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the first insurrection gradually expanded into full bloom, and on the 24th of February, 1821, Iturbide, then in the service of Spain, assembled the chief officers of his army at Iguala, and presented them a set of propositions for the institution of a national government, which are termed in the history of that country, "the plan of Iguala." It proposed that Mexico should form an independent empire, the throne being offered to the king of Spain, and in the event of his refusal, to the other princes of his family, in succession.*

The independence of Mexico dates from this movement. Not satisfied with the establishment of a republican form of government, Iturbide usurped the supreme authority. In 1824 he was proclaimed Emperor. A revolution which quickly succeeded, expelled him from power, and he was banished from the land. Returning, however, against his express stipulations, he was arrested in July, 1824, and immediately shot.t

1. "That Mexico should form an independent empire, the crown of which should be offered to the king of Spain, and in the event of his refusal, to the other princes of his family in succession, on condition that the person accepting should reside in the country, and should swear to observe a constitution to be fixed by a congress.

2. "That the Roman Catholic religion should be supported, and the rights, immunities, and property of its clergy should be preserved and secured.

3. "That all the actual inhabitants of Mexico, whatever might be their birth-place or descent, should enjoy the same civil rights."


"The epoch in which I have lived has been a critical one; equally critical is the moment at which I am about to submit to the world a sketch of my political career. The public are not uninformed of my name, or

Subsequently to that event, and previous to the year 1828, one revolution succeeded another in quick succession. Violence, misrule and mob law

of my actions; but they have known both through a medium greatly discolored by the interests of those persons who have transmitted them to distant countries. There is one great nation particularly, in which several individuals have disapproved of my conduct, and have misrepresented my character. It becomes my duty, therefore, to relate my own history. I shall tell, with the frankness of a soldier, both what I have been and what I am. My actions and their motives may thus be fairly judged by every impartial person of the present age, still more by posterity. I know no other passion or interest save that of transmitting to my children a name which they need not be ashamed to bear.

It would be an idle waste of time to set about refuting the various attacks which have been circulated against me; they are framed in terms calculated only to reflect dishonor upon their authors.

"It was my good fortune to break the chains which enthralled my country: I proclaimed her independence: I yielded to the voice of a grateful and a generous people, and allowed myself to be seated on a throne which I had created, and had destined for others: I repressed the spirit of intrigue and disorder. These are my crimes; notwithstanding which I now appear, and shall continue to appear, with as sincere a countenance before the Spaniards and their king, as I have worn before the Mexicans and their new rulers. To both countries I have rendered important services, though neither knew how to profit by the advantages which I acquired for them.

"In the year 1810, I was simply a subaltern officer; a lieutenant in the provincial regiment of Valladolid, my native city. It is well known, that the individuals who serve in those troops receive no pay. The military profession was not the principal object of my pursuit. I possessed an independence, and attended to the improvement of my property, without disturbing my mind with the desire of obtaining public employments. I did not stand in need of them, either for the purpose of affording me a subsistence, or of adding distinction to my name, as it pleased Providence to give me an honorable origin, which my forefathers have never stained, and which down to my time all my kinsmen have supported by their conduct.

"When the revolution, set on foot by Don Miguel Hidalgo, curate of Dolores, broke out, he offered me the rank of lieutenant-general. The offer was one that might have tempted any young man without experience, and at an age when his ambition might be excited. I declined it, howev

prevailed throughout the land. In 1828, Santa Anna, who was then Governor of Vera Cruz, instigated a revolt in the city of Mexico, and was, by

er, because I was satisfied that the plans of the curate were ill contrived, and that they would produce only disorder, massacre, and devastation, without accomplishing the object which he had in view. The result demonstrated the truth of my predictions. Hidalgo, and those who followed his example, desolated the country, destroyed private property, deepened the hatred between the Americans and Europeans, sacrificed thousands of victims, obstructed the fountains of public wealth, disorganized the army, annihilated industry, rendered the condition of the Americans worse than it was before, by exciting the Spaniards to a sense of the dangers which threatened them; they moreover corrupted the manners of the people, and far from obtaining independence, increased the obstacles which were opposed to it.


If, therefore, I took up arms at that epoch, it was not to make war against the Americans, but against a lawless band who harassed the country. The Mexican Congress, at a later period, proposed that statues should be erected to the leaders of that insurrection, and that funeral honors should be paid to the ashes of those who perished in it. I have warred with those chiefs, and I should war with them again under similar circumstances. The word insurrection in that instance did not mean independence and equal liberty; its object was, not to reclaim the rights of the nation, but to exterminate all the Europeans, to destroy their possessions, and to trample on the laws of war, humanity, and religion. The belligerent parties gave no quarter: disorder presided over the operations on both sides, though it must be acknowledged, that one party are censurable, not only for the evils which they caused, but also for having provoked the other party to retaliate the atrocities which were perpetrated by their enemies.

"About the month of October, in the year 1810, I was offered a safe conduct for my father and family, together with assurances that his property and mine should be exempted from conflagration and plunder, and that the people attached to them should not be subject to assassination (which was at that time a matter of ordinary occurrence), on the sole condition that I should quit the standard of the king and remain neutral. These propositions were made to me by the leaders of that disastrous insurrection, and are well known to the Mexicans. I was then at San Felipe del Obraje, commanding a small detachment of infantry, and at a distance of four leagues from me was Hidalgo with a considerable force. I gave the same answers to these overtures, as to the propositions already

the Congress of the Republic, proclaimed an outlaw. Even at that early period in his career, he was remarkable for his wily and subtle policy, and

mentioned. I always looked upon that man as criminal, who, in a season of political convulsions, sheltering himself in cowardly indolence, remained a cold spectator of the evils which oppressed his country, and made no effort to mitigate, at least, if he could not remove, the sufferings of his fellow-citizens. I therefore kept the field, with a view equally to serve the king, the Spaniards, and the Mexicans.

"I was in consequence engaged in several expeditions, and had the good fortune to see victory never desert the troops under my command, except on one inconsiderable occasion (in 1815), when I made an attack on Coporo, a military point which was well fortified, and inaccessible from the nature of the ground. I then served under the orders of Llanos, a Spanish General. He commanded me to attack the place; delicacy forbade me to offer any opposition to his mandate, though I was fully convinced that the result could not be favorable. As soon as I was on the march, I communicated my opinion to the general by dispatch: I retreated, as I had foreseen I should do, but I had the good fortune to preserve four-fifths of my force, in an action in which I apprehended that I should have lost the whole.

"I engaged with the enemy as often as he offered battle, or as I came near him, frequently with inferior numbers on my part. I led the sieges of several fortified places, from which I dislodged the enemy, and I rendered them incapable of serving afterwards as asylums for the discontented. I had no other opponents than those of the cause which I defended, nor any other rivals than those who were envious of my success.

"In 1816 the provinces of Guanajuato and Valladolid, and the army of the north, were under my command; but I resigned my office through a sense of delicacy, and retired to pursue my natural disposition, in the cultivation of my estates. The reason of my resignation was this: two inhabitants of Querataro, who were subsequently assisted by four or five families in Guanajuato, three of which consisted of the families of three brothers, and ought therefore to be considered as one, sent a memorial against me to the viceroy. Many were the crimes of which they accused me; they could not, however, find one witness to support their charges, though I had resigned for the purpose of removing every obstacle to their coming forward, by taking away the motives of hope on the one side, or of fear on the other. The families of the countess dowager of Rul, and of Alaman, gave proof, by abandoning the accusation, that they had been taken by surprise, and that they had been deceived. The vice

sustained by the gallant and ever-faithful citizens of the province of Vera Cruz, he made a bold stand against the authorities of the country. Alternately

roys, Calleja and Apodaca, took cognizance of the matter, and after hearing the reports of the ayuntamientos, the curates, the political chiefs, the commandants and military chiefs, and of all the most respectable persons in the two provinces, and the army (who not only made my cause their own, but gave me tokens of their unqualified approbation), they affirmed the dictamen of their auditor, and of the two civil ministers, declaring that the accusation was false and calumnious in all its parts, that I had permission to institute an action of damages against the slanderers, and that I might return to discharge the functions of the office which I had resigned. I did not choose to resume the command, nor to exercise my right of action, and I gave up the pay which I enjoyed.

"The ingratitude which I experienced from men had wounded my feelings deeply; their insincerity, to call it by no severer name, made me shun every opportunity of again becoming the object of their attacks. Besides, the anger of the contending parties having expended itself, and the country having returned to a state of comparative tranquillity, I was relieved from that sense of obligation which six years before had compelled me to have recourse to arms. My country no longer stood in need of my services, and without betraying my duty, I thought that I might now rest from the toils of the camp.

"In 1820 the constitution was re-established in Spain. The new order of things, the ferment in which the Peninsula was placed, the machinations of the discontented, the want of moderation amongst the supporters of the new system, the vacillation of the authorities, and the conduct of the Government and Cortes at Madrid (who, from the decrees which they issued, and the speeches which some of the deputies pronounced, appeared to have determined on alienating the colonies), filled the heart of every good patriot with the desire of independence, and excited amongst the Spaniards established in the country, the apprehension that all the horrors of the former insurrection were about to be repeated. Those who exercised the chief authority, and had the forces at their command, took such precautions as fear naturally dictated; and those persons who at the former epoch had lived by disorder, made preparations for again turning it to advantage. In such a state of things the richest and most beautiful part of America was about to become again the prey of contending factions. In every quarter clandestine meetings took place, for the purpose of discussing the form of government which ought to be adopted. Among the Europeans and their adherents, some wished for the establishment of

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