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Mexico, Aztec, Spanish and Republican Vol. 1 of 2

Upon Don Felix Berenguer de Marquina


with all his excellent qualities as a Governor in America, did not give satisfaction to the court at home. There is no doubt of the value of his administration in Mexico, and it is, therefore, difficult to account for his loss of favor, except upon the ground of intrigue and corruption which were rife in Madrid. The reign of Charles IV. and the administration of the Prince of Peace, are celebrated in history as the least respectable in modern Spanish annals. Whilst the royal favorite controlled the king's councils, favoritism and intrigue ruled the day. Among other legends of the time, it is asserted by Bustamante, in his continuation of Cavo's "_Tres Siglos de Mejico_," that the Mexican viceroyalty was almost put up at auction in Madrid, and offered for eighty thousand dollars to the secretary Bonilla. In consequence of this personage's inability to procure the requisite sum, it was conferred, through another bargain and sale, upon Don Felix Berenguer de Marquina, an obscure officer, who was unknown to the king either personally or as a meritorious servant of the crown and people.

The Mexican author to whom we have just referred, characterizes Azanza as the wisest, most politic and amiable viceroy, ever sent by Spain to rule over his beautiful country.[50]


Marquina took charge of the viceroyalty on the

30th of April 1800, after a sudden and mysterious arrival in New Spain, having passed through the enemy's squadron and been taken prisoner. It was inconceivable to the Mexicans why the vice-admiral of Jamaica deemed it proper to release a Spanish officer who came to America on a warlike mission; yet it is now known that in November, of 1800, the king ordered forty thousand dollars to be paid the viceroy to reimburse the _extraordinary_ expenses of his voyage!

The government of this personage was not remarkable in the development of the colony. The war with England still continued, but it was of a mild character, and vessels constantly passed between the belligerants with flags of truce, through whose intervention the Mexicans were permitted to purchase in Jamaica the paper, quicksilver, and European stuffs, which the British crusiers had captured from Spanish ships in the Gulf.

In 1801, an Indian named Mariano, of Tepic in Jalisco, son of the governor of the village of Tlascala in that department, attempted to excite a revolution among the people of his class, by means of an anonymous circular which proclaimed him king. Measures were immediately taken to suppress this outbreak, and numbers of the natives were apprehended and carried to Guadalajara. The fears of Marquina were greatly excited by this paltry rebellion, which he imagined, or feigned to believe, a wide spread conspiracy excited by the NORTH AMERICANS and designed to overthrow the Spanish power. The viceroy, accordingly, detailed his services in exaggerated terms to the home government, and it is probably owing to the eulogium passed by him upon the conduct of Abascal, president of Guadalaxara, that this personage was made viceroy of Buenos Ayres, and afterwards honored with the government of Peru and created Marques de la Concordia.

A definitive treaty of peace was concluded between the principal European and American belligerants in 1802, and soon after, Marquina, who was offended by some slights received from the Spanish ministry, resigned an office for the performance of whose manifold duties and intricate labors he manifested no ability save that of a good disposition. He was probably better fitted to govern a village of fifty inhabitants than the vast and important empire of New Spain.

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