Our Sister Republic/Chapter 5
|←CHAPTER IV.||Our Sister Republic (1870)
|Hartford, Connecticut: Columbian Book Company pages 117-155|
THE strange, ancient, aristocratic, and haughty City of Guadalajara, held us a full week from the prosecution of our journey, and after seeing its sights from morning till night, during all that time, we were as loth to leave it as ever. Every morning we went out to see some one of the dozens of beautiful ancient churches with which the City is adorned, attend early mass, and examine the quaint old pictures with which each abounds. One of the finest of these, perhaps the finest excepting the great Cathedral, is the Church of Our Lady of Guadaloupe, which is half convent, as well as church. There is attached to this church a "Retreat," with two hundred cells. To this place the pious citizens of the City, repair to spend nine days of Lent, in monastic retirement, for the good of their souls. Each cell has a table, chair, and cot-bed, and meals are served to the temporary occupants by servants, thus enabling them to pass their time in absolute seclusion from the world. For the nine days' board and lodging, and spiritual comfort, those able, pay four or five dollars, the others nothing. More women than men resort here and the cells are filled every year.
All these churches have beautiful chimes of bells, cast in the city centuries ago, and the air is at times filled with their music. By the municipal laws, they are now allowed to ring only two or three minutes at any one time, but they contrive to make the intervals between the ringing nearly as brief as those between the drinks in San Francisco. The services are similarly brief and frequent, and the churches appear to be nearly always open.
The great Cathedral of Guadalajara is one of the most beautiful and costly temples of worship on the Continent; ranking in Mexico only second to those of Puebla and the City in point of wealth, and for beauty for in advance of the latter. I cannot describe a Cathedral,
though I try never so hard. Suffice it to say, that the roof is supported by ten combined or quadruple columns, of immense size, painted in pure white and gold. From above the huge capital of each rises a beautiful arch, which seems so light and airy, as to make it impossible to believe that it is built of solid stone, and weighs hundreds on hundreds of tons. The grand dome, which without is covered with beautiful glazed tiles of different colors, laid in mosaic, is painted within in fresco, in the most florid but highly artistic style. A narrow gallery of bronze metal richly gilded, runs around the entire building, on a level with the capitals of the pillars which support the roof. Under the great dome is the grand organ, and arranged in a semi-circle behind the choir, the twenty-four seats for the Bishop and Canons. The choir is as superb as gilding and carving can make it.
A few years since, this Cathedral was struck by lightning, and two of the organists were killed. In a vault below the pavement of the Cathedral, the dead Bishops and Priests have been accumulating for centuries. Under the great dome, in front of the choir, they are now erecting a magnificent altar, some thirty feet in height, of white marble and metal, gilded and burnished, which was imported from Rome at a cost of fifty-thousand dollars, and hauled—Heaven knows how—over the terrible, and, as we found them, almost impassable roads, all the way from Vera Cruz to Guadalajara. Several of the blocks are immensely heavy, one I should judge, weighing from ten to twenty tons, and the task of transporting them must have been, indeed, herculean.
Around the walls hang pictures of great age; and in one of the rooms back of the altar we saw a collection of life-sized statues of saints, apostles, and martyrs, done in wood, and covered with some kind of flesh colored lacquer work, by native artists. Physical torture, mental suffering, unmurmuring and glad obedience to the behests of an all-powerful faith, or the beatific delight of the dying martyr, beamed on the face of each. A more distorted, frightful and painful collection to look at was never seen together. The skill of the artists in depicting physical and mental suffering, with such materials, is beyond praise for its perfection.
On either side of the altar, next to the wall, are old, plain, square, wooden boxes, each about six feet in length, covered with red cloth. In these two boxes, are enclosed the mummified remains of the first two bishops of Guadalajara. One of them has been lying there for three hundred years, and the other some forty years less. Both are said to be in a good state of preservation. Above the coffins, on the wall, hang the broad brimmed hats worn by these worthy men in their lives, and we were gravely informed by our guide, that when the coffins are opened for any reason, the hats will immediately swing from side to side of their own volition, as if doing reverence to the holy dust below. We did not see the coffins opened.
But the charitable institutions and schools of Guadalajara claimed more of our time and attention, and are worthy of mention, even before the grand cathedral, which is one of its especial wonders.
The great hospital of San Miguel de Belan, generally known as "the Belan," is near the center of the city, and encloses within its walls about eight acres of land. It was founded, as the inscription over the inner gateway shows, in 1787, by Bishop Alcalde, whose first name I do not remember, and with whom, I presume, the people of the United States of the present day had no personal acquaintance. Its revenues were once immense, they say one million dollars per annum; but each succeeding revolution has impoverished it, and six or seven years ago, the late Bishop Portugal found it almost wholly in ruins and without funds to support patients. His office was worth a large sum per annum, and he had a large private property. He set himself earnestly to work to rebuild and endow this great hospital, and lived to see it once more in the full tide of prosperity, after having devoted his entire fortune and all the voluntary contributions he could secure to the institution.
The amount expended in building and repairing, and the property bestowed upon the institution, from the rents of which it is now sustained, was estimated, all told, at six million dollars. The first thing a revolutionist did in past times, was to enlist all the prisoners in the Jails and State-Prisons, then seize the moneys in the custom-houses, mints, and charitable institutions, then force into his ranks all the able-bodied men in the community, and levy prestimos on the merchants and wealthy men In this manner, society has regained from time to time all the thieves, robbers, and vagabonds which had been lost to it through the criminal laws, and the public funds and charitable institutions have suffered in proportion. The Liberal Government, during the late war, was compelled much against its will, but from sheer necessity, to use a million dollars of the property of the Belan Hospital; what amount the French and Austrians got I am not informed. The hospital now has about five hundred thousand dollars worth of property, from which it receives twenty thousand dollars in rents, all of which it expends upon its patients, and through a commission of citizens it is most admirably administered.
The Sisters of charity attend upon the patients, but do not control the management of the institution. The number of patients now in the hospital is three hundred, and this is about the average in seasons of peace, but at times during the last war, it was nearly trebled. Bishop Portugal died poor, but left behind him in the hospital, a monument which will cause his name to be honored and revered for centuries.
The building is admirably constructed for the purpose. It is but one story in height, and there are, of course, no stairs to climb up and down. Then the rooms are twenty-five feet from floor to ceiling, insuring perfect ventilation, and all of immense size. The walls, of brick or adobe, are very thick, and the thick roof, with red tiles above, keeps out effectually the heat of the sun, so that there is no very perceptible change in the temperature in summer or winter, and no artificial heating is necessary. No dirt, no noise, no blinding light, no musquitoes, flies, or vermin, are there.
Entering the portal, near the center of the building, the visitor finds himself in a gallery, from which radiate, in fan form, six wards of immense length, three on either side. These wards are designated by the inscriptions over the doors, "God the Father," "God the Son," and "God the Holy Ghost," on one side, and on the other, "St. Vincent de Paul," "The Sacred Heart of Jesus," and "St. John of God." The patients are allowed to see their friends as often as they desire, and appear to be well waited upon and cared for. The kitchen, dispensary, bath-house, &c., all appear to be remarkably well-arranged and supplied. Passing one of the large rooms I noticed the sign "Operating Room" over the door, and looking in through the open grating, saw a party of surgeons and students busily engaged in dissecting a corpse, so thoroughly occupied in fact that they paid no attention to our presence. This part of the work was carried on much more openly than with us, and seemed to be regarded quite as a matter of course by all present.
Grander in proportions and conception than even the Belan Hospital, is the great Hospicio de Guadalajara, the equal of which cannot be found on the American Continent. This was founded a century ago by Bishop Juan Cruz Ruis Cabanais, a man of great wealth and piety, who endowed it magnificently. His full length portrait, in which he is represented standing, in full Canonicals, before a table, on which rests a diagram of, the complete structure, just as we see it to-day, and holding in his hands the purse containing the endowment of the institution, hangs in the chapel of the establishment now. What it cost to erect a structure covering six or eight acres of ground, with walls from three to eight feet in thickness, inclosing no less than twenty-two court-yards, each surrounded by magnificent corridors or portals, and furnish it throughout, I cannot tell, but it must have been millions of dollars, even in a country where labor costs next to nothing.
This establishment was greatly run down a few years ago, but through the efforts of the late Señor Matute, and other patriotic and public-spirited citizens, it has been regenerated, and now holds within its walls sixteen-hundred human beings, from the foundling just brought in from the street, to the young woman or man ready to go forth into the world as a teacher, artizan, house-servant, husband or wife. It is superintended by the Sisters of Charity, of whom there are some twenty in the establishment, and managed with an amount of economy and skill wonderful to witness. In its sixteen different departments it is at once, a foundling hospital, reform school, juvenile school, orphan asylum, asylum for the aged and indigent, boy's and girl's high school, school of arts, workshop, college and hospital.
In one department we saw thirty foundlings, two of which had just been brought in, all white, and most of them presenting an effeminate delicacy of feature, indicating "blue blood." The Indians, and people of part Indian blood, do not throw their children into the streets, to be eaten by dogs and hogs, whether born in or out of lawful wedlock. They are neatly dressed, nursed by Indian women, and well cared for. In another ward were one hundred and five boys, arrested by the police, as vagabonds on the streets, and sent here to be reformed. They were drilling as soldiers when we came in. The City pays six and one quarter cents each, per day, for the support of these boys, and they all have to learn useful trades before leaving the institution. I noticed among the children many who had lost one or both eyes, and was told that in the Indian villages it is not uncommon for the parents to thus mutilate their children in infancy, to fit them for begging, or to enable them to avoid military duty.
In another ward we saw the old women, some of them from eighty to one hundred years of age, and girls of weak intellect, sitting in the sun and doing some little plain sewing or knitting, and in an adjoining room a number of blind girls busily engaged in grinding half-hulled corn, with the metate into tortillas, a sweet smile on their faces indicating their knowledge of our presence. In another, boys were at work making shoes, tailoring, carpentering,
|BLIND GIRL IN THE HOSPICIO.|
and setting type in a regular printing office, and printing with one of Hoe's Washington presses, just such as I "rolled" upon twenty-four years ago, in a country printing office in the then "Far West." In another, girls were sewing, embroidering in silk and bullion, making lace, knitting, etc. In another, young ladies of the first families, who reside with their parents, were learning painting and the highest styles of embroidery.
In another ward, two hundred children, between two and five years of age, one hundred' boys and one hundred girls, belonging to parents too poor even to dress them, were being taught orally, as at the school of San Felipe. All the cloth for the clothing of the pupils, is made within its walls, and all the clothing, and boots and shoes required, are made up by the boys and girls.
The kitchen, as large as an ordinary school-house with us, is floored with glazed tiles of beautiful pattern, and the old Spanish ranges have recently been replaced by English iron ranges, which cost twenty-four hundred dollars, but save fifty dollars per month on the charcoal bill, and are considered a good investment. Soup, meat, and beans are cooked here for sixteen hundred persons at once, and they are now erecting an enormous kitchen in which the entire cooking for the State-Prison, containing from seven hundred to one thousand prisoners, is to be done. It now costs the State five cents per day, to board the State prisoners, and the Sisters expect to do it better, and make a profit on that figure, for the benefit of the Hospicio.
The Chapel is really a grand Church, magnificently decorated with paintings, with a great dome, beautifully frescoed. The founder gave forty blocks of buildings in Guadalajara, all under rent, as an endowment for this establishment; but most of the property is now gone. It costs only sixty thousand dollars per annum to support the Hospicio and Belan Hospital together and their resources being but forty-four thousand dollars, the State and City pay the rest. We spent four hours wandering through this great establishment, and, after partaking of a collation, listened to a brass band of thirty pieces, played by boys instructed in the place, and operatic music by the young ladies, and then left because night had come and we could wait no longer.
The schools of Guadalajara, new as they are—some of them but a year or two established—astonished us more than anything else we saw in this ancient City. The municipality of Guadalajara now supports eighteen primary day schools, nine for girls, and nine for boys, free to all, and five evening schools, beside contributing to the support of several more advanced schools, accommodating in all seven thousand pupils, and all at an expense, as I was informed by Señor Juan Ignacio Matute, a member of the Municipal Council, whose father may be called the father of the Common School system of Jalisco, of only twenty-five thousand dollars per annum.
Then, the State provides two High Schools, or "lycees," one for boys and one for girls, which are free to all who are unable to pay ten dollars per month for board and tuition—no scholar who can pass the examination can be refused, however humble or poor—where the youth are taught all the higher branches of mathematics, the languages, vocal and instrumental music, and many arts by which they can gain an honest livelihood; a school of Arts, in which four hundred boys are taught all the useful arts and trades, such as tailoring, saddlery, blacksmithing, boot-making, carpentering, etc., etc., and an Institute or college of higher grade, for the instruction of boys intended for the learned professions. In addition to this, the State contributes a comparatively liberal sum towards the support of the Hospicio and other institutions of learning.
We first visited the Girl's High School. This is the school provided by the State of Jalisco for graduates of her Grammar schools. It is situated in the old Convent of San Diego, which was closed and confiscated to the Nation by order of President Juarez, and is now wholly devoted to the purposes of free education. The building, like nearly all similar structures here, surrounds an entire square, and incloses a large court-yard filled with orange-trees and tropical flowers. It is two stories in height, and the rooms are all of great size, light, clean, and well ventilated. When the nuns were turned forth, the Government gave the use of the property to the State of Jalisco, for educational purposes. We found here two hundred and thirty girls from the age of twelve to twenty years, all bright, intelligent and happy looking. Those able to do so pay ten dollars per month, or one hundred and twenty dollars per year, and those who are not, (they comprise a majority of the pupils) pay nothing. For this they receive instruction in all the studies usually pursued in the higher schools in the United States, vocal and instrumental music, object drawing, all the fine arts, embroidery, lace-making, and, better still, cooking, washing, ironing, and other household duties. They all board in the building—board being included in the ten dollars per month—and take turns in doing the work in each department, that all may know how to do such work well. Brighter and happier faces I never saw around me.
We visited all the departments, from kitchen to fine art gallery, and found that all of the teachers were native Mexicans, male and female, mostly young, and educated in the country. The pupils usually belong to the best Republican families of the State; but the highest and lowest, richest and poorest, fairest and darkest, are all admitted on the same terms of equality. When they graduate they are fitted for teachers in the public schools, or for housekeeping, or the various trades.
We saw in the embroidery room, lace-work and embroidery in silk, cotton and bullion of the most exquisite fineness and delicacy. Some of the linen handkerchiefs, worked with portraits of Lincoln, Juarez and Zarragosa, in black silk floss, were equal in delicacy and accuracy to the best steel engravings, and the copies of oil paintings in silk embroidery, were perfect fac-similes of the originals. In the Music Hall, the pupils gave us the opera of Ernani in as grand style as it is usually given by the regular opera companies of the United States, the part of Ernani being sung by a little Miss fourteen years of age, with a wonderfully powerful and highly cultivated voice.
On leaving this beautiful retreat, once the shade of darkness and superstition and bigotry, now so justly the pride and the hope of the State, Mr. Seward remarked, "Why, in Heaven's name, do people talk of 'Protectorate' for a country capable of such things as these."
Next, we visited the Boy's High School. This establishment, originally built by Bishop Parades, but now under civil control, contains nearly four hundred students, and will soon have five hundred. It is almost a counterpart of the girl's High School, the system of tuition, cost to those able to pay—board, &c., &c.—being the same. It is admirably conducted, and is as creditable to the town as the other. The professors teach gratuitously, or for very small salaries. One teacher of four classes gets but eighty dollars per month, and Señor Matute and others teach classes gratuitously. We saw a gymnasium, art gallery, considerable scientific apparatus, and other adjuncts of a first-class school of this grade, in the building. One great feature of this school is its library of thirty thousand volumes, mainly the spoils of the confiscated monasteries. This, in New York, Boston, or England would be an immense feature. There are thousands on thousands of volumes three centuries old and more, printed or illuminated by hand, and as perfect in their parchment coverings as on the day they issued from the press. Most of them are in Spanish, but there are many in French and some in English.
I saw a dictionary in Spanish and Aztec, printed in Mexico in 1571, and another, equally perfect, printed in Michoacan in 1559, long enough before we had printing offices in English America. There are many works printed years earlier in Spain and France. A large number of these books are in duplicate, and five thousand volumes of the most rare, carefully selected and exposed for sale in New York or Boston, would attract all the old book-fanciers on the Continent, and bring money enough to provide this school with what it most needs; viz: a large and complete modern library in Spanish, English and French. An antiquarian book-dealer might make a fortune, and benefit mankind, by coming to Guadalajara and purchasing such of these works as the authorities would be willing to sell.
The last institution of learning which we visited was the School of Useful Arts. This School is unique, and deserves more extended notice than I can give it. It is located in the old monastery of San Augustine, which, like the other establishments of the kind, now belongs to the Federal Government. We found four hundred boys, from eight to eighteen years of age, learning every trade from shoemaking to blacksmithing, carpentering, weaving, tailoring, etc., etc. There is a great desire to enter this school among the youth of Jalisco, and if there were accommodations and funds provided for them, there would be one thousand students instead of four hundred. The boys are first taught to read, write and keep accounts, and then go into the workshops.
All the clothing and boots and shoes worn in the establishment are made by the boys, the cloth being made up from the raw cotton, spun, woven and colored. The boys do the cooking and other menial duties in turn. No work is paid for out of the place. It costs nine cents per day to board, dress, and educate each boy, or a total of thirty-six dollars per day for four hundred boys. The Municipality pays six and one quarter cents per day—when it has the funds—for the support of each, or twenty-five dollars per day, and the remainder is made up from rents of the property belonging to the School, which bring in two hundred dollars per month, and from voluntary contributions. All the earnings of each boy at any kind of work are paid over to him, and he deposits what he can, if his family do not need it for their support, in a savings box belonging to himself, kept in a common depository. "When he has grown to manhood and has his trade well learned, he goes out with the little capital he has laid by, and enters business for himself. Sometimes he has twenty dollars only, and sometimes two hundred or three hundred dollars.
The wonderful musical talent of this people is shown in the band of one hundred musicians, all boys in the school, who have earned their own instruments and have a fund in advance. A band of fifty played before us. One bright little fellow, Pedro Gallardo, twelve years of age, played the key-bugle in a style which would render him an acquisition to any military band in the United States. This band, by playing at public meetings, balls, &c., had earned six hundred dollars clear that year already. At the end of the year this fund is fairly divided. A fine old gentleman, Señor Dionisio Rodriguez, has managed this school for twenty years, giving all his time to it, the year round, free of charge, and when revolution or other causes cut off the sources of supply, has from his own pocket made good the deficiency, his total gifts amounting to many thousands of dollars. God bless and prosper him; he is a true benefactor of mankind.
Some of the work done by these boys is very beautiful. We were shown a rebosa or lady's scarf-shawl, eight feet in length, and twenty-eight inches in breadth, made from the silk and cotton spun in the establishment, and woven in a common hand-loom of the oldest and rudest pattern, which was as beautiful in its changeable colors as the finest product of the looms of Lyons. It could be drawn through a small sized finger-ring, and was offered for eight dollars.
The primary schools of the city contain five thousand pupils, and the schools for the two sexes are separate. The children are bright, intelligent, and ready to learn, and the schools absolutely free to all. There are one hundred and four Municipalities in the State of Jalisco, outside of the City of Guadalajara, and each of them supports one or more of these schools. The girls in addition to the usual lessons with us, are taught sewing, knitting, and other useful and necessary accomplishments.
Say what you may, this is progress! Give Mexico fifteen years of uninterrupted peace, in which to spread these schools throughout all the States, and she will astonish the world with her material advance, and make the dream of establishing a monarchy on the ruins of Republicanism in the New World, idleness and vanity. God grant that she may have the opportunity to make good my prediction.
After visiting the schools we went into the great cemetery of Bethlem. It is curious that the dead of the different families, Republican and plebeian, or Imperialist and aristocratic, cannot forget their differences and rest quietly side by side, even in death; but such is the case in Guadalajara. Here, in the cemetery of Bethlem, the Republicans are buried, and in another sleep the Imperialists. There are but few graves in the open ground, as we see them in our American and European cemeteries, and none of them are decorated with shade trees and flowers, or even marked with tall monuments and tomb-stones.
The greater number of interments are in niches or alcoves in the walls, which run in three tiers, one above another,
|THE CEMETERY OF BETLEHEM.|
all around the cemetery, which must cover from four to six acres. These alcoves are each about three feet square by six and one-half feet deep, and when a coffin is placed in one, the entrance is closed with cement, and the name, date of birth, death, etc., etc., of the deceased, placed over the stone fitted into the opening. It costs twenty-five dollars for the use of one of these alcoves five years, paid in advance. If at the end of that time another twenty-five dollars is not forthcoming, the place is again for rent. In the open ground you can buy a lot six feet by eight, but the alcoves are only rented for five years at a time.
In the center of the grounds there is a large chapel with vault beneath, in which rest many of the early church dignitaries of the diocese of Guadalajara.
The roads are so unsafe all around Guadalajara, that the inhabitants never ride many miles beyond its walls without a strong, armed escort. The great, and almost only, place of public resort beyond the Plaza, is the Paseo de San Pedro, a broad, double, tree-lined avenue or alameda, with carriage-drives on either side, and
A MEXICAN CART.
banks of green turf-covered earth, or plain stone between, for seats. This is about a mile in length, and just outside the gates on the road to Mexico. Thither, all the carriages in the city repair every pleasant evening, just before night-fall. Some of the fair occupants drive up and down in carriages, while others dismount, and, seated on the banquettes, pass their time in chatting with their friends, male and female, saluting each acquaintance who passes.
The young men ride around upon gaily caparisoned horses, and the young ladies frequently exhibit their love of odd adventure, by hiring one of the clumsy ox-carts of the country, and, a dozen of them together, riding up and down the paseo, singing light songs and playing on the guitar, their gallants riding near them on horseback and keeping up a running fire of chaffing and pleasant conversation, or bending from their saddles to whisper the story we have all heard and told, into willing ears as occasion offers. This is one of the oddest customs of the country.
Leaving my seat in the carriage in which we visited the paseo, to take one beside a fair young country-woman of mine, to ride back to the city, I noticed a fullloaded Colt's revolver lying on the cushion by her side. "Oh! that is nothing; I always bring one out here when I come, as this is a noted place for robbers, who sometimes jump out of the cane-brake, and rob a carriage before assistance can arrive," she said nonchalantly in reply to my look of inquiry. "Pleasant place to visit and enjoy one's self in! I think I hear you say. Well, all that may be, but when you have nowhere else to go, what can you do; one must have some recreation you know!" I said "Please pass me," and we rode home.
Notwithstanding the slaughter of brigands by the State troops acting under the authority of the civil tribunals, the business of kidnapping citizens and carrying them off into the mountains to be held for ransom, is carried on with astonishing audacity in various parts of the country, and even in the immediate vicinity of the city of Guadalajara. Some pretty tough stories concerning the standing and social position of the parties engaged in the business, are related by the victims. These stories are, perhaps, not always reliable, but I gathered enough from people who had been plagiared, to satisfy me that an organization, as strict and effective as that of the Thugs of India, has for some time existed, and still exists, though more limited in number than formerly, in Guadalajara, and numbers among its members some of the most prominent men and women of the old Imperial regime. Men, who have been rich, but who are now absolutely without legitimate income and unable to earn an honest livelihood, direct the movements of the bands, and map out the work for the lower order of cut-throats to carry out. Sometimes revelations made were of a startling character. I was one day conversing with a gentleman of high standing in Guadalajara, who had been carried off from the immediate vicinity of the city, and only released upon the payment of five thousand dollars, in coin. I asked him if he could not identify the men who kidnapped him, and received a ransom. "I know every one of them!" was the reply. Then why do you not prosecute them and have them shot? I asked. "I will tell you why: Every member of the gang has friends who would be apprised at once of the facts, and instructed to avenge their deaths in case I lived until the trial was ended. Governor Cuervo and his subordinates would do their duty without fear or favor, and the men would be shot; but I should be assassinated within a week thereafter, or possibly, kidnapped again and carried off, to be tortured with every atrocity which Apaches are capable of, and die a lingering death; even my family would be persecuted, and perhaps meet a fate as terrible as my own."
"But are the leaders of the band so highly connected as I have been told?" I asked.
"You may be your own judge in that matter. I saw you introduced to one of them yesterday, and holding a long conversation with him!"
"But you did not put me on my guard," I said.
|INDIAN EMBROIDERERS AND THEIR WORK.|
"Not I; I have even visited at his house and dined with his family since my release, and his daughter is a warm friend of my own. That man received the money from my brother, and he knows that I know him to be the regular financial agent and broker for the band!"
It is hardly possible for a stranger to understand how such a state of affairs can exist without the direct connivance of the authorities; but it does so exist, nevertheless; and the rigor with which Gov. Cuervo and his associates execute the laws, leaves no room for doubting that they are in earnest in the work.
Guadalajara boasts of two Indian specialties, viz: the wonderfully elaborate embroidery in cotton and linen, on lace formed by the drawing out of part of the threads in fine white goods, of which, you can buy enough for a lady's skirt, six inches wide, for five to ten dollars; worth from fifty to one hundred dollars in the United States; and statuettes, vases, and similar goods in earthenware, molded from common clay, with the hands alone, by men and women who cannot read or write, and have, in fact, no education whatever. This work is executed in a small village called Tonila, the seat of the Aztec Kings of Jalisco in the days of Cortez, fifteen miles distant, and sold around the streets. There is a place on the Plaza de Toros where they have cart-loads of every description of this earthenware, from a toy-cup to a flower-vase three feet high, for sale. They ask more for it than they do at the village where it is made, but still sell it astonishingly cheap. They have statuettes of every noted man in the country and of the world, ancient and modern, from an inch in height to two feet, all elaborately worked and colored, and many of them handsomely gilded. They will make you a statuette, a perfect facsimile of yourself in miniature, on two day's notice. Of burlesque statuary they have hundreds of specimens, and their figures representing local characters, once the celebrities of the country, are wonderful. During our civil war, an American artist produced in clay, groups representing scenes in the war, the dying sentinel, wounded to the death, the attack, etc., all of which were fine; and he gained great credit thereby; but these poor illiterate Indians can show thousands of such statuettes and groups, all fully equal or superior in execution and vivid expression. A noted and infamous character is generally represented as being carried off, bodily, by the devil. Gen. Rojas, the bandit, formerly of Tepic, one of the most bloodthirsty cut-throats and murderers who ever cursed the earth with his presence, and who was shot some years ago at Seyula, is a common subject for this style of art. I purchased a group representing him, in full costume, being thus carried off on a grotesque devil's shoulders, the figures being each twelve inches in height, for one dollar and a quarter, and, I was told, that I paid more than double the usual price. For a pair of black enameled and artistically gilded water jugs of Japanese pattern, holding two quarts each, very handsome, seventy-five cents. Statuettes of watercarriers, peddlers, etc., one foot in height, twenty-five cents each, and smaller figures from a half cent to six and one-quarter cents each. My purchases filled a box containing about four cubic feet, and the whole, cost only three dollars and a half.
INDIAN STATUARY MAKERS.
There are four cotton-factories near the City of Guadalajara, viz: El Escoba, thirty-three hundred spindles; Atamepac, five thousand; Salto, five hundred, and Experience, one thousand. The last belongs to the five brothers Lowery, who, though they have resided there twenty-five years, are still Americans. All were in operation on the same plan as those at Colima, and none making much more than expenses, owing to the high price of cotton, and the excess of manufactured goods in the market. Atamepac, we found to be, in appearance, a great college building, of cut stone, standing back about thirty rods from the road, with a double row of orange-trees, in full bearing, on either side of the wide, grassy lawn leading up to it. The others are on a similar plan, but on a smaller scale. Two more cotton-mills are being erected in the vicinity.
The paper mill, the only one in the State, belonging to Señor Palama, is an immense structure with fourteen grinding or pulp- engines; a Foudrinier machine, which makes fair, white printing and telegraph paper six feet in width, and a smaller one which makes manilla paper. The process followed is the same as with us.
They have an opera-house and theater in Guadalajara on the Plaza fronting the Palace; it was erected by the city, but is not yet finished. It has already cost three hundred and fifty thousand dollars in coin, and will require fifty thousand dollars more to finish it. It is now occupied, but has very little scenery—only a white cloth drop-curtain, and white-washed walls. The proportions are magnificent, and when finished it will seat four thousand persons, comfortably, and become one of the finest on the continent. It has five tiers of boxes, each with twenty-five separate apartments running around the entire wall. Each box, or apartment, is divided from the next by a low iron railing, and has its own distinct entrance and dressing and refreshment rooms. There are seats for eight persons in each box. Below, the parquette covers the whole floor of the building, and is provided with cheap arm-chairs. Admission to the boxes is one dollar, and to the parquette seventy-five cents each.
We attended one evening by invitation, and found a well-dressed and elegant, but not large audience. A company from Cuba gave the "Domino Azul," in good style, and as effectively as the circumstances would admit. The singing and dialogue was in Spanish, and the music of a national character. The audience, men and women, left the boxes and lounged in the galleries, chatting, and smoking cigarritos and sipping fruit-syrup flavored drinks between the acts. The old—always treated with great respect here—and the middle aged and young, occupied seats in the same boxes, and there seemed to be no distinction on account of wealth and dress. The opera house is badly lighted with oil lamps suspended over each box, and the general effect is much marred in consequence. The house yields but six thousand dollars per annum to the city, and of course when money is loaned at five per cent per month, does not pay as a pecuniary investment.
On another evening we attended again, by special invitation, the "Valley of Andorra," being given in honor of Mr. Seward. The boxes, which are usually occupied by the wealthy classes who lean toward Imperialism, were only partially filled, but there was a large array of beauty, and the galleries were crowded with the Republican element. The "Mochos," evidently hate the men of the North, while the common people welcome them. There are no low melodeons in Guadalajara as with us, and with the exception of the bull arena, there are no other places of in-door public amusement in the city. The cruel and thoroughly demoralizing amusement of bull-fighting, once the national sport of Mexico, has been prohibited in the capital and various States, but is still maintained in Guadalajara. Determined to see all that was to be seen of the manners and customs of the people at this out-of-the-way corner of the world, we naturally inquired after the bull-fight, and were gratified.(?) On Saturday, a long bill, magnificently printed in gold, on blue satin with a lace border, was sent to our house. As a curiosity, and a memento of a custom now, thank Heaven, fast passing away, I translated the bill as nearly literally as possible:
BULLS (i. e., bull-fight) IN THE PLAZA OF PROGRESS.
GRAND PERFORMANCE ON SUNDAY, OCTOBER 24, 1869.
The company have arranged for this afternoon a selected and varied performance, which will proceed in the following order:
1. The music of the First Light Battalion, wisely directed by Prof. Santos Hernandez, will begin to play from 3 p. m., the best airs of his repertoire.
2. Five valiant bulls will be fought, from the well-known hacienda of Cuisillos, four of which will be done to the death.
3. After the death of the fourth bull, a young bull will undergo the Novillo de Cola, which exercise will be performed by the intelligent and agile coleador, Francisco Rodriguez.
4. Immediately thereafter another Novillo de Cola will be performed, and the bull be ridden by the celebrated bull-rider, Francisco Moya, and both the other coleadors. These exercises will be done at the fullest speed, and the coleador will throw down a bull and mount him with rapidity.
5. Other bulls will be fought by the company if the time will permit.
Prices.—A box with six chairs, four dollars; seats in the shade, fifty cents; seats in the sun, twelve and a half cents; seats in chairs, twelve and a half cents extra.
Performance begins at 4 p. m., precisely.
Rules.— It is not allowed to pay money at the inner doors, and patrons of the performance will carry their own tickets to avoid confusion and crowding at the entrance, which would create annoyance. The soldiers at the garrison of Guadalajara will pay six and a quarter cents each, and will occupy the roof.
Whenever the judge shall graciously grant the bull to the fighters, the company shall be allowed the usual gratuity in place of the animal.
All the morning, a party of matadores, picadores, and their assistants, on horseback and on foot, with a band of music at their head, were parading the streets, the clowns in grotesque costumes yelling at the top of their voices, the praises of the "gran funcion" which was to come off at the Plaza de Progresso, in the afternoon. Two of the mounted men carried a pole, on which was arranged the banderillas, or light frameworks of wire, in the form of palm-trees, Chinese lanterns, lyres, cornucopias, and other objects, each about three feet in length, covered with long, waving strips of gilt and tissue paper, which were to be attached to the bulls by sharp iron barbs to drive them to madness. At the hour announced we drove to the Plaza of Progress, and found an immense amphitheater of stone, not less than five hundred feet in diameter, open toward the sky, and provided with seats arranged in five tiers, running around the entire structure, receding toward the top, until they reached the corridor beneath which were the boxes of the aristocratic and wealthy portion of the audience. Soldiers guard every public place in Guadalajara, and we saw their bayonets everywhere among the crowd which surged around the entrance and within the gates.
The roof above the grand corridor was covered with the soldiers of the garrison, and the State Guards in their picturesque uniforms, and the tiers of seats "in the sun and in the shade" presented a sea of heads, the common and poorer people fairly packing them. The corridor was fairly filled—many ladies being present—but I noticed that the more refined and educated portion of the community did not appear, generally, to be there. There were, at a rough estimate, at least three thousand people in the amphitheatre. The band, of about fifty pieces, struck up a grand march, and at the sound of the trumpet, the company came into the arena. They were twelve or fourteen in number. The two matadors, men of advanced age, stout and agile, were in ordinary vaqueros costume, with broad hats, mounted on poor horses, and carried their spears, with short, blunt ends, in their hands. The two matadores and their assistants were all dressed in the full, old Spanish costumes, brilliant with gold and scarlet, knee breeches and shoes, short jackets, and black jaunty caps.
Halting before the judges' box, the party sent two of their number up over the barriers and tiers of seats—as agile as cats they seemedto exhibit to them the banderillas, and ask their high permission for the fighting to commence, which was of course given.
In rushed from a side door, a tawny brown bull, with wide spreading horns, the points of which had already been sawed off about four inches, and, throwing his head high in the air, he gave one glance around the arena within, like a dog in play, and dashed at the nearest man with a red mantle. The mantle was whirled quickly over the head of the wearer as the bull just reached him, and, with a bound to one side, the youth was out of his reach.
This bull was too young and quiet for the sport, (?) and the banderillas were fixed in either side of his neck by a very clever and active assistant, who bounded out of the way as he threw them, just in time to
THE SUNDAY BULL-FIGHT.
escape the horns of the animal. Still, the bull, though throwing his head from side to side, whirling the banderillas around as if in sport, did not half fight, and the red mantles flaunted in his face, and thrown at times over his horns, only provoked him to momentary madness. So a matadore advanced with a sharp, straight sword, and as the bull dashed at him, made a thrust just forward of the shoulder to pierce his heart, the crowd yelling to him to kill him at the first blow. The sword bent almost double by striking a bone, and went wide of the mark. The matadore stopped to bend it straight again, and meantime the now bleeding bull dashed at one of the picadores on horseback. The picadore dropped his lance so as to catch the bull on the shoulder, and the moment the barb pierced the skin the poor animal, as is his wont, wheeled away. This was repeated again and again, and then the matadore gave him half a dozen thrusts, finally reaching a vital spot, and bowed to the judges; the mob in the galleries on the opposite side, rewarding his courage and skill (?) by hurling banana-peel, oranges, and stale vegetables at his head whenever he came within their reach. An assistant now struck the dying bull in the neck with a double-edged knife, and the creature dropped dead as if stricken by lightning. Then, three old horses, harnessed abreast, were driven in and hitched to the bleeding carcass, but it required the united strength of the whole company of "artists" to assist in pulling it out.
The band played, and the second bull came dashing in. The fight, if such it could be called, was simply a repetition of the first. The third bull ran away from the horses, and would only fight in self-defence, running around the arena with his head raised as if appealing for mercy, and the now enraged audience shouted loud and long to "Turn him out," which was finally done by order of the judges,
The fourth bull was a game fellow, and made things lively. He dashed at everything within reach, and drove the assistants again and again behind the barriers. The populace, excited to the highest pitch of enthusiasm, reached over the wall, and yelled, and shook their great hats and ragged blankets in his face to madden him to the utmost. He dashed at one of the picadores, got the horse under the belly, and shook him on his horns as he would toss a blanket. The crowd were frantic with delight. Then he made another dash at the same horse, and despite the vigorous proding of the picadore, caught the poor, wretched animal in the same place, and held him on his horns until one of them penetrated his abdomen and fatally injured him. Notwithstanding this, the wounded horse was ridden until the entire performance was ended. The populace were happy. Then the bull "went for" the other horse, caught him, and rolled horse and rider over and over in the dirt—and the crowd roared with delight. To tell the truth, I felt a little satisfaction myself, until I saw the dismounted picadore unroll himself and spring to his feet uninjured. The horse was stricken to the death and taken away to die.
The picadores have their right legs incased in a shield made of leather with bars of steel inside, similar to those worn on the arms by the Chinese short-swordsmen. They invariably present that side to the bull, and so escape injury, except in very rare cases. The matadore gave this bull a thrust to the very heart at the first pass of his sword, and the stricken animal staggering half around the ring, fell to his knees, and was dispatched in an instant. This ended the killing, though the crowd furiously demanded another bull in place of the third, who had proven unfit for fighting.
Then the coleadores, mounted on fine spirited horses, dashed in, and a young bull was let out at them. They rode at full speed along side of him, and endeavored to spring from their horses upon his back, but failed on every occasion. Once, one of the coleadores (i. e. tail-pullers) went down between horse and bull, and was trampled upon by both, but not killed. This bull was turned out and a second and more lively one let in. He was run around and around the arena, and finally caught by the tail and thrown to the earth by one of the coleadores, and tied by the assistants, who held him until a cord—or, as a Californian would say, "a cinch"—was tied around him. Francisco Mayo then sprang upon his back, and he was allowed to regain his feet. The bull dashed around and around the arena, bucking and jumping, to rid himself of his rider, but in vain; and so the performance ended, just as night set in.
And all this time delicate, beautiful women and little children had been sitting in the corridors, sipping cool drinks and looking placidly on, while they chatted on familiar subjects with their friends around them. Worse than that, as I looked up at the walls of the great Hospicio, that wonder of practical charity and benevolence, I saw several of the pious Sisters of Charity, whose holy work and holy lives we had so much admired when we visited the institution, standing on the battlements and looking down upon us. They could not see the slaughter, but could hear and enjoy the shouts of the populace, the music, and the moans of the tortured animals.
This was the first bull-fight I had ever witnessed; it will be my last. I believe I can say, that I never flinched from duty, however painful, and in the course of my journalistic life, I have been called on to witness many things of a cruel and horrible character; but I have never yet been guilty of wantonly torturing any living creature, and I should loathe and despise myself beyond measure if I felt that I could be guilty of again witnessing such a scene. The entertainment was given in good faith as a compliment, and accepted as such; but such scenes can but brutalize and demoralize a community which tolerates them, and I thank God that enlightened public sentiment is now setting so strongly against them, that the day is not far distant when they will be prohibited by law in this State, as well as in all other parts of Mexico. I have had just enough of bull-fights for the measure of my life, be it large or small.
Every day I staid in Guadalajara, I saw something more to remind me of the fact that I stood among the dry bones of the past—that the world around me was a strange mixture and confusion of the fifteenth and nineteenth centuries, the ideas of each struggling for the mastery. Utopian dreams of the future, and the savage faith and despotism of the past, jostle and crowd each other, day by day, and the end of the conflict is not yet. One day, I went out to see the Indian recruits for the Army of the Republic of Mexico, drilling on the plaza, and, returning, saw in the distance the tower of the ancient place of worship in the Indian village of Tonila, in which the curious earthen structures of which I have spoken are made. This Tonila was the capital of the Kingdom of Jalisco, when Cortez landed in Mexico, and there, the descendants of the fierce Aztec warriors still reside— making clay images, while their sons and brothers fight for the maintenance of Republicanism, side by side with the descendants of the conquistadors.
Reaching our sumptuous quarters I found on the table, as a present to Mr. Seward, a time-yellowed document, written in quaint old Spanish, dated at Madrid in 1676, and signed in a bold, round hand, with ink which might have been made but a week ago, "Yoe el Rey" ("I, the king.") This is a royal proclamation of Charles, King of Spain, commanding that, thereafter, the officers of his army and civil administration should abstain from the practice of compelling the Indians in the Spanish -American colonies to carry their baggage, and furnish them with provisions on their journey without charge, and ordering regular payments at fair rates to be made for their services thenceforth.
Attached to this is a decree of Pope Clement Xth, addressed to his "Beloved Son in Christ, Carlos, Catholic King of the Spains," commanding and ordering the enforcement of the decree by the aid of the clergy. This document was filed in the Custom-house of Guadalajara, in which, at this day, the officers are sitting, collecting the customs duties on every article of goods carried from one state to another in the republic, as they did in 1676. At the same time came a certificate of honorary membership in the Academy of Sciences of Guadalajara, in which Mr. Seward is styled "Defender of the liberty of the Americas."
The citizens of Guadalajara, without distinction of party, united on Saturday night in a grand farewell ball, at the "Institutio de Ciencias," in honor of Mr. Seward's visit, it being understood that the party were to leave on the following Tuesday for Guanajuato. The building, of one story, surrounding a fine large smoothly paved court-yard, was beautifully and very tastefully decorated for the occasion, and the illumination was very brilliant. The tables were set in the corridors, and the dancing took place in the beautiful hall of the State Congress of Jalisco—a Legislature, by-the-by, composed of but eleven members, a dangerously convenient number for the formation of a "ring"—which is hung with the portraits of all the early patriots of Mexico, and paintings and engravings of rare merit.
The hall and corridors were filled with as fine a company as could be gathered on the Continent, and with all due respect to my fair countrywomen, I must admit, that I never saw so many beautiful ladies at a ball of the same size in the United States. The ladies here usually make their own dresses—there is but one French milliner in this city of ninety thousand people—and exhibit a taste in the selection of materials and colors very rare with us. Light gauzes, green and white, blue and white, or red, green and white, contrasted, appear to be the favorite, and the dresses are cut low at the neck and with short sleeves. The temptation to bring out their brilliant black hair and lustrous eyes in strong contrast by the use of pearl powder and rouge, is often too strong for resistance with the belles of Guadalajara, but this feature is not more noticeable in one of their ball rooms than in one of our own. They all dance well, but their parties on public occasions are less enjoyable from the fact that introductions off-hand, are not in vogue as with us, and a stranger may roam around all the evening without making an acquaintance, save by chance.
When the guests had cleared the tables of the well-arranged collation, at 2 a. m., Señor Don Antonio Gomez Cuervo, Governor of Jalisco, a plain, honest, outspoken, and energetic man, whose vigorous and unceremonious shooting of brigands last winter got him "impeached" before the National Congress, (though he came out triumphant in the end, and returned to the work with more vim than ever,) arose and introduced Señor Don Juan Ignacio Matute, who read a brief address of welcome which I translate as follows:
Hon. Wm. H. Seward: He who has given his blood, and after forty years continued effort succeeded in abolishing Slavery in his country, deserves well of humanity. He who aided Mexico to conquer her independence a second time, deserves our most cordial thanks! He, who, full of a spirit of conciliation, after a Titanic war, contributed to his utmost ability to the recommendation of the humbled South, deserves well of his country! The people of Jalisco, filled with the love of liberty, salute with the greatest respect and honor, the distinguished American citizen, William H. Seward! May Mexico, my adored country, following his noble example, yield a frank and prudent amnesty, and so conserve her future prosperity and welfare. On that day Hidalgo and Washington, rising above the shadows of the tomb, shall join hands together, and joy shall fill the hearts of a free people. Honor to the abolitionist of Slavery!
Alfonso Lancaster Jones, a Mexican citizen, grandson of the founder of the Lancasterian school system, next addressed the audience in Spanish, very eloquently and in a scholarly manner.
Mr. Seward then spoke as follows:
Señors y Señoras: We all are well aware, that the occupation and settlement of the southern part of the American continent anticipated, by a period of more than a century, the occupation and settlement of the northern portion of the continent—that the former fell to the lot chiefly of the Latin nations of Europe, and was conducted upon the priciple of an implicit faith and confidence in the ecclesiastical and civil ideas and institutions which prevailed throughout Europe in the fifteenth century— that the occupation and settlement of the northern portion of the continent fell to the lot of the German and Sclavonic races, who were deeply moved by ideas of political and ecclesiastical reforms. The result has been, that at the beginning of the nineteenth century, two different, and in many respects, antagonistical systems came face to face with each other; the one extending along the Atlantic coast, from the banks of the Mississippi to the inclement regions of the north, the other extending, unbroken and undivided, from the Mississippi over the southern and western portions of the continent. The ideas of the North have continually gained strength everywhere, and have culminated there in republican institutions, which are based upon the sovereignty of the people, and which guarantee, in their highest perfection, civil and religious liberty. The southern nations of the continent have accepted the same broad and noble ideas, but the perfect establishment of them in a system of republican government has encountered the resistance of a long-cherished and powerful conservatism, animated and sustained by European influence and intervention. The southern nations, by the fidelity with which they have adhered to the republican system through so many and such serious obstacles, have given abundant evidence that they will ultimately and entirely acquiesce and cooperate with the republican nations of the north, so far as their institutions and laws are founded in natural justice and equality. What remains, and all that remains now necessary, is the establishment of entire tolerance between the North American States and the Spanish American Republics, and the creation of a policy of mutual moral alliance, to the end that all external aggression may be prevented, and that internal peace, law and order, and progress may be secured throughout the whole continent. The people of Mexico have not misunderstood me in my past political career: and since my visit to Mexico, I feel encouraged more than ever, in the hope that the intimate relations which have been already secured, will become permanent and perpetual.
It is a satisfaction to have learned, on my way to the Capital, that the policy and sentiments which I expect to find prevailing there have been fully sanctioned already by the people of the great, important, and leading State of Jalisco. I ask you to indulge me, gentlemen in the sentiment:
Peace, prosperity, and honor to the Governor and State of Jalisco.
To these remarks, and the toast, Gov. Cuervo responded as follows:
As a citizen of Jalisco, as a Mexican, as an American, more so as a free man, I cordially appreciate the splendid initiative of the illustrious guest of Jalisco, Mr. Seward, for the creation of the great continental American policy, so well defined by him in the toast I have the honor to answer. As a patriot, I will devote to the realization of that noble idea all that the influence of an honest man may ever be worth, with all the faith inspired in me by the remembrance of its having been the golden dream of one of the most eminent martyrs of our liberty, the great Degollado. May the sisterhood of all the American republics transform the world of Columbus into what it must be: the home of every free man, with no other distinctions but those imposed on all true hearted men by the services lent to humanity. Among the citizens of that glorious future country, our noble guest will be one of the first; not for the eminent service he rendered to his country in a career as long as honorable, as a lawyer, a legislator, senator, governor, and finally, as Secretary of State with the glorious martyr Lincoln; not for having been a faithful and loyal friend of Mexico in her days of painful trial, but for a whole life, devoted to the most noble of all causes: the absolute and unconditional emancipation of millions of slaves. God preserved him from the assassin's weapon to reward him with the complete triumph of his holy idea. Join me, gentlemen, in this sentiment; To that citizen, whose name is his greatest pride—Mr. Seward. [Enthusiastic applause.]
I have given these speeches, at length, as an illustration of the spirit and aspirations prevailing in this community, at this time, and as a part of the history of the day. That these aspirations will ever be fully realized may well be doubted; but surely every right thinking friend of humanity will pray that they may be. We left the hall at 3 a. m., and on awaking at 6 o'clock a. m. found the dancing still going on.
On the following Tuesday morning, at day-break, our luggage was packed, the escort ready, and the stage at the door, and a host of warm-hearted friends of both sexes, came to say farewell — kiss, and bid us God-speed on our journey.