Matthew Fontaine Maury/15

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CHAPTER XV.

M. F. Maury’s residence and occupation in England — Departure for the West Indies — Tidings of the fall of the Confederacy — M. F. Maury surrenders his sword — His son “Brave” returns home — Letter from Dr. Brodie Herndon on the condition of Virginia after the war — Maury resolves to go to Mexico — Reception by the Emperor Maximilian — Appointed Commissioner of Immigration — Explains his motives and course of action in a letter to Dr. Tremlett — The decree respecting immigration — Maury’s explanatory memorandum — His scheme disapproved by friends — Letters from Commodore Jansen and General Lee — Maury’s defence to his cousin Rutson Maury — Arrival of his son Richard at Mexico — Maury goes on leave to England — Mrs. Maury and her family at Liverpool — Letters from Mexico to his wife and children — An imperial dinner — Keeping house — Description of the journey from Mexico to the coast — Maury’s reply to the Emperor’s intimation that the immigration department was abolished — M. F. Maury’s introduction of the Chinchona cultivation into Mexico — Causes which led to the fall of the empire — Desertion of the French — Death of the Emperor — Maximillian’s tomb at Vienna — Melancholy fate of the Empress and her last letter to Matthew Fontaine Maury.


MEXICO


Commodore M. F. Maury’s residence in England was a period of great anxiety. It is true that his mind was much occupied with the perfecting of discoveries, and the conduct of experiments connected with torpedo warfare, in pursuance of the duties on which he was employed, and that the companionship of his youngest son, ‘Brave’, gave him comfort, while the boy’s education was a constant source of interest. But the news from the seat of war became less and less hopeful, while the separation from his wife and the rest of his family, at such a time, was hard to bear. At that time his wish was that his dear ones “should make their way into Canada, and tarry there till this vengeful strife is over.” Maury’s health had not been good, and the doctors assured him that, by submitting to an operation, they could set him up. This he did in March 1865, with satisfactory results. Speaking of his young son, in a letter to his wife at this time, he said, “He is my constant companion and nurse in one. His manners are very soft and gentle, and his is as watchful and solicitous about my health as a mother.” Soon the news came of the surrender of General R. E. Lee, and the fall of the Southern cause. The condition of his beloved Virginia was indeed lamentable; but he did not receive full details of the ruin until after he had left England.

MAURY SURRENDERS HIS SWORD

On the 2nd of May, 1865, Maury sailed from Southampton with his son “Brave,” under orders from the Confederate Secretary of the Navy. He had sent out, in advance, a quantity of torpedo material for the defence of the Southern coasts and ports. This represented the results of his inventive genius, and of his studies during his residence in England but when he arrived at St. Thomas, in the West Indies, he received the crushing tidings of the total collapse of the Confederacy, and of the assassination of Lincoln. He went on to Cuba, whence he sent his son back to Virginia. He considered it to be the wisest and most honorable course for himself, now that all armed resistance on the part of Virginia had ceased, that he also should surrender his sword, which had been drawn by her order and for her defence. His letter stating this intention was directed to “The United States Officer commanding the squadron of the Gulf,” and was by him forwarded to the Government at Washington. [1]

Officer commanding the Unites States Naval Forces in the Gulf of Mexico
AT SEA, MAY 25TH, 1865
Sir,

In peace, as in war, I follow the fortunes of my old native State, Virginia. I read in the public prints that she has practically confessed defeat, and laid down her arms. In that act mine were grounded also.

I am here without command, and bound on matters of private concern abroad. Nevertheless, and as I consider further resistance worse than useless, I deem it proper formally so to confess, and to pledge you, on my word of honour, that, should I find myself within the jurisdiction of the United States before the formal inauguration of peace, to consider myself a prisoner of war, bound by the terms and conditions which have been, or may be, granted to General Lee and his officers.

Be pleased to send your answer through my son, Col. Richard L.[Launcelot] Maury, a prisoner of war onparole in Richmond, Virginia. In the meantime, and until I hear to the contrary, I shall act as though my surrender had been formally accepted on the above-named conditions.

Respectfully, &c., Matthew Fontaine Maury, Comm. C. S. Navy


In May of 1865, his son Matthew Fontaine Maury Jr. (“Brave”) reached Virginia, and found the Maury family assembled at the University of Virginia. There were his sister Betty, with two little girls; Diana, with one little girl and a husband just returned from nine months weary imprisonment at Fort Delaware; Sue (Colonel Richard Launcelot Maury’s wife), with a wounded husband and one little boy; his three little sisters, Molly, Eliza, and Lucy; his mother and her sister, Mary Herndon; his aunt Eliza, and her niece, Sally Fontaine Maury (Maury’s ward), with her husband and three children.

SAD NEWS FROM HOME.

On the 1st of May, 1865, Maury's brother-in-law, Dr. Brodie Herndon, had written a letter to Maury from Richmond, which was not received until long afterwards.

Dr. Brodie Herndon wrote to Maury: "In view of the state of the public mind in the North at present, I think it would be decidedly unsafe for you to return to this country. Your absence abroad in a semi-diplomatic character, your prominence, and the earnest part taken by you in the cause, would make you a decided object of that 'vengeance against leaders' so openly proclaimed and so plainly visible.[2] In time, I hope, these vindictive feelings will subside, and then, and only then, would it be safe and prudent for you to return. A good many of the young men of the South will go abroad, and this is one of the gloomy features of our future. Dick was here last night (his wife and little boy have gone to Spottsylvania), and we had a little talk. He is implacable, and declares that he cannot live in this country. He and Betty are greatly opposed to your return. They have just written to their mother begging her to go to you. I believe sister Ann will be embarrassed in her mind to decide what to do. But I think she will try to possess her soul in patience, and wait to hear directly from you, and know your plans and wishes.

Dick’s [Richard Launcelot Maury seriously wounded Battle of Gettysburg in Pickett's Charge] health and strength in his legs are much improved. He now walks pretty well without his crutches. You know he went with Lee, in spite of his lameness, to Appomattox Court House, and was parolled there. Since his return to Richmond, he and Sue have been the guests of Mr. B——, in whose family they have received every kindness. Will is terribly cast down; he can see not good thing ahead. His mother is here, and I reckon he will accompany her to Washington and will probably live there again. It is melancholy to see the men here sadly hanging round the ruins of their places of business. Many of them have gone to work in their gardens to raise at least vegetables to eat. I can see from my window a lady — and a real lady, too — dropping corn in the garden, while her husband covers it, and another chopping wood. A few have a pig or a cow to which they look for further subsistence. The city is full to overflowing with Yankees and negroes. For the last week the armies of Grant and Sherman have been passing through the streets — countless hosts of the best-looking and best-equipped men I ever saw. How we stood up so long against such terrible odds is a marvel indeed. General Lee is at his residence on Franklin Street, and is a great lion with the Yankees. They all want to see him. He advises obedience to the law, and that the young men shall not leave the country. It is with the greatest interest that we look from day to day to see the development of the laws of the Federal Government. We expect governor Pierpont next week, and the issuing of writs of election for members of the Legislature. We are all dead-poor; but food and raiment can be had, I believe, by those who are willing to work. The people in and about Fredericksburg have lived and are living by their cows. We expect to return to the dear old place as soon as the road is passable. Lucy was very desirous that I should stay and try my fortune here; but I am so attached to the old place that I could not be happy out of it. I love the hills of Stafford, and the little streams all round. Dick has determined to try his fortune here. He is a fellow of most resolute purpose and determined will, and if he undertakes it, he will succeed beyond a doubt. Sue is a capital wife, and she will work with him wherever and whenever he goes.

[Spotswood Wellford]Corbin is the rich man of the family — and a very clever fellow is Corbin — clever in every acceptation of the word. I have a very great admiration for his character. We have never seen his baby, but hear much of its beauty and of Nannie’s devotion. We are all broken up; but we will not want. The old State, by-and-by, will recuperate, and her sons with her. The transition from slave to free labour will be attended with many inconveniences at first; but we will soon accommodate ourselves to our new condition. The future of the negro is a most interesting problem. I would like very much to hear your views upon these deeply interesting subjects; but I fear that it must yet be some time before I can have the pleasure of your discourse in person. I am decidedly of the opinion that you ought not to return until we see the course of events. Mr. Davis has just been captured. Mr. Hunter has been arrested. We must keep out of harm’s way until we can see more of the Northern purpose. The punishment of the leaders seems to be determined on. Those who have exercised diplomatic functions, officially or unofficially, will be sure to come in for a share of their vengeance.

If I could only have you to walk up and down the room and hear you descant with perfect freedom on our prospects of the future, and the causes of our downfall, how much I would like it! The “truth is mighty, and will surely prevail” in the end; but we may say with Pilate, “What is Truth?” May God give His Holy Spirit to His people, to animate their hearts and minds and guide them aright! May He take away the spirit of resentment and hate, and give to the North and to the South the spirit of forgiveness, the spirit of wisdom and of sound mind! May He grant that we come forth from our sore trials a wiser and a better people — a nation fearing God and working righteousness! If the North deals kindly with the South, I do not think it impossible in time to heal the deep wounds that have pierced so many hearts. It took more than a generation to efface the animosities we bore England; but they were effaced.

The bloody civil war of Great Britain in Charles the First’s time did not leave irremediable hate and bitterness, though Puritan and Cavalier had no love for each other.

We shall not live to see the changes in character wrought in the old dominion and the slave States by the abolition of slavery; but our children will. We shall no doubt gain much; I am full of hope myself. I believe the balance-sheet will be much in our favour.

Matthew Fontaine Maury was in Havanna, Cuba without a country or a home, and far from friends with whom he could consult. He had always felt great regard and esteem for the Archduke Maximilian, and when that excellent but unfortunate prince undertook to attempt the regeneration of Mexico, Maury had written to him expressing his warmest wishes for the success of the undertaking. Maximilian was now at Mexico as emperor. Maury resolved to offer his services; and he followed the letter in person, without waiting for a reply. He reached Mexico in June, 1865.

The illustrious American Hydrographer was warmly welcomed by the Emperor Maximilian and Empress Carlota. They at once offered Maury a position in the Ministry, which he declined. The appointment of Director of the Imperial Observatory was, however, accepted by Maury.


EMIGRATION PLANS IN MEXICO.

In the following letter to his constant friend, Matthew Fontaine Maury explains his reasons for surrendering his sword, and his subsequent action in Mexico:

Reverend F. W. Tremlett


Mexico, August 8th, 1865

My Dear Friend,

I have been a “looker-on here in Venice” for just two months. I came in search of country and home; for the fortunes of war have lost me both. The “Ides of May” found me, as you remember, on a voyage from happy England, that rightfully rejoices in the best Government on the face of the earth. Bound for some port — I knew not what — of the unhappy Confederacy, disastrous news from Virginia met me by the way. All was lost. But not knowing how the brave men and noble women of that gallant State would take it, and believing further resistance to be useless, I thought it becoming so to confess.

The quickest way of making my opinion known to friends at home was, though not in presence of the enemy, to lay down my arms and so inform him. I did so. The note fell into the hands of acting Rear Admiral Sylvanis Wm. Gordon, of the United States Navy.

Early in the war, before a battle had been fought, an unknown hand was found to have written, in the darkness of the night, upon the walls of Richmond, the words Vae victis! The time has come, and the doom is now resting upon that fair city, and spreading over a goodly land. Who that can find rightful and honourable means, would not invoke their aid for the rescue of kinsmen and friends so situated!

In contemplating this shipwreck of country, kinsmen, and friends, I recognised among the debris of the wreck the very materials that are required to build, upon good and solid foundations, the Mexican Empire. Never, since the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, has such a class of people been found willing to expatriate themselves. From such a wreck, Mexico may gather and transfer to her own borders the very intelligence, skill, and labour which made the South what she was in her palmy days — except bondage.

It would be difficult to say which have suffered, or are suffering, most — the whites from the ravages of war, or the blacks from the so-called kindness of their friends. Hoping to find for them sympathy in the heart of a generous-minded Sovereign, and an asylum in his Empire, here am I, an advocate of Southern immigration, and a humane system of African emancipation in the United States, as the quickest, most certain and best means of affording relief to their sufferings, of giving quiet to this country, stability to the throne, and peace to America.

Though many of the negroes have been set free, and, owing to the abrupt manner of doing it, have run riot, and are afflicted with both pestilence and famine, there are many of them still true to their masters. Let us encourage the owners of these to emancipate also, and then say to the former: “Now bargain with such as are willing to accompany you to Mexico as apprentices, bound to serve as agricultural and other labourers, until they can learn the language of the country, and make themselves acquainted with its customs and its laws, while they are being instructed in the cultivation of the staples that are new to them, and then emigrate with them to these fertile lands. At the expiration of this term of service — say seven years — the apprentice will have earned a home as one of the rewards of his labour, and will be able to take care of himself.

For this, I am now charged by certain of the vindictive prints of the North with “plotting” to re-open the detestable African slave-trade. The negro was set free in Mexico more than a generation ago. The Emperor, the laws, and the people are all opposed to slavery; and any one who could be so wicked as to desire to re-open the African slave-trade, might as well attempt to “plot” with the British Government, as with this, for that purpose. Nothing seems too absurd for the sensational press of New York.

Mexico is a country of perpetual harvests. On the way from Vera Cruz to the capital, I saw corn in all its stages, from the time of its scattering by the hand of the sower, till it was gathering in the arms of the reaper. But agriculture is in a rude state. I saw them ploughing with a stick, and sawing with an axe, hoeing their corn with a shovel, and grinding it with a pebble. A few of our clever farmers, bringing with them their agricultural apprentices, would give new life and energy to the country. By sprinkling the Empire with settlers of this sort, they and their improved implements of husbandry and methods of culture would serve as so many new centers of agricultural life, energy, and improvement.

The present population of Mexico is said to be eight millions, more than seven of which belong to what with you is called the labouring classes. Yet with the richest of soils, the finest of climates, their perpetual harvests, and marvellous variety of productions, these seven million people contribute annually less than 7,000,000 pounds to the commerce of the world.

The labouring classes of the South, though but little more than half as numerous as these, enabled that country to throw into the channels of commerce an amount of raw produce annually that was worth more the $300,000,000, pounds or 60,000,000 pounds sterling.

You may well imagine the effect, therefore, upon the prosperity of this country, and the stability of the Empire, which would follow the introduction of a few hundred thousand of these very labourers, guided, as they should be, by the skill and experience of their former masters.

Matthew Fontaine Maury had thus formed a grand plan in his mind for the colonization of a New Virginia in Mexico. He submitted his plan to the Emperor Maximilian, who at once adopted it, and appointed Maury Imperial Commissioner for Colonization. A Decree was drawn up offering the following liberal terms to Southern sufferers from the American civil war who would emigrate to Mexico:


“We, Maximilian, Emperor of Mexico, in consideration of the sparseness of the population in the Mexican territory, in proportion to its extent, desiring to give to immigrants all possible security for property and liberty and having heard the opinion of our Board of Colonization, do decree as follows:


Article 1) Mexico is open to immigrants of all nations.

Article 2) Immigration agents shall be appointed, whose duty it will be to protect the arrival of immigrants, install them on the lands assigned them, and assist them in every possible way in establishing themselves. These agents will receive the orders of the Imperial Commissioner of Immigration, specially appointed by us, and to whom all the communications relative to immigration shall be addressed.

Article 3) Each immigrant shall receive a duly executed title, incommutable, of landed estate, and a certificate that is free of mortgages.

Article 4) Such property shall be free from taxes for the first year, and also from duties on transfer of property, but only on the first sale.

Article 5) The immigrants may be naturalized as soon as they shall have established themselves as settlers.

Article 6) Immigrants who may desire to bring labourers with them, or induce them to come in considerable numbers, of any race whatever, are authorized to do so; but those labourers will be subject to special protective regulations.

Article 7) The effects of immigrants, their working and brood animals, seeds, agricultural implements, machines, and working tools, will enter free of custom-house and transit duties.

Article 8) Immigrants are exempted from military service for five years. But they will form a stationary militia for the purpose of protecting their property and neighbourhoods.

Article 9) Liberty in the exercise of their respective forms of religious worship is secured to immigrants by the organic law of the Empire.

Article 10) Each of our ministers is charged with carrying out such parts of this Decree as relate to his department.

Given at Chapultepec on the 5th day of September, 1865.

MAXIMILIAN


Matthew Fontaine Maury, the Imperial Commissioner of Immigration, prepared the following memorandum, to be published with the Decree:

“The Government not only invites all well-disposed persons to come and assist in the occupation of its vacant lands, but his Majesty the Emperor, touched by the spectacle of good men struggling with adversity in other lands, tenders hospitality and homes especially to these.

“Moved by the generous impulses of his nature, he offers them material assistance to enable them to reach this beautiful land. To those of them who wish to change their skies, make Mexico their homes, and identify themselves with the country, a free passage by sea for their families and effects is offered.

“To those who have lost all their substance, is offered, not only a free passage by sea, but a travelling allowance of a “real” (spanish money), the league thence to their new homes will be made for each member of these families, counting as members also their apprentices or labourers.

“Agents for immigration will be stationed at convenient points abroad, for the purpose of affording information to the immigrants there as to the country, its lands, the best way of reaching them, and upon all other subjects appertaining thereto.”

Matthew Fontaine Maury also added the following general remarks to accompany the decree:

“In connection with the foregoing Decree, I beg leave to add, for the information of those who are disposed to avail themselves of the very liberal terms offered by it, a few remarks upon the physical geography, the agricultural resources and industrial pursuits of this beautiful country.

“The Empire of Mexico lies between the parallels of 15 and 32 north latitude, and its shores are bathed by the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea on the one hand, and by the Pacific Ocean on the other. It is celebrated for its mines of gold; copper and lead also abound. Though its mineral wealth has dazzled the world, its mineral wealth is, as a source of riches, by no means equal to its soil.

“Its climates are genial, and its harvest perpetual; under good husbandry the yield is bountiful, being fifty, one hundred, and sometimes two hundred-fold. On the way up from Vera Cruz to Mexico I saw the cereals in all stages of cultivation.

“The seasons in Mexico are not marked by the vicissitudes of heat and cold, but by wet and dry. The coldest time of the year in this city is about the end of the dry season in April or May. In the Tierra Caliente the rainy season is the sickly season. Between the mountains and the sea there is on both coasts a flat country varying in width from ten to fifty miles or more.

“These lowlands reach back to the mountains, which form the edge of the table-land or great central plateau. The low country corresponds to that which in Virginia and the Carolinas lies between the Blue Ridge and the sea. It is the hot country of Mexico, the Tierra Caliente. Everything which delights in rich soil, bright skies, warmth, and moisture, finds a genial habitat there.

“Ascending the mountains, which are timbered all the way up, you reach the table-land, an immense plain from 5,000 to 8,000 feet above the level of the sea, and hundreds of miles in breadth. In length it is commensurate with the Empire, and in the lap of its western declivities lies the Tierra Caliente of the Pacific coast. This table-land is the Tierra Templada, or the temperate region of the Empire. Its climates are delightful — a happy mean between heat and cold.

“The surface of this table-land is diversified with hills and dales, with an occasional snow-clad peak, so that in descending to the valleys, one may find, at a difference in level of only a few hundred yards and in the distance of a few miles, the productions and staples of all countries and latitudes, from those of Virginia down to those of the Gulf of Mexico, and thence through the West Indies to the equator or Brazil.

“Immigrants for Mexico, come at what season they may, will always be in time to plant something. But the best season for planting is generally in the spring, and the best time for coming is in the dry season, from October to May, when the new-comer may live in tents, put his seed in the ground, and have time to build and get his family comfortably housed before the rainy season sets in.

“The staples of agriculture are, in Mexico, as diverse as its climates: there is no lack of range and pasture for cattle, horses, and sheep; nay, gentlemen who are from the grazing lands of the Western States, and who have travelled through the Northern part of Mexico, assure me that they have never seen so fine a sheep-country.”


ADVICE OF FRIENDS

The course adopted by Matthew Fontaine Maury, in entering the service of Mexico and attempting to form a colony of Virginians in that country, did not receive the concurrence of his friends either in Europe or in America.

COMMODORE JANSEN, OF THE NETHERLANDS NAVY, the lifelong friend of the great hydrographer, wrote to him from Delft, on the 22nd of July, 1865, as follows:

Your family, I hear, intend to join you either at Halifax or in England. From this I conclude that they do not expect any result from your Mexican plans — neither do I; and I hope by this time you are in the steamer on your way back to England. The people of Virginia have shown themselves to be as brave as any people ever have been; but courage is coupled, in patriotism, with perseverance in suffering until better times come for Virginia. All who love her for what she has been and what she has done, ought to love her enough to suffer with her and for her sake. If the best people, who have made Virginia what she is, desert her at this critical moment, it would be like children leaving their mother in distress. There is no virtue without sacrifice, and, if the Virginians possess the virtue of patriotism, they ought to bring her now the sacrifice of pride. Don’t emigrate! Stand by your country with stern courage; learn the patience to bear without shame and with all the dignity of self-command.

I don’t think that you can return now to Virginia; but, in three or four years, great changes will take a place in opinions, and you, nor your family, won’t find a country which would be able to give you anything like her sympathy, or to take Virginia out of your hearts and souls. You ought to go back to your dear State as soon as you can do so safely; and if you had followed my advice you would never have left England, but would have asked Madame Maury to join you there.

After a long journey and great inconveniences, perhaps suffering in your health and mind, you’ll come back without gaining anything but a sad experience.

Even if the Emperor Maximilian would listen to you and encourage you in your plans, I should say don’t do it, my friend. We have been able to raise money enough for the “testimonial” to buy you an estate in Virginia. “Brave” can be, under Nannie’s husband’s guidance, your farmer. He is young and intelligent, and has not suffered during the war like Dick, and consequently he has not so great a hatred in his blood. You and Madame Maury, with your little darlings and Dick, can stay here till the time comes that you can go back in safety, enjoying no public, but a farmer’s life, in ease and comfort, giving the world the benefit of your genius. A man of sixty years of age does not commence a new life, and can do no good in a new sphere of action. God grant my prayer that you may soon be back in good health among your friends in Europe!

Your friend,
JANSEN.


The heroic General Robert E. Lee held the same views as Commodore Jansen.

ROBERT E. LEE wrote the following letter to Maury on the subject of the colonization of the empire of Mexico by planters of the South:

September 8th, 1865
MY DEAR CAPTAIN MAURY,

We have certainly not found our form of government all that was anticipated by its original founders; but this may be partly our fault in expecting too much, and partly due to the absence of virtue in the people. As long as virtue was dominant in the Republic, so long was the happiness of the people secure. I cannot, however, despair of it yet; I look forward to better days, and trust that time and experience — the great teachers of men under the guidance of our ever-merciful God — may save us from destruction, and restore to us the bright hopes and prospects of the past. The thought of abandoning the country, and all that must be left in it, is abhorrent to my feelings, and I prefer to struggle for its restoration, and share its fate, rather than to give up all as lost. I have a great admiration for Mexico: the salubrity of its climates, the fertility of its soil, and the magnificence of its scenery, possess for me great charms; but I still look with delight upon the mountains of my native State. To remove our people to a portion of Mexico which would be favourable to them would be a work of much difficulty. Did they possess the means, and could the system of apprenticeship you suggest be established, the United States Government would, I think, certainly interfere; and, under the circumstances, there would be difficulty in persuading the free men to emigrate. Those citizens who can leave the country, and others who may be compelled to do so, will reap the fruits of your considerate labours; but I shall be very sorry if your presence will be lost to Virginia. She has now sore need of all her sons, and can ill afford to lose you. I am very much obliged to you for all you have done for us, and hope your labours in the future may be as efficacious as in the past, and that your separation from us may not be permanent.

Wishing you every prosperity and happiness,
I am, most truly yours,
R. E. LEE


The decided opinions of so many good and thoughtful friends made it very difficult for Maury to trust the path which he was pursuing. He was still in the full belief that he was right, and he continued to be sanguine that his plans of colonization would succeed, as long as he remained in Mexico. His most constant correspondent was his cousin Rutson Maury, of New York. Although they had taken different sides in the war, their friendship remained unimpaired. It was to this cousin that Matthew Fontaine Maury most fully explained his side of the question:

“There are a few friends, and you are one of them, that I should like to impress (for time will tell, if I live long enough) with just conceptions of my present endeavour. The war is over, and there is an end. It has made great changes, and I prefer not to live under the rule of the victors. Without any motive of hostility to them, without any thought whether they would like or dislike the move — for it is none of their business — I have come here to provide a home for such of the conquered people as like to emigrate.

Suppose they do not thank me — well, there is still useful and honourable occupation for me here. There are many things here with which I may identify myself and do good, such as organizing the census, a land-survey for the Empire, a system of internal improvements; and though last, not least, the introduction of my Chinchona cultivation” (anti-malaeria drug).



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LIFE IN MEXICO


In October 1865, Maury’s eldest son, Colonel Richard Launcelot Maury, with his wife and little boy, arrived at Mexico to assist his father in the work of his department, and to take his place when he should be on leave of absence. Colonel Richard Launcelot Maury had been severely wounded in the war, but he was able to be a great help to his father. “He surprises me,” wrote M. F. Maury, “by his business habits, tact, and capacity.”

Having obtained leave of absence from the Emperor to visit his family, M. F. Maury left Mexico on the 24th of February, 1866, arriving in London in the end of March. When he departed, emigrants were crowding to his “Carlota Colony,” at Córdoba , and “everything looked as fair and smiling as possible for my day-dream.”

Mrs. Maury, with her young family, had arrived at Liverpool in November 1865, and had sent young “Brave” to school, employing masters for her daughters.


The following letters to his wife and children are interesting. They describe the Imperial Court, Matthew Fontaine Maury’s domestic arrangements in Mexico, and the country between the capital and Vera Cruz. On Sept. 12th, 1865, Maury wrote from Mexico to his wife as follows:

“I never tire of writing to you and my children; it is my comfort, my happiness, and consolation. I hope this will find you all safe and sound in England. Yesterday I received a large batch of back-letters, one from “Brave,” reporting his arrival in Virginia; one from Eliza, blowing me up for coming here; two from Dick, one from Betty, and three from you, with any amount of press copies from others, which good Rutson thought would give me pleasure and satisfaction.

Rutson [Maury, a cousin in NY] is like my uncle Toby, and has a heart twice as big. He has been very kind to me and mine, and I praise and thank him daily in my heart in the silent hours of the night. This package gave me reading for two days; they day it came I dined in Chepultepec.


The Emperor has a palace there; he dines at 3:30 P.M. There were present the Empress, and one of her ladies, four German naval officers, and a Mexican — all were of his household, I believe. It was mail-day for Europe; the Emperor had been busy at the palace writing, he told me, seventeen letters for the steamer. I got there a moment before he did, so he went into the sitting room which joins the Empress’s chamber. He opened her chamber-door and said “Carlota, here’s Mr. Maury.” She came out immediately and commanded me to be seated, the Emperor and the other gentlemen standing. Presently her lady-in-waiting came in; I rose, but she touched me gently on the arm and said, The Emperor wishes you always to be seated. The lady stood also. In a few minutes dinner was announced. The Emperor led off, and we all followed in single file. As I passed through the door, one of the “aides” — a baron — whispered in my ear, “On the Empress’s left.” The dinner — except the wines, the number of servants, and the liveries — reminded me very much of those Lucy Ellen[3] used to give us in our summer visits to Fredericksburg.

After dinner (say three-quarters of an hour) we, the gentlemen, led by the Emperor, went into the smoking-room. Gilt cigars were handed round; the Emperor did not smoke. Here he drew an arm-chair up onto the corner, and seated me again, he and the others standing until their cigars were nearly finished. Then he took a seat, and commanded the others to be seated. Despatches were handed him, some of which he handed to me to look into. Presently he dismissed the gentlemen, and said, Mr. Maury, you have something to say to me? Yes, sire; I can’t manage immigration through the Ministers. I must transact business with you directly, and not through them; nor must they have anything to do with it. That’s what I intend, said he. Said I, I have not seen my wife and children for three years; I want to be quick, organize immigration, and take the steamer of 13th November for France. Certainly, said he. Then he said, I wish you to continue the conversation with the Empress; I have something pressing to do. She will make notes, give me verbal explanations, and have it all ready for me by four o’clock in the morning, when I will attend to it.

Carlota was walking in the garden. He referred me to some books on the table, and went to look for her. She came, and we commenced discussing matters, she making notes nearly as fast as I could talk. Among other subjects, I mentioned that of an office; that I had sent for Dick and family, who would be the first immigrants under the Decree, and that a house had been offered me which would answer the purpose of an office and a dwelling as well. “Certainly.” Then we discussed with approbation my going to see you; the appointments of agents in the South and their salaries, and the organization of a land-office. She is very clever, practical, and business-like. I told her I thought she could do more business in a day than all of the Ministers put together could do in a week. She said, “I believe I could.” She told me she had recently received a letter from the Empress of France about me, and enclosing a copy of a long letter I wrote in June to Admiral Chabanne about my new Virginia, commending the plan as a grand idea, and asking Carlota if she did not know me.

16th. — I shall take the house, servants and all, which the Soules have been living in, at say $150 per month. This will be for office, and for Dick and me. The Soules are fourteen in number; they live extravagantly. The cost of living, including servants, is twenty-eight cents a day. I want to get Dick a place with a salary of $2,500 if I can. This arrangement will enable me to contribute $3,000 towards your expenses in England, leaving $2,000 for helping the other children, supporting myself, and paying my way to “wife’s house.” How is it now, that all my friends, except Dick, will say I am crazy to come here?

The Decree has been injured in the translation. It is not as good for the State or the immigrants as I drew it. Still, the papers proclaim it to be the most important act of the Empire. See then how much more desirable and honourable my position here, than it would have been in Russia or in France! Here I am in the category of a benefactor; there I should have been almost a pensioner of charity. If I can find here a home for my people, assist to build up a good and stable Government — of which there are reasonable grounds of hope — and surround myself by my family and friends, surely goodness and mercy will have guided me all my days, and my cup will run over. Now, compare this prospect with the plan that Rutson Maury, in his good heart and clear head, had charted out for me. He urged my stay in England, and that I must wait till I would be allowed to return to the United States. In four years, perhaps, I could return with diminished health and energy. I can go back just as well from here as from England if I should find it desirable so to do. It is true, all my friends — save Dick and doubting little Nannie —have been of one mind against me. Events seem now to bid fair to vindicate the propriety of my course. Now will you not let me bring my Molly back with me? She can return to you with me when I make my next visit; and then my Eliza, if she will be diligent at school, will take her place; and then the next time you and my little Loo will come.

I want to arrange it so that Dick can take my place here while I am gone. I am so afraid that noble spirit of firmness and of resolution, which has borne you up so manfully since we parted, will give way under trial after trial to which I am subjecting it. But then you know our children must be educated, and there are no schools to speak of here.

Of course you will seek and take Tremlett’s advice whenever you are at a loss for a counsellor. Suppose I can’t get off French steamer of 14th November, what shall I do? Come in December and return in March, or come in April and return in September? I want to take my Lucy to the pantomime!

Love to all friends, and kisses to the children.
God bless you my love!
M. F. Maury



Matthew Fontaine Maury to his Wife.
Mexico, September 23rd, 1865

My Dear Wife,

My heart is as big as a mountain and as heavy as lead. Your letter is so sad at leaving friends behind and going to a strange land. This is Saturday night. Perhaps you sailed to-day, for the line of steamers in which I wanted you to go sailed Saturday. I received ten days ago your letters up to the 14th. You were then just making up your mind to come here, and my letter telling you to go to England would take you so by surprise. The last mail brought me many letters from you and the children. I shut myself up, threw myself on the bed, and wept and read and wept and read all day long. ‘Twas night before I got through them.

Perhaps you’ll feel better when you get to England. There you will not hear such constant discussions as to the wisdom of my course, and the propriety of your coming here; and that, I am sure, will be a great relief. Moreover, the sacrifice is for the benefit of our children. There they can go to good schools, and I can come and see you. If you stayed where you are, you could have neither; if you come here you must do without the schools. So you see you are in the path of duty, and the reflection that it is so will comfort and console you, I am sure. Yesterday I received my appointment as Director of the Observatory here; and to-day my naturalization papers, which qualify me to hold office.

My salary is $5,000 to commence with June last. Last night I submitted, by request, estimates for my staff and office. Dick and family, I suppose, will sail from New York on 8th, and be here about this time next month. I shall strive to interest Dabney’s friend, General Wilcox, also, the Talcotts, in them, so that I may not leave them friendless in a strange land, when I come to see you; also Miss Scarlett, a nice lady, the daughter of the British Minister.

I came to our new house the day before yesterday, and am now housekeeping. It is a nice house. I have one-half of the upper story, the Talcotts the other — or are to have. The houses here, you know, have no chimneys, and they have a large yard in the middle. My side of the parallelogram is nearly one hundred yards long. I have a very large parlous, dining-room, kitchen, and six other rooms, two of which I shall use as an office when I am put in charge of immigration. The house is ready-furnished. This arrangement will make it cost me about $50 per month, leaving about $3,000, which will be a smart allowance for you and the children for the year. I am by no means sanguine about my “New Virginia”; not but that there are plenty of people in the South who are dying to come.

I know more about that than you do, for there are now about one hundred first-rate men, some of them with their families, from various parts of the South, looking for homes. Some of them have been sent by their neighbours and friends to look at the country and report. The Government is not yet prepared to offer them lands on any terms. We are not ready. Some of them have gone home in disgust, and the golden, precious moments are passing by. I am not yet in harness; but if I can’t carry colonization, this is no place for me. And this the Emperor also understands, for I have told him I could not stay if immigration fails. At any rate, I now almost despair of seeing it well in motion before this time next year. But this will give me a long time with you and those precious children. I am so proud of them. Their praises, coming from the heart, are more than music to my ears. ‘Tis joy and comfort to my heart. Bless their sweet hearts! Tell them to study and be good and true. He is a noble boy. Hug him six times, and kiss him twenty for me.

I have been entertaining visitors, and reading over again that sweet budget of letters — especially yours — all day. How I do wish I could take all care from you, and make you happy!

But, my dear sweet wife and noble mother of our noble children, what can I do more than I have done — and I am doing — to show myself worthy of you and of them, and do homage to the great ambition that I have to deserve your and their praise and love? You know what brought me here. I did hope — and still hope — to help to repair the ruin that was made of the most righteous cause and noble people that ever suffered the shipwreck of almost all that it is dear. I may yet succeed in that. But I may fail, and if I do it will not be because I spared myself or forgot your happiness.

It becomes me to try this to a conclusion; it becomes me to use whatever power for good I may have acquired in the world for the benefit of this people, who have suffered in the same cause with us, and who are so near and dear to us. Nay, my sweet companion and friend, it becomes me to be up and doing, especially while our good friends — Tremlett, Jansen, and others — are so kindly exerting themselves on my account. How would it have done for me, instead of trying myself to do something, to have folded my arms — as Rutson and others suggested — until the Federal authorities would have permitted me to come back — back to what? To poverty and misery; and that too while Tremlett was undergoing the fatigues and expense of that journey to Denmark, Sweden and Russia on my account! No; rely upon it, my sweet friend and partner, that in coming here I have done the wisest and the best thing that under the circumstances, I could do.



Mexico, September 27th, 1865
My Dear Wife,

The plan for you I fancy most is to go where there is some good school for girls. Take nice lodgings where you can entertain your friends, or where the girls can receive theirs. Let your landlady supply your meals, and so relieve you of the housekeeping. You will be might lonesome, I fear; but you are in the path of duty, and you will find consolation in that, and in watching for my coming, which will not be long delayed, I can assure you. Last night I went to the Opera. This is the third time, and a very good Opera it is. I am often invited.

I reckon you will sail next Saturday, the 30th. You were preparing to quit, October 1st, anyhow. You got my letters telling you to go to England on the 10th. Your preparations then would not be much, and the longer you tarried the longer the voyage.

This goes in the English Minister’s bag, and will reach you on the 20th or 29th of October, I reckon. I saw the Empress yesterday, and arranged about my office and a land-office, at the head of which I asked her to place Magruder,[4] with a salary of $3,000, which she did.

He will probably have a large force of surveyors under him, all or most of them Confederates.

Keep up your spirits, my dear wife.
Your affectionate husband


Office of Colonization, Mexico, November 27th, 1865
My Dear Wife,

Dick is a great help and comfort to me. Bless his heart, he wins upon me every day: so crippled yet to patient, so devoted to his new duties, and so hard-working, he surprises and delights me with his business tact and capacity. He is so handsome too, and in his new clothes looks, as he is, every inch a gentleman. He was consulting me to-day about buying some Córdoba lands. I have it in my mind to bring Corbin here and induce him to settle upon them; and though I believe he and Nannie would come, if I had urged them, yet, in the face of so much opposition, I had not the heart to do it.

In the olden times, Córdoba was the garden spot of New Spain.

There stands on one side, and but a little way off, the

Orizaba Valley
Looking north, Orizaba city is mid-distance, the Peak ("pico") shows on the horizon

"Peak of Orizaba", with its cap of everlasting snow, and on the other the sea in full view. These lands were heavily in debt to the Church, and as the Church property has been confiscated, not by the Emperor though, Maximilian took possession of these lands for colonization. The railway hence to Vera Cruz passes right through them; and I am now selling these lands to immigrants, as fast as they can be surveyed, at $1 the acre on 5 years credit. There are about 40 of our people already there. Perkins has bought himself a house and has sent for his family; so has General Joe Shelby, and so have a number of others. Mr. Holdham, an Episcopal clergyman, with his family — nice people — has been engaged by the settlement as pastor and teacher. I am going to reserve land for a church, cemetery, and schoolhouse. Thus, you see, my sweet wife, colonization is a fact, not a chimera. By the time those lands are paid for they will be worth, even if no more settlers come to the Empire, $20, $30, or even $100 the acre, for they produce everything under the sun, and yield perpetual harvests.

What do you think of coffee growing wild, of fig-trees 100 feet high and three feet in circumference, and the most luscious pine-apples at 1cents apiece? Now, if I can get Corbin here on one of these old Haciendas, he would, with his skilful husbandry, make it bud and blossom again. There is a great rush for this settlement, and it is here Dick wanted to go; but as he was my son, I advised him against it, because there are not lands enough there for all who want them. However, I am going to extend the settlement, and then Corbin and Nannie can come in, as well as Dick and the rest.

Lafayette Caldwell, who used to be my draughtsman at the Naval Observatory, has sent for his family, Newmarket for his, and there are a number of nice families already there, some of the established in the city; but those are all going to break up and go down to the new, dear old Spottsylvania.

Now, if I can only get lands surveyed in time — for there are plenty of them — here is your “New Virginia.” There are other settlements forming in other parts of the Empire. Colonization is a success, if we can only get instruments and surveyors to bring the land into market. The people of the South are restrained by political considerations from speaking of their intentions; but we have letters. Thousands are dying to come; and I hope to have a decree this week which will put them in motion.

28th. —My hands are getting so full, and my time so liable to interruptions, that I cannot write as often or as fully as I used to do; but my heart is always full of letters to you — piled up, pressed down, and running over with loves, and the most tender solicitude.


TRAVELLING IN MEXICO


Matthew Fontaine Maury wrote the following to his children, on the eve of his departure from Mexico:
Vera Cruz, March 1st, 1866
My Dear Children,

The English steamer in which I have paid my passage (49 pounds and 10 shillings), is now overdue ten days, and her day for sailing again is the day after to-morrow. I left Mexico on Saturday the 24th at 3 A.M.; arrived at Puebla at 7 P.M., where I pernocted in a room with others for $2; was called at 1 A.M., and off again at 2, over a very rough road — a very fatiguing journey. Passed between long hedges of the lordly Maguey, shooting up its magnificent stems or stalks, as large and as high and as straight as a common telegraph-pole. Indeed, unless you are near enough to see the wires, I found it often difficult to tell the one from the other. This pet of Flora’s, with its enormous height and proportions, is pushed up in the course of 6 or 7 days.

To compare small things with great, imagine an enormous asparagus stalk, say one day old, and before it had swelled out sufficiently to begin to burst and shoot out branches, and imagine it to be 18 or 20 inches in circumference, and 30 or 40 feet high, and you have the Maguey, as I generally see it, rising from its magnificent tuft of foliage 30 feet round and 12 feet high. Occasionally, the more forward ones had commenced to shoot out from the top, and horizontally, their splendid flower bracts. The coach ascended the slopes of the Cumbres, the highest range between Mexico and the Gulf; we left the “Court of Bacchus,” and entered the cloud region. It was blowing a furious gale; the wind was howling among the rocks and cliffs, and driving a cold and penetrating mist through a white darkness so thick that you could see nothing beyond the distance of a few feet. It was piercing cold. I had on three flannel shirts; but as we began to climb, I began to draw around and button up, and finally found myself wrapped in cloak and blanket and uncomfortable cold. Presently we dropped down through the thick cloud right into the bright sunshine, and the loveliest view that it was possible for the heart of man to conceive. There was the lovely little valley of Aconcinga at our feet, and spreading out miles away into the plains of Orizaba, which are 4,000 feet above the sea. This valley was quilted over with smiling crops in all the stages of growth, from the sprouting corn to the ripe grain. The reapers were in golden fields of the yellowest and brightest barley I ever saw. The wheat was just coming up, and immense herds of cattle, as they fed on the rich pastures, lent a charm to the landscape that made it altogether lovely. Passing a cascade of milk- white foam as it leaped from the mountain, we entered the valley, and felt what old Job had said about the “scent of water.” We were in the midst of fruits and flowers — orange-trees loaded with ripe fruit and the peach-tree in all its glory of blossom, hedges, and copses of roses. Oh, a wilderness of the loveliest flowers and the gayest colours, and such only as, I used to think, had never grown anywhere except in the garden of “Beauty and the Beast!” And it, too, has its beast — for 2 months ago it had been here in the shape of an earthquake, and had shaken down the adobe huts of the village, which the owners were reconstructing of bamboo-reeds, palm-leaves, and hides. After passing through these beauties for 12 or 15 miles, at 6:30 P.M. we drove into Orizaba in the midst of a rain-storm. Coffee, tobacco, the cereals, and the banana, with other fruits, seem to be the chief articles of cultivation. Here I pernocted again, in another menagerie, when, as before, there was little chance of sleep. I was called at 5, off at 6, and at 10 breakfasted at Córdoba , and at 2 arrived at Paso del Macho; there I pernocted again, as unsatisfactorily as before; and the next day, at 6, started in the cars for this place. Total expenses, $445.60. The $5.50 being spent for extras, such as a cup of chocolate or so, between the early hour of starting and the late one of breakfast.


Two ship-loads of immigrants have just arrived. General Sheridan had refused to let them embark at New Orleans, [5] as he was determined to break up that Maury nest of Confederates which was agitating the public mind of the South, and preventing the people there from quietly submitting to subjugation. I thank him for the encouragement! We are going to have happy times, a fine country, and a bright future here. Dick [Col. Richard Launcelot Maury; eldest of three sons] has land in my Carlota Colony — 640 acres; he has sent to China for labourers — 12 or 15 — to work it, and to Virginia for young Crutchfield to take charge of it. I have such good irons in such good fires, that some of them will surely be got to welding heat.



ABANDONMENT OF THE IMMIGRATION PLANS


No sooner was Matthew Fontaine Maury’s back turned upon Mexico, than his enemies, and the enemies of the Empire and of Maximilian, brought such pressure to bear on the ill-fated Emperor that Maximilian was forced to abandon the colonization policy of Matthew F. Maury and to abolish the Department of Immigration. Just one month after Maury’s departure, the Emperor wrote to tell him that their cherished plans and golden day-dreams must be abandoned.


The following was Maury’s reply:
Maximilian, Emperor of Mexico
London, England July, 1866
Sir,

I read, in your letter of April 19th, fresh proofs of your Majesty’s confidence and friendly consideration; I am touched by them. I am grieved to learn that your Majesty should be compassed with difficulties so serious as must be those which made it necessary to abandon such a cherished policy as I know that of colonization to have been.

Colonization being suspended, I fear that my return to Mexico would tend rather to increase the embarrassments than to smooth any of the difficulties by which your Majesty is surrounded.

This fear, my solicitude for the welfare of the Empress and yourself, and the deep concern I feel for your success in one of the noblest undertakings that ever animated the human breast, makes me pause. . . . .

In stating this conclusion I hope I may not be considered unmindful of obligations or insensible to kindness. Far from it. Proof that I recognise both in their highest sense is found in the fact, that in homage to them I forego the high and honourable position so kindly offered me near the person of your Majesty in the service of your Empire.

Connected with this subject, I beg leave to report, that of the sum placed in my hands for the purchase of seeds and instruments a balance will remain. Her Britannic Magesty’s Government has kindly ordered chinchona seeds from India, because they were required for your Majesty’s service. Defraying the cost of their transportation out of this fund, I shall be glad to account for it, and pay over the balance due to any person here that may be designated.

That God may ever have your Majesties in His holy keeping is the constant prayer of your earnest well-wisher and humble friend,

Matthew Fontaine Maury

Maximilian, Emperor of Mexico
Palace of Mexico, August 16th, 1866
My Dear Councillor Maury,

It was with pride that I heard of the scientific triumph just achieved, and due to your illustrious labours. The Transatlantic cable, while uniting both hemispheres, will continually recall to their minds the debt of gratitude they owe to your genius.

I congratulate you with all my heart, and I am pleased at announcing to you that I have appointed you the Grand Cross of the Order of Guadeloupe.

Receive the assurance of the good wishes of your very affectionate,
Maximilian

CHINCHOA CULTIVATION IN MEXICO

Matthew Fontaine Maury succeeded in conferring a permanent blessing on Mexico, by introducing the cultivation of the febrifuge-yielding chinchona tree. Before leaving England in 1865, Maury had conversed with Mr. Clements Markham on the subject, who is the introducer of chinchona cultivation into British India

Maury had compared the forest-covered slopes above the Tierra Caliente, with the eastern slopes of the Andes in Peru and Bolivia, which are the native habitat of the chinchona, expressing his conviction that the trees would flourish in Mexico, and his anxiety to introduce their cultivation. Mr. Markham fully concurred, and pointed out to Maury that Baron von Humboldt long ago remarked, with surprise, the presence of all the principal plants in the Mexican forests which are found in the chinchona region, and the absence of the chinchona itself. Mr. Markham, who had established the chinchona plantations in British India, was then in charge of all matters relating to them at the India Office. Markham promised to arrange situations so that Maury should be furnished with a supply of seeds, and wrote to India to cause the necessary arrangements to be made. In august 1866, Marham forwarded three parcels of chinchona seeds to Maury; and steps were at once taken to form a plantation near Córdoba .

In December it was announced that the seeds were germinating satisfactorily, and Mr. Markham addressed the following official dispatch to Matthew Fontaine Maury:

Councillor M. F. Maury

India Office, May 17th, 1867

Sir,

With reference to my letter of the 15th of August last, forwarding three parcels of chinchona seeds for transportation to the Mexican Government, I have the honour to transmit, by direction of the Secretary of State for India, fifty copies of a pamphlet on chinchona cultivation, in the Spanish language, [6] for the guidance of those who have been charged with the management of chinchona cultivation in that Empire, and of those who may hereafter undertake the cultivation.


Sir Stafford Northcote [7] has received the intelligence contained in the letter from the Secretary of the Mexican Society of Geography and Statistics, dated the 11th of December last, that several thousands of chinchona seeds sent from Madras according to your instructions have germinated satisfactorily in the Mexican Mountains.

With much gratification,
I have, &c.,
Clements R. Markham

The Mexican chinchona plantation was established near Córdoba , under the superintendence of Señor Nieto. It continued to flourish. [8] If Matthew Fontaine Maury did no other good by his short residence in Mexico than was involved in this valuable service, who can say that generations yet unborn will not bless his name — for malaria is a killer of many people — entire populations — or like many, will forget that name of the doer of great deeds but yet will harvest those benefits conferred upon the peoples of Mexico by Maury’s introduction of this inestimable febrifuge?

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FALL OF THE EMPEROR MAXIMILIAN


To understand the position of affairs in Mexico it will be necessary to refer to the powerful influences which were being brought to bear upon her at this time by the United States. France had availed herself of the opportunity presented by the American civil war to try the experiment of substituting an Imperial for a Republican form of Government in the Aztec lands. Maximilian of Austria was placed in power and backed by French troops by Napoleon III, and was striving to restore Mexico to peace and prosperity under the shadow of the wings of the eagles of France.

It was not, however, part of the policy of the United States Government to allow the establishment of such a power on its southern frontier. While the civil war lasted, no other contest could be undertaken; but the aspect of affairs was entirely changed after the fall of the Confederacy; and the United States Government peremptorily demanded from Napoleon III that his troops should be withdrawn from Mexico. Napoleon III, Emperor of the French was far too shrewd a man to persist in a course which, owing to the success of the North, had ceased to be profitable. Napoleon III evacuated his French army from the country, leaving the Emperor of Mexico he had placed there to his choice of fate. Napoleon III had asked Maximilian to abandon Mexico.

Maximilian became fully aware of the deadly peril of his position and persuaded his faithful wife, Carlota, to visit France and Austria, on the ostensible plea of negotiating a loan from either or both Governments, but really to remove her out of danger. He was surrounded by foes and false friends, and without a soul he could trust or a friend on whom he could rely, among the Mexicans. He was finally taken prisoner, through the treachery of one of his generals at Queretaro, in May, 1867, and shot by a firing squad on the 19th of June 1867. After long delay, his remains were delivered to the Austrian Admiral sent by his brother to receive them, and were finally interred at Vienna with those of his ancestors. Maximilian had given up his position in the Austrian Navy, and abandoned the pleasures of his home in the charming palace of Miramare

palace of Miramare

from the purest of motives. He laboured hard, and devoted all the resources of his cultivated mind to further the welfare of his adopted country. Maximilian could have abandoned Mexico but bravely remained in the hope of creating a realm of beauty and prosperity for others out of chaos that had existed for generations. The remains of no nobler and braver prince have their resting-place in the tomb of the Hapsburgs.[9]

The afflicted Empress Carlota, on her arrival in Europe, entreated Napoleon III to send aid to her husband in Mexico. Finding her appeals to no avail, she was overwhelmed with such intense grief that reason forsook its place. Matthew Fontaine Maury was deeply affected by the sad fate of these friends, involving the destruction of all his beneficent plans for the good of Mexico.

The last letter Matthew Fontaine Maury received from the unfortunate Empress Carlota enclosed photographs of herself and her husband, the Emperor Maximilian.


[1] Published in the Washington National Intelligencer of June 16th, 1865, without comment.

[2] Mr. Charles Francis Adams, who was the United States Minister to England at this time, said to a friend of Maury’s, “All his friends should advise him against going back to the U.S. yet. The feeling there is very bitter against him, and I believe the consequences of a step of that kind on his part at this time would be very unfortunate for him.”

[3] Mrs. Maury’s sister-in-law.

[4] General C.S.A.

[5] The U. S. Secretary of State required that all Southerners who applied for passports to Mexico should take an oath never to return.

[6] This pamphlet was compiled by Mr. Clements Markham, not only for the use of Mexicans, but also of Peruvians, Bolivians, and Columbians who might undertake chinchona cultivation. He wrote it in the hope that it would prove useful to his South American friends, and as some slight return for the kindness and hospitality he received from them while engaged on the duty of making collections of chinchona plants and seeds in South America.

[7] Then Secretary of State for India.

[8] In June, 1866, a supply of chinchona seeds, consisting of 120,000 of C.SUCCIRUBRA, 90,000 of C. CALISAGA, and 25,000 of C. OFFICINALIS, was transmitted from the Nilagiri Hills, in Southern India, to Mr. Markham in London, and immediately forwarded to Mexico. A site was selected for planting them at Cordobva, about 3000 feet above the sea; and Señor Nieto was appointed to take charge of the undertaking. Senor Nieto received the seeds on October 14th, 1866, and sowed the greater part of them in wooden boxes filled with good soil, and protected by glass and light movable curtains.

The rest were distributed to MR. FINCH of the Hacienda Potrero, DON F. M. SANCHEZ BARCENA of Jalaph, MR. GRANDISON of Orizabe and DON CARLOS SARTORIUS of the Hacienda Mirada, all intelligent planters.

In November, 1871, Mr. Markham, who was in regular correspondence with Señor Nieto, sent out a second supply of seeds, which arrived at Cordova on April 25th, 1872. A plantation of chinchona trees was established near Cordova, and Señor Nieto worked on steadily, through much discouragement, until his lamented death in 1874. Samples of the Chinchona bark grown in Mexico were exhibited in the International Exhibition of Philadelphia in 1876.



[9] The following description of the vault under the

Capuchin Church

Capuchin Church in Vienna, Austria, which is the last resting-place of the Imperial House of Hapsburg, was furnished by a friend of Maury’s family, who visited it in 1881:—




We were admitted by a long and gloomy descent. The monk in attendance first showed us with his candle the oldest tombs, which are richly decorated. In the centre of the principal chamber is the stately double sarcophagus containing the bodies of Maria Theresa and Francis I. Surrounding them are the bodies of her fourteen children.



The coffin of Maximilan, Emperor of Mexico, occupies an adjoining recess.

coffin of Maximilian

The position seems to have been specially chosen, and the sarcophagus is a handsome one. It is still covered with wreaths; and many similar tokens of respect and love hang on the wall over it, with inscriptions. They are sympathetic offerings of members of his family and of great men. Upon the lid there rests a silver wreath of palm leaves, placed there by his unhappy widow.”