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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 72.djvu/152

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

"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.