Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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MERCAD0, Jose Maria (mair-cah'-do), Mexican patriot, born in Teul, Jaliseo, about 1770; died in San Blas, 31 January, 1811. He was sent to Guadala-jara, where he studied theology in the seminary, and was ordained priest about 1795. As parish priest of Ahualulco his life was passed quietly in retirement, till the proclamation of independence by Hidalgo (q. v.) roused him, and his short but brilliant revolutionary career began. When he heard of the capture of Guanajuato and the battle of Monte de las Cruces, he rose with the lieutenant of militia, Zea, against the Spanish authorities of Ahualulco early in November, 1810, and soon had collected a small force. After Guadalajara had been captured by Jose Antonio Tortes and the judges of the supreme court had taken refuge at Tepic, Mercado conceived the project of capturing that city and the port of San Blas, and, authorized by Tortes, he marched against Tepic and surrounded it on 20 November, and the city was surrendered at the first summons, after the judges had fled. The company of militia there joined him, and after reorganizing and arming his forces he arrived before San Blas on 28 November The port surrendered on 1 December, and Mercado, by conciliatory measures, soon won the good will of the greater part of the inhabitants. He at once undertook to forward the captured artillery to Hidalgo, who had meanwhile arrived in Guadalajara. Notwithstanding the immense difficulties of the mountain-road of 300 miles, he sent gradually forty-five bronze cannon, nearly every one of which had to be dragged by hundreds of Indians over the precipices of Mochitiltic, which were impassable for ox-carts. When the last four heavy pieces arrived at the precipice, Mercado received the news of Hidalgo's defeat at Calderon, and the capture there of the guns that had been sent, and, after throwing the remainder over the cliffs, he returned to San Blas to prepare for its defence, But meanwhile the Royalists, encouraged by the victory of Callejas, had tampered with his troops, and in the night of 31 January, 1811, there was a revolt, and Mercado, finding his residence surrounded by the rebels, jumped from the window over a precipice. On the following morning his corpse was found at its foot, carried to the market square, and there publicly flogged. Mercado's father, although he had taken no active part in the revolution, was strangled.
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