Page:A Study of Mexico.djvu/14

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PREFACE.

Fully recognizing that one can know but very-little of a country, who, ignorant of the language, the customs, the political and social condition and pursuits of its people, sees it simply and hurriedly as a traveler, the journey in question was, nevertheless, sufficiently instructive to satisfy thoroughly as to two points: First, that here was a country, bordering on the United States for a distance of more than two thousand miles, which was almost as foreign to the latter, in respect to race, climate, government, manners, and laws, as though it belonged to another planet; and, secondly, that the people of the United States generally knew about as much of the domestic affairs of this one of their nearest neighbors as they did of those of the empire of China. And with a realization of these facts, a temptation to enter upon a field of investigation, so fresh and so little worked, was created, too attractive to be resisted; and, accordingly, with the sole purpose of desiring to know the truth about Mexico, and to form an opinion as to what should be the future political and commercial relations between that country and the United States, the author, on the completion of his journey, entered upon a careful study of a large amount of information relative to Mexico, derived from both public and private sources, which he found at his disposal. And it is on the basis of this study, and with the kindliest feeling for and the deepest interest in Mexico, that he has written; using his experiences of travel as a guide to inquiry and as a factor in determining what it was desirable to know, rather than as may