Manuscript on paper.
Rare manuscript detailing the protocol of the Imperial court in Mexico City, written in 1867, apparently weeks before Maximilian left the city for Querétaro and a mere months before his execution by firing squad. The manuscript lays out the power structures governing the day-to-day running of the palace from security procedures to party planning.
The document stipulates the appointment of a Prefect in charge of the government of the palace. The prefect was to report to the Ministry of the Imperial House for all household questions, and to the General of the Second Army Corps for all security matters. The document then lays out the prefect’s duties regarding the management of people and horses, gardens and ballrooms. Among these are the following:
· The prefect will make a detailed inventory of all furnishings in the palace belonging to the state
· He will make a separate inventory of all furnishings belonging to the Emperor
· He will not allow any goods to be brought onto the Palace premises without prior permission, with the exception of horses and carriages
· The prefect will be responsible for the preparation of all rooms required for official parties and banquets
· He will ensure sufficient water supply to the palace
· The prefect will have no authority over the Emperor’s private staff
· He will be able to see the Emperor only when summoned or having been granted an audience in writing
· He may only communicate with the Emperor in writing
· He may not talk to the Emperor about any matter other than those pertaining to his functions.
The short-lived reign of Maximilian I, Emperor of Mexico (b. 1832), began in 1864, when Napoleon III presented the Habsburg heir with the recently conquered country and the results of a manipulated poll purportedly showing a majority of Mexicans in favor of his becoming Emperor. Maximilian, however, soon disappointed his conservative Mexican backers by instigating a number of liberal reforms; the republicans, led by Benito Juarez, continued to despise him as a foreign impostor. When Napoleon withdrew French troops at the end of 1866, Empress Carlota traveled to Europe to drum up support for her embattled husband.
The date of the present document (1867) therefore suggests a number of possible interpretations. Since Maximilian left Mexico City in February of the same year, the rules for the management of the palace may have been updated to reflect his impending absence – nobody at this point would have foreseen Maximilian’s execution in a matter of mere months. Since Carlota had already left Mexico for Europe in 1866, the absence of any mention of the Empress in the present document is understandable. It is also possible that the departure of Napoleon’s French troops required a revision of palace protocol.