applied for admission as a state to the commonwealth of Mexico. Austin visited the city of Mexico for this purpose, but found only anarchy there, and was detained as a prisoner or hostage until September, 1835. In the month following his release he went to the United States as commissioner to promote the liberation of Texas from the dominion of Mexico and to obtain its recognition as an independent state.

Texas at that time was in open insurrection, its American colonists being indignant at the retention of their agent and the parody upon government which existed in Mexico at that time. Here was an opportunity for Santa Anna, the army leader and dictator, to win new fame. He set out at once for the revolted province, reaching the Rio Grande with an army of six thousand men in February, 1836.

Santa Anna's method was one which has often been repeated in Mexico in later years, that of massacre. Of one party that surrendered to him all were shot down in cold blood. A second party, among whom was the celebrated hunter, Davy Crockett, took refuge in a mission house near San Antonio, known as the Alamo. Here they defended themselves bravely until few of them remained alive. The survivors were instantly killed upon their surrender. This act has become famous as the "Massacre of the Alamo," and the war-cry of the vengeful Texan army became "Remember the Alamo." The final conflict took place at San Jacinto, April 21, 1836, a small Texan army under Sam Houston meeting Santa Anna's much larger force and completely defeating it. Santa Anna was taken prisoner and the captors demanded that he should be treated as he had treated his prisoners. In a craven attempt to save his life and win his freedom he signed a treaty with the Texans acknowledging their independence.

Assault on the Alamo


This treaty was not recognized by the Mexicans, as they had suspended the authority of the defeated general. Santa Anna was set free and returned home in the following year. He met with a very cold reception, yet became a candidate in the presidential election of that year. His vote—two out of the sixty-nine electors—showed the feeling in Mexico at that time towards this active but detestable agitator.

Mexico's War with the United States

The annexation of Texas by the United States aroused a sense of injury and a sentiment of hostility in Mexico too vigorous to be easily allayed. Annexation had been applied for by the new republic in 1837 and became the leading feature in the Presidential campaign of 1844. It was carried and Texas admitted to the Union as a State in December, 1845. The leaders and statesmen of Mexico were convinced that the revolt and independence of Texas had been due to American instigation, and the final act of annexation appeared to them the concluding phase of a well-considered scheme. At any rate, indignation in them was far stronger than prudence and they broke hastily into hostile movements that were sure to provoke reprisals. They knew that the act of annexation had been carried by Southern votes, with a view to the extension of the area of slavery, and that opposition to it existed in the North, and this may have given them false hopes of dissension in the councils of their powerful neighbor.

As for Mexico itself, it was then in its normal state of revolution. Herrera, the president at the end of 1844, was ousted in 1846 and replaced by General Paredes. The latter held the office for six months, when another revolutionary movement broke out, and General Bravo reached the presidential chair. There were no strong and wise leaders at the head of affairs. During these rapid changes Santa Anna, who was just then in exile at Havana, offered his services against the United States. Mexico had threatened war if the treaty of annexation with Texas was ratified, and this was no sooner done than troops of the republic were in the field, thirsting for victory and revenge.

In this rash movement the Mexicans were inspired with an ill-placed confidence in their ability as fighters and the supposed lack of similar qualities in the United States. The latter had long been at peace, its army was small and without experience in war, and the fact that such a war was unpopular in the North seemed to the Mexican leaders an augury in their favor. As for the Mexican soldiery, many of them had had practice in the field, they were men of great powers of endurance and accustomed to little subsistence, while there was no lack of courage in their hearts. Properly led, they might be depended upon to give a good account of themselves. The cavalry had an excellent reputation, due to the wonderful expertness of the Mexicans in general as horsemen. The infantry also were fairly well drilled and severely disciplined, while the artillery had many experienced foreigners among its officers.

On the other hand, the arms, both of the infantry and artillery, were inferior, and the carbines of the cavalry were of an old model, far from being up to date. Of worse augury still was the corruption that existed among the officers, extending from the highest to the lowest grades. Many of them, indeed, were utterly unfit for their positions, having been placed in them by some of the rapidly changing presidents as rewards for discreditable services, and lacking any training or ability in army tactics. Such was the character of the army which marched forward inspired with high hopes of vanquishing the hated gringos, and with little dream of the fate that awaited it.

Mexico opened the fight. General Zachary Taylor, of the United States army, had been sent with a small force, in the spring of 1846, to the banks of the Rio Grande, which was claimed as the border line of Texas. The fighting began with the capture of a small body of dragoons by a Mexican ambuscade, a number of the Americans being killed. The Mexicans next crossed the river to the Texas side, where two minor engagements took place, in both of which the invaders were worsted. These took place at a locality known as Palo Alto on May 8th, and at Resaca de la Palma on the 9th. In the latter the Mexicans were decisively defeated, the tide of battle being turned by a splendid charge made by Captain May at the head of his battalion of dragoons, which drove the enemy from the field in a wild flight, all their equipment being left in the hands of the Americans, while their loss in killed and wounded was estimated at more than a thousand men. We have given elsewhere an illustration of this impetuous charge. To indicate how closely cavalry charges resembled each other in the past and present, we append here an illustration of a charge of Cortes and his men against their Indian foes. The engagements described were followed by declaration of war by the United States, which was made on May 13th, on the plea that the Mexicans had begun the war by their shedding of American blood on American soil.

The war might have quickly ended if the Mexicans had been open to negotiation. But they were then changing presidents so rapidly that it was difficult to find a stable government to deal with. Mexico had no less than four presidents in 1846, and five in 1847, a case of extraordinary rapidity in changes of government. One of these presidents agreed to negotiate with a special envoy sent from Washington, but before the conference could be held another president had ousted him and an audience was refused. Under such conditions the war which Mexico had begun could not fail to go on, bills were passed by the American Congress voting more money and munitions, and the President was authorized to call for volunteers, not to exceed fifty thousand. Similar action was taken by Mexico. Soon the war was in full swing.

Mexico had forced the hand of the United States by its invasion of Texas. The bordering river was quickly crossed and an invasion of Mexico followed. The plan of operations devised at Washington was to seize and occupy New Mexico and California, the frontier provinces of Mexico on the north, and hold them as an indemnity for the expenses of the war, while an effort to force Mexico into an agreement for peace was to be made by an invasion of the heart of the country.

The northern movement was made at three points. General Taylor crossed the Rio Grande near its mouth and took possession of the town of Matamoros. General Stephen Kearney led an army overland to New Mexico, penetrating it and capturing Santa Fe, its capital city. Captain John C. Fremont invaded California, and, with the aid of the Pacific fleet of the United States, made a conquest of that province.

The occupation of New Mexico and California, sparsely settled provinces, was accomplished almost without resistance. All the fighting of importance in this northern invasion was done by General Taylor and the small army under his command. From Matamoros he traversed the State of Nuevo Leon towards Monterey, its capital, the first place of importance on his route. A town of about 2,000 inhabitants, it was occupied by General Ampudia with an army over 10,000 strong. He was well supplied with ammunition and artillery, had food enough to bear a short siege, and had little dread of Taylor's army, it being little more than half his own in strength.

As it proved, the American onslaught was made with irresistible vigor. For four days the fight continued, the American forces steadily making their way into the town, tunneling through the walls of houses to gain cover for their advance. The bishop's palace, on a hill near the town, had been fortified by Ampudia, and was the center of the fight. It was stormed and taken on September 22nd, and on the 25th the Mexicans evacuated the town and retreated to Saltillo, having lost more than a thousand men. The American loss in killed and wounded was little more than four hundred.

This victory had an important effect. It taught the Mexicans that they were sadly mistaken in their estimate of the Americans as soldiers and tacticians. While they were discouraged, the encouragement in the United States was equally marked. Taylor and his men were regarded as heroes, their courage and skill were highly praised, and the popularity of the war greatly increased.

The Battle of Resaca de la Palma,


Mariano Paredes was at this time President of Mexico, a man who had it in mind to change the government to a monarchy, and who was so occupied with his political schemes as to neglect the necessary preparations for war. The result was a revolt of the garrison at Vera Cruz in favor of the exiled Santa Anna. The garrison at the capital next revolted and Paredes was imprisoned. Santa Anna at once returned from exile, made his way like a conquering hero to the capital, and was offered the supreme power in the state. He declined this offer, saying that he preferred to serve his country` in the army. He put himself at the head of the Mexican forces, and on the 8th of October reached San Luis Potosi, whither Ampudia had retreated, and where troops were gathering from various quarters. Here he gave himself the task of organizing the army, supplying money from his private estate to help out the depleted government funds.

On the 22nd of February, 1847, the opposed forces met on the famous field of Buena Vista, a mountain ravine to which Taylor had fallen back from Monterey, his regulars having been taken from him to reinforce the new army forming under General Scott. Taylor had but 5,000 men when he was attacked here by Santa Anna with over 20,000. But the spot was a natural stronghold and Taylor held his ground so vigorously that in the end the Mexicans were obliged to retreat, their loss being three times that of the Americans. This was the final exploit of Taylor in the war. But his victory against such odds made him a national hero and won him the nomination and election as President of the United States in the following year.

These successes on the frontier were preliminary to the decisive campaign of the war, which struck at the heart of the country through its seaport of Vera Cruz. Early in March, 1847, shortly after the Battle of Buena Vista, General Winfield Scott, at the head of an army of about 12,000 men, sailed into the harbor of Vera Cruz and summoned that city to surrender. General Morales, in command of the garrison, refused, saying that he would defend the city to the last extremity. Scott accordingly landed his troops and began a bombardment of the city on the 22nd.

For four days shot and shell were poured into the devoted city, the violence of the fire daily increasing. The citizens sought the mole and the part of the city out of the line of fire for protection, though many of the poorer people, who prowled about the streets in search of food, were killed. Surrender took place on the 27th, the Mexican troops being permitted to march out with the honors of war and to salute their descending flag, while civil and religious rights were guaranteed to the inhabitants. The garrison then laid down its arms and marched is away, while the command of General Worth marched into and took possession of the city and of the neighboring fortress of San Juan de Ulna.

The continued successes of the Americans filled the Mexican authorities with alarm. Their northern provinces occupied from the Gulf to the Pacific, and entrance forced into the gateway to their capital, there was abundant warrant for gloom, despite the fact that they proudly repulsed, as an indignity to the national honor, all propositions for peace made by the American government. Need of money was their great source of trouble, and as the most promising means of obtaining it the Church was asked to contribute from its large accumulation of property.

The Church established in Mexico, a great power for good in the early days of the province, had deteriorated in the later period. To quote from the "Mexican Guide" of Thomas A. Janvier: "The influence of the religious orders upon the colony was beneficial (luring its first century, neutral during its second, harmful during its third." During these centuries the Church had gathered into its coffers so much of the wealth of the country as to interfere with the ordinary progress of business, and these clerical hoards were now called upon to aid in the country's defense.

The first demand was for a sum of two millions of dollars. This the bishops declared themselves unable to pay, and took steps to defeat legislation of this kind in Congress. In January, 1847, a bill was passed "to hypothecate or sell in mortmain. Church property" to the amount of fifteen millions of dollars. But the Church property consisted almost wholly of real estate, on which it was difficult to raise money either by mortgage or sale in face of the opposition and great influence upon the people of the clergy. As a result Congress failed to raise the money it demanded, and the government was left very poorly equipped with funds for the expenses of the war. Yet the blow struck at the accumulations of the clergy in these demands opened the way for much more drastic measures in the near future.

Vera Cruz taken, General Scott had a convenient base of operations for his projected march upon the city of Mexico. It was from this point that all invasions of the country have been made from the time of Cortes downward. An event of this kind of which we have not spoken was an assault by a French fleet in 1838 to settle by force certain old claims for damages. One of these claims had been made by a French cook for pastry stolen from him by revolutionists. He estimated his loss at the modest sum of sixty thousand dollars. On this occasion the castle of San Juan and the city were occupied by the French, but Santa Anna, who had offered his services to the nation, forced them to leave the city, though at the cost of the loss of a leg from a wound. From that time forward this redoubtable warrior was forced to wear a wooden leg.

We may briefly summarize the career of Santa Anna after this episode. Revolutions were of annual occurrence and he, with his well trained body of followers, was always in the thick of them. He held the position of Dictator in 1841 and again in 1843, was duly installed as President in 1844, and in 1845 was banished, his star declining. We have told of his return in 1846, his promotion to commander-in-chief and his repulse by General Taylor at Buena Vista in February, 1847. From this place he marched to encounter another American army, that of General Scott, now advancing from Vera Cruz.

The two armies met on the field of Cerro Gordo, a mountain fastness of great strength and defended by an army of 15,000 men. Yet once more Santa Anna was routed, his army being so utterly broken and dispersed that the route to Mexico lay freely open. The Mexican leader fled to Orizaba, there collected what men he could get together, and advanced to Puebla, towards which city Scott was making his way up the steep slope of the Sierra Madre. He sought earnestly, but in vain, to rouse the people of Puebla to his support, telling them Ghat they could beat the Americans if they would, since they had beaten himself in one of his revolutionary movements, though backed by an army of 12,000 men. But they had not the spirit to face these terrible gringos and the city was occupied without a shot being fired. At this healthful altitude Scott's army halted until August, awaiting reinforcements and supplies before making its final march.

Santa Anna had meanwhile returned to the city of Mexico, where his reception was by no means enthusiastic, he having completely failed to check the enemy. As a step toward regaining popular favor, he resigned the presidency, and was at once made Dictator by Congress. As such he began to fortify the capital, while every effort was made to rouse{ patriotic fervor in the people. Evidently Mexico City was the last point of defense for the republic and troops and munitions of war began to pour in rapidly, more than 25,000 men being collected, with sixty pieces of artillery.

In early August the American army, amply reinforced and equipped, began its final march, no opposition being made until the near vicinity of the city was reached. The route followed was not far from that taken by Cortes more than three centuries before. It led south of Lake Chalco and Xochimilco, and thence northward towards the capital city. The first fortified point encountered was at Churubusco, a village four miles from the city. Here the armies met on August 18th and a severe battle was fought, the Mexicans stoutly defending a convent which they had occupied. Their courageous defense was in vain. The Americans fought their way into town and convent, and took as prisoners all who had not fallen.

This battle was followed by a brief armistice, but fighting began again on September 8th, the new battleground being Molino del Rey, a place near the city and within the range of the guns on the hill of Chapultepec. A night attack was made here, continued into the next day when the place was taken after a furious resistance and despite the fire from the guns upon Chapultepec, which was kept up from daybreak until the end of the action. During the fight the bells of the city rang joyous peals, indicating a hopeful expectation of victory which was not realized.

The Mexicans, indeed, had great faith in their stronghold, the Castle of Chapultepec, which they looked upon as wholly impregnable. It was commanded by General Bravo, Santa Anna being elsewhere occupied. The hill was steep and high and its ascent had to be made in face of a furious fire. Eight hundred young men, pupils of the military college of Chapultepee, were among its defenders. It is said that one of these young braves, when the fall of the place was assured, wrapped the colors around his body and leaped from the summit, to be crushed into death at the foot.

It seemed a task of desperation to storm the fortified hill, yet the American troops scaled it in an impetuous rush, taking the castle and military college by storm. The struggle was fearful and the bloodshed great, both sides being wrought into fury and quarter rarely given. The city was held in terrified suspense while this fierce contest went on, the roar of artillery and rattle of musketry filling the air. But hope changed to despair when the Mexican colors were seen to descend and the standards of the American regiments to float in their place.

This final struggle took place on September 13th. It signified the end of the war. Early the next morning the American army marched into the city in triumph, and at seven A. M. the American flag displayed its stars and stripes on the walls of the national palace of Mexico.

The army remained in the city until the 2d of February, 1848, on which day a treaty of peace was signed at Guadalupe-Victoria, a suburb of the city. In this Mexico signed away a territory of sufficient area for an empire. This was given the aspect of a purchase, the United States paying the defeated nation $15,000,000. Mexico did not value the vast territory very highly. New Mexico and California, as the provinces were then called, were very thinly settled, and no conception of their real value was entertained.

It was not long, however, before the Americans, who had been equally ignorant of the actual value of their new possessions, were astonished and gratified to learn that they had obtained possession of one of the great gold centers of the world. In the very year of the treaty, 1848, gold was found. It proved to exist in great abundance, immigration poured in from the states, San Francisco, then a little Mexican port, grew to be a flourishing city, and California in time developed into an important state.

So much has been said of the part played by Santa Anna during and previous to the war, that a glance at his later career may be of interest. After the evacuation of Mexico an attempt was made by General Lane, then operating against guerrillas on the high-roads, to capture this Mexican worthy. Hearing that he was at Tehuacan, near Puebla, a night march was made to that place. A few miles out a carriage was met escorted by an armed guard. It was stopped, but its occupant soon proved that he was not Santa Anna, and that he had a safe-guard signed by an American general. Day had just broken when Lane entered Tehuac, but he came too late. A friend of the Mexican leader had seen the stopping of the carriage and ridden back to warn him at top speed, giving him just time to escape with his family, but without his effects. With these Lane's troopers made free.

The war over, Santa Anna returned to Jamaica, to "pass his last days in tranquillity." He was back again in 1853, and was now appointed dictator for life. Two years of this satisfied the Mexicans, and he went into exile again. In 1867 he returned, made an attempt against the republic, failed, and was taken prisoner. He survived in obscurity nine years longer, dying in 1876.

The French Invasion and the Empire of Maximilian

The withdrawal of Santa Anna from the control of affairs in Mexico was followed by the appearance of an abler and wiser man, Benito Juarez, who had another invasion of Mexico to deal with, more threatening in its effects than that of the Americans. While the star of Santa Anna had been declining, that of Juarez had been rising. He was born an Indian, of pure Aztec descent, and it has even been said that he was a descendant of the royal family of the Montezumas. However that be, he was born to extreme poverty, and at twelve, it is said, he had not learned to read or write. Yet the power to advance was within him and it quickly showed itself.

A rich citizen of Oaxaca became his friend, sent him to school, where he made rapid progress, and assisted him in the study of law. He showed both legal and political ability, became a member of the state legislature, afterwards presiding judge of the court, and finally a member of Congress during the American war. Here he took a firm stand in favor of the State in its demand for aid from the Church. His next office was that of governor of Oaxaca, in which he manifested excellent capacity. Santa Anna was evidently afraid of him, for he banished him from Mexico during his term as dictator. But he returned after the exile of his enemy, became governor again, and afterwards rose to be secretary of state in the cabinet, and president of the Supreme Court of the nation. In January, 1858, he gained the highest position in the power of the Mexican people, that of President of the Republic.

Juarez was liberal in politics and had a powerful conservative faction to deal with, with the clergy at its head. A movement of great importance was taken in 1857, that of the adoption of a new constitution for the republic, replacing that of 1824. This was based upon the model of that of the United States, which it followed somewhat closely in its provisions. Excellent in intention, it was ineffective to a great extent in the Mexico of that date.

The country had long been desolated by civil war. Comonfort, the preceding President, had taken part in the disorders and been driven from the country, Juarez, as head of the Supreme Court, succeeding him as President. But the disorders continued, and Juarez again had to seek safety in exile. Then the Liberals once more regained their ascendency, Juarez returned, landing at Vera Cruz, and here, on July 12, 1859, at his instigation, there were passed a series of Reform laws which decisively curbed the political power of the Church, and reduced it to its true function as a religious organization. The property of the Church was confiscated and nationalized; the clergy, charged with a scandalous abuse of their influence in instigating the sanguinary wars which had brought desolation to the country, were forbidden to become members of Congress or take part in political affairs; all religious orders and institutions were abolished, and marriage was later declared a civil contract. In short, the Church was disestablished and religious freedom instituted; and all this at the behest of a man who remained throughout a devout member of the Roman Catholic Church.

Death of the Emperor Maximilian.


Meanwhile momentous events were near at hand and the liberty of the Mexican Republic was threatened as never before. The financial resources of the commonwealth had been exhausted by the incessant outbreaks; the sources of revenue were paralyzed; not a dollar was left in the treasury; funds had to be in some way obtained, and in July, 1861, Congress passed an act suspending the payment of Mexico's foreign debt. Repudiation was not intended, only suspension during a temporary state of monetary distress, but the act was looked upon as one of fraud and robbery in the European capitals and steps were quickly taken to force Mexico to live up to its obligations.

On the 8th of December, 1861, a squadron of war ships, floating the flags of three European governments, Spain, England and France, appeared in the harbor of Vera Cruz. It bore commissioners from the three governments concerned, and also forces of Spanish and French troops. England sent only some sailors. This expedition was intended for the two purposes of demanding guarantees for the safety in Mexico of citizens of the three powers concerned, and of urging the claims of these powers to the moneys on which payment had been suspended. So far as England and Spain were concerned this was the only purpose of the expedition. France, however, had other purposes, not yet revealed, a project of conquest devised by the astute Napoleon III.

The commissioners took possession of Vera Cruz, no resistance being offered, and then repaired to Orizaba, where an interview with President Juarez had been arranged. The correctness of the demand for payment was readily acknowledged by the President, and assurances were given that fully satisfied the commissioners from England and Spain, who thereupon withdrew with the forces they had brought. The English and Spanish governments had acted in good faith, and when they found that France had other objects in view they refused to join in them, took to their ships and sailed away from the country. But the French remained. They had come for conquest, not for redress.

The ambitious Napoleon III, who apparently had a consuming desire to rival his great uncle in military fame, had chosen a crucial moment for his act of invasion, that in which the hands of the great republic to the north were tied by the exigencies of its civil war. The Monroe Doctrine stood decidedly in the way of such an aggression upon American soil. But circumstances at that period prevented its enforcement, while it was thought in Europe that the United States were in great danger of disruption, and that now or never was the time to gain a footing on the American continent.

A plan of action had been formed by Napoleon at Paris, in the concoction of which certain refugees of the Conservative party of Mexico took part. It was designed in this to overthrow the Juarez government, establish a monarchy in Mexico, and place at the head of it some European prince. The desired monarch was found in Maximilian Joseph, brother of the Emperor of Austria, who was led by ambition to accept the flattering offer of Napoleon III to make him Emperor of Mexico, and to put him on the throne by aid of the money and troops of France. The demands of the commissioners, so far as France was concerned, were simply intended to give that country a footing on Mexican soil, from which it did not propose to withdraw. All this, with many of its minor details, had been arranged before the expedition left Europe. Napoleon, however, was not working for the advantage of Austria, but for his own power and glory, as the empire in Mexico would largely depend upon his support and be under his control.

The conciliating terms offered by Juarez had left the commissioners no just warrant for remaining, but the French troops maintained their position in Orizaba. Here they were soon reinforced by new forces, made an advance towards Puebla, and were joined on the way by a strong body of the Conservative faction, who had risen in their support.

President Juarez was meanwhile in the field, actively enlisting troops in defense of his country. Puebla was hastily garrisoned by about two thousand men under General Zaragoza. The French made a vigorous assault on the defenses, but it was as vigorously repulsed, and the invaders soon found themselves obliged to retreat. This repulse took place on the 5th of May, and the Cinco de Mayo is now kept in Mexico as a national holiday. A handsome street in the capital city also bears this name.

A month later a brilliant act of a young French officer in a measure atoned for this defeat. The French, who had retired to Orizaba, found themselves in an awkward situation, a body of several thousand Mexicans having placed themselves on a high hill overlooking the town, whence it might be bombarded and the supply of food cut off. In this dilemma the officer in question observed a Mexican woman daily climbing a steep path to the hill top, carrying water in a jar on her head for the use of the troops above. Obtaining permission to make an attempt to dislodge the enemy, the captain, one dark night, led a party of one hundred and fifty men up this path. Reaching the summit without an alarm being given, he began lustily to cry "A moi les Zouaves! A moi la Legion!" and to shout directions for movement as of a large body of troops. The suddenly awakened Mexicans, fancying that the whole French army was upon them, leaped from their beds and fled in wild panic, several hundred of them falling before the vigorous onslaught of the assailing force.

The movements here spoken of were preliminary to the real war. The French army waited in Orizaba for reinforcements, which in early 1862 increased its force to forty thousand men. It was joined in addition by a considerable body of men enlisted by the clerical party of Mexico. Puebla was now again attacked, Marshal Bazaine leading the French. The defense was obstinate, but lack of food and the loss of a convoy of provisions forced the garrison to yield after holding out for two months. An advance was next made upon the capital city. Juarez, who retained the presidency and was at the head of the defense, was too weak in men to maintain it, and withdrew to San Luis Potosi, which he made his temporary seat of government.

For two years succeeding the French held the capital and made various efforts to put down the Liberal forces. Juarez retreated step by step and established his seat of government in successive northern towns, gradually nearing the United States boundary. In the south Porfirio Diaz, a young protégé of Juarez, led a force to his native city of Oaxaca and defended himself with determined valor against Bazaine's army, until want of food and ammunition forced him to surrender. He was taken and imprisoned, but made his escape, turned upon his foes, and succeeded in recapturing the city from which he had been driven. Thus time went slowly on until May, 1864, the French making no decided progress, while Napoleon had begun to fear that his scheme of conquest might prove a failure.

On the 28th of that month the long awaited Maximilian made his appearance at Vera Cruz. He was greeted with a great show of enthusiasm. The priests had taught the Indians that the coming ruler would give them back their lost liberty and they crowded hopefully upon his pathway. The imperialist party, much strengthened by his coming, met him with welcome. The youthful prince and his young bride were everywhere greeted with cheers and welcoming displays, and upon the surface of things it seemed as if the new empire had come to stay. On reaching the capital a splendid reception was given the new sovereign and his consort, the society of Mexico crowded to welcome them, and they established themselves in the palace with imperial surroundings, the Castle of Chapultepec being fitted up as their summer residence. Napoleon had promised to support Maximilian with troops for six years, or until he could train a national army of sufficient strength, and Bazaine actively began the work of army organization preliminary to the time when he and his forces would be recalled.

Society gathered around the imperial court. The city of Mexico was at its liveliest. Maximilian entered upon the business of legislation and government, though with very little conception of the difficulty of the task before. him. A dreamer by nature, not a skilled man of affairs, he was ill fitted for the work which Napoleon had laid upon him. He offended the clerical party by his refusal to rescind the Reform laws. He showed himself in sympathy with the Liberals and sought to win them away from Juarez. He listened favorably to schemes for internal improvement without heed to the great expense they would involve. He acted as if Mexico was still in its primitive state and was to be built up by him from its foundation. As for a practical effort to win the favor of the people as a whole, he troubled. himself little about it. A loan negotiated in Paris and London had supplied him with plenty of money, one after another cities and states had yielded to his authority, all seemed moving smoothly with the exception that Benito Juarez still called himself President of Mexico and remained in the field, though driven to take refuge in the mountains. His cause was supported by numerous bands of daring guerrillas, who infested roads and villages, and frequently came into collision with the imperial troops.

All this, doubtless, seemed to Maximilian but a passing form of resistance to the growth of his power and dominion. But suddenly there came a voice from the north that woke him rudely from his dream of imperial rule. It was that of the great United States, inspired by that insistent Monroe Doctrine which had so long stood in the way of European designs upon American territory. A pestilent doctrine it was regarded in Europe, but there it stood. The Civil War in the great republic had ended and the powers which had been playing at empire in Mexico found themselves sternly called upon to stand and deliver.

More than once during the war the government at Washington had given France to understand that no monarchy in Mexico would be recognized by that government. The war ended, this statement became an ultimatum. It indicated in plain words that Louis Napoleon must withdraw his troops or he would have the United States to answer. And as an object lesson in case of obstinacy on his part a powerful body of the hardened veterans of the recent war was stationed on the Rio Grande, under the command of the impetuous General Sheridan.

Napoleon assented slowly and reluctantly to this demand. He put off on various pretexts the time of withdrawal until the latest possible moment. But there stood the Monroe Doctrine; there on the Rio Grande waited Sheridan's veteran corps; the French dictator was obliged to take the dose of bitter medicine offered him. The glory that he was to gain from the founding of an empire in Mexico had sadly lost its lustre. Napoleon advised Maximilian to abdicate. The national army which Bazaine was organizing was likely to prove a feeble reed to lean upon. Yet the emperor could not be made to see the intimate peril of his position. He made a strong appeal to Napoleon for support in the summer of 1866. The reply was decisive. The French troops must be withdrawn and without delay. Maximilian was at last brought to see that only one safe course, that of abdication, remained to him.

Yielding to the hard necessity, Maximilian reluctantly prepared to sign a decree of abdication. But the ambition of Carlotta and her strong will prevented. She offered to go to Europe and make a personal appeal to Napoleon. This she did, but in vain. In fact, it was impossible for the French emperor to yield; but the bitter disappointment turned the brain of the poor empress. She lost her reason.

When the tidings of failure reached Maximilian he prepared to leave Mexico, seeking to hide his intention under the statement that he was going to Vera Cruz to meet the empress on her return. A trifle changed his intention. On reaching Orizaba he was met by a body of horsemen and a throng of Indians, while the ringing of bells and firing of guns welcomed him to the city. This seemingly warm welcome caused him to hesitate. Bazaine waited impatiently for his decision, but he still wavered, listening to the persuasions of agents of the clerical party, who urged him not to abandon their cause. While influenced by these, two leaders of the Conservative party, Miramon and Marquez, who had just returned from exile, joined their persuasions to those of the priests, promising to raise an army and lead it to victory. The weak will and poor judgment of the emperor led him to yield to these persuasions, and he returned with new hope to Mexico City, where he issued a manifesto to his people.

This act dismayed and angered Bazaine. If the Emperor would not go, the French must. Insistence of the United States and repeated orders from France made this necessary. As Maximilian persisted in his new resolution, the vanguard of the French army, at the end of January, 1867, left the Mexican capital on its march to Vera Cruz. On February 5th the French flag was lowered, and the city was freed from foreign domination. The Belgian and Austrian troops brought by Maximilian went also. He proposed to trust himself wholly to his Mexican subjects.

It was a hopeless trust. While this was going on Diaz had again captured the city of Oaxaca, driving out its imperial garrison. From there he marched to Puebla and captured that Conservative stronghold. His next movement was against the city of Mexico. In the north Juarez, encouraged by the approval of the United States and reports of the success of Diaz, had began a southward advance, while the greater part of the states and cities in that region, their French garrisons withdrawn, became Liberal in sentiment. General Escobedo had made a conquering march as far south as San Luis de Potosi, and Juarez marched to Zacatecas, which he made his temporary capital.

While his foes were thus gathering around him Maximilian proceeded to Queretaro and made this his headquarters. Miramon thence made a hasty march to Zacatecas, which he took by surprise, Juarez and his cabinet barely escaping capture. The campaign was now rapidly approaching its end. Diaz, after his capture of Puebla, had met and utterly routed the force under Marquez, and thence marched to Mexico, which on June 27th yielded to him. Maximilian, by the aid of Miramon and the clericals, had gathered an army of over eight thousand men, ably commanded, though a considerable part of the troops were raw Indian levies, in whose fighting qualities little trust could be placed. Thus supported, he was invested in Queretaro by the army of General Escobedo and the last act in the Maximilian drama began.

The city was not well provisioned and the sallies of the imperial troops in search of food led to many sharp encounters in which daring was shown on both sides. But after each attack the Liberal lines were drawn closer. For two months this continued, provisions daily growing scarcer. On the night of May 14th the end came, General Lopez turning traitor and admitting two battalions of the enemy into the citadel. Quickly the besieging army spread to all parts of the city, terror and confusion everywhere prevailed, and all was soon at an end. Maximilian was captured in an endeavor to escape, his generals, Miramon and Mejia, being also taken.

For the succeeding two months the emperor and his generals were held as prisoners of war in Queretaro while Juarez was deliberating on their fate. Plans for the escape of Maximilian were made, but always at the last moment he failed to take advantage of them. Nothing could shake Juarez in his determination that the traitors, as he called them, should be tried by court-martial and abide the result. Maximilian was eloquently defended by his counsel, but the trial resulted in a sentence of death against the three captives, a sentence that was quickly put into effect. It is said that Juarez wavered when the time came to sign the death warrant, but that his stern comrade Lerdo appeared at the door and uttered these fateful words: "Ahora o nunca se salva la patria!" (Now or never for our country's salvation.) Juarez signed.

Taken from his cell at six o'clock in the morning of June 19, 1867, Maximilian said to his faithful attendants: "Be calm; you see that I am so. It is the will of God that I should die; against that we cannot strive."

On meeting his fellow victims he embraced them warmly; then looked around him and said: "What a beautiful day. On such a one I have always wished to die."

His last words to the surrounding people were:

"May my blood be the last spilt for the welfare of the country, and if more should be shed may it flow for its good and not by treason. Viva Independencia! Viva Mexico!"

The shots rang out on the morning air and the three fell dead. Thus ended the futile effort of Louis Napoleon to found an empire in Mexico.

The Career of Porfirio Diaz

Among the many men who have ruled over Mexico from time to time, more than one in nearly every year from 1829 until 1858, during which period there were six presidents within the limit of one year and five within each of two other years, only two of signal ability appeared, Benito Juarez, of whom we have already spoken, and Porfirio Diaz, a brief sketch of whose career is now in order. It would be difficult to find in history a country that has been more convulsed by revolutions and changes of government than unhappy Mexico. Others of the Latin-American republics have had a similar experience, but the incessant change in the governmental head of Mexico is probably without a parallel. The only men who remained for any considerable time at the head of the government during the period under review were Guadaloupe Victoria, from 1824 to 1828; Benito Juarez, from 1858 to his death in 1872, he being a fugitive during several years of that time; and Porfirio Diaz, from 1876 to 1880, and 1884 to 1910. This is the longest term of office held by any President in the history of the world, a fact which makes the career of this famous man one of high importance. During most of this period, indeed, he was President only in name, Dictator in fact, a king without a crown, an emperor without a scepter, but this serves to add to the interest of his career.

Porfirio Diaz was the son of an innkeeper, born at Oaxaca, in the south of Mexico, September 15, 1830. He was of mixed Spanish and Indian descent, his grandmother having been a member of the Mixteca Indian tribe. When he was three years of age his father died, leaving his mother with a hard struggle in the care of her six children. It was her purpose to educate Porfirio for the Church, but this was so alien to his character and aspirations that he soon abandoned his studies for the priesthood for study of the law.

Porfirio Diaz


An opportunity to indicate the trend of his future career came in 1847, when war began between Mexico and the United States. The law students of Oaxaca at once formed a battalion for the defense of their native city, Diaz being prominent in this patriotic movement. Benito Juarez, the future President, was then the leading lawyer in Oaxaca, and took the bright young law student into his office, where he made rapid progress in his studies, continuing these until he won a degree.

He did not, however, confine himself to the law, politics early attracting his attention, his activity in which brought him the office of mayor of the small town of Ixtlan in 1855. While there he organized a company of militia, which in later years did good service in the field. He took an active part in the revolt against Santa Anna and in the disturbances that followed, and in 1861 was elected a deputy to the Federal Congress. Here his interest in military affairs continued, and in the following year, when France began its efforts to found an empire in Mexico, Diaz, then thirty-two, was made a brigadier-general.

He was now in the work for which he was specially fitted, taking a leading part in the defense of Puebla, and displaying great courage and ability in the signal victory of May 5, 1862, in which a small Mexican force put to rout a much larger French army. A year later the French took Puebla, Diaz being made prisoner. He refused to give his parole and succeeded in escaping, reaching Oaxaca after various interesting adventures. His activity in the field continued during the following years, and in 1864 he was besieged in Oaxaca by a French army under Marshal Bazaine. His defense was stubborn, and not until he and his men were dying of starvation was the place given up, he escaping. In 1865 he was again shut up in Puebla, again escaped, and continued in the field until April, 1867, when Puebla once more fell into his hands. The long struggle was now near its end, and on the 27th of June Diaz marched with his victorious army into the city of Mexico. His popularity had become unbounded, and he could readily have ousted Juarez from the presidency. But, true to his old friend and patron, he resigned his commission and retired to Oaxaca. It cannot be said that this good faith to Juarez was permanent, ambition subsequently leading Diaz into a not very reputable course. Before speaking further of this, we must return to the story of President Juarez.

On the 5th of July, 1867, Juarez, victor in a contest which had continued for six years, once more entered the Mexican capital, where he was received with enthusiasm by the populace and many of the better class of citizens, though the members of the high society, who had been partisans of the late imperial regime, remained indoors, mourning for the dead emperor. Juarez had persistently retained his title of President, retaining his Cabinet and keeping up his official state during his years of practical exile, through much of which time his place of abode was in mountain fastnesses. War was now at an end. For the first time for years Mexico was at peace, internally and externally. A general election was held and Juarez again legally installed in the Presidential dignity, while in the country tranquil satisfaction with the course of events generally prevailed and quiet industry once more lifted its head.

It was a state of affairs to which the people of Mexico were not accustomed, and which was not likely to last with so many malcontents abroad. Juarez was a man of superior ability, an able statesman and executive, one able to bear adversity with equanimity and prosperity without losing his mental poise. Long enduring and patient under misfortune, he possessed the qualities of sound sense, a executive ability, and wise discretion, while his long experience in governmental affairs fitted him admirably for the post he occupied.

Yet the unstable element of the population, born and bred in disorder, soon began to grow restive under his rule, and a clamor was raised that he had been President long enough, too long, indeed, for worthies of the type of his opponents. Diversity of political sentiment continued, the late adherents of Maximilian had not become converted to Liberalism, and when the time for a new election for the presidency drew near in 1871, there appeared a sharp party division. The steady-minded, patriotic citizens felt that in the interests of reform and progress Juarez, whose presidency had been largely in the saddle, should be given another term. But a second party, disbanded soldiers, lovers of military glory, became partisans of General Diaz, whom they regarded as the hero of the war against imperialism. There was in addition a third party which supported Lerdo de Tejada, an able and capable man, who had been minister and faithful comrade of Juarez throughout his presidency in the field. He it was whose voice had turned the tide against Maximilian during the moment in which Juarez hesitated to sign the death warrant. This fact added much to his popularity with a certain class of the people.

There was a vigorous campaign, but the Juaristas had the greater strength, and their candidate was elected by a fair majority. It might have been expected that tranquillity would follow, but that was not the way in Mexico. The old story was repeated, the defeated parties refused to abide by the decision of the ballot, and the bane of civil war once more infested the country. It was not much to the credit of Diaz that he became a prominent leader in this rebellion and sought the overthrow of his old friend and benefactor. The fight went on in the usual desultory fashion, with its periods of ebb and flow, yet despite the ability of General Diaz and his trained military skill the government defended itself with resolute energy for more than a year. Then, at dawn on the 19th of July, 1872, the sound of cannon, fired from the citadel at slow intervals, roused the citizens of the capital to a sense of disaster, and soon the tidings spread through the streets that the President had died during the night. Heart disease had suddenly carried away this able man and faithful citizen, who had had the unique experience in the career of a Mexican president of dying in office.

Lerdo de Tejada, president of the Supreme Court, at once assumed the executive authority in accordance with the Constitutional provision for such cases, and was elected president at the ensuing election, not as the choice of his people, but of his faction. For the time being the struggle was at an end. Diaz had withdrawn from the struggle and for three years Lerdo held the reins of government. It is a matter of interest that during his term of office the railroad from Vera Cruz to the capital was completed and opened, the city of Mexico for the first time gaining railroad connection with the outer world.

Lerdo had not made himself popular during his administration, and as its end approached the spectre of civil war once more appeared. Fighting took place during the summer of 1876, the enemies of the administration again entering the field in the usual method. In this outbreak Diaz took so prominent a part that a description of it needs to be given, especially as it illustrates one phase of the character of this man of affairs.

When Lerdo took the President's seat Diaz had sold his property and made the United States his abode. Evidently his relations with the new President were not friendly, and his continued residence in Mexico not safe. His sentiment towards the administration was shown in 1876, when he returned to Mexico, gathered a body of four hundred men and took possession of the city of Matamoros. This movement of insurrection failed through the prompt action of President Lerdo, who sent troops in hot haste to the frontier, too many for Diaz to face with his small support, and the convenient soil of the United States served him again as a place of refuge.

But the lure of rule in Mexico was upon him and he soon after took ship at New Orleans for his native land. Now comes a record of stirring adventure and hairbreadth escape. The vessel was headed for Vera Cruz, but called at Tampico, where a body of Mexican troops took passage for the southward voyage. One of the officers recognized Diaz and bided his time until they should set foot on the soil of Mexico. Alert to his peril, Diaz sprang overboard while the ship was four miles out, and attempted to swim ashore. He was picked up half drowned, brought on board while the Mexican officer was below; and was hidden in a wardrobe by the friendly purser. The officer, informed of the rescue, was told that Diaz had again leaped into the sea and had been drowned in the second attempt to escape. In Vera Cruz a detachment of soldiers, warned by wire from Tampico, was waiting to arrest him, but he escaped their scrutiny by going ashore in a cargo boat, disguised as a soldier. Obtaining horses and an escort, the daring insurgent rode to Oaxaca and was soon at the head of an insurgent army, with which he marched against the capital. A battle followed in which Diaz put the government troops to flight and took possession of the city. Lerdo and his principal friends and officials had hastily fled, they in turn seeking the friendly soil of the United States. On the 24th of November Diaz was proclaimed Provisional President, and began his long career in the executive office.

In May, 1877, Congress declared him Constitutional President for the ensuing term. It will be of interest to state that, during the height of this struggle for the presidency, the old and once all powerful agitator and leader, Santa Anna, neglected, old, poor, lame and blind, died in his house in the Calle de Vergaza on June 20, 1876, forgotten by the people who had so often hailed him as one of their heroes and recognized him as their president.

As the law then stood, a president was not eligible to succession for more than one term, and in 1880 Manuel Gonzalez was elected to the presidency, which Diaz handed over to him on December 1st of that year. It was the second time in the history of the republic that such a peaceful transfer had taken place. On December 1, 1884, a reversal of this event occurred, Diaz being re-elected and resuming the office, which he was now to hold until 1910, the law of single terms being abrogated at his suggestion. The successive elections of which we have spoken were such as in the United States would be regarded as farces, if not instances of despotic brigandage, in which the highest office in the gift of the Mexican people became the loot of the man in power. The statement has been made that during the whole ninety years of the history of the Mexican nation only two fair and honest elections for a president have been held, those of Arista in 1850 and of Madero in 1910. In the great majority of the remaining cases the voice of the people had next to nothing to do with the result. Intimidation and bribery at the polls, dishonesty in counting the ballot, and deliberate disregard of the Constitution have been potent factors in Mexican elections, and in nearly the whole of the seven consecutive terms of President Diaz no opposition candidate or opposition party ventured to appear. Why they have not will appear later in our story.

As regards Mexican elections, it may be of interest to citizens of the United States to learn how they are usually conducted. The method employed is by no means unknown in the United States, in which the system of repeating at the polls, stuffing of ballot boxes, and other secret methods of carrying elections are not uncommon. But little effort is made to keep these processes secret in Mexico, in which land practical disfranchisement of the lower class of citizens exists to an extraordinary degree. Those opposed to the party in power are often elected in the United States in spite of all that bosses and organization leaders can do to prevent. But down in Mexico this class of worthies manages things better, and the men slated for election do not fail to get the office. The only redress there against being counted out is that of taking up arms and battling for the right, and this method of settling political disputes has grown to be a chronic disease in Mexico.

One has but to read the story of presidential elections in that country to discover that state of affairs exists there which is almost without precedent elsewhere in the modern world. It is safe to say that no actual election took place during the whole period of the rule of Diaz. All the so-called elections were parodies upon the name. In 1876, when he drove Lerdo out of the capital city, he had simply to adopt the ordinary method and declare himself Provisional President. He was soon after "elected" Constitutional President by a method that has since been followed. This was to put soldiers on duty at the polls with orders to let no one but a Diaz supporter vote. For anyone who should prove obstreperous the prison was handy. In this way Diaz, for term after term, succeeded in having himself "elected unanimously." It is incredible to imagine any such thing as happening for successive terms, not a voice being raised against the candidate, no such thing as a difference in political opinion existing, or being made apparent. Let us conceive, if we can, of such a thing happening in the United States, even in the case of a man so popular as was President Roosevelt at the period of his second term.

Thus during his eight elections Diaz was chosen "unanimously," no opponent venturing to contest the election with him. This was also the case, with few exceptions, with the governors of the states, who were safe in office without intermission as long as they continued in favor with President Diaz. We are told of one governor who held office during the whole Diaz period, of several others who occupied the governor's chair for twenty-five, and a number who held the office for over twenty years.

Instances might be given in which those who attempted to vote on an opposition ticket found themselves in prison in consequence. We are told of one election in Yucatan, in which three hundred persons of some prominence, who sought to vote for a candidate of their choice, a man of liberal ideas, were locked behind prison doors for their presumption. A story is told about a foreigner in Mexico, a citizen of San Francisco, who happened to be in a town of one of the Mexican states during an election for governor. To amuse himself he took part in the voting, going from poll to poll until he had voted eight times in succession. He spoke freely of his experience and the case was cited to a Mexican official as an example of election methods in Mexico.

"You must not believe that they let him vote," he said. "We are so courteous. They would never tell him that he was not eligible. What they certainly did, after he had left each of these eight places, was to take the voting paper and tear it into little bits."

This sounds like a joke, but it is stated as a fact. All it would go to indicate is the farcical manner of Mexican elections. But they pass beyond the domain of farce when those who venture to vote an opposition ticket are thrown into prison for their temerity. Why, it may be asked, have not those in opposition during the Diaz administration availed themselves of the time-honored—or dishonored—Mexican method of taking arms in support of their candidate and fighting in the field for what they could not obtain at the polls? It may be said that efforts of this kind have been made at intervals, but were all nipped in the bud by the promptness of Diaz, who, a born and practical soldier, and backed by : the army and his efficient corps of rural police, made short work of every incipient rebellion. The method, a common one for many years past in Mexico, of standing up prisoners against a wall and shooting them down, has aided in the disposition of malcontents of this type. The result was that discontent had to spread in Mexico until it was well nigh universal before an insurrection arose that could not be thus put down.

That Porfirio Diaz showed himself a ruler of great ability during his dictatorial career as President of Mexico is widely acknowledged. The country flourished under his rule. The "era of glorious progress" is a Mexican term that has been applied to his period of public service, and with much warrant so far as physical development was concerned. He surrounded his administration with a corps of talented men, the so-called cientificos  (scientists), brought the country up from its long era of chaos, and founded a stable government under which industry began to flourish and the resources of the country were rapidly developed.

While so far as this is concerned we cannot give Porfirio Diaz all the credit, much of it is due to his staunch character and wise foresight. As one writer phrases it, "the man and the hour arrived together, and Diaz deserves to rank among the historic statesmen of the world."

The fact is that he took in hand the helm of the state at a fortunate period, when the abundant resources of Mexico had become apparent to the capitalists and business men of the world, and a movement towards investment in Mexican mines, railroads and other industries was ready to show itself on a large scale. As has been well said, "A time had arrived in the natural evolution of America when even the most turbulent states were called upon to perform their function and carry out their destiny."

The main features of the Diaz policy were two. One was to put down turbulence and clear the way for a peaceful development of Mexico and its resources. His agencies in this were his dictatorial authority and complete and ready control of the army and police forces of the nation. The second was to offer the fullest encouragement to foreign capital and foreign engineers and business men desiring to take part in developing these resources. Under these favoring auspices the railroad spread its iron way in all directions, until in this line of enterprise Mexico became the leading country in Latin America. The mines of precious and other metals were taken in hand, supplied with abundant capital, worked under able engineers with the best of modern mining appliances, with the result of a great cheapening of and increase in their productiveness. So valuable are these mines that even yet, we are told, they have only been "scratched." The splendid petroleum deposits—of which Mexico appears to have the largest in the world—were similarly taken in hand and made a large source of wealth. Coal fields were discovered and worked, the textile, fruit and forest resources of the country were greatly increased, and large numbers of foreign, especially American, business men settled in the country, where they took hold of affairs with a vim that caused the procrastinating Mexican to open his eyes in wonder. Manama, "tomorrow," was no longer the business motto; "today" had replaced it. Latest among the discoveries of mineral wealth in Mexico have been those of its petroleum deposits, above mentioned, and the vast extent of which is only slowly being recognized. We are told that while the oil fields in the whole United States cover a total of 8,200,000 acres, those of the Tampico district of Mexico alone cover 5,000,000 acres, and that this is only one out of numerous extensive oil fields in that country.

We may see in these developments, and the enforced tranquillity brought about by Diaz which rendered them possible, the conditions to which he owed the high estimation in which he was held. These were results which loomed largely outside of Mexico, as also did his earnest interest in education and other elements of advanced civilization. We have elsewhere shown that education made but little advance despite his encouragement, and that in other important respects little solid progress appeared.

The weak point in his system of administration was that it worked more for the advantage of the foreigner than of the Mexican. The desired capital could not be obtained without hypothecating the property of the country, and the people saw with growing discontent the mines, the oil wells, the cattle ranges, the tobacco plantations, and other valuable possessions of the state falling into the hands of foreigners. What was especially objected to was the bringing of great landlord estates under alien control. The lands, which had once been the property of the people at large, were in this way handed over to wealthy strangers, their former owners being obliged to work as laborers upon the soil which had been held by their forefathers for generations. And the most irritating feature of the case was the oppressive manner in which much of this was done, the seizure of lands that had been in one family for many generations on the plea that they had no written documents on which to base their claim, and the use of these homestead estates for speculative purposes by those whose only claim to them was that of recording them as theirs. Such was the condition of affairs in the first decade of the twentieth century. It was one which led to a growing enmity to the Diaz rule and the final outbreak of 1910.

The Iron Hand of the Liberals

Mexico long remained a country with a single political party, that of the Diaz autocracy. Liberalism and any objection to the Diaz plan of government were repressed with a strong hand and antagonism not permitted to lift its head. The motto of Louis XIV, "L'Etat c'est moi" (The State, it is myself), might as well have been assumed as his own by President Diaz, since it would have closely applied to his system of rule. No one will deny that under Diaz a notable progress was made in Mexico. The government did not lack patriotic views and measures, and the progress of the country appeared to be the President's sincere desire. But its pretense to derive its power from the people's will was a transparent sham. Any expression of the popular will, any voice lifted in opposition to the President's purpose or decrees, was promptly stifled. The country changed under his rule from a republic to a military autocracy, and the emperors of old Rome itself were little more absolute. Of course, in these days of liberal ideas, such a system cannot safely be declared; the ruler must at least pretend that he has the public good at heart, but freedom of speech soon reaches its limit.

In our times the newspaper is the voice of the people, the channel by which private opinion is made public property. There were numbers of papers in Mexico when Diaz became President, and political criticism was as free as the winds. They appealed to the people openly, much too openly to be satisfactory to the new ruler, especially as some of them were so violent in their editorials as to encourage the regime of revolution by which Mexico had long been cursed.

President Diaz did not counsel the Congress to make laws curbing these over-radical journalists. That would have been a constitutional method, but his method was the personal one; that of the leader of an army, not that of the ruler of a state. He sent the police to arrest some of the most out-spoken editors and had them locked up in Belem Prison—a place of terror intended only for the lowest class of criminals, not for gentlemen of culture and standing in the community. Here they were kept for a week on a diet of bread and water.

This week of discipline ended, they were brought before the President.

"Now, gentlemen," he asked, "what do you think of my government?"

"Senor President," the replied, "we look upon it as the finest government upon the earth."

"Just continue to think so, gentlemen, and I think we shall get along splendidly."

After this lesson in practical politics there was no more trouble with the newspapers of Mexico. But what would happen if a president of the United States should adopt such a method of stilling newspaper criticism? Most likely something approaching a political earthquake would be the immediate result. The Emperor of Russia himself would probably have hesitated before taking such autocratic measures for the stifling of editorial utterance.

Federal cavalry in streets of Mexico City.


The Diaz government, in fact, did not rest upon public opinion or congressional action. Under the Constitution the republic of Mexico has its three governmental bodies, the executive, the legislative, and the judicial, but the first of these had now outgrown and hidden the others from view. Diaz did not govern through the force of legislative sanction, but through the iron hand of military force. Congress was fully in accord with him and supported him in all his measures, though what would have been the case had there been any real representative government, any full and open suffrage of the people, is not easy to say. Not the Congress, but the army, the police, the secret agents of the executive authority were the real powers in Mexico, and these seem to have been used more for the repression of democratic movements among the people than for protection against common criminals.

As for the Mexican Congress, for many years before the election of Madero it was little more than a debating club. That Mexico had a president was always in evidence; that it had a parliament nobody troubled themselves to remember. The subjects in which the members were chiefly concerned were such as the minutes of the last meeting, decision as to whether a Mexican citizen should waive his antipathy to such trifles as stars or orders, and measures of like character. Chosen by the president, or elected under his auspices, they were there to put the stamp of approval upon his decrees; to stand up and wave their hands—their method of voting. When the president and cabinet had no special work for them to do, they indulged in literary declamations upon subjects that served to pass the time, but that were utterly destitute of political significance.

That a country of many millions of inhabitants could be unanimous in the choice, for eight successive terms, of a single candidate for the presidency is unthinkable; especially a country with the record of Mexico, in which rebellion against the parties in power had long been chronic. After President Diaz came into power a hand of iron was laid upon the old method and anarchy repressed wherever it dared show its head. But this did not prevent difference of opinion as to political matters. Repression did not confine itself to acts of rebellion, but was used against opposition to the government in any way. Cases of this kind were shown throughout the Diaz period.

Near the end of Porfirio Diaz's first term as president a movement was started in favor of Lerdo, the preceding president, who was then in voluntary exile in the United States. This movement was brought to a sudden and violent end. Vera Cruz was its center, a number of the prominent citizens of that city taking part in it. The result was the seizure of nine of these leaders as conspirators and traitors and their summary shooting without the shadow of a trial. "Kill them in haste" was the order said to have been telegraphed from Mexico City. "The Massacre of Vera Cruz" this act is called. That the attempt to bring back a former president and nominate him as a candidate was an act of treason deserving to be dealt with in this summary manner no one is likely to maintain.

On three subsequent occasions in the latter part of the nineteenth century Mexican citizens became candidates for the presidency, one being the governor of Jalisco, a second the ex-governor of Zacatecas. Who ordered the murder of these venturesome aspirants no one can say, but they both fell victims to assassins, one being stabbed, the other shot while seeking to escape to the United States. In 1891 Diaz announced his candidacy for a fourth term. An opposition movement was organized, but it was not suffered to gain any headway. Its nominee for president was Dr. Ignacio Martinez. The nomination was quickly followed by the imprisonment of its chief advocates and the flight of Martinez, who sought refuge in Europe. He subsequently came to the United States, where he started a paper opposing Diaz at Laredo, Texas. His end came from the bullet of a horseman, who crossed the river to Mexico before he could be seized. These successive assassinations of candidates for the presidency are certainly significant.

The only political party that was allowed to appear during the Diaz period was the Liberal Party, organized in 1900. Its career proved a disastrous one. It came into existence after the sixth "unanimous" election of President Diaz was assured, its formation having no connection with political affairs. Fear of the outcome of an effort to regain the Church ascendency led to its organization. The instigating cause was a speech made in Paris by the bishop of San Luis Potosi, in which he declared that the Church of Mexico was in a highly flourishing state, despite the Constitution and the restrictive laws. This utterance alarmed many Mexicans, who read between the lines of the address evidence of a purpose to endeavor to restore the old Church ascendency.

The alarm became general and Liberal clubs were founded in all parts of the country, one hundred and twenty-five of them in less than five months. Newspapers in aid of the cause were also started, fifty or more within a brief period, and the whole country seemed on the alert against any effort at political restoration of the Church. A call for a convention of Liberals was issued, to be held January 5, 1901, in San Luis Potosi. This was held in the Teatro de la Paz  (Peace Theater), the delegates being careful to avoid any criticism of the President or offer any suggestion of an armed movement against Church or State. The resolutions adopted pledged the Liberals to peaceful means in the campaign for reform which was their avowed purpose.

This meeting was held under the watchful eye of the governing powers. Gendarmes mingled with the spectators in the hall and a battalion of soldiers was drawn up in readiness in case of any need for their services arising. No such need appeared, and the convention quietly adjourned. But it was soon evident that the ideas of the Liberals were broadening and it became manifest that some of them were planning a political campaign for the next presidential election, three years later. No names of candidates were mentioned, yet the purpose became apparent and the administration took alarm. That hydra-headed monster, a new political party, was growing out of the movement against Church ascendency, and the autocracy scented danger in the air.

Mexican Federal soldiers on the march.


Certainly the career of the Liberals from that time forward was a hazardous one. The police received secret orders, and all over the country Liberal clubs were broken up on flimsy pretexts. Charges, apparently manufactured for the occasion, were brought against their leading members, some of whom were put into prison, others forced into the army. The public meetings held by the clubs were interrupted by violent interference on the part of the police. The history of the Liberal clubs has already been briefly given in Chapter IX, including the violent breaking up of a meeting held in 1902, and the imprisonment of its officers and many of its members.

Most of the other clubs were disposed of in a similar manner, in spite of the quietness and peacefulness of their proceedings. As for the Liberal newspapers, their plants were destroyed or confiscated in the slightest pretext, and their editors imprisoned for mild remarks concerning the oppression of the Liberals. Very few of them were left in circulation, and those only that were so cautious as to be innocuous. In the years that followed these journals were subjected to incessant persecution. One writer gives a list of thirty-nine that were thus dealt with in 1902, apparently to prevent agitation against the coming seventh election of President Diaz. In later years this continued, six newspapers being directly suppressed in 1908 for too great freedom of utterance.

The whole story of the suffering endured by the Liberals in the eight or ten years of their existence cannot here be told. On all sides they were thrown into prison or forced into the army, in the latter case being sent to the torrid and pestilential district of Quintana Roo, a fate almost equivalent to a sentence to death. All the sufferings these political agitators endured would need a volume to describe, the means taken to suppress the Liberal party being so drastic that no party could have survived them.

A state of affairs like this can scarcely be comprehended in a country like the United States, where political parties start up like mushrooms in the night, and grow unimpeded to the fullest possible extent. The idea of their suppression by violent means, when no act or advocacy of violence could be justly charged against them, would be preposterous in this liberty loving country. In Mexico, on the contrary, no opposition party, however mild its principles and utterances, was permitted to develop during the Diaz regime, and there seems to have been no crime more heinous than the holding of political opinions not in accordance with those of the executive powers.

That a party could have existed as long as did the Liberal party under circumstances like those described is evidence, of the vital earnestness of its membership, and indicates a very strong support in public opinion. There can be no doubt that opposition to the autocratic methods of the President was steadily growing, and that the time was approaching in which armed opposition could no longer be kept down.

Measures of suppression like those described—and we have avoided going into the tyranny of details given by some writers—could not be continued without provoking movements of insurrection; especially in a country like Mexico, in which armed rebellion has long been the favorite method of political opposition. Twice the Liberal party adopted this method, taking up arms in support of its principles, but on each occasion the precaution and vigor of the government put down the movement before it could grow dangerous. These outbreaks have been mentioned in Chapter IX, but the story of them is here given more in detail.

In 1906 an attempt at insurrection was put in train, the month of September being fixed for the outbreak. The claim is made that the revolutionists had thirty-six military groups organized and partly armed, awaiting the prearranged signal. They were well advised of the breadth of liberal sentiment in the country, and expected a general desertion from the army to their ranks and widespread support from the citizens at large.

Whether they were justified in their hopes of general support cannot be told, for the government had its spies in their midst and kept well in touch with the whole movement. The national day of independence, September 16th, was fixed for the projected outbreak, but it did not take place except in very small measure. When the day arrived the leaders in the movement were either dead or behind prison doors. The executive powers had struck quickly and strongly, and the rebellion died before at had an opportunity to declare itself.

In two cities, indeed, there were minor outbreaks. One party took possession of the town of Jimenez, in the State of Coahuila; a second broke out at Acayucan, in Vera Cruz, the military barracks here being besieged. In both these cities the rebel ranks were augmented by citizens, and for a day or two they held control. Then soldiers rushed in by train-load and the insurrection was nipped in the bud. The authorities did not mince matters. In less than twenty-four hours after the outbreak began four thousand soldiers were in Acayucan. Not long after their appearance in arms the would-be revolutionists were on their way to prison, and the dove of peace once more waved its wings over the republic.

The second attempt at insurrection came two years later, July, 1908, being the month chosen for the explosion. The military groups of the Liberals at this time are claimed to have been forty-six, all prepared for a simultaneous rising. But as before, the government was on the alert and had previous information of what was in train. In fact nearly all the fighting took place near the United States border, by refugees who crossed the border at various points, armed with guns purchased in American towns.

The government, meanwhile, was using its information in arresting the leaders and members of various groups. One such act took place at Casas Grandes, Chihuahua, and was given such publicity that the groups from the United States acted before the appointed time. The "Rebellion of Las Vacas," as this affair has been called, had a very brief period of existence. The government soon dispersed the invading bands, though a month passed before the fugitives were all hunted down and taken, powder and ball ending their careers, in the ordinary Mexican custom, wherever they were found.

Before this attempt at insurrection took place President Diaz had defined his position in a way that should have satisfied the Liberals if they had had confidence in his words. In March, 1908, as we are told by Mr. James Creelman, a correspondent of Pearson's Magazine, he had expressed himself as follows:

"No matter what my friends and supporters say, I retire when my present term of office ends, and I shall not serve again. I shall be eighty years old then. I have waited patiently for the day when the people of the Mexican Republic would be prepared to choose and change their government at every election without danger of armed revolutions, and without injury to the national credit or interference with national progress.

"I welcome an opposition party in the Mexican Republic. If it appears, I shall regard it as a blessing, not an evil, and if it can develop power, not to exploit but to govern, I will stand by it, support it, advise it and forget myself in the successful inauguration of complete democratic government in the country."

As the presidential term had been extended from four to six years in 1904, this would bring President Diaz's seventh term forward to 1910, in which he proposed to withdraw. The statement made was widely reprinted in Mexico, where, as may be supposed, it created a profound sensation. The people who desired a change of administration, and these formed a large majority of the nation, were overjoyed, and a discussion as to the most desirable candidate to succeed him was begun. Various questions relating to popular government were also debated. But all this suddenly ceased when it was whispered about that the President's promise to withdraw was not to be taken as final. Talk about a successor to the presidency was no longer a safe proceeding, and a new idea took its place. This was to urge the President to retain his seat, but to ask for the privilege of a free election of a vice-president, with the purpose of having some one fitted to succeed him in case of his death during a succeeding six years term.

As President Diaz let this plan pass in silence, his assent to it was taken for granted, and an agitation in this new direction began. The idea was discussed in public, was dealt with in the newspapers, and clubs to act upon it were widely formed. It is said that in a brief time these numbered fully five hundred. A convention was held in January, 1909, to organize a central body to be called the Central Democratic Club. This convention met, elected officers, and adopted a platform of which the chief features were:

Abolition of the jefes politicos  and the creation of municipal boards of aldermen in their place.

The extension of primary education.

The suffrage to be placed on a mixed educational and property basis.

Greater freedom for the press.

Stricter enforcement of the reform laws dealing with church matters.

Greater respect for life and liberty and better administration of justice.

Laws for the benefit of the working people.

Laws for the encouragement of agriculture.

Other steps taken—in April, 1909—were nominations for the coming election. The Re-electionist Club, a body of office-holders, renominated the existing executive officials, President Porfirio Diaz and Vice-President Ramon Corral. The Democratic party followed, also nominating Diaz for the presidency, but naming General Bernardo Reyes, Governor of Nuevo Leon, for Vice-President.

The campaign that was launched in favor of this ticket was a temperate and inoffensive one. There was no hint of rebellion, no severe criticism of existing institutions, nothing reflecting in any way on President Diaz. The people had learned that discretion in public utterance was the part of wisdom. Yet it quickly appeared that a large majority of the people favored Reyes, and it became evident that the Democratic party was popular. Diaz, smelling danger afar, quickly made it appear that he did not propose to have an opposition party in the country, however moderate in its seeming views. He had experience of the development of the Liberals, and distrusted the Democrats.

Fire was opened upon the Democrats by transferring to distant sections of the country certain army officers who favored Reyes. Next came the dismissal of some Democrats who held governmental positions. At a meeting in July in favor of Corral some of the audience hissed one of the speakers. At once companies of police were ordered to clear the building, and this they did in the Mexican manner, with sabre, pistol and club. As a result forty or fifty of the audience were killed and wounded, while the number arrested approached a thousand. Autocracy was clearly in the saddle again.

This was only the beginning. Arrests of Democrats were made in all sections of the country, prominent men being. chosen. The charge against them usually was "sedition," though nothing that could fairly be given this name was in evidence. Of these captives some were kept in jail for months, others were sentenced to long prison terms. At the same time the newspapers which supported the Democratic cause were suppressed, the editors being imprisoned or exiled, the printing plants seized. In this way all public advocacy of the new party movement was sternly and definitely checked.

As for General Reyes, the Democratic candidate for Vice-President, he was wise or cautious enough to decline the honor offered him. It was a dangerous gift, and on four separate occasions he refused to accept it. Yet this did not satisfy Diaz. A military force was sent to Nuevo Leon and its governor brought to the capital. There he found it expedient to resign his position as governor, and to accept a "military mission" to Europe. It was a virtual act of banishment, and was so generally regarded.

Such were some—not all—of the steps taken by Diaz to suppress the Democratic party. He doubtless expected them to be adequate, but they were not so. The sentiment of opposition had now grown too strong to be thus dealt with. Instead of intimidating the Democrats he simply infuriated them. The half-opposition party grew into a whole one. No longer satisfied with nominating a vice-president, the Democrats now nominated a candidate for president. Their candidate was Francisco I. Madero. Diaz had dug his own political grave.

The Madero Revolution and Exile of Diaz

The year 1910 saw the close of the seventh term of office of President Diaz. With the exception of the four years from 1880 to 1884, in which Manuel Gonzalez was President, his era of office-holding had extended over thirty-four years, from 1876 to 1910. During this period some considerable attention had been given to the development of education, and public opinion had grown more earnest and intelligent than it had been in 1876. But any too open expression of popular demands had been vigorously forbidden, no voice rose in protest or opposition, and the general belief in the outside world was that the people of Mexico were ardent adherents of their beneficent and progressive President. The time was at hand, however, when the world at large was to learn that this was a mistaken view of the situation, and that opposition to the Diaz regime had been steadily growing, until now it had fairly reached the point of explosion.

President Diaz had openly expressed his intention of withdrawing from government, and many of the people believed that 1910 would see the end of his long rule. When, therefore, he came before the country in that year for the eighth time as a candidate for the presidency the sentiment of opposition could no longer be suppressed. A letter in the London Times of October 27, 1911, thus gives its view of the state of affairs: "It is estimated by competent observers that 90 per cent. of the population of Mexico were, at the time of the centennial celebration last year, utterly hostile to the administration then in power." It further says: "There can be no doubt that, had Senor Madero been allowed a fair field in the Presidential election of 1910, his success at the polls would have been as decisive as the success of his subsequent appeal to arms."

When Porfirio Diaz made a procession through the streets of Mexico City on the 16th of September, 1910, in honor of the hundredth anniversary of the Grito de Dolores, the Hidalgo rising against Spain on that date in 1810—referred to in the Times article above cited—he was greeted with loud acclaim. Roses were showered into his carriage, and vociferous shouts of "Viva la Republica Mexicana! Viva Don Porfirio Diaz! Viva el General Diaz!" rent the air as he passed in triumph on. It seemed as if the whole population were rising to do him honor. Yet less than a week before, the windows of his private house had been broken by people opposed to his re-election, and the Liberal sentiment was everywhere strong. In the opinion of the Times correspondent it was held by 90 per cent. of the population.

There was another party organized and another candidate in the field, the former being the Constitutional or Democratic party, the latter, Don Francisco I. Madero, a land-holder of Coahuila, and a member of an old and highly respected family. He was a prominent advocate of a change of government in the interests of the people at large, and "Viva Madero" was a war-cry that was beginning to be heard in the streets, much to the discomfiture of the supporters of President Diaz.

Madero was possessed of great wealth, his father having at his death left an estate valued at $25,000,000 to his children. It was composed of large landed properties, with mines of gold and copper, of which he became the active manager, introducing the most advanced methods of farming and mining, opposing the system of peonage, and taking a humane interest in the condition of those under his care. This benevolence at home led to activity in the same direction abroad, and he soon was looked upon as one of the most advanced advocates in the community of human rights and government obligations.

In 1908 Madero took a pronounced step in the political field in a book entitled "The Presidential Succession of 1910." It was a work which showed advanced thought on the situation, and one which ventured to indulge in mild criticism of the President. In its concluding section it went so far as to urge the people to insist on their right to a fair ballot and a candidate of their free choice in the coming election. This book gained wide circulation before the authorities became awake to the situation, when it was hastily and completely suppressed. It dealt with a subject then vital in the minds of the people, and the Democratic party, which soon afterward came into the limelight, was no doubt partly due to the influence it exerted upon the public mind. We have in the last chapter spoken of the nomination of General Reyes for the vice-presidency by the new party. Madero, who had since 1905 been the acknowledged leader of the independent voters, became an active and effective orator in his support. He had considerable facility in public speaking, and rode from place to place in his private car, addressing public meetings, at which he made the principles of popular government his chief theme, saying little about the ticket in the field, much about the rights and duties of the citizen.

Reyes, the Democratic candidate for Vice-President, was disposed of by the administration—not formally, but practically, banished—and the Diaz faction had apparently swept the Democratic plan of operations from the field. But the tide of public opinion had grown too strong to be readily turned back. Madero's campaign of oratory went on, and steps were taken near the end of 1909 to combine the opposition sentiment represented by the Democratic and Reyes movement into an Anti-Re-electionist campaign, a movement in open opposition to Diaz and Corral as candidates. The spirit of liberalism had passed the limits of repression, and in mid-April, 1910, a convention of this new organization was held, a platform was issued, and nominations were made. Francisco I. Madero was named as the candidate for President and Dr. Vasquez Gomez for Vice-President.

Cadets from the military college who mutinied.


It was a bold step, but soon proved to be a popular one. The effect on the people was quick and strong, and was shown in the capital city itself by a great parade inspired with tremendous enthusiasm. Those who took part in it knew well the risk they ran, but the throng was so enormous that even the papers supporting the government had to acknowledge it as a Maderist triumph. Meanwhile Madero and other leaders of his party were in the field as speech-makers, taking care not to indulge in severe criticism of the administration or to stir up any violent demonstration, but mildly seeking to win adherents to their cause.

At first the President paid no open attention to this propaganda, apparently deeming it too insignificant to be worthy of action on his part. But the convention and nomination of opposing candidates, and the evident popularity of the movement, put a different aspect upon the case and the old method of dealing with political opponents was resumed. The police once more began to break up the Democratic clubs, stop political meetings, and put the opposition newspapers out of business, the persecution quickly growing so severe that Diaz was requested to stop it. Among those who wrote to him was Madero himself, who recited the acts of outrage that had come to his attention, including the arrest of delegates on their way home from the convention, the breaking up of meetings, the imprisonment of citizens for exercising the right of private opinion, and like instances of oppression.

"In the city of Zaragoza," he wrote, "many independent citizens were confined in prison, others were consigned to the army, as in the case of Senor Diaz Duran, president of an Anti-Re-electionist Club, and others have felt the necessity of abandoning their homes in order to escape the fury of authority.

"At Cananea," he continued, "the persecutions are extreme against the members of my party, and according to late news received therefrom more than thirty individuals have been imprisoned among them the full board of directors of the Club de Obresos, three of whom were forcibly enlisted into the army. At Puebla, Atlixco and at Tlaxcala, where untold "outrages have been committed against my followers, intense excitement prevails. The last news received shows the condition of the working classes to be desperate, and that they may at any moment resort to violent means to have their rights respected."

In fact, the old methods, which had proved so effective against the Liberal and Democratic parties, were now put into operation against the Anti-Re-electionist cause. These included imprisonment, forcible drafting into the army, and other extreme measures, with in most cases no justification for the act except the assertion of the right of private opinion in political affairs.

As June came on and the date of election, June 26th, drew near, the reign of oppression became more stringent. The authorities went so far as to arrest Madero himself, and with him Roque Estrada, who had also written to the President to beg a cessation of the persecution. The arrest and imprisonment of these leaders were for a time kept secret, they being held in the Monterey penitentiary. Not until the fact had become public were any definite charges brought against the captives. "Sedition" was charged in the case of Estrada. As for Madero, he was at first held on the charge of seeking to protect Estrada from arrest, and afterwards with "insulting the nation," a crime apparently invented for the occasion. He was removed from Monterey to San Luis Potosi, immured in the penitentiary there, and held incommunicado until after the election, no one being permitted to communicate with him.

These high-handed proceedings against an opposition candidate caused outbreaks in various quarters, these being put down with the old severity. Thus when the news reached Saltillo an excited crowd filled the streets. Through the mass furiously charged a company of the rurales, more than two hundred people being ridden down or otherwise injured. The "nation" was so sadly insulted in Saltillo, Torreon and Monterey that a hundred of their citizens were arrested. At Ciudad Porfirio Diaz, a city bearing the name of the President, forty-seven citizens of prominence were seized in one day, and on June 20th more than four hundred arrests are said to have been made in the northern Mexican states.

Election day followed. It was an election conducted in the good old method—that of Diaz and many before him. Election booths were put up, polls were opened, votes were cast. But soldiers closely guarded the polls, the Democratic leaders were in prison and all communication with them cut off, and every one who ventured to cast any but the administration ticket knew he did so at the risk of loss of property and liberty. The election over, the votes were counted—also in the good old way. The result was a "triumph" for Diaz and Corral. They had been elected by a "practically unanimous" vote.

But the opposition candidate and his powerful supporters were in prison for "sedition," "insulting the nation," and similar crimes, soldiers and rurales  held the polls, government agents counted the vote, and Diaz and Corral were announced as the people's choice. The "steam roller" method had once more been effectively used in electing the heads of the Mexican government.

After time had been given for the people to settle down and accept the inevitable, Madero was released on bail fixed at $10,000. His claws had been cut; there was no need to keep him longer behind the bars. At least such was the opinion of the President. It was a mistaken opinion, as he was soon to learn.

The date of Madero's release was October 10th. He was ordered to remain in Mexico. This he did for a brief period, publishing on October 15th a pamphlet entitled a "Call to Arms," containing a political platform which he called the "Plan of San Luis Potosi." The main features of this were "effective suffrage" and "no re-election," and it embraced various demands for reform, including free distribution of land, restitution of lands taken from the Indian tribes, the freeing of political prisoners, and the cessation of putting condemed criminals into the army.

Madero was not content with a literary propaganda. He felt that he had been legally robbed of an election to the presidency and proposed to regain his rights by force of arms. Consultations with Democratic leaders were held and the date of November 26th was fixed for a rising against the government. Such was the first step in the revolution of 1910-11, the only effective insurrection which Mexico had known since 1876.

With little heed to these underground movements preparations were made for a great celebration, that of the hundredth anniversary of the "Grito de Dolores," the beginning of the Mexican war for independence on September 16, 1810. It was to be celebrated by a month of festivities, embracing the whole of September, 1910. The chief features of the celebration were fete days in Mexico City on the 15th and 16th, an imposing pageant on the 19th, and a sham battle on the 25th. Also, a million-dollar palace was dedicated in the city of Chihuahua. The festivities in the capital embraced such agreeable incidents as a ball in the palace, which was lighted by 30,000 electric stars, a fairyland entertainment on the rock of Chapultepec, a mimic firework battle on a lake, a banquet in a cavern by the Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon, and various other spectacles. More permanent were the founding of a university, and the introduction of a more copious supply of drinking water.

While these entertainments were taking place in the south, the agents of anarchy were at work in the north. Madero, despite his order to remain in Mexico, made his way in disguise to Laredo, on the border, and crossed the Rio Grande into Texas. Here he engaged in the purchase of large quantities of arms and ammunition, which he succeeded in shipping over the border. He next made his way to San Antonio, and thence to El Paso, where he founded a revolutionary junta. Learning that a warrant for his arrest had been issued, on the charge of breaking the international laws of the United States, he crossed the Rio Grande to Juarez, and was once more on Mexican soil, where his adherents had been busy in preparing for the proposed insurrection.

This started prematurely on November 18th. The government had got wind of what was in the air, and itself set the ball rolling. On that date the police attempted to break up a mass-meeting in Puebla, called to protest against the fraudulent election of Diaz, and a fight occurred in which twenty-five persons were killed. Tidings of this affair hurried Madero's movements and his crossing of the border, many refugees in Texas doing the same. These were armed and ready to take to the field. Outbreaks quickly followed in Chihuahua and neighboring states, in which the development of large landed estates under government supervision had made a large majority of the population hostile to the administration. An interesting incident in this connection is the fact that on December 1st, when Diaz and Corral took the oath of office for their new term, Madero, then on his estate in Coahuila, had himself at the same hour inaugurated and proclaimed as Provisional President of Mexico. This was decidedly taking time by the forelock.

By this date the insurrection was fully launched, the Maderists having appeared in arms in various localities, in which brushes with the Federal troops. had taken place. Pascual Orozco, formerly engaged in silver mining operations, appeared as military chief of the insurgents in Chihuahua, followed by men who were much less interested in the main question of free suffrage than in the oppressive acts of local officials and the evil of gigantic estates, to the detriment of the small farmers. He proved himself a competent guerrilla leader, one who made the repression of brigandage a special duty. General Navarro had been sent with a Federal army against him, his force being large enough to annihilate Orozco if he could only have found him. But Navarro was a man of infinite caution, one ill fitted for warfare in a country of huge land areas and few towns. His marches were made with great care and deliberation, and while no harm came to him or his men, none was done to the enemy. Thus the opening of December found matters in an undecided state in the rebellious north, and Navarro's campaign making little progress.

He had not only the rebels under Orozco to deal with, but found the whole population of the country hostile. Every man seemed an adherent of the rebel cause. They helped Orozco in every way possible, fired on the Federals from roofs and hill tops, and failed to supply them with food, while acting as spies for Orozco, and keeping him informed of every movement of the enemy. Thus the outbreak went on, with marches and countermarches, taking of villages and burning of archives, in which the rebels seemed to take delight. At the same time desertions from the government to the rebel ranks were very frequent. Many of the Federal soldiers were political prisoners, or men drafted from the jails into the ranks, and numbers of these found their way into the LiberatingArmy, as Madero styled his forces.

By the opening of 1911 the affair had begun to look serious; the insurgents were evidently gaining ground; the government troops had been beaten at Sau Ignacio, Galeana and elsewhere, and were making no visible progress in putting down the rebellion. By February Madero had a large body of well-trained and organized men in the field, who made their appearance at so many points that the Federal commanders had to break up their troops into small bodies. The trouble was not confined to the north, but had extended to the south also, risings taking place in Vera Cruz and Oaxaca, which called for new diversions of the Federal forces. The star of Madero was clearly in the ascendant, and he now declared that he would not lay down his arms until Diaz resigned his ill-gotten office, and a fair and full suffrage was assured to the Mexican people.

Much of the fighting had taken place on the United States frontier, and American troops were hurried in numbers to the border. Many thousands of them gathered at San Antonio and were distributed thence to various threatened points, while four swift cruisers were sent to Galveston, in readiness if naval operations should be needed. In fact, bullets at times crossed the border into American towns, several Americans being wounded by them at Douglas, Arizona. To pacify the Mexican authorities the government at Washington announced that these troops had been sent south simply for practice in military evolutions, but this was too transparent an excuse for their presence to deceive anyone. Madero had a number of American soldiers of fortune among his troops, also some from Australia, South Africa, and even Italy, a grandson of the famous Garibaldi being there to fight for liberty of an oppressed people, as his grandfather had done in former years.

Madero's forces were not yet in condition to attack important towns. Their arms were poor, their ammunition scanty. No munition of war could be had from across the border, and they were obliged to content themselves with taking small places and wearing out the Federal troops in ineffective pursuit. But the task of the government daily grew more difficult, and it was steadily losing prestige. No money could be had from abroad, manufactures had largely declined, powder was made, but other implements of war grew scarce, and week by week Madero's cause made promising headway. Yucatan, Campeche and Guerrero became seats of rebellion, and Zapata, a brigand chief of barbarous character, added to the confusion in the south by his daring raids and frequent acts of vandalism.

Experienced Rebel cavalry.


Navarro remained in command of the Federal forces in the north, but found himself in the midst of a swarm of stinging hornets. Learning that Orozco was besieging Juarez, on the international border, he made a march due north toward that point. But the bridges had been burned, the railway tracks were torn up, and his advance was so deliberate that Orozco had abundant time to take the place. This his poverty in artillery alone prevented.

While all this went on President Diaz feigned to make light of the revolution. He sent troops to deal with it, but spoke in terms of contempt of Madero and his aspirations. But as time passed his tone changed. The condition of affairs had become too serious to disregard and anxiety began to replace his former indifference. His feeling that affairs had grown critical was shown by the changes made in his Cabinet, most of the old members being dismissed and replaced by new ones. Among these was Francisco de la Barra, who had been Mexican Minister at Washington, and who now became Secretary of Foreign Affairs. This change in the Cabinet was but an opening wedge. Congress reassembled on April 1st, and President Diaz read to it a message advocating most of the reforms in the Madero platform. In it he opposed the re-election of presidents, favored safeguards for the suffrage, reform of the Federal judiciary, the abolition of certain old abuses of local officials, the division of large estates among the people, and measures to allay discontent with the land laws. Here was all that had been asked for by the insurrectionists, but it came too late. It indicated apprehension, not conviction, and no one took it seriously.

For the first time for many years Congress now began to legislate. It had hitherto been the mere mouthpiece of the President, obeying his orders with the meekest docility and indulging in rhetorical flourishes of no significance in the intervals. The members, appreciating the imminence of affairs, commenced to talk about matters of real importance without awaiting orders, and the public, astonished at the change, flocked to hear them. It had been so long since there had been a real parliamentary debate on live subjects that the people were taken aback, while the growing trend of opinion was shown by their warm appreciation of any anti-Diaz utterance.

President Diaz had previously requested an armistice with the revolutionists, and one was granted to last five days from April 23rd. The time proved too short for the necessary negotiations and was extended, though only part of the republic was included in the armistice zone, and elsewhere fighting went on. Negotiations for peace began on May 3rd. Madero expressed himself as ready to give up his aspirations for the presidency if Diaz would consent to resign. But he demanded that the Constitution must be enforced, that five members of the Cabinet and fifteen of the governors should be of his party till the time of the next election, and that his soldiers should be paid.

These terms were declined, and the armistice ended on May 6th. The negotiations had taken place outside of Juarez, then occupied by Navarro and besieged by the revolutionists. The attack on this place was resumed, and prosecuted with such energy that it fell on the 10th. It was the first place of leading importance the insurgents had won, and was of the greatest value to them from the large store of rifles, rapid-fire guns and ammunition which it contained. General Navarro was among the prisoners. He had committed acts of bloodshed upon prisoners in the ordinary Mexican fashion, and the victorious troops demanded his execution. But Madero, to whom slaughter of prisoners was repulsive, took him in his motor car to the banks of the Rio Grande and bade him wade across into Texas.

The office of the jefe politico, or mayor, of Juarez now became Madero's seat of government and the meeting place of the Cabinet he had chosen, and here, after the capture of the town, the negotiations for peace were resumed. The position of Diaz had become hopeless. Everywhere the insurgents were victorious. The great mining city of Pachuca, the capital of Guanajuato, was in their hands, and their orderly spirit was shown here by the formal execution of one of their own members for looting. Alike in the north and south they had prevailed. Other cities were being occupied, states were yielding allegiance, the whole country was coming into their hands.

Under these circumstances all hope for the continuance of the Diaz rule was at an end. He yielded to the inevitable with great reluctance, but a peace agreement was finally reached on the 21st of May, the terms of which were that Diaz and Corral should resign, Foreign Secretary de la Barra should be made Provisional President of the Republic, and a free and fair election for new executive heads of the government should be held within six months.

Something very like a riot broke out in Mexico City on May 24th, when the rumor got abroad that Don Porfirio was hesitating about the resignation. The hall of Congress overflowed with excited citizens, who swarmed in the seats of the press and diplomatic bodies, eager for tidings of the resignation. A handbill was passed around saying that Diaz did not intend to resign, and a wild tumult broke out. The chairman's voice was drowned in the din. "Viva Madero! Muera Diaz!  The resignation! The resignation!" rang on all sides. "It will come tomorrow," yelled a member. "No! No! today! now! we demand the resignation!"

Many rushed into the street, full of riotous fury. The office of El Impartial, the administration journal, was bombarded with stones, a pistol shot was fired, and a force of police rushed forward, discharging their revolvers into the struggling mass, many of whom fell before the shower of bullets.

Diaz lay that day in his house in Cadena suffering from an ulcerated tooth, his dwelling strongly guarded by soldiers and police. He was safe from the mob, but their wild cries of "Viva Madero! Muera Diaz!"  could not be kept from his ears, doubtless torturing him as much mentally as his tooth tortured him physically. And so that day of wild excitement passed. The next day he resigned.

When the tidings came that the long rule of President Diaz was at an end, the madness of enthusiasm was equal to that of the fury the day before. Joyous parties paraded the streets, some of them numbering five thousand and more; these led by a military band, lose marching to the music of violins. There were no longer any police bullets to stay them in their demonstration, and all went merrily on, some of the marchers, in the failure of better music, parading to the dulcet strains evoked from tin cans.

On the succeeding day, May 26th, the late President stole secretly out of the city over which he had so long held despotic rule. Dawn was just breaking over the mountains that closed in the Valley of Mexico when his train drew out. With it went two other trains, one before and one after, filled with soldiers under the command of General Huerta, a man destined to succeed him in the presidency in the coming period. The journey was not taken altogether in safety. At Tepechualco the train passed through a rain of bullets fired by a hostile throng, and bringing death to six or seven of the escort. These were the last shots fired for or against General Diaz on the soil of Mexico, Vera Cruz being reached without further show of hostility.

In this seaside city, which had witnessed so many vital comings and goings in Mexican history, the deposed President passed a few days awaiting the sailing of the vessel that was to bear him to Europe, his hosts being the Pearsons, English coal-oil magnates in Mexico, the British flag flying above their mansion, many soldiers guarding it.

On the 31st of May the vessel that bore him from his country set sail, the national anthem being played by a military band at his departure, while General Huerta, affected by the self-exiling of his great chief, made a speech saying, "Whatever people may assert, the troops under my command will always be at your disposal. They are the only portion of the country which has not gone against you."

"If Mexico should be involved in difficulties," replied the old soldier, "then I will return with pleasure. I would place myself there at the head of all the loyal forces, and beneath the shadow of that flag I would know how to conquer once again. If the Fatherland should ever need my services, then solemnly I undertake, as a gentleman and a soldier, to be always at the soldiers' side and underneath their flag, so that I may defend the cherished soil of Mexico until I have poured out my latest drop of blood."

And so from Mexico passed away one of its greatest and ablest men. He had been able as a soldier and great as a ruler, his mind being set on the progress and development of his country. And no one will deny that Mexico had made a noble advance under his rule. Probably when he took hold of it and for years afterwards that turbulent country could not have been ruled except by a strong hand and an imperious will, one that would not let the devious ways of law and legislation stand in the path of immediate action in case of peril to the commonwealth. But the habit of subordinating law to will, of substituting force for legal and judicial control, is apt to lead to despotism, and such was the case in the career of Porfirio Diaz. With the army and the police at his will, his rule passed from the legal one of legislative and constitutional authority to the illegal one of a military oligarchy. He became an irresponsible autocrat, under whom the legislature was a puppet, dissent and opposition were crushed out, the will of the people whom he pretended to represent was utterly ignored, and that dangerous thing, a one-man-power, put at the head of a nation. Such a state of affairs can only lead to ill, however well intentioned and seemingly wise may be the autocrat. And it can only come to one end. Public opinion, however sternly repressed, will grow, and in time cannot fail to overthrow the autocracy, however strongly intrenched. As it had done in many cases before him, in the end it rose against and overthrew Porfirio Diaz.

President Madero and his Policy

On the 10th of May, 1911, as stated in the last chapter, the frontier city of Juarez, the most important place in Mexico on the United States border, fell before the arms of the Madero revolutionists. The occasion of its capture is of importance in our narrative, since it was that of the definite appearance of Francisco I. Madero in the role of President of the Mexican Republic. He had previously proclaimed himself provisional president, but the approaching fall of the Diaz regime gave signal import to the fact that Madero's present claim was backed by a series of victories and the fast approaching fall of the Diaz rule. He now made the town-hall of Juarez the palace of his new dignity, gathering there his freshly appointed cabinet and beginning the active functions of a government in the field. The north of Mexico, in fact, had been conquered and was settling down under the rule of the victor. Peace negotiations with Diaz were under way, and the time was close at hand when all Mexico would be under Madero's control. That time was very near indeed. The occupation of Juarez took place, as stated, on the 10th of May. On the 31st of the same month Porfirio Diaz left the city of Mexico, where he had so long held autocratic rule, as an exile, to seek a home and shelter beyond the Atlantic's waves. On the 7th of June the victor entered the capital city in triumph amid the plaudits of the populace. Yet in the early morning of that day a severe earthquake had shaken the city, leaving much disaster in its track. Was this an omen of the dire events to occur less than two years later, when Madero's career was to end on another day of disaster?

Yet victor as he had been, and popular as he had become, Madero's permanent occupation of the presidency had to await the assent of the people. Coming as he did with a halo of success from the battlefield, resolute, courageous, clean-handed and supported by a host of enthusiastic partisans and plenty of money, there were, however, other men in Mexico to be considered and powerful forces to be placated. The most important of these forces was the Church. For years this powerful organization, with wealth in abundance and widespread influence over the lower class of the Mexican people, had been under the shadow of executive disapproval, and had a host of foes tong the higher classes. But now, with a break of the non-existing government, now that all things were at sea and a complete remodeling was to take place, the influence of this strong body could not fail to make itself felt. Madero recognized this fact and felt the necessity of putting himself in good standing with the Catholic clergy, lest, with their control over the great body of illiterates and the use of the Australian ballot and a broader franchise, they might compass his defeat at the polls. It was his view to place the Church in the same position which it occupies in the United States. But that this degree of liberty would satisfy its demands was another question.

In addition there were two men of great prominence in the field for the presidency, Francisco de la Barra and General Bernardo Reyes, men with aspirations and strong followings. De la Barra had held the positions of Ambassador at Washington and Foreign Secretary under Diaz, and had been selected, on the resignation of Diaz, as provisional president, to hold this office until a free election should be held on October 1st. Reyes, an old soldier of much prominence, had formerly been governor of Nuevo Leon and recently Secretary of War in the Diaz Cabinet, from which he had been ignominiously dismissed by the President and banished to Europe in disgrace. He was now back in Mexico, and like de la Barra was in the running for the presidency.

Despite the prestige of Madero as the leader in a successful revolution, therefore, he was now in the position of a private citizen, and his election to the presidential office was not assured. He had acted the soldier with ability. Now needed to act the politician. To secure himself on one side he entered into a compact with the Church and obtained its support, an act which lost him a considerable following. To placate Reyes he offered him the position of Secretary of War in the coming Cabinet. This idea was flouted by the Maderist party, who hated Reyes, and when the latter offered his name as a candidate for the presidency the outbreak of opposition was so strong that before the election he was forced to flee from the country. De la Barra, on the contrary, was shrewd enough to refuse the nomination for the executive office, being well assured that he had no chance of winning.

Madero, meanwhile, was taking steps to keep himself prominently in the minds of the people and to indicate the kind of government he proposed to institute. In July he made public a plan for the equalization of the taxes, and another providing for national irrigation, of the type of that recently instituted in the United States. He proposed the construction of dams and canals, the reclamation of waste lands, and the prevention of periodical failures in the crops. A further proposition was to remove from office the officials who had been active under the discredited Diaz administration, including judges, army officers, legislators, postal employees, and the like. His purpose in this was to guarantee peaceful conditions for the new government.

The election, which took place on October 1, 1911, showed that the people regarded him as the man of the day, since they gave him an almost unanimous vote. For Vice-President Jose Pino Suarez was elected. The result was not an unanimity of the former kind, due to police supervision of the polls and corrupt returns of the ballots. On the contrary the election was conducted in a conspicuously fair and just manner. One writer tells us that Mexico has had only two fair elections in her history, those of Arista in 1851 and of Madero in 1911. We may go farther and say that this was the first election of a really popular kind, and in which all classes of the people were able to participate freely, ever held in Mexico.

Yet when Madero entered upon the office of President it was to find that the existing conditions were not calculated to yield him a peaceful administration. Congress was not in sympathy with him, and was little disposed to aid him in the measures of reform which he had in mind and had promised the people. Nor did the country as a whole show a disposition to co-operate with him actively in these measures. He did not propose to grasp the scepter with the iron hand of President Diaz, but looked for sympathy and support from the people whose will he had been chosen to execute. But the country stood aloof, leaving to him the whole burden of the regeneration of Mexico.

All the partisans of the old regime, and they were many and influential, were opposed to what they considered Madero's idealistic schemes. They were apparently combined to bring discredit upon him and his rule. On the other hand, many of the lower class, who had imbibed the idea that the lands of the rich were to be freely distributed among the poor, and that wages were to be largely increased, were soon discontented. Nothing of the kind had been promised, but the peons expected it and resented the lack of the extreme socialistic measures they had anticipated.

While this feeling of dissatisfaction was gathering and growing, General Reyes, the late candidate for the presidency, attempted to inaugurate the old system of a resort to arms. He sought to make Texas a safe field to organize a military expedition against Mexico, but the United States authorities had their eyes upon him and put a stop to his plots, arresting him on November 18th on the charge of seeking to involve this country in an act of international wrongdoing.` Reyes continued to plot, however, after reaching Mexican soil, but his incipient revolt was definitely crushed on December 25th, he being seized and sent as a prisoner to Mexico City.

The imprisonment of Reyes did not put an end to the reign of anarchy, other local disorders breaking out. Bands of brigands haunted the mountain fastnesses of Guerrero and Morelos in the south, while a new center of rebellion developed in the north. The agent in this was Pascual Orozco, who had been Madero's chief support in the northwest, and now commanded the Federal troops in the State of Chihuahua. Reports of his disloyalty got abroad, rebel bands were in the field which he made no effort to crush, and in late February, 1912, he threw off the mask, declaring himself an enemy of Madero, and vowing to keep in arms until the new President was deposed.

Meanwhile President Madero and his cabinet were actively working for the public benefit, devising legislation of a creditable and beneficial character. Most important of his measures was a plan for a gradual division of the land among the rural population, and one for making long loans at low rates of interest for the benefit of the farming class.

Such movements in the direction of reform and progress had no effect upon the revolutionists, who became so active upon the United States border region that President Taft sent warning alike to Madero and Orozco that he would hold them responsible for loss of life or injury to property of American citizens. Battalions of American troops were stationed at suitable points along the border, laws were passed to prevent the shipment of arms or military supplies to the rebels, and the equipment of expeditions on American soil was strictly forbidden.

It is said that the rebellion of Orozco was owing to the work of political agitators, who misled him by claiming that Madero had no intention of carrying out the reforms promised in his platform. However that be, his activity soon became a serious detriment to the purposes of the administration and the necessity of strenuous efforts to put him down grew apparent. Orozco began his movement against the Madero forces February 2, 1912, with a force estimated at 5,000. The troops available to fight him numbered but 1,600, the result being that the latter were almost annihilated. Their commander, General Salas, was so mentally affected by the result that he committed suicide.

General Huerta, the only Federal commander accustomed to handle large forces, was now placed at the head of operations in the field, and given a free hand. He had been operating against Zapata in the south, his campaign there proving ineffective, through, as some thought, lack of celerity and decision in his movements. In his northward campaign he got together 8,000 men, with twenty field pieces, at Torreon. This army was accompanied, in the Mexican fashion of operations, with about 7,500 camp followers, consisting largely of women engaged in preparing food and performing other duties. His force and impedimenta were so great that it needed railroad trains four miles long to convey them, the cost of the movement being estimated at $175,000 daily.

Leader of the 'Zapatistas', bandits.


Orozco was encountered near the place at which Salas had been defeated. He had 3,500 men and few guns„ and was driven back, his men boarding trains and going north, tearing up the rails as they went. This engagement was spoken of by Huerta as a victory of great importance, and brought him promotion to the rank of major-general. As the loss on both sides was estimated at only two hundred, Orozco not attempting to make head against his superior enemy, it does not seem to have been a victory of much note.

Huerta next advanced to Jimenez, and halted there for a week. While there a quarrel broke out between the regular and some irregular forces attached to the main body, which led to a result of some interest in the light of future events. Prominent among the irregulars was Colonel Villa, a noted ex-bandit. He was arrested by order of the commander, who ordered his execution. Fortunately for Villa there was present Emiliano Madero, a brother of the President, who sent news of the incident to the capital. The president wired back, staying the execution and ordering Huerta to send his captive to Mexico City, where his insubordination would be fully considered. The final result of this affair was the imprisonment of Villa for a period and his final release. The case gains its importance from the leading part which the released captive has taken in more recent events.

The northward march was continued with deliberation, Chihuahua being occupied on July 7th, and Juarez somewhat later, the rebel bands not being again encountered. The insurgents were not pursued far from the line of railway and easily kept out of touch with the regulars. Meanwhile they were raiding American mining camps, holding Americans and other foreigners to ransom, and apparently' playing the part of brigands instead of soldiers. One of these guerrilla chiefs who may be named as an associate of Orozco was Inez Salazar, an old mine worker, who had raised a band and joined the insurgents as an active enemy of the administration.

It would seem as if, under the circumstances here described, an active campaign would have dispersed the rebel bands and ended the war. None such took place, and the campaign moved onward with a deliberation that must have been annoying to the administration, in view of the great expense of this policy of procrastination.

Execution of a Federal officer by rebels.


The current rumor was that the Federals did not want to put down the insurrection. The regular army was that which had supported the old Diaz administration. There had been little change in its organization, and it was lukewarm in the Madero cause. In fact, there was reason to believe that the regulars were playing into the hands of the rebels. and seeking to protract the war, alike from disinclination to strengthen the administration and also to enjoy as long as possible the increased pay they were receiving. As evidence of this the following instance of their mode of operations may be adduced.

A Federal force at Agua Prieta, in the State of Sonora, remained so long inactive that the authorities became exasperated and the commander felt himself obliged to do something that would satisfy the public. Orders were accordingly given to Colonel Obregon, commanding a regiment of Maya Indians, to get in touch with Salazar, then engaged in raiding operations farther south, and "remain in observation."

Obregon found Salazar with his following on the ranch of one of his friends, the band of rebels being occupied in killing cattle and other depredations. They has been so long undisturbed in their operations as to have grown careless about posting sentries, and made their camp without setting guards anywhere. Obregon took advantage of the easy opportunity, charged on the unguarded camp, killed some forty of the guerrillas and dispersed the remainder. On his return Obregon received a severe reprimand from his superior and narrowly escaped being court-martialed for disobeying the order to "remain in observation."

The inactivity of Huerta had meanwhile led the President to distrust him, and finally to order him to report at the capital. This order Huerta seemed reluctant to obey, moving southward with such slowness as to increase the suspicions of Madero. When he finally appeared he proved to be in a very bad condition, his eyes being in such a state that he was almost blind. This doubtless aided to dispel the suspicions of the President, and the delinquent commander was sent to a hospital for treatment.

The worst state of affairs at this period was in the southern State of Morelos, where the bandit chief, Emiliano Zapata, created much disorder and suffering by his depredations. He and his followers entered upon a course of barbarous activity, destroying property, abducting women, slaying prisoners and practicing other atrocities. On July 21st a train from Mexico to Cuernavaca was held up and eighty-four persons slaughtered. This deed caused a universal outbreak of condemnation, Madero being severely blamed for his temporizing policy in dealing with the savage brigand.

Zapata brothers


From July to October affairs in Mexico were comparatively quiet. The lack of success of Orozco in his rebellion had lost him the support of the better class of his followers, and his movement degenerated into one of brigandage, the States of Chihuahua, Durango and Sonora being his field of operation. By October matters in general seemed much improved, the government had taken a firmer hold on affairs, the finances were in good condition, the army was strong and appeared loyal, the cabinet was harmonious, while the more important section of the local press supported the administration. Hopes were widely entertained that the crisis was at an end, yet many who were familiar with the condition of affairs freely prophesied that Madero's overthrow was only a question of time. While his integrity and good intentions were acknowledged, his administration was not giving satisfaction. The charges against him were that he had not carried out the promised system of reforms, he had filled the important offices with his own relatives, he had selected and forced the election of an unpopular man for Vice-President, he had intimidated Congress. That he meant well was admitted, no one questioned his honesty, but he was looked upon as a weak and unpractical man, unfitted to conduct a government like that of Mexico. All this led to a loss of public confidence. The Mexican people had been too long accustomed to a vigorous administration of affairs to be satisfied with a weak hold upon the helm of state.

No one knew what was taking place under the surface. But it was known that the partisans of the old Diaz government were generally hostile to the new administration, and little confidence was felt in the seeming tranquillity. The revolt dreaded by the friends of peace and order came on the 16th of October, in a sudden movement of General Felix Diaz, a nephew of the former President and his chief of police at the time of his overthrow. The fact that it was led by a Diaz led many to believe that the movement would be formidable and probably successful in overthrowing the Madero government, but the opposite proved the case.

Diaz, with a small following of soldiers, seized on that day the port of Vera Cruz and issued a pronunciamento  inviting all opponents of the government to join him in the effort to overthrow Madero. The hope that lay at the bottom of his movement was that the Federal troops in the State of Vera Cruz would revolt and join him. He was confident of this, but his confidence was misplaced. For a few days he held control of the city, going so far as to have himself named as provisional president and to select a cabinet. But the support in which he had trusted failed him. The troops remained loyal to their colors, and on the 23rd the city was taken by the Federal troops and Diaz and his followers became prisoners of war. The seven days' revolution was at an end.

Speedy action was taken by the victors. On the day following their arrest Diaz and several of his officers were tried by court-martial and sentenced to death. This verdict was not carried out. Some one in power, doubtless the President himself, interfered, and the captive revolutionist was brought to Mexico City and held in prison until his case could be considered and disposed of.. It was an act of clemency of the kind that was native to Madero's disposition, one such as he had previously exercised in the case of General Navarro. In this instance it was to prove fatal to himself. Yet so far as appeared there was nothing to fear. With the two leading revolutionists, Diaz and Reyes, in prison, and Orozco and Zapata thrown back to their old trade of brigandage, affairs looked well, and to all appearances the quiet which had reigned from July to October might continue indefinitely. But this was only on the surface. Disloyalty to the government mined deeply beneath. Diaz, even in prison, continued to plot and succeeded in communicating with his adherents. The clemency of Madero was bearing fatal fruit. He was to pay bitterly for the fault, not a common one in Mexico, of granting life to a dangerous enemy.

The Assassination of President Madero

The beginning of February, 1913, President Madero had much reason to believe that he had overcome his enemies and established his administration on a sound and safe footing. He had been a year and a quarter in the presidency and had baffled the efforts of his opponents, Orozco and Zapata having sunk out of sight as revolutionists and turned back to their true vocation of brigandage, while Reyes and Diaz were safely locked up in prison and apparently rendered incapable of causing further trouble. He had also taken decided steps in the line of the reform legislation promised in his platform. All looked clear and promising, there was not a cloud visible on the sky of his presidential career, and although he knew that Congress did not favor his views as to reform, and that many adherents of the old administration were abroad, he had no evident reason for apprehension.

But a physical earthquake had attended his entry into Mexico City in June of 1911, and a political earthquake, as sudden and more severe in its effects, was now gathering beneath his feet, its purpose being his overthrow. Surrounded by enemies; Huerta, the leader of his forces, disloyal; Diaz, his captive, in secret negotiations with his enemies through the collusion of the authorities of the penitentiary; the seemingly solid ground under his feet was, unknown to him, on the point of a sudden and ruinous outbreak. This came on the 9th of February, 1913, to the astonishment and dismay of the people and the alarm of all the friends of good government.

On the night of the 8th General Mondragon, a leading spirit among the conspirators, and probably acting under the inspiration of Felix Diaz, held a meeting in one of the suburbs of the capital, at which plans were laid for an insurrection against the government. Efforts were made to keep their proceedings secret, but a rumor of what was afoot leaked out, and the leaders were forced to immediate action as the only hope of success. The prison officials were evidently in sympathy with the conspirators, for during the night Diaz and Reyes were set free. A section of the Federal troops had also been won over to support their cause, and on the morning of the 9th it was evident to all that an insurrection against the government had broken loose in the capital city.

National Palace in Mexico City.


News of what was afoot quickly reached the ears of President Madero, and he lost no time in taking measures for the suppression of the outbreak. He filled the National Palace with troops, took command of them in person, and made preparations for a vigorous defense. General Huerta, apparently loyal to his cause, took part in these defensive movements. Daybreak of February 9th found the city suddenly converted from a peaceful capital into a beleaguered city, its palace into a fortress, and its people into a terrified mass.

Diaz lost no time. Only by quick and vigorous action could he hope for success. Early in the morning he sent a force under General Reyes to make an attack upon the palace fortress. This proved a failure. Madero met the insurgents with a murderous fire of machine guns, which made havoc in their ranks. In this opening engagement the leader, General Reyes, fell dead, scores of his men perishing with him, and the others being decisively repulsed. Diaz meanwhile had won over the garrison of the arsenal to his cause and taken possession of that important building, thus gaining an abundance of ammunition and the most effective artillery possessed by the government. He also seized Belem Prison and the Penitentiary, setting free their multitude of inmates. He had thus gained a number of important strategic points in the southwest of the city. But the men under his command were much outnumbered by those that remained faithful to the government, and after the failure of the attack upon the palace he was obliged to act upon the defensive.

Thus passed the opening day of the insurrection. Fighting of a desultory character took place in the Zocala, the great central square or plaza in the center of the city upon which the National Palace fronts. But the insurgents found themselves much too few to dislodge the government forces, and the first day ended with the opponents firmly intrenched in their strongholds and the result of the insurrection very doubtful. The President was fully confident of his ability to put down the revolt and assured the people to that effect, saying that the situation would be soon under full control. Yet despite such assurance the terror in the city must have been extreme and many of the people in a pitiable state of panic. War in the heart of a crowded city is at the best a frightful event, and the apprehension of the citizens, especially those with anything to lose, was undoubtedly very great.

The following day passed with no important change in the situation. No one was abroad, for life was not safe in the streets and the inhabitants kept closely under cover. As for business, it had utterly ceased, the places of business remaining closed. Henry Lane Wilson, the United States ambassador, warned all Americans to seek places of safety, and the embassy was crowded with American and other refugees. President Madero and General Diaz were alike hopeful, or professed to be, Diaz occupying himself with drilling his troops in the arsenal and strengthening his defenses, while Madero made preparations for an assault upon the rebel strongholds. Such was the situation at the close of the second day. Up to this time the losses had been about 200 in killed and wounded, the rebels having suffered most severely.

This waiting situation was broken on the 11th, both sides coming vigorously into action and desperate fighting taking place. Diaz and Madero had alike extended their lines, with the result of bringing their forces into collision, while the heavy guns came actively into play. Balderas Street, one of the main avenues of the city, was the scene of the heaviest fighting, a fierce artillery battle taking place here and cannon balls sweeping the street. The two forces were only a few blocks apart and the exploding shells did terrible damage alike to life and property. The loss of life was not confined to the fighting forces, many non-combatants being killed, while some of the finest buildings in the city were ruined by the incessant and deadly shell fire.

Apprehension was not confined to Mexico, but extended to the United States, in view of the fact that many American citizens resided in the Mexican capital. President Taft held a midnight session of the Cabinet, orders were issued for the immediate despatch of warships to Mexican ports, and troops were sent in haste to Galveston, to be ready in case of need. Intervention by the United States was widely debated by press and people, but the President announced that no such drastic action was contemplated and publicly declared that no extreme measure would be taken or considered unless special hostilities against Americans should be threatened.

guerilla warfare.


During the succeeding three days the cannonading continued at frequent intervals. Yet though the firing was at times incessant there was little loss of life, the troops acting from points of vantage and the people remaining in concealment. The damage to property, however, continued serious, and immense injury in this direction was done. Step by step the rebel lines were extended. Diaz finally took possession of the building of the Young Men's Christian Association, a point of vantage which enabled him to open fire with his heavy guns on the National Palace, about a mile distant. His marksmen also appeared to be more skilful than those of his opponents, and this aided him greatly in making the gradual advance above mentioned. Yet Madero, though he had so far failed to dislodge the rebels, continued hopeful of final success. To those who suggested that it might be advisable for him to resign, he replied that before he would give up the office to which he had been elected by the free votes of the people he would die.

An attempt was now made by the diplomatic corps of the various powers to bring about an armistice, on the ground that the peaceful inhabitants of the section under fire were in imminent danger of death, while the damage to property by artillery fire in the heart of a thickly-built city was immense and disastrous. These efforts proved temporarily successful on the 16th, a cessation of fire for thirty-six hours being agreed upon. But the truce was quickly broken, fire being resumed at the end of a few hours. It continued all day of the 17th, but without any evident advantage to the combatants on either side.

The government meanwhile had endeavored to bring in reinforcements from a distance, and on this day a force of 1,200 men under General Blanquet reached the city. They had been stationed at Toluca, sixty miles away, the indication thus being that their movement had been purposely delayed. There had been rumors of disloyalty on the part of Blanquet, but his response to Madero's orders now seemed evidence to the contrary, and his entrance to the city restored general confidence. His troops were marched to and stationed in the National Palace, their presence apparently making Madero's position impregnable. Yet concern was felt when it became known that the revolt had spread beyond the city limits and was extending through the northern states. A party of insurgents had taken possession of the city of Matamoros, and in many other sections armed rebels were in the field. The reign of anarchy which had so suddenly broken out seemed likely to become general.

On February 18th the crisis came. The rumors of Blanquet's disloyalty were suddenly confirmed, and the same was the case with Huerta, who had hitherto seemed active and loyal in the President's cause. Both these men suddenly turned traitor to their chief, joined their forces to those of Diaz, and all was at an end. In all probability they had been in sympathy with the insurgents from the start. Madero was put under arrest by the palace insurgents, and Huerta was proclaimed Provisional President. To justify himself for this act of treachery he issued a declaration to the effect that he deemed it necessary to take this course to prevent further and useless sacrifice of life and property in support of a man whom the people were not willing to sustain. This, of course, as affairs stood, was a trumped-up excuse to defend his treason, as there was nothing to show that the people at large were hostile to the Madero administration, while had Blanquet and Huerta continued loyal Diaz could not have maintained his rebellion.

His supporters having turned traitors, President Madero's cause at once became hopeless. Treason had possession alike of palace and city, the influential friends of the President were arrested on all sides, among them his brother Gustave, who had been associated with him in the government, and the Madero regime was at an end. Assassination quickly followed, Gustave Madero being shot on the following day. It was asserted by the soldiers who shot him that he had attempted to escape, and that they had only applied the law governing such cases. This, however, was generally looked upon as an excuse. A brief street turmoil had arisen, but there was nothing to show that the captive had sought to flee, or his friends to rescue him. The Law of Flight, under which any one who seeks to escape arrest by flight, whatever the charge against him, may be summarily shot down, has long served in Mexico as a convenient method of disposing of many men obnoxious to the party in power, and the feeling was general that the soldiers were acting under orders in the present instance.

On the 19th the parties in power, Diaz, Blanquet and Huerta, called Congress into extraordinary session to act upon the critical situation. The first step taken by the obsequious members was to make Huerta Provisional President, in consonance with the proclamation issued by him on the previous day. The compact generally supposed to exist between the conspirators was thus inaugurated, Huerta agreeing to act in this capacity pending an election in which Diaz was to be the candidate of the revolutionists for the presidency, no opposition to his election being contemplated. Some writers assert that Huerta had been secretly hostile to Madero for months, even while acting as head of his army in the north, and that what had taken place had long been in contemplation. Under this view the three arch-conspirators, Diaz, Huerta and Blanquet, had simply bided their time until the critical moment to come out in their true colors should arrive. Whether this view of the case has any real warrant, however, only those familiar with the secret understanding of the conspirators were in position to assert. It might seem as if the Federal soldiers of Mexico would not consent to be so readily shifted from one to another chief, but the Mexican army is made up of such elements that no one could look for much independence of action in the rank and file. As an example of its status, we are told that some soldiers who were standing outside one of the legations during the Diaz-Madero conflict, were asked "From which side are you protecting us? Are you for Diaz or Madero?" "Pues, senor," they replied, "our officer will be back soon, and then we shall know."

With these general considerations, let us now return to the open current of affairs. It is known that Felix Diaz had frequently declared that he had no ambition to become president, and that it would fully satisfy him to be the agent of Madero's downfall. The choosing of Huerta to fill the vacant office was therefore evidently an understood matter, though Diaz was afterwards to discover that Victoriana Huerta was not to be trusted either by friends or enemies.

A sharpshooter of the Constitutionalist army.


The new President hastened to notify President Taft of his election, and to assure him that he would quickly restore law and order in Mexico. In reply the United States government, through its ambassador, requested that the deposed President should be dealt with leniently, a promise to this effect being made. Meanwhile Madero was held a close prisoner in the National Palace, Vice-President Suarez being similarly held. On the night of the 22nd the two eminent captives were taken from the palace and sent under guard to the Penitentiary, to be held there until the Senate should decide upon what action was to be taken in their cases. In this short journey a tragedy occurred that shocked the civilized world, and which led to subsequent complications of a very serious character. As the prisoners and their escort neared the Penitentiary a degree of confusion arose in the street through which they were passing, a brief struggle following in which shots were fired. When it was over both captives lay dead. They had been shot during the disturbance. The report of the tragic affair made by Huerta was that an effort had been made to rescue them and that this had led to their death.

This explanation was not received as satisfactory. The whole affair appeared to have been managed in a way as if intended to bring about this result, and the civilized world was shocked by and indignant at the news of the tragic event. That a premeditated assassination had been committed was the general impression, and Huerta was widely accused of the murder of his predecessor in office. The foreign diplomats in Mexico apparently entertained the same view, and refused to acknowledge the new government until the death of Madero should be fully investigated. A special committee was appointed by Congress for this purpose, and a report was quickly made corroborating the explanation made by Huerta. But this report embraced no convincing facts, and the world at large remained unsatisfied. That the late President and Vice-President were victims of assassination continued the general verdict of civilization, and no evidence to the contrary of a convincing nature was adduced.

This sentiment was felt in many parts of Mexico as well as in foreign countries, and several of the state governments refused to acknowledge the authority of the new ruler, holding him responsible for the murder of his predecessor. Huerta took hold of affairs with a strong grasp that brought most of these centers of disaffection into harmonious relations, but hostility continued in several quarters. Governor Carranza, of Coahuila, especially maintained a hostile attitude, refusing to acknowledge the rule of an assassin, and opposition also existed in the State of Sonora. This hostility was soon to develop into a new series of warlike actions, more desperate and energetic than had been seen in Mexico for a long period of years.

Huerta and the Constitutionalists

Victoriana Huerta, general, usurper and defier of the President of the United States, has occupied so prominent a position in the recent history of Mexico that some brief account of his career is likely to be of interest. In respect to his origin we can only repeat what he is said to pride himself upon, that he is an Indian of the pure Aztec stock. He has some warrant, perhaps, for being proud of descent from the great warlike and conquering race of Mexico, even if he cannot claim the Montezumas for his ancestors.

Huerta was born in 1854, entered as a student in the Military College of Chapultepec, and graduated in 1876, at the age of twenty-one. Young as he was, he had diversified his military studies with an active interest in scientific subjects, especially in mathematics and astronomy, his proficiency in which was to be of much service to him in later life. On his graduation he was commissioned second lieutenant of engineers, and in 1879, when Diaz had begun to reorganize the army, Huerta, then a captain, suggested to the President a plan for the formation of a General Staff. His project was accepted, Huerta thus being the founder of the present General Staff Corps of the Mexican army.

When, subsequently, a commission was appointed to prepare a map of Mexico on a large scale, Huerta's studies in astronomy stood him in good stead, he being selected to accompany the commission to Jalapa, having charge of all its astronomical work, and remaining in this position for many years. During this time he led surveying parties over the rough mountain region between Jalapa and Orizaba, and for ten years directed the topographical and astronomical work of the map.

President Huerta


In 1901, being then a colonel, he took part in the campaign against the insurgent Yaquis, and later served in a campaign against an insurrection of the Maya Indians of Yucatan. In this latter service he was promoted brigadier-general. During a long subsequent period he was again engaged in work for the General Staff. Thus his life passed until 1910, with little indication of the characteristics and abilities he has,' since so markedly displayed. His life for thirty years had been mainly spent in quiet scientific work, useful, no doubt, yet not calculated to bring him into prominence. In the succeeding years he played a very different role.

When the Madero revolution began in 1910 Huerta was ordered to the field, where he became one of the leading officers in the campaign, though it cannot be said that it yielded him much glory as a military commander. He was first ordered to lead a force against a revolt in the south-western State of Guerrero, but before the slow work of organizing his army was complete the whole of Guerrero, with the exception of the port of Acapulco, was lost to the government, and Huerta was sent to deal with the insurrectionists in the much nearer State of Morelos. Here there was some marching and counter-marching, but nothing of value done. This ended his service in the Madero outbreak, Diaz resigning soon after, and Huerta commanding the force which guarded him in his hasty flight to Vera Cruz, there to take ship for Europe.

Huerta next entered the service of Francisco de la Barra, who succeeded Diaz as provisional president, and afterwards that of Madero, who was elected to the presidential office in October, 1911. In this service he was sent to deal with the rebels in arms, Zapata and Orozco. What he did in this campaign has been described in a preceding chapter. It may be said that he won no distinction from his service in the field, while his delay in operations and general lack of activity were such as to give the President warrant for doubting his loyalty.

The last chapter brings the record of Huerta's career up to that discreditable event in which he turned traitor to the man who had employed and promoted him. This event, as stated, ended in the assassination of President Madero under circumstances which gave rise to a general belief that Huerta himself was responsible for the murder of the Mexican president. It was a crime from which he chiefly profited, since he succeeded as Provisional President in title, as Dictator in fact; the command of the army and police and their support of his cause giving him a despotic control over the Mexican nation equal to that which President Diaz had formerly held.

American Embassy in Mexico City.


He was not to hold this position without active opposition, especially in the north. Venustiano Carranza, governor of Coahuila during the Madero administration, and an earnest friend and supporter of Madero, refused from the first to acknowledge Huerta as President and lost no time in organizing a revolt against him. Carranza was a descendant of an old Spanish family which had been large landholders for generations and had accumulated wealth in agricultural pursuits. For ten or fifteen years he had been a senator from Coahuila, though independent of and vigorously opposed to the Diaz political machine. His campaign for the governorship of Coahuila brought Madero actively into politics, as a campaign orator in his friend's favor. Carranza was counted out, as was the case with all who opposed Diaz, and this injustice had much to do subsequently with inducing Madero to take up the sword against Diaz. Elected governor under the Madero administration, the assassination of his friend and supporter led Carranza to inaugurate the revolt with which we are now concerned.

Carranza's position in this insurrection was thus stated by himself to a correspondent of the London Times in October, 1913. He said: "I am the only leader recognized as supreme by all the chiefs of the revolution. What we fight for is the Constitution of our country and the development of our people. Huerta outraged the Constitution when he overthrew and murdered Madero. He continues to outrage it by attempting to govern despotically and refusing to administer fairly the laws, which are equal for all the land, which was formerly divided among the mass of the people, and which has been seized by a few. The owners of it compel those who are working for them to buy the necessaries of life from them alone. They lay a burden of debt upon the poor peons and make them virtually slaves, for as long as the poor people owe them money they cannot get away. If they try to do so they can be brought back and can be put in prison.

"Another contributing cause of the revolution is the growth of a middle class. Formerly there were only the rich and the poor. Now there is a class between which knows what democracy and social reform mean in other countries and is resolved to take steps toward obtaining self-government. The first measure is the fair and free election of a president. We Constitutionalists refuse to recognize any president returned by force, and shall execute anybody who recognizes a president unconstitutionally elected, and directly or indirectly guilty of participation in the murder of Madero."

Constitutionalists firing on the Federal soldiers.


We quote these remarks as showing definitely the position taken by those active in the revolution of 1913, and also for their attempt to justify the shocking practice, common among those engaged in the conflict, of killing the wounded upon the field and shooting prisoners of war. It is a surprising doctrine to be held by a person of the education and prominent position of Carranza, and goes to indicate that the Mexicans have not got much beyond the era of barbarism. It is gratifying in this connection to learn that General Villa, the most conspicuous of the leaders in the insurrection, has decided in future to adopt the war ethics of civilized nations in general and abandon the frightful practice so long pursued in Mexico of murdering the helpless wounded and prisoners. Ever since 1810 a political theory has been held in Mexico to the effect that any one who takes up arms against the government is a convicted traitor, condemned by their law of war to be shot in cold blood. Insurgents adopted in requital the same bloodthirsty system, with the result that massacre of prisoners of war became a general custom. Under this view of the case the "Massacre of the Alamo," which excited such intense indignation in the United States, was simply putting in practice the custom long pursued in Mexican wars of insurrection. If Villa's recent declaration indicates that this savage practice is about to cease, it will be a new step in civilization gained by Mexico in the Constitutionalist war.

To return to the history of the conflict, it dates forward from February 28, 1913, when Carranza took a warlike stand against the Huerta rule by recruiting a band of insurgents, taking revolvers from the police, horses from public works, and money from the public funds and from bankers and merchants. As a result he was quickly in the field with a force of some strength and military equipment. The governor of Sonora joined in this movement of revolt, and it quickly spread to Chihuahua, Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas, organized resistance breaking out simultaneously in many widely separated sections of the north.

The first act in the war drama was played by General Obregon, whose feat against Salazar when a colonel has been described. He was now put in command of the forces raised, and fought a fierce battle with the Federal troops, driving them from the whole of Sonora except the port of Guaymas, which they continued to hold. At the same time Villa, who had so narrowly escaped execution at the hands of Huerta, and had no love for that personage, organized a force in Sonora, while Urbina did the same in the north of Durango. The greatest difficulty of the revolutionists at this stage of the conflict was the lack of arms and money, but this was partly overcome by the Madero family, which contributed $1,000,000 in support of the movement.

Operations developed rapidly, the revolutionists soon gaining possession of most of the railroad lines. Huerta, alarmed by this threatening outbreak, rushed troops to the north with all possible rapidity, his purpose being to gain control of the railroads and garrison the cities which they traversed, holding cities and roads alike with strong military forces. What he had in view was to push the enemy into the country between the railroads, and from the latter as bases of action to send out mobile columns against the scattered rebel bands. This plan was quickly detected by the revolutionists, who sought to counteract it by tearing up the rails and destroying the roads as far as possible. At the same time they warily kept out of reach of the Federal forces, being as yet in no condition to risk a general engagement.

Nephews of General Carranza


Such continued the state of affairs for several months, the Constitutionalists confining themselves to what damage they could do to the railroads and to the work of increasing their strength. The Federals, on the contrary, were engaged in repairing the broken lines and similarly adding to their strength, both in men and equipment. Several old rebels, including Orozco and Salazar, were induced to join their army, commands being given them.

Two causes made the Federals slow in their operations, one being the time necessary to get the railroads into working condition and the detachment of forces to guard these lines, the other resulting from the peculiar make-up of the Mexican army. While the officers in command were usually competent, the men were ignorant and untrained, being impressed from the lowest class of the population and without experience in the art of war. Aside from this was the peculiar character of commissariat and transportation in these hastily organized regiments. The men were in the habit of bringing their women with them to cook their food and transport their provisions and camp supplies. Mules and wagons were lacking for transportation, and good artillery horses were equally wanting. The result was that, when removed from railroads, the Soldaderas  (camp women) were depended upon to carry nearly everything, and also to obtain food for the soldiers. This state of affairs was decidedly in the way of their leaving the rails far behind them.

Obregon's force in Sonora and Villa's in Chihuahua were much better equipped in this direction. It was often necessary for them to make quick marches in the open country, and the use of such methods of transportation would have prevented all mobility of action. They therefore left their women at home and trusted to wagons, for which draft animals were easy to get, horses and mules being abundant on the plantations. Rations and ammunition were issued regularly, and the men were fairly well equipped. Obregon had in his ranks a considerable number of Yaqui Indians, among the best fighters in the land. But the great advantage of the insurrectionists in this campaign was that they were not dependent upon railroad lines. Their principal lack was in artillery, of which their supply was small.

The first important battle was one already spoken of, in which Obregon with 4,000 men came into contact with Ojeda with 1,600 Federal troops and guns, in the vicinity of Guaymas. The result was a complete defeat of the Federals, with a loss of 800 men and all their artillery, the rebel loss being only 200. The practice of killing the wounded and all prisoners who would not join the ranks of the captors rendered these losses in men practically total.

In the summer Urbina captured the city of Durango, capital of the state of the same name, and an important mining center for gold, silver, copper and iron. The Federal force there was annihilated, and the victory was followed by a scene fortunately not common in modern warfare, the victorious troops breaking into a frightful orgy of outrage, looting the city and committing depredations of all kinds.

At this time the headquarters of the Federals in the far north were the frontier cities of Juarez and Laredo, from which they controlled the railroads running southward from these places, though they were unable to keep them from being frequently broken by rebel inroads. Carranza's headquarters at the same time were at Ciudad Porfirio Diaz (formerly Piedras Negras), also on the Rio Grande at a point opposite Eagle Pass, Texas. This he left for a journey of consolidation to Sonora, and on October 7th the Federals captured the place, though the rebels before leaving destroyed the railroad and everything in the place likely to be of use to the new occupants.

Federal artillery.


The most important work of the campaign, however, was that accomplished by General Villa, who suddenly rose into prominence as an able tactician and made an inroad into the Federal domain that greatly alarmed the Huerta faction. He had been operating in Chihuahua with much success, and now, learning that a strong Federal army was marching northward from Torreon for the purpose of retaking Durango, he performed a series of strategic movements that utterly demoralized the enemy and gave him possession of the important stronghold named. The Federals were advancing in detachments, and his plan was to attack these in detail with a superior force. One such movement sufficed. He struck and utterly routed a detachment 800 strong, then marched rapidly toward Torreon. His sudden and successful stroke checked the movement northward, forces from Saltillo and Zacatecas also being met and defeated and the railroad to those points destroyed. On his appearance near the city the garrison fled in wild panic, leaving the place open for him to occupy without resistance.

It was October 1st when Villa, and his victorious followers marched in triumph into Torreon. The action of his troops there was in splendid contrast with that shown at Durango. Villa had his men under strict control and kept them in excellent order, shooting those found looting and checking disorder and all lack of discipline with a stern hand. The American interests, which were of importance in this city, were guarded by detachments sent by him, and in all respects his work was admirably performed. Heavy reinforcements soon reached him and his hold upon Torreon was vigorously maintained.

The loss of Torreon was a very severe blow to the Huerta administration, both from its importance as a railroad center and the effect upon the public mind of the loss of a stronghold so far south. It emboldened the anti-Huertists in Congress and led them to speak their minds with a freedom which they had not before ventured to show. But the shrewd ex-bandit chief did not propose to keep his army locked up in this locality while points of high importance farther north lay in the hands of the Federals, endangering his position. He consequently left Torreon under garrison, and marched north toward the city of Chihuahua, capital of the great state of the same name, repairing as he went the railroads which it had formerly been his mission to destroy. In this was shown a decided advance in the status of the Constitutionalist cause.

To retake Torreon was now the task entered upon by the Huertists, a large army for that quarter, 15,000 strong, being assigned for this work. They found themselves again baffled by the superior tactics of the rebels. Saltillo and Monterey were basic points in this movement, the garrisons of these cities being dangerously depleted for the purpose. The rebel leaders were quick to take advantage of this. Monterey, in which the garrison had been reduced to 1,000 men, was suddenly attacked by a force 2,000 strong. The alarm was at once sent to the armies on the march and they returned in all haste to ward off the attack. The rebel forces had no idea of waiting for them, but their temporary success enabled them to do immense injury to the railway service, 800 cars being burned and 19 locomotives dynamited. This operation delayed the relief of Torreon for a month or more. Meanwhile the loss of Torreon had greatly endangered Chihuahua, a still more important center of population and business. Villa was now advancing upon this city, and its safety from capture was far from assured. The Federal troops in the surrounding region were in consequence concentrated at this point, in the expectation that the approaching rebel force would make a strong attack upon it.

When Villa reached Santa Rosalia, the scene of his former engagement, he found it deserted by the Federal forces. His march continued until Chihuahua was reached and invested, minor attacks being made on it November 6th to 9th, which were easily repulsed. To garrison the city Juarez had been largely depleted of troops, only 400 being left at that point. Here was a new opportunity for the daring partisan. Leaving Chihuahua invested he made a dash northward, and on the night of November 14–15th surprised and captured Juarez.

While these signal successes were being achieved by Villa and his troops, the Constitutionalists were winning victories in other directions. On November 14th General Obregon captured Culiacan, the capital of Sinaloa, and all of Tepic except its capital and San Blas. In the east they held great part of Coahuila, Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas. The intermediate States of Chihuahua and Durango were also largely in their hands. Thus little remained to give them full possession of northern Mexico. In the south, also, the administration had serious troubles to deal with. The bandit Zapata was committing depredations widely in Morelos and Herrera. There was also a formidable rebellion among the Indians of the States of Puebla and Vera Cruz. Affairs thus looked critical for Huerta and his supporters.

The war was carried on by Carranza in the old savage fashion of slaughtering the wounded and prisoners, and in the case of Durango of looting captured cities. But Villa had shown a tendency to far more humane measures in the prevention of depredations at Torreon, and was soon to display a new spirit in preventing the murder of the wounded, thus indicating that the opinion of the world was beginning to influence the Mexican war policy.

Turning now from warlike events, let us see what was taking place in the political centers. In the history of Mexico votes had always counted for little, the cases being exceedingly few when there had been anything approaching a fair election. In the words of one critic: "Votes do not govern Mexico, have never governed it in the past, and are not likely to govern it for a long time to come." Without pretending to foresight as to the future, it can safely be said that the presidential election of October 26, 1913, was in full accord with the above remark. It was a farce pure and simple. By the terms of the Constitution a president is chosen by electors balloted for in districts. In the election in question there were only 10,000 votes in all in the Federal District, that in which the capital is situated, and a very light vote elsewhere, there being none at all by the people of the northern states under rebel control. Such an election is worthless as a means of obtaining the sentiment of the people. As the Constitution requires that one-third of the voters must go to the polls, the result was legally null and void.

The candidates for the presidency included General Felix Diaz, nominated by the so-called Labor party, Senor Gamboa by the Clericals, Senor Calero by the Liberals, and Dr. de la Fuente by a section called Liberal Republicans. Huerta, according to announcement, was not a candidate at all, yet the army, whether or not under orders, voted for him unanimously, with General Blanquet for Vice-President.

It was expected that Congress, which was to have met on November 10th, would declare the election unconstitutional; but the true Congress had ceased to exist, its membership being largely in prison. As above stated, the capture of Torreon by General Villa had emboldened the opponents in Congress of the Huerta administration to speak freely against the government. In consequence the dictator, on October 10th, declared the Congress dissolved and arrested 110 members of the Chamber of Deputies, who were thrown into prison. This high-handed proceeding was probably intended as a lesson to recalcitrant members. In the election of October 26th a new Congress was chosen, most of its members being, as was alleged, creatures of Huerta. Immense majorities were given to Huerta's son, his brother-in-law, and his private secretary as members of the new chamber, this going far to indicate the worthlessness of the election as a record of public opinion. The feeling of the government at Washington was that such a Congress should not be permitted to meet. It did meet, however, on November 20th. Four days previously Senor Aldape, Minister of the Interior in the Huerta Cabinet, had been forced to resign for having ventured to advise that the administration should make some concessions to the United States. Evidently the dictator was carrying matters with a high hand.

There was dissension elsewhere than in the Cabinet. For some time a lack of harmony had appeared to exist between Huerta and Felix Diaz, to whom the former owed his position as Provisional President. After the balloting for president this feeling of enmity grew tense, and Diaz, threatened by some of Huerta's men, was forced to flee for his life to an American warship at Vera Cruz. Even when out of the country he was not safe, for at a later date an attack was made on him in a cafe at Havana, where he was wounded by some Mexicans thought to have been emissaries of Huerta.

Another event succeeding the election was a decree by Huerta announcing an increase of the army to a maximum of 150,000 men. (It at that time numbered 65,000 men with 250 pieces of artillery, more than half of which were of the most modern type.) He also, in view of the lack of funds, issued a decree making bank-notes legal tender for any amount, further disturbing business, since it was known that little or no specie lay behind this paper. All this made it appear that Huerta's position had become a desperate one, and that his lease of political life was likely to be short. This was the opinion entertained by the United States government and widely by the American people at large.

The Constitutionalists were ready to make peace, but only on the acceptance by the Mexican people of the following conditions:

1st. The elimination from the government of Huerta and his supporters.

2nd. Complete surrender to the Constitutionalist cause of the political faction opposing it.

3rd. Restoration of the Constitution as the basis of the Mexican government.

4th. Selection of a Provisional President acceptable to the Constitutionalists, and suitable provision for a popular election.

5th. Guarantee of a change in the land laws so that deeds to land would be more generally distributed.

6th. Ratification of the confiscation of the Terrazas, Creel, and other large landed estates.

7th. Nullification of all acts of the Huerta regime.

Such were the planks of the platform for which the Constitutionalists were fighting. The confiscation spoken of in the sixth plank of the platform relates to an event which will be spoken of in a subsequent chapter.

Villa, Ex-Bandit and War Hero

In the campaign of the Constitutional army against Huerta and the forces under his command, while General Carranza was the leading figure, Francisco (alias Pancho) Villa, the one-time bandit, was the most picturesque figure and the most prominent of the leaders in the field. The word "bandit" generally, though not always, conveys a suggestion of disgrace, and Villa's career has not been one to be commended, though he was in a measure driven into it. His life's story is full of active and romantic incident, and in view of the important part he took in the Constitutionalist revolution, a brief account of it is worth giving.

The parents of Francisco Villa had a small farm in the State of Durango, in central Mexico, and on the death of his father he succeeded to its management, leading an active and useful life with his mother and sister, the latter a maiden of noted beauty. As a consequence of her good looks the girl had numerous suitors, a local magistrate being among the number. One day she vanished, and as the magistrate had also disappeared, Villa was quick to judge what had occurred. It was the first time the even current of his life had been disturbed, but the character of the man was decisively shown in the events that followed. Getting a priest to accompany him, he rode in pursuit over the mountains with furious haste. The fleeing couple were overtaken; at Villa's dictation they were immediately married by the priest; then the irate brother compelled the husband to sign his own death-warrant, and killed him on the spot, the priest saying the requisite prayers. Here was retribution with a vengeance.

Returning to the farm with his erring sister, Villa would have lived peacefully enough if the ,rurales, or rural police, had let him alone. But the murder of a magistrate was not to be so easily condoned, and he was forced to flee for his life. This act changed him from a quiet farmer into a desperate bandit. For fifteen years he, in company with two faithful cowboys, roamed the mountains, pillaging farms, robbing travelers and raiding cattle. Although a reward of $10,000 was offered for his capture, he defied the rurales  and in time became looked upon by the people as a second Robin Hood. More than eighty combats were fought between him and his pursuers, forty-three of whom were killed in these encounters. But, although he was eight times wounded, Villa remained free.

Pancho Villa,


Now came the time of Madero's revolt. Villa saw in this an opportunity to win himself a place as an honorable citizen and joined the revolutionists, in whose ranks he did excellent service. The people had come to regard him as a sort of national hero, a soldier of daring deeds and romantic escapades. There was an American legion in Madero's army, in which served a Garibaldi, a grandson of the famous Italian hero, against whom Villa cherished a feeling of enmity. Some of the Americans had looted in the streets of Juarez, after its capture by Madero, and Villa crossed to El Paso, vowing that he would kill Garibaldi. The latter heard of his threat and met him in a restaurant, both well armed. Villa had six men with him, but Garibaldi had as many, among them four American Secret Service agents. The proposed shooting did not occur. The Secret Service men took from him his arms, and he was well content to get back again to Mexican soil. A Garibaldi had met and faced down a Villa.

When Madero became President, Villa was rewarded, and at the same time kept as far as possible from mischief, by being made a leader of the rurales  and set to the new task of catching bandits. But it was hard to keep him from his old brigand habits, and among his exploits as a commander of police was the collecting from certain banks of a sum amounting to over $90,000. This he handed over to help the Revolutionary cause—with the exception of some $25,000, which he kept to pay for his own services in this direction. Chief among the looted banks was the Banco Mineral, to which General Villa gave a receipt for the money, stating, however, that it was part of the spoils of war and would not be repaid. The bank, he said, had supplied money to Orozco in the north; now it was time to give a little to the south. During the war of the Madero administration, in which General Huerta commanded the Federal army against Orozco and others, Villa was seized by Huerta as a center of disturbance in the army and ordered to be shot. His life was saved by the intervention of the President. The time was soon to come when he would prove to be a thorn in the flesh of the man who had condemned him to death.

In Chapter XXI the important services of Villa, now become the most active leader in the army of the Constitutionalists, have been described down to the date of the siege of the city of Chihuahua. At that time the Federal forces still held the cities of Chihuahua and Monterey in the north and remained in control of the oil districts around Tampico and Tuxpan; but in all these places their position was threatened. Villa had temporarily desisted from his projected assault upon Chihuahua, while he made a dash north and conquered Juarez. The military supplies obtained there and the possession of Juarez and Torreon by the insurgents rendered Chihuahua untenable, and without waiting for the expected assault, General Mercado, the Federal commander, evacuated the city, leaving a small body of soldiers for police duty until Villa's men should take possession. Mercado was accompanied in his march by a considerable number of refugees, some of them wealthy and carrying valuable possessions. One of the members of the rich Terrazas family was said to have with him $2,500,000 in cash. The destination of this large body of fugitives was the border two of Ojinaga, opposite Presidio, Texas, in which the refugees hoped to find a safe refuge. Their route, thither, however, lay across a waterless desert region, swept by cold winds at night and sand storms by day, from which they were likely to suffer severely.

Rebel soldiers firing from an adobe fort.


General Villa, then at the head of an army 7,000 strong, desisted from his intended occupation of Chihuahua on learning of this flight, and sent a considerable force in pursuit of the fugitives. He hoped to capture the Federal soldiers, gain possession of their arms and equipment, and also to seize the money which they were taking with them. The caravan of refugees, said to be 2,000 in number, included women and children, many of whom suffered severely from the desert flight. On the 6th they were reported as nearing Ojinaga, the troops moving slowly and many of the civilians on foot. Behind them came a bullion train across the desert, bringing in wagons $2,500,000 of silver from the Parral silver mines. The desert exodus as it neared its end was watched by thousands of persons in Presidio, attracted there by news of the remarkable flight across a waterless plain.

With Mercado came Orozco and other military officers, they reaching Ojinaga in a state of complete exhaustion on the night of December 9th. The fugitives had suffered terribly, more than a hundred of them having died from thirst and starvation during the terrible journey. As they struggled into Ojinaga they were assisted to houses where they were provided with food and clothing, and then were sent in automobiles and carriages to ,the American border. As regarded the soldiers of the escort, some measures of restraint had to be taken to prevent a general rush across the river into United States territory. This was not alone from their sufferings, but from the fact that they were almost in a state of mutiny from not being paid.

While General Villa was thus making victorious progress in his campaign, the revolutionists were reported as endangering important Federal strongholds in other sections of the republic. Zacatecas was threatened; reports of the capture of Monterey were abroad; Colima was reported as being taken, and the forces under the brigand Zapata were threatening other places of importance, some of his raiding bands having appeared in the vicinity of the capital. All these, however, were largely of the nature of rumors, while the city of Torreon, which had long been held by the insurgents, was about to be retaken by a Federal force under General Velasco.

Villa's projected move against the Mexican capital had been halted as a result of the flight northward of Mercado's troops and his position at Ojinaga, where he had about 4,000 men under his command. Villa had about 7,000, but was obliged to garrison Chihuahua and Juarez, both of which he now occupied, and defend the railroad between these cities. Under these circumstances he could not venture upon a forward move with so large a body of enemies in his rear. He was obliged to deal with this force first, and this he energetically proceeded to do.

Rebel wounded lying on flat cars and tended by the


It was no trifling task that lay before him. The town of Ojinaga stands on a hill, on which Mercado had constructed extensive works of defense. The place had been long held against superior forces during the Madero revolution, its elevated position giving special advantages to those holding its forts, which commanded all the low grounds surrounding. The bulk of the force under Villa's command was gradually gathered around the place, menacing it on three sides, the fourth being occupied by the Rio Grande, which separates it from the United States. It was evident, though, that the assailants had a difficult task before them, the commanding position of Federal forts and trenches rendering it impossible to storm the place without heavy loss of life. The assailants would have to climb almost straight upward to the town under fire without shelter except that afforded by a few mesquite bushes. The task before them was a difficult one, and they awaited the coming of General Villa from Chihuahua before making an attack.

In the meantime operations of importance were proceeding elsewhere, an attack in force being made on the port of Tampico, in the vicinity of which were extensive oil fields in which much British and American capital was invested. As a result the place contained many foreigners, whose lives would be endangered by an attack.

The affair began with the capture by rebels of a small town twenty miles from Tampico. News of this reached Rear Admiral Fletcher, in command of the American naval forces in the Gulf, on December 9th, and he lost no time in sending the gunboat Wheeling from Vera Cruz to that port, to guard Americans there from danger. The British commander took a similar precaution. As a consequence some of the oil companies at once canceled their contracts for supplying the National railroads with fuel oil, for fear that this would induce the rebels to seize and injure their properties. This was likely to prove a serious blow to the Huerta government, as it would soon bring about a suspension of railroad travel, oil being used as fuel on all the roads.

The attack on Tampico began on the 10th and continued on the next day. For the protection of foreigners in the town Fletcher, in combination with the British admiral and the commander of a German cruiser present, laid out a neutral zone for the safety of foreigners and notified the commanding officers on both sides that fighting would not be permitted near that zone. The gunboats Tacoma and Chester were sent up the river with 150 marines to take off those who wished to leave, but many of the foreign residents preferred to remain in the neutral zone, in which was included a large area of the beach. Only Americans remained on shore, the British and Germans taking refuge on vessels of their respective nations. The most serious danger was of a fire breaking out in the large oil tanks in the town or in the extensive oil wells, whose yield was very large. The revenues from oil shipments at the port totaled about $250,000 a month.

On the 12th the Mexican gunboat Bravo  took part in the action, firing into the rebel camp, and this was continued on the 13th, a continual shell fire being kept up day and night into the position of the Constitutionalists. When the aliens in the city had been removed to places of safety the fight increased in violence. In addition to the American cruisers, the battle-ships Rhode Island, New Jersey  and Virginia  were now present, these lying in the deeper water several miles out. To these most of the American refugees were transferred, and all foreigners were reported as safe.

The attack failed and the rebel force was withdrawn after the 13th, but a new attack was made on the 22nd, the insurgents now being supplied with artillery, which added much to their chance of success. The garrison, however, with efficient aid from gunboats, succeeded in repelling all attacks, and the city remained in. Federal hands, while its oil interests and supplies continued unharmed. The next event of importance took place at Torreon, which, recovered by the Federals from insurgent occupation, was again attacked on the 24th by rebel forces under General Benevides, the assailants fighting their way into the city, but failing to dislodge the garrison. Artillery was used freely on both sides, much damage being done by the rebel fire to the buildings of the city, though the place was successfully defended.

General Villa was in the interval busied in preparations for an attack on Ojinaga, gathering troops and ammunition for his proposed assault. This began on the closing days of the year, the rebel forces pouring shells, bullets and shrapnel into the place for sixty hours. On the 31st, General Ortego, with 6,000 men under his command, had driven the 4,000 Federals into their inner trenches, and at sundown began to advance his artillery. His purpose was to destroy the horse corral and other loop-holed buildings in which were the bulk of the defenders. The attack continued on the next day, January 1st, a distressing sight being that of the many wounded who made their way in an almost unbroken line across the stream to the American side. All who brought weapons with them were at once disarmed, while physicians and medical supplies were placed at their service. In this respect the battle was a peculiar one, with foreign territory so near at hand as a shelter for all who were able to escape. The attack continued with undiminished fury on the 2nd, the assailants steadily drawing closer and pouring in a hotter fire from small arms and artillery.

Never in border history had there been a scene equal to that of the Federal wounded and deserters who scrambled to reach the United States, while upon their rear there still poured a parting shower of shells and bullets. The river's edge was a ragged fringe of smoke-begrimed, maimed and half-naked soldiers, some of them rushing pell-mell into the river, some crying from the pain of their wounds, others crawling, because of shattered limbs, over the rocks and cacti, some greedily stopping to drink the muddy water, and all begging the Americans on the opposite side for shelter from the horrible turmoil from which they had fled.

The river bed at this point is formed of soft mud, with water in the middle, about waist deep. At one point 200 Federals, all carrying arms, waded across. They were surrounded by a handful of United States troops, disarmed and forced back. The wounded were picked up as soon as they reached the shore; or if a wounded soldier got stuck in the mud he was dragged out and placed in the care of the Red Cross. A soldier who had his arm shot off, another limping with a wounded foot, still others who had actually crawled to the water, a Federal lieutenant wearing the uniform of his rank, a bugler with a bunch of yellow tassels on his arm, a barefooted private who had lost his shoes—all formed part of the hobbling line that came down the mile which intervenes between Ojinaga and the river.

US soldiers with surrendered Federalists.


The protests of the unwounded Federals against being forced back into Mexico were pitiable. The deserters went back, but wailing as they went that they would surely be killed without their arms. The rebels were in as desperate a condition, on account of the great number of wounded and the lack-of facilities for treating them. American Red Cross nurses would have given their aid if it had been possible for them to reach the rebel camps. But this could not be done, and the situation was such that the rebel wounded could not be sent across. Thus their needs remained without attention. To mitigate the situation as fully as possible orders were sent from Washington to permit unwounded fugitives who crossed the river to remain, if necessary to save life, and to co-operate with the Red Cross Society wherever available.

The siege of Ojinaga was discontinued after January 5th to await the coming of General Villa. It was resumed on the 10th, and after a few hours fighting Villa's forces closed in at sundown on the garrison with cannon and rifle fire. A panic in the Federal ranks began at about ten o'clock, and Mercado, seeing that further resistance was hopeless, gave the order for a general retreat, a force being left to man the guns until the women and children had escaped. The deserted village was immediately occupied by the besieging forces. For hours women, children and wounded soldiers had been scrambling across the river, to be taken in charge by the United States cavalry patrol. Now came a general rush of the retreating Federals, all who could crossing the river, the others running in all directions. About 400 of these, led by Orozco, Salazar, and other officers, cut their way through the assailing lines and succeeded in reaching shelter in the mountains, while Mercado and Castro, the principal leaders, made their escape to the American side.

The downfall of Ojinaga marked the end of Huerta's rule in northern Mexico. Torreon, which the rebels had more than once held and abandoned, was the next point of importance to be attacked in the projected advance on Mexico City, other places on the route being Saltillo, Zacatecas, and San Luis Potosi. The result of the rout at Ojinaga had left to the United States the guardianship of about 4,000 refugees, the care of whom would entail a considerable expense. But no thought of sending them back to possible massacre was entertained, and the government without hesitation undertook the unwelcome task entailed upon it by its vicinity to a land in insurrection.

We have now to deal with another phase of the conflict, that of Villa's manner of handling affairs in Chihuahua, which city he had held during these operations. One of his admirers thus speaks of his newly developed powers: "Villa's capacity for battle, his method in assault, his assumption of the processes of orderly government when he has made himself master, mark him for more promise than any other man who has recently come across the horizon of a sister nation."

The warrant for this eulogy was the land policy displayed by Villa, showing as it did a keen sense of the underlying cause of the revolution. To quote from the Springfield Republican:  "Unless some government shall solve the land question by purchase in a way satisfactory to the peasant class, the direct action of a Villa flushed with military success over the landed millionaires may prove to be the final solution, precisely as the confiscations of Juarez over half a century ago roughly solved the question of the landholding of the religious orders."

The first step taken by Villa when the city of Chihuahua fell into his hands was to seize $5,000,000 worth of property belonging to foreigners, chiefly Spaniards, to force the merchants to pay him large sums of money, several millions of dollars in all, in support of the revolution, and to order the expulsion of Spanish merchants from the city. On December 16th, by a formal decree, he declared the vast landed estates of General Luis Terrazas and of all members of his family forfeited to the Constitutionalist cause. Terrazas, then a fugitive in the United States, owned fifteen large ranches in the State of Chihuahua and was said to be worth $200,000,000, his holdings embracing fully 5,000,000 acres, while his herds of horses, mules and cattle were enormous in number. His son-in-law, Enrique Creel, formerly Mexican ambassador to the United States, also possessed large estates, which were included in the Villa confiscation. Colonel Luis Terrazas, son of the General, was taken prisoner in Chihuahua, and held as another ,set of the revolution. The Terrazas held pretty much everything worth owning in the state, and ruled like feudal barons over the people, mainly the poorest kind of peasants. Villa entertained the idea, widely prevalent among the revolutionists, that these lands were justly the property of the people, and in all justice should go back to their original owners. He proposed to hold .the Terrazas estates to reimburse widows and orphans and restore property to persons from whom it had been illegally taken.

The next step taken by Villa was to issue the following order: "Anyone who hereafter loots or molests the property of foreigners or Mexicans will be executed. The right toconfiscate property will rest only with the constitutional government." What Villa said he meant. A party of six of his followers who had been found guilty of sacking the home of a wealthy Mexican were promptly shot on the city plaza and the stolen goods were returned to their owner. This example of Villaism put a sudden stop to depredations of this kind. The property of the expelled Spaniards was held for return to the owners unless they had aided the Huerta government. In the latter case it was to be confiscated by the revolutionists. The rights of all other persons were strictly protected, but members of wealthy families were not permitted to leave the city without paying ransoms ranging from $1,000 to $5,000.

Such were the main features of General Villa's policy as dictator of Chihuahua. He had shown an ability as a military leader and a shrewdness as a civil governor that threw into the shade anything done by Carranza, the originator of the revolution, and many looked upon the ex-bandit as the coming President of Mexico in the event of the success of the revolutionists, and had serious fears of the result of placing a nation under such control. This fear was dissipated by Villa himself in an interview held with him on January 28th.

"I have never been in anything but the fullest accord with General Carranza," he said, "I have never had any personal ambition to reach high office. I am a fighting man only, and I am fighting for the liberation of my country, not to elevate myself. I am only a soldier, under command of my chief, and I shall obey him whatever his orders may be. We are not fighting to make any man president, but we hope to save our country from spoliation and the ambitions of individuals. We are spreading the ideals of a republic and we are exterminating those who oppose us."

This threat of extermination probably referred to armies in the field, as he had already advocated putting an end to the savage custom of killing the wounded and shooting prisoners of war. He announced that civilized warfare, particularly with reference to the treatment of prisoners, hereafter would be adopted by the rebels. He had obtained a little book from United States army officers called "The Ethics of International Warfare," and said that henceforth no Federals would be executed unless they previously had been captured and, on being released, had broken faith not to fight again. In Chihuahua he put into operation the street car lines, the electric lights, the stores, the railroad services, and a banking institution, ordinary civil conditions being restored, and all these industries being operated under and paying a profit to the revolutionary cause.

A correspondent of the New York Sun speaks thus of this remarkable ex-bandit: "Villa's word is the only law that the city knows. A word from him means the life or death of a man. There is no habeas corpus, no appeal. Under such rule, so long as Villa can maintain it and refrains from grafting himself, his socialistic plans are bound to be profitable to the people. In all his actions Villa has shown a wonderful facility for administration. His years on the hills, coupled with the natural shrewdness of the man, taught him to act quickly, to meet a situation immediately and without hesitation. This has been the secret of his success thus far.

General Villa's


"His men are ruled as with a hand of iron, they are shot for breach of discipline, yet they are all loyal. It is his control over and hold on his men, something most remarkable, that foreigners cannot understand. One of his most loyal subalterns says that Villa is loved because he is just. He does not hesitate to help one of his humblest men to fix his saddle-girth if he is near by and notices that the man is in trouble; neither does he hesitate to order the firing squad to do its duty as he catches one of his highest officers stealing or looting. He does one with as little show of emotion as the other."

When he took control of the industries of Chihuahua he called together the workmen, placed experts at the head of the industries, and told them to go to work. They were glad of the chance, because they were sure of normal wages. The heads of the industries paid running expenses and turned over the balance of the proceeds to the dictator.

"Villa puts the bills in a big safe without counting them, and when he buys powder, shells, flour, khaki uniforms, or gives money to his men, he takes what he needs from the big safe. This is the only bookkeeping system that Villa has, but his men are pleased; their women and children are living better than for many months. He has declared forfeited enough gold and silver mines in Chihuahua to supply him with all the metal he needs. All he wants is a coining outfit. He says he is going to make every dollar an honest dollar when he starts his mint, and Villa has always been a man of his word.

"This is the man who is running a state and all its industries for the benefit of the people, running the first successful socialistic state government in America, but running it with a drawn revolver."

To return to the state of affairs in Mexico in early February, 1914, preparations for the projected movement on Torreon were being made, a southward advance of the whole available revolutionary army, with the city of Mexico as its proposed ultimate destination, and the complete overthrow of the Huerta administration and the establishment of a constitutional government being the ultimate aim. The decree of free shipment of arms from the United States, under date of February 3d, had raised high hopes in the revolutionary ranks and they prepared to march southward with renewed confidence in the final success of their cause.

American soldiers guarding the International bridg


The text of this order from President Wilson and its immediate effect upon the respective positions of the battling parties are given in the following chapter, where also the change from prevention of military trade to the freest shipment of arms and munitions of war over the international border is stated. The Constitutionalist forces were soon abundantly supplied with the greatly needed weapons and ammunition and placed upon a far more equable plane with their opponents than they had previously been. They had made notable progress in extending their area of occupation with the imperfect munitions they first possessed. It now devolved upon them to prove if they could keep the boast they had made, that a free access to warlike supplies would soon give them full victory and triumphant possession of the country and its government.

An early step toward the movement upon Torreon and the other Coahuila strongholds was dependent upon the receipt from New York of one million rounds of seven millimeter Mauser ammunition, which had been ordered by Carranza for Villa's army. Delay in shipping this retarded the whole movement south, and on February 14th, Carranza's secret service agent was sent northward to investigate the cause of the delay and hurry the needful material to the south.

Meanwhile news of a distracting character had been received. A party of bandits was at work and had brought about a frightful catastrophe. Maximo Castillo, leader of this band of brigands, had fired the Cumbre tunnel on the Mexico Northwestern Railroad by means of a burning freight train, and had decamped without giving warning of what he had done. His act was said to be in revenge for the capture and execution of a member of his band. Seizing the freight train, he ran it about 300 feet into the south end of the tunnel and there set fire to it.

Into this blazing cavern ran a passenger train from the north, its crew ignorant of the death trap awaiting them. Its passengers included a considerable number of Mexicans and sixteen Americans. Death was the inevitable result. When the engineer saw the trap it was too late, the train being near the blazing freight cars when it was wrecked. One body was found by those in search, that of Juan Fernandez, rear brakeman of the train, who had made his way nearly three-quarters of a mile from the train before he fell, suffocated by the smoke. Others probably died in the same way, and fragments of bones were picked up by the searching party on reaching the train. Hot indignation filled the souls of the horsemen who were put in all haste on the trail of the bandits, and several stories of their capture were set afloat, as it proved, without warrant. A rumor of the capture of Castillo and the entire band was brought to Villa at Juarez. His comment was:

"I hope it is true. If it is, the entire band will be brought to Juarez and publicly executed. Every American and every citizen of Mexico will be invited to attend the execution. I feel a great responsibility in this awful Cumbre catastrophe. I had given the Americans guarantees that they would be protected, and, having failed in this instance to have prevented the awful slaughter of innocent civilians, both American and Mexican, I want to vindicate myself, at least to the extent of giving to the criminals the punishment they deserve."

The rumor spoken of proved untrue, but on February 17th Castillo and part of his band were captured on United States territory, which they had entered to escape the hot pursuit. The bandit leader was taken into custody and held until a decision could be reached as to how to dispose of him. Meanwhile a considerable part of his band had been captured by Villa's men and were said to have been executed on the spot of their capture.

While the insurrectionists had this calamity to deal with, the Federals had their problem in an effort to deal with the mountain band of Pueblo Indians, who had taken advantage of the war to strike for revenge on their old enemies. The story of how this brave tribe had been treated has been given in an earlier chapter and now had come an opportunity for them to strike a blow at their oppressors. Reports of Federal victories over them were reported, but the situation grew daily more serious, the Indians making fierce assaults on Teziutlan and other places near their mountain stronghold, while the electric plant at Necaxa was threatened. The Pueblos had in some way obtained rifles and machine guns and had several pieces of artillery of large caliber, though they showed little skill in their use. Meanwhile in the south the Zapata brigands continued their depreciations, in some of their raids attacking places and railway trains at no great distance from the capital city. In truth, the whole republic was in a state of warlike turmoil not easy to describe. Among the outrages reported was an attempt to kill Lieutenant Arthur B. Cook, of the United States battleship Connecticut at Vera Cruz. While on his way at night in an open carriage with two ladies to the steamship Morro Castle, in which the ladies were to sail next day, the sound of a pistol shot was heard and a bullet struck him in the hip. The would-be assassin escaped, but fortunately the wound was very slight. Arrangements were made to guarantee the safety of John Lind, President Wilson's representative, whose life was also believed to be in danger.

Another evidence of hostility to Americans was shown in the newspaper El Impartial, which has been indulging in scurrilous attacks upon President Wilson. Thus when printing the report that the American President had recognized the new revolutionary government in Peru, it remarked: "The word of Wilson is lacking in honor, as he himself is. The Yankee creature acts only according to his evil passions and worse ambitions." Charge d'Affaires O'Shaughnessy complained to Huerta of the malevolence of these attacks and also of a reported threat of the editor to kill him, whereupon the paper was notified that such personal attacks and threats must stop, though national policies might he criticized.

As matters appeared, not only the lives of Americans were threatened, but General Huerta himself was not safe, as a plot against his own life or power was said to have been discovered, a military uprising of widespread character. Rumors were afloat that detachments in the environs of the capital were on the point of revolt. Preventive measures were at once taken, the guards at the National Palace being strengthened and the garrison ordered to sleep on its arms. Soldiers were also stationed on house tops at points commanding the principal streets near the palace.

On the following day, February 7th, the streets were filled with mounted troops, houses were emptied of their inhabitants and machine guns mounted on their roofs, and whole regiments of infantry stationed around the arsenal, where had been fought the street battles that preceded the downfall and death of Madero, just a year before. During the day, hundreds of business men and clerks were arrested, on the charge of being in league with the conspirators, the police declaring that they had found incriminating documents in their possession. Soldiers marched and counter-marched, the clang of arms mingled with the shouts of mule drivers, all was turmoil and confusion. Then, in the succeeding days, the affair blew over and the city sank into composure again. What lay behind it all no one knew. How much rumor and how much fact were in the sudden fright none could or none would say. But the whole affair, together with the recent refusal to pay the interest on the foreign debt, and a condition of panic on the exchange on the 14th, all had a serious aspect for the Huerta government, which many believed to be fast, approaching its end.

The projected movement upon Torreon, spoken of on page 300, was delayed until complete preparations had been made, the movement upon it of Villa's forces not taking place until late in March. This city, which Villa had formerly taken and had been obliged to abandon to the Federals, lies in the southwest corner of the border State of Coahuila, 707 miles by rail from Mexico City. It has a population of about 30,000, and possesses important cotton, flour, iron and soap works. It was founded at the late date of 1887 and became a city in 1907, its name Torreon being derived from the watchtower from which the ranchmen had formerly kept a lookout for cattle thieves. As a point of vantage in the advance on Huerta's capital it was regarded as of great importance and its capture was considered essential to the plans of the revolutionists. Eastward from it lie the cities of Saltillo and Monterey, other strong Federal posts which it was also necessary to capture to give the revolutionists full control of northern Mexico.

In mid March, having completed his preparations, Villa advanced from Chihuahua, capturing the outpost towns of Mapima, Brittingham and others as he made his way southward. Gomez Palacio, a town five miles from Torreon, seated on the flanks of La Pitia mountain, formed the advance post of the Federal fortifications, and was strongly held by the troops of General Velasco, the Federal commander. From this point the route to Torreon lay through a valley in which barbed wire entanglements, trenches, and irrigation ditches served as aids in defence, while Federal batteries occupied the hills which close in on Torreon on all sides.

The attack on Gomez Palacio began on March 23rd, General Ortega's brigade leading in the assault, in which other sections of the army quickly joined. General Villa was in personal command of the forces which assailed the place on all sides, the bulk of the work being borne by Ortega's men. All afternoon the battle raged fiercely, Velasco's men being slowly driven back until 9 o'clock at night, at which hour the town was carried, 300 prisoners being taken by the Constitutionalists, while the losses in killed and wounded had been heavy.

The following days were marked by continued and desperate fighting, with alternate victories and reverses for both sides. During the 24th the rebel bands fought their way onward through the valley, the Federals, while fighting desperately, being driven back step by step until the outskirts of Torreon were reached. It was a hard fought battle, with hours of hand to hand fighting, and Villa in the thick of the battle, now urging his men on, now handling a rifle in the fray, now succoring the wounded. He was here, there, and everywhere, tireless and enthusiastic, instilling fresh courage in his men, while in the midst of the fight he sent a courier across the irrigated fields to General Bonavides, inviting him' to take dinner with him in Torreon the next day.

The dinner party did not come off, for the day fixed for it had a new tale to tell. A large body of apparently fresh Federals made a sudden attack on the rebel forces and drove them back irresistibly through Gomez Palacio, the retreat continuing until El Vergil was reached, six miles from their former position. This reverse took place in the northwest. On the east General Benavides continued the assault on Torreon, into which place his artillery was hurling tons of steel. He had crossed the Nazas River early in the day, driven the Federal outposts from the dry irrigation ditches which they occupied, and made his way steadily over the wet and muddy fields to dry ground on the edge of the city, men falling dead and wounded everywhere in the fierce struggle.

As yet only a portion of Villa’s 12,000 men had been in action and had the Federals followed up their advantage they could have flanked and surrounded his forces. But this they failed to do, and on the next day, the 26th, the entire force was hurled against the Federals in a determined effort to regain their lost ground. Three days of unceasing battle had worn out the vitality of the men, but this applied to both sides and Villa again succeeded in instilling much of his tremendous energy into his men.

The work of the 26th included the recapture of Gomez Palacio and a second advance upon Torreon, and on the following day the town was entered and a considerable portion of it occupied. During the 28th the streets of the city formed the field of battle. The forces under Villa's command were now estimated at 16,000, considerably outnumbering the Federals, and much of the work was done by the aid of dynamite hand grenades, of which 20,000 had been distributed. The cannonading was incessant and the whole city seemed in danger of destruction, the only hope of the Federals being in the arrival of strong reinforcements from the south.

Thus continued the desperate struggle we have briefly outlined, Velasco holding stubbornly to his defences until April 2nd, ten days after the terrible work of run and slaughter had begun. On the 3rd the victors held the town—such of it as remained—Velasco and the remnant of his men being in full flight across the desert wastes towards Saltillo in the distant east. Thus ended one of the most notable military events in the history of Mexico, a fight kept up almost without intermission for ten days, and much of it of a desperate character. The actual loss in killed and wounded is not known but must have formed a considerable percentage of the numbers engaged.

The supposition at first entertained was that Velasco had escaped with a mere remnant of his men. But as the event proved he had with him 5,000 fairly well appointed soldiers. To these he added at San Pedras de los Colonis, forty miles east of Torreon, the reinforcements which had failed to reach him at the latter place, the combined force numbering from 12,000 to 14,000 men. He was thus stronger than before. Villa had not failed to pursue him in his retreat and on the 15th attacked the combined forces at San Pedras with a vigor that gave him a second victory. The estimated losses in this battle were 2,800 Federal killed and wounded and 700 prisoners, the rebel loss being given at 650 killed and wounded.

Meanwhile another attack had been made on the city of Tampico by the revolutionists. This city was reported on the 10th to have fallen, with great destruction in the burning of oil tanks. This proved to be untrue, the town having held out against the assault, while the injury to the oil interests was very slight. But an event had just taken place at that city which was likely to prove of more vital loss to the cause of Huerta than its capture would have been. This was an insult to the American flag which brought the United States vitally into the affair. The story of this event must be reserved for a later chapter.

Relations Between Mexico and the United States

In an earlier chapter the statement was made that a considerable part of the border between the United States and Mexico is little more than a mathematical expression, no line of demarcation existing and the territories of the two countries meeting each other on an open plain. At points frontier towns of the two republics approach so closely that they almost run together. The two most important of these, Ciudad Juarez (the City of Juarez) of Mexico and El Paso of the United States, stand opposite each other at the point where the Rio Grande ends its mission as a national boundary line and begins its extension into United States territory, a bridge across the stream here connecting the two countries.

The facts cited are given to show the close territorial relations existing between these two nations and the consequent necessity on the part of the United States to keep a close watch over this easily crossed border line. In times of peace no such vigilance is requisite, but during the eras of turbulence which have so frequently spread warlike turmoil over Mexican soil its near neighbor has been at times obliged, in the interest of justice and international obligation, to guard its far-flung boundary line and prevent either of the parties in conflict from using the soil of the United States as a vantage ground for warlike incursion or from smuggling munitions of war across the border.

On several occasions within recent years the War Department at Washington has issued mobilizing orders to the army in consequence of disturbed conditions in the near vicinity of American soil. This was done in June and September, 1908, and July, 1909. In March, 1911, the state of affairs in Mexico had grown critical, with the forces of Diaz and Madero everywhere in the field and fighting going on so close to the border that bullets found their way across the line and whistled in American ears. Evidently the time for energetic action had arrived. Orders were issued to send all available troops to the Mexican frontier, and in a brief interval trains laden with United States regulars and the necessary munitions were rolling rapidly southward, the point of mobilization being San Antonio, Texas. By the 7th over 20,000 troops were stated to have reached this and other points, and fast, cruisers were despatched to Galveston to be in readiness in case of difficulty in commercial relations.

The announcement was made that no threat to Mexico was intended in this movement of troops, but that its purpose was to practice the army in field exercises and to experiment in the line of rapid mobilization and military evolutions. It may be said that hardly a person in the United States or Mexico believed this explanation. It had too much the appearance of a transparent white lie. Affairs were critical near the border, the opposing forces of government and revolution having locked horns almost on the international line, as if for the purpose of provoking the United States to interfere. The well-founded impression was that the movement was ordered for the purpose of protecting American interests and maintaining American neutrality as regarded the contending forces, and that the pretense of military exercises was a mere cloak to cover the real design.

In fact, matters had reached such a crisis along the border line that anxiety was felt in both countries concerned. Friction arose over the seizure by Mexicans of two Americans, the Mexican government refusing to release them on the ground that they had aided the rebels and had been taken on Mexican soil. This was denied on the part of the United States, which averred that the seizure had taken place on American soil. This was not the only ground of trouble. Battling took place so near the border line that bullets whizzed from Mexico into the United States and endangered the lives of persons in the town of Douglas, Arizona. In the end the Americans in Mexican hands were set free and the belligerents were warned that fighting must not take place too near the border, on peril of the United States troops taking a hand in the game for the protection of American lives. There were other causes of grievance, much damage having been done to American property in Mexico, and 500 claims for compensation had been filed in the State Department at Washington. Certainly the situation was a serious one.

On the 14th of March, 1912, President Taft issued a proclamation forbidding the exportation of arms to Mexico during the struggle in that country. Power to do this had been granted him by Congress whenever he should find that "in any American country conditions of domestic violence exist which are promoted by the use of arms and munitions of war procured from the United States." When Wilson succeeded Taft as President this prohibition was allowed to stand unchanged, though as time went on and the insurgents showed indications of winning in the struggle many Congressmen urged that it should be lifted as the surest means of bringing to an end the hostilities existing in Mexico. By the end of 1913 Mexico had become divided between two factions, the whole northern section being in the hands of the revolutionists, the southern section in those of the Huertists, though in the latter case not fully, since the Zapata brigands were in control of a considerable part of the south.

President Woodrow Wilson,


The argument brought by General Carranza and his fellow leaders was that their control over Mexico was equal to that of the Huertists, the territory under their control larger than that held by the latter., and their right to consider theirs as the actual government better than that of a man whose power rested on the murder of the legitimate president and nomination by a Congress of his own making. But as matters stood the Huerta faction was able to purchase arms in Europe and Japan and import them freely, as they held all the ports; while the revolutionists, whose only open channel of communication was with the United States, were debarred from any similar privilege by the prohibition above spoken of. While this applied to both factions, its disadvantageous effect was felt by the revolutionary faction alone.

The argument of the revolutionists was a reasonable one, and was acknowledged as such by many American statesmen. President Wilson had long held it in mind, on the basis that the restriction of trade in arms with Mexico was not, under the circumstances, an evidence of neutrality, since the Huerta forces were enabled to get large supplies from abroad, while the Constitutionalists, their equals in real legitimacy, could obtain them only by smuggling. Aside from this, the prohibition was a costly one to the United States, since it rendered necessary the patrolling by troops of the long border line between the two countries, the chief necessity for which had been the prevention of smuggling arms across the border. Yet no action was taken, and the year 1914 opened without any change in the prohibition policy.

The Huerta administration in Mexico was early recognized by several European powers, including Great, Britain, Spain and France. The British recognition was said to have been instigated by the fact of the large holdings of petroleum interests in Mexico by British subjects. Later, however, when it became evident that the United States would not recognize a government founded on force and resulting from the assassination of a legitimate president, the British recognition was declared to be only temporary, was open to withdrawal. Europe in general showed a similar disposition to follow the lead of the United States and leave to this country, whose financial interests in Mexico were far larger than those of any other nation, the settlement of the question. The sentiment of the commercial interests abroad was somewhat general that the United States should intervene and bring the struggle to an end by forcible means. But President Wilson, recognizing the possible serious results of such action, declined, and early in his administration adopted a policy of watchful waiting and non-interference. Henry Lane Wilson, the American ambassador to Mexico, had expressed the belief that the Huerta government was innocent of any connection with the murder of President Madero, and asked for its recognition. This was not given, and the battleships then in Mexican ports were ordered to remain there and the troops to retain their positions on the border. The policy adopted continued to be a waiting one, though accompanied by the presence of a large armed force on the frontier and ten ships of war in the Gulf waters.

This had an important effect. Without American recognition the Mexican government could not obtain a foreign loan, the financial interests abroad feeling it dangerous to risk their funds on such doubtful security. The policy of the United States in this particular has been aptly designated a freezing one. While no active steps were taken against the Mexican government, the passive one proved very serious, as it cut off all inflow of funds from abroad to sustain the war, and reduced the governing powers in Mexico to the use of such doubtful supplies as could be obtained by drastic taxation or forced demands upon business and financial interests. The financial straits of the Huerta government at length proved so severe that the payment of interest due January 1, 1914, on the Mexican national debt was suspended, this greatly increasing the stringency of relations between the Mexican and foreign administrations.

The position maintained by Ambassador Wilson, that the Huerta government was innocent of any connection with the murder of President Madero and should be recognized by the American government, became in time so embarrassing to President Wilson that he recalled the ambassador to Washington for a special conference. He left Mexico for this purpose on July 24th. He found President Wilson firmly convinced that Huerta had installed himself as a dictator without warrant, owing his position to and in collusion with those to whom the murder of Madero was due. In his opinion the only method of bringing Mexico into a position warranting recognition of its government was to oust the usurper and elect a constitutional executive.

Mr. John Lind


The result of the conference was the resignation of the ambassador. No successor was appointed, the American interests in Mexico being left in the care of Nelson O'Shaughnessy, chargé d'affaires. President Wilson sent in addition a special envoy to Mexico, selecting for this mission John Lind, a former member of Congress and Governor of Minnesota. He reached Mexico on August 10th, but was informed that his presence there was undesirable unless he was prepared to recognize the existing government. As he could not do this under his instructions, and found it impossible to bring Huerta to his way of thinking, his mission in Mexico seemed likely to prove of no effect.

By the middle of October the relations between the United States and Mexico had grown very stringent, and a note sent by President Wilson to Huerta gave him deep offense. "Intemperate ",was his term for this communication. The "note" in question was the following:

"The President is shocked at the lawless methods employed by General Huerta, and as a sincere friend of Mexico is deeply distressed at the situation which has arisen. He finds it impossible to regard otherwise than as an act of bad faith toward the United States General Huerta's course in dissolving Congress and arresting the deputies.

"It is not only a violation of constitutional guarantee, but it destroys all possibility of a fair and free election. The President believes that an election held at this time, and under conditions as they now exist, would have none of the sanctity with which the law surrounds the ballot, and that its result could not be regarded as representing the will of the people. The President would not be justified in accepting the result of such an election or in recognizing the President so chosen."

The lawless methods spoken of referred to the arrest by Huerta of 110 member, of the lower House of Congress and their imprisonment for the offense of speaking freely of the unsatisfactory course of events, also to the purpose of holding an election on October 26th, with the full knowledge that it was impossible at that time to obtain a full and free vote.

At the time of sending this note four battleships were despatched to Vera Cruz, and the leading powers of Europe had it in view to take a similar course. But neither the "note" nor the implied threat in sending these warships had a deterring effect upon Huerta, who stood defiant of all protesting powers. He, indeed, spoke of resigning, but this was looked upon as a mere trick, his Cabinet, subservient to him in its debates, deciding not to let him resign, being probably well advised that he had no thought of such an action. In fact he immediately afterward thus declared himself :

"When I resign it will be to seek a resting place six feet in the soil. When I flee the capital it will be to shoulder a rifle and take my place in the ranks to fight the rebels."

During the month of November the feeling of the powers grew more decided in favor of using force against the Mexican dictator, and on the 3rd. President Wilson plainly told Huerta that he must resign the presidency of Mexico without loss of time, and must not leave as his successor General Blanquet, or any member of his official family or unofficial coterie whom he might expect to control.

The language of this communication was mandatory, and seemed backed up by the presence of the American battleships at Vera Cruz. It caused a general excitement in Mexico, especially as the plans of the American President were backed up by England, France and Germany, which joined in ordering Huerta to withdraw. There was even talk of blockading the Mexican ports within three days.

As before, however, nothing came of it. Huerta appeared to waver, and for some days he disappeared, as if in hiding. But procrastination had the same effect as defiance, actual armed intervention was a step which none of the nations were willing to take, and the affair blew over leaving the state of affairs unchanged.

On December 9th a new move was made in Mexican politics. The Congress then existing, that claimed to have been elected on October 26th, declared the election on that date to be null and void, but at the same time passed a resolution declaring Huerta president until a new election should be held on July 10, 1914. This resolution by a body declared at the same time that it had no legal existence was of the usual type of legislation in Mexico at that period.

The great interest taken by the administration in Mexican affairs, and the warrant for the inflexible attitude of President Wilson, was the large financial interest of Americans in Mexico, estimated to amount in value to more than $1,000,000,000, a larger sum than those of all European countries combined. As a result there was a large number of Americans residing in Mexico whose lives, as well as their property, were imperilled by the existing condition of affairs.

U.S. Marines going on board ship for the voyage to


With some of them a state of panic existed, and the feeling of their danger was shared by the President, who urged all Americans to leave the country, and by Congress, which on September 12th voted an appropriation of $100,000 to aid Americans who were destitute of the necessary funds for the homeward journey. There were many ready to take advantage of this, and a large number hurried to the seaports for transportation home. Those who remained were persons of large property interests, which would be seriously endangered by their absence, those who did not share the panic many, and those of the daring class who are always ready to face danger.

In his annual message to Congress on December 2, 1913, President Wilson plainly stated his views as to the conditions then existing, saying:

"Mexico has no government. The attempt to maintain one at the city of Mexico has broken down, and a mere military despotism has been set up which has hardly more than the semblance of national authority. It originated in the usurpation of Victorian Huerta, who, after a brief attempt to play the part of constitutional president, has at last cast aside even the pretense of legal right and declared himself dictator. As a consequence, a condition of affairs now exists in Mexico which has made it doubtful whether even the most elementary and fundamental rights either of her own people or of the citizens of other countries resident within her territory can long be successfully safeguarded, and which threatens, if long continued, to imperil the interests of peace, order and tolerable life in the lands immediately to the south of us."

The method of "watchful waiting," which had been broken at times by ineffective efforts to force Huerta to resign, went on until February 3rd, when a new step was taken by the American President, that of lifting the embargo on trade in arms which had existed for nearly two years, and opening the way for the Constitutionalists to place themselves on a level in this particular. On that date the following proclamation was issued:

"Whereas, By a proclamation of the President issued on March 14, 1912, under a joint resolution of Congress approved by the President on the same day, it was declared that there existed in Mexico conditions of domestic violence which were promoted by the use of arms or munitions of war procured from the United States; and

"Whereas, By the joint resolution above mentioned it thereupon became unlawful to export arms or munitions of war to Mexico except under such limitations and exceptions as the President should prescribe;

"Now, therefore, I, Woodrow Wilson, President of the United States of America, hereby declare and proclaim that, as the conditions on which the proclamation of March 14, 1912, was based have essentially changed, and as it is desirable to place the United States, with reference to the exportation of arms or munitions of war to Mexico, in the same position as other Powers, the said proclamation is hereby revoked.

"In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed. Done at the city of Washington this third day of February, in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and fourteen, and of the independence of the United States the one hundred and thirty-eighth.

"By the President. Woodrow Wilson.

W.J. Byran,
"Secretary of State"

This step went far towards equalizing conditions between the contending factions. General Carranza had more than once declared that if the revolutionists were given the power of obtaining war material the conflict would be of short duration, and that the forces under his command could not long be kept out of Mexico City. The time to prove if this assertion was justified had come.

The proclamation had scarcely been made public before the supply of arms in the military stores at El Paso were exhausted by the demand from Juarez. Larger supplies were set in motion from New Orleans towards the border. During the previous period smuggling of arms over the border had gone on to a considerable extent, and a large quantity of arms that had been seized and held by the border patrols were now set free and permitted to reach those who long before had paid for them.

Officials who had kept in touch with the Mexican campaigns, said that the Constitutionalist forces had been at a great disadvantage because of the superior artillery of the Huerta army. The Constitutionalists, while plentifully supplied with small ammunition and materials for their rapid-fire guns, had been almost entirely without heavy artillery. They even had been put to the straits of manufacturing guns in the railroad machine shops of Chihuahua and Durango.

That an abundant supply of arms and ammunition would be of great assistance to them was very evident. The officials at Washington, while "freezing" out the Huerta government from obtaining funds from Europe, had at the same time been "freezing" out the revolutionists from obtaining arms from the United States. This restriction had now been lifted and the effect remained to be seen.

The government of the United States had not alone its relations with Mexico to consider, but also those with the nations of Europe, such at least as had trading interests with Mexico and had recognized the Huerta administration as legitimate. The refusal of recognition on the part of President Wilson had put these nations into a somewhat awkward attitude. The shadow of the Monroe Doctrine lay across the path of action on the part of foreign powers, and they felt chary of taking any decisive step under the circumstances. As the United States had so long stood forward as the guardian of the weaker American republics, the watch-dog over American interests in general, the attitude of this country regarding Mexican or any Latin-American question had grown to be looked upon as antecedent to any decision of their own.

President Wilson's ultimatum had one important effect: it checked at its source any outflow of each toward Mexican government coffers. High finance is a sensitive organism, one that draws in its tendrils at the least touch of doubt. The United States had given its verdict that Mexico had no constitutional government; what the United States said in regard to American interests was apt to go; the money chests abroad were accordingly locked tight and the Huerta government left to gather in funds at home if it could; they were not to be had abroad.

Intervention was looked upon by foreign powers as a reasonable policy under the circumstances. Not intervention by themselves, however. They preferred to have Uncle Sam pull their chestnuts out of the fire. But Uncle Sam was not eager to put his paws into the fire to please his foreign cousins. He knew too well what it meant. His foresight showed him all Mexico in arms against him. He had visions of possibly all Latin America aiding or abetting Mexico. He preferred to leave the perilous task to his allies, the rebels in arms, and contented himself with asking Huerta to step down and out. The only difficulty in the problem was that Huerta refused to do anything of the kind.

The fact is, that the United States found itself in an awkward quandary. With the Mexican dictator defying it, with the prevision that the ultimate cost of armed intervention might count up to more than the billion-dollar American interest in Mexico, with all the other grave possibilities that might attend such an action, it seemed decidedly best to watch and wait and trust to time and events to make the problem one easier of solution. The time came in April, 1914, when the Mexicans, by an insult to the American flag, forced President Wilson to adopt the policy of intervention which he had so long declined, and enter upon a new and more decided course of action.

Insult to the Flag of the United States

The policy of "watchful waiting" adopted by the President of the United States in regard to the belligerent conditions existing in Mexico came to a sudden and striking end on April 9, 1914, on which date an event occurred which obliged President Wilson to adopt a new and more warlike policy. There had been various assaults upon and injuries to Americans and American interests in Mexico since the struggle began, but none of these were of a nature for which it was easy to fix the responsibility. The incident which precipitated a crisis was the following:

On Thursday, the 9th of April, a boat-load of men from the U. S. Dispatch-boat Dolphin, under Assistant Paymaster Charles C. Copp, landed at the port of Tampico for the purpose of obtaining a supply of gasoline. The Dolphin  was one of the vessels under the command of Rear-Admiral Mayo, whose duties included protection of American interests in the oil fields of Tampico.

Although, as is definitely asserted, the boat carried the United States flag, the men were arrested by Colonel Hinojosa, an officer in charge of a detachment of Federal soldiers. They were paraded through the streets of Tampico, subjected to taunts and revilements by hostile Mexicans, but were turned back by a superior officer before reaching the police station. When tidings of this outrage were brought to Admiral Mayo he at once sent the following demand to General Zaragoza, in command of the Mexican forces at Tampico:

Rear-Admiral Henry T. Mayo


"This morning an officer and squad of men of the Mexican military forces arrested and marched through the streets of Tampico a commissioned officer of the United States Navy, the paymaster of the Dolphin, together with seven men composing the crew of the whaleboat of the Dolphin. At the time of this arrest the officer and the men were unarmed and engaged in loading cases of gasoline which had been purchased on shore. Part of these men were on the shore, but all, including the man or men in the boat, were forced to accompany armed Mexican forces.

"I do not need to tell you that taking men from a boat flying the United States flag is a hostile act not to be excused. I have already received your verbal message of regret that this event has happened and your statement that it was committed by an ignorant officer.

"The responsibility for hostile acts cannot be avoided by the plea of ignorance. In view of the publicity of this occurrence I must require that you send by suitable members of your staff formal disavowal and apology for the act, together with your assurance that the officer responsible for it will receive severe punishment. Also that you publicly hoist the United States flag in a prominent position on shore and salute it with twenty-one guns. Salute will be returned from this ship.

"Your answer to this communication should reach me and the called-for salute be fired within twenty-four hours from 6 p.m. of this date."

The men were released by General Zaragosa, and Provisional President Huerta, who had been informed of the event, sent an apology to Nelson O'Shaughnessy, the American Charge-d'Affaires. He declined to order a salute, saying that adequate reparation had been made without it.

12-inch guns on an American gunship.


When news of this event reached Washington, it found the American government unwilling to accept Huerta's easy solution of the difficulty. President Wilson, who was absent from Washington, hastened thither and called a meeting of the cabinet which promptly decided to sustain Admiral Mayo in his demand for a salute. At the same time, as an object lesson to Huerta, orders were sent to Rear-Admiral Badger, commander of the Atlantic fleet, to set out at once for Tampico with the vessels in readiness to move. These consisted of the battleships Arkansas—flagship—the Vermont, New Jersey  and New Hampshire, at Hampton Roads; the Michigan, at Philadelphia; the Louisiana, at New York, and the South Carolina, then steaming southward, with several cruisers and other craft. By the 15th this powerful squadron was speeding over the Atlantic waves like a flight of war-eagles sent to compel reparation for the outrage.

A Gun Crew on battleship Arkansas at Vera C


The insults calling for action were not alone the affair at Tampico. This had been followed by the arrest and imprisonment of an orderly at Vera Cruz, sent ashore in uniform for the ship's mail and with the official mail bag on his back. More serious still was an act of the officials of the telegraph office in Mexico City, who had presumed to hold up a dispatch from the United States government to Charge O'Shaughnessy. These and other offences "against the rights and dignity of the United States" were given by the administration as reasons for the warlike step taken.

The time limit for firing the salute to the American flag fixed by Admiral Mayo had necessarily been extended when the matter was referred to President Huerta, whose hasty decision that the incident called for nothing further than a verbal apology was far from satisfactory to the United States. The swift dispatch of the fleet had the effect of changing the opinion of the Mexican dictator, and on the 16th the American government was notified by a message from O'Shaughnessy that Huerta was prepared to comply with the demand that a national salute of twenty-one guns should be fired as a reparation for the indignity at Tampico. It was understood that this salute, in accordance with international custom, should be returned by an American warship. President Wilson was asked if the firing of the salute would end the Tampico incident. "Why, of course," he replied, in a tone of surprise at the question. But it was well understood that a return of the salute would not indicate a recognition of the Huerta government. On that point the President remained firm. It was contended at the White House that ample precedents established that recognition of a government could be given only through affirmative action, and was not to be construed as conveyed by any mere incident. A statement was was issued by the Navy Department upon the subject of salutes which read as follows:

American casualties at Vera Cruz.


"If a national salute is fired as an 'amende honorable,' it is invariably returned gun for gun by a vessel-of-war of the Power whose flag has thus been saluted. This is in accordance with international comity, and there are many precedents to establish the custom."

Under the customary practice, it was necessary in this instance to raise the "Stars and Stripes" at the mainmast of a Mexican warship, on a Mexican fort, or in some other conspicuous place fixed by agreement, while the return salute would be fired by an American warship, with the Mexican national flag flying at its masthead. The usual method was that the salute should be replied to gun for gun in succession, and the general impression was that such a course would be followed in this instance. Such was the view of the case taken by Provisional President Huerta, who in consequence demanded that the salutes should be "simultaneous," that is, that both salutes should be fired at the same time, gun following gun, on each side.

This position taken by Huerta opened the question again. President Wilson definitely refused it, declaring that the entire twenty-one guns must be fired on the part of Mexico before a return shot was fired by the United States. A simultaneous salute would, in the opinion of the President, rob the apology of any value.

Meanwhile, the warships under Admiral Badger were steaming at top speed toward Vera Cruz; while those already in Mexican waters were kept in readiness for instant action if it should become requisite. Both in Mexico and the United States a high state of tension existed and the clouds of war seemed gathering darkly in the national skies. But whatever the view in Mexico, war was not wanted in the United States if it could in any honorable way be avoided.

"I hope and pray that there will be no war," said Naval Secretary Daniels. "That is also the feeling of the President. The Monroe Doctrine must be upheld and the United States stands ready to insist that full reparation be made for any insult to the American flag. The government is only enforcing the measures necessary to maintain its rights in this situation and there will be no backdown once the President and his Cabinet have made a decided move on anything involved in the present issue.

City of Vera Cruz.


It may well be the case that President Wilson rather welcomed the incident as a means of escape from the impasse in which his policy of "watchful waiting" had landed 'him. The do-nothing policy adopted by him had met with so many sneering comments, and with such vigorous demands both at home and in Europe that intervention of some kind should be adopted, as to indicate, that the position in which he had placed himself was weak and untenable, and the opportunity to take a more decided stand upon the Mexican situation may have been rather agreeable to him than otherwise, as relieving him from the policy of inactivity.

On the other hand, Huerta may have welcomed the same opportunity to change the state of affairs. His attitude towards the United States had so far been aggressive and uncompromising. War was in his breath and in that of many of his counsellors. He was not unaware that the foundation under his feet was wavering and that any signs of weakness in his attitude might turn the people against him and hurl him from his seat. On the other hand, a defiant attitude j towards the United States would be hailed with acclaim by a large body of militants in Mexico. Defiance would bring the belligerent Mexicans to his support, weakness would probably turn the great body of the people against him. Yet there was the alternative of war with the great power of the United States, a war that could not fail to end in disaster to his cause. The dilemma before him was a difficult one and his hesitation between the two alternatives was natural under the circumstances.

At all events the Mexican dictator was bent on making the best available bargain for himself, and his agreement on April 16th to salute the flag was followed by a change of attitude on the 19th. He now declared that there had been no insult to the flag, that there had been no flag flying on the boat from which the sailors were taken, and that the simple apology made was sufficient reparation for the arrest. He was willing that both flags should be saluted, the American flag first and the Mexican flag afterwards, but this arrangement must be made by a protocol signed by the American Chargé-d'Affaires and the Mexican Foreign Minister.

Such an act would have been practically equivalent to a recognition of Huerta as President, and the American government refused to' permit its representative to sign such a protocol, demanding an unconditional salute from Mexico. The Foreign Minister Rojas replied:

"Mexico has yielded as much as her dignity will permit. Mexico trusts to the fair-mindedness and spirit of justice of the American people."

The position, as it finally stood, was the following: President Wilson, weary of the vacillation of his opponent, had sent a definite demand that, the required salute should be fired by 6 o'clock, Mexico City time (7.36, Washington time), on the evening of the 19th. Huerta declared that the protocol demanded by him should first be signed, and that this should permit him to make a formal statement that no offense against the United States had been committed by the arrest of the American officer and enlisted men, the salute of the Mexican government being given merely as an act of grace to satisfy the sensitiveness of the United States. Unless this was done no salute would be fired.

This note from Provisional President Huerta had not been received when the evening of the 19th approached, and the authorities at Washington waited with some excitement to learn what the Mexican ruler would do. Direct telegraphic communication with Mexico City was established and a telephone wire was open from the White House to White Sulphur Springs, where President Wilson then was.

The hour fixed upon passed and no word was received, it being nearly 10 o'clock before definite information came from Mr. O'Shaughnessy to the effect that the salute had not been fired and that the Mexican government refused to accede to President Wilson's conditions.

To use a homely phrase, the "fat was now all in the fire." That evening excitement in Washington ran high. The executive offices of the White House were a blaze of light; hundreds of people waited outside for news as to whether peace or war was in the air, and the waiting rooms were crowded with newspaper men. When the news filtered out to the street it became known that all hope of accommodation was at an end. President Wilson's ultimatum stood that unless the salute was given the ports of Vera Cruz and Tampico would be seized and if necessary a blockade of all the Mexican ports would be instituted. Such an action, while falling short of a declaration of war, might easily lead to actual hostilities. It was Wilson's purpose, if his ultimatum was not complied with, to go before Congress and ask for authority from that body to use all the force necessary to uphold the dignity of the Nation. That Congress stood ready to sustain him in this was beyond doubt.

On Monday, April 20th, President Wilson, who had hurried back to Washington on being informed of the critical state of affairs, made his appearance on the floor of the House, where his presence was greeted with unbounded applause. That he would find that body ready to endorse his views was highly evident. A warlike spirit pervaded the chamber, and little time was lost in passing a resolution giving the President full authority to act, the vote in its favor being 337 to 37. It ran as follows:

Resolved, by the Senate and House of Representatives in Congress assembled: That the President of the United States is justified in the employment of the armed forces of the United States to enforce the demands upon Victoriano Huerta for unequivocal amends to the Government of the United States for indignities committed against this Government by General Huerta and his representatives.

The Senate, before which body the matter next came, was more deliberate in its action. Before it acted, indeed, orders had been telegraphed to the Naval Commander at Vera Cruz and a landing, attended with the death of some of those engaged in it, had been effected. An act significant of possible war, with all its attendant horrors, was thus taken while the Senate was deliberating as to the proper course to pursue. Proceedings in the Senate opened with the submission by Senator Lodge of a resolution more general in character, and which he supported by a speech in which he called attention to the murder of Americans on Mexican soil, demanding that Carranza and Villa, the leaders in the revolt, should be held equally culpable with Huerta and that any action taken by the United States should include the leaders on both sides in the Mexican outbreak.

Speeches, some supporting, some criticising the action and attitude of President Wilson, followed, the most significant and effective of them being one made by Senator Root in the night session of the 21st. The news of the landing of the marines and the fact that a number of these had fallen dead and wounded was now widely known, and the galleries were crowded with excited listeners, while the dignified Senators' themselves could not repress signs of similar intensity of interest as the able orator painted the situation in telling and dramatic sentences.

Yet the resolution of Senator Lodge, though thus ably supported, did not appeal to the Senate as a body, it being deemed unwise and uncalled for to extend the demand for reparation beyond the immediate matter in question. This is the form of the resolution as finally adopted by a vote of 72 to 13, and almost unanimously accepted by the House:

Resolved, by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States in Congress assembled: That the President is justified in the employment of the armed forces of the United States to enforce his demand for unequivocal amends for certain affronts and indignities committed against the United States. Be it further

Resolved, That the United States disclaims any hostility to the Mexican people or any purpose to make war upon Mexico.

The subject of dispute was thus limited to the specific instances of affront mentioned, especially to the incident at Tampico. The name of Huerta was omitted from the resolution, perhaps to avoid anything that would be considered an endorsement of his legitimacy. Meanwhile, however, the matter had passed beyond the immediate cause of dispute, American soldiers and sailors were in possession of Mexican soil, and a state of affairs existed of which no one could predict the ultimate issue.

Forward fighting top of the American battleship


The American Army and Navy in Action

After the war with Spain in 1898 and the subsequent insurrection in the Philippines a period of profound peace settled upon the United States, an era free from war, though not from rumors of war. This state of quiescence was rudely broken in April, 1914, by the insult to the flag at Tampico, described in the preceding chapter, and the refusal of Huerta, the Mexican dictator, to do honor to the insulted standard in the manner prescribed by President Wilson. The demand for reparation was followed by the despatch of the powerful fleet under Rear-Admiral Badger to Tampico, as already stated. On his way thither Badger's destination was changed to Vera Cruz, which had become a center of immediate interest.

A squadron of American battleships and other naval vessels, under Rear-Admiral Fletcher, already lay in Vera Cruz harbor, in readiness to defend the interests and dignity of the United States, and as the Mexican dictator evidently did not propose to comply with President Wilson's demand, it was decided to seize and hold that port as a first step towards obtaining suitable reparation.

The harbor and waterfront of Vera Cruz


Immediate action was necessary, as a German ship, the Ypiringa, laden with military stores for the Mexican government, was rapidly approaching Vera Cruz. Its cargo included 10,000 rifles, 15,000,000 cartridges, and other warlike material, which it was important to prevent from reaching Huerta. As the Ypiringa  was known to be near at hand, President Wilson wired Admiral Fletcher to seize the custom-house and take possession of the port before the cargo of the Ypiringa  could be landed.

Shortly after 11 o'clock on the morning of April 21st this act of virtual war took place, a force of marines and bluejackets landing from the transport Prairie  and the battleships Florida  and Utah and taking possession of the custom-house. Fletcher had previously notified General Maas, in command of the Mexican garrison at Vera Cruz, of his intention to seize the city, and asked that it should be surrendered without resistance. This request was refused, and within an hour after the landing the Mexicans began firing on the American sailors and marines, a street battle beginning which lasted until late at night and cost the lives of four Americans and the wounding of twenty others. The Americans returned the fire, the Prairie  taking part in the action with her five-inch guns, the Mexican loss being more than a hundred. The American dead in this engagement consisted of George Poinsett, a seaman of the Florida, from Philadelphia; John P. Schumacher, a coxswain of the Florida, from Brooklyn; Daniel A. Haggerty, a marine, from Cambridge, Mass., and Samuel Martin, a marine, from Chicago.

During the afternoon and night 3,300 men in all were landed, and the next morning these were added to from Admiral Badger's fleet, which arrived early on the 22nd, until the force on shore numbered 5,250. These proceeded to take general possession of the city, all its important public buildings and locations being occupied, despite the persistent fire kept up by sharpshooters, or "snipers," from housetops and other places of vantage.

United States army in Vera Cruz.


The most active firing of the 21st had come from an old tower at one time used as a light-house, but a few shots from one of the warships in the harbor soon put this ancient stronghold out of commission. On the 22nd a number of naval cadets and others concealed in the Naval College fired at short range on a party of American sailors. Seeking places of shelter, the bluejackets signalled to the Prairie  and Chester in the harbor. Those vessels at once opened upon the building with their five and six-inch guns, and parts of the walls were soon tumbled upon the heads of the occupants, of whom a considerable number were killed, the remainder taking flight.

The intention of seizing Tampico was no longer entertained, one city being deemed enough to hold with the force at hand. In fact, fears were entertained that the men holding Vera Cruz might be endangered by an attack in force upon them by the army under General Maas, and it was decided to reinforce the marines and bluejackets without delay by a strong military contingent from Galveston. General Funston, a hero of the Philippine war, was chosen to command this expedition, the first section of which, consisting of a brigade of three regiments, embarked on the night of the 23rd.

The effect of the decisive act of seizing Vera Cruz soon made itself widely felt throughout Mexico. Huerta on 22nd sought to enlist the people in his support by issuing a proclamation in which it was denounced as a "war on a free people," and amnesty was offered to all who should join him in defence of their mutual country. Carranza, the Constitutionalist chief, took a similar stand, declaring the American act one of hostility to the Mexican people and calling on the United States to withdraw its forces from Vera Cruz. An immediate result of his defiant attitude was an order restoring the prohibition against commerce in military stores. The United States did not propose to furnish arms that might used against its own soldiers.

Villa, the chief leader of the Constitutionalist army, lost no time in expressing an opposite view. He declared that the action of the United States was not an injury but an aid to the revolutionary cause and a few days later he held a probably stormy interview with Carranza. Whatever the kind of argument that the redoubtable Villa used, it proved effective. Carranza declared that which he had said had been misunderstood, and backed down incontinently from the stand he had taken. But the suppression of commerce in military supplies continued. He had done that much harm to his cause.

Navy leaving Vera Cruz


While the events described were taking place in the south, the war went on in the north, and its chief events need here to be described. One effect of the new American attitude was shown on April 24th, when the Federal troops at Nuevo Laredo dynamited and set fire to that city and tried to blow up the railroad bridge across the Rio Grande at that place. This brought them into sharp conflict with the American soldiers stationed on the bridge, who first warned them, and then fired on them when they persisted in placing dynamite on the bridge. An interchange of shots took place, the Mexicans retreating after a number of them had been killed and wounded.

At Tampico the hostile feeling against Americans was shown on the 25th, the warships, with the exception of the cruiser Des Moines, having left the harbor under orders to proceed to Vera Cruz. Encouraged by this movement, bands of Mexicans began to parade the streets, shouting insults at the Americans, who had sought shelter in the principal hotels of the town. An attack on the hotels had been instituted when Captain Von Kohler, of the German cruiser Dresden, sent officers and marines ashore, sternly bidding the mob to disperse. They obeyed and the imperilled Americans were rescued.

Meanwhile the cause of the Constitutionalists was making progress elsewhere. The attack on Tampico had been resumed and the city of Monterey, one of the remaining Federal strongholds in the north, had been taken by the Constitutionalists after a five days' assault, the Federal army being driven out with heavy loss. Previous to this they had seized and imprisoned Philip O. Hanna, the American consul general at that place, and had torn and burnt all the American flags found. Hanna was released from prison by the Constitutionalists after their victory.

American soldiers shooting at Mexican snipers.


On May 6th, news of three important victories for the Constitutionalists reached the United States. Most important of these was the reported defeat of an army of 3,600 Federals at Panazcos, near San Luis Potosi, with the capture of the Federal commander, all the officers of his staff, and 1,800prisoners. The defeat of a strong force of Federals near Saltillo was also reported, with important captures of arms and ammunition. On the west coast Acaponeta, 100 miles south of Mazatlan, was taken, with its garrison and large quantities of ammunition. General Obregon, to whom this success was due, was besieging Mazatlan with a large army and prospects of quick success.

The most important operations, however, were those at Tampico and Saltillo, two cities the capture of which was essential to the Constitutionalists, since the taking of Tampico would give them a port through which munitions might be obtained, while Saltillo was the only important stronghold then held by the Federals in the interior north of San Luis Potosi.

Later advices were to the effect that General Torres, with 8,000 men and twenty field pieces had begun an attack on San Luis Potosi, and that General Villa was at the head of 30,000 men, of which 26,000 would be concentrated in the attack on Saltillo. It was his purpose to surround that city so closely that, in the probable event of its capture, the garrison would find no avenue of escape.

The most immediately important of these operations was the fall of Tampico, which Carranza's forces had for months been seeking to capture. This city is on the Panuco River, some miles above its mouth, and beyond it lie a number of the most prolific petroleum wells in the world. On May 13th, a general assault was made on the city by an army of 6,000 men under General Gonzales, in the face of desperate resistance by the Federals under General Zarogoza. The Constitutionalists advanced under heavy artillery fire and succeeded in driving out their opponents only after a hard and deadly hand to hand encounter in the streets. The losses were very heavy on both sides.

The story of the ill treatment of the United States consul at Monterey was only one among numerous instances of injury and outrage to Americans. Despite the opportunities that had been given to leave the distracted realm of Mexico, very many had remained, held by claims of business and probably fearing no injury while Wilson's "watchful waiting" policy continued. But the sudden change of policy, the seizure of Vera Cruz, and the wave of hostility that succeeded, changed their position of seeming safety into one of imminent peril, and on all sides were evidences of panic flight. Hundreds, thousands, sought safety, making their way by every available channel to the seashore, while Congress hastened to vote a sum of $500,000 to be used for their relief and escape.

The numbers were greater than any one anticipated, and on April 30th the statement was made that approximately 10,000 refugees, mostly Americans, had left Mexico during the preceding week. The state department estimated that practically all Americans had by that time left the republic, but others showed themselves in the succeeding days. Among them were a large number of women and children, some of whom suffered severely.

Many of these came by train to Vera Cruz, having to walk in the tropical heat over the spaces in which the track had been destroyed. Others sought the more southerly port of Puerto Mexico, the line to which remained intact. Still others made their way to the border line in the north and crossed to safety in that direction. Many of them were exposed to insult, injury, petty torture of various kinds. Some were seized, imprisoned, threatened with death, one party escaping only by being crowded into a cattle car, their guides telling the crowd that they were taking them out to be executed. When Mexico City was reached the insults continued. Eggs were thrown at them, their faces were spat upon, and the crowds yelled at them, "murder the gringos." Every party had its own tale of petty torment and. insult to tell and most of them were glad enough to escape with their bare lives.

Fortunately, at the request of the British secretary of legation, Huerta was induced to set free Americans who had been imprisoned and furnish guards for train-loads of fugitives, thus greatly reducing the danger and injury to which they had been exposed.

Meanwhile Vera Cruz was settling down into a more peaceful state as the American occupation became an assured condition and the people began to find that these invaders were disposed to treat them with friendly consideration. On the 24th Admiral Fletcher reported the Mexican losses during the three days of hostile relations at 126 killed and 321 wounded. The American losses were much less, a report made on the 30th giving them at 16 dead and 70 wounded.

A new element was introduced into the situation on the 25th, that of the use of hydro-aeroplanes, the pioneer practical use of this method of observation in the American navy. As for the Mexican citizens of Vera Cruz, no such thing as a flying machine had ever been seen by them before and they rushed into the streets in thousands as the two bird-like machines sailed gracefully away above their heads. Rising to a height of several hundred feet, the aviators swept in curves over the city and sped away across the sandy region to the westward to inspect the region supposed to be occupied by Mexican troops. They were provided with bombs, to be used only in case of their being fired at by the Mexicans. As it proved, however, scarcely a trace of Mexican soldiers was visible. During the days that followed these air pilots made numerous ascents and kept the Americans well informed as to surrounding conditions.

While the city had returned to a comparatively peaceful status, the "snipers" kept up their dangerous work at night, causing so much annoyance that it was ordered that men of this kind, caught with arms in their possession, should be shot on the spot. It became necessary, indeed, to put the city under martial law, with Admiral Fletcher in absolute command, and orders were issued that any kind of unruliness should be visited with sharp and severe punishment, also that all arms in possession of citizens should be turned in by noon of the 26th. The result was a huge heap of guns of all makes and kinds, while the work of the "snipers" ceased, there being thus no occasion for the summary action decreed.

American sailors and marineskilled at Vera Cruz


On the 27th the transports bearing General Funston's brigade reached the harbor of Vera Cruz. The landing of the troops was delayed until the afternoon of the 30th, when, in a brief ceremony, Admiral Fletcher transferred to Funston the shore command. As a result most of the naval forces were returned to their ships and the soldiers, weary of their close quarters on the transports, gladly stepped ashore. In Fletcher's statement of the work done by his men, he said:

"In nine days' work the city of Vera Cruz was occupied by the navy, lawlessness and disorder were suppressed, 11,000 fire-arms taken possession of, and a line of defences established around the city against an army threatening to recapture it. Business was resumed and normal conditions restored. The municipal government of the city has been re-established under the control of its people and a civil government formed to carry out the laws of the State and Federal government. In turning our work over to the army the navy extends its best wishes and good will."

Vera Cruz, roused for a while from its tropical drowsiness by the stirring events narrated, had sunk back into its old conditions of lethargy, its dancing and promenading. There were few evidences that a crisis had come and passed. The shops were open again, gaining profit from the foreign occupants; the women, who had hid in terror from the invaders, were walking safely abroad; even the favorite bull fight was resumed, Americans elbowing Mexicans among its observers. News of the splendid deportment of the Americans and the security of life and property under them quickly spread to the surrounding country and the farmers began to come in with eggs and chickens, fruit and vegetables for sale. But these were only from the immediate vicinity and in the days that followed food grew so scarce that the invaders were obliged in a measure to feed the people, a genuine bread-line being established. Death had been threatened by the Federal leaders to any one caught taking food to Vera Cruz.

Battle of Vera Cruz.


An unpleasant part of the duties devolving upon the invaders was that of investigating the ancient fortress of San Juan de Ulua, long used as a political prison. The conditions found there were horrifying. Among the inmates of its dungeon-like cells were men who had once been prominent but whose names even had been almost forgotten, men who had been in that horrible prison so long that their minds were blank, and their bodies so enfeebled that it became necessary in some instances to transfer them from the prison to the hospital. The appearance of the prisoners was pitiable. Emaciated creatures stumbled feebly forward to thank the inspecting officers for their delivery. When set free they walked about the streets like beings lost in the sunlight. They were clothed in rags and with their matted hair and unkempt beards presented a distressing aspect. No fewer than three hundred and twenty-five prisoners were found with no crime charged against them, and these were set free in a world which had forgotten them, waifs without money and without friends. If for no other reason, the occupation of Vera Cruz was well justified in the release of these victims of a medieval political system.

While Vera Cruz had sunk back into its accustomed calm, its inhabitants regarding the Americans more as a blessing than a curse, there were some evidences of Federals in the district surrounding, but little to show that they amounted to the dignity of an army. The only danger of a hostile dash appeared at the Tejar pumping station, nine miles from Vera Cruz, the focus of the water-supply of that city. Here two companies of marines were on duty, and on May 2nd a Mexican lieutenant and corporal appeared there with a white flag and demanded that the Americans should surrender within ten minutes.

"Hurry right back," was Major Russell's reply. "Do not waste any of the time stipulated."

Apparently some 500 men awaited the report of the officer, but these retired with a few scattering shots. General Funston, on hearing of this incident, immediately sent a strong reinforcement to Major Russell's aid. Other information received was that the railroad to Mexico City had been mined at short intervals and that artillery was being forwarded towards Vera Cruz. At once Funston requested a supply of artillery from the warships and measures were taken for sending a second brigade of troops from Galveston to strengthen his force.

Meanwhile a new situation, of much wider scope, had developed, one looking towards mediation by external nations and an attempted settlement of the hostile relations existing. The difficulty caused by the hasty action of the Tampico colonel had spread into almost a world issue. The offer came on April 25th, from the three great South American Powers, Argentina, Brazil and Chili, known throughout the negotiations as the A-B-C diplomats. These Powers, which like the United States had declined to recognize Huerta, now tendered their good offices as mediators between the United States and the Huerta government. This offer was favorably received by both governments with the suggestion of the American Secretary of State, that the mediators should seek to restore peaceful conditions throughout Mexico and bring that distracted land again into a state of peace and happiness.

The Nations Seek Mediation in Mexico

The 25th of April, 1914, is likely in the future to be looked upon as a date of high importance in American history. Previous to that day the United States stood alone as the great arbiter of the destinies of the American nations, the Latin American republics remaining out of the current of international affairs.

On that date the representatives in Washington of these Powers, Senhor Da Gama, Ambassador from Brazil, Senor Naon, the Argentine Minister, and Senor Suarez, the Chilian Minister, joined in a note to President Wilson in which they proffered their good services in the settlement of the hostile conditions arising from the insult at Tampico to the United States flag. The ministers of several of the smaller American republics, members of the Pan-American Union, joined in the conference that followed, thus adding to its importance.

In his acceptance of this friendly offer, Secretary Bryan broadened the scope of the proposed mediation, proposing that it should seek to restore amicable relations between the warring factions in Mexico and bring that distracted land back to a state of peace and prosperity. He made it known also that the United States government would not accept any mediation of the Mexican situation that did not require the withdrawal of General Huerta from the Presidency and the establishment of a government based upon the terms of the Mexican Constitution.

Horrors of civil war.


General Huerta was duly informed of their offer of mediation, and on the 27th his acceptance of the offer was received by Senor Riano, the Spanish Minister at Washington, and communicated by him to the South American diplomats. This indirect method was due to the fact that neither Argentina, Brazil nor Chile had recognized Huerta as President of Mexico, they following the lead of the United States in this respect.

The next step taken by the A. B. C. mediators—so-called from the initial letters of their countries' names—was to acquaint General Carranza, the head of the Revolutionists, with what had been done, and to request his co-operation.

Hostilities between the Mexican Federal forces and the United States forces at Vera Cruz had ceased, and it was desirable that the Constitutionalists should take part in this truce and cease warlike operations during its continuance.

Carranza had already accepted the proposed mediation so far as the hostile relations between the United States and the Huerta government were concerned, but when the plan was extended to bring the rebel operations under the terms of the truce, he refused to take part in it. His armies were then actively in the field. Tampico was under assault and likely soon to fall. Everywhere his troops were on the march or in active preparation, with the capture of Mexico City as their ultimate object. He did not propose to withdraw while within sight of his goal and thus give his foes an opportunity to recuperate.

Such was the state of affairs on May 5th, when it was made public that the envoys had decided to hold a formal convention on Canadian soil, at Niagara Falls, May 18th being fixed as the day of meeting. The mediators consisted of the representatives of the three South American republics to whom the movement was due, Justice Joseph R. Lamar and Frederick Lehman on the part of the United States, and three envoys chosen by President Huerta. These comprised Augustin Rodriquez, one of the leading jurists of Mexico, D. Emilia Rabaza, a prominent official, and Luis Elguero, president of the Mexican national railways.