Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 72.djvu/150

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
146
POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

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