Page:A page of American history (1905).djvu/7

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5

to lead the rebellious natives to many fearful victories over the descendants of the hated white invaders.

At the time of Stephens's famous visit to Yucatan (1839-1841) the native race was still in the sullen apathy of the conquered towards the conquerors. There was an apparent tranquility over all the Peninsula. Travellers could and did journey from Bacalar to Valladolid and from Valladolid to Merida without danger to life and without more discomforts than was incident to the rigors of the sun, the presence of irritating insects and the primitive ways of conveyance. This apparent quiet was not the tranquility of contented prosperity but the sullen constraint, and beneath that deceptive calm was a deep,seething hate that only needed able leaders and a favorable opportunity to find vent and overwhelm the land in a carnage as terrible as that of the Sepoys in Eastern India. Able leaders were ready, planning, scheming, resourceful, patiently biding their time and opportunity.

About fifty miles to the south of Valladolid was (in 1847) the old ranch of Tihum. No one knows its age or origin, and it may well have been a native ranch before the conquest. Great trees were grown up around it, trees that may antedate the Conquest. Neither the Government or the Church had more than a vague knowledge of its existence, and no chapel or cross was ever found within its confines. No one knows what idolatrous rites had taken place within the darkness of its hidden history. Within the safe confines of this ranch, three powerful Caciques of Yucatan, Ay, the Cacique of Chichimila, Ceciho Chid the ferocious, tigerish cacique of Tepich and Jacinto Pat, the astute and able cacique of Tijosuco, together with others of lesser note, plotted and planned. Here, under the dark, noisome shade of the great trees was brewed the venom of the secret rebellion against the white race, a rebellion that was destined to last for half a century and to reduce the population of Yucatan from 531,000 souls in 1847 to 312,000