Maximilian in Mexico - George Upton


As there may be some curiosity as to the later history of those who so shamefully betrayed the Emperor Maximilian, a word as to their fate may not be amiss.

His murderer, Juarez, proved himself unable to restore peace and tranquillity in the country. He attained his ambition, however, when he was again made President, and this sufficed for him. He did not long survive the victim of his cruelty and revenge, dying, in Mexico, July 18, 1872. His friend, Escobedo, received from General Mejia his only son as a legacy—one that was to prove a constant reminder of his treachery. Twice the Juarist chief had owed his life to Mejia's generosity, yet he had not hesitated in turn to sign the latter's death warrant.

Napoleon Third's subsequent career has passed into history. Losing battle after battle, and finally his throne, in the war of 1870, he surrendered his sword to King William First of Prussia on the second of September of that year and was taken to Wilhelmshohe at Cassel as a prisoner of war, where he received very different treatment from that accorded the captive Emperor in Queretaro. After the conclusion of peace he retired to England, where he died at Chiselhurst.

A yet more tragic fate befell Marshal Francois Achille Bazaine. During the Franco-Prussian War he was besieged in Metz by Prince Friedrich Karl and forced to surrender with about one hundred and seventy thousand men. He was taken to Cassel, where he shared Napoleon's imprisonment. Accused by the French not only of cowardice and incapacity but also of treason, he was tried by court-martial and condemned to death. There being no blood-thirsty Juarez in France, however, the sentence was commuted to twenty years' imprisonment on the Island of Sainte Marguerite, near Cannes. He succeeded in escaping, with the help of his wife, and fled to Madrid, where he lived in poverty and obscurity and died in 1888, forgotten by the world and deserted by his wife, who returned to her native Mexico.

Marquez escaped from the city of Mexico, hiding the first night, it is said, in a coffin, and, continuing his flight at daylight toward the north, succeeded in reaching Texas. His subsequent history is unknown. After betraying the imperial army, Lopez prepared to enjoy the reward of his treason, but it was flatly refused him. Despised alike by friend and foe, and even by his own wife, he led a wretched existence, employing himself in vain attempts to vindicate his treachery.

Doubtless Maximilian made many grave mistakes, but from the foregoing pages it is plain that both he and his wife went to Mexico with the noblest aims and full of enthusiasm for the mission, to the difficulties of which they finally succumbed. Yet the sacrifice was not wholly in vain, for the last struggle has served to embalm the memory of the Emperor Maximilian First of Mexico as a brave and chivalrous prince, while that of his enemies is held in merited contempt.

On the spot where Maximilian and his two generals so gallantly met their fate on the nineteenth of June, 1867, a memorial chapel has been erected, to which throngs of Mexicans of all classes annually make a pilgrimage on the anniversary of that day, as indeed they did previously, when only a simple gravestone marked the place of death.