Abbildungen der Seite

duct which the individual has adopted; or in other words, but with some sacrifice of clearness and with room for misapprehension, an original impulse to act upon general principles.

There are certain pleasures connected with the gratification of this impulse. An intellectual pleasure arises from contemplation of the conformity of actions with a moral standard, and resembles the pleasure which we derive from the contemplation of scientific truth. This pleasure has been blended with conscience itself, as was done by Malebranche when he defined virtue as consisting in love of the universal order as it exists in the Divine Reason, where every created reason contemplates it.

When an opinion is once formed as to the morality of a contemplated action, there follows a conscientious impulse, which is itself pleasurable, if allowed free action, but a source of uneasiness if baffled by the superior efficacy of some lower emotion. This is the genuine pleasure of well-doing, - a pleas

-a ure of mild and diffusive character, and of great permanence in its constitutional effects and intellectual persistency; while the misery of a baffled conscience is both acute and massive, although of less persistence. The proper gratification of this impulse consists in the performance of the various acts designated by the intellect as conformable to the acceptable standard.

As, however, the process of ideation implies sensations of which it is often considered an aggregation, as the reflective processes presuppose ideas of which they are often considered an association, so conscience implies original emotions of a lower order, to which it is so related as to be deemed by many to be composed of them as of simple ingredients. We recognize, however, the distinctness of an idea from an aggregate of sensations, of a reasoning process from a train of thought, and must, upon the same grounds, recognize the distinctness of conscience from the primitive emotions. This view, however, conducts us to a field of metaphysics much contested, and destined to be the theatre of future contests between those who would maintain the specific character of certain intellectual and emotional operations, and those who regard the mind as a unit.

Art. V. - Messages of the President of the United States to

Congress, with accompanying Documents relating to Mexican Affairs. 1862-1866.

The existing complications in Mexico are mainly attributable to the influence of the Mexican Church party. From the outset Spain governed the colony of Mexico by means of the clergy. The Church eagerly accepted its position. It formed an oligarchy more deeply rooted than any purely political class could be, because it controlled the consciences of the people. It was clothed by the government with great privileges. It acquired vast wealth, and held a large portion of the land of the country. Until the year 1810 Spanish ecclestiastical rule held Mexico in subjection. At that time Hidalgo raised the standard of revolt. The revolt was but the result of the liberal ideas of the age, which at length began to be felt in Mexico. The Church took its natural position, against those ideas, and in favor of the absolute government of Spain. From 1810 till 1821 a cruel and sanguinary war was the conse quence, - a war of caste, native against the Spaniard.

But while this war was going on in Mexico, a change was taking place in Spain. Up to 1810, the policy of Spain had been to place all political power in Mexico in the hands of Spaniards. No one born in Mexico had any voice in the administration of affairs. But in the year 1821 the Spanish Cortes did two things as astonishing to the people as to the clergy. It curtailed the power of the viceroy, heretofore dependent only on the crown, and it took from the Church a part of its property and sold it for the benefit of the people. This necessitated a change in the policy of the clerical party. They had favored Spanish rule, because their wealth and influence would be more secure. From the same motive they now took a new position. In 1821 the Viceroy attempted to restore throughout the whole of Mexico the absolute power of Spain. For this purpose the command of the loyalist army was offered to Iturbide, a native Creole. of elegant person, influential and attractive, he was to unite under the old rule native and Spaniard. With this understanding he assumed the leadership; but, instead of proclaiming the power of Spain, the Church compelled him to put forth in February, 1821, the famous document known as the Plan of Iguala, by which the Mexican nation was declared independent of Spain. Thus by the strength of the Church party,—a power created by Spain to keep Mexico in subjection, and which had done the work with an iron hand for two hundred and eightysix years, - was Mexico freed from Spanish rule.

While Spain ruled Mexico, the Mexican Church was in communication with the Church in Spain, and had no direct relations with the See of Rome. But after the independence of Mexico the Pope ventured to acknowledge the Mexican Church, and despatch his Nuncio to the new republic. Under this order of things the concentration of ecclesiastical power became greater than ever. The Church attained an overwhelming strength in all the affairs of Mexico. It increased in wealth. It caused to be established what are known as fueros, or special privileges, by which it constituted itself a religious and moneyed hierarchy, controlling all affairs, secular and ecclesiastical. It was not amenable to the laws of the republic. It owned immense territories, and held innumerable mortgages, of which there was no record, and which were not subject to taxation. So that, although Mexico, in 1821, became independent of the despotic rule of Spain, it at the same time fell more than ever under the tyrannical and unyielding rule of the Church.

In direct opposition to the ascendency of the Church party, however, there sprung up a Liberal party. From 1821 till 1857, the different revolutions, seemingly inexplicable, which have harassed Mexico, confused its history, and wearied the world, have been due entirely to the antagonisms of these two parties. Their alternate triumphs and defeats have produced, in the space of thirty-three years, thirty-six different forms of government, represented by seventy-two individuals, who have, as the chief executives of the nation, under different titles, and with various fortunes, appeared and disappeared in the vortex of events. It is unnecessary to speak in detail of these changes. It is sufficient to say, that all the while the Liberal party was gaining strength and consistency, and preparing the people to throw off the incubus that had so long oppressed it. In 1857 it made a vigorous attempt to reform the government. Up to this time the Church property and Church revenues had been protected by the government. With a kind of parental fondness, it had invested the priest and the soldier with the privilege of being tried by special tribunals, constituted by themselves. It had declared the Catholic religion to be the exclusive religion of Mexico; it had placed the press under strict censorship; and had limited immigration solely to persons from Catholic countries.

The Liberal party, represented by the Constitutional Congress assembled in Mexico in 1857, overturned with one blow this whole system. This Congress declared the establishment of a constitutional federal government, freedom and protection to slaves who entered the national territory, freedom of the press and religion, the subordination of the army to the civil power, and the opening of the country to unrestricted immigration. But its great act, levelled directly at its old antagonist, the Church party, was the nationalization of two hundred million dollars' worth of property held by the clergy. In February, 1857, this Congress completed its work. On the 16th of September the new government commenced its life under the presidency of Comonfort, who took the oath to support it on December 1st of the same year.

These reforms were but the embodiment of the ideas evolved in the previous struggles of half a century. It never entered the minds of the Church party, however, to submit quietly to the new order of things. It began by compelling the honest but feeble Comonfort to break his oath, and to set aside the constitution in just sixteen days after he had sworn solemnly to support it. Comonfort's subsequent career was one of indecision. He pronounced in favor of the Church party, and presented a plan of government of his own. In order not to be opposed he arrested Juarez, the President of the Supreme Court, upon whom, by the constitution, the office of President of the Republic devolved in the absence or default of the

He soon perceived, however, that he was merely the tool of the clerical party, and had been made by them to play a contemptible part; he therefore arrested their leader, Zuloaga, who was already aspiring to occupy his posi

person elected.

tion. At the same time, in spite of himself, he was compelled by the strength of party spirit to liberate Juarez.

Juarez, set at liberty on the 11th of January, 1858, repaired to Guanajuato, and organized there the constitutional government. In the mean time Comonfort, abandoned by the Liberals whom he had betrayed, and by the Church party for his vacillating course, relinquished, of his own accord, the presidency, and on the 15th of January assumed the position of general-in-chief under Juarez. On the 22d of January, the national palace being vacant, the Church party took possession of it, declared Zuloaga President, and obtained from the Diplomatic Corps his recognition. On the 30th of January, 1859, Zuloaga was set aside by the same party that had raised him to power, and the presidency conferred by them on Miramon. Again the Diplomatic Corps recognized Miramon as the President of the Republic, at the instigation of the Church party. But on the 17th of November, 1860, he was utterly defeated by the Liberal army under Juarez, and fled from Mexico. In December the constitutional army entered the capital without resistance, and on the 11th of January, 1861, Juarez was peaceably installed in the place whence, three years before, he had departed.

To comprehend exactly the position of Juarez to-day, we must bear in mind, with this summary of events, two facts, each equally important. The first is, that the Church party had never overthrown the constitutional government; on the 22d of January, 1858, Comonfort having relinquished the presidency, the Church party took possession of the capital, not as a conquered, but as an abandoned post. But Juarez had already, under the constitution, organized a government at Guanajuato, and had notified foreign ministers of the fact. If, therefore, the constitutional government had never ceased to exist, the insurrectionary party under Zuloaga had no claim to the quality of the government de facto. The other fact is, that the Diplomatic Corps, through the instrumentality of M. de Gabriac, the French Minister, recognized this party as the government de facto, and thereby gave to it a certain character and a moral prestige which otherwise it never would have had. This action misled people abroad, an

« ZurückWeiter »