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but at all times it has been practically without justification, and has been a serious reflection upon the American colony in Mexico which has throughout recent years been more than seven times as great in numbers as its German competitor, and certainly not its inferior in intelligence.
A close Mexican observer has asserted that in creating and maintaining this man of straw the few German propagandists in Mexico have succeeded in multiplying themselves and magnifying their importance, in the public mind, by many appearances and much loud talk in clubs, bar rooms and other rendezvous where their presence has been tolerated.
Surely the American, English, French and Italian colonies with a combined numerical strength in the proportion of 41,102 to 3827, according to the 1910 census, have been quite able to cope successfully with the Germans in Mexico, even if we include the “terrible Turk,” and his 2907 compatriots who were domiciled under the green, white and red flag.
To the credit of Mexico be it said that of her own people only a small element of the Indian or peon population and those consisting of mixed German and native families, and of unscrupulous manipulators of ignorance, superstition and prejudice has ever yielded to the temptation of German gold or German argument in creating or perpetuating an unfriendly attitude toward the United States. The educated or intellectual elements, with comparatively few exceptions, have sympathized with the Allies, and especially with the United States, from the day we joined in the fight for world democracy. For Mexico has not forgotten her own fight against the encroachments of autocracy when she met and defeated the forces of Maximilian on the plains of Queretaro. Nor has she forgotten that the American government stood firmly by her throughout her supreme ordeal in advocacy and defense of the principles for which she fought. It was more than a revolution-it was a rebellion, not only against autocracy but against outside dictation in her own affairs.
In Mexico, life has been more or less of a discouraging
struggle for the protection of human rights, the establishment of high ideals, and the permanent maintenance of democratic principles through a republican form of government since long before the Cortez gold hunters set foot on the sands of Vera Cruz. The country seems to have inherited more than her share of peace disturbing ills. She has not merited them. They have been forced upon her for the gratification of selfish ends, or worse.
In the long years of autocratic rule in Mexico, which did not end with the beginning of a democratic form of government, there grew up a political and social system which gained strength as the years passed. The idle few, whose wealth had been inherited from idle ancestors, occupied the choicest seats at the nation's table, framed and administered the laws for the government of the many who for centuries were not permitted to have any part either in creating public sentiment or in acquiring the simplest rudiments of mental or moral advancements. Employment meant peonage, and peonage meant slavery. The favored few were awarded immense tracts of the richest land, and the downtrodden many were compelled to cultivate it in return for the miserable privilege of an existence that had neither the stimulus of ambition nor the comfort of hope. And what the greedy employer did not withhold, the ruling church exacted.
I have in my library a volume published some years ago by the Mexican government, containing tables showing that of the total number of children born in the country, more than one-half are “illegitimate.” Investigate the occasion for this statement and you will find the answer in the fact that the Indian has been kept in such abject poverty that he has not as a rule been able to accumulate enough money to pay the priest for performing the marriage ceremony.
FINANCIAL CONDITIONS It does not require the mind of a great financier to appreciate the magnitude of the financial problem which unavoidably demands a very large part of official Mexico's attention at this time.
THE JOURNAL OF RACE DEVELOPMENT, VOL. 9, NO. 4, 1919
The latest official statement places the total debt of the country, June 30, 1917, at a little above $311,000,000 gold. This includes not only the revolutionary period but the prerevolutionary, and excludes the debts contracted by Huerta and Villa, except $5,000,000 which the latter was authorized to incur. This amount, it has officially been asserted was without authority increased by him to several hundred million dollars, a considerable portion of which the arch traitor and notorious bandit no doubt appropriated to himself and a few of his favorite partners in crime.
The extent of damage obligations incurred through the revolution has not yet been ascertained, but will be, in due course; and when ascertained will be adjusted and settled fairly and to the satisfaction of all concerned. I am assured from entirely reliable sources that every consideration will be extended to all legitimate claimants and their claims, and that no thought of shirking responsibility has ever been entertained by the present government.
Since 1910 the finances of Mexico have constantly experienced the disturbing influence of revolution, to which cause was added in 1914, the great war in Europe; and lately, the entrance of the United States into the conflict between the contesting forces of democracy and autocracy. Yet throughout this entire period the government has been able, without borrowing a single dollar from outside sources, to pay promptly all current obligations and keep the wheels of government running smoothly, and to maintain her financial and commercial standing.
In 1881 the total national revenue (Mexican money), was $6,155,356, and the expenditures were $5,757,547, and in 1909 the revenue was $24,443,830 and the expenditures were $23,752,887. In the fiscal year 1912–1913, which saw the triumph of the revolution initiated by Venustiano Carranza, the revenue amounted to $120,958,902, and the expenditures $110,781,871.
The Diaz régimé surrendered the reins of government in May, 1911, and the period between that date and the accession to power of the Carranza or Constitutional party included the brief reigns of Madero and Huerta.
Since the adoption of the general plan of the Constitutional party and its orderly enforcement, there has been a marked increase of Federal revenue. To illustrate, I take the months of May, June, July and August, 1917, in which the treasury receipts were $26,707,674.
The most rigid economy is being practiced in all departments of the government.
In the two years beginning with the spring of 1916 Dr. Alfredo Caturegli, Mexico's financial agent in this country, disbursed at his office in New York City over $40,000,000, gold, in connection with many and varied financial and industrial transactions. And this incident is only one link in the endless chain of reasons why closer and ever closer relations between Mexico and the United States should be earnestly and unceasingly and by every proper means encouraged. To neglect this reciprocal duty is to close the door against golden opportunity.
Mexico needs money with which to develop more rapidly her manifold and incomparable natural resources, and incidentally, render more valuable the opportunity which she offers to American capital and enterprise. A hundred million dollars loaned her would not only be absolutely without risk, but would open wider the door of opportunity to American capital and enterprise, and narrow it in corresponding ratio, to our competitors. The suggestion is both natural and practical; and if not within the province of our government at this time, should appeal to our great bankers and capitalists.
Germany covets the Mexican market and is already planning to recapture at least a big slice of it. Not very long ago her merchants practically controlled the larger part of it, and more recently have fought hard to regain lost advantage and declining prestige. They have hoped to accomplish this purpose by a sickly and disreputable propaganda through the German colony in Mexico. The last prop on which rested this hope was knocked from under it when the German army surrendered to the Allies and the Kaiser dissolved his assumed partnership with God.
EXPORTS AND IMPORTS How important it is to the commerce of this country to deserve and cultivate the favor and friendship of the Mexican government and the Mexican people can be best understood by a study of recent export and import tables with respect to a few of the articles of commerce which enter most extensively into Mexican-American trade. Although the less important articles are in themselves sufficient to illustrate my contention and to point out many avenues leading to possible profit, lack of space bids me omit them from this necessarily incomplete presentation of a very big subject.
For present consideration I confine myself to these articles which were exported from Mexico in the fiscal year 1912–13. Their value is given in gold:
Gold ore, dust, bullion, cyanides and sulphides....... $19,361,435 Silver ore, bar, cyanides and sulphides......... 99,939,500 Copper and copper ore....
... 18,262,205 Sisal hemp*.
15,066,877 Sugar Cane .......
4,188,175 Garbanzos (chick peas).
2,465,181 Lead. .........
2,453,285 Chicle (chewing gum)......
1,823,220 Hard and cabinet woods.
1,657,735 Cattle hides...
3,459,253 Goat hides........
1,225,118 Deer hides........
117,861 Grass root..
509,349 Raw tobacco.......
501,305 * In the year 1917, when the high prices of sisal hemp exacted by the Comision Reguladora de Henequen prevailed, the cash receipts from the product amounted to $52,220,000, gold.
Of the leading industries of Mexico in which the United States is especially interested the group which may be ap