Page:A Study of Mexico.djvu/29

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REPORT OF MINISTER FOSTER IN 1878.

Matters are, however, in a much better state at present, and for reasons that will be mentioned hereafter; but the following item of Mexican news,


great offense to the Mexican people; and, in addition to numerous newspaper criticisms, was regarded as of such importance by the Government, that an extended official reply (325 quarto pages) was made to it (in 1880) by the Mexican Secretary of Finance. It was claimed therein that, while the report of Minister Foster "contains many exact data and estimates worthy of attention, it is unfortunately marred by conceptions and deductions which are entirely without foundation," and "that it is the duty of the Government of Mexico to vindicate the country, clearing away the dark coloring under which the report in question presents it." In further illustration of the character and strength of this rejoinder on the part of the Mexican Government, the following is a summary of the answers to the specific points made by Mr. Foster, in that part of his report above quoted: Thus, in regard to the statement that passenger-trains on the Vera Cruz Railroad were escorted by soldiers, it was said: "The fact is true, but nowise worthy of censure; for, on the contrary, it is the best proof of the care with which the Government endeavors to give guarantees to travelers. Even in the most civilized countries the police forces watch over the security of the roads, and the way of doing it makes little matter, whether it be by escort or stationed forces, for in both cases it indicates a sad necessity, to wit, that of sheltering individuals from the attack of evildoers, who exist not only in Mexico, but in every part of the world." Again, the fact of excessive rates of exchange between the interior cities and towns of Mexico was explained by saying that it is not due to the insecurity of the roads, but rather "to the difficulty of communication, occasioned principally by long distances, bad roads, and the lack of conveniences"; and also by "the circumstance that exchange takes place in one sense only—that is to say, to place in Mexico funds that are outside of the capital." And the report thus further sharply continues: "For every crime against life or property occurring in Mexico, a greater number of similar cases that have taken place in the United States could be cited; and this is not strange, for, in proportion as the population of the country is larger, it appears that its criminal record must be larger also. Moreover, horrible crimes have been committed in the United