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The Reefer Madness of Empress Carlota

21 January 2018



The Ogden (Utah) Standard, September 25, 1915


Deadly Marihuana Rolled in Cigarettes, Becomes the Curse of the Southern Republic and May Account for the “Bravery” of “Greaser” Bandits Who Defy the United States – The Insanity of Queen Carlotta Is Accounted For in the Familiar Historical Legend of the Poisoned Tea

General Villa tells the United States it can “go to h—.” Mexican troops cross the border and shoot down American ranchers and all in all it seems that the nation south of the Rio Grande would just as soon defy and fight the mighty Uncle Sam as to continue its own internal warfare.

And why?

Are the Mexicans becoming a mightier and braver race, or in the language of Texas, are they becoming “locoed?”

Reports received here indicate that the sudden burst of bravery on the part of the Mexicans is due to an increased use of the weed known as marihuana, which has much the same effect as opium or morphine on its users.

It is believed that a dose of this weed, administered by an enemy, caused Queen Carlotta, wife of Emperor Maximilian, to lose her mind. She now is living alone in a castle in France, still hopelessly insane, 50 years after the potion was administered.

Affects of Drug

The authorities here reported that large quantities of the weed are being imported into Texas from Mexico and causing the Mexicans on this side to nerve themselves to all kinds of daring crimes. The lower-class of Mexicans and Indians are obtaining and using quantities of the drug.

When a Mexican is under the influence of marihuana he imagines that he can, single-handed, whip the entire regular United States army, while if reinforced by several other Mexicans, also under the influence of the drug, he might include a few European nations in his dream conquests.

While under the influence of the marihuana Mexicans are liable to commit murder and when arrested give the authorities great trouble. In fact, a number of Mexicans recently have been shot by Rangers when they resisted arrest, and tried to kill the officers.

In El Paso the devotees of the alluring drug are so numerous and such a menace to law and order that an ordinance recently was passed by the city council making it “unlawful for any person, firm or corporation or association of persons to sell, barter, exchange or give away or to have in his or their possession any marihuana or Indian hemp.” The ordinance further sets forth that the dangerous properties of marihuana and the increasing sale, with resultant injury to public health and public morals, creates a necessity for the law’s rigid enforcement.

Smoked in Cigarettes

The terrible effects of the weed were realized by the late President Porfirio Diaz and during the latter years of his administration an order was in effect making it an offense punishable by death for any person to sell or give away to any soldier marihuana cigarettes or the weed in any other form.

The favorite method of using the weed is to roll the particles into cigarettes. Mexicans who are addicted to the habit say that the indulgence in one cigarette places them in the “seventh heaven.” It brings to them a sense of pleasure and delight that is incomparable and indescribable.

If a limit of one cigarette were set no great lasting harm might come to the indulger, but in order to keep up the feeling of elation another and perhaps another of the paper-wrapped poison is consumed, until the victim is in a state of wild frenzy. When in this condition he often goes on a rampage that brings death to whoever crosses his path. The period of temporary insanity lasts for several hours and is followed by the victim falling into a deep sleep that lasts 24 hours or more. He awakes with no knowledge of what has transpired while the full effects of the drug were upon him. It takes only a few months of constant indulgence in the cigarette habit to bring on permanent insanity.

It is stated that the marihuana weed grows profusely over a large area of Mexico and that it is found in considerable quantities on the Texas side of the Rio Grande River. In some districts it is a menace to livestock. The animals quickly learn to like the weed and when once they have obtained a taste for it they will eat nothing else. It brings death to them in a short time.

Really a Loco-Weed

In fact, the marihuana seems to be nothing less than the loco-weed that causes insanity to both men and beast. If the devastation of the drug is so great on this side of the Rio Grande, with our jails filled with men who have committed crimes while under the influence of the drug, and with our insane asylums filled with those who have lost their minds through the use of marihuana, imagine the terrible effect of its indulgence on the people of Mexico and then ask the question: Where do the Mexican bandits get their nerve to commit their attacks on the Americans and where do leaders summon courage to defy the government at Washington?

Then think of poor Queen Carlotta in her castle in France, with the doors of her mind closed forever from the light of understanding, apparently from an overdose of the drug administered in the form of tea by one of the enemies of her husband, Maximilian. The poor queen in her castle has been for fifty years and more awaiting death. Last year when the Germans invaded France they placed signs on this lone castle warning that anyone who disturbed the mad queen, as she is called, would be subject to severe punishment.

For Queen Carlotta is an Austrian and the Kaiser desired that she be protected, and the German soldiers responded nobly to his wishes, even refusing to fight in the vicinity of her castle.

Queen Carlotta

The story of Queen Carlotta’s insanity is one of the saddest in all of history, and her fate is even worse than that of her husband, who was shot to death at the direction of the French. As retribution for this deed they have given the queen the castle in the northern part of their domain and have maintained her for fifty years or more at their expense.

Here are the events that led to Maximilian’s regency in Mexico, his tragic end and the insanity of his queen:

In 1861 the Liberals and Conservatives in Mexico, while in the midst of one of those revolutions such as we have at the present day, seized on the property of foreigners. In consequence, Great Britain, France and Spain concluded a Triple Alliance at London with a view to forcing Mexico to pay indemnities. In December, 1861, a force of the Triple Alliance landed at Vera Cruz and occupied it without resistance, the Mexican troops having evacuated. After a successful conquest of many states it became apparent that the Emperor, Napoleon III, intended to interfere with the government of Mexico and perhaps establish a monarchy. The British and Spanish troops thereupon were withdrawn and the remainder of the conquest was left to the French troops.

On June 10, 1863, the French troops under General Forey entered the City of Mexico after it had been evacuated by President Juarez and his Republican troops. General Forey established a junta of 35 Mexican citizens and permitted them to establish an assembly of notables which decreed that Mexico in the future would be an empire with a Roman Catholic prince as sovereign to bear the title of Emperor. The crown thereupon was offered to Archduke Maximilian of Austria, of the Imperial House of Hapsburg.

The French were firmly established in the heart of Mexico but the army of Juarez still were firmly established in the southern and western portion of the country; and the contest of arms continued with varying fortune until the early part of 1864 when the Archduke Maximilian of Austria arrived in the Mexican capital to be proclaimed Emperor of Mexico. Maximilian was accompanied by his iill-fated wife who became the Empress Carlotta and the first lady of the new Empire. Maximillion had been placed on the Mexican throne through the instrumentality of the Emperor Napoleon.

The year 1864 was an eventful one in the history of Mexico. The French captured the city of Matamoras and the whole Mexican army was forced to surrender and become prisoners of war.

However, when the Civil War in the United States closed, the vitality of the Maximilian Empire declined. The United States, because of its internal affairs, was unable to act before, but when peace was restored the Monroe Doctrine was cited and the French were invited to leave Mexico. The French thereupon evacuated the country, leaving Maximilian and his imperialist followers to defend themselves against the Juarists. Maximilian remained despite the warning of Napoleon III to leave the country.

In May, 1876 [sic], the Juarists captured Maximilian and he and two of his generals were shot to death on June 19.}

But before the death of Maximilian, the Mexicans had taken revenge upon his queen. Several of her servitors are said to have given her tea which contained the deadly marihuana. The potion was so strong that she soon lost her mind.

So the marihuana is more deadly today than it was in the time of Queen Carlotta, for the Mexicans now are using it in cigarettes, and with each cigarette the desire to take the United States and annex it to Mexico seems to become stronger. And so the victims of the drug sleep on with their minds wandering far into the regions of the impossible, for its marihuana after all -and not real nerve and courage – that seems to be behind Mexico.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Peter Melvoin permalink
    21 January 2018 8:09 pm

    Hoover and “Reefer Madness” took their cue from these comments. Sad.

  2. Walter permalink
    29 May 2022 11:30 pm

    Carlota was fed Peyote by the Mexicans after Maximillian, her husband, was be-headed. She went crazy and she is told in ghost stories as a boogeyman type ghost

    • 30 May 2022 12:23 am

      Fun variation I hadn’t heard before … though Carlota had her breakdown in Rome about a year before Max was shot, not beheaded.

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