the physical power of self-government; and if much forbearance heretofore has marked their political career, it has been because they believed it better to suffer a while the evils that time and their invincible courage could alone redress.
The mariner, in approaching the Mexican coast  of Vera Cruz, is struck with the sublime magnificence of the Volcano of Orazabo, with its regular conical peak covered with perpetual snow, long before he can see the lower lands. Though this mountain is one hundred miles from the coast, yet so high and imposing is its appearance, it looks to be in the immediate neighbourhood. When at sea, off Vera Cruz, in casting the eye northward, the next most imposing peak is the Cofre de Perote (Trunk of Perote), so called from the rock upon its extreme summit having the appearance of a trunk. This peak, though frequently covered with snow, is not perpetually snow-capped. At the foot of this mountain, upon its north, and in a narrow valley, which separates it from another high mountain still north, is situated the Castle of Perote. Though it is built in a valley, apparently low from the extreme height of the adjacent mountains, yet it is about seven thousand feet above the level of the sea. Its contiguity to the snow mountains, its altitude, its position, such as the sun cannot reach but a few hours in the day, all render it an extremely cold place.2 The castle adjoining this mountain pass, as you ascend from the tierras calientes, the hot lands, has ever been the stronghold in Mexico of despotism or liberty, according to the whims of its inmates. The range of its artillery, bounded by the "Trunk of Perote" south, and the Mount of Pizzaro north, occupies one of the principal doors to the capital.
The castle is built principally of the volcanic  pumice stone, a dark, honeycombed cinder, which was, when first emitted from the volcanoes, in a state of solution by heat, but which has since become of such an extremely hard character that it will yield only by degrees to the hardest steel.3 The opposite plate [see plate facing page 128] is a ground-plan of the fortification, drawn from recollection; and though it may not be mathematically correct in all its proportions, it will give the reader a better idea of it. The main wall of the fortification is an equilateral quadrangle of about eight hundred feet on the insides, and about sixty feet from the top of the wall to the bottom of the great moat on the outworks. At each corner of the main rampart there is a bastion, extending outward, whose sides form an obtuse angle to the main wall, so that all points of the circle may be defended by guns bearing directly upon the point assailed. Around the main wall and bastions there is a moat, about twenty feet deep and two hundred wide. On the outside of the moat is a stone wall, while the main wall of the castle forms its inner side. About fifty feet beyond the outer wall of the moat is a chevaux de frize, built of squared cedar timbers twelve feet long, set upright in the ground: these are mortised through a longitudinal timber passing half their length. On the outside of this chevaux de frize is a ditch of