The Year in Mexico
IN 1906, as during recent years in Mexico, all conditions, political and economic, favored the growth of the new middle class upon whom so directly depends the future welfare of the country. Indeed, the rise to a position of influence in public affairs of this new class must be a guarantee of peace and order to foreign investors, who cannot, but be benefited by the existence of a fairly prosperous and comfortable, and always growing, section of the community, placed above the poorer social strata, and just below the lords of the soil and the great native capitalists. It is with much interest that public men in Mexico regard the emergence of this intermediate social group, destined to exert a powerfully conservative influence upon the politics of the nation.
This slowly evolving middle class has been benefited not only by the political tranquillity, the “long peace,” which has prevailed since General Porfirio Diaz came into power, more than thirty years ago, but, during the past two years, by the stabilizing of the currency under the operation of the new monetary system, which has given steadiness to prices and certainty to calculations, and thus favored the modest householder in preparing his budget, as well as the great capitalist in promoting undertakings which afford new avenues of employment to capable and ambitious young men.
All is changing in Mexico by reason of the progressiveness of the national administration,— a remarkable example of patriotic paternalism, — and also because of the presence of men of various nationalities who have introduced new methods in mining, manufacturing, tropical cultures, transportation, etc. The contagion of these examples of enterprise has begun to affect even the great landed proprietors, formerly for the most part types of an ultra-conservatism, who now take a broader view of their lives and opportunities, and do not remain haughtily apart from the general business movement.
The telegraph, the telephone, and the railway, now penetrating so many once remote corners of the land, make it possible for the owner of huge estates to reside practically the year through at the state capitals or the City of Mexico. Thus has come about a somewhat intimate contact of the great territorial lords with the modern life of the cities. No longer looking on land as the one thing worthy of a gentleman’s heed, the modern hacendado becomes a director in a bank, or sits on the board of direction of an industrial company. He also comes into relations with the clever lawyers of the cities, with noted engineers, financiers, and other people of the modern sort, who are accomplishing much in twentiethcentury Mexico.
The ownership of land will long be the ambition of all classes of Mexicans, from the ranchero to the well-to-do urban resident. Men of the new middle class, when they have acquired capital, often buy estates in the country. Thus they often come into touch with the old landed families, and the result is beneficial to the nation through the more general mingling of classes, of the new with the old. From the “arrived” middle-class man of intelligence and enterprise, perhaps also of technical knowledge, the descendant of a long line of lords of the soil acquires information, comes to see that money can be invested in other ways than in mortgages and usurious loans, and learns that modern industrial undertakings have their special fascinations.
These matters have a direct bearing on the near political future of Mexico, for never before in the history of the republic have there been so many men interested in the conservation of public order. The new middle-class people have their “stake in the country,” and the great landed proprietors have capital invested in undertakings which, ten or fifteen years ago, would have been regarded as out of the scope of a hacendado’s legitimate activities.
The stability of Mexican institutions, the continued peaceful progress of the nation, are bound up with the new economic conditions and the broadening ideas of the wealthy landowners, as also with the easily understood desire of the middle-class people that there be no violent and ruinous changes.
So it is apparent that the Mexico of today must be considered in another light than the Mexico of the turbulent past. There are more elements that make for peace, a broader basis for a higher national edifice, room for more varied activities, a path open to talent, and the beginnings of thrift, which is a conservative force in all lands.
On Saturday, February 3, 1906, President Diaz, accompanied by Vice-President Corral, other officials of the government, and members of the diplomatic corps, as well as by Mrs. Diaz and a party of ladies, departed from the capital for Veracruz, en route to Yucatan, there to visit the recently reëlected governor, Lic. Olegario Molina. Important public edifices had just been completed at Merida, the capital of the State of Yucatan, and it was formally to inaugurate them that President Diaz was invited to visit the Peninsula. As there is as yet no allrail communication between Mexico City and Yucatan, President Diaz at Veracruz went aboard the national man-ofwar Bravo. Most of the other guests sailed in the fürst Bismarck of the Hamburg-Amerika Line. The stay of President Diaz in Yucatan was the occasion for a brilliant round of festivities, and elicited a grand demonstration of goodwill towards him, and of loyalty to the Mexican Union.
In by-gone times the people of Yucatan, owing in part to their isolation from the rest of the country, and in part to their economic independence,—due to the extensive and profitable commerce which their large output of henequen or sisal hemp has always enabled them to conduct with foreign parts,—were rather lukewarm in their devotion to the Mexican nationality, and at one time developed strong separatist tendencies. Again, at the time of the French intervention the Yucatecos were pronouncedly imperialistic.
These facts being borne in mind, the enthusiastic reception of President Diaz in Yucatan, and the outburst of patriotism which it elicited, take on added significance. It is not the least of the glories of his administration that his efficiency and popularity have effaced all regional lines, and knit all classes and sections of the Mexican people in a common effort for the advancement of the grand ideals of national solidarity.
The President returned to the capital on Sunday, February 11.
On March 21, 1906, Mexico celebrated the centenary of the birth of Benito Juarez, the champion of the Liberal party in its chronic struggle with the Church. Juarez was born on March 21, 1806, in the little village of San Pablo Guelatao, in the state of Oaxaca. His parents, who were full-blooded Zapoteca Indians, died while he was very young, and he was left to the care of an uncle who employed him to tend a flock of sheep. One day the shepherd lad, who was much given to self-communing, neglected and lost his flock, and fearing chastisement at the hands of his uncle, fled to the city of Oaxaca. At that time he was almost twelve, but did not speak a word of Spanish or of any other tongue than his native Zapoteca. Young Juarez at the city of Oaxaca was befriended by a Franciscan friar, and to priests he owed his first education. But in the mind of Juarez an evolution was in progress, leading him away from sacerdotal influences, and preparing him for the task of dislodging the Church from the historical position which it had held in Mexico.
The fame of Juarez has been rudely attacked in recent times in Mexico, not so much by the clerical party, which naturally is unalterably opposed to the principles which he incarnated, as by publicists of the Liberal school. But if Juarez had done nothing else than frame the law of 1855, which abolished the odious fueros, or immunities and privileges of the military and ecclesiastical classes, he would still have rendered an incalculable service to his country. This law he framed as Minister of Justice in the cabinet of General Juan Alvarez, and it is necessary to know the almost unbounded power and prestige which the Church and the army enjoyed in Mexico at that time to do adequate justice to the intellectual independence and moral courage of the statesman who first took effective measures to limit the extraordinary privileges of those institutions.
The other legislation against the Church with which the name of Juarez is identified, wall continue to be discussed, as will also his conduct of national affairs during the French intervention and the ephemeral empire of Maximilian, not excluding his unrelenting attitude to that ill-advised and unfortunate prince. But certainly no one can deny to Juarez the praise of patriotic intentions, and of inflexible firmness and perseverance in the attainment of any object which he had set before himself. Maximilian himself paid a tribute to these latter qualities of Juarez, in the last communication which he addressed to him, on the morning of his execution.
It has been said that the name of Juarez is identified with other legislation against the Church besides the abolition of the fueros. But though Juarez is generally credited with the paternity of the laws generically known as the Reform Laws, and although he undoubtedly was the life and soul of the secularizing movement of his day, it is worthy of note that he had no formal participation in the chief measures aimed against the Church, other than that already mentioned. He was not a signatory of the Constitution of 1857, which first attacked the existence of the religious orders; the law for the confiscation of church property was framed by Miguel Lerdo de Tejada, the Finance Minister of President Comonfort (1856); and the constitutional amendments which definitely established the separation of Church and State, instituted civil marriage, placed monastic communities outside the pale of the law, and forbade open-air religious services, were not enacted until 1873 and 1874, after the death of Juarez, and during the presidency of Sebastian Lerdo de Tejada.
March 21, 1906, was, by a decree of Congress, observed as a general holiday in Mexico. Pilgrimages to the tomb of Juarez took place in the morning; commemorative tablets were unveiled in the afternoon, and at night General Diaz, surrounded by his cabinet, presided in the Arbeu Theatre at an apotheosis of Juarez, during which the career and character of the reforming president were extolled in an eloquent oration by Hon. Justo Sierra, Minister of Public Instruction. On the stage with the President during these exercises were the son and other surviving descendants of Juarez, who are numerous.
Curiously enough, a question involving the interpretation of the Reform Laws arose soon after the celebration of the Juarez centenary. The ministers of all denominations in Mexico had been accustomed to conduct a service at the graveside in connection with the burial of the dead. It was generally held that this practice did not conflict with Article 5 of the Law of December 14, 1874, forbidding all forms of religious service other than those held inside the churches. But in May, 1906, the Interior Department issued a circular declaring open-air burial services conducted in the cemeteries to be illegal. This ruling has led to the erection of mortuary chapels in the cemeteries which previously were unprovided with them, and the burial services are held inside these chapels.
While this episode shows that there is no intention on the part of the governmental authorities of Mexico to relax one iota of the laws which curtailed the power of the Church, it is worthy of note that there is no serious religious conflict in Mexico at the present time; and, under laws which are probably as restrictive as those recently enacted in France, which have so agitated that country, Church and State in the Mexican Republic move smoothly in their separate orbits, with conciliatory, if not cordial, sentiments towards each other.
Some irresponsible persons started the rumor that an anti-foreign sentiment had taken hold of the masses in Mexico, particularly the working class, and that overt acts of violence against foreign residents were being planned for the national holiday on September 16. Unfortunately various circumstances concurred to give color to this baseless rumor. On June 1 last, somewhat serious riots, growfing out of a strike on the part of Mexican laborers, occurred at the property of the Greene Consolidated Copper Company at Cananea, in the State of Sonora, just across the boundary from Arizona. During these riots both Mexicans and Americans were killed, and the authorities of the State of Sonora had to act with great vigor and promptitude in order to quell the disturbance. But there was no antiforeign or anti-American motive in the Cananea occurrences. It was a strike degenerating into a, riot, and it happened that the employers of the discontented labor were Americans.
During the course of the year there were numerous evidences of a sense of growing power on the part of the working class in Mexico, who have become more and more numerous as a consequence of the industrial development of the country, and who, reading in the penny papers of the power of organized labor in other lands, have been stimulated to get together for the defense of their common interests. Never before in the history of Mexico have there been so many strikes as at the present time, some of them incipient, others overt and protracted; some pacific, and others turbulent. On more than one occasion President Diaz, owing to his personal prestige and the confidence felt in his fairness by employers and employed, has by their common consent been selected as arbiter of their disputes, and has adjusted them in a manner eminently satisfactory to both sides.
It must be observed that a, great many, though by no means all, the employers of mechanical labor in Mexico, are foreigners, and, therefore, it was easy for ill-intentioned persons to represent the new movement of Mexican labor as prompted by a spirit of xenophobia. But in reality it is nothing but a token of changing social and economical conditions.
It is needless to add that the celebration of the national holiday on September 16 passed off quietly and harmoniously, the foreign colonies as usual taking a hearty part in the rejoicings.
President Diaz has also played the part of a peacemaker on an international scale. His prestige in the other LatinAmerican republics is very great, and when, during the course of the summer, war broke out between some of the Central-American republics, and notably between those traditional enemies, Guatemala and Salvador, Presidents Roosevelt and Diaz coöperated in the restoration of peace, the chief share in that happy result belonging to the Executive of Mexico, as Mr. Roosevelt, himself has made a point of acknowledging. On the other hand, during the revolutionary troubles in Guatemala the Mexican government acted with exemplary propriety, preventing the use of its territory as a base for the operations of the disaffected, and detaining General Barillas, the Guatemalan revolutionary leader, as he was about to penetrate into Guatemala from Mexico with a band of his followers.
The correctness of Mexico’s attitude at this conjuncture was the more creditable, in that the Cabrera régime is not popular in Mexico, and that, whereas in the past Mexico has sometimes had occasion to complain of unfriendly acts on the part of the Guatemalan authorities, General Barillas proclaimed as one of the salient features of his policy, in the event of the success of his movement, the cultivation of intimate and cordial relations with Mexico. The Mexican government however, was not to be thus enticed into an attitude of disregard for its international obligations.
Last year was Mexico’s first full year under the new monetary régime, established by law of March 25, 1905. On the first day of January of the past year a party of bankers and business men, at the invitation of Finance Minister Limantour and Mr. Pablo Macedo, chairman of the Exchange and Currency Commission, met at the National Bank of Mexico to listen to statements from those gentlemen as to the working of the new currency system, and to inspect the gold which, beginning on November 10, 1905, had accumulated in the vaults of the Commission and the Bank to the amount of about $13,500,000. In making his annual budget statement to Congress, on December 14, 1906, Minister Limantour was able to give a more extended review of the effects of the monetary reform. He showed that Mexican gold coins of $5 and $10 had been struck under the new currency system, up to November 30 last, to a total amount of $51,606,500. Of these coins, $30,000,000 were minted at Philadelphia,by the courtesy of the American government, and the remainder at the Mexico City mint. In addition, subsidiary silver coins, largely derived from remintage of the old subsidiary coins,had been issued to the amount of $9,729,000, nickel coins to the amount of $601,728, and bronze coins totaling $803,950, giving a grand total of $62,741,178 of the new currency put into circulation.
The fact that silver, for some time past, has been at a price which is higher than the legal parity adopted by Mexico, has put the new monetary system of the country to a very severe test. The profit in exporting pesos is so great that not only the banks, but business firms, and even private individuals, have been tempted to engage in the operation, with the result that between July 1, 1905, and October 31, 1906, $55,600,000 in silver pesos had been shipped from Mexico, — a very serious drain on the circulating medium. It is true that the silver pesos had been to a large extent replaced by gold; but, even so, the dislodgment of so considerable an amount of the current coin could not fail to cause much inconvenience, owing to the scarcity which it produced of silver money for minor every-day transactions. The gold coins are largely absorbed by the banks, and are held by them as part of the legal stock of cash serving as the basis for their note circulation. But whether the gold actually circulates or becomes the basis of note issues by the banks, the result, so far as small transactions are concerned, is the same; for the banks issue no note of a lower denomination than five dollars, and the smallest gold coin is of the same value.
The Mexican government purposes to remedy the situation by a pretty plentiful mintage of silver fifty-cent pieces. Its reason for preferring this step to the other measure which some financial advisers have urged upon it, namely, the mintage of a new peso, is an important one, affording, as it does, an indication of the trend of Mexico’s monetary policy. That reason, as stated by Minister Limantour himself, is the reluctance of the government to commit itself to any action in monetary matters that may retard the country from reaching the goal at which it now aims, namely, the adoption of the gold standard to the exclusion of any other legal-tender currency.
At present Mexico has what has been called the limping standard, both gold and the silver peso (but not the subsidiary silver coins) being unlimited legal tender, and silver still being retained for currency purposes, but at a fixed exchange relation with gold. But Minister Limantour’s declaration foreshadows the complete demonetization of silver by Mexico at no very distant date. In the meantime, as there has undoubtedly been of late a larger exportation of silver pesos than can be accounted for by the importations of gold, the government considered it necessary to check this movement, and at its request Congress, in November last, placed an export tax of 10 per cent on pesos shipped out of the country, without proof being furnished that the shipment was being made for the specific purpose of procuring gold in exchange.
In other respects, the monetary reform has fully realized the expectations formed of it. One of the strongest arguments for giving the country a currency of fixed value was that it would attract foreign capital to Mexico for investment. This prediction has been amply fulfilled. During the last fiscal year foreign capital is known to have entered the country and been placed in banks, industrial concerns, mines, land, and railways, to the amount of $86,500,000. This is not an exhaustive statement of foreign capital invested in Mexico during the year ended June 30 last, but only represents the money involved in a few well-known transactions. If we argue from the known to the unknown, and take into account the investments made by corporations or individuals, as to which no public statement has been made, and the large influx of money due to the growing demand abroad for the government’s bonds and other kinds of securities, the result becomes still more gratifying. Canada has been very much to the fore in Mexican investments for some time past, and last April Canadian capitalists purchased from Wernher, Beit & Co., of London, the Mexico City and Federal District system of electric tramways. The amount involved in the transaction was $11,250,000, gold.
Governmental finances in Mexico continue in a prosperous condition. In making his annual Budget statement to Congress, in December last, Minister Limantour was able to announce that the last fiscal year had been wound up with a surplus of $22,500,000, equal to more than 50 per cent of the entire revenue of the Republic no longer than eleven years ago.
Taking advantage of the plethoric condition of the exchequer, the government asked Congress to pass laws suppressing or reducing various taxes, and increasing the salaries of some of the civil and military servants of the nation. The measure in question received prompt legislative sanction. One of the most interesting of the proposed reductions in taxation is that of the Federal Contribution. This tax is the special contribution of the states to the expenditure of the Federation. Originally it was 25 per cent on all payments made in the states of the Mexican Union for local taxes of every kind. When the great slump of silver occurred through the closure of the Indian mints, some thirteen years ago, the Mexican government was brought face to face with a serious crisis, which happened to be aggravated by bad harvests in the cerealgrowing regions of Mexico. The administration at that time had to have recourse to special measures in order to meet the situation, and among those measures was the raising of the Federal Contribution from 25 per cent to 30 per cent. But in 1902 the situation of the exchequer had so far improved that it was deemed possible to reëstablish the old rate of 25 per cent. This restoration proved one of the most popular moves of the Diaz régime. Now, the government is prepared to go further in the same direction, and by the terms of the law which passed Congress at its initiative, the Federal Contribution, after July 1 next, will be only 20 per cent of the local taxes in the states. Other fiscal changes to be made, as a consequence of the prosperous situation of the exchequer, aim at cheapening staple foodstuffs in the Federal District, particularly at the capital, where they have been getting beyond the reach of the needy.
The other feature of the government’s financial programme, namely, the raising of the pay of several classes of civil and military employees, is dictated by a spirit of equity, in view of the increased cost of living at the capital and other great centres of population.
The political horizon of Mexico continued serene.
On January 4, 1906, Hon. Blas Escontria, Minister of Fomento in the cabinet of General Diaz, succumbed to a protracted illness, causing a vacancy in the official family of the President, which had not been filled, up to the close of the year, though it is believed that Lic. Olegario Molina, governor of the State of Yucatan, will ultimately be called to take the portfolio, which is a very important one, embracing as it does mining, agriculture, commerce, and industry.
On October 12 President Diaz accepted the resignation of Lic. Joaquin D. Casasús as Ambassador of Mexico at Washington. Mr. Casasús had filled this post to the entire satisfaction of his government, and was recognized as one of the ablest members of the foreign diplomatic corps at Washington. His share in preparing the programme for the PanAmerican Conference at Rio de Janeiro won for him considerable reputation for foresight and political acumen, and though he did not attend the Conference as one of Mexico’s delegates, as had been originally intended, the skill of his preliminary work proved a great factor in expediting and facilitating the deliberations of the assembly and obviating the intrusion of vexatious side-issues. The motive of Mr. Casasés for resigning the ambassadorship was persistent ill-health, due to excessive intellectual labor and to a very active career as a corporation lawyer and public man. Mr. Casasés is now enjoying a period of complete rest in Europe. In the middle of December, Enrique C. Creel was appointed to succeed Mr. Casasús as Mexican Ambassador at Washington. Mr. Creel’s family is of American extraction, settled many years ago in the State of Chihuahua. The new ambassador is a son-in-law of General Luis Terrazas, one of the wealthiest and most influential landed proprietors in northern Mexico, and until his recent appointment was governor of his native state.
So much is said by the chauvinists of Mexico about the Americanization of the country, that it is a fact of no small interest that the son of a Kentuckian (for Governor Creel’s father was from the Blue Grass State) goes to Washington as the accredited representative of his adopted land. Mr. Creel is an admirer of the United States, but is a patriotic Mexican, and belongs to the group of progressive public men who have done so much to promote the material and intellectual development of Mexico.
On March 3, a new American ambassador arrived in Mexico City in the person of E. H. Thompson.
General Diaz was the recipient during the year, from King Edward, of the Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath. All other European sovereigns had conferred high decorations on the Mexican President, which he has accepted with the permission of Congress, a necessary formality according to the terms of the Federal Constitution. But Mexicans were particularly gratified by the fact that a high distinction of this character was at last forthcoming from Great Britain, which is known to be much more conservative than other European countries in the distribution of such honors. The insignia of the Order were delivered to General Diaz in the Hall of Ambassadors of the National Palace, in the presence of high officers of state, and a large concourse of the general public, on September 29, by Reginald Thomas Tower, the British Minister to Mexico.
On November 7 General and Mrs. Diaz quietly celebrated their silver wedding anniversary. Mrs. Carmen Romero Rubio de Diaz, the President’s wife, is the daughter of the late Don Manuel Romero Rubio, who, until his death in October, 1895, was Minister of the Interior. Mrs. Diaz, by her active philanthropy and unfailing tact, has added to the popularity of her husband’s administration.
Mexico, in September last, entertained the Tenth International Geological Congress. The sessions were formally opened by General Diaz on September 6, and in addition to their scientific discussions the geologists of the world were given an opportunity to visit Mexico’s chief points of interest, and were handsomely entertained.
1906 was a year of railway consolidations in Mexico. In March last, the National Railway of Mexico bought the Hidalgo Railway, which starts from the capital, passes through the important mining camp of Pachuca, and will ultimately reach the port of Tuxpam on the Gulf of Mexico. But by far the most important operation of the year along these lines was announced by Finance Minister Limantour on December 14. The Minister, in an address to Congress, informed that body that the negotiations, which for some time past had been in progress, for the reorganization of the finances of the Mexican Central Railway, had culminated in a plan for the consolidation of that property with the Mexican National, and the incorporation of a new company, with headquarters in the City of Mexico, to own and operate the merged system. Moreover, the Minister informed the legislature that the Mexican government, which had owned a controlling interest in the Mexican National, would hold an absolute majority of the stock of the new corporation.
The transaction is an important one, as by it the Mexican government gains unquestioned control of the transportation system of the Republic. The properties in which it acquires a controlling interest are the two trunk lines connecting Mexico City with the United States; the International, once the property of the late C. P. Huntington, extending from Eagle Pass to the city of Durango; the Monterey and Mexican Gulf, extending from Reata on the International through Monterey to the city of Tampico; the Central’s branches, from Aguascalientes to Tampico and from Irapuato to Guadalajara, and the extension of the latter towards the Pacific; the National’s branch into the fertile state of Michoacan; the road connecting Mexico City with Cuernavaca, the favorite residence of Cortés and Maximilian, and thence extending through the sugar plantations of the state of Morelos into the great mineral belt of Guerrero; the Hidalgo Railway; and the Interoceanic, connecting the port of Veracruz with the capital, and also having a branch which penetrates the rich semitropical state of Morelos. In all, the system in which the government thus acquires a controlling interest aggregates 6732 miles.
It must also be remembered that, altogether aside from this transaction, the Mexican government is the sole owner of the Tehuantepec National Railway (193 miles), the new transcontinental route which is about to be formally opened to the traffic of the world, though it has admitted the English firm of S. Pearson & Son, Limited, to the position of its partner for the operation of the road for fiftyone years; and that the nation also owns a controlling interest in the Veracruz and Pacific (265 miles), which constitutes the link between the general railway system of the country and the Tehuantepec National. It will thus be perceived how far-reaching and comprehensive is the government’s hold on the transportation situation of Mexico, seeing that out of a total mileage of 10,900 it owns or controls 7190.
In his statement to Congress, on December 14 last, Minister Limantour explained that the government had acquired a preponderating interest in the new corporation without any pecuniary sacrifice whatever, as it would get part of its controlling share of the new stock in exchange for its present holdings of securities of the Mexican National, and the remainder in consideration of its guaranteeing interest and sinking fund on the second mortgage bonds to be issued by the new company; and inasmuch as the net earnings of the Mexican Central and the Mexican National are even now sufficient to meet the liability thus assumed, the government’s guarantee is rather nominal than real.
A group of New York financiers has cooperated with the Mexican government in carrying through this transaction. The list includes such firms as Speyer & Co., Kuhn, Loeb & Co., Ladenburg, Thallman & Co., and Hallgarten & Co.
Minister Limantour informed Congress that the main object of the government’s railway policy had been to avoid the absorption of the railways of Mexico by corporations owning connecting lines in the United States, which would have constituted a menace to the economic development of Mexico, and would have placed the transportation interests of the country in a position of subservience to those of its powerful neighbor.
The subsidiary motives of the government were to prevent friction and injurious competition between rival lines and to bring about a more scientific and economical “ routeing ” of freight.
The necrological record of the year in Mexico was a heavy one. Blas Escontria, Minister of Fomento in the cabinet of General Diaz, died on January 4. Trinidad Garcia, a public man of prominence, who was Minister of the Interior during the first presidency of General Diaz, died on February 18. Lic. Genaro Raigosa, who was chairman of the Pan-American Conference, held in Mexico City in the winter of 1901-1902, and who was a jurist and publicist of note, died on September 1. Lic. Alfredo Chavero, statesman, author, and archæologist, died on October 24. He was followed to the grave next day by Lic. Emilio Velasco, former Minister of Mexico to Italy and France, and the chief author of the railway legislation of Mexico. A link with the past was severed by the death of General Ignacio Mejia on December 2, at the advanced age of ninety-three. General Mejia was Minister of War for President Juarez. The ranks of the American colony in Mexico were thinned by the death of Major R. B. Gorsuch, who had resided in the country for over fifty years. The English colony suffered the loss of George Foot, also an old-time resident, and chief engineer of the Veracruz Railway.