Popular Science Monthly/Volume 72/February 1908/German Influence in Latin America
|GERMAN INFLUENCE IN LATIN AMERICA|
BY ALFRED F. SEARS, C. E.
I. Magnitude and Character of German Immigration
IN 1901 the American citizen was startled by the information from Rio Janeiro, that "A German syndicate has just been formed with a capital of 25,000,000 Marks, with the object of colonizing in Brazil, the states of Rio Grande do Sul, São Paulo, Santa Catarina, Paraná, Minas Garaes and Goyas. The government has guaranteed 5 per cent, interest on the investment in the enterprise."
At about the same time a further statement was published to the effect that the powers of Europe are combining to overthrow our formidable Monroe doctrine, through a society recently organized in Rome for colonization by Italians in various sections of Brazil.
American newspapers declared "the German problem in South America to have been brought sharply to the attention of the national administration by this despatch" made the subject of editorials more or less intelligent all over the land. Some of the newspapers were sufficiently sane to offer their readers definite figures on which to base judgment of American duty. Generally, the patriotic bias developed but little jingoism in the complacent American press. Washington, from the heart of things, assured the nation that Germany is our firm friend, innocent of all design against the bogie we have raised on our neighbors' towers.
While the passion of suspicion concerning the Kaiser's intention was yet alive, the writer was in South America to execute a scientific commission. He had previously spent sixteen years of active professional life in Mexico, Central and South America and believed that he could serve the interests of his country and the impulse of an improved civilization by presenting data for the intelligent consideration of questions involved in foreign colonization schemes among our southern neighbors and illustrating the results to be reached by Teutonic influence among the elements of Latin American life, now so grossly amalgamated with aboriginal barbarism, the slave and tool of Spanish medieval ecclesiasticism, which breeds and fosters social and political immorality.With this end in view, he addressed a circular to official representatives of all the republics in these continents, soliciting a statement of:
1. How many Germans are settled in the states represented by the officer addressed?
2. Are they settled in collected colonies or scattered over the country?
3. Are they generally engaged in agriculture or in other pursuits?
With this circular a blank form for reply was enclosed, covering all necessary ground for securing a comprehensive description of the condition of German colonization in Latin America.
A general cordiality was encountered among members of the diplomatic and consular services in giving the information at their command, so that reports, more or less definite, were received from every one of the republics. They are here presented in tabular form to aid in a study that shall reach a fair understanding of one of the most important problems facing the American people; one that will appear the crucial problem of the twentieth century. It concerns the enfranchisement of 60,000,000 human beings, the inhabitants of this western hemisphere, and their consequent entry into a superior civilization.
The tabulation proceeds from Mexico, our nearest neighbor, to the most remote state of the southern continent, preserving thus a correct spectrum of the geographical relations.
These figures will be a revelation to the alarmist, apprehensive that Latin America is being submerged beneath a German population
|Names of Republics.||Area in Square
|Total Population.||No. of Germans.|
devoted to monarchism. We find 1,051,000 Germans spread over an area of 8,000,000 square miles of territory, already occupied by a native population of more than 60,000,000, who have secured through war their independence of foreign domination, which they show a disposition to guard with jealous watchfulness.
In the comments appended to their reports by consuls and ministers there is the unanimous agreement that German immigrants constitute a most desirable class of citizens. The reader will observe that the mass of German immigration has settled in the temperate zones of the continent, avoiding the tropics. Thus we find 32,000 or more are colonized in Chile and Argentina, regions extending as far south as forty degrees from the equator, while the Brazilian colonies of Sāo Paulo, Paraná and Rio Grande do Sul are in the south of the republic, extending to thirty-five degrees below the equator and containing the mass of the German population, though there are some thousands in the tropical state of Minas Geraes lying between fourteen and twenty-three degrees south of the equator, a mountain mining region, where altitude supersedes latitude in the comfort of temperature.
There is no considerable condensation of Germans in colonies, save in Brazil, Chile and Argentina, there being but 20,000 of them distributed among the other thirteen states of the continent. These people are generally engaged in commerce and trade. In the commercial cities the jewelry business and that of money exchange are almost universally conducted by Germans, generally Jews, who, when not so engaged, are devoted to some other branch of city retail trade. The subjects of this religious faith are excellent citizens and are always appealed to for assistance in public charities; they are more popular as municipal officers than pronounced protestant christians of any nationality. Leading commercial houses in all the republics have German branches operated by young men sent out from the mother country to conduct the American end of their business. It is quite the rule for these men to marry in the country, nor do they condescend to the inferior classes. Their positions are guarantees of character, so that they have access to the best families, differing in this from the English and Americans, who rarely marry with people of the Latin republics.
The blue eyes, fair hair, clear complexions and general bonhomie of the Germans make them singularly attractive companions to the merry, black-eyed brunette of our southern neighbors. By his wonderful adaptation to the national customs and popular convention, with his extraordinary ability in the mastery of language foreign to his native tongue, his absolute grammatical accuracy in construction with correct pronunciation, he becomes an accomplished member of society, a valuable citizen, a desirable neighbor and an agreeable companion; while the American, like the Englishman, always aggressive, often offensively so, rarely attains a command of the language superior to a "gringo" idiom and contemptuously mentions the people among whom he lives as "the natives," implying their slight remove in his conception from the aboriginees.
But the Englishman is better regarded than the average American, because he goes among the people as the contracted agent or clerk of a reputable commercial house, while the American is rarely other than accident or an adventurer. In no case are either of these immigrants such representatives or instruments of an advanced civilization as their countrymen at home may properly imagine them. At their best, they are the simple agents of commercialism; and in Latin America, as at home, they leave their neighbors to that liberty in their pursuits, opinions, methods and manners which they claim and exercise for themselves.
To Brazil, as to Chile and to Argentina, have been presented lower classes of Germans, who have taken to agriculture and have grouped themselves in colonies, from which some of the more intelligent have escaped to the towns and cities, where they have entered the pursuits of the mechanic arts or trade.
The European economist, quoted by the American Bureau of Statistics, estimates that "German capitalists have invested $50,000,000 in Mexico and $225,000,000 in South America, of which $150,000,000 are in Brazil alone, in the southern provinces of which several great German colonization societies have long had powerful influence. Land may be bought there at half the price of government lands in the United States, and land that produces several crops a year in agreeable, healthy climates."
As shown by the figures, while only 51,000 Germans are settled among the states of the continent, outside of Brazil, the 1,000,000 in that country are colonized in five states.
|In Paraná, with||80,000||inhabitants, covering||6,000||square miles.|
|Santa Catarina, with||110,000||inhabitants, covering||24,000||square miles.|
|Rio Grande do Sul, with||300,000||inhabitants, covering||99,000||square miles.|
|Sāo Paulo, with||540,000||inhabitants, covering||121,000||square miles.|
|Minas Garaes, with||1,300,000||inhabitants, covering||220,000||square miles.|
These states with 2,330,000 inhabitants living over an area of 470,000 square miles contain 1,000,000 Germans, living among a people of whom only one sixth are whites of self-governing ability. Generally these immigrants are farmers, save, as already mentioned, laborers, who have been sent to the mining regions of Minas Garaes by the home colonization companies for work in the mines and the production of supplies for the mining operations.
It may also be noted that Central America is a favorite point for the German leaving home. But it should be said here that few, if not the more wealthy and cultivated among them, go to those states, where they are having a very important influence on commerce, the arts and every department of civilization. So important have these interests become that the German government has lately established there its first salaried consulate, where also are about a score of consular agents receiving their pay in fees. Their commercial interests, especially in Guatemala, have so developed that they have now in the five little republics $6,000,000 invested in real estate, industrial enterprises and banking business. German farms and plantations cover more than 742,000 acres, on which are 20,000,000 coffee trees, while the trade between those states and Germany amounts to $12,000,000 a year. Throughout Central America, Germans occupy leading positions in business management, professional and social life.
II. Condition of the Societies invaded by German Immigration
We have passed the portals and come into the glory of a new century of this modern era. The genius of man, which has reared our present civilization through more than four centuries of patient culture, struggling to free himself from the divine right of priest and king forced upon his mind by superstitious fear of a tyrannical and mercenary ecclesiasticism, has at last invaded the highways of the heavens, followed the journeyings of other worlds and, driving away the guard, has seized the tables of their law, so long falsified by "sacred" authority, and brought them to earth for the common use of the race; has plunged into the heart of his own planet and, seeking the smelteries of the gods, brought forth their ores of light and power, illuminating the world and confounding the agents of "inspiration" by exposing the sources of creation.
By the omnipotence of carbon with the industry of the printing press, the world has been condensed and its nations drawn into the circle of neighborhood sympathies, with the elevating and degrading influences of the world's gossip; its gabble and wisdom, truth and falsehood, loving tenderness and brutal antagonism, so assorted, allotted and mingled, the nations are becoming one people. The political monarch is being forced to concede parliaments to thought, which dares deride royal pretensions, wherefore this century seems likely to witness the downfall of all enthroned power save that of the people. The last tyrant to fall, because the most difficult to reach, being ambushed in the superstitious apprehension of the masses, will be the religio-political governments of Latin America; governments that are not in any sense democratic republics, though so titled in their constitutions and proclaimed in their manifestoes. Comprehensively described, they are autocratic theocracies, in which the common people are under the dominion of the clergy, who, in their turn, are the instruments of the educated wealthy classes, holding control of the administration of the governments; or, when the laws are not to their purpose, organizing revolution to overturn their rivals of the party in power when they reckon themselves sufficiently strong in the reenforcing influence of the church.
There is, however, in every Latin state a party of which the grand objective is the religious and civil freedom to be obtained by the separation of church and state. This party recognizes the value of a public school system, like that of the United States, molding the popular mind to the habit and method of independent thought. In the parochial schools of the present, where the children have their first and, generally, their only training, the object appears to be the drilling into the young mind supreme reverence for the power of the clergy to inflict future punishment and bestow reward, with the church as an object of veneration in place of Deity.
The Roman pontiff is now without influence in appointing the archbishops, or superior clergy, in any Latin republic. The supreme political power of the state nominates the candidate because of his political relation to the party in power, and he is confirmed by the pope without question. By this method only can Rome maintain the slim hold it now possesses on a people, of whom the educated classes, clergy and laity alike, are agnostic when they are not absolutely atheistic. Their church is simply an institution of society, which confers a child's name with ceremonious dignity, marries him with the customary, established form and receives his dying breath in such compliance with ecclesiastical demand as shall secure for the corpse a burial in consecrated ground, which means a "respectable" interment.
So universally detestable is the popular reputation of the Latin American priest that in the more civilized cities of their realm they are not admitted to social life in the upper circles of society by self-respecting husbands and fathers of young wives and daughters. A result of this moral debasement in the font of ethical teaching is the general dull public conscience concerning all obligations, social, political and economic, that we actually find in existence throughout Latin America. It is seen in the smallest business transactions and the most important financial contracts. A South American bond without hypothecated security is a broad jest in all financial centers.
The aboriginal population of those regions are not civilized, but have been christianized through a system of oppression that has endured five centuries. Sarcastically entitled "citizens," they are without a voice in government, and when their tribal center is far removed from the larger cities, they are in a more repulsive condition of barbarism than when the cross was first raised over them.
When Pizarro subjugated the gentle subjects of the Incas, Perú had a population of 12,000,000 industrious, virtuous and contented souls, since reduced by Spanish slavery to less than 3,000,000; to-day, after a half century of recuperative government, raised to nearly 4,000,000, the systems of their christian conquerors having slain 9,000,000 in the mines by the meta, which kept one seventh of the population always at work for their masters, the Spaniards. Cannibals still roam in the territories about the head waters of the Amazon. In Mexico are districts where the women know no other dress than a piece of cotton dropping from the waist to the knee; and the Jesuits have controlled them during all these centuries, superstitious devotees of the church, without a conception of modesty or chastity as recognized by our civilization. Reports of prefects of departments and governors of states annually present records of an unwholesome condition of public morality, often indicated by the exorbitant proportion of illegitimate births in a population generally amounting throughout Latin America to from 25 to 40 per cent. of the entire number in a republic.
At a meeting of the American Social Science Association, held in Washington in April, 1901, Ex-Secretary John W. Foster said of the Latin American republics: "The great mass of their populations are ignorant and uneducated; in many of the countries they do not even read and write the official language of their governments, and as a rule have no part in the elections." It has been claimed for the Spanish missionaries that they taught the Mexicans all over that country the Spanish language. Nothing can be farther from the truth. In a population of 14,000,000 not more than 4,000,000 speak the language of the government. When the railroad companies have had to employ laborers from the Sierras, they have been obliged to bring with each gang an interpreter who speaks the dialect of the tribe and Spanish, which the native does not understand.
These details are mentioned, not to prove, but to illustrate, a condition known beyond the necessity for proof by every intelligent citizen of the world. Every soldier from the Spanish islands learned the fact by personal contact; travelers from all over Christendom who have visited those regions know the truth and entertain their friends with the recital. The thousands of Spanish prisoners to American arms in Cuba, transported to their homes, are become missionaries against the tyranny of their native church. All over Spain they have proceeded with violence against an institution that contact with the free thought of America has taught them to hate as the enemy of human rights; the auxiliary of tyrants "clad in the livery of heaven."
This corrupt ecclesiastical system, still striving to hold in subversion the consciences of 60,000,000 human souls in this western continent, is tottering in its power under the contempt of the educated classes, its tyrannical masters and the hatred of the common people, with the progressive intelligence of the popular conscience, to which the clergy is being continually forced to make unwilling concessions. It is also to be observed that contact with the Saxon world is stimulating the Latin factor of it to shake off the yoke of that ecclesiasticism which has debauched and, in every moral, intellectual and spiritual sense, degraded the masses to be the scum of the world's populations. At last, the head of the Latin church has aroused to the alarming fact of a great western awakening. Associated press despatches tell us that on June 28, 1903, the pope called tbe bishop of Ibague (Colombia) to an audience, in which he is reported to have conversed on conditions prevailing in the South American republics and the "necessity of raising the standard of the clergy so that they may contribute to the better intellectual and moral condition and progress of the people of those countries." The clerical apprehension of approaching danger is shown in various attempts to hide or destroy ancient insignia of idolatrous superstition; thus, witness on the façade of the church of La Merced in Lima, the capital of Perú, there existed up to a few years ago the following inscription upon a fillet over the grand portal, "Indulgencia, plenaria, cuotidiana, perpetua por los vivos y los difuntos." It has now been removed under the sneers of an advancing civilization of the people and the sensitiveness of all to the comment of foreigners.
This is but a single instance among many illustrating the trend of a growing influence among the people, obliging the clergy to abandon its methods and pretensions. A half century ago, the priest in blessing the national troops in Costa Rica walked over the abased national flag to sprinkle it and the troops with holy water. To-day the flag is laid reverently upon a table and the priest walks around it in the performance of the ceremony.
Probably the story of the priest, Francisco Pablo De Vigil D.D., of Lima, is the most comprehensive illustration of the condition of life in its relation to the features here treated that can be presented in one single biography. This distinguished theologian, scholar and statesman was excommunicated from his church because he refused to accept the dogma of papal infallibility. Notwithstanding his expulsion, he continued to wear the ecclesiastical garb and the tonsure and to attend the functions of the church, occupying a seat among the laity. He had warm friends and sympathizers among the lower clergy, but could not receive absolution after confession, since he refused to renounce his error. The national government, recognizing his purity of character, his high degree of scholarship and devotion to liberty of thought, placed him in charge of the national museum, which is a great educational institution of Lima, and brought him into close intellectual contact with the students of the university, so that in this position he had the largest field he had ever yet possessed for influencing the growing mind of the nation. While occupying this station, he died. His death and funeral were as full of interest in the world of thought as his life had been. A personal friend in the priesthood attended him in the last hour and received his confession, but had been expressly forbidden to give him absolution, unless he renounced his error. His confessor relates that he was weeping as he knelt by the bedside of his dying friend, who laid his hand tenderly upon his head and said, "Don't weep for me, dear brother, but for the archbishop, whom you but obey; I am going before a greater judge than he." The body was refused admission to the church of La Merced for the ordinary requiem mass, and the clergy also refused the certificate required for burial in the "Pantheon general," which, while "consecrated," is the property of the municipality. This body immediately, by municipal ordinance, authorized the interment of the body of Dr. Vigil within its consecrated grounds. When the body was brought from the house to be laid in the hearse awaiting its reception, a body of students stepped forward and took it upon their shoulders, bearing it reverently to the chapel of the cemetery.
But now, another surprise awaited the wondering public. As the funeral cortège moved along the streets of the city, processions of Free Masons in full regalia poured from the side streets and followed the train. On reaching the chapel, Masons took charge and conducted the burial service, in the name of human liberty; and in the chapel, which had been consecrated by the church, but was owned by the municipality. The same order conducted the ceremonies at the grave, with the solemn earnestness of men, who understood the act to be a declaration of independence against ecclesiastical tyranny. The higher clergy beheld the spectacle with fear and indignation, while the priests smiled solemnly to see their bishop defied in his own capital. None of them had dreamed that a masonic lodge existed in their midst; to-day the handsomest, best built and most modern structure in the commercial city of Callao is the Masonic temple.
Since then the city of Tacna, capital of a southern department of Perú, has erected a fine marble monument to the memory of Dr. Pablo Francisco De Vigil, who was a native son of that town.
This entire episode, in its defiance of the clergy, illustrates the longing for liberty in the better classes of Latin America. But, in all these republics, there is more actual liberty of conscience than is allowed by the written law, which, often angrily cited by the clergy, finds itself in such antagonism to the higher law of the popular conscience, that the courts of ultimate authority manage to fail of finding it in the statute books, written as it is under the unwritten decrees of an advancing civilization.
III. German Influence in Latin America
It is an interesting fact that in all the vigorous eloquence of the American press and politician, touching "German influence" in these continents, the real matter of German influence has not once been considered. European monarchism, interpreted by the Kaiser, has excited the patriotic bias of the republican citizen, as if the ambition of Cæsarism can ever establish its order among a people who have fought for and conquered their independence. German imperial power must not be confounded with German influence, which has been potent on this continent for more than a half century and will continue to be as long as Germany occupies her present transcendent position in the universe of thought.
It is not to be disputed that the German business man, whether in commerce or in the industrial professions, assumes always in Latin America a positive antagonism to the American from these states, often violent and offensive. This action is partly the exhibition of his inflated vanity and partly proceeds from his spirit of business rivalry.
Dr. Herman Meyer, a founder of a German colony in southern Brazil, in an address before the Berlin Colonial Society, said, in December, 1904, that United States merchants are trying to win the trade of the German settlers in Brazil and that therefore it will be necessary to assist the colonies with German capital for the purpose of building railroads and creating industrial establishments.
The pronounced opinion of Dr. Vosberg-Rekow, director of the Bureau of Commercial Treaties, before a meeting of Leipzig merchants, that "Germany must have annexation of more territory beyond the sea, with the organization and the direction of emigration thereto"; the warning of the Italian admiral, Count Canevare, that "European nations may have to consider the necessity of uniting against America," with the concurrent expression of Count Goluchowski, the Austrian minister of foreign affairs, are not agreeable trumpetings across the seas, but they bear no relation to the power or character of the German influence at present existing in these western continents.
A positive and powerful German influence, the grand ally of the Americanism of free opinion with its expression, is exercised in all countries settled by German immigration; it is radically liberal in religion and politics, without the element of anarchism; antimonarchistic and altogether contemptuous of conditions existing in the countries of its adoption.
This statement requires qualification when treating of the larger "assisted" colonies which contain inferior classes of population. Thus in Brazil a considerable proportion of the German immigration is of peasantry of Baden-Baden, whose people, the last to be joined in the German confederacy, came into the empire through conquest. The ruling power of the principality is protestant in religion, while two thirds of the population is Romanistic, and furnishes the element which is peopling the southern states of Brazil. They are, in the main, a thick-headed, patient, industrious race, repaying the Prussian contempt with sincerely cordial hatred. They find in Brazil a mentally stimulating life, an emancipation from protestant though liberal rule, allowing them an assumption of superiority over the natives of the new country. Their priests are men of character, superior to the native clergy in every element of intellectual, moral and spiritual life, while they possess a fair degree of learning and are devoted pastors. But these German peasants of Brazil are superstitious and illiterate when compared with the Germans, scattered over the continent as merchants, clerks, brokers, bankers, planters and teachers. Their influence on the natives of the region where they live is but trifling, save in the particular of their superior morality, which is believed to be an elevating example, while, like all Germans, everywhere, they grow in their new soil towards liberal thought, being removed from the repressive influence of European old age. They are not in any sense subjects of German imperial power, but are the tenants of commercial companies. So that, while they are German colonists, they are not colonies of Germany.
If the material results thus far accomplished by the German government in its attempts at national colonization be the best that power is able to produce, it will appear an empty vanity to attempt further enterprises of the kind, save for the improvement of congested populations. In colonies of the empire, covering an area of 2,500,000 square miles there is a white population of 6,000 souls, of whom 4,000 are Germans, who in one year (1901) succeeded in producing a deficit of $7,000,000 above an income of $8,000,000. American Consul Harris at Eibenstock has said: "The ideal relation of a colony to the mother country is that which permits the colony to produce the raw material which the mother country will receive and return to the colony in a manufactured condition; but, in accordance with an irresistible law of economics, a colony with great material resources will gradually emancipate itself from the mother country. It is doubtful whether this will shortly be true of any of the present colonies of Germany. In almost every part of the world where her acquisitions are situated, there is in the same immediate neighorhood a colony of Great Britain or some other country better able to produce colonial products."
The only considerable collected German colonies, in other of the Latin American republics, are in Guatemala, Chile and Argentina. In Guatemala there is a German element of great respectability and influence amounting to real power, which promises more for an advancing civilization of the entire mass of population than is apparent in Chile or Argentina. But, in all three of these republics are German populations, not included in colonies, which must be considered with similar classes in every other Latin American state. These people are distributed all through those states, but are found more generally in the large towns and cities. They represent important material interests and are the potent "leaven which leaveneth the whole lump."
The influence of this portion on the communities in which they live differs curiously from that of the French, as is seen illustrated in the cities of Mexico and Panama, where the French have, during certain periods, been the controlling power in social life. The women of the upper classes of those cities, which have known French influence, no longer hesitate to appear on the streets clad in comely array, wearing bright colors in dress, with hats or bonnets in place of the sombre black suit of gown and mantilla. Thirty years ago, every woman in the Panama cathedral was arrayed in black and even her head was covered with a black manta; there being no pews, she knelt on the stone floor throughout the service. Since the French began the work of the canal, the church has been supplied with pews and the women are wearing in the services the hats and bonnets of Parisian fashion with gowns and wraps à la mode.
German influence, on the contrary, so far as I have discovered, seems not to have affected the fashions of dress or social customs of the people, but is revolutionary to an extraordinary degree in its effect on the mental attitude towards the elements of civilization in politics and religion and the education of the youth. Many native fathers send their sons to Heidelberg, rather than to Freiburg, the school of their faith, though generally scientific students begin their studies at the technical institutions of the United States and finish them with two years at the Polytechnic School of Paris.
Notwithstanding the fact that German antagonism to mental and spiritual tyranny is awaking the popular sense to freedom, the molding of social conditions and the philosophic thought are distinctly French. The truth is the Latin spirit is French rather than German, so that Paris and not Berlin is shaping the social life of Latin America. The civilized world regards in wonder the spectacle of 60,000,000 people, who have thrown off the yoke of Spain, suffering in sullen silence the tyrannical imposition of an institution more strictly Spanish than any political monarchism they had ever known.
But the church in Latin America is to-day brought face to face with an army of organized thought, invulnerable to the senile bulls of ecclesiasticism. As Victor Emanuel was able in the interest of Italian unity to discuss the forbidden questions of the usurpation of civil power, in the privacy of the Masonic Lodge with his brother princes of Italy, so masonry is to-day, throughout Latin America, the safe and sacred cradle of liberty, an important instrument aiding to emancipate the state from priestly tyranny.
Masonry is making great strides in all the republics since the establishment of the new kingdom of Italy, which has been a lesson in method to the advocates of liberty of opinion, who have learned its value in freeing them from the espionage of those who mold and bind the shackles of thought. Its adherents are everywhere the advocates of the separation of church and state. Visible progress towards this desirable end is slow, but as sure as the irresistible march of time.
In this developing menace, the German has been the grandly potent factor throughout those regions. Everywhere he is the active leader in freedom of thought and in the conduct of masonic lodges. As it is not permitted to teach protestantism, a German, the grand master of the Peruvian orient, has established a newspaper in Lima, the capital city of Perú, which he calls the Libre Pensador, which is doing effective work for freedom of conscience and secular education of the children; for which, in many of the republics, the city councils have established "municipal schools." The course of the Libre Pensador is supported by the higher classes of the community as a veritable watchman on the tower of free expression, and is doing much to relieve society of clerical scandals, which it trumpets with terrible denunciation and directness of personality.
The extraordinary material development of territories rescued from their Mexican slavery under clericalism and raised into the dignity of our American statehood, allowing them all their natural advantages for development, is an index of what the world may witness in the redemption of other Latin American republics. The advance in every higher condition of life in the Republic of Mexico, since her partial emancipation from this same wretched rule, affords a great encouragement to the moralist, philosopher and statesman, watching the progress of the world in the march of free popular thought, applied to the government of states.
The writer is an American, with three hundred years of unmixed American ancestry behind him, and he does not hesitate to declare his belief, after having lived nearly a score of years in Mexico, Central and South America, that if it should be the fortune of any considerable territory of South America to rise into the dominion of English, French or German civilization, it would denote a triumph of regenerating thought over a condition of slavery that should never have been permitted to establish a foothold in these continents. It would mean republican states that we could respect as neighbors, our equals and our coadjutors in advancing the conditions of liberty throughout the western world, instead of protegés, whose frequent acts of barbarism keep our country in constant apprehension of Monrovian interference that may embroil the nation in a war with the states of Europe. And for what? to sustain a people in maintaining republics? Nothing of the kind; but to save some miserable band of politicians from the punishment due their crimes against the illuminating ideas of this twentieth century, fruit of the highest civilization.