Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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RIVA PALACIO, Mariano (re'-vah-pah-lah'the-o), Mexican statesman, born in the city of Mexico, 4 November, 1803; died there, 20 February, 1880. He studied in the seminary of his native city, and, although he was graduated with honors, never sought admission to the bar, but entered polities He was chosen deputy to congress for the term of 1833-'4, and from that time was almost continually either deputy or senator In 1849 he was elected governor of the state of Mexico, where tie introduced many important reforms, including a new system of direct taxation, which soon put the state treasury in a flourishing condition, and redeemed the credit of the state, by paying all its accumulated debts. He built the public market of Toluca, the prison, the court-house, and the city sewers, established a savings-bank, and began the penitentiary in Real del Monte. He was re-elected, and with the greatest difficulty obtained permission from the legislature to resign, when, in August, 1851, he was called by General Arista to form a ministry, in which he took the portfolio of the treasury. After the fall of Santa-Anna's administration General Martin Carrera called Riva Palacio to form a ministry on 16 August, 1855: but the latter declined and frankly told Carrera that as provisional president he ought not to appoint ministers. In December of that year, together with Luis de 18 Rosa, he accepted from General Alvarez a commission to form a cabinet, but would not take the portfolio, and retired to private life. In 1857 he was again elected governor of the state of Mexico, established a mounted police to suppress the increasing brigandage, began to drain the lagoon of Lerma, and projected a railroad to connect Toluca with the city of Mexico. Afterward he was president of the municipal council of Mexico, where he introduced gas-lights, constructed new public markets, and established many other reforms. When the Republican government abandoned the capital, 31 May, 1863, before the French invasion. Riva Palacio was prevented by sickness from following, but refused to form part of the "junta de notables" that was formed in July of that year. In July, 1864, the emperor Maximilian invited him by a special commissioner to accept the portfolio of the interior; but he declared that as a republican he could never take part in a monarchical and foreign administration. After the fall of Queretaro, in May, 1867, Maximilian appointed Riva Palacio, with Martinez de la Torre, to defend him before the council of war. Without a moment's hesitation, Riva Palacio hurried to Queretaro, and, after consultation with the prisoner, went to San Luis Potosi to see Juarez ; but, notwithstanding his brilliant defence, he could not save his unfortunate client. Later he received from the imperial family a silver table-service. After the return of the national government to Mexico, Riva Palacio was elected president of the municipal council, and in 1868 he became deputy to congress, being permitted by a special law to retain his place in the municipality. In August, 1869, he was elected president of congress, and in October of that year he was made governor of the state of Mexico, but returned, in December, 1871, to his seat in congress. In 1876, after the triumph of the revolution of Tuxtopec, he was appointed director of the national Monte de Piedad. He was one of the few public men of Mexico that had no enemy in either of the political parties.
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