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   Chapter 20 MEXICO AND THE MEXICANS No.20

The War With Mexico, Volume I (of 2) By Justin H. Smith Characters: 14491

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:03


(To the sources mentioned below may be added a residence of more than a year in Mexico, during which the author met people of numerous categories and made every possible effort to understand the national traits.)

1. Physical Mexico. U. S. War Dept., Monograph. Bureau of Amer. Republics, Mexico. Encyclop?dia Britannica, "Mexico." Numerous books of travel mentioned in note 8.

2. Population. The census which served as a basis for the elections of 1841 and some later years gave the population as 7,016,000 (Dublán, Legislación, v, 152, gives the figures by states). The American governor of Jalapa, Col. Hughes, 257wrote, Jan. 28, 1848, that according to "authentic Mexican official documents" the population was about 7,500,000, of whom 2,500,000 were under seventeen years of age, 500,000 were over sixty, and 300,000 were idlers, beggars, etc., incapable of work. The population of the United States in 1840 was 17,069,453. Observador Judicial, 1842. Consideraciones, 5. Journal des Débats, Sept. 9, 1847. 261Mémoire. Macgregor, Progress, i, 317. Ward, Mexico, i, 28. Mora, Obras, i, 54. México á través, iii, 19; iv, p. vii. Relaciones, circular, Aug. 9, 1847. 82Decree, Dec. 16, 1847. Diario, May 4, 1847, claimed 8,000,000.

3. Racial divisions and characteristics. México á través, iii, 18–21. Humboldt, Essai Polit., i, 367, 381, 411–6; ii, 1–4, 9, 45, 48–52. 52Poinsett, no. 166, March 10, 1829. Mayer, War, 13, 16. Commerc. Review, ii, 165–76. Consideraciones, 5–7. García, Conquista, 4, 370–2, 397. Thompson, Recolls., 7. Poinsett, Notes, 161. 13Hervey, Description of Mexico. 261Mémoire. L?wenstern, Le Mexique, 166, 174–89. Mora, Obras, i, 54–6. Cuevas, Porvenir, 12–14. 178Davis, diary. 162Conner to wife, Mar. 4, 1846. Diccionario Universal (Mexicanos). 13Morier, no. 10, Feb. 10, 1825. Eco del Comercio, Mar. 22, 1848.

Technically the child of a Spaniard and an Indian was a "mestizo," the child of a Spaniard and a mestizo was a "castizo," and the child of a Spaniard and a castizo was a "criollo" (creole); but "criollo" came to include all these classes and also pure whites born in Mexico. As very few Spanish women went to Mexico, the mixture of blood was practically inevitable. As is well known the Spanish blood itself is a singular mixture. Hence the Mexican was naturally peculiar.

4. The class divisions. Otero, Cuestión, 37, 47–51. 13Morier, no. 12, Feb. 10, 1825. Lerdo de Tejada, Apuntes, i, 232. 26lMémoire. Humboldt, Essai Polit., i, 391–5, 400–1, 429–31; ii, 40. Poinsett, Notes, 162. Constituent Cong. of Mex., Address. Consideraciones, 18, 19. Mora, Obras, i, 54–6. Paredes, Papers, 136. 52Poinsett, no. 166. México á través, iii, 18. L?wenstern, Le Mexique, 188–9.

5. Church, army, civil service. Mayer, War, 20–1, 132. Otero, Cuestión, 38–46, 59, 60, 71–3. Mora, Obras, i, pp. vii, xcvii-cxviii, ccxlvii; ii, 122–8. 261Mémoire. L?wenstern, Le Mexique, 38, 94, 117–28. Humboldt, Polit. Essay (London, 1811), i, 231–2. México á través, ii, 896; iii, 23; iv, 149, 447, 639. Zavala, Revoluciones, i, 37. Macgregor, Progress, i, 637, 642. Thompson, Recolls., 41, 53, 101–3, 169–74. 52Poinsett, nos. 2, 12, 36, 55, 166 (May 28; Aug. 5, 1825; Feb. 18; Aug. 26, 1826; March 10, 1829). Consideraciones, 6, 7, 12, 26–30, 37, 39–42. 13Ashburnham, Oct. 3, 1837; July 26, 1838. Semmes, Service, 14–5, 21. 11Martin, Feb. 1; July 20, 1827; Dec. 25, 1828. 11Cochelet, June 6; Nov. 20, 1829. Correspondant, April 15; July 15, 1846. Calderón, Life, i, 337, 408. 13Hervey, Description. Picayune, April 22, 1843. Bocanegra, Memorias, i, 32. Tornel, Rese?a, 19–21, 84. 11Despatch to the French govt., about June, 1823 (anon.). 13Morier, no. 13, Feb. 10, 1825. 13Morier and Ward, no. 1, April 10, 1825. 13Ward, no. 37, Apr. 29, 1826. 13Pakenham, nos. 17, Jan. 30, 1830; 25, Feb. 26, 1841; 77, Aug. 29, 1842. 13Bankhead, nos. 73, Aug. 29, 1844; 56, Apr. 29, 1846. Memoria de ... Relaciones, Dec., 1846. Richmond Enquirer, Dec. 30, 1845. Mobile Commerc. Register, Aug. 9, 1845. Veracruzano Libre, Dec. 27, 1845. Revue de Paris, Dec., 1844. Memoria de ... Guerra, Nov. 7, 1823, 17, 18. Balbontín, Invasión, 75, 77. Id., Estado Militar, 58. 375Perry to J. Y. Mason, Nov. 16, 1846. Búlnes, Grandes Mentiras, 182. Rivero, Méx. en 1842, 25, 137–9. Ward, Mexico, i, 307–17, 330–40. London Times, Nov. 11, 1845.

According to Otero, an able editor and statesman, the income of the Church represented in 1829 a capital of $127,000,000, besides the buildings, etc., used for worship and for the housing of ecclesiastics; and practically none of its property was taxed. Of its wealth, large for any period but huge for that day, $18,000,000 were invested in city and country real estate; and consequently there was an army of agents looking after Church interests in all quarters, and a great number of proprietors and financiers were closely associated with the clericals. One may say, reported a French diplomatic agent, "that religion does not exist [in Mexico], for its influence is nowhere felt"; and in truth, as an ardent Roman Catholic said in Le Correspondant of Paris in 1846, that country needed to be evangelized anew. Trist: "The lazy, ignorant, and stupid monks, whose views do not extend beyond the round of purely animal enjoyments, and include no esprit de corps save pecuniary greed mixed with an idol worship fanaticism" (52no. 18, Oct. 25, 1847). Ramírez, México, 219: Christianity merely gross idolatry here. The Mexican church stood naturally in opposition to the government, for both claimed the right of ecclesiastical patronage. The influence of the Church was lessened by Leo XII, who exhorted the Mexicans to return to Spain (México á través, iv, 149).

350Weber: "If the Mexican soldier has something to eat, he eats it; if not, he goes without. That is all." Diario, May 20, 1847: The army has been burdened with enough generals and field officers for the army Napoleon led against Russia. (24,000 officers) Duflot de Mofras, Explor., i, 20. ($21,000,000) 52Slidell to Buchanan, Jan. 14, 1846. Negrete, Invasión, iv, app., 400. Eco del Comercio, Mar. 22, 1848. 11Martin: The army belongs to the first who "gives it money or promises it plunder" (Dec. 25, 1828). 13Doyle, no. 81, Oct. 30, 1843. Don Simplicio, July 19, 1846. Nacional, Jan. 19, 1848.

6. Justice, education, the press. Zavala, Revoluciones, i, 35, 396; ii, 393. Thompson, Recolls., 20–4, 147–52. London Times, Jan. 8, 1846. 13Ward, no. 58, confid., April 18, 1827. 13Pakenham, nos. 39, May 27, 1836; 5, Jan. 25, 1841. 13Bankhead, no. 54, May 30, 1845. 13O'Gorman to Pakenham, Jan. 19, 1835. Pakenham, Nov. 23, 1834, separate; no. 8, March 8, 1835. 56W. S. Parrott, Oct. 11, 1845. 52Jones, June 1, 1837; nos. 168, Oct. 30, 1838; 252, May 5, 1839. Leclerc in Revue des Deux Mondes, March 1, 1840, p. 638. 11French vice-consul, Mex., Aug. 19, 1829; Feb. 3, 1830. Tornel, Rese?a, 288. Consideraciones, 6, 7, 12–4, 43, 48. Memorias de ... Relaciones, Jan., 1825; Feb., 1828; Jan., 1831; May, 1833; Dec, 1846. Memorias, min. of justice, 1833, 1835, 1845. Ward, Mexico, i, 337. 52Poinsett, no. 166. Constit. Cong, of Mex., Address. Liberal Moderado, Aug. 4, 1846. Mora, Obras, i, pp. clxxxviii-cxcvii. L?wenstern, Le Mexique, 109–16

. Lavalles, Etudes, 31–3. Villar, Proyecto. Calderón, Life, i, 195, 340–2. Esparza, Informe. Memorias, min. of treas., May, 1833; July, 1845. Memorias, min. of pub. instr., Jan., 1844; July, 1844; March, 1845. Macgregor, Progress, i, 637.

For a long time after 1821 only one slight attempt was made to improve the old judicial methods, and that was a failure. 11Vice-consul of France, Aug. 19, 1829: "Justice is so venal, that with money one could have the victim arrested and the criminal rewarded." In 1836 the British minister reported the opinion of an able Mexican lawyer that certain important court proceedings were nothing but "a conspiracy authorized and supported by judicial formulas, one more illegal than another." Mexican minister of justice, 1835: "On all sides is heard a unanimous outcry against the bad administration of justice" (Memoria). At a public meeting, Aug. 13, 1846, Pedro Zubieta said: "What have been thus far the judiciary and the magistracy? A shameful market, in which those august names have put Justice up at auction" (Diario, Sept. 19). The gov. of Michoacán 76wrote, Nov. 28, 1845: I am unable to prevent some judges from favoring criminals. Alamán reported secretly to Congress in 1830: The tribunals ensure impunity to criminals (Pakenham, no. 25, Mar. 25, 1830). Ramírez, Mexico, 225: Our magistrates are usually insignificant (hombrecitos), "vigorous to persecute, feeble to command, and incapable of serving as models of a just and severe impartiality." The reports of the American ministers and consuls were full of similar complaints. Once when our consul reminded the minister of foreign affairs that it was the constitutional duty of the Executive to have the laws faithfully administered, the latter replied, "Yes, but it is impossible." In 1838 France took strong ground against the miscarriages of justice in the Mexican courts.

The Lancastrian system of pupil helpers was tried in the schools; but it failed, for nobody understood it practically. The educational authorities gave ear to bright young men who had merely picked up a few ideas on the boulevards of Europe, and wasted their time in theorizing and making projects. We have become, said a thoughtful writer in March, 1848, the most persistent of charlatans, glad to talk on any subject without understanding it, and ready to try all sorts of theories, which vanish like smoke as soon as put into practice.

7. Industries, trade, means of communication. Revista Económica, Dec. 14, 31, 1843. Macgregor, Progress, i, 308, 670, 674. Ward, Mexico, ii, 3–170. México á través, iii, 18. London Times, Aug. 6; Nov. 11; Dec. 6, 1845. 52Thompson, no. 4, July 30, 1842. 13Ward, nos. 45, 99 (May 20; Aug. 20, 1826). 261Mémoire. Gazette d'Etat de Prusse, Nov. 11, 1823. Consideraciones, 8–12, 14–8. Otero, Cuestión, 31–4, 46, 49, 50, 97–8. Pakenham, nos. 25, Mar. 25, 1830; 28, June 11, 1833; 61, July 8, 1841; 4, 49, 123, Jan. 6, June 2, Dec. 25, 1842; 5, Jan. 24, 1843. 13Ashburnham, no. 3, Jan. 31, 1838. 13Bankhead, nos. 44, June 29, 1844; 6 Jan. 29, 1845; 8, Jan. 30, 1846. 261aMémoire. 52Poinsett, reply to Mexico state (with his no. 176, Aug. 7, 1829). Memorias, Relaciones, Feb., 1830; March, 1835; Dec, 1846. Memoria, min. of justice, March, 1845. Mayer. War. 13. Poinsett, no. 166, March 10, 1829. Constituent Cong., Address, 1824. Thompson, Recolls., 35. Journal des Débats, March 16, 1844; Feb. 18, 1845; April 4; Sept. 9, 1847. Bocanegra, Memorias, ii, 162–3. 52Dimond, no. 273, Nov. 4, 1845. 11Martin, Feb. 1, 1827. Banco de Avío, Informe. Memoria, min. of interior, Jan., 1838. Alamán, Memoria. Robertson, Remins., 88. 76Mora y Villamil, report from superior board of engineer corps, Nov. 15, 1845. McSherry, El Puchero, 147. Lawton, Artill. Officer, 254. Diario, July 20–5, 1846 (report on the state of agriculture).

The American minister stated in 1829 that the cost of producing crops in Mexico was double that in the United States and the expense of marketing them fourfold. Besides, the farmers had suffered blow after blow during the revolution and the succeeding commotions. The system of "forced loans," so familiar in Mexico, consisted in assigning to corporations and individuals-presumably according to their wealth-amounts that they were required to hand over in exchange for promissory notes, which the government did not expect to pay. The prohibition of many foreign articles reduced the public revenues and promoted smuggling.

8. Country and town: manners and mora's. Thompson, Recolls., 39, 40, 82, 90, 93, 101–2, 115, 125–8, 132, 135, 160, 163, 217. Calderón, Life, i, 80, 124, 127, 138, 140, 150–1, 162, 165, 175, 273, 314, 336, 340–5, 395; ii, 126 (Alamán), 137 (village), 237, 247. Ward, no. 52, secret and confid., Nov. 10, 1825. 52Thompson, no. 1, 1842. 52Poinsett, nos. 2, May 28, 1825; 94, July 8, 1827; 166, Mar. 10, 1829. 52Butler, July 9, 1834. Arróniz, Manual, 109, 123, 131, 161. L?wenstern, Le Mexique, 36, 47–8, 59, 130, 133, 137, 140, 142, 147–9, 151–4, 159, 163–6, etc. Decaen, México, 22. Rivera, Los Mexicanos Pintados. Memorial Histórico, Jan. 16, 20, 1846. México á través, iv, 291. Rivera, Gobernantes, ii, 142. Revue Independante, Apr. 25, 1845. Revue de Paris, Dec, 1844. Diario, Jan. 24, 1841. Davis, Autobiog., 102. Mayer, War, 14. Bravo in Boletín Oficial, Apr. 30, 1846. Ruxton, Adventures (1847), 20, 25, 34–6, 39, 40, 44, 46, 59. Robertson, Remins., 104–6, 116, 122. Mason, Pictures, i, 17, 19, 110, 201; ii, 23, etc. Vigneaux, Voyage, 286. Orbigny, Voyage, 413, 422, 425, 428. Robertson, Visit, ii, 50, 58, 61–2, 147. Commerc. Review, ii, 165–76. 11Cochelet, Sept. 29, Nov. 15, 1829. 13Forbes (Tepic), July 2, 1846. Kendall, Narrative (1844), ii, 145, 317, 335–6. Tudor, Tour, ii, 266, 328. Stapp, Prisoners, 133–4. Valois, Le Mexique, 86–7. Delta, June 12; Nov. 6, 1847. Sierra, Evolution, passim. 218Henshaw narrative. (Apathy) Pakenham, no. 15, Mar. 21, 1834. Morier and Ward, no. 6, Apr. 30, 1825 ("That extraordinary Compound of Ignorance, Suspicion, and Fanaticism, which now forms the most striking Feature of the National Character." "Alamán and Esteva represented that we were dealing with Children, and must suit our Arguments to their Capacity.") Ward, nos. 20, 60, July 12; Nov. 23, 1825. Zavala, Revoluciones, ii, 152–3, 365. McSherry, El Puchero, 158.

A ministerial report submitted to Congress in Jan., 1844, showed how a Mexican could regard himself: "If the present epoch begins to be brilliant in Europe, Mexico finds herself still more advanced. She has learned from the wise men of all the world but has contemned their errors.... The virtues of the Mexican spring from a heart not withered by the pleasures of sense, a heart still expanding with generous enthusiasm. His soul rises to sublime regions; it knows how to feel; it knows how to understand; it knows the celestial origin of virtue; and it appreciates all that itself contains of spontaneity and magnanimity.... This delicious country breathes into our sentiments the suavity of its climate; this ardent sun kindles the beautiful flame that makes men love one another; and amid the sweetness of a natural world so magnificent and sublime the germ of heroic merits is formed within us."

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