Page:The Story of Mexico.djvu/231

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THE FIRST OF THE VICEROYS.

even if not, the interest attaching to it is great, for it is beautiful, whoever painted it, and far beyond, as well as utterly different from, many of the altar pieces and "old masters" which abound in Mexico without any value whatever. It is possible that Philip II. sent the picture, or more likely that before his time Charles V., who personally knew Quiroga, and possibly loved him, caused the picture to be sent him for his Indians by reason of his devotion to them, and the eloquence with which he reported their cause to his royal master. This would account for its being in the little church at Tzintzuntzan, where the documents say Quiroga was bishop only for one year. If Charles sent the picture, the likeness of Philip was taken before he had come to the throne, and was only Prince Imperial. As for its remaining at Tzintzuntzan, instead of finding a fit place in the cathedral of Morelia, the Indians have in every generation absolutely refused to have it removed. It would be a brave archbishop, or secular authority who should endeavor now to take it away from them. Unguarded, it hangs in the bare little sacristy, safe and uninjured by irreverent touch.

The cathedral was begun at Patzcuaro, and was to be, says the account, "so magnificent that it has entirely filled the imagination of all those who can remember it." But it was decided that the ground it was on was too near the lake to support so great a structure. In 1550 the king of Spain sent to command a suspension of the works, and it was finally built at Valladolid, where it now stands, a beautiful building, superior to the cathedral in the city of