The following extracts from a letter from General Joe Shelby
will give the reader an idea of the climate, soil and productions of Mexico
The letter was written to a private friend, without any expectation of its being published; but it is none the less interesting for that fact:
, November 12, 1865.
--This is the best country I ever saw. The finest climate I was ever in. I am satisfied the climate here would restore your health; beside, I know the land would suit you. Everything under the sun grows here to perfection.
I have seen cotton, sugar, coffee and tobacco, corn, rice, and every kind of vegetables you have in Missouri
, growing to perfection; fruit of every variety that can be found on earth is to be found here; oranges, lemons, pine-apples, in fact so many varieties that this sheet of paper would not contain half their names.--The land lies as prettily as any in Lafayette
The Government is very liberal; It offers to foreign colonists six hundred and forty acres, near here to each man of family, at one dollar per acre, on five years time.
The lands, too, are not more than five to ten miles from the railroad, which will be completed in twelve months to this place.
I am fully satisfied that any good farmer can make a fortune here in six or ten years.
If our people emigrate at all, this is the place for them, and not Brazil
Any place but Brazil
They make two crops of corn a year here.
The seasons are regular and fine, abundance of rain, and, unlike the most of Mexico
, there is no irrigation here.
Corn grows beautifully; plenty of timber and fine water.
It is never colder here than in September in Missouri
, and it is never warmer than your May weather.
We have ice here, and never out of sight of snow.
You will ask, how is this?
I will answer, that the mountains ten miles off afford ice, and their tops are always covered with snow.
If our people had this country it would be a paradise.
A farmer ten miles from here, a German, told me he sold his coffee crop last year, the proceeds of sixty acres, for sixteen thousand dollars. He only worked ten hands, except while gathering, and then about double that number.
Labor here is from twenty-five to fifty cents per day; they board themselves, and only get pay for the days they work.
I have secured a section of land for you, and will hold to it until I hear from you.
Many of our old acquaintances are here; among them, George Young: he is perfectly delighted; is going to farming immediately.
I see Frank Gordon
Where are you living now?
My mother writes that Maury Boswell
Tom is with me, and doing well.
Colonel Frank Mitchell
is up about San Luis Potosi
; has rented a large hacienda, and is planting cotton largely.
But that is no such country as this.
and General Price
are here; in all, about one hundred Confederates, who intend settling.
is here, Dick Collins
, Charley Jones
, Bill Fell.
A great many, who have become discouraged, out of money and away from their loved ones, have returned.
Many come back.
Tobacco can be made very profitable here.
It grows as well here, General Price
says, as he ever saw it in Missouri
Under the decree of the Emperor
you can make contracts in the United States
with your negroes for ten years, and it will be binding here; the negro will have to stick; so any person coming here can bring their servants if they can get them to come.
I remain yours, affectionately,