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leaves like ours, and not on rolls. passion, as conquerors, was to posHorses were unknown, but posts sess themselves of the precious ores. were established throughout the The great nobles were killed or deempire, with relays of runners, who spoiled,—the priesthood, the deposiwith marvellous speed transmitted taries of the national learning and the orders of the Emperor. So traditions, were persecuted and masfleet were these runners, and so ad sacred ; and the books were gathered mirably organised the system, that together, and destroyed in the the fish which one day were swim- flames. The Indians were hurried ming in the waters of the Pacific or off to work in gangs in the mines. Atlantic, were next day served up The great cities were depopulated, at the royal table in the capital and crumbled into ruins. The forThe beauty of their goldsmiths' ests were felled or burnt, partly bework was praised as unrivalled by cause they afforded shelter to the Cortez, even when sending the very natives, partly in imitation of the articles to his Emperor, who would treeless plains of Castile; and the judge of them for himself. The soil, denuded of its natural covercotton plant was cultivated, and its ing, became arid and barren, and snowy pods were woven, and formed no longer attracted or retained as the clothing of the people. The before the fertilising showers. The vine was unknown, but they found population is now probably not onea substitute in the sweet juices of third of what it was in the time the agave ; while its pulp was con- of Montezuma. And by partially verted into paper, and its fibres draining the lakes of the valley, the into rope. They had explored the Spaniards have only uncovered an mineral treasures of the mountains, expanse of salt-impregnated soiland possessed gold, silver, copper, a disfigurement to the eye, and tin, and even iron. In astronomi- utterly useless for cultivation. cal science, also, they were well ad- But this did not complete the vanced ; and to the astonishment tale of ruin which has befallen of the Spaniards, they possessed a Mexico. In course of time evil calendar more perfect than that of days came for the Whites themselves, Greece and Rome, or even than that and they began to suffer disasters at which prevailed in Europe under their own hands, as if in divine Francis I. and Charles V.
vengeance for those which they had This spectacle of grandeur and so ruthlessly inflicted on the natives. prosperity which met the eyes of The Government of the motherCortez and the other chroniclers of country became oppressive to the the Conquest disappeared like a Spanish population of Mexico, and dream. The numerous and civilised when they threw it off, they, only population dwindled and sank into fell into worse evils.) Revolution barbarism. The very face of the after revolution, each accompanied country became changed. It was by a civil war, took place; and the not a Government studious to pre- country became a prey to military serve civilisation and order that factions. Private adventurers set made the Conquest, but a band of themselves in arms against the Goybigoted and rapacious adventurers. ernment of the hour, and if their inThe administrative system of the surrection proved successful, their Aztec emperors fell into decay ; first care was to enrich themselves the reign of order was succeeded by and their followers at the expense of chaos and rapacity; cultivation was the rest of the community. Peaceful neglected, the people enslaved, the industry went to the wall; wealthy collections of science scattered, and citizens found themselves singled the libraries of literature destroyed. out for extortion; and commercial “ To the mines !” was the cry of enterprise gradually became exthe Spaniards. Their only thought, tinct. The profession of arms—if as Christians, was to obliterate and such a title can be applied to what destroy the pagan past; their only was simply brigandage — was the only one which prospered, and was permitted to exist. He considered eagerly followed by the whole scum it probable, also, that the better of the population. Robbery and classes in Mexico would avail themmurder became even more common selves of the presence of the Allied than revolts. The whole country expedition to establish a Governwas a prey to licentious marauders, ment in accordance with their own and its whole strength was exhaust wishes, and the requirements of ed in internal commotions. One civilisation. He did not avow his half of its territory was given up convictions on these points, -at to the encroaching ambition of the least, not to England ; but he trustUnited States. Texas, with its ed that, once fairly engaged in the prairies of exuberant fertility, and enterprise, his allies would see the California, with its immense mines necessity of proceeding further than of gold, were wrung from Mexico was originally agreed on. In truth by force of arms; and the vast ter- the convention was a blunder if ritory now known as New Mexico its terms were not to be exceeded. was ceded to theoverbearing Cabinet What cared a ruler like Juarez for of Washington for a trifling sum of a seizure of a seaport or two? And money. Mexico was fast disappear- how ignoble would be the attitude ing from the map. The still-exist of the three great Powers if their ing half of the country seemed forces were simply to act as taxready to be absorbed as soon as the gatherers at Vera Cruz and Matapeople of the United States felt moros, while a full-blood Indian the desire for further annexations like Juarez refused all redress, and Mexico was perishing by her own openly set them at defiance! But sins, when, fortunately for her, some when the question of a direct inof her own sins gave rise to an inter- tervention came to an issue, Spain, vention on the part of other Powers seeing that France would take the who had no selfish ambition to lead, withdrew in pique, and Enggratify at her expense, and which land patched up a useless treaty was converted by the Emperor with Juarez, and recalled her squad. Napoleon into a means of rescuing ron. But the Emperor adhered to her from impending destruction. bis purpose. As usual, he had
When the Mexicans murdered formed his plans and counted the and despoiled one another, they cost beforehand, and he would not were not likely to be more tender recede. He could not have reckoned towards foreign settlers. Several that England would willingly enBritish and other foreign merchants gage in an intervention such as he and traders were murdered or de designed, and so opposed to her spoiled of their goods; the debts principles of policy; but doubtless due to foreign creditors were re- he did not expect to be left so sumpudiated, and the claims of foreign marily and entirely to his own reGovernments were contumeliously sources. But the die was cast. ignored. In these circumstances— The French troops could not be alapparently at the suggestion of lowed to remain at Vera Cruz, exthe Emperor Napoleon-England, posed to the deadly malaria of the France, and Spain agreed to act in coast-region. They must either adconcert with a view to obtain re- vance into the interior, or be withdress for their wrongs. That the drawn at once. The advance was Emperor Napoleon meditated from ordered; the troops ascended to the outset an intervention in the the edge of the table-land, where internal affairs of Mexico is obvious the climate was temperate and from the tenor of his instructions healthy; but there the march was to Admiral Gravière. He foresaw stayed. The force was found quite that it was hopeless to expect re- inadequate to undertake a further dress from the Mexican Govern- advance; for some months the troops ment as long as that Government- bad a difficulty in maintaining or rather that rule of anarchy-was their intrenched position at Orizaba; and even after reinforcements ar- have gone on as before. A foreigner rived, and the advance was resumed, was needed for the throne. “Let the fortunes of the expedition trem- us wipe out the past; let us have a bled in the scales before the walls clear stage; let us start afresh." of Puebla. The defence made by Such ought to be, and such in great the Mexican garrison was unexpect- part is, the sentiment of all the edly obstinate; it seemed as if the better classes in Mexico. But the spirit of the defenders of Saragossa chief of the new empire must not still existed among their country- be a parvenu. All nations prefer to men in the New World. But with , have for ruler a man born in the the fall of Puebla resistance ceased. purple, a prince of royal lineage,The French advanced, unopposed, to 'a man accustomed to royalty, and the capital. Conciliatory proclama removed from the jealousies which tions were addressed to the people, attend a commoner who is suddenly and soon every element of organised raised to be a king. Such a prince resistance to the invaders melted is the Archduke Maximilian, a away and disappeared.
member of one of the oldest royal It was a sagacious act on the part families in Europe, and the lives of of Napoleon to associate with him, whose ancestors form part of the in the outset of the enterprise, the public history of Europe. Moreonly two Powers in Europe who lover he was not inexperienced in might have regarded his policy in the practical duties of government, Mexico with distrust. He was and he had discharged those duties equally careful to leave no ground creditably and with ability. We for international jealousy in the trust that in the wider and higher selection which he made of a ruler sphere of duty to which he is now for the regenerated empire. His called, the Archduke will justify great uncle, in the heyday of his the best expectations which have success, surrounded France with been formed of him. Many diffiaffiliated kingdoms, placing mem- culties will attend the outset of his bers of his own family upon the career, although they are not such thrones which his conquests had as should daunt any monarch of rendered vacant. Napoleon III. ordinary resolution and intelligence. does not seem disposed to imitate He is a foreigner, he enters Mexico his example. His cousin Prince escorted by a foreign army; and Napoleon, although notoriously “a foreign troops will for several Prince in search of a crown," was years remain to support his throne. not chosen to fill the throne of But he does not come as a conMexico; and Prince Murat was queror. He does not seek to left to dream of possibilities which destroy the past, but to restore it. might one day place him on the He succeeds to a blank in the throne of Southern Italy. The annals of Mexico, and he will seek Emperor made a good choice in to make his reign a continuation of selecting the Archduke Maximilian the prosperity which preceded that of Austria Mexico could furnish blank, and to raise the country to no man suitable for the throne. a higher position in the world than The country had been in such a it ever enjoyed before. A brilliant state of chaos and revolution for future is before him, if he prove forty years, that the only prominent equal to the occasion. It is in his personages were unscrupulous ad- power to leave behind him a disventurers, dishonoured by their tinguished name in history,—to previous career, and in whom no found a great empire,—and to confidence could be placed. If any restore to the civilised world one Mexican had been raised to the of its portions which had relapsed throne, his name would have had into misery and barbarism. no power, he would have com- While thus carrying out his manded no respect. Pronuncia- “Mexican idea" with admirable mentos and insurrections would circumspection, the Emperor of the
French took care that the import- great risk of failure. The proance and true character of his de- vinces of Sonora and Lower Calisign should be generally known fornia, especially, with their rich No man knows better than he the mines, will tempt the cupidity of the power which a policy derives from Americans in California; and these the support of public opinion. He provinces lie so remote from the wished to get the moral sense of capital, and the means of communiEurope on his side, and to prove to cation with them are so extremely France that the “idea" was one defective, that the Mexican Governwhich was worthy of a great nation ment will have much difficulty in dewhich aspires to be the leader of fending them in the event of their civilisation. He intrusted the task being attacked. In order to secure of exposition to one of his Senators her north-western provinces, adjoinwhose character for impartiality is ing the Pacific, from attack, Mexico as well known as his high intel- must have a fleet, or else obtain the lectual powers, and who enjoys a assistance of a naval squadron from celebrity greater than any which France. If the civil war in the can be conferred by the favour of United States terminates, as it Courts. Michel Chevalier is the seems likely to do, in a permanent ablest political economist on the disruption of the Union, the MexiContinent,-he is a man of facts, can Government may find support and of sound and careful reasoning; in one or other of the rival sections so that he was eminently fitted to into which its colossal neighbour be an expositor of the imperial will break up. But this is a very policy upon whose judgment and doubtful support to rely upon; and integrity the public could rely. He if the Mexicans are wise, they will has produced a work upon Mexico* act as men who know they are enwhich goes far beyond the scope of joying a breathing-time, and that ere the present intervention, and which long they must confide in their own gives a clear and solid exposition energies to defend their territories of the condition and history of the and maintain their independence. country from the earliest times of As regards the immediate diffiwhich we have any knowledge culties which surround the new down to the present day. Although Government, M. Chevalier eviwarmly approving the motive which dently considers that the most seri. led to the Napoleonic intervention ous is that which may arise from in Mexico, he nowhere shows the the conduct of the Pope-from the slightest trace of the spirit of a par- policy of the very Church which tisan. He views everything clearly the Emperor takes under his special and dispassionately, and takes full protection. In order to regenerate account of the difficulties which Mexico, says M. Chevalier, it is inbeset this attempt to establish a dispensable that the Government stable Mexican empire.
should secularise and take into The greatest danger which besets its own management the immense the new empire, manifestly arises property of the Church ; by which from the ill-will with which the means the finances of the State Americans of the United States would be placed on a prosperous will regard an undertaking which footing, without really impairing has for its object to rob them of the resources of the clerical body. their prey. Either the new Mexi- But the Pope has hitherto shown can empire must be established on himself strongly opposed to any solid foundations before the termi- such project; and M. Chevalier nation of the civil war in the United states that the influence of the clerStates, or the project will run a gy is so great among the Mexicans,
• Mexico, Ancient and Modern.' By M. Michel Chevalier, Senator, and Member of the Institute of France.
VOL. XCVI.—NO. DLXXXV.
that no Government can secure less be drawn into the country. an adequate amount of popularity The mines of the precious metals which sets itself in opposition to will likewise engage the eager atthe Head of the Church. Is, then, tention of the Government, as the the Pope to make the required con- most promising of all the immediate cession, or is the new Emperor to resources of the State. Two-thirds find himself surrounded by disaffec- of all the silver circulating in the tion, arising from the great influ- world has been produced from the ence of the clergy over the minds mines of Mexico. Nevertheless, of the people? Before embarking the mineral wealth of the country for his new empire, the Archduke can hardly be said to have yet been visited Rome to obtain the bene- explored; and probably Humboldt diction of the Pope, and also doubt was right in his conjecture, that if less to endeavour to procure a the mines of Mexico be adequately favourable settlement of this im- worked, Europe will again be inunportant question. We have not dated with silver as in the sixteenth heard that the Archduke succeeded century. In any case we may exin the latter and more important pect that, ere long, the produce of part of his mission. He got a bless- the Mexican mines will to a great ing on his voyage, but, probably, a extent redress the balance of the non possumus as regards all else. precious metals, and prevent any
Ere this, the new Emperor will derangement in the relative value have landed at Vera Cruz, amid of gold and silver by adding largesalvoes of artillery, and will have ly to the supplies of the latter commenced his royal progress to metal. Let us hope also that, as the capital. On the way, he will soon as the finances of the State have abundant evidence of the permit, the Emperor will seek to fallen condition of the country; and restore his capital—the noblest city when the magnificent valley of Ana- which the Spaniards ever built in huac opens upon him, he will see the New World—to its former how ample are the triumphs which splendour, and make it worthy await him if he succeeds in his of its magnificent site, which is mission. Doubtless his first act hardly rivalled, and certainly not will be to assemble a council of surpassed, by any in the world. the notables, the leading men in the Let him do in some degree for country, to ascertain from them the Mexico what Napoleon has accomwants of the nation, and to obtain plished for Paris. Let him employ their co-operation in the measures the crowds of beggars which disfirequisite to reorganise the state gure the streets in works of embeland regenerate the people. Order lishment and public utility-theremust first be established, and the by arousing them to a life of honest administrative system put upon an industry, and at the same time efficient footing. The work of re- making his renovated capital a generation will necessarily be a beautiful and stately symbol of the slow one, and years must elapse be- happy change which in like manner, fore much progress can be made we trust, will be accomplished in in awaking the energies and de- the country at large. veloping the resources of the coun- If the new Emperor has difficul. try. Mexico is almost roadless, and ties to encounter, he has also many the cost and difficulty of transport advantages. Although a stranger, at present are serious obstacles to a majority of the people will receive the development of the export him as a monarch of their own trade. A railway from Vera Cruz choice, and the remainder will to the capital will probably be the readily acquiesce in the new regime. first great public work undertaken He has no native rivals : there is by the new Government; and in no old sovereignty to be overborne the execution of this work, foreign —no old traditions of government capital and enterprise will doubt to be encountered and supplanted.