Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 20.djvu/566

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she said, "your star will keep in the ascendant for another five years; but after that it will decline and be eclipsed for ever." The downfall of the Roman Empire was foretold by many portents and prodigies, of which even the elder Pliny enumerates a long list; and the testimony of numerous Spanish historians makes it certain that long before the birth of Columbus the ancestors of Montezuma were frightened by an ominous prophecy which presaged the overthrow and total ruin of their nation. Strange men, cunning, strong, and altogether invincible, were to come from the East and consume the race of the Aztecs as the hoar-frost of the Cordilleras is consumed by the morning sun. Lord Bacon's bonmot respecting forebodings might be applied to this kind of prophecies, that "a man troubled with misgivings has commonly good reasons to expect things to go amiss"; but, even in the noontide of prosperity, such omens of a sudden night have now and then appeared. King Rodrigo, a year before the altogether unexpected invasion of the Saracens, had a vision that "prostrated his mind like a sentence of death," and on the battle-field of Xeres, when squadron after squadron of his iron-clad warriors was borne down by the onset of the Moslem fanatics, he turned to the Bishop of Toledo with the words: "Está venido!''—it has come! These horses and these riders I saw approaching in my trance a twelvemonth ago; they are going to overtake me now."

—— The principal literary event in the interest of popular science in Mexico is the issue of a "Pocket-Cyclopædia of Useful Knowledge" ("Enciclopedia Manual de Ciencias útiles," three vols., Puebla, Manzanares & Co., 1881)—a publication which seems to enjoy an increasing popularity, though the editor has been unable to deprecate the hostility of the orthodox press. "The eminent publishers have discontinued the sale of transparent French cards," says the "Correo National," "but we should like to know how and where they would draw the line which makes immoralities detestable in colored lithographs, which are endured in the form of black types on the pages of the 'Enciclopedia.' Don Yriarte, the editor of that publication, affects to doubt the fact that King Philip II possessed a duplicate skeleton of St. Laurentius, and plainly insinuates that 'at least' one of those relics must have been spurious. History proves that the skeletons in question were originally owned by ecclesiastical establishments of the highest respectability, and we need hardly remind our readers that the Bishop of Velez Malaga recognized the miracle of the dualism as a special dispensation of Divine Grace. Don Yriarte's views are therefore utterly untenable, and valuable only as an additional proof of the immoral tendency of his writings." "In his article on 'Church Government' and the 'Sequestration of Ecclesiastical Domains,'" says the "Espectador," "the editor of the 'Enciclopedia' quotes the speeches of Emilio Castelar and others of his class, while such writers as the Duke of Braganza y Nunez (author of the 'Sacred Petticoat of Santa Eulalia') have never been permitted to offer their views. Nay, in a review of the 'History of International Statistics,' Don Yriarte has no hesitation in illustrating the applications of the 'Rule of Three' by certain formulas whose promulgation would be so directly subversive of the chief dogma of the Trinitarian Church that we must decline to sully these pages" (contaminar estas páginas) "by quoting them. We, with thousands, pray that the re-establishment of the Holy Inquisition may put a stop to such outrages on the interests of the national Church—unless the 'Enciclopedia' will revoke its atheistical teachings, and become such an organ of science as the great body of intelligent Mexicans will admit with confidence into their homes."

F. O.