Page:Our Sister Republic - Mexico.djvu/225

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219
GREAT NEED OF A CONTINENTAL RAILROAD.

and it will be well, for all, if they acquire the knowledge gradually, instead of being taught it, and errors with it, suddenly, by some loud-mouthed demagogue, who may incite them into inaugurating a new reign of disorder and terror.

In justice to the Republic and State authorities, I must say, that they do all in their power to educate the youth, and ameliorate the condition of the people; but while the million poor are so very, very poor, and the few rich are so very, very rich; commerce depressed, public improvements few, and the Government impoverished by foreign and domestic war, and its long struggle with the church, progress is necessarily very slow indeed: nevertheless there is progress. A better time will come; but will it be in our day and generation?

We met and passed many country people, going to market, with great wicker baskets of camotes, fruit, sweet-potatoes, etc., etc., on their backs, and many of them were braiding palm-leaf hats as they trotted rapidly along, bending beneath their heavy burdens, in the full blaze of the tropical sun. It is useless to say that these people are idle and dissolute from nature, and will not work. They will work all the year round if the work is offered them, and fairly kiss the hand that gives it to them. A railroad across the Continent, by the route we followed from Manzanillo, would put an end, forever, to revolutions and civil wars—I think the end is almost reached already—enrich the whole country and the road-owners at the same time, and confer on humanity a boon, greater than all the bequests of the philanthropic Peabody.

Some fifteen miles from Celaya, we entered the State of Querataro, the towers of that historic city looming