Page:The Story of Mexico.djvu/329

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Madame Calderon's accounts of the unsettled state of the country are comforting, as showing the immense advance in this respect, in the forty years since she was in Mexico.

Describing an hacienda not far from the capital, she says: "It is under the charge of an administrador, who receives from its owner a large annual sum, and whose place is by no means a sinecure, as he lives in perpetual danger from robbers. He is captain of a troop of soldiers, and as his life has been spent in persecuting robbers, he is an object of intense hatred to that free and independent body. He gave us a terrible account of night attacks from these men and of his ineffectual attempts to bring them to justice. He lately told the President that he thought of joining the robbers himself, as they were the only persons in the Republic protected by government."

"This pestilence of robbers," she says, "which infests the Republic, has never been eradicated. They are, in fact, the outgrowth of the civil war. Sometimes, in the guise of insurgents, taking an active part in the independence, they have independently laid waste the country, robbing all they met. As expellers of the Spaniards, these armed bands infested the roads between Vera Cruz and the capital, ruined all commerce, and without any particular inquiry into political opinions, robbed and murdered in all directions. Whatever measures have been from time to time taken to eradicate this evil, its causes remain, and the idle and unprincipled will always take advantage of the dis-