Page:Our Sister Republic - Mexico.djvu/397

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have acknowledged the Empire as the only legitimate Government in Mexico, and it will be necessary for you to have these drafts presented by the imperial authorities; we cannot recognize them in any other hands." The Mexican authorities were fairly outwitted, and both parties swindled out of the entire duties.

A friend of the house which perpetrated this neat little piece of thieving—for it is nothing less—told the story to me as an illustration of the shrewdness and business ability of the head of the concern, and really seemed to think it a very creditable transaction on the part of the importers, who pocketed a small fortune by the operation.

Another transaction, the parties to which were men occupying prominent positions in politics, took place at the City of Mexico. A revolutionary party was driven out of the capital by the legitimate authorities. As they—the revolutionists—were hurrying away, a gentleman of wealth, who was complicated and found it necessary or desirable to leave with them, in order to save his magnificent private residence from occupation and confiscation by the Government, made a lease of it at a nominal rent to the French minister, who immediately took possession. The owner soon made his peace with the Government, and according to the previous arrangement returned and demanded the restoration of his property. He was put off and refused on one pretext or another, until a new French minister came out to replace the first, and the property was then turned over to him, against the indignant and emphatic protest of the hapless owner. The new minister held the property until turned out of it by a decision of the last court of appeal, and then, when the owner was restored to the pos-