Page:Our Sister Republic - Mexico.djvu/72

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66
THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS OF COLIMA.

At the invitation of Gov. Cueva, who is acting Governor in place of Gov. Ramon de la Vega, the latter having been absent for a long time on leave from President Juarez, I visited the public schools in Colima, in which he takes a very commendable interest. I found them well attended, and the pupils exceedingly well-behaved and intelligent. The schools are free to all, and seem to be appreciated. This is an evidence of actual progress in Mexico, very pleasant to witness, and must convince the most skeptical that the world does move, even here.

From the schools we went to the State Prison, the Prefect of the State or municipality, Don Sebastian Fajerdo, kindly accompanying us and showing us all the points of interest. The prison is guarded by the garrison of Colima, comprising one hundred regular troops, and is used in part as a jail or calaboose, as well as a State Prison. It is of great age, and exceedingly defective in construction, so far as ventilation is concerned. Each ward is separated by an open-work iron door, of great strength, from the next, and one is locked before the second is unlocked on every occasion. I found one hundred and fifty-seven prisoners all told. Of these, half were common drunkards, or perpetrators of light offenses, sentenced to chain-gang duty for a brief time. Many of the others have the word "perpetua" entered opposite their names; and one poor, cowering wretch in irons, was pointed out as under sentence of death for a horrible and cruel murder. Gov. Cueva, who seems to be a thoroughly mild, kind-hearted, and merciful man, explained to me that he had not yet signed the death-warrant, and he disliked to do so always, putting it off as long as possible, and then ordering the