Page images
PDF
EPUB

****************************************

SPECIAL NOTICE

LUNCHEON TO

Mr. ELIOT WADSWORTH

Vice-Chairman, American Red Cross

“RECENT OBSERVATIONS ON CONDITIONS

IN MIDDLE EUROPE"

Wednesday, May 12

1 P.M.

Mr. Wadsworth returned only a week ago, fresh from an extended tour of Europe covering several weeks, and following the first International Conference of Red Cross Societies at Geneva, which he attended as a delegate from the United States, with Mr. H. P. Davison, head of the American Red Cross. Boston is proud of the record which Mr. Wadsworth has made, and every member should welcome this rare opportunity to hear, from such an able executive and observer, the latest information concerning conditions in Europe.

Tickets for members and guests may
be secured from the Civic Secretary.

**

******** ADDRESS BY HON. HENRY LANE WILSON

Thursday Evening, March 4

INTRODUCTION BY CHARLES F. WEED Gentlemen of the City Club,-When I sat down at my desk this morning, I saw at the top of the calendar the word "Mexico." I knew what that meant, but eight o'clock seemed a long ways off, and I did not begin at once. The first caller at the bank looked like a man who wished to borrow money, and you know how popular such people are with bank officers at just this time. So, in an endeavor to distract his attention, I asked him if he knew anything about Mexico, and he told me what he knew. Then I tried the same on Number Two that came in, and he told me something entirely different. He said that the remarks which I repeated from Number One man were all wrong, and during the day I have been asking what I believe to be intelligent citizens of Boston, about Mexico, and I have learned two things: That there is a very great ignorance among the average people about Mexico, but that there is an absolute unanimity of opinion that American citizens in Mexico or anywhere else should be protected. [Applause.)

The speaker this evening knows Mexico. He was ambassador there for four years, and we are going to learn from him something that we need to know,-knowledge of Mexico. The Honorable Henry Lane Wilson. [Applause.)

HON. HENRY LANE WILSON Mr. Chairman, Gentlemen of the City Club,- I have spoken many times in Boston. Five years ago I spoke here upon this same question. Then I spoke somewhat in the spirit of prophecy. Since that time prophecy has passed into the fulfillment of history, and I speak to-night more in the way of an historian than as a prophet.

Preliminary to anything which I may have to say on Mexico and the Mexican question, I wish to read without comment, or at least with very little comment, some statistics which are printed:

Total population of Mexico, 15,000,000.
Indian population, 12,000,000.
Population unable to read or write, 12,000,000.
American population in Mexico in 1910, 75,000.
Americans expelled by conditions in Mexico, 55,000.
Americans murdered by Mexicans, 653.
American property destroyed or confiscated, $1,200,000,000.
Indirect loss to Americans, $500,000,000.

Known expenditures by this Government on account of Mexico, $250,000,000.

Estimated additional expenditures, $50,000,000.

Estimated property loss to other foreigners in Mexico, for which, under strict interpretation of internationl law, we shall be responsible, $1,200,000,000. Number of Mexicans killed during the Revolutionary period, 325,000.

Number of Mexicans dead by pestilence or starvation, 80,000.
Number of churches desecrated, 2,600.
Number of religious institutions desecrated, 246.
Number of clergymen expelled from the country, 3,500.

Total number of presidents of Mexico, all shot in and shot out of power, 73. [Laughter.]

The real author of the Mexican tragedy,—this Government of ours.

I speak to you to-night in behalf and by the authority of the 55,000 Americans who have been expelled from Mexico by conditions prevailing there; and the underlying note of what I have to say concerns the protection of American citizens and interests and property abroad.

The story of Mexico is a mixture of comedy and tragedy; of comedy in the announcement and definition of an unprecedented policy and of the instruments used to carry that policy into effect; and of tragedy in the disastrous consequences which followed.

Here we are living in the midst of an Anglo-Saxon civilization, with Anglo-Saxon blood and traditions, laws, customs, and habits. South of the Rio Grande there is another race, another psychology, other laws and customs and habits. South of the Rio Grande there is a great empire, 2,000 miles long and 1,100 miles wide, washed by the waters of two oceans, and watered by innumerable streams flowing from its lofty mountains.

Into this land in the dim and remote centuries came a flood of races of unknown and mysterious origin, building great cities, rivaling Tyre and Sidon in magnificence and wealth, and establishing a civilization, or rather a series of civilizations, which were either the parent sources of the Asiatic civilizations or the inheritors of them.

These races inhabited Mexico when that picturesque figure of romance, Hernando Cortez, landed on her shores. The story of the cruelty and courage of this man and his following of soldiers and priests is familiar to every one. How he overran Mexico with a band insignificant in number, when harassed with rebellion in his own ranks; and how in the name and by the authority of the gloomy autocrat of the palaces of the Escurial, he placed the foot of the conqueror on the neck of the native races; how, with the sword, the religion of Christ and the dominion of the church were established, is a story which has enriched history and fiction but which has little part in this discussion. It is sufficient to say that neither the religion nor the civilization of the Spaniard were accepted by the native races, that in all respects except superficial ones they remain to-day no better, if not worse in character and habits, than they were when Cortez landed at Vera Cruz.

After the dominion of the Spaniard had been firmly established, the first task of those in control was to divide Mexico into a number of large estates, all without exception going to white men. Some of these estates were as large as Indiana or Illinois, and while the process of disintegration by sale and inheritance has been very great, the soil has never reached its indigenous owner but rather has gone to white men, native or foreign. Even to the present day millions of acres are in the hands of the white population, and the Maya, the Toltec, and the Aztec is a wanderer and an Ishmaelite in the land of his supposedly just inheritance. Herein lies in large measure, not altogether, the root of the evil conditions which prevail in Mexico and that which will constitute a menace for all time to come, unless righted by a strong and vigorous government moving upon definite lines of policy, with the advice, sympathy, and the assistance of those civilized governments which, instead of attempting to set up an altruistic republic among a people unfitted for it by education and tradition, shall furnish those effective aids which shall lead by evolution, not revolution, to a system of universal education, the implanting of sound political principles and a patriotism which shall be something higher and better and nobler than that of hatred of the foreigner.

But, in the course of time, Providence or some other instrumentality raised up a man of humble origin, and partly of Indian blood, to work out for a time the salvation of Mexico and her elevation to a high place among the nations of the world,-Porfirio Diaz. (Applause.)

Diaz had one great foreign policy, namely, the establishment and maintenance of the friendliest relations with this Government of the United States, coupled with an invitation to American capital, to American youth, American energy, American organizing genius, to go thither and develop the marvelous resources of that country, yielding them generous profits but reaping far greater ones for Mexico. He had two domestic policies; first, the development of the material resources of the country, and second the awakening of the national consciousness and morale. The first of these policies he carried out with a high measure of success; and the second he would have carried out but for the undermining influences of declining years and the realization that the task was beyond his durance and power. He called thither the flower of American youth, and opened all the avenues of life to them. He covered Mexico with a network of railroads, developed her mining, agricultural, and commercial resources, and with his army and rural police made life as safe on a Mexican highway as upon the public thoroughfares of the state of Massachusetts. He did more than this; with the materials he had at hand he tried to establish justice, and no man ever went to Porfirio Diaz with an honest cause and left his presence unrequited of justice. The legend, however, existed, that those who broke the laws, who committed acts of violence, would be punished, and punished quickly, and that made peace and that is all that ever will make peace in Mexico. (Applause.]

In the month of December, 1909, President Taft appointed me ambassador to Mexico, and I arrived there in the month of January, 1910. I went to Mexico fully anticipating the occurrence of grave and exciting events, which my accumulated knowledge of Latin America and LatinAmerican character, and the age of General Diaz, led me to believe might be ushered in at any moment. The days of my official reception, the visits of diplomatic courtesy and friendship, the reorganization of the embassy and the necessity of ascertaining conditions before expressing views, led me to delay any report of exhaustive character to our Government until the month of October following. Then, having observed that the country was seething with discontent, and that the cabinet of General Diaz seemed inadequate to meet the situation, I sent a long report to Washington, and before a shot had been fired, predicted an armed revolution. That report is still on file, unless Mr. Bryan lost it. (Laughter.]

Before this report reached the hands of President Taft, the first gun had been fired in the city of Puebla. The causes which brought on this revolution were none of them very serious or material. They were three in number. First, discontent with the régime of General Diaz through his government of the country by a close circle of so called "cientificos, together with the probability that this régime would be continued by his successor, Vice-President Ramon Corral. During the last ten years of the Diaz régime, the Cabinet was made up for the most part of very old men who had passed their years of usefulness and had lost contact with the public. The government was really controlled and directed by three men,-Ramon Corral, Jose Iimantour, and Olegario Molina. These men, with their satellites and subordinates, governed Mexico in a royal way; generally for its good, but not always so. But whether their acts were good or bad, their circle was a close one, and all outside of it were against them. The intrigues and tyrannies of their satellites and subordinates ruined a work which might have stood the test of history, and brought on the catastrophe.

Second, the race feeling. Every Indian in Mexico carries in his heart the hope, and in this mind the belief, that some day the white man will be expelled from Mexico and a new throne of the Montesumas set up in the palace of Chapultepec. This thought he has always in mind, and it is one of the certain forces of the present disorders.

Third, hatred of the foreigner, of whom General Diaz was generally believed to be, and was, the protector. These Americans and other foreigners had come to Mexico at the invitation of the Mexican Government. They had prospered there. They had made trees grow where none had grown before, and had turned the desert into a paradise.

In every walk of life their hand was felt. All of the railways were practically owned by the foreigners; all of the mines were practically owned by foreigners; all of the banks owned by the French; all of the factories owned by the French. That these rights, possessions, or whatever they might have been, had been honestly acquired and used for the benefit of the nation, availed little in the abatement of the popular prejudice against them. The invasion of this army of foreigners was looked upon a good deal as the Spaniard must have looked upon the invasion of the Goths, or the Italians the Lombards, and their presence was profoundly resented. These causes brought on the revolution.

The revolution of Madero sprang unequipped, unorganized, and grotesque in its habiliments, from the national discontent in these matters. Madero was a comparatively unknown person who appeared at the psy. chological moment and reaped the harvest, if harvest it can be called, which under other circumstances would have gone to abler and better men. His previous history was that of a dreamer of dreams, singer of unknown songs in a strange land. He managed, however, by use of American and foreign capital, and finally by the use of the family fortune, to equip on the northern border a force which, though badly

« PreviousContinue »