Page:Travels in Mexico and life among the Mexicans.djvu/452

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their charges accordingly. This way of constructing a road will take more time and capital, but you will have the sympathies of the owners of mules and diligences, and the satisfaction of having offended nobody's pet theories and traditions. The road will approach completion so gradually that it will seem as though it had always existed, and by that time you may have the pleasure of renewing the portion first built, and of employing the descendants, even to the third generation, of your original workmen.

It was in this manner that the first railroad in Yucatan was built, and various others, and was originally insisted upon by the Mexican government in regard to the two great American roads. In making the road from Tampico to San Luis Potosi, for instance, material and rolling-stock were carted into the interior over tremendous hills, at a frightful expense, because the charter read "from San Luis to Tampico," instead of the reverse.

The Mexicans have not yet recovered from their surprise at the rapid manner in which the great American work goes on. They see engineers, some young and full of theories, others old and gray with service in Peru and Brazil, taken from the steamers and transformed in a week into hard-working bands, that fall into line and labor for the roads as though they possessed an individual interest in their completion. Each engineer of an advance party is furnished with a horse, a rifle, a revolver, and a peon, is lodged and fed at a hotel if in town, or comfortably cared for if in camp.

From this chapter the reader may gather the more important details of the vast railway movement of Mexico. It is estimated that, up to January, 1884, over $60,000,000 have been expended by American capitalists alone. The question naturally arises. Will they ever recover this vast amount of capital, or obtain for it a remunerative rate of interest?

That is a question which the future alone can answer. It is the writer's opinion that more roads are being built in Mexico than the country has need for, if it goes on developing for the next thousand years. Some have been blindly entered upon, without a counting of cost, or fair consideration of the regions to be traversed. Two great lines, with their various feeders and