Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Oh! What tangled webs we weave, when first we practice to deceive....


Photograph taken shortly after the realisation
 that some lower-class cad had wrested more
electoral college votes from the fray than
(Sir Edmund) Hillary.   Title?


Three Deaf Mice
Three Mute Mice

Each depending upon the other to cover each.

Can one marxist trust another Bolshevik,
who then trusts another National Socialist
when there is another anti-colonialist,
Marxist in the mix?   One thing for certain;
  the police in Cambridge behoven stupidly.
This submission was made in remembrance of
Uncle Omar Onyango Obama and Auntie
Zietuni, Barak's auntie and uncle who
ran up a bill, so far, of 4,000,000 dollars
in public assistance, while being proudly
illegal aliens in Massachusetts.
 AND, of course we remember how long the 
"non-aggression pact" between Nazi
 Germany and the Soviet Union lasted.


Friday, 26 January 2018

Notice Alert to all OROGs: A couple of projects coming down the pike


     We have had a considerable reaction from the OROG community (Official Readers of the Old Gringo) with reference to our adoption as a life-mission the person and works of Lorenzo de Zavala.   We announce herewith that a fourth instalment of this opus will be started and completed shortly...within the next three to four days.
     We shall delve specifically into the person of Stephen Fuller Austin and his almost fraternal connection to Lorenzo.  We shall compare and contrast the two men whose brilliance and willingness to slog through the day-to-day, dull, legal, and political morass is amazing.
     Our next submission concerning this theatre of interest will plumb  that which dismally awaits those who truly only wish to serve and project good upon the populace they represent.

     Further, we are going to revise and extend our previous three "Volumes"  concerning Lorenzo de Zavala and the events surrounding him, his friends, and his enemies.   The entire matter is one which repulses, inspires, perplexes, and certainly interests the reasonable history addict.

Federalist and Hero of Texas

      And, we shall further throw this matter into deeper and wider understanding of the entire Texian matter of the decades of the 1830s through the 1840s.  This will be done by gently folding the person and personality of one Juan Seguin, he who played Joan d'Arc, the Man of La Mancha, and Gen. MacArthur, and perhaps a bit of an honourable Benedict Arnold in real life, into this peculiar mix.   The truth shall make you free, and the truth will astound even those with the most imaginative imagination concerning this remarkable, (and in my opinion, honourable) man.
The tomb of Juan Seguin
 Hero of the Texas
Revolution...victim of those
who thought naught and who
had ill motive.  
Buried with honours in Texas
 soil.  Long may his
 memory survive.
   This anthology - analysis will include everything from Comonfort and Santa Anna to the likes of the brilliant and patient Texas General Somerville, Col. Tom Green, and a correct description of the Battle of Mier - Christmas, 1842 with well-remembered instructives from Agustin Salinas who was schooled in the battle by his uncles who participated in that event.  Agustin was also my father's mayordomo and exectutive officer during our days as grove-care operators and farmers.  His words, our ears...including my father, eldest brother, and your humble servant were shared by a man who had dealt with men who were actual family and combatants.
   He, therewith, instructed the Newton boys about his understanding concerning what really happened during that cold, snowy, freezing rain, and otherwise  miserable episode which resulted in a Custeresque disaster for the Texians.

     It will be neither favourable nor disadvantageous to the person of Samuel Houston, David Crockett, James Bowie nor his brother Resin Bowie, who is the actual developer of the famed "Bowie Knife".   It will point out various and many good points concerning the chorus of excellent and patriotic Mexican officers and then ask "Why?" of such obvious gentlemen and officers that they would allow themselves to be commanded by a madman.

Also, we find very open space for conjecture about the idea that James Bowie could fit this identifier, to wit: 

Bowie and Booze -

Jim Bowie had a penchant for alcohol to the extent of what we now call, "alcohol abuse." Anson Jones, a physician who would later become the fourth and final President of the Republic of Texas, had the experience of meeting Bowie and Sam Houston while the two were in consultation at San Felipe. Jones found Houston to be the rowdy leader while he found Bowie “dead drunk”.[6] The reasons for Bowie’s alcohol abuses have yet to be determined. He undoubtedly suffered from physical pain resulting from him skirmishes and battles that included gunshot wounds. Depression is another possible explanation for his over-indulgences due to the loss of his wife and child to cholera in 1833. Regardless of why he drank, he continued to do so at an accelerated rate.

     El Gringo Viejo submits that there is substantial reason to attribute all such influences cited above to Bowie's seeking relief in a bottle.   He actually lost a profoundly beautiful, industrious, and high-born wife and TWO daughters to the cholera, ironically because he felt it best that they leave the lowlands and the coastal areas to the east of San Antonio, and travel to the higher elevations and lower humidities of Saltillo, Monclova, and such. There the "...evenings and nighttimes were always fresh and cool, and the days always a bit too warm...resulting in a wondrous effect upon a person's soul and sentiment". There, the lowlands, in the early 1830s, would not reach them.  Such was the stated observation by one traveller passing through the very Sephardic (Jewish-Spanish colonist lands in and around aforementioned Monclova and Saltillo) desert-like highlands of Coahuila's north.

We shall try to shed wider and deeper light upon the processes and acts of:

   (1)   The period of the formation of Texian Governance...the Presidents and figures of the upper and lower house of the Texian Congress, the personalities, the problem with the Germans, Indians, and the late arrivals who felt empowered, although they lacked credential. 
   (2)    Sam  Houston's pro, and the con, and then pro, and then con, foreign and domestic policy concerning relations with the hostile Indians, the Mexican formal central government, his own Congress, and his associates, and society, and his own affection for the various Indian nations.

   (3)     Why many regretted and a famous Mexican Army Officer said, that the Texians would lament having joined a Union of States that ultimately would wish to destroy the Texians.

     All of the afore-included is perhaps a tickler.  I am searching my couch and recliner to find loose change to make a proper book, published, and within the reach of sixth-grade up to university level students (are there still 'students', or only snowflakes?), and beyond.   Any and all  advice will be appreciated.

El Gringo Viejo

Sunday, 21 January 2018

The Third Instalment of the Life, Times, and Finally, the Importance of LORENZO de ZAVALA (completiion before 12:00 noon, 22 January 2018

Monday, 22 January 2018

A Few Points Concerning the Life and Times of Lorenzo de Zavala...

     We include the first overview of Lorenzo as a matter of convenience.  Some of our readers are interested in copying the article for the purpose intended.  That purpose is to provide especially the younger among us to see, hear, and envision within their own minds something beyond the standard, at times valid and at times misunderstood, treatment of the period from 1834 to and including almost all of 1836.  This effort has taken pieces and bits of almost three weeks to prepare and publish.  We appreciate the interest that has been shown and the comments received. 


1st Volume:

 Manuel Lorenzo Justiniano
 de Zavala y Sáenz
   Of all the figures in the panoply of saints of the Texian Cause against the Centralist Forces in Mexico, during the period uniting the first and second thirds of the 19th Century, my decision as to the most important and valuable personality has been made.   This is at the point where El Gringo Viejo, truly is 'viejo' and has long since crossed third base in the game of Life.   This is a truly, long-term studied opinion.

     The man whom we wish to celebrate and commend to the attention of all the youngsters who are wandering around on their computer games and twitter accounts, is the individual pictured on the left. 
     He has the typical long, drawn-out, Spanish formal name placed there so that younger Texians can become familiar with such things.  In probability his first two names came from both sides of his parentage.  The third "first name" belonged first to a favoured Uncle possibly.  And, the Zavala name is his father's surname, Saenz is his mother's.

     Some historians are certain that Zavala y Saenz had at least paternal Basque (north and north central Spanish) ancestry.  The surnames, however, might point the researcher in the direction of the medieval Arabic (Zavala) and Hebrew (Saenz) origin from the same period, drawn from the Sephardics who had filtered in from the punishment and fall of Jerusalem at the hands of the Roman Empire,  and then again accompanying the Saracen Invasion of the Iberian Peninsula by the Mohammedans in the 7th Century.
Franciscan mission established in 1500's
in the Mayan village of Tecoh
    While one-fourth of the Spanish language is derived from classical Arabic even to-day, other languages whittled away at the "official language of Islam" (Arabic) for 700 years until it became quite obvious that a new language had been forming and solidifying during that time lapse.   Latin (Italian), Gaelic, French, Greek, and the peculiar Basque language worked their linguistic chemistry until, let us arbitrarily say, Spanish would first distill itself around 900 a.d. and become later a trade and commercial "language of Empire" when Spain would dominate the world stage. That would have been in the 1200 a.d. through 1700 a.d. period.   These matters are important, because it would appear to this writer that the family of Lorenzo de Zavala always seemed to be properly placed.  They were not royal or even of the higher aristocracy, but they were literate, well-schooled, involved in commerce and wealth production and protection, and because some or much of the extended family were lower level aristocrats, they gained and kept high office.
Typical double-apsial home in Tecoh, a
 bit more elaborate but very similar to
 what Lorenzo would have seen.
   There are many still and the
 traditional style above is very
 prevalent to this day
     For instance, during the 1700s, Lorenzo's gradnfather and father worked both in Peru  before moving to the North and the Spanish province of Yucatan, in what was New Spain (Mexico) at that time.   Actually, the Yucatan then, as now, had the air about it that it was a separate place, unto itself.
   And what was his "office"?  He was a "notario", a very important legal position in Spain, the colonial areas of Spain around the world, and even to-day in Mexico. For instance the buying and selling of land and real property in Mexico is best done to this day, and officialised only by, a Notario Publico.  The same rule applies throughout Latin America where Spain once dominated and ruled.

     Lorenzo de Zavala was born, in 1788, in a small village by the name of Tecoh (teh-KOH) not far from the elegant City of Merida, known as the "White City".   Some say that the city was so named because it was the centre of population for the Caucasian population of the Yucatan (partially true), while others point out that even to-day, the construction and painting that predominates is white cement, limestone blocks, white brick, and white paint (especially true).
    El Gringo Viejo assures one and all that it is very "white", eye-squintingly bright, especially during the torrid, tropical Summertime.  Mornings and late afternoons and evenings are wonderfully pleasant and worthy of investigation by any reasonable traveller.
An idea about why the "White City" Merida
is called what it is.

     Even in the days of Lorenzo's childhood, Tecoh was a short distance, perhaps an hour by carriage to the Cathedral in the middle of Merida.  There is little doubt that Lorenzo could speak the language of the native peoples, the Maya.  That language has six major dialectic groups, and as many as 90 significant sub- dialects.  But, the Maya around where Lorenzo grew up thought of themselves as "The Maya" and spoke Maaya t'aan (literally - Maya speech).   The division of Maya who resided in the Yucatan were known to other Maya further to the South as the Puuc Maya....puuc meaning "flatlands".

    We then must consider that Lorenzo de Zavala was a boy born into the lower range of the upper class, that he was very literate, and he was very intelligent.   He also gained the sense that the Yucatan was a different place from Mexico.   He understood that the two entities were related and entangled politically, but he also thought it well that more power and authority be reserved to the locales and States and regions of Mexico than should be concentrated in Mexico City.   The distance between Mexico City and its outlying domain was obviously one reason, but Lorenzo, early on, developed a certain mistrust for autocratic and bureaucratic centralised control.   As an additional point of reference, Merida being far, far to the east of Mexico City, did not have freight or passenger rail service until 1954.  Mexico City and Guadalajara and Mexico City Vera Cruz lines were finished a half century to almost a century before. 
      The Yucatan, during his time, and even to this day, was relatively non-corrupt when compared to the institutions operated by the Central Government.  Laws passed were normally adhered to, and deals made were almost always respected the next morning.  And furthermore, it was a place that could make its own way with fish and henequen.   The world ate salted fish and the maritime world bought tonnes and tonnes of henequen rope and fibre.  The climate of the region also lent to the production of citrus, tomatoe, corn, peppers (including the much ballyhoo'd habanero), and many other goodies from it rocky but fertile soils.
     These matters are important, because it would appear to this writer that the family of Lorenzo de Zavala always seemed to be properly placed.  They were not royal or even of the higher aristocracy, but they were literate, well-schooled, involved in commerce and wealth production and protection, and because some or much of the families were lower level aristocrats, they gained and kept high office.
Typical double-apsial home in Tecoh, a
 bit more elaborate but very similar to
 what Lorenzo would have seen.
   There are many still and the
 traditional style above is very
 prevalent to this day
     For instance, during the 1700s, Lorenzo's father worked both in Peru and in the Spanish province of Yucatan, in what was New Spain (Mexico) at that time.   Actually, the Yucatan then, as now, had the air about it that it was a separate place, unto itself.   And what was his "office"?  He was a "notario", a very important legal position in Spain, the colonial areas of Spain around the world, and even to-day in Mexico, for instance.  The buying and selling of land and real property in Mexico is best done
 and officialised only by, a Notario Publico.  The same rule applies throughout Latin America where Spain once dominated and ruled.

    We then must consider that Lorenzo de Zavala was a boy born into the lower range of the upper class, that he was very literate, and he was very intelligent.   He also gained the sense that the Yucatan was a different place from Mexico.   He understood that the two entities were related and entangled politically, but he also thought it well that more power and authority be reserved to the locales and States and regions of Mexico than should be concentrated in Mexico City.   The distance between Mexico City and its outlying domain was obviously one reason, but Lorenzo, early on, developed a certain mistrust for autocratic and bureaucratic centralised control.   As an additional point of reference, Merida being far, far to the east of Mexico City, did not have freight or passenger rail service until 1954.  Mexico City and Guadalajara and Mexico City Vera Cruz lines were finished a half century to almost a century before.

 Ferdinand VII, King of Spain
until the usurpation by
 Napoleon in 1812
      The Yucatan, during his time, and even to this day, was relatively non-corrupt when compared to the institutions operated by the Central Government.  Laws passed were normally adhered to, and deals made were almost always respected the next morning.  And furthermore, it was a place that could make its own way with fish and henequen.   The world ate salted fish and the maritime world bought tonnes and tonnes of henequen rope and fibre.  The climate of the region also lent to the production of citrus, tomatoe, corn, peppers (including the much ballyhoo'd habanero), and many other goodies from it rocky but fertile soils.

     Lorenzo de Zavala performed as a young man in such a way as to not only make his parents proud, but also to impress other forward looking thinkers and business people in the Yucatan.  He had studied at the prestigious Franciscan Tridentine School of San Ildefonso in Merida, and then later began a newspaper that took issue with the treatment of Mexico by the Spanish Court and Spanish Royals.   His newspaper eventually brought the wrath of the Spanish Cortez down upon Lorenzo and he was rewarded with three years of imprisonment for offending Rey Ferdinand VII and his buddies on the Spanish Court.
     During his time in the "bote" (can), he actively pursued studies in the medical arts and sciences...qualifying for practice after two years study, a record for the time.  However, he saw his calling in the task of "muckraking" and calling down the privileged and titled who did not also serve all classes of people in New Spain....soon to be Mexico.
     He did not hate the rich, nor did he eschew their right to wealth and social position or their professions, but he did believe in the parable that"...those who had received much, of them shall be required much".  He could be styled as a believer in the ancillary story of the three servants who had been entrusted with five talents to the first one, four to the second one, and one talent to the third.  The master congratulated the first two for doubling their portion, but he castigated the third, and poorest one, for not having gained, for his own good, a matching talent.
    His entire mindset was very much one of a person who would favour and endorse a general governmental scheme of democratic republicanism.  He was not a fan of monarchy because he had seen the lack of political value and cultural worth of the Spanish crown during its decay (especially after the year 1800).  His idea was to build a society based upon the value of each man, and each family as separate and sovereign entities bound in a society and culture of common law, applicable equally to the wealthy, the poor, and all social levels in between.  While the swirl of the of the Mexican uprising against Spanish Rule began and deepened, Lorenzo appointed himself, being Governor of the Yucatan, to be the representative of that Province to the Royal Spanish Court.
     While enduring the wiles and caprices of Court political manoeuvring, he also sharpened his linguistic skills, perfecting his French and English to a point that during his travels in Europe people had difficulty determining his nationality.  This would come to serve his purposes and objectives in life well in the years to come.
     While before the Court, he advised the august body that Spain could win many battles against the Mexicans, but it would be a contest that would eventually be resolved in favour of the Mexicans.  He told them about being a governor of a land of many haciendas, ruled as small nations essentially, producing henequen (sisal fibre), and tropical fruit and vegetables.  He told them that their labour force were aboriginals who had built great cities and structures more impressive and of greater size than those found in Giza or anywhere in Europe.
     He spoke of his native Maya Puuc and that they alone numbered almost 600, 000 souls, almost all now Christian, and that there were many nations within Mexico, many languages, that counting only the ten largest nations...the Maya, the Huastec, the Tlaxcala, the Otomi', the Mixtec, the Zapotec, the Quichole, the Totonac, the less organised Chichimeca of the north, and the upper and lower Tarascan of the Central Highlands...easily totalled to 7,000,000 souls.   He would speak of the good the Spanish had done in educating and protecting in their way the native populations, but he warned that the time had come that the Aboriginal Peoples would demand legal equality and respect as independent citizens and cultures.
    One could make the case that Lorenzo began to pave the road that would lead to an end of the War of Secession against Spain and allow for the establishment of an independent and sovereign nation of Mexico.  That event occurred in 1821 when the Vice-Regency of Mexico, in the person of Juan O'Donoju' y O'Ryan, a brilliant diplomat, soldier, and political expert, came into Mexico at Vera Cruz, meeting with the leader of the Mexican forces who were fighting for some recognition of independence from the disordered Spanish authority.
     True enough, much of the problems with Spanish order had been caused by the insistence of Napoleon Bonaparte to place his nephew on the Spanish throne, displacing the House of Borbon, this in 1812.  This resulted, directly, in the various elements of Spanish influence, and the Portuguese, along with the United Kingdom combining and finally bringing Napoleon to his knees at Waterloo.
     Instability continued in Mexico, further fracturing the concept of a monocultural government being able to control, administer, and advance life conditions for a nation that, at that time included everything from what is now Panama' up to and including what is now a significant portion of southwestern Canada.  To this day, Mexico retains the marks of this period of regionalism.  Large segments of Mexico have populations that truly tend to consider themselves first "Yucateco", or "Tapatio" (of the Region dominated by Guadalajara and the State of Jalisco), or "Capitalino" (people of the central Mexican capital), or "Regiomontano" (people of the land of Monterrey and Nuevo Leon - The Mountainous Kingdom) and so forth.  These divisions exist to this day, although the knives are dull, they remain nevertheless, knives ready to be sharpened.
     This brilliant leader, O'Donoju' y O'Ryan, most certainly would have had contact with Lorenzo during their time together at the Cadiz (lower chamber of the Spanish representation) and the Royal Court (the upper chamber of titled personalities).   O'Donoju', early in 1821 sailed for Vera Cruz and met with his titular adversary, General Agustin de Iturbide, titular head of the armies of Mexico and a titled person with royal blood as well as being a Hero of the Independence movement.
Agustín Cosme Damián
 de Iturbide y Arámburu

 1783 – 1824
     The meeting in Vera Cruz resulted in fairly quick order in a suspension of hostilities, an agreement concerning the retirement of the Royal Army from Mexico along with various other technical details regard an armistice and recognition of Mexico's Independence and status as a Constitutional Monarchy, with Agustin de Iturbide being made the first Emperor of Mexico.

     All of this might have seemed well and good to Lorenzo de Zavala, but while he admired O'Donoju' because of his "englightened" and very democratic republican proclivities, de Zavala felt strongly that Emperor Agustin would install a Roman Catholic hegemony and a rigid, centralist, and imperial governing system.   It would be as if Spain of Old would be resuscitated on Mexican soil, and that the "disenlightenment" would be re-established. 

     He was not the only one.  There were many intellectuals and many in the formative middle-class, along with certain of the wealthy hacienda and mining interests who had heard of and perhaps even studied a bit of "The American Experiment" with making every man a sovereign and every family a kingdom unto itself.  Almost immediately, these agents of change began to move against the Empire.  Before long, Agustin, who in fact had very shallow backing was deposed and exiled. Conventions were called and meetings held and a Constitution was published after considerable pushing and shoving and interminable speechifying.   Among those who became most influential, a kind of Thomas Jefferson of Mexico, was one political prisoner, lawyer, newpaper publisher, medical doctor, political leader and ex-Governor of the Province of Yucatan, Lorenzo de Zavala.  It was Lorenzo who contributed most to the writing of the Mexican Constitution of 1824.   It was, with few exceptions a near perfect form of a true democratic republican blueprint prescribing common law approved by a Divine, but not necessarily Roman Catholic, hand.
     The truth was clearly known by all.  The document was largely Masonic of the York Rite.  It was careful to avoid the demagoguery of the bloody and senseless Voltaire and Robespierre French experiment of the late 1780s.   While many people can still be surprised that the Masonic movement ever touched Mexican shores, serious students of Mexican history know that almost all political matters in Mexico, since the 1750s especially, have been controlled by or participated in by Masonic interests.  At times, the Mason fought among themselves between the liberal Yorquinos (York Rite) and the more conservative Escoseces (Scottish Rite).

   It was the Constitucion de 1824 upon which Texians placed their faith before various Centralist actors on the Mexican political scene, including Nicolas Bravo and Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna destroyed the document, through death by neglect.  By the time the year 1836 rolled around, the Texians and the people of Coahuila were certain that the document was essentially ready for the "round file". 
     There is lore and some support for the idea that two flags flew at the Alamo, for instance.  One was the banner of the New Orleans Greys, the one uniformed and relatively militarily equipped force that was recruited and trained in New Orleans, and which sent a fairly large body of troops  (160 or so, with about 30 serving at the Alamo).  The other was the Mexican tri-colour pictured above, which passively yet strongly proclaimed that the Alamo was fighting as a Mexican entity and that to assail against this flag was an act of political heresy.
     Various Texians who owned property in Coahuila and elsewhere in Mexico, such as Colonel Dimmit, and of course, James Bowie held out hope that Texas could remain, somehow, fully sovereign, yet part of the Mexican panoply.   Supposedly Santa Anna became furious when he saw the banner, although many if not most historians seem to doubt that such a marker existed on the parapets of the Alamo.
    In any regard, the 1824 Constitution of Mexico was a wondrous work, done by the hand of Lorenzo de Zavala, and had it endured, much of Mexico's delay in becoming a developed nation would have been avoided.  Because of its demise and its ultimate replacement by the Constitution of 1857 and then the post-revolucionario Constitucion de 1917, Mexico has suffered frequently from political forces and men who were either too strong or too weak.

In the next installment, we shall take the reader into the mess surrounding the period of the first half of the year of 1836, and how it involved Lorenzo de Zavala, and why that is important to the "real Texian".


2nd Volume

    The turbulence of the period from 1821 through 1824 included not only the writing of the Constitucion de 1824, but also the problem of Agustin de Iturbide.  His expulsion was not on "friendly terms".  He was advised by the insurgent, republican group that Mexico would not have a regal office or person presiding over the nation.  No Monarch!!
     He was put on a ship and sent into exile in perpetuity.  That meant, if he should return, he would certainly be captured and executed for violating the instruction to never set foot on Mexican soil again.  Iturbide and his wife, children, and bevy of servants arrived in exile in Cuba, then Italy, and then in England.   He set about writing a biography of his service and life, as well as a description of both his negotiation of the Treaty with O'Donaju' and the mecanation  that he was going to return to Mexico's lightly populated northeast, and gather an army that would dislodge the Republican Constituitonalists from the rosy accommodations in Mexico City.  He chose to land in Soto la Marina (dense undergrowth by the sea) - La Pesca (the business of fishing).  Soto la Marina was a bit inland, while La Pesca was set directly at the mouth of the Rio Soto la Marina, about 13 miles from the town of the same name.   Both of these names came from the homeland in northernmost Spain of Jose' de Escandon, one of the very best colonisers in the entire Spanish Colonial Epoch (1521 -  1821). 
Mision de Santiago, Jalpan
  Fr. Junipero Serra
   Escandon had come into the area after successful assignments by the Crown in both the Yucatan as we as the area including Queretaro and northeast of there in the lands of the Upper Huastec Indians.   Escandon had been successful at pacifying the native peoples at each of his assignments, almost entirely by being a just, tolerant, and honest administrator.   We place an example of the mission that was built in Jalpan (midway between Queretaro and what would become later, Tampico).
     We diverge from the issues at hand because there are things that went on before, during, and after the period from 1821 throught 1836 that are all interactive and causative.  The mission pictured above was designed and built by Father Junipero Serra, who was the religious authority accompanying Col. Jose de Escandon during the pacification of the area of Jalpan (HAHL - pan) and Conca (con - CAH).  He immediately set about to build a temple worthy of the very clean and industrious Huastec peoples in that mountainous and agriculturally abundant area.   The church pictured above was built in less than eight years, and has endured 10 significant earthquakes.  As was Serra a man of God and a brilliant architect as well as an excellent public relations specialist, so too was Escandon, the military - political officer who thought first of his charges and then took care of himself later.   Their works (and that of the Huastec Indians who remain there to this day, in relative prosperity) are still visible, and adorn an area that is also quite impressive in terms of its natural endowments.
     It serves to point out that Father Junipero Serra is also the same priest who designed and supervised the building of various of the California missions, including the famous Capistrano...the one associated with the seasonal comings and goings of the swallows.  Escandon would also move north, under orders from the Crown, to settle, late in the Colonial period, the Seno Mexicano (The Chest of Mexico), one of the most prohibitive parts of the entire extension of Spain in what would finally become the North American Continent.
     The Seno Mexicano was a dreaded place, full of scorpions, rattlesnakes, thick underbrush, hopelessly dry, yet beset by 2.3 hurricanes per decade, and some of the orneriest Indians a group of Spanish colonial settlers could ever hope to run across, or not. The Indians here were not advanced of language, culture, or technology.   They were very few, and beset with all nature of physical problems.   The tribes were small, more like groupings of 30 - 40 individuals, and they were few.  They would be set upon by the marauding Comanches and Apaches at regular intervals, every Spring.
     Escandon had seven columns of soldiers who went to the edges of the newly openned country, and worked towards a centre that would take the name of San Fernando.  He would settle in a place that would take the name of Soto la Marina (Undergrowth by the Sea), which was the name of Escandon's home town back in northernmost Spain.   The entire province would take the name of Nuevo Santander, after Escandon's home province of Santander, situated with a nice view of the Bay of Biscay.   During the 1750s, places whose names would become Reynosa, Matamoros, Rio Bravo, Mier, Camargo, Laredo, and Santander, Soto la Marina, and La Pesca  were established and populated, once again by an able Army officer, and industrious settlers.   In spite of all difficulties, the settlements took root, and prospered in spite of all the negative forces against them.   There were many secondary settlements, many setbacks, but many more accomplishments.

     The thing was, it had become an area where Agustin de Iturbide  (Ah - guz - TEEN de ee - tehr - BEE - deh) thought that he would be well received, and which would have a large element of militia to drill and organise up to military grade troops to confront the upstart Republicans.  But such was not to be.   Iturbide left England, and made his way in good order with his family in tow, along with a small cadre of scribes, butlers, and maids.

     As they made their way towards Soto la Marina, a column of Mexican soldiers came up and first arrested the ex-Emperor.  The commander of the soldiers was a Gen. de la Garza, who, lore has it, was the Godson of Iturbide.   Before long, within hours, the good General had capitulated and become Iturbide's ally.  But, by the time they made it to Soto la Marina, which had a considerable military presence, and the old, original Presidencia (offices and home) of Jose de Escandon, Gen. de la Garza determined that he would have to follow the orders of the the Mexican Congress, and execute the newly returned ex-Emperor. 

     Here, there is a bit of a disconnect.  Normally it is reported that Iturbide was killed by a firing squad, being hit only by three balls, and only one being the mortal shot.   It is said by researchers that the execution took place in Padilla, but it would have been impossible for the group to have been moved to Padilla, some seventy miles of very difficult trail, in four days from the time of arrival on the coast.
     That is why the local lore at Soto la Marina, and the common understanding is, and states without hesitation, that Iturbide was executed in Soto la Marina, then transported through the community of Abasolo, passing by reverential and subdued crowds and other gatherings, and finally to Padilla even further inland, on the junction of the Corona and Soto la Marina Rivers.  Once there, Iturbide's remains were given a Christian burial by a priest at the parish church of that community.   Some years later, he was disinterred, moved to Mexico City, his remains cremated and placed in a gilt coffin in an important chapel within the Metropolitan Cathedral in the centre of Mexico City.   There it remains to this day.

     And, we invite any who might wish, to study the intrigues and manoeuvring at the time between the general winding down of armed conflict between Spanish and Mexican forces and interests.  The maze and the labyrinthine plots during the period of from 1821 and 1824 is something akin to trying to untangle a bird's nest in a fishing reel, in the middle of the night, when lightning is striking all around your boat, and you suddenly hear the sound of the rattles of a rattlesnake, and did I say,  it's pitch-black midnight. 
     Some assistance might be rendered by reviewing the experiences of Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first minister and later full Ambassador of the United States to Mexico.   It was remarked concerning Poinsett's service that;

Joel Roberts Poinsett
  It is written in a source, "From the outset of his tenure as ambassador to Mexico, Poinsett was an outspoken proponent of U.S.-style liberalism: decentralized, constitutional, republican government; anticlericalism; and free trade. A substantial number of influential Mexicans found such activity decidedly pernicious, and their antipathy toward him was exacerbated by the fact that the ambassador advocated extending the southern boundary of the United States to the Rio Grande. Poinsett found like-minded cohorts in the York Rite Masonic Lodge, which he helped to organise in Mexico. The York Rite Masons (or Yorkinos) were rivals of the Scottish Rite Masons (or Escoceses), and the two lodges increasingly emerged as bitter, secretive political clubs. The sub-rosa nature of these political organisations was conducive to conspiratorial thinking, and Conservative Escoceses became increasingly convinced that Poinsett was a subversive foreign agent seeking deliberately to weaken and undermine Mexico."   Such might be  the case, although your humble analyst wavers since brith between the value of maintaining at least a "ceremonial-plus" monarchy or having a strictly  common law republican democratic   governance. Each system obviously has its advantages and disadvantages.

     One will notice that among other things, an American minister plenipotentiary, later Ambassador, comes into a very disorganised Mexico, in terms of political organisation, and immediately begins to put himself in  the middle of the cake batter.   He does not even wait until the cake is iced.  But, we must remember, Poinsett was a famous naturalist, and learned in the ways of the Latin element in the New World.  He had served in South America, was fluent in French and Spanish, as well as being one of the world's foremost authorities in terms of botanical and flower producing studies.  As an aside, he was one of the first visionaries to propose a national natural history and artifact museum that eventually took the form of the Smithsonian.
     AND, he was also a very active member of the York Rite Masonic fraternal order.   Because of this he had a large choir of supporters...for instance...all of the York Rite Masonic members in Mexico were unabashed republicans, anti-monarchist, and even opposed to having a State church.   Some even thought that it would be an interesting idea to allow women to vote, if literate, and perhaps especially in local elections.
    The Escoceses (Scottish) Rite were dedicated to the idea of a State Church apostolically aligned directly with the See in Rome.  They were also dedicated to maintaining the system of peonaje (peonage) which allowed large landowners and industrial interests to essentially simply control the underclass in a manner more constrictive than the system of slavery in the American South.   It was a large group, united in the notion that people were born to their positions and that concepts such as social mobility were to be frowned upon.  They were, howver, Masons, and very much dedicated to eleemosynary  pursuits in terms of "helping" the poor, the prisoners, the oppressed, etc.  
     Our historical companion in these times and places, the then General de Brigada Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, switched back and forth between being a "Yorkino" and an "Escoces" apparently by the flip of a coin in the morning after he awoke and before his coffee with Kahlua.   At one time, he was even a strong proponent of the Constitution of 1824, although during the time of his military contention with Agustin Iturbide shortly after the brief Emperiato, Lopez de Santa Anna declared that he had no true idea of what a "Republic" even was;  living proof that even a sociopathic psychopath can tell the truth about himself at least once.
     Once again we must demand and require that the reader, be he a fifth grader, spreading his intellectual wings, or a junior at Texas State University taking the advanced Mexican History course as part of her degree package, to delve into the morass and quagmire of the period from 1821 until 1831 in Mexico.   There was more intrique, backstabbing, lying, heroism, stick-to-it-ive-ness, nobility, and degenerate egotism than could have ever be crammed into a blog entry such as this.  Simply following the time line of Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna y Padua between and including the two year-markers,  above-included, is enough for a doctoral dissertation, and has been enough for over 5,000 doctoral dissertations in academia during the past almost 200 years.

    To make a long story as short as it can possibly be, let it be known that Poinsett and his Mexican Masonic friends were "whacked" politically by the Conservatives in Mexico's central zone (which, of course, included Mexico City).   The Conservatives were not like the conservatives in the America of to-day.  Those from the times present ostensibly say they want concentration of governmental power in the local areas...such as States, counties, and organised cities.   Those Conservatives from the times that we are now considering (Mexico in  the 1800s) wanted everything controlled by Mexico City...governmental, provincial, and / or religious matters, to them, were to be controlled by  personalities and officials of, for, and with the Mexico City "control group".   After all they reasoned, why is it that "We of Mexico City are so clean and fair of soul and countenance, and almost everyone from 'la Provencia' is stupid, dark,  and corrupt?"   It was the perfect cultural / political storm.

     As my Grandma Mamie would have, and frequently, said "Each said of the other what the other said of each."
     In spite of the animosity caused by the American's meddling in internal Mexican political processes, and with typical Mexican contradiction, Lopez de Santa Anna was quick and generous to render to Joel Roberts Poinsett a large selection of tropical plants and shrubs to place on his ship when he left Mexico under order of expulsion.   Although he led the effort to rid the new Republic of the American contamination (in the person of Poinsett), he was typically Mexican in being enthralled with the American's love for Mexico and her native plants and animals, and the very special and kind people he had enountered among the  Americans he had encountered during his service in post Itubide period.
     Almost everyone knows that the greatest botanical contribution that Poinsett brought back from Mexico was one that celebrated the coldest and darkest times.  Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna gave this gift to the very interesting and interested American Masonic interloper and it was duly loaded onto the ship that would return Poinsett to an American port.   Lopez de Santa Anna had an elaborate collection of exotic orchids and tropical flowers, and he knew that Poinsett was interested in such things.   So, in spite of the emnity between them, as a typical Mexican, he sent several bushels of prepared-for-transport tropical plants for a ride on the waves to South Carolina.
     As an aside, the two houses of the Masonic orders more or less arrived at an unspoken accord during the Porfiriato (the Presidency of José de la Cruz Porfirio Díaz Mori, who like Benito Juarez Garcia, was a Mason of the liberal orders of the Escoceses).   It is known, because of the precendents set by Santa Anna and others, that all municipality (city / county) presidents, and all national Presidents, Senators, and Congressman, almost all gobernadores of States, were almost all Masons until the year 1982 or so.   Also....Please understand that many exceptions served to prove the general rule, to be sure.

We have gone about as f''ur as we could go....More later.




     If the reader understands nothing more, it is enough to understand that the 1820s in Mexico were turbulent and treacherous.  It was a time when incessant intrigue and danger would permeate every aspect of business, political, and religious life.   There were those who would stand by their principles, be those conservative, centralist views or  the more liberal, local and State sovereignty advocates.  But there were a few, very astute, totally corrupt, morally rudderless individuals who desired not the good life, but a great life, being adored, adulated, feared,  and served.
     At least, with Iturbide as Emperor, the top of the food chain was supposed to have been a fait accompli that would seal by inherited incumbency the "top spot" in the government.  Agustin de Iturbide and his heirs would provide leadership within the construct of a parliamentary monarchy that would prove to be a model for the evolving, modern world.
     As we pointed out before, a relatively humble Iturbide side-stepped and backed into the position of Emperor of all Lands west of the Missouri and Mississippi, and from (and including the Isthmus of Panama' to what is now British Columbia.   His magnanimity was met with an onslaught of palace intrigue, back-stabbing, and moral corruption that relatively quickly put an end to any hope of maintaining even a modicum of a monarchial construct.
Guadalupe Victoria
     And, while orchids and noches buenas (poinsiettas) were badges in the turmoil, things became steadily more serious and dangerous as the days of the decade of the 1820s increased.  With the "Emperor" gone and dead, political agrupations and nascent "partidos"  (parties) began to form, primarily based upon ideology, religion, and governing function.   The York Rite and Scottish Rite foundations led to the building of buildings upon those foundations that would quickly intertwine all nature of, once again, intrigue, back-stabbing, and moral corruption that would leave Mexico with a cauldron of indigestible porridge.
     Old Heroes of the Revolution for Independence from Spain became more crotchety, manipulative, and manipulable the morass of politics in Mexico City especially became more opaque and tormented. Enter one old hero, who chose the name of Guadalupe Victoria as he entered into his commitment to, so as to commemorate the Patron Saint of Mexico (the apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary at the Hill of Tepayac northeast of Mexico City about 5 miles) known in Mexico as The Virgin de Guadalupe (due to her command to build a chapel at the site of her appearance and to name it after her appearance in the Spanish City of Guadalupe).
     So, when we say, "chose a name" we mean just that.  He was baptised in 1786 in the area which became Durango, in what is to-day's central Mexican highlands, in the rural community of Tamazula.  His original formal name was Jose Miguel Ramon Adaucto Fernandez y Felix.  This would indicate that he had social standing and position, because Indians of that time and place would normally have only a Christian name or two and then the father's and mother's surnames in that order.    Young Jose' Miguel's uncle,  Agustin Fernandez, the same priest who baptised him, took his nephew in as a babe because of the deaths of Jose Miguel's parents, probably due to the cholera.

     We see Guadalupe Victoria being a key figure in the comings and goings of Mexican political and social matters, up to and including the gradual and steady taking of power by our friend Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna y Padua.   Guadalupe's arch-enemy, Vicente Guerrero who was also an Independence War Hero and Hallowed Insurgent, and others gradually evaporated or left Mexico, while Antonio arranged his mannequins in such a way that He, Santa Anna, would be able to enter and leave the Presidency of Mexico thirteen times, while investing the powers of the Throne of the Presidency in the Palace of Chupultepec to some sophisticated lackey who would serve INO (in name only).   And this was done over a period of fewer than twenty years.   One can only imagine the heaval, up-heaval, and re-heaval that might have been occurring among all sectors of the Mexican populace during these many thousands of hours of cultural torture and social decay.

     It was Peronism at its finest, over a hundred years ahead of its time.

     It was important, however, because Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna y Padua was committed to an absolutely, totally, consumptive desire to become and remain, perpetually if possible, The Napoleon of the West.  He worshipped the tiny dictator of low qualification and high design.  He marvelled at the audacity of the failure of the Russian invasion.  He scoffed at the superiority of forces other than the Latin's (Roman) latent ability to conquer and control the new European World, with its built in source of menial, cheap labour  drawn from the menial classes within the inferior races (Indians).

     While the Saxons, Germans, Anglos, Irish, Scots, Scots-Irish argued about whether the Indians were savages incapable of self-control or noble animals of higher order than even the humans in terms of their communion with the Great Spirit, Antonio Lopez had no such problem.  To him, Indians deserved and served to be, servants.   He also saw them as useful cannon fodder, to be deployed so as to catch bullets, so"real soldiers" could come into the fray while the enemy was reloading.

     While Texians and latter-day pretenders to Texanism at times fail themselves by deigning themselves as victims of the audacity and criminality of Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, and his "racist" intent to destroy  the "white" or "Anglo" or whatever victim group, the facts are different and much worse than almost anyone can imagine.   Remember that Antonio was primordially white.  The upper-class of Mexico and most of the professional class of Mexico, to this day, is white (Caucasian), and overwhelming numbers of the working class and middle class of Mexico is substantially white.   The matter of who is to die, win, live, or carry on is settled by, "Who is in control of this or that extension of property or terrain?".   In that vein, Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna was a shrewd military sociologist.

     The Texians of the time of the events of 1836 had to hear of the slaughters of the Yucatan, where the Centralist political and military forces had all but laid waste to much of the economy and social structure of that Peninsula.   Perhaps worse...perhaps not...was the episode that will "...live in infamy"...and episode was the utter destruction of the doll-house civilisation known as Zacatecas...similar to the Old South's tales about happy Negroes and happy white folks living together and happily...but we really will never know...perhaps.
     Why is this?  The simple reason is because Santa Anna's armies came upon Zacatecas, in 1835, and in short order destroyed one of the best trained, best armed, best under stress  National  Guards in the New World at that time or before.  That State Guard of Zacatecas was destroyed in a week in spite of all valour and performance.  These were not lackeys and dumboes.   They were famous for keeping the mines open (much gold, semi-precious stones, silver, etc.) and convoys protected.  Famous, were they also, in subduing Indians' wars against other Indians or Whites and generally providing that layer of certain security that a powerful local or States' or National Guards' can provide.  They served very honourably.
     In the process of destroying the will of Zacatecas as an administrative district (State) and most of its economy, it seems that somewhere between 20,000 and 30,000 post-engagement casualties (dead) occurred after Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna and his subordinates' forces were authourised to extract booty and vengeance against the "treasionists".    Many, many were old people, women, children, and common shopkeepers and muleteers, etc.  A total act of terrorism.
     So now let us enter into the mind-set of the Texians and their political cousins from Coahuila, that El Presidente Generalissimo Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna that this situation was going from worse to catastrophically impossible to comprehend.   Juan Sequin, artillery commander among other things (actually Juan did not have any military training or experience in artillery, cavalry, infantry or anything, but he was a natural as events proved later).  Many of the people of San Antonio de Bexar were  (let us take a Spanish lesson - consternados, nerviosos, y espantados).  They knew that Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna could march an army much faster than what the rest of the world could imagine, and they also knew that he would spare no quarter.
     Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, during his time as a Spanish Royal Army officer twenty-five  years before, had been in Texas and had participated in the brutal eradication of Indian, foreign, and anti-Royalist presence.   Perhaps it is better said that he had excelled and enjoyed the experience.  His contempt for the racially and intellectually inferior "Texian colonists" was profound.

     Finally we arrive.   One might ask, "Dave, what does this have to do with poor Buddy Ebson and Fess Parker?  They're the boys who done suffered."  But now your humble servant can point to the facts that it was a thousand times more complicated than any of this and a million times more difficult to understand, especially if one was too close to the issue geographically or psychologically to be a reliable witness.

    While the boys at the Alamo were fighting and dying, there was another body of annoying know-it-alls at the Washington-on-the- Brazos who were also very much Heroes in their way.   It was this body, before and during and after, the events at Goliad, the Alamo, and San Jacinto who were controlled passively, at times actively, by Lorenzo de Zavala and his very close friend Stephen Fuller Austin.   Both of these men, drawn from the upper class, both of whom had everything to lose, decided to die trying, and to die leaving the money they might have had for better purpose, and neither survived the year 1836. 
     One was the Father of Texas (Stephen F. Austin) and the other was the Financier of Texas during the Revolution (Lorenzo de Zavala).   Austin suffered many months of illegal imprisonment by Antonio Lopez.  His friend Lorenzo stood to lose everything by pouring his money into the Texian Resistance Cause.   Sam Houston might take the historical credit, but his fame is based upon the bones of the other two....

We shall, in all probability, be openning a "Chapter 4" which might deal with the post-funerary and later  influence de Zavala might have had in terms of the Texas Experiment.  More Later,
El Gringo Viejo