High Lights of the Mexican Revolution - J. L. McLeish

Mexican Masonry And Mexican Clericalism


As January 1917 drew to a close, the American Punitive Expedition under General Pershing began its homeward march to the Rio Grande.

In point of accomplishment the brief sojourn of the American soldiers at Colonia Dublan is a psychological problem, the solution of which is still to be interpreted upon the pages of history. At this time it impresses one as a little less logical than the famous performance of a certain King of France who led his soldiers up the hill, then led them down again.

Negligible as it may seem in result, none will deny that the denouement of the Mexican drama draws nearer. With the First Chief of the Constitutionalist Party in comparative control, some semblance of order has been restored to revolution-ridden Mexico, and the bete noir of both the United States and its southern neighbor, Francisco Villa, has now become a negative character, reverting once more to his type that of bandit pure and simple.

The attempt of German diplomats to align Carranza and the Constitutionalist Party against their benefactor, the United States, shows a surprising lack of familiarity with the development of the Liberal Movement in Mexico, and of what the present effort to establish a really Constitutional Government in the southern Republic means.

No one knows better than Carranza that the success of his cause depends entirely upon the moral and financial support accorded him by the United States; no one knows better than Carranza that should his government fall, intervention by this country is certain.

In Latin America, two names are synonymous; Freemasons and Liberals.

Nowhere in all the world has the Masonic Order risen more promptly to its great opportunity, and fought the good fight for the survival of the fittest in the life and death struggle for Free Speech, Free Thought, and Civil and Religious Liberty than in our war-torn neighbor of the southland, Old Mexico.

Many labor under the delusion as recently expressed by a writer that Latin American Masonry is "atheistic, revolutionary and contentious, and in Mexico anarchistic and murderous." When one turns the pages of history unfolding a tragic story of three centuries of oppression and tyranny unresisted, until the Masons of Mexico took up the sword to bring Light out of Darkness, and restore to the native born that which was their very own, the fallacy of any such assertion is evident.

To fully understand the long drawn-out struggle for Mexican Independence dating from 1810 down to the present day and still unsettled, you must consider conditions prior to and after the conquest by the Catholic, Cortez.

At the close of the fifteenth century it was the fashion for Popes to preach "muscular Christianity." The Sons of the Church extended the doctrines of the Church with the sword in the right hand, the Bible in the left. In those days religious infidelity, (which meant any small divergence from the doctrines of Roman Catholicism), was regarded as a sin "to be punished with fire and faggot in this world, eternal suffering in the next." It was such dicta that led the "Holy See" to take title to any heathen land wherever found in the name of the Pope. Under this same theory in 1494, Pope Alexander VI, one of the notorious Borgia family, boasting a mistress Vanozia, and four illegitimate children, issued a Papal Bull dividing the whole world between two puppet Catholic nations, Spain and Portugal. "Bodies and souls, the property and services of the conquered nations were to be their peculiar inheritance and that of their successors forever."

This Bull of Borgia's was confirmed by later Popes. It served as the fanatic inspiration of Hernan Cortez and his band of adventurers to invade and overthrow a mighty empire quite as advanced in civilization according to fifteen century standards as that of the Old World. Says the historian Abbot, "Cortez and his followers were men of violence, and blood, little better than a horde of pirates and banditti." Says Chevalier, "They committed crimes which, by, the laws of all nations could be" expiated only by a gallows for the principal and the galleys for his followers."

With no other title than the Apostolic Dictum "the heathen are given as an inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth as a possession" came Cortez and his mail-clad men and his black-robed friars to bring darkness, misery, slavery and oppression to a hitherto happy people whose advancement in art and architecture and civilization rivaled that of ancient Egypt.

Our first definite records of Mexican civilization date back to the seventh century with the coming of the Toltecs to Anahuac. These Toltecs were designers of beautiful buildings and palaces. Their very name is synonymous with that of the Builders of Architects. Some of their fine handiwork you may see today in the classic ruins of Mitla, Cholula and Yucatan. In their day of dominance they controlled all of Anahuac or what is now modern Mexico. Through their wonderful hieroglyphic writings have come down to us their Race-Record presenting a series of picture-histories of an ancient and most honorable past.

History in the Old world as in the New has been but one long repetition. In the lives of men may be found the inevitable working out of that ancient law so clearly enunciated by Malthus in the curt saying, "LIFE IS A SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST."

It proved so in Mexico. Out of the north came the fierce Aztecs, the blood-ancestors of two-thirds of the native-born of modern Mexico. By right of might they swept the Toltecs before them and reduced all neighboring nations but one, the Tlascalans, to subservience.

Masters of Mexico in 1325, the Aztecs planned and laid the great foundations of their capitol, Tenochtitlan, a beautiful city of three hundred thousand people, on the site of the present city of Mexico.

Tradition tells us the Aztecs were induced to build in the lake-encircled Valley of Mexico by an omen shown of a monstrous eagle resting upon a cactus, holding between its talons a serpent. Here is a fine bit of symbolism for you symbol-loving Masons, the serpent perennially shedding its skin to emerge (refreshed and regenerated, the serpent an emblem of Immortality.

All that was best of the splendid Toltec civilization the Aztecs retained and during the several hundred years of empire under the dynasty of the Montezumas they exhibited an amazing advance in Hierogliphy or Symbolic Lore, Agriculture, Astronomy, Architecture, Metallurgy, Trade, and Jurisprudence.

The Aztec Empire was an elective monarchy made up of a confederation of states of which the united armies were quite invincible until the coming of Cortez and his mail-clad men with their artillery and cavalry, until then, quite unknown in Anahuac. The ruling Emperor was chosen from one family or its immediate blood-connections, so perpetuating the royal line from one generation to another.

"Fortunately," says Prescott, "the throne was filled by a succession of able Princes, who knew how to profit by their enlarged resources and by the material enthusiasm of the nation. Year after year saw them return loaded with the spoils of conquered cities, and with throngs of captives."

Sustaining the royal family was an hereditary nobility, the Caciques, who occupied to the throne, much the same position as that of the feudal barons of Merrie England.

With the surpassingly rich mines of Mexico and the illimitable natural resources of the tropics to draw from, the wealth of the Aztec nation knew no bounds. Gold, silver and precious stones were more plentiful with them than with any nation of the ancient or modern world.

A luxury surpassing even the fabled wealth of the Orient was a salient characteristic of the Aztec empire. The palace of the Montezumas in the center of Tenochtitlan was possessed of all the traditional glories of our own King Solomon's Temple. Let Prescott speak again:

"In the royal palace of Tezcuco was a courtyard, on the opposite sides of which were two halls of justice. In the principal one, called "The Tribunal of God" was a throne of pure gold, inlaid with turquoises and other precious stones. On a stool in front was placed a human skull crowned with an immense emerald, of a pyramidal form and surmounted by an aigrette of brilliant plumes and precious stones. The skull was laid on a heap of military weapons, shields, quivers, bows and arrows. The walls were hung with tapestry, made of the hair of different wild animals, of rich and various colors, festooned by gold rings and embroidered with figures of birds and flowers. Above the throne was a canopy of variegated plumage from the center of which shot forth resplendent rays of gold and jewels."

When the king decided important causes he passed to the Tribunal of God attended by the fourteen great lords of the realm, marshaled according to their rank.

In such state lived the Aztec monarch and his nobles.

A surprising landmark of the Aztec civilization were the great post-roads of the empire. These girdled the entire country. Couriers, men of mighty physique, especially trained for the purpose, relayed His Majesty's messages to and from the remotest parts of the empire in incredibly short time. Floating gardens, irrigation ditches and canals made Mexico a very wonderful horticulture.

All land was held in feudal tenure. While the emperor controlled the legislative power, he was held in check to a certain extent, by regularly constituted judiciaries. From these courts even he had no appeal.

Rights of property and persons were rigidly enforced. The marriage relation was sacred. Intemperance was severely frowned upon.

All nations of every civilization have had a weak spot. The Aztec religion is open to the same caustic criticism as is Old-World Christianity in its primitive stages. In Rome the gladiatorial combats in the Circus Maximus, in Spain the Holy Inquisition, in France of 1572 the coldly-conceived Massacre of St. Bartholomew, all products of the clerical class. Says Prescott: "Strange, that in every country the most fiendish passions of the human heart have been those kindled in the name of religion."

In the Aztec system the singular religious cult engrafted upon the nation by the dominant priesthood, but resembles that of other and older civilizations, the predominating good traits of which offset the outstanding bad.

The Supreme Being of the Aztecs was the War God Huitzil, "the invisible, incorporeal, one God of perfect perfection and purity."

As ministering agent to execute his will were thirteen lesser divinities, and subordinate to them two hundred more.

The Aztecs believed in life after death, in a place of dire punishment, and paramount pleasure. There was much of beauty in the Aztec religion. Witness these teachings:

"Keep peace with all. Bear injuries with humility. God, who sees, will avenge you."

Inferior only to Montezuma were the two HIGH PRIESTS, who jointly controlled the army of priests scattered throughout the empire. With the clergy rested all education and they trained the youth well. Hieroglyphic picture-writing, governmental science, theology, astronomy, agriculture, architecture, and military science formed but part of their curriculum. A sacrificial system of captives taken in war, was one of the darker shadows of Aztec theology. Upon this score however they are no more to be condemned than the conquering Spaniards of whom a Catholic historian Clavigero, says:

"The Spaniards in one year of merciless massacre, sacrificed more human victims to avarice and ambition than the Indians during the existence of their empire devoted, in chaste worship to their native Gods."

Commissioned by the Spanish governor of Cuba, a young adventurer of thirty-three, set forth to conquer the Aztec empire and Catholicize Mexico. Hernan Cortez had "eleven vessels, one hundred and ten mariners, five hundred and fifty-three soldiers, ten heavy guns, four lighter pieces and sixteen horses." With this little expedition this audacious adventurer purposed to conquer the mighty empire of the Montezumas. As representing the pope went with him two priests, Fathers Diaz and Olmedo.

On Good Friday of 1519 Cortez landed on the site of what is now Vera Cruz. From Montezuma came handsome presents, among them many fine specimens of gold. Cortez sounded the keynote of his expedition when he informed the Aztec ambassador, "We Spaniards have a disease of the heart for which gold alone is a specific."

In spite of the refusal of the Aztec emperor to receive the Spaniards, Cortez pressed boldly on into the interior, the superior arms, artillery and cavalry of the invaders winning victory against odds in innumerable engagements with far superior forces of the enemy.

In vain Montezuma sent costly embassies to the Spaniards, with helmets full of pure gold dust, massive plates of gold and silver exquisitely engraven, some of his presents totaling thirty thousand dollars each in value; collars and bracelets of silver and gold inlaid with emeralds, pearls, turquoise and other precious stones. In vain the opulent monarch gave freely of his all, hoping to placate the thirst of his unwelcome visitors that they might retire whence they came and leave him and his in peace. He was but holding forth the lure to draw the little band of adventurers on, so sounding the knell of Aztec rule forever.

As success attended his arms Cortez grew bolder, less careful of externals. Having defeated the doughty Tlascalans he received an embassy of fifty, had their hands severed from the wrists and sent them back to their overlords—but one of the little cruelties of which he was a consummate master.

Having subjugated this tribe and recruiting them as allies, Cortez next descended upon Cholula, the Sacred City and Mecca of the Indians with a teeming, peaceful population of 150,000 souls. Hospitably harbored here, Cortez had ample opportunity to gain some conception of the most magnificent civilization any New World adventurer had yet encountered. Here he found the great pyramid and temple to Quetzal with a base of fourteen hundred and twenty-three feet, and a height of one hundred and seventy-seven feet, surmounted by a magnificent teocalli or temple. In spite of the hospitality originally accorded, Cortez suspected treachery, summoned the inhabitants of the Holy City to the Great Square, where without any warning at a given signal the armed Spaniards fell upon them and cut them down pitilessly; many seeking refuge in the wooden buildings were burned to death; a few sought refuge in the wooden turrets of the great temple only to meet a similar fearful ending. Six thousand souls were cruelly slaughtered by the invading white men, and the beautiful Holy City of the Aztecs lay a smoldering heap of blackened ruins.

Such scenes as this characterized the whole career of Cortez in his conquest. Treachery marked his relations with the Emperor Montezuma from their first meeting until the murder of that unhappy monarch. There was the same reckless disregard of life and honor, promises unfulfilled, pledges broken, cities sacked and records obliterated. In one foul stroke Cortez and his bigoted followers obliterated all records of Aztec civilization with the razing of their monuments, the destruction of their temples, the killing of their most intelligent representatives. It has been the policy of Rome to destroy that which could not harmonize with Rome from the outset. The first act of Zumarraga, first Archbishop of the Church in Mexico was the public burning of the Great Library of the Aztecs, so obliterating forever from our ken any possible trace of the origin of this wonderful New World civilization which Cortez conquered only to destroy.

Says Draper the historian: "What Spain did to this continent can never be too often related—it ought never to be forgotten. She acted with appalling atrocity to those Indians, as though they did not belong to the human race. Their lands and goods were taken from them by Apostolic authority. Their persons were next seized . . . . It was one unspeakable outrage; one unutterable ruin, without discrimination of age or sex . . . . By millions upon millions whole races and nations were remorselessly cut off. The Bishop of Chiapa affirms that more than fifteen millions were exterminated in his time. From Mexico and Peru, a civilization that might have instructed Europe was crushed out."

The traditional cruelty and religious fanaticism of Hernan Cortez and his Spaniards soon manifested itself after their advent in Tenochtitlan. Hospitably received by the Aztec Emperor, assigned to one of the most pretentious palaces in this most pretentious of the New World Capitals, Cortez forcibly seized upon the person of his host, holding Montezuma hostage and subjecting him to personal indignities of a most reprehensible sort.

While lamenting the barbarity of the Aztecs in offering human sacrifices to their God, Cortez calmly decreed and executed, by burning alive, an Aztec Governor and sixty of his followers in the heart of the Aztec Capitol. He manacled Montezuma and seizing upon an Aztec Temple, tore down the native deity to set up a statue of the Virgin.

During an absence of Cortez at Vera Cruz, his lieutenant, Alvarado, graciously granted permission for the Aztec nobility to hold religious services in their Temple, stipulating only that they come unarmed. At the appointed time when six hundred of the flower of Montezuma's courtiers were worshipping, the Spaniards fell upon them and mercilessly cut them to pieces.

Do you wonder at the sudden turning of the worm, the uprising of an outraged people, the unleashing the dogs of war throughout all Anahuac? Does it surprise you to hear that the gentle Montezuma died of a broken heart?

Cortez conquered eventually. The iron rule of Spain was fastened upon the native-born and that unjust system of harsh government put into force, which held the Mexicans supine until a priest, Hidalgo, received Masonic Light and with the assistance of his brethren inaugurated the long struggle, the end of which is not yet.

You have seen Cortez and his mail-clad men and black-robed friars set foot on Mexico with practically nothing. Scarcely had they been the guests of Montezuma for a week than this cunning Spaniard prevailed upon the Aztec monarch to surrender gold and jewels from the hidden royal Treasure House amounting to six million dollars in American gold.

The Spaniards who came with the Conqueror were Soldiers of the Holy Inquisition, some of them veterans in previous Crusades against the heathen, trained to the highest degree in forcing their sort of Christianity upon the heretics. Their fine cruelties had already been perpetrated upon the Moors of southern Spain; they had tortured the poor Jews when they expelled them from the country; and now each mother's son of them, convinced that he was an Apostle of the Holy Roman Catholic Church, had come to this New World to seize and possess, sack cities, despoil the Aztec temples, slay defenseless women and children, enslave the fathers and ravish the daughters. Every demoniacal torture possible of invention by the fanatic minds of the Inquisitors was brought into play to convert these simple savages. Says Abbot the historian: "Any act of aggression, inhumanity or barbarism, was sanctioned if done in the name of religion. Under the banner of the Cross, the zest of the vilest men could be roused to almost any work of diabolical crime. Every description of wrong and outrage under the garb of religion was tolerated. Adultery, incest, murder, perjury and unmitigated despotism in kings, popes and queens were winked at, if they were only 'Defensores Fidei.' . . . It was no mere fling of the wits that the priests were all 'Fathers' and the Pope 'The Holy Father.' "

After Cortez—What?

When the flower of the Aztec nobility had given up their lives in vain to perpetuate the Empire of their fathers, when the last of the Aztec Kings, Guatamotzin had been tortured nigh unto death rather than reveal the source of the Aztec Gold, that system of government was devised for Mexico which endured for three hundred years until LIGHT came. It was a selfish system of feudalism worse than that which marred the Europe of the Middle Ages. It was a Government of Fueros or Privileges, a gigantic Government Trust, the like of which has been seen nowhere else in all the world. First came the Archbishop and his fat friars, then the Viceroy, a mere puppet of Pope and King, after him the nobility and the army. What was left —which was nothing—was divided among the hoi polloi or the native born. Tribute was paid the King of Spain as follows:

  • "One-fifth of all gold or silver; a monopoly on tobacco, salt and gunpowder.
  • "All moneys received from sale of Colonial Offices.
  • "An Oppressive Revenue Stamp Act.
  • "Poll-tax from each of the native born."

A Few of the Pope's Perquisites

In all Catholic countries the Church has managed by legislative action to amass an amazing amount of property, real and personal. When you consider that almost naked the first priests came to Mexico, and that ere long, under the Viceroyalty established by Spain, the Roman Catholic Hierarchy was proud possessor of over two hundred million dollars worth of land and other properties yielding an annual income of more than twenty million dollars, is it to be wondered at that when the native-born rose at length in their long-slumbering wrath, they should enunciate the old Bible Law: NAKED YE CAME AND NAKET YE GO?

If I dwell at any length upon the Catholic Fueros it is that you may later understand the seeming stringency of the Masonic Laws of Reform whereby the descendants of the old Aztecs merely demanded back that which was their very own by right of inheritance, asking only of the lumbering priests and the fat friars that they take their shovel hats and go, "Naked ye came and naked ye go."

As late as 1845 our American Ambassador General Thompson wrote:

"The immense wealth which is collected in the Churches of Mexico is not by any means all, or even the larger portion of the wealth of the Mexican Church and Clergy. They own very many of the finest houses in Mexico and other cities, (the rents of which must be enormous), besides valuable real estate all over the Republic. Almost every person leaves a bequest in his will for masses for his soul, which constitute an encumbrance upon the estate, and thus nearly all the estates of the small proprietors are mortgaged to the Church. . . . As a means of raising money, I would not give the single institution of the Catholic religion of masses and indulgences for the benefit of the souls of the dead, for the power of taxation possessed by any government. Of all the artifices of cunning and venality to extort money from credulous weakness, there is none so potential as the mass for the benefit of the souls in purgatory. . . . I have seen stuck up on the door of the Church of San Francisco, one of the largest and most magnificent in Mexico, an advertisement of which the following was the substance:


Is it any wonder that a priest, Father Gavazzi, pronounced the "dogma of Purgatory" the best goldmine of the Papal System?

Among the Fueros of the Church were:

  • Bulls de cruzada exempting its purchaser from all crimes except heresy, and most of the fasts prescribed by the Church.
  • Bulls de funtos the Bull for the dead, "a passport for the sinner's soul from Purgatory." This yielded a nice revenue from the poor and ignorant.
  • Bulls for eating milk and eggs during Lent.
  • Bulls of Composition absolving thieves from the crime of theft and necessity of restitution.

All necessities paid a tithe to the Church. All ornamental and artificial articles paid a Church tax. Especially tithable were all luxuries. A special Church impost was known as the "Alcabala" levied upon all merchandise changing hands, privilege of transit through Mexico, etc.

Says Abbot:

"The aggrandizement of the clerical body and the accumulation of their wealth was almost incredible. Churches and convents, estates and treasure, diamonds, gold and silver, swelled the accumulations to an aggregate of not less than one hundred millions of dollars. The monasteries of the Dominicans and Carmelites acquired immense riches in real estate, both in town and country."

Says another historian, Lempriere:

"The Mexican Church as a Church, fills no mission of virtue, no mission of morality, no mission of mercy, no mission of charity. Virtue cannot exist in its pestiferous atmosphere. The code of morality does not come within its practice. It knows no mercy, and no emotion of charity ever nerves the stony heart of that priesthood, which, with an avarice that knows no limit, filches the last penny from the diseased and dying beggar; plunders the widows and orphans of their substance; as well as their virtue; and casts such a horoscope of horrors around the deathbed of the dying millionaire, that the poor, superstitious wretch is glad to purchase a chance for the safety of his soul, by making the Church the heir to his treasures."

Under the Viceroys, so great was the reverence demanded by the Clergy that the priests announced their passage along the streets by a tinkling of bells, carried by an attendant who ran along in front of their carriage. Anyone in the immediate proximity was compelled to kneel and uncover as did all those living in the houses by which the procession passed. At the first tinkle of the bell, the Mexicans would prostrate themselves in the dust crying "Dios viene, Dios viene," (God comes). It was some pompous pageantry indeed when Senor Priest carried the Host to the dying in old Mexico.

I think I have said enough to convince you how at the very beginning of the nineteenth century, Mexico seemed hopelessly enslaved under the harsh rule of Roman Ecclesiasticism expressing itself through the puppet personalities of the Spanish Viceroys, who represented a King and a Cortez utterly subservient to the Pope of Rome.

Although the first priests came poverty-stricken to Mexico, in the three hundred years of their undisputed sway, they became stupendously rich and fortified in what to all seeming, was an impregnable position. After the insatiate demands of Clergy had been met, what was left of the natural resources of the country, after paying perquisites to the King of Spain as Suzerain, went to the enrichment of the Viceroy, the Spanish satellites who made up his court, and the Army which sustained him in power.

Abject misery, dire poverty and slavery was the lot of the native born, the descendants of those Aztecs who had once so wisely ruled old Mexico.

Throughout the whole country the dread Inquisition flourished and held sway. The wretched victims of this terrible Dominican System filled to overflowing the great military prisons like San Juan de Uloa, with their disease-disseminating, vermin-infested, dark dungeons, veritable hell-holes. So unutterably cruel were the penalties exacted by the Inquisitors for failure to pay the Clerical Tithes, or even daring to speak against the existing order of government, the least utterance that savored of heresy (which means any divergence from the teachings of Rome) that it is a wonder this politico-religious SYSTEM persisted as long as it did. And even much though the native-born contributed to their stern taskmasters, it was never, never enough.

Overseas, decadent Spain was in dire straits; upon the Viceroys of Mexico it devolved to pay the upkeep of the extravagant court of the Bourbons as well as to meet the continual urgent demands of the CLERICAL OCTOPUS which was fattening upon both countries.

The perfect understanding existing between the Viceroys and the Clergy had perfected an organization for grand grafting in Mexico that would have made our own King of Grafters, Boss Tweed, and his New York Ring blush for shame, had the two been placed in open contrast. The intricate ramifications of this band of politico-religious plunderers extended into the most remote rural districts of Spain's richest colony. All over Mexico the priesthood owned the choicest lands and through their fat friars wielded absolute sway over the humblest peons. In Mexico City alone the religious orders held in fee simple three-fourths of the most valuable real estate. Vast tracts of land and haciendas of fabulous richness were in the absolute possession of two numerically small classes, Spanish aristocrats and Catholic Clergy.

Of 7,000,000 people who made up the Mexican population at the opening of the nineteenth century, three-fourths were absolutely landless. Under such conditions, there was of course no middle class. The blanketed hoi polloi may be said to have merely existed. It is hard for them to do even that much today.

In the early days of the new century, Mexico gave the first signs of an awakening. Through devious secret channels Light was breaking into Mexico. It became evident that the people had been reading, thinking, talking among themselves. For the first time native Mexicans dared openly criticize the government, the Viceroys—and oh sacrilege—the Church. In the public prints and pamphlets widely disseminated native writers dared voice views hitherto taboo. They found a ready, eager audience in those who had hitherto had their mental pabulum dispensed by the priests.

From some mysterious source was emanating New Light on Mexico spreading its refulgent rays throughout the country, and supplanting the hitherto somnolent subservience of the native born with new and feverish ambitions.

In vain the Secret Agents of the Holy Inquisition sought to trace the promoters of the new doctrine of LIGHT and LIFE and LIBERTY, doctrines they knew too well would eventually mean the overturning of the old established order, the crushing forever of the SYSTEM, and the ending of Clericalism as an active factor in Mexican politics.

And yet right in the heart of Mexico City, almost under the shadow of the Viceroy's Palace, at a little house Number Four, Calle de las Ratas was meeting regularly the first Masonic Lodge ever established in the land of the Aztecs, the "Arquitectura Moral" Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons which was the immediate predecessor of "Valle de Mexico Lodge No. 1." Among its members were some of the most intelligent Mexicans of that early day, Don Manuel Luyando, Don Enrique Muni, Don Manuel Verdad, Don Gregorio Martinez, Don Feliciano Vargas, Don Jose Maria Espinosa, Don Miguel Betancourt, Don Ignacio Moreno, and Don Miguel Dominguez.

It is a splendid tribute to the sacred regard these men cherished for their Masonic obligations that they could regularly meet, work and spread their propaganda for civil and religious liberty so long as they did, escaping espionage from the Inquisition which was supposed to have the finest Secret Service operatives of the age. And yet it was these pioneer Masons of Mexico who aroused the country to action. In remotest regions spread the Masonic propaganda until it reached the ears of a native priest, Don Miguel de Hidalgo who had sounded the hollowness of the SYSTEM to its depths, and longed for Light, More Light.

Under the protecting shadows of night there rode into Mexico City upon a certain evening, dust-covered and weary from miles of mountain and desert travel, a priest and a soldier,—the former Don Miguel de Hidalgo, Cure of the Parish Dolores, the other, Don Ignacio Allende. Taking lodging at No. 5, Calle de las Ratas they made themselves soon known to the brethren in the house at No. 4. Having been found worthy and well-qualified, duly and truly prepared, these two were successively inducted into the degrees of APPRENDIZ, COMPANERO and MAESTRO, according to the liturgy of the Rito-Antiguo-Aceptado-Escoces.

In the unrest that spread over the country the first fluctuation as under all such conditions was in the financial situation. Depression was universal. The native born Mexicans attributed the near panic to the annual exportation of immense sums to Spain, and the greediness of the Clergy. The SYSTEM accused the agitators, the pamphleteers and secret societies in turn. In consequence the Inquisition redoubled its efforts to meet the danger that threatened its very existence. Spanish spies infested every street corner. Servitors in every household were subsidized agents of the Holy Inquisition. For all one knew to the contrary, the eminently respectable civilian living next one's door, was an accredited agent of the dominant powers.

Do you wonder then, that a house just across the way from Number 4 Calle de las Ratas was harboring a creature sent there for no other purpose than to spy upon the brethren of the Moral Architect Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons? In due time this infamous fellow, Cabo Franco the spy, spoke. The black-garbed hirelings of the Inquisition descended in force upon our Mexican brothers. A vigorous persecution ensued.

Fortunately Hidalgo and Allende had left the city before the raid. In consequence the Inquisitors had to content themselves with excommunicating them as "devil-worshippers and members of an accursed sect."

Not at all perturbed, Hidalgo sent out his signs and summons to the craftsmen sounding his grito of defiance on September 15, 1810. The hour had come; a leader was ready. The long struggle for Mexican Independence which is another word for Civil and Religious Liberty, Free Speech, and Free Thought was inchoated.

After its centuries-long slumber the blanketed hoi polloi of Mexico had aroused themselves to decisive action.

Everywhere Hidalgo was welcomed. His first move was upon the city of Guanajuato. For weapons his little army had pikes, machetes, and the most primitive mining implements. This undisciplined mob bravely assailed the far-better equipped Spaniards where they had taken refuge in a large granary, and by sheer force of numbers and intrepidity of _spirit carried everything before them. After the victory of Guanajuato, Hidalgo and his army of native sons invested successively Acambaro, Celaya, and Valladolid, all important cities.

The Viceroy Venegas equipped a most formidable army in Mexico City. They were the flower of the Spanish mercenaries, many of them veterans fresh from the Wars in the Spanish Peninsula. To assist

him, Holy Church preached a Crusade against the revolutionaries and launched its anathemas against Hidalgo and his devoted band.

It was a considerable army which marched against the Mexicans under Generals Hidalgo and Allende. While numerically stronger by many thousands, the native-born labored under the same advantages as their Aztec ancestors of the long ago, lack of arms, ammunition and equipment. Normally victory should have come to the splendidly drilled, thoroughly equipped Spaniards. Only the fiery enthusiasm of the natives, the reckless bravery of their leaders, and the justice of their cause enabled them to win the battle of Monte de las Cruces.

For a brief moment Hidalgo had a vision of ultimate success. His foes routed, falling back upon the city in wild disorder, his army receiving considerable reinforcements from the savage tribes of the north, had he acted with rapidity, he might have taken Mexico City without a blow.

Instead, waiting to bury his dead, and hearkening to the pleadings of his friends to retire to Aculco until additional reinforcements should inaugurate their army to invincible proportions, Hidalgo delayed, so affording the Viceroy and his Generals to call in all available reserves and throw against him. Practically the same elements contributed to the ultimate victory of the Spaniards as had contributed to that of their ancestors under Cortez—artillery of which Hidalgo's men had none, cavalry which hovered on the insurgent flank and slowly wore the enemy out, and far superior tactical training. The battle of Aculco which resulted in the rout of the Mexicans was a veritable shambles. Hotly pursued by the merciless Spaniards, Hidalgo and his remnant of an army fled north. Worn out, desperate and starving, he made one final stand at the little ford of the river Calderon, only to be taken prisoner with Allende, Aldama and Jiminez, Master Masons who had sworn to succeed or perish for Mexico.

With short ceremony these indomitable revolutionists were shot and beheaded—their gory skulls being long displayed on pikes in front of the granary where they had won their first victory.

The list of heroes who sustained the struggle during the years following the awakening of the Mexican people in 1810 is a long one. Many Masons may be found in the ranks of the patriots—the illustrious Don Jose Morelos, another priest who discarded the cassock for the square and compass, Don Ignacio Rayon, the illustrious Guerrero a York Rite Mason, Nicolas Bravo and other Generals representing every district of Mexico.

For ten long years the bitter struggle raged furiously, Spain sent her mercenaries across the seas and Rome strengthened the waning cause of the Spanish Arms by excommunicating all who dared rally around the red, white and green banner of the Revolutionists. That fetish hitherto supreme—the Curse of Rome—now fell flat. Masonic Light had come to the Native Sons. They knew the real nature of the Holy Inquisition, and men who but a few short years before had bowed supinely to its crushing yoke, now rushed into the ranks of the Nation's Armies to fight and die with the consciousness that others would fall in behind them sword in hand nor give up the good and glorious fight until the last accursed Spaniard had been driven south into the sea. "Naked ye came and naked ye go," was and is the slogan of the native born of Anahuac.

In the Royalist Armies was a General, Don Augustin de Iturbide whose meteoric career had made him a thorn in the side of the patriots for years. By some strange play of fate he came in touch with the Masons of Mexico City, knocked at the portals of the lodgeroom, and received Masonic Light. Anxious to right the wrongs his sword had perpetrated upon his own people, Iturbide besought and secured from the unsuspecting Viceroy the command of an expeditionary army which was being raised against the patriot General, Don Vicente Guerrero. Having led his forces from the city into the mountain fastnesses of the north, Iturbide sent trusted messengers to Guerrero requesting an interview. The two forces met in a defile. Iturbide made himself known as a Mason to the revolutionary veteran and the two joined forces.

As soon as the alliance of these two Masonic leaders became known, the revolutionary bands flocked to the new movement from all sides. At the head of a most formidable force, Iturbide quickly invested the cities of Valladolid, Queretaro and Puebla, three keys to the Mexican capitol.

In view of the failure such movements as his had been in the past, so colossal an undertaking as that precipitately planned by General Iturbide might have dismayed one less astute and far-seeing. He had managed however to attach to himself through ultra-clever intrigues Mexicans of all parties, ecclesiastical, political, military and Masonic. Advancing upon the new Viceroy General O'Donoju, freshly arrived from Spain, he had no difficulty in convincing that doughty old soldier that resistance would be useless. On September 21, 1821, Iturbide entered Mexico City in complete control of the country.

Before Spain had fully recovered from the surprise and humiliation of this practically bloodless coup, the Liberator General of the Mexican people had completely organized the new government, abolished the restrictive laws of the Spaniards and for the first time accorded the Nationals recognition. By a vote of four to one the Mexican Congress acclaimed him Emperor.

And now prosperity undid this astute Mexican. He reverted to his type, the old aristocracy. His court became a place of gorgeous ceremonials. He attempted to create a New World aristocracy. Such tried and true friends as his brother Masons, Generals Guerrero and Victoria were relegated to the background. Sadly they withdrew.

In the hourglass, that emblem of human life swiftly ran the sands of time for this short-lived Emperor.

Another Mason, General Don Antonio Lopez De Santa Anna of the Scottish Rite proclaimed against him. And to the new standard of revolt rallied such old-time Masons as Victoria, Guerrero and Bravo.

In vain Iturbide sent signs and summons to the craftsmen to rally around the Imperial standard. The magic of its name had lost its charm. The Ides of March had come for this New World Caesar. Reading the handwriting upon the wall Iturbide abdicated. He realized that one mere man might not prevail against the forces of Scottish and York Rite Masonry which had elevated him to a throne, and when weighing him in the balance had found him sadly wanting.

Under a liberal pension Iturbide was permitted to depart for foreign shores, where in distant exile he yearned and waited for a recall.

In Santa Anna, the fallen Emperor possessed a more bitter foe than he had dreamed. That aspiring young politician, fully appreciating the caliber of the soldier-emperor who had terminated Spanish rule in one short year, craftily prevailed upon the Mexican Congress to enact a law decreeing the death of Don Augustin de Iturbide should he ever again set foot on Mexican soil. Unable longer to endure the bitterness of exile, Iturbide did return to cast himself upon the mercies of his own people. Instead of the welcome he anticipated he met the coldest of receptions at Vera Cruz. A night in prison and in the early morning he was led out to be shot from a living perpendicular to a dead level.

And now the Mexicans came into their very own for a brief space. A Republic was proclaimed. A peon of the peons became First President, General Guadalupe Victoria.

While patriot Masons had been fighting in the field, not at all had the craftsmen been idle in Mexico City. If the Inquisitors thought to forever end Mexican Masonry, when they raided the Moral Architect Lodge in Calle de las Ratas No. 4, took possession of the Book of Constitutions and Records, they were quite mistaken. Although they did disperse the brethren only to later hound them individually, they could not with all the intricate machinery of the Church prevent the spread of Masonic Light.

In 1813 there was established in Mexico the first Grand Lodge under the Scottish Rite. Its Grand Master was Don Felipe Martinez Aragon. It was this body that numbered among its craftsmen Iturbide and Santa Anna. Under its jurisdiction a number of subordinate lodges sprang up throughout the country. In 1816 the Grand Lodge chartered lodges at Vera Cruz and at Campeche. In 1824, the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania charted a lodge at Alvarado.

The craft was sufficiently strong to become a formidable factor in the reconstruction of the Mexican Nation after the declaration of the Republic in 1824. For its very existence sake it was compelled to have a hand in the politics of the time. Arrayed against it was the horrible Octopus of the Inquisition whose tentacles still extend all over the country. Better than anyone else the Freemasons of Mexico realized that by no possible manner of means could the Light of Liberty cast its refulgent rays over Mexico, as long as the dungeons of San Juan de Uloa, and the gloomy cells of the Acordado and Belem Prison were packed to overflowing with the native sons still in durance on charges of Heresy, or because of past inability to meet the clamorous demands of the tithe-taking friars of Rome.

And so you see in addition to its own heritage of hate because of the cruelties inflicted on the brethren of Moral Architect Lodge, these later craftsmen found their mission clear before them in fighting the Inquisition to the bitter end. Again it was to be a survival of the fittest, a duello al muerte between the Sons of Loyola and the Brotherhood of LIGHT.

Another element entered into Mexican Masonry at this time. The American Minister to Mexico, Brother Joel Poinsett was a Mason of highest standing in the American York Rite. In 1825 there came to him a number of the leaders of the Mexican Scottish Rite who had become dissatisfied with the political machinations of Santa Anna and other leaders of the pioneer Mexican body, and now besought charters for their lodges under the American York Rite. As they were all men of high repute in the Mexican Capitol, Bro. Poinsett exerted himself in their behalf and in due time the Mexican York Grand Lodge was chartered through the Grand Lodge of New York with General Vincente Guerrero as its first Grand Master.

From now on there commenced a bitter struggle for dominance between the two Mexican Masonic bodies, Scottish and York, interspersed with the inevitable conflict with the Church Party. In the early stages of Mexican Masonry both York and Scottish Rite bodies included in its membership some of the native born priests. Their numbers were sufficient to prevail upon the leaders to publicly observe certain feasts in honor of the Virgin. The Scottish Rite chose to honor the Virgin of Pilar, while the York Rite selected a rival Virgin in Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Ignoring these little courtesies, the Church officially from its pulpits anathematized Masons of all Rites. In 1828 there were one hundred and two lodges under York Rite jurisdiction in Mexico.

A definite policy inherited from the Moral Architect Lodge was now having genesis. In its early manifestations it vaguely dealt with ways and means to reform the aggrandizement of the Catholic Clergy, and a final separation between Church and State.

A great many Mexican Scottish Rite Masons now awakened to the treacherous politics being played by one of their leaders, General Santa Anna. This reached a culmination when the President Guerrero, also Grand Master of the York Rite was ruthlessly executed to eliminate him from politics. A number of Masons of both the York and Scottish Rites met and agreed that the time was ripe for a distinctive Mexican Masonic Rite which might unite both factions more strongly against their common foe, the Church Party.

So was established the Mexican National Rite composed of both Scottish and York Rite Masons, and announcing this signs and summons to the craftsmen throughout the Republic:—"Among Mexican Masons should exist peace and harmony, so insuring the strength of the institution: whenever, wherever circumstances make it necessary, war must be waged upon the Clergy, the common foe of all Masonic Bodies. In 1833 the leaders of the New Rite formulated their fixed policies as follows:

"Absolute freedom of thought and speech: the freedom of the press; the abolishment of all the peculiar privileges claimed by the Catholic Clergy, and the Military Caste as a heritage; suppression of Monastic Institutions; curtailment of monopolies; the full protection of Liberal Arts and Industries; the development of Libraries and Free Schools; the abolishment of capital punishment."

If you will compare this initial platform with the famous Laws of Reform embodied in the Mexican Constitution of 1859, you will find them substantially the same with a few needed additions. It is these Laws of Reform which represent the purest of Masonic principles to which the great Mason Benito Juarez devoted his efforts and life; which Diaz kept in force until a few years prior to 1910, and whose abrogation by Diaz permitting the return of the Jesuits and increasing influence of the Church Party, led to the Revolution by Francisco Madero Jr. It was to enforce them that Madero and his brother Mason Suarez gave up their lives to the assassin; it is to enforce them that Don Venustiano Carranza is now standing with his back to the wall in the last breach of the Masonic defenses. I will speak more at length of them later.

Upon the formation of the New Rite, General Santa Anna, utterly undismayed by the silent rebuke administered him by his brethren in inchoating the Mexican National Rite and leaving him without its pale, plunged more feverishly into the maelstrom of Mexican politics, carrying behind him a considerable faction of the old Mexican Scottish Rite. With their influence he succeeded in becoming five times President of the Republic, and five times Military Dictator.

Conscienceless politician that he was, Santa Anna did not scorn to call to his aid when need was, the powerful Hierarchy of Rome. More times than one in those stormy days the Church Party held the balance of power. It was then that Santa Anna made concessions. It was then that he decreed that infamous platform upon which Mexican Catholics have made their stand from that day to this. Let us summarize it:

  • "Church property and Church revenues shall be inviolable. "There shall be restoration in toto of the special fueros or privileges of the Clergy and Military Caste.
  • "Reaffirmation of the Roman Catholic Religion as the one and only Religion of Mexico.
  • "Censorship of the Press and Public Expression.
  • "The confining of immigration to individuals from Catholic countries.
  • "The abolition of the Institute of Sciences at Oaxaca."

This college so particularly referred to was one which numbered in its faculty some of the most active adherents of the Mexican National Masonic Rite.

Occasionally Santa Anna chose to humiliate the Church Party which at heart he truly hated. Such was enforcing them to arrange a most elaborate funeral ceremony over the leg he had lost at Vera Cruz.

Rome never forgets: never forgives. Two years after this droll funeral ceremony, the Archbishop of Mexico placed the ban of the Church upon Santa Anna's demand for a forced loan of $4,000.000. The Army too revolted, "No dinero, no combate." That is a military tradition in Mexico.

Santa Anna abandoned by his Clerical supporters gathered what money was at hand in the Treasury and departed on one of his usual pleasant vacations in foreign climes—at the expense of the Mexican Republic.

During his absence the Mexican National Rite gained in power. From the Masonic College at Oaxaca, was turned out a small army of educated young men fully equipped to fight the battle of Liberalism as opposed to Clericalism in Mexico. Among them were Juarez, Diaz, Perez and other youths destined for the seats of the mighty in their native land.

Only the long war with the United States precluded the earlier inchoation of the fight for Civil Liberty. Santa Anna recalled to take command of the Mexican Armies made a dismal failure, facing reverse after reverse at Santa Fe, Matamoras, Monterey, Bracito, San Luis Potosi, Vera Cruz, Cerra Gordo, Churubusco and finally Mexico City.

In the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo consummating peace between the United States and Mexico, Santa Anna had but little voice. In 1853 the fickle Mexicans permitted him to return. He at once proclaimed himself Dictator. His first official act was the same mistake which ultimately led to the downfall of his greater successor Diaz. He gave permission to the Jesuits to return to Mexico from which they had long been banished. Awakening to the fact that his tenure of office was doomed, Santa Anna dispatched Senor Estrada, a leader of the Church Party, to Europe to carry on negotiations for the coming of Maximilian as Emperor. He was willing to surrender control of his country to the Church Party if only he might deal a deathblow to Juarez and the Liberal Party.

There came the sudden deposition of Santa Anna, a trial for high treason, his sentence to death by hanging. This sometime Master of Mexico was in dire straits indeed. A greater Mexican than he, a man of finer mould, thoroughly imbued with the true principles of Masonic Charity, Don Benito Juarez commuted his sentence to exile. And so Santa Anna ceased to trouble Mexico.

One Mexican Mason stands out upon the pages of history as the particular champion and defender of the Liberal Party upon a platform as pure in its principles as any ever enunciated in any Republic of the world. Don Benito Juarez, a full-blooded Indian, a lineal descendant of the original owners of Anahuac or Mexico, after a thorough training in the Institute of Sciences at Oaxaca took up the practice of law but not for long. The Liberals recognized his particular fitness to wage the struggle against the Church Party on the basic principles of "equal rights for all men; universal freedom in the exercise of man's inalienable rights; the reform of abuses; freedom of conscience, of opinion, of speech, of worship, of the press; of universal education, and nationalization of all Church Property with complete separation of Church and State."

So effectively did Benito Juarez establish these principles while Governor of his native state of Oaxaca that he was elected representative to the Federal Congress, to be later appointed Minister of Justice under the President. In all his busy career he never neglected his Masonic associations and rose rapidly to be Sovereign Inspector General of the Mexican National Rite and a brother of the thirty-third degree.

From his very entrance into National Politics Benito Juarez declared himself in favor of Government Of the People, By the People, and For the People. It was this principle which permeated the Law which bears his name, the famous Laws of Reform, laws which have been a thorn in the side of the Church Party ever since. Its enforcement has ever been fought by the Clericals because of its utter suppression of "the privileged" and especial tribunals and charters of the clergy and the army. All of the Reforms sponsored by Don Benito Juarez, especially Article XV, establishing absolute freedom of all religious creeds, were embodied in the famous Constitution of 1857 which with few changes has been in force ever since.

In 1858 Benito Juarez was officially recognized as President of the Republic of Mexico. He appointed a Cabinet whom he knew to be in complete sympathy with his determination to enforce the laws of reform.

Then followed the "Three Years' "War during which Juarez with a depleted treasury found himself opposed to the Church Party, a considerable number of able Generals and the boundless resources made possible by an immense income derived from the vested wealth cumulative during three hundred years. For three years Juarez was forced to move his seat of Government from city to city, from state to state, constantly harassed by the Catholic Armies under Zuloaga and Miramon. The indomitable spirit of the Liberals eventually prevailed and in December of 1860 Juarez led his victorious army into the Mexican Capitol.

The triumph of the Liberals was destined to be short-lived however. While the militant Catholics were fighting the battles of the Church at home, unpatriotic ambassadors like de Estrada were sowing seeds at the various Courts of Europe to focus the avarice of foreign potentates upon poor Mexico which they declared was a rich cow ready for the milking. As an ally of their pernicious meddling they had behind them Pope Pius IX who fully realized that the triumph of Juarez meant the death of Clericalism as an active factor in Mexican politics.

After the flight of Miramon in 1860, Napoleon III persuaded England and France to join him in a demonstration against the Republican Government of Mexico in an effort to force the payment of large Claims long due on the Mexican National Debt and hitherto unpaid because of the Three Years' War and the lack of time afforded the Republicans to recoup their treasury. When England and Spain fully understood the inability of Mexico to at once meet their claims, they had faith enough in the sterling character of President Juarez to withdraw their representatives and wait.

Not so Napoleon the Third for France.

The claims presented by France against Mexico were most unjust and astounding. During the brief period of supremacy enjoyed by the Church Party under the leadership of General Miramon, these unrecognized and unconstitutional authorities in temporary control sponsored bonds issued by a Swiss banker,. Jecker, which with interest amounted to $15,000,000 and although the constitutional Republican Government of Juarez had not enjoyed one penny of this amount, France demanded that his government pay it. In addition a bulk claim of $12,000,000 for injuries and losses undergone by French citizens was presented without affidavits or particularization of one individual case. While repudiating utterly these two items Juarez was willing to allow the original National debt of $750,000 with five per cent interest which of course France would not hear to.

So much for the reputed reason for French intervention. The real reason and underlying cause was the realization of the Church Party that the end of their tenure in Mexico had come. Compare this summary of the Laws of Reforms as enunciated by the Constitution of 1857 and the Allocution of Pope Pius IX declaring the Catholic Position.

Those admirable enactments which follow form the distinctly Masonic Laws fought for and sustained by Juarez, maintained by Porfirio Diaz until a young wife and extreme old age led him to let down the barriers safeguarding the Republic, reinforced by the Mason Madero, and now being fought for by Carranza who only this month reiterated his firm intention of supporting this Constitution. Hear them and judge. They were:

  • "Laws establishing liberty for all opinions, liberty of the press, and liberty of faith and worship.
  • "Laws granting to the members of all denominations the right of establishing schools and colleges.
  • "Laws permitting the intermarriage on terms of religious equality of Catholics and Protestants.
  • "Laws establishing public schools for secular education that shall be free from the control of the Roman priesthood."

I have already mentioned the abolition of religious orders, the nationalization of Church Properties, and the nullifying of the fueros or especial privileges also embodied in this Constitution.

What the viewpoint of the Church Party was and is today of this Constitution of 1857 is best set forth in this summary of the famous Allocution of Pope Pius IX, a Papal head who had an especial weakness for meddling in the political affairs of other countries. While writing officially to Jefferson Davis as President of the Confederacy this most indiscreet Papal Head could disrespectfully refer to our own Chief Magistrate as "Lincoln & Company." Hear now his position on Mexico:

"The Catholic Church ought freely to exercise until the end of time a salutary force, not only with regard to each individual man, but with regard to nations, peoples and their rulers.

"The best condition of society is that in which the power of the laity is compelled to inflict the penalties of the law upon violators of the Catholic religion.

"The opinion that 'liberty of conscience and of worship is the right of every man,' is net only an 'erroneous opinion, very hurtful to the safety of the Catholic Church and of souls,' but is also 'delirium.'

"Liberty of speech and press is the liberty of perdition.

"The judgments of the holy see, even when they do not speak of points of faith and morals, claim acquiescence and obedience, under pain of sin and loss of the Catholic profession.

"It is false to say that every man is free to embrace and profess the religion he shall believe true, or that 'those who profess and embrace any religion may obtain eternal salvation.'

"The Church has the power of availing herself of force, or of direct or indirect temporal power.

"In a legal conflict between the ecclesiastical and civil powers the ecclesiastical 'ought to prevail.'

"It is a false and pernicious doctrine that the public schools should be open without distinction to all children of the people and free from all ecclesiastical authority.

"It is false to say that the principle of non-intervention must be proclaimed and observed.

"It is necessary in the present day that the Catholic religion shall be held as the only religion of the State, to the exclusion of all other modes of worship."

Here you have the ideal platform of government from a Catholic standpoint. It represents Clerical Conservatism as opposed to Masonic Liberalism, a destructive force as opposed to a constructive force. It served as the motive for the invasion of a helpless nation by the troops of a French Emperor who was the puppet supporter of this same Pope.

As to what the United States thought of so bigoted an utterance you may know by referring back to Congressional Records and reading the speech of Hon. Mr. Bingham before Congress. He said in part:

"The syllabus is an attempt to fetter the freedom of conscience; it is an attempt to fetter the freedom of speech; it is an attempt to strike down the rising antagonism against every despotism on the face of the earth; in the form of representative government, foremost among which is America, the child and hope of the earth's old age: . . . Under the omnipotent power of that utterance, every tyrant, whether in Rome or out of it, holds today the reins of power with a tremulous and unsteady hand, and the day is not far distant when the very throne of his power shall turn to dust and ashes before the consuming breath of the enlightened public opinion of the civilized world, which declares for free government, free churches, free schools, free Bibles and free men."

In 1864 the Catholic Archduke of Austria, Maximilian, sustained by fifty thousand mercenaries under Marshal Bazaine entered Mexico City. An empire was proclaimed. The Church Party was once more dominant.

During the next few years the Constitutional President Benito Juarez was really head of a peripatetic Government having his capitol now at San Luis Potosi, now at Chihuahua, now at El Paso Del Norte now named after him. Not once did he leave his country. Not once would he admit that the Laws of Reform were not still in force. A faithful Army of Liberals, the backbone of the Mexican Nation, sustained their President, and refused to be beaten by the splendidly equipped veterans of France.

It took two years to convince Napoleon III that Mexico was not to be conquered; could not be Catholicized. Even while the French mercenaries in Mexico were openly boasting that they had forever abrogated the Monroe Doctrine, Secretary Seward through our American Ambassador at Paris sent the French Government Official notification that the United States would not tolerate any effort of European Nations to overthrow Republican Institutions on this continent, and intimated that France would be allowed a reasonable time to withdraw its forces from Mexico. Napoleon read checkmate in this letter and did eventually withdraw. The Church Party still sustained by immense wealth, and by the three Clerical Generals, Miramon, Mejia and Marquez sought to stay the advance of the Liberal Armies from the north by the infamous Black Decree condemning all men found with arms, and not under the Emperor's commission, to death. City after city fell. The last stronghold of the Clericals Queretaro capitulated. In mid-June 1867 Maximilian, Miramon and Mejia paid for their cruel invasion of Republican sovereignty with their lives.

President Juarez now assumed the seat of government at Mexico City and during his brief tenure from 1867 to 1871 had the satisfaction of seeing the Constitution of 1857 enacted into practical operation with the most general good for all of Mexico.

Perhaps the greatest of his successors General Porfirio Diaz who for thirty years governed under this Constitution saw the' Republic prosper into a condition which gained it a high place among the nations of the world. Foreign capital was poured into the country, its investors being convinced of absolute protection under one of the most liberal of Republican Constitutions the world has ever seen.

Railroads were developed, the great mining resources of the country opened up, oil fields financed, foreign relations of the most advantageous sort cemented, peace assured—it seemed indeed as though Mexico had become a wonderland of good government, sterling citizenship, square dealing—when wonder of wonders—shortly before 1910 General Porfirio Diaz relaxed many of the cherished protective enactments of the Constitution of 1857; restored many of the old Catholic privileges; allowed the return of certain religious orders; made it possible once again for the priest to play politics. A Mason, Madero protested.

He championed the candidacy of General Venustiano Carranza for the Governorship of his state of Coahuila, and saw the very principles of the Constitution of 1857 as assuring honest ballot, free speech, and free press put to shame. When Francisco Madero Jr. convinced the people that Porfirio Diaz had surrendered to the influences of his young Catholic wife's influential Catholic family, that the very existence of the beloved Masonic Constitution would be henceforth in danger, he found the craftsmen eager and prepared to answer his signs and summons. From the inchoation of the Madero movement to the abdication and precipitate flight of Porfirio Diaz from Vera Cruz, Mexico was in turmoil of excitement. With the assumption of the Presidency by Madero affairs apparently quieted down and the old march of progress and prosperity again began.

President Francisco I. Madero was an unusually high type of Mexican Masonry. Had he been spared it is almost certain that the unrest and anarchy which has marked Mexico since his overthrow could have been averted. Madero and his able Vice President Brother Pino Suarez 33, stood for our highest Masonic Ideals. They fell, martyrs of intolerance, victims of a blind and bigoted hatred against the Masonry they sought to exemplify in actual life as government officials.