Page:Our Sister Republic - Mexico.djvu/396

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382
A SHARP BUSINESS TRANSACTION.

the money so that they make it and get away with it. I have heard a thousand stories illustrative of the practices of foreigners of this class in Mexico; a couple will be sufficient to convey a fair idea of the conduct of those who are accustomed to denounce the Mexicans, in the most unmeasured terms, for alleged dishonesty and unreliability.

During the French intervention, a large European importing house, doing business in Western Mexico, landed a large invoice of goods at Manzanillo, which port was then in possession of the Republicans. The city to which they desired to send the goods for sale, was in the possession of the Imperialists, and they must deal with both parties in order to have them passed through the lines of the opposing forces. They accordingly proposed to the Republican authorities to pay the duties, contingently. As they represented that, the Imperialists would in all probability let the goods go through, but there was no certainty of their doing so, they proposed to give the Republic drafts on themselves, payable on the receipt of the acknowledgment that they had been passed. The Republicans being sorely in want of funds consented, and gave receipts to be exhibited to the Imperialists as evidence that the goods had already paid duty.

The goods went through all right, and were disposed of at swinging profits within the Imperialist lines, the Imperialist collector being convinced that a heavy duty had already been paid, and that it would be wrong to exact a second under the circumstances. Then, when the drafts were presented for payment, the drawers replied: "Oh! but you are not representative of the Government of Mexico! The Governments of Europe