Page:A Study of Mexico.djvu/25

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FORMER INACCESSIBILITY OF MEXICO.

desconocido"; and whole tribes of Indians that have never been brought in contact with the white man, and repel all attempts at visitation or government supervision.[1]

During the three hundred years, also, when Mexico was under Spanish dominion, access to the country was almost absolutely denied to foreigners; the most noted exception being the case of Humboldt, who, through the personal favor and friendship of Don Marino Urquijo, first Spanish Secretary of State under Charles IV, received privileges never before granted to any traveler; and thus it is that, although more than three quarters of a century have elapsed since Humboldt

  1. A Mexican merchant, writing recently from Juguila, State of Oaxaca, on the southern Pacific coast of Mexico, says: "Although this State has figured in a worthy manner in the New Orleans Exposition, it is just to say, because it is the truth, that the greater part of the objects which went from the southern coast, destined for New Orleans, were carried by hand by Indians. … It is a pity that a region so extensive and so fertile should remain so uncultivated, so unknown, and almost entirely inhabited by semi-savage Indians, who, to plant an almud (six and a half quarts) of corn, destroy forests of lumber worth more than three thousand dollars. The country has scarcely two inhabitants to a square kilometre, and these semi-civilized natives, but of a pacific and honest nature. The national and neighborhood highways do not merit the name. The principal road from Oaxaca to Costa Chica is a bridle-path, and in some parts of the district of Villa Alvarez it is so narrow that last year, when I, being sick, had to be carried on a bed to Oaxaca, the servants who carried me had to abandon it and cross through the woods, as two men abreast could not walk in it. If the national roads are thus, one can imagine what the neighborhood roads might be. …"—"United States Consular Reports," 1885.