A Study of Mexico

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ASOM D010 Mexico city cathedral and zocalo circa 1880.jpg

Mexico City Cathedral and the Zocalo, circa 1880.

 

A


STUDY OF MEXICO



BY


DAVID A. WELLS, LL.D., D.C.L


MEMBRE CORRESPONDANT DB L’INSTITUT DE FRANCE; CORRESPONDENTE
DELLA REALE ACCADEMIA DE’ LINCEI, ITALIA; HONORARY MEMBER
OF THE STATISTICAL SOCIETY OF LONDON, ETC.



REPRINTED, WITH ADDITIONS,
FROM THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY



NEW YORK
D. APPLETON AND COMPANY
1887

 


Copyright, 1886.

By D. APPLETON AND COMPANY.




All rights reserved.

 

 

CONTENTS.

CHAPTER I.
PAGE
Recent popular ignorance concerning Mexico — Reasons therefor — Experience of travel by Bayard Taylor in 1850 — Mexico in 1878, according to the then American minister — Rejoinder of the Mexican Government — Present security and facilities for Mexican travel — Picturesque aspect of Mexico — Peons, or agricultural population — Social condition of the people — Mexican architecture and buildings 13
CHAPTER II.
Popular fallacies concerning Mexico — Its geographical position and physical characteristics — Elevation of the Mexican Central Railroad — The valley of the city of Mexico — The City of Mexico and Vera Cruz Railroad — The Tierras Calientes — No navigable rivers in Mexico — Population — Character of the Aztec civilization — A development of the Stone Age — The romance of Prescott's History — The predecessors of the Aztecs — Counterparts of the mounds of the United States in Mexico — Possible explanation of their origin 38
CHAPTER III.
Spanish colonial policy in Mexico — How Spain protected her home industries against colonial competition — Origin of the War of Independence — Portraits of the Spanish viceroys — The last auto-da-fe in Mexico — Portraits of distinguished Mexicans in the National Hall of Embassadors — Ingratitude of the republic — The American war of invasion and the spoliation of Mexico — Injustice of the war 62
CHAPTER IV.
The French invasion of Mexico — Benito Juarez — Maximilian and his empire — Relation of the Church to the French invasion and the empire — Nationalization of the Mexican Church — Confiscation of its property — Momentous character and influence of this measure — Evidences of the perpetuation of the Aztec religion by the Mexican Indians — Foreign (Protestant) missions in Mexico 75
CHAPTER V.
Divisions of the population of Mexico — The national language and its commercial drawbacks — Extreme ignorance and poverty of the masses — Tortillas and frijoles — Responsibility of the Church for the existing condition of the people — Educational efforts and awakening in Mexico — Government schools, secular and military — Government and social forces of Mexico — What constitutes public opinion in Mexico? — Character of the present Executive — Newspaper press of Mexico 92
CHAPTER VI.
Occupations of the people of Mexico — Drawbacks to the pursuits of agriculture — Land-titles in Mexico — Mining laws — Scant agricultural resources of Northern Mexico — Origin and original home of the cow-boy — Resources of the Tierras Calientes — Agriculture on the plateau of Mexico — Deficiency of roads and methods of transportation — Comparative agricultural production of the United States and Mexico 115
CHAPTER VII.
Manufacturing in Mexico — Restricted use of labor-saving machinery — Scarcity of fuel and water — Extent of Mexican handicrafts — Number of factories using power — Manufacture of pottery and leather — Restriction of employments for women — The pauper-labor argument as applied to Mexico — Rates of wages — Fallacy of abstract statements in respect to wages — Scarcity of labor in Mexico — Retail prices of commodities — The point of lowest wages in the United States — Analysis of a leading Mexican cotton-factory — Free trade and protection not matters of general interest in Mexico — Characteristics of the Mexican tariff system — Mines and mining — The United States, not Mexico, the great silver-producing country — Popular ideas about old Spanish mines without foundation 133
CHAPTER VIII.
Taxation in Mexico — Each State and town its own custom-houses — Practical illustrations of the effect of the system — Cost of importing a stove from St. Louis — Export taxes — Mexican taxation a relic of European mediævalism — The excise or internal tax system of Mexico — A continuation of the old alcavala tax of Spain — Effect of taxation upon general trade — The method of remedy most difficult — Parallel experience of other countries — Greatest obstacle to tax reform in Mexico 163
CHAPTER IX.
The Federal budget — Receipts and expenditures — Principal sources of national revenue — Foreign commerce — Coinage of the Mexican mints — Imports and exports — The United States the largest customer for Mexican products — Silver monometallism in Mexico — Its inconveniences and abandonment — Introduction of paper money — Sanitary conditions of Mexico — Terrible mortality of the cities of Mexico and Vera Cruz 188
CHAPTER X.
Political relations, present and prospective, of the United States and Mexico — The border population — Their interests, opinions, and influence — The bearing of the Monroe doctrine — The United States no friends on the American Continent — Opinions of other nations in respect to the United States — Adverse sentiments in Mexico — Enlightened policy of the present Mexican Government — Religious toleration — Recent general progress — Claims of Mexico on the kindly sympathies of the United States — Public debt of Mexico — Interoceanic transit and traffic 207
CHAPTER XI.
The American railroad system in Mexico — Its influence in promoting internal order and good government — Remarkable illustration of the influence of the railroad in developing domestic industry — The kerosene-lamp a germ of civilization — Commercial supremacy of the Germans in Mexico — Mexican credit system — Trade advantages on the part of the United States — Inaptitude of Americans for cultivating foreign trade — American products most in demand in Mexico — Weakness of argument in opposition to the ratification of a commercial treaty — Adverse action of Congress — Reasons offered by the Committee of Ways and Means — Interest of the Protestant Church of the United States in the treaty — Conclusion 228
INDEX 255

This work was published before January 1, 1923, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.