Offered accommodation by Captain Abercromby a Scottish resident in Vera Cruz, Tom stays for a few days, perhaps a week on the cusp of October / November 1796. Tom wrote letters of thanks and letters of application to the Viceroy Branciforte still trying to persuade him to let him travel on from Mexico to the United States via Havana. His hope was still to join other political exiles like the Glaswegian journalist James Thomson Callender in Philadelphia or James Tytler in Massachusetts.
Relationship to place
In 2014 I was invited to become an expeditionary on the Clipperton project exploring the Usumacinta River in Mexico. I spoke with Jon Bonfiglio about his hopes and ambitions for this project. The organization is an environmental awareness agency based in Campechie. The aim is to work with artists and scientists who are interested in a physical investment in the idea of expedition.
It was less clear what outcomes they anticipated. I therefore frontloaded my involvement with this group by negotiating a week’s free time to travel to Veracruz. I aimed to book my hotel by internet but Jon persuaded me to book an overnight bus, go to the taxi stand, ask for the ‘Zocalo’ and when I got there book a room in one of the colonial era hotels. This is what I did.
Tom steps down from the coach in which he’d been travelling with Burling O’Cain. He stands in what feels like a typical European square, the Zocalo, amid buildings constructed recently from the same coral blocks used to build the fortress out in the bay. Tom had an appointment in the city. Amid the clamour of indigenous labour, african born slaves, soldiers, Peninsulares and Criollo’s he has an invitation to stay at the home of another Scotsman, Captain Abercromby. He’s been treated well by his military escort as they’d crossed the country and his company was prized wherever he went, but now it was his turn to be curious, what would the news be from home?
Return ADO bus ticket from Campechie to Veracruz $2000 £80
Accomodation per night $800 £30
Living expenses per day $400 £15