Francis Clement Kelley.

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Cornell University

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Kelley, Francis
The book of r
story of blood
Chicago J Cathol
society^ 1916.

ed and yellow; being
and a yellow streak,
ic church extension


3 1924 097 636 702






The Catholic Church Extension Society
OF THE United States of America



Copyright, igiSi




Press of

The Henry O. Shepard Co.

632 Sherman Street


The Book of Red and Yellow

READERS of this book who have been following European war
news will understand the reference to colors in the title. A friend
suggested that I could appropriately call it " The Red Book,"
because it is a tale of blood. Another urged that " The Yellow Book "
might be a better title, since it shows the yellow streak in human nature.
Both suggestions appealed to me; but the using of both titles together
seems better still. This book tells a tale of blood and shows the yellow
streak in some human beings. The trail of the coward is over the per-
petrators of the outrages which here are told. No one but a coward
' Id take advantage of weakness and murder innocence. " The Book
t led and Yellow " expresses exactly what I want to express.

i "

\ "w months ago strange rumors of outrages committed by the

\ utionalists in Mexico began to appear in American papers. The

f. . uiclination of practically all who read the items was to doubt;
, " ; he second inclination to shrug the shoulders and say : " Well, it's
Wdi.' Even in Mexico itself, when the news of the horrors at Durango
was ;ceived, Mexicans themselves charitably said to one another:
" These things are the work only of irresponsible leaders and in one
' They do not imply that the Revolutionists have any such program

ir 'nd. Those who have done these fearful things will, in due time,
be • -"ished." But we were all wrong.

vVhen Saltillo fell, the outrages were repeated. At Zacatecas they
not only were repeated, but new infamies were added. At other cities,
Zacatecas was outdone. Then the horrors were visited on every city and
state taken by the Constitutionalist forces.

Some refugees from Mexico at last began to cross the American line.
The border towns of Texas rapidly filled up with them. At Vera Cruz
there were so many that they became a serious problem to the American
authorities. Not only were officers of the Federal army, officials of the
Huerta' government and other political exiles among the refugees, but also
priests who had never taken up arms or interfered in political matters,
sisters whose lives had been given up to teaching the works of charity,
brothers who had spent themselves on the education of the Mexican
youth, bishops and archbishops. Over five hundred of these religious
refugees came into the American lines. Most of them were destitute.
Practically all had been robbed of everything they possessed. They told


of hardships, of murders, of crimes worse than murder, and of sacrileges.
It was the men who heard these stories, many of them officers of the
United States army and navy, who, shocked and outraged in their finer
feelings, spread the awful news, which now began to reach the ears of the
American people in all its repulsiveness.

It seemed, however, as if a conspiracy of silence had been organized.
Reputable papers, supposed to be anxious to print the truth and to give
the news, did neither. Statesmen, so-called, pooh-poohed everything.
The man on the street said the thing was too horrible for credence. The
wily politician saw danger ; but all the time the people in Vera Cruz, who
had hearts, saw red.

At last a pitiful appeal to charity, to feed the hungry, to clothe the
naked, and to give asylum to the homeless, reached The Catholic Church
Extension Society, chiefly through the efforts of the Rev. R. H. Tierney,
Editor of America, and the Rev. H. A. Constantineau, Provincial Treas-
urer of the Oblate Fathers in S,an Antonio. It was plain to the directors
of the Society that, if they could not do justice to these suffering exiles,
they could, at least, be charitable to them. The Most Reverend James E.
Quigley, D.D., Archbishop of Chicago, at once directed me, as President
of the Society, to go wherever the refugees were, and use what funds
were needed to assist them. I proceeded at once to Texas, saw the situa-
tion, relieved the immediate needs in San Antonio, El Paso, Laredo,
Galveston, etc., and then started for Vera Cruz. Before taking the boat
for that point, I learned by cable that, when the news of the impending
evacuation of that port by the American troops was given out, all the
refugees who could go had left for Cuba. I went to Havana instead of
Vera Cruz, and found as many of these refugees in Cuba as we had in
the United States, but in a far more deplorable condition. With the
funds at my disposal, I spent what was needed, and came back to report
to the Board of Governors of the Society and beg that more assistance
be extended.

While in Texas I had the opportunity of hearing the stories of the
refugees and investigating them. Knowing that there would be more of
these stories in Cuba, I requested the Archbishop of New Orleans who
spoke Spanish and who had been a bishop in Porto Rico, to come with me.
He kindly agreed to do this; and His Grace took especial care of the
investigations, securing information which perhaps could never have been
secured otherwise.

On my return to Chicago, the Society took further action and author-
ized me to pay the expenses incident to saving and helping the remaining


priests and sisters at Vera Cruz, should the Government fail to act favor-
ably on the request of the refugees for transportation to Galveston. Our
appeal to the charity of American Catholics has not been in vain, yet
much still remains to be done. I publish this book in the hope that it
will stir up even a greater manifestation of charity. The Board of
Governors of the Society, relying on this, has authorized the publication.
Our motives are purely charitable and humanitarian. The Society
declines to enter into the discussion of these things except from that
standpoint. We have no political axe to grind. We do not propose
to attach blame to any one, much less to the administration now in
power in Washington. If mistakes have been made, good-will may
rectify them in part. If the President and his advisors have been
deceived, one can readily understand that it was an easy matter to
deceive them. They were not on the ground. No one can read this
story without knowing that it was to the interests of some part]^r
parties to lend themselves to such deception. That the deception was a
crime every reasonable man and woman will concede ; and the crime is all
the clearer in that the sufferers have, as usual, been the innocent. If there
were no refugees except political ones, we could be sorry for them ; but
we would be obliged to admit that chances must be taken in Mexican
politics. The political refugees, however, formed the minority. Those
who had committed no crime, and who had not mixed in political
squabbles of any kind, had to suffer the most.

It will easily be understood that I can not give the names of persons
and places referred to in many of the statements to follow. After reading
the statements, and considering the conditions in Mexico, the reader will
not wonder why, iij the majority of instances, such details had to be
left out. I do not care to sign death-warrants. But I have the original
documents in my possession, or I know where they are, and have con-
sulted them. They may be examined by those who have a right to see
them and whose honesty in asking for them is beyond question.


The General Conditions of the Persecution.
To begin I give a partial list of the outrages which have been com-
mitted in the name of " liberty " and the Constitution, by the men who
claim to be fighting in Mexico for both. Not one single charge is over-
drawn. I give them as they were given to me, not by a few individuals,
but practically by all. I append proofs which can not be questioned.

The Constitutionalists in Mexico have attempted to destroy, and prac-
tically have destroyed, three-fourths, if not more, of the Catholic Church
in their country; which means that they have destroyed three-fourths of
all the organized religious forces in Mexico. They did it deliberately, and
as a result of a prearranged plan. They did it remorselessly and cruelly.


These same men drove out of Mexico, imprisoned or sent into hiding
in fear of their lives, practically all the Catholic bishops in the Republic.
Of those who remain, one alone is exercising his ministry unimpeded,
because he is in the territory held by General Zapata, who is not and was
not at any time subject to Carranza's authority. Of the others still on
Mexican soil, three to my certain knowledge are in hiding, and one is in
the penitentiary, sentenced to eight years' imprisonment for no crime
whatever. To this charge may be added that of driving into exile priests
and Sisters of Charity, religious men and women of all kinds, some of
whom are Mexican citizens and some citizens of other nations.

These same men were guilty of seizing private property, even property
held in the names of individuals, only because such property was used for
religious purposes. They looted churches, destroyed libraries, scientific
laboratories, colleges, schools, museums of Mexican archeology, valuable
manuscripts and residences. They practically wiped off the map of
Mexico her best institutions for higher education.


They imprisoned, tortured and murdered priests and teachers.


They committed most abominable and unspeakably vile outrages
against the persons and virtue of young girls, good women, and Sisters
whose lives had been vowed to the service of Almighty God.



They interdicted practices of religion publicly under the penalty of


They usurped ecclesiastical jurisdiction by appointing to office, in what
was left of the Church, such men as they pleased.


In order to carry these things out with some show of reason, they
published the vilest lies against the Church and her clergy.


Proclaiming their desire for a free government under a constitution,
they destroyed absolutely the liberty of the press, suppressing all news-
papers and other publications not controlled and directed by themselves.


In. various other ways they set aside the very Constitution to which
they proclaimed allegiance, and set it aside deliberately.

Before taking up the discussion of these charges, a word about the
Revolution itself. Porfirio Diaz had given peace to Mexico, but had ruled
the country as a dictator. The rebellion against him by. Francisco Madero
was successful, and Madero himself was legally elected President of the
Republic. It is probable that Madero was the first President really
elected by the people themselves. If there were irregularities in his
election, these irregularities could not have changed the result. Under
Madero, an attempt was made to give Mexico a constitutional form of
government, or rather to put the Constitution into effect for the first
time. It was not an ideal constitution. The addition to it of the Laws of
Reform of Benito Juarez made it even less desirable. Neither of these
were ideal democratic documents, but they were the law. The murder
of Madero was a vile act, but it was never proven that Madero's suc-
cessor. General Huerta, had been a party to that murder. Huerta himself
was selected to succeed Madero in accordance with all the forms of law.
He was a strong man, democratic, and fairly just. His government was a
dictatorship like that of Diaz; but this much can be said of him: he
could have brought peace to Mexico. He was prevented from doing
this, however, by a new revolution headed by Governor Venustiano Car-
ranza. The new revolution was fostered by influences from the United
States. No revolution is possible in Mexico otherwise, since Mexico has
no facilities-for^uimMtifiLarms and ammunition. All arms and ammuni-


tion for Carranza's outbreak were supplied by American firms, whose
names are known, and who could easily have been prevented from supply-
ing them. To end any revolution in Mexico, it is only necessary to forbid
the sending of arms from the United States into that country. The
Carranza forces had unlimited supplies, both of arms and money with
which to buy them. They were successful, and were aided to their suc-
cess by the closing of the port of Vera Cruz to Huerta. I do not question
the right of our Government to close the port. Neither do I criticize the
attitude of the administration to Huerta. I merely state the facts. On
the face of things, it looked as if the people were fighting for constitutional
government. I desire to show, in a general way in this chapter, how far
the actions of the Constitutionalists agreed with their professions.

In the beginning, the outrages committed by Carranza's army were
few, but at Durango it was clearly seen that the first step of the revolu-
tion was to be the utter destruction of religion. The Constitutionalists
found at Durango a venerable and holy old man, who had long been the
archbishop of that diocese. He was immediately arrested and from him
was demanded a ransom of $500,000. Now, the people of Mexico are not
rich. The Church is not rich. There was no union between Church and
State, and there had not been such a union for fifty years. The Con-
stitutionalists might as well have asked the archbishop for $500,000,000
as for $500,000. He had not the money to give. He told his captors so.
They flung him into prison. When they released him, it was only to keep
him in durance within the city limits. They showered indignities upon
his head. They arrested his clergy, exiled many, closed churches; in a
word, they did all they could to stamp out religion in Durango. Some
good people got together a few thousand dollars. Seeing that they could
get no more, the Constitutionalists released the archbishop, but drove
him out of the city. He went to Morelia, where again he was held for
ransom, and again some good people bought his liberty. Then, after two
months of this sort of thing, he escaped to the United States. I saw him,
a sad old man, broken in health, but uncomplaining. Had I depended
upon him for information, however, I would have had none. He suffered
in silence, but I received the information from others, even those who
were eye-witnesses of the affair.

Here is a statement by one of these eye-witnesses to the taking of the
city of Durango by the Carranzista forces. I dare not give his name, for
fear of the consequences to himself if he returns to Mexico :


No sooner were the Constitutionalists in the city, under the command
of General Tomas Urbina, than there was a tremendous riot among them,
and the second general in command was killed and a great number of
others perished.

On hearing the first reports of the riot, crowds forced open the doors
of all business houses, ransacking and setting fire afterward to them.
Nine palaces and many houses were wiped out. Leading families who,
previous to this horrible episode, had been considered rich, to-day have
not even bread to eat, and many are without clothing.

The outrages committed did not cease at this point, but increased, and,
on the second day, without court-martial, all the officials and chiefs taken
during the battle or after were sentenced to death, thus disregarding
entirely the guarantees and promises not to execute any one. Repre-
sentatives of the leaders entered the archbishop's palace and other private
homes, forcibly carrying with them those who had taken refuge there.
Notwithstanding the entreaties of the sisters, mothers, wives and children,
they were conducted as the vilest criminals to the dirtiest and unhealthiest
prison cells. The day after they were compelled to beg from door to
door the tremendous amount of money that had been demanded as ran-
soms. In the meantime other groups of armed men entered and pro-
faned the Church of the Jesuit Fathers ; and the Carmelites were horribly
insulted and outraged. In the cathedral where the remains of the dead
bishops and archbishops had been laid they scattered the remains with
their swords. Not satisfied with this, they then approached the arch-
bishop's palace, addressing the archbishop in very unbecoming language
and demanded $500,000 as a " loan," which amount he was unable to pay,
and he was thereupon taken to jail, notwithstanding the fact that he was
in an almost dying condition. Not even a chair or bed was given him,
and he was left on the floor of the condemned cell.

These acts and others filled all the city with consternation, which
increased by the hearing of other outrages which have been committed
against families, and more especially so when priests were seen arrested
for the mere fact of their profession and because they were unable to pay
the money demanded of them.


What was done at Durango was the rule whenever the rebels con-
quered a new territory, and, when the payment of ransom was not
sufficient, exile followed. Very early also in the conquests of the
Constitutionalists came the same outrages in Matamoros. In both Dur-
ango and Matamoros the churches were pillaged, the desecrating of the
graves of the dead bishops was done with the object of discovering if
there might be some valuable objects buried with them. Swords were
run through the disinterred bodies. That all this was premeditated and
part of a plan, Carranza and the leaders themselves declared. In dis-
courses published in their newspapers, they claimed that they intended
to destroy militarism, capital and the clergy. It was in carrying out this
plan that the cities were given to pillage, estates seized and religion
trampled upon. It was a crime to have been a soldier in the Federal


army, to be a rich man, no matter how honestly the riches might have
been gained, or to be a priest, teacher or Sister, no matter how much
charity or good work had been done as such. There was no process of
law. The Cathedral Chapters of Durango, Monterey, Zacatecas, Guada-
lajara, Puebla, etc., they dissolved by Constitutionalist authority.

The following statement, sworn to by the writers before a notary,
gives an idea of the way the persecution was carried on in the north.

From its very beginning the Constitutionalist Revolutionary Party
of Mexico showed itself to be anti-religious, as is proven by the injustices
committed in the State of Sonora, Sinaloa and Chihuahua against priests
and church property. But not in the degree that it afterward attained.
Don Venustiano Carranza, who never before had shown signs of " clero-
phobia," allowed himself, according to our belief, to be influenced by
certain members of what is known in Mexico as the " Reform Party,"
the same that tried to force Francisco I. Madero into a religious persecu-
tion. From then on, the irreligious spirit of the Constitutionalists' revolu-
tion appeared unmasked.

We shall say nothing of what preceded the taking of Monterey from
lack of concrete data sufficiently authenticated.

Monterey. — They took Monterey, the capital of the State of Nuevo
Leon, on April 24, 1914. According to the general custom, the Revolu-
tionary officials left the churches undisturbed, but on the 27th of the
same month they ordered all churches closed, and took possession of the
keys. On May 12 the priests were cited to appear. Accordingly the
Vicar-General, sixteen foreign and several Mexican priests went to the
place appointed, where a " loan " of $500,000 was demanded of them. As
they declared themselves unable to give such an immense sum, they were
put in prison. By the intervention of their respective consuls, the for-
eigners were set free, but at the same time declared banished from Mex-
ican soil. The Vicar-General and the other Mexican priests remained
in jail.

The archbishop's palace was occupied by the rebels, who destroyed a
magnificent library and possessed themselves of the archives of the arch-
diocese. The printing-press of the archbishopric was taken over for the
publication of the impious newspaper. El Bonete, in the pages of which
were published, in an attempt to dishonor the priesthood, the documents
found in the secret archives. (Records of diocesan disciplinary cases

On June 7 they publicly burned the confessionals and other church
furniture. They also publicly profaned the statues of the saints in the
streets, casting lots on them and shooting at those which by lot were
determined as " Huertistas." There were, moreover, numerous spolia-
tions, robberies and other excesses committed in the churches.

As a climax to these infamous proceedings, the Governor of the State
issued a decree, under date of July 14, in which, after an introduction
very offensive to the clergy, which he designated as " corrupt and cor-
rupting," religious liberty was practically abolished.


_ In several towns of this State were committed acts of sacrilegious sav-
agery. In Tanquecillos, for example, they profaned the sacred vestments,
using them ior a dance. At Margaritas, the Ciborium of the Tabernacle
was used in drinking " mescal." At Cerralbo they took the statues of the
saints, not excepting that of the national devotion, Our Lady of Guada-
lupe, and cast them into a well, mutilating that of Our Lady of Lourdes
to make it small enough to be forced in, at the same time issuing a decree
in which it was declared that anyone caught trying to rescue the statues
would be summarily executed. In Las Aldamas the churches were con-
verted into barracks. A certain Father Regalado was obliged to walk a
distance of about eighty miles, from Linares to Victoria. Another priest,
Father Martin, parish priest of Galeana, was robbed of all he had, and it
was only by fleeing to the mountains that he freed himself from still
worse treatment.

Tepic. — The city of Tepic, capital of the territory by that name, was
captured in the middle of May. They imprisoned the bishop, Rt. Rev.
Andres Segura, and Very Rev. Ramon Vilalto, Superior of the Mission-
ary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, in the penitentiary about the
17th of the same month, sentencing them to eight years' imprisonment.
Other priests were left at liberty, although forbidden to leave the city.
That, at least, was the belief at first, but now we know that all the Mis-
sionary Fathers of the Heart of Mary residing there are actually in

Saltillo. — This city, capital of Coahuila, fell into the hands of the
Revolutionists in the beginning of June, if we are not mistaken. It is
impossible to describe what the priests suffered there. Eight of them
(four Jesuits, three Eudists and a Benedictine) were shut up in a dark
room, and kept there eight days. Then, at midnight the door was opened,
and they were told they were condemned to death. One by one they
were taken out, and with each of them a mock execution was carried
out in the minutest details — the line of sharpshooters, the signal to fire,
the discharge and even the falling of the body, which was produced by a
push from behind. Afterward they were taken in a stock car to Torreon,
where they were shamefully paraded through the streets ; and from there
they were taken through Cuidad Juarez to the border. We have been told
that other priests were forced to suffer the torment of the gallows, being
tied by the neck and lifted into the air. One of them was raised thus
three times, until he lost consciousness.

Zacatecas. — -This is the capital of the state of the same name, and
was taken June 3 at sundown. Immediately after they captured Rev.
Inocencio Lopez Velarde, who was a Fiscal Promoter, Professor of the
Seminary and Chaplain of the Theresian Sisters, and after robbing him,
took him to the outskirts of the city and killed him, afterward maltreating
his dead bod)^, which was found the next day, the head and chest riddled

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Online LibraryFrancis Clement KelleyThe book of red and yellow : being a story of blood and a yellow streak → online text (page 1 of 16)