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by Charles Reginald Enock
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THE SOUTH AMERICAN SERIES EDITED BY MARTIN HUME, M.A.



[Frontispiece: AN IDYLL OF MEXICO: INDIAN CARRIERS, RUINED CHURCH, AND SNOW-CLAD PEAK OF ORIZABA.]



MEXICO

ITS ANCIENT AND MODERN CIVILISATION HISTORY AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS TOPOGRAPHY AND NATURAL RESOURCES INDUSTRIES AND GENERAL DEVELOPMENT

BY

C. REGINALD ENOCK, F.R.G.S.

CIVIL AND MINING ENGINEER AUTHOR OF "PERU" AND "THE ANDES AND THE AMAZON"

WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY MARTIN HUME, M.A.

WITH A MAP AND SEVENTY-FIVE ILLUSTRATIONS

NEW YORK CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS



First Edition 1909 Second Impression 1910 Third Impression 1912 Fourth Impression 1914 Fifth Impression 1919

(All rights reserved) PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN



PREFACE

The purpose of this work is to treat of Mexico as a topographical and political entity, based upon a study of the country from travel and observation; a method such as has found favour in my book upon Peru. The method of viewing a country as a whole, with its people, topography, and general conditions in natural relation to each other, is one which commands growing acceptance in a busy age. I have been able to observe much of the actual life and character of Spanish-American countries from considerable travel therein. Both Mexico and Peru ever lured me on as seeming to hold for me some El Dorado, and if I have not reaped gold as the Conquistadores did, there are nevertheless other matters of satisfaction accruing to the traveller from his journeys in those splendid territories of mountain and forest.

Mexico, superfluous to say, is not part of South America, although this book appears in this series. But it is part of that vast Spanish-speaking New World whose development holds much of interest; and which may occupy a more important part in coming years than is generally thought of at present.

THE AUTHOR.



CONTENTS

PAGE BIBLIOGRAPHY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xxi

INTRODUCTION BY MARTIN HUME. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xxv

CHAPTER I A FIRST RECONNAISSANCE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

Romance of history—Two entrance ways—Vera Cruz—Orizaba—The Great Plateau—Fortress of Ulua—Sierra Madre—Topographical structure—The Gulf coast—Tropical region—Birds, animals, and vegetation of coast zone—Tierra caliente—Malaria—Foothills—Romantic scenery—General configuration of Mexico—Climatic zones—Temperate zone—Cold zone—The Cordillera—Snow-capped peaks—Romance of mining—Devout miners— Subterranean shrines—The great deserts—Sunset on the Great Plateau— Coyotes and zopilotes—Irrigated plantations—Railways—Plateau of Anahuac—The cities of the mesa central—Spanish-American civilisation—Romance of Mexican life—Mexican girls, music, and moonlight—The peones and civilisation—American comparisons— Pleasing traits of the Mexicans—The foreigner in Mexico—Picturesque mining-towns—Wealth of silver—Conditions of travel—Railways— Invasions—Lerdo's axiom—Roads and horsemen—Strong religious sentiment—Popocatepetl and Ixtaccihuatl—Sun-god of Teotihuacan—City of Mexico—Valley of Mexico—The Sierra Madre—Divortia aquarum of the continent—Volcano of Colima—Forests and ravines—Cuernavaca—The trail of Cortes—Acapulco—Romantic old haciendas—Tropic sunset— Unexplored Guerrero—Perils and pleasures of the trail—Sunset in the Pacific Ocean.

CHAPTER II THE DAWN OF MEXICO: TOLTECS AND AZTECS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20

Lake Texcoco—Valley of Anahuac—Seat of the Aztec civilisation— Snow-capped peaks—Pyramids of Teotihuacan—Toltecs—The first Aztecs—The eagle, cactus, and serpent—Aztec oracle and wanderings— Tenochtitlan—Prehistoric American civilisations—Maya, Incas—Quito and Peru—The dawn of history—The Toltec empire—Rise, regime, fall—Quetzalcoatl—Otomies—Chichemecas—Nezahualcoyotl—Astlan—The seven tribes and their wanderings—Mexican war-god—The Teocallis— Human sacrifices—Prehistoric City of Mexico—The Causeways—Aztec arts, kings, and civilisation—Montezuma—Guatemoc—Impressions of the Spaniards—The golden age of Texcoco—Vandalism of Spanish archbishop—The poet-king and his religion—Temple to the Unknown God—Aztecs and Incas compared—The Tlascalans—The Otomies—Cholula— Mexican tribes—Aztec buildings—Prehistoric art—Origin of American prehistoric civilisation—Biblical analogies—Supposed Asiatic and Egyptian origins—Aboriginal theory.

CHAPTER III THE STRANGE CITIES OF EARLY MEXICO . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37

Principal prehistoric monuments—Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan— Pyramids of Teotihuacan—Toltec sun-god—Pyramid of Cholula—Pyramids of Monte Alban—Ruins of Mitla—Remarkable monoliths and sculpture— Beautiful prehistoric stone-masonry—Ruins of Palenque—Temple of the Sun, and others—Stone vault construction—Tropical vegetation—Ruins of Yucatan—Maya temples—Architectural skill—Temples of Chichen-Ytza—Barbaric sculpture—Effect of geology on building—The Aztec civilisation—Land and social laws—Slavery—Taxes, products, roads, couriers—Analogy with Peru—Aztec homes and industries—War, human sacrifice, cannibalism—History, hieroglyphics, picture-writing— Irrigation, agriculture, products—Mining, sculpture, pottery—Currency and commerce—Social system—Advent of the white man.

CHAPTER IV CORTES AND THE CONQUEST . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56

Landing of Cortes—Orizaba peak—The dawn of conquest—Discovery of Yucatan—Velasquez and Grijalva—Life and character of Cortes—Cortes selected to head the expedition—Departure from Cuba—Arrival at Yucatan—The coast of Vera Cruz—Marina—Vera Cruz established—Aztec surprise at guns and horses—Montezuma—Dazzling Aztec gifts—Messages to Montezuma—Hostility of the Aztecs—Key to the situation—The Cempoallas—Father Olmedo—Religion and hypocrisy of the Christians— March to Cempoalla—Montezuma's tax-collectors—Duplicity of Cortes— Vacillation of Montezuma—Destruction of Totonac idols—Cortes despatches presents to the King of Spain—Cortes destroys his ships— March towards the Aztec capital—Scenery upon line of march—The fortress of Tlascala—Brusque variations of climate—The Tlascalans— Severe fighting—Capitulation of Tlascala—Faithful allies—Messengers from Montezuma—March to Cholula—Massacre of Cholula—The snow-capped volcanoes—First sight of Tenochtitlan.

CHAPTER V THE FALL OF THE LAKE CITY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76

The Valley of Mexico—The City and the Causeways—The Conquistadores enter Mexico City—Meeting of Cortes and Montezuma—Greeting of the Aztec emperor to the Spaniards—Tradition of Quetzalcoatl—Splendid reception—The Teocalli—Spanish duplicity—Capture of Montezuma— Spanish gambling—News from Vera Cruz—Forced march to the coast— Cortes defeats Narvaez—Bad news from Mexico—Back to the capital— Alvarado's folly—Barbarous acts of the Spaniards—The fight on the pyramid—Destruction of Aztec idols—Death of Montezuma—Spaniards flee from the city—Frightful struggle on the Causeway—Alvarado's leap—The Noche Triste—Battle of Otumba—Marvellous victory—Spanish recuperation—Cuitlahuac and Guatemoc—Fresh operations against the capital—Building of the brigantines—Aztec tenacity—Expedition to Cuernavaca—Xochimilco—Attack upon the city—Struggles and reverses— Sacrifice of Spaniards—Desertion of the Allies—Return of the Allies— Renewed attacks—Fortitude of the Aztecs—The famous catapult— Sufferings of the Aztecs—Final attack—Appalling slaughter—Ferocious Tlascalans—Fall of Mexico.

CHAPTER VI MEXICO AND THE VICEROYS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98

General considerations—Character of Viceroy rule—Spanish civilisation—Administration of Cortes—Torture of Guatemoc—Conquests of Guatemala and Honduras—Murder of Guatemoc—Fall of Cortes—First viceroy Mendoza—His good administration—Misrule of the Audiencias— Slavery and abuse of the Indians—The Philippine islands—Progress under the Viceroys—Plans for draining the Valley of Mexico—British buccaneers—Priestly excesses—Raid of Agramonte—Exploration of California—Spain and England at war—Improvements and progress in the eighteenth century—Waning of Spanish power—Decrepitude of Spain— Summary of Spanish rule—Spanish gifts to Mexico—The rising of Hidalgo—Spanish oppression of the colonists—Oppression by the colonists of the Indians—Republicanism and liberty—Operations and death of Hidalgo—The revolution of Morelos—Mier—The dawn of Independence—The birth of Spanish-American nations.

CHAPTER VII THE EVOLUTION OF MODERN MEXICO . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 113

Monarchical regime of Iturbide—Great area of Mexican Empire—Santa Anna—The Holy Alliance—Execution of Iturbide—The Monroe Doctrine— British friendship—The United States—Masonic institutions—Political parties—Expulsion of Spaniards—Revolution and crime—Clerical antagonism—Foreign complications—The "pie-war"—The Texan war—The slavery question—Mexican valour—American invasion of Mexico—Fall of Mexico—Treaty of Guadalupe—Cession of California—Gold in California—Benito Juarez appears—Conservatives and Liberals—Massacre of Tacubaya—The Reform laws—Disestablishment of the Church—Dishonest Mexican finance—Advent of Maximilian—The English, Spanish, and French expedition—Perfidy of the French—Capture of Mexico City by the French—Crowning of Maximilian—Porfirio Diaz—Rule of Maximilian—Fall of his empire—Death of Maximilian—The tragedy of Queretaro—Diaz takes Mexico City—Presidency of Juarez—Lerdo—Career and character of Diaz—First railways built—Successful administration of Diaz— Political stability—Forward policy.

CHAPTER VIII PHYSICAL CONDITIONS: MOUNTAINS, TABLELANDS, AND FLORA AND FAUNA. . 134

Geographical conditions—Tehuantepec—Yucatan—Boundaries and area— Population—Vera Cruz—Elevations above sea-level—Latitude—General topography—The Great Plateau—The Sierra Madres—The Mexican Andes— General structure—The coasts—Highest peaks—Snow-cap and volcanoes— Geological formation—Geological scenery—Hydrographic systems— Rivers—Navigation—Water-power—Lakes—Climate and temperatures—The three climatic zones—Rainfall—Snowfall—Flora and fauna—Soil— Singular cactus forms—The desert flora—The tropical flora—Forest regions—Wild animals—Serpents, monkeys, and felidae—Sporting conditions—Birds.

CHAPTER IX THE MEXICAN PEOPLE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 154

Ethnic conditions—Spanish, Mestizos, Indians—Colour-line—Foreign element—The peones—Land tenure—The Spanish people—The native tribes—The Apaches—The Mexican constitution—Class distinctions— Mexican upper class—Courtesy and hospitality—Quixotism of the Mexicans—Idealism and eloquence—General characteristics—Ideas of progress—American anomalies—Haciendas—Sport—Military distinctions—Comparison with Anglo-Saxons—Republicanism—Language— Life in the cities—Warlike instincts—The women of Mexico—Mexican youths—Religious observance—Romantic Mexican damsels—The bull-fights.

CHAPTER X THE CITIES AND INSTITUTIONS OF MEXICO . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 178

Character of Mexican cities—Value of Mexican civilisation—Types of Mexican architecture—Mexican homes and buildings—The Plaza—Social relations of classes—The City of Mexico—Valley of Mexico—Latitude, elevation, and temperature—Buildings—Bird's-eye view—The lakes— Drainage works—Viga canal and floating gardens—General description— The cathedral—Art treasures—Religious orders—Chapultepec—Pasco de la Reforma—The President—Description of a bull-fight—Country homes and suburbs—Colleges, clubs, literary institutions—Churches and public buildings—Army and Navy—Cost of living—Police—Lighting and tramways—Canadian enterprise—British commercial relations—The American—United States influence—A general impression of Mexico.

CHAPTER XI MEXICAN LIFE AND TRAVEL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 207

Travel and description—Mexican cities—Guadalajara—Lake Chapala— Falls of Juanacatlan—The Pacific slope—Colima—Puebla—Cities of the Great Plateau—Guanajuato—Chihuahua—The Apaches—The peones— Comparison with Americans—Peon labour system—Mode of living—Houses of the peon class—Diet—Tortillas and frijoles—Chilli— Pulque—Habits of the peon class—Their religion—The wayside crosses and their tragedies—Ruthless political executions—The fallen cross—Similarity to Bible scenes—Peon superstitions—The ignis fatuus, or relacion—Caves and buried treasure—Prehistoric Mexican religion—The Teocallis—Comparison with modern religious systems— Philosophical considerations.

CHAPTER XII MEXICAN LIFE AND TRAVEL (continued) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 230

Anthropogeographical conditions—The Great Plateau—The tropical belt— Primitive villages—Incidents of travel on the plateau—Lack of water— Hydrographic conditions—Venomous vermin—Travel by roads and diligencias—A journey with a priest—Courtesy of the peon class— The curse of alcohol—The dress of the working classes—The women of the peon class—Dexterity of the natives—The bull-fights—A narrow escape—Mexican horse equipment—The vaquero and the lasso—Native sports—A challenge to a duel—Foreigners in Mexico—Unexplored Guerrero—Sporting conditions—Camp life—A day's hunting.

CHAPTER XIII MINERAL WEALTH. ROMANCE AND ACTUALITY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 255

Forced labour in the mines—Silver and bloodshed—History of discovery—Guanajuato—the veta Madre—Spanish methods—Durango— Zacatecas—Pachuca—The patio process—Quicksilver from Peru—Cornish miners' graves—Aztec mining—Spanish advent—Old mining methods— Romance of mining—The Cerro de Mercado—Guanajuato and Hidalgo—Real del Monte—Religion and mining—Silver and churches—Subterranean altars—Mining and the nobility—Spanish mining school—Modern conditions—The mineral-bearing zone—Distribution of minerals geographically—Silver—The patio process—Gold-mining and production—El Oro and other districts—Copper—Other minerals—General mineral production—Mining claims and laws.

CHAPTER XIV NATURAL RESOURCES, AGRICULTURE, GENERAL CONDITIONS . . . . . . . . 282

Principal cultivated products—Timber—The three climatic zones— General agricultural conditions—Waste of forests—Irrigation—Region of the river Nazas—Canal-making—Cotton and sugar-cane—Profitable agriculture—Mexican country-houses—Fruit gardens—Food products, cereals, and fibrous plants—Pulque production—India-rubber and guayule—List of agricultural products and values—Fruit culture and values—Forestry and land—Colonisation—American land-sharks— Conditions of labour—Asiatics—Geographical distribution of products— The States of the Pacific slope—Sonora—Lower California—Sinaloa— Tepic—Jalisco—Colima—Michoacan—Guerrero—Oaxaca—Chiapas.

CHAPTER XV NATURAL RESOURCES, AGRICULTURE, GENERAL CONDITIONS (continued) . 308

Central and Atlantic States—Chihuahua and the Rio Grande—Mining, forests, railways—Coahuila and its resources—Nuevo Leon and its conditions—Iron, coal, railways, textile industries—Durango and its great plains and mountain peaks—Aguascalientes—Zacatecas and its mineral wealth—San Luis Potosi and its industries—Guanajuato, Queretaro and Hidalgo, and their diversified resources—Mexico and its mountains and plains—Tlaxcala—Morelos and its sugar-cane industry— The rich State of Puebla—Tamaulipas, a littoral state—The historic State of Vera Cruz, its resources, towns, and harbour—Campeche and the peninsula of Yucatan.

CHAPTER XVI MEXICAN FINANCE, INDUSTRIES, AND RAILWAYS . . . . . . . . . . . . 328

Financial rise of Mexico—Tendencies toward restriction against foreigners—National control of railways—Successful financial administration—Favourable budgets—Good trade conditions—Foreign liabilities—Character of exports and imports—Commerce with foreign nations—Banks and currency—Principal industries—Manufacturing conditions—Labour, water-power, and electric installations—Textile industry, tobacco, iron and steel, paper, breweries, etc.—Railways— The Mexican Railway—The Mexican Central Railway—The National Railroad—The Interoceanic—Governmental consolidation—The Tehuantepec Railway—Port of Salina Cruz—Other railway systems.

CHAPTER XVII GENERAL CONCLUSIONS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 350

Mexico's unique conditions—Her future—Asiatic immigrants—Fostering of the native race—Encouraging of immigration—The white man in the American tropics—Future of Mexican manufactures—The Pan-American Congress—Pan-American railway—Mexico and Spain—The Monroe Doctrine— Mexico, Europe, and the United States—Promising future of Mexico.

INDEX . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 357



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

AN IDYLL OF MEXICO: INDIAN CARRIERS, RUINED CHURCH, AND SNOW-CLAD PEAK OF ORIZABA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Frontispiece

FACING PAGE

THE ATLANTIC SLOPE: TUNNEL AND BRIDGE OF THE INFIERNILLO CANYON ON THE MEXICAN RAILWAY, IN THE STATE OF VERA CRUZ . . . . . . . . . . 4

THE GREAT PLATEAU: NIGHTFALL IN THE DESERT . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

ON THE GREAT PLATEAU: VIEW OF THE CITY OF DURANGO . . . . . . . . 9

ORIZABA, CAPPED WITH PERPETUAL SNOW: VIEW ON THE MEXICAN RAILWAY AT CORDOBA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14

PINE-CLAD HILLS FORMING THE RIM OF THE VALLEY OF MEXICO, 8,000 FEET ELEVATION ABOVE SEA-LEVEL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

TYPICAL VILLAGE OF THE PACIFIC COAST ZONE, STATE OF COLIMA . . . . 18

THE FINDING OF THE SITE FOR THE PREHISTORIC CITY OF MEXICO BY THE FIRST AZTECS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 (From the painting in Mexico.)

PREHISTORIC MEXICO: TOLTEC PYRAMID OR TEOCALLI OF THE SUN AT SAN JUAN TEOTIHUACAN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 (Exploration and restoration work being carried on.)

THE VALLEY OF MEXICO; VIEW ON LAKE TEXCOCO; THE MODERN CITY OF MEXICO IN THE DISTANCE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26

THE LAND OF THE AZTEC CONQUESTS: MAIZE FIELDS NEAR ESPERANZA, STATE OF PUEBLA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31

PREHISTORIC MEXICO: RUINS OF EL FOLOC AT CHICHEN-YTZA, YUCATAN . . 35

PREHISTORIC MEXICO: THE PYRAMID OF THE SUN AT TEOTIHUACAN IN THE VALLEY OF MEXICO, SEEN FROM THE PYRAMID OF THE MOON . . . . . . . 38

PREHISTORIC MEXICO: RUINS OF MITLA; FACADE OF THE HALL OF THE COLUMNS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 (The steps have been "restored" by the photographer.)

PREHISTORIC MEXICO: RUINS OF MITLA; HALL OF THE MONOLITHS OR COLUMNS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43

PREHISTORIC MEXICO: RUINS OF MITLA; THE HALL OF THE GRECQUES . . . 48

PREHISTORIC MEXICO: RUINS OF TEMPLE AT CHICHEN-YTZA, IN YUCATAN . 53

PREHISTORIC MEXICO: RUINS OF "THE PALACE" AT CHICHEN-YTZA IN YUCATAN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61

THE LAND OF THE CONQUEST: STATE OF VERA CRUZ; VIEW ON THE MEXICAN RAILWAY; THE TOWN OF MALTRATA IS SEEN THOUSANDS OF FEET BELOW . . 68

THE LAND OF THE CONQUEST: A VALLEY IN THE STATE OF VERA CRUZ, ON THE LINE OF THE MEXICAN RAILWAY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74

THE LAKES OF THE VALLEY OF MEXICO AT THE TIME OF THE CONQUEST, SHOWING THE CAUSEWAYS TO THE AZTEC ISLAND-CITY OF TENOCHTITLAN . . 76 (From Prescott's "Conquest of Mexico.")

THE CONQUEST OF MEXICO: CORTES AT THE BATTLE OF OTUMBA . . . . . . 87 (From the painting by Ramirez.)

GUANAJUATO AS SEEN FROM THE HILLS: THE HISTORIC TREASURE-HOUSE OF MEXICO . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 104

STATUE OF HIDALGO AT MONTERREY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 108

THE CASTLE OF CHAPULTEPEC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 121

CITY OF OAXACA: SPANISH-COLONIAL ARCHITECTURE; THE PORTALES OF THE MUNICIPAL PALACE AND PLAZA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 127

THE PRESIDENT OF MEXICO, GENERAL PORFIRIO DIAZ . . . . . . . . . . 132

MEXICO'S ARTIFICIAL HARBOURS ON THE ATLANTIC: THE NEW PORT WORKS AT VERA CRUZ, A SOLID AND COSTLY ENTERPRISE . . . . . . . . . . . 136

ASCENDING THE MEXICAN CORDILLERA, OR EASTERN SIERRA MADRE: THE RAILWAY IS SEEN IN THE VALLEY FAR BELOW . . . . . . . . . . . . . 138

THE PEAK OF ORIZABA; PLAZA OF THE CITY OF CORDOVA . . . . . . . . 140

THE FALLS OF JUANACATLAN: THE NIAGARA OF MEXICO . . . . . . . . . 144

THE PACIFIC COAST ZONE: GENERAL VIEW OF THE CITY AND ENVIRONS OF COLIMA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 147

A RARE OCCURRENCE: SNOWFALL IN A MEXICAN TOWN; VIEW OF THE PLAZA OF LERDO, ON THE GREAT PLATEAU . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 149

A ROAD IN THE TEMPERATE ZONE, WITH PALMS AND VEGETATION . . . . . 151

VEGETATION IN THE TROPICAL FORESTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 153

THE MEXICAN PEONES: STREET SCENE AT CORDOVA . . . . . . . . . . . 160

TYPES OF MEXICANS OF THE UPPER CLASS: AN ARCHBISHOP; A FAMOUS GENERAL AND MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS; A FAMOUS MINISTER OF FINANCE, SENOR LIMANTOUR; A STATE GOVERNOR . . . . . . . . . . . . 164

MEXICAN LIFE: THE CATHEDRAL AND THE PENITENTIARY, CITY OF PUEBLA . 166

THE FAMOUS MEXICAN "RURALES," OR MEXICAN MOUNTED POLICE . . . . . 172

SPANISH-COLONIAL CHURCH ARCHITECTURE: A TYPICAL MEXICAN TEMPLE . . 176

SPANISH-COLONIAL ARCHITECTURE: THE PORTALES OF CHOLULA . . . . . . 180

A PUBLIC GARDEN IN TROPICAL MEXICO: VIEW AT COLIMA . . . . . . . . 184

THE VALLEY OF MEXICO: THE GREAT DRAINAGE CANAL . . . . . . . . . . 188

THE CATHEDRAL OF THE CITY OF MEXICO . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 191

BULL-FIGHT IN THE CITY OF MEXICO, SHOWING THE SPECTATORS OF THE "SOL," THE PICADORES, AND THE ENTERING BULL . . . . . . . . . . . 194

MEXICAN STREET SCENE: A PULQUE SHOP WITH ARTISTICALLY-PAINTED EXTERIOR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 198

MEXICAN ARTILLERY: A WAYSIDE ENCAMPMENT . . . . . . . . . . . . . 202

CITY OF GUADALAJARA: INTERIOR OF THE CATHEDRAL . . . . . . . . . . 208

A TOBACCO-PRODUCING HACIENDA: STATE OF VERA CRUZ . . . . . . . . . 213

MEXICAN PEON LIFE: TYPICAL VILLAGE MARKET-PLACE . . . . . . . . . 215

THE PACIFIC COAST ZONE: COCOA-NUT PALMS AT COLIMA . . . . . . . . 230

LIFE AND TRAVEL IN MEXICO: MULES, PEON, AND CACTUS . . . . . . . . 235

NATIVE WOMEN OF TEHUANTEPEC: ORDINARY DRESS AND CHURCH-GOING COSTUMES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 240

THE PACIFIC COAST ZONE: THE PLAZA AND ENVIRONS OF THE CITY OF COLIMA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 302

MEXICAN ARTIFICIAL HARBOURS ON THE PACIFIC COAST: THE NEW PORT WORKS OF SALINA CRUZ, TERMINUS OF THE TEHUANTEPEC RAILWAY . . . . 306

GENERAL VIEW OF THE CITY OF MONTERREY, STATE OF NUEVO LEON, UPON THE GREAT PLATEAU . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 311

TYPICAL SIDE STREET IN MEXICAN VILLAGE: THE TOWN OF AMECA AND CLOUD-EFFECT ON POPOCATEPETL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 319

STATE OF VERA CRUZ: THE BARRANCA OR RAVINE OF MITLAC; VIEW ON THE MEXICAN RAILWAY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 322 (Far below in the valley is seen the bridge depicted at p. 340.)

VERA CRUZ: SHIPPING IN THE NEW HARBOUR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 324

BRITISH ENGINEERING WORK IN MEXICO: BUILDING A BREAKWATER . . . . 336

THE MITLAC RAVINE: VIEW ON THE MEXICAN RAILWAY . . . . . . . . . . 340

BRIDGES OVER THE ATOYAC RIVER: MEXICAN RAILWAY . . . . . . . . . . 342

THE SEAPORT OF VERA CRUZ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 344

NEW PORT OF SALINA CRUZ, ON THE PACIFIC: THE GREAT DRY DOCK . . . 346 (See also page 306.)

The Author is indebted for some of the photographs reproduced in this book to The Mexican Financial Agency, Senor Camacho; The Mexican Information Bureau, Senor Barriga; The Mexican Vera Cruz Railway Company, Ltd.; Messrs. S. Pearson and Sons, Ltd.; The London Bank of Mexico and South America, Ltd.; Arthur H. Enock, Esq.; "Modern Mexico"; "Mexico at Chicago," Senor Manuel Caballero; Holmes: Ancient Cities of Mexico; and others.



BIBLIOGRAPHY

HISTORY

The history of Mexico at the time of the Conquest rests upon an accurate basis; the five letters of Cortes to the Spanish Emperor, Carlos V. These have been recently retranslated into, and published in, English in two excellent volumes:

The Letters of Cortes to Charles V. F. C. MacNutt. G. P. Putnam's Sons. London. 1908.

The most famous book on the Conquest is that of Prescott, the American historian, and this never loses its charm, although to the traveller who knows the country it may, at times, seem somewhat highly drawn.

Prescott's Conquest of Mexico. 3 vols. London. 1845.

The writers which, after Cortes, were the participators in the Conquest or contemporary therewith, and upon whose writings all other accounts are based, are those of:

Bernal Diaz, Author of the Verdadera Historia de la Conquista. 1858.

Ixtlilochitl, Aztec historian.

Other famous contemporary writers whose works also furnish material for historians were:

Bartolome de las Casas, Francisco Lopez de Gomara, Gonzalo Oviedo y Valdez, Bernardino de Sahagun, Motolinia, Peter Martyr, Antonio de Herrera. The works of all these writers are extant, principally in Spanish, and they were written in the sixteenth century.

In the seventeenth century Juan de Torquemada wrote, and in the nineteenth numerous works appeared upon Mexico. Among these may be mentioned those of Manuel Orozco y Berra, Manuel Icazbalceta Raminez, all modern Mexicans. Other authors, whether of historical or other books and at varying epochs, are:

Clavigero, Duran, Tezozomoc, Camargo, Siguenza, Pizarro, Acosta, Gage, Lorenzana, Olarte, Vetancourt, Solis, Cavo, Landa, Robertson, Irving, Humboldt, Helps, Bancroft, Kingsborough.

Archaeological and Ethnological works are represented by the following:

Bancroft, Native Races of the Pacific States. 5 vols. New York. 1874-6.

Bandelier, The Art of War among the Ancient Mexicans.

Bandelier, Distribution and Land Tenure.

Bandelier, Social Organisation.

Bandelier, Archaeological Tour.

Bandelier, Indians of the South-west, U.S.

Batres, Cuadro Arquelogico de la Republica Mexicana; and other works, including Teotihuacan.

Blake, Catalogue of Archaeological Collection of the Museum of Mexico, &c.

Brinton, The American Race.

Brinton, Ancient Phonetic Alphabets of Yucatan, &c.

Chavers, Antiguedades Mexicanas.

Chavers, Mexico a traves de los siglos.

Charnay, Ancient Cities of the New World.

Garcia Cubas, Cuadro Geografico, &c.

Holmes, Archaeological Studies among the Ancient Cities of Mexico.

Maudsley, Biologia Centralia-Americana.

Kingsborough, famous work on Mexican Antiquities, &c.

Penafiel, Monumentos del arte Mexicano Antiguo. Berlin. 1890.

Payne, History of the New World. Oxford. 1899.

Starr, Maya Writing, &c. Chicago. 1895.

And many other pamphlets and books in English, Spanish, French, and German.

For a fuller list of these, see the excellent volume on Mexico of the International Bureau of the American Republics. Washington. 1904.

Of books on mining an excellent volume for reference is:

Southworth's Mines of Mexico.

Of mining and natural resources generally, a large complete work has been issued in English, Spanish, and French, entitled:

El Florecimiento de Mexico. Mexico. 1906.

This work is published in Mexico, written by various authors, under the patronage of the Government. It is a valuable book of reference, but somewhat prolix, and the type is small and the volume unwieldy. After the manner of books issued in Spanish-American countries, too much space is taken up with adulations of public men. There are no less than four full-page portraits of President Diaz in it.

Other general works are:

Mexico and the United States. Abbott. New York. 1869.

Guia General de la Republicas Mexicana. Mexico. 1899.

Barrett, Standard Guide to Mexico. Mexico. 1900.

Baedeker, The United States and Mexico. Leipzig. 1899.

Bancroft, A Popular History of the Mexican People. London. 1887.

Bancroft, Resources and Development of Mexico. San Francisco. 1893.

Baianconi, Le Mexique. Paris. 1899.

Brocklehurst, Mexico To-day. London. 1883.

Chevalier, Le Mexique Ancien et Moderne. Paris. 1886.

Congling, Mexico and the Mexicans. New York. 1883.

Garcia, Mexico, &c. Mexico. 1893.

Lummis, The Awakening of a Nation. New York. 1893.

Ober, Travels in Mexico. Boston. 1884.

Martin, Mexico of the Twentieth Century. London. 1908.

Gadow, Travels in Southern Mexico. London. 1908.

Tweedie, Mexico as I Saw It. London. 190?

Tweedie. Porfirio Diaz. London. 1905.

A. H. Noll. A Short History of Mexico. Chicago. 1903.

Romero, Mexico and the United States. New York. 1898.

Statesman's Year-book. London.

Camp Fires on Desert and Lava. Hornaday. London. 1909.

And numerous others in French, German, and English, including various guide-books and pamphlets, scientific and otherwise.

The Mexican Year-book, London, 1908, is published by McCorquodale & Co. The work is written under the auspices of the Mexican Government. It is full of statistics and information, and forms a very useful work of reference.

Modern Mexico, a monthly illustrated paper of high-class, issued in Mexico and St. Louis.

The Mexican Herald, a daily paper published in English in Mexico, is an excellent journal of current events.



INTRODUCTION

"From what I have seen and heard concerning the similarity between this country and Spain, its fertility, its extent, its climate, and in many other features of it, it seemed to me that the most suitable name for this country would be New Spain, and thus, in the name of your Majesty, I have christened it. I humbly supplicate your Majesty to approve of this and order that it be so called." Thus wrote Hernan Cortes, the greatest natural leader of men since Julius Caesar, to the sovereign whom he endowed, as he subsequently told him bitterly, with provinces more numerous than the cities he had inherited from his forefathers. From the first appearance of the Spaniards upon the vast elevated plateau upon which the Aztec empire stood the invaders were struck by its resemblance in climate and natural products to their European homeland. In his first letter to the Emperor Cortes wrote: "The sea coast is low, with many sandhills.... The country beyond these sandhills is level with many fertile plains, in which are such beautiful river banks that in all Spain there can be found no better. These are as grateful to the view as they are productive in everything sown in them, and very orderly and well kept with roads and convenience for pasturing all sorts of cattle. There is every kind of game in this country, and animals and birds such as are familiar to us at home.... So that there is no difference between this country and Spain as regards birds and animals.... According to our judgment it is credible that there is everything in this country which existed in that from whence Solomon is said to have brought the gold for the Temple."

Here, for the first time, the Spanish explorers in their wanderings had come across an organised nation with an advanced civilisation and polity of its own. The gentle savages they had encountered in the tropical islands and the mainland of the isthmus had offered little or no resistance to the white men or to their uncomprehended God. The little kinglets of Hispaniola, of Cuba, and of Darien, divided, unsophisticated, and wonder-stricken, with their peoples bent their necks to the yoke and their backs to the lash almost without a struggle. Their moist tropical lands, near the coasts, were enervating, and no united organisation for defence against the enslaving intruders was possible to them. But here in the land of the Aztec federation three potent states, with vast dependencies from which countless hordes of warriors might be drawn, were ready to stand shoulder to shoulder and resist the claims of the white demi-gods, mounted on strange beasts, who came upon giant sea-birds from the unknown, beyond the waste of waters. But the fatal prophecy of the coming of the avenging white God Quetzalcoatl to destroy the Aztec power paralysed the arm and brain of Montezuma, and rendered him, and finally his people, a prey to the diplomacy, the daring, and the valour of Cortes, aided by the dissentient tribes he enlisted under his banner.

The vast amphibious city of Tenochtitlan, when at length the Conquerors reached it, confirmed the impression that the land of which it was the capital was another wider and richer Spain. Its teeming markets, "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"; the abundance of food and articles of advanced comfort and luxury, "the cherries and plums like those of Spain"; "the skeins of different kinds of spun silk in all colours, that might be from one of the markets of Granada"; "the porters such as in Castile do carry burdens"; the great temple, 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"—all reminded Cortes of his native Spain. "I will only say of this city," he concludes, "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 civilised people, it is marvellous to see to what they have attained in every respect." Thus New Spain was marked out of all the dominions of Spanish Indies as that which was in closest relationship with the mother country.

The conquest and subjection of New Spain synchronised curiously with the profound crisis in, and the conquest and domination of, Old Spain by its own king, a governing genius and leader of men almost as great as was the obscure Estramaduran squireling who was adding to the newly unified crown of Spain that which was to be its richest jewel in the West. When Cortes penned his first letter to the future Emperor and his mad mother in July, 1519, telling them of the new found land, Spain was in the throes of a great convulsion. The young Flemish prince had been called to his great inheritance by the death of his grandfather, Ferdinand the Catholic, and the incapacity of his Spanish mother, Queen Juana. Charles had come to the country upon which, in a financial sense, the burden of his future widespread empire was to depend, with little understanding of the proud and ardent people over whom he was to rule. He spoke no Spanish, and he was surrounded by greedy Flemish courtiers dressed in outlandish garb, speaking in a strange tongue, and looking upon the realm of their prince as a fat pasture upon which, locust like, they might batten with impunity. The Spaniards had frowned to see the great Cardinal Jimenez curtly dismissed by the boy sovereign whose crown he had saved; they clamoured indignantly when the Flemings cast themselves upon the resources of Castile and claimed the best offices civil and ecclesiastical; they sternly insisted upon the young king taking a solemn oath that Spain in future should be for the Spaniards; and when tardily and sulkily they voted supplies of money the grant was saddled with many irritating conditions.

When the letter of Cortes arrived in Spain Charles was at close grips with his outraged people, for he had broken all his promises to them. Hurrying across the country to embark and claim the imperial crown of Germany, vacant by the death of his grandfather Maximilian, eager for the large sums of money he needed for his purpose, which Spain of all his realms alone could provide, the sovereign was trampling upon the dearly prized charters of his people. The great rising of the Castilian commoners was finally crushed, thanks to class dissensions and the diplomacy of the sovereign. Thenceforward the revenues of Castile were at the mercy of the Emperor, whose needs for his world-wide responsibilities were insatiable; and the Indies of the West, being the appanage of the crown of Castile, were drained to uphold the claim of Spain and its Emperor-King to dictate to Christendom the form and doctrines of its religious faith. It is no wonder, therefore, that the despatches of the obscure adventurer who announced to his sovereign that, in spite of obstacles thrown in his way by highly placed royal officials, he had conquered a vast civilised empire with a mere handful of followers, were received sympathetically by the potentate to whom the possession of fresh sources of revenue was so important. Cortes in his various letters again and again claims the Emperor's patronage of his bold defiance of the Emperor's officers on the ground that the latter in their action were moved solely by considerations of their personal gain, whereas he, Cortes, was striving to endow his sovereign with a rich new empire and boundless treasure whilst carrying into the dark pagan land, at the sword's point, the gentle creed of the Christian God.

Of this religious element of his expedition Cortes never lost sight; he was licentious in his life, unscrupulous in his methods, and regardless of the suffering he inflicted to attain his ends; but in this he was only a son of his country and his time; such qualities might, and in fact did, accompany the most devout personal piety and an exalted religious ideal. That the imposition of Christian civilisation upon Mexico meant the sacrifice in cold blood of countless thousands of inoffensive human creatures was as nothing when once the legal forms had been complied with and the people could be assumed to be recalcitrant or rebellious to a decree of which they understood not a word. The awful holocaust of natives which followed the Spanish advance, the enslavement of a whole people to the demon of greed, especially after the withdrawal of Cortes from the scene, left a bitter crop of estrangement between the native Mexicans and their white masters, of which the rank remains have not even yet been quite eradicated. Cortes himself, as great in diplomacy as in war, it is true made himself rich beyond dreams, though he was defrauded of his deserts, even as Columbus, Balboa, and Pizarro were; but he was not wantonly cruel, and in the circumstances in which he was placed it was difficult for him to have acted very differently from what he did. It was not until the smaller men displaced him and came to enrich themselves at any cost that his methods were debased and degraded to vile ends and the policy itself was rendered hateful.

Thus, whilst New Spain was always held to be nearer to the mother country than any other American lands and more of a white man's home than the settlements on the Southern Continent, the distrust engendered by the ruthless cruelty of the earlier years of the occupation contributed powerfully to retard any intimate intermixture of the conquerors and the conquered races, the closer connection with Spain also keeping the Spanish-Mexican decidedly more pure in blood than any other Spanish American people. This will account for the fact that the various Indian races of Mexico are still, to a large extent, distinct from each other and from the pure white Mexicans after nearly a century of native Republican government. In the State of Oaxaca alone there are even now at least fifteen perfectly distinguishable separate tribes of pure Indians, of which two, the Zapotecas and the Mistecas, comprise more than half the whole population of the State. But, this notwithstanding, no race question now really exists in Mexico. The pure-blooded Indians frequently occupy the highest positions in the State, as judges, soldiers, or savants, the greatest but one of Mexican Presidents, Juarez, having been a full-blooded Zapoteca, whilst the present ruler of Mexico, certainly one of the most exalted figures in American history, General Porfirio Diaz, is justifiably prouder of his Misteca descent than of the white ancestry he also claims. Nor, as in other countries of similar ethnological constitution, does the Indian population here tend to decrease. The Mexican Indian or half-breed suffers under no disability, social or political, and is in a decided majority of the population. The number of pure whites in the country is estimated at about three and a half millions, out of a probable nineteen millions of total inhabitants, eight millions being pure Indians and about seven and a half millions of mixed castes, most of whom are more brown than white.

The future of the Republic, therefore, in an ethnological sense, is one of the most interesting problems of the American Continent. The old Spanish aristocratic aloofness traditional on the part of the pure whites will take many generations entirely to break down, and the increased communication between the Republic and the citizens of the United States will probably reinforce the white races with a new element of resistance to fusion; but in the end a homogeneous brown race will probably people the whole of Mexico—a race, to judge from the specimens of the admixture now in existence, capable of the highest duties of civilisation, robust in body, patriotic in character, progressive and law-abiding to a greater extent, perhaps, than are purely Latin peoples.

The present book relates in vivid and graphic words the history of Mexico during the time that it served as a milch cow to the insatiable Spanish kings and their satellites. But for the gold and silver that came in the fleet from New Spain, when, indeed, it was not captured by English or Dutch rovers, the gigantic imposition of Spanish power in Europe could not have been maintained even as a pretence throughout the greater part of the seventeenth century as it was. For nearly three centuries one set of greedy Viceroys and high officials after another settled from the mother country upon unresisting Mexico and sucked its blood like vampires. Some of them, it is true, made attempts to palliate their rapacity by the introduction of improved methods of agriculture, mining, and the civilised arts, and Mexico, in close touch with Spain, was not allowed, as the neighbouring Spanish territory of the isthmus was, to sink into utter stagnation. The efforts of the Count of Tendilla to keep his Viceroyalty abreast of his times in the mid sixteenth century are still gratefully remembered, as is the name of his successor Velasco, who struck a stout blow for the freedom of the native Indians enslaved in the mines, and emancipated 150,000 of them. But on the whole, especially after the establishment of the Inquisition in Mexico, the story of the Spanish domination is generally one of greed, oppression, and injustice, alternating with periods of enlightened effort on the part of individual viceroys more high-minded than their fellows.

With the early nineteenth century came the stirring of a people long crushed into impotence. The mother country was in the throes of a great war against the foreign invader. Deserted and abandoned by its Spanish sovereign, and ruled, where it was ruled at all by civilians, by a body of self-elected revolutionary doctrinaires, the colonists of the various Viceroyalties of America promptly shook themselves free from the nerveless grasp that had held them so long. A demand for an immense sum of money beyond that which had voluntarily been sent by Mexico to aid the mother country against Napoleon was refused in 1810, and a few months afterwards the long gathering storm burst. The man who first formulated the Mexican cry for freedom was a priest, one Miguel Hidalgo. He had already organised a widespread revolutionary propaganda, and on September 16, 1810, the Viceregal authorities precipitated matters by suppressing one of the clubs, at Queretaro, in which the independence of the country was advocated. Hidalgo at once called his followers to arms, and under the sacred banner of the Virgin of Guadalupe, the patron saint of Mexico, led some 50,000 ardent patriots through the country towards the capital that had once been Montezuma's. Subduing all the land he crossed, Hidalgo finally met the royal troops on the 30th of October and completely routed them. Then the rebel army gradually fell to pieces in consequence of unskilful management, and at a subsequent battle in January, 1811, was entirely defeated, Hidalgo and his lieutenant being shortly afterwards captured and shot.

But the fire thus lit could never again be entirely extinguished. For years the intermittent struggle went on under another priest, Morelos, a true national Mexican hero who was betrayed to the Spaniards in 1815, and punished first by the Inquisition as a heretic and afterwards shot as a traitor to the King of Spain. The sun of the Spanish domination of Mexico set in blood, for the wretched reactionary Ferdinand VII. was on the throne of the mother country, determined if he could to terrorise Spanish America into obedience as he had done Spain itself. His eagerness to do so defeated itself. A large army, collected at Cadiz for the purpose of crushing Mexico into obedience, revolted against the despot, and then the Mexican patriots, under Iturbide, practically dominated their country. The new Spanish Hibernian Viceroy, O'Dontroju, could but bend his head to the storm, and in September, 1821, signed a treaty with the insurgents by which Mexico was acknowledged to be an independent constitutional monarchy under the Spanish king, Ferdinand VII.

Such a solution of a great national uprising could only be temporary. The Spanish Government refused to ratify the agreement arrived at for Mexico's independence, and a barrack pronouncement acclaimed Agustin Iturbide Emperor of Mexico in June, 1822. The empire of Iturbide lasted less than a year, for the man was unworthy, and Mexican patriots had not fought and bled for ten years against one despotism for the purpose of handing themselves over to another. Iturbide was deposed and exiled, and on his return for the purpose of raising his standard afresh in Mexico, in 1824 the ex-Emperor was shot as an enemy to the peace and tranquillity of his country.

The Republic of Mexico obtained the cordial support of England and the United States, and when in 1825 the last Spanish man-at-arms retired from the fortress of San Juan de Ulua, off Vera Cruz, all Spanish-Americans on the two continents were free to work out their own destiny. As was the case with the other Republics, inexperience in the science of government and attempts to force the pace of progress, condemned Mexico to fifty years of turbulence and alternating despotism and license. Ambitious soldiers strove with each other for the place of highest honour and profit. Texas, resenting the instability of Creole government, separated from the Mexican States after a devastating war.

Amongst the higher classes of Mexicans the monarchical tradition which had prompted the experiment of Iturbide's evanescent empire had not entirely died out, and in 1840 a leading Mexican statesman, Estrada, argued in an open letter that the republican form of government having failed to secure peace to the country, it would be advisable to establish a Mexican monarchy with a member of one of the old ruling houses of Europe at its head. But the stormy petrel of Mexican politics, General Saint Anna, pervaded the scene yet for many years more; and in 1847 engaged in a disastrous war with the United States on the subject of the Texan boundary, in which California was lost to Mexico. In the meanwhile the suggestion that a monarchical experiment should be tried never died out; and when in 1860 the country was a prey to civil war between the anti-clericals under the great Juarez and the Conservative elements, and the interest on the foreign debt was suspended, a pretext offered for the intervention of France, England, and Spain in the internal affairs of Mexico, supported by the Conservative and monarchical parties in the country itself.

The ill-starred ambition of Napoleon III. ended in the sacrifice of a chivalrous and well-meaning prince, but it effected for Mexico what fifty years of internal strife had been unable to attain: it produced a solidarity of Mexican national feeling which has since then welded the people into a stable and united nation, in no danger henceforward of falling a prey to foreign ambition or of lapsing into anarchy from its own dissensions. That this happy end has been attained has been due mainly to the genius of two men, the greatest of Mexico's sons, who have in succession appeared at the moment when the national crisis needed them. To Benito Juarez, the Zapoteca Indian, who held aloft the banner of Mexican independence against the power of Napoleon's empire, is due not alone the victory over the invaders but the firm establishment of a federal constitutional system. Juarez, a lawyer and a judge, insisted upon the law being supreme, and that ambitious generals should thenceforward be the servants and not the masters of the State.

The great Juarez died in 1872, and for the last thirty-three years, with a break of one short interval only, Porfirio Diaz has been master of Mexico, a benevolent autocrat, an emperor in all but name, governing with a wise moderation which recognises that a country situated as Mexico is, and with a population as yet far from homogeneous or civilised in the European sense, must of necessity be led patiently and diplomatically along the road of progress. To reach the goal of material and moral elevation at which Diaz aims, stability of institutions and of directors is the first need; and the President has been re-elected seven times by his fellow citizens because they, as well as he, can see that his brain and his hand must guide the mighty engine of advance that he has set in motion.

The effects of this policy have already been prodigious, and there is probably no country on earth that has made strides so gigantic as Mexico in the last thirty years. It is due mainly to the labours of Diaz that the national finance has been placed upon a firm and satisfactory basis; to him are owing the extraordinary public works which have completed the vast system of drainage of the Valley of Mexico, initiated nearly three centuries ago; by him the Republic has been covered by a network of primary and secondary public schools rivalling those of the most advanced European countries. One of the most beneficent of the President's recent acts has been the rehabilitation in 1905 of the Mexican silver currency, by which a fairly stable standard exchange value is secured for the national coinage; the silver dollar fluctuating now within very narrow limits, the normal value being one half of a United States dollar.

The constructive work of this really great man, indeed, is as yet difficult to appraise. It covers nearly every branch of national activity, and it is only by comparison with a past state of affairs that anything like an adequate idea of the progress effected can be formed. In 1876 the population of the Republic was 9,300,000; it is now about 19,000,000. The increase in the length of railways constructed in the same period is equally remarkable, rising from 367 miles in 1876 to 15,000 miles in 1908. The railways hitherto have been mainly built by English and United States capitalists, and are in a great measure still managed by English-speaking officers; but the important Transatlantic line, which connects the port of Coatzacoalcos on the Atlantic side with Salina Cruz on the Pacific, is a national undertaking carried out under contract by a great English contracting firm. The future of this Tehuantepec railway promises to be of the highest importance as connecting Europe and America with the Far East. The geographical situation of the line is more central than that of Panama, ensuring, for instance, a saving of nearly a thousand miles between Liverpool and Yokohama. The railway itself across the isthmus is under two hundred miles in length, and the ports on both sides are capacious enough to deal with the greatest ships afloat.

The railways running from the United States into the interior of Mexico and the capital convey passengers thither in less than five days from New York. They have naturally brought much Anglo-Saxon American influence into the country, and until recent years this would have offered some danger of the nation becoming an English-speaking land, as its former States, Texas and California, have done. The new national spirit and pride of race, which now justifiably stirs Mexicans, will in future make such an eventuality improbable. It is, indeed, much more likely that in the end the boundaries of a powerful, prosperous Mexico may extend to the group of small and slowly-developing Central American Republics that join it on the south, and that a vast Spanish-speaking confederacy will under an enlightened system of government ensure for all time the domination of this axis of the world's trade to the descendants of the original Conquerors whose blood has mingled with that of the peoples they subdued. This eventuality is rendered the more probable by the advance of the Pan-American railway which is being pushed southwest from the Tehuantepec line towards Guatemala, and will when completed link North America with the southern continent, and establish a continuous system from New York to the Argentine Republic. This, however, is a dream of the future: for the present be it said that a regenerated Mexico has saved Central and South America from being finally swamped by Anglo-Saxondom, and has ensured the perpetuation in "The Land of To-morrow" of the Spanish tongue and Latin traditions. For this relief much thanks.

MARTIN HUME.



MEXICO



CHAPTER I A FIRST RECONNAISSANCE

Romance of history—Two entrance ways—Vera Cruz—Orizaba—The Great Plateau—Fortress of Ulua—Sierra Madre—Topographical structure—The Gulf coast—Tropical region—Birds, animals, and vegetation of coast zone—Tierra caliente—Malaria—Foothills—Romantic scenery—General configuration of Mexico—Climatic zones—Temperate zone—Cold zone—The Cordillera—Snow-capped peaks—Romance of mining—Devout miners— Subterranean shrines—The great deserts—Sunset on the Great Plateau— Coyotes and zopilotes—Irrigated plantations—Railways—Plateau of Anahuac—The cities of the mesa central—Spanish-American civilisation—Romance of Mexican life—Mexican girls, music, and moonlight—The peones and civilisation—American comparisons— Pleasing traits of the Mexicans—The foreigner in Mexico—Picturesque mining-towns—Wealth of silver—Conditions of travel—Railways— Invasions—Lerdo's axiom—Roads and horsemen—Strong religious sentiment—Popocatepetl and Ixtaccihuatl—Sun-god of Teotihuacan—City of Mexico—Valley of Mexico—The Sierra Madre—Divortia aquarum of the continent—Volcano of Colima—Forests and ravines—Cuernavaca—The trail of Cortes—Acapulco—Romantic old haciendas—Tropic sunset— Unexplored Guerrero—Perils and pleasures of the trail—Sunset in the Pacific Ocean.

Mexico, that southern land lying stretched between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, upon the tapering base of North America, is a country whose name is fraught with colour and meaning. The romance of its history envelops it in an atmosphere of adventure whose charm even the prosaic years of the twentieth century have not entirely dispelled, and the magnetism of the hidden wealth of its soil still invests it with some of the attraction it held for the old Conquistadores. It was in the memorable age of ocean chivalry when this land was first won for Western civilisation: that age when men put forth into a sunset-land of Conquest, whose every shore and mountain-pass concealed some El Dorado of their dreams. The Mexico of to-day is not less interesting, for its vast territory holds a wealth of historic lore and a profusion of natural riches. Beneath the Mexican sky, blue and serene, stretch great tablelands, tropic forests, scorching deserts, and fruitful valleys, crowned by the mineral-girt mountain ranges of the Sierra Madres; and among them lie the strange pyramids of the bygone Aztecs, and the rich silver mines where men of all races have enriched themselves. Mexico is part of that great Land of Opportunity which the Spanish-American world has retained for this century.

There are two main travelled ways into Mexico. The first lies across the stormy waters of the Mexican Gulf to the yellow strand of Vera Cruz, beyond which the great "star-mountain" of the Aztecs, Citlaltepetl,[1] rears its gleaming snow-cap in mid-heavens, above the clouds. It was here that Cortes landed, four centuries ago, and it is the route followed by the tide of European travellers to-day. Otherwise, the way lies across the Great Plateau, among the arid plains of the north, where, between the sparsely-scattered cities and plantations of civilised man, the fringe of Indian life is spread upon the desert, and the shadowy forms of the coyote and the cactus blend into the characteristic landscape. Both ways are replete with interest, but that of Vera Cruz is the more varied and characteristic. Here stands Ulua, the promontory-fortress, where more than one of Mexico's short-lived rulers languished and died of yellow fever, and which was the last stronghold of Spain. Beyond it arise the white buildings and towers of Vera Cruz, a dream-city, as beheld from the Gulf, of interest and beauty; and to the west, are the broad coastal deserts, bounded by the foothills and tropic valleys of the tierra caliente of the littoral. Piled up to the horizon are the wooded slopes and canyons of the great Sierra Madre, topped by the gleaming Orizaba, towering upwards in solitary majesty. We stand upon a torrid strand, yet gaze upon an icy mountain.

[Footnote 1: Orizaba, 18,250 feet altitude.]

A country of singular topographic structure is before us. The Mexican Cordillera conceals, beyond and above it, the famous Great Plateau; the mesa central, running to the northwards eight hundred miles or more, and reaching westwardly to the steep escarpments of the Pacific slope. These plutonic and volcanic ranges encircle and bisect the great tableland, and enclose the famous Valley of Mexico and its beautiful capital, lying far beyond the horizon, above the clouds which rest upon the canyons and terraces of that steep-rising country to the west. Our journey lies upwards to this Great Plateau of Anahuac over the intervening plains and mountain range.

It is a tropical region of foliage, flowers, and fruits, of rugged countryside and rushing streams, this eastern slope of Mexico; and the blue sky and flashing sun form the ambient of a perpetual summer-land. We traverse the sandy Tertiary deserts of the coast, and thence enter among groves of profuse natural vegetation, interspersed with cultivated plantations. In these the gleam of yellow oranges comes from among the foliage, and the graceful leaves of the platanos and rubber-trees fan their protecting shade over young coffee-trees. But away from the haunts of man along the littoral is a region of startling beauty—of rivers and lagoons and hills, their shores and slopes garmented with perennial verdure, the forest-seas bathing the bases of towering peaks. Beautiful birds of variegated and rainbow colours, such as Mexico is famous for, people these tropic southern lands of Vera Cruz. Along the shores and in the woods and groves, all teeming with prolific life, which the hot sun and frequent rains induce, the giant cranes and brilliant-plumaged herons disport themselves, and gorgeous butterflies almost outshine the feathered denizens. From the tangled boughs the pendant boa-constrictor coils himself, and hissing serpents, basking crocodiles, and prowling jaguars people the untrodden wilds of jungle and lagoon. In these great virgin forests tribes of monkeys find their home, and the tapir and the cougar have their being. Mangroves, palms, rubber-trees, mahogany, strange flora, and ungathered fruits run riot amid this tropical profusion, and flourish and fall almost unseen of man. And here the malarias of the lowlands lurk—those bilious disorders which man is ever fighting and slowly conquering. This is Mexico's tierra caliente.

But our way lies onwards towards the mountains. A wildness of landscape, unpictured before, opens to the view. Here rise weird rock-forms, Nature's cathedral towers and grim facades magnificent in solitude and awe-inspiring, as by steep bridle-paths we take our way along the valleys, and draw rein to gaze upon them. Ponderous and sterile, these outworks and buttresses of the great Sierra Madre rise upwards, fortifications reared against the march of tropic verdure beneath, cloud-swathed above and bathed below by forest-seas. Born in that high environment of rains and snows, rippling streams descend, falling in cascades and babbling rapids adown romantic glens, and their life-giving waters, with boisterous ripple or murmuring softly, take their way over silver sand-bar and polished ledge of gleaming quartz or marble, winding thence amid corridors of stately trees and banks of verdant vegetation, to where they fill the irrigation-channels of white-clad peasants, far away on the plains below.

Still onwards and upwards lies the way. One of the most remarkable railways in the world ascends this steep zone, and serpentines among sheer descents to gain the summits of abrupt escarpments, from which—a remarkable feature of the topography of the eastern slope of Mexico—the traveller looks down as into another country and climate, upon those tropical valleys which he has left below. This is the Mexican Vera Cruz railway.



Let us pause a moment and gain a comprehensive idea of the character of Mexico's configuration and climate. It is to be recollected that Mexico, like other lands of Western America, is a country of relatively recent geological birth. The form of the country is remarkable. It shares the topographical features of others of the Andine countries of America—of tropical lowlands and temperate uplands, in which latter nearness to the heat of the Equator is offset by the coolness of the rarefied air of high elevations above sea-level. This structure is the dominant note of the scheme of Nature in Mexico—as it is in Peru and other similar countries—and the anthropo-geographical conditions are correspondingly marked. The region first passed is known as the tierra caliente, or hot lands. Its climatic limit extends up the slopes of the Sierras to an elevation of some 3,000 feet or more, embracing the lowlands, hot and humid generally, of the whole of the Gulf coast and of the peninsula of Yucatan, all of which regions are subject to true tropical conditions—the dense forests, the great profusion of animal life, the wonderful abundance and colour of Nature, and in places the swamps and their accompanying malarias, shunned by the traveller. But yellow fever and malaria are much less dreaded now than heretofore. In the city of Vera Cruz and in Tampico the new era of sanitation, brought about by British and American example and seconded by the Mexican authorities, has almost banished these natural scourges.

Rising from the tierra caliente, the road enters upon the more temperate zone, the tierra templada, extending upwards towards the Great Plateau. The limit of this climatic zone is at the elevation of 6,000 feet above sea-level, and here are evergreen oaks, pine, and the extraordinary forms of the organ cactus, as well as orchids. It is, indeed, a transition zone from the hot to the cold climates, and the zone embraces the greater part of the area of Mexico. Rising rapidly thence up to and over the escarpments of the Sierra Madre and the high plains, we shall enter upon the tierra fria or cold lands, ranging from 6,000 feet to 8,000 feet above sea level. Above this rise the high summits of the Mexican Cordilleras, with their culminating peaks, some few of which penetrate the atmosphere above the limit of perpetual snow. Thus, three diverse climatic zones are encountered in Mexico, which, ever since the advent of the Spaniards, have been designated as the tierra fria, tierra templada, and tierra caliente respectively. These conditions, as will be seen later, are also encountered upon the Pacific slope.

We now ascend the steep upper zone of the Sierra Madre, and cross it, descending thence to the Great Plateau or mesa central, the dominating topographical feature of the country. Here lies the real Mexico of history, and here is the main theatre of the new land of industrial awakening. Within the mountain ranges—that which we have crossed, and those which intersect this vast tableland and bound it on three sides—lies the great wealth of minerals—gold, silver, and others—which have attracted men of all races and all times since Cortes came. Here the true fairy tales of long ago, of millions won by stroke of pick, had their setting, and indeed, have it still. Upon these hills the thankful miner reared temples to his saints, and blessed, in altar and crucifix, the mother of God who graciously permitted his enrichment! And as if such devotion were to be unstinted, he also places his shrines within the bowels of the mines, and pauses as he struggles through the dark galleries, with heavy pack of silver rock upon his back, to bend his knee a moment before the candle-lighted subterranean altar.

And now great desert plains unfold to view. Upon their confines arise the blue mountain ranges which intersect them, their canyons and slopes, though faint in distance and blurred by shimmering heat arising from the desert floor, yet cast into distinct tracery by the rays of the sun. Towards the azure vault overhead, as we behold the arid landscape, eddying dust-pillars whirl skywards upon the horizon, or perhaps a cloud of dust, far away upon the trail which winds over the flat expanse, denotes some evidence of man—horseman or ox-cart pursuing its leisurely and monotonous way. Upon the edges of the dry stream-beds, or arroyos, which descend from the hills and lose themselves in wide alluvial fans upon the sandy waste, a fringe of scant vegetation appears, nourished by the water which flows down them in time of rain.

Beneath our horses' hoofs the white alkali crust which thinly covers the desert floor, crumbles and breaks. Gaunt cacti stretch their skinny branches across the trail, which winds among foothills and ravines, and the horned toads and the lizards, the only visible beings of the animal world here, play in and out of their labyrinths as we pass. We are upon the Great Plateau. All is vast, reposeful, boundless. The sun rises and sets as it does upon some calm ocean, describing its glowing arc across the cloudless vault above, from Orient to Occident. Sun-scorched by day, the temperature drops rapidly as night falls upon these elevated steppes, 7,000 feet or more above the level of the sea, and the bitter cold of the rarefied air before the dawn takes possession of the atmosphere. The shivering peones of the villages rise betimes to catch the sun's first rays, and stand or squat against the eastern side of their adobe huts, what time the orb of day shows his red disc above the far horizon. La capa de los pobres—"the poor man's cloak"—they term the sun, as with grateful benediction they watch his coming, and stamp their sandalled feet.



Impressive and melancholy is the nightfall upon the Great Plateau. The opalescent tints of the dying day, and the scarlet curtains flung across the Occident at the sun's exit give place to that indescribable depth of purple of the high upland's sky. The faint ranges of hills which bound the distant horizon take on those diminishing shades which their respective distances assign them, and stand delicately, ethereally, against the waning colours of the sunset, whilst the foreground rocks are silhouetted violet-black against the desert floor. The long shadows which were projected across the wilderness, and the roseate flush which the setting sun had cast upon the westward-facing escarpments behind us, have both disappeared together. Impenetrable gloom lurks beneath the faces of the cliffs, the mournful howl of the coyotes comes across the plain, and their slinking forms emerge from the shadow of the rocks. There is a shapeless heap, the carcass of some dead mule or ox, some jetsam of the desert, lying near at hand, at which my horse was uneasy as I drew rein in contemplation, and which explains the nearness of the beasts of prey, and the long line of zopilotes, or buzzards, which I had observed to cross the fading gleam of the firmament. All is solitary, deserted, peaceful. The day is done, the night has come, "in which no man can work."

At daylight the uncultivated desert gives place to human habitations; and we approach the hacienda of a large landowner, with its irrigated plantations, and adobe buildings which form the abodes of the workers. All around are vast fields of maguey, or plantations of cotton, stretching as far as can be seen. Great herds of cattle, rounded up by picturesque vaqueros with silver-garnished saddles and strange hats and whirling lassoes, paw the dusty ground, shortly to writhe beneath the hot imprint of the branding-iron. Long irrigation ditches, brimming with water from some distant river, and fringed with trees, wind away among the plantations; and white-clad peones, hoe in hand, tend the long furrows whose parallel lines are lost in perspective. Centre of the whole panorama is the dwelling-house of the hacendado, the owner of the lands; and almost of the bodies and souls of the inhabitants! Quaint and old-world, the place and its atmosphere transport the imagination to past centuries, for the aspect of the whole still bears the stamp of its mediaeval beginning, save where the new Mexican millionaire-landowner has planted some luxurious abode, replete with modern convenience.

But these are not isolated from the world upon this Great Plateau so much as might appear at first glance. There is a puff of smoke upon the horizon, and the whistle of a locomotive strikes upon the ear. The railway which links this great oasis of cultivated fields with others similar, and with the world beyond, runs near at hand, and will bear us, do we wish it, away to the confines of the Republic in the north, to the United States, and in five days to New York. Southwards it winds away to the great capital City of Mexico, to Vera Cruz, and thence on towards the borders of Guatemala. But let us avoid the railway yet. Not thus, in the comfort of the Pullman cushions, do we know the spirit and atmosphere of Mexico; but the saddle and the dusty road shall be our self-chosen portion. Indeed, it will be so from sheer necessity, for our way will lie onwards to the Pacific Ocean, and no railway of the plateau quite reaches this yet.

Throughout the Great Plateau of Anahuac, separated by long stretches of dusty wilderness, unclothed except by scanty thorny shrubs, and scarcely inhabited except by the coyote and the tecolote,[2] are handsome cities with their surrounding cultivation and characteristic life. As we top the summit of a range and behold these centres of population from afar, a bird's-eye view and philosophical comprehension of their ensemble is obtained. Seen from the outside, they present a picturesque view of cathedral spires and gleaming domes and white walls; the towers rising from the lesser buildings amid groves of verdant trees, forming a striking group, all backed by the blue range of some distant sierra. The main group shades off into a fringe of jacales—the squalid habitations of the peones, and of the city's poor and outcast, with rambling, dusty roads bordered by hedges of prickly pear, or nopales; picturesque, quaint, the roads ankle-deep in white adobe dust, which rises from beneath our horse's hoofs and covers us with an impalpable flour upon traversing the environs of the place. Clattering over the cobble-paved streets, we rapidly approach the central pulse of the town, the plaza. Singular shops, where fruits and meats and clothing are displayed in windowless array, line the streets, and quaint dwelling-houses, with iron grilles covering their windows, giving them the mediaeval Hispanic aspect familiar to the Spanish-American traveller. Into these we gaze down from the height of the saddle in passing, and perchance some dark-haired Mexican damsel, who has been snatching a moment from her household duties to gaze at the outside world, retires suddenly from the balcony with well-simulated haste and modesty before the rude gaze of the approaching stranger. Indians or peones in loose white garments of cotton manta, with huge Mexican straw hats, and scarlet blankets depending from their shoulders, stalk through the street, or issue from ill-smelling pulque shops, whose singularly-painted exteriors arrest the attention. Gaunt dogs prowl about and lap the water of the open acequias, or ditch-gutters, between the road and the footpath, fighting for some stray morsel thrown into the street from the open doors of the shops aforesaid. Of stone or of adobe—generally the latter—according to the geology of the particular neighbourhood, the houses are whitened or tinted outside, with flat roofs, or azoteas. Through the wide entrance-door a glimpse is obtained of an interior paved patio, adorned, in the better-class homes, with tubs of palms and flowers; and before one of such a character we draw rein—the meson or fonda, the hotel under whose roof temporary shelter shall be sought. This abode faces the plaza, and opposite rises the quaint church—or cathedral if it be a State capital city—which is the dominating note of the community.

[Footnote 2: Mexican night owl.]



Exceedingly picturesque are the fine cities which form Mexico's chief centres of civilisation along the Great Plateau—Chihuahua, Durango, Guadalajara, Puebla, and many others. They have that quaint, old-world air ever characteristic of Spanish-America, unspoilt by the elements of manufacturing communities. Their shady plazas are centres of recreation and social life, always in evidence, distinctive of Spanish-American civilisation, where music is a part of the government of the people; a feature far more prominent than in Britain or the United States. The cathedrals, the quaint architecture of the streets, the barred windows, and the picturesque dress of the working class, form an atmosphere of distinctive life and colour. Let us halt a moment in the plaza. The band is discoursing soft music, varied by some stirring martial air; the Mexican moon has risen, and now that the sunset colours pale, vies with the lamps of the well-lit promenade to illumine a happy but simple scene. Its rays shine through the feathery boughs of the palms, and glisten on the broad, elegant leaves of the platanos—which grow even in the upland valleys—whilst the scent of orange-blossoms falls softly through the balmy air, as in ceaseless promenade fair maidens and chatting youths, with coquetry and stolen glance, pass round the square untiringly. White dresses and black eyes and raven tresses—the olive-complexioned beauties of the Mexican uplands take their fill of passing joy. The moment is sweet, peaceful, even romantic; let us dally a moment, nor chafe our cold northern blood for more energetic scenes. Do we ask bright glances? Here are such. Shall we refuse to be their recipient? And moonlight, palms, and music, and evening breeze, and convent tolling bell, and happy crowd—no, it is not a scene from some dream of opera, but a phase of every-day life in Mexico.

In many respects it is an atmosphere of charm and interest which the traveller encounters in Mexican life, especially if he has recently arrived from among the prosaic surroundings of Mexico's great northern neighbour, the United States. Indeed, the transition from the busy Anglo-Saxon world which hurries and bustles in strenuous life northward from the Rio Grande, to that pastoral and primitive land of Spanish-America is as marked as that between Britain and the Orient. Yet it is only divided by a shallow stream—the Rio Grande. As the traveller crosses this boundary he leaves behind him the twentieth century, and goes back in time some hundreds of years—a change, it maybe said en passant, which is not without benefit, and attractive in some respect. The brusque and selfish American atmosphere is left behind, the patience and courtesy of Mexico is felt. The aggressive struggle for life gives place to the recollection that to acquire wealth is not necessarily the only business of all men and all nations; for the patient peon lives in happiness without it. You may scorn him, but he is one of Nature's object-lessons.

Singularly un-American—that is if United States and Canadian manners and customs shall be considered typical of America—are the customs of the Mexican. The influence and romance of the long years of Spanish domination and character have been crystallised upon the Mexican soil. The mien and character of the race created here in New Spain is marked for all time as a distinctive type, which may possess more for the future than the votary of Anglo-Saxon civilisation and strenuous commercialism may yet suspect. Whatever critical comparison may be applied to these people, the foreigner will acknowledge the pleasing trait of courtesy they invariably show. The elegance and grace of Spanish manners, wafted across the Atlantic in the days of ocean chivalry, were budded to the gentle courtesy of the native; and the brusque Anglo-Saxon is almost ashamed of his seeming or intended brusqueness before the graceful salutation of the poorest peon. Hat in hand, and with courteous or devout wish for your welfare on his lips, the poor Mexican seems almost a reproach to the harbinger of an outside world which seemingly grows more hard and commercial as time goes on.

The picturesque and the simple are, of course, bought at the expense, too often, of hygiene and comfort, and Mexico does not escape this present law. Yet it is remarkable how soon the Briton or the American in Mexico adapts himself to his surroundings, and grows to regard them with affection. It is true that the government of the country is practically a military despotism, yet the foreigner is respected, and none interfere with him. On the contrary, he is often looked up to as a representative of a superior State, and if he be worthy he acquires some of the demeanour of race-noblesse oblige.

There are cities set on steep hill-sides, which we shall enter. Terrace after terrace climb the rocky ribs of arid hills. Houses, interspersed with gardens; communities backed by the soft outlines of distant ranges, seen adown the widening valley; and walls, houses, streets, people, landscape; all are of that distinctive colour and character of the Mexican upland, over-arched by the cloudless azure of its sky. Clustered upon these same steep mineral-bearing hills—and, indeed, they are the raison d'etre of the town at all in that spot—are the great mining places, ancient and modern, which form so important a feature of the life of the country on the Great Plateau.

Fabulous wealth of silver has been dug from these everlasting hills. Grim and abandoned mine-mouths, far away like black dots upon the slopes, and strange honeycombed galleries and caverns far beneath the outcropping of the lodes, have vomited rich silver ore for centuries: and the clang of miners' steel and the dropping candle are now, as ever, the accompaniment of labour of these hardy peones. The very church, perhaps, is redolent of mining, and was raised by some pious delver in the bowels of the hill whereon it stands—a thank-offering for some great luck of open sesame which his saints afforded him.

But we will not linger here; Guanajuato and Zacatecas and Pachuca shall be our theme in another chapter, and the tale of toil and silver which they tell. For the moment the way lies down the Great Plateau, among its intersecting ranges of hills, through the fertile valleys, which alternate with the appalling sun-beat deserts.

The conditions of travel in this great land of Mexico—it is nearly two thousand miles in length—are, perhaps, less arduous than in Spanish-American countries generally. Mexico has lent itself well to the building of railways in a longitudinal direction, upon the line of least resistance from north-west to south-east, paralleling its general Andine structure. Several great trunk lines thus connect the capital City of Mexico and the southern part of the republic with the civilisation of the United States, over this relatively easy route. Yet the earliest railway of Mexico, that from Vera Cruz to the City of Mexico, traverses the country in the most difficult direction, transversely, rising from tide-water and the Atlantic littoral, and ascending the steep escarpments of the Eastern Sierra Madre to fall down into the lake-valley of Mexico, bringing outside civilisation to that isolated interior world. But Mexico's singular topographical position did not secure her from invasion. Three times the city on the lakes has fallen to foreign invaders—the Spaniards of the Conquest, the French of Napoleon, and the Americans of the United States. Indeed, the flat and arid tableland stretching away for such interminable distances to the north was formerly a more potent natural defence than the Cordilleran heights which front on the Atlantic seas; and the axiom of Lerdo is well brought to mind in considering the geographical environment: "Between weakness and strength—the desert!"



But away from the railways, and the roads where diligencias ply their lumbering and dusty course, the saddle is the only, and indeed the most characteristic, mode of travel; and the arriero and his string of pack-mules is the common carrier, and the mountain road or dusty desert trail the means of communication from place to place. Along these the horseman follows, day after day, his hard but interesting road, for to the lover of Nature and incident the saddle ever brings matter of interest unattainable by other means of locomotion. The glorious morning air, the unfolding panorama of landscape—even the desert and the far-off mountain spur which he must round ere evening falls, are sources, of exhilaration and interest. The simple people and their quaint dwellings, where in acute struggle for life with Nature they wrest a living from rocks and thorns—are these not subjects, even, worthy of some passing philosophical thought? Not a hilltop in the vicinity of any human habitations—be they but the wretched jacales or wattle-huts of the poorest peasants—but is surmounted by a cross: not a spring or well but is adorned with flowers in honour of that patron saint whose name it bears; and not a field or hamlet or mine but has some religious nomenclature or attribute. For the Mexicans are a race into which the religion of the Conquistadores penetrated indelibly, whose hold upon them time scarcely unlooses. The creeds of the priests, moreover, are interwoven with the remains of Aztec theistic influence, and the superstitions of both systems hold the ignorant peasantry of Mexico in enduring thrall. Much of beauty and pathetic quaintness there is in this strong religious sentiment, which no thinking observer will deride; much of retrograde ignorance, which he will lament to see.

The Great Plateau tapers away towards the south, terminating in the Valley of Mexico, bounded by the snowy Cordillera of Anahuac. Within this range are two great volcanic uplifts, two beautiful mountain peaks, crowned with perpetual snow—the culminating orographical features of the Sierras, and the highest points in Mexico. The loftiest of these is Popocatepetl, "the smoking mountain," and its companion is Ixtaccihuatl, the "sleeping woman," both of poetical Indian nomenclature. These beautiful solitary uplifts rise far above the canyons and forests at their bases: penetrate the clouds which sometimes wreath them, terminating in a porcelain-gleaming summit of perpetual snow. The mid-day sun flashes upon them, rendering them visible from afar, and its declining rays paint them with that carmine glow known to the Andine and Alpine traveller, which arrests his vision as evening falls. So fell, indeed, the morning rays of the orb of day upon the burnished golden breastplates of the image set on the sacred pyramid of Teotihuacan: the sun-god, Tonatiuah, as in the shadowy Toltec days he faced the flashing east.

Prehistoric fact and fable press hard upon us as we approach the famous Valley of Mexico and its fine capital. This is the region where that singular "stone age" flourished, of pyramid-building and stone-shaping peoples. Here both geology and history have written their pages, as if Nature and Fate had conspired together to mark epochs of time and space in ancient temple, dead revolution, and slumbering volcano. And now below us lies the City of Mexico. From the wooded uplands and hill-summits—redolent of pine and exhilarating with the tonic air—which form the rim of the valley, the panorama of the capital and its environs lies open to the view. Plains crossed by white streaks of far-off roads, intersecting the chequered fields of green alfalfa and yellow maize; haciendas and villages embowered in luxuriant foliage; the gleam of domes and towers, softened in the glamour of distance and bathed by a reposeful atmosphere and mediaeval tints—such is Mexico, this fair city of the West.



The City of Mexico, like most centres of human habitation in whatever part of the world, is most beautiful when seen from afar, and in conjunction with Nature's environment. But the old Aztec city, the dark, romantic seat of the viceroys, the theatre of revolutionary struggle, and the modern centre of this important Mexican civilisation, is a really handsome and attractive city. Indeed, the capitals of many Spanish-American republics, and their civilisation and social regime, are often in the nature of a revelation to the traveller from Europe or the United States, who has generally pictured a far more primitive State. With its handsome institutions and public buildings, and extensive boulevards and parks, and characteristic social, literary, and commercial life, the City of Mexico may be described as Americo-Parisian, and it is rapidly becoming a centre of attraction for United States tourists, who, avid of historical and foreign colour, descend thither in Pullman-car loads from the north. The city lies some three miles from the shore of Lake Texcoco, which, with that of Chalco and others, forms a group of salt- and fresh-water lagoons in the strange Valley of Mexico. At the time of the Conquest the city stood upon an island, connected with the mainland by the remarkable stone causeways upon which the struggles between the Spaniards and the Aztecs took place, during the siege of the city at the time of the Conquest. But these lakes, after the manner of other bodies of water, generally, in the high elevations of the American Cordilleras—Titicaca, in Peru, to wit—are gradually perishing by evaporation, their waters diminishing century by century. The Valley of Mexico, however, of recent years has received an artificial hydrographic outlet in the famous drainage canal and tunnel, which conducts the overflow into a tributary of the Panuco river, and so to the Gulf of Mexico.

The Valley of Mexico is surrounded by volcanic hills, forming a more recent formation of the Andine folds, of which the Sierra Madres compose the Mexican Cordilleras. We have now to cross this, for our faces are set towards the Pacific Ocean. We ascend and pass the Western Sierra Madre, the divortia aquarum of the Pacific watershed, leaving the intra-montane plateau of Anahuac and the mesa central behind us. Again the climate changes as the downward journey is begun, and again the tierra caliente is approached. The culminating peaks—the beautiful Popocatepetl and Ixtaccihuatl—sink now below the eastern horizon, but as we journey to the west Colima's smoking cone will rise before the view. The descent from the highlands to the west coast is even more rapid than to the east, and the temperate climate of the valleys, and the bitter cold of the early morning on the uplands, soon give place to tropical conditions. Extensive forests of oak and pine, clothing the sides of the canyons and barrancas of the high Sierra Madre, are succeeded by the profuse vegetation of the torrid zone. Down in the soft regions of the west, where tropical agriculture yields its plentiful and easily-won harvests, are romantic old haciendas and villages hidden away in the folds of the landscape, such as are a delight to the traveller and the lover of the picturesque. The "happy valley" of Cuernavaca is reached by railway from the capital, but beyond this the road to the seaboard is still that ancient trail which Cortes used, which descends to Acapulco, for the railway builders have not yet completed their works to the Pacific waters.

Away from the main route of travel lie sequestered old sugar estates, and villages of romantic and picturesque charm, yet untouched by speculator or capitalist. Antique piles of stone buildings are there, redolent of that peculiar poetry of the pastoral life of Mexico in the tropics. The old Spaniards built well; their solid masonry defies the centuries; and their most prosaic structures were invested with an architectural charm which the rapid money-seeker of to-day cares little for, in his corrugated iron and temporary materialism. Near to the arches, columns, and turrets of the old haciendas the garden lies, replete with strange fruits and flowers. The gleam of oranges and limes comes from the tangled groves; grapes and pomegranates vie with each other in unattended profusion. The iguana sports among the old stone walls of the great garden, and humming-birds and butterflies hover in the subtle atmosphere. The tropic sunset throws a peaceful glamour and serenity over all. The cocoanut palms, with feathery grace above and slender column upward rearing, stir not against their ethereal setting as we watch, and the passing water in the old aqueduct scarce breaks the tropic silence, or if, perchance, it whisper, murmurs of centuries past, a low refrain.

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