Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas, and Yucatan, Volume 1

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John Stephens was an American diplomat sent by the U.S. government in the 1840s to establish contact with the people of Central America and Southern Mexico, and in many cases was the first white ... Read full review

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Page 105 - The world's great mistress on the Egyptian plain;" VA.IN SPECULATIONS. 105 but architecture, sculpture, and painting, all the arts which embellish life, had flourished in this overgrown forest ; orators, warriors, and statesmen, beauty, ambition, and glory, had lived and passed away, and none knew that such things had been, or could tell of their past existence. Books, the records of knowledge, are silent on this theme.
Page 416 - Granada, for the purpose of effectually protecting, by suitable treaty stipulations with them, such individuals or companies as may undertake to open a communication between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans by the construction of a ship canal acros> the isthmus which connects North and South America, and of securing forever by such stipulations the free and equal right of navigating such canal to all nations...
Page 119 - At one time we stoppedto cut away branches and vines which concealed the face of a monument, and then to dig around and bring to light a fragment, a sculptured corner of which protruded from the earth. I leaned over with breathless anxiety while the Indians worked, and an eye, an ear, a foot, or a hand was disentombed...
Page 159 - I shall not pretend to convey any idea. Often the imagination was pained in gazing at them. The tone which pervades the ruins is that of deep solemnity. An imaginative mind might be infected with superstitious feelings. From constantly calling them by that name in our intercourse with the Indians, we regarded these solemn memorials as ' idols ' — deified kings and heroes — objects of adoration and ceremonial worship.
Page 120 - As we feared, the designs were so intricate and complicated, the subjects so entirely new and unintelligible, that he had great difficulty in drawing. He had made several attempts, both with the camera lucida and without, but failed to satisfy himself, or even me, who was less severe in criticism. The
Page 102 - ... sculptured, and came to the angle of a structure with steps on the sides, in form and appearance, so far as the trees would enable us to make it out, like the sides of a pyramid. Diverging from the base, and working our way through the thick woods, we came upon a square stone column, about fourteen feet high, and three feet on each side, sculptured in very bold relief, and on all four of the sides, from the base to the top. The front was the figure of a man curiously and richly dressed, and the...
Page 366 - Juan, not directly opposite, but nearly at right angles to each other, so that we saw them without turning the body. In a right line over the tops of the mountains neither was more than twenty miles distant, and from the great height at which we stood they seemed almost at our feet. It is the only point in the world which commands a view of the two seas...
Page 107 - Gregorio, stepped forward, and said that he was the owner of "the idols"; that no one could go on the land without his permission; and handed me his title papers. This was a new difficulty. I was not disposed to dispute his title, but read his papers as attentively as if I meditated an action in ejectment; and he seemed relieved when I told him his title was good, and that, if not disturbed, I would make him a compliment at parting. Fortunately, he had a favour to ask. Our fame as physicians had...
Page 95 - Jose, the guide, clearing a path before us with a machete. Soon we came to the bank of a river, and saw directly opposite a stone wall, perhaps a hundred feet high, with furze growing out of the top, running north and south along the river, in some places fallen, but in others entire.
Page 133 - The other three sides consist of ranges of steps and pyramidal structures, rising from thirty to one hundred and forty feet in height on the slope. The whole line of survey is two thousand, eight hundred and sixty-six feet...

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