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Synopsis

The rise and fall of the American Filibusters belong to the history of the Nineteenth Century. From time to time their deeds have been recounted by actors in the stirring scenes, by contemporary observers, and, incidentally, by travellers in Spanish America who lingered for a moment over the romantic legend of the modern Vikings. Among the works consulted in the preparation of this volume are: "A History of Miranda's Attempt to Effect a Revolution in South America," by one of his officers; Yokum's "History of Texas"; Green's narrative of the Mier Expedition, and Kendall's of that to Santa Fe; Henri de la Madelaine's "Life of Raoussett-Boulbon"; Wells' account of Walker's expeditions to Sonora and Nicaragua; Walker's "History of the War in Nicaragua"; and the several works relating to the latter country of Squier, Scherzer, Stout, Captain Pim, Chevalier Belly, M. Nicaisse, and many other travellers. From such sources, as well as from the periodicals and official documents of the day, and from the lips or pens of living comrades in the more recent of those tragedies, have been gathered the facts told in the following pages. It has been no easy task to sift the grains of truth from the mountain of myth, prejudice, and fiction under which the actual deeds of the Filibusters long lay buried. Forty years ago it would have been well-nigh impossible, in the heated atmosphere of the slavery conflict, to view such a subject with philosophical impartiality. To-day we may study the Filibuster dispassionately, for he belongs to an extinct species. The speculator has supplanted him without perceptibly improving the morality of the world. Even the word "filibuster," transformed to a verb, is degraded to the base uses of politics. It is time to write the history and the epitaph of the brave, lawless, generous anomaly on civilization.

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