Newspaper Page Text
' (Continued on Pa** I)
M «V rVA la icfiejendencia! Viva! Viva!
V J Viva!
A revolution In a cup does not
*¦ Bound as big as a tempest In a tea
y Pot, yet eo started the two great
fforth American wars for Independence.
The Boston tea party had its counter
part «oi;th of the Rio Grande In the wine
party cf the Padre Hidalgo, Cura of the
Mission Dolores, between San Luis Potosl
The Pafire Hidalgo «u fond of wine
and loved his quiet smile, for which he.
•who had forsworn the smiles of women,
might well be pardoned. Even this small
consolation for great losa was denied him,
for by the laws cf Spain It was forbidden
the people of Mexico to crush the grapes
¦when they were amber or when they were
purple; not that Spain would enforce tem
perance, but merely that ehe might sell
her own -wine Instead. Green grapes they
znight bruise for vinegar, but nobody
cared for rreen grapei anyway, any
where, any time or kind.
Law or no law. Padre Hidalgo, who' had
none of the smiles of women, would have
those^of the wine. But he had no money
to pay the jtax imposed upon the wine
brought from across the sea, and fore
seeing that cultivation of the vine would
yield much profit and pleasure he planted
a vineyard about the walls of the mission.
Of tb« wine he made from It part was
i^aed for communion and a modest amount
' for his own table.
The Spanish Government was yien eag
erly looking for any method by which
It could put down the- church, and as
the time drew on to when the missions
of the Californlas were secularized every
possible means was taken to wrest from
the churches their email properties. In
the case of Hidalgo It was declared by
the Audiencia that h« was planting the
vines and making- wine for the purpose
of Intoxicating the Indians and inciting
them to rebellion.
This unjust attack upon the vines which
¦were used for making the holy commun
ion wine angered the quiet prieBt beyond
restraint, and he flatly refused to obey
the command to destroy them.
The military was sent to enforce the
order and when" they left the vineyards
had been razed and burned, the wine press
destroyed and his wine confiscated.
That T.as the wine party of the Padre
This private wrong may account for the
etern, dogged, almost Saxon persistence
with which he began the contest. He
used the pulpit and confessional to pro
mote Ri» view*, and under the pretense of ¦
a literary society patriotic meeting* wer«
held. ... , ¦ -,
•The plan* of these patriots -were disco v- -
ered before they were ready to act, and
on the morning of the. 16th of September
(Sunday), in 1S10, the comrades came to
the house of Hidalgo and. told him that
their plot had been discovered.
The padre knew that they must act. at
once. Ringing the church bell earlier than
was his custom, he assembled his little
congregation to mass. But Instead of
prayers, he thus addressed them: "My
children, this day comes to us a new dis
pensation. Are you ready to receive it?
Will you be free? Will you make an ef
fort to recover from the hated Spaniards
the lands stolen from your forefathers?"
Then taking- the banner of Guadaloupe
from the sacred altar he sounded the
Grito de Dolores: "Viva nuestra Senpra
Guadaloupe! Viva la Independencia!" and
marched out of the church.
The whole congregation followed him
Into the street. He liberated the prisoners
who were In the city's prison and armed
them. The news of the enterprise spread
wide among the people, Who had only been
waiting for a leader. "Within twenty-four
hours the patriot priest was at the head
of an army large enough to enable him to
capture two cities with a united popula
tion of more than 30,000.
The mass of his army were Indians
armed with bows, arrows, slings, ma
chetes and lances. Arms of obsidian, thi
volcanic glass so often referred to by the
early historians of Mexico, which had lain
neglected since the days of.Cortez, were
now brought out and a stranger contrast
can scarcely be Imagined than that pre
sented by the Aztec levies and the beau-,
tiful regiment of the Queen and a. detach
ment of regulars which had Joined Hidal
go on his march.
Guanajuato was the objective point of
the campaign. It was the capital of the
province and the depot of the wealth of
the Spaniards. It is In the heart of the
richest mineral district.. The natives to
this day will tell you that after the hogs
have wallowed -in the pools the hose Is
turned, on them to wash the silver ? from
Rianon, the chief of the province, was
a great favorite in Mexico and a man
universally respected for his courage and
humanity. When he saw that all the In
dians and native-born Spanish-Americans
flocked to Hidalgo's banner he determined
not to defend the city, and shut himself
up with all the Europeans and the gold,
--silver and quicksilver in the Alhondega,
or granary. Here Rianon Intended <o de
fend his trust.
Th«- Alhondega t Is still standing. " It Is
a two-story stone structure of immense
size, with walls from five to tea feet In
thickness. It .was originally Intended'; to
be used- as a granary in which ' to . store
\ Hidalgo continued his march to the cap
-Ital without -_oaoe suffering defeat/ Every
-precaution, was made to defend the capi
tal.;. At -La3 Cruces,. almost .within sight
of "the city, he met. the"; royal .forces 'and
'drove them back.:,-- But : . for < some reason
• never,- understood •* Hidalgo, decided to re
*treatl'-'..'* ,.".'. :.:•;'''/;¦.''.¦.¦•.'.¦¦ "
The City of Mexico was taken aghast
at^the capture of Guanajuato. The pres
tige-of tacit obedience had been broken!
The! depot of the mining. district had been
jacked! The whole country was In arms!
But the most valuable addition .he re
ceived was the person of Don Jose Marie
Morelos, also a priest. Oh" Morelos after
the death of. Hidalgo rested the mantle of
command. Some Idea of his enthusiasm
may be forme-1 from the fact that he set
out on the receipt of his commission ac
companied by. but five "badly armed ser
vants, with the' promise that within a
year he would take "Acapulco, a feat
which he absolutely accomplished and of
which Napoleon said: "It is one of the
great victories of. - the 'world. . sufficient
of itself to 'win for Morelos a place among
From there he went to "Valladolid and
entered without resistance. His army now
numbered 50,000, and In addition he was
reinforced by the militia of the province
and the dragoons of a neighboring city,
both of which were well equipped and In
Hidalgo did not remain long at Guana
juato, but' while there he established a
mint and a foundry for cannon, for which
he made use of bells found In the desert
ed houses of the rich.
Rianon fell dead as all was lost. Not a
Spaniard escaped. Hidalgo secured $5,000,-
KW In treasure.
This siege of the t Alhondega of Guanaju
ito was the Bunker Hill of Mexico.
At last an Indian placed a great flat
stone upon his back, and thus shielded
from the. bullets which the Spaniards
rained down upon it crawled up to the
gates and- burned them down. The army
followed up. this advantage, and after part
3f the garrison had perished from suffo
:atlon carried the castle.
Rianon replied that he declined to capit
ulate, and Hidalgo at once marched to the
attack. The Spaniards, about 2000 strong,
were well equipped and able to stand a
long siege. The patriots tried in vain to
carry the place, but the besieged were
constantly on the watch and gave them
no opportunity to approach the • gates.
Torches were kept burning at n'.ght, and
by their : light the Spaniards shot every
man who came within reach.
Before the .insurgents made an attack
upon this fortress Hidalgo sent Abasola to
-Rianon with a letter announcing that ha
tad proclaimed : the independence of the
country and that as the only difficulty In
the way \va? the presence of -Europeans
it was necessary to banish the Spaniards
and "to. confiscate their property, which
' they had obtained by oppressive laws. He
promised protection to the Spaniards If
"they would submit and that their persons
should be conveyed to a place of safety.
surplus corn for public protection against
seasons of scarcity. ¦ ¦ - .
Several prominent men now joined th»
ranks of Morelos. They were from tho
upper classes, and although sympathizers
with' the cause of independence . from. th»
first they did not declare themselves' until
they ¦ "saw \ a man • appear . whom they
thought capable of ruling the storm. As
soon as' Morelos "became. 'known ' he was
recognized 'as the; man they sought.
. In January, of 1812 the royal forces, un
der * cilieja, , left the capital to- oppos»
Morelos, who was at Cuautla, about twen-
The whole of the year. 1811 was spent In
petty engagements, and by the great and
successful effort of Morelos to discipline
his army, the mass of whom wer»
The result of this battle was the posses
sion of eight hundred muskets and eight
pieces of artillery, . a large quantity ot
ammunition and money.
-The commandant marched out against
Morelos with a numerous body of troops,
but Morelos did not hesitate to attack
him with an Inferior force, and under
cover of night surprised and defeated the
Morelos' first great exploit was the- cap
ture of Acapulco, already alluded to.
Acapulco was the great depot of the Ma
nila trade, probably the busiest town in
Mexico. The possession of it would put
an end to strife In that quarter.
He was a full-blooded Indian, who had
the elements of a great warrior In him.
He organized a Government, : convened
Congress, which Issued /• a constitution,
and defeated the- Spaniards in several
battles. The history of his lifo from
the death of f Hidalgo to his own Is
the history of the revolution.
"With the heads of the leaders cut off
many thought that "the- revolution was
forever at an end. There . was at this
time one man only who stood forth con
spicuous among the revolutionists as aa
admitted chief— Morelos.
Their heads were cut off and taken to
Guanajuato, where they were placed on
four hooks projecting from the corners
of the Alhondega. And there they re
mained until 1823, when the ¦ successful
revolutionists took them down and burled
them with the honors due the memory of
the first martyrs of Mexican liberty.
On the road they were surprised and
captured by a former partisan, who could
not resist the temptation of . so valuable
a capture. They were taken to Chihua
hua, tried, degraded and shot. ,,
After "a terrific battle at Guadalajara,
In which the Mexican troops were com
pelled to retreat, there were but four
thousand soldiers left. It was decided to
leave them under command of • Rayon,
while Hidalgo and his three leaders, Al
lende, Aldama and Abasolo, who had erer
been the souls of the revolution, to
set out for the United States to purchase
arms and procure the assistance of ex
While his motives will never be known,
his courage should not bo questioned. But
whatever the reason may have been. It
was - fatal error. Then began that series
of disasters which finally resulted la tha
dispersion of his army.
THE STORY OF