An excerpt from the Author's PREFACE:
THE object of the author, in writing this book, is to remove if possible, to some extent, the prejudice which exists against the present government of Mexico. This prejudice is based upon a misapprehension of the character of that government; and upon the fact that very little is known, in the United States, of what Maximilian has done for Mexico. If any intelligent citizen of the United States should go to that country, remain there for six months, make himself somewhat acquainted with the Mexican people, and see with his own eyes how much "Maximilian has done for their happiness and prosperity, and, above all, compare Mexico under a monarchy with what it always has been under a republic, he would candidly admit that at last Mexico has found the government that is suited to her, and that will eventually raise her to a respectable rank among the nations of the earth. The government of Maximilian is a limited constitutional monarchy; it is founded upon the choice of the Mexican people; and, in spite of the difficulties which it has had to contend with, and which environ it now, it has done more for the prosperity of Mexico; more for the enlightenment and happiness of the Mexican people, during the three years of its existence, than any republican government in Mexico ever did, in thirty, forty, or fifty, years.
It is possible that this book may be unpopular. I do not write for popularity, however, but to set forth the truth. From the foundation of the republic up to the year 1861, independence of thought was considered creditable, and freedom of speech and of the press were regarded as the most precious birth-rights of an American citizen. From the foundation of the republic up to the year 1861, the man who had not manliness of soul enough to think for himself, and courage enough to express his thoughts frankly, was despised. No character was more contemptible than one who slavishly copied the opinions of others, and had no opinions of his own.
This is all changed now. We live under a new and "loyal" dispensation. In 1861 and 1862, the edict went forth that men must stop thinking for themselves, and must stop expressing their thoughts. All men must think alike; and they must think in a "loyal" manner. To believe that the war against the south was unnecessary, and might have been avoided; to believe that it would end in the destruction of the Union, and to express that belief, was "disloyal." To believe that the withholding of medicines from the sick in the south was cruel, and to express that belief, was "disloyal." To believe that the object of the war on the part of the north, was the subjugation and conquest of the Southern States and the permanent dissolution of the Union, and to express that belief, was "treason." To believe that Abraham Lincoln was neither a saint nor a statesman, and to express that belief, was to be a "traitor." In a word, every one was required to believe as the leaders of the radical Republican party believed, and to speak as they spoke. Whoever did not do so, was a marked man.
It was thus that the ideas about the Mexican empire sprang up. Napoleon is helping the south. Napoleon is going to recognize the Southern Confederacy. Napoleon has established a monarchy in Mexico, to which he will annex Texas, and to this will be annexed, in time, all the Southern States. This was the first song; and nobody was allowed to sing in a different tune. · Then, again, Napoleon is helping the south. Napoleon is going to recognize the south. The throne of Maximilian is upheld by the presence of French troops, and a French army is to be permanently maintained in Mexico. This was the next song. Everybody's violin, flute, harp, sackbut, and dulcimer, must play the same notes, and smashed be the fiddle that will not. Then, again, well, at any rate, Napoleon desired to help the south, and wished to recognize the Southern Confederacy....
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