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Morelos Archives | Mexican Independence

 

morelosjose.jpg (14192 bytes)José María Morelos
Man of God, Warrior & Patriot

With right arm lifted majestically, it [a statue of Morelos] towers over the Michoacán countryside, and honors one of the greatest leaders of the Mexican revolution for independence, and one of Mexico's most outstanding men---Jose Maria Morelos - priest, soldier, statesman.--W.H. Timmons

Biography from The Catholic Encyclopedia

Son Juan Nepomuceno Almonte

 

 


The Last Days of José María Morelos
Morelos: Priest, Soldier, Statesman of Mexico by Wilbert H. Timmons. Texas Western College Press, El Paso, TX, 1963

The insurgent Congress, having voted to move to Tehuacán to escape the threatening Iturbide and to place itself in a better position to receive the assistance expected from the United States, set out from Uruapan on a fateful journey on September 29, 1815, the day before Morelos' fiftieth birthday. The entire insurgent government, including a half dozen members of the Congress, three judges of the Supreme Tribunal, and four secretaries, together with supplies, archives, and currency was to be escorted by Morelos and his armed forces through enemy territory by way of Tecpán and the Mixteca. At Huetamo the convoy was joined by Nicolás Bravo, and the escort was therefore increased to about a thousand men, half of whom were armed. [Testimony of Morelos, Morelos documentos, II, 354-55].

The insurgent party continued on through Cutzamala and Tlalchapa, and by November 2, it had reached Tenango, about two-thirds of the distance to Tehuacán. The convoy crossed the Mescala river, and on the next day arrived at Tesmalaca, six leagues beyond. Since the group had been on the move almost continuously for more than a month and had marched in military formation at the rate of twelve hours a day, and on scant rations, it voted to take a full day's rest at Tesmalaca. [Félix de la Madrid to Calleja, Izúcar, November 24, 1815, Gustavo Salas (ed.), Documentos de la guerra de independencia, Boletín del Archivo General de la Nación, XIII (April, 1942), 250-57].

Joyous over their good fortune thus far, and confident that it would continue, the party little suspected the impending danger which was closing in at that very moment. Meanwhile, Calleja had received word of the insurgent exodus; and although Morelos' clever feints and false moves fooled him for a while, the viceroy was confident that at least one of the royalist detachments he had sent out from the capital would intercept the insurgents in time. His assumption was correct: Colonel Manuel de la Concha and his force of six hundred men accidentally picked up the trail of the insurgent convoy, and by forced marches came within sight of Tesmalaca on the morning of November 5, just as the insurgents were leaving. [Manuel de la Concha to Calleja, Tepecuacuileo, November 3.3, 1815, Morelos documentos, II, 289-90].

The sight of the royalist force was so shocking to the insurgents that they would have fled in all directions at once had it not been for Morelos' leadership. He took immediate steps to send the deputies, the baggage, and the noncombatants ahead, while setting up his defenses in preparation for battle. Placing one division on the right and one on the left, he himself remained in the center with a division and the only two cannon the insurgents had. Colonel Concha gave the order to charge; the right wing of the insurgents gave way, broke into flight, and carried part of the center with it. A second charge of the royalists through the insurgent's broken lines caused all remaining resistance to collapse. Seeing that all was lost, Morelos cried out to Bravo, "Go save the Congress; it matters not if I perish." Ordering those about him to flee for their lives, Morelos himself spurred his horse in the direction of a steep hill. At the base he stopped to dismount, but as he was removing his spurs to facilitate the climb on foot, he was halted suddenly by a squad of royalist soldiers under Lieutenant Matías Carranco, who had served Morelos at Acapulco and Cuautla. Resistance at that point was futile. As Morelos made known his willingness to surrender, he eyed his captor and remarked laconically, "Señor Carranco, it appears that we know one another." [Bustamante, Cuadro histórico, III, 219-20].

Many other prisoners besides Morelos were taken, including Jose Maria Morales, the chaplain of the Congress, but the members of the Congress were far enough ahead at the time to escape. Under the escort of Nicolás Bravo, the Congress at length arrived at Tehuacán on November 16, but that mattered little to the royalists, who had captured the main prize. [Nicolás Bravo to his sister, Tehuacán, November 17, 1815, Morelos documentos, II, 300; The Congress made an offer to Calleja that it would stop the bloodshed if he would be lenient and spare Morelos' life; should he refuse, the insurgents threatened to slaughter 70,000 Spaniards. See the Congress to Calleja, Tehuacán, November 17, 1815, in Peñafiel, Ciudades y capitales, p. 99-100].  sdct

The surrender of Morelos was the greatest loss the insurgents had suffered since the capture of Miguel Hidalgos The royalist who participated in the action of Tesmalaca were later rewarded liberally with promotions and honors. Morelos and Morales were taken to Tenango, where they were forced to witness the execution of twenty-seven prisoners who had been taken in the Tesmalaca disaster. Then the captives were shackled on muleback and escorted to Tepecuacuilco, where they were imprisoned for several days while the royalists waited for orders from Calleja. At length Concha's itinerary to the capital with his prisoners received viceregal approval, but he was instructed to complete the last four leagues of the journey, from San Agustin de las Cuevas to Mexico City, at night to prevent "an accident" from occurring." [Calleja to Concha, Mexico City, November 19, 1815, ibid., p. 304].

On November 16 the party left Tepecuacuilco, proceeded by way of Cuernavaca, and arrived at the capital in the early morning hours of November 22. Morelos and Morales were confined immediately to the secret prisons of the Inquisition where they could be closely guarded. By the time the captive Morelos was led into Mexico City, he had become the subject of a heated three-cornered dispute involving the military power, the ecclesiastical authority, and the Inquisition, each of which stoutly defended its prerogatives, and insisted that the Morelos case fell exclusively within its own jurisdiction. Viceroy Calleja, representing the civil and military authority, desired an expeditious trial in which no time would be lost in convicting Morelos of treason and in sentencing him to death. But Pedro de Fonte, Archbishop-elect of Mexico and head of the ecclesiastical hierarchy, was vitally concerned with the case because of Morelos' sacerdotal status, and insisted that the ecclesiastical authority should take precedence over the civil power. Finally, the Inquisition, only recently restored in Mexico, took a lively interest in the case and viewed it as an unparalleled opportunity to recover prestige for that office. Calleja therefore recommended a compromise whereby Morelos was to be examined and tried first by a joint tribunal representing both the civil and ecclesiastical jurisdiction, and the trial was to be concluded within three days. [Proceedings of the United Jurisdictions, November 22, 1815, Hemández y Dávalos (ed.), Colección, VI, 58-66].

The trial began at eleven o'clock on the morning of November 22. For the remainder of the day Morelos, with his characteristic composure, answered the charges of his inquisitors. Accused of having committed the crimes of treason, of disloyalty to the king, and of promoting independence, Morelos replied that since there was no king when he joined the revolution, he worked enthusiastically for the cause of independence, assuming that there was no one against whom he could commit the crime of treason. He continued to support the independence movement, he said, because he did not expect Ferdinand VII to return to Spain. Morelos was certain that even if the king had returned, he would have become a corrupted man and a bad Catholic. Before he decided in favor of independence Morelos said that he consulted some intellectuals, who assured him that the cause was justified, since Ferdinand was guilty of surrendering Spain and himself to Napoleon. Respecting the report of Ferdinand's return to Spain in 1814, Morelos said that at first he had not believed it; after he had verified the story, he had dismissed it on the grounds that the king had returned as a "Napoleónico."  With regard to the charge that Morelos had shot royalist leaders in Oaxaca and Orizaba, and had executed persons in southern Mexico, he answered that he had ordered those executions in compliance with instructions from the Supreme junta in the case of the first two places, and in agreement with the Congress of Chilpancingo with respect to the last. The slaughter of persons along the southern coast, he maintained, were not executions, but reprisals for the death of Matamoros. He denied that as a member of the executive power he had given orders for the burning of towns and haciendas. He had ignored the edicts of excommunication because he considered them invalid, for it was his impression, he said, that only the Pope or a general council of the Church could impose them on an independent nation. As to the specific edict of Abad y Queipo of July 22, 1814, which declared Morelos a heretic, he explained that he had ignored the edict, since he had never considered Abad a consecrated bishop. The bloodshed, the destruction of fortunes, the separation of families, and the desolation of the country, he said, were unfortunate but inevitable results of any revolution, and in the beginning he did not anticipate so much destruction. Asked if he had celebrated mass during the revolution, Morelos answered that he had done so regularly until the bloodshed began; after that, he had not celebrated mass a single time."

A formal defense was presented for Morelos on the next day, November 23. His attorney was Jose Maria Quiles, a youth who was still a law student in the university. Quiles believed that any attempt to deny the charges against Morelos was completely futile; but while he admitted that the defendant had committed many errors, Quiles tried to show that they were largely the result of bad judgment and misinformation. The young lawyer with considerable skill based the greater part of his defense on the decree of Ferdinand VII of May 4, 1814, which invalidated all legislation passed by the Spanish Cortes, an authority which both the king and Morelos, though for different reasons, opposed and refused to recognize. The implication was that Morelos should not be censured too severely for opposing something which the king had considered illegal. Quiles then concluded with a statement which has caused no end of controversy. According to the record, he said that if Morelos' life should be spared, he would disclose military plans that would enable the royalists to pacify the country in a short time. What is the explanation for this statement? Was it an indiscretion on the part of a young, inexperienced lawyer? Did Morelos have anything to do with it? Or was it a royalist fabrication? Morelos, of course, was not particularly concerned about saving his life, but by that time, in anticipation of being degraded from the priesthood, he probably had become concerned about his soul. Perhaps Quiles, knowing that Morelos was willing to make concessions, hoped to save his client's life as part of the bargain, inasmuch as the young lawyer seemed to be more interested in saving Morelos' life than Morelos was. [Defense of José Maria Quiles, November 23, 1815, ibid., pp. 66-68].

Morelos' trial before the united jurisdictions was concluded at noon on November 23, and the testimony was submitted to Pedro de Fonte, Archbishop-elect of Mexico, who was to pass a sentence of degradation, in accordance with arrangements already made with the viceroy, and then deliver the prisoner to the civil authority. The archbishop-elect appointed a consultiva composed of seven church dignitaries, including himself, which deprived the accused of all offices and benefits, and subjected him to solemn degradation, an act to be performed by his old enemy, Antonio Bergosa y Jordan, the Bishop of Oaxaca. Yet the consultiva, apparently apprehensive about shedding priestly blood, recommended to the viceroy that Morelos' life be spared. [Sentence of the consultiva, November 24, 1815, ibid., p. 47].

At that point the Inquisition, that traditional defender of orthodoxy, entered the picture. Its chief inquisitor, Manuel de Flores, welcomed the Morelos affair as an opportunity to recover some of that tribunal's shattered prestige. "No time was lost," says Henry Charles Lea, "in commencing the most expeditious trial in the annals of the Holy Office - a grim comedy to gratify the vanity of the actors." [Henry Charles Lea, "Hidalgo and Morelos," American Historical Review, IV (1898-99 ), 648].

On November 23, Fiscal Jose Antonio Tirado, presented the clamosa, which charged that Morelos had signed the Constitution of Apatzingán, as well as other heretical publications; that he had celebrated mass while under a ban of excommunication; and that when the Bishop of Puebla had denounced him for doing so, he had replied that it would be easier to get a dispensation after the war than to survive the guillotine; and that he had been declared a heretic by the Bishop-elect of Michoacan. [Petition of Fiscal Tirado, November 23, 1815, Morelos documentos, III, 5-8].

Later that same morning Morelos was brought before the awesome tribunal of the Inquisition, which consisted of ten distinguished churchmen. He was warned to tell the truth "for the love of God and the Virgin in order to save his soul." By the afternoon of the following day (November 24) he had been subjected to three hearings. Then the accusation consisting of twenty-six charges was presented by Fiscal Tirado. Since Morelos had forsaken the doctrines of the Church in favor of the heresies of Hobbes, Helvetius, Voltaire, Luther, and other pestilential writers, the charges stated, the accused was declared a heretic, apostate of the holy faith, an atheist, materialist, deist, libertine, implacable enemy of Christianity and the state, a vile seducer, hypocrite, and traitor. [Accusation of Fiscal Tirado, November 24, 1815, ibid, pp. 16-27].

For the remainder of that day and half of the next, Morelos attempted to answer the charges. The insurgents had opposed only French domination of Spain, he said, and the restoration of Ferdinand VII was, in his opinion, another aspect of Napoleonic duplicity. The ban of excommunication was based on false charges, he insisted, and consequently was invalid; since the war had interfered with the due observance of bulls and religious ceremonies, he had attempted to provide the people with spiritual care sufficient for their needs. His own life had been irregular, he admitted, but he did not think it was scandalous. Although he had sent his son to a Protestant country for his education, he had instructed him to go to a Catholic school. [Testimony of Morelos, November 24 and 25, i8í5, ibid, pp. 27-32].  sdct

From a list of three lawyers assigned to handle Morelos' defense, he chose Jose Maria Gutiérrez de Rosas, who was allotted three hours to prepare his case. On that same afternoon (November 25) the attorney denounced the insurrection and the Cortes, expressed the hope that Morelos might be extended absolution in view of his penitent heart, and spent the rest of his time apologizing for the embarrassing position in which he had been placed. The prisoner was then led back to his cell, and the sentries were alerted to guard against any attempt by Morelos to commit suicide by taking poison. [Defense of José Maria Gutiérrez de Rosas, November 25, 1815, ibid, pp. 33-36; see also Manuel Flores to Calleja, November 24, 1815, ibid II. 311].

The consulta de fé met the next day to pass sentence. It unanimously agreed that a public auto de fé should be held at eight o'clock the next morning for the act of degradation in the presence of the inquisitors and several hundred distinguished guests selected by Flores. The consulta announced that Morelos was guilty of malicious, pertinacious, and imperfect confession, of heresy, of profaning the sacraments, and of high treason, human and divine. He was ordered to attend mass in the guise of a penitent, and to present a green candle, symbolizing a heretic, to the priest. His property was to be confiscated; and should the viceroy spare his life, he was to be banished from America and imprisoned for life in an African garrison. He was to be deprived of all ecclesiastical benefits; his three children wee to be declared infamous, and their descendants were to be subject to legal disabilities. He was to make a general confession, and for the rest of his life he was to recite the seven penitential psalms on Fridays, and a part of the rosary on Saturdays. A tablet, inscribed with his name and crimes, was to be suspended in the cathedral so that all posterity could view his wicked deeds. [Sentence of the Inquisition, November 26, 1815, ibid, III, 36-38; H. C. Lea, Hidalgo and Morelos, pp. 650-53].

From that time on, Morelos, a good Catholic who was deeply concerned about salvation, began to weaken. Examined a second time by the united jurisdictions, immediately after he had heard the sentence of the Inquisition, Morelos began to divulge the military information which Quiles had promised in his defense. He mentioned fifteen insurgent commanders by name and gave details about the size and location of their armies. He said that he considered Jose Manuel Terán and Ramón Rayón as the two most effective officers, but added that he had much respect for others like Guadalupe Victoria, Pablo Galeana, Remigio Yarza, and Francisco Osorno. Nicolás Bravo, he thought, lacked the qualities of the others, but was a popular and courageous leader. The insurgent forces, declared Morelos, were sustained primarily by the produce of the haciendas which had belonged to captured Europeans. Although booty and contributions had brought in some revenue, import duties and the alcabala had produced but little. Asked about insurgent relations with the United States, Morelos admitted that vigorous efforts had been made to get help, but that nothing had been accomplished. [Testimony of Morelos, November 26, 1815, ibid, II, 378-84].

The auto de fé, held on the morning of November 27 and witnessed by several hundred of the most distinguished persons in the capital, was an imposing and awesome spectacle? The prisoner entered the room in penitential robes; he knelt during the ceremony of reconciliation while the miserere was recited and the gentle strokes of purification were applied. After mass was celebrated, there came the terrible and agonizing act of degradation, performed by Antonio Bergosa y Jordán, who burst into tears. There were unmistakable signs of emotion on Morelos' face for the first time since the beginning of the ordeal. Bishop Bergosa wrote a full report of the proceedings to his king, and humbly requested royal approval for what he had done "so that it would serve as a guide to the bishops of Mexico, in view of the most difficult and disagreeable circumstances which have ever been encountered in this capital." [Lea, "Hidalgo and Morelos," pp. 650-53; Bishop Bergosa to Ferdinand VII, December 3, 1815, "Documentos sacados del Archivo de Indias sobre la guerra de independencia," LAC UT].

Morelos then was returned to the secret prisons of the Inquisition under heavy guard and with shackles about his legs. At two o'clock in the morning he was transferred, strongly guarded, to a cell in the artillery barracks, a move which signified that his fate now rested with Viceroy Calleja and the state. The Inquisition had done its work. "It might be said," wrote Father Miguélez, "that the Mexican Inquisition, for a few moments, had been brought back to life to condemn Morelos and then had been returned to the grave to await there the verdict of History. For although it had some merits during its life, it was a pity for its good name that it could not have died with greater dignity." [Manuel Miguélez, La independencia de México, p. 128].

Morelos' trial by the state began on Monday morning, November 28. The twenty-one questions which Calleja had prepared included subjects such as: why the accused had joined the revolution, his military plans and operations, his formation of the Congress of Chilpancingo, his relations with the Congress, the size of insurgent forces, relations with foreign powers, his attitude toward the restoration of Ferdinand VII, and his recommendations for the pacification of the country. [Calleja to Concha, November 27, 1815, Morelos documentos, II, 327-30].

The testimony of Morelos ín answer to the charges continued for three days, and it was recorded by Alejandro de Arana, who served as secretary. The extended account is an unbelievably complete and accurate description of Morelos' military, political, and diplomatic activities from 1810 to 1815, and thus it constitutes one of the most valuable sources of information about the movement for independence and Morelos' role in it. While the testimony contains a number of inaccuracies and inconsistencies, one cannot fail to be amazed at the memory of the man, who was able to relate, even under those trying circumstances, an extraordinary amount of detail, including numbers of men, guns, prisoners, wounded, killed, and the like, covering a five-year period. Perhaps most of the interminable number of hours he sat in his cell were spent in reflecting on his past and in preparing notes which would aid his memory during the next day's recitation of his activities. [This testimony was first published by Carlos Bustamante as Historia militar del General Don José Maria Morelos].

On the morning of December 1, Morelos again divulged vital military information as he had done before the united jurisdiction on November 26. He added that the province of Valladolid could be subdued easily with the immediate dispatch of one division, so desirous were the people there for the restoration of order and peace. Offered pardons, they would return to the royalist fold. The royalist troops at Tecpán, he advised, should advance on Zacatula and should join a division from Tlacotepec after the country around the Balsas had been subdued. The royalist force at Huajuapán, he said, should attempt to prevent Sesma and Guerrero from reconquering Oaxaca; and Terán, who was in Tehuacán, should be prevented from uniting with Guadalupe Victoria. Morelos concluded by saying that he could give no advice regarding the coast of Vera Cruz, Llanos de Apán, Nueva Galicia, or Nuevo Santander, because he was unfamiliar with the military situation in those places. Thus, again it may be said that Morelos had weakened. But in that regard the historian Genáro Garcia may have been close to the truth when he wrote that the object of Morelos in revealing vital information was not to save his life but to win favor with God. Those who were named, said Garcia, did not condemn Morelos for what he had said; if they had been in his place, they would have done the same thing. [Genaro García, "Morelos," Anales del Museo Nacional de Arqueología, Historia y Etnografía, Ser. 2, I (1922), 198].

For it must be remembered that Morelos had been born and reared as a good Catholic, educated in the doctrines of the Church, and that he had served as its obedient servant in the capacity of priest for more than twelve years. As a revolutionist, he continued to insist that he had no quarrel with the Church or its doctrines; but now as an accused man, the most awesome ecclesiastical tribunal in Christendom had labeled him a heretic and degraded him from the priesthood. Worldly and finite matters lost their significance and became secondary; his only concern now in these final days was making peace with his God. After Morelos had been returned to his cell, a group of persons motivated by curiosity persuaded the sentries to let them view the prisoner, but when their language became vile and insulting, the viceroy ordered that no one else was to be allowed entrance. At the insistence of the archbishop, the viceroy granted sufficient time in Morelos' prison routine for the holding of spiritual exercises in his cell. [Alamán, Historia de México, IV, 330].

By this time the request of the state was in Calleja's hands. Dated November 28 and drafted by Auditor Miguel Bataller, it sought the death sentence and confiscation of all property. The proposed order also provided that the head of the prisoner was to be amputated and placed in an iron cage and put on exhibit in the plaza of the capital, and his right hand was to be severed and prepared for similar display in Oaxaca. [Petition of Auditor Bataller, November 28, í8i5, Morelos documentos, II, 384-85].  sdct

For almost three weeks, Calleja delayed. Perhaps he thought he could extract more information from his prisoner; or he might have procrastinated, hoping that the insurgent leaders, unaware of Morelos' small regard for his life, would forsake the revolution and accept a pardon in the belief that the life of the captured first chief might be spared. At any rate, the viceroy certainly had no scruples about prolonging the agony. A retraction of Morelos, supposedly written and signed on December 10 and published after his death, in which he asked for forgiveness and stated that at the time of his capture he was preparing to seek a pardon from Ferdinand VII, seems utterly incredible and is questioned even by Alamán. [Alamán, Historia de México, IV, 332. The published retraction may be found in the Gaceta del Gobierno de Mexico, XXXII (December 26, 1815), 12983.402].

Apparently on December 12, however, Morelos disclosed additional vital information, such as the location of the principal insurgent mineral deposits, the chief mining operations, furnaces, and ammunition caches. [Testimony of Morelos, December 3-2, 1815, Morelos Papers, LAC UT].

At length, on December 20, Calleja approved the death sentence, but in consideration of representations from the archbishop, the decree provided that execution was to take place outside the capital, and that the body should be buried without dismemberment. On the next day, as Morelos knelt in prayer, he heard the sentence which he had regarded as virtually inevitable from the moment of his capture. A confessor was then called. [Sentence of Calleja, December 20, 1815, Morelos documentos, II, 385-87].

At six o'clock on the following morning, December 22, a coach which carried Father Salazar and two officers, including Manuel de la Concha, stopped in front of the prisoner's cell. Still in heavy shackles, Morelos was placed aboard and escorted along the road leading to the village of Guadalupe, the site of the church of the patron saint of the Indians. Morelos began to repeat the prayers and the psalms he knew by heart. The intensity of his recitations increased as each community was approached, since he did not know where the sentence was to be carried out. The coach stopped at Guadalupe, but then continued on to San Cristóbal Ecatépec, a short distance to the north. Morelos suddenly realized that this was the final stop. The commander of the local garrison was not prepared for his guests, so Morelos was quartered in a room full of hay while preparations for the execution were being completed. There was time for a bowl of soup. Just then, the cura of the town appeared, and both he and Morelos began to pray. They were interrupted by the movements of the firing squad now taking their positions just outside the window. Before prayers could be resumed, an armed escort entered the room to lead the prisoner to the place of execution.

After Morelos made a short confession to Father Salazar, the prisoner's cloak was removed; his eyes were covered with a white handkerchief; and his arms were bound behind his body with gun slings. His shackles made walking so difficult that he was carried to an enclosure behind the building which formed a sort of parapet. The next thing Morelos heard was the voice of the commander of the escort, as he made a mark on the ground with his sword: "Put him on his knees here." Morelos asked, "Must I kneel here?" To which Father Salazar replied, "Yes, here." Morelos then knelt, and as he raised his head upward in prayer, he uttered his final words:

"Lord, thou knowest if I have done well; if ill, I implore thy infinite mercy."

The officer gave the command; four shots rang out; and the kneeling Morelos crumbled forward to the ground. Yet his body still moved, and another volley was necessary to take his life. [Alamán, Historia de México, IV, 333-34. In the Latin American Collection of the University of Texas there is a Latin testament which contains the following inscription inside the cover: "This book belonged to the apostate José Maria Morelos Pavón, who was executed on this day on the outskirts of this town as a traitor to his country and to his king. San Cristóbal Ecatépec. December 22, 1815. Alfonso de Quiros, notary."]

The body was covered with Father Salazar's cape and was buried that afternoon in the chapel annex of the village parish church. There his remains lay until a congressional decree of July 23,1823, ordered that they be removed, together with those of other heroes of the independence movement, to Mexico City and be deposited in urns in the Cathedral of Mexico under the Altar of the Kings. Some years later, Morelos' remains, as well as those of the other heroes, were transferred officially to a crypt at the base of the column dedicated to the leaders of independence on the Paseo de la Reforma. But there is some reason to believe that Morelos' remains were not among those which were moved that they had already been moved by Juan Almonte to a secret grave which is still unknown. [Teja Zabre, Viva de Morelos, p. 298].

The name of Jose Maria Morelos has been honored with one of the highest places in the history of his country. In 1823 he was declared benemérito de la patria; in 1828 the name of his birthplace, Valladolid, was changed to Morelia in his honor; and in 1862 the state of Morelos was created out of a portion of the old state of Mexico. He has been the subject of an extensive patriotic oratory and literature to praise his name and to perpetuate his memory. If Morelos had lived to the year 1821, [wrote Porfirio Diaz in 1891] Iturbide would not have been able to take control of the national insurrection; and the nation would not have passed through a half century of shameful and bloody revolution which caused it to lose half of its territory. Today it would be the powerful republic which we would have expected from seventy years of development initiated by the courage, the abnegation, prudence, and political skill, of which that extraordinary man was the model. [Inscription of Porfirio Diaz, September 30, 1891, in a testimonial Album in honor of Morelos, located in the Casa de Morelos in Morelia].

Former President Lázaro Cárdenas, who was and still is a great admirer of Morelos, authorized the erection of a gigantic statue of the hero on the island of Janítzio in Lake Pátzcuaro. With right arm lifted majestically, it towers over the Michoacán countryside, and honors one of the greatest leaders of the Mexican revolution for independence, and one of Mexico's most outstanding men, Jose Maria Morelos - priest, soldier, statesman.  sdct


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