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and great jealousy exists between New Spain exceed any nation perthem and the Spaniards. An of- haps on the globe: but in national ficer was under trial when I was energy, or patriotism, enterprize in the country for anticipating an of character, and independence of attack on his fortress, by attacking soul, they are perhaps the most the chiefs of the supposed con
deficient. Yet there are men who spiracy, and putting them to death have displayed bravery to a surbefore they had time to mature prizing degree, and the Europeans and carry their plan into operation. who are there, cherish with delight The decision of his case I never the idea of their gallant ancestry. learnt; but those savages who have Their women have black eyes
and been for some time around the hair, fine teeth, and are generally forts and villages, become by far brunettes. I met but one excepthe most dangerous enemies the tion to this rule at Chihuahua, of Spaniards have when hostile, as a fair lady, and she by way of disthey acquire the Spanish language, tinction was called the girl with manners, and habits, and passing light hair. They are all inclining a through the populated parts under little to en bon point, but none (or the disguise of the civilized and few) are elegant figures. Their friendly Indians, commit murders dresses are generally short jackets and robberies without being sus- and petticoats, and high heel-shoes, pected. There is in the province without any head dress ; over this of Cogquilla a partisan by the they have a silk wrapper, which name of Ralph, who, it is calcu. they always wear, and when in the làted, bas killed more than three presence of men, affect to bring it hundred persons. He comes into
over their faces; but as we apthe town under the disguise of a proached the Atlantic and our peasant, buys provision, goes to frontiers, we saw several ladies who the gambling tables and to mass, wore the gowns of our country and before he leaves the village is women, which they conceive to be sure to kill some person, or carry more elegant than their ancient off a woman, which he has fre- custom. The lower class of the quently done. Sometimes he joins men are generally dressed in broad travellers on the road, insinuates brimmed hats, short coats, large himself into their confidence, and waistcoats and small clothes, altakes his opportunity to assassinate ways open at the knees, owing, I them. He has only six followers, suppose, to the greater freedom it and from their knowledge of the gives to the limbs on horseback, a country, their activity, and cun
kind of leather boot or wrapper ning, he keeps about three hun- bound round the leg, somewhat in dred dragoonscontinually employ- the manner of our frontier men's ed. The government has offered leggins, and gartered on. The one thousand dollars for his head. boot is of a soft pliable leather, but
not coloured. In the eastern proMORALS AND MANNERS OF NEW vinces the dragoons wear over this SPAIN. From the same.
wrapper a sort of jack-boot made For hospitality, generosity, do- of seal leather, to which are fastcility, and sobriety, the people of ened the spurs by a rivet, the gaffs class;
of which are sometimes near an ways some words adapted to the inch in length. But the spurs of music, which are generally of such tlie gentlemen and officers, al- a tendency as would in the United though clumsy to our ideas, are States occasion every lady to leave frequently ornamented with raised the
room. silver work on the shoulders, and Their games are cards, billiards, the strap embroidered with silver horse-racing, and cock-fighting, and gold thread. They are always the first and last of which are ready to mount their horses, on carried to the most extravagant which the inhabitants of the inter- lengths, the parties losing and nal provinces spend nearly half the winning immense sums. The preday. This description will apply sent commandant-general is very generally for the dress of all the severe with his officers in these men of the provinces for the lower respects, frequently sending them
but in the towns, amongst to some frontier post, in confinethe more fashionable ranks, they ment for months, for ‘no other dress after the Eur ean or United fault than having lost large sums States mode, with not more dis- at play. tinction than we see in our cities At every town of consequence is from one six months to another. a public walk, where the ladies Both men and women have re- and gentlemen meet and sing songs, markably fine hair, and pride which are always on the subject of themselves in the display of it. love, or the social board. The
Their amusements are music, females have fine voices, and sing singing, dancing, and gambling; in French, Italian, and Spanish, the latter is strictly prolibited, the whole company joining in the but the prohibition is not much chorus. In their houses the ladies attended to. The dance of is play on the guitar, and generally performed by one man and two accompany it with their voices. women, who beat time to the mu- They either sit down on the carpet sic, which is soft and voluptuous, cross-legged, or loll on a sofa. To but sometimes changes to a lively sit upright in a chair appeared to gay air, whilst the dancers occa- put them to great inconvenience, sionally exhibit the most indelicate and although the betterclass would gestures. The whole of this dance sometimes do it on our first introimpressed me with the idea of an duction, they soon demanded liinsulated society of once civilized berty to follow their old habits. In beings, but now degenerated into their eating and drinking they are a medium state, between the im- remarkably temperate. Early in proved world and the children of the morning you receive a dish of nature. The fandango is danced in chocolate and a cake ; at twelve various figures and numbers. The you dine on several dishes of meat, minuet is still danced by the supe- fowls and fish ; after which you rior class only; the music made have a variety of confectionary, and use of is the guitar, violin, and indeed an elegant dessert : then singers, who in the first described drink a few glasses of wine, sing a dance, accompany the music with few songs, and retire to take the their hands and voices, having al- siesta, or afternoon nap, which is
done by rich and poor; and about jects of gratification to the sensual two o'clock the windows and doors passions, they have lost every idea are all closed, the streets deserted, of the feast of reason and the flow and the stillness of midnight reigns of soul which arise from the interthroughout. About four o'clock course of two refined and virtuous they rise, wash and dress, and minds, whose inmost thoughts are prepare for the dissipation of the open to the inspection and adminight. About eleven o'clock some ration of each other, and whose refreshments are offered, but few refinements of sentiment heighten take any, except a little wine and the pleasures of every gratification. water, and a little candied sugar. The beggars of the city of
The government have multi. Mexico alone are estimated at plied the difficulties for Europeans sixty thousand souls; what must mixing with the Creoles or Mestis, be the number through the whole to such a degree, that it is difficult kingdom ? And what reason can for a marriage to take place. An it be owing to, that, in a country officer wishing to marry a lady not superior to any in the world for from Europe, is obliged to acquire riches in goldand silver, producing certificates of the purity of her de. all the necessaries of life, and most scent for two hundred years back, of its luxuries, there should be and transmit them to the court, such a vast proportion of the inwhen the licence will be returned; habitants in want of bread and but should she be the daughter of clothing? It can only be aca person of the rank of captain or counted for by the tyranny of the upwards, this nicety vanishes, as government, and the luxuries of their rank purifies the blood of the the rich; the government striving descendants.
by all the local restrictions possibly The general subjects of the con- to be invented, without absolutely versation of the men are women, driving the people to desperation, money, and horses, which appear to keep Spanish America dependto be the only objects in their esti- ant on Europe. mation, worthy of consideration. Having united the female sex with their money and their beasts, and
MILITARY CONSTITUTION OF treated them too much after the
NEW SPAIN. manner of the latter, they have
From the same. eradicated from their breasts every sentiment of virtue, or of ambition, The European troops are some to pursue the acquirements which of the choicest regiments from would make them amiable com- Spain, consequently we may put panions, instructive mothers, or them on the supposition, that they respectable members of society, are well disciplined and officered Their whole souls, with a few ex- by men of lionour and science. ceptions, like the Turkish ladies, The regular troops of the kingare taken up in music, dress, and dom, who are in the vice-royalty, the little blandishments of volup- acting from the stimulus of ambi. tuous dissipation. Finding that tion and envy, are supposed to be the men only require these as ob- equal to their brethren from Europe. The militia with the regular on horseback, but are only calcuofficers are likewise good troops, lated to be of service against sabut are not held in such high es- vages, who have no fire-arms. The timation as the other corps. These dragoons of the vice-royalty do three corps, forming a body of not make use of the lance or twenty-three thousand two hun shield, but are armed, equipped, dred and eighty-eight men, may and clothed after the modern be called the regular force of the manner, as are also the dragoons kingdom, as the militia of one of the eastern provinces. When hundred and thirty-nine thousand they recently expected to be opfive hundred, would, in my esti- posed by the American troops, mation, be of no more conse- they were deprived of their lance quence against the regular troops and shield, and received the of any civilized power, than the straight cutlass in their stead. ancient Aborigines of the country Their dress is a short blue coat, were against the army of Cortes. with a red cape and cuff without The particular observations which facings, leather or blue cotton velfollow, must be considered as ap- vet small clothes and waistcoat; plying to the troops of the inter- the small clothes always open at nal provinces, unless specified to the knees: the wrapping boot with the contrary. The appearance of the jack boot, and permanent spurs the Spanish troops is certainly over it; a broad brimmed high(at a distance) à la militaire. Their crowned wool hat, with a ribbon lances are fixed to the side of the round it of various colours, genersaddle under the left thigh, and ally received as a present from slant about five feet above the some female, which they wear as horse ; on the right the carabine is a badge of the favour of the fair slung in a case to the front of the sex, and a mark of their gallantry. saddle (or pummel) crossways, the Their horses are small and slenbreech to the right hand, and on der limbed, but very agile, and are each side of the saddle behind capable of enduring great fatigue. the rider is a pistol ; below the The equipments of the horses are, breech of the carabine is slung the to our ideas, awkward, but I beshield, which is made of sole lea- lieve them superior to the English, ther trebled, sewed together with and they have the advantage over thongs, with a band on the inside, us, as to the skill of the rider, as to slip the left arm through ; those well as the quality of the horse, of the privates are round, and as their bridles have a strong curb, about two feet diameter. The of- which gives them so great a meficers and non-commissioned offi- chanical force, that I believe it cers have them of an oval form, almost practicable with it to break bending on both sides, in order to the jaw of the horse. The sadpermit the arrow to glance, and dle is made after the Persian They have in general the arms of model, with a high projecting Spain with Don Carlos the Fourth, pummel, or, as anciently termed, gilt on the outside, with various bow, and is likewise raised behind; other devices, which add much to this is merely the tree. It is then the elegance of their appearance covered by two or three coats of carved leather, and embroidered considers himself upon an equality workmanship, some with gold and with most of the citizens, and silver in a very superb manner, infinitely superior to the lower The stirrups are of wood closed in class ; and it is not unfrequent to front, carved generally in the see men of considerable fortune figure of a lion's head, or some marrying the daughters of serother beast ; they are very heavy, geants and corporals. and to us present a very clumsy The pay of the troops of, New appearance. The horseman seat- Spain varies with the locality, but ed on his horse has a small bag may be averaged in the internal tied behind him, his blankets provinces as follows: either under him, or lying with A colonel, four thousand five his cloak between his body and bundred dollars per annum; lieuthe bow, which makes him at tenant-colonel, four thousand ; his ease.
Thus mounted, it is major, three thousand ; captain, impossible for the most vicious two thousand four hundred; first animals to dismount them. They lieutenant, one thousand five hunwill catch another horse, when dred ; second lieutenant, one both are running nearly at full thousand; ensign, eight hundred; speed, with a noose and hair rope, serjeant, three hundred and fifty ; with which they will soon choak corporal, three hundred ; private, down the beast they are pursuing. two hundred and eighty-eight. In short, they are probably the With this pay they find their own most expert horsemen in the clothes, provisions, arms, accouworld.
trements, &c. after the first equipAt each port is a store, called ments. the king's, where it was the origi- Corporal punishment is contrary nal intention of the government to the Spanish ordinances; they that the soldiers should be suppli- punish by imprisonment, putting ed with provisions, clothing, arms, in the stocks, and death : but as &c, at a cheap rate; but it being a remarkable instance of the disa post generally given to some cipline and regularity of conduct young officer to make his furtune, of the provincial troops, I may they are subject to great imposi- mention, that although marching tions. When a dragoon joins the with them, and doing duty as it service, he receives from the king were for nearly four months, I five horses and two mules, and never saw a man receive a blow, this number he is always obliged or put under confinement for one to keep good from his own pocket; hour. How impossible would it but when he is discharged, the be to regulate the turbulent dispohorses and mules receive the dis- sitions of the Americans with such charge mark, and become his pri. treatment? In making the forevate property. They engage for going remark, I do not include of. five or ten years, at the option of ficers, for I saw more rigorous the soldier. But in the bounty treatment exercised towards some there is a very material difference." of them, than ever was practised It is extremely easy to keep up in our army. the corps, as a private dragoon The discipline of their troops is