Page:The Story of Mexico.djvu/287

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of December, 1815, he was shot in the small town San Cristobal Ecatepec, dying with the bravery of a hero.

This was the end of the dark period, called the second, of Mexican independence. Its life was in its chief, the daring, patriotic Morelos.

There is no doubt that Morelos had many of the great qualities for a successful leader of men. He was born in poverty, with no antecedents of greatness; untaught, even in the rudiments of learning, until he was thirty; up to that time patiently driving mules along the steep paths of his native state. Whoever has watched the slow, though sure, progress of these animals, and the enforced loitering in the pace of him who accompanies them, must be impressed with the idea that patience is a virtue likely to be developed in such training.

Great ideas then pervaded society. It is probable that Morelos was more than dazzled by the brilliancy of Napoleon's career. Military success inflamed many hearts and turned many heads in those days. There was the making of a military commander in the stuff of which Morelos was compounded. With the opportunities of Napoleon for creating large armies, well equipped with all the appurtenances of warfare developed by the skill and science of the time, Morelos might have arrived at his object, the liberty of his country.

There is no reason to suppose that a personal ambition animated him. He made himself general-in-chief of his army, but that was a necessary step for the furtherance of his designs. His fixed idea