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The Trappers of Arkansas, or, The Royal Heart

Library of Alexandria
The traveller who for the first time lands in the southern provinces of America involuntarily feels an undefinable sadness. In fact, the history of the New World is nothing but a lamentable martyrology, in which fanaticism and cupidity continually go hand in hand. The search for gold was the origin of the discovery of the New World; that gold once found, America became for its conquerors merely a storehouse, whither greedy adventurers came, a poniard in one hand and a crucifix in the other, to gather an ample harvest of the so ardently coveted metal, after which they returned to their own countries to make a display of their riches, and provoke fresh emigrations, by the boundless luxury they indulged in. It is to this continual displacement that must be attributed, in America, the absence of those grand monuments, the foundation stones as it were of every colony which plants itself in a new country with a view of becoming perpetuated. If you traverse at the present day this vast continent, which, during three centuries, has been in the peaceable possession of the Spaniards,—you only meet here and there, and at long distances apart, with a few nameless ruins to attest their passage; whilst the monuments erected many ages before the discovery, by the Aztecs and the Incas, are still standing in their majestic simplicity, as an imperishable evidence of their presence in the country and of their efforts to attain civilization. Alas! what has resulted from those glorious conquests, so envied by the whole of Europe, in which the blood of the executioner was mingled with that of the victims, to the profit of that other nation, at that time so proud of its valiant captains, of its fertile territories, and of its commerce which embraced the entire world? Time has held on his march, and Southern America is at this hour expiating the crimes of which she was the instigation. Torn by factions which contend for an ephemeral power; oppressed by ruinous oligarchies; deserted by the strangers who have fattened upon her substance, she is sinking slowly beneath the weight of her own inertia, without having the strength to lift the leaden winding sheet which stifles her, and is destined never to awaken again till the day when a new race, unstained by homicide, and governed by laws framed after those of God, shall bring to her the labour and liberty which are the life of nations.