Page:Queen Moo and the Egyptian Sphinx.djvu/59

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xxxvii
INTRODUCTION.

sciences of their wise men and philosophers.[1] How, then, could it be expected that they should tell what they knew of the history of their people, and treat as friends men whom they hated, and with reason, from their heart of hearts? — men who held their gods in contempt; men who had, without provocation, destroyed the autonomy of their nation, broken up their families, reduced their kin to slavery, brought misery upon them, gloom and mourning throughout the land.[2]

Now that three hundred and fifty-five years have elapsed since their country became part of the domain of the Spanish Crown, one might think, and not a few do try to persuade themselves and others, that old feuds, rancor, and distrust must be forgotten; in fact, must be replaced by friendship, confidence, gratitude, even, for all the blessings received at the hands of the Spaniards — not the least among these, the destruction of their idolatrous rites, the knowledge of the true God, and the mode of worshipping He likes best — notwithstanding the unfair means used by their good friends, those of the long gowns, to force such blessings and knowledge upon them, and cause them to forget and forego the customs and manners of their forefathers.[3] To-day, when the aborigines are said to be free citizens of the Republic of Mexico, entitled to all the rights and privileges that the constitution is sup- posed to confer on all men born within the boundaries of the country, they yet seek — and with good cause — the seclusion of the recesses of the densest forests, far away from the haunts of their white fellow-citizens, to perform, in secrecy, certain ancient rites and religious practices that even now linger

  1. Cogolludo, Hist. de Yucathan, lib. ii., chap. xiv., p. 108, et passim
  2. Landa, Las Cosas de Yucatan, chap, xv., p. 84, et passim.
  3. Cogolludo, Hist. de Yucathan, lib. v., cap. xvii., xviii., p. 296, et passim. Las leyes mas en orden al bien espiritual de los Indios.