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current notion that the whites frighten them
away ; but, I would ask, where do they go
to ? To be sure, to use a hunter's phrase, they
' frighten a few out of their skins ;' yet for
everyone killed by the whites, more than a
hundred, perhaps a thousand, fall by the hands
of the savages. From these, however, there
is truly ' nowhere to flee ;' for they follow
them wheresoever they go: while the poor
brutes instinctively learn to avoid the fixed
establishments, and, to some degree, the regu-
lar travelling routes of the whites.

As the caravan was passing under the
northern base of the Round Mound, it pre-


sented a very fine and imposing spectacle tc.
those who were upon its summit. The
wagons inarched slowly in four parallel col-
umns, but in broken lines, often at intervals of
many rods between. The unceasing ' crack,
crack/ of the wagoners' whips, resembling the
frequent reports of distant guns, almost made
one believe that a skirmish was actually tak-
ing place between two hostile parties : and a
hostile engagement it virtually was to the poor
brutes, at least ; for the merciless application
of the whip would sometimes make the blood
spirt from their sides and that often with-
out any apparent motive of the wanton carret-
tieri, other than to amuse themselves with the
flourishing and loud popping of their lashes !
The rear wagons are usually left without a
guard ; for all the loose horsemen incline to
be ahead, where they are to be seen moving in
scat tered groups, sometimes a mile or more in
advance. As our camp was pitched but a mile
west of the Round Mound, those who lingered
upon its summit could have an interesting
view of the evolutions of ' forming' the wag-
ons, in which the drivers by this time had be-
come very expert When inarching four
abreast, the two exterior lines spread out and
then meet at the front angle ; while the two
inner lines keep close together until they
reach the point of the rear angle, when they
wheel suddenly out and close with the hinder
ends of the other two ; thus systematically
concluding a right-lined quadrangle, with a
gap left at the rear corner for the introduction
of the animals.


Our encampment was in a beautiful plain,
but without water, of which, however, we had
had a good supply at noon. Our cattle, as
was the usual custom, after having grazed
without for a few hours, were now shut up in
the pen of the wagons. Our men were all
wrapt in peaceful slumber, except the guard,
who kept their silent watch around the en-
campment ; when all of a sudden, about the
ominous hour of midnight, a tremendous up-
roar was heard, which caused every man to
start in terror from his blanket couch, with
arms in hand. Some animal, it appeared,
had taken fright at a dog, and by a sudden
start, set all around him in violent motion :
the panic spread simultaneously throughout
the pen; and a scene of rattle, clash, and
'lumbering,' ensued, which far surpassed
everything we had yet witnessed. A gene-
ral * stampede' (estampida, as the Mexicans
say) was the result. Notwithstanding the
wagons were tightly bound together, wheel
to wheel, with ropes or chains, and several
stretched across the gaps at the corners of the
corral, the oxen soon burst their way out ; and
though mostly yoked in pairs, they went
scampering over the plains, as though Tarn
O'Shanter's 'cutty-sark' Nannie had been at
their tails. All attempts to stop them were
vain ; for it would require ' Auld Clootie' him-
self to check the headway of a drove of oxen,
when once thoroughly frightened. Early the
follomng morning we made active exertions
to get up a sufficient quantity of teams to start


the caravan. At Rock Creek, a distance of
six or seven miles, we were joined by those
who had gone in pursuit of the stock. All
the oxen were found, except some half a
dozen, which were never recovered. No
mules were lost : a few that had broken loose
were speedily retaken. The fact is, that
though mules are generally easiest scared, oxen
are decidedly the worst when once started.
The principal advantage of the latter in this
respect, is, that Indians have but little induce-
ment to steal them, and therefore few attempts
would be made upon a caravan of oxen.

We were now entering a region of rough,
and in some places, rocky road, as the streams
which intervene from this to the mountains
are all bordered with fine sandstone. These
rugged passes acted very severely upon our
wagons, as the wheels were by-this time be-
coming loose and ' shackling,' from the shrink
of the wood, occasioned by the extreme dry-
ness and rarity of this elevated atmosphere.
The spokes of some were beginning to reel
in the hubs, so that it became necessary to
brace them with ' false spokes/ firmly bound
with * buffalo tug.' On some occasions, the
wagon tires have become so loose upon the
felloes as to tumble off while travelling. The
most effective mode of tightening slackened
tires (at least that most practised on the plains,
as there is rarely a portable forge in company),
is by driving strips of hoop-iron around be-
tween the tire and felloe simple wedges of
wood are sometimes made to supply the place



of iron. During halts I have seen a dozen
wheels being repaired at the same time, oc-
casioning such a clitter-clatter of hammers,
that one would almost fancy himself in a

Emerging from this region of asperities, we
soon passed the ' Point of Rocks/ as a dimi-
nutive 'spur' projecting from the north is
called, at the foot of which springs a charming
little fount of water. This is but thirty or
forty miles from the principal mountains,
along whose border, similar detached ridges
and hills are frequently to be seen. The next
day, having descended from the table plain,
we reached the principal branch of the Ca-
nadian river, which is here but a rippling
brook, hardly a dozen paces in width, though
eighty miles from its source in the mountains
to the north. The bottom being of solid rock,
this ford is appropriately called by the cibo-
leros, el Vado de Piedras. The banks are very
low and easy to ascend. The stream is called
Rio Colorado by the Mexicans, and is known
among Americans by its literal translation of
Bed River. This circumstance perhaps gave
rise to the belief that it was the head branch
of our main stream of this name :# but the

* Previous to the year 1820, this * Rio Colorado' seems universally
to have heen considered as the principal source of Red River ; hut
in the expedition of Maj. Long, during that year, he discovered this
to be the head branch of the Canadian. The discovery cost* him
somewhat dearly too ; for striking a branch of the Colora lo near
the Mountains, he followed down its course, believing it to be of
the main Red River. He was not fully undeceived till he arrived
at its junction \vith the Arkansas ; whereby he failed in a principal
object of the expedition the exploration of the true sources of Red
River of Natchitoches '


nearest waters of the legitimate c Red River
of Natchitoches,' are still a hundred miles to
the south of this road.

In descending to the Rio Colorado, we met
a dozen or more of our countrymen from
Taos, to which town (sixty or seventy miles
distant) there is a direct but rugged route
across the mountains. It was a joyous en-
counter, for among them we found some of
our old acquaintances whom we had not seen
for many years. During our boyhood we had
4 spelt' together in the same country school,
and roamed the wild woods with many a
childish glee. They turned about with us,
and the remainder of our march was passed
in answering their inquiries after their rela-
tives and friends in the United States.

Before reaching the stream, we encountered
another party of visitors, being chiefly cus-
tom-house agents or clerks, who, accompanied
by a military escort, had come out to guard
the caravan to the Capital. The ostensible
purpose of this escort was to prevent smug-
gling, a company of troops being thus dis-
patched every year, with strict injunctions to
watch the caravans. This custom appears
since to have nearly grown out of use : and
well might it be discontinued altogether, foi
any one disposed to smuggle would find no
difficulty in securing the services of these
preventive guards, who, for a trifling douceur.
would prove very efficient auxiliaries, rathei
than obstacles to the success of any such de-
signs. As we were forming in the valley op-


where the escort was encamped, Col.
Vizcarra, the commandant, honored us with
a salute from his artillery, which was promptly
responded to by our little cannon.

Considering ourselves at last out of danger
of Indian hostilities (although still nearly a
hundred and forty miles from Santa Fe) ; and
not unwilling to give our ' guard' as much
trouble as possible, we abandoned the organi-
zation of our caravan a few miles beyond the
Colorado ; its members wending their way to
the Capital in almost as many detached parties
as there were proprietors. The road from this
to San Miguel (a town nearly a hundred miles
distant), leads in a southwestern direction
along the base of, and almost parallel with,
that spur of snow-clad mountains, which has
already been mentioned, bearing down east
of the Rio del Norte.

This region is particularly celebrated for
violent showers, hail-storms, and frightful
thunder-gusts. The sudden cooling and con-
traction of the atmosphere which follows
these falls of rain, very often reverses the cur-
rent of the lower stratum of air ; so that a
cloud which has just ceased pouring its con-
tents and been wafted away, is in a few min-
utes brought back, and drenches the traveller
with another torrent. I was deeply impress-
ed with a scene I witnessed in the summer of
1832, about two days' journey beyond the
Colorado, which I may be excused for allud-
ing to in this connection. We were encamp-
ed at noon, when a murky cloud issued from


behind the mountains, and, after hovering
over us for a few minutes, gave vent to one
of those tremendous peals of thunder which
seem peculiar to those regions, making the
elements tremble, and leaving us so stunned
and confounded that some seconds elapsed be-
fore each man was able to convince himself
that he had not been struck by lightning. A
sulphureous stench filled the atmosphere ; but
the thunderbolt had skipped over the wagons
and lighted upon the cabaUada, which was
grazing hard by ; some of which were after-
ward seen stretched upon the plain. It was
not a little singular to find an ox lying lifeless
from the stroke, while his mate stood unin-
jured by his side, and under the same yoke.

Some distance beyond the Colorado, a
party of about a dozen (which I joined) left
the wagons to go ahead to Santa Fe. Fifty
miles beyond the main branch of this stream
we passed the last of the Canadian waters,
known to foreigners as the Mora* From
,thence to the Gallinas^ the first of the Rio
del Norte waters, the road stretches over an
elevated plain, unobstructed by any moun-
tainous ridge. At Gallinas creek, we found

* As mom means mulberry, and this fruit is to be found at the
mouth of this stream, one would suppose that it had acquired its
name from that fact, did not the Mexicans always call it Rio de
lo de Mora, thus leaving it to be inferred that the name had
originated from some individual called Mora, who had settled
upon it.

f Called Rio de las Gallinas by Mexicans. Though gaUina is
literally hen, it is here also applied to the turkey (usually with a
surname,' as gdlina de la tierra). It is therefore Turkey river


a large flock of sheep grazing upon the adja-
cent plain ; while a little hovel at the foot of
a cliff showed it to be a rancho. A swarthy
ranchero soon made his appearance, from
whom we procured a treat of goat's milk,
with some dirty ewe's milk ' curdle cheese' to
supply the place of bread.

Some twenty miles from this place we en-
tered San Miguel, the first settlement of any
note upon our route. This consists of irregu-
lar clusters of mud- wall huts, and is situated
in the fertile valley of Rio Pecos, a silvery lit-
tle river which ripples from the snowy moun-
tains of Santa Fe from which city this fron-
tier village is nearly fifty miles to the south-
east The road makes this great southern
bend, to find a passway through the broken
extremity of the spur of mountains before al-
luded to, which from this point south is cut up
into detached ridges and table plains. This
mountain section of the road, even in its pre-
sent unimproved condition, presents but few
difficult passes, and might, with little labor,
be put in good order.

A few miles before reaching the city, the
road again emerges into an open plain. As-
cending a table ridge, we spied in an extend-
ed valley to the northwest, occasional groups
of trees, skirted with verdant corn and wheat
fields, with here and there a square block-
like protuberance reared in the midst. A little
further, and just ahead of us to the north,
irregular clusters of the same opened to our
view. " Oh, we are approaching the sub-



urbs !" thought I, on perceiving the cornfields,
and what I supposed to be brick-kilns scatter-
ed in every direction. These and other ob-
servations of the same nature becoming audi-
ble, a friend at my elbow said, " It is true
those are heaps of unburnt bricks, neverthe-
less they are houses this is the city of

Five or six days after our arrival, the cara-
van at last hove in sight, and wagon after
wagon was seen pouring down the last decli-
vity at about a miles distance from the city.
To judge from the clamorous rejoicings of
the men, and the state of agreeable excite-
ment which the muleteers seemed to be
laboring under, the spectacle must have been
as new to them as it had been to me. It was
truly a scene for the artist's pencil to revel in.
Even the animals seemed to participate in the
humor of their riders, who grew more and
more merry and obstreperous as they descend-
ed towards the city. I doubt, in short, whe-
ther the first sight of the walls of Jerusalem
were beheld by the crusaders with much
more tumultuous and soul-enrapturing joy.

The arrival produced a great deal of bustle
and excitement among the natives. "Los
Americanos ! " " Los carros ! " " La entrada
de la caravana!" were to be heard in every
direction ; and crowds of women and boys
flocked around to see the new-comers ; while
crowds of leperos hung about as usual to see
what they could pilfer. The wagoners were
by no means free from excitement on this oc-


casion. Informed of the ' ordeal' they had to
pass, they had spent the previous morning in
4 rubbing up ;' and now they were prepared,
with clean faces, sleek combed hair, and their
choicest Sunday suit, to meet the ' fair eyes '
of glistening black that were sure to stare at
them as they passed. There was yet another
preparation to be made in order to ' show off'
to advantage. Each wagoner must tie a bran
new ' cracker' to the lash of his whip ; for, on
driving through the streets and the plaza pub-
lica, every one strives to outvie his comrades
in the dexterity with which lie flourishes this
favorite badge of his authority.

Our wagons were soon discharged in the
ware-rooms of the Custom-house ; and a few
days' leisure being now at our disposal, we
had time to take that recreation which a fa-
tiguing journey of ten weeks had rendered so
necessary. The wagoners, and many of the
traders, particularly the novices, flocked to the
numerous fandangoes, which are regularly
kept up after the arrival of a caravan. But
the merchants generally were anxiously and
actively engaged in their affairs striving who
should first get his goods out of the custom-
house, and obtain a chance at the ' hard chink'
of the numerous country dealers, who annu-
ally resort to the capital on these occasions.

Now comes the harvest for those idle in-
terpreters, who make a business of ' passing
goods,' as they term it; for as but a small por-
tion of the traders are able to write the Span-
ish language, they are obliged to employ


these legal go-betweens, who pledge them-
selves, for a stipulated fee, to make the ' ar-
rangements,' and translate the manifestos
(that is, bills of merchandise to be manifested
at the custom-house), and to act the part
of interpreters throughout.

The inspection ensues, but this is rarely
carried on with rigid adherence to rules ; for
an ' actuated sympathy' for the merchants,
and a ' specific desire' to promote the trade,
cause the inspector to open a few of such
packages only, as will exhibit the least dis-
crepancy with the manifest

The derechos de arancel (tariff imposts) of
Mexico are extremely oppressive, averaging
about a hundred per cent, upon the United
States' cost of an ordinary ' Santa Fe assort-
ment' Those on cotton textures are particu-
larly so. According to the Arancel of 1837
(and it was still heavier before), all plain-wove
cottons, whether white or printed, pay twelve
and a half cents duty per vara, besides the
derecho de consumo (consumption duty), which
brings it up to at least fifteen. But it is
scarcely necessary to add that there are be-
lieved to be very few ports in the Republic
at which these rigid exactions are strictly exe-
cuted. An ' arrangement' a compromise is
expected, in which the officers are sure at
least to provide for themselves. At some
ports, a custom has been said to prevail, of
dividing the legal duties into three equal
parts : one for the officers a second for the
merchants the other for the government


For a few years, Gov. Armijo of Santa Fe,
established a tariff of his own, entirely arbi-
trary, exacting five hundred dollars for each
wagon-load, whether large or small of fine
or coarse goods ! Of course this was very
advantageous to such traders as had large
wagons and costly assortments, while it was
no less onerous to those with smaller vehicles
or coarse heavy goods. As might have been
anticipated, the traders soon took to conveying
their merchandise only in the largest wagons,
drawn by ten or twelve mules, and omitting
the coarser and more weighty articles of
trade. This caused the governor to return to
an ad valorem system, though still without re-
gard to the Arancel general of the nation.
How much of these duties found their way
into the public treasury, I will not venture to

The arrival of a caravan at Santa Fe
changes the aspect of the place at once. In-
stead of the idleness and stagnation which its
streets exhibited before, one now sees every-
where the bustle, noise and activity of a lively
market town. As the Mexicans very rarely
speak English, the negotiations are mostly
conducted in Spanish.

Taking the circuit of the stores, I found
they usually contained general assortments,
much like those to be met with in the retail
variety stores of the west. The stocks of the
inexperienced merchants are apt to abound
in unsalable goods mulas, as the Mexicans
figuratively term them.


Although a fair variety of dry goods, silks,
hardware, &c., is to be found in this mar-
ket, domestic cottons, both bleached and
brown, constitute the great staple, of which
nearly equal quantities ought to enter into a
* Santa Fe assortment' The demand for
these goods is such that at least one half of
our stocks of merchandise is made up of
them. However, although they afford a
greater nominal per centum than many other
articles, the profits are reduced by their
freight and heavy duty. In all the Southern
markets, where they enter into competition,
there is a decided preference given to the
American manufactures over the British, as
the former are more heavy and durable. The
demand for calicoes is also considerable, but
this kind of goods affords much less profit
The quantity in an assortment should be
about equal to half that of domestics. Cot-
ton velvets, and drillings (whether bleached,
brown or blue, and especially the latter), have
also been in much request But all the
coarser cotton goods, whether shirtings, cali-
coes or drillings, &c., were prohibited by the
Arancel of 1837 ; and still continue to be,
with some modifications.


Sketches of the Early History of Santa Fe First Explorations
Why called New Mexico Memorial of Onate His Colony
Captain Leyva's prior Settlement Singular Stipulations of
Oiiate Incentives presented by the Crown to Colonizers*
Enormities of Spanish Conquerors Progress of the new
Colony Cruel Labors of the Aborigines in the mines Re-
volt of the Indians in 1680 Massacre of the Spaniards Santa
Fe Besieged Battles Remaining Spanish Population finally
evacuate the Province Paso del Norte Inhuman Murder ol
a Spanish Priest Final Recovery of the Country Insurrec-
tion of 1837 A Prophecy Shocking Massacre of the Gover-
nor and other distinguished Characters American Mer-
chants, and Neglect of our Government Governor Armijo :
his Intrigues and Success Second Gathering of Insurgents and
their final Defeat.

HAVING resided for nearly nine years in
Northern Mexico, and enjoyed opportunities
for observation which do not always fall to the
lot of a trader, it has occurred to me that a
few sketches of the country the first settle-
ments the early, as well as more recent
struggles with the aboriginal inhabitants
their traditions and antiquities together with
some account of the manners and customs
of the people, etc., would not be altogether
unacceptable to the reader. The dearth of
information which has hitherto prevailed on
this subject, is my best apology for travelling


out of my immediate track, and trespassing
as it were upon the department of the regular

The province of NEW MEXICO, of which
SANTA FE, the capital, was one of the first
establishments, dates among the earliest
settlements made in America. By some
traditions it is related that a small band of
adventurers proceeded thus far north shortly
after the capture of the city of Mexico by
Hernan Cortes. The historian Mariana
speaks of some attempts having been made,
during the career of this renowned chieftain
in America, to conquer and take possession of
these regions. This, however, is somewhat
doubtful; for it is hardly probable that the
Spaniards, with all their mania for gold, would
have pushed their conquests two thousand
miles into the interior at so early a day, tra-
versing the settlements of hostile savages, and
leaving unexplored intermediate regions, not
only more beautiful, but far more productive
of the precious metals.

Herrera, writing of the events of 1550,
mentions New Mexico as a known province
lying north of New Galicia, though as yet only
inhabited by the aborigines. It was probably
called New Mexico from the resemblance of
its inhabitants to those of the city of Mexico
and its environs. They appear to have assi-
milated in their habits, their agriculture, their
manufactures and their houses ; while those
of the intermediate country (the Chichimecos,
&c.) were in a much ruder state, leading a


more wandering life, and possessing much
less knowledge of agriculture, arts, etc.

The only paper found in the archives at
Santa Fe which gives any clue to the first
settlement of New Mexico, is the memorial
of one Don Juan de Ofiate, a citizen of Zaca-
tecas, dated September 21, 1595, of which I
have been furnished with a copy through the
politeness of Don Guadalupe Miranda, Secre-
tary of State at Santa Fe. This petition
prayed for the permission and assistance of
the vice-regal government at Mexico, to esta-
blish a colony on the Rio del Norte in the re-
gion already known as New Mexico ; which
having been granted, it was carried into effect,
as I infer from the documents, during the fol-
lowing spring.

This appears to have been the first legal
colony established in the province ; yet we
gather from different clauses in Ofiate's me-
morial, that an adventurer known as Captain
Francisco de Leyva Bonillo had previously
entered the province with some followers,
without the king's permission, whom Orate
was authorized to arrest and punish. Some
historians insist that New Mexico was first

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