Page:Our Sister Republic - Mexico.djvu/276

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264
THE GREAT VOLCANO OF POPOCATAPETL.

quality of powder to enable him to carry on the siege to a triumphant close. But Bernal Diaz de Castillo, who was with him every day from the hour of his landing in Yucatan, until the final conquest of the country down to the Isthmus of Tehuantepec was effected, makes no mention of this fact; and as his history is the only one extant not made up from vague traditions, hearsay, or absolute, unqualified lies, the story may well be doubted.

I have met men, in years gone by, who professed to have stood upon the edge of the crater of Popocatépetl; but since I have seen the mountain, and conversed with General Gasper Sanchez Ochoa—a thoroughly competent engineer, who owns the vast estate on which it is situated, and made the only actual survey of this stupendous work of the Almighty hand, which has ever been accomplished—I know that some were only liars and vain boasters.

Mr. Seward was extremely anxious to ascend the mountain, but General Ochoa, though offering to place every facility at his disposal, frankly told him, that the effort was one which a man of his years and infirmities had no right to make, and he could not anticipate fortunate results in case he attempted it. On this, the proposed expedition was abandoned.

The editor of the Revista Litetaria of Mexico, prepared and published a very interesting and valuable article on the subject, a portion of which has been translated, and will be read in the United States with interest sufficient to warrant its insertion here:

This immense snow-covered peak ascends from the center of the table-land of Anàhuac, and its base is several leagues in circumference: its slopes commence at a height of from eight