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VIRGIN FIELDS REMAINING
The new year presents such political
complications as insure tremendous Even in Africa, which for a quarter changes in eastern Asia during the of a century has engrossed the zeal and twentieth century. As rehabilitated energy of explorers, there is much yet China concedes extended spheres of forto be made known and charted. Not eign influence, geographical knowledge only is there great work to be done in will grow apace. Gradually the great the Libyan Desert and the Central Sa- blanks in Manchuria. Mongolia, Tibet, hara, but even the country of the Tau- and Indo-China will be filled on maps of rigs, in Western Sahara, needs thorough Asia. Like advances may be expected exploration. South of Abyssinia and
as to Arabia, Sumatra, Borneo, the northwest of Lake Rudolf is almost Malay Peninsula, and especially the virgin ground. The most interesting Philippine Archipelago. In the lastareas are the primeval forests in the named region the almost untraversed basins of the Ubangi and Aruwimi. islands of Mindanao, Mindora, and PalThese regions invite naturalists and eth- awan will soon yield to the energetic nologists to reveal to the world their and intelligent explorer the long-hidden fauna, flora, and ethnology, and espe- secrets of nature as to their fauna, flora, cially to correlate information on the and capabilities of service to mankind pygmies of Du Chaillu, Stanley, and in general and to the United States in Schweinfürth.
MEXICO OF TODAY
By Senor Dr. Don Juan N. NAVARRO, Consul-GENERAL OF
MEXICO IN NEW YORK CITY
V object in preparing this paper ise of a speedy and splendid return. Be
is to present to the members fore entering upon my subject I wishi
of the National Geographic to state tliat my words and opinions are Society and to the readers of its journal made on my own responsibility, and some well-ascertained facts about the are in 110 sense semi-official.
In speakMexico of today and the many natural ing of my own country I can hardly be and commercial attractions which make required to be impartial in my opinions, it one of the best places in which to in- but in the statement of facts I shall envest capital withi security and the prom- deavor to give not only my own private judgment, but the opinions of persons tract diseases consequent upon exposure and newspapers who have nothing to to the cold air. expect or fear from Mexico.
* Other papers on the advance in geograph- “A Century of Exploration." By Cyrus C. ical knowledge during the past one hundred Adams. The World's Work, January, 1901. years are :
The Geographical Conquests of the Nine“The Progress of Geography during the teenth Century:” By Angelo Heilprin. The Nineteenth Century." By Gilbert H. Gros- N. Y Evening Post, January 12, 1901.
Appendix to the Report of the Sec- “Fields for Future Explorers.' By Sir retary of the Smitlisonian Institution for Henry M. Stanley. Windsor Magazine, Jau1900
uary, 1901, "The Transformation of the Map (1825- "Welche Erdgebiete sind am Schlusse des 1900)," By Joseplı Sohn. Scribner's Maga- 19 Jahrhunderts noch unberkannt?" Von H. zine, March, 1901.
Singer, Globus, 2 Juni, 1900.
Not a single navigable river traverses Some years ago I knew by sight a the whole country. This unfavorable tourist who went to Mexico City and natural condition has necessitated the staid there exactly a week, not know building of many railroads at an enoring, of course, a single word of Spanish, mous cost over the mountainous soil. and on his return home published an Our constitution is similar to that of article on Mexico, relating all his ro- the United States in the main points. mantic adventures in the country, among Mexico is a federal republic, divided which was an attack by a band of rob- into States and Territories; the former bers on a stage coach where that remark- ruled by their particular constitutions, able man was traveling. The captain and the latter directly governed by the of this band was nove other than a black- federal authorities. The executive is eved Señorita, who practiced the danger appointed by popular election every four ous and romantic vocation of highway years, but as the constitution prescribes robbery. All those adventures were no limits for reëlection, we all have had very entertaining, and their only fault the pleasure, and, in our opinion, the was not to have any existence except good sense, of reëlecting General Diaz in the fertile imagination of their in- for the fifth'term, ending on November ventor.
30, 1904. Within the past thirty years the means Perhaps some persons will not deem of transportation have wonderfully in- it in accordance with republican ideas creased. Instead of sailing vessels and a to reëlect a man so many times, but we steamer every three weeks, there are now Mexican citizens answer that if it is not two regular steamers every week and in accordance with certain theoretical many “tramp” steamers, and by land principles, it is in perfect conformity we have four railroad lines connecting with that sense called common precisely the two countries.
because it is so rare. The configuration of the land of Mex- The president of a republic is the attorico is very peculiar ; low near the coasts, ney, elected by the citizens to administer it ascends continually and very rapidly for a certain period, under prescribed to the interior, until an altitude from rules established by the constitution, 6,000 to 10,000 feet is reached above the their foreign and interior affairs. If we sea-level, arriving at what is called the find a person who performs the duties "table land.''
imposed upon him with remarkable abil. Our capital, Mexico City, has an ele- ity and honesty, as we Mexican citizens vation of nearly 7,400 feet—that is to believe that a man of that kind cannot be say, it is from 800 to 900 feet higher very easily found, we renew our power of than the highest peak of Mt. Washing- attorney for another four years, leaving ton, which has an elevation of 6,500 feet. intact the most severe maxims of repubAlthough the city is only a little more licanism. than 19 degrees north of the Equator, This custom of changing as little as it never experiences a tropical summer. possible those public officers who for the That a light overcoat is needed in the performance of their duties require a evening at every season of the year is certain amount of technical instruction seldom appreciated by foreign travelers, and experience is very old in Mexico. who, under the notion of visiting a trop- Even in the times when political parties ical country, come provided only with waged terrible war upon each other, caussummer clothing, and thus often con- ing frequent changes of administration,
many officers who for their competency of a religious and the other of a civil and honesty seemed to all to be the right character, men in the right places were left undis- Some lawyers say “ that it is not conturbed.
venient to hinder or make marriage a If we entertain an elevated opinion of little difficult ;” but others answer in General Diaz we only agree with what reply, “that it is better to oblige men the press of every country, from Russia and women to practice the known proto Spain and from Cape Horn to Wash- verb, "Look before you leap,' or, as ington, declare when they assert that we say in Spanish, Antes que te cases, Mexico is one of the most prosperous mira lo que haces' (Before you get marand best governed countries in the world. ried, think of what you are doing)."
Our constitutional laws differ from Divorce is absolutely rejected, though those of the United States in denying legal separation is allowed, with the the right to religious corporations of any formalities prescribed by said laws. denomination to possess or administer or The public administration of Mexico to hold any mortgage upon real estate. is divided into seven departments : ForIn consequence the property of such eign Affairs; the Interior ; Justice and corporation must be in cash or in shares Public Education ; Improvements, Inof railroad, telegraph, manufacturing dustry, Commerce and Colonization ; mining, or some other kind of enterprise Communications and Public Works ; which keeps their money in constant Finance and Public Credit ; and War circulation. The object of this legisla- and Navy. tion was to prevent the stagnation of The Department of Foreign Affairs real estate constantly produced by those maintains amicable relations with all the corporations having two characteristics-- countries of both hemispheres. Today indefinite duration and possession in com- Mexico has not a single cause of dismon—110t any of their members being agreement with any power or people in able to dispose of any part of the prop- the world. erty, as is the case in mercantile associa- One of the principal objects of the tions.
Department of the Interior is to cultiAnother point worthy of mention is vate cordial relations between the Fedthe disposition of our fundamental laws eral and State authorities. There was relative to marriage. Our legislators a time when almost every State governor considered marriage as the corner-stone conscientiously believed it to be his duty of the social edifice, and consequently to oppose in every way the Federal Exthey did not leave it to the legislatures ecutive, and even some of them mainof the States, but prescribed precise and tained a large military force, not to keep ineludible rules as to its nature and form peace and give public security, but in of contract.
order to resist by force, if necessary, the In short, they considered marriage a orders of the Federal Executive. Those civil contract constituted by the indis- narrow-minded and anarchical ideas are soluble union of a single man to a single things of the past, and General Diaz, in woman, and requiring for its legal va- his last report, relates with patriotic lidity that it be contracted before a civil pleasure “that not a single State has magistrate appointed for the purpose. any difficulty or displeasure with the Of course, the laws do not prevent the Federal authorities or with any of its contracting parties from having recourse neighboring States, and that all their to the ministers of their religious creed, governors try to act in perfect accord and this is the reason why in Mexico with the Federal Executive to give an all nuptial ceremonies are double-one impulse to the continual progress of the
whole country." In other words, they street and avenue, and misdemeanors are sufficiently enlightened to avail and crimes can often be prevented and themselves of the reasonable liberty the criminals almost always caught. In given by the constitution to administer general, the policemen are courteous their internal affairs, and remember that and ready, not only to help when called, they are only members of that great but to give any information about streets body called the Mexican Republic, the and public buildings-in a word, to be only sovereign in the true and correct useful to everybody. The services rensense of the word.
dered are entirely gratuitous, and many The board of health is a branch of persons, especially foreigners, who with this department, and the Federal Ex- the best intention have tried to give ecutive and all the States devote to it them a voluntary reward for the recovspecial attention. In the City of Mex- ery of lost goods, can testify that the ico a general hospital will be completed reward has never been accepted in any very soon, where 22 isolated pavilions form. General Diaz in his last report have already been finished and where makes the important observation that more than 600 patients can be commodi- well-made statistical tables prove that ously, hygienically, and scientifically it is not criminality that has increased, cared for.
but rather the efficiency of the police. The States have followed this ex- The rural police, who guard the roads ample, and many of them have finished of the country in general, are formed or have in actual construction similar exclusively by mounted men picked institutions based upon the same scien- from the best riders of the Republic and tific principles.
are mounted on splendid horses. This The efficacy of the measures taken by force, by reason of their efficiency and the board of health in regard to vacci- beautiful appearance, always attract the nation and the prevention of smallpox attention of the spectators. has received the amplest confirmation Places for the correction and punishfrom experience. In 1898 an epidemic ment of criminals, or penitentiaries, are of smallpox broke out in different parts being built throughout the Republic acof the country and in the City of Mex- cording to the systems proven best by ico. The total number of deaths was only experience, and are all founded upon 78, the great majority being foreigners, the philosophical and truly Christian who had not taken the precaution of idea that society, when it takes hold of being revaccinated.
a criminal, does not intend to wreak We have another institution in excel- vengeance on him, but to prevent him lent condition in the Federal district; from repeating his offensive acts and to that is the police. The whole force is reformn and convert him by every possidivided in two large sections—the city or ble means into a good and honest citizen, urban and the country or rural police. and, at the same time, to deter others
The greater part of the first consist from following his example. of footmen, with a small squadron of Let us now glance briefly over two of mounted police, while the second or the most important foundations of any rural police is exclusively composed of society, and, more especially, of a Remounted men.
public--the department of justice and The distribution of the city police is public education. in the opinion of many natives and for- The Federal and State authorities are eigners, perfectly organized for public continually trying to perfect the adminprotection. There is always a police istration of justice and to elect able and man stationed at the crossing of every honest citizens to the judgeships. Our