A CAMPAIGN WITH COL. DONIPHAN.

CHAPTER IV.

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Christmas day. The enemy and a surprise, and the Battle ofBracito. Women in the battle. Alarms. Enter the City of ElPaso. The traders do business. Senor Ponce and supplies. Mexicanwine and brandy, and the effect of the latter. The priest Ortis.The Scotchman proves to be a scoundrel. Scene of formertreachery, and death of a treacherous governor. Apache Indiansand their forays. James Erker. Oxen and mule stolen, andLieutenant Hinton pursues and brings in a scalp and the stolenanimals. Wheat mill made entirely of wood. Mexican cattle; andbuying some of a prisoner. Baked pumpkins. Colonel Doniphan and astolen pig. Bizarre appearance of the troops. Force increased.Presidio del S. Elecario, and a church with its dressed-upimages. A fat priest and his extortions in a case of marriage.

Sunday, Christmas Day. We moved on; and as my place was behindwith the wagons, I generally got into the camp some time afterthe others. However, this afternoon, I had preceded my wagonsabout a mile, accompanied by two of the wagon-guard. On roundinga turn of the road, I observed our little army encamping somedistance ahead; and also, a mile further on, I had, for sometime, noticed an immense cloud of dust which, until this moment,I had supposed to have been caused by our own men. A momentafter and there were evidently great hurry and bustle in

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camp. Men at a distance were throwing down the wood they werebringing in, and hurrying to their arms. A man upon a white muleaim dashing back at full speed, telling me to hasten up thewagons, for the enemy were upon us, and continued his headlongcareer, never stopping until he got safely to the rear guard sixmiles behind. Never was a body of men taken more by surprise. When the dust was first observed, there were not one hundred andfifty men in camp, the rest being scattered after wood and water.But all seemed to have found out the cause of the rising dust atthe same moment, and aim in, in double quick time, to get theirarms. I immediately galloped up to the surgeon and requestedorders. He told me to draw up the wagons into a close circle,or, as we called it, to corraal them.

I quickly did so, sending to hurry on the ox-teams, which wereseveral miles behind. By the time I had got twenty wagons inform, a man aim furiously for cartridges. The wagons of ColonelDoniphan's men, which contained their ammunition, were not yetup; but, knowing that in one of mine there were two boxes of rifleand carbine ammunition, I immediately jumped upon it andcommenced throwing off the tents and things which covered thecases. As this wagon stood in what may be considered the frontof the half circle I had formed, I could not help stealing aglance now and then towards the camp, where I observed our mendrawn up on foot, in single line, across the road; and theMexicans appearing in a line parallel to them. Just at the topof a slight rise in the ground, the latter drew up in good order,with their cavalry on our left and a small howitzer in the

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centre -- their left flank and body being composed of infantry -- andgay enough they looked, their cavalry in bright scarlet coatswith bell buttons, and snow-white belts, carrying polished sabresand carbines and long lances, with red and green pennons, whiletheir heads were protected by brass helmets with large blackplumes. The Mexicans halted -- and from their ranks came alieutenant, in handsome uniform, waving a black flag, having askull and crossbones worked upon it. Our interpreter advanced tomeet him. The lieutenant informed him that the Mexican Generalwished his General to come and have a parley with him. Heanswered him to the effect that "he wished he might get him." Thereupon the Mexican, turning back, exclaimed, "Then preparefor a charge: we give and take no quarter!" When he reached hislines, they immediately opened their fire upon us -- steadilyadvancing. A few minutes afterwards they fired another volley. I was still on the wagon. These two volleys of the Mexicans,though mostly fired too high to injure our troops, neverthelessrained their balls with their sharp whist! sound, too thick amongus at the wagons to be pleasant; and one of them, I afterwardsfound, had passed through a fold in my shirt just below the leftarm.

Our men, all this time, had not fired a shot.

Just in the rear of our line, and, therefore, between it and thecorraal, were about fifteen of our horsemen, who had come up justat the moment, not one of the others having had time tosaddle-up. Again the Mexicans poured in a heavy fire, at pistolshot, wounding several men. Just as the smoke of this dischargelifted, two powerful volleys were poured in by our men from theirrifles, while, at the same moment, the Mexican dragoons chargedgallantly down on our left flank; but, being turned by the heavyshower of balls, swerved to their right, and, coming round theend of our line, they dashed down on the circle of wagons. Here,I had received orders to take charge; and found myself thecommander of from fifteen to twenty men, I directed them to keepout of sight until the redcoats were within ten yards of us -- then,we each stepped out and gave them our fire. This caused themagain to swerve, and to disappear over a rising ground, whitherthey were hotly pursued by our little band of fifteenhorsemen.

During this time, a part of our men, who were in front of theMexican cannon, ran up, and forcibly secured and dragged it downto our ranks. This was a daring act, almost ridiculous from itsfearlessness. The idea of about thirty soldiers taking it intotheir heads, for they had no orders to break line, to make such acharge on the enemy's artillery! Some of our men got as many ashalf a dozen shots at Mexicans; but most of the latter had suchpressing business somewhere else, that it was difficult, aftertwo volleys, to get a fair sight at them.

Just as the Mexicans were about to fire their first round, ourright wing received orders to kneel, which they did; and soremained until they, themselves, fired. They all rose at once todo so. The Mexicans said, afterwards, they could not understandsuch a people, for, not only did they sustain three volleyswithout returning one, which, of itself, was

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very puzzling, but, when one row was mowed down, up spranganother out of the grass. Most of the wounded were brought tothe wagons, where we had made preparations to receive them, byspreading tents and other covering over the ground.

A fine-looking Mexican boy was brought in badly wounded. He wasabout fifteen or sixteen years of age, and said he had beenforced to fight against us, although his heart was for us; andhis mother and brother had advised him to join us as soon aspossible, and this he had intended to do. Poor lad! That night,in his agony, he crawled a little away from the tent he had beenlaid in, and expired. We all felt interested in him, and manyhad visited him. Most of his talk was of his mother and sisters,and his friends, the Americans. We knew he could not recover,and yet we had not the heart to tell him so.

One of the wounded brought in, was a fine-looking sergeant of theMexican dragoons. I believe he was the man who had headed thecharge. The poor fellow had three balls through his belly, fromside to side, and two horrible sabre cuts upon his head. Hecould not make out why he was brought in so carefully, and aplace made for him to lie down on. I assured him he should bewell treated; but his looks showed his incredulity. l nevershall forget the tremulous grasp of the hand he gave me, when Ireceived him under my charge. I brought the doctor to him, who,after examining him, told me there was no hope, but that if hewas alive in the morning he would dress his wounds. Yet this manrecovered, and was released before we left El Paso.

A little German amongst us, called after one of Dumas' threemousquetaires, Grimaud, attracted our attention. At the secondvolley, a ball entered the front of his cap, and raked the top ofhis skull, and, though only cutting the scalp, caused a greateffusion of blood, which ran down his face. For a moment hethought himself mortally wounded; but, still, catching up hiscarbine, he fired away, crying out "Well! I'll have a crackbefore I die, any how." Grimaud was a favorite, and hisfrightfully bloody face and reckless action must be longremembered by many of us.

I did all I could to make the wounded prisoners comfortable andeasy, having stationed for them a protective guard. Just afterthe contest had ended, a tall, barefooted Missourian aim stalkingto the wagons, crying out, "Where are those yellow-skinneddevils? They came upon me so quickly, that I had to go at thembarefoot; and while I was away, some rascal hooked my shoes. So,if there's a pair among the prisoners I'll have them."

Our number in this engagement was not over five hundred, whilethe Mexicans had twelve hundred men. We had but sevenwounded -- none killed. How we aim off so well I cannot make out,for the bullets rained about the troops. The Mexican loss inkilled and wounded was about two hundred men.

*Among the spoils, were several kegs of wine of the best quality,which were passed from hand to hand until they were empty; andalso some very nice and fine bread. There

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* See the semi-official Report of the battle in the Appendix, No. 1.

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was plenty of ammunition, and also several cases of surgicalinstruments. The field was strewed with bodies of men andhorses, lances, swords, bugles, trumpets, carbines and other waremblems.

It was rumored that there were two Mexican women in the action,serving at the cannon, and that a rifle ball striking one of themin the forehead, the other bore her off the field. I do notdoubt it. The women have much more courage and even sense thanthe men.

I afterwards heard that when the remainder of the Mexican troopsreached El Paso, which they did very expeditiously, they reportedthat they had been defeated entirely by our infantry; and thatour cavalry had not come up, but was rapidly approaching. It wassome time before I could understand this matter, for we had noreserve -- all our men being in the action. But the key of theaffair was equal to something of Sister Anne's in Blue Beard; -- we had two thousand sheep in the rear of our baggage train, andthe dust raised by them had been taken for the signs of horsemenapproaching. The dragoons, who had charged us so gallantly, metwith the worst usage; for our little squadron of horse havingchased them into the mountains, a band of Navajo Indians, who hadbeen watching the struggle from their concealment, set upon themand killed almost all for the sake of their bright uniform andarms.

And thus ended the first battle fought by the army of the West;and called BRACITO from the bend of the river, near where wefought, which bears this name.

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* On maps of this country, many names will be found where, in truth,there is not a house. This is because the places are regularcamping grounds for caravans.

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page 89 SURRENDER OF EL PASO

Before we left the battle-ground, we dug a large hole and buriedthose who had fallen on the field and those who had died duringthe night; but I have understood since that wolves scratched upthe bodies, and that the remnants of uniforms were now scatteredover the ground.

We fully expected to have another skirmish before entering thecity of El Paso, and were, therefore, on the alert. On theevening of the 26th of December we encamped at a salt pond, ashort distance frons the place; and twice that night were arousedby alarms, and stood for some time ready in ranks -- but nothingoccurred.

The next day, while on the march, we were met by several citizensof El Paso, bearing a white flag, who, at once, surrendered theplace to Colonel Doniphan, and, towards evening, we entered thisbeautiful city. The inhabitants had mostl fled; but they all returned before we left.Those who hadremained aim creeping cautiously out of their houses, withbaskets of fruit, which they kindly forced the soldiers toaccept. By the time I reached the Plaza, I had both holstersand pockets filled.

This place (which receives its name, not, as has been frequentlystated, from a pass of the river between the mountains, but fromthe circumstance of refugees from Santa Fe, in 1680, having herecrossed the river and founded a town) is now upwards of sixmiles in length and from half a mile to a mile wide. It issurrounded by extensive vineyards.

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The mode of cultivating the grape is the same as I have mentionedto be practiced at Valentia.

The valley here is the best calculated for the cultivation of thevine of any part of Mexico, the soil not being too rich, and,although there may be now and then a sharp frost, no snow hasfallen there for years. At the time we arrived, December, ofcourse there was no foliage to be seen; but I can well imaginehow beautiful must be this valley when all the vines and fruittrees are in leaf and bloom.

The city and gardens are watered by numerous sakos or ditchessupplied by the river which is dammed up just above. By means ofthese, the husbandmen are able to dispense with the aid of rain,which is scarce at all times in New Mexico. Each field isprovided with a small running ditch; and, by cutting the bank,the water soon floods the ground. Each farmer has a day allowedhim to use the water in this way, but cannot touch it at othertimes without the permission of the special alcalde of sakos, or,as we should term him, perhaps, commissioner of the water-works. This officer has the powers of a judge in all things relating tohis department. Every person is required to keep his sako inrepair; and should any damage occur to his neighbor's property byinattention, the delinquent has to make good the damage. Onepoor fellow told me that, in consequence of the frost, the sideof his sako had given way during the night, and had injured aquantity of wine in his neighbor's house, for which he had beenordered to pay fifty dollars -- a large sum for him, but hisopponent was a rich man and a friend of the alcalde's.

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page 91 SENOR PONCE.

The traders opened their goods at this place; and, as confidencewas soon restored, they did a good business, especially by takingcorn, wood, hay, cattle, etc. , in payment, for these they couldagain dispose of to the troops. A readiness to sell in this waybrought customers from all parts.

As to the wood I purchased, there was a Mexican who used to bringit to me. I knew he aim at least thirty miles with it. On myasking him how long he was in coming, he said, one day and anight-rather a tedious journey, to sell only from four to fiveloads of wood, at from $1.75 to $2 per load; especially as eachcart required two men and four yoke of cattle. He could not makemuch profit.

We were indebted to Senior Ponce, an old Mexican gentleman, andthe richest man in the valley of El Paso, for assistance ingetting corn and other necessaries for the soldiers. He suppliedus, as far as possible, from his own store-houses, and, wherethese failed, he bought for us.

He stated his income to be about ten thousand dollars a year,which is immense for this part of the country. It arises,principally, from sales of his wine and brandy, both of which aremade very largely here. The wine is of a dark-port color, ofgood quality, and cheap. The brandy has the appearance of gin,but with a pleasing flavor of its own. It was found, however, tocontain a large quantity of copper, from the vessels in which itis made, and wherein it is allowed to stand. This was notdiscovered until it had affected the health of several of ourmen. The wine was harmless, being the pure juice of thegrape.

As we were still in expectation of being attacked, our men

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were quartered with regard to defence. Colonel Doniphan'sregiment were in two large buildings near the plaza; and ourcompany was in the barracks, to which was attached the calabooseor city jail, so that we were, in reality, in the yard of thelatter. This was not very pleasant, but as this building, whichwas very large, stood on a small eminence in the rear of thechurch, and could easily be defended by a few resolute men, itwas, in spite of the prison, a post of honor.

In part of the building was the public school room, well filledwith desks and other academical apparatus, but now deserted. Iused the room for storing hay and fodder, which created rather alonger holiday than usual. We found schools in most of thetowns, as we went from here south.

Colonel Doniphan dispatched a messenger to hasten a company ofartillery, which had been previously ordered from Santa Fe; andhe determined to await its arrival. Rumors kept reaching us ofanticipated resistance at Carrizal -- a fortified place somedistance on this side of Chihuahua. At last, we found thatregular carriers were sent from here to that place; andcircumstances led us to suspect Ortis, the priest, of being theagent of the correspondence. A small scouting party was sent,one night, to try to catch him in the act; and there is no doubthe would have been so caught, had it not been for the badmanagement of the officer in charge, who, instead of waiting toseige the messenger after he might have started and try to finddispatches upon him, only surrounded the house, went up andpolitely knocked at the door, in front of which a horse wasstanding, ready saddled and bridled. Of course, no paper werefound, but the priest and two gentle-

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page 93 PRIEST ORTIS -- TREACHERY.

men were brought up to our colonel's quarters, Ortis wasupbraided with treachery; but he remarked that he did not callthe delivering his country from a foreign enemy, by any meanswhatever, treachery. He said he was the enemy of all Americans,and never could be otherwise; and that he should use everyendeavor to free his country from them, but that it would be byfair combat, and that he should not attempt to incite aninsurrection, knowing that to be worse than useless. ColonelDoniphan told him that he admired his sentiments, it would takecare he should have no opportunity to carry them into effect, bykeeping a strict watch over him; and that, as he had seen howMexicans could fight on ground of their own selection meaningBracito, where Ortis was -- he would take him with him as he sweptsouthward, in order that he might observe the Mexican attackedand made to fight on ground of his, Doniphan's selection. Thisthe colonel did, taking him down to Chihuahua.

The full rascality of the Scotchman whom we had taken the nightbefore the battle, was now made apparent. In the calaboose wefound six Americans who had been confined there for some months. They formed a party whom this fellow had engaged to guide toCalifornia; but, instead of this, he took them to El Paso, andthere denounced them as Texians. They were thrown into prison,after having been robbed of all they possessed; however, a courtof officers acquitted the fellow, and one day I met him going outof town with a parcel upon his back, containing a flask ofwhisky, a few tortillas and a piece of goat-milk cheese.

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He was trudging on, he said, to Santa Fe. He had thatday been acquitted, and was naturally in some haste to leave ourneighborhood, knowing the excitement against him. Never had Ifelt so strong a desire to commit violence. I advised him toavoid all soldiers, who would shoot him like a dog as hedeserved; and I assured him I would do so, if I again met him. His life was not worth a minute's purchase if any of our men wereto see him.

The yard in which we were here quartered, had some years beforebeen the scene of a massacre. The governor induced twenty of the chiefs of theApache Indians to enter it, when they were murdered by soldierswho had been concealed in the buildings. The governor paid thepenalty of his treacherous conduct: as he gave the order, "Matena los carahos!" (kill the scoundrels!), a chief sprang forward,and stabbing him, cried out "Entonces moriras tu primero,Carajo!" (then you shall die first, Carajo!) These Indianwarriors died bravely, after killing several Mexicans. This tribeis the most powerful of all the Mexican Indians. It inhabits therange of mountains called the Sierra des Mimbres, which separatesthe State of Sonora from those of El Paso and Chihuahua -- and oneach side of this range is its extensive foraging ground; -- thecountry further south being under the control of the Camanches. Ido not think the Apache Indians' are naturally brave; but havingbeen long unopposed, they have become bold; so much so as tovisit large cities amicably, and otherwise in small parties. Thefact is, they so heartily despise the Mexicans that they say theywould kill them all, were it not that they

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page 95 APACHE INDIANS.

serve as herdsmen to them -- meaning this, that they themselvesneither hunt nor plant, and being of roving habits, they do notoverburden themselves with cattle,

preferring to descend from their mountain fastnesses and helpthemselves out of the first Mexican herd they come across -- firstkilling the herdsmen, if possible. The latter have aninstinctive dread of these Indians. The word Apache is enough tomake a Mexican herdsman tremble, although he goes armed with asabre, carbine and lance, and is always mounted. One thing whichhas principally served to make this tribe powerful, is the factof one state frequently arming it against another.

Some tribes of these Indians live entirely on mule and horseflesh, while others eat the prairie wolf, but there is no doubtthey prefer fat cows and steers, frequently running off severalthousand head at a time. If a quarrel arises on the foray aboutthe ownership of an animal, they kill the creature, leaving itwhere it falls, and, of course, the dispute with it. Their trackcan be traced by this frequent mark of a quarrel.

The government of Chihuahua at one time set a price on everyApache scalp; it was, I believe, one hundred dollars for a man,fifty dollars for a squaw, and twenty-five dollars for a papoose.This plan was afterwards abandoned; and an Irishman, named JamesKirker, was hired, at a high salary, to attempt the exterminationof the tribe. This was rather an extensive operation, as theynumbered about fifteen thousand. However, he, with a band ofAmericans and Mexicans, soon made the Apaches fear him. TheMexicans

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look upon him as almost superhuman; but I have heard, fromcredible authority, that his bravery is rather lukewarm, and thathis victories have always been achieved through cunning. He hasnever risked a fight, unless when his own party has greatlyoutnumbered the Indians, or when he could catch them asleep -- andeven then he himself prudently keeps in the back ground. Hejoined us the morning after the fight of Bracito, having given uphunting the Indians, in consequence of the government havingforgotten to pay him. He was very useful to us, serving as guideand interpreter, during all the time we remained in thecountry.

One night, while on our march, three Apache Indians came down andcarried off several yoke of oxen and a fine mule, the property ofa trader. Lieutenant Jack Hinton took a few men, and followedthem for two days, got back the cattle and mule, and killed oneof the Indians -- bringing in his scalp. At Chihuahua, I found inthe Office of the Secretary of State, a mass of letters fromprefects of small towns complaining of incursions of thesesavages -- indeed, there was one shelved-side of a room entirelydevoted to filed papers on this subject.

Our provisions ran short during our stay at the city of El Paso;and we were obliged to supply ourselves by purchasing from theMexicans. Wheat I found to be rather scarce. All I couldprocure, I had ground at a small mill in the city. This was acuriosity. What will our mechanics say to a flouring mill builtentirely without iron? All the wheels and other parts were ofwood (of course excepting the mill stones, which are made fromthe ironstone boulders found

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MEXICAN CATTLE.

in all parts of the country). The flour ground by this mill wasvery coarse, and the bran not separated, but it was much betterthan we had been subsisting upon in Santa Fe. There we had beensupplied with wheat, first coarsely ground, and then the finestpart of the flour sifted out, which, I suppose, the Mexicansused; at any rate, we did not see any of it, and so leaving to uswhat would be called, in New York, very poor "shorts." Ipurchased, at different times, some fifteen cattle for slaughter.

On averaging their weight, I found it to be only about twohundred and thirty pounds each, when dressed. Although all theMexican cattle are naturally small, they are beautifully formed,and have the appearance of good weight when on the hoof, but, oncutting them up, they fall off wonderfully. The beef is ofexcellent quality, except when the animal has been over-driven,and then it becomes speedily poor.

Some of the cattle I bought under rather singular circumstances. One day, the Jailor of the prison aim and asked me, whether I didnot wish to purchase beef-cattle? and on my answering him in theaffirmative, he told me that there was a caballero in thecalaboose, who wished to sell me some. It, of course, struck me asrather a queer place to find a man rich enough to own, and ableto sell, cattle. On entering the yard of the prison, I wasintroduced to a very good-looking, gentlemanly man, who informedme that he was a large cattle owner. After a little bargaining,I bought several beeves of him. On asking the jailor who he was,I was informed that he was one of the richest men in the state,but, being strongly opposed in polities to the ruling authori-

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ties, his killing one of his own peons or servants had been takenadvantage of to imprison him. "This small peccadillo," addedthe jailor, "would, under any other circumstances, never havebeen noticed, and, as he is very rich, he'll soon get out." Oneday, while receiving some maize at Don Ponce's country seat, apeon or servant handed me a hot piece of baked pumpkin to taste,which I found delicious, and far superior in flavor to those athome; and I excited much amusement among the peons, who wereseated, men, women and children, in the corraal or yard, eatingtheir noon-day meal, by my unaristocratic relish for what is heregrown only for the pigs and servants.

Colonel Doniphan was a favorite, but truth leads me to mention acircumstance which somewhat shocked my notions of militarydiscipline. A poor Spaniard aim to the colonel, and complainedthat a soldier, standing by, had stolen his pig. The commanderturned to the man, and asked him whether this was true? Thesoldier replied "Yes;" adding, also, "and pray, Colonel, whatare you going to do about it?" This blunt mode of response,mixed with question, rather puzzled Colonel Doniphan, who, aftersome hesitation, said: "Well! I don't know, unless I come andhelp you to eat it." I am sadly afraid the complaining party gotno redress. I felt it to be a bad example. So far as our dresswas concerned, Falstaff, at this time, would have been ashamed ofus. Our hundred men who had last joined were, of course, alittle better clad than the rest, but most of the men were in thesame clothes in

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page 99 ARRIVAL OF REINFORCEMENTS.

which they had left Missouri six months before -- and these had seenpretty severe service in the Navajo country. The best clad werethose who had been lucky enough to procure buckskin dresses amongthe Indians. A parade was now a ludicrous sight. In a wholecompany, no two pair of pantaloons were of the same hue; andthere being few who owned a jacket, the red flannel or checkedshirt made up the "uniform." Shoes were a luxury, and hats avery doubtful article. If our habiliments were thus, at thistime, what were they further south? If General Taylor could boastof two R's, "Rough and Ready;" we felt that we were fullyentitled to three, Rough, Ready and Ragged. We had received nopay as yet; and the sutler charging ad libitum.

On the first day of February, 1847, Major Clark and CaptainWeightman arrived, bringing with them one hundred and thirty men,four six-pounders, and two twelve-pound howitzers -- thus increasingour force to a thousand men. On their arrival, our company wassent to the Presidio del San Elecario, a large fort, standing atthe lowest end of the city, where we encamped. This fort has,evidently, been once very strong; and covers more than eightacres of ground. It encloses, within its walls, a pretty church,through which I wandered alone one morning. The Mexicans arejealous of their churches, and do not willingly allow a hereticto enter alone. I lifted up the veils which concealed thedifferent figures in the niches around the walls; and, gazing ontheir gaudily dressed and painted saintships, I felt that anylittle

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girl at home would have been ashamed of such a badly dressed setof dolls.

Leaving the church, I came to the door of the priest's house; andhearing voices, made free to go in. The padre was sitting underthe porch, inside of the yard, arguing strenuously with a Spanishmerchant. The priest was a good specimen of his species. Hisexact weight I will not dare to guess, but it was not much lessthan three hundred pounds. His shaven crown, sandaled feet, darkrobe, large wooden rosary and hempen girdle perfected a monk'sportrait. He rose, and would not reseat himself until a servanthad brought me a stool. We conversed a little in Frenchtogether, but a woman having carried a substantial breakfast,well set off with plate, into his room, he very soon politelydismissed us both, expressing a wish to see us at some othertime. I should have been more impressed with his politeness, ifit had embraced an invitation to breakfast.

I walked with the merchant to the Alcalde's office, and foundthere a respectable-looking couple waiting my companion's return.These people had an only daughter attached to a young neighbor,who had gone, a few days before, to this priest, to obtainpermission to marry her. As all the parties were poor, thebridegroom had sold off his three cows to pay the marriage fee;the amount of which not being fixed, the priest has the right tocharge whatever he pleases. In this case, he had pocketed the avails of the cows; and then toldthe bridegroom that he must have much more before he couldofficiate. The poor lover had stated this to the bride's parents, and they sold off their stock,

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page 101 EXTORTION OF THE PRIESTS.

and paid the priest enough to make about one hundred dollars. His monkship coolly pocketed this also; and then informed the party he had not gotnear enough yet. In this state of affairs they had applied tothe Alcalde for advice, and the merchant, being in the room atthe time, had offered to go and remonstrate with the priest, who,however, remained inexorable. After much discussion before theAlcalde, amidst mingled laughter and tears, the bride andbridegroom (who had meanwhile come in), started off home with theold people to get up a fandango, which was to stand in the placeof a marriage ceremony -- having made up their minds to dispensewith the services of the extortionate padre. This littleincident may account for the general licentiousness in Mexico,Does not a priest of God thus become a minister of the devil?

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