Page:Notes of the Mexican war 1846-47-48.djvu/409

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was born of the moral wants of the Mediterranean nations, who, completely sunk in immorality, were ready to seize upon any faith which could lift them from the degradation into which the crimes and lust of the Roman Empire had sunk them; but like any other great monopoly of the human mind in a single direction, it soon becomes perverted and deems no measure too atrocious to obtain proselytes.

In tracing the causes of the numberless revolutions of Mexico and the Spanish American States, we shall find that every phase of their history, and especially in Mexico, the Catholic clergy, have been the great vital principal which has occasioned the chronic revolutionary condition of the country.

To form an idea of their power, it is necessary to glance at the immense influence which they exercised in colonial affairs, and the vast accumulation of wealth, which, by every art that avarice could suggest, they wrung from the Spaniards and poor native Indians.

There were, in 1827, one hundred and fifty convents, besides innumerable parochial churches. The clergy collected by the exaction of tithes, one-tenth of the whole products of the country, notwithstanding the tithe system was abolished in 1833, by the Mexican Government. Many of the devoted adherents of the Catholic church still submit to it.

It costs Mexico yearly to sustain her clergy $8,000,000; while the estimated value of church property is from $250,000,000 to $300,000,000, about one-third of the valuation of the whole country. There are; $40,000,000 alone of mortgages on the agricultural districts around this city of Puebla, that support the religious institutions of the city, which, as I stated before, is still known as the most intensely Catholic of all Mexican cities in this country.

In the afternoon we received a requisition from Capt. Herron, of our regiment, (who, like ourselves, was left here being too much fatigued to go any further,) on the Commissary, to draw rations, and us four drew nearly as much as our whole company sometimes did.