Page:Haiti- Her History and Her Detractors.djvu/21

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FOREWORD


Although at a comparatively short distance from the United States, Haiti is nevertheless very little known in this country, where in most cases books written in English by unscrupulous travelers or authors are their only source of information. In this manner errors and prejudices became rooted in the minds of many Americans, who believe that my fellow-countrymen are addicted to all kinds of gross superstitions and are reverting to barbarism instead of progressing in civilization. This rather severe arraignment of my fellow-countrymen is founded upon slanders which everybody repeats without taking the trouble of examining facts in order to ascertain the truth.

One cannot pass judgment upon a nation at first sight. In order to form an impartial appreciation of a people one must be acquainted with its origin and customs; it is necessary to make a study of the causes which have hindered or facilitated its evolution; and to look carefully into the various phases of this evolution; one must even be acquainted with the telluric and climatological conditions, which exert a certain influence over the successive changes of a country. A foreigner who spends but a few days in a country cannot be in a position to speak with the accuracy of thorough knowledge of the inhabitants of this country; he is likely either to repeat all the gossip gathered from his new-made ac-

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