Page:A page of American history (1905).djvu/4

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.

2

But strangely enough, with all this seething and foaming of heated blood and boiling ambition, as if clarified by it, there was evolved a spirit of letters among the cultured minds on the Peninsula, that has never been equalled before or since. Eligio Ancona, the novelist and historian, whose hatred of the Catholic religion was only equalled by his benevolence to some of its strongest adherents, Cresencio Carrillo, Bishop of Yucatan, whose hatred of atheism was only equalled by his benevolence toward some of its followers, Justo Sierra, Asnar Contreras are names of this epoch that still ring clear in Yucatan today.

The white Yucatecon of that day, whether hidalgo or artisan, was no degenerate. As a type he was generous but individually rather slow to arouse, passionate in the mass, hospitable and patriotic, although the patriotism of many was the loyalty to their leaders rather than devotion to the cause. They knew how to fight and they fought well, as the troops from Mexico, when arrayed against them, found out. Thus, man to man, native white against native red, the odds were not unequal. Today Yucatan has rapid trains, telegraph and telephone, well paved streets and all the most advanced ideas of the twentieth century.

Modern Yucatan finds it hard herself to realize that such events as are described herein have taken place within her borders and within the memory of men still having. During the middle part of the last century, events were taking place in Yucatan that, had they happened in other lands or at other times, would have become subjects of epic poems. But the place of happening was on a distant, ragged edge of the American continent, more unknown, perhaps, to the average American of those times, than is the darkest spot of the Dark Continent to the citizen of today. Then, too, the time of happening was during one of those strange periods of world ferment, when each great nation was busy making its own history and had but little inclination to scan the minor records of its neighbors, near or