the mother country. He it was that put the ball in motion, and though his life paid the forfeit, other and worse men have shared the spoils.
March 6th. We were marched ten leagues to San Miguel el Grande,5 a city of about fifteen thousand people, built upon the side of a steep hill, and bountifully watered by a mountain stream. Here we were quartered in a filthy, unfurnished room, upon the ground floor of an extensive cathedral, the upper apartments of which are used as a college, and which is celebrated as the institution where Hidalgo was educated. The name of Hidalgo seems to be held in great reverence here; we saw it inscribed in sundry places about the town. Our room opened upon a court in which a delicious jet d'eau  fell into a large stone reservoir, where we had the luxury of washing our face and hands to our hearts, content. This luxury, almost as indispensable to Texians, or the nation from whence most of us sprang, as eating, is almost unknown in Mexico; we rarely saw an officer or soldier wash his face. To-day we were stopped to noon it at one of the confiscated haciendas of the Jesuits, in a delightful and well-watered valley, where there is an extensive and beautiful church, which, though built a long time since, the scriptural paintings upon the dome and outside are still brilliant. We were forced into a filthy alley, only a few feet in width, communicating directly with the comûn,6 the most horrible smelling of all places, where we had either to eat or fast.
March 7th. Marched eight leagues to the "burned hacienda," where we were lodged in a stable. This night, for the first time, we discovered the comet; and to obtain a clearer view, all hands had to mount the horse-trough. We had an excited argument among ourselves whether it was a comet, or what it was; and the warmth with which we debated the matter excited the curiosity as well as alarmed the fears of our ignorant guards. They inquired of us what it meant, and we told them that "it was a messenger sent by God, which foretold bloody war at the capital, for its tail pointed in that direction." This was a reasonable reply; for several days we had met news, all of which tended to show that a  formidable outbreak was daily expected at the capital against Santa Anna, and that he was calling this, one of his favourite regiments, near his person in anticipation of some such event. The workings of the sentinel's lips, and the shy and rapid motion of crossing himself in prayer, soon showed that our tale had the desired effect: that night several of them deserted.
Let a Mexican be capsized in the middle of a river, instead of swimming he will stop to say his prayers. Let him be at sea in a storm, instead of laying hold of the ropes he will stop to say his prayers. Let any danger beset him on land, instead of applying himself to meet the emergency he appeals to his patron saint. I was informed by Lieutenant Taylor, of her Britannic majesty's navy, who was on board the Mexican steamer Montezuma, off Campeachy, when Commodore Moore7 first attacked them, that the whole Mexican portion of the