Page:The Story of Mexico.djvu/448

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professional schools are found. All of the Mexican states (for such matters are left to the jurisdiction of each separately) compel free primary instruction, and appropriate annual sums to support it.

While these institutions promise much for the future, Mexico is not without her living writers who, in spite of the unfavorable atmosphere of disturbed politics, have found time to devote themselves to literature. Guillermo Prieto has a well deserved fame in his own country, and outside of it wherever he is known. He was born in 1810, and has passed his life in devotion to the liberal cause, which owes much of its success, to his personal bravery, the boldness of his writings, and his sagacious management of affairs. He has served in the higher offices of government, and written upon political economy and finance, but it is as a poet that he is honored and beloved. Prieto is not alone as a writer of prominence, but of others there is not room to speak. It would be a mistake to suppose that Mexico was lacking in the possession of fine minds, cultivated intellects, and eloquent pens.

It will, of course, have been perceived by this time that the Mexicans from whom so much is expected in the future are the descendants of the Aztec and other native tribes. These form a large part of the population of the country,—the portion which their remote origin, and the vicissitudes of their stay upon Anahuac, make the most interesting to the romantic lover of picturesque history.

The country is occupied also by those descendants of Spanish families who avoided the decree of exile issued in the early days of independence. Inter-