Brantz Mayer was twice secretary of the United States legation to Mexico. On his final return to the United States of America in 1843 he published the first edition of this work, narrating his first term in that post. Mayer's letters and appendices cover anthropology, social mores, politics, religion and geography along with extensive notes on the benefit the Panama Canal would bring.
I left New-York on the 27th of October, 1841, with a fair wind, and on the twelfth day after, at sunrise, saw the lofty peak of Orizaba, towering above the distant line of the western horizon.
I have rarely beheld a more beautiful sight than this was. The maritime Alps, as seen from the Gulf of Lyons, present a spectacle of great majesty and beauty. But this grand and solitary peak, lifting its head more than 17,000 feet above the ocean, the sentinel, as it were, of a land toward which you may still sail for days before you arrive, has struck every traveller with wonder since the days when Cortez first hailed it on his adventurous voyage for the conquest of Mexico.
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