Page:Our Sister Republic - Mexico.djvu/329

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317
THE MASK THROWN OFF.

nets, and followed by an army of foreign mercenaries. A vote, taken only in places held by the French where the result was a foregone conclusion, and the entire movement a farce of the broadest description, as he well knew, proclaimed him the choice of the Mexican people, and he assumed the title and state of Emperor of Mexico. The defenders of the Republic were hunted down like wild beasts, and killed as fast as captured, until all hope seemed gone, and the Empire appeared so securely established that the professions of good will, mild intentions, and clemency, with which he entered the country, could be safely ignored, and the mask was thrown off, at once. The report was spread abroad in advance—as an excuse for the decree which was to follow—that President Juarez, who had been pursued with the most vindictive energy by the partizans and retainers of Maximilian, had been, at last, driven across the Rio Grande, at El Paso del Norte, into the United States; and thereupon the following proclamation, which lies before me as I write, was issued:


PROCLAMATION OF HIS MAJESTY, THE EMPEROR.

Mexicans: The cause which Don Benito Juarez defended with so much valor and constancy has already succumbed under the force, not only of the national will, but also of the very law which that officer invoked in support of his pretensions. To day even the faction, into which the said cause degenerated, is abandoned by the departure of its Chief from the native soil.
The national government for a long time was lenient, and exercised great clemency in order to give the chance to misled and misinformed men to rally to the majority of the nation, and to place themselves anew, in the path of duty. It has fulfilled its object; the honorable men have assembled under its banner,