Page:The Story of Mexico.djvu/249

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ber of those actually burned to death was comparatively small and insignificant compared to that of the victims to this religious fury in Europe, Early in the present century the Holy Office was suppressed throughout Spain and all Spanish dependencies, and, although the Inquisition was again established, it was only for a short time.

Philip II. died just before the end of the century. With him ends the greatness of Spain, which from that time declined rapidly. Naturally the remote provinces felt the loosening of the firm hand which had controlled them, yet it is to be observed that the viceroys of New Spain under Philip III. were, for the most part, men of judgment and moderation. While the government at home, in the hands of profligate favorites, was growing weaker and weaker, that of Mexico was becoming more firmly established. Spanish blood had descended into a new generation, with Mexican habits, thoughts, and impressions. The national character, as always happens with colonists remote from their origin, was becoming modified into a new shape by change of climate and environment. Meanwhile the Indians were undoubtedly greatly improved by the genial influence of their new religion. They were like children, for it was not the intention of the Church to teach them to think, as they were only too ready to acquire the knowledge of how to obey.

In the beginning of the sixteenth century the city of Mexico was overwhelmed by inundations such as had from time to time caused the Aztecs great trouble. Their works were quite ineffectual against