Mexico, Aztec, Spanish and Republican/Volume 1
AZTEC, SPANISH AND REPUBLICAN:
HISTORICAL, GEOGRAPHICAL, POLITICAL, STATISTICAL, AND SOCIAL
ACCOUNT OF THAT COUNTRY FROM THE PERIOD OF THE INVASION,
BY THE SPANIARDS TO THE PRESENT TIME
WITH A VIEW OF THE
ANCIENT AZTEC EMPIRE AND CIVILIZATION;
A HISTORICAL SKETCH OF THE LATE WAR:
AND NOTICES OF
NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA
FORMERLY SECRETARY OF LEGATION TO MEXICO
IN TWO VOLUMES
S. DRAKE AND COMPANY.
HONORABLE HENRY CLAY:
My Dear Sir:
I take the liberty to inscribe these volumes to you as a testimonial of personal gratitude. In the midst of engrossing cares you have often been pleased to turn aside for a while to foster those who were following the humbler and quieter walks of literature; and it is, naturally, their delight to offer for your acceptance, upon every suitable occasion, an acknowledgment of cordial thankfulness.
Allow me, then, as the only tribute I can tender, to present a work designed to illustrate the history and resources of one of those American States which were summoned into the brotherhood of nations by your sympathy and eloquence.
- I am, with the greatest respect,
Your friend and servant,
Baltimore, July, 1850.
The people of the United States have always felt a deep interest in the history and destiny of Mexico. It was not only the commercial spirit of our citizens that awakened this sentiment. In former times, when the exclusive policy of Spain closed the door of intercourse with her American colonies, the ancient history of Peru and Mexico attracted the curiosity of our students. They were eager to solve the enigma of a strange civilization which had originated in the central portions of our continent in isolated independence of all the world. They desired, moreover, to know something of those enchanted regions, which, like the fabled garden of the Hesperides, were watched and warded with such jealous vigilance; and they craved to behold those marvelous mines whose boundless wealth was poured into the lap of Spain. The valuable work of Baron Humboldt, published in the early part of this century, stimulated this natural curiosity; and, when the revolutionary spirit of Europe penetrated our continent, and the masses rose to cast off colonial bondage, we hailed with joy every effort of the patriots who fought so bravely in the war of liberation. Bound to Mexico by geographical ties, though without a common language or lineage, we were the first to welcome her and the new American Sovereignties into the brotherhood of nations, and to fortify our continental alliance by embassies and treaties.
After more than twenty years of peaceful intercourse, the war of 1846 broke out between Mexico and our Union. Thousands, of all classes, professions and occupations,—educated and uneducated—observers and idlers,—poured into the territory of the invaded republic In the course of the conflict these sturdy adventurers traversed the central and northern regions of Mexico, scoured her coasts, possessed themselves for many months of her beautiful Capital, and although they returned to their homes worn with the toils of war, none have ceased to remember the delicious land, amid whose sunny valleys and majestic mountains they had learned, at least, to admire the sublimity of nature. The returned warriors did not fail to report around their firesides the marvels they witnessed during their campaigns, and numerous works have been written to sketch the story of individual adventure, or to portray the most interesting physical features of various sections of the republic. Thus by war and literature, by ancient curiosity and political sympathy, by geographical position and commercial interest, Mexico has become perhaps the most interesting portion of the world to our countrymen at the present moment. And I have been led to believe that the American people would not receive unfavorably a work designed to describe the entire country, to develop its resources and condition, and to sketch impartially its history from the conquest to the present day.
It has been no ordinary task to chronicle the career of a nation for more than three centuries, to unveil the colonial government of sixty-two Viceroys, to follow the thread of war and politics through the mazes of revolution, and to track the rebellious spirit of intrigue amid the numerous civil outbreaks which have occurred since the downfall of Iturbide. The complete Viceroyal history of Mexico is now for the first time presented to the world in the English language, while, in Spanish, no single author has ever attempted it continuously. Free from the bias of Mexican partizanship, I have endeavored to narrate events fairly, and to paint character without regard to individual men. In describing the country, its resources, geography, finances, church, agriculture, army, industrial condition, and social as well as political prospects, I have taken care to provide myself with the most recent and respectable authorities. My residence in the country, and intimacy with many of its educated and intelligent patriots, enabled me to gather information in which I confided, and I have endeavored to fuse the whole mass of knowledge thus laboriously procured, with my personal, and, I hope, unprejudiced, observation.
I have not deemed it proper to encumber the margin of my pages with continual references to authorities that are rarely consulted by general readers, and could only be desired by critics who would often be tantalized by the citation of works, which, in all likelihood, are not to be found except in private collections in the United States, and some of which, I am quite sure, exist only in my own library or in the Mexican Legation, at Washington. Such references, whilst they occupied an undue portion of the book, would be ostentatiously and tediously pedantic in a work of so little pretension as mine. I may state, however, that no important fact has been asserted without authority, and, in order to indicate the greater portion of my published sources of reliance, I have subjoined a list of the principal materials consulted and carefully verified in the composition of these volumes. Nevertheless, I have perhaps failed sometimes to procure the standard works that are accessible to native or permanent residents of the country, and thus, may have fallen accidently into error, whilst honestly seeking to shun misstatement. If those whose information enables them to detect important mistakes will be kind enough to point them out candidly and clearly, I will gladly correct such serious faults if another edition should ever be required by an indulgent public.
Baltimore, July, 1850.
AUTHORITIES USED IN THE PREPARATION OF THIS WORK.
Cartas de Cortéz ed. Lorenzana. Historia Verdadera de la Conquista de la Nueva España—Bernal Diaz Peter Martyr. Conquista de Mejico, by De Solis. Veytia. Herrera. Robertson's History of America. Clavigero—Historia Antigua de Mejico. Prescott's History of the Conquest of Mexico. Cavo y Bustamante—Tres Siglos de Mejico. Alaman—Disertaciones sobre la Historia de Mejico. Father Gage's America. Temaux-Compans's History of the Conquest. Recopilacion de las leyes de las Indias. Mendez—Observaciones sobre las leyes, &c., &c. N. American Review, vol. XIX. Transactions of the American Ethnological Society, in the Ar- ticles on Mexico, by Mr. Gal- latin. Researches, Philosophical and Antiquarian, concerning the Aboriginal History of America, by J. H. McCulloh. Pesquisia contra Pedro de Alva- rado y Nuño de Guzman. Lives of the Viceroys in the Liceo Mejicano. Notas y esclarecimientos à la his- toria de la Conquista de Mejico, por José F. Ramirez.—2d vol. of Mexican translation of Prescott.
Zavala—Revoluciones de Mejico desde 1808, hasta 1830. Don Vicente Pazo's Letters on the United Provinces of South America. Robinson's Memoirs of the Mexi- can Revolution. Ward's Mexico in 1827, &c. Foote's History of Texas. Tejas in 1836. Memorias para la Historia de la Guerra de Tejas, por General Vicente Filisola. Forbes's California. Greenhow's Oregon and California. American State Papers. Ranke—Fursten und Volker. Dr. Dunham's History of Spain and Portugal. General Waddy Thompson's Re- collections of Mexico. Apuntes para la historia de la guerra entre Mejico y los Esta- dos Unidos. Lectures on Mexican history, by José Maria Lacunza, Professor in the College of San Juan de Letran. Constituciones de Mejico y de los Estados Mejicanos. Thirteen octavo volumes of docu- ments published by the Con- gress of the United States, rela- tive to our intercourse and war with Mexico, collected by my- self. Tributo à la Verdad,—Vera Cruz 1847.
Humboldt, Essai Politique sur la
Isidro R. Gondra's Notes on Mexi-