Page:The Story of Mexico.djvu/272

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orders and the degree of bachelor in theology. This was but three years after the declaration of independence in the United States. He served as curate in several places, and on the death of his brother Joaquin received the curacy of the little pueblo of Dolores.

He was a man of intellectual gifts, and good instruction. He knew French, which was uncommon at that time in his class, and his opinions on all subjects were advanced beyond the average of the period.

His predilection was the pursuit of agriculture, and at Dolores it was his pleasure to cultivate the vine and the mulberry. He established a manufacture of bricks and earthenware in the place, and made himself generally beloved by his gentle and affable deportment, notwithstanding his radical ideas, which were regarded as extreme by his people. In the year 1800, he was denounced before the Committee of the Inquisition for maintaining dangerous opinions, without, however, any serious result. Bold schemes he formed for the rescue of his country from the bondage in which she was held by Spain. In the solitude of his pueblo his strong, well-trained glance fixed itself upon the light which was flooding the world from the rising republic on his own continent. This man, sprung from the people, dared to think of a government by the people. He longed to throw off the yoke, not only of an alien government, but of a haughty class. He wanted Mexico to be Mexico, and not a helpless dependency of a rapidly deteriorating Spain.