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Photos by Dr. C. William Beebe
The nests of giant tropical orioles, or caciques, in Mexico are
Photo by Dr. C. William Deebe
Plioto by Dr. C. lllilliam Leebe THE LONG-TAILED CRESTED JAY Next to the parrots, the long-tailed crested jays of Mexico are the most conspicuous birds at the edge of the table-land. They live in flocks of about twenty and are very noisy. Small birds fear them as they do hawks and for much the same reason, as they are inveterate robbers of nests.
VIEW FROM IXTACCHITUATL, WITIL POPOCATEPTL, IN THE DISTANCE
Photo from Alberto I,. Godoy
their heights, “the most imposing spectacle of all is the formation of the clouds below you"
A MEXICAN HACIENDA
Life on one of the Baronial Estates of our Southern Neighbor
By J. E. KIRKWOOD
XTENDING southeastward from institution. Feudal in its traditions and the Rio Grande, between high aristocratic in its management, it reminds
sierras on the east and west, is the one of the old-world baronies of the midMexican plateau. About 250 miles in dle ages. Consistent with political conwidth, this area extends from Juarez to ditions in a country little more than nomits southern extremity, about a thousand inally democratic, it is, nevertheless, so miles. Throughout an arid land, it lies at variance with American ideals of libunder a clear sky and has few streams erty and equality that not the least of the and little rain.
interest in the system lies in the fact that Its extensive plains are traversed at such medievalism has fourished at our intervals by more or less isolated moun own doors up to the present time. tain ranges, mostly trending in parallel The story of the haciendas is one of course with the Sierra Madre, which romantic interest. Each, largely a law form its eastern and western walls. The unto itself, developed its own institutions, mountains rise from 8,000 to 10,000 feet, had its life and activities apart from the but in the interior of the country they rest of the State, and to all intents and appear much lower, owing to the eleva purposes constituted a clistinct social and tion of the plain itself, which increases in economic unit. altitude from about 3,700 feet at Juarez The writer, not long ago, enjoyed the to over 8,000 feet near the City of Mex- opportunity of a year's sojourn upon ico. The topography of this region is one of these haciendas. This estate, the very similar to much of that of Arizona, Hacienda of the Cedars, is zo miles long New Mexico, and western Texas.
by 60 wide, a domain about equal in area Though seemingly desolate, the land to the State of Connecticut. Ilthough abounds in life, and the representatives much smaller than some of the other haciof its fauna and flora occupy places in endas, it nevertheless constitutes a considwidely differing families of animals and erable property, being 212 million acres plants. The country supports, however, in extent From center to circumference a meager and scattered population, which, is a day's journey or more, and the prooutside the cities, is concerned chiefly prietor, when he visits the outlying porwith mining and stock-raising. While tions of his estate, prepares for a journey physically capable of a larger develop- of days or weeks with coach-and-six and ment agriculturally, this has not been pos- attendants and much of the air of a petty sible under the system of land tenure ruler. which now obtains and has existed in The Hacienda de Cedros, or, in Mexico from the early times of the Span exact terms, the Hacienda de San Juan ish occupation.
The creation of enor Bautista de los Cedros (the Hacienda of mous private estates, devoted to mining St. John the Baptist of the Cedars), lies or grazing, and the domination of large in the northwestern corner of the State sections of the country by the interests of of Zacatecas. Mr. Charles T. Andrews, a single individual or family have greatly writing of life on a Mexican hacienda, hindered the growth of agricultural in says of this place : “There are several tradustry
ditions in regard to the early history of
the Cedros hacienda. One is that the FEUDAL AND ARISTOCRATIC
original grantee obtained the land as a The Mexican estate known as a haci sort of subsidy for a missionary propaenda is in some respects a remarkable ganda for the conversion of the Indians
Ears are rubbed on blocks made by binding together corn-cobs. "One observing their farming in the outlying districts might imagine himself living in the days of the Pharaolis. The field is plowed with a crooked stick drawn by oxen, with the yoke tied to the horns, Grain is cut with sickle and threshed by the hoofs of cattle, and corn is planted and shelled by hand. Rough and heavy home-made carts or the backs of men or burros are the most common modes of conveyance. The people seem to have no appreciation of improved farming implements. Often when improved implements are provided the laborers they discard them for more primitive methods” (see text, page 573).
and the glory of the church.' There still erty as simply a desert waste, very unremains indeed in the archives at Mexico desirable: but, in order to relieve the a map of the hacienda with a sketch of crown of an unsalable asset,' he magnanithe church building he proposeil to erect. mously offered to pay 6,000 Spanish dolAccording to these plans, the sacred edi lars for it as a virtual contribution to the fice would cover about five acres. The re support of the throne, and thereupon result was like some modern schemes for ceived a deeil, with the thanks of the public aid to private enterprise.
monarch for his loval zeal!" promoter got 212 million acres of land Some one who knew of the facts as and the church got a building 10 by 60 they then were later endorsed the followfect.
ing on a blank page of the deed itself: "*\Vith less pious pretense, but by "This reprobate son of a degenerate caually clishonest methods, a second pur father,
knew that besides rich chaser obtained the property at a later deposits of minerals and large flocks of period. For some reason, either through sheep and goats, the hacienda had at that escheat or confiscation, the crown again time 30,000 head of beef cattle, which, to came into possession of the hacienda and say nothing of the rest, the unmitigated offered it for sale. An official in Mexico, scoundrel got for 20 cents apiece by outtaking advantage of the ignorance of the right and deliberate lying to his Most home government, represented the prop Catholic Majesty, the King of Spain."