Page:The Story of Mexico.djvu/389

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XXXVII.

THE EMPIRE UNDER PROTECTION.

On the 28th of May, 1864, to the great joy of the Cabinet of the Tuileries, who had been much in fear that their scheme might fall through, the new sovereigns arrived at Vera Cruz. They were but coolly received by the merchants of that port, and passed through it without ceremony, followed by the large suite they brought with them. But the priests had aroused the Indians en masse to welcome new rulers, who would, they were promised, restore their liberties and raise their condition. Crowds of these people in serapes and rebozos, with dark eyes full of questions, stood along the route of the imperial cortége as it left Vera Cruz.

Nor was enthusiasm elsewhere wanting; a real imperialist party sprang up from the soil, spontaneously, on the appearance of the young prince and his consort. Had they known how to secure this popularity and make it permanent, these imported sovereigns might have reared for themselves a realm in the hearts of the impressionable people of Anahuac. Maximilian formed his idea of sovereignty upon the absolute rule of the Middle Ages. He would not stoop to make popularity; he expected

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