Page:Our Sister Republic - Mexico.djvu/328

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316
THE ARCHIVES OF MEXICO.

he covered himself, and strutted his little hour upon the stage.

Probably it is better as it is, and Maximilian served the world better as material with which "to point a moral, and adorn a tale," than he could ever have done as a statesman and a ruler by "right Divine;" nevertheless, one cannot but feel a touch of regret, as he stands amid these ruins, and reflects upon the wide difference between the mournful fact, and the brighter possibility; what was, and what might have been.

The archives contain the decrees and other documents issued by each of the different governments and administrations of Mexico, from the Spanish conquest, down to the present day, with the single exception of those of Maximilian's Empire, which are ignored and treated as of no validity or importance whatever. All the documents emanating from that source are kept separate, as having no part in the legitimate history of Mexico. Among them is one which must stand as a full, complete, and irrefutable answer to all charges of cruelty and undue severity on the part of Mexico and the Juarez administration, in the matter of the execution of Maximilian. The act has been denounced in the most unmeasured terms by the sympathizers with monarchy, and the admirers of royalty in the United States and Europe, and even men whose education and natural instincts have led them, in all other matters, to take the side of the people against those who pretend to rule by "right Divine," have been so far misled by false statements and perversion of fact, as to characterize it as a murder.

Let us see the facts: Maximilian came into Mexico at the invitation of Napoleon III., backed by French bay-