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Title: Argentina
Author: Hirst, W. A.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Argentina" ***

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[Illustration: MAP OF
ARGENTINA
AND
ADJOINING STATES]



    ARGENTINA

    BY
    W. A. HIRST

    WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY
    MARTIN HUME, M.A.

    WITH A MAP AND SIXTY-FOUR ILLUSTRATIONS

    T. FISHER UNWIN

    LONDON          LEIPSIC
    ADELPHI TERRACE INSELSTRASSE 20



    _First Edition_     1910

    _Second Impression_ 1911

    _Third Impression_  1912

    _Fourth Impression_ 1914

    (_All rights reserved._)



PREFACE


In establishing the commercial and industrial greatness of Argentina my
countrymen have co-operated with her people for a longer time and more
efficiently than any other foreign nation. The land and the people are
therefore a subject of lively interest to Englishmen, and it is hoped
that this sketch, however inadequate, will help towards a closer
knowledge of Argentina. I have received much valuable assistance from
many sources, but I do not indicate them, because I do not wish to shift
the blame for any inaccuracies that may be found in these pages. For all
such mistakes I am solely responsible.

_April 22, 1910._



CONTENTS


                                                                   PAGE

  INTRODUCTION                                                       XV

  CHAPTER

  I. THE COUNTRY--ITS FOUR DIVISIONS--THE RIVERS--THE CLIMATE         1

  II. EARLIEST HISTORY AND ETHNOLOGY                                 16

  III. THE EUROPEAN CONQUEST                                         24

  IV. THE SPANISH DOMINION                                           33

  V. THE SPANISH COLONIAL SYSTEM                                     49

  VI. THE ENGLISH FAILURE IN ARGENTINA                               65

  VII. THE WAR OF INDEPENDENCE                                       76

  VIII. ANARCHY AND DESPOTISM--THE WAR WITH PARAGUAY                 87

  IX. MODERN ARGENTINA--SETTLEMENT AND PROGRESS                      99

  X. THE CONSTITUTION--THE ARMY AND NAVY--GENERAL
  POLITICAL CONDITIONS                                              111

  XI. CONDITION OF THE PEOPLE--WAGES AND COST
  OF LIVING--IMMIGRATION                                            125

  XII. BUENOS AIRES                                                 139

  XIII. ARGENTINE LIFE IN TOWN AND COUNTRY                          152

  XIV. RELIGION--EDUCATION--JOURNALISM AND LITERATURE               158

  XV. INDUSTRIAL ARGENTINA--RAILWAYS AND MINOR ENTERPRISES          178

  XVI. THE PASTORAL INDUSTRIES OF ARGENTINA                         196

  XVII. COMMERCE AND FINANCE                                        210

  XVIII. AGRICULTURE AND NATURAL PRODUCTS                           225

  XIX. BAHIA BLANCA AND PATAGONIA                                   238

  XX. ACROSS THE CONTINENT TO MENDOZA UNDER THE ANDES               254

  XXI. THE PARANA, ROSARIO, AND SANTA FÉ                            265

  XXII. THE GRAN CHACO AND THE NORTHERN TOWNS                       275

  XXIII. INFORMATION FOR ENGLISH TRAVELLERS                         284

  BIBLIOGRAPHY                                                      295

  INDEX                                                             303



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


  PLAZA DE MAYO, BUENOS AIRES                            _Frontispiece_
  Photo kindly lent by the Proprietors of _La Argentina_

                                                            FACING PAGE

  PLATELAYERS, BUENOS AIRES CENTRAL RAILWAY                           5
  Photo kindly lent by the Buenos Aires Central Railway

  ACONCAGUA                                                           9
  Photo kindly lent by the Buenos Aires Pacific Railway

  A LONELY SCENE, SIERRA DE LA VENTANA                               12
  Photo kindly lent by the Buenos Aires Great Southern Railway

  ANDINE PASS                                                        15
  Photo kindly lent by the South American Missionary Society

  TROOP OF MARES                                                     27
  _La Argentina_ photo

  RIVER LANDING STAGE                                                29
  Photo kindly lent by Bovril, Ltd.

  BULL CALF                                                          29
  Bovril, Ltd. photo

  PATAGONIANS                                                        43
  S. A. M. S. photo

  THE RIVER URUGUAY                                                  73
  Photo kindly lent by Lemco & Oxo

  BOUNDARY LINE IN THE ANDES                                         82
  _La Argentina_ photo

  A SHEEP RUN                                                        87
  _La Argentina_ photo

  PASEO AL BOSQUE, LA PLATA (PROVINCIAL CAPITAL)                    101
  _La Argentina_ photo

  ESTANCIA                                                          102
  B. A. G. S. R. photo

  STATUE OF CHRIST                                                  109
  B. A. P. R. photo

  RACECOURSE, LA PLATA                                              111
  B. A. G. S. R. photo

  CRUISER, _SAN MARTIN_                                             120
  _La Argentina_ photo

  THE PERMANENT WAY, BUENOS AIRES CENTRAL RAILWAY                   129
  B. A. C. R. photo

  PALERMO PARK, BUENOS AIRES                                        145
  B. A. P. R. photo

  IMPORTED STALLION, "CYLLENE," WINNER OF THE ASCOT CUP             147
  Photo kindly lent by Mr. Clarence Hailey, High-street, Newmarket

  IMPORTED STALLION, "DIAMOND JUBILEE," LATE PROPERTY OF
  H.M. KING EDWARD VII                                              150
  Mr. Clarence Hailey's photo

  CATTLE DRINKING                                                   155
  Lemco & Oxo photo

  THE PAMPAS                                                        157
  B. A. G. S. R. photo

  GOVERNMENT HOUSE, CORDOBA                                         162
  _La Argentina_ photo

  MAR DEL PLATA                                                     176
  B. A. G. S. R. photo

  FREIGHT TRAIN FOR ENTRE RIOS CROSSING NEW BRIDGE                  178
  B. A. C. R. photo

  LOCOMOTIVE, BUENOS AIRES GREAT SOUTHERN RAILWAY                   183
  B. A. G. S. R. photo

  RAILWAY STATION, BUENOS AIRES GREAT SOUTHERN RAILWAY              185
  B. A. G. S. R. photo

  RAILWAY CARRIAGE, BUENOS AIRES CENTRAL RAILWAY                    188
  B. A. C. R. photo

  ABERDEEN ANGUS CATTLE, SANTA MARIA, ENTRE RIOS                    196
  Lemco & Oxo photo

  LINCOLN CHAMPION. EXHIBITED BY MR. M. J. COBO                     201
  _La Argentina_ photo

  AN ESTANCIERO'S HOUSE                                             203
  B. A. G. S. R. photo

  LEMCO AND OXO PREMISES                                            205
  Lemco & Oxo photo

  PURE BRED HEREFORD BULL (OXO)                                     207
  Lemco & Oxo photo

  PEDIGREE COW AND CALF                                             208
  Lemco and Oxo photo

  ESTANCIA SANTA MARIA                                              210
  Lemco and Oxo photo

  GROUP OF HEREFORDS                                                210
  Lemco & Oxo photo

  LA CROZE TRAMWAY, NEAR BUENOS AIRES                               221
  B. A. C. R. photo

  COUNTRY LIFE IN ARGENTINA                                         227
  B. A. C. R. photo

  THE PRINCIPAL STREET OF MENDOZA                                   229
  B. A. P. R. photo

  A MENDOZA VINEYARD                                                229
  B. A. P. R. photo

  BULLOCK-BREAKING IN JUJUY                                         234
  S. A. M. S. photo

  AN OSTRICH                                                        234
  Bovril, Ltd. photo

  LA VENTANA                                                        238
  B. A. G. S. R. photo

  TANDIL ROCKING-STONE                                              241
  B. A. G. S. R. photo

  CHUBUT VALLEY                                                     245
  Photo kindly lent by the Chubut Railway

  AMONG THE CACTUS                                                  250
  S. A. M. S. photo

  ST. DAVID'S ANGLICAN CHURCH, CHUBUT                               250
  S. A. M. S. photo

  INDIAN CHILD                                                      250
  S. A. M. S. photo

  A VIEW OF TIERRA DEL FUEGO                                        252
  _La Argentina_ photo

  GUANACOS IN THE PARK OF MR. HECTOR COBO                           254
  _La Argentina_ photo

  RIVER MENDOZA                                                     256
  B. A. P. R. photo

  THE HOTEL, PUENTE DEL INCA                                        258
  B. A. P. R. photo

  PUENTE DEL INCA                                                   261
  B. A. P. R. photo

  VIEW OF MARSHY COUNTRY, BUENOS AIRES CENTRAL RAILWAY              263
  B. A. C. R. photo

  QUAY ON THE RIVER URUGUAY                                         266
  Lemco & Oxo photo

  COLON, ENTRE RIOS                                                 266
  Lemco & Oxo photo

  ROSARIO, THE LAW COURTS                                           268
  _La Argentina_ photo

  CALLE CORDOBA, ROSARIO                                            271
  _La Argentina_ photo

  THE IGUAZU FALLS                                                  274
  _La Argentina_ photo

  CHIRIGUANOS AND MATACOS                                           276
  S. A. M. S. photo

  CAMP TRAVEL                                                       276
  S. A. M. S. photo

  TUCUMAN                                                           282
  _La Argentina_ photo

  PACKET STEAM NAVIGATION CO.'S _ORCOMA_                            285
  Photo kindly lent by the Pacific Steam Navigation Co.



INTRODUCTION


The most stupendous achievement ever attained by a nation in so short
a time was the discovery, conquest, and settlement of Mexico and South
America by Spain within the compass of a century. To fix indelibly and
for ever upon the peoples of a vast continent the language, religion,
customs, polity, and laws of a nation on the other side of the globe
called for qualities which could only be temporarily evoked by an
irresistible common sentiment. The sentiment which gave to Spain for a
time the potency to carry through simultaneously the tasks of imposing
religious orthodoxy upon Christendom and founding her great colonial
empire was pride: pride of religion, race, and person, deliberately
fostered by rulers for political ends. This origin of the delusive
strength that carried the Conquistadores through an untracked continent
regardless of perils and sufferings, and made South America Spanish,
rendered inevitable that the rewards, national and individual, should
disappoint the recipients. For pride and its concomitant covetousness
are never satisfied; and the frenzied thirst for rapid riches and
distinction that spurred the Spanish explorers and conquerors onward
rarely ended in the idle luxurious dignity that was their goal, and it
ultimately brought to the mother country nought but penury and
degradation.

It was ignorance of economic truth that led Spaniards in the
sixteenth century to regard the possession of the precious metals as
wealth, regardless of circumstances: and the error coloured the whole
domination of Spain in the New World. That the nation and the
individual should hope to become permanently powerful and rich by
obtaining vast stores of the metallic medium whilst discouraging
productive industry appears to modern ideas ridiculous, but to the
discoverers of America it was regarded as quite the natural course of
events. The effect is seen in the rapid subjection and development of
the regions believed to be rich in the precious metals, and the
comparative neglect of the vast territories where patience and the
labour of man were needed to win nature's abundant bounty from the
fertile soil.

The west side of the South American Continent, though furthest from
Europe, therefore took precedence of the eastern coast in the efforts
and regards of the conquerors. When the piled-up riches of the Incas
and the inexhaustible mines of the Peruvian Andes beckoned to the
greedy adventurers from the mother country, the endless alluvial
pampas and dense primeval forests of the east might call in vain. From
Panama down the Pacific Coast, therefore, the main tide of conquest
and empire flowed, drawn by the magnet gold; and on the northern
continent a similar course was taken. The Aztec empire with its
accumulated treasures absorbed an ever-increasing stream of Spaniards,
whilst the more northern territories now included in the United States
were left later to English settlers, whose hopes were not centred upon
wringing yellow metal from the earth, but upon founding a free new
agricultural England across the sea.

Thus it happened that to navigators in search of the short cut to Asia
rather than to the typical Conquistador was left the first exploration
of what we now know is the coming emporium of the South American
Continent and its permanent centre of productive prosperity. Domingo
de Solis, chief pilot of Spain, was sent by Charles V. to South
America not as a settler, or primarily as a gold-seeker, but as an
explorer; and when in 1508 he entered the noble Bay of Rio Janeiro it
seemed at last that the object of his quest was gained, and that here
was the coveted waterway to the East. But he soon found out his
mistake, and when, sailing further south, he crossed the wide estuary
of the River Plate, his hopes again rose that this tremendous volume
of water, a hundred and fifty miles wide at the mouth, was not a river
merely, but the ocean channel to the Pacific. Returning home with his
hopes still high Solis, was authorised by his sovereign to explore his
important discovery, and in 1516 he sailed into the delta of the great
network of streams that have brought down upon their bosoms from the
far Andes in the course of ages a large portion of the continent as we
now know it.

To the Spaniard's eyes the land was not inviting. Far stretching plains
of waving grasses, great expanses of marsh and swamp, league after
league. No palaces and temples of hewn stone, like those of Peru and
Mexico, met the eye here; no promise of gold in the fat alluvial soil;
no cities where the arts were practised and treasure accumulated. Such
Indians as there were differed vastly from the mild serfs of the Incas.
Nomad savages were these; robust, stout, and hardy, elusive of pursuit
and impossible of subjection in their wandering disunity. For three
hundred miles through the endless pampa-country Solis sailed onward up
the stream, his hopes that this way led to the Indies gradually fading
as he progressed, until he and his men fell into a trap laid for them by
the pampa Indians and were slaughtered.

Four years afterwards Magellan on his epoch-making voyage sailed up the
great river; but he too fell a victim to the perils of the way in the
Asiatic seas, and never returned to Spain to tell of his discoveries in
the heart of South America. Then Sebastian Cabot, the Englishman in the
service of Spain, was sent to explore, and if possible to take
possession of the land for Charles V.; for the Portuguese claimed
indefinite territory in this direction under the convention of
Tordesillas, and it behoved Spain to assert ownership before it was too
late. High up the river Paraguay Cabot found a country with different
features and peopled by another race. Silver ornaments, too, he found in
plenty amongst these Guaranies, to whom distant echoes of Inca influence
had reached across the wastes and mountains to the west. But here, many
hundreds of miles from the ocean and far from any base of supplies, it
was impracticable for Cabot with the resources at his disposal to effect
a settlement, and he also returned to Spain with his story of silver as
an incentive for further expeditions.

This was in 1527, and in the following year the first attempt to
establish a permanent footing on the Plate was made by the building of
a fort at Rosario, but this was soon abandoned for a site on the sea
coast of what is now a part of Brazil to the north of the river. In
the meantime the Portuguese were busy advancing their posts to the
north of the delta in order to assert their claims; and in face of
this, rather than because remunerative metallic treasure from the new
territory was to be expected, Charles V. authorised an extensive
colonising experiment to be made and the great waterway and its banks
claimed for Spain. The stirring history of Mendoza's attempts to found
a settlement on the Paraná, the establishment of Buenos Aires and its
abandonment again and again, the fateful colonisation of Asuncion, far
up the river in the heart of the continent, the heroic adventures of
Irala, Ayolas, and Cabeza de Vaca, and the reconquest of the river
territories down to the sea from the isolated Spanish post of Asuncion
eight hundred miles up stream, is adequately told in Mr. Hirst's
pages, and need not be related here.

The permanent fixing of the flag of Spain on the territory east of the
Andes was not less heroic an achievement than the more showy conquests
of Peru and Mexico; for in the former case the incentive of easily won
gold was absent, and the object was more purely national than was the
case elsewhere. But, though it was necessary for Spain to assert her
ownership over these endless pampas and the unexplored wastes beyond,
the new territory was always subordinated to the gold-producing
viceroyalty of Peru across the Andes. A glance at the map will show
the almost incredible obstacles wilfully interposed by the home
authorities upon the River Plate colonies in forcing the latter not
only to be subject in government to the Viceroy of Peru, but to carry
on most of their commercial communications with the mother country
across the wide continent from the Pacific coast by way of Panama and
Peru. The law was, of course, extensively evaded, and the luxuriant
fertility of the pampa both for agriculture and grazing made the River
Plate colonies prosperous in spite of Government restrictions.

The English slave-traders and adventurers made no scruple of braving
the King of Spain's edicts; and the estuary of the Plate, within a few
weeks' sail of Europe, saw many a cargo welcomed upon a mere pretence
of force by the colonists whose lives were rendered doubly hard by the
obstacles placed in their way by their own Government. In 1586 the Earl
of Cumberland's ships on a privateering expedition to capture every
Spanish and Portuguese vessel they encountered sailed into the River
Plate and learnt some interesting particulars of the settlements from
one of the unfortunate shipmasters they had plundered. These give a good
idea of the difficulties under which traffic was then carried on. "He
told me that the town of Buenos Aires is from the Green island about
seventy leagues' standing on the south side of the river, and from
thence to Santa Fé is one hundred leagues, standing on the same side
also. At which town their ships do discharge all their goods into small
barks, which row and tow up the river to another town called Asuncion,
which is from Santa Fé a hundred and fifty leagues, where the boats
discharge on shore, and so pass all their goods by carts and horses to
Tucuman, which is in Peru." The commerce here referred to was probably
the contraband trade done in spite of the Spanish regulations, for it
was found that even to the far distant towns in the interior, like
Tucuman and Mendoza, it was easier and cheaper thus to convey goods from
Europe by the eastern coast than from the Pacific across the almost
impassable Andes.

The Earl of Cumberland's factor gives also an account of the Spanish
settlements then (1586) existing on the River Plate.[1] "There are in
the river five towns, some of seventy households, some of more. The
first town was about fifty leagues up the river and called Buenos
Aires, the rest some forty or fifty leagues from one another, so that
the uppermost town, called Tucuman, is two hundred and thirty leagues
from the entrance to the river.[2] In these towns is great store of
corn, cattle, wine and sundry fruits, but no money of gold or silver.
They make a certain kind of slight cloth, which they give in truck
for sugar, rice, marmalade, and sucket, which were the commodities
this ship (_i.e._, the prize) had."

Thus with everything against it except its irrepressible natural
advantages of soil and climate and its lack of mineral wealth, the
colony grew in prosperity in spite of man's shortsightedness. There
was no temptation here, even if it had been possible, for the
Spaniards to exterminate the aborigines by forced work in unhealthy
mines. The innumerable herds of cattle and horses that in a very few
years peopled the pampa from the few animals brought from Europe and
abandoned by the first settlers provided sustenance, even wealth, with
comparatively easy labour to the mixed race of Indians and Spaniards,
which took kindly to the half-wild pastoral life in harmony with the
nomadic traditions of the natives; and thus with much less hardship and
cruelty than in other South American regions the Argentines gradually
grew into a homogeneous people, whose pastoral and agricultural pursuits
brought them to a higher level of general well-being than populations
elsewhere in South America.

[Illustration: INDIAN CHILD.]

But great as is the actual and potential wealth of the Argentine from
its favoured soil, it is not that alone that has made its capital the
greatest in South America, and has brought to the development of the
Republic citizens and resources from all the progressive nations of
the world. It is also as the main highway to the remote recesses of
the vast continent that the Argentine region has appealed to the
imaginations of men. The noble waterways, navigable far into the
interior, provide cheap and easy transport for the products of distant
provinces possessing infinite possibilities as yet hardly known. The
unbroken plains, extending from the Atlantic sea-board to the foot of
the Andes eight hundred miles away, offer unrivalled facilities for
the construction of railways to convey to the ports food supplies for
the Old World from this, the greatest undeveloped grain and pasture
region in temperate climes. It is this character of a thoroughfare
offering easy access to the coming continent that ensures for Buenos
Aires its future position as a world emporium, and to the States of
the Argentine Republic readily accessible markets for their abundant
and varied natural products. And to add to this advantage the opening
of the Transandine tunnel, now at last an accomplished fact, makes the
Argentine the natural highway for passengers and fine goods to the
cities of Chile and the Pacific Coast, saving the tedious and costly
voyage round Cape Horn or through the Straits of Magellan.

The greatest admirers of the old Spanish colonial system will hardly
deny that the prodigious development effected since the declaration of
Argentine independence, of the resources of the country, thanks
largely to the influx of foreign immigrants and capital, would have
been impossible under the Spanish domination. That a new people,
unaccustomed to, and perhaps as yet unprepared for, self-government
and political emancipation should have had to work out its own
problems during a period of turbulence was inevitable. It is no
reproach to the Argentine people that this natural process, necessary
to fit them for a stable political existence, has in the past caused
violence and lawlessness. The constant introduction of men of other
races into the Argentine is giving to the population new features and
qualities which will render the racial stock of the future one of the
most interesting ethnological problems in the world; and this abundant
admixture of foreign blood, readily assimilated as it is by the native
stock, certainly makes for increasing stability.

The same may be said of the large amount of foreign capital invested
in Argentine enterprises. Argentine statesmen, taught by experience as
they have been, and keenly awake to the need for foreign aid in
developing their country, are not in the least likely in future to
frighten away capital by dishonest finance or revolutionary methods.
Responsibility has already brought sobriety into Argentine politics,
and although the official procedure and Governmental ethics of the
Spanish races vary from those usually prevalent in Anglo-Saxon
countries, they are in most cases better suited to the character of
the people than those that commend themselves to us. When we for our
own purposes go to a foreign country, it is unreasonable to expect, as
many Englishmen do, that we can carry with us and impose upon our
hosts our own traditions and standards.

No country known to me impresses upon a visitor from Europe so
forcibly as the Argentine the unlimited possibilities of its soil.
Travelling hour after hour by a railway straight as a line over gently
undulating or perfectly flat plains, stretching on all sides as far as
the eye can reach, the observer is struck by the regular ripple of the
rich grass, like the waves of the sea, as the breeze blows over it.
Here and there little clumps of eucalyptus slightly break the monotony
of the landscape, and a gleam of a bright green alfalfa field
occasionally relieves the eye. Far away at rare intervals gleaming
white walls and turrets surrounded by eucalyptus groves mark the
position of an estancia, and innumerable herds of cattle, sheep, and
almost wild troops of horses everywhere testify to the richness of the
pasture.

[Illustration: A SHEEP RUN.]

From Buenos Aires to Mendoza, almost at the foot of the Andes, some
six hundred miles away, the scene hardly changes. Far to the south the
pampa is poorer and more sparse, but still splendid pasture for
certain sorts of cattle, whilst in Entre Rios, the great tract between
the rivers Paraná and Uruguay, the country is wilder and more broken,
especially towards the north. Scattered amongst the vast flocks of
sheep upon the open veldt are many ostriches, now a profitable
investment, whilst great numbers of running partridges seek cover in
the pampa grass from the dreaded hawks that hover above them. The
native grass is flesh-forming but not fattening, and, to an English
grazier, looks poor food enough for the millions of head of cattle
that thrive upon it. It does not, as does the best English pasture,
entirely cover the surface, but grows in distinct tufts. The native
grass, however, is now rapidly being supplanted in the rich plains of
Central Argentina by new forms of pasture, mostly English, infinitely
richer, perennial in its luxuriance, and forming upon this favoured
soil the best cattle-grazing in the world.

[Illustration: AN OSTRICH.]

Of late years, as Mr. Hirst shows in his book, enormous tracts of
land, especially to the south of Buenos Aires and high up the Paraná,
are being broken up for wheat-growing, and Bahia Blanca, the ambitious
port south of Buenos Aires, bids fair soon to become a great centre of
grain export. Vast quantities of maize are also raised in the country
on the banks of the Paraná, and are mainly exported from Rosario.
Whichever way one turns fresh evidences of fertility are forced upon
the attention. Cattle standing knee-deep in pasture, sheep growing fat
at fifty to the acre, leagues of ripening corn, equal to any on earth,
growing upon virgin soil; flowers to which we are accustomed in
England as tender shrubs developing here into robust blossoming trees;
and fruit orchards flourishing, solid miles of them, prolific beyond
belief, within a short distance of Buenos Aires, where only a few
years ago nothing but wild scrub and tangled forest existed.

The extension of railways in every direction has now to a great extent
destroyed or modified the old free life upon the pampas of Argentina. The
estancias, except in remote districts, are often large establishments
where all the comforts and some of the luxuries of life are to be found,
instead of the walled semi-fortresses of olden times. The white-domed
well, with its shady ombú-tree, still stands near the principal entrance
to the courtyard, and the high palenque, the hitching-post for horses,
still flanks the gateway, but the picturesque gaucho who goes loping
over the plain, his lasso at his saddle-bow, his naked feet thrust into
his big leather horseskin brogues, and his poncho fluttering in the
breeze, is no longer the monarch of the pampa as he once was, for
civilisation has touched even him. The silver ornaments that once
covered his accoutrements are less abundant than they used to be; he is
fortunately less free with his knife, for he was never much of a hand
with a gun, loving the bolas better; and the rural railway station in
which he likes to dawdle about in the intervals of his life in the
saddle is the symbol of his discipline and decline.

The great waterways that characterise Argentina, although they are now
less used for passenger traffic into the hinterland than formerly,
must still in the future be a great, if not the principal, highway for
the produce of the distant interior. Rosario, some two hundred miles
above Buenos Aires on the Paraná, is a progressive and improving port,
serving the rich maize and grain-growing expanses of the province of
Santa Fé; and far up the stream, almost to the Paraguayan border at
Corrientes, river ports are rapidly growing into importance as centres
of export as the surrounding country is developed.

But wonderful as is the apparently boundless promise of this country
of favoured plains, Argentina is not only pampa. The Gran Chaco, a
great country still for the most part a wilderness, is a region of dim
tropical forest, where the parrots, birds of paradise, and brilliant
butterflies vie with those of the Amazon; a hot, moist region, where
the monkey and the land crab flourish exceedingly, and where savage
Indians still hunt down with primitive weapons the jaguar and the
puma. From this sultry country of forest and flood to the almost
treeless, arid steppes of Patagonia is a change rather to another
world than to another province of the same Republic, and hardly less
difference exists between the rolling plains of the pampa country and
the magnificent regions of towering peaks, stern uplands, and vast
lakes that form the Andine portions of Argentina.

The change is noticed as the road approaches Mendoza, where the pampa
gradually gives way to a country strongly resembling parts of Southern
Spain; a land of poplars, willows, and acacias shading endless lines
of irrigation channels; for rain falls but seldom on this eastern side
of the Sierra, and on all hands, climbing the lower laps of the hills
and lining the valleys, are miles of vineyards, which provide a stout
red wine for the rest of the Republic. Further west still the land
becomes more broken and barren as the hills rise higher and higher,
until the ruddy sides, white glaciers, and snow-crested mountains of
the Sierra appear, the giant Aconcagua monarch of them all. Further
south than this the wonderful series of lakes that are almost inland
seas high up in the Andes exist, as yet only partially explored to
decide the frontier dispute between the Argentine and Chile, the
remote valleys and austere uplands where the giant sloth is still
believed by many to linger, a sole survival of the world before the
great flood that destroyed life upon the nascent continent unrecorded
ages ago.

[Illustration: ACONCAGUA.]

This marvellous country of Argentina is destined to be one of the
great nations of the world. Nature is just, and in giving it a
prodigious extent of flat fertile soil has more than compensated it
for withholding the gift of abundant gold that has made the history of
other portions of South America. With a climate that varies, as does
that of Chile, from the tropical to the antarctic, with pasture and
arable land unsurpassed in the world, and with facilities for
transport by land and water enabling the fruits of the soil to be
conveyed easily from remote districts to eager markets for them, no
bounds can be set to the wealth that awaits enterprise in the country.
As a highway, too, the possibilities of Argentina are immense. The
connection of Buenos Aires by rail with Santiago and Valparaiso opens
up a new and shorter route to New Zealand and Australia; whilst the
rapidly progressing extension of the railway into Bolivia--another
link, it is intended, of the line to run eventually from New York to
Buenos Aires--will provide a new and welcome outlet for the treasures
of her mines to Bolivia, a vast country without a port of its own.

The possession of a temperate climate has made the Argentine and Chile
the two South American nations of most promise for the future, owing
to the fact that both countries have attracted and assimilated a great
admixture of the robust peoples of Europe. The immigrants have been to
a large extent drawn from the countries where life is hard and the
fare frugal; from North Italy, from Galicia and Russia; whilst in
stern Patagonia the Scotsman and the Welshman find an environment
after their own hearts. In the second generation the immigrants of all
nations usually become sturdy Argentines, and this easy assimilation
of new ethnological elements is one of the most striking signs of the
energy of the nation as a whole, and the most promising fact as
regards the future political stability of the country. That a
composite race will result from this admixture, possessing much of the
patient laboriousness of the Ligurian and the practical hardheadedness
of the Teuton, to temper the keen vehemence of the Ibero-American, may
be confidently hoped: and if such be the case the advantages that
nature has showered upon the Argentine will be complete, and a
splendid future for the country secure.

    MARTIN HUME.

FOOTNOTES:

[1] Hakluyt.

[2] It need hardly be mentioned that Tucuman, which had been founded
by the Spaniards from the Peru side some twenty years before, is not
on the river at all, but nearly five hundred miles distant across the
still almost unknown Gran Chaco. Tucuman is now reached by railway
from the south by way of Cordoba.



ARGENTINA



CHAPTER I

THE COUNTRY--ITS FOUR DIVISIONS--THE RIVERS--THE CLIMATE


The attempt to present a bird's-eye view of Argentina may well be called
presumptuous, for the country is larger than Russia in Europe and offers
every variety of climate--"hot, cold, moist, and dry." Nor would the
utmost industry of the traveller suffice to glean anything like complete
information, for large tracts, owing to the inhospitality of nature or
man, are unexplored, and both north and south he would be checked by
impenetrable forests, or rugged barriers of rock, or by savage Indians
who are saved from extinction by the inaccessibility of their
habitations. Further, even as regards the settled parts of those
districts which, however desolate, are practicable to the traveller,
there is more to be learnt (and the conditions are ever changing) than
could well be absorbed in a lifetime, for Argentina is not, like several
South American countries, a mere gigantic mass of potential riches, but
is rapidly assuming a leading position among the commercial states of
the world. From Buenos Aires to Mendoza, from Bahia Blanca to Tucuman,
are to be seen all the signs of wealth and prosperity, all the
unmistakable portents of coming potency usually apparent in a new
country that has emerged from the stage of childhood and weakness and
feels the vigour of lusty youth in its veins, impelling it to take its
place in the system of world politics.

If a single volume is all too short to represent Argentina in its
manifold aspects, still less adequate is a single chapter to sketch
its physical characteristics. In fact, its interest is at present more
physical than moral, rather in its vast capacities for producing
wealth and distributing it by means of magnificent waterways and
ever-extending railroads, than in anything which Argentinians have
done to ennoble life by arts or other services.

Before, however, proceeding to the study of a country the learner must
endeavour to set before himself its principal geographical features,
and as those of Argentina are well defined and comparatively simple
they lend themselves to broad and clear classification. Geographically
Argentina falls into four divisions. Firstly, Patagonia, which
stretches from the Rio Colorado to Cape Horn. Secondly, the Andine
region, which runs from the southern frontier of Bolivia right along
the Chilian border. Thirdly, the Gran Chaco, which embraces the whole
of the north of Argentina except the Andine strip. Fourthly, the
Pampa, which comprises the central and best known region.

Patagonia received its name, _patagon_, or large paw, from the
enormous footprints which the Spanish explorers remarked in the sand.
Till recently it was almost a _terra incognita_, roamed by Indians and
herds of guanacos, but of late years the beginnings of settlement have
been made, and sheep-farming has become a considerable industry. The
southern portion is cold and inclement all the year round, but in the
north the summers are hot. The country is well watered by six
considerable rivers--the Negro, Chubut, Santa Cruz, Deseado, Coyly,
and Gallegos--but scarcity of rain has caused it to be neglected by
agriculturists. The whole of the plateau, indeed, has been called the
Great Shingle Desert; it is of Tertiary formation, and the endless
waste of sand and gravel was chiefly contributed by glacial action.
This inhospitable desert is arranged in terraces which slope gently
eastward, first from heights of 2,000 feet to 500, and then from this
lower elevation to the sea-level.

In old days wonderful tales were told about the Patagonian
giants--their enormous size, strength, and ferocity, but here it need
only be said that the accounts were at least exaggerated. "In height,
although very much above the average--some, indeed, reaching the
height of 6 feet 4 inches, and all being broad and muscular--they have
been greatly exaggerated, for, being very long in the body, they seem
to tower above the European while sitting on horseback. They are short
in the legs, and when standing on the ground do not on an average come
over about 5 feet 11 inches."[3]

The Andine region, which in some of the South American States is the
overwhelming characteristic, does not set a distinctive mark upon
Argentina--essentially a plain country--but the western frontier of
the Republic is guarded by a colossal range of mountains. These begin
with Cerro de las Granadas in the extreme north, and extend beyond the
Upper Colorado basin, where the Sierra Auco Mahinda of 16,000 feet is
one of the most southerly of the important peaks. After this, although
there is still a chain of moderate height, the mountains are not
distinctively Andine. The highest of all the Argentine mountains is
probably the Nevado de Famatina.

[Illustration: ANDINE PASS.]

In general this region is excessively dry and the mountains are
almost bare of vegetation. The annual rainfall at Mendoza is but 6
inches and at San Juan it is only 3.

The Gran Chaco may be taken as a rough denomination for the whole of
the Republic lying north of the Pampa, excluding the Andine fringe.
This is a land of luxuriant vegetation with a warm and moist climate
and, as might be expected, the products vary greatly from those of the
temperate plains. Rice and the sugar-cane, castor-oil, sesame, and the
poppy are all cultivated, but this part of the country is as yet
scantily populated and quite undeveloped; there are therefore few
surplus products to export. It is a region of great beauty, and
travellers praise the silent tropical nights, whose darkness is
relieved by myriads of fireflies, the primeval forests, and the
magnificent rivers. But it is mostly virgin land and in many parts is
peopled by savage inhabitants who make travel dangerous.

[Illustration: A LONELY SCENE, SIERRA DE LA VENTANA.]

The real Argentina is the Pampa; it is that vast and fertile champaign
which makes the great Republic what she is, and to which she owes all
her wealth and prosperity. Erroneous as is the popular idea that
Argentina is merely a land of grassy steppes and rich cornfields, this
is due to the fact that all except specialists have confined their
travels to the Pampa. It extends from Cordoba to the Rios Negro or
Colorado. In it are contained the great and growing towns, and from it
these towns draw their prosperity. It is a country to delight the
heart of the agriculturist. In many countries of South America the
traveller passes through interminable jungles sparingly scattered with
patches of cultivation where a few bony cattle scour for a livelihood.
In the Pampa there is rich tilth and fine pasture; magnificent red and
white beasts graze and fatten, standing knee-deep in the fresh grass,
and sheep innumerable are raised. The dead level of the land is not
quite unbroken, for south of the Plate estuary there are two small
mountain ranges, the Tandil and Ventana. They never exceed 2,800
feet. In the east the rainfall is generally satisfactory, but it
becomes scanty in the western districts. The winter is cold, the
summer decidedly hot, but the climate is not intemperate, and might be
called pleasant but for the fierce hot and cold winds which disturb
enjoyment and are in some cases prejudicial to health. This brief
summary must, for the present, suffice for the four regions; as we
survey the country more in detail, we shall have opportunities of
describing their characteristics more fully. It remains, however, to
take a brief survey of several features which can better be described
while we look at the country as a whole. The geology of Argentina
greatly interested Darwin. He says:[4] "The geology of Patagonia is
interesting. Differently from Europe, where the Tertiary formations
appear to have accumulated in bays, here along hundreds of miles of
coast we have one great deposit, including many Tertiary shells, all
apparently extinct. The most common shell is a massive, gigantic
oyster, sometimes even a foot in diameter. These beds are covered by
others of a peculiar soft, white stone, including much gypsum, and
resembling chalk, but really of a pumiceous nature. It is highly
remarkable, from being composed, to at least one-tenth part of its
bulk, of infusoria: Professor Ehrenberg has already ascertained in it
thirty oceanic forms. This bed extends for 500 miles along the coast,
and probably for a considerably greater distance. At Port St. Julian
its thickness is more than 800 feet! These white beds are everywhere
capped by a mass of gravel, forming probably one of the largest beds
of shingle in the world: it certainly extends from near the Rio
Colorado to between 600 and 700 nautical miles southward; at Santa
Cruz (a river a little south of St. Julian) it reaches to the foot of
the Cordillera; half-way up the river its thickness is more than 200
feet; it probably everywhere extends to this great chain, whence the
well-rounded pebbles of porphyry have been derived: we may consider
its average breadth as 200 miles, and its average thickness as about
50 feet. If this great bed of pebbles, without including the mud
necessarily derived from their attrition, was piled into a mound, it
would form a great mountain chain! When we consider that all these
pebbles, countless as the grains of sand in the desert, have been
derived from the slow-falling masses of rock on the old coast-lines
and banks of rivers, and that these fragments have been dashed into
smaller pieces, and that each of them has since been slowly rolled,
rounded, and far transported, the mind is stupefied in thinking over
the long, absolutely necessary lapse of years. Yet all this gravel has
been transported, and probably rounded, subsequently to the deposition
of the white beds, and long subsequently to the underlying beds with
their Tertiary shells." His observations upon the Cordillera are
equally noteworthy. He says:[5] "No one fact in the geology of South
America interested me more than these terraces of rudely stratified
shingle. They precisely resemble in composition the matter which the
torrents in each valley would deposit if they were checked in their
course by any cause, such as entering a lake or arm of the sea; but
the torrents, instead of depositing matter, are now steadily at work
wearing away both the solid rock and these alluvial deposits, along
the whole line of every main valley and side valley. It is impossible
here to give the reasons, but I am convinced that the shingle terraces
were accumulated during the gradual elevation of the Cordillera by the
torrents delivering, at successive levels, their detritus on the
beach-heads of long, narrow arms of the sea, first high up the
valleys, then lower and lower down as the land slowly rose. If this
be so, and I cannot doubt it, the grand and broken chain of the
Cordillera, instead of having been suddenly thrown up, as was till
lately the universal, and still is the common opinion of geologists,
has been slowly upheaved in mass, in the same gradual manner as the
coasts of the Atlantic and Pacific have risen within the recent
period. A multitude of facts in the structure of the Cordillera, on
this view, receive a simple explanation." His conclusion is: "Daily it
is forced home on the mind of the geologist that nothing, not even the
wind that blows, is so unstable as the level of the crust of this
earth."

[Illustration: LA VENTANA.]

The geological character of Argentina is tolerably uniform. The surface
is a coating of sandy soil, not usually more than 2 feet thick, which is
alluvial and, from a geological point of view, quite modern. In the
western districts it is usually bare of vegetation, but in the east it
is covered with green herbage more or less thick. Underneath this
superficial covering, however, lies the true geological formation, and
this consists of argillaceous earth or mud of a reddish colour and
interspersed with marly rock called by the inhabitants Tosca rock. It
extends to latitude 38° or thereabouts, and is the famous Pampean
formation, which Darwin calls Pampean mud. The thickness of this stratum
varies considerably; it may average about 40 feet, and geologically it
belongs to the Quaternary epoch, otherwise called Diluvian or
Post-Pliocene. Its most remarkable feature is the enormous number of
mammiferous remains which are to be found embedded in this Pampean mud,
and naturalists believe that it would be impossible to dig a deep trench
in any direction without disinterring some of these extinct giants.
Frequently perfect skeletons are discovered. These ossiferous remains
are richest in the province of Buenos Aires and become somewhat less
frequent in the north and west. Some observers have marvelled that such
huge creatures in such vast numbers were ever able to find nourishment,
but that question is not a serious difficulty, for the largest animals
are by no means the most voracious, and doubtless, like elephants of
to-day, their struggle for existence was not so much against hunger as
against the depredations of other animals or natural catastrophes. A
much greater puzzle is their disappearance. It has been suggested that
they were killed off by the Glacial cold, but it is not obvious, as has
been pointed out, why this visitation carried off the mastodons and
spared the parrots and hummingbirds. Another theory, put forward by a
savant named M. Bravard, opines that a vast simoon overwhelmed them, but
such a belief, inadequate and full of difficulties, is refuted by the
fact that most of the skeletons are mutilated. Had they been overwhelmed
by sand storms, they would have been preserved in almost perfect
condition. The notion of drought is also inadequate. Darwin remarks that
it is absurd to suppose that the most terrible calamity of this sort
could destroy every species from Patagonia to Behring Straits. It is
impossible to suppose that prehistoric man hunted down and slew these
great creatures. The simplest hypothesis and the one which surmounts the
greatest number of difficulties is that a mighty deluge overwhelmed man
and beast in common ruin. A great geologist[6] says: "I argue that this
destruction was caused by an invasion of the continent by water--a view
which is completely _en rapport_ with the facts presented by the great
Pampean deposit, which was clearly laid down by water. How otherwise can
we account for this complete destruction and the homogeneousness of the
Pampas deposits containing bones? I find an evident proof of this in
the immense number of bones and of entire animals whose numbers are
greatest at the outlets of the valleys, as Mr. Darwin shows. He found
the greatest number of the remains at Bahia Blanca, at Bajada, also on
the coast, and on the affluents of the Rio Negro, also at the outlet of
the valley. This proves that the animals were floated, and hence were
chiefly carried to the coast."

But D'Orbigny seems to have erred in attempting to push his theory too
far, for he insists that the great deluge not only destroyed the
mammoths but at the same time created the Pampean plain. Nothing,
however, can be more certain than that the lapse of countless ages was
necessary to accumulate "the dust of continents to be." It is
incredible that a great fragment of a continent was created _per
saltum_. Darwin believes (and, it appears, rightly), "that the Pampean
formation was slowly accumulated at the mouth of the former estuary of
the Plata and in the sea adjoining it."[7] As we shall see, when we
come to deal with Patagonia, the country was once a lake or sea, and
the water system of South America was very different from what it now
is, nor is there any difficulty in believing that the stupendous
volume of the Parana waters (then even mightier than now) was able to
wash down an accumulation of mud capable of making the sea into dry
land.

So much, then, for the Quaternary Pampean mud interlaced with the
bones of giant animals.

The Patagonian plain, however, is, in appearance at any rate, a
different and much older formation, namely the Tertiary, an extensive
gravel bed which possibly extends under the whole Quaternary deposit of
the Pampa. But exposures occur of both varieties of this formation,
_i.e._, the Patagonian and the Guaraman, in the banks of the Parana and
elsewhere. It is supposed to have been contributed chiefly by Glacial
action.

[Illustration: THE RIVER URUGUAY.]

The river system of Argentina, which is perhaps the most remarkable
physical feature of the country, next demands our attention. All the
Argentine rivers find their way into the Atlantic, but all are
insignificant compared with the marvellous confluence of mighty streams
in the Plate estuary. The Parana rises in far-away Brazilian mountains,
and is already a noble stream when it reaches the north-eastern confines
of Paraguay. Flowing southward it then, for more than 100 miles, serves
as the boundary between Paraguay and Brazil, and from the point where it
is joined by the Iguazu River it becomes an Argentine stream, and,
inclining more and more to the west, it is now the boundary between
Argentine and Paraguay. At Corrientes it unites with the Paraguay River
and flows almost due south, running into the Plate estuary at the same
point as the Uruguay. Few rivers can match the Parana in majesty; at
Rosario it is 20 miles wide, and would give the impression of the broad
sea were it not for the cluster of poplar-clad islands which intercept
the view. In thus tracing the course of the Parana we have mentioned
only a few of the innumerable streams of the system in which it takes
the most conspicuous part; the waters drain the south of Brazil, the
whole of Uruguay and Paraguay, the fertile districts of Argentina, and
even portions of Bolivia. The Parana--the Nile of the West--debouches
through fourteen channels; it has a drainage area of 1,198,000 square
miles, and the discharge of each twenty-four hours is sufficient to
create a lake a mile square and 1,650 feet deep.[8] Subordinate to
the Parana are several Argentine systems which deserve mention.
The provinces of Corrientes and Entre Rios, called the Argentine
Mesopotamia, are drained by the Corrientes, the Saranai, and the
Gualeguay, which last falls eventually not into the Parana but the
Pavon, a curious channel which runs parallel with the lower course of
the great river for a considerable distance.

[Illustration: RIVER LANDING STAGE.]

The northernmost part of the country is drained by the Pilcomayo and
the Vermejo, which both fall into the Paraguay. The Vermejo has a
course of 1,300 miles. The Salado meanders through the Gran Chaco, and
is the only perennial river in that region. Owing to the western
dryness and the curious contour of the Gran Chaco and the Pampa, many
of the rivers are unable to make headway and find a channel to carry
them to the sea. Thus the Rio Dulce which, with innumerable small
tributaries, drains a large area round about Tucuman, ends in a morass
named Porongos, which is connected in flood-time with the great lake
of Mar Chiquita--Little Sea. In like manner the Mendoza river loses
itself in arid country.

Having dealt with the giant, we now turn to the pygmies; for pygmies
are the Patagonian and South Argentine streams in comparison with the
Parana of the upper region. The Colorado basin presents a very curious
phenomenon, in that it has lost the whole of its upper tributaries.
One of these is the aforesaid errant Mendoza, which, with the Salado
(the second river of that name) fail to reach the parent stream and
end in the Laguna Amarga, a group of salt lakes situated at no great
distance from the Rio Colorado. It is certain that, like Central Asia,
Patagonia has experienced an immense increase of aridity--probably in
comparatively recent times. The Colorado proper is perennial, and when
swollen by melting snows from the Andes it is as broad as the Thames
at London Bridge.

[Illustration: AMONG THE CACTUS.]

South of the Colorado we have the Rio Negro. It runs a solitary course
through the desert unaided by any tributaries. It is formed by two
other streams, the Neuquen and the Rio Limaz, which has its source in
the picturesque lake of Nahuelhuapi. Patagonia, it may be added, has
numerous lakes, some of great beauty. Other solitary streams, wholly
dependent upon the Andes, may be enumerated--the Chubut, the Desire, the
Chico, the Santa Cruz, and the Gallegos. On these rivers Burmeister[9]
confesses that his information is very imperfect. They are now somewhat
better known, but they are still difficult to explore. His remarks upon
the Rio de Santa Cruz, concerning which he had gathered more facts than
the others, may be given. He says: "Near the ocean it has a breadth of
from 5 to 10 English miles, and is bordered by terraces in flights which
rise on either side to a height of 500 feet. The surface of these
terraces is occupied by broad plains covered with dry pebbles, and among
them grow stunted plants and thorny bushes. It is a savage and gloomy
land. Further inland, near the source, basaltic rocks appear which
approach close to the river, and its bed is strewn with their fragments,
which are about the size of a man's head. Huge blocks of granite and
palæologic schists are met with only in the neighbourhood of the
Cordillera." Darwin made an adventurous voyage of 140 miles up this
river in 1834, and describes it with his accustomed acuteness and
accuracy.[10]

When we come to deal with Patagonia we shall have another opportunity
of reverting to its scanty and little-known river system.

The climate of Argentina varies greatly, as might be expected in a
country with a length of nearly 2,300 miles from north to south. In
the provinces of Buenos Aires, Santa Fé, San Luis, Mendoza, parts of
Cordoba, and parts of one or two adjoining provinces, the climate is
temperate with mild winters and moderately hot summers, while in the
north the climate is hot and moist. Towards the south the cold becomes
more and more severe, and the winters last from May to the beginning
of October. Snow frequently falls. In Buenos Aires the spring begins
in September and lasts to mid-December, followed by summer, which
extends into March. Autumn lasts till the end of May, and winter
occupies the rest of the year. The following table will show that in
the city of Buenos Aires itself the extremes are not rigorous:--

                          At 2 p.m.   At 9 p.m.
    December                 77·6        66·8
    January                  82·0        71·2
    February                 80·7        68·9
    March                    81·1        69·0
    April                    72·0        59·9
    May                      61·3        55·0
    June                     59·7        52·5
    July                     55·2        47·0
    August                   60·8        51·7
    September                67·2        56·0
    October                  67·1        59·6
    November                 75·4        62·8

The annual rainfall is about 34 inches. But the above table gives only
the average temperature. The thermometer in Buenos Aires often rises
as high as 100, and in the early mornings of June and July sometimes
touches freezing-point. In Mendoza, Cordoba, and Tucuman, and many
other places, the mercury frequently falls below 32, while in
Patagonia the cold of winter is intense.

The following figures will give a rough idea of the general climate of
the Republic:--

                          Mean
                       Temperature.  Maximum.  Rainfall.
    Ushwiya (Fuegia)        42         81      120 inches
    Bahia Blanca            60        105       19   "
    Buenos Aires            64        100       34   "
    San Luis                61        103       24   "
    Rosario                 63        101       40   "
    Mendoza                 60        100        6   "
    San Juan                65        108        3   "
    Cordoba                 61        111       26   "
    La Rioja                67        109       12   "
    Catamarca               69        109       10   "
    Santiago del Estero     70        113       19   "
    Tucuman                 68        104       39   "
    Salta                   63        109       23   "

On the whole, the climate of Buenos Aires is good, and does not
interfere with the comfort or pursuits of a healthy and vigorous
man. Its worst feature is the _sonda_, or north wind, which blows
tempestuously chiefly in the winter, and causes rapid fluctuations in
the temperature. The winds from the north are always considered
unhealthy. In the summer the heat is greatly aggravated by the
_pamperos_--the strong winds from the south-west. But the general
climate of the country is dry and invigorating.

It will be noticed that the rainfall is scanty. Unfortunately, nearly
all the valuable parts of Argentina have barely sufficient rain, and
Mendoza is almost rainless. Irrigation, therefore, is largely used,
and when it is extended over the south many millions of additional
acres will be brought under the plough. Droughts are by far the most
formidable foe of the agriculturist. The _Gran Seco_ of 1827-1832,
during which period scarcely any rain fell in the Pampa, destroyed all
the vegetation down to the thistles, and caused enormous loss.[11] It
is feared that the dry area is extending; but it is fortunate that the
magnificent rivers of Argentina would suffice to irrigate every part
of the country, and even arid Patagonia has perennial streams. In
general, it may be said that the climate of Argentina is far from
disagreeable, and highly favourable to health and work.

FOOTNOTES:

[3] W. O. Campbell, "Through Patagonia," p. 6.

[4] "Voyage of the _Beagle_," chap. viii.

[5] "Voyage of the _Beagle_," chap. xv.

[6] D'Orbigny _apud_ Howorth, "The Mammoth and the Flood," p. 352.

[7] Darwin, "Geological Observations on South America," p. 99.

[8] It is estimated that during the floods the Parana rolls down
1,650,000 cubic feet per second, while the Uruguay volume amounts to
500,000.

[9] "Description Physique," i. 310-11.

[10] "We found the river course very tortuous, and strewed with
immense fragments of various ancient slaty rocks, and of granite. The
plain bordering the valley had here attained an elevation of about
eleven hundred feet above the river, and its character was much
altered. The well-rounded pebbles of porphyry were mingled with many
immense angular fragments of basalt and of primary rocks" ("Voyage of
the _Beagle_" chap. ix.).

[11] "Very great numbers of birds, wild animals, cattle, and horses
perished from the want of food and water. A man told me that the deer
used to come into his courtyard to the well, which he had been obliged
to dig to supply his own family with water; and that the partridges
had hardly strength to fly away when pursued. The lowest estimation of
the loss of cattle in Buenos Ayres alone was taken at one million
head" (Darwin, "Voyage of the _Beagle_," chap. vii.).



CHAPTER II

EARLIEST HISTORY AND ETHNOLOGY


Scanty beyond all belief is our information about the people of the
River Plate before the coming of the Spaniards. Mexico and Peru had
goodly hoards of gold and silver, and were therefore objects of eager
curiosity to the invaders whose chroniclers deigned to inquire into
the traditions and mythology of their subjects; but the Silvery
River--the Rio Plata--washed no treasure regions, and the settlements
in that part of the continent were despised and neglected. Accordingly
anthropologists have been obliged to work backwards; they can only
infer the character of the prehistoric races by examining their
descendants and such scanty traces as have survived from ancient days.
And they are able to glean very little.

The European belief[12] in a western land beyond the Pillars of
Hercules was deep-rooted in classical antiquity. Beginning with a
vague legend of a wonderful world in the west, it hardened into a
semi-scientific hypothesis. The pseudo-Aristotle[13] seems to have been
the first to treat this subject in a practical manner. He says: "Popular
speech divides our inhabited world into islands and continents, but it
ignores the fact that the whole is but a single island surrounded by the
sea named the Atlantic. It is probable that there are other lands far
away, some of which are larger, some smaller, than the world we know."
He conjectured that on the other side of the Atlantic there was a great
Terra Australis corresponding to Africa. Strabo opined that it would be
possible to make a westward voyage to India were it not for the immense
extent of the Atlantic, and if circumstances had been favourable there
would probably have been an early discovery of America. It is believed
that the Carthaginians visited Madeira and the Canaries. But the two
maritime nations, Greece and Carthage, fell before Rome, and the
triumphs of Rome were on land. Roman poets and panegyrists often
indulged in vague and magnificent predictions of nations both in the
remotest East and the remotest West who should come under the sway of
Rome, and Seneca's[14] language is particularly precise, but they found
the ocean an insuperable barrier. With the downfall of the Empire and
the influx of barbarians progress was checked, but it is certain that
about a thousand years after the birth of Christ some hardy Norsemen
reached Greenland, and it is even conjectured that they penetrated into
North America. Then, in the later Middle Ages, as the trading spirit
grew stronger and the demand for slaves increased, the Portuguese began
to make voyages down the African coast. But discovery became no longer a
mere profitable adventure, it was imperatively demanded as the salvation
of Christendom from ruin, when the Turks obtained possession of
Constantinople and the caravan routes. Unless the rich Indian trade
could be continued, two-thirds of the wealth of Europe would be
destroyed, and thus the work of discovery was stimulated. The Portuguese
found an easy route to India by way of the Cape of Good Hope; but the
unsuccessful attempts to reach India by a western voyage brought even
more fruit, and at last the great island in the Atlantic was discovered.

Anthropologists have found much difficulty in determining the
origin of the various peoples who were found in the New World. The
supposition now is that the human race migrated into the continent
from Europe by way of Greenland and Labrador, and from Asia by way of
the Behring Straits, and proof is afforded by the discovery in the
Pampas of Argentina and many other places both of the long-headed
Afro-European and the round-headed Asiatic skull. The Europeans were
probably the first arrivals, and they appear early to have found their
way into Argentina, whither they were afterwards followed by the
Asiatics. It should be noticed that the whole primitive civilisation
of South America was concentrated into a comparatively narrow strip of
mountainous country between Chile and Colombia, but this imperfect
civilisation probably came into existence in quite recent times.

The Spaniards themselves, doubtless relying on native, traditions,
believed that the establishment of the Inca dominion was an event of
no great antiquity.[15] But it appears certain that this itself was
preceded by a civilisation of "white and bearded men" round about Lake
Titicaca, and Prescott declines to hazard a conjecture as to the
antiquity of South American civilisation. The long-headed race (its
origin is uncertain) kept to the east, the round-headed (usually held
to be Mongolian) kept to the west, and they met in Patagonia. However,
some savants consider that all the American races are veritable
aborigines and have no Asiatic or European origin, and although this
theory seems hardly borne out by the little evidence we possess, there
is no reason to question the belief of Ehrenreich and many others
that the South American Indians have been so long isolated that they
form a distinct type.

Evidence as to the date of their migration or the length of time they
may have been settled in Argentina we have none, but there is a theory
of considerable plausibility to the effect that there was a break in
the continuity of the human race in South America. It has already been
shown that the bones of huge extinct animals appear very frequently in
Argentina; indeed, as Darwin remarks, "the whole area of the Pampas is
one wide sepulchre for these extinct animals." Now, mingled with them
have often been found human bones and the tools and weapons of man in
his pleistocene stage. Near Buenos Aires,[16] for example, a discovery
was made of bones of the mastodon, machairodus, and other extinct
animals, and together with them were mingled human bones and tools in
stone and bone. These facts help to strengthen the hypothesis that
at a remote period of antiquity there occurred some gigantic natural
cataclysm which swept away alike man and the vast animals with which
he lived in these regions. Little as we know about the origin of
South American man we can, of course, classify the races which are
known to exist in South America or which existed when the Spaniards
appeared.[17] The aborigines may be divided into three great
races--the Ando-Peruvian, the Pampean, and the Brasilio-Guaranian.
The Ando-Peruvian has three branches, known as the Peruvian proper,
the Antisian, and the Araucanian. The Pampean likewise has three
branches--the Pampean proper, the Chiquitean, the Moxean; while the
Brasilio-Guaranian has no ramifications. The Peruvians, who do not
concern us here, include, of course, the whole of the Inca race. The
Antisians are so called because they lived in the mountains east of
Cuzco, which the Incas called Antis (hence Andes), and they now
inhabit the hot and moist forest-lands of Bolivia and Peru. They
are, and always have been, savages, with clear olive complexions and
slight, somewhat effeminate figures. The Tacana is their most
important tribe. The Araucanians (who include the Fuegians) are more
important for our purpose, and are a very hardy race, who fought for
hundreds of years on equal terms with the Spaniards and were finally
subdued rather by the subtle blight of civilisation than by arms. A
Frenchman[18] who visited the River Plate in the middle of the
eighteenth century describes them in the following terms: "The Indians
who inhabit this part of America, north and south of the river de la
Plata, are of that race called by the Spaniards Indios bravos. They
are middle-sized, very ugly, and afflicted with the itch. They are of
a deep tawny colour, which they blacken still more by continually
rubbing themselves with grease. They have no other dress than a great
cloak of roe-deer skins hanging down to their heels, in which they
wrap themselves up. These skins are very well dressed; they turn the
hairy side inwards and paint the outside with various colours. The
distinguishing mark of their cacique is a band or strap of leather,
which is tied round his forehead; it is formed into a diadem or crown and
adorned with plates of copper. Their arms are bows and arrows; and they
likewise make use of nooses and of balls.... Sometimes they come in
bodies of two or three hundred men, to carry off the cattle from the
lands of the Spaniards or to attack the caravans of the travellers.
They plunder and murder or carry them into slavery. This evil cannot be
remedied; for how is it possible to conquer a nomadic nation in an
immense uncultivated country, where it would be difficult even to find
them? Besides, these Indians are brave and inured to hardships, and
those times exist no longer when one Spaniard could put a thousand
Indians to flight." D'Orbigny says that in character and religion the
Araucanians have strong affinities to the Patagonians and Puelches, but
physically they are very different, and they undoubtedly belong to the
Peruvian or mountain race.

The Pampean race spread over the whole of modern Argentina and beyond.
They include the Patagonians and Puelches of the south and many
tribes, such as the Charruas, in the river regions of the north. These
all belong to the branch of the Pampean proper.

The Chiquitean branch is of less importance, comprising the foreign
Indians of Paraguay--the unfortunate people who were so cruelly
harried by the Paulistas in the seventeenth century. The Moxeans are
an interesting branch, but they do not properly belong to our subject,
for they inhabit the unexplored forest tracts on the confines of Peru,
Bolivia, and Brazil.

The Brasilio-Guaranian race is very extensive, spreading from the
north of Argentina over the whole of Brazil. They are a rude race,
civilised by the Jesuits, but probably the paternal form of government
was the highest to which they were adapted, and when their protectors
departed they retrograded. Their physical characteristics are
described as follows:[19] "The traits of the Guaranies can be
distinguished at the first glance from those of the Pampean tribes;
their head is round and not compressed sideways, nor does their
forehead recede; it is, on the contrary, high, and its flatness in
some of the tribes is due to artificial causes. Their face is almost
circular, the nose short and rather large with nostrils far less open
than those of the plain races. Their mouth is of moderate size, but
slightly projecting; their lips are somewhat thin, their eyes small
and expressive, ... their chin is round, very short, and it never
advances as far as the line of the mouth; their cheekbones are not
prominent in their youth, but in later life they project somewhat;
their eyebrows are well arched and very narrow. Their hair is long,
straight, coarse, and black, and their beard, among the tribes of
Paraguay and the Missions, is reduced merely to a few short bristles,
straight and scanty, growing on the chin and upper lip." The Guaranies
were more important in the earlier days when both their subjection and
protection were grave problems. Those who still live in their original
state are to be found in the primitive forests of the north, where it
is difficult to disturb them.

The religion of these rude tribes was tolerably uniform and, as might
have been expected, was on a much lower grade than that of the Incas,
who worshipped the invisible God Pachacamac, the creator of all
things. In general they believed in Quecubu, an evil spirit, but (what
is curious) they did not think it necessary to propitiate him in any
way, nor, again, did they worship or supplicate the Creator of the
world in which they had a shadowy belief. They believed that man was
perfectly free in his actions and that neither good deeds nor evil
deeds would affect the action either of the Creator or the evil
spirit. This Epicurean apathy was tempered by a belief in a future
life--the translation to a paradise of delight beyond the seas. Such
ritual and religious observances as they had appear to have centred
in their medicine-men, who interpreted dreams and omens and the like.
If we consider their extreme barbarism, we may judge that their
religion was singularly free from the taint of cruel rites and gross
superstitions, but it seems to have been weak and cold. The majority
of the tribes, even the most savage, have now nominally embraced
Christianity.

It is thus possible to form some idea of the condition of the
aborigines at the time of the appearance of the Spaniards, but to
obtain any knowledge of the events in South America during the
centuries immediately preceding that event is a flat impossibility,
and it is probably safe to say that the veil will never be uplifted,
for the relics we have are of prehistoric not of modern man. Nor, in all
probability, do we lose much by our ignorance, for judging by the actual
state of the inhabitants of the extra-Andine regions of South America,
when the Spaniards found them, we may repeat the disparaging verdict of
Thucydides upon ancient Greece--that looking back as far as we can we
are inclined to believe that the ancients were not distinguished, either
in war or in anything else.

The history of Argentina may be held to begin with the advent of the
Spaniards.

FOOTNOTES:

[12] For much of the matter in this chapter I am indebted to the late
E. J. Payne's valuable "History of the New World called America."

[13] In "De Mundo."

[14]
    "Venient annis saecula seris
    Quibus Oceanus vincula rerum
    Laxet, et ingens pateat tellus,
    Tiphys que novos detegat orbes,
    Nec sit terris ultima Thule."

        ("Medea," ii. 373.)

[15] "Some writers carry back the date five hundred, or even five
hundred and fifty, years before the Spanish invasion.... In the Report
of the Royal Audience of Peru, the epoch is more modestly fixed at two
hundred years before the Conquest" (Prescott, "Conquest of Peru," p.
5, _note_).

[16] See Sir H. H. Howorth, "The Mammoth and the Flood," chap. xii.

[17] See D'Orbigny, "L'Homme Américain," _passim_.

[18] De Bougainville, "A Voyage Round the World," pp. 24-5.

[19] D'Orbigny, ii. 295-7.



CHAPTER III

THE EUROPEAN CONQUEST


Compared with Mexico and Peru the southern portions of the New World
at first excited little interest, because they produced neither gold
nor silver. Yet even here the discoverer was very early at work, and
achievements less showy but on an almost equally grand scale have to
be recorded. In 1515 Juan Diaz de Solis was sent out on a voyage of
discovery by the King of Castile, who wished to counteract Portuguese
influence on the east coast of South America, and Solis was the first
European to sail up the River Plate, which he named after himself. But
he trusted to the natives, who proved treacherous. They invited him to
land, and when he had accepted their invitation they attacked and
killed him and every man in the boat-crew, and afterwards roasted and
devoured them in the sight of their companions. It was long before the
Spaniards touched on that coast again, and the name of Solis had no
permanence in the land which he discovered.

Some ten years later a more fortunate expedition was made by the
Englishman Cabot. In the service of the King of Spain he left Seville
with four ships, intending to make a search for the islands of Tarsis,
Ophir, and Eastern Cathay by the newly discovered Straits of Magellan.
The little fleet touched at Pernambuco and remained there for three
months. The Spaniards still appear to have had a design to check the
Portuguese in Brazil, but Cabot evidently found them too strong in
that quarter, so, says Purchas,[20] "he thought good to busy himself
in something that might be profitable; and entered the year 29
discovering the River of Plate, where he was almost three years; and
not being seconded, with relation of that which he had found, returned
to Castile, having gone many leagues up the River. He found plate or
silver among the Indians of those countries, for in the wars which
these Indians had with those of the kingdoms of Peru they took it, and
from it is called the River of Plate, of which the country hath taken
the name."

Here Purchas makes two mistakes. The discovery was not made in 1529,
but several years earlier, and the river derived its name not from any
metallic booty but from its silvery colour. Cabot went some distance
up the Paraguay River, where he met with many adventures and lost
many of his followers, and he made a serious endeavour to lay the
foundations of Spanish power in Argentina, but the natives were
unfriendly and he found the enterprise too formidable for his limited
means. It is not surprising that he failed to secure the goodwill of
the Indians. Cabot was a skilful and daring navigator and less
ruthless than most of the Spanish adventurers, but he was rough in his
methods and tainted by the prevailing inhumanity of the time. At San
Vincente, for example, he bought fifty or sixty slaves of both sexes
for the benefit of his partners in Seville. He had, in fact, disobeyed
his instructions, which were to make for the Pacific, and when he
returned to Seville in 1530 he was at once prosecuted and punished on
various charges, though his disgrace was but temporary. His expedition
has merely a geographical importance.

Charles V. had too many anxious concerns in Europe to take an active
part in organising expeditions to the New World, and he found it
convenient to commit the task to wealthy nobles. Pedro de Mendoza had
enriched himself at the sack of Rome and had dreams of still greater
wealth. Accordingly he obtained a grant of the whole country from the
River Plate to the Straits of Magellan, with a salary of 2,000 ducats
a year as Governor, a similar sum as an official allowance, and
valuable privileges as to ransom and booty. In return, he engaged to
take out an adequate force and to open up a land route from the
Atlantic to the Pacific. In August, 1534, he set sail from Cadiz with
eleven ships and 800 men. This was the largest expedition which had
ever sailed from Europe to the New World. Mendoza seems to have been
an enterprising leader, but his lack of experience brought many
unnecessary hardships upon his followers. The fleet entered the River
Plate in January, 1535, and Mendoza landed on the right bank and
founded the city of Buenos Aires, "so named in regard of the freshness
of the air, and the healthfulness of his men, during their abode
there."[21] The Adelantado, or Governor, was eager to push up the
great rivers and discover a land fabulously rich in gold, such as was
then enriching many of his more fortunate countrymen. But still the
difficulties were insuperable; the Indians were implacably hostile and
cut off all foraging parties; the Spaniards had come with inadequate
provisions and were frequently in danger of starvation. Many died of
their privations, and the site of Buenos Aires was abandoned within a
year of its foundation. Mendoza's lieutenants made many adventurous
expeditions up the vast waterways and the ill-fated Azolas founded
Asuncion in 1536.[22] But their deeds belong more to the history of
Spanish conquest than to Argentina proper. The estuary of the Plate
was subject to sudden storms, and Mendoza, having lost eight ships and
being thoroughly wearied by his misfortunes, decided to return home.
On the voyage he fell ill and died, and of his large force not more
than one hundred and fifty survived their privations and dangers. A
highly interesting and important matter should here be mentioned. The
Spaniards brought only thirty mares and seven stallions for breeding
purposes, but a Portuguese mariner states thirty years later the
country near the coast was full of horses.

[Illustration: TROOP OF MARES.]

As successor to Mendoza the Spanish Government appointed Cabeza de
Vaca, an experienced adventurer, who sailed from Spain in 1540 with
four hundred men. He landed at Santa Catherina in Brazil, and thence
made a most adventurous march to Asuncion. He set out on October 18,
1541, and did not arrive till March 11, 1542, after suffering
extraordinary hardships. At Asuncion he found that the Spanish
settlers had chosen Domingo Irala as their chief. The two rivals,
however, had enough work for both, and Cabeza de Vaca sailed down to
the River Plate where the Spaniards had practically abandoned their
settlements, and the few survivors were in great danger of destruction
by the Indians. He refounded Buenos Aires towards the end of 1542; but
the time was not yet ripe for the planting of colonies, and not many
months later the city was abandoned for the second time. Nor was
Cabeza de Vaca fortunate in his undertakings in Paraguay. His attempts
to reform abuses made him unpopular with the settlers, who preferred
Irala, and in 1544 Cabeza de Vaca was seized and sent a prisoner to
Spain where, after the law's long delays, he was acquitted, but never
compensated.

Irala, who was an able and daring leader, contrived to maintain his
authority till his death, which occurred in 1557, and credit is due to
him for keeping the Spanish flag flying in the isolated post of
Asuncion, which was rapidly growing in importance, and in 1547 was
made the seat of a Bishop by Pope Paul III. All this time, however, it
should be remembered that we are dealing rather with the history of
what is now Paraguay than Argentina, for the southern settlements on
the River Plate were once more in the hands of the Indians. It was at
this time that another important town was established in territory
which now belongs to Argentina. Peru had been conquered by Pizarro,
parts of Chile by Almagro, and in 1559 Hurtado de Mendoza passed over
the Andes from the west and founded the pleasant city which bears his
name. This work of building cities on the eastern side of the Andes
was carried on by other Spaniards from Peru, and they founded Tucuman
in 1565 and Cordoba in 1573.

In the meantime the Guaranies of Paraguay steadily resisted every
advance of the Spaniards, but in 1560 they were defeated in a
great battle at Acari, and the Spaniards began to push southwards
with the determination of again colonising the Parana country--a
step, indeed, which was almost essential to their safety, since it
would secure their communication with the Atlantic. The necessary
exploit was achieved by a man who deserves an honoured place among
Spanish-American worthies--Juan de Garay.[23] He advanced slowly
towards the south from Asuncion, and in 1573 founded Santa Fé at the
junction of the Parana and the Paraguay. In 1580 he took the still
more important step of re-establishing Buenos Aires for the third
time. With a true statesman's instinct he recognised that a mere
military post would not be sufficient for the security of the rapidly
growing colonies, and he took with him, besides Creoles and Spaniards,
two hundred Indian settlers, and he laid out a town on a considerable
scale, while farms and ranches were established in the neighbourhood.
There was sharp fighting with the Indians, and Garay was unfortunately
killed in a skirmish, but his work remained behind him. "The city,"
says Southey,[24] "immediately began to prosper, and the ship which
sailed for Castile with tidings of its refoundation, took home a cargo
of sugar, and the first hides with which Europe was supplied from the
wild cattle which now began to over-spread the open country, and soon
produced a total change in the manners of all the adjoining tribes."

In 1588 Corrientes had been founded, and the people began to acquire
pastoral wealth, although the advantages which they drew from the
rapidly increasing herds of horses and cattle were seriously discounted
by the exactions and restrictions of officials. It was a piece of great
good fortune for both settlers and Indians that neither gold nor silver
was to be found in the River Plate country, and thus European marauders,
whether Spanish or English, were without one great temptation to harry
them. The next generation was one of steady progress, and by the year
1620 the city of Buenos Aires contained three thousand inhabitants. The
indefatigable Jesuits established themselves in the country in 1590, and
though their history properly belongs to Paraguay, they did much good in
Argentina by protecting the Indians and spreading civilisation.

In 1620 a step of extreme importance was taken. The office of
Adelantado, or Governor, was abolished, and the River Plate country
was formed into two separate provinces. Thus we get a rough beginning
of Argentina, which now consisted of Buenos Aires, Santa Fé, Entre
Rios, Corrientes, and the tract now called Uruguay. This last,
however, was still uninhabited. Buenos Aires became the seat of
a bishop. But the whole of the settlements remained under the
Viceroyalty of Peru.

More important than any measure of partition was the personality of
Hernan Darias de Saavedra, the ruler at that time. Of pure Spanish
blood, he was born in South America in 1561, early distinguished
himself in wars with the Indians, and took as his model the able
Garay. In 1602 he was appointed to act as Governor of Buenos Aires,
and during his term of authority, which did not really end when a new
Spanish Governor was placed over his head, he distinguished himself at
once by his severity to refractory Indians and his energetic measures
to protect those who followed peaceful pursuits. In 1615 he became
substantive Governor, and it was by his advice that the division of
1620 was made.

His whole heart was in the peaceful development of the country; he
encouraged the Jesuits to teach industries to the natives and to
settle virgin tracts, and at the same time he set his face against all
forms of slavery. Few Spanish Americans have exercised more beneficent
rule, and he was the founder of Argentine prosperity--a tradition
which the country never wholly lost in the worst days, and which in
recent times it has renewed in a wonderful manner. Not long after the
partition this noble-minded statesman died, full, as the historian
says, of glory and virtues. Funes[25] remarks: "From tender years he
performed military service, earning fame for valour. His valour was
rendered the more illustrious by that consummate prudence which in war
gives glory to warriors. He distinguished himself by his ability both
in the arts of peace and war. He was a staunch protector of the
Indians and, in fine, being one of the heroes to whom the New World
has given birth, he deserved to have his portrait placed in the
Chamber of Commerce in Cadiz. We regret that time has destroyed the
records which might have enabled us to draw a more accurate likeness."

With his death it may be said that the history of Argentina as a
Spanish colony has fairly begun. It is true that the Governorship of
Buenos Aires was both smaller and larger than the present Argentine
Republic--larger as comprising Uruguay, and considerably smaller in
the absence of Patagonia and much other territory. In fact, there were
three Governorships--Buenos Aires, Paraguay, and Tucuman--and these
were looked upon as a single colony, although each one was an
administrative entity, dependent upon the Crown and independent of its
neighbours. Our narrative will necessarily ignore the interesting
history of Paraguay and embrace the other two provinces. The above
narrative has few of the exciting episodes which marked the history of
the conquest of Mexico or Peru, but the history, though less dazzling,
is less sullied by crimes, and the two figures of Garay and Hernan
Darias afford examples of disinterested toil for the common welfare
which in that age was rare indeed except among a small proportion of
the clergy. And as the earlier years of Argentina were less turbulent,
so have the latter years been more blessed with prosperity than has
been the case with other South American States.

The colonisation of South America proceeded upon lines very different
from those pursued in the northern continent. The latter was the
objective of men who belonged, for the most part, to the Anglo-Saxon
race, and who came not for adventure or any kind of gain, but to
escape from uncongenial institutions and live their own life. As far
as possible they avoided contact with the natives, and neither
desired, nor, in fact, maintained, intimate relations with the mother
country. But in spite of the circumstances of their exile, they
carried with them most of the institutions of their own land, and
continued to develop on the lines of their brothers on the other side of
the Atlantic. The Spaniards did not, indeed, treat the natives in South
America with humanity; on the contrary, in the mining regions their
cruelty was notorious, and they were frequently at war with the old
inhabitants. But in Argentina and many other places they showed no
disinclination to intermarry; they made, as we have seen, systematic
settlements of Indians, which assumed that the conquered race was an
integral part of their own body politic, and in some respects their
policy was statesmanlike and even humane according to the standards of
the time. The result was a fusion of races, and the various nations
which sprang up were as much Indian as Spanish. How the Argentine nation
was evolved it will be the business of the succeeding historical
chapters to show, as it will be that of the remainder of this volume to
display the country and the people as they actually are after four
centuries of growth.

FOOTNOTES:

[20] Purchas, "His Pilgrimage," xiv. 546.

[21] R. Hakluyt, Extra Series, xi. 252.

[22] Or 1537 or 1538, according to various authorities.

[23] "A man of indefatigable courage and a rare prudence, he joined
with these qualities the experience of serving in many glorious
campaigns" (Funes, i. 287).

[24] "History of Brazil," i. 349.

[25] "Ensayo de la Historia Civil," p. 318.



CHAPTER IV

THE SPANISH DOMINION


The subsequent history of Argentina during the Spanish dominion does
not present much incident, and indeed it is not an uncommon practice
for historians of Latin-American countries to make a single leap from
the Conquest to the Revolution. But to the real student of history
there is much that is of interest in the record of the attempt of
Spain to govern a mighty empire and the rapid decay of her power. In
the next chapter the Spanish colonial system will be examined; in the
present it will be observed in operation. Much will be said about the
illiberal restrictions which here receive only incidental notice, but
however short-sighted they may have been, at least they could not
prevent Argentina from thriving. A considerable trade sprang up
between Cordoba and the Andine territories now known as Chile and
Bolivia; nor was it only in material well-being that progress was
made. At Cordoba, also, a university was founded in 1613, and the town
became a seat of learning and a centre of Jesuit influence. For some
years peace reigned, but in the second quarter of the seventeenth
century it received two serious disturbances. The first was a
dangerous Indian war with the powerful nation of the Calchaquies.

This people had lived from time immemorial in the valleys of Rioja and
Catamarca, and had been under the suzerainty of the Incas. As the
Spaniards around the River Plate became more powerful they made
aggressions upon the Calchaquies, and by the end of the sixteenth
century had partly subdued them. Many of these Indians were sold into
slavery, and many more were forced to settle about Santa Fé and
Rosario, but the spirit of the remainder was still unsubdued, and they
awaited an opportunity of recovering their independence. It was about
the middle of the century that they made their expiring effort. A
leader named Bohorquez came forward and claimed to be the descendant
and heir of the Inca kings. He is said to have been a mere impostor
of humble Andalusian origin, but it is seldom easy to find out the
exact truth about pretenders. Funes doubts whether he was in his right
mind. "But the light of reason appeared when he took his first steps
in deceit, an art to which he was naturally inclined."[26] He and his
wife were greeted with the honours due to the Inca kings, the revolt
spread, and he caused the Spaniards endless trouble. The Calchaquies,
whom he claimed to represent, were a hardy race, and down to modern
times have shown good fighting qualities, and they were inflamed by
resentment against the intruding Spaniards, who had undoubtedly
oppressed them. Bohorquez first came forward in 1656, and though he
appears to have possessed nothing better than the showy qualities of a
bold charlatan, he brought about a dangerous war. Don Alonso Mercado,
who had been appointed Governor of Tucuman the year before, was
obstinate and overbearing, and, strangely enough, began by patronising
and encouraging the impostor. The Jesuits, who were always anxious to
redress Indian grievances, also supported him, and the revolt assumed
such serious proportions that the Governor soon had to abandon his
former attitude and took up arms against him. The Indians, who, with
simple credulity, accepted all the claims of Bohorquez, made a long
and heroic resistance, but the Spanish power was too great. The
pretender was defeated, and the Spaniards, aware that there could be
no safety for the northern provinces as long as Bohorquez was alive,
spared no effort to track him down, and were eventually successful.
Bohorquez was taken to Lima and put to death, and the Calchaquies were
placed under a military Deputy-Governor, who was subordinate to
Tucuman. Their martial spirit, however, did not die out, and in the
nineteenth century they proved themselves one of the most spirited of
the warlike races of South America.

The other trouble of the seventeenth century was more serious and
involved more bloodshed. We have seen that there was considerable
jealousy between the Spanish and Portuguese in South America. In 1580
Portugal had been united to Spain, but this change did not make the
relations any more harmonious, for there was a standing cause of
quarrel between the two nations. The Portuguese had founded in the
temperate Brazilian uplands the city of São Paulo, and the inhabitants
known as Paulistas, were a turbulent people and had an intense hatred
of the Jesuits. The Jesuits, supported by the Spanish Government,
protected the Indians and devoted themselves to their general welfare,
but the chief business of the Paulistas was to capture Indians and
sell them into slavery. They looked with covetous eyes upon the
Reductions, as the Jesuit settlements were called, for here was the
raw material of their industry in the shape of hundreds of thousands
of submissive Indians. Accordingly, in 1629 they picked a quarrel with
the Jesuits and attacked the Reduction of San Antonio, where they
committed great ravages, killing and capturing multitudes of the
helpless Indians. The Jesuits, who were not loved by the Governor of
Paraguay, were compelled to evacuate Guayra and the scope of their
benevolent labours was largely curtailed. This cruel and devastating
war continued for many years and caused widespread ruin and loss of
life until, in 1638, the Jesuits appealed to the Court of Spain,
requesting that their wrongs might be redressed and that they might
arm their helpless converts against the oppressor. The appeal was
successful. "The King," says Southey,[27] "confirmed all the former
laws in favour of the Indians: he declared the conduct of the
Paulistas, who had carried away more than thirty thousand slaves from
Guayra, and had begun the same work of devastation in the Tapé and on
the Uruguay, to be contrary to all laws, human and divine, and
cognisable by the Holy Office. The enslaved Indians were ordered to be
set at liberty, and directions given to punish those who should commit
these crimes in future, as guilty of high treason. A more important
edict, because more easily carried into effect, provided that all
Indians converted by the Jesuits in the province of Guayra, Tapé,
Parana, and Uruguay, should be considered as immediate vassals of the
Crown, and not on any pretext consigned to any person for personal
service. Their tribute was fixed, but not to commence till the year
1649, by which time, it was presumed, they might be capable of
discharging it. And the King not only granted permission to the
Jesuits to arm their converts, but sent out positive orders to the
Governors of Paraguay and the Plata to exert themselves for the
protection of the Reductions." But in 1640 Portugal regained her
independence and the marauding Paulistas left a lasting mark on the
map of South America. Undoubtedly but for their incursions the whole
valley of the Parana would have been Spanish instead of Portuguese,
but, as it was, the Spaniards had to retire behind the river Iguazu.

Emboldened by this success, the Portuguese ever kept in view the
design of extending their dominions still further southward. In 1680
the Governor of Rio de Janeiro sent an expedition by sea and built a
fort, which he named Nova Colonia, opposite the city of Buenos Aires.
Thus the disputed territory of Uruguay was for the first time
occupied by Europeans. The establishment of this hostile post caused
great annoyance to the Governor of Buenos Aires, and he succeeded in
capturing it upon several occasions, but the Home Government, in view
of European politics, had no wish to offend Portugal, nor did it
consider that the possession of almost uninhabited tracts was worth
the risk of complications. It thus happened that Nova Colonia was
always restored to the Portuguese eventually. It became a most
prosperous port, for it was the seat of the contraband trade, and by
its means the Argentines were able to export hides to Brazil.
Doubtless it was beneficial to them, however much it may have
interfered with the illicit gains of Spanish Governors. It remained in
the possession of the Portuguese until 1777.

The contraband trade was indeed the chief feature of the domestic
history of Argentina in the sixteenth century, and its tendency was to
raise important international questions. The fight against the Spanish
monopoly became every year keener as the various countries of Europe
became more settled and secure and began to devote their energies to
trade. In 1616 the monopoly received a heavy blow by the discovery of
a way into the Pacific without passing through the guarded Straits of
Magellan. This was made by the Dutchman, Schouten,[28] who named Cape
Horn after Hoorn, his birthplace. Immediately numerous Dutch and
English ships took advantage of the new route and a great trade sprang
up. As we have seen, the Governors of Buenos Aires played a prominent
part in this trade, and no earthly power was able to prevent the
economic law from taking effect. The case of Villacorta, a Governor
who was discovered to have sent away three million dollars' worth of
prohibited goods to Flanders, illustrates the helplessness of the
artificial law. He was dismissed at the moment, but not long after he
reappears as Governor of Tucuman. But, however illegally, trade went
on and Argentina flourished. A traveller[29] who visited Buenos Aires
in 1769 says that its chief trade was with Chile and Peru, and that it
sent to them "cotton, mules, some skins, and about 400,000 Spanish
pounds' weight of the Paraguay herb, or South Sea tea, every year." In
fact Argentina, like the other Spanish colonies, advanced steadily in
wealth and population during the eighteenth century, until progress
was abruptly checked by the Revolution. But her history from the
founding of Nova Colonia to the appearance of the English before
Buenos Aires is remarkably barren in incident.

It was, of course, the fate of colonies to be pawns in the wars
between powerful European States. Spain was a principal in the great war
of the Spanish Succession, which was ended in 1713 by the Peace of
Utrecht. Two of the articles were of importance to the Spanish
possessions. By the _Asiento de Negros_ England obtained the right to
send yearly to the Spanish colonies twelve hundred negro slaves, and
Buenos Aires was named as one of the establishments for that traffic,
while by the _Navio de Permiso_ she was permitted to send out yearly to
the South Seas a ship with 650 tons of merchandise. These concessions,
of course, greatly stimulated the contraband trade, for the colonists
were as eager to buy as the English merchants were to sell, nor had the
Spanish officials the will or the power to prevent many interlopers
following in the wake of the privileged ships. Parish[30] remarks that
it was "a trade which supplied the most pressing wants of the colony,
and the profits of which were shared by the native capitalists. If they
(the officials) did occasionally make a show of exercising their right
to visit the ships, it was an empty threat, little heeded by men who
were looked upon with almost as much dread as the buccaneers who had so
long been the terror of all that part of the world."

Under the Bourbons and under the skilful administration of Alberoni,
the fortune of Spain revived, and the colonies benefited in a
corresponding degree.

In 1726 the Spaniards seized and fortified Montevideo which had been
founded by the Portuguese a few years previously; this was an
important step, for it declared that, in spite of Nova Colonia, the
territory now known as Uruguay should be Spanish. The new town rapidly
became wealthy and second only to Buenos Aires.

There can be little doubt that historians have considerably exaggerated
the weakness and decay of Spain during the eighteenth century. Her
comparative strength is proved by the fact that she maintained her trade
regulations which were only contravened surreptitiously. The attempt of
England to overthrow them by force shows how great was the resistive
power of this unenterprising but still formidable empire. The War of
Jenkins's Ear may be considered as a rehearsal of the struggle for the
New World which occupied a great part of the eighteenth and nineteenth
centuries, and which is still unfinished.

Therefore, although the war is in itself trivial and ineffective, its
purport is not so; it was the battle of the new spirit against the
old, of the trader against the official, of the active against the
passive. If here and elsewhere the latter had conquered, we might
have had, in place of our modern hives of industry, vast thinly
populated regions dotted with little, self-sufficient villages, which
possibly were destined to be overrun by a more restless and energetic
yellow race.[31]

Undoubtedly the English had not a shadow of right on their side; they
were encouraging the breaking of treaties and flagrant political
dishonesty. But under the brutal economic codes of the time there was
no law but the law of the stronger; England might take if she had the
power and Spain might keep if she could. The turbulent English mobs,
clamouring for war, were shrewder than Walpole, shrewder than Burke,
for they knew that to an island and trading people outlets for their
commerce were matters of sheer necessity.

The Spaniards strongly disliked the Asiento Treaty, and, as is well
known, English merchants, under cover of the privilege, carried on
extensive smuggling operations against which the Spanish _guarda
costas_ retaliated vigorously. It was in 1731 that they perpetrated
upon Captain Jenkins the outrage which was to make so great a stir
some years later. It may be added that Jenkins did really lose his ear
on the high seas, and that the insinuations that the whole affair was
a fabrication are themselves quite without foundation.[32] However,
not for nearly seven years was there any attempt to make political
capital out of it, although the smuggling question remained a constant
source of irritation between the two countries. It was at the
beginning of 1738 that circumstances were favourable for an outbreak,
for a powerful opposition was longing to bring about the fall of
Walpole, and his position was weakened by the death of Queen Caroline.
No weapon could be more effectual than the accusation of being
insensible to the claims of national honour and of tamely suffering
insults from Spain. On March 30th Carteret, in the House of Commons,
carried an address against the right of search, and Walpole, who was
anxious on all grounds to settle the matter, expedited the negotiations
which had been for some time proceeding with Spain on the subject of
compensation. In January, 1739, the terms of the agreement were
published to the following effect. The Spaniards were willing that
damages against themselves should be assessed to the amount of £200,000,
but, on the other hand, the English Government acknowledged a
counterclaim of £60,000, on account of the destruction of the Spanish
fleet by Byng in 1718. With this and other possible deductions and
abatements, the compensation seemed rather meagre, and the whole
question of right of search being left to a Commission's decision, there
was nothing in the findings that could be agreeable to Englishmen. A
storm at once rose. The Prince of Wales voted against the Government.
Young Pitt thundered against Walpole. The Prime Minister had to give
way. His colleagues were in favour of war, and, as often happened in
such struggles, Admiral Vernon was despatched, long before a declaration
of war, "to destroy the Spanish settlements and to distress their
shipping." The national feeling continued to rise, and great were the
manifestations of popular joy on the occasion of the formal declaration
of war on October 23rd. "They now ring the bells," said Walpole, "they
will soon ring their hands."

Meanwhile Vernon, though his force was small, lost no time, and having
appeared off Porto Bello with six ships on November 20th, he captured
it the next day, and the news of this success (which did not reach
London till March, 1740), was received with extravagant demonstrations
of rejoicing. In the spring Vernon was menacing Cartagena, and on March
24, 1740, captured Chagre. The home authorities appear to have been
extremely dilatory, for it took them a whole year to send effectual
reinforcements, and then their value was seriously discounted by the
fact that General Wentworth had succeeded to the command of the land
forces. This officer was thoroughly incompetent, and no exhortations of
Vernon could rouse him to energy, and owing to his mismanagement the
assault upon Cartagena of April 9th was a complete failure. The armament
departed about a week later, having lost at least eight thousand men,
and in July an attempt upon Santiago in Cuba failed likewise, owing to
Wentworth's incompetence. Little more of note occurred on that side, and
it is here proper to mention that Vernon was in nowise to blame for the
unfortunate results, and that, with an efficient colleague, there seems
no reason to doubt that he would have made a great name for himself in
the annals of the British Navy. Nor should Smollett, because he happens
to be a famous novelist, be accepted as a judge of the strategy of the
expedition. He had, in fact, infinitely less materials for forming a
judgment than a private at Waterloo had for criticising Wellington's
dispositions.

The haphazard general management is well illustrated by the only
brilliant achievement of the war--the Anson circumnavigation. Anson,
with six ships manned by Chelsea pensioners and raw recruits, was
ordered to the Pacific, and set sail on September 18, 1740. Although
his little squadron dwindled to three, he rounded the Horn, and
subsequently burnt Paita in Peru, and played havoc with Spanish
commerce. He crossed the Pacific, captured a great treasure-ship, and
returned by the Cape of Good Hope to England, which he reached June
15, 1744. He brought home treasure amounting to £500,000, and this was
paraded through the streets of London in thirty-two wagons.

It would be difficult to say when the War of Jenkins's Ear ended, or
what were its results. Carlyle[33] says: "What became subsequently of
the Spanish War, we in vain inquire of History-Books. The War did not
die for many years to come, but neither did it publicly live; it
disappears at this point: a River Niger, seen once flowing broad
enough, but issuing--Does it issue nowhere, then? Where does it
issue?... Forgotten by official people; left to the dumb English
Nation." Doubtless it was not forgotten by the people; they soon
showed once more their eagerness to break down the monopoly, and this
curious war is noteworthy both as striking the real keynote of a long
series of vast struggles, and also as showing the great _vis inertiæ_
of Spain. Southey[34] remarks that the history of the War of Jenkins's
Ear proves the strength of Spain in South America, and points out that
an event in the war contributed indirectly to the prosperity of the
River Plate settlement. When it was known that Anson was fitting out
his celebrated squadron, the Spanish Government for its part also
despatched six ships and three thousand five hundred men to protect
the settlement. They delayed a long time there and, it is said,
eventually not more than one hundred of the crews returned home, the
greater part remaining to settle in the country.

Not less important than these hostilities against English and
Portuguese (who from their near neighbourhood were almost equally
dangerous in the contraband trade) was the loss to South America of
that body which had been the conscience of Spanish America, which had
protected the Indians, instructed the ignorant, and turned the
wilderness into fertile fields. For a long time the civil power in
Roman Catholic countries had been jealous of the influence wielded by
the Jesuits. As their object was to suppress everything opposed to the
Roman Catholic system as they understood it, so every element that
felt itself menaced naturally rose in self-defence, and the Jesuits
found themselves friendless in Europe. Their downfall was principally
due to the able and astute Pombal, the Prime Minister of Portugal, who
considered that his country was depressed by a too powerful hierarchy,
and his machinations were greatly assisted by circumstances in the
River Plate settlements.

Colonia had long been a trouble to the Spaniards, diminishing their
trade and insulting them by its propinquity, and in 1750 they made
overtures for an exchange. The offending port was to be surrendered
and the Portuguese were to receive in exchange a large portion of the
Jesuit Missions, _i.e._, the territory called La Guayra and about
20,000 square miles to the east of the Uruguay River. This included
seven Jesuit Reductions, and the Society and the Indians strenuously
resisted the transference. Although the story of the Jesuits belongs
rather to Paraguay than Argentina, it is for many reasons necessary to
refer to that wonderful and benevolent despotism which they exercised
in the Parana settlements, and also to relate the circumstances of
their expulsion from South America--a matter of great importance to
all the colonies.

The Jesuits did not commence effective work in Paraguay earlier than
the beginning of the seventeenth century. In the days of the conquest
attempts had been made by them to convert the natives and to further
general missionary work, but the circumstances had not been favourable.
It was in 1610 that two members of the Order, Cataldino and Mazeta,
founded the settlement of Loreto on the Upper Parana. An unfriendly
critic[35] remarks: "They began by gathering together about one hundred
and fifty wandering families, whom they persuaded to settle, and they
united them into a little township. This was the slight foundation upon
which they have built a superstructure which has amazed the world, and
added so much power at the same time, that it has brought so much envy
and jealousy upon their society. For when they had made this beginning,
they laboured with such indefatigable pains, and with such masterly
policy that, by degrees, they mollified the minds of the most savage
nations,[36] fixed the most rambling, and subdued the most averse to
government. They prevailed upon thousands of various dispersed tribes of
people to embrace their religion, and to submit to their government; and
when they had submitted, the Jesuits left nothing undone that could
conduce to their remaining in this subjection, or that could tend to
increase their number to the degree requisite for a well-ordered and
potent society, and their labours were attended with amazing success."

The Jesuit establishments are one of the many meritorious acts of
Saavedra who, seeing with concern the depression of the Indians and
recognising their value to the Spanish Crown, appealed to the King,
whereupon Phillip III., in 1609, issued royal letters patent to the
Order of Jesuits for the conversion of the Indians. It is true that the
Jesuits drew considerable wealth from their obedient subjects. They
exported hides in large quantities and had a monopoly of the production
of _maté_. Their method of government also would have been unsuitable to
a race of harder fibre,[37] for they jealously excluded their Reductions
from the external world, allowing no European to enter, and the Indians
were kept constantly at work at the agricultural pursuits which the
Jesuits themselves had greatly improved. But in those days it was rare
indeed for any settlers to pay any regard to the welfare of the
uncivilised races whom they encountered, and it must be remembered that
the Jesuits were practically the only Christian missionaries in the
period between the Reformation and the middle of the eighteenth century.
All honour, then, is due to them for their devotion and philanthropy.

When the peaceful Indians heard of the great disaster that had overtaken
them in their abandonment to their old enemies the Portuguese, there was
consternation, but they were remorselessly driven from their homes.
However, the Jesuits protested strongly, and in the end the Spanish
Government was induced to annul the treaty. Nevertheless, the Indians
never recovered their losses and the West of Rio Grande became
permanently Portuguese, in spite of the abrogation of the treaty. The
result would, no doubt, have been different had their powerful
protectors remained in the country.

The officials at Buenos Aires cared much about Colonia and little for
the Reductions or the fate of the Indians, and the Jesuits were
accused of having brought about the recision of the treaty. Any
pretext was now welcome, for their destruction was contemplated. As we
have seen, the able Pombal had resolved to expel them from Portugal,
and in 1759 he trumped up against them a charge of attempting to
assassinate the King, and issued a decree for their deportation from
Portugal. France eventually followed this example, and in 1767 even
the Spanish King was induced to do the same, while in 1773 Pope
Clement XIV. decreed the entire suppression of the Order.

In Argentina the Jesuits were seized and deported. It was expected
that the Indians, who were armed, would make a serious resistance, but
they were as sheep having no shepherd, and rather than remain in their
old abodes to be harried by new masters they migrated to Entre Rios
and Uruguay. But the work of the Jesuits has not perished, for they
and the conventual orders were the first to give an example of
humanity in the treatment of inferior races.

This great change was quickly followed by another. In 1776 the
Vice-royalty of Buenos Aires was created, that is, the four countries
now known as Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, were detached from
the Vice-royalty of Peru, under Don Pedro Cevallos, sometime Governor
of Buenos Aires. This step was a recognition of the importance of
Buenos Aires, to which all observers testify. All the efforts of the
Spaniards to force the trade of Europe over the Isthmus of Panama and
the Andes had failed, and Buenos Aires was now to fulfil its destiny
as the metropolis of Spanish America. The new Governor brought a large
force, for there had been serious trouble with Portugal. As the latter
was too weak to resist, and as the news of peace between the two
countries followed almost immediately, there was no difficulty in
coming to terms, and Colonia was finally made over to Spain. The result
of this important treaty was that Spain was left in undisputed
possession of Uruguay and Portugal of Brazil in its present form, for
she recovered Rio Grande and Santa Catharina. Free trade was established
between Buenos Aires and Spain, and Argentina made wonderful industrial
advances. The rest of the century was uneventfully prosperous, but great
events were in the wind, and they were destined to have a powerful
influence on Spanish America. The easygoing paternal rule was to come to
an end, and a long period of bloodshed and turbulence was to succeed. As
was the case in every other part of the world, the motive power was
supplied by the French Revolution.

FOOTNOTES:

[26] Funes, vol. iii. 73.

[27] "History of Brazil," ii. 322-3.

[28] Drake in 1578 visited the south of Tierra del Fuego, and
discovered that there was a passage round, but he did not himself make
the voyage round Cape Horn.

[29] Bourgainville (See J. H. Moore), "Collection of Voyages and
Travels," 266.

[30] "Buenos Ayres," 59.

[31] Carlyle has an accurate perception of the gravity of the issue.
"The Jenkins's Ear Question, which then looked so mad to everybody,
how sane has it now grown to my Constitutional Friend! In abstruse
ludicrous form there lay immense questions involved in it; which were
serious enough, certain enough, though invisible to everybody. Half
the World lay hidden in embryo under it. Colonial-Empire, whose is it
to be? Shall Half the World be England's, for industrial purposes;
which is innocent, laudable, conformable to the Multiplication-table
at least, and other plain Laws? Or shall it be Spain's for
arrogant-torpid sham-devotional purposes, contradictory to every Law?"
("History of Frederick the Great," xii. 12, § 3).

[32] See Sir J. K. Laughton, _English Historical Review_, October,
1889.

[33] See Sir J. K. Laughton, _English Historical Review_, October,
1889.

[34] "History of Brazil," iii. 300.

[35] "An Account of the Spanish Settlement in America," 340-1.

[36] "They collected them into fixed habitations, gave them laws,
introduced useful and polite arts among them; and, in short, of a
barbarous nation, without civilised manners, and without religious
principles, they made a good-natured and well-governed people, who
strictly observed the Christian ceremonies" (De Bougainville, p. 98).

[37] "These Indians live at present in an entire assurance, that
whatever their priests advise them to is good, and whatever they
reprehend is bad" (Ulloa, ii. 183).



CHAPTER V

THE SPANISH COLONIAL SYSTEM


Colonies were one of the many new things which were introduced to
Europe at the end of the fifteenth century. Of them mediæval Europe
had known nothing since the dissolution of the Roman Empire; the means
of communication were too bad, the Asiatic races were too powerful,
and the Western world itself was too thinly populated to allow of
distant excursions. The planting of settlements was familiar to both
Greece and Rome. The Greek system was the simpler of the two, for the
city state merely propagated itself by colonies as a plant propagates
itself by seeds, and two cities existed instead of one, each independent
of the other. But a Roman colony was incorporated as a subordinate and
inferior part of the mother state. Greek history and literature were
almost unknown in the Middle Ages, and even after the Renaissance they
remained much less familiar than Latin. On the other hand, many European
States, and especially Spain, inherited their law and their municipal
systems from Rome, Latin was the international language, and the Church,
by far the most powerful mediæval institution, was Roman. It is,
therefore, not surprising that Spain followed the Roman colonial system,
but all the circumstances were so different that beyond the mere
incorporation and inferiority of the new dominions there was little
other resemblance.

The main difference and the main characteristic of the Spanish
colonial system was this--the colonies were the private property of
the King of Spain. This, then, is the keystone of the edifice--that
the dominions were vested in the Crown, not in the nation. The
derivation of this theory is doubtless from the fact that in the early
exploring days the Spanish and Portuguese kings were, really or
apparently, private adventurers, and, in fact, the adventurers always
assumed that they were stewards of royal estates rather than officers
of a kingdom. Thus the colonies were the property of the King of Spain
for the time being. Ferdinand had, in 1511, established a tribunal to
manage his new property. This was the Council of the Indies, which
made laws for the colonies and distributed all the appointments and
acted as a Court of Appeal from the Audiencia in America. The King
made all grants of land, and allowed the colonists only local
liberties; the Spanish nation had no concern whatever in the matter. A
modern parallel is the Congo Free State as it was a year or two ago.
It is probable that the New World had little to complain of except in
the matter of trade and commerce, but here the system was illiberal
and short-sighted. The fifth share of the King in the produce of all
the gold and silver mines was a small matter in comparison with the
multitude of harassing restrictions,[38] which Spain never had the
wisdom to cancel till it was too late. No colony was allowed to trade
with any country except Spain; all the exports, whatever their
destination, had first to go to the mother country, and the navigation
laws were conceived in a similar spirit. The most glaring instance of
stupidity was the prohibition of import trade laid upon Buenos Aires. No
Atlantic colonial port might receive goods from Spain except Nombre de
Dios. When Argentina purchased goods from Spain they were despatched
across the Atlantic to Nombre de Dios, carried by mule across the
Isthmus, transhipped to Callao, and then taken over innumerable
mountains into the River Plate country. Merely to state such a system is
to condemn it, but there was no possibility of altering it, because the
whole shipping trade of Spain was in the hands of a syndicate of Cadiz
merchants, and they were all-powerful.

As is well known, no foreign State was allowed to trade with Spanish
America, nor was any foreigner even allowed to enter it without
special permission. Various manufactures were forbidden, and even the
cultivation of the vine and olive was placed under restrictions, as it
was feared that their produce might compete with the produce of Spain.
In fact, the ideal of the home-staying Spaniard was that the colonies
should be mere mining-camps. Gold and silver were regarded as the
whole of wealth, and it was considered the height of commercial wisdom
to drain the whole produce of the mines of America into Spanish ports
without allowing a fraction to be diverted elsewhere.

Thus legitimate trade was made extremely difficult, for the Spaniards
even discouraged colonial exports from the fear that precious metals
might be concealed among them. Accordingly, in 1599, the Governor of
Buenos Aires was commanded to forbid exportation and importation alike
under penalty of death. But the stringency of the various laws and
regulations defeated their own objects, a gigantic contraband trade grew
up, and all the officials, from the Governor downward, were implicated
in it. Bribes accompanied almost every business transaction.[39] The
manufactures of Europe were surreptitiously landed at Buenos Aires, and
of course ruined the sale of the goods that had come over oceans,
Isthmus, and mountains. This contraband trade was chiefly carried on by
the English and the Dutch, and, as Professor Seeley has frequently
pointed out, the power to trade with the New World formed for some two
hundred years the chief bone of contention in the foreign politics of
European countries. The practice of smuggling has had two marked and
very pernicious effects upon Spanish-American character; it has fostered
contempt of law and the preference of Government service to profitable
industry. As the Argentines despised the laws of contraband, so they
came to despise all laws, and during their independent history the
shackles of the law have been cobwebs light as air to restrain
individuals or communities from disturbing the public peace. In a word,
out of the contraband trade sprang one of the worst features of South
America--lawlessness and turbulence. It is obvious that it also fostered
an almost equally injurious spirit--the craving of office. It was easier
and more profitable to take bribes from the smugglers than to engage
actively in smuggling, and so the tradition has descended to prefer the
certain emoluments (direct and indirect) of office to the uncertain
gains of trade. In Spanish America it is better to be the nephew of a
President than of a successful trader. Of course, it would be absurd to
attribute these two evils solely to the contraband trade, but the first
has been undoubtedly encouraged, and the second, to a considerable
extent, caused by the practice which was forced upon the Spanish
colonies by an absurd fiscal system. The economic condition, therefore,
of these countries appears to us very sombre. It must, however, be
remembered that such treatment of "plantations" was the accepted policy
of the age, and probably the reason why Spain was more unfortunate with
her foreign possessions than other nations is rather to be found in the
indolent character of her sons and her foreign embarrassments than in
any particular set of restrictions.

Till the middle of the eighteenth century the principles of the
Spanish colonial system were considered the last words of commercial
policy by all nations and practically all individuals.[40] That great
statesman, Lord Chatham, was fully convinced of the wisdom of these
principles. He remarked: "Let the sovereign authority of this country
over the colonies be asserted in as strong terms as can be devised,
and be made to extend to every point of legislation whatsoever. That
we may bind their _trade_, confine their _manufactures_, and exercise
every _power_ whatsoever, except that of taking money out of their
pocket without their consent."[41] Indeed, the general commercial and
colonial policy of Spain was at least as liberal as that of England,
and was, during the half century preceding the Revolution, infinitely
more liberal, and if we make allowance for the enlargement of the
human mind in a hundred and fifty years, it must be admitted that the
present commercial policy of the South American Republics compares
unfavourably with the Spanish system. There was at least material
prosperity. Adam Smith,[42] while censuring the Spanish system of
government and considering it inferior to that obtaining in English
colonies, recognised that great progress was being made. He says:
"The Spanish colonies are under a government in many respects less
favourable to agriculture, improvement, and population, than that of the
English colonies. They seem, however, to be advancing in all these much
more rapidly than any country in Europe. In a fertile soil and happy
climate the great abundance and cheapness of land, a circumstance common
to all new colonies, is, it seems, so great an advantage as to
compensate many defects in civil government." It is impossible to put
down the failure of Spain to anything but defect of character--the grand
defect of _mañana_, of putting off every exertion till to-morrow, or
rather for ever. But it cannot be denied that a hundred years ago the
ill-starred country had to face a series of misfortunes which might well
have disheartened a more energetic people. The revolutionary spirit
which had spread all over the globe was at first wonderfully impotent in
the Spanish settlements owing to the rigid disciplinary system which had
been in force for upwards of two hundred years. Yet that of itself would
have been enough to have taxed all the energies of an ancient and
absolute monarchy. Further, Spain contrived to change sides in such a
way during the war as to get all the hardships of defeat and none of the
fruits of victory. When she was in alliance with France her fleet was
destroyed by the English, and when she was in alliance with England her
territory was overrun by the French. At this crisis also she was
afflicted by the feeblest king of a feeble line and probably the worst
queen and minister that ever lived. Under these circumstances it can
hardly be a matter for wonder that she lost her colonies.

And yet if her general policy towards them be considered, it must be
acknowledged that she deserved her fate less than any colonial power
then existing. The Spanish merchants did indeed greatly hamper the
development of South America, but they acted in obedience to a theory
which was considered axiomatic and which was rigorously put into
practice by every other nation. The King and the high officials always
exerted their influence in favour of humane treatment of the Indians.
Irala was conspicuous for his humanity, and the protective regulations
which he put forward on their behalf and at the beginning of the
seventeenth century, when reports reached Spain that the Indians in
Tucuman were being ill-treated, it was ordered that Don Francisco de
Alfaro, Auditor of the Supreme Court of Peru, should go to Paraguay
and investigate the whole matter. The result was the Ordinances of
Alfaro in 1612, which abolished both the forcible subjection of
Indians and slavery, and substituted a small capitation tax. As we
have seen, the Court of Madrid warmly seconded the early efforts of
the Jesuits. The treatment, then, of subject races was as benevolent
as circumstances and theories would permit, nor were the colonists in
practice subject to any considerable severity. The commercial
regulations were easily evaded, and the Argentina steadily advanced in
prosperity.

The latter days of Spanish rule were extremely creditable to the
sagacity and liberality of the Crown and its advisers. In 1764 a line
of vessels was established to run between Corunna and various South
American ports, with permission to carry Spanish merchandise and bring
back in return the products of the colonies, and in 1774 the colonies
were allowed intercommunication and trade. In 1778 a new commercial code
was drawn up for the benefit of the Spanish Indies, and this was
surprisingly liberal for those days. Nine ports in Spain and twenty-four
in the colonies were declared "ports of entry," and goods, for the most
part, were allowed to pass in and out freely. The general duty was
nominally 3 per cent. on Spanish goods and 7 per cent. on foreign goods;
but as the latter had to be shipped from Spain, the duty upon them was
really 40 or 50 per cent. If we compare this scale with that now in
force, we shall see how greatly South America has retrograded since the
removal of the control of Spain. It is interesting to remember that
these beneficent regulations were framed while Smith was publishing the
"Wealth of Nations," and that therefore backward Spain anticipated both
Pitt and Huskisson.

After this Argentina advanced by leaps and bounds. The average export
of hides had been 150,000; they soon rose to 800,000, and in one
particular year the figure was 1,400,000. At least seventy ships
sailed to Spain every year, and the population of Buenos Aires rose
from 37,000 in 1778, to 72,000 in 1800. Buenos Aires became openly
what she had long been struggling to be--the _entrepôt_ for wine and
brandy from Cuzo, hides from Tucuman, tobacco, _yerba maté_, and wood
from Paraguay, and gold, silver, copper, rice, sugar, and cocoa from
the distant interior. Had the fate of Spain been happier, and the
character of her sons stronger, South America would have had a very
different destiny, for everything pointed to a period of peaceful
development, and the people had a government which was exactly suited
to them. The Revolution substituted for the mild rule of Spain a
preposterous democracy which was only effective or tolerable when
metamorphosed into a dictatorship, and for more than two centuries of
comparative peace an indefinitely long period of disorder and
bloodshed.

Before closing this brief sketch of a period which has been both
neglected and misunderstood (for it is usually passed over with a few
reflections upon the perversity and tyranny of Spanish rule) it is
desirable to indicate briefly the machinery of government, which
underwent substantial alteration only in the last generation of the
Spanish dominion. The King had a special body of advisers to help him
in the administration of his oversea territory, and this was called
the Council of the Indies. There were only two Viceroys--who, of
course, were subject to the home authorities--they were the Viceroy
of Mexico and the Viceroy of Peru. The latter ruled over the whole of
South America. When a new colony was founded it was put under the
charge of an Adelantado, or Governor, who was nominally subject to the
Viceroy, but in practice he was independent and answerable only to the
King. When he vacated office his acts were subject to a review, and he
was liable to punishment if found guilty of misconduct, but in the
nature of things there was little effective check upon him by the Home
Government, and he was really a military ruler with almost despotic
powers. However, the Spaniards, following the Roman tradition, always
strongly favoured municipal government, and provisions were made which
modified the arbitrary character of the system, although, as was
inevitable, there were loud complaints that the claims of the
Creoles--those born in the country--were neglected, and that the good
posts were given to Spaniards from over the seas. Even to the last
this grievance remained.[43]

The system of local government, which modified this exclusiveness and
gave the children of the soil a considerable share in the management
of their own affairs, is a most important feature in the history of
Argentina.

To begin with, the Governor made grants of land to each white
settler. The recipients of the grants became Encomenderos, who
received also in fief several Indian villages and took tribute from
the inhabitants in return for protection and Christian teaching. The
Encomenderos swore "to defend, enrich, and ennoble the kingdom and
care for the Indians," and they appear to have discharged their trust
with tolerable fidelity.

But the Spaniards are city-dwelling people, and the history of
Argentina chiefly centres in the towns where the governing body was
the Cabildo, or town council. The Cabildo consisted of from six to
twelve members, and although they had bought their offices of the King
and held them for life, they imparted no insignificant popular element
into the system of government, and when the Revolution came the
Cabildos had sufficient vitality to act as the rallying-point for the
revolutionists in every district. In Buenos Aires the Cabildo had
great power, and the Governor could not easily override it, while in
every city in the provinces the little town councils represented
Creole and local interests. This system lent itself to particularism
and was unfavourable to representative government, which accordingly has
not been a success in Argentina, partly owing to this cause and partly
to the natural incapacity of the people. It has been always very
difficult to obtain a national assembly even for the decision of the
most momentous questions and legislation, elections and administrations
are controlled by functionaries rather than by electors and deputies.
Under Spanish rule the Cabildo system worked extremely well. In the
thinly populated districts the great proprietors ruled in patriarchal
fashion.

Inefficiency and indolence were the chief grievances which the
inhabitants of the Plate district could have reasonably urged against
their rulers. The commercial regulations, as we have seen, were so bad
that they were perpetually evaded, and the Governor and other
officials took bribes and connived at the evasions. Thus grew up the
evil tradition that official and political careers are above all
others desirable, and that the productive classes are fair game for
every kind of official exaction. But, in spite of all defects, the
settlements steadily prospered, there were few serious Indian wars,
comparatively little fighting even with the Portuguese or other
foreign nations, and civil tumults were few and far between. If we
make allowance for the natural progress that all nations must make in
the face of all adverse circumstances, we cannot deny that even
Argentina has lost ground in the nineteenth century, as compared with
her position in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

Another institution which exerted great influence upon the history of
Spanish America was the Consulado, or Chamber of Commerce. In 1543 the
first of these bodies was founded at Seville, and its principal object
was to regulate trade with the Indies. The Consulado of Cadiz became
eventually by far the most influential and gained an unenviable
notoriety for its commerce-destroying enactments; but it was following
the accepted commercial principles of the age, and there can be no
doubt that the Consulados at Mexico and Lima were beneficial. Their
business was to adjudge commercial suits and carry on the entire trade
in their respective Viceroyalties, and in general they undertook the
commercial development of the settlements. Their policy was cautious
and conservative.

Such, then, were the institutions which tempered the rigours of
personal or despotic rule, modifying either the unlimited power of the
Crown or the absolute military sway of the Governor. But in theory the
royal authority was as complete as that of the Roman Emperor. Just as
in later days Queen Victoria took the title of Empress of India as the
successor of the Mogul Emperor, so the King of Spain was Emperor of
the Indies in succession to Montezuma in Mexico and the Incas in Peru.
The King's will was the source of law; legislation was carried out by
means of Cédulas Reales, or Royal Decrees, which were issued by the
Council of the Indies in his name, and, as was natural, the attempt
was made at regulation on far too complete a scale, and matters which
ought to have been settled by local authorities were the subject of
decrees, and thus these enactments increased with alarming rapidity.
The principles of these Cédulas soon fell into confusion; it is said
that their codification, ordered in 1635, was not carried into effect
until 1680, by which time it had become obsolete. It does not appear,
however, that the rulers troubled themselves much about the confusion
of the law; they would probably have been much more uneasy had all the
decrees become effective, for it was obviously impossible to carry on
all legislation at such a distance, and travellers and annalists
agreed that the Governors and their subordinates usually neglected the
law and governed according to equity. The result was not unsatisfactory.

Current ideas about history are very often wrong; they are often the
repetition at third or fourth hand of an extremely indifferent
authority. An American traveller may have come with the preconceived
belief that all republics are free and all monarchies grinding
tyrannies, and having accordingly stated that the condition of South
America under Spanish rule was miserable, his statement has been
echoed by all his successors. Or, again, another writer notices that
the commercial regulations were absurd and vexatious, and he declares
that the colonies were paralysed by the blight of Spanish rule. A
third has no difficulty in discovering instances of atrocities
committed against the Indians who worked in the Peruvian mines, and he
enlarges upon the greed and inhumanity of the Spaniards. Thus the
whole history, which possesses few striking incidents to tempt
investigators, is distorted by prejudice and the three hundred years
of Spanish rule are summarily dismissed as a barren period, fruitful
in nothing but misery.

In fact, from first to last the Spanish colonies enjoyed a more
liberal trade policy than did those of England. The reason that the
abuses of the Spanish colonies were so much more prominent was that
the Spanish trade was incomparably more valuable than the North
American. Again, apart from the mines, the Spanish treatment of the
Indians was considerably in advance of the standards of the time in
humanity, nor would it be easy to find any body of men in the three
centuries who pursued a wiser and juster policy towards inferior and
conquered races. And, further, such cruelty as was perpetrated was the
work of private exploiters or, at worst, of disobedient officials. The
King of Spain and the ecclesiastics of Spain made every effort to
redress the instances of ill-treatment which came to their ears. It
was Charles III. who encouraged the Jesuits to proceed upon their
mission of mercy, and if he had had the power he would have restrained
the cruelty of the Portuguese Paulistas. The condition of the River
Plate settlements under Spanish rule compares favourably with that of
most civilised nations during the same period.

A recent writer,[44] summing up the general subject, makes some
remarks which deserve quotation: "In discussing the often-repeated
accusation of Spanish oppression, it is necessary to define what sort
of oppression is meant: whether oppression of the Indians by the
whites, or oppression of the whites by the Spanish Government. If the
former is meant, then the Creoles were as guilty as the Europeans, and
both were more guilty than the Spanish Government and its immediate
representatives. If the latter, the restraint of the whites was in fact
the measure of protection enjoyed by the natives; free immigration
and large autonomy granted to European settlers would have meant
extermination or enslavement. But the theory of a universal control
which should foster both 'commonwealths' and protect the weaker was
largely ineffective; and in this failure lay the troubles of the
Indians....

"The usual exclusion of Creoles from the highest posts was a
grievance; but both its extent and its significance were much
exaggerated during the struggle for independence, since a very large
number of subordinate posts, some of them commanding large influence
and dignity, were usually held by Creoles. In fact, almost all the
revolutionary leaders were connected with the royal service through
posts held either by themselves or by their fathers....

"Here was an empire which, by the testimony of its own administrators,
was honeycombed with continuous decay in all directions; yet this
empire survived repeated external shocks, continually extended its
influence, and after three centuries evoked the admiration of foreign
observers. This vitality is not explained by the theoretic system of
administration, nor yet by the practical neglect of that system.
Perhaps the explanation may partly be found in personal character....
Examples constantly recur of admirable and loyal service, which has
something Oriental in its simplicity and self-abandonment; in
emergencies the presence of one capable leader counterbalances all
vices. Again, the undefinable Spanish quality of _hidalguía_, which
animated the better part of the community, especially in New Spain,
showed itself in a noble charity and hospitality, a liberal and
careless use of wealth, indifference to material results, and an
old-fashioned, uncalculating loyalty, sometimes almost fantastic."

The Spaniards had not the constructive genius of the Romans, and both in
the mechanical contrivances of civilisation and in the moral force which
founds laws and institutions they were far inferior. But they played
very much the same part in South America which the Romans did in Europe.
France, Spain, Portugal, and Italy are not more distinctively Roman than
Argentina, Chile, Peru, and Colombia are Spanish. As Spain was in
language and institutions the most completely Romanised of all European
countries, so she has left her mark upon the West more distinctively
than any other colonising Power. For good or evil, Buenos Aires, Lima,
and the rest are Spanish cities, and there seems no reason to believe
that they will ever be anything else, and the Spanish influence seems
likely to be as permanent as the Roman in Southern Europe. Nor will any
candid student of the history of the continent be unwilling to
acknowledge that it was no small achievement for a nation to build up
and administer such an empire, and he will regret that ignorance and
prejudice have prevented the world from giving the praise due to a vast
political and religious experiment which, in spite of extraordinary
difficulties, was successful as far as its own character was concerned,
and which, when it broke down by reason of the weakness of the mother
country, left behind it all its institutions, political, religious, and
social. Governors became Dictators or Presidents, but everything remains
substantially Spanish.

FOOTNOTES:

[38] The following is a typical example. "In 1602 a custom-house was
established at Cordoba for the purpose of levying duties equivalent to
50 per cent. of the value of all commodities passing between Peru and
the River Plate. It was not till 1665 that this irritating restraint
on commercial business was relaxed" (C. E. Akers, "A History of South
America," p. 11).

[39] "The commerce between Peru and Buenos Aires is chiefly for cattle
and mules; such as are concerned in the former, go first to the
Governor, and ask his leave to drive a herd of cattle into Peru, which
is never refused when backed by a present of some thousand pieces of
eight" ("An Account of the Spanish Settlements in America (1762)"
331).

[40] "In the trade to America every nation endeavours to engross as
much as possible the whole market of its own colonies, by fairly
excluding all other nations from any direct trade to them" (Adam
Smith, "Wealth of Nations," ii. 129).

[41] Thackeray, "A History of William Pitt," ii. 73, 74.

[42] "Wealth of Nations," i. 203.

[43] Writing of the time of Galvez, Funes (iii. 225) says: "Civil and
military appointments were never before distributed with such complete
partiality to the European Spaniards. In general, the native-born were
shut out; they were not esteemed worthy to be appointed door-keepers
of the offices." He also remarks that there was similar exclusiveness
in the distribution of ecclesiastical preferment.

[44] A. F. Kirkpatrick, "Cambridge Modern History," x. 277-9.



CHAPTER VI

THE ENGLISH FAILURE IN ARGENTINA


In the early years of the nineteenth century England was engaged in a
life and death struggle with Napoleon, and Spain and Holland, two of
the chief colonial Powers, were in alliance with the Corsican. At
Trafalgar, in 1805, the naval power of France and Spain had been
shattered, but Napoleon was master of practically the whole of Europe,
and he was devising weapons against his enemies which he hoped would
be more potent than fleets or armies. England's trade and industries
were advancing rapidly, but the long-continued war tended to spoil her
markets, and Napoleon was attempting to prevent his subject allies
from engaging in any trade whatever with the enemy. Consequently there
was throughout the war frequent distress, especially in the North of
England, and the manufacturing interest was urgent upon the Government
to find new markets. Possibly in some cases the effective fighting
strength of England was dissipated in distant expeditions, but in
these years some of the most valuable additions were made to our
Empire, and if the expedition which is to be related had been in
competent hands, the history of South America would have been changed
and England would have had vast dominions in every continent of the
world.

One such was acquired in South Africa in January, 1806, when Cape Town
was rapidly and easily taken from the Dutch. Sir Home Popham commanded
the naval forces while Sir David Baird was Commander-in-Chief. Popham
was an able and restless man, and hearing a few months later from an
American sea-captain that the people of Buenos Aires and Montevideo
were oppressed by the Spanish Government and would welcome the English
as liberators, he resolved to make an attempt in that quarter and
persuaded Baird to lend him a brigade.[45] The flotilla consisted of
five ships of war and five transports, and the little army numbered
1,635 men under the command of that fine soldier, General Beresford.
Popham was disobeying his orders and leaving Cape Town defenceless,
but he knew that the acquisition of a new trade opening would atone
for any technical disobedience in the eyes of the Home Government. The
expedition left Table Bay on the 13th of April, 1806, and reached the
River Plate on June 10th. Very wisely Popham proceeded to Buenos Aires
instead of Montevideo, and on June 25th anchored off Quilmes, which is
15 miles south of the capital, and disembarked the same evening. The
Spanish Viceroy made a very feeble resistance, and the next day the
English force was encamped in the suburb of Barracas. On the 27th of
June Beresford hoisted the English flag on the fort and a city of
72,000 inhabitants had been captured by a weak brigade. The Viceroy
fled to Cordoba, and undoubtedly the feebleness displayed by the
Spanish officials on that occasion helped to prepare the ground for
the subsequent Revolution. The Argentines, indeed, had lost the
qualities of self-help and initiative under the paternal rule of
Spain, but they were ashamed of the surrender to so small a force, and
under their nonchalant attitude there was an eager desire to expel the
foreigners if an opportunity should arise. All that was needed was a
leader, and a leader was found in Jacques Liniers. He was a Frenchman
who had been thirty years in the service of Spain, and at the time of
the invasion he was Governor of Misiones. Seeing that the people were
ripe for an attempt upon the English he made his way to Montevideo and
asked for help from the General in command. This was readily given,
and with a small force he marched to Colonia and thence passed over by
boats to Conchas, 21 miles north of Buenos Aires. Meanwhile Puirredon,
a Creole patriot, had been skirmishing in the neighbourhood, and had
succeeded in capturing a gun from the English. This success, which was
won by Gauchos, greatly emboldened Liniers and gave him confidence in
the abilities of his followers for partisan warfare. His force
amounted to 1,124 men with two large guns and four small pieces. On
August 10th he suddenly entered the northern suburb of Buenos Aires.
The next day he summoned Beresford to surrender, and on his refusal
the attack began. On the 12th the enemy forced their way to the
Cathedral which overlooks the square where the English had their
headquarters, and soon, by annoying street-fighting, compelled them to
abandon all the neighbouring streets. From the square itself Beresford
was forced by artillery fire to retreat, and the situation was soon
seen to be untenable. After 165 had been killed or wounded, the
English force, which had attempted an enterprise for which its numbers
were altogether inadequate, surrendered to General Liniers. He
honourably desired to keep the terms, which were that the soldiers
should be embarked for England and not serve again until exchanged,
but the Spanish authorities maintained that they had surrendered at
discretion and marched them up-country as prisoners of war. Beresford,
it may be added, contrived to escape six months later. The people of
Buenos Aires had learned the lesson that if they desired security they
must depend upon themselves rather than upon Spain. The first step
they took was to depose their faint-hearted Viceroy and set up Liniers
in his place.

Popham had sent home a glowing account of the commercial possibilities
of the new conquest, and English traders made immense preparations to
take advantage of the opportunity which was indeed sufficiently great.
Sir David Baird had sent reinforcements of 1,400 men from the Cape,
which arrived after the surrender, but of course Popham was too weak
to retake the capital. He landed at Maldonado on the left bank and
awaited reinforcements which were soon forthcoming, for the Cabinet
had been greatly elated by the easy initial victory. On October 11th
Admiral Sterling sailed from England in charge of a military force of
4,350 and a month later an expedition of equal strength under General
Crauford followed for Chile. When the news of the disaster to
Beresford reached England a swift ship was despatched after Crauford,
ordering him to sail to the River Plate. Finally there followed
General Whitelocke with additional troops and orders to take command
of the whole expedition. The total armament amounted to twelve
thousand men, eighteen ships of war, and eighty transports--a force
amply sufficient to command success if it were well handled, but
unfortunately it was placed in incompetent hands. The Ministry of All
the Talents failed to justify its title in the planning of expeditions
and the allocation of commanders.

John Whitelocke,[46] the new commander, had served with moderate
success in the West Indies, but he owed his advancement (chiefly in
pacific appointments) to his brother-in-law, Matthew Lewis, the Deputy
Secretary at War, and father of the well-known "Monk" Lewis. But his
appointment to this important command remains a mystery. It appears
from Windham's Diary that he wished to give the command to Sir John
Stuart, while Leveson-Gower was in favour of Whitelocke, and the
annotator to the Diary declares that the Duke of York decided in
favour of Whitelocke. This does not seem very probable, and though
Lord Holland, who was a member of the not very competent Cabinet,
suggests more plausibly that Whitelocke as Inspector-General of
Recruiting was opposed to an important scheme of Windham, who
therefore wished to get rid of him, still this view seems untenable in
face of Windham's positive statement. The appointment can only be
considered as one of the many blunders which sometimes counteract
England's usual good luck; and on this occasion the effect was
complete.

However, until he arrived matters proceeded in brilliant fashion. The
first officer of high rank to appear was Sir Samuel Auchmuty, a loyal
American who had served the King, for whose sake his family had
suffered ruin, in America, India, and Egypt. Although he had expected
merely to assist in the task of completing the conquest of Argentina,
he was not dismayed when he found that the work had to be begun over
again. He promptly began the bombardment of Montevideo and within a
few days, February 3, 1807, the breach was found to be practicable.
The town, strongly fortified as it was, taken by storm with a loss to
the English of six hundred men, and the General acting humanely and
prudently, conciliated the inhabitants and established civil rule.
Many adventurous English merchantmen, whose owners anticipated a boom,
arrived and unloaded, and necessaries and luxuries were sold at prices
hitherto unknown in Argentina.

Whitelocke arrived on May 10th and Crauford on June 15th. It was on
June 28th that the expedition left Montevideo. It consisted of four
brigades, of which three were commanded by Generals Crauford,
Auchmuty, and Lumley, the fourth by Colonel Mahon. The transports left
amidst the cheers of the fleet, and success might well have been
anticipated, for an enterprise was being attempted which a year earlier
had been easily accomplished by less than one-sixth of Whitelocke's
army, which was ten thousand strong. But these proportions hardly
represented the difference between the brother-in-law of Matthew Lewis
and the future victor of Albuera, and, moreover, the spirit of the
colonists had risen, and they rejected both the feeble restrictions of
Spain and the new prosperity offered by England. The first mistake was
made in landing at Ensenada, 48 miles south of Buenos Aires, and the
troops had to make long marches through deep swamps. But Whitelocke
arrived at Quilmes (where he ought to have landed) on July 1st without
having seen an enemy, and all promised to go well.

On that day Liniers attempted to oppose the invaders in force, but
Crauford, with a vigorous charge, beat down all resistance and pursued
the enemy to the suburbs. There is little doubt that Crauford was
correct in his belief that if he had been supported by the main body,
Buenos Aires would have fallen on that very day. But Leveson-Gower,
the second in command, who was as incompetent as Whitelocke and who
was the moving spirit in the whole disaster, recalled the troops and
gave the discouraged Spaniards a welcome delay. On July 2nd Whitelocke
called upon them to surrender, and they refused. He himself was well
aware of the difficulties of an assault. As soon as Crauford arrived
at Montevideo the Commander-in-Chief had taken him round the works,
pointed out the peculiar facilities which the flat-roofed South
American houses afforded for street-fighting, and declared that he
would never expose his troops to the risk of a general assault. In
this resolve Crauford heartily concurred.

The General had two easy and certain means of attaining his object. He
might blockade the town and so starve it into surrender, or he might
bombard it. But unfortunately he was too unstable to persevere in his
previous resolution, and he allowed Leveson-Gower to persuade him to
adopt a preposterous scheme of assault. It was decided that on July
5th the troops should be divided into eight columns, and orders were
actually issued that they should advance with their muskets unloaded,
lest they should be tempted to waste time in returning the enemy's
fire. The columns were to march through the town until each had
arrived at the square nearest the river. Then they were to halt and,
apparently, do nothing, for no further orders were issued.

The attack began at half-past six in the morning. When the English had
entered the town a withering fire was poured upon them from innumerable
houses. But they pushed gallantly on. Auchmuty, who was on the left,
made his way to the Retiro and the Plaza de Toros, where he captured
thirty-two guns and six hundred prisoners. The troops on the right
seized the Residencia. But these successes were of no avail through lack
of a competent guiding mind; the column leaders did not even know the
whereabouts of the Commander-in-Chief, much less what he wished them to
do, and further, the ill-judged scheme had borne its natural fruit in
several serious disasters.

Crauford had seized the Convent of San Domingo, but he was surrounded
by a very large force of the enemy who kept up a deadly fire of
musketry and artillery, and by half-past four in the afternoon he was
compelled to surrender. The same fate befell columns under Colonel
Cadogan and Colonel Duff. In this day's fighting the English lost 70
officers and 1,130 men, killed and wounded, while prisoners amounted
to 120 and 1,500.

Whitelocke and Auchmuty were now besieged in the Retiro. Their army
had suffered severely, but they had still a large and efficient force,
they had command of the sea, and the knowledge that the English
Government would support them with all its available strength. Even if
ordinary skill were out of the question, ordinary resolution would
quickly have retrieved the initial reverses. But it was not to be.

Flushed by his success, General Liniers the next day sent a flag of
truce to Whitelocke proposing to surrender all his prisoners if the
English would evacuate Buenos Aires. He probably hardly expected
anything but rejection of such terms, but the civilian Alzaga seemed
to have had a better appreciation of the character of Whitelocke and
insisted that _Montevideo_ should be added to _Buenos Aires_. Nothing
could be lost by making extravagant demands. The panic-stricken
Whitelocke agreed to everything. At first he seems to have hesitated a
little, but Liniers had added the menace that he could not be
responsible for the safety of the prisoners if the attack were
renewed. In any case such a threat should have been treated with
contempt, but it was, as it happened, perfectly empty, for the life
and property of every inhabitant of Montevideo were in Whitelocke's
power.

Finally, he accepted the terms of surrender without raising the
slightest objection to the inclusion of Montevideo, and taking great
credit to himself for his humanity in yielding to Linier's threat, he
wrote complacently: "Influenced by this consideration, which I knew to
be founded in fact, and reflecting of how little advantage would be
the possession of a country the inhabitants of which were so absolutely
hostile, I resolved to forego the advantages which the bravery of the
troops had obtained, and acceded to a treaty, which I trust will meet
the approbation of his Majesty."

He had signified his willingness to withdraw from Buenos Aires
in forty-eight hours and from Montevideo in two months. As the
Judge-Advocate remarked at the subsequent trial: "He is his own accuser:
he has furnished the strongest testimony against himself." The English
army sailed from Buenos Aires on July 12th, from Montevideo on September
9, 1807.

Seldom has there been such a fine army and such splendid officers
under such a pusillanimous commander. A young officer[47] on the staff
remarks that on many of the street corners in Montevideo was written:
"General Whitelocke is either a coward or a traitor! Perhaps both!" He
also tells us: "All the English merchants are in an uproar. They say
the losses will be immense; that upwards of three millions worth of
property is on its way to this country, and that, if it is given up,
half the merchants in England will be ruined. God knows what will be
the result of this unfortunate affair. It appears to me one of the
most severe blows that England has ever received." Whittingham adds,
with some penetration, that "the period of a revolution" was "not far
distant."

It is some small consolation that the court-martials administered
even-handed justice. The most important tribunal adjudged "that the
said Lieutenant-General Whitelocke be cashiered, and declared totally
unfit and unworthy to serve his Majesty in any military capacity
whatever." On the other hand Popham, who had disobeyed his orders in
initiating the whole scheme, was severely reprimanded, but received a
sword of honour from the City of London and a few months later was
given an important command.

Sir David Baird, who had sanctioned Popham's adventure, was censured
and recalled from the Cape, but he also was given the chief command of
the very same expedition as Popham--that against Copenhagen. It is
certain that public opinion would not have sanctioned any severe
measures against officers who had been zealous in the South American
attempt.

The most noticeable point throughout the whole affair is the eagerness
of the English commercial world, which was dreading the loss of the
Continental markets and was rightly convinced that the discovery of
new outlets was a matter of life and death.

The remarks of the Judge-Advocate condense the whole case: "By this
most unfortunate event all the hopes have been defeated which had been
justly and generally entertained, of discovering new markets for our
manufactures, of giving a wider scope to the spirit and enterprise of
our merchants, of opening new sources of treasure, and new fields for
exertion in supplying either the rude wants of countries emerging from
barbarism, or the artificial and increasing demands of luxury and
refinement, in those remote quarters of the globe. Important as these
objects must be at all times to this country, the state of Europe, and
the attempts that have been daily making to exclude us from our
accustomed intercourse with the Continent, have added to the importance
of these objects, and to the disappointment of these hopes." It is,
perhaps, doubtful whether England could have held any considerable
territory in Argentina, for a revolutionary spirit was rapidly being
wafted into South America from Europe, and though the population was
small the country was vast, and if the population had continued hostile
the difficulty of either conciliating or conquering them would have been
immense. But, doubtless, the retention of Montevideo and the territory
now called Uruguay would have been feasible, and would have been highly
beneficial both to England and South America. To have had one country in
South America governed upon liberal and conservative principles, with an
enlightened system of commerce and complete security for life and
property, would have been an incalculable benefit, and would undoubtedly
been a salutary check upon the wars and revolutions which have
devastated South America since the overthrow of the Spanish dominion.

FOOTNOTES:

[45] "From various informations I have received from different people
of the defenceless state of Monte Video, Buenos Ayres, and their
dependencies, I have deemed it expedient, with the squadron under my
command, assisted by his Majesty's 71st Regiment, to proceed on an
expedition against those places, not doubting in the smallest degree
of such success as will add lustre to his Majesty's arms, distress our
enemies, and open a most beneficial trade for Great Britain" (Popham
to Governor of St. Helena, April 13, 1806).

[46] "All future prospects were marred and rendered hopeless by the
selection of General Whitelocke for the chief command; a man of most
unpopular character, unrecommended by previous services, and void of
all claim or pretension beyond powerful interest" (J. W. Cole,
"Memoirs of British Generals," i. 224).

[47] See "A Memoir of Sir Samuel Ford Whittingham" 24, 25.



CHAPTER VII

THE WAR OF INDEPENDENCE


When the English retired from Buenos Aires and Montevideo there
seemed no reason to expect any change in the relations between
Argentina and the mother country. The Spanish rule was not rigorous,
and, from a financial point of view, its policy was now highly
favourable to the colonists. They also warmly sympathised with their
European kinsmen in the apparently hopeless struggle against the
oppression of Napoleon. When Charles IV. abdicated in 1808, all the
Spanish-American dependencies hailed Ferdinand VII. as their King
with enthusiasm. Nothing seemed less likely than any kind of disloyalty.
And yet a very few years saw the beginning of a struggle which ended in
an old and haughty nation being stripped of every one of the dominions
she possessed on the American continent, and sinking into a state of
lethargy and decay from which, after the lapse of a century, there seems
little prospect of a "Roman recovery." The causes of this strange
phenomenon certainly do not seem adequate. It is, of course, obvious
that the weakness of the Home Government and their own successful
repulse of the English showed the Argentines that if they had the will
to be independent there was no doubt about the power. Again, their sense
of importance could not but be increased by the eagerness with which
foreigners sought for a share in their trade, and Cisneros, the Viceroy,
had strengthened this impression by admitting neutrals unreservedly to
the South American trade--a step which he took with great reluctance.
But neither of these circumstances could have had any effect if goodwill
and loyalty had remained unimpaired. These had probably been undermined
by the jealousy between Creole and Spaniard, by the pride of caste shown
by the latter towards the former, and by the preference always given to
Spaniards in the matter of official appointments. As the people of
Argentina increased in consciousness of worth and power, they would be
the less willing to brook this assumption of superiority, and doubtless
hot-headed young men had frequently discussed the possibility of the
step for which the cant term is now "cutting the painter." There is a
further circumstance which may have had influence on the course of
events. Able and ambitious men could not but see that in the turmoil of
revolution, followed by independence, there was a prospect of unbounded
riches, and power, which, however speculative, is always more attractive
to such minds than to be seated in the mean. Indeed a certain Francisco
Miranda from Caracas, ex-volunteer in Washington's army, had, at the
close of the war, discussed Spanish emancipation with Washington
himself. He then visited Europe, fought in the French revolutionary
army, and actually attained to the rank of general. His efforts
subsequently to induce Pitt or President Adams to initiate a war of
liberation in South America were, however, unsuccessful, but his
constant intrigues with Spanish Americans show that the project was
undoubtedly in the air.

Yet when we have gone over the meagre list of possible causes, we
cannot but attribute the chief place to one which strengthened all the
circumstances favourable to change and neutralised or reversed those
which were unfavourable. This was the doctrine of the Rights of Man or,
to be plain, the revolutionary spirit itself. Its influence was felt
by all classes, and it caused ferment and bloodshed in such widely
different places as Ireland and the West Indies. It had already
invaded England, and afterwards attacked her ancient rival and
overthrew the French monarchy and trampled down the French Church.
Thus, this purely moral cause must be taken as the efficient factor of
the Spanish-American Revolution; the others could have effected
nothing had not the seemingly barren dogma of equality provided an
atmosphere and a soil ready to foster any revolutionary seed that
might find its way to South America.

Ferdinand VII. was proclaimed King in 1808. The heroic Liniers was
then Viceroy at Buenos Aires, but doubtless his French nationality
gave rise to suspicions, and as soon as the news came that Joseph,
the puppet of Napoleon, had been imposed upon Spain, the Frenchman was
deposed, and on July 19, 1809, Cisneros became Viceroy in the name of
Ferdinand. As stated above, he threw open the ports with startling
results, for the customs revenue was immediately quadrupled. And
yet this wise measure revealed to the people their strength and
self-sufficiency, and may have predisposed them to revolution.[48]

On the 13th of May, 1810, news came from Spain that the mother country
was now under the heel of France and had no longer any power to help
or control them. Cisneros was in a very difficult situation. On May
25th he consented to the formation of a Council under the title of the
Provisional Government of the Provinces of Rio de la Plata, and this
date has been generally regarded by historians as the beginning of the
Revolution. Prominent among those who desired change were Moreno,
Belgrano, Saavedra, and Castelli. Moreno, who was secretary to the new
Council, was a man of large views, irresistible enthusiasm, and full
of daring. Belgrano was equally fervent in the cause and was devoted
to Moreno, content to serve him without reward for the liberation of
Spanish America, and he was one of the few men in the Province who, by
business aptitude and coolness of character, was qualified to direct
the movement. The Council acted with considerable adroitness.
Professing to be acting for Ferdinand and thus conciliating all
classes, they worked steadily in the direction of depressing and
discrediting all Spanish officials, and at last, on June 1st, Moreno
ordered Cisneros and other high functionaries to be seized and
deported. A merchant brig conveyed them to the Canaries and they
vanish from history.

Moreno anticipated trouble from Cordoba; but even there his opponents
were losing ground. Liniers had retired thither, but despairing of
success he, with several loyal Spaniards, collected a force of about
four hundred men and marched in the direction of Peru. They were
pursued, overwhelmed, and captured. The liberator of La Plata and
five of his colleagues were thereupon shot. This outrage, equally
remarkable as an instance of atrocity and ingratitude, was a fitting
prelude to Spanish-American history. Before the end of the year the
whole of the north was in the hands of the revolutionists, and about
the same time they experienced an equally valuable success. The
loyalists still held Montevideo and their fleet blockaded Buenos
Aires. Moreno took advantage of the English anxiety for open markets,
and appealed to the English Minister at Madrid. He received the reply
that the British Government could not recognise the blockade, as it
desired to maintain a position of perfect neutrality, and thus a
potent Spanish weapon was rendered innoxious.

However, it was very early evident that unity and federation would not
characterise the Revolution; that each Province would aim at its own
particular independence; that Buenos Aires would not be the New York
of a single new nation. An expedition sent to Paraguay, with the
object of extirpating the Spanish partisans, failed altogether to
attach that country to Argentina. Paraguay, like its neighbours,
preferred independence.

At the same time jealousies broke out between the leaders. Moreno was
worsted in a personal dispute with Saavedra, and at the beginning of
the year 1811 was glad to accept an important mission to England. He
died on the voyage thither. But the revolutionists were reminded that
internal dissensions were out of place by the arrival at Montevideo of
the able and energetic Elio, who had been appointed Viceroy by the
Home Government. Although he was speedily forced to content himself
with holding the town only, he was a source of great trouble to the
Council and formed a valuable rallying-point for the loyalists. The
Peruvian partisans also harassed them in the north, but Belgrano, by
the victory of Tucuman on September 25th, laid the foundations of
Argentine independence. The triumphant general wrote to Buenos Aires:
"Our country may celebrate with just pride the complete victory
obtained on the 25th of September, the anniversary of Our Lady of
Mercy, whose protection we had invoked. We have captured seven guns,
three flags, one standard, fifty officers, four chaplains, two curés,
and six hundred men, besides four hundred wounded prisoners, the
stores belonging to the infantry and the artillery, the largest part
of the baggage. Such is the day's result. Officers and soldiers have
behaved gloriously and bravely. We are pursuing the routed enemy."
This victory freed the north from all fear of invasion in the future.

There is no need to give details of the skirmishes with the royal
forces or the skirmishes between intriguing leaders which occupied the
next eighteen months. It is sufficient to say that during this time
the influence of the soldier San Martin was growing rapidly, and
towards the close of the year 1813 he replaced Belgrano as commander
of the northern army. Hitherto power had been in the hands of two or
three men, among whom Alvear was now the most prominent; but in
January, 1814, a Congress assembled at Buenos Aires, and on the 31st
of that month it chose Posadas, a relation of Alvear, to be Dictator
of the so-called United Provinces. In June Alvear captured Montevideo,
and the hopes of Spain in the Plate district were for ever quenched;
but Uruguay refused to be subordinate to Buenos Aires, and Posadas was
in no position to coerce her. Uruguay, therefore, finally severed the
connection with Argentina, and passes out of our history.

Meanwhile San Martin, who had become Governor of Mendoza, was carrying
on that campaign for the liberation of South America which was to make
his name immortal; but in Buenos Aires affairs were going by no means
well--in fact, anarchy reigned. The appointment of Puirredon as
Dictator brought about some improvement, and on July 9, 1816, the
separation from Spain was formally announced.

The next year San Martin, with an efficient army of four thousand men,
moved to help the Chilians, and gained a glorious victory over the
Spaniards at Chacabuco, not far from Santiago. A year later he won a
no less decisive triumph at Maipu (April 5, 1818), which secured the
independence of Chile, and by his victories he also strengthened the
position of Puirredon and the Government at Buenos Aires.

It was now time for constructive work. A Congress assembled once
more at Buenos Aires, and, on May 25, 1819, promulgated a federal
Constitution on the pattern of the United States of North America. At
the same time Puirredon was glad to resign his difficult position,
and, in his stead, General Rondeau became Dictator, or President. He
was incapable, and the system of government by Juntas or Dictators,
which had distracted the country for ten years, came to an end, and
seemed likely to be succeeded by even worse conditions, for all the
"United Provinces" flew back to particularism and anarchy. But in
1821 the able and honest Rivadavia intervened, and reduced affairs to
some semblance of order. In that year also San Martin entered Lima in
triumph, and it was clearly necessary to organise the new and
sovereign States of South America. In 1822 Lord Londonderry declared
for the part of the English Government that "so large a portion of the
world could not long continue without some recognised and established
relations, and that the State, which neither by its councils nor by
its arms could effectually assert its own rights over its dependencies
so as to enforce obedience, and thus make itself responsible for
maintaining their relations with other Powers, must sooner or later be
prepared to see those relations established by the overruling
necessity of the case in some other form." The United States had
recognised the independence of Argentina, and in 1823 the complicated
state of world politics made decisive action necessary. Spain was once
more in the grip of France, and it was the object of England to
counteract her influence. Accordingly it was intimated to France that
England considered the separation of the colonies from Spain as
complete, and in the December of that year the United States put
forward the celebrated Munroe Doctrine to serve as a warning to France
or any other European Power that might cherish transatlantic designs.

It was on January 23, 1825, that the inevitable result was brought
about. With the countenance of Sir Woodbine Parish, the English
Minister, whose name is preserved by a meritorious work upon the
country where he played so conspicuous a part, the federal States
assembled and decreed the fundamental law of the Constitution. Here we
may date the true commencement of the Republic of Argentina. The
Revolution was at an end. True to the general character of her history
Argentina displayed, in this important struggle, fewer striking events
than any of the other young nations. The battles in her territory
were few, and even the city feuds and inevitable executions were
comparatively mild and infrequent. And yet that Argentina had the
leading share in the Revolution no one can doubt, for, first of all,
she gave to Spanish America that disinterested patriot San Martin, who
was the George Washington of South America; and, in the next place,
the victory of Belgrano at Tucuman went far towards paralysing
loyalist activity in Peru, and finally Buenos Aires was even then
regarded as the capital of the continent, on which were fixed the eyes
of all South American revolutionists, and towards which all the plans
of European statecraft and private intrigue were directed. Argentina
was the leader and organiser of victory.

And what good came of it all? It may be regarded as a regrettable
necessity due to the weakness of Spain. Spain was too feeble and the
other Powers were too alien in every way to control this great Empire.
It was necessary to act; but who will say that the consequences of the
action were wholly beneficial? Argentina exchanged a benevolent, if
unenterprising, Government for a long period of anarchy, alternating
with despotism, but she was less unfortunate than most of the sister
Republics. The men who fought and laboured for the cause of South
American independence had no illusion on the subject. General Bolivar,
the Liberator, when his task was over, said: "This country will
inevitably fall into the hands of the unbridled rabble, and little by
little become a prey to petty tyrants of all colours and races. If it
were possible for any part of the world to return to a state of
primitive chaos, that would be the fate of South America."

South America was in every respect most unfortunate. The weakness
and misfortunes of Spain followed closely upon the growth of the
revolutionary spirit which disturbed the whole world, and though the
Continent was for a long time comparatively little affected by it,
vigorous intrigues in Europe kept it alive, and when the time was ripe
the revolutionists set to work. Equally unfortunate was it that the
Revolution took place at a time when unchecked democracy was
considered a practicable form of government. Experience has shown that
it is beset with difficulties in all States; but where a portion of
the people have political instincts and capacity, public affairs may
go on, even if to some extent hampered by professions of a belief in
ochlocracy, without serious disaster. Few people in the world could
have been found less suited to direct democratic institutions than the
Spanish Creole was at the time of the War of Independence. Little town
communities, paternally governed groups of villages, all with complete
local self-government and united only by common loyalty to a King or
Viceroy--such was the form of government under which the Indo-Spaniards
might have lived and prospered; but the constitutions which they
attempted to formulate were altogether incongruous under the
circumstances. Political theorising has cost South America very dear.

Canning's oft-quoted sentence about the "New World which was called
into existence to redress the balance of the Old" is, in the sense in
which it is often quoted, a piece of cheap rhetoric. But, in fact, he
was arguing that it was not worth while to go to war with France on
account of the marching of French troops into Spain; the present
Spain, he said, was not the country of which our ancestors were
jealous; the Spain over the waters is independent, and the fact has
entirely changed the balance of power.

To suppose, as those who quote the phrase often suppose, that South
America was initiating a happy age in contrast to the wrongs and
oppressions of the Old World, is too extravagant a belief to require
refutation. In the nineteenth century the countries of Europe made
steady progress, and even their internal troubles were generally
fruitful in improved conditions. In South America most of the
countries retrograded, and the whole continent was drenched with blood
uselessly shed. Comparative tranquillity now prevails, but this is due
to the general progress of the peoples--a progress which it would be
rash to say was furthered by their political institutions. The heroics
which have been uttered over the Spanish-America War of Independence
are discounted by the facts of South American history. For a long time
bloodshed and tyranny were its results; the people were as yet
unfitted for full emancipation, and so little advantage has been taken
of the experiences of three-quarters of a century that the promise of
the future is by no means serene, and its chief hope is that material
prosperity may counterbalance defective political conditions. These
are still unsound, and until rulers and subjects advance in civic
capacity the good of Argentina will be the effects rather of the
industry and enterprise of private individuals than of assemblies and
statesmen.

FOOTNOTE:

[48] "The Liberal Creoles were delighted, for experience showed them
the immense resources of their country, and proved that it could
subsist upon its revenues without asking for anything from Peru or
Spain" (Arcos, "La Plata," p. 241).



CHAPTER VIII

ANARCHY AND DESPOTISM--THE WAR WITH PARAGUAY


The rule of Rivadavia was of great value to the country. He reformed
the laws and administration, introduced wide and somewhat drastic
ecclesiastical changes, established the University of Buenos Aires,
and, in general, pursued an enlightened and progressive policy.[49]
But the country was divided into two hostile parties, and neither
being prepared to tolerate the triumph of the opposing system, the
position of Rivadavia was rendered very difficult. He belonged to the
Unitarian party, and its members have succeeded in maintaining their
system, which aimed at a Republic with merely municipal local
government. Buenos Aires was to be the administrative centre and to
control every province, and thus to hold the position which Paris
occupied in France. But the propertied classes in the interior
belonged chiefly to the Federalist party. They viewed with suspicion
the oligarchy of office at the capital, and advocated a federation on
the model of the United States. At first Rivadavia held his ground
against his active opponents, led by Manuel Dorrego, who were eagerly
looking for an occasion against him; and this was speedily found in a
foreign war.

Uruguay has been united to Brazil, but in 1825 it revolted against the
Emperor, and, as might have been expected, Argentina took the part of
her neighbour, and Brazil declared war. Assisted by Admiral Brown, an
Irishman, the Argentines inflicted great loss upon Brazilian shipping,
and Alvear took command of a large army, which invaded Rio Grande do
Sul and completely defeated the Brazilians at Ituzaingo on February
20, 1827. This blow was decisive, and a treaty was made by which
Rivadavia, distracted by domestic troubles and anxious to secure peace
at any price, agreed that Uruguay should still remain a part of Brazil.
His enemies had already spared no efforts to rouse prejudice and inflame
public resentment against him. Appeals had been made to provincial
jealousies, the issue of paper-money was alleged to be draining the
country of the precious metals, and even his statesmanlike efforts to
encourage immigration and the hospitality he offered to foreigners were
matters of accusation against him. The treaty raised a storm of
indignation, and had to be annulled. Rivadavia was so completely
discredited by this transaction that on July 7, 1827, he was forced to
resign, and thus the country lost probably the best constructive
statesman she has produced--a loss which she could ill afford.

Dorrego succeeded him, but in reality the Republic was showing a
strong tendency to split up, and Lopez in Santa Fé, Ibarra in
Santiago, Bustos in Cordoba, and Quiroga in Cuyo, possessed almost as
much power as Dorrego at Buenos Aires. However, with the help of
several of these men, he succeeded in ending the war by a compromise
which left Uruguay an independent state. Argentina was thus free to
devote herself to domestic warfare.

Lavalle was now the head of the Unitarians, and he succeeded in
expelling Dorrego from Buenos Aires. The latter fled to his estates
and raised a body of adherents, but was captured and shot by Lavalle.
The death of Dorrego cleared the way for a man who was destined to
have a much longer political life than is usual in South America, and
also to fill a much larger space in the eyes of the world. That man
was Juan Manuel Rosas.

Darwin records that he and the well-wishers of Argentina were looking
with satisfaction and hope at the vigorous measures and rapid advances
of this remarkable man, and he also adds in a note written years
afterwards that these hopes had been miserably disappointed. Rosas
was a rich man, and from his earliest days had been engaged in
cattle-raising on the southern Pampas. In this hardy open-air life he
had greatly distinguished himself by his boldness and skill in riding,
and was the idol of hundreds of half-savage Gauchos. He was not
endowed with signal abilities, but he was a hard, practical man, full
of audacity and little troubled by scruples. He was now the chief of
the Federalists, but at first there seemed little prospect that he
would be able to make head against Lavalle. The latter led an army to
attack his enemies in Santa Fé, while General Paz marched upon
Cordoba, and at the same time they sent some veteran troops to operate
against Rosas in the south. But these were overthrown by the hardy
horsemen of Rosas, and he came to the rescue of the Federalists.
General Paz had captured Cordoba, and defeated Quiroga with heavy
slaughter, but Rosas' weight turned the scale. He marched to Buenos
Aires, and in June, 1829, Lavalle, who had become involved in a
dispute with the French Minister, was glad to resign and leave the
country. His successor, Viamont, was a puppet of Rosas.

On December 8, 1829, Rosas was elected Captain-General in the
interests of the Federalists, but he had no intention of allowing
Federalist principles to stand in the way of his supreme rule. Lopez
was despatched against Paz, who had the misfortune to be accidentally
taken prisoner. Showing unusual magnanimity, Lopez spared his life.
The troops of the Unitarians never recovered from the loss of their
brave leader, and being attacked by the ferocious Quiroga and driven
to Tucuman, they were in a hopeless position. Quiroga butchered five
hundred prisoners in cold blood, and few of the remnants of Paz's army
escaped to Bolivia.

Rosas then employed himself in consolidating his power at Buenos
Aires, and with this object he repealed several of the Liberal laws of
Rivadavia. In this task he was assisted by a clever and crafty man
named Anchorena, with whose collaboration he passed a rigorous law of
"suspects" directed against the Unitarians. Severe as he was against
that party, and detested as he was by the late holders of office in
the capital, who resented the dominion of a rustic, he was really, by
his masterful measures, advancing the principle against which he posed
as the nominal antagonist.[50] At the end of 1832 his term of office
came to an end, and he was re-elected. But as his extraordinary powers
were not renewed he haughtily refused office, and left Buenos Aires to
reduce the Indians of the Pampa, who had taken advantage of the civil
discords of Argentina. Again a man of straw was put at the helm. His
name was Balcarce.

In the Indian war Rosas was successful, penetrating as far as the Rio
Negro and destroying, according to his own computation, twenty
thousand of the enemy. It is not necessary to describe the manoeuvres
and hesitations which preceded his return to nominal as well as real
power. In 1835 he accepted the title of Governor and Captain-General,
and henceforth ruled as a military Dictator. Never was there a more
ruthless tyrant. The two most prominent soldiers and possible rivals
left in Buenos Aires were Quiroga and Lopez. Quiroga had seen the
elevation of Rosas with ill-concealed disgust, and the new Dictator
resolved to make away with him. Rosas, therefore, commissioned him to
go to pacify Salta and Tucuman, and on his way thither caused him and
his suite to be assassinated. Shortly afterwards Lopez died, and it is
only necessary to say that his physician was handsomely rewarded by
Rosas. He established a reign of terror, and formed a club of ruffians
called the Massorca, whose business it was to murder his enemies. One
Maza attempted a Parliamentary resistance to him, and the crafty
Dictator, after the plan had failed, first lulled him into security by
vague promises of safety and then sent four men to stab him to death.
His death was followed by an extensive proscription; in fact, the
history at this period is distinctly Tacitean.

The power of Rosas was the greater because he had the help of a skilful
general named Urquiza, against whom none of the Dictator's many enemies
could make head. For a long time his power was unassailable, for the
poignards of the Massorca were ready to repress any opposition, and even
the Church was powerless against him. He expelled the Jesuits, paying a
tribute at the same time to "their Christian and moral virtues," but
declaring that they were opposed to the principles of government.
Undoubtedly they were to the principles of his Government.

One of the main features of his policy was jealousy of foreign
influence. He decided that all children born in Argentina were _ipso
facto_ citizens and liable to military service, and this decision
remains in force at the present day. It led, however, to endless trouble
with France. It is probable that if he had been able Rosas would have
closed the country to all foreign nations, as his brother-tyrant,
Francia, did in Paraguay.

But the old Greek saying that the worst disease of tyranny is the
impossibility of reposing trust in its friends was to be justified, and
Urquiza, his right-hand man, who had crushed the invaders from Uruguay
at the battle of India Muerta and who had overawed all opposition, was
at last to prove faithless. He had long been established as Governor of
Entre Rios, where he had acted with remorseless cruelty in stamping out
disaffection. His first attempts to subvert the authority of Rosas were
unsuccessful, but in 1851 he made an alliance with Brazil and one of the
Uruguayan factions, and in the December of that year he assembled a
force of twenty-four thousand men, crossed the Parana, and marched into
Santa Fé. On February 3, 1852, Rosas was overwhelmed at the battle of
Casseros near the capital and he fled to Europe. Twenty-five years later
he died in Hampshire.

Rosas disappeared unregretted. Although it is possible that at the
time he came to the front a military dictatorship was the only
possible form of government, yet he was one of the worst of the long
list of South American tyrants, and it is probably impossible to find
any redeeming feature about him except the fact that he encouraged
agriculture--a service which was largely neutralised by his hatred of
foreigners and foreign commerce. Undoubtedly he stopped the progress of
a promising country, not only for the twenty years of his remorseless
tyranny but for the long years which were required to recover from the
effects of his sanguinary and soulless domination.[51]

Anxious as all were for peace and constitutional government, there was
some civil warfare and much dissension before the position of Urquiza
could be secured. Finally, on May 1, 1853, the Constituent Congress
drew up a Federal constitution, and this is practically still in
force.[52] Hardly less important was the treaty of the 10th of July
following, made with England, France, and the United States, which
declared that the Parana and other rivers should be for ever open to
navigation.

Urquiza was elected the first President under the new constitution for
a period of six years, and the country began to recuperate. The port
of Rosario sprang into being, and the other river cities rapidly
doubled in population. But towards the end of Urquiza's term civil
troubles were renewed. The Province of Buenos Aires had been left
outside the Confederation and was in a position of antagonism to the
other Provinces. The party of the capital was called the Porteños--the
men of the Port--and they took the place of the old Unitarian
party. In 1859 Buenos Aires actually declared war upon the Federal
Government, but Urquiza defeated its forces. Before a settlement could
be made his term of office expired and he was succeeded by Dr. Durqui.
Fortunately, the Governor of Buenos Aires, Bartolemo Mitre, was a true
patriot, and though he was obliged to make war upon the President his
efforts were directed to settling the Federal question, and they were,
for the time, successful. Urquiza evacuated the capital and retired
southwards. Mitre followed him with a large army, and in October,
1861, defeated him at Pavon and himself became President.

It would have been well if the energies of Mitre had been left
unhampered to settle the thorny question of the respective claims of
the Porteños and the provincials, but it was the misfortune of
Argentina to be suddenly involved in the most serious foreign war of
its history. This was the great Paraguayan war.

The occasion of the hostilities was Uruguay. That country had long been
distracted by the savage political strife of the Colorados and Blancos,
and in 1864 the Blancos, having got the upper hand, elected Dr. Aguirre
to the Presidency, who, by his rigorous measures against all suspected
of disaffection, excited the resentment of both Argentina and Brazil.
Both of these countries had important stock-raising interests on the
Uruguay frontiers, and in the civil turmoil their subjects were
frequently subjected to extortion and plunder. Having incurred the
hostility of its too-powerful neighbours, Uruguay looked about for an
ally, and found one in General Lopez, the Dictator of Paraguay.

Lopez in his youth had visited Europe, admired the great armies of the
Continent, and returned convinced that he might play the part of
Napoleon in South America. He had still hardly reached middle age and
was able, cruel, and obstinate. He devoted all his efforts to raising
and equipping an army by which he hoped to make himself the arbiter of
South American politics. Accordingly he welcomed the appeal of
Uruguay, and declared that he would regard an invasion of Uruguay by
Brazil as an unfriendly act. When Brazil attacked Uruguay he did not,
indeed, hasten to fulfil his promise; he cared nothing for the
Colorados or Blancos, and the difficulties of invading Brazil were at
first insuperable, but he was awaiting a favourable opportunity
for his own aggrandisement. As far as Uruguay was concerned the
Brazilians soon settled the matter; they beat down all resistance, set
up Flores as President in February, 1865, and having established good
relations with Montevideo, withdrew their army. But Lopez was a more
difficult problem.

Lopez had already declared war; he had attacked Brazilian ships and
made preparations to invade Rio Grande do Sul. His main object was to
crush the Brazilian troops in the Plate district before they could be
reinforced. His plans were bold, but there appeared no reason why they
should not be successful. He had forty-five thousand infantry, ten
thousand cavalry, and adequate artillery. Another fact in his favour
was the friendship of Urquiza, now Governor of Corrientes, who was the
enemy of Mitre. Both Brazil and Paraguay requested permission from
Mitre to march their army through Misiones, but the President wished
to remain neutral and refused both requests. Lopez, however, was
dismayed by no obstacle, and directed General Robles with twenty-five
thousand men to invade Corrientes. They soon overran the province.
Argentina was in an awkward position, for her regular army amounted to
six thousand men only, but she had the support of Brazil and Uruguay.
On June 2, 1865, the defeat of the Paraguayan fleet by Brazil at
Riachuelo baulked Lopez's schemes of an offensive war, and the allies
prepared to invade Corrientes. Lopez was further hampered by the
defection of Urquiza, who finally refused to assist him.

The plan for the invasion of Rio Grande had not been abandoned, but
the Paraguayan force was opposed by that of Brazil and Uruguay on
August 17th, and suffered defeat. A month later the defeated army
under Ertigarribia surrendered. Before the end of the year Lopez was
compelled to evacuate the Argentine territory.

But his position was less unfavourable than might be supposed upon a
comparison of the resources of the contending countries, for he had an
excellent army and the country between the Parana and the Paraguay was
admirably adapted to defensive operations. It was densely wooded and
liable to floods which often made it impassable. As long as he could
hold Humaita, where he had erected batteries to stop the Brazilian
fleet, it would be impossible for the allies to make an effective
advance. They had an army of forty thousand men concentrated near the
town of Corrientes, and by April, 1866, they had forced the passage of
the Parana and were in Paraguay. On May 24th they were attacked by
twenty-five thousand Paraguayans and a desperate battle ensued, which
ended in the victory of the allies. The Paraguayans lost five thousand
killed and wounded, and their opponents, who lost about two thousand,
were so severely crippled that they could not advance upon Humaita--a
movement which might have ended the war.

The army was devoted to Lopez and the Paraguayan made a fine soldier,
while the allies, encamped in unhealthy swamps, lost heavily from
disease. Mitre at last began an onward movement, but on September 22nd
he was repulsed with great slaughter at Curupaiti, and the war came to
a standstill. There was a long pause, for the difficulties of the
allies were enormous and cholera broke out in their camp. It was not
till November, 1867, that the Brazilian army succeeded in crossing the
Paraguay north of Humaita, and this clever movement of the Brazilian
Marshal Caxias decided the fate of the war. The allied armies began to
close round Humaita and Brazilian warships forced their way beyond
Curupaiti. Lopez fought with remarkable determination and skill, but
his embarrassments rapidly increased, and on February 18, 1868, the
Brazilian fleet ran the batteries at Humaita, and this entirely
disorganised the transport system of Lopez, who relied chiefly upon
his waterways. All through the year fighting continued, but on
December 27, 1868, Lopez received a crushing defeat at Angostura,
south of Asuncion, and he was compelled to fly into the interior. A
few days later the Brazilians occupied Asuncion. But the irrepressible
Lopez proclaimed a new capital at Peribebuy and made desperate efforts
to carry on the war. After much fighting the allies succeeded in
capturing the town in August, 1869, and pursuing Lopez, defeated him
at Campo Grande, the last pitched battle of the war. He fled into the
forest with his mistress, Madame Lynch, his children, and numerous
faithful followers. Even in this extremity he still kept the field,
until at last, on March 1, 1870, while he was encamped far to the
north on the river Aquidaban, his men were thrown into a panic by the
approach of the enemy. In the confusion Lopez and his staff attempted
to escape, but the General's horse stuck in a swamp; he refused
to surrender, and was killed by a spear-thrust. Thus died this
extraordinary man, who had wantonly led his country into a war in
which five-sixths of her population perished.

During this long war the domestic history of Argentina was uneventful.
Brazil was far more prominent in the war than Argentina, for General
Mitre was several times distracted by rebellions in the north-west
which called him from Paraguay. The rebels were easily driven across
the Andes. But the constitutional question had never been settled, and
hostility to the Porteños became stronger. The influence of Mitre had
waned, and in 1868 Sarmiento was quietly elected in his place.

The close of the Paraguayan war is also the close of the anarchical
period of Argentina's history. Hereafter, though she was often to be
unwisely governed, the worst of the wars and revolutions were at an
end, and the people were to devote themselves to developing the
natural wealth of the country. Since the Revolution, her history had
been almost as bloodstained and turbulent as the worst of her
neighbours, but henceforward peace and prosperity, though not
uninterrupted, are to distinguish her from the other South American
Republics.

FOOTNOTES:

[49] In 1825 he successfully introduced Southdown sheep.

[50] "In fact, for Don Juan Manuel the Federal cause was solely a
means of attaining power. This object gained, he proved by his
extraordinary concentration of authority that he was more of a
Unitarian than any one else" (Brossard, "La Plata," p. 181).

[51] Brossard, who knew him personally, gives Rosas the following
character: "A man of the country, Rosas has indeed been the chief of the
reaction of men of the country against the predominant influence of the
town. Steeped in the prejudices of Castilian pride, he loathes all
foreigners alike. Their energy and capital might enrich his country, but
he accords them a grudging welcome. Being an agriculturist by birth, by
training, and by taste, he is little interested in industry. This
preference has inspired several good measures; he sets a good example in
his estates, which are perfectly managed and cultivated. He has
encouraged the culture of cereals, and thus under his rule he has
justified the extremely high custom duty by which he struck a blow at
the wheat formerly demanded by Buenos Aires from North America. In other
measures he has overshot his mark. Having been brought up in the rigid
principles of the Spanish colonial system, he does not understand trade,
and only permits it when surrounded by prohibitive tariffs and stringent
custom duties. Thus we have stagnation in commerce and industry and
complete neglect of objects of material utility" ("Considérations," pp.
458-9).

[52] Although the constitution of Argentina is in form Federal, the
logic of facts has been too strong for the intentions of its framers.
The immense importance of Buenos Aires has, in effect, forced upon the
Republic a centralised form of government, and the Provinces are
largely under the direct control of the administration at the capital.



CHAPTER IX

MODERN ARGENTINA--SETTLEMENT AND PROGRESS


The era of modern Argentina is inaugurated by the Presidency of
Sarmiento in 1868. Hitherto her business had been to work out her
destiny with much waste of human life and wealth, now her task was
to create both. Population[53] began to increase and industries
flourished. Railways were extended and the administration was
improved. It was a season of prosperity in almost every part of the
world, and in this Argentina fully shared. Brazil had suffered much
during the war, and Argentina profited by supplying its needs and also
made up for her own losses by developing the vast pastoral and
agricultural resources. The only political event of importance during
Sarmiento's term of office was an insurrection in Entre Rios, where
the veteran Urquiza was still Governor. One Lopez Jordan was leader of
the revolt, and he succeeded in capturing and murdering Urquiza. The
old man deserved a more peaceful end, for, though cruel, he had aimed
at the public welfare, and he was one of those who did good service in
establishing the Republic on a firm basis. After much bloodshed the
rebellion was suppressed by young Julio Roca, a rising soldier.

Sarmiento's term of office came to an end in 1874. Mitre, favoured by
the Porteños, and Dr. Avellaneda were rivals for the succession, and
the latter became President, greatly to the annoyance of the Porteños.
He introduced a more economical policy, and the country continued to
prosper, but by far the most important event of the time was the
reduction of Patagonia--an event the magnitude of which cannot even
yet be estimated. It was less than a hundred years ago since the first
small attempts at settlement had been made there, and Patagonia was
still practically an enormous waste, a no-man's land, unmapped and
roamed over by savage Indians. General Roca, now Minister of War,
began to peg out claims for posterity. After Rosas had fallen from
power the Indians had recovered most of the territory which he had
taken from them, but now that Argentina was at peace the Government
was more than able to hold its own, and in 1878 Roca employed the
whole power of the country to subjugate Patagonia. He succeeded in
making the Rio Negro the southern boundary. The Province of Buenos
Aires claimed the whole of this new territory, but the other members
of the Federation were naturally unwilling to see her thus augmented,
and she had to be content with an addition of 63,000 square miles. The
rest of the new land was divided into Gobernaciones, or Territories,
as they would be called in the United States.

But he was to attain more notoriety in a less useful struggle. The
perennial source of discord--the Provinces against Buenos Aires or the
Federalists against the Unitarians--which ought to have been settled
on the downfall of Rosas, was once more to convulse the Republic.
Avellaneda, who was favourable to the Provinces, was determined to
choose his successor, and the opposition candidate was Dr. Tejedor,
who had the support of Mitre. Roca was the nominee of the outgoing
President. The situation rapidly became strained, and in June and
July, 1880, the partisans of either side took up arms and there was
considerable bloodshed in Buenos Aires. The advantage rested with
Roca's party; the Porteños were compelled to ask for terms of peace,
and at last the difficult constitutional question was settled. Without
delay Buenos Aires was declared the Federal capital, and although the
Porteños were nominally defeated, their principles triumphed in
reality. The result was the establishment of a strong central
Government, and this was of the happiest effect in consolidating the
Confederacy and in binding together its hitherto disjointed members.

       *       *       *       *       *

This was a time of great material prosperity. Other opportunities will
be taken of dwelling on this subject; here it is sufficient to say
that industry and commerce expanded very rapidly. There was a huge
boom; men seemed to be growing rich rapidly; it was a period of
inflation and the President's attempt to establish the currency on a
gold basis was unpopular and unsuccessful. But under his rule, and
with the assistance of the able Pellegrini, the credit of Argentina
improved and a loan of £8,000,000 was negotiated. On the whole, Roca's
administration did him credit, although undoubtedly he might have
taken more advantage of the exceptionally favourable circumstances,
and introduced sounder and more honest principles of administration.

His successor, Dr. Juarez Celman, was a person of altogether inferior
stamp. The fever for speculation grew rapidly, large additions were made
to the national indebtedness, and the premium on gold doubled. The
Government, as is usually the case with South American Governments, was
below rather than above the public standard of conduct. Government,
Provinces, and municipalities, led the way in wasteful expenditure, the
inflation reached its height. The time of the inevitable crash drew
near.

In 1889 public opinion, wiser than the Government, grew apprehensive,
and the Civic Union was formed with the object of overthrowing the
President and reforming the finances and administration. Roca and
Mitre, sincerely anxious for the good of their country, were the
leading spirits in the opposition, and in July, 1890, the Revolution
began. Some fighting took place, but the spirit of faction was less
ferocious than it had been a generation ago, and most men seemed to
consider that the desperate financial condition needed radical
measures. The resistance of the Government was half-hearted, and on
July 30th Celman resigned.

Pellegrini, the Vice-President, succeeded him, and it was time for the
national affairs to be placed in more capable hands. The treasury was
empty, and there was a great burden of debt. The whole financial and
monetary system was in confusion, and in September Pellegrini was
obliged to issue notes for $50,000,000. This step provided money for
the immediate necessities of administration, but it helped to
precipitate the crash which came in March, 1891. This vast monetary
convulsion will be long remembered in England, and it has served as a
salutary warning both to European investors and to speculators in the
country itself, who now recognise that credit and the reputation for
honesty is one of the chief factors in a country's prosperity. The
Banco Nacional, in spite of all efforts on the part of the Government
to save it, was submerged, and the same fate met every other bank
except the London and River Plate. As a matter of course, political
trouble followed industrial trouble, and in February while Roca was
driving in a carriage he was fired at and slightly wounded. It was,
however, to him and Mitre that the people looked to extricate them
from their troubles, and the Porteños nominated Mitre as candidate for
the Presidency amidst great enthusiasm, but the Cordoba section was
indignant, and Mitre was induced to withdraw on condition that the new
candidate should be non-party and that the election should be
impartial. At the beginning of 1892 Saenz Peña, the candidate favoured
by Mitre and Roca, was elected, and Alem, the leader of the new
Radical party, known as the Civic Union, was banished. Pellegrini's
term of office had disappointed his supporters and few regretted his
retirement.

The task of Peña was hardly less difficult than that of Pellegrini.
The improvement in the finances and administration came very slowly,
but the chief troubles were political, for Argentina had not yet
adapted herself to the smooth working of federal institutions.
Alem, who had returned from exile, was still preaching disaffection
and taking advantage of the turbulent disposition of the various
Provinces. In 1893 Costa, the Governor of the Province of Buenos
Aires, who had a strong military force, planned the overthrow of the
central Government, and his example was followed by Santa Fé and
several other Provinces. In August Costa was forcibly deposed, but the
movement in Santa Fé was fostered by Alem, and the Radicals were eager
to overthrow Peña and his friends. Matters grew extremely serious, for
there was disaffection in the navy, but on September 25th General Roca
took command of the army, and on October 1st he rescued Rosario
from the hands of the revolutionists. Alem and other leaders were
imprisoned and the power of the Radicals vanished, but public affairs
remained in a threatening condition.

Evidence was found of widespread corruption, and that there was no
public feeling against it is shown by the following incident. Costa
had left the affairs of Buenos Aires in confusion, and the central
Government appointed Dr. Lopez to administer them. He found evidence
of malpractices against one Colonel Sarmiento and charged him, but
failed to secure a conviction. Thereupon Sarmiento provoked Lopez to a
duel, in which the latter was mortally wounded, but Sarmiento received
a merely nominal punishment. The Government was thoroughly distrusted;
it seemed powerless to reform abuses, and there was little likelihood
that if the ruling Ministers were removed their successors would do
any better. Such progress as the country made was due to the efforts
of private citizens and the improvement in the trade conditions of the
world.

The detachment of Peña from political parties had been expected to
prove advantageous, but in practice this was not the case, for the
President, having no party, had no supporters in the Congress, and
matters approached a deadlock. At the beginning of 1895 the President
found it impossible to induce the Congress to vote the Budget, and
there was also a split in the Cabinet about the fate of two naval
officers condemned for participation in the Santa Fé outbreak. Peña
wished to confirm the death sentence; there was strong opposition, and
Peña was probably glad of the excuse to resign and disappear from
political life. This took place on January 21, 1895. The sentence upon
the two officers was commuted to one of imprisonment.

He was succeeded by the Vice-President Uriburu, who had also been
chosen on account of his neutrality; but he was more successful, and
he had the powerful support of Roca and Pellegrini. During his first
year of office it seemed probable that a foreign war would be added to
all the other troubles of the Republic, for the boundary dispute with
Chile was assuming a threatening attitude and continued to disturb
public tranquillity for seven years. This subject can be treated more
conveniently in the history of the next administration, when it was
settled. In this year a boundary dispute with Brazil about the
Misiones was settled by the arbitration of President Cleveland in
favour of the latter country.[54]

Little progress in settling the nation's difficulties was made under
Uriburu, but internal and external peace was maintained. In 1898
General Roca succeeded him as President, and it was generally felt
that a man had appeared who was competent to steer the ship of State
into smoother waters. He had been of great service during the troubles
which had attended the resignation of Celman, and had kept the
disorderly elements in check. He had, all through the troubles of ten
years, been on the side of law and order, and he was practically the
leader of a national party.

In May, 1898, the President in his message to Congress denounced
judicial corruption, and the publicity which he gave to these abuses
resulted in several improvements; but there is still much matter for
adverse criticism in the administration of justice in Argentina. The
improvements in Government methods led to gradual general improvement,
which, however, was also the result of natural causes, and Argentina
became undoubtedly the most prosperous country in South America. The
fear of political disintegration has become a thing of the past, owing
to the preponderance of the capital in wealth and influence, but
neither Roca himself nor any other successor has been able to banish a
serious evil from which Argentina suffers, and which, though not
causing civil war on a large scale, brings about disquieting strikes
and riots. This is due to defective methods of government. The
President may be said to have been the "saviour of his country" in the
sense that a weaker or dishonest man would probably have plunged the
country into both domestic and foreign war, and neutralised all the
progress of a generation. But he could not bequeath political capacity
to his colleagues, nor could he eradicate many bad traditions of long
standing.

His last work was the settlement of the boundary dispute with Chile.
It is not necessary to go into the history of the subject previous to
the Treaty of 1881. In the old Spanish days there had been uncertainty
about the boundary, and during the existence of the two Republics the
quarrel had never slept. "During the whole of its progress the
Argentine Republic contended that her western boundary from north to
south was the Cordillera de los Andes, and that, in consequence, she
had dominion over all the territory eastward of the crest of the
Cordillera, the greater part of the Straits of Magellan, and the whole
of Tierra del Fuego. Chile on her part accepted the natural boundary
of the Cordillera, to a great extent, but maintained that this
boundary did not rule in the southern part of the continent; that in
Patagonia the territory on both sides of the Andes were Chilian, from
the Pacific to the Atlantic; that the Straits of Magellan were
Chilian; and that Tierra del Fuego was also Chilian."[55]

The two Republics made a Treaty in 1881. They agreed that down to 52°
S., _i.e._, to the Straits of Magellan, the boundary was to be the
Cordilleras de los Andes. The line was to pass over the highest points
of the watershed. The southern boundary was also determined. The
Treaty represents a concession on the part of Chile, who gave up her
extravagant claims to the east of Patagonia. But she still claimed
that the line should follow the highest points in the watershed, while
the Argentine Government insisted that the line should run from
highest peak to highest peak.

This Treaty was ratified, but not carried out. In 1883 the Argentine
Government informed its Ambassador at Santiago that the time had come
to trace the boundary line. But procrastination is a South American
characteristic, and the affair drifted on until, in 1888, a Convention
was made. In accordance with the Treaty of 1881, this Convention
appointed experts to trace the line. The matter, in fact, was one of
great difficulty, for unfortunately it turned out that the watersheds
and the highest summits did not coincide, and the experts disagreed
hopelessly.

The question of the rivers had raised fresh obstacles, and the experts
had brought matters to such a tangle that it was necessary in 1893 to
draw up a Protocol to explain them further. The main principle which
it fixed was that in case the high peaks of the Cordillera should be
crossed by any river, that river should be cut by the boundary line.
The experts continued their work, which was extremely arduous, for the
boundary line ran through unexplored forests and mountains. But in
1895 feelings ran to a dangerous height in both countries, and the
people of Argentina declared that the Chilians were assuming an
aggressive attitude and were likely to attack them. They were made the
more uneasy by the discovery that the army and stores had, like
everything else, suffered from long years of misrule, and Congress
voted fifty million gold dollars for military preparations. In July,
1898, a further controversy arose. The Puna de Atacama is a great salt
waste of rugged tableland, volcanic, grassless, and inhospitable.
Working from the north, the experts had found no great difficulty
until they reached this savage territory. Here there was a deadlock,
and the Chilians claimed the whole district. Possibly the belief
that the disputed territory contained considerable borax deposits
accentuated the quarrel, but the main source of it was national pride,
for the majority of the Andine territory was of small value. The
experts south of the Atacama waste proceeded more smoothly till they
reached Patagonia. "Here,[56] indeed, the fundamental condition of
identity between the "highest crest" and the "water parting" (or
"divide," as it is called in North America), existed in full force,
and no ground for dispute presented itself, the "main range" of the
Andes being exceptionally well adapted by position and structure for
an international boundary. It was the divergence of these two
essential conditions in Patagonia which imperilled the peace of South
America. The Patagonian rivers were found to flow from east to west
right athwart, or transverse to, the general trend of the Andine
mountain system from north to south. They were found to break across
the great mountain masses, and to intersperse wide valleys, across
which the boundary must either be carried from one mass of peaks to
the next or else be made to skirt the indefinite edge of cordillera
and pampas, where the two insensibly combine and where the rivers
rise. A very little examination proved the incompatibility of "higher
crests" with "water parting" as a fixed principle of demarcation in
these parts."[57]

With this fruitful field of dispute before them it is not surprising
that angry feelings were engendered, especially among the Chilians,
who have narrow territory, and were unwilling to give up a square mile
without a struggle. In August Chile despatched an ultimatum demanding
arbitration, and Roca induced his Cabinet to assent to the demand.

[Illustration: BOUNDARY LINE IN THE ANDES.]

The smaller question--the Atacama territory--was referred to the
United States. Mr. Buchanan was appointed arbiter, and he was assisted
by one Chilian and one Argentine Commissioner. Mr. Buchanan drew a
boundary line which he considered to be just, and by an ingenious
device contrived that both the agreement and the disagreement of the
Commissioners should preserve its integrity.[58] The dispute was
thus happily settled, and not long afterwards Roca met the Chilian
President at Punta Arenas, and an agreement to restrict armaments was
made.

But the Patagonian boundary was a matter of much greater difficulty. It
was referred to Great Britain, and in December, 1899, the Commission in
London issued a most exhaustive report. It was necessary to proceed very
slowly in such a perplexing matter, and public feeling was greatly
excited, both countries appearing to be eager for war. Such a
catastrophe seemed to be probable, for Señor Alcorta, the Argentine War
Minister, was extremely bellicose, but on January 31, 1902, Sir Thomas
Holdich was sent with a small Commission to endeavour to determine the
boundary line, and it was intimated to both Governments that if hostile
preparations continued King Edward VII. would be compelled to withdraw
from his position as arbiter. The tension was somewhat relieved by the
sudden death of Señor Alcorta, and Roca acted a statesmanlike part in
working for peace, and it was largely through his exertions that in
June, 1902, a Treaty was signed to restrict armaments. When Sir Thomas
Holdich's Commission gave its decision a few months later, the award was
loyally accepted.

This settlement of a great question is one of the most signal triumphs
for the principle of arbitration, for on this occasion neither party
was willing to make concessions and the disposition of both was rather
to war than to peace. The benefit of the settlement was incalculable,
for it preserved the two most flourishing States in South America from
a war which would have gone far towards ruining both.[59] This example
has been of the utmost value to South America, and arbitration is
undoubtedly beginning to replace the appeal to arms.

With this triumph of peace this modern history of Argentina may fitly
be closed. President Roca, who had deserved so well of his country,
was succeeded in 1904 by Dr. Manuel Quintana, who still holds that
post, and his term of office has been one of great material prosperity
for the Republic.

FOOTNOTES:

[53] During forty-five years before 1857 the population had only a
little more than doubled; during the forty-five years since that date
the increase has been 450 per cent. (Dawson, "South American Republics"
i. 143).

[54] "The boundary line between the Argentine Republic and the United
States of Brazil, in that part submitted to me for arbitration and
decision, is constituted and shall be established by and upon the
rivers Pepiri (also called Pepiri-guazu) and San Antonio" ("The
Misiones Award," Article VI.).

[55] Report, i. 152.

[56] _I.e._, north of Patagonia.

[57] Sir T. H. Holdich, "The Countries of the King's Award," p. 50.

[58] "Where the boundary was adverse to Chile the Argentine
Commissioner voted for it, and Mr. Buchanan siding with him gave a
majority against the Chilian representative. Where the conditions were
reversed, Mr. Buchanan agreed with the Chilian Commissioner. In this
manner the work was concluded in three days" (Akers "A History of
South America," p. 114).

[59] "Political combination is now possible between two strong and
self-reliant Republics, recognising a common ancestry, bound by the
ties of ethnic affinity, owning and revering the same splendid history
(which has before now included concerted action in the common cause of
South American freedom), and rejoicing in the present possession and
future prospect of magnificent material advantages, such as never
could possibly be secured, except under conditions of peaceful
development, unchecked and unhindered by the recurrent threat of war.
It is difficult to overestimate the results of such a combination on
the future of South America" ("Holdich," Ibid. pp. 413, 14).



CHAPTER X

THE CONSTITUTION--THE ARMY AND NAVY--GENERAL POLITICAL CONDITIONS


Argentina is nominally a Federal Republic and her Constitution closely
resembles that of the United States. But, in fact, the federal element
is much fainter in the southern Republic, for, as has been shown, the
struggles between the two great parties eventually led to the attainment
by the central Government at Buenos Aires of that preponderance which
was inevitable in view of the vast superiority of the capital to the
Provinces in population, civilisation, and geographical position. But
the Spanish distaste for centralised administration shows itself in
the reluctance to admit the facts, and of this the town of La Plata is
an almost comic instance. When, in 1882, it was decided to make this
place, which is distant about thirty-five miles from Buenos Aires,
the capital of the Province, the authorities spared no effort in
planning and building a magnificent city which should be an effectual
counterpoise to the federal capital and a standing protest against
Unitarian theory. But to build a town is one thing and to people it
another; the vast political and commercial interests of Buenos Aires
completely overshadowed the upstart city, and it remains a mere lifeless
husk, unvitalised by the comparatively insignificant Provincial
business. In the United States interference by the Federal Government in
State rights is extremely rare and would be liable to cause real
civil war; in the Argentina it is common and only brings about a
"revolution"--a political phenomenon which has been very mild in type in
Argentina during the last decade or two, and indeed public opinion
generally seems to applaud the President when he brings an unruly
Governor to book.

[Illustration: PASEO AL BOSQUE, LA PLATA (PROVINCIAL CAPITAL).]

The President is the outstanding feature of the Constitution.
Important as the head of the State is in the North American Republic,
in Argentina the President might almost say "L'État c'est moi," for
the well-being of Argentina has practically been conditioned by the
character of the Presidents. The wickedness of a Rosas or the folly of
a Celman formerly made her a byword among nations, while the sagacity
and patriotism of a Rivadavia or a Roca have turned imminent disaster
into prosperity. The President and Vice-President are elected by
Presidential electors who are chosen in each Province by the direct
vote of the people, and who, as in the United States, are chosen for
that purpose alone. The office of President is held for six years,
and the holder of it is Commander-in-Chief and has all the State
patronage, including the ecclesiastical. In him, of course, the
executive power is embodied. He is assisted by eight Secretaries
of State--the Interior, Foreign Affairs, Finance, War, Justice,
Agriculture, Marine, and Public Works--but they are appointed by him
and may be dismissed at pleasure, so it will be easily understood that
his power is enormous.

The Legislature is of the familiar type. The upper house is the Senate
with thirty members, two for each of the fourteen Provinces and two
for the city of Buenos Aires, and their term of office is for nine
years, but one third of them is renewed every three years. The
provincial senators are elected by the Legislatures of the Provinces,
the two for Buenos Aires by a special body of electors. The House of
Deputies, which is the lower branch of the National Congress, consists
of 120 members, elected by the people, and there is supposed to be one
deputy for every 33,000 inhabitants. Each member of Congress receives
the somewhat extravagant allowance of 12,000 dollars, or about £1,060.
The Vice-President is Chairman of the Senate--and here it will
be noticed how very closely the Argentines follow the northern
practice--and it has also sometimes happened that the apparent
sinecure of the Vice-Presidency has been the step to the great office.
The President now in power, Dr. José Figueroa Alcorta,[60] was
Vice-President till March, 1906, when he succeeded on the death of
President Quintana. Like our House of Commons, the House of Deputies
is the money chamber, and it has the right of impeaching guilty
officials before the Senate.

The various Provinces have their own Constitution and in theory have
complete local self-government, even to the right of framing their own
fiscal policy, but, as hinted above, they have not in practice very
great power. There are also a number of Gobernaciones, thinly populated
and governed in more or less absolute fashion. For convenience of
reference, the list of Provinces and Gobernaciones, with their areas and
estimated population, may be given.

    PROVINCES.

                      Area in Square Miles.   Populations.
    Buenos Aires City              72          1,125,693
      "      "   Province     117,777          1,550,372
    Santa Fé                   50,916            751,298
    Entre Rios                 28,784            383,816
    Corrientes                 32,580            315,234
    La Rioja                   34,546             85,388
    Catamarca                  47,531            109,434
    San Juan                   33,715            110,035
    Mendoza                    56,502            201,467
    Cordoba                    62,160            540,866
    San Luis                   28,535            106,315
    Santiago del Estero        39,764            193,211
    Tucuman                     8,926            295,213
    Salta                      62,184            143,629
    Jujuy                      18,997             59,317

    TERRITORIES.

    Misiones                   11,282             41,814
    Formosa                    41,402             14,186
    El Chaco                   52,741             27,414
    Pampa                      56,320             70,388
    Rio Negro                  75,924             28,166
    Nequen                     42,345             29,793
    Chubut                     93,427             17,561
    Santa Cruz                109,142              4,927
    Tierra del Fuego            8,299              1,703
    Los Andes                  21,989              2,768

The Supreme Federal Court with its five judges administers justice
and is also the Court of Appeal. Trial by jury appears in the
Constitution but it is never practised. The administration of justice
has long been acknowledged to be in an unsatisfactory state and
attempts to improve it have not borne much fruit. Cases are known in
which Englishmen have been kept twelve months in prison awaiting
trial, and if this is the case with foreigners it may be supposed that
natives have much cause for complaint. In his last Message to Congress
(May, 1909) the President, while paying a tribute to "the patriotic
diligence of our magistrates," remarked that the ordinary Courts of
Justice of the capital still leave something to be desired as regards
rapidity of action, and he attributes the delay to the fact that the
population has outgrown the system, which, he said, "is too cramped to
cope with the demands on it, and I think there is urgent and imperious
need for reform if we desire to avert a permanent cause for complaint
and discredit." Undoubtedly the foreign man of business, whose capital
and enterprise is essential to the development of Argentina, will be
more deterred by defects in the administration of justice than any
other circumstance, for if there is the probability of pecuniary loss
in civil cases and discomfort and persecution for his subordinates in
the criminal Courts, the advantages of the country as a field for
capital must be seriously discounted. It is, however, in far-away,
scantily populated districts where the hard cases occur, but it is
generally acknowledged that there is considerable room for improvement
in the administration of justice.

The position in the world of a great State depends upon the courage
and endurance of its people, and these qualities are typified by the
efficiency which they demand in the army and navy. Argentina is
advancing on the road to greatness, and therefore her military
position is a matter of increasing importance. It may be hoped that
conditions are now no longer favourable to the unprofitable wars which
in the past have been perpetually waged between South American States,
for foreign capital has a steadying influence and the sense of
kinship between Latin Americans is becoming stronger. However, it must
be remembered that the fraternal spirit of the Greeks did not preserve
them from internecine wars, and Argentina, flanked by each of the
other two powerful South American Republics, cannot afford to neglect
her armaments. It may be that the wars _nullos habitura triumphos_ are
at an end; it is almost certain that they will be less frequent; but
there is now the question of foreign interference, and every Republic,
however small and weak, jealously guards its own independence and
wishes to be safe from the possibility of dictation from either the
United States or Japan. None of the Republics as yet are World States,
but South America is a World Power, though not a political entity, and
as time goes on it is safe to predict that Pan-Americanism will become
a powerful force. Accordingly, Argentina, Chile, and Brazil, at least,
are busily strengthening their defences.

Military service is compulsory upon all citizens, and, it may be
added, every person born in Argentina, whatever his parentage, is
liable. At the age of twenty the young recruit has to serve for two
years[61] and in some cases he prolongs his term for three years more.
Thus the Republic is certain of having a tolerably large amount of
disciplined material upon which to draw for an army. The peace
strength of the army consists of sixteen thousand or seventeen
thousand officers[62] and men, and is made up as follows: There are
eighteen batteries of artillery and two mountain batteries, two
battalions of chasseurs of the Andes, nine regiments of cavalry, two
regiments of gendarmes, five batteries of field artillery, three
mountain batteries, and five companies of engineers. For ten years
after the first enlistment the Argentine soldier belongs to the active
army, and is liable to frequent drill and must attend the annual
rifle meeting of his district. Then, for ten years, he passes into the
National Guard, and subsequently serves for another five years in the
Territorial Guard. In these two forces the drilling is, of course,
much less frequent. In war ten divisions of twelve thousand men would
be available, but there might be a difficulty in obtaining them in
full strength and satisfactory condition. Sir Thomas Holdich speaks of
sixty thousand infantry, twenty-five thousand cavalry, and twenty
thousand artillery. There is, however, little doubt that Argentina
possesses a good army, sufficient for the defence of even her very
vulnerable frontier. Upon the Argentine army, at least as regards the
cavalry[63] and artillery, favourable judgments have been passed. The
cavalry is, to a large extent, ready-made. In England two years of
incessant training is required to make an efficient cavalry trooper,
but the Gaucho is a horseman from his childhood; he and all his
ancestors have passed all their life with horses, and horsemanship is
part of his nature. Consequently, although Argentine soldiers, as a
rule, have very little service to their credit, they learn their trade
in an astonishingly short time. The troops are also well mounted--not
on the common Criollo horse, which is grass-fed, and, except under
Pampa conditions, not over-hardy. The artillery are armed with
75-millimetre Krupp guns; the infantry have Mauser rifles; the arms
and stores are in a high state of efficiency. The infantry some years
ago was condemned as untidy and undisciplined, and its officers as
ignorant of their duties, but Sir Thomas Holdich considers that there
is no ground for sweeping condemnation. It is, however, undoubtedly
much inferior to the cavalry, and pains are being taken to improve it.
Possibly the training of officers is too short, and there is reason to
believe that military service is not popular among Argentines of the
highest class. An excellent institution has been started in a technical
school for warrant officers (we should call them non-commissioned),
which has five hundred pupils, and has already provided 278 corporals to
various regiments. At the same time the pay and condition of the
sergeants have been improved. As the backbone of the army is the
non-commissioned man, these steps will doubtless be most effective. Sir
T. Holdich[64] remarks: "The fighting army of South America, generally
will, however, never be infantry in the future, unless it be mounted
infantry. In Argentina especially, where a horse can readily be found
for every man, and where every man knows how to ride, and where there is
a large population (diminishing, unfortunately, day by day) which
habitually exists on the very scantiest of a meat supply which needs no
special transport, caring nothing for those extras which make so large a
demand on English commissariat, efficient mounted infantry is almost
ready-made. The mobilisation of such a force would be as effective as
that of the Boers, and its discipline far superior."

The Argentines are proud of their army, and with reason, for its
history is more illustrious than that of any other Latin American
people. They twice conquered the English under some of our best (and
one of our worst) generals. The exploits of San Martin in Chile are
among the most glorious in the history of the continent. The Argentine
army also had a large share in the reduction of Paraguay, then the
strongest military power in South America, and there seems to be every
probability that it will maintain its reputation. It may, however, be
reasonably doubted whether it is equal in military efficiency to the
army of Chile, and it rests with wealthy and influential Argentines to
make the choice of Hercules, and, preferring the national good to
luxury and pleasure, encourage by their active example the military
traditions of the race.

The naval efficiency of Argentina is a matter of equal moment. Her
Atlantic sea-board extends for 1,000 miles and her southern ports are
increasing in size and number. In South America sea-power is of vital
importance; on the Pacific coast the ocean is the only highway, and on
the eastern coast also journeys from north to south must be almost
invariably made by sea. If Peru had possessed one or two more
efficient warships, she might have defeated Chile, and the Paraguayan
war was decided by the fact that the allies commanded the rivers.
Indeed, the whole history of South America affords the clearest proof
of the capital importance of sea-power. It is, therefore, necessary
that Argentina should have a navy; but in forming it there are serious
obstacles to be encountered. Her sons are not sea-faring men; they have
ever found the vast plains of the interior too tempting, and have
avoided the coasts. There are no fishing villages and no natural
nurseries of sailors. It seems strange that the Government, which is
only too ready to attempt to create industries, suitable or unsuitable,
has not attempted to bring into being a maritime population which would
serve for defence as well as opulence. There is, in fact, little
interest in any such matters on the part of the population, and the
President is now lamenting the disinclination to a sea-faring life, and
of recent years steps have been taken to obtain more satisfactory
results; but the total mercantile marine, as yet, amounts to barely
100,000 tons. There is, however, a College for training officers, and
also engineers and stokers for the mercantile marine, and there is a
Pilot School, and various measures show that the authorities are alive
to the importance of the question. In his last Message to Congress the
President said: "One of the principal reasons for granting privileges to
ships flying the Argentine flag is the employment of native crews, so
that the nation's sons may find a new path of life, and the navy a fresh
source from which to draw sailors in case of an emergency." The
Argentine sailor is a land-conscript, laboriously taught an unfamiliar
art, which he learns wonderfully well. It is quite possible to create an
efficient navy out of landsmen, but the lack of natural seamen will
always be a great handicap, which, doubtless, the Government will do its
best to remove. It will thus be gathered that Argentina, in spite of her
geographical position, is not by nature a sea Power, and indeed she
appears to devote attention to the navy only under external pressure. It
was apprehension of war with Chile during the boundary dispute that
induced the Government to buy the _Buenos Aires_ in 1896, the
_Garribaldi_ in 1897, and in 1898 the _San Martin_, the _Puerryedon_,
and the _Belgrano_. Again, the present naval programme is due to the
activity of the Brazilian naval preparations. The following table gives
the strength of the fleet:--

    ------+--------------------------+----------------+----------
    Date. |       Battleships.       |  Displacement  |  Speed in
          |                          |    in Tons.    |   Knots.
    ------+--------------------------+----------------+----------
    1879  | _Almirante Brown_        |     4,267      |     14
    1889  | _Independencia Libertad_ |     2,336      |     14
          |                          |                |
          |    Armoured Cruisers.    |                |
          |                          |                |
    1894  | _Garribaldi_             |     6,840      |     20
      "   | _San Martin_             |     6,840      |     20
    1896  | _Puerryedon_             |     7,000      |     20
      "   | _Belgrano_               |     7,000      |     20
          |                          |                |
          |    Protected Cruisers.   |                |
          |                          |                |
    1889  | _25 de Maio_             |     3,200      |     22
    1891  | _de Juilio_              |     3,500      |     22·5
    1894  | _Buenos Aires_           |     4,500      |     24
    ------+--------------------------+----------------+----------

[Illustration: CRUISER, _SAN MARTIN_.]

In 1908 the naval officers numbered 493 and the petty officers and
seamen nearly 6,000. There has been constructed at Belgrano, about 27
miles from Bahia Blanca, a naval port which will admit of the docking
of vessels of 12,000 tons. In 1908 the cost of the army and fleet was
£1,849,300. But in the future Argentina, like most other countries,
will have to bear a heavier burden, for a scheme is being carried out
which, it is hoped, will be completed in five years and will cost
about seven million sterling. The new vessels will consist of three
battleships of 15,000 tons each, nine destroyers, and twenty-one
torpedo boats, as well as several vessels for harbour defence. In the
course of a few years, therefore, Argentina will have a fairly
powerful fleet. That there is any risk of a conflict between Brazil
and Argentina no one believes. In both countries the same opinion is
invariably expressed that as one country is building warships, it is
necessary for the other to follow suit, and that though there is some
jealousy there is little animosity and no material whatever for
quarrel or any probability of war. It may be added that Argentina, at
any rate, is well able to bear the extra burden, that it is for many
reasons desirable that the principal South American States should
possess some naval strength, and that an adequate fleet will add to
the weight and dignity of Argentina in the councils of South America.
For example, the decision of Argentina in the recent Peruvian-Bolivian
arbitration case might have been repudiated by Bolivia and the insult
to the Argentine Legation at La Paz might have been condoned, had
Argentina been weak; and thus it was proved once more that it is
strength and not weakness that preserves peace. In this case, of
course, the fleet does not enter into the question, as Bolivia, like
Bohemia, has no sea-coast, but the people of Argentina deserve every
credit for the efforts and sacrifices which they are making to secure
an efficient army and navy, and, in all probability, the money will be
handsomely repaid merely in the matter of preservation from costly
wars.

In foreign affairs the present policy of the Republic is creditable
as, on the whole, the past has been.

The Government has shown itself honourably desirous of resorting to
arbitration for the settlement of its disputes and of encouraging the
other Republics to do the same. In all external relations a dignified
and conciliatory attitude is maintained and every effort is made to
encourage foreigners to visit the country and settle, and the
statesmen of the Republic are zealous to maintain the Republic in a
reputation worthy of her great prospects in the eyes of other nations.
It is in domestic politics that the outlook is unsatisfactory, and
here it must be acknowledged that although Argentina, owing to her
wealth and the energetic character of her inhabitants, does not appear
to the world in the same deplorable light as several South American
Republics almost habitually exhibit themselves, she is nevertheless
an extremely ill-governed country. The subject of South American
politics is a commonplace with all writers; the hot-blooded Creole,
who for centuries had been subject to a paternal government, was
altogether unfitted for Parliamentary institutions.

It has been seen that Argentina, on the whole, shows a considerably
better state of affairs in the nineteenth century than most of its
neighbours, and had she not fallen under the malign influence of
Rosas, the Plate District might have been the one bright spot in Latin
America. But all the faults of inexperience, ignorance, and passion
marred the political history, and the complaint ever is that the
government is carried on in the interests of the official few at the
expense of the hard-working many.

The politics are almost entirely personal, and the parties have little
discipline; the leaders are full of vague ideas of progress and the
megalomania common in the politicians of a new country, and this lack
of experience and capability appears very clearly in the finance.
Congress is not really competent to consider the budget, and it is
usually hurried through in a most unceremonious manner, and the vast
increase of expenditure alarms the thoughtful men of the Republic. A
recent work[65] on the general financial conditions says: "The
increase of national expenditure is a constant, we might almost say
fatal, fact, which reproduces itself year by year in the Argentine
administration."

It is true that a young country ought not to be criticised on the same
principles as ancient, long-established States. It is necessary for
the former rapidly to develop its resources and lay foundations upon
which future generations may build, and such a process entails great
public expense. But there is a conviction that economy and good
administration are urgently needed, and that the future is being
unduly mortgaged. Resentment at the growth of public burdens is very
keen, and political strikes are becoming common. The temptation to
squander public funds is almost irresistible, and as elsewhere,
economy is unpopular and has utterly inadequate safeguards.

There is reason to fear that little actual improvement is likely in the
near future, for the whole system is on an unsound basis--the view that
political power is not an honourable privilege but a perquisite. The
general national attitude towards this subject is worse in many
countries than in Argentina, but an eminent French economist[66] points
out the capital vice of South American politics: "Leurs hommes les plus
énergiques, au lieu de chercher la richesse dans l'exploitation des
agents naturels, l'ont cherché dans l'exploitation du pouvoir. Ils n'ont
pas pour force motrice la concurrence économique, mais la concurrence
politique. Ils considérent que le moyen le plus prompt et le plus facile
de s'enricher est d'être les maîtres du gouvernment."

There is some analogy between the position of Argentina and the
United States. In both countries business careers have offered such
attractions that the best and strongest men have devoted themselves to
the amassing of wealth, and politics have fallen into inferior hands.
This is better than the case in many States where those who desire
wealth look first of all to a political career, but the United States
has of late realised that politics is a pursuit which demands high
intelligence and character, and thus the national welfare has been
appreciably advanced. In Argentina the race for wealth has been too
absorbing to allow devotion of the best energies to politics, but as
time goes on professions will become more sharply distinguished and a
leisured and, it may be hoped, public-spirited class will grow up,
and Argentina may gain a reputation not only for stability but also
for good administration.

FOOTNOTES:

[60] He will be succeeded almost immediately by Dr. Roque Saenz Peña.

[61] But in practice the period does not usually exceed one year, and
many are released after three months.

[62] The President, in his last Message, speaks of thirty thousand,
but he is referring to a special occasion--the celebration of the
Centenary.

[63] "Owing to the conditions of his country life, the Argentine is
transformed readily into a good cavalry soldier, and in general he
soon learns to shoot, because he has been accustomed to train his eye
to the calculation of distances" (F. Seeber, "Argentina," &c., p. 88).

[64] "The Countries of the King's Award," p. 104.

[65] "L'Argentine au XX^e Siècle," p. 300.

[66] Yves Guyot, "L'Éspagne," pp. 188-9.



CHAPTER XI

CONDITION OF THE PEOPLE--WAGES AND COST OF LIVING--IMMIGRATION


The Condition of the People question, as Carlyle says, is the most
pressing of all. But it is a question almost impossible to answer, and
few inquiries are more futile than the attempt to ascertain the
comparative well-being of different countries. Two inquirers with
equal knowledge of a country will collect statistics and compile
elaborate volumes, and one will come to the conclusion that the people
are extremely well off and the other that they are in extreme
destitution. They will then apply themselves to another country with
the same contradictory results. Carlyle complains: "Hitherto, after
many tables and statements, one is still left mainly to what he can
ascertain by his own eyes, looking at the concrete phenomenon for
himself. There is no other method; and yet it is a most imperfect
method. Each man expands his own hand-breadth of observation to the
limits of the general whole; more or less, each man must take what he
himself has seen and ascertained for a sample of all that is seeable
and ascertainable. Hence discrepancies, controversies, widespread,
long-continued; which there is at present no means or hope of
satisfactorily ending." Wages, price of food, rents, and the other
weapons of the statistician are of very little use in attacking the
problem. The Hindu peasant may be too poor to buy meat, but if he is
non-carnivorous, the deprivation is no hardship, and he may enjoy much
greater material well-being than many who eat meat daily. But
knowledge of the elementary facts about the life of a people seems to
have little effect in elucidating the question, for, as just remarked,
people with long experience come to diametrically opposite conclusions.
Those who have lived all their lives in England or Ireland disagree
_toto cælo_ in their opinions as to the well-being of the working
classes. Many observers, of course, believing that facts are silent
until they are interpreted by theory, use their facts for the sole
purpose of making their theory speak, but, as a matter of fact, entirely
disinterested persons differ quite as profoundly. One is tempted to
believe that in the Condition of the People question there is nothing
either good or bad, but thinking makes it so. Probably no one could get
an idea of the condition of the poor approaching in any degree to
accuracy without living long among them in exactly their way, and even
then his conclusions would be warped in every way by reference to his
own standards and by the fact that the circumstances, which to him were
temporal, were to his associates everlasting. Further, his imperfect
knowledge would apply only to one people and so would be useless for the
purposes of comparison.

It is not likely, therefore, that a visitor will be able to impart
much information upon the subject, but the opinions of the experienced
and the testimony of statistics form a rough guide, and these may be
given.

In Buenos Aires, of course, wages are higher than elsewhere and the
cost of living is also high. The following table shows the rate of
wages in some important trades in that city:--

WAGES AND COST OF LIVING

    BLACKSMITHS--                               £ s. d.
        Leading hand               _per diem_   0  8  9
        Bellowsman                      "       0  7 10
        Labourers       _per month_   about     6 10  0

    CHAIRMAKERS--
        Carvers                    _per diem_   0 10  6
        Polishers                       "       0  7  0
        Seatmakers                      "       0  7  0
        Labourers       _per month_   about     6 17  6

    FOUNDERS--
        Head bellowsman            _per diem_   0 10  8
        Foreman                         "       0  8  9
        Turner                          "       0  8  0
        Smith                           "       0  8  9
        Labourer                        "       0  5  3
        Founder                         "       0  7  0

    FURNITURE MAKERS--
        Leading polisher                "       0  8  9
        Second polisher                 "       0  7  0
        Cabinetmaker                    "       0  8  9
        Carve                           "       0  8  9
        Chairmaker                      "       0  8  9

    MASONS--
        Decorating foreman              "       0 14  0
        Foreman                         "       0  8  9
        Mason's mate                    "       0  7  0
        Labourer                        "       0  4  3

    MECHANICAL CARPENTERS--
        Leading hand    _per month_   about    17 10  0
        Carpenter                  _per diem_   0  7  0
        Assistant carpenter             "       0  5  3
        Furnishing carpenter            "       0  8  9
        Plasterers                      "       0 10  6

    PRINTERS--
        Compositors     _per month_   about    12  0  0
        Litho engravers      "          "      19  0  0

    SADDLERS--
        Foreman              "          "      13  0  0
        Leading hand               _per diem_   0  8  9
        Labourer         _per month_  about     7  0  0

    TAILORS--
        Cutters              "          "      25  0  0
        Tailors              "          "      12 10  0

    TURNERS                        _per diem_   0  8  9

    UPHOLSTERERS--
        Leading hand                    "       0  8  9
        Second hand                     "       0  7  0
        Labourer         _per month_  about     7  0  0

The above figures, then, give a rough idea of the rewards of the
labour market in Argentina. In Rosario also, where there are great
railway works which compete with other occupations and so raise the
standard of wages, the figures are probably high. But in smaller
centres wages are lower and probably the figures before us are
somewhat optimistic, for they are compiled with a view to encouraging
immigration. It must also be remembered that their advantage is
discounted by the cost of living, which is very high everywhere and
especially so in Buenos Aires and Rosario. All imported goods are, of
course, extremely dear, and in many cases this fact does not affect
the labourer, seeing that most of his simple luxuries can be procured
in the country, but in the matter of clothes he gets very poor value
for his money. Tobacco also is extremely dear. That foreign goods
should be expensive is not strange, for not only is it the policy of
the Government (hitherto not very successful) to stimulate home
manufactures, but also the customs are absolutely necessary for
revenue purposes. However, it is surprising that all other articles
follow suit. Meat, for example, although Argentina supplies most of
the markets of the world in increasing quantities, is nearly as dear
as in England, and, in fact, a very tiny sheet of paper would have
ample room for a list of the articles that are cheaper in Argentina
than in the Old World. The people have not learned to regard the day
of small things; they will not take trouble in little matters; in
dairy-farming, gardening, cookery, all the little arts that make for
comfort, they are extremely negligent; it is too much trouble to put
on the market the hundred and one little comforts that are cheap and
ever present in England or France. This is, of course, the case with
all new countries, but particularly with those of South America.

[Illustration: THE PERMANENT WAY, BUENOS AIRES CENTRAL RAILWAY.]

The poorer classes certainly suffer by it, both in being deprived of
numerous conveniences and also in the absence of these industries
which, in France for example, give a livelihood to more poor people
than are contained in the whole of Argentina. House rent also is
extraordinarily high. In Buenos Aires this is always attributed to the
vast improvements which were made in the Celman times, and which have
certainly transformed Buenos Aires from a very dingy into a very fine
city. Complaint is made that the better streets and better buildings
have sent up the price of rents, that the ramshackle old tenements
which were swept away afforded cheap and central lodgings which the
poor now lack, and that in all ways splendour, cleanliness, and health
have cost money. But in Rosario, where there is ample room for
expansion, the same complaints are made, and at Mendoza, which is
almost a garden city, site values are doubling in value every few
years. The secret probably is imperfect industrial organisation.
Labour is scarce and not very efficient, municipal dues weigh upon all
classes, every circumstance contributes towards making building a dear
operation. It may be added that any man, still more any woman, who
would consent to wait at table, would be assured of a comfortable
livelihood. Servants are abnormally scarce and dear; a domestic
with six months' character is rare treasure, the subject of eager
competition, and mistresses (according to their own account) are quite
at their mercy.

It cannot be said that Argentina is a poor man's paradise, in the
sense that his interests and general well-being are carefully
regarded. Indeed the newspapers are full of complaints of the
"oligarchies of office" and the scuffle for power among lucky cliques,
who appropriate all the good things and leave the uninitiated
multitudes to take care of themselves. An inquiry as to why Mendoza
had no tramways elicited the reply, "Oh, the people in power here have
carriages. As long as they can get about comfortably themselves, they
do not care about the others." The authorities squeeze the poor as
much as they can, but the latter yield most reluctantly to the
process. A standing subject of wrangle is licences, which are like
Sydney Smith's taxes; everything is licensed; the most petty trader or
porter has to pay handsomely for the right to live, and this licence
question is a perpetual source of friction. Besides the cost to
the poor, it is excellent matter for the ingenuities of police
persecution. Licence regulations are bulky and complicated, and
licence-holders are, of course, liable to the attention of the law of
street-traffic and the like; consequently the police have powerful
weapons to hold _in terrorem_ over the refractory, for it is easy to
awaken a sleeping statute and effect an arrest under it. As might have
been expected, there is considerable discontent among the working
classes, and strikes are frequent. Trades Unions exist, but it does
not appear that they are very well organised, and the South American
mind is so permeated with politics that industrial strikes tend to
become wholly political. About a year ago the whole of Rosario went on
strike against the municipal dues, and the movement was by no means
unsuccessful. A few months later there were repeated attempts at a
universal strike in Buenos Aires, and a considerable amount of
bloodshed resulted from the sharp repressive measures which were taken
against it. If the poor complain, they have considerable
justification.

But it would convey a very false impression to suggest that the condition
of the people was miserable, or even that it was unsatisfactory, as far
as an observer can judge. The worker is no doubt harassed by petty
officials and exactions, but in the Latin countries, whence he came, he
probably suffered as much or more; he was therefore acclimatised before
he arrived; and he has now, what he seldom had before--a bellyful of
food and some pocket-money, and, if he is enterprising, the chance of
rising to competence or wealth. If we make allowance for different
standards of comfort, it would be correct to say that any man who is
willing to work hard with his hands can live in Argentina in as great
comfort as the worker in any country in the world, and infinitely better
than in most lands. It is a testimony to the prosperity of Argentine
labour, that swarms of reapers come from Spain for every harvest, and
return with £30 apiece in their pockets. The evils, from a material
point of view, are upon the surface, while it is a fact that the working
man in Argentina has, besides a fair livelihood, that hope which is at
the same time the main factor in individual happiness and the best
security for the economic efficiency of the country.

[Illustration: PLATELAYERS, BUENOS AIRES CENTRAL RAILWAY.]

This subject leads us to one which is the crux of the situation
in Argentina--that of immigration. The natural growth of the
population[67] is not very considerable; it may be that, apart from
immigration, it would remain stationary. Thus the matter is one of
great import, and all rulers since Rosas have done everything in their
power to encourage the influx from foreign countries. Several
different views have been taken about the subject. We have the
pessimistic view of Mr. Theodore Child,[68] who, while praising the
"urban development" of Buenos Aires and Montevideo, says that: "In the
rural districts, however--even in the provincial capitals of the old
colonial days, but more especially in the new colonies, where the scum
of Spain and Italy has been deposited in ever-increasing numbers
during the past twenty years--one sees aspects of humanity that fill
one with sadness rather than with satisfaction, or even hope."
This extremely superficial work has formed the material for a few
contemptuous sentences by M. Gustave Le Bon,[69] in which he dismisses
South America as an instance of "the terrible decadence of the Latin
race." On such slight foundations do philosophers erect their
edifices. Again, there is a natural but perhaps somewhat Chauvinistic
view which regards Argentina as a "puissance nouvelle qui suffirait à
elle seule à réhabiliter la race latine à laquelle elle appartient et
à la relever de cette espèce de dechéance et d'inertie dont elle
semble frappée, dans ce dernier quart de siècle, devant la brutale
expansion du monde saxon et germanique."[70]

It may be added that these two views well illustrate the power of the
human mind, to which reference was made in a previous page, of drawing
diametrically opposite conclusions from the same premises. Thirdly,
there is the view of the statesman, which is doubtless shared by all
Argentines and their well-wishers, and which has been expressed by the
veteran statesman M. Charles Pellegrini:[71] "The unity of language
strongly encourages this fusion and explains the fact, elsewhere
illustrated by the United States, that the descendants of immigrants
of races differing in speech, religion, manners, and customs have the
power of effecting a complete fusion into a mass of people perfectly
homogeneous, with the same mental characteristics and sentiment, and
thus making a new nationality, both young, vigorous, and strongly
characterised."

The first view may be ignored. To speak of the "scum of Spain and
Italy" in connection with immigrants whom the mother-countries would
give anything to retain--sturdy peasants who are the life-blood of
Argentina--is absurd, and indeed the danger of the country is not that
it may become the common sewer of Madrid and of Rome, but rather the
tendency of the people to crowd into those examples of "urban
development" which the writers regard with so much complacency. As
regards the second view, it is natural that Frenchmen should look with
satisfaction upon the stately cities and wide plains in which the
ageing Latin race is renewing her mighty youth; but people do not
emigrate to illustrate theories. The Latin races are no doubt glad to
find other Latin races to welcome them across the Atlantic, and also a
congenial climate, but they go abroad in search of bread. It is
undoubtedly a good thing that the Latin races should flourish in
the New World, although hitherto they have been sterile from an
intellectual point of view; but the forces that impel them are
economic, not racial. The loss to Europe is undoubtedly great, but the
third view is naturally that of Argentina, which is every year
receiving an abundant stream of white colonists to develop the
industries which cry aloud for labour. The figures are indeed
remarkable. In 1857 there were 4,000 immigrants, in 1908 there were
255,710. The following table shows the rate of progress:--

    1857-1860                     20,000
    1861-1870                    159,570
    1871-1880                    260,613
    1881-1890                    846,568
    1891-1900                    648,326
    1901-1903                    223,346

It will be noticed that during the eighties, when trade in Europe was
indifferent, while the progress of Argentina was rapid, the figures
were very high, and that after the crash they fell considerably,
though they recovered somewhat before the end of the century. The
following are the figures for recent years:--

    1904                         125,567
    1905                         177,117
    1906                         252,536
    1907                         209,103
    1908                         255,710

It will be seen that the influx is now larger than ever.

It is important to observe the nationalities of the new subjects.
Between 1857 and 1893 Argentina received peoples in the following
proportions:--

    Italians                   1,331,536
    Spaniards                    414,973
    French                       170,293
    English                       35,435
    Austrians and Hungarians      37,953
    Germans                       30,699
    Swiss                         25,775
    Belgians                      19,521
    Others                        92,238

In 1895 the total population was 4,044,770, and of these 1,005,487
were immigrants who arrived after the age of eighteen. That the people
came to settle rather than as pioneers or temporary labourers is shown
by the fact that the proportion of men to women was considerably less
than two to one. The population is now estimated at over 6,300,000. In
1907 the proportions show considerable variations upon those of former
years. The figures were:--

    Italians                       90,282
    Spaniards                      82,606
    Russians                        9,531
    Syrians                         7,436
    French                          4,125
    Austrians and Hungarians        3,439
    Germans                         2,322
    English                         1,659
    Portuguese                      1,118

The remainder came chiefly from the Balkan States or from other
American Republics.

It will be noticed that Italy[72] still leads, but that Spain has
nearly caught her up; indeed there is hardly a limit to the migration
from Spain except the fertility of the home-staying Spaniard. A
moderate increase in Spanish emigration would cause the population
returns of that ancient and famous monarchy to show a positive
decrease. Greeks and islanders are included under the term Syrian, and
it is probable that this head will show rapid increases in the near
future. The French are declining in numbers, and indeed that nation
has favoured the Argentine Republic as a place of settlement to an
unusual degree. It is said that in San Rafael more French is spoken
than Spanish. The Germans prefer Brazil. Englishmen do not emigrate to
Argentina in large numbers, and they are often warned against so
doing, as the environment is not suited to the English working men,
though of course mechanics and others find lucrative billets--which,
however, should be secured before leaving home. In 1865 a small Welsh
colony was founded at Chubut, and, favoured by the climate, it has
attained considerable prosperity. Reference will be made to it in the
chapter on Patagonia.

The largest class among those who enter the Republic is that of
agricultural labourers, while ordinary day labourers are also
numerous. Many also are tradesmen and domestic servants, but it is
probable that the latter abandon their old calling, for the most part,
after landing. The Consular Office in London gives the following
advice: "The best chances of employment are, of course, for those who
can speak some Spanish, and are farm labourers, dairymen, or stockmen
of practical experience; but mechanics are in fair demand, especially
in the building and allied trades. Clerks, shop-assistants and others
in search of office work, &c., are strongly advised not to emigrate,
unless they can count beforehand on a good chance of immediate
employment. Persons with some capital, and not burdened by families
having many members unable to work, may find good openings even in the
towns; but as a rule there is more chance of success in agricultural
or pastoral enterprises." All children born in the country are _ipso
facto_ Argentine subjects, and the males are liable to military
service. This has been made a ground of complaint, but it cannot
be seriously maintained that a State must maintain a huge alien
population, enjoying all the benefits and few of the burdens of
citizenship, who might in course of time actually outnumber the
Argentines.

At Buenos Aires there is an Immigration Office, which looks after the
welfare of the new arrivals, and the Immigration Law[73] is conceived
on liberal and favourable principles. The London Consul-General
remarks: "The people who arrived in the year 1908 coincide with the
requirements of the country. They were not outcasts or people who were
forced to leave their native country; on the contrary, they were sound
and healthy people, honest workers, and well disposed to establish
themselves, especially up country." This is one of the chief needs of
Argentina--a rural population, for the towns are increasing out of all
proportion to the countrysides.

This constant stream of workers to the River Plate is one of the most
hopeful signs; young, healthy, hard-working people bring prosperity to
the country and fill up the vast tracts that require only labour for
their development. In the past the settlement of the southern regions
has been hindered because the Government imprudently offered great
blocks for sale at prices low enough to tempt speculators to buy them
up, but now the importance of the matter is thoroughly realised, and
every attempt is made to attract immigrants.[74] There are few
countries to which immigration is more vital, and settlers of the
Latin race are likely to benefit themselves by the change hardly less
than they benefit Argentina.

FOOTNOTES:

[67] The figures on this subject are striking. In 1904 it was computed
that in Argentina 1,000 Italian women gave birth to 175 children,
1,000 Spaniards to 123, 1,000 Germans to 96, 1,000 Uruguayans to 93,
1,000 English to 92, 1,000 Argentines to 85, 1000 French to 74. (See
"L'Émigration Européenne," by M. R. Gonnard.)

[68] "The Spanish-American Republics," pp. vi. vii.

[69] "The Psychology of Peoples," p. 152.

[70] L. Guilaine, "La République Argentine," p. xxiii.

[71] "L'Argentine au XX^{e} Siècle," p. xxviii.

[72] "The Argentine is, one may say, Italy's finest colony--a colony
'without a flag,' but prosperous" (R. Gonnard, Ibid. p. 219).

[73] Some particulars as to the law upon this subject may be of
interest. Foreigners may obtain naturalisation papers after residing
two years in Argentina, or earlier if they can prove service to the
State. They are immune from compulsory military service for ten years
after naturalisation. After from four to six years naturalisation they
are eligible for election as national deputies or senators, but
persons not naturalised may hold administrative positions in the
executive Government. Article 20 of the National Constitution says:
"Foreigners may freely exercise their callings or any profession for
which they are qualified, navigate the rivers and coasts, make
testamentary dispositions, marry in accordance with the laws of the
Republic, own and deal in real estate and exempt from differentiated
taxation, travel, associate for lawful purposes petition and do all
such things as may be legally done by born citizens of the State."

[74] In the Chaco it is said that there are 13,025,450 hectares of
State land for sale or renting.



CHAPTER XII

BUENOS AIRES


It is not strange that South Americans generally, as well as all
Argentines, are proud of Buenos Aires; indeed, as the second Latin city
of the world with a population of twelve hundred thousand, it arouses
feelings of satisfaction among those who have been watching with anxiety
signs of sterility or poverty in the Latin race elsewhere. The political
history of the city has been dealt with in former chapters. Its
effective foundation dates from the year 1580, and within forty years it
was a prosperous town with three thousand inhabitants, and the lower
Plate settlements were separated from the Paraguayan Governorship,
Buenos Aires, of course, being made the capital of the new Province. Up
to the time of the Revolution it continued to make steady progress. In
about 1762 it was described as follows:[75] "The houses of this city,
which were formerly of mud walls, thatched with straw, and very low, are
now much improved, some being of chalk, and others of brick, having one
story besides the ground-floor, and most of them tiled. The cathedral
is a spacious and elegant structure.... The principal square is very
large, and built near a little river; like most towns situated on
rivers, its breadth is not proportioned to its length. The front
answering to the square is the castle where the Governor constantly
resides, and with the other forts has one thousand regular troops. The
number of the houses are about four thousand.[76] There is a small
church at the farther end of the city for the Indians.... The city is
surrounded by a spacious and pleasant country, free from any obstruction
to the right; and from those delightful plains the inhabitants are
furnished with such plenty of cattle, that there is no place in the
universe where meat is better or cheaper. It is also fertile in all
sorts of grain and fruits, and would be still more so if duly
cultivated; but the people are excessive, indolent, and content
themselves with what nature produces without labour."

Another writer (Campbell)[77] of about the same time or a little
earlier, speaks of the town's great trade in wool from Peru, copper
from Coquimbo, and silver from Potosi. As the trade of Paraguay alone
was valued at a million pieces of eight annually, that of Buenos Aires
must have been very considerable. As the mines of Peru showed signs
of exhaustion, more attention was paid to the trade and industries of
the Plate district, and immigrants, attracted by the flourishing
cattle trade, began to turn thither. In 1776 Buenos Aires was
estimated to have twenty thousand inhabitants, but a quarter of a
century of the new and liberal colonial policy doubled that number,
and when the English attacked it they appear to have been impressed by
its size.

But in the nineteenth century, up to very recent times, it had an evil
reputation for dirt and discomfort. A young English officer, who paid
it a hurried visit shortly after the Revolution, remarks:[78] "The
water is extremely impure, scarce, and consequently expensive. The
town is badly paved and dirty, and the houses are the most comfortless
abodes I ever entered. The walls, from the climate, are damp, mouldy,
and discoloured. The floors are badly paved with bricks, which are
generally cracked, and often in holes. The roofs have no ceiling, and
the families have no idea of warming themselves except by huddling
round a fire of charcoal, which is put outside the door until the
carbonic acid gas has rolled away." He also remarked that provisions
were very dear and that, in spite of high wages, labourers would be
worse off than in England. Beef was sold in such a mangled state that
English immigrants often refused to buy it. The lower classes of
English and Irish at Buenos Aires were, he thought, in a very bad
state and addicted to drink. Altogether the town cannot have been a
pleasant place of residence in those days, and it was long before
there was much improvement.

Darwin, however, who visited Buenos Aires not long after Head and
estimated the population at sixty thousand (Montevideo had then only
fifteen thousand inhabitants), describes the outskirts as pretty and
the plan of the city as "one of the most regular in the world."[79]
Probably the laying out was done during the time of prosperity at the
end of the eighteenth century, but the sanitary condition continued
bad, and an Englishman[80] who visited it in 1852, says: "Buenos
Aires! What a misnomer! The first thing that greeted our eyes on
landing was the skinless carcase of a horse lying on the beach on one
side of the landing-place; the second, another ditto on the other
side; and the 'good air' of the town was the stench thereof....
There is something most delicious about the air of this place,
notwithstanding the horrible stenches from the putrid flesh all about
the town." He pays a tribute to the hospitality of the inhabitants,
but the chief amenity of the modern town was absent, for he remarks:
"Urquiza's residence at Palermo is only one room high, and is
surrounded with a lot of porticoes. It was built by the wretch
Rosas, and lies on a flat close to the river, with a grove of
miserable-looking trees between it and the water."

After the Paraguayan war and the commencement of a happier era,
Buenos Aires began to improve rapidly, and building was carried on
extensively. In 1876 the population was estimated at 220,000. But it
was not till the Presidency of Celman that Buenos Aires took upon
itself the form worthy of a civilised capital. His term of office was
undoubtedly demoralising, and it became necessary to depose him by
force, but advantage was taken of the abundance of money to plan and
to build, and though this entailed much jobbery and corruption, great
substantial good remained behind. Splendid public buildings were
erected, a beginning was made of parks, and many of the worst
rookeries were cleared out and replaced by good streets. Above all,
the Avenida de Mayo was made. These architectural improvements, as is
always the case, were most beneficial to public order and safety, for
narrow streets and decayed houses are nurseries of crime. In certain
places, now safe and pleasant, murders were frequent a generation ago,
and respectable citizens never passed through them after nightfall.
The Madero Port was completed, and gradually the miseries of landing,
upon which matter earlier visitors are right voluble, were removed,
and Buenos Aires began to rank as one of the world's pleasure cities.
Haussmann, like Celman, does not go down to posterity with an
unspotted reputation, but few men in the nineteenth century have had
more influence upon the Latin race, for every builder in South
America, at least, has his head full of the Parisian boulevards, and
every new plan or renovation is on that model.

[Illustration: PLAZA DE MAYO, BUENOS AIRES.]

The city of Buenos Aires is situated on the right bank of the estuary
of La Plata in 34° 39´ S. lat. and 58° 18´ W. long. The river is here
of great width and the opposite bank is never visible, but though La
Plata and the Parana are a magnificent waterway, the harbour has never
been very satisfactory, and it is difficult to find channels for
vessels drawing 25 feet. The vessels of the Royal Mail Steam Packet
used to land their passengers at La Plata, while to this day those of
the Pacific Mail Steam Navigation Company only touch at Montevideo and
send on their passengers to Buenos Aires by a smaller vessel. The
splendid docks and basins, which were completed in 1900, are said to
have accommodation for 20,000,000 tons of shipping. In the year 1908
2,027 ocean-going vessels entered the port with an aggregate tonnage
of 4,760,316 tons. The approach by sea is by no means prepossessing,
for the bank of La Plata is flat and muddy; and indeed the natural
scenery round about, with the exception of the ocean-like river, is of
the tamest possible description, nor does the land rise sufficiently
high from the river to show off the size and splendour of the city to
any advantage. Its greatness and magnificence only appear to the
traveller when he plunges into the network of the streets. As is
generally the case in South America, visitors have little trouble with
the customs, for the officials, on receiving an assurance that
the articles are "personal baggage," are satisfied with a hasty
inspection. But it could be wished that there were better arrangements
for landing luggage. Obliging carriers take it with specious promises.
The traveller drives to the hotel, the day wears on, but no luggage
arrives. Next day he drives to the office, where the carrier very
coolly charges extra for a night's storage, and orders the traveller
to remove the luggage at his own expense. An agent who arranged to
deliver baggage within an hour at a small fixed charge, as is done in
the ports of the backward East, would do an enormous business. All
books discuss hotels and the other items in the travellers' directory
at considerable length. As regards hotels, the usual verdict is
unfavourable. They certainly are not cheap, and the bedrooms are
usually small and ill-furnished, but some hotels have a very fair
cuisine and adequate public rooms. Generally speaking, there is the
prevailing characteristic absence of the small comforts which cost so
little except trouble, and it may be noted that such tolerable hotels
as exist are kept by English, French, Italians, Spaniards, rarely by
the native-born. Compared with the hotels of Brazil or Chile, they are
very good; compared with those of European provincial towns they are
very indifferent. However, in Buenos Aires the visitor can sleep at
night without being kept awake by the pangs of hunger or the attacks
of insects, and this is a happy condition not to be encountered in all
South American hotels.

[Illustration: PALERMO PARK, BUENOS AIRES.]

It is not easy to make the reader realise foreign scenes, even when
small towns or glimpses of natural beauty are attempted, and it is
probably impossible to give any satisfactory description of a vast
city, for the great towns and their crowds have a peculiar spirit and
their own harmony of noises which render photographs or lists of
streets and buildings inadequate and misleading. Probably few cities
are more difficult to describe than Buenos Aires. Its streets are
quite as narrow as those of Italian towns, but every one is full of
noise and bustle. This absence of wide streets, squares, boulevards,
and parks greatly detracts from its magnificence; the wood can
never be seen for the trees. As is the case with practically all
Spanish-American towns, the streets are perfectly straight and
intersect one another at right angles, so that it is very easy to find
one's way about, for if a pedestrian desires a cross street, say to
the north, he has only to march northwards up any given street and he
must eventually reach his designation. The people regret the cramped
proportions of the town, and, in the days of the great boom, they cut
the handsome Avenida de Mayo through the congested streets, and its
fine effect shows what a sumptuous city Buenos Aires would be if the
process were extended. But that any more avenues of this kind will be
made is very unlikely, for the expense would be prohibitive. Not only is
land of immense value, but costly buildings have been erected all along
the narrow streets, and the loss entailed by their demolition would be
immense. It may be added that during a period of inflation the wisest
policy is to spend all available money in bricks and mortar, streets and
squares, for when the bubble bursts the buildings remain. Bombay is
an excellent instance, as also is Buenos Aires.

It is true that Rio de Janeiro has during the last few years cleared out
many acres of narrow streets and rebuilt itself in brave fashion, but
the old edifices demolished were insignificant in value compared with
those of the great Argentine capital. The Avenida de Mayo is inferior to
the Avenida Central of Rio in length and splendour of appearance, as
Buenos Aires must always be inferior to the Brazilian capital in beauty,
but this disadvantage is far more than counterbalanced by the prosperity
and enterprise of the inhabitants who in these respects leave their
neighbours far behind.

Every one admires the buildings of Buenos Aires. The Jockey Club is
probably unsurpassed by any Club building in the world, and the Bolsa,
or Exchange, is extremely stately. Unfortunately the Congress Hall is
built in a poor style and has come in for general condemnation, while
the Cathedral is an unimposing brick-and-plaster structure. It has,
however, a rich portico with twelve Corinthian pillars, and the work
surpasses the material, but South America is not a place for the
lovers of church architecture. The shops are large and full of
valuable goods tastefully arranged, but Buenos Aires cannot be
recommended as a place for making purchases, owing to the abnormal
dearness of all articles. But the streets and shoppers present a fine
spectacle; the architecture of the buildings is sumptuous and the
pavements are full of life; there are long rows of splendid equipages,
and beautiful women, daintily attired and bejewelled, flit from shop
to shop as in all other capitals, and the pride of wealth and luxury
flaunts itself as bravely as in Paris or London. The keen, stimulating
air gives vivacity to the inhabitants, the streets hum with gay
chatter, and the unbroken prosperity of many years helps to maintain
the general good-humour. The only drawback to the pleasure-seeker is
the narrowness of the streets. He is perpetually jostled off the tiny
pavements and has perpetually to spring back to the kerb-stone to save
himself from annihilation by the rapid tramcar. These cars are cheap
and also much faster and better than anything of the kind in London.
It is thus tolerably easy to get about Buenos Aires under ordinary
circumstances, although the suburban railway service is not very good
and the cabs are indifferent. The trams penetrate almost everywhere,
but probably a system of tubes would be convenient. It is true that
cabmen and tram-men have a disconcerting habit of going on strike; nor
does their violence appear to surprise any one, the newspapers
merely remarking that it is fortunate for tram proprietors that the
Argentines are a peaceful and orderly people, unlike the Brazilians
who on such occasions burn the cars.

[Illustration: LA CROZE TRAMWAY, NEAR BUENOS AIRES.]

The town was planned with narrow streets to afford shade and mitigate
the great heat of summer, but now that its size is so great it
may be doubted whether the disadvantages arising from closeness and
congestion are not more serious than any that might be caused by the
rays of the sun. Indeed, Buenos Aires is, perhaps, too completely a
town to charm for long together; it is almost destitute even of
squares, and though towards the outskirts some of the streets are more
spacious, the general impression is that of being cramped. The
Avenida de Mayo runs from north to south, and is met by the best
streets which come from the river and railway line and which, as they
approach the Avenida, become gradually more fashionable. Among the
best are the Calle Maipu, Florida, Cangallo, San Martin, and Bartoleme
Mitre. At Palermo there are attractive gardens and recreation grounds,
and attempts are being made to establish parks, but as yet they
have not borne fruit. Belgrano is an extremely untidy suburb. The
multiplication of the amenities of Buenos Aires can only be effected
by creating pleasant suburbs, and to effect a reasonable plan
for surrounding it with garden-like tracts and giving them good
communications would, however expensive, be the greatest benefit that
could be conferred upon it.

The people, however, appear well contented with Buenos Aires as it is,
and it undoubtedly possesses the usual attractions of great cities.
The opera and theatres are said to be very good, and the Argentines
are keen musical critics. All kinds of variety entertainments are very
popular, but it cannot be said that the ordinary music-halls have much
merit, and some of them, if translated to London, would probably have
trouble with the County Council. Cafés and restaurants are extremely
numerous in Buenos Aires, but, except in the great avenue, the
open-air cafés, in which the Latin race delight, are practically
unknown. This is explained by the obvious impossibility of finding
room for such an establishment in the average street of the capital.
Although the Spaniard is not by any means a gourmand, the restaurants
are tolerable as a result of the cosmopolitan society; and English,
French, Germans, and Italians can get their meals in the styles to
which they are accustomed. Indeed, the traveller can, at a price,
supply himself with almost everything which he could obtain in London,
but he will be wise to bring everything with him. Cigars are not quite
as dear as on the Pacific coast, but they are not cheap; the best
value is a Brazilian weed, called a Santos, which is considered a
marvel of cheapness. It costs about fourpence, which is more than a
cigar of similar quality would command in England. But it is hardly
necessary to go minutely into these questions of buying and selling,
eating and drinking. Any one who has visited any large town in a new
country will have a fairly accurate idea of how Buenos Aires treats
the traveller. Such towns are bright, interesting, sociable, and
expensive; they have many luxuries but few comforts.

The most comfortable thing about Buenos Aires is its hospitality, for
both English and Argentines give a cordial welcome to visitors who
come in increasing numbers, particularly in February and March. Club
life is, as might be supposed, a distinctive feature, and the Jockey
Club (entrance £300) is a triumph of luxury. Most of the members are
native-born. The two Clubs most favoured by our countrymen are
close together in Calle Bartolome Mitre, and are named the Club de
Residentes Estranjeros and the English Club respectively. The English
Club has a very agreeable suite of rooms and welcomes strangers as
temporary members. There is also in the Calle Cangallo a very useful
association called the English Literary Society, where a great variety
of newspapers can be seen, and the library contains over five thousand
books. As there are very many English residents in Buenos Aires,
sport and games are prominent in the social life, and to these the
Argentines have taken kindly, and cricket, football, lawn tennis, and
polo occupy almost as prominent a place as they do in London and its
neighbourhood. This is one great advantage of sport, that it enables
nations of highly varied habits to mix pleasantly and profitably.
These outdoor recreations are valuable on that account, and add
greatly to the attractions of Buenos Aires. Polo is very popular and
Buenos Aires has its own Hurlingham, and good horseflesh can be
obtained more cheaply than at home.

[Illustration:

    _Photo_]      [_C. Hailey, Newmarket._

IMPORTED STALLION, "CYLLENE," WINNER OF THE ASCOT CUP.]

Perhaps the favourite amusement of the capital is racing, for it
appeals both to the love of horses and the love of gambling, which
are two of the strongest predilections of the Argentines. Some men who
have acquired large fortunes find a difficulty in disposing of them
except by play and betting, thus following the example of the ancient
_conquistadores_ who won gold lightly and diced it away as readily.
There are two race-courses, one at Belgrano and one at Palermo, but
the impression they produce is disappointing, chiefly owing to the
Spanish lack of comfort. The actual racing, though marred by inferior
jockeyship, is extremely good, for the horses are of high quality and
the runners are plentiful. But it would be well if the Jockey Club
deputed a small committee to visit England and France with a view to
improving the accommodation. Everything at Belgrano is of the most
uncomfortable description and the people are cramped in crowded
pens. The Palermo course, when completed, will be a considerable
improvement, and it is on an ambitious scale, but it is so large
that it entails an unnecessary amount of walking about, and the
arrangements for paying in and drawing out money and also for
refreshments are most inconvenient. Again, there is practically no
paddock; the horses are hurried to the post, where they await the time
fixed for the start, and consequently it is very difficult to get a
view of them. As regards speculation, the Indian plan is the best
which allows the bookmakers and the totalisator to work side by side,
for a machine is an inadequate substitute for the human element.

Buenos Aires has followed the example of France, which has discarded
bookmakers, but has not imitated the excellence of her machine
betting, for the totalisators at Palermo are so far from the stands
and are so badly served that one might imagine them to have been
constructed by the Anti-Gambling League. However, the racing is the
thing, and that is, as said before, very good. The rich men of
Argentina take great delight in blood-stock and many of the racers are
by high-class English sires. This pursuit is often a source to them of
pleasure as well as of profit. King Edward's triple crown hero,
Diamond Jubilee, was bought for Argentina at a cost of £30,000 and the
first season's produce of this stallion sold for a somewhat larger
sum. Flotsam and many other well-known animals stood for several years
in Argentina.

[Illustration:

    _Photo_]      [_C. Hailey, Newmarket._

IMPORTED STALLION, "DIAMOND JUBILEE," LATE PROPERTY OF H.M. KING
EDWARD VII.]

Such a rough sketch of the outward life of Buenos Aires as the above
necessarily gives a very inadequate image of the great and busy city,
for what is received on hearsay impresses the mind more faintly than
what has been seen with the eyes. It is a city of an unusual type, for
it is very Spanish, but it is entirely without Spanish sleepiness;
indeed, bustle and stir are perhaps its chief characteristics. There
is great wealth and the love of display is also great, and doubtless,
like Paris, it exercises a dangerous fascination on the people at
large, who are apt to think that there is no profit or pleasure
anywhere except at Buenos Aires. It occupies in Argentina a more
important position than does Paris in France, and probably the
development of Rosario and Bahia Blanca will have a good effect in
modifying its pretensions. It is a very magnificent city.

FOOTNOTES:

[75] "An Account," &c., pp. 328-9.

[76] De Bougainville, who visited it in 1767, says the town had twenty
thousand inhabitants of all colours. He comments upon the lowness of
the houses and says that the houses usually had spacious gardens--a
great contrast to the modern city. ("Voyage autour du Monde," p. 33.)

[77] "History of Spanish America," p. 274.

[78] Head, "Rough Notes," p. 30.

[79] "The Voyage of the _Beagle_," chap. vi.

[80] Mansfield, "Paraguay, Brazil, and the Plate," pp. 128, 136,
138.



CHAPTER XIII

ARGENTINE LIFE IN TOWN AND COUNTRY


Difficult as it may have been to describe Buenos Aires, it is still
more difficult to describe the people. Of all the men and women who
reside many years in foreign parts few gain more than a superficial
knowledge of those with whom they come in daily contact, for the
qualities necessary to gain such knowledge are very rare and their
exercise is difficult and often inconvenient. If, then, old residents
learn little, the hasty visitor is at a much greater disadvantage, and
especially in the case of a Spanish nation, for Spain has a touch of
Orientalism, which tends to seclusion in family life.

In Argentina, as elsewhere, the ladies of the better-class families do
not appear freely in public, although the old-fashioned principles,
which did not allow them to go shopping without an escort, have been
somewhat relaxed. But the English or North American comradeship
between man and woman is quite absent, nor do women attempt to compete
with men in business or games. As is well known, the family in Spanish
or French nations fills a much larger space in the life of the
individual than is the case with England or the United States. The
family exercises a more watchful care over its young members, who on
reaching maturity do not slip away as easily as is the case with
Anglo-Saxons; indeed, they hardly form fresh families, but rather seem
to supersede the older members and become themselves the heads. Under
such a system it is natural that considerable supervision is exercised
over the women, but the marriage usage is less rigorous than in
France, and the unions are rather of affection than arrangement; the
practice may, perhaps, be described as a mean between that of England
and France. South American views as to the ethics of relations between
men and women differ very widely from ours, and a discussion of the
subject would be unprofitable. The Argentine women have a reputation
for beauty and they dress very well, but, though graceful and
attractive, they cannot compare in fairness with their sisters of
Peru.

The kindness of the elders to children is an admirable trait, and it
is rare to see harshness or ill-treatment of the little ones, which
are such distressingly common sights in English streets, but, at the
same time, the tendency is pushed too far, and the spectacle of tiny
children at very late hours supping at restaurants must, at the risk
of incurring the reproach of insular prejudice, be pronounced
unedifying. It can hardly be beneficial to the children themselves.
The young Argentine would certainly be the better for more discipline,
and English residents are, for that reason, disposed to make any
sacrifice to send their children home to be educated.

The Argentines are fond of festivals and religiously keep the chief
holy days. Not long ago the carnival was celebrated with much licence,
but it is now becoming insignificant, and it can hardly be regretted
that an occasion for much horseplay and even crime is waning.

[Illustration: MAR DEL PLATA.]

Dancing, masqued balls, and gaieties of all kinds are, of course,
extremely popular, and for the ordinary evening entertainment the
cinematograph seems to hold the field almost without a rival. In
up-country towns the larger cafés have fine cinematographs, which are
viewed free by all who pay for refreshments, and the most exciting
adventures are portrayed with wonderful vividness. In Mendoza the
enthusiasm is so great that some cafés, which have insufficient
accommodation for the plant, stretch a sheet across the principal
thoroughfare, and, arranging chairs and tables in front, invite their
patrons to see the show. This practice of bringing the show to the
spectators to be viewed at their leisure and in comfort certainly
appears more reasonable than ours, which is to drive people to
uncomfortable music-halls and deny to the public-house, the proper
place for recreation and refreshment, all attractions except such as
are alcoholic.

It is probable that the life in country towns is somewhat dull. A
horse can be bought and kept fairly cheaply and, in general, the
country affords good riding, but there is little shooting or hunting.
Every considerable town has a nice Club and the English members are
numerous, coming in every evening to drink a whiskey-peg after tennis
in Anglo-Indian fashion; but there must be considerable lack of
variety. It would be desirable for Provincial Governments or private
individuals to encourage rational diversions, for, as before remarked,
the tendency to concentrate in Buenos Aires is dangerous. Besides
physical exercises, such institutions as literary societies, debating
clubs, lectures, and the like would be very salutary, both from the
valuable training they afford and the opportunity for foreigners and
natives to mix together for their common advantage.

[Illustration: RACECOURSE, LA PLATA.]

It is difficult to avoid feeling that among the English who live in
Argentina there is a good deal of discontent. While admiring the
country they do not seem very fond of it, and although their relations
with the people are friendly, they do not appear to live on such terms
of intimacy with them as is the case in Chile, for example. There is
probably danger of materialistic views of life growing up; the
Argentine is so busy in laying up treasure that he has little time for
amassing more important possessions. An Englishman at Mendoza
remarked: "These people have nothing to talk about; it's all _uva,
uva_" (grape, which is the staple industry of Mendoza). The fact is
that in a new country the population is too small for the manifold
interests that are required to make up a rich national life. In some
new countries they elect to lounge and eschew all hard work and, in
certain cases, the people, though indolent, are cultivated. In
Argentina the people are hard workers, but they have neglected the
spiritual side of life. At Buenos Aires a beginning is being made to
enlarge the circle of interests, and it would be well if humanising
efforts were made at all provincial centres.

As happens in all money-making countries, there are many examples of
the acquisition of wealth to an amount out of all proportion to the
owner's capacity for using it. Some rich Argentines buy palaces and
convert them into pigstyes, and at pretentious restaurants it is
common to see persons who in appearance and manners are altogether
unsuited to their surroundings. On the other hand, the class of rich
and refined men, with whom luxury loses half its evil by losing all
its grossness, is rapidly increasing, and when time has been found for
intellectual culture it will, no doubt, make great advances. Those who
have had the privilege of being admitted into Argentine families
will bear testimony to their refinement and kindliness.

There is also the life of the Pampa, of which the principal feature is
the Gaucho.[81] This picturesque person has probably more Indian than
Spanish blood in his veins, but he is a staunch son of Argentina and
supplies his country with excellent cavalry. With a complexion of a
light coffee colour, wearing a soft hat, a blanket slit to admit his
head, white breeches, and brightly coloured shoes, he has been called
by a French writer the Gascon of South America. He will not work in
the cities or cultivate the land; he is a horseman and stock-rider.
His favourite food is carne cum cuero--meat cooked with the hide--and
his delight is in that life of the open plain under the open sky, of
which Darwin felt the charm. He, indeed, has given an excellent
description of the Gaucho. The Gaucho has played an important part in
the building up of Argentina, though he himself cares little for
politics and constitutions. Before the Revolution he created the
cattle industry, which has always been a main source of wealth to the
country, and in the revolutionary wars he shared in the triumphs of
the Creoles. Though rather too fond of brawling and gambling, he
belongs to that singularly attractive type which is being rapidly
pushed into the background with the growth of town industries. He has
his own rude poetry and loves to sing his Pampa ballads to the
accompaniment of the guitar. He seems to have absorbed the poetry of
his surroundings, as was occasionally the case with Australian
stock-riders, and in the Pampa the _payador_--a kind of troubador--is
held in great honour. He figures at the fêtes as an improviser, and he
and his fellows are, in approved Sicilian fashion, "_cantare pares et
respondere parati_." Many of the ballads are, of course, unwritten,
but some _payadors_ leave the Pampas and become authors, and thus a
certain number of the wild songs have been translated into print,
but it can hardly be said that the cultured _payadors_ have been
as successful in their work as Sir Walter Scott was with Border
minstrelsy. José Hernandez long ago published an interesting little
collection of this kind--"El Gaucho Martin Fierro."

[Illustration: THE PAMPAS.]

The Gaucho is as hospitable as the Arab of the desert, and, like him,
has the sense of humour and the frank, bold courtesy which is
generally found in the desert-ranger. The modesty of his dwelling--a
mud hut with a few boards for furniture--contrasts with the bravery of
his equipment, for besides wearing gay colours he favours silver
stirrups and as much of the precious metal as he can obtain for the
adornment of his bridle, and though he seldom employs money, he always
is able to satisfy his simple wants. It is inevitable that as
settlements extend the Gauchos will dwindle, but it would be sad if
they disappeared from the Pampas altogether. The greater part of
Argentina has been won from the Indians by their efforts; they have
borne the burden and heat of the day in making the nation, and they
will still be the mainstay of their country when she encounters
trouble. The luxuries of town life are already too attractive to the
young Argentine, and the Gaucho gives a valuable example of the simple
and strenuous life.

FOOTNOTE:

[81] A suggested derivation is from the corruption of an Arabic word,
_i.e._, _Chaoucho_, which in Seville is applied to a cowherd.



CHAPTER XIV

RELIGION--EDUCATION--JOURNALISM AND LITERATURE


Very few writers upon Argentina refer to the subject of religion at
all, and those who do give very scanty information. There are in
existence several good-sized works which make not the faintest
allusion to the Church. And yet one would have thought that the
subject possessed some general importance, or, at any rate, that in a
daughter State of Spain and one of the great fields of Jesuit labour
there was room for a few remarks upon the relations of the Church to
the State and people, and also upon the general religious and moral
conditions of Argentina.

The Spanish conquerors of South America were zealous crusaders, as
eager to add subjects to the Kingdom of Christ as to add territory to
the estates of their earthly sovereign. During the process of conquest
they displayed few Christian virtues, but in the Plate districts,
where they were not demoralised by lust of gold, their proceedings
were relatively good, and, in general, when Spanish America was
settled, the masters were anxious to do their duty by their servants
according to their lights and if they were negligent in attending to
the religious and material welfare of the Indians, their negligence was
speedily rebuked by the home authorities. One of the conditions of
holding land was an undertaking to educate the Indians and teach them
Christianity. The wise and good Las Casas laid down on the subject of
the conversion and treatment of the Indians Thirty Propositions,[82] two
of which may be given in substance: "The means for establishing the
Faith in the Indies should be the same as those by which Christ
introduced His religion into the world--mild, peaceable, and charitable;
humility; good examples of a holy and regular way of living, especially
over such docile and easy subjects; and presents bestowed to win them.
Attempts by force of arms are impious, like those of Mahometans, Romans,
Turks, and Moors; they are tyrannical, and unworthy of Christians,
calling out blasphemies; and they have already made the Indians believe
that our God is the most unmerciful and cruel of all gods."

The rough Spanish soldiers of fortune, as might have been expected,
recked little of such principles, and some of the priests were
little better than their flock, for Father Valverde is said to have
instigated Pizarro to the treacherous and cruel arrest of Atahuallpa.
But the principles adopted both by spiritual and temporal powers were
those of justice and mercy, as far as the circumstances permitted, and
thus there was implanted in the new settlements something of the
crusading spirit which was engendered in Spain by the struggle with
the Moors. The pioneer in forest or plain was not merely amassing land
and wealth for himself; there was a spiritual harvest, and as he
received new lands, he had new duties in religious administration and
protection. Thus the Spanish religious fervour was nourished in the
overseas dominions.

The religious spirit was handed down unimpaired from father to son
until the time of the Revolution. The question as to whether the power
of the Church was beneficial or not is a matter of controversy, and
travellers have uttered the most various opinions, but few candid men
will deny that the Jesuits performed a noble task which could have
been carried out by no other human power, and the disparaging remarks
which are found in many notebooks are usually due to the cant of
irreligion that was common among the Englishmen of the time between
the French Revolution and the Oxford Movement. On a subject which does
not interest them they say, without having troubled to make inquiries,
what they would say about any Roman Catholic country or what some
freethinking acquaintance in Buenos Aires has told them.

With the Revolution came a great shock to the faith of the people, and
the same principles that undermined their faith undermined their
loyalty. The philosophers of France ever urged that the Church must be
overthrown before there could be any progress, and the priests ever
fought against their doctrines as destructive to all religion.
Consequently the male population of Buenos Aires formed habits of
mind[83] which they have by no means entirely shaken off at the
present day. Apathy towards religion or even absolute hostility is by
no means uncommon, and perhaps in well-to-do houses it is generally
true that the women go to church and the men stay away. And yet it
would not be true to describe the nation as irreligious on the whole.
Materialism has, no doubt, to some extent corrupted the upper classes;
they devote themselves to business and pleasure and ignore the things
of the spirit. But the churches are crowded with men as well as women,
and it is certain that the poor love the Church and doubtless find
the priests their best friends. Cordoba and Mendoza are looked upon as
the cities where the Church is strongest, but its general hold upon
the masses is possibly almost as strong as ever. Intellectually it is
weak; few of the better-class Argentines will take priests' orders,
and nearly all the prelates are foreigners. Beyond a doubt, in Spanish
America there is an unexampled field for a devout missionary; the foe
is merely apathy, and if a warmer spirit were breathed into the
Church in Argentina, and if the clergy paid more attention to the
intellectual side of their calling, the results would be remarkable.
But if the religious indifference spreads downwards, Argentina, like
France, may see her population dwindle, and her army decay, and may be
prevented from taking a high position among world Powers.

Statistically, there can be no doubt that Argentina belongs
unreservedly to Rome; only the merest fraction, perhaps forty
thousand, of the population is outside that Church. In 1895 there were
sixty-eight Reformed Churches, but of these twenty-five belonged to
the Welsh colonists at Chubut. There were 1,019 Roman Catholic
churches, or one to every four thousand inhabitants. The prevailing
religion is also the State religion, but all others are tolerated.
There is an archbishop at Buenos Aires and eight suffragan bishops,
including one for Paraguay.

Education has not made remarkable strides in Argentina, for exactly
half of the people over six years of age are illiterate. In 1885 some
25 per cent. of the children of school-going age attended school, and
in 1904 the percentage had only risen to 45, and of these only a
fraction could read or write. The defects of primary education[84] are
comparatively unimportant, for the country needs agriculturists rather
than clerks, and when the peasants really desire instruction they will
not be long in obtaining it. But indifferent University and secondary
education are the curse of Latin America. Beyond anything else
Argentina requires a real aristocracy--a large, cultivated, and
public-spirited upper class--and this class, owing chiefly to
defective education, is now very small. There are at Cordoba and
Buenos Aires national Universities, and provincial Universities at La
Plata, Santa Fé, and Parana. But the unfortunate materialism is not
eradicated by these institutions, which, in Latin America, are too
often merely bread-winning concerns, which neglect humane studies
because they are "useless." If the Holy See would encourage the
foundation of a religious University, the country would benefit in
every way.

Secondary education (it is difficult to obtain up-to-date figures)
does not appear to have been particularly flourishing in 1905. There
were 16 lyceums, 450 professors, and 4,103 pupils. There were also 35
normal schools with 2,011 pupils. It is, of course, a common practice
for wealthy parents to send their children to Europe to be educated,
and perhaps, under the circumstances, that is the best course. But
with a sound and liberal course of studies and good moral and
religious discipline, the young might be kept in the country till they
had completed their University career, and then sent for a short
residence abroad. There is a temptation that besets cultivated
Argentines, who are the most necessary to the welfare of their
country, to seek diplomatic posts or some duties that will take them
abroad. Most of the distinguished authors publish in Madrid or Paris,
and thus there is an intellectual and moral drain which would be
checked if the system of education were improved.

As regards primary education, there were in 1905, 5,250 schools,
14,118 teachers, and 543,881 pupils. The average attendance was
408,069. Considering that in 1899 about one million sterling was spent
upon education, and that for a generation Argentina has spent probably
more per head upon each school-child than any other country except
Australia, the results are by no means satisfactory, and, like all new
nations, the Argentines require to learn the lesson that learning and
enlightenment cannot be obtained by money or bricks and mortar.[85]

As regards the journalism of Argentina, it would be difficult to speak
too highly of the two principal daily newspapers, _La Nacion_ and _La
Prensa_. _La Nacion_ may perhaps claim the front place. It is the
oldest daily journal in Buenos Aires, dating from 1852, and it was
long under the influence of General Bartolome Mitre, for, as a French
writer[86] remarks, no politician can succeed without a newspaper, and
no newspaper can hope to obtain much influence without the support of
a politician. It has a circulation of about ninety thousand. The
paper is on a very large scale and full of matter; its tone is
admirable, the ability of the leading articles is remarkable, and the
literary pages, which are lavishly provided, reach a very high
standard indeed. Hardly second to _La Nacion_ is _La Prensa_, which
has offices, situated in the Avenida de Mayo, said to be more splendid
than anything of the kind in existence. It is not as old as its rival,
dating from about 1872, and it may be described as being of much the
same size and scope as the _Daily Telegraph_, but rather more
attention is given to literary style. Sobriety and moderation, as well
as great ability, are its characteristics. It is the property of Dr.
José C. Paz, who is said to have made a large fortune by it.

_El Diario_ is an enterprising evening paper, and has a very large
circulation. The journal possessed of the largest circulation of all
(said to approach two hundred thousand) is _La Argentina_, which
appeals more to the man in the street. Other Spanish dailies are _El
Pais_, _El Tiempo_, _La Razon_, _El Diario de Comercio_, and _El
Correo Español_.

There is a French daily, _Le Courier de la Plata_, and several German
and Italian. At the same office as _La Argentina_ is printed the
_Standard_, an old English newspaper of high repute. This was founded
in 1861 by the Mulhalls--an honoured name in Buenos Aires--and besides
being extensively read by English residents, it has considerable
influence with the authorities. Very similar in appearance and scope,
but less influential, is the _Buenos Aires Herald_, another English
daily paper, the property of Mr. Thomas Bell.

The provincial towns have also meritorious journals, but they are, of
course, overshadowed by those of the capital. The daily press of
Argentina is perhaps the most elevating influence in the country. It is
a really useful daily help, containing a splendid assortment of foreign
telegrams, and news and dissertations to suit the most varying tastes.
While conducted with unflagging enterprise and commercially very
valuable, as is shown by the interminable columns of closely printed
advertisements, it is honourably free from the sensation-mongering and
vulgarity which is rampant in the United States and which has, to some
extent, infected our own daily newspapers.

Among weekly periodicals the _Review of London and the River Plate_,
which deals principally with industrial and economic subjects, is a
high-class publication, and the _Standard_ has a weekly edition. There
are several other weekly and monthly journals, and there are numerous
comic papers,[87] but few periodicals deal exclusively with literature
or special subjects. These matters, however, are treated so generously
in the daily organs that it may be supposed that there is little
opening for one-subject journals. After all, the circulation of the
dailies is very large when we consider the limited population. It is
curious to notice how entirely cut off each South American Republic
is from the other. In Buenos Aires it is difficult to procure a
Brazilian, Uruguayan, or Chilian newspaper, and the commercial
intercourse is astonishingly small. For example, the trade of
Argentina with Holland is more than twice as large as her trade with
Chile.

As is frequently the case with periodical literature, some of its most
valuable instances are to be found among the defunct publications.
Prominent among these is the _Nueva Revista de Buenos Aires_, which
only lived from 1881-1885. It was edited by Señor V. G. Quesada and
Dr. Ernesto Quesada, and, as a monthly review, chiefly literary, but
also dealing with politics, history, and philosophy, it was a work of
the highest excellence. Nearly all the articles are signed, and most
of the eminent Argentine men of letters of those days have either
written or been reviewed in its pages. Another good magazine, which
lived from 1871-1874 was the _Revista del Rio de La Plata_. This dealt
with the same subjects, but was more historical than literary. In
Buenos Aires 189 newspapers are published. Of Spanish there are 154,
Italian 14, German 8, English 6, and the others are Scandinavian,
French, Basque, and Russian.

The excellent journalism of Argentina has not, as yet, developed into
literature of a class correspondingly high. Those who deal with the
literature of a new country usually strike an apologetic note, and
their main stumbling-block is the absence of originality, for it has
to be admitted that the poets and romancers of the young nations are
too often mere craftsmen imitating old European models. This admission
has to be made in the case of Argentina, but in other respects her
literature may well stand forth on its own merits; the artists are not
imported but American-born, and though they may not have produced an
indigenous literature, yet their creations are European with a
difference. They are Spanish American, not Spanish, and those of
Argentina are quite distinct in tone from those of their kinsmen on
the same continent.

A foreigner has considerable difficulty in dealing with the literature
of a country whose publications are little studied in Europe, and
apparently little information can be gathered except from the actual
writers. It is, therefore, necessary to begin with Dr. Ernesto
Quesada, whose _Reseñas y Criticas_ (Buenos Aires, 1893) is a mine of
information.

He remarks in the Preface: "In Europe the creations of the mind are
kept, polished, revised, accomplished, and completed for publication
very slowly and with tender care: in America we look upon writing as a
mere incident, and though we may as far as possible do it with the
long study and the great love of which the poet spoke, we do not boast
ourselves of it, or, perhaps, keep a record. Our life draws us to
action and into such strange vicissitudes that it is not possible to
see what to-morrow will bring." There is, then, an amateurish air
about Argentine literature; it has at present more grace than
strength. The writer has been before the public for more than thirty
years. "Un Invierno en Russia," a book of travel, was published in
1888, and long before that he produced a youthful work on Juvenal and
Persius--an unusual subject, for Latin Americans usually look upon the
study of Latin and Greek as waste of time. Dr. Quesada has also written
on political and ecclesiastical subjects. In the first-mentioned book of
essays he deals with the poetry, history, and jurisprudence of his
native land, as well as the Latin-American Congress, the Argentine
Universities, the intellectual movement in Argentina, and a number of
other subjects which are exactly those upon which a thoughtful observer
of a foreign country desires information.

Cultured Argentines have devoted considerable attention to history;
their nation has played a great part in the revolutionary wars; they
are proud of it and demand chroniclers. Mention must first be made of
Dean Funes, who lived in the days of the Revolution and whose "Ensayo
de la Historia Civil del Paraguay, Buenos Ayres y Tucuman" is, to one
who wants a comprehensive view of Argentine history, the most valuable
work upon the subject. Upon the Revolution itself General Bartolome
Mitre is the best authority, and D. F. Sarmiento has written well upon
the troubled times of the mid-century, but in general English and
French works deal with the history of modern Argentina quite as
satisfactorily as do her own writers.

Undoubtedly it is in jurisprudence, particularly in International Law,
that writers of this country have accomplished most original work.
Prominent among her publicists is Carlos Calvo (1824-1893) who lived
chiefly abroad in pursuit of his diplomatic career. In 1868 he
published in Paris his "Derecho internacional teorico y practico de
Europa y America," which was at once translated into French and took
place as one of the highest modern authorities on the subject. Calvo
observes: "I have called my work 'The International Law of Europe and
America in Theory and Practice,' because I am endeavouring in it to
make amends for the neglect of my predecessors and contemporaries who
have almost entirely omitted to deal with the vast American continent,
which nevertheless is growing daily in influence and power and
marching side by side with the civilisation of Europe." The book is a
minute analysis of the principles and practice of International Law
and is specially valuable on account of its historical treatment and
copious instances. Calvo also did good service to Argentine history by
his collection of documents, but his eminence is in the field of
International Law, and he is one of the very few Latin-American
authors who have won a world-wide reputation.

While Calvo has surpassed all other South Americans in the importance
of his contribution to the theory of International Law, Dr. Luis Maria
Drago has done the same as regards the practice. Towards the close of
1902 England, Germany, and Italy had blockaded the coast of Venezuela
on account of certain grievances. On December 29, 1902, Dr. Drago,
then Minister for Foreign Affairs, despatched a note to the Argentine
Minister in Washington. He maintained that no European State was
entitled to intervene by force in the affairs of an American nation,
still less to occupy its territory, in order to recover a debt due from
its Government to the subjects of the intervening State, such
intervention being an infringement of the sovereignty of the debtor
State and of the principle of the equality of the sovereign States.[88]
This doctrine, though never precisely stated, had been foreshadowed by
Calvo. It has been pointed out[89] that the blockade of 1902 was not
originally instituted on account of Venezuela's failure to pay debts,
but to obtain redress for outrages inflicted upon the subjects of the
blockading Powers, that Venezuela had refused the suggestion of
arbitration, that Dr. Drago misunderstood the Venezuelan question, and
that the Powers never intended permanently to occupy any part of
Venezuela. Further, Mr. Hay, in his reply to Dr. Drago, said: "The
President declared in his Message to Congress, December 3, 1901, that by
the Munroe Doctrine 'we do not guarantee any State against punishment if
it misconducts itself, provided that punishment does not take the form
of the acquisition of territory by any non-American Power.'" Although
the practice, against which the Drago Doctrine protests is liable to be
abused, it would hardly be prudent on the part of European Powers nor
conducive to progress in backward States, if the right of collecting
debts were surrendered altogether; and this view was taken at the Hague
Conference of 1907. It adopted the Drago Doctrine in a modified form,
providing that force must not be used for the recovery of ordinary
public debts originating in contracts, but the prohibition was not to
apply if the debtor State refused or ignored an offer of arbitration,
obstructed the process, or repudiated the decision. The resolution was
adopted by thirty-nine votes. There were five abstentions, including
Venezuela, which had no liking for the modifications. This tangible
addition to the public law of the world, which was one of the few
successes of the Conference, was a great personal triumph for Dr. Drago,
who was then the Argentine Delegate to the Conference. There have been
many other meritorious Argentine writers on legal subjects of all kinds,
as well as commercial and economic, but this account of two great names
must suffice.

After the splendid achievements of Argentina in jurisprudence, the
work of her writers in more purely literary fields may appear to be
eclipsed. But in the charming branch of essay-writing many good
authors have appeared, and these were mostly trained in the excellent
periodicals of a quarter of a century ago and upwards. Prominent among
these is Martin Garcia Mérou, who will also claim notice as a poet. He
is an author of long standing, having first appeared before the public
in 1880 with a volume of poems which was published at Barcelona. As
before remarked, it is a practice of many Argentine writers to publish
in Paris or Madrid in preference to Buenos Aires, and indeed the
influence of Spain upon Argentine literature is now quite as strong as
that of England used to be upon the United States. It was at Madrid
that Garcia published, in 1884, an acute critical work, "Estudios
Literarios" and also "Impresiones," a book of travel, but since then
he has reverted to Buenos Aires. One of his most spirited works
appeared there in 1900, "El Brasil Intelectual," which is a rich
storehouse of information about a country which is perhaps somewhat
neglected by Argentines. Garcia has a deservedly high reputation among
his countrymen, and has been warmly praised by Dr. Ernesto Quesada.
Among this class of writer J. M. Gutierrez has done valuable editorial
and critical work, and some have held that he is the most eminent man
of letters, in the ordinary sense of the word, who has appeared in
Argentina. M. Daireaux[90] remarks caustically: "He knew no joys but
those of literature; he had all the traditional American curiosity, he
made researches in the chronicles and caused them to live again, he
re-discovered all the thoughts of the greatest men of the world, and
illuminated them with the powerful rays of his gigantic intellect. But
withal, as he was not a politician with influence at his disposal, nor
a lawyer with a numerous group of clients around him, as he had
nothing but a great soul, he occupied in society but a humble rank. I
used to speak of him with men who appreciated him, and I never drew
from them more than a shrug and this word of pity: 'What would you
have? He is a literary man!' They did not even say a member of the
literary profession; the profession did not exist, was not classed; he
was only a literary man--not even, as they say in France, a man of
letters." The writer adds that the profession is now recognised in
Buenos Aires.

Still, in spite of his capacious intellect, Gutierrez can hardly be
looked upon as occupying the first place among the men of letters of
Argentina, because he produced little original work.

Prose fiction now fills a very prominent place in the literature of
almost every nation, and Argentina is no exception to the rule, but it
cannot be said that her writers possess any great distinction. Dr.
Quesada considers that José Marmol, distinguished in other branches of
literature, was the best of the early novelists. In 1851 he published
a spirited romance named "Amalia," somewhat after the style of the
elder Dumas. It can hardly be called historical, for the scene is laid
in 1840 and the subject is the tyranny of Rosas, but the author
declares that he wishes to describe for the benefit of future
generations, the Argentine dictatorship, and that therefore he has
treated in a historical manner actual living persons. The book was a
success, but Marmol does not appear to have followed it up.

In 1884 Carlos Maria Ocantos published a juvenile work, "La Cruz de la
Falta," which was recognised as showing considerable promise, and in
1888 appeared "Leon Saldivar," which was hailed as a national novel.
This writer, who, like most Argentine authors, is a diplomatist by
profession and a man of letters by temperament, does not follow the
trend of Argentine fiction, which is towards historical romances. He
is a realist, and "Leon Saldivar" is a powerful study of Argentine life,
and particularly life at the capital. The more spiritual people of the
city were beginning to complain of it as a noisy, overgrown place,
devoted to money-grubbing, and indeed its poets and philosophers in
general made haste to quit it for a more favourable atmosphere, and
often did not even pay it the compliment of allowing it to publish their
works. Ocantos strove to elicit the romance of Buenos Aires as Dickens
found out the romance of London. He continued this vein with a still
more powerful and sombre work, "Quilito," in 1891. The two writers here
briefly noticed illustrate the imitative character of the Argentine
novel--the first looks to Dumas, the second to Zola.

Many critics think that the strongest Argentine novel which has yet
appeared is "La Gloria de Don Ramiro," published at Madrid in 1908.
The author, Sr. Enrique Larreta, lays his plot in the times of Philip
II. of Spain, and stirring scenes are described with great verve. The
musings of a boy, when his intellect is expanding and his head full of
the books he has last read, are always a tempting theme for romancers,
and the following passage, in the spirit of "the days of our youth are
the days of our glory," reflects the glow of boyish dreams:--

"Fascinated by his books, Ramirio began to imagine himself the hero of
the story. He was in turn Julius Cæsar, the Cid, the Great Captain,
Cortes, Don Juan of Austria. To take up the _Commentaries_ was to lead
the legions across Gaul, but, on the Ides of March, more sagacious
than the Dictator, he discovered the treachery of Junius Brutus and,
concealing a sword under his toga, he entered the Senate House and
slew the conspirators one by one. He conquered the Moors on countless
fields, he offered to Spain the kingdom of Naples or the empire of
Montezuma, and finally, planting his foot on the prow of a strange
ship, he destroyed for ever the whole Turkish fleet, at a new and
marvellous Lepanto, which his imagination evoked from the prints. The
result was that he began to deem himself chosen by God to carry on the
tradition of deathless fame. He put away from his mental view the
mediocre, the commonplace, the humdrum. All that was not impulsive
and heroic seemed intolerable, for he felt in himself an absolute
confidence of winning at a blow the highest honours and becoming, in a
short time, one of the foremost knights of the Catholic Faith on
earth."

The book is in many ways one of the most remarkable works of the
imagination that has been created by an Argentine and Sr. Larreta
writes pure and nervous Spanish.

Last comes a branch of literature which is probably the most popular,
and certainly the most esteemed, in Spanish America, which takes
mediocre poets far more seriously than did Horace, or, indeed,
than is the habit of the more stolid East. A somewhat sardonic
French traveller[91] lately remarked: "Spanish America has only one
thought--love. And love has given to it the one art which it practises,
if not in perfection at least in abundance inexhaustible--lyric poetry.
It appears that Peru and Colombia and Guatemala possess great poets....
Being a foreigner, I cannot judge about their greatness, but I can see
that they are numerous, indeed innumerable. Not a newspaper but contains
every morning poems, and their invariable burden is the passion of love.
The eyes, the teeth, the lips, the hair, the hands and feet of the
American misses are here, one by one, compared to all the beauties of
earth and sky. The warmth of sentiment is undoubted, but the expression
lacks originality."

There seems, indeed, to be an inexhaustible demand for a kind
of verse which a foreigner has a great difficulty in judging,
owing to difference in national temperaments and, perhaps still
more, differences in national ages. A thousand years makes a great
difference in a nation's point of view, and much that seems fresh and
beautiful to the younger people is hackneyed and tedious to the older.
The poetry of Argentina and, it is said, of all Latin America,
appears to be erotic or spasmodic, or both. It is pretty, but it has
not sufficient freshness to conquer a hearing in the great world.

But the earliest work with which we need deal is an anonymous
anthology, which forms an exception to the general rule. In 1823 some
patriot, by a happy inspiration, collected the snatches of song which
the revolutionists had composed and by which they marched to victory,
and these form a substantial volume--"La Lira Argentina." It consists
of a great number of poems, mostly short--"Marcha patriotica," "Oda"
(por la victoria de Suipacha), "Cancion patriotica," "Cancion
Heroica," "A La Excelentisima Junta," "Marcha Patriotica" ("Long live
our country free from chains, and long live her sons to defend her"),
"Marcha Nacional Oriental," and the like. They are full of fire and
simple art; they are really a noble national memorial and worth a
wilderness of love lyrics. But this view has not been developed,
although one would suppose that Argentina, with its mountains and
Pampas, deserved better local poetry of manhood and adventure than the
rude songs of the Gauchos.

Marmol (1818-1873), already referred to as a novelist, in some way
carries on the patriotic tradition, for in 1838 he was thrown by Rosas
into a dungeon, and inscribed with a burnt stick the following
quatrain on the walls of his prison:--

    "Wretch! set before me dreadful Death,
      And all my limbs in fetters bind;
    Thou canst not quench my moral breath,
      Nor place a chain upon my mind."

He managed to survive and became a busy man of letters and
subsequently Director of the National Library. Marmol wrote a good
many love poems, but he is more remarkable for having attempted a
field which seems to have little attraction for his countrymen. He
wrote at least two poetical dramas, "El Cruzado" and "El Poeta," the
first historical, the second a modern comedy. He is a sound and
conscientious literary craftsman, and the literary world of Buenos
Aires looks back to him with profound respect. He seems to have
approached nearer to the type of the professional man of letters than
is common in Argentina.

The other poets are extremely numerous, and it is not necessary to
particularise them. With them it is always the hour of night, and the
same question always arises: "Why do you come to disturb my calm,
image of that being whom I adore, image of that being, for whom alas!
I weep, for whom I consume away and die of love?" The quotation in
question happens to be from a Colombian poet, but the note is always
the same; there is too little distinctiveness about the poets of
Argentina to require detailed treatment. The short-lived Adolfo Mitré,
who was highly praised for his sincerity and passion, or Sr. Martin
Garcia Mérou may stand as types of the rest.

Garcia Mérou, besides being a poet, is an elegant essayist--already
noticed--a good historian, and has shown himself highly appreciative
of the work of brother poets. It is, perhaps, to the amateurish state
of Argentine literature, which does not engender professional
jealousy, that the pleasant comradeship and apparent lack of literary
squabbles are due. Garcia Mérou published many volumes of poems of the
usual type in the eighties. In 1891 appeared a different kind of
work, "Cuadros Epicos," short poems dealing with various scenes in
Spanish-American history. "El Mar de Balboa" is impressive.

The things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme are still the best part
of Argentine literature; in new countries material fruit precedes
intellectual blossom. This is inevitable in such cases, for it is
necessary to live before it is possible to write, and literature is at
every disadvantage owing to the scantiness and preoccupation of the
people. Prosperity may probably continue to blunt the literary sense,
for national dangers and terrors, such as called forth the Elizabethan
literature and the Romantic Revival in England, or the modest "Lira
Argentina," are unlikely, and the education system, which despises
Latin and Greek--_i.e._, literature--does not foster good writers. The
matter must be left to time and events. The people of Argentina are
practical, and their literary wants are well supplied in the shape of
all that the practical man wants. There are excellent and useful
writings on law, adequate histories, lucid essays, a few novels, and,
above all, a most excellent press, which last probably forms his
complete substitute for a library. He wants no more. Possibly that
absence of wants is the most serious want of all; a life that can be
satisfied by craftsman, cook, or groom, is at least incomplete, and it
may be that earth has something better to show than fat cattle, corn,
grapes, or even dollars. These things have not been the distinguishing
products of nations in the past which are now inscribed upon the rolls
of fame, and, however materialistic men become, such things will
not even now hand a nation on to all futurity. The literature of
Argentina, though creditable, is by no means on a scale proportionate
to her present position among nations.

FOOTNOTES:

[82] See Windsor, "History of America," ii. 322, 3.

[83] "The obligations of religion were undermined, every weapon was
directed to the extermination of the unshaken foes of the revolution.
The ignorant and depraved set no bounds to their conduct, every
thought of religion and morals, of future welfare and its effects upon
unborn generations, were out of the question. Many of the youth of
this province have, in consequence, been brought up in a neglect of
all religion" (Captain Andrews, "Journey" &c., i. 190).

[84] Primary education is free and compulsory for children between the
ages of six and fourteen. It is also, unfortunately, secular.

[85] The following table will show that Argentina is more advanced
than her neighbours:--

                                      Percentage to Population
                                      of School-going Children.
    Argentina                                   10
    Uruguay                                      7
    Chile                                        3·70
    Paraguay                                     3·50
    Peru                                         2·86
    Brazil                                       2
    Bolivia                                      2

Santiago and Jujuy are the most ignorant parts of the Republic, Buenos
Aires City the least.

[86] Émile Daireaux, "La Vie et Les Moeurs à La Plata," i. 414.

[87] _Caras y Caretas_ is a sprightly weekly paper of varied
interests, which makes a special feature of coloured cartoons.

[88] See the _Annual Register_ of 1907, p. 345.

[89] See the _North American Review_, July 31, 1907.

[90] "La Vie et les Moeurs à La Plata," i. 408-9.

[91] M. de Waleffe, "Les Paradis de l'Amérique Centrale," p. 213.



CHAPTER XV

INDUSTRIAL ARGENTINA--RAILWAYS AND MINOR ENTERPRISES


Undoubtedly at the present time the main interest of Argentina is
industrial. The wonderful rapidity of her expansion is perhaps the
most remarkable phenomenon of this generation, and can only be
realised by a visit to the country. No nation has more thoroughly
appreciated this fact than France, which hails with triumph the rapid
progress of a Latin race as a counterbalancing force to industrial
degeneration in Europe. If able and eloquent essays and elaborate
statistics, written with great literary power to call the attention of
French capital and enterprise to the River Plate, were sufficient for
the purpose, France would have a very prominent industrial part in
that region. But, generally speaking, France is enough for the French,
and that country only contributes 10 per cent. of the Argentine
imports, and is thus only slightly ahead of Italy. The rulers of the
United States have also grasped the importance of this new force, and
the _Bulletin of the International Bureau of the American Republics_,
for fulness and clearness of information, puts to shame all English
efforts in the same direction. Yet, in spite of all their exertions,
the United States do not possess a single bank in Argentina (possibly
not in the whole of South America), and England sends to the River
Plate two and a half times as much merchandise. Germany also spares no
effort, although Brazil attracts still more attention. If gratuitous
advertising could command success, Germany would be first without a
rival. For some mysterious reason every Englishman, whether at home or
abroad, considers it necessary to boom German goods and German
enterprise, and a suggestion that the Teuton has left a little trade
to the Anglo-Saxon is received with polite incredulity. In their
enthusiasm our countrymen are a little forgetful of facts and
proportion, and they somehow manage to persuade themselves that
Germany is an absolutely irresistible industrial force. In the
Argentine her share of the import trade is somewhat less than half
that of England.

[Illustration: FREIGHT TRAIN FOR ENTRE RIOS CROSSING NEW BRIDGE.]

It is certainly true that our country has very little system in
placing information before our traders. The Consular Reports are
valuable, but each refers to a comparatively small district, and,
apart from the fact that very few steps seem to be taken to bring them
to the notice of traders, there is great inconvenience in collecting
information piecemeal, nor is the form, in any case, sufficiently
stimulating. We ought to take a lesson from the handsomely illustrated
publications of the States, and the scientific and literary ability
with which the French expound their theme. Our work hitherto has been
fruit-bearing, but not light-giving. One of the commonest exclamations
of an Englishman when he has spent a few days in Buenos Aires is:
"Well! I wish the people at home knew about this." Few people read
statistics, fewer still remember them, and fewest of all understand
them; and consequently the signs of industrial prosperity are almost
stupefying. Still, as railway companies seem to find photographs
the most effective advertisements, it can hardly be doubted that
well-illustrated pamphlets setting forth the industrial promise of
Argentina would make many people in England realise the true state of
affairs. Certainly, the Argentine Government does all in its power by
exhibitions and the dissemination of intelligence to attract capital
and settlers.

Perhaps, as a prelude to this subject, a word may be said about the
British capital invested in the country, for this is one of the most
striking features.

Englishmen have from the beginning taken the lead in developing the
resources of the country, and this fact is fully appreciated by the
people of Argentina, who owe no less their pre-eminent position in
South America to the stream of English capital, which has been pouring
in for generations, than to their fine climate and immense natural
wealth. In the old Spanish days England had a leading share in the
contraband trade, and during the Napoleonic war her merchants were
almost as welcome guests as her armies and fleets were unwelcome. The
English were the pioneers in railway construction, and still own
the most important lines; they have founded banks and freezing
establishments, lighted the streets, laid down tramways, and built
harbours.

Up to May 31, 1908, the amount of English capital invested in
Argentina was as follows:--

    Railways                 £137,845,000
    Banks                       8,580,000
    Tramways                    8,010,986
    Sundry enterprises         20,910,580
                             ------------
    Total                    £175,346,566

France comes second. Her investments are chiefly in railways and
harbours, and amount to about £21,621,000. German capital, principally
in banks and tramways, stands at £12,000,000. Belgium has £4,000,000
of capital invested in the Republic.

Among the many marvellous industrial features of Argentina the
railways[92] may claim the first position, for they hold in the Plate
country the same place as in the United States: they are the arteries
which bring life-blood to the system. The travellers of two or three
generations ago all remarked upon the wealth of the Pampas and
lamented the impossibility of utilising it owing to the absence of
transport, and the same lament is made by those who now visit Brazil,
Peru, Colombia, and Venezuela. But now Argentina has a splendid
railway system, which is being developed with unflagging enterprise.
Its mileage is greater than that of Mexico.[93]

The first line was laid down in 1857, but progress was very slow, for
Argentina shared the bad reputation of all South American Republics,
and there seemed reason to believe that the next quarter of a century
would be as barren as the last, for foreign and civil wars appeared to
be insuperable barriers to progress. But in the booming times of the
eighties construction went on apace, and no temporary checks to the
general prosperity availed to circumscribe the growing network of
railways. Taken as a whole, they are one of the most brilliant
examples of English enterprise in a foreign land.[94]

The oldest of the Argentine railways is the Buenos Aires Western,
which in 1857 made a modest beginning with a 6-mile track to Flores.
Its early days were full of trouble, and before long it fell into the
hands of the State. It was sold to an English company in 1890, and
since that time has flourished exceedingly. Although the smallest of
the broad-gauge lines, it is a very wealthy concern, and has 1,305 miles
of track. Up to Mercedes it competes with the Buenos Aires and Pacific,
but thence it bears southward, to Banderalo in one direction and Toay in
another, and finally joins the Bahia Blanca and North-Western Railway at
Bahia Blanca itself. It serves a very fertile district, and grain forms
60 per cent. of its goods traffic. The lines are well laid, the rolling
stock excellent, the management of the best, and it has long paid a
dividend of 7 per cent. upon its ordinary stock. Altogether it is a
highly meritorious concern, and though it has less scope for development
than some of its rivals its future can hardly fail to be one of
continuous prosperity.

[Illustration: LOCOMOTIVE, BUENOS AIRES GREAT SOUTHERN RAILWAY.]

The largest of all the railways is the Buenos Aires Great Southern.
Formed in 1862 to take over a Buenos Aires State line of 71 miles,
which was opened in 1865, it has gradually extended over the Province
and beyond, and now has 2,745 miles of line and is also the richest
railway company in the country. The capital is about forty million
sterling, and for ten years interest at the rate of 7 per cent. has
been paid upon the ordinary stock. It has the great advantage over all
competitors in serving nothing but rich country, and practically all
its points are within 200 miles of the ports of Buenos Aires or Bahia
Blanca. The policy of the Great Southern, while financially sound, has
been one of remarkable enterprise, and the distant future has always
been kept in view. Money has been spent lavishly with the object of
obtaining all strategical points and access into promising country. At
Bahia Blanca a large steel mole and grain wharf have been constructed,
with the best machinery for loading and unloading, and accommodation
for fourteen ocean steamers. Control has also been obtained of a dock
company at La Plata, as well as an important interest in the Buenos
Aires Southern Dock Company, where accommodation is provided for
twenty steamers. Nothing has been left undone in the way of providing
docking facilities, and the rolling stock is in excellent condition and
great abundance. This is necessary for grain-carrying lines, because
their goods traffic comes with a rush at one time. Congress has
sanctioned the construction of additional lines of 1,176 miles, chiefly
in the region of the Rios Colorado and Negro. As the irrigation schemes
will make this a rich grain district, the railway may look for large
traffic increases. In the future there will be strong competition in the
Province of Buenos Aires from several French and State lines, but the
history of Argentine railway development has been largely the record of
the absorption by a great line of its smaller competitors, and the
position of the Great Southern is now so strong and its extensions have
been so judiciously planned, that its continued prosperity may be
confidently predicted. It works the Buenos Aires Midland and the Buenos
Aires, Ensenada, and South Coast.

The Buenos Aires and Pacific Railway looms more largely in the view of
the world than its neighbours, and its history presents so many
features of interest that it deserves to be described in somewhat
fuller detail. Although its present mileage (2,712) is very nearly as
large as that of the Great Southern, it is not an old line. The
Company was formed in 1882 to construct a broad-gauge line from
Mercedes to Villa Mercedes, and this was soon extended to the City of
Buenos Aires, which became the headquarters. This, however, was
insufficient scope for the enterprising Company, and in 1904 control
was obtained over the Bahia Blanca and North-Western Railway, which
now has a length of 665 miles, and thus an immense step in advance was
taken by securing a terminus at a town which will probably be the
chief grain port in South America. Four years earlier a similar,
though less important, step was taken to compete with another rival by
taking over the Villa Maria and Rufino Railway. This was a short
section from the town of Villa Maria between Cordoba and Rosario to
Rufino on its own main line, and thus the Buenos Aires Pacific was in
a position to make terms with its northern rivals. But a still more
important extension than either of the above was to follow. The
Argentine Great Western ran from Villa Mercedes to Mendoza, and had
also branches to San Rafael, San Juan, and other small places. Thus it
had a monopoly of the wine traffic, which is very valuable in itself
and doubly so because it comes on at a season in the year when it does
not interfere with other traffic. This line has a mileage of 500
miles, and gross receipts of about a million sterling. For a long time
the Argentine Great Western stood out, but was in 1907 induced to give
way on somewhat extravagant terms, and thus the enterprising Company
was not far from its goal of being a real Pacific Railway. In fact,
there was included in this deal an arrangement which practically
assured this result, for the Great Western had already taken over the
Argentine Transandine, which thus became a part of the Buenos Aires
Pacific system. This is a small line of 111 miles of metre gauge,
which runs from Mendoza to the Chilian frontier, where it joins the
Chilian lines at Las Cuevas. Here a great tunnel has been completed
under the Andes, and it will be open for traffic by the time this book
is published. The magnificent system is the admiration of the whole
world. The Buenos Aires and Pacific is the only line in South America
which has established through communication between the Atlantic and
Pacific, and up to Mendoza the line is well laid, and it carries
passengers speedily and with all possible comfort. But it has had to
pay for its footing and the expense of acquiring sections, which are
valuable rather as rounding off its own system and preventing
encroachments by other companies, has been enormous, and it has been
obliged to make repeated applications for capital in the London
market. The traffic with Valparaiso, although the extension is a
showy scheme, is not likely to pay for many years, and the difficulty
of running trains through winter blizzards and snowdrifts will be
considerable. The heavy expenditure has had a temporary effect, and
the stock has experienced a heavy fall during the last few months. But
the Company has placed itself in a position where it has little to
fear from competition and where it can secure the full advantages from
the future development of Argentina. This railway may be considered
one of the most magnificent commercial enterprises in South America.

[Illustration: RAILWAY STATION, BUENOS AIRES GREAT SOUTHERN RAILWAY.]

The Central Argentine is one of the most prosperous of railways. It
has the largest gross receipts and makes the most profit per mile and
it is also of very long standing. It began in 1864 with a line from
Rosario to Cordoba and for a long time met with severe competition
from the Buenos Aires and Rosario line, which worked practically the
same districts, but in 1902 an amalgamation was effected. But the
Mitre Law has been unfavourable to it, and for some years the
Government insisted that the two lines should continue to be worked
separately, and it was only last year that their complete union was
sanctioned. Rosario is the centre of the system, and here the Company
owns extensive dockyards, and lines run both to Tucuman and Cordoba. A
port, Villa Constitucion, within 32 miles of Rosario, is also being
developed, but competition is feared from Santa Fé, where very large
extensions are being made, and although the Central Argentine has
access to that port, a French company is in a better position for
taking advantage of the facilities. In fact, the line is exposed to
very severe competition from two French companies, the Cordoba
Central, the Buenos Aires Central, and the Rosario and Western, a
light railway, but it is large and wealthy and should have little to
fear. It has an enormous grain traffic, but it serves the older and
more settled districts, and therefore cannot hope to increase its
traffic in the immediate future as rapidly as some of the pioneer
railways. However, it has been pointed out in another chapter that the
development of the Gran Chaco and extensions into Paraguay and Brazil
must ultimately vastly add to the wealth and importance of Rosario and
hence to that of the Central Argentine. But this is a matter of the
distant future. The Central Argentine pursues a conservative policy in
finance and has for many years paid 6 per cent. on the ordinary stock.
It is in a very sound position, a most comfortable line, and the
management is highly efficient. The length of line is 2,392 miles.

There are two competing lines which serve the eastern river district
adjacent to Uruguay, namely, the Entre Rios and the Argentine
North-Eastern. Both have a gauge of 4 feet 8½ inches. The Entre Rios
is a short line of only 656 miles, but it is of some importance on
account of its ferry service which connects Zarate with Ibicuy on the
left bank of the Parana. The railway then runs north to the important
town of Parana, which is the headquarters. No dividend has yet been paid
on the ordinary stock, and the cumulative preference is somewhat in
arrears, for the district is mainly pastoral and that part of the line
which was taken over from the Provincial Government in 1891 is badly
laid, but when Entre Rios becomes a large grain-producing region the
prospects of the Company will improve, and already it does a good trade
in supplying Buenos Aires with fruit and vegetables, while the
management is economical. Of its traffic some 17 per cent. is live
stock, 15 wheat, and 11 linseed.

The North-Eastern, which has 510 miles of railway, should be assured
of a prosperous future, for Posadas, the northern headquarters, is now
connected with Asuncion by the Paraguay Central Railway and will get
much benefit from the development of that hitherto secluded country.
It is still a pioneer line running through swamps and forests and
country which is to a great extent unpopulated, and the goods which it
carries consist chiefly of cattle and their products. The swampy nature
of the country entails considerable expense in construction, but the
Company pays a strict regard to economy, and the capitalisation per mile
is only £8,680. Since June 30, 1907, the working expenses have been cut
down from 65.10 to 57.17 per cent. Although the prospects of this line
are fair they would undoubtedly be better if an amalgamation could be
effected with the Entre Rios, for the district does not yet possess
sufficient traffic for two competing lines. The scheme has long been
under consideration, and as the policy of amalgamation has been carried
on so extensively in recent years it may be that it will eventually be
accomplished.

A small railway of 167 miles, under Argentine management, should here
be mentioned. It runs westward from the capital to Rojas, and there is
also a very important branch of 27 miles which runs to Zarate and
connects with the Entre Rios system by a train ferry. In 1906 this
Company took over the Tramway Rural à Vapor from Messrs. Lacroze Bros.
The line has a gauge of 4 feet 8½ inches. The Company owns valuable
property in Buenos Aires and has a terminal station at the suburb of
Chacarita, and it serves a profitable district and is also a link with
the Argentine Mesopotamia, but it has been obliged to make heavy
outlays upon the permanent way. The line was originally a light
railway and therefore in indifferent condition for heavy traffic. The
ordinary share capital of the Company, which is exclusively held in
Argentina, has been increased to over a million sterling. There were
issued also in 1907 £600,000 4½ per cent. First Mortgage Debentures
to extend the line from Salto to Rojas. This was subscribed in London.
It is a good property.

[Illustration: RAILWAY CARRIAGE, BUENOS AIRES CENTRAL RAILWAY.]

Of the remaining lines the most important are a group of northern
railways. The Cordoba Central Railway is metre gauge and is divided
into two sections. The "Original Line" is 128½ miles long and was
formed in 1887 to connect Cordoba with San Francisco. The latter is an
important town half-way between Cordoba and Santa Fé. Shortly
afterwards the Company bought the Central Northern Railway from the
Argentine Government at a cost of £3,174,603, and also spent about a
million sterling on improving the line which runs from Cordoba to
Tucuman and has a length of 550 miles. In 1899 the purchase was
effected of the North-Western Argentine Railway, a loop-line from
Tucuman to La Madrid, length 87 miles. The "Original Line," after
leaving Cordoba, passes through a poor and sparsely inhabited country,
and this section could be of little value but for the terminus at San
Francisco. However, it is economically managed and shows a profit of
£800 per mile. The longer section also, between Cordoba and Tucuman,
runs through a poor country, but in compensation it has the valuable
sugar traffic of the latter city. Sugar forms a quarter and timber
nearly two-fifths of its goods traffic. Closely connected with it is
the Cordoba and Rosario Railway, which is also metre gauge and
connects Rosario with Frontera on the "Original Line." There is also a
branch line to Rafaela, which links up with the Central Argentine and
the French lines. In 1895 the capital had to be reorganised, and
there can be no doubt that it has not yet seen its best days, for it
will have to wait for the development of the auxiliary lines which
form the connecting links between Tucuman and the capital. But in any
case they have to face very severe competition from the Argentine
Central and the French lines. It is open to doubt whether the
connection with Buenos Aires itself is necessary, for there are
already a bewildering number of lines serving the district between
Buenos Aires and Rosario, and at harvest-time there is immense
congestion at the former place. In fact, the trend of commerce seems
to be rather towards the diversion of bulky exports from the capital
and the directing of them to Rosario and Bahia Blanca. This criticism
receives point from the position of the newly opened Cordoba Central
Buenos Aires Extension Railway, upon which the up-country allied lines
largely depend for their success. This cumbrously named Company was
formed in 1905 to acquire a concession granted by Government to the
Cordoba Central Railway to build a metre-gauge line of 187 miles. It
runs parallel with the Central Argentine system between Buenos Aires
and Rosario, and it was only recently opened. Its district is, of
course, one of the very richest in the country, consisting of fine
agricultural and grazing land in the zone of black soil. But, as already
stated, there is strong competition, and this not only from the other
lines, but also from the river, which follows it from end to end. Now
the dock of this Company at the capital will not be finished till the
end of 1910, and the Company is at present renting accommodation and
therefore suffering considerable inconvenience. The work of reclaiming
land and dock building is being done by the Buenos Aires and Pacific,
and the cost will be about a million sterling. The office of the Company
also is to cost £225,000, but a large part of this will be let off.
Every large company naturally wishes to have its headquarters in Buenos
Aires, but in this case the question arises as to whether the game is
worth the candle. Few lines have had to pay more heavily for obtaining
their extension privileges; the ordinary stock has been watered to a
considerable degree and bonds of the value of three and a half million
sterling have been issued. To meet the interest upon these bonds alone
its profits will have to be £175,000, and thus a profit of £935 per mile
is postulated. To obtain such a profit under economical management the
gross receipts will have to be £389,000, or nearly £2,100 per mile, and
no broad-gauge line in Argentina has yet reached this figure. In 1909
its gross receipts were only £1,613, its net £654 per mile, but as the
line is only in its infancy these figures must not be taken as a
criterion. However, the payment of a large dividend on the ordinary
stock appears to be a remote eventuality.

[Illustration: VIEW OF MARSHY COUNTRY, BUENOS AIRES CENTRAL RAILWAY.]

Numerous small lines, chiefly Government or French, have been
incidentally mentioned, but they do not require detailed
description.[95]

No account of the railways would be complete without a reference to
the important Mitre Law, which was introduced some two years ago. Some
of the railway concessions were expiring, and several provincial
Governments (which are not always as enlightened as the Federal)
were believed to be planning increased taxation. Legislation was
accordingly introduced to put matters upon a proper footing. Such
companies as accept the Law are granted exception from all kinds of
taxation and allowed free importation of all materials till 1947. In
return the companies must pay a tax of 3 per cent. upon net receipts,
which, however, will be applied by the Government in constructing and
maintaining bridges and roads which give access to the lines. Certain
rights of tariff revision are given to the Government, and no watered
capital is recognised. The Law is most valuable to the railways, and
the expenditure on roads and bridges will be highly beneficial. The
effect will be to limit working expenses, for when the gross earnings
for three consecutive years exceed 17 per cent. of the recognised
share and debenture capital, the Government has a right to revise the
tariffs. The Law has been accepted by all the English companies except
the Entre Rios and the Argentine North-Eastern.

The above account will show that competition is very severe. This
tends to bring down profits, and the cost of labour and coal and
materials also makes the working expenses high. The extensions of the
broad-gauge companies are, it is estimated, to cost £9,000 per mile
for track and stations alone. Another fact which adds to the expenses
is the necessity of keeping a very large rolling stock for use during
harvest-times. This must, in part, stand idle for the rest of the
year, and as a corollary to this the great bulk of the traffic is to
the sea, and thus many wagons have to return inland empty. Passenger
traffic, again, is light, owing to the sparse population. The
Government naturally encourages competition; but its attitude has also
a very favourable side, for it puts no obstacles in the way of
construction, and does not attempt to bleed the companies. Of this the
Mitre Law is an example. On the whole, it may be said that the great
ability which has hitherto been shown in railway policy will have to
be maintained at the highest point if profits and dividends are to be
kept up.

On the other hand, it must be remembered that the volume of traffic
steadily increases, and that wheat alone will be exported on a scale
greater than anything which has yet been seen in any country in the
world. The area of cultivation expands yearly, and when a more
intensive scheme of tillage is adopted the yield will increase and
with it the goods traffic. Pasturage is being driven further afield by
the husbandmen, and as more farmers settle within the railway area the
import trade will expand in sympathy with their growing wants and
purchasing power. There is no reason to doubt that the railways will
continue to share in the increasing prosperity of the country, and
will be enabled to take advantage of the vast scope for development
both north and south.

Manufacturers in Argentina are heavily protected, but they have as yet
made no great progress. Writers who deal with the business side of
Argentine life usually treat them in a very cursory manner and devote
themselves to the vast pastoral and agricultural production and other
characteristic industries, but the question of manufactures is worth
consideration, for it is a sign of the times that every nation is
anxious to supply itself with home-made goods and is straining every
nerve to encourage home production. A large proportion, indeed, of the
Argentine factories are merely auxiliary to the production of raw
material, being creameries, butter factories, freezing establishments,
cheese-making factories, and the like.

Brewing and distilling are both important, and there are said to be
130 distilleries and 32 breweries in Argentina. The sugar factories of
Tucuman turn out a great quantity of rum. As sugar-planting is being
successfully pursued in the Territories of Misiones, Chaco, and
Formosa, the manufacture of that article is naturally increasing. The
cost of planting one hectare with cane is about £10. It was estimated
that the Republic produced about 120,000 tons of sugar annually, and
this amount is not quite sufficient for domestic needs, but when the
Gran Chaco is opened up there can be no doubt that not only will
enough be produced to supply the increasing population but that there
will also be a large export.

In 1907 there were 303 flour-mills turning out 699,000 tons of flour.
There are also 77 tobacco factories producing an output valued at
about 2½ millions sterling. All kinds of textiles are produced, but
there are only two cotton-spinning mills and 62 weaving factories.
There are also numbers of miscellaneous industries, the most important
of which perhaps are paper, matches, glass-ware, tanning, clothing,
and building material. In general the factories are fitted up with the
very best English machinery, and there is a determination to leave
nothing undone to secure success. That they will continue to prosper
cannot be doubted, for they have still a much larger home market
than they are capable of supplying. A considerable number of the
manufacturing industries, notably the sugar factories of Tucuman, are
in English hands, and an enterprising Scotch firm has forsaken the
United Kingdom and is engaged in manufacturing cheap shoes of imported
hemp, which are exported largely to Japan. The high tariff wall is a
luxury much appreciated by manufacturers, but not to-day or to-morrow
will Argentina compete with Manchester or Bradford in the world's
markets. Want of coal is a capital hindrance, and that very protection
which confers local prosperity helps to make the establishment and
upkeep of factories very costly. In this respect Argentina is but a
beginner, and no one can say what her manufacturing future will be.

FOOTNOTES:

[92] Valuable articles appeared on this subject in the Economist,
beginning No. 3,457, November 30, 1909.

[93] The following figures show the progress of railway
construction:--

    1866             73 miles
    1874            150   "
    1884          2,290   "
    1890          5,745   "
    1899         10,285   "
    1908         15,476   "

In 1909 the railways carried 50,810,000 passengers. The gross receipts
were about £20,715,000, the net profits about £8,200,000.

[94] The following are the principal lines:--

    Argentine Great Western.
    Argentine North-Eastern.
    Bahia Blanca and North-Western.
    Buenos Aires Central.
    Buenos Aires Great Southern.
    Buenos Aires Midland.
    Buenos Aires and Pacific.
    Buenos Aires and Rosario.
    Buenos Aires Western.
    Central Argentine.
    Cordoba Central.
    Cordoba Central Buenos Aires Extension.
    Cordoba and Rosario.
    Entre Rios.
    Villa Maria and Rufino.

The above are mainly English. There are several smaller private lines
and several belonging to Government, while there is an important
French line--the Province of Santa Fé Railway. As will be pointed out,
several of the above have been practically amalgamated with larger
lines.

[95] The following is a directory of the four broad-gauge railways:--

BUENOS AIRES GREAT SOUTHERN RAILWAY.

_Directors._

    Jason Rigby (Chairman),
    Sir Henry Bell, Bart.,
    A. E. Bowen,
    Col. Sir C. Euan Smith, K.C.B.,
    Woodbine Parish,
    D. A. Shennan,
    D. Simson.

_Local Committee._

    G. White (Chairman),
    J. P. Clarke,
    Dr. N. R. Fresco,
    F. D. Guerrico.

_Consulting Engineers._

    Livesey, Son, and Henderson.

_General Manager._

    J. P. Clarke.

_London Manager and Secretary._

    H. C. Allen.

_Offices._

    River Plate House, Finsbury Circus, E.C.

BUENOS AIRES WESTERN RAILWAY.

_Directors._

    Sir Henry Bell, Bart. (Chairman),
    A. E. Bowen,
    D. Simson,
    Woodbine Parish,
    J. W. Todd.

_Consulting Engineers._

    Livesey, Son, and Henderson.

_Legal Representative in Buenos Aires._

    Santiago Brian.

_General Manager._

    A. F. Lertora.

_Secretary._

    E. Eustace Faithfull.

_Offices._

    River Plate House, Finsbury Circus, E.C.

BUENOS AIRES AND PACIFIC RAILWAY.

_Directors._

    Rt. Hon. Lord St. Davids (Chairman),
    T. P. Gaskell,
    C. E. Günther,
    E. Norman,
    Hon. A. Stanley, M.P.,
    F. O. Smithers (Managing Director).

_Local Board._

    Dr. Don E. Lamarca (Chairman),
    J. A. Goudge,
    R. S. Zavalia.

_General Manager._

    J. A. Goudge.

_Secretary._

    W. R. Cronan.

_Offices._

    Dashwood House. 9, New Broad Street, E.C.

CENTRAL ARGENTINE RAILWAY.

_Directors._

    J. W. Todd (Chairman),
    C. Darbyshire,
    P. Riddock,
    W. Morrison,
    Jason Rigby,
    Col. F. J. G. Murray,
    J. W. Theobald,
    C. P. Ogilvie.

_Local Committee._

    Dr. J. A. Frias (President),
    H. H. Loveday,
    S. H. Pearson,
    Carlos Maschwitz.

_Consulting Engineers._

    Sir Douglas Fox and Partners.
    Livesey, Son, and Henderson.

_General Manager._

    H. H. Loveday.

_Secretary._

    F. Fighiera.

_Offices._

    3A, Coleman Street, E.C.



CHAPTER XVI

THE PASTORAL INDUSTRIES OF ARGENTINA


This is, on the whole, the most striking of the many very remarkable
industrial features of Argentina. To begin with, some figures should
be given. No doubt they are dry bones, but a body cannot be made
without bones, and for the understanding of industrial phenomena it is
necessary to have a skeleton map in the form of figures to guide us.
If we keep a few round figures before us, we can form an idea of the
progress of a country in industrial matters and its position in regard
to other nations. It is impossible indeed to carry long tables of
statistics in the head, but a few essential figures can be remembered,
and along with them the increases and decreases (though of decreases
we seldom hear in Argentina) as compared with a period of ten years
ago and also the relative production or export of Argentine staples as
compared with the figures of other countries in those articles.

[Illustration: ABERDEEN ANGUS CATTLE, SANTA MARIA, ENTRE RIOS.]

Allusion has already been made to the benefit which the Spaniards
conferred upon South America by setting down horses and cattle, and
how abundantly they increased and multiplied in an astonishingly short
time. It has been seen also that in the seventeenth and eighteenth
centuries the exportation of hides was a most progressive industry.
Later, when the tyranny of Rosas was overpast, the production of
cattle made giant strides and has by no means approached its limit.

[Illustration: CATTLE DRINKING.]

The following figures represent the number of animals in the Argentine
Republic:--

    Cattle      29,116,625
    Sheep       67,211,754
    Horses       7,531,376
    Goats        3,245,086
    Hogs         1,403,591
    Mules          465,037
    Donkeys        285,088

Their total value is 645,000,000 dollars gold.[96] The United States
has more cattle (71,267,000), but considerably fewer sheep and goats.
Australia has more sheep (87,780,819), but far fewer horses and
cattle. Chile, although looked upon as a wool-growing country, is
insignificant in comparison with Argentina, possessing probably hardly
more than two million sheep. Argentina has fewer hogs, mules, and
donkeys than Spain, but, on the whole, it may be said that she equals,
if she does not surpass, any other nation in the number and variety of
her live stock.

[Illustration: BULLOCK-BREAKING IN JUJUY.]

It is of course, to the Camp that the country owes all its wealth.
People in Buenos Aires use the term just as people in Calcutta speak of
the Mofussil. Without the Camp, or plain, the great Buenos Aires would
have no existence. The Camp is covered with estancias which are held
by estancieros, or squatters. Immense fortunes have been made by those
who have been skilled in the art of getting together the best stock and
managing their estates, and probably there are still excellent chances
of making a fortune for the competent. The life of the estanciero is
free and healthy; it approaches to that of the receding Gaucho, it is a
life of boot and saddle, of early rising and long days in the crisp,
sunny air. It is also much more comfortable than the ranching life in
most countries; good houses, billiard-tables, plenty of company, and a
number of the amenities of civilised life are not unusual, and the
splendid railways will swiftly transport the estanciero to Buenos Aires
when he desires a change.[97] Still, it is obvious that these luxuries
are the result and not the cause of success; and it must not be supposed
that an estanciero grows rich by living in fine houses and amusing
himself; as is the case everywhere else, the desirable things of wealth
are won by hard work and business ability.

[Illustration: CAMP TRAVEL.]

In 1864 cattle amounted to 10,215,000, in 1884 to 14,171,000, in 1895 to
21,701,526. It will be seen that the rate of advance has been tolerably
rapid. As the country became more settled after the middle of the last
century, the increase of pastoral industries was somewhat checked by the
realisation of the enormous possibilities of agriculture. In 1857 cattle
formed 25 per cent. of the wealth of the country, but in 1884 only 18
per cent.[98] But with the fall in the value of wheat and the increasing
demand for meat and wool, and the wonderful ingenuity of the methods of
freezing and preserving, the pastoral industry has held its own.

Cattle and sheep are raised all over the Pampas and far to the north
and south; but, generally speaking, cattle keep to the eastern side
and sheep to the west, while Patagonia is almost exclusively devoted
to sheep. The cattle industry is very different from what it was in
the memory of men still living. In the old days animals were killed
for their hides and the carcase was left to rot on the ground; their
flesh was eaten only by those who tended them. In 1873 the export of
meat was under 1,500,000 dollars, and little of this found its way to
Europe. In 1907 the exports of beef and mutton amounted to 222,273
tons. The prosperity of the meat industry, however, is due not only to
improved methods of transport, packing, and preserving, but also to
the wisdom of the estancieros in importing valuable bulls. It is said
that even the smallest among them are convinced of the value of good
blood and insist upon having it. Between 1899 and 1903 Argentina
imported 3,005 bulls, principally from England, and in 1907 the value
of live animals imported was over 2,000,000 dollars. We have seen the
huge prices that rich Argentines give for the best stallions, but,
relatively, breeders are quite as eager for the best bovine sires.
Uruguay is better known to the world than Argentina as a seat of the
meat industry, but, as a matter of fact, the latter has infinitely
more stock of every description. However, in 1908, the Uruguayan
beef-salting factories slaughtered three times as many cattle as the
Argentine.

[Illustration: BULL CALF.]

A great many estancias are in English hands; all over the Pampas are
great numbers of young Englishmen managing the estates. A warning note
has lately been sounded to the effect that Beef Trusts and other United
States Trusts are attempting to acquire land and meat factories and to
control the supply of meat. It is needless to say that if these
organisations make headway, neither the estancieros, nor our traders,
nor the meat consumer, will have any reason to congratulate themselves,
and it is to be hoped that the Argentine Government will take energetic
measures to keep the country out of the grip of the octopus.

The sheep industry has not maintained its old relative importance. In
1830 Argentina had 2,500,000 sheep and exported 6,000,000 lbs. of
wool; in 1883 the figures were 69,000,000 sheep (somewhat more than
now) and 261,000,000 lbs. of wool. In 1908 the shipments were 175,538
tons, and Argentina is of great importance in the world's markets, but
the conditions of the industry have changed considerably within recent
years. In the old days Spain prohibited the export of her valuable
merino sheep to foreign countries, but the colonies were fortunate
enough not to be included in the prohibition, and in 1550 the first
merinos appeared in Tucuman from Peru.[99] Professor Clapham, in his
valuable work, "The Woollen and Worsted Industries," says: "There,
together with an inferior, long-wooled breed, also of Spanish
extraction, they ran wild and deteriorated for over two hundred years;
so that eventually the Argentine flocks were as sorely in need of new
blood as were those of France, Germany, or Russia, which, until the
middle of the eighteenth century, had never had the benefit of a cross
with the old Spanish strain. Between 1760 and 1840, thanks to a change
in the commercial policy of Spain, such crossing took place in almost
every country of Europe and in many European colonies." About the
beginning of the nineteenth century pure-bred Spanish rams were
brought to Argentina, and others from France and Saxony. By 1846 the
wool had so greatly improved that it was exported to England. Forty
years ago the exports consisted almost entirely of merino wool, but
now seven-eighths is cross-bred. For this change there are two
reasons--firstly, the rich, loamy soil does not suit merinos, which
are apt to deteriorate in rank pastures, and, secondly, the trade in
frozen meat has made such enormous strides that estancieros are
anxious to obtain mutton breeds, especially Lincolns. The Lincolnshire
breeders drive a flourishing trade with Buenos Aires, and as much as
1,000 guineas is often given for a ram. There used to be a prejudice
in Bradford against Argentine wool,[100] but it is disappearing,
although the Australian product still fetches a somewhat higher price.

[Illustration: LINCOLN CHAMPION. EXHIBITED BY MR. M. J. COBO.]

The improvements which of late years have been introduced into
sheep-breeding and sheep-farming are very remarkable, and they are
partly due to the efforts of immigrants from New Zealand who have
introduced effective cures for foot-rot and other diseases. During the
last ten years of the nineteenth century breeders pinned their faith
almost entirely to Lincolns, and the importations were very large. Up
to 1890 the majority of Argentine sheep were weak cross-breds, and
such good blood as remained had been weakened by over-crossing. The
hardy Lincoln brought health and energy to the enfeebled mass, and
breeders made it their business to rear hardy sheep and obtain a good
average without going to extremes in their preference for any
particular stock. The breeding of sheep has been greatly benefited by
the fact that the estancias have been largely in English hands[101]
and the proprietors have thus introduced hardy English breeds and good
methods.

All over Argentina the intelligent selection of breeds is receiving
great attention. It is now recognised that in an alfafa district a
stock-master should keep cattle rather than flocks, and that such
sheep as he has should be producers of mutton rather than wool. Again,
in the southern districts where the grass is rich and tender, the
Lincoln breed is unsuitable and crossings are favoured with the Romney
Marsh, which counteracts the tendency towards coarseness, and gives
silkiness, closeness, and, to some extent, fineness to the wool. Thus
in Tierra del Fuego the hardy Romney Marsh, imported from the Falkland
Islands, is being bred, and in this inhospitable climate the sheep
keep fat all the year round, even when the snow lies a foot deep on
the ground, for the sheep have learned to scrape the snow away with
their hoofs and find the grass.

[Illustration: AN ESTANCIERO'S HOUSE.]

M. Bernandez, to whose valuable work this chapter is indebted,
concludes this subject with the following words: "Thus the moral to be
learned from all this would be, that there is no reason why either
the coarse or fine wools now produced should be abandoned to any great
extent. The coarse can afford to give over a large proportion of its
flock to the evolution, because they are in an immense majority; but
it would not be prudent to go to the other extreme in this reaction,
as the coarse long wool will always have its use, not only in rough
goods but also in the warp of fine cloths, which in the great mechanical
looms has to be extremely strong--a reason that has prevented the
decadence of French wools. The merino, on its side, has its strongest
defence in the singular fact that our woollen factories _import_ their
fine wools in the form of yarn. As soon as spinning-mills are
established in the country, and the customs tariff combines the
interests of the wool-grower with that of the manufacturer, there will
be, in this country alone, more than half a million sterling at hand for
the purchase of the wool produced by our Rambouillet flocks. It can thus
be seen that there is a field for stock-breeding and industrial art that
will cause the development on a colossal scale of all the breeds
comprised in our flocks, and that the times are singularly propitious
for it, as we have at hand in enormous quantity all the elements tending
to good results that can be offered to capital and to the vigorous
enterprise of mankind, with greater certainty and more favourable
auspices than can be obtained in any other class of business, or in any
other part of the world."[102]

[Illustration: ESTANCIA.]

The life of the estancia has been described by many pens, and the
free, open conditions have always had an attraction for Englishmen.
The management is everywhere upon the same principles. The property is
divided by wire fences into paddocks varying from 200 to 3,000 acres.
Some paddocks are used for breeding, some for fattening, and the
head station is situated as nearly in the middle of the Camp as
possible. It consists of the houses of the owners and managers,
the labourers' quarters, tool- and store-houses, shearing-sheds,
dipping-troughs, and the like. The owner's house is often very large
and handsome, and the grounds beautifully laid out. There is generally
considerable variety of stock, but where the fattening of steers is
the main object few or no sheep are kept. Some estancias have dairies
attached. Land was taken up very rapidly by ranchers in the early days
of Argentina's prosperity. Now, with the increase of the area of
cultivation, the land in the Pampas which is available for grazing is
greatly curtailed. It is estimated that nearly a hundred million
hectares are still to be disposed of by the State, but this is all far
to the north or south, and Chubut and Santa Cruz make up nearly half
the total.

[Illustration: ESTANCIA SANTA MARIA.]

The dairy industry is now on a gigantic scale. All arrangements were
till very lately most primitive and the traveller, did he not
know to the contrary, would still believe them to be so; but it is a
peculiarity about Argentina that the people hurry to institute a great
export trade long before they think of supplying themselves adequately
with an article. As late as 1891 the first butter--a few hundred
pounds--was exported. Now the exports amount to 8,000 tons. The
dairies are provided with the most up-to-date machinery, and the
export trade of butter will, no doubt, rapidly increase. The industry
is, however, looked upon with some distrust by estancieros, for it is
important not to allow the winning of milk to diminish the young
animals, either in quantity or quality, upon which the prosperity of
Argentina depends.

[Illustration: LEMCO AND OXO PREMISES.]

Inseparably connected with the pastoral industry are two great
English businesses concerned in the extract of meat. It was in 1884
that the Kemmerich Company purchased some estancias and built a
factory at Santa Elena in Entre Rios. The Bovril Company had for some
years been obtaining material for its meat extract from Santa Elena,
and eventually bought the factory and that of San Javier, together
with a block of 438,000 acres, and additional land was leased. These
were formed into the Argentine Estates of Bovril, Limited, and hence
is obtained a large proportion of the raw material of that well-known
beverage. The final stages of manufacture take place in the London
factory. The estancias support from 130,000 to 160,000 head of cattle,
but even this large number does not supply the whole demand, and every
year many cattle continue to be sent by the Kemmerich Company to the
Bovril factories. The favourite breed is the hardy Durham. Several
thousand head of this fine breed are kept by the Company to level up
the remainder of the stock. The Durham, or Shorthorn, has been a
brilliant success in the Pampa, both as a pure breed and as a means of
raising, by crossing the standard of the criollo, or native animal,
and no breed equals it for beef-production in districts where the
pasture is rich and the climate temperate. The Bovril Company also
keeps Polled Angus, but finds the Durhams unequalled for its purpose.

All the best parts of the beef are used to make Bovril, and the
preliminary process takes place in the Argentine factories, where
80,000 to 100,000 cattle are slaughtered annually. The hides and
tallow are also prepared at Santa Elena, sold at Buenos Aires, and
shipped to Europe and the United States. The rapid growth of this
business and the skill and enterprise of the Company in importing good
stock are very characteristic of English methods in Argentina.

The other Company is considerably older. The Lemco and Oxo
Company[103] illustrates the history of an idea which occurred in
1850 to Baron Justus von Liebig, who suggested that, instead of
killing cattle for their hides and tallow and leaving the carcases to
rot on the ground, ranchers might do well to devise an economical
process of obtaining an extract of meat from the neglected beef. In
1865 the idea was at last put into practice. Baron Liebig says: "In
1862 I received a visit from Herr Giebert, an engineer of Hamburg, who
had spent many years in South America and Uruguay, where hundreds of
thousands of sheep and oxen are killed solely for the hides and fat.
He told me that directly he saw my account of the preparation of this
extract he came to Munich with the intention of learning the process
and then returning to South America in order to undertake its
manufacture on a large scale. I therefore recommended Herr Giebert to
Professor Pettenkofer, who willingly made him familiar with every
detail of the process. He then returned to Uruguay in the summer of
1863, but, owing to many difficulties which generally hinder the
introduction and management of a new business, it was almost a year
before he could actually commence the manufacture." It was arranged
that the extract should be called Liebig, and in due course the first
sample of about 80 lbs. of beef extract arrived at Munich, and was
pronounced highly satisfactory, considering that it was "a product
from the flesh of half-wild animals."

These pioneer attempts were quickly absorbed by Lemco and Oxo. The
beginning was made in Uruguay, but now the Company owns ten estancias
in Argentina, nine in Paraguay, and seven in Uruguay.[104] The chief
Argentine estancia is at Colon in Entre Rios, about 180 miles north
of Buenos Aires, but there are many others, both in that Province and
Corrientes, including La Luisa, Jubileo, Chacra, and Curuzu Laurel, as
well as numerous hired farms. The total area of the estates very
nearly equals that of Kent and Surrey put together. Some of the
estancias are larger than the Isle of Wight. The soil is fertile, the
climate genial, there is an inexhaustible water supply, and an ample
rainfall. All products can be shipped direct from Colon. The great
feature of Camp conditions and the main element of success in the meat
industry is the splendid open-air and free life which, with abundance
of sweet grass, is the deadly enemy of the tubercle bacillus. In the
whole of Argentina the cattle that come to the freezing and preserving
establishments show usually an average of under 1 per cent. afflicted
with tuberculosis. These results are not surprising, seeing that the
one known remedy for consumption is the open-air life.

[Illustration: PURE BRED HEREFORD BULL (OXO).]

As was seen, the Bovril cattle are Durhams, and this may be
attributed to the fact that they are largely fed on lucerne. The stock
on the Lemco and Oxo estancias is grass-fed, and therefore a different
breed finds favour. In place of the "half-wild animals" of forty-five
years ago, the estates are grazed by beautiful herds of almost
pure-bred Herefords.[105] Many well-known breeders of that county, and
also H.M. King Edward, have contributed to the Company's stock. The
noble, white-faced beasts, standing deep in the rich grass, are a
glorious spectacle.

[Illustration: GROUP OF HEREFORDS.]

The Hereford is the second favourite in Argentina, but breeders only
pay about half as much for them as for good Durham bulls. Where the
surroundings do not conduce to early maturity and where lucerne cannot
be had, the Hereford is excellent. It is slow in maturing, and at
three years of age is said to be 15 per cent. lighter than its rival,
but the popularity of the Hereford is steadily increasing.

The factory at Colon is only seven years old and is splendidly
equipped. Every process follows the other in geographical order, and
each departmental factory duly delivers its produce into the vast
shipping wharf. Behind stand the houses of the Company's servants,
stores, schools for the children, and a club. Standing by a mighty
river, in a green country, the industry presents none of the
dingy conditions and ugliness which are associated with European
wealth-production. It is rather a palace of health.

[Illustration: PEDIGREE COW AND CALF.]

The killing season opens in January and ends in June, and usually
about a quarter of a million beasts are slain--hecatombs as much
exceeding the etymological sense of the word as the Homeric phrase
doubtless fell below it. They are a stupendous yearly sacrifice to
Æsculapius. It should be added that the factory at Colon is constantly
inspected by a representative of the Cattle Inspection Department of
the Ministry of the Argentine Republic, and he is required to certify
each month that he has not allowed any animal to be killed that was
not sound and free from disease. Nothing that the bounty of Nature or
the skill of man can achieve is left undone to secure the perfect
condition of all the products.

That statesman is proverbially the wisest who can make two blades of
corn grow where one grew before. In like manner, the men who can
transmute scrubby sheep and big-boned, lean cattle into well-proportioned
animals with heavy fleeces and fat stock is a benefactor to the human
race. In Argentina, at least, to say nothing of other lands, this work
has been most effectually accomplished by private effort, and in
reviewing the pastoral industries of Argentina we must admire the
enterprise which has scattered plenty over the land. The old poets
associated wealth and peace with great herds of cattle and flocks of
sheep.

    "One way a band select from forage drives
    A herd of beeves, fair oxen and fair kine,
    From a fat meadow ground; or fleecy flock,
    Ewes and their bleating lambs over the plain."

It is these, created by skill and enterprise and drawing the vigour
and virtue from our English counties, that have made Argentina a great
country.

FOOTNOTES:

[96] When the term _dollar_ is used, it invariably means the gold
dollar at five to the English £1.

[97] "Stables and stalls are replacing the old-fashioned 'corral.' The
wealthy proprietor arrives at his estancia from the railway station in
a carriage; the old rustic homestead is converted into a veritable
country-house, sometimes into a mansion, with park and garden. There
are estancias a hundred leagues from Buenos Aires which we once knew
as plains deserted and in the hands of the Indians, and where now
carriages, equipped in English fashion, pass over the plain and people
dine in the evening in sumptuous establishments. The European
stock-raisers have made the gaucho retreat to the vast tracts situated
on the confines of the desert" (Martinez et Lewandowski,
"L'Argentine," p. 132).

[98] The statement of the "Encyclopedia Britannica," that Argentina
had a hundred million sheep in 1866 is quite incredible. Mulhall
estimates, no doubt accurately, the number in 1870 at forty-one
millions.

[99] In 1569 Don Juan Ortiz de Zarate arranged for the importation of
four thousand merinos to the River Plate. In 1660 Buenos Aires shipped
its first cargo of wool--about a ton. When we condemn Spanish
restrictiveness we must remember the enlightened efforts of various
Viceroys to improve the industry of wool and hides.

[100] "In some respects we are so backward that our wool cannot
compete in the great markets of the world, so far as regards the
quality, with any other country which is a great producer. The
bad habit of our breeders to separate their sheep into large
flocks--sometimes above five thousand heads--is the principal obstacle
to the improvement of our wool, because large flocks do not admit of
the necessary attentions" (Napp, "The Argentine Republic," p. 303).

[101] "Of every twenty estancias in the South fifteen belong to
Englishmen" (Bernandez, "The Argentine Estancia," p. 45).

[102] "The Argentine Estancia," p. 52.

[103] For some of my information I am indebted to an article in the
_Lancet_ of October 24, 1908.

[104] The following table shows the progress of the Company:--

                Acreage of Farms.    Stock of Cattle.
    1868              28,494              12,000
    1878              37,961              19,036
    1888             126,984              36,685
    1898             254,133              66,435
    1908           1,302,386             224,406
    1910           1,527,720             274,500

[105] There are also some fine specimens of Aberdeen Angus. This is a
useful breed, for it "nicks" well with Herefords and Durhams, and is a
better milker than the Hereford. Its colour, usually black, is
unpopular, and Argentines are fastidious in that respect. But they
stand the cold well and their beef is of high quality, and some
breeders pin their faith to them.



CHAPTER XVII

COMMERCE AND FINANCE


In dealing with this subject it will be necessary to make use of a
considerable number of statistics, for there is no other way by which
to express the unprecedented development of this great Republic.
Her genial climate, her fertile soil, her vast waterways, potent alike
to fertilise the country and bring produce to the sea, and now her
unequalled railways and excellent docks, have caused the trade of
Argentina to be surprisingly large in proportion to her population,
and, unfortunately, wealth seems likely to multiply more rapidly than
men. As has been said before, the importance of Argentina as a world
State is purely industrial and commercial; her politics, literature,
and people are interesting, but they still belong to the day of small
things. Her exports of wheat and pastoral products, her railway share
list and her bonds are scrutinised eagerly at every commercial centre,
and Buenos Aires is an increasingly important member of the delicate
system of international commerce.

    In 1908[106] the imports were £54,594,547.
        "          exports    "    73,201,068.[107]

The principal items of import were as follows:--

    Textiles                              £9,980,267
    Railway carriages and vehicles         6,140,067
    Iron (including manufactures)          6,015,096
    Pottery                                4,979,580
    Foodstuffs                             4,709,819
    Building materials                     4,276,485
    Agricultural implements                3,167,967
    Wine, &c.                              2,655,956
    Oils                                   2,610,344

It is clear from this table that Argentina still relies on the
foreigner for most of her manufactures. Her policy of high Protection
has not yet enabled her to produce high-class goods, but it would be
rash to say that success will never come, when we consider the
position of the United States and the enormous advantage which an
industrial start of some fifty years gives a country. The imports show
a decline from the previous year of some two and a half million
sterling, doubtless in sympathy with the prevailing depression,
and the principal importing countries all sent slightly smaller
quantities. Of the imports England has 34·2 per cent., Germany 13·9,
the United States 13·2. The figures are:--

    England                  £18,371,396
    Germany                    7,569,415
    United States              7,119,400
    France                     5,295,383
    Italy                      4,982,649
    Belgium                    2,550,674

A remarkable feature in the history of Argentine trade returns is the
enormous advance of Germany. In 1874 she sent to Argentina £160,000, in
1882, £920,000. England's figures for those two years are £1,040,000 and
£1,480,000. Those of the United States are £380,000 and £580,000. But it
should also be remarked that the advance of our own country has been
even more rapid, and here, as elsewhere, the absurdity is demonstrated
of those who declare that English trade is vanishing. Everything has
been done to write down England and to write up Germany, and at the end
of it all John Bull can beat Germany with one hand, the United States
with the other, and has still an ample margin of strength to beat
Belgium as well. We are handsomely above the Two Power standard in the
Plate district. France makes steady progress, and Italy shows a large
increase, as is only to be expected, because the emigration from Italy
has long been very large. It may be added that French goods make their
way by sheer merit, for France has in her own land ample scope for her
scanty population. Some advantage may be obtained by her as the head of
the Latin race, but wherever there are women and luxury there will
French trade flourish, and further, in machinery of many kinds France,
if equalled by any other nation for excellence, is equalled by England
alone.

It is very interesting to see how Argentina has passed from small to
great things in matters of trade.

The following table shows in round figures her progress during a space
of more than a hundred years. They refer to her total foreign trade.

    1795                   £1,400,000
    1837                    2,400,000
    1850                    4,300,000
    1870                   15,300,000
    1880                   20,100,000
    1883                   27,200,000
    1891                   34,086,000
    1900                   53,617,000
    1908                  127,700,000

Thus, in eight years, the foreign trade has far more than doubled. In
former days the results of feverish development were by no means an
unmixed benefit. Immense sums had been invested in railways and other
enterprises, and the Mortgage Bank of the Province of Buenos Aires
recklessly lent money upon land and credit was inflated. Everybody
thought that unbounded riches were either in their possession or
within reach, and the inevitable collapse followed. The difficulties
were aggravated by the fluctuating state of the currency. At present
the paper dollar circulates with a tolerably steady value of about 1s.
9d. There is a scheme for establishing a gold currency, and the gold
held by the Conversion Office amounts to 132,769,134 dollars gold. The
note circulation is over 500,000,000 dollars paper. In December, 1891,
the Banco de La Nacion Argentina was opened with a capital of
50,000,000 dollars, now increased to 90,000,000. The Bank may lend
money to the National Government, but the total amount is not to
exceed 6,000,000 dollars, and it has no authority to place loans in
other quarters.

The exports now demand our consideration. In 1908 the main items
were:--

    Agricultural products           £48,013,032
    Pastoral products                27,023,691
    Forest products                   1,269,446
    Fish and Game                        99,726

A more detailed investigation of the figures shows that of wheat
3,636,294 tons were exported, of maize 1,711,804, of linseed 1,055,650,
of oats 440,041. The shipments of wool were 175,538 tons, of frozen beef
180,915, of jerked beef 6,650. Quebracho wood stood at 254,571 tons,
quebracho at 48,162, and hay at 32,078. Hides were largely exported.

For 1908 the following is the percentage of imports received by
various countries: England, 21·4; Belgium, 9·8; Germany 9·5; France,
7·9; Brazil, 4·1; United States, 3·6.

The following table shows our reciprocal trade with Argentina in
1907[108]:--

IMPORTS INTO ENGLAND.

    Wheat                   £8,044,636
    Maize                    5,000,219
    Fresh Mutton             2,360,565
    Fresh Beef               4,308,273
    Linseed                  1,977,466
    Wool                     1,689,639

EXPORTS FROM ENGLAND.

    Cotton                  £2,752,251
    Woollens                 1,080,795
    Iron and Manufactures    3,511,803
    Machinery                2,458,180
    Railway Carriages        1,769,780
    Coal                     1,761,467

The various industries of this Republic, which supply the materials
for the rapidly increasing commerce, are dealt with in other chapters.
Buenos Aires from very early times has had a brisk trade. Even in the
seventeenth century the traffic in hides excited the admiration of
travellers, and at the end of the eighteenth century the new and
liberal commercial policy pursued by the Home Government resulted in a
promising development which was roughly checked by the Revolution.
From 1825 to 1842 the foreign trade per inhabitant positively
diminished, and by 1850 it was only £4 8s. per head as against £3 12s.
in 1795. Now it is some £20. Obviously the slow progress after the
Revolution was due to the sinister tyranny of Rosas, which stifled the
development of communications and all other progress. A traveller,[109]
who visited the Pampas in 1848, says: "The soil is good for agriculture,
yet flour is either imported from the United States, or obtained from
the northern provinces; and its price is enhanced by the cost of
land-carriage several hundred miles." He concludes his interesting work
with these words[110]: "But while our own colonies of Australia and New
Zealand offer such rich and boundless fields for the profitable
employment of capital among our own countrymen, there is less inducement
than ever for merchants to risk their capital and energies amongst a
race of people where the wealth of nature is wasted by the combined
operation of ignorance, unstable government, and interminable warfare."

Very different has been Argentina's commercial history for the last
sixty years, and the only check was afforded by the Celman crash.
Now[111] "the producing capacity of the country is steadily increasing,
and in cereal production its status is evidenced by the fact that as a
corn [_i.e._, maize] exporter the Argentine Republic took first rank in
1908, occupying the place formerly held by the United States. In the
production[112] of this foodstuff the country ranks third, and as a
wheat-grower fifth. It is first as an exporter of frozen meat, and
second as a shipper of wool. In the number of its cattle the Republic
holds third place among the nations, being ranked by India and the
United States. Russia and the United States exceed it in number of
horses, and Australia alone has a greater number of sheep."

As a complement to this description of the commerce, a few words
should be said about the industries which directly nourish it.
Elsewhere will be found an account of the foreign steamship lines
which connect Argentina with the outer world.[113] Here it is
necessary to give the figures of her modest mercantile marine as far
as they can be ascertained:--

    Steamships          131      Tonnage     55,561
    Sailing ships       161      Tonnage     40,581
                       ----                 -------
               Total    292                  96,142

It has already been said that the Argentines are not a seafaring
nation, but no doubt, in course of time, the exigencies of national
defence and the growth of her trade will turn the energies of her
people to the sea.

There are in Argentina four banks with their offices in London. First
comes the London and River Plate Bank, which was the only one of
the four doing business in the country at the time of the Celman
catastrophes, and this British Bank was the only banking firm of any
description that weathered the storm. It has branches in Buenos Aires,
Rosario, Mendoza, Concordia, Bahia Blanca, and Barracas. The other
three, though younger, are sound and prosperous. The Anglo-South
American Bank (formerly Tarapaca) has branches in Buenos Aires,
Mendoza, and Bahia Blanca. The British Bank of South America has
branches in Buenos Aires and Rosario, and the same is the case with
the London and Brazilian Bank. There are, of course, many foreign and
Argentine banks, and of these the Spanish River Plate Bank is said to
be the best. It was recently stated that the United States does not
possess a single bank in the whole of South America.

The financial position of the Republic may be briefly stated. It is
generally believed that the fiscal management is somewhat wasteful,
and the competence of Congress to produce a satisfactory budget is
questioned. Men of eminent business ability are, of course, found in
the pursuits that make wealth rather than in Congress. But the
finances are flourishing, as the following figures[114] will show:--

ESTIMATES FOR 1909.

    -----------------------------+--------------
               Revenue.          | Dollars Gold.
    -----------------------------+--------------
    Import duties                |   51,930,000
    Additional duties            |    3,100,000
    Port dues, &c.               |    5,230,000
    Consular dues, fines, &c.    |      930,000
    Buenos Aires Provincial Debt |      983,429
    National Bank Service        |      347,004
                                 +--------------
                                 |   62,520,433
    -----------------------------+--------------

    -----------------------------+--------------
               Revenue.          |Dollars Paper.
    -----------------------------+--------------
    Public works (in bonds)      |    5,000,000
    Spirits and beer             |   19,800,000
    Tobacco                      |   17,400,000
    Sanitary works               |    7,100,000
    Stamps                       |    9,450,000
    Posts and telegraphs         |    9,700,000
    Railways                     |    9,000,000
    Various                      |   12,529,319
                                 +--------------
                                 |   89,979,319
    -----------------------------+--------------

Below are given the figures since 1903:--

    -----+-------------------------+-------------------------
         |          REVENUE.       |       EXPENDITURE.
         +------------+------------+------------+------------
         |    Gold.   |   Paper.   |    Gold.   |   Paper.
    -----+------------+------------+------------+------------
    1903 | 46,615,855 | 65,466,010 | 32,139,160 |  93,072,572
    1904 | 52,254,428 | 70,004,834 | 25,597,625 | 104,177,150
    1905 | 53,076,067 | 84,778,282 | 82,813,587 | 136,065,516
    1906 | 61,616,090 | 88,835,790 | 30,128,828 | 174,688,551
    1907 | 64,527,983 | 97,153,870 | 25,521,412 | 186,107,107
    -----+------------+------------+------------+------------

In conclusion, the important subject of tariffs demands notice. The
Republic has long adopted a highly protective fiscal policy. The
object is to create as many industries as possible, and therefore to
discourage foreign competition by the imposition of heavy duties. The
high cost of living is usually attributed to this system, and
undoubtedly many articles would be cheaper if the tariff was lower;
but its effect is probably exaggerated, and even under complete Free
Trade Argentina would still be a dear country. It is the comparative
lack of development and enterprise, and also the unwillingness to take
trouble over small things, which are the main causes of dearness; and
this is the characteristic of all new countries. That Protection is
unpopular it would be rash to affirm. It is the direct imposts, and
above all the municipal, that give rise to complaining in the
streets. The immigrants come from highly protected countries, and are
accustomed to heavy indirect taxes; they would, in all probability,
angrily resent direct taxation, even if it were much lower than the
present scale of imposts. As the table above shows, the customs are
the sheet-anchor of the Exchequer, and Ministers could not possibly
dispense with them, nor would manufacturers hear of such a thing.
"Every one," says an experienced resident in Buenos Aires, "as soon as
he starts a business, looks about for higher tariffs in his line."

A good many among the intellectual classes have academic leanings
towards Free Trade, and the opinion is sometimes expressed that in the
end the Government would raise more revenue by a general duty of about
20 per cent. But the manufacturing interest, which already complains
that it cannot compete with English and French goods, is an insuperable
obstacle.

The accomplished Dr. Martin Garcia Mérou remarks: "The situation of
the United States is unique in the world. The amazing prosperity of
this country is based upon the producing and consuming power of
her forty-five independent States, which stretch over an immense
continent, and of which some differ in climate and conditions as
widely as Spain differs from Norway, but they all have a single system
of land and river communication which is without rival and without
precedent. The absence of fiscal barriers between those different
States is the permanent and fruitful cause of their greatness and
prosperity. In this manner a country, which is apparently the most
Protectionist in the world, is the very one which demonstrates in the
most practical and visible fashion the incalculable benefits of free
commerce."

This conviction is gaining ground, and there are many persons,
intimately conversant with trade and industry, who wish for changes in
a liberal direction. Señor Ricardo Pillado, the able chief of the
Agricultural Department, has penned many minutes urging a reduction of
tariffs, but it is doubtful whether the opinions of a few men, however
accomplished, will ever penetrate among an ill-informed population;
and even if their views were understood it is most unlikely that they
would have power to eradicate the ingrained protective opinions of the
masses and to create a feeling among them powerful enough to overcome
the resistance of vast interests whose policy is now in complete
accord with the feelings of the masses.

Señor Pillado says[115]: "For a considerable number of years
Protection has been a heavy obstacle to the progress and expansion of
our country. Most sincerely do I declare that we all ought to use our
utmost efforts to reform a financial system which is grounded in such
fundamental errors as protective tariffs."

It was in 1883 that the Republic first decided upon Protection. By the
tariff of 1884 a duty of 50 per cent. was imposed upon arms, powder,
alcohol, cards, perfumery, tobacco, snuff, and wax matches. A duty of
40 per cent. was imposed upon clothing, hats, shoes, harness,
carriages, furniture, rockets, and wooden matches. Many articles
necessary to production, such as coal, thread, ploughs, wire,
agricultural machinery, printing presses, books, sacking, steam engines,
iron, lumber, rock-salt, and paper, were taxed only 5 or 10 per cent.
Similar articles, which were even less likely to be produced at home or
were still more urgently needed as the raw material of industry, were
admitted free. Among these were machinery for factories or shipping,
live cattle or fish, plants, seeds, railway material, metal pipes of at
least 30 inches diameter, blasting powder, and sheep-wash. It will be
seen, therefore, that an attempt at a scientific tariff was made, and it
has proved so acceptable to the Argentines that it has been greatly
elaborated and extended. Nor does the nominal figure of the duty
represent the whole of the increased cost, for the customs officials are
required to add to the declared value of the articles the freight and
other expenses, and to raise the duty in proportion. Consequently the
imposts are subject to large and arbitrary enhancements. The following
summary will give a rough notion of the present fiscal system:--

    _Free._--Most industrial materials, such as railway, mining, or
    electrical plant and most kinds of machinery; also herbs and
    seeds. Books and magazines are free.

    _Five per cent. ad valorem._--Other forms of industrial material,
    as mercury, crude sulphur, china clay, jute, lead, &c. Several
    kinds of machinery. Jewellery comes under this section.

    _Ten per cent. ad valorem._--Various chemicals for industrial use.

    _Fifteen per cent. ad valorem._--Certain kinds of timber.

    _Twenty per cent. ad valorem._--Steel in bars, plates and sheets;
    tissues of unbleached cotton or coarse linen cloth.

    _Twenty-five per cent. ad valorem._--All articles not elsewhere
    specified or exempted.

    _Thirty per cent. ad valorem._--Tissues of wool of any kind, pure
    or mixed.

    _Thirty-five per cent. ad valorem._--Blankets, jewel cases, iron
    screws, bolts and nuts.

    _Forty per cent. ad valorem._--Most fancy articles as trunks,
    perfumery, furniture, boots, and many kinds of clothes.

    _Fifty per cent. ad valorem._--Arms and saddlery.

Comestibles are specially dealt with, usually by a duty per kilo. The
intention and effect, it is needless to say, are protective--_e.g._,
the duty on fruits in syrup is over 5d., that on bacon over 4d. per
kilo, that on refined sugar, polarising over 96 degrees, is a little
less than 2d., that on sugar below that grade is nearly a half-penny
less. A little more than 5d. is the duty on wines per bottle, that on
soda-water is the same per dozen bottles, while that on beer is over
2d. per bottle. But it must not be inferred from these figures that
the kindly State does not take good care of vintners, brewers, and the
like, for the system of enhancements aforesaid adds handsomely to
these and all duties. The case of tobacco will illustrate this. The
preliminary duties are as follows:--

                                             s.  d.
    Havana cigars in cardboard boxes, about   3 11½ per kilo
      "      "    in wooden boxes       "     2  7½   "
    Cigarettes                          "     1  9    "
    Tobacco leaf  from about       2½d. to 1  2       "

But all tobacco that enters Argentina is "evaluated" at a certain sum,
and then 20 per cent. _ad valorem_ duty is charged in addition.

There is also a miscellaneous "per kilo" section, which includes
matches, paper, and hats, all heavily taxed.

Export duties are insignificant.

It may be observed that the 40 per cent. section and the miscellaneous
section between them include almost all the articles likely to be
purchased by the ordinary shopper, and they are extremely dear. But
English and French goods appear to monopolise the best shops. The
following clause embodies the principle which we know as "the most
favoured nation clause": "The import duties established by the
present Law shall be deemed to be the _minimum tariff_, and shall be
applicable to products and goods of all countries which apply their
minimum tariff to exports from the Argentine Republic, which do not
increase the previous duties, which do not establish a duty on
exempted articles, which do not exceptionally reduce their present
tariff for similar goods of any other origin, and which do not impede
by restrictive measures the importation of Argentine products."[116]

As an example of Protection both rigorous and effective the case of
sugar may be given. Not long after the first tariff of 1883 the sugar
duties were enormously increased with the following effect:--

IMPORT OF SUGAR.

    1883        24,000 tons
    1884        35,000  "
    1889        34,400  "
    1890        29,500  "
    1895         5,600  "
    1900           458  "

The production of sugar, which was also 24,000 tons in 1884, leaped
to 75,000 in 1894. Señor Pillado remarks that this legislation
converted Tucuman into an El Dorado. He concludes an able work
by quoting the appeal which he made in his minute to the Minister
of Agriculture[117]:--

"The trade of the Republic is at present in a condition thus
favourable, the wealth hidden in her soil is thus great. She owes this
situation to the maintenance of exterior peace, the elimination of
fluctuations in paper money, and the establishment of those institutions
by which she advances with gigantic strides. We watch her progress, and
see her offering to the rest of the world the products of her fertile
territories, without restrictions and without preferences that take
their rise in grasping tariff laws. Our country thus wins a reputation
which corresponds to her pastoral and agricultural wealth and the
excellence of her products.

"What, sir, would be our rate of progress if the law of our
custom-house, which sets up a prohibitive tariff wall against the
goods which our people demand and which act as a stimulus to our great
industries, were more lenient, more just, and more in accordance with
the principles of liberty which we have inherited with our charter of
independence!"

But, in fact, all influences of to-day seem to be on the side of
further restrictions in trade as they have long been on the side of
further restrictions in social matters. The principles of liberty are
considered by most people as very excellent for themselves but hardly
suitable to the rest of the world; but from Manchester to Shanghai the
ideal of every trader is Free Trade for the whole world and Protection
for himself. As all pull one way, the result is almost everywhere the
same, and no country seems less likely to abandon Protection than
Argentina.

FOOTNOTES:

[106] For 1909 the figures were--

    Imports          £60,551,219
    Exports           79,470,102.

[107] I have divided the figures, which are given by all authorities
in American gold dollars, by five. It is greatly to be regretted that
the splendid private enterprise of Englishmen in Argentina receives so
little help from English statisticians or the English Government. The
statistics are best set forth by an excellent publication, the
_Bulletin of the International Bureau of the American Republics_,
published at Washington. Even the _Statesman's Year Book_ (Macmillan)
gives totals in American dollars. We have far more trade in South
America than the United States, but we cannot, in view of the
approaching completion of the Panama Canal and the intelligent efforts
of American statesmen, hope to retain our position indefinitely if our
own Government continues to trust to the policy of "muddling through."

[108] According to the _Statesman's Year Book_, the figures appear to
be too high.

[109] MacCann, "Two Thousand Miles' Ride," i. 160.

[110] Ibid. ii. 304.

[111] _Bulletin of the American Republics_ (July, 1909), p. 14.

[112] As opposed to exportation.

[113] The table given below shows the tonnage of the chief ports in
1908:--

    --------------+---------------------
                  |       TONNAGE.
         PORT.    +----------+----------
                  | Entered. | Cleared.
    --------------+----------+----------
    Rio Gallegos  |   41,266 |   42,239
    Bahia Blanca  |  799,198 |  783,272
    Puerto Madryn |   19,921 |   12,666
    C. de Uruguay |  603,818 |  646,411
    La Plata      |  855,950 |  840,548
    Diamante      |  375,779 |  449,492
    Santa Fé      |  440,466 |  481,948
    Parana        |  636,091 |  635,064
    Erquina       |  374,037 |  373,596
    Goya          |  404,917 |  377,227
    Bella Vista   |  399,667 |  402,235
    Empedrado     |  306,136 |  309,635
    Correntis     |  504,433 |  494,693
    Rosario       |1,924,808 |2,029,596
    Buenos Aires  |7,555,574 |7,562,055
    --------------+----------+----------

[114] The various authorities almost always differ slightly, sometimes
considerably, in their figures. Thus the _Statesman's Year Book_ gives
the tonnage of Buenos Aires in 1908 as 4,760,316, while the _Bulletin_
states it at 4,888,741.

[115] "Politica Comercial Argentina," p. 42.

[116] Art 74 of the Custom Law of 1905.

[117] "Politica Comercial Argentina," p. 367.



CHAPTER XVIII

AGRICULTURE AND NATURAL PRODUCTS


Argentina is now one of the leading agricultural countries of the
world, and her importance is likely to be enhanced in the near future,
because the United States and other sources of food supply are
rapidly diminishing their exportable surplus, while in South America
population is unable to keep pace with natural production. Wheat, as
is well known, is the most important crop. Unlike the pastoral
industry, arable cultivation is comparatively modern. In 1854 there
were only 375,000 acres under tillage of all kinds, and the area
increased very slowly until the beginning of the present generation.
The promise of the country was always recognised, but it was long
before foreign capital ventured to trust itself to a land possessing
the political reputation of Argentina; and thus, without railway
development, the export of agricultural produce was impossible. "All
the cereals," says a pamphlet published in the sixties, "do remarkably
well, and such is the fertility of the soil that double crops are
often taken from the same land. In Santiago del Estero the wheat
produced is of the most excellent quality, and although but little
care is bestowed in cultivation, it generally yields eightyfold." The
encouragement of emigration and the introduction of capital, and thus
of improved methods of communication, caused progress to be very
rapid; and whereas in 1874 the wheat area was only 271,000 acres, in
1884 it was 1,717,000. By 1899 this had expanded to 5,500,000 acres,
and now it is about 14,000,000. The following figures will show the
progress of recent years:--

            Production in Tons.    Exportation.
    1902         1,534,400            704,060
    1903         2,823,900          1,790,388
    1904         3,529,100          2,467,297
    1905         4,102,600          3,083,378
    1906         3,672,200          2,438,616
    1907         4,245,400          2,867,464
    1908         5,238,700          3,802,619

It is anticipated that before long the wheat export will amount to
5,000,000, and that Argentina will thus lead the world.[118] This
cannot be called a rash estimate, for when we examine the figures we
shall find that population is not keeping pace with production. The
exportation figures of 1908 were 55 per cent. better than those of
1906, while the figures of production showed a rise of only 42 per
cent. This is a satisfactory condition of things for the trader, but
less so from a national standpoint. In general, the farmer is not
rooted to the soil; he merely pays a percentage of his crops to the
landlord as rent, and after a bad season is apt to move elsewhere. It
is desirable that a scheme of intensive cultivation should be
introduced, which promises much greater national benefit in the future
in every way than can be obtained by hasty and slovenly methods. A
Government publication, apologising for the present system and
remarking that in old countries intensive agriculture is no virtue,
while in new countries extensive agriculture is no vice, adds:
"Wherever there is much ground with few inhabitants it is impossible
that the number of proprietors be very large; and if the comparative
figure demonstrates that the number of renters is _relatively_ very
large, the investigation of the facts will show that it is here that
the _qualitative_ influence of the divisor intervenes. In general, he
who seeks his fortune in agricultural work lacks the necessary capital
for purchasing land, and it is notorious that the immigrants we can
count on to colonise our lands arrive completely destitute of means.
At the very best they can hope to rent the land, counting on the
shrewd liberality of the landholder who requires of them only a
certain share of the crop in pay for the rent, and in this manner by
the results of their labour they may finally become proprietors. There
are, therefore, two consecutive subdivisions: that of the working of
the land by leasing, and that of ownership by the eventual purchase."

[Illustration: COUNTRY LIFE IN ARGENTINA.]

It is said that the best lands have been snapped up by speculators,
otherwise it might be better for the Government to present capable
immigrants with small farms, and if necessary lend them capital. The
need of Argentina is men rather than extra tons avoirdupois of
exports.

The production of maize has made enormous increases in sympathy with
the general vast development which strains the rolling stock of every
railway and with which the men and machinery in Argentina are
insufficient to cope. In 1902 the production was 2,134,200 tons, now
it is 3,456,000. This crop is peculiarly susceptible to the ravages of
locusts, which, however, have a catholic taste for every kind of
vegetable and are said to have destroyed half the crops in 1880. One
of the most miserable sights in the world is cornfields ravaged by
these pests; nothing is left but slender stumps and the sickening
odour of rotting locusts. For the locust is itself subject to a
parasite which consumes its inside, and it has been suggested that the
parasite might be introduced into the winter-breeding grounds of the
locusts. But these lie in the most remote part of the Gran Chaco, and
it does not appear that the inhabitants of any land have succeeded in
tracking the eggs on any large scale; it is therefore probable that
the farmers will have to be satisfied with attempts at cure rather
than prevention. As in India, trenches are used for the destruction of
locusts, and the noxious creatures having been driven into the
receptacle are rapidly covered with layers of earth.[119] They are to
Argentina what rabbits are to Australia.

Of linseed Argentina is by far the largest exporter in the world. Last
year the exports went up with an astonishing leap, but for many years
they have been greater than those of India, Russia, and North America
combined. In 1902 the production was 1,982,000 tons; in 1908 it was
2,625,000.

It is only about thirty years since alfafa (lucerne) was introduced
into Argentina, but there is no more useful crop, and it has been of
the utmost benefit to the pastoral industries. During the South
African War large fortunes were made by exporting alfafa to South
Africa, and, given proper soil, it yields many crops in the year. The
Province of Buenos Aires is admirably adapted to its cultivation.

Oats are still a comparatively small crop, but they are making
considerable progress. The export of 15,000 tons in 1905 had risen to
440,041 in 1908.

Sugar is an old industry, and, as is pointed out elsewhere, it has
become of importance owing to the protective policy of the Argentine
Government. In 1884 the production was 55,000 tons. For the last three
years it has been--

    1906                116,287 tons
    1907                109,445  "
    1908                161,662  "

Tobacco is a prominent manufacture, but it is probable that a
great part of the raw material comes from abroad. It is cultivated
extensively in the northern region, but owing to its coarseness it is
not likely that the native product will ever satisfy the home demand.

Last, but not least, in Argentine agriculture comes the vine. The
culture of the vine and wine manufacture have gone forward at a
great pace in the Provinces of Mendoza and San Juan. In 1884 there
were 63,000 acres under vines, and the production of wine was
5,810,080 gallons. Now it is about 41,580,000. Mendoza is an excellent
wine country, and some of its bodegas are among the largest in the
world. The vineyards, the mountains, and the rural appearance of the
towns give to the wine country an old-world air which is refreshing in
a new country. The most popular wines are red and white clarets, the
better qualities of which are excellent, but many other kinds are
made. The country wine is by no means as cheap as it ought to be owing
to the high protection. Although this excellent industry is rapidly
increasing, it does not go near to supplying home consumption; indeed,
the value of the imports of wines and spirits is slightly in excess of
the total national production. The export of wine is of course
practically nil, for neighbouring countries follow the example of
Argentina in protecting their own vineyards by high tariffs and
every kind of _fomento_. In fact, the wines of Chile are generally
considered to be superior to those raised on the eastern slopes of the
Andes, but it is not easy to discover any difference. Nearly all the
produce of Mendoza goes to Buenos Aires and forms a very valuable
article of freight for the Buenos Aires and Pacific Railway.

[Illustration: THE PRINCIPAL STREET OF MENDOZA.

A MENDOZA VINEYARD.]

The crops of Argentina are well distributed, and some regions produce
great varieties. Buenos Aires, of course, leads in wheat, and produces
more than Santa Fé and Cordoba, which occupy the second and third
position, combined, while Entre Rios, which comes fourth, nearly
equals the total of all the other minor sources of supply. It may be,
however, that some day Patagonia will be a serious rival to Buenos
Aires, but now, being unirrigated, her chief product is wool.
The Province of the capital also supplies most of the maize and
practically all the oats, but in linseed is far out-distanced by Santa
Fé. Apart from Buenos Aires, Santa Fé, Cordoba, and Entre Rios, the
grain production, except wheat, is insignificant.

Tucuman is the great sugar district, and tobacco is largely grown
there and in several of the other northern Provinces. Mendoza accounts
for more than nine-tenths of the wine raised in the country, but San
Juan, Salta, Cordoba, and La Rioja are of some importance. La Rioja in
Spain, it may be added, has given its name to a special kind of red
wine, and we have Peruvian Rioja just as we have Australian Burgundy.

Agriculture in Argentina is carried out on an enormous scale, and the
hopes of travellers who visited the country a century ago have been
realised. But the country is too new, there is too much virgin soil for
settled agricultural conditions, and farmers prefer pushing further
afield and taking larger holdings to tilling a farm with care for his
son to hold after him. Consequently there is little of that _petite
culture_ which beautifies European countries and adds to the comfort of
life; and, further, in most parts of Argentina, good as are the means of
transporting staples, they are not of the kind which would make minute
farming industries profitable. It is not probable that these conditions
will change until there has been a large increase of population. As long
as the increase is due to immigration--and many of the settlers look
forward to returning to their native land when they have obtained a
competence--farming methods will be hasty and extensive.

The forest industries of Argentina, though not fully developed, are
very valuable. There are said to be 60,000 square miles of timber in
the Gran Chaco, and parts of Patagonia are well wooded. Much of the
wood is of great value, and the following are among the most useful
for commercial purposes. The ñandubay, a kind of acacia, reaches a
height of about 25 feet and is used for making fences and rafters. The
wood is extremely hard and durable. The algarroba also yields good
timber, and its fruit and leaves are used for fattening cattle, while
the Indians brew a kind of beer from the pods. The lapacho, of the
bignonia species, rises to a height of 100 feet, and its wood is used
for cabinet work. The urunday is a tree of similar appearance but
larger, and its building wood is said to last two hundred years. The
palo amarillo is a mimosa and used for making furniture. There are in
the north cedars of excellent quality, both red and white, which
attain a height of 160 feet. The Jesuits introduced into the country
several varieties of palms, and there are many of the trees known in
Europe, such as poplars, willows, and walnuts. But by far the most
valuable tree in Argentina is the quebracho,[120] which grows in two
varieties, red and white; its full height is 80 feet, and it takes a
hundred years to come to maturity; the trunk is about 30 inches in
diameter. It is the commercial staple in Argentine timber, and the
railways have given a great impetus to the trade, in which the
Province of Santiago del Estero seems to have been the pioneer. In
1884 it had five thousand men engaged in cutting railway sleepers, but
it was not till 1889 that the export trade began, when 14,000 tons of
round logs were shipped from Santa Fé.

In the past few years many companies have been formed for cutting wood
in the Gran Chaco and also for extracting tannin. The district of
Resistencia is extremely rich in quebracho, and Santiago del Estero
continues to produce it in increasing quantities, as well as firewood,
which is extensively used by the sugar-mills of Tucuman. Firewood and
posts are also largely produced in Cordoba, and Tucuman and Salta
provide woods for building and cabinet-making. The timber industry has
now been extended to Tierra del Fuego, where saw-mills have also been
established; and when internal communications have been improved it
will doubtless be developed on a large scale, for the wood is used for
sleepers, building, and furniture-making. It has been suggested that
the abundant poplars might be employed in making paper pulp; and,
indeed, the timber resources of Argentina, although less vast than
those of most of her neighbours, are certain to be a source of
increasing profit. The export of quebracho logs, which now amounts to
254,571 tons, has been almost stationary for some years; but the
figures for the extract, which in 1902 were only 9,099, are now
48,161.[121]

The oldest and most celebrated of the forest products is _yerba maté_.
Pedro Lozano declared that the tree which produced that vegetable
surpassed all other trees in utility. "The tree,"[122] he says, "is
very high, leafy, and bulky. The leaf is also somewhat bulky, very
green, and in shape like a tongue. The _yerba_ is obtained by cutting
the branches, and placing them upon brushwood, and roasting them
slowly; by hand labour they grind the leaves thus roasted in holes
sunk in the ground and lined with skins. In all this process the
labour of the Indians is so severe that they sweat profusely, because
they work the whole day without intermission and with very little
food. They eat nothing all day but such forest fruits as chance gives
them, and when they have had their supper at night their repose is
brief, for within four hours they are obliged to rise and carry on
their shoulders the ground leaves to other places, where they make
leather packages to take them to other provinces." Lozano speaks with
indignation of this cruelty to the Indians, which had depopulated all
that part of the world except the Misiones. He gives an elaborate
account of the history and uses of _yerba maté_. Its popularity has
never waned, among the country people at least, for its bitter taste
and stimulating properties are invaluable to the tired rider, and it
fills the place that tea does to the Australian Bushman or coffee to
the South African Boer. The tea is drunk through a _bombilla_, or
tube, which is placed in the _maté_, or gourd containing the infusion,
and it is passed round among the company. _Yerba maté_ is raised more
extensively in Paraguay and Brazil than in Argentina; but the value of
the crop is well recognised, and recently the Government distributed
fifty thousand plants among settlers.

The mineral wealth of Argentina is very much less than that of
most South American countries. In every part of the Continent the
difficulty of extracting the ore and bringing it to the coast is
considerable, and tends to impair the value of even rich mines; but in
Argentina, where the mineral veins are usually not very abundant, the
difficulties have seemed almost insuperable, and consequently the
capital employed in mining is small. As might have been expected, the
Andine and sub-Andine regions almost monopolise the mining interest.

The most famous mine is that at Famatina in La Rioja. The fields cover
an area of 720 miles, but they are not ancient workings like most of
those in Peru and Bolivia. As was said in the earlier chapters,
Argentina was fortunate enough to dispel the suspicion of possessing the
precious metals, and, as she is the poorest of South American lands in
minerals, so she is richest in all else. But unquestionably she would be
still richer, and possibly an important manufacturing community, if
petroleum or coal could be discovered in great quantities. To return to
Famatina, it is said that some Mexican miners passing by in the
eighteenth century were struck by the colour of the river and followed
it upward to the mountains, where they discovered great treasure. This
mine is called the Mexicana, and is situated at an elevation of 16,500
feet, where the men work in the fashion described by Darwin in Chile. Of
late the Government has been at pains to improve the communications, but
hitherto the ore (gold, silver, and copper) has not been sufficiently
rich to yield much profit. In the neighbourhood silver and copper mines
have been worked fitfully, and occasionally fortunes have been made; but
the unsettled state of the country and the death or disappearance of
those who knew the secrets of the hidden ore were unfavourable to
enterprise. All over the two continents it is believed that discoveries
of fabulous wealth would be made if the Indians told all they knew; but
they keep their secrets tenaciously, and make prospecting unsafe.

During the Spanish dominion little was done in the way of mining.
Shortly after the Revolution, when it was believed that the South
American countries, enjoying the advantage of "freedom," would go
ahead, considerable interest was taken in Argentine mines, and Sir
Francis Head made an adventurous journey across the Pampas and visited
the gold-mines of San Luis and the silver-mines of Uspallata in the
interests of the Rio Plata Mining Association, which had been formed
in 1824. The Argentine Government did not deal honestly with the
company in the matter of concessions, and Head came to the conclusion
that there was no probability of obtaining satisfactory results by the
importation of Cornish miners. The sum of £60,000 had been spent
without any return, and Head's relations with his employers became
strained.[123] The unfortunate company collapsed, and this was also
the fate of the Famatina Mines, another English company formed at the
same time, whose German manager was shot by the ferocious Quiroga and
its capital of 1,000,000 dollars lost.

Under Rosas, of course, mining and all other enterprise languished,
but the belief in Argentina's mineral wealth continued, and from time
to time attempts were made to develop it. A report published in
the sixties states: "Extensive tracts of country are also highly
auriferous, and gold-dust makes a considerable figure in the exports
of Jujuy. The sierra of Cordova possesses silver, copper, lead, tin,
zinc, and iron mines, besides a number of quarries of splendid
marbles; and the same may be said of several of the provinces we have
named. Petroleum, equal in quality to that of Pennsylvania, has
been lately discovered, and, if our information be not altogether
inaccurate, there is every reason to believe it will soon become
valuable as a source of revenue and national wealth. Little has as yet
been done to develop the mineral affluence of the Republic; but it is
hoped effective efforts will shortly be made to work some of its
already celebrated mines, as well as many more which diligent
'prospecting' would certainly reveal to the knowledge of mankind."

In 1873 the export of metals of gold and copper amounted to 320,000
dollars gold. Progress was probably slow, but it has made considerable
positive advance, for the recent average of gold exports alone has
been about 382,000 dollars gold. Copper has, of late, remained
stationary. Salt is produced in considerable quantities, chiefly in
the south of the Province of Buenos Aires, and for a time petroleum
borings in several parts of the Andes excited great hopes. Some trains
were run by petroleum; but, unfortunately, the yield dwindled,
and no fresh discoveries in satisfactory quantities have been made.

The principal mining Provinces are Jujuy, San Juan, La Rioja,
Mendoza, Salta, San Luis, and Catarnarca, as well as several parts of
Patagonia. Gold, in paying quantities, is almost confined to the
Famatina mines in La Rioja; but there are also workings in Jujuy,
Salta, and Patagonia. Lead is found in La Rioja, Cordoba, Mendoza, and
San Luis. Copper occurs chiefly in La Rioja. Iron has been discovered
in Mendoza, Cordoba, La Rioja, and San Juan, but the quality is poor.
Coal has been found in small quantities in Mendoza, San Juan, and
Neuquen. Petroleum occurs in Salta and Mendoza; while valuable borax
deposits have been worked in Salta, Jujuy, and the Territory of Andes.

It is not probable that as long as Argentina offers so many more
tempting opportunities to capital any very great attention will be
paid to mining; but it may be that when the outlying Provinces, which
are the mining districts, become settled and interlaced with roads and
railways, it will be possible to apply more economical mining methods,
and the task of discovery will be easy. But unless coal and petroleum
are discovered it is improbable that the mines of Argentina will be of
a value in any way comparable to her agricultural and pastoral
industries.

FOOTNOTES:

[118] In 1907-8 the world's export of wheat was as follows:--

    United States      4,400,000 tons
    Argentina          3,540,000  "
    Russia             1,651,000  "
    Canada             1,530,000  "
    Balkan States        623,000  "
    India                533,000  "

These figures are reckoned from July 31, 1907.

[119] "All the inhabitants of the Republic, be they citizens or
foreigners, between fifteen and fifty years of age are obliged to give
personal help for the destruction of the locusts and the use of
animals or their property fitted for the work, excepting fine animals
which are destined for breeding" (Art. 7 of Locust Law of 1903).

[120] Quebracho means _break-axe_. Of the red variety Falkner says
that "in redness and colour it bears so strong a resemblance to red
marble, that it is a difficult matter to distinguish them."

[121] The total value of quebracho exported during the year 1905
amounted to over 7,000,000 dollars gold.

[122] "Coleccion," i. 199.

[123] "I feel it a duty which I owe to the Association shortly to
state that, having ridden 6,000 miles in South America--having thrown
myself on the feeble resources of the country--having been to the
bottom of every mine which has been inspected--having made all the
observations I was capable of making--having lived in deserts, and
almost in solitude, nearly a year, with no other subject on my mind
than the interests of the Association--I deliberately declare upon my
honour and upon my character, that it is my humble, but decided
opinion--

"1st. That the working of the mines in the provinces of Rio de la
Plate, by an English Association, is politically unsafe; and--

"2nd. That if there were no such risk, the expense would far exceed
the returns." (Head, "Reports," pp. 51-2.)



CHAPTER XIX

BAHIA BLANCA AND PATAGONIA


Bahia Blanca is one of the youngest of sea-ports. It only obtained
railway communication in 1885, and it was not considered of sufficient
importance for a separate article in the tenth edition of the
"Encyclopedia Britannica." It has now a population of about forty
thousand.

Buenos Aires and Rosario have long been the great wheat ports, but
they have now a formidable rival in the new southern city. Much of the
best wheat land is in the south of the Province of Buenos Aires and
Bahia Blanca is the natural outlet for it. There is hardly a limit to
the amount of grain that will be sent to this port for shipment when
the southern regions are systematically irrigated, and the railways,
always alive to the importance of developing the country they serve,
are preparing large schemes. Bahia Blanca is indeed one of the most
important objectives of railway enterprise in South America. The Great
Southern was the first in the field and for many years had a monopoly,
but the most enterprising of all the lines, the Buenos Aires and
Pacific, has lately been tempted by the splendid prospects of the
south and has acquired the management of the Bahia Blanca and
North-Western system. It has built moles and warehouses and in every
way improved and enlarged the port.

The journey from the capital to Bahia Blanca is not interesting, for
the greater part is over a dead level and the country is unrelieved by
hedgerows or any of the picturesque landscapes which we in the Old
World associate with the countryside. The journey is also rendered
disagreeable by the dust which is the invariable concomitant of
Argentine railway travelling. In the latter half the monotony is
relieved by a low range of green mountains, the Sierra Tandil, which
are practically the only break in the plain between Brazil and the
extreme south. The town itself is not attractive on first view, for it
is white and bare. The shore is low and fringed with lagoons and the
glaring white roads are not restful to the eye. This feature is
due to _tosca_, a kind of limestone with which all the roads in the
neighbourhood are made. But much has been done by art to improve the
tameness of nature.

[Illustration: TANDIL ROCKING-STONE.]

There are two towns. Eastward is the Puerto Militar, the great naval
harbour, and some miles to the west lies the Civil Port, Bahia Blanca
proper, which will soon be as familiar a name as Liverpool or
Rotterdam. The naval town is the work of the accomplished Italian
engineer, Chevalier Luis Luiggi, who has constructed magnificent naval
works. The graving dock is very fine and will receive battleships of
the largest size, nor was the Italian neglectful of the artistic side
of town planning, for he has transformed a desert into a garden, and
Puerto Belgrano, as it is called, is likely to be in the future a
fashionable watering-place, as well as a naval base. Gums, acacias,
and tamarisks have been planted, and numerous gardens have been laid
out. On the Civil Port immense sums have been spent, and it has been
made thoroughly fit to deal with the portentous grain traffic, large
already and which must very soon attain marvellous proportions. The
competition of two powerful railways assures Bahia Blanca of being
well served both in the matter of docks and transport.

Patagonia, which a generation ago was hardly known except by the
reports of sailors, who had occasionally explored its coasts, and
which was fabled as a land of giants, is now beginning to raise its
veil of mystery and to be known as an important seat of the wool
trade. But it is still imperfectly explored, and not long ago an
expedition was despatched to search for the grypotherium, a strange
beast which was rumoured to live in the inaccessible forests. It
may be doubted whether it has more reality than the sea serpent.

As we saw in a previous chapter, Patagonia possesses extreme interest
for the geologist. It is a recent formation, for at one period, not
very far distant from a geological point of view, it formed the vast
Pampean sea. The late Colonel Church[124] has treated the subject in an
interesting paper of which the opening remarks are a summary: "I shall
try to show that the Plata drainage area was, in a recent geological
period, much more extensive than it is to-day; that its most northern
limit was in 10° 44´ S. lat., and that nearly the entire waters which
now unite to form the Madeira River, the main affluent of the Amazon,
once flowed southward into a Pampean sea, which penetrated north over
the plains of the present Argentine Republic, to about 19° S. lat." It
was probably 1,400 miles in length with an average breadth of 400
miles, and perhaps two-thirds the size of the Mediterranean. The
Pampean formation is estimated to have an age of seventy thousand
years. Between the history of its geological formation and our own
time the record of Patagonia, though picturesque, is not important. It
was a no-man's land, abandoned as worthless to savages and only
visited by the curious or by those who were making their way to more
profitable regions. As is well known, the explorer Magellan was
the first to set foot in this country, which he called Tierra de
Pantagones from the large footprints which he found in the sand, and
many of the places at which he touched still bear the names he gave
them. Several Spanish navigators and also Drake visited it during the
sixteenth century, but Sarmiento de Gamboa, who made useful surveys,
was the only one to add much to our knowledge of Patagonia. He also
attempted to settle the country, but without success, for Thomas
Cavendish (who named Port Desire after his own ship) saw in 1586,
twenty-three famished Spaniards, the only survivors of the city of
King Philip, founded by Gamboa on the Straits. These poor creatures
were trying to return to the Plate district. Cavendish, therefore,
named the deserted settlement the Town of Famine, and it retains the
name of Port Famine to this day.[125] In 1590 John Davys found a
solitary straggler here, and the bold navigator thus describes his
barren experiences[126]: "Here we made a boat of the boards of our
chests, which, being finished, we sent seven armed men in the same on
land on the north shore, being wafted on land by the savages with
certain white skins; who, as soon as they came on shore, were
presently killed by an hundred of the wild people in the sight of two
of our men, which rowed them on shore, which two only escaped back
again to us with the boat. After this traitorous slaughter of our men,
we fell back again with our ship to the north-eastward of Port Famine
to a certain road, where we refreshed ourselves with mussels, and took
in water and wood." The country was long neglected, but in 1670 Sir
John Narborough appeared off the coast with several men-of-war, when,
after coasting round as far as Valdivia, he found that the Spaniards
were too strong and returned to England.

Reference has already been made to the famous voyage of Anson. In his
adventurous circumnavigation he spent but a comparatively short time
on the Patagonian coast, and he gives little information about the
natives, but his account of the country exactly tallies with that of
other explorers. It was described as being entirely treeless. "But
though this country be so destitute of wood, it abounds with pasture.
For the land appears in general to me, made up of downs of a light dry
gravelly soil, and produces great quantities of long coarse grass,
which grows in tufts interspersed with large barren spots of gravel
between them. This grass, in many places, feeds immense herds of
cattle; for the Spaniards at Buenos Ayres, having brought over a few
black cattle from Europe at their first settlement, they have thriven
prodigiously by the plenty of herbage which they have found here, and
now increased to that degree, and are extended so far into the
country, that they are not considered as private property; but many
thousands at a time are slaughtered every year by the hunters, only
for their hides and tallow."[127]

In 1764 Byron visited the coast of Patagonia and made friends with the
inhabitants, whose vast size greatly impressed him. His scribe calls
the chief a "frightful Colossus," and thus describes the surprise
which the giants created[128]: "Mr. Cumming came up with the tobacco,
and I could not but smile at the astonishment which I saw expressed in
his countenance upon perceiving himself, though six feet two inches
high, become at once a pigmy among giants; for these people may indeed
more properly be called giants than tall men; of the few among us who
are six feet high, scarcely any are broad and muscular in proportion
to their stature, but look rather like men of the common bulk, run up
accidentally to an unusual height; and a man who should measure only
six feet two inches, and equally exceed a stout well-set man of the
common stature in breadth and muscle, would strike us rather as being
of gigantic race, than as an individual accidentally anomalous; our
sensations therefore, upon seeing five hundred people, the shortest of
whom were at least four inches taller, and bulky in proportion, may be
easily imagined." This is a point upon which testimony varies. Sir
John Narborough's mate, Mr. Wood, declared that he saw no native who
was taller than himself.

In the eighteenth century the Spaniards made several attempts to
settle Patagonia, and the English Jesuit, Thomas Falkner, wrote a most
valuable account of the country and people. He mentions a voyage of
discovery made in 1746, in which, however, the captain neglected to
explore the river Deseado. His reasons were "that his orders were only
to discover if there was any port fit to make a settlement, near or
not very far from the mouth of the Straits, that might afford supplies
for ships in their passage to the South Seas; that he had surveyed all
from Port Gallegos, without finding one place fit for forming a
settlement upon, on account of the barrenness of the soil, and the
want of the common necessaries of wood and water; that he had done what
was sufficient to quiet the King of Spain, with respect to any
jealousies he might have of a certain northern nation's being so foolish
as to attempt a settlement in such a country, where as many as were
left must perish; that the Bay Sans Fond was at too great a distance
from Cape Horn, to come within the circle of his instructions; that his
stock of fresh water was scarce sufficient to reach the river of Plata,
and he was not certain whether he should be able to get any more at the
mouth of the River of Sauces."[129]

Falkner gave a very full account of the Tehuelches, and his work was
read with great interest by the Spanish authorities, who began
to fear that other nations might make settlements in Patagonia. They
accordingly despatched two brothers, named Viedma, with expeditions,
and Francisco Viedma founded Carmen at the mouth of the Rio Negro,
while Antonio established another colony at Port St. Julian. He also
explored the interior and made his way as far as the great inland lake
from which flows the Rio Santa Cruz.

In 1827 and for several years after Captain Fitzroy, in command of the
_Adventure_ and _Beagle_ explored Patagonia, and wrote a long account
of his experiences, but, for information about the interior, he relies
chiefly upon Falkner. This valuable expedition added immensely to our
geographical and zoological knowledge, and Captain Fitzroy carefully
observed such natives as he met and endeavoured to civilise several of
them. He remarks[130]: "The moral restraints of these people seem to
be very slight. Each man is at liberty to do as much as he feels
inclined; and if he does not injure or offend his neighbour, is not
interfered with by others. Their social habits are those handed down
by their ancestors, and adapted to the life they are compelled to
lead. Ideas of improvement do not trouble them. Contented with their
fine climate--plenty of wholesome food, and an extensive range of
country--they rather pity white people, who seem to them always in
want of provisions, and tossed about at sea. These natives have a
great dislike to the motion of a ship; yet, for novelty, they will go
afloat when opportunity offers." The Patagonians have an inveterate
belief in witchcraft; it seems to be their strongest quasi-religious
sentiment. They are generally well-behaved and good-tempered, but are
liable to gusts of passion, which make them uncertain, and there is a
Spanish proverb to the effect that one should never trust an Indian.

[Illustration: PATAGONIANS.]

The name of Darwin is inseparably associated with that of Fitzroy and
his ships. In 1834 the latter in company with the great naturalist
made a long voyage up the Rio Santa Cruz. A party of twenty-five
started on April 18th, in three whale-boats with provisions for three
weeks. The river was several hundred yards broad, and in the middle
about 17 feet deep, the water of a fine blue colour, and the current
had a velocity of from four to six miles an hour. The boats were towed
by relays of the crews. The country was not uninhabited, for the
explorers discovered traces of Indians, but Darwin describes it as
singularly uninteresting; it was shingle desert dotted with stunted
plants. Mice, foxes, guanacos, condors, and pumas were abundant. On
May 4th, they were in full view of the Andes. Darwin[131] says:
"Everywhere we met with the same productions, and the same dreary
landscape. We were now one hundred and forty miles distant from the
Atlantic, and about sixty from the nearest arm of the Pacific. The
valley in this upper part expanded into a wide basin, bounded on the
north and south by the basaltic platforms, and fronted by the long range
of the snow-clad Cordillera. But we viewed these grand mountains with
regret, for we were obliged to imagine their nature and productions,
instead of standing, as we had hoped, on their summits." Fitzroy was
becoming anxious about the supplies, and the party rapidly descended the
river, reaching the _Beagle_ by May 8th. In spite of his disappointment,
Darwin was well pleased with his excursion, which had given him useful
knowledge of the geological formation of Patagonia. In fact, the
Darwin-Fitzroy expedition yielded, on the whole, more valuable results
than any that has ever been made to that country.

As Chile and Argentina advanced in wealth and became more settled, the
unexplored plains of Patagonia were coveted by both, and, as has been
seen, a long dispute was at last terminated in a satisfactory manner.
As was natural, the lion's share was obtained by Argentina, but the
most important parts of Tierra del Fuego are in possession of Chile,
and the flourishing harbour of Punta Arenas, which is becoming a great
wool depôt, is also Chilian. With prospects of industrial development
and greater security of attacks from the Indians, explorers began to
show activity. Some forty years ago an adventurous Englishman joined
himself to a company of wandering Indians and went all over the
interior. He describes the country about the Rio Chico as a barren
desert of rocks and all intersected with deep ravines which seemed to
have been torn out of the surface by some tremendous explosive force.
Near the coast is an inhospitable tract called the Devil's Country,
which even the Indians never enter, and they declare that the country
near the sea is so rough that an Indian would take two years to march
from Santa Cruz to the Rio Negro. This circumstance, he thinks, has
caused sailors to describe Patagonia as an entirely arid country. In
fact, after the coast barrier has been passed, the country abounds in
lagoons, springs, and frequent streams.

It is probable that within a generation Patagonia, which has long been
synonymous for an unknown desert, and is still less than half
explored, may be a land of much industrial importance. A word may be
said on the interesting subject of the alleged gigantic stature of the
Patagonians, or Tehuelches, for these are the only race to whom the
term Patagonian properly applies. Authorities are practically
unanimous as to the fact that they are tall, but as to how tall there
is considerable discrepancy.[132] Musters[133] says: "The average
height of the Tehuelche male members of the party with which I
travelled was rather over than under five feet ten inches. Of course,
no other means of measurement besides comparing my own height were
available; but this result, noted at the time, coincides with that
independently arrived at by Mr. Cunningham. Two others, who were
measured carefully by Mr. Clarke, stood six feet four inches each.
After joining the Northern Tehuelches, although the Southerners proved
generally to be the tallest, I found no reason to alter this average,
as any smaller men that were met with in their company were not
pure Tehuelches, but half-bred Pampas. The extraordinary muscular
development of the arms and chest is in all particularly striking, and
as a rule they are well proportioned throughout. This fact calls for
especial mention, as others have stated that the development and
strength of the legs is inferior to that of the arms. Even Mr.
Cunningham alleges this to be the case, but I cannot at all agree with
him." Mr. Campbell suggests[134] that as the men have very long bodies
they appear much taller than they really are when seated upon
horseback, but there is ample evidence to prove that they are the
largest race of people in the world.

Most modern travellers give these natives a good character; they are
tolerably honest, good-natured, and treat their women well. They have
no idols, but worship a good and great spirit; however, as said
before, witchcraft seems to be the strongest element in their
religion. One writer tells of a Patagonian setting his daughter on a
horse naked and galloping after the animal lashing and shouting at it.
The explanation was that the girl had a severe attack of measles, and
as the devil was known greatly to dislike noise and cold, it was
thought that these vigorous measures would induce him to forsake the
girl's body. Within recent times they have not been ill-treated, but
unfortunately, like most savages, they cannot resist the mysterious,
wasting effect of civilisation. A recent traveller[135] says: "Those
surviving are all civilised, and there is not the slightest danger for
the traveller in associating with them. They often possess fine troops
of horses; some of them also own cattle. Many speak Spanish, and once
or twice a year they go down to Punta Arenas or to Gallegos to
exchange their guanaco mantles and ostrich feathers for different
kinds of provisions and implements. But the number of guanacos is
diminishing day by day, the land is becoming absorbed, and the Indians
impoverished by the white traders; they are getting mixed with the
whites, and so the day cannot be far off when the last Patagonian in
the old sense shall have ceased to exist."

[Illustration: GUANACOS IN THE PARK OF MR. HECTOR COBO.]

The most northerly part of Patagonia is the Gobernacion of Rio Negro.
The only town of any importance is Patagones, which was founded by
Viedema in 1780 under the name of Carmen. That part which is on the
north bank of the Rio Negro is still called Carmen de Patagones, and
the southern town preserves the name of Viedma. It has a good harbour,
some miles from the sea, and has steamboat connection with Buenos
Aires, while a coach runs to Bahia Blanca three times a week. There is
a large trade in salt and also in fruit. The latter grows in abundance
on the small islands of the river,[136] and the peaches and cherries
are excellent, while irrigation is creating orchards on the mainland.
Far inland, also on the Rio Negro, is Roca, a small military post.
This Gobernacion is the most populous part of Patagonia, and when
railways and irrigation are seriously applied to it, there will be no
limit to its development. On the west it is bounded by the Andean
territory of Nequen.

[Illustration: CHUBUT VALLEY.]

Next comes the Gobernacion of Chubut to the south. Its interest and
importance is due to the settlement of plucky Welsh settlers, who now
form a most valuable body of colonists. Nearly fifty years ago a
philanthropic Welsh gentleman visited the United States and was
distressed to find that his countrymen there had begun to lose their
nationality. He determined to found a Welsh settlement in Argentina; a
grant of land was obtained from the Government, and in 1865 the
Welshmen arrived at Port Madryn, and, after undergoing unexampled
hardships in the inhospitable valley of Chubut, developed into a
flourishing community of pastoralists and agriculturists. There are
now four hundred Welsh farms in the district. There is also a colony
in the Andes of about five hundred souls. It is nearly 400 miles from
Port Madryn. Rawson is the official capital of the colony and lies
about 5 miles up the Chubut River. Trelew, the largest town, is 10
miles higher up. Gaiman is 9 miles further inland, and 13 miles from
Gaiman is the Anglican Church of St. David. Port Madryn is 42 miles by
rail from Trelew.[137] In many of the churches and chapels services
are conducted in Welsh. The South American Missionary Society has done
noble work in supplying buildings and chaplains, and the courage and
enterprise of the hardy colonists is a striking episode in the history
of colonisation.

[Illustration: ST. DAVID'S ANGLICAN CHURCH, CHUBUT.]

More than 100 miles to the south is Camerones Bay, near which are some
fine _estancias_. There is great promise for sheep-farming in this
district, but the coast has a waterless strip about 25 miles broad.
Further inland there is excellent water and pasture.

The most desolate Gobernacion of all this desolate country is
undoubtedly Santa Cruz itself. It takes its name from that river, the
second largest in Patagonia, which Darwin found such difficulty in
ascending. It is said that it will be navigable by steamers when its
channel is ascertained, and Dr. Moreno has advanced as far as the Lago
Argentino. The town of Santa Cruz has only a few hundred inhabitants,
but it possesses a fine natural harbour, and may some day be a place
of importance. Far to the North the Rio Deseado abounds in wild fowl,
and at its mouth is the once famous Port Desire. Almost as far to the
south and at no great distance from the Straits of Magellan is the
considerable town of Port Gallegos, possessing a bank and a good
trade. More than ten years ago a traveller[138] said: "The coasts of
the Straits of Magellan and of the Atlantic have long been occupied,
but just lately many settlers have taken up their quarters in the
Gallegos valley and in the region between Last Hope inlet, and the
lakes right away towards the dry Patagonian pampa. Until recently
land could be got very cheaply, and there is still a lot of good
'camp' unoccupied, but that state of things will not last long. Most
of the settlers are English-speaking people, hailing from England,
Scotland, the Falkland Islands, or Australia."

Something should now be said of the lake system of Patagonia. The
northernmost sheet of water of any size is Buenos Aires. Its length is
75 miles, and though it is close to the Andes, it is only 985 feet
above the level of the sea. It is the largest of the lakes. Next in
position and next in size is Lake Viedma. Its elevation is 828 feet,
and it lies in a savage region. Somewhat less in area but consisting
of three arms is Lake Argentino at the head of the Rio Santa Cruz. It
is connected with Viedma by the Leona. This lake was only discovered
in 1868 by Gardiner. In some cases the scenery is very fine; Buenos
Aires is a lake of special beauty, and possibly in the future the
district will be one of the world's pleasure-grounds. The development
of Argentina has been so rapid that there has been no leisure to spare
for inaccessible spots, but it may be that at some distant date the
wealthy Argentines will be glad to take advantage of their splendid
mountains and no longer be content with commonplace seaside resorts.

The fauna of Patagonia are not specially varied. Those who desire the
results of keen observation on the subject should turn to Darwin's
"Voyage of the _Beagle_." The guanaco and the ostrich are the most
notable, and the latter creature is in great favour in Northern
Argentina as a destroyer of locusts. Darwin[139] says: "The guanaco,
or wild llama, is the characteristic quadruped of the plains of
Patagonia; it is the South American representative of the camel of the
East. It is an elegant animal in a state of nature, with a long
slender neck and fine legs. It is very common over the whole of the
temperate parts of the continent, as far south as the islands near
Cape Horn. It generally lives in small herds of from half a dozen to
thirty in each; but on the banks of the St. Cruz we saw one herd which
must have contained at least five hundred." It is a gentle animal and
easily domesticated, but, of course, in the plains it is not nearly as
useful as the invaluable llama of the Chilian and Peruvian Andes.

[Illustration: A VIEW OF TIERRA DEL FUEGO.]

Patagonia is almost virgin land, a spacious adjunct to a country whose
wealth and scanty population has hitherto prevented the inhabitants
from seeking pastures new when the new are less luxuriant than the
old. For long years it was considered almost worthless and was
abandoned to wandering tribes of Indians. Now it is recognised as
having a great future before it, and, promising as have been the
settlements already, it can hardly be said that a beginning has yet
been made, for Patagonia has hardly any railways, and the abundant
rivers have scarcely been tapped for the purposes of irrigation. When
iron rails have opened up the fine pasture-lands and when the waters
of the great streams shall have been utilised for agriculture, it is
safe to predict that the expansion of Argentina will exceed beyond
comparison the progress hitherto made--a progress which even now fills
the world with astonishment.

FOOTNOTES:

[124] _Geog. Journ._, October, 1898.

[125] Darwin remarks of the remains of the Spanish settlement, that
"the style in which they were commenced shows the strong and liberal
hand of Spain in the old time.... Port Famine expresses by its name
the lingering and extreme sufferings of several hundred wretched
people, of whom one alone survived to relate their misfortunes"
("Voyage of the _Beagle_," chap. viii.).

[126] Hakluyt, Extra Series, xi. 383.

[127] Walter, "A Voyage Round the World," p. 55.

[128] Hawkesworth, "An Account of the Voyages," i. 26.

[129] "A Description of Patagonia," pp. 84-5.

[130] "Narrative of the Surveying Voyages," ii. 167-8.

[131] "Voyage of the _Beagle_," chap. iv.

[132] The following is the testimony of travellers:--

    1520. Pigafetta. The least, taller than the tallest man in
    Castile.

    1578. Drake. Not taller than some Englishmen.

    1591. Knyvet. Fifteen or sixteen spans high.

    1598. Van Noort. Natives of tall stature.

    1615. Schouten. Human skeletons ten or eleven feet long.

    1669. Narborough. Mr. Wood was taller than any of them.

    1750. Falkner. A cacique seven feet and some inches high.

    1765. Byron. A chief about seven feet high, and few of the others
    shorter.

    1766. Wallis. Measured some of the tallest: one was six feet seven
    inches, several six feet five inches; the average height was
    between five feet ten inches and six feet.

    1783. Viedma. Generally six feet high.

    1829. D'Orbigny. Never found any exceeding five feet eleven
    inches; average height, five feet four inches.

    1833. Fitzroy and Darwin. Tallest of any people: average height,
    six feet, some taller and a few shorter.

    1867-8. Cunningham. Rarely less than five feet eleven inches in
    height, and often exceeding six feet by a few inches. One measured
    six feet ten inches.

[133] "At Home with the Patagonians," pp. 165-6.

[134] "Through Patagonia," p. 6.

[135] Otto Nordenskjöld, _Geog. Journ._, October, 1897.

[136] "Never river seemed fairer to look upon, extending away on
either hand until it melted and was lost in the blue horizon, its low
shores clothed in all the glory of groves and fruit orchards, and
vineyards and fields of ripening maize" (Hudson, "Idle Days in
Patagonia," p. 17).

[137] This little railway escaped notice in the chapter on railways.
It is an English company, the Central Railway of Chubut, which was
registered in 1886. Besides the original 42 miles an extension of 10
miles to Gaiman will soon be open. In 1907-8 the net profits on
working were £6,629.

[138] O. Nordenskjöld, _Geog. Journ._, October, 1897.

[139] "Voyage of the _Beagle_," chap. viii.



CHAPTER XX

ACROSS THE CONTINENT TO MENDOZA UNDER THE ANDES


The Buenos Aires and Pacific line across the continent from the
Argentine capital to Valparaiso is a magnificent achievement in railway
enterprise. Perhaps at no great distance of time the Pan-American
railway will be completed and the traveller will be able to take the
train at New York for Valparaiso and so to Buenos Aires, but as yet that
line consists chiefly of missing links, and the Buenos Aires and Pacific
Railway Company (which, curiously enough, happens to be English, not
German), is the first in South America to join the oceans. To Mendoza
the journey is easy and pleasant. The train leaves the Retiro station at
Buenos Aires at 8 a.m. and reaches Mendoza early the next morning at
about 5 a.m. The trains are extremely comfortable; the carriages are on
the American plan and restaurant cars are attached; a reasonable amount
of luggage is allowed. Only first and second (we should less logically
say first and third) carriages are in use and the fares are high. They
will doubtless be lowered when traffic increases; at present only three
through trains are run a week. Compared with English trains they are not
fast, but they are faster than the average of those of Continental
Europe. Altogether the Buenos Aires and Pacific is a very fine line and
under extremely efficient management.

The journey affords no feature of natural interest, for the country,
covered with maize or grass, is extremely flat, but it is pleasant to
see the evidences of wealth--noble cattle grazing in the fields, great
flocks of sheep, and the heavy crops of grain. The general air of
prosperity is the more pleasing to one who has recently passed through
Brazil and seen there every sign of wretchedness. There are few towns
of importance on the route; indeed, such as there are owe their
consequence chiefly to the railway. This is the case with Mercedes,
which was founded in 1856 as an outpost against the Indians, and their
depredations were for a long time a bar to its prosperity. It is now a
great railway junction. San Luis was a small village in 1788, and
although it is now the capital of the Province, it has had an
unfortunate history. Its sons fought valiantly for the independence of
Chile and Peru, but during the civil wars, which were the result of
the Rosas tyranny, its sufferings were far greater. Up till recently
the female population far exceeded the male, and it was one of the
poorest cities in Argentina. The situation is excellent; the town
stands high with views of the snow-peaks of the Andes, and the country
round about is well wooded. It may one day be a place of remarkable
prosperity.

The train reaches Mendoza at an unconscionably early hour, and the
cold and gloom prevent the formation of any impression about the
beauties of the garden city. For South America, the Province and city
of Mendoza are extremely ancient. It was in 1559 that Garcia de
Mendoza, the Governor of Chile, sent Pedro Castillo with a small force
to annex the district of Cuyo. This included not only Mendoza, but
also the Provinces of San Juan and San Luis, and for more than two
centuries it formed part of Chile, but the famous Decree of 1776
transferred it to the Viceroyalty of Buenos Aires. During the
Revolution it was divided into three provinces. Mendoza, the town,
which is as old as the Province, was in the early part of the
nineteenth century a beautiful place, extremely prosperous, and its
_dolce far niente_ won the hearts of all who visited it.[140] But it
was destroyed by one of the most terrible and devastating catastrophes
that ever visited a community. It was the evening of Ash Wednesday,
March 20, 1861, and the whole of Mendoza was at church. Suddenly a
rumbling noise was heard, and in a moment the city was razed to the
ground and thirteen thousand people destroyed. Barely two thousand
escaped. One of the survivors was a gentleman named Don Jaime
Albarracin, who has given a vivid account of the affair.[141] He tells
how the weather had been sultry for some days. His family had gone to
church and he was sitting at the window of his house talking to M.
Bravard, the well-known French geologist, whose researches had led him
to predict the destruction of Mendoza by earthquake. Don Jaime heard a
crash and immediately found himself buried under the ruins of his
house with a broken leg. Fires had broken out and raged all night
within a short distance of him. All day long he remained there and for
another night. "The horror of my situation was increased by a dreadful
thirst; the very air I breathed was thick with dust and smoke. It
seemed an interminable night. The second day I heard voices, and
summoning all my strength, called out loudly for assistance. All was
again silent for a couple of hours, till the afternoon, when I woke
from a short sleep to hear footsteps quite close to me. The first man
who approached me replied with a coarse insult when I begged him to
lift the beam under which I lay. His comrades were no less inhuman,
for they were one of the numerous gangs of banditti attracted like
birds of prey to the scene of disaster. They had seen the flames afar
off on the pampas, and came in scent of booty." Yet another night was
passed, but on the following day he bribed a robber with his gold
watch to lift him out of the debris, and finally he was taken to a
hut. The fires continued to rage and they were followed by an
unbearable smell from the decomposing carcases, and the survivors had
to be carried away to farmhouses. The Governor perished, as also did
the French scientist who made the all too accurate prediction. "So
complete was the destruction, that when a new Governor was appointed a
year later, and the site marked out for reconstruction, the Government
could find no heirs or claimants on behalf of three-fourths of the
families of the old city." The only vestige of old Mendoza that
remains is the pillars of the Cathedral, to which is affixed the
following tablet: "Ruinas del templo de San Augustin destruido por el
terremoto del 20 de Marzo de 1861."

[Illustration: RIVER MENDOZA.]

The people of Mendoza are still very nervous about earthquake shocks,
which occur frequently, but there has been nothing serious since
1861.

It is for this reason that the new Mendoza was laid out with very wide
streets and roomy squares and almost all the houses were built of
wood. This spaciousness adds greatly to the attractiveness of the town
and is a great relief after Buenos Aires. The town, thus covering a
large area, appears to be more considerable than it in reality is, but
it is rapidly growing, and its forty thousand population will probably
soon be doubled. Land in the outskirts is rapidly rising in value, and
great credit is due to the State of Mendoza, which is planning the
extensions on a very handsome scale. At the west end a large park and
zoological gardens are being made, and at sunset there is a beautiful
prospect from their pleasant walks, which seem to be under the very
shadow of the Andes. Their grim and jagged forms appear to be within
an easy walk. But Mendoza itself is like a large park; conduits of
clear water run on each side of the streets and their banks are lined
with trees. The principal street, the Calle San Martin, is quite as
rustic as the others, and it contains nearly all the shops which are
large and good for a provincial town. There is an excellent English
Club with a large membership, and as the climate of Mendoza is
genial, the town is by no means a bad place of residence. The chief
peculiarity of the climate is the almost complete absence of rain.
Mendoza stands at an elevation of nearly 3,000 feet above the level of
the sea, and is thus, as might have been expected, temperate. The
thermometer rarely touches freezing-point, and seldom or never 100°
F., but the rainfall is only a few inches yearly, and this rich
district is entirely dependent for its fertility on irrigation. In the
industrial chapters something is said about the wine-growing at
Mendoza. Here it will be sufficient merely to mention the system which
covers the uplands with vine and grain--an ancient system which was
bequeathed to the present inhabitants by the Guarpes, the peaceful and
industrious people who lived here before the Spaniards came. The
Zanjon Canal passes from the river Mendoza, near Luxan, traverses
through the city and joins the Tunuyan River, which in turn is united
by another canal to the Desaguadero River, far away to the east. The
canals and their branches are 1,100 miles in length, and they are said
to irrigate a quarter of the Province. Much fruit is raised, also
tobacco, and in 1835 the mulberry was introduced, so the silk industry
flourishes. As far as its fruit and streams are concerned, Mendoza
may compare with Damascus, and in every respect is the only Argentine
city, except Cordoba, which possesses any old-world charm. It is an
old Spanish City, and the people have the leisurely ways and open-air
habits of their forefathers. From the nature of the case it cannot
possess fine buildings, because, in case of another earthquake, the
inhabitants desire light houses that will either resist the shock, or,
if they fall, do the minimum of damage. But the Cathedral, though plain,
is an imposing edifice, and it attracts very large congregations of men
as well as women. The people of Mendoza are intensely religious. In
Spanish towns the charms of the streets are quadrupled on Sundays and
Holy Days, for they are full of pretty women in mantillas hurrying to
church. Why the ladies do not always give this beautiful headdress
preference over ugly imported hats is a mystery to the masculine mind.

Adjacent is the Province of San Juan, and the little capital of the
same name is at no great distance and is reached by a railway. Founded
by the same Pedro Castillo in 1561, it has few features of interest,
but it has a considerable trade and very good wine is manufactured at
or near it. A considerable part of the Province is a desert, but
fortunately it possesses a useful river, the San Juan, by which parts
are irrigated, and this work will doubtless be extended. According to
trustworthy figures, the population of this Province decreased from
91,000 in 1883 to 84,251 in 1895. This was doubtless due to the
commercial catastrophes of the early nineties.

More interesting is the quiet little town of San Rafael to the south.
It is the capital of a department of that name and is connected by
rail with Mendoza. In the early days of Rosas it was an important
frontier post. Population, owing to Indian wars and the undeveloped
nature of the country, increased but slowly, the figures for the whole
department being 1,000 in 1857 and 2,000 in 1883. San Rafael is now a
flourishing little town, and its prosperity is assisted by industrious
French settlers. The French language is to be heard almost as often as
Spanish in its streets.

When the traveller has exhausted the attractions of Mendoza and the
neighbourhood he will probably wish to pursue his way along the
Transandine Railway into Chile. As the start is made very early in the
morning his first near view of the Andes will be made under favourable
circumstances, for the rising sun will flush them with a glorious
crimson.

    "Full many a glorious morning have I seen
    Flatter the mountain-tops with sovereign eye."

But the general scenery of the Mendoza Andes is most disappointing. In
autumn, at least, even the mighty Aconcagua shows very little snow,
and in general the mountains are perfectly bare with the straightest
of contours. Their size is their only attraction. In the Province of
Mendoza alone the following huge mountains are to be found:--

    Aconcagua             22,450 feet
    Tupungato             22,140  "
    San Jose              20,130  "
    Iglesia               18,000  "
    Cruz de Piedra        17,230  "
    San Francisco         17,100  "

Nothing can be more desolate than the appearance of these unlovely
monsters. In some places there is enough coarse herbage to afford
scanty grazing for ponies, but there is literally nothing else, not a
tree, not a blade of real grass, and all forage and supplies of every
kind have to be brought up by rail. The valley up which the railway
goes is redeemed to some extent by the river Mendoza, which rushes
down crystal or foaming, but those who are accustomed to the green
forests and boundless snows and rugged precipices of old-world
mountains, will say, "The old is better."

At Mendoza it was necessary to change carriages and enter the
narrow-gauge train. The locomotive is a modest affair compared with
the great trains which climb to much greater heights in the Peruvian
Andes, but the gradients are very steep and sometimes the rack and
pinion have to be used. After a run of eight or ten hours the famous
Puente del Inca is reached.

[Illustration: THE HOTEL, PUENTE DEL INCA.]

This, standing at an elevation of 9,100 feet, is one of the dreariest of
places, being situated in a desert, and consisting merely of the station
and a hotel. Beyond the Bridge there is no object of interest and it is
not necessary, perhaps, to speak of the hotel. The Bridge[142] itself
has a commonplace appearance, but it is an extraordinary natural
phenomenon. It appears to be a natural dam of earth and rock lying
athwart the Cuevas River, which has managed to bore a passage through
the barrier. The stones, earth, and shingle which compose the arch have
been cemented together by deposits from the hot-springs, and the Bridge
is 66 feet high, 120 feet wide, and 20 or 30 feet thick. Underneath the
vaulted arch there bubble up springs of very high temperature, and
the most striking feature here is the glittering and jagged masses of
stalactite which adorn the grotto. The baths are considered to have
great medicinal value, and there is a variety called the champagne bath
which all arrivals are urged to take. In course of time Puente del Inca
will no doubt be a much-frequented health resort, and there would not be
the slightest difficulty in obtaining from the perennial river
sufficient water to make a pretty town with trees and flowers, but it
could never be a place of any natural attractiveness owing to the
poverty of the scenery. Nobody seems to know why it should be called the
Inca's Bridge; probably the name merely illustrates the tendency of
simple people to attribute strange natural phenomena to the most
powerful active force with which they are acquainted. Our rustics
invariably attribute such things to the Devil.

[Illustration: PUENTE DEL INCA.]

However, the climate is cold and bracing, and the walk--some 10
miles--to Las Cuevas, up the valley and over the pass, is worth
taking. There is, of course, nothing to see on arrival but some tin
huts, and there is nothing to do but return on foot or by train to
Puente del Inca and long for the train to Valparaiso.

This calls only on alternate days. The journey up the valley is
renewed and the train slowly makes its way to Las Cuevas. Here the
traveller has the opportunity, which he will soon lose, of riding over
the Andes. The line comes to an end at Las Cuevas, until it is linked
up with that of Chile by the completion of the permanent way. Here it
may be well to advise the traveller to provide himself at Mendoza with
a supply of Chilian money, for, though the railway officials are ready
and anxious to change English sovereigns into the grimy notes of
Chile, their estimate of the Chilian dollar is apt to be of a highly
optimistic character, which is rarely borne out by the rate of
exchange.

Some people amuse themselves with telling travellers exciting stories
of the dizzy precipices to be passed, and advising them to go by
carriage, as the slightest false step on the part of the mule would
result in certain death. But, in fact, the journey over the pass is
perfectly safe and easy; there is no precipice up which a boy of
twelve could not easily scramble, and the mule, frequently disdaining
the path, shuffles down these dangerous heights at a great pace. This
pleasant break in the monotony of the journey is now to be a thing of
the past. The enterprise (English) of the Buenos Aires and Pacific
Railway knows no obstacle, and succeeded in linking the Atlantic and
Pacific with hoops of iron. A few months ago the tunnel, nearly 2 miles
long, was completed, the rails are now laid down, and it is expected
that the line will be open for traffic by the time these lines are
printed. Some people, however, doubt whether it will be possible to keep
it open all the year round. At present all passenger traffic is at an
end from about May to October, for the blizzards and snow-drifts make it
dangerous if not impossible, and there is great difficulty in getting
even the mail-bags through by hand. It remains to be seen whether
snow-ploughs and other implements can be employed which will be
sufficient to clear the line and the tunnel. But at least the tunnel
will be a great convenience in summer, although some may regret the
short ride, breasting the keen air.

The mountain-peaks are, of course, as barren as ever, though a few
glittering glaciers can be seen on distant heights, but the bright
sun, the lumbering carts, the whistling wind, and the shouts of the
mule-drivers are pleasant sights and sounds.

The pleasant open-air conditions keep off the dreaded _soroche_, or
mountain sickness, which will probably attack many of the future
passengers through the tunnel, but riding over the pass has merely an
exhilarating effect. At the summit there is a board with _Argentina_
on one side and _Chile_ on the other. Here also is a colossal statue
of Christ. This boundary line had long been a source of dispute
between the two nations. Several times their jealousies had appeared
to make the task of delimitation impossible, and the two countries had
been on the brink of war. At last, aided by the good offices of King
Edward VII., the statesmen on either side composed their differences
and averted a fratricidal war by tracing a satisfactory boundary line,
and on that line, as a pledge that war and discords from their lands
should cease, the people decided to place a visible sign of concord to
show to every traveller that the neighbours should wage no more wars
one with another. They placed on the summit of the Andes a statue of
the Prince of Peace.

[Illustration: STATUE OF CHRIST.]

FOOTNOTES:

[140] "If a man could but bear an indolent life, there can be no spot
upon earth where he might be more indolent and more independent than
at Mendoza, for he might sleep all day, and eat ices in the evening,
until his hour-glass was out. Provisions are cheap, and the people who
bring them quiet and civil; the climate is exhausting, and the whole
population indolent" (Head, "Rough Notes," pp. 70, 71).

[141] See Mrs. Mulhall's "Between the Amazon and Andes," pp. 127-31.

[142] "When one hears of a natural bridge, one pictures to oneself
some deep and narrow ravine, across which a bold mass of rock has
fallen; or a great arch hollowed out like the vault of a cavern.
Instead of this, the Inca's Bridge consists of a crust of stratified
shingle, cemented together by the deposits of the neighbouring
hot-springs. It appears as if the stream had scooped out a channel on
one side, leaving an overhanging ledge, which was met by earth and
stones falling down from the opposite cliff. Certainly an oblique
junction, as would happen in such a case, was very distinct on one
side. The Bridge of the Incas is by no means worthy of the great
monarchs whose name it bears" (Darwin, "Voyage of the _Beagle_," chap.
xv.).



CHAPTER XXI

THE PARANA, ROSARIO, AND SANTA FÉ


The Parana is one of the most magnificent rivers in the world. It was
in the earliest times the most valuable route for the Spaniards into
the interior, as is shown by the fact that while they were struggling
for a foothold at Buenos Aires, and several times abandoned the
settlement altogether, they were in possession of a flourishing colony
in Asunçion. Up to recent times few immigrants thought of going to
Entre Rios or Corrientes because of the difficulties of the journey,
but now there is a train-ferry across the Parana, and there will soon
be railway connection with the capital of Paraguay. The territory,
highly favoured by nature, will in course of time be one of the
richest parts of Argentina.

[Illustration: COLON, ENTRE RIOS.]

It is impossible accurately to estimate the total course of the river,
but its length is between 2,100 and 2,800 miles. In its upper part it
receives many large tributaries--the Pardo, Paranahyba, Tiete,
Paranapanema, Ivahy, and Iguazu. In the north the falls impede
navigation, but it is practicable for vessels of 300 tons as far as
the Island of Apipe, which is 150 miles above its junction with the
river Parana. Lower down its only important tributary is the Rio
Salado. At Rosario its breadth is 20 miles, and it would present the
appearance of the sea but for a group of islands which stand in the
mid-channel and limit the view. The railways of Argentina are greatly
indebted to the Parana, which brought down enormous quantities of
quebracho lumber to be used as railway sleepers, and the various lines
now take 2,000,000 hard-wood sleepers from the Chaco yearly. At
Posadas 8,000 or 10,000 hands are needed to handle the _yerba_ and
lumber trade of the Alto Parana, and these are difficult to obtain,
for the southern regions have not sufficient labourers to supply their
own wants. Since 1902 more than 9,000 Russians and Poles have settled
at Apostoles, near Posadas, and arrangements have been made to settle
3,000 Finns in the same neighbourhood. But at present the south
attracts most of the European immigrants, and it is difficult to get
the native, who inhabits the upper basins, to work, on account of his
low standard of living and the exuberant fertility of the soil. Mr.
Barclay thinks that this fine country will for an indefinite period be
exploited only by traders, and does not expect to see them properly
colonised within the limits of the present century. He suggests
Chinese or Japanese colonists; but these people are already greatly
disliked in Chile, nor is it likely that they would be more welcome in
Argentina. It would be infinitely better that the vast forests should
continue to be inhabited by savage Indians than that one of the
noblest of European races should be tainted with yellow blood. It
would be far preferable to imitate the excellent example of the
Jesuits, and teach the Indians habits of industry, in which case they
would multiply and rapidly become civilised.

[Illustration: QUAY ON THE RIVER URUGUAY.]

Possibly the hasty traveller of to-day loses something by the
development of the railways, for he naturally takes the quick train in
preference to the slow steamboat. Rosario is only 186 miles from
Buenos Aires, and the journey occupies some seven hours on the Central
Argentine Railway, which for comfort is all that can be desired. The
officials (English) are most obliging; there is good sleeping and
dining accommodation, and the managers are most anxious to show the
traveller all that is to be seen; nor is this surprising, for
everything is of the best. It could only be wished that the railway
companies would start terminus hotels in the large towns in order that
the passengers might not abandon comfort when they quit the railway
carriage; but probably the local caterers would object.

Rosario is the second city in the Republic, and is certainly one of
the most remarkable. Founded in 1725 by Don Francisco Godoy as a
settlement for the subjugated Calchaqui Indians, it was in 1854 but an
insignificant town. It was then made a port of entry by General
Urquiza, and has prospered exceedingly. In 1870 it had a population of
21,000, in 1883 of 45,000, while in 1900 it stood at 112,000.
At the present time it must contain considerably more than 180,000
inhabitants. In 1900 the imports were valued at £1,913,803 and the
exports at £5,851,239, while in 1907 the figures were £6,397,579 and
£7,301,398 respectively. It is the chief port for wheat, maize, and
linseed,[143] but possibly, as the south is developed, it may be
surpassed as a grain port by Bahia Blanca. On the other hand, as the
north is colonised Rosario will receive the principal share of the
increased trade. The great project now is to bring the noble waterways
of the Plate into railway communication with the still more gigantic
system of the Amazon. Then Rosario will undoubtedly rival the huge
cities in the northern continent, which have thriven by the trade
brought down the Mississippi and the Missouri. Great sums have been
spent on the harbour of Rosario and a fine electric lift has been
erected, but the navigation of the Parana and its affluents suffers
from floods and erosion, and it has been questioned whether elaborate
and expensive appliances are necessary.[144] However, Rosario remains
a favourite port, and large vessels load and unload there.

In one respect Rosario produces a much more pleasant impression than
Buenos Aires, for its streets are wide and it has large parks. The Calle
Cordoba is an extremely handsome thoroughfare with good shops. There is
a busy Bolsa, many fine public buildings, and much-frequented cafés.
Large hotels have sprung up, and, it may be hoped, will in course of
time become comfortable. The people of Rosario have taken great pains in
the laying out of their town and have provided for plenty of open spaces
and boulevards. The new park is very beautiful, and handsome private
dwellings are being erected in the vicinity, but although there appears
to be no scarcity of sites, rents are said to be ruinously high. Rosario
has suffered more than any other town from municipal imposts, and at the
beginning of 1909 the traders went on strike, with beneficial results.
Complaints are also made that this great provincial town has its
interests subordinated to the small provincial capital of Santa Fé.

[Illustration: ROSARIO, THE LAW COURTS.]

However, these affairs are mere inconveniences which cannot impair the
town's prosperity. Here, as is customary in the Argentine, the English
are greatly in evidence and occupy an important place in the business
life. They have a pleasant Club and are very hospitable. Rosario has
also an advantage over Buenos Aires in being naturally more open and
picturesque. It is built on the bank of the Parana, some 300 feet
high, and a fine view is obtained of the great waterway and the
far-off, poplar-clad islands. The climate is said to be more relaxing
than that of the capital, but the difference is not great. When
Rosario has got rid of its new and unfinished appearance it will be an
extremely pleasant place of residence.

Perhaps the most interesting sight in Rosario and one that best marks
its progress on the stage to greatness is the workshop of the Central
Argentine Railway. When it is considered that as yet only a beginning
has been made with railway communications in South America, and yet
here is a great industry engaged in repairing numberless engines and
building vast numbers of carriages, imagination can hardly place a
limit to the greatness of Rosario as a railway centre when Brazil,
Paraguay, and Bolivia shall have through communication with Buenos
Aires and Rosario. These countries, with the greater part of the
Argentine Gran Chaco, represent to the Province of Buenos Aires what
the West represented to the Eastern States of North America seventy
years ago, but instead of being chiefly wheat and cattle countries
(all of which Buenos Aires already has in abundance) they contain the
priceless tropical products which from time immemorial have been
the main objects of trade. And, again, the mines of Bolivia and
Brazil, the best of which are unworked, probably unknown, will pour
their wealth down the basin of the Parana.[145] It is said that Brazil
has coal equal in quality to that of Yorkshire, and if this could
be brought cheaply into Argentina one main impediment to her
manufacturing efficiency would be removed.

The Central Argentine is an English company, and thus our traders have
a great advantage in Argentina, as the English railways naturally buy
engines and stores from home. The Rosario workshop turns out carriages
and effects every kind of repair, but the locomotives are imported. An
engine made at Hunslet in 1875 is still doing good work, whereas
American engines go to the scrap-heap in three years. Those of Kitson,
of Leeds, are of everlasting wear, and much of the work of Byer,
Peacock, Manchester, and of George Stephenson, Darlington, is to be
seen at Rosario. Some of the engines and machinery at the forge are
American, but Butler and Co., of Halifax, are prominent. Of the
carriages some come from Milwaukee, some from Birmingham, but now a
very large proportion is made in the workshops. Most of the workmen
appear to be Spaniards or Italians, but in better positions Irishmen
are numerous; in fact, on St. Patrick's Day hotel accommodation can
hardly be obtained at Rosario, and the Irish and Scotch language is
spoken with perfect purity by men who have never been outside the
boundaries of the Republic.

[Illustration: CALLE CORDOBA, ROSARIO.]

In another place an account will be given of the Central Argentine
Railway, and the other lines by which the town is well served, but it
may here be mentioned that the English company, like its rival lines
in the country, has been doing its utmost to develop the district
with which it is concerned, and a considerable part of the port
accommodation is due to its enterprise. It has constructed a wharf
which can contain five large steamers in single line, and owns more
than a mile and a half of river-front in a convenient position for
shipping grain. Besides this the Company possesses the port of
Villa Constitucion, 32 miles from Rosario, and it is being rapidly
developed. In 1907 this port was entered by British ships with a
tonnage of 80,457, and German with a tonnage of 15,838. Much of the
prosperity of Rosario--and its advance is very rapid--is due to its
excellent railways. The town has every natural advantage and possesses
an industrious and enterprising community which would be one of the
most favoured in the world if its government were better.

Santa Fé, the capital of the Province, is a comparatively
insignificant town with about thirty thousand inhabitants. It is an
old place, dating from 1573, and thus is really more ancient than
Buenos Aires. Padre Pedro Lozano[146] states: "Garay founded the city
of Santa Fé upon a delightful plain and by the same river,[147] three
leagues from the Parana. This port afforded admirable shelter to
vessels of all kinds and the soil was extremely fertile, rendering
with bounteous increase all the seeds entrusted to it. There was
abundance of game and fish and there was a large population round
about consisting of many nationalities and of widely different
languages, but these tribes are now quite extinct, and a genuine
Indian of the country is hardly ever to be seen in these days. The
latitude of this city was originally 31°, but owing to inconveniences
for land trade which afterwards manifested themselves, and to the
unfriendly attitude of the heathen, the site was shifted in the year
1660 to a more convenient position on the river Salado, and three
leagues distant from the great river Parana. The latitude of the new
site was 31° 58´ and its longitude 47°."

Santa Fé is the seat of a Bishop and possesses a Jesuit Church and
College, which dates back to 1654. Sixty years ago a traveller
described it as a pleasant town with fifteen thousand inhabitants, and
the population seems to have increased very little until quite recent
years, for it has never had any prominent industries[148] and must
always be greatly inferior to Rosario, although the older city is the
capital. Like Head at Mendoza, the observer was struck by the practice
of promiscuous river-bathing. He thus describes the town[149]: "The
city occupies a large space of ground; for, like all the towns in this
country, a considerable portion is planted as fruit gardens. The
houses are either flat-roofed, or covered with tiles, and only one
storey in height. A majority of them were built without any provision
for glass windows; the light and air being admitted only through
apertures fitted with an open framework of wood, having strong
shutters inside; neither are there fireplaces in the houses. There are
four large churches, one of which, built in 1834, is remarkable for
its solidity and fine proportions. It consists of a nave and aisles,
separated by square pillars supporting arches; light is admitted from
the windows of a clerestory. It contains a beautiful baptismal font of
silver, with four richly carved holy-water fonts. The high altar is in
the Gothic style, and enriched with gilding."

As remarked before, Santa Fé is not a city of remarkable prosperity.
The building of small river craft is an industry of some importance,
but the main occupation of its inhabitants is the export of quebracho
wood. In 1907 the shipments were 174,126 tons. The river here gives
considerable trouble and requires constant dredging, but a new port is
rapidly approaching completion, when it will be possible for vessels
with a draught of 20 feet to enter.

The great river country to the north is full of interest, but
reference can only be made to one subject--the famous Falls of Iguazu.
These Falls were known and described by Padre Lozano, but political
troubles and the general backwardness of the north after the expulsion
of the Jesuits caused them to be forgotten. Now the Government is
alive to the possibilities of using them as a great national "lion,"
and a commission some years ago was appointed to survey the route and
make it more accessible. As yet not much has been done in that
direction, but the journey to and from Buenos Aires can be made in
less than a fortnight, and a rest-house has been provided. The
traveller starts from Buenos Aires in a steamboat and proceeds up the
Plate and Uruguay Rivers to Concordia. There he leaves the river and
takes train to Corrientes, where he re-embarks in a steamer, and,
passing up the Rio Alta Parana to Posadas, makes his way far north to
the confines of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay, where the Falls are.
The Rio Iguazu joins the Parana at the place of disembarkation, and
there is a long ride through the forest to the Falls. Twelve miles
from the junction with the Parana there is a sudden bend, and the
river makes its mighty leap of 210 feet. These are the Brazilian
Falls, but lower down there are two other magnificent cascades, each
of 100 feet, which fall into a narrow gorge. These are the Argentine
Falls and are about 10,000 feet distant from the Brazilian. At the
highest point the width of the river is 3,000 feet, but the gorge into
which the magnificent columns of water finally discharge themselves is
no more than 400 feet wide, and the volume of the discharge is greatly
increased in the rainy season. The spectacle is no less magnificent
than that of Niagara. As a mere discharge of water in a single sheet
the North American fall is more impressive, but the beauty of the
Argentine scene is enhanced by the luxuriant forests, and the
long-drawn-out course of the foaming stream amid its sylvan scenery is
unmatched.

Some day, no doubt, there will be a fashionable watering-place within
the sound of the roaring waters, with great hotels and a casino, but
now the Falls are, like all the rest of the vast region, an almost
unknown place. The great rivers offer the finest waterway, and nothing
is required but men and energy to make this borderland a country of
fabulous wealth.

[Illustration: THE IGUAZU FALLS.]

FOOTNOTES:

[143] Rosario exported in 1907--

    Wheat          2,850,000 tons
    Linseed          580,000  "
    Maize          1,400,000  "

[144] "The new port at Rosario is admittedly no improvement on the old
system of delivering wheat by shoots from the barrancas down to
vessels moored to wooden stages in deep channel. In a word, the means
of access from shore to river are most permanently effective when
capable of adaptation to the shifting character of the stream" (W. S.
Barclay, _Geog. Journ._, Jan., 1909).

"The works at the present time are sufficiently advanced to provide
berths for some 15 vessels. A channel of sufficient breadth all along
the frontage has been dredged so that large vessels drawing 24 feet or
more can now manoeuvre without stranding on sand or mud banks, as was
formerly the case. The entire port can provide loading berths for
about 40 vessels and for 20 to 25 vessels to discharge. The change
that has been effected along the river frontage in the short space of
four years is remarkable, and when the works are completed Rosario
will possess one of the best ports in the country, with excellent
storage accommodation attached. The contract price for constructing
the port was fixed at 60,000,000 fr., but a much larger sum will have
been expended before completion, exclusive of grain elevators and
other works which the Company is undertaking estimated at 17,000,000
fr." (Consular Report, July, 1908).

[145] "Now at last in our day progress is being made in the great
neglected central zone watered by the Paraná, and here, as has been
shown, the main line of advance will still be south and north. For if
we accept the statement that mountains are the true frontiers of
nations then the reverse also holds true, and the valleys that connect
them are their best and natural highways. So when the railroads which
already link Patagonia to Paraguay extend further along the great
'llanos' overshadowed by the Andes, right up to a navigable port on
the Amazon, they will strengthen, better than any words or treaties,
the ties of rational trade and intercourse between the republics whose
hinterlands meet in the Paraná watershed" (W. S. Barclay, _Ibid_.).

[146] "Coleccion de Obras," iii. 121.

[147] The Rio Salado.

[148] "The future of Santa Fé is rather in agriculture, the raising
of hogs, and the production of butter and cheese, than in the
old-fashioned system of stock-raising, which has already become an
employment for which the land gives a scant return, and which,
moreover, will become absolutely impossible at no distant date, when
the price of land rises still further" (Latzina, "Géographie," p.
239).

[149] MacCann, "Two Thousand Miles' Ride," ii. 32.



CHAPTER XXII

THE GRAN CHACO AND THE NORTHERN TOWNS


The Gran Chaco is the least-known part of Argentina which has the
reputation of being a land of Pampas, although these grassy plains
cover but one-fourth of the total area of the Republic. In the Chaco
are to be found the great majority of the flora and fauna which occur
in Argentina, for except in its semi-tropical forests there is no
considerable variety of either vegetable or animal life. Concerning
the origin of the name, the worthy Padre Lozano says[150]: "The
Etymology of the name _Chaco_ indicates the great multitude of tribes
which people this region. When the Indians go out hunting and drive
together from different quarters the vicunas and guanacos, that vast
mob of animals is called _Chacu_ in the Quichoa language which is the
common tongue of Peru. Thus, because the land in question contained a
number of different tribes, they received by analogy the name _Chacu_,
which the Spaniards have corrupted into _Chaco_."

Since the early wars of the Spaniards with the various tribes this
magnificent territory has not figured much in the history of the
country, but in natural interest it surpasses every other part of the
Republic, and its potential wealth is enormous. The climate, though
tropical, is not oppressive, and although the country is subject to
periodical floods, these greatly increase the natural wealth of the
soil, and almost every kind of vegetable product can be grown.

The principal tribes which inhabit this undeveloped region are the
Matacos, the Tobas, the Macovies, the Vilelas, the Chinipies, and the
Payaguas. Of these the Matacos and the Tobas are the most numerous.
The Matacos are tall and bony with strong frames. They have prominent
cheek-bones and black, hairy skins. Their teeth are white and far
apart, their noses are flat. They cultivate the ground and raise
crops of maize. The Tobas, who used to be a warlike race, are
more prepossessing in appearance and are slightly more civilised.

[Illustration: CHIRIGUANOS AND MATACOS.]

In the Chaco there is a considerable variety of fauna. The most savage
beast of South America, the jaguar, is found in Riacho Ancho and on
the islands of Cerrito. Its ferocity and cunning are well known, and
it is very destructive both to men and cattle. The puma also belongs
to the feline race, and is also destructive.[151] The wild cat (_felis
Geoffroyi_) is common. A less familiar animal is a large fox (_canis
jubatus_), red in skin and not unlike a hyena in both appearance and
habits, for it feeds on carrion. The tapir is one of the ugliest of
living creatures. It belongs to the hog family and somewhat resembles
the wild boar, but its long snout and ugly dark skin give it an
insignificant appearance. It is not savage. There are numerous species
of deer and a great variety of small animals. The alligator is very
common. The fish of the rivers is good and plentiful, and the chief
varieties are the pacu, armado, raya, suruvi, bagre, and palometa.

The natural history of the Gran Chaco has been well described by Felix
de Azara. The fauna, though abundant, are not particularly remarkable,
and differ in few particulars from those of other South American
forest tracts. Vegetation grows in boundless profusion, and the most
valuable product is timber, of which a brief description is given in
one of the industrial chapters. An Argentine writer[152] remarks: "The
forest land or woody portion of the Chaco can be said to occupy a
third part of the total area of the territory. The woods of the Chaco
are met with on the banks of rivers to which they make a broad fringe;
also in clumps or masses of trees more or less extensive; or as brows
of brush, as they are called in the neighbourhood--that is to say,
narrow strips of trees stretching from one clump to the other--or
else scattered in the form that is called thin bush. These varied
formations are not capricious. They obey geological laws with that
regularity which Nature demands from her handiwork, seeing that the
Chaco has no artificially planted trees whatever."

The Gobernacion of the Chaco itself is a comparatively small region,
not very much larger than England and Wales, and the population is
only 13,937. It is bounded on the north by the Vermejo, on the east by
the Parana and Paraguay, and on the west by the Provinces of Santiago
del Estero and Salta. The north is marshy, the south is covered with
dense forests. The capital is Resistencia, but the only place in the
Territory which has any railway communication with the outer world is
La Sabana, which is on a narrow-gauge railway to Santa Fé. A line,
however, is projected to run through Chaco into Bolivia.

In this work the term Gran Chaco is used, as it was by the old
Spaniards, to embrace all the tropical and semi-tropical north, and
this opportunity is taken of giving a brief account of a few of the
more interesting places, most of which are, thanks to the railways,
now within easy reach of Buenos Aires.

This is the case with the pleasant town of Cordoba, to which the
Central Argentine Railway provides a swift and comfortable service. It
was founded in 1573 by Don Geronimo de Cabrera, and it soon became the
religious and educational headquarters of the La Plata settlements. In
the Spanish days it was famed as a seat of intellectual culture,
but its importance seemed to have waned during the revolutionary wars.
Some eighty years ago a traveller[153] described it as situated in a
shallow valley. "The hills around are insignificant in size; but
partially wooded, and kept in a state of excellent irrigation. The
population, from the best source of information I could obtain, in the
absence of correct data, may be from eight to nine thousand, or
perhaps ten.... The granite hills in its vicinity afford abundant
ores, and they possess the necessaries of wood, water, mules, and
pasturage for cattle in abundance. The only impediment is the want of
practical miners to teach the unemployed peasants of the country the
rudiments of the art." Andrews observed that even at that time, when
the people were enraged with priests and bishops on account of their
loyal attitude, the ecclesiastical influence was probably more
powerful than in any other place in South America. Trade and all
prosperous activity was then in a state of stagnation owing to the
wars and the traffic in mules with Peru, Cordoba's staple industry,
had been completely destroyed. Andrews admired the "fine eyes" and the
"symmetry" of the ladies of Cordoba, and describes an excursion to the
country house of "the celebrated Dean Funes," the historian, but
unfortunately says nothing about his host. He seems to have enjoyed
his visit to Cordoba. About twenty years later another traveller[154]
estimates the population at fifteen thousand and says: "The city
presents an extremely clean and orderly appearance; the streets, which
intersect at right angles, are well kept and well lighted. The only
manufacture in the place is that of leather. There is no newspaper,
although formerly there were two weekly journals published....
The climate is very salubrious, though the rain does not fall in
sufficient quantity. There are no foreigners in the town, nor even in
the province, except a few French and two or three English: the
government architect is a Frenchman, who possesses both wealth and
influence." Cordoba must at that time have been a much pleasanter
place of residence than Buenos Aires, and possibly is so still. With
peace, renewed prosperity has visited the town, and it now has a
population of about sixty thousand. It is distant 435 miles from
Buenos Aires, and is an important railway centre. In old times it
stood on the high road to Peru, and it is now on what will be the
trunk line to the central Pacific coast. It is already connected with
Bolivia by a line running northwards through Jujuy. Twelve miles from
Cordoba are the reservoir and dam (Dique San Roque), on the river
Prisnero, which supply the city with water and are the largest works
of the kind in South America. The city is lighted by the electric
light and has electric trams.

[Illustration: GOVERNMENT HOUSE, CORDOBA.]

Cordoba with Mendoza has the reputation of being the town in Argentina
where the religious spirit is strongest. The number of churches is
remarkably large and some of them are handsome.

The University is the oldest in South America with the exception of
that at Lima. It was founded in 1613 by the Jesuits, who were always
foremost in the encouragement of learning and piety, and in 1621 it
was confirmed by the Bull of Pope Gregory XV. In Spanish times it had
a high reputation, but it greatly decayed under the tyranny of Rosas,
and in 1861 possessed only two faculties--Law and Theology. It was
much improved in 1880. Cordoba also is reputed to be a place where
culture is highly valued, but provincial seats of learning tend to be
overshadowed by Buenos Aires. Dr. Ernesto Quesada remarked: "In
Cordoba there is an active literary life, and a band of young men who
in society and magazines work with ardour, but their names are hardly
known in the capital." However, Cordoba has better than any other town
maintained its humanistic position, as Rosario has its commercial,
against this overpowering preponderance, and it may be hoped that
healthy non-political rivalries will be kept up and strengthened all
over the country.

Another large and flourishing city is Tucuman, a town of forty-nine
thousand inhabitants, situated on the right bank of the Tala, a
sub-tributary of the Salado. It was founded in 1565[155] by Diego de
Villaruel, and has always played a prominent part in history. The old
house in which the declaration of independence was signed is still
preserved. In revolutionary days the communicative Andrews[156] thus
describes it: "The city of Tucuman is like most others in South
America, of rectangular form. The public edifices and works are in a
wretched state. The arts and sciences are almost unknown, literature,
of course, included. Music alone seems to be a little cultivated, but a
general spirit of liberality, a wish to improve, and a thirst for
knowledge, is very observedly diffusing itself, and will not allow this
state of things to last. Unfortunately, the channels of information are
few and narrow, and I fear the people are without instructors, or have
very ill-chosen ones, though perhaps the best they can obtain." He
estimates the population at ten or twelve thousand.

Another traveller,[157] who was at Tucuman at the time the overthrow
of Rosas was announced, remarks: "If the tide of immigration could
only be diverted for a time towards this quarter, it appears to me
that this province is capable, in an agricultural point of view, of
largely supplying an export commerce. The sugar-cane, coffee, cocoa,
cotton, fruits of the most delicious kinds, and an abundance of
superior cattle, offer to the enterprising and industrious a certain
field of ultimate success. The united provinces of Cordova, Tucuman,
and Salta, have already gained a well-merited reputation for their
tanned leather, saddlery, and boots, superior to that of other
parts of South America." He declares that he left Tucuman with the
conviction that it stood unrivalled as the garden of the Argentine
Republic.

Like all other up-country towns, it long remained depressed by the
political troubles, and in 1875 the population was no more than
seventeen thousand. It had increased to twenty-seven thousand by 1884,
and has since been making steady progress. The Matriz Church is a fine
Doric building, erected in 1856, and there is a large National
College. In the suburbs stands the Plaza Belgrano on the site of the
village formerly called Cuidadela, where Belgrano gained a great
victory over the Spaniards. Like Cordoba, the city is on the trunk
line to Bolivia. The Province of Tucuman is famous for the sugar
industry, and many of the plantations and factories are near the town.

The Province of Salta one day can hardly fail to be of great
importance. It was first settled by one Lerma in 1582, and until 1776
was in the charge of a Lieutenant-Governor under the Governor of
Tucuman. During the first half of the nineteenth century it suffered
less than its neighbours owing to its remote situation. The forests,
hills, and rich pasture make the scenery charming, and the soil is
remarkably fertile, maize, wheat, lucerne, and sugar being extensively
cultivated. The mineral wealth, though insufficiently exploited, is
very great. The town of Salta, which is 935 miles from Buenos Aires,
has a population of about twenty thousand. It is well built, but not
particularly healthy, owing to malaria and bad water.

The fertile northern region of Argentina has hitherto been somewhat
neglected, in spite of the fact that it is the oldest settled part of
the country. When communications between Tucuman and Peru were
interrupted the country declined, and the easily earned wealth of the
Pampas diverted the attention of capital from less accessible parts.
On the western side communications are excellent, and on the east they
are fast improving. The towns and provinces are gradually increasing
in wealth and population and, besides their great fertility in soil
and every kind of produce, they will also be important as recipients
of trade from places over the frontier. This importance, of course,
will depend upon the development of the places in question. Those
countries that lie about the upper waters of the Parana will not be
trade centres for many years. As regards Bolivia, the case is
doubtful. That country has a large mining industry, but her population
is scanty and backward, and it is probable that it will still be more
economical to despatch the greater part of its products by sea.
In fact, the Argentine Government has raised objections to the
prolongation of the railway into Bolivia, on the ground that it will
not be a commercial success. However that may be, Tucuman, Salta,
Cordoba, Parana, and many other towns with their adjacent districts
will always have sufficient wealth to be of considerable importance in
themselves, and when more immigrants have been attracted thither they
will be regarded, in many respects, as the best part of the Republic.

[Illustration: TUCUMAN.]

FOOTNOTES:

[150] "Descripcion Chorographica," p. 1.

[151] South Americans say that it will not harm man under any
circumstances.

[152] M. Gonzalez, "El Gran Chaco Argentino," pp. 89, 90.

[153] Captain Andrews, "Journey from Buenos Aires," i. pp. 59, 60.

[154] W. MacCann, "Two Thousand Miles' Ride through the Argentine
Provinces," ii. 52, 3.

[155] "The land was rich in wheat, barley, and maize, and had fine
pastures to fatten fine cattle. Game was abundant, the trees were of
hard wood and of great size, and there was much cotton and flax which
was woven into fine linen. There were traces of gold, and above all
the climate was the best in the whole governorship" (Pedro de Lozano,
"Coleccion," iv. 228).

[156] "Journey from Buenos Aires," i. 241, 2.

[157] Bonelli, "Travels in Bolivia," &c., ii. 247.



CHAPTER XXIII

INFORMATION FOR ENGLISH TRAVELLERS


The first information which the traveller seeks is, naturally, how to
get to Buenos Aires, and though such information is very accessible,
it seldom seems to come his way, for not uncommonly persons are found
who appear to have no idea that there is any route except that which
they hit on by chance, and if in the course of the journey any change
becomes necessary, they usually have considerable difficulty in
discovering the means of making the change. Of course any agent will
furnish a number of particulars, and any given line will give the
fullest information about itself. The ocean voyage is not made as
quickly as it might be, for the liners proceed first to Brazil and
call at one or two ports, and there are also several stops made in
Europe and the islands. The best thing to do is to take one of the
fine vessels of the Pacific Steam Navigation Company from Liverpool.
The boats call at La Pallice--La Rochelle, Corunna, Vigo, Leixoes
(Oporto), Lisbon, St. Vincent, Rio de Janeiro. The only drawback is
that the vessels do not go to Buenos Aires, but stop at Montevideo;
however, the passengers are speedily transhipped, and the whole voyage
lasts about twenty-four days. In comfort and safety the service
reaches the highest possible standards, and the traveller can, if he
wishes, continue his voyage southward and proceed up the Pacific Coast
as far as Panama; this is a charming trip, for the Pacific is usually
smooth, and some of the very best boats engage in the coasting
service. There are many other English lines--the Royal Mail Steam
Packet, Southampton to Buenos Aires, the Lamport and Holt from
Liverpool, the Harrison Line, Houlder Bros., the Houston Line, the
Allan, the Nelson, the David MacIver, all from Liverpool, the Prince
Line from London. The New Zealand Shipping Company's boats, on the
homeward voyage only, call at Montevideo.

[Illustration: PACKET STEAM NAVIGATION CO.'S _ORCOMA_.]

There are many foreign lines. France is represented by the famous
Messageries from Bordeaux, and also by the Soc. Genérale de Transports
from Genoa, Marseilles, and Barcelona, and the Chargeurs Réunis from
Havre. The Italian boats from Genoa and Barcelona are very numerous. A
Spanish line, the Cia Transatlantica de Barcelona, plies between the
latter port and Buenos Aires. Germany has the Hamburg-American, the
Norddeutscher Lloyd, and the Kosmos. There is also a Dutch line. The
Italian boats are large, well-fitted, and fast. If time were an
important object, probably the quickest way would be to take an
Italian boat to Barcelona, whence London is rapidly reached by rail,
but though there is a good accommodation, both British and foreign, it
is safe to say that the P.S.N. Co. will be found the most satisfactory.

The traveller ought to carry with him everything he needs, and his
needs should be few, because luggage is a great trouble. Unlike
some South American lines, the railway companies in Argentina are
responsible in that respect, but porters and others are exorbitant,
and a piece of luggage rapidly devours its own value in transport
charges. Exactly the same clothing should be taken as in England, and
ordinary riding kit should be added, also a soft hat, as affording a
better protection against the sun than a hard felt or cap. Revolvers
or other weapons are unnecessary; indeed nothing is required but what
is constantly used at home.

Banks are to be found everywhere, so there is no difficulty about
money. The Argentine dollar, which is in universal use, is worth about
1s. 9d.

The hotels at Buenos Aires, as has been said, are not remarkably good,
and they are certainly expensive. All are noisy, for the trams run
early and late, and a very high price has to be paid for good rooms.
But any one who is prepared to pay handsomely can make himself very
comfortable. As regards up-country hotels, it is not possible to give
a favourable account. At Rosario there are several good-sized houses
of entertainment, but they have no particular merit, except that they
are cheaper than in the capital. In this rapidly expanding city a very
large hotel is being built, which will certainly supply a long-felt
want, and doubtless it will be much superior to anything at present to
be found at Rosario. At Mendoza there is a large hotel of very
handsome appearance, but probably the best accommodation there is to
be afforded by a hotel kept by a genial old Frenchman, who has almost
abandoned the Parisian in favour of the tongue of Castile. The
courtyard, dotted with fruit-trees, and the low buildings with their
screened doors, are strongly reminiscent of an Indian up-country
hotel. Hotels in other provincial towns are by no means good. It is
from the cooking that the traveller will chiefly suffer, for there is
usually little to complain of on the score of cleanliness, and the
rooms are large, though bare. The Argentine has a good appetite, but
he appears to be content to satisfy it chiefly with meat, and this is
more often tough than not. The menu contains an imposing array of
dishes, which are served without stint, but they are almost all beef,
mutton, or veal in some form or other, and this diet, moderate in
quality and cooked without art, is extremely monotonous. The light
wines of the country are a valuable help in getting through these
indigestible meals, and the white wine is particularly good. The
peaches, grapes, and other fruits are of excellent quality, but they
are not always easy to obtain.

As regards travelling in Argentina, the traveller will find no
difficulty as long as he keeps to the railway lines, which give a
splendid service to almost every part of the country except Patagonia.
When the railway fails, he will of course have to make his own
arrangements for horses and mules and the like. An extremely useful
work is the fifth edition of the Mulhalls' "Handbook of the River
Plate." A new edition of this book is urgently needed,[158] for the
last appeared in 1885, and the extremely full statistical information
is quite out of date, and travelling in the country, which the
handbook well describes, is much easier than it was in those days. But
the writers draw up with great care a number of interesting routes,
and the traveller, using them as a foundation, can easily bring the
information up to date, and will find an interesting study in noting
the wonderful changes which have come over Argentina in exactly a
quarter of a century. In the bibliography an attempt has been made to
enumerate the important books on the whole subject, and that of
Captain Musters on Patagonia may be recommended. A great many
wanderers in the early part of the nineteenth century have left highly
interesting accounts of their adventurous travels. In those days
ferocious Indians, who massacred every small party of white men at
sight, revolutionary soldiers, and cruel bandits added greatly to the
dangers of such excursions, and a journey across the Pampas was looked
upon as almost equivalent to taking leave of the world. A young
gentleman in the first edition of his book remarks with gentle
melancholy that, being disappointed in his hopes of happiness by a
"beloved female," he had decided to travel in the Plate district. His
editorial friend appends a note that the gentleman had been last heard
of in a remote part of Chile many years ago, and was believed to have
perished. However, the traveller happily returned and published a
second edition or work in which he accounted for his long silence by a
series of hardships, among which a lengthy term of imprisonment was
only one item. Among these books that of Head is one of the most
entertaining, but Darwin's "Voyage of the _Beagle_," must be held to
be probably the best work ever published on Argentina, and he observed
the country at a most interesting period. Adventures would be hard to
find nowadays in the Pampas, but the greater part of Patagonia is as
wild and inaccessible as ever, and in many regions of the Gran Chaco
the explorer carries his life in his hands owing to the fierce
disposition of the Indians.

Indeed, about Argentina as usually visited by Europeans everything is
so simple in the matter of getting there and travelling north, south,
or west, that there is very little to say, and no more special
information is required than in a journey to the United States. But
the pioneer still has ample scope in Argentina without crossing the
frontier. The impenetrable forests of the north have formed a rich
field of exploration for Mr. W. S. Barclay, of the Royal Geographical
Society, and there and in the neighbouring wilds of Paraguay the
primitive ravage still wanders. "In 1893," says Mr. Barclay,[159] "a
party of 700 native-born Australians took up land in the forests of
northern Paraguay. In these new surroundings they deteriorated to such
an extent that in 1905 the remnants of the original settlers, with
their few descendants, attracted the serious attention of the South
American Mission, whose ordinary field of work lies among the Indian
aborigines of the Chaco. In the tropic forest a man's moral and mental
horizon appears to shrink in direct proportion to the range of
his physical vision. No aborigines yet discovered, not even the
canoe-dwellers round Cape Horn or the black-fellows of Australia,
have sunk to the brutish degradation of the Bootcudo club Indians, who
smash their trails through the bamboo-smothered forests at the back of
Parana and Sao Paulo states." In fact, from Colombia to Entre Rios
there lies a tract which will hardly be fully explored, certainly not
settled, by the end of the century. Again there are vast fields in the
Andes and Patagonia of which many explorers have taken advantage, but
considering their importance, due to their being the actual territory
or borderland of two great and flourishing Republics, the mountains
and plains of the south may be considered to have been neglected.

In the matter of information for travellers to South America, mention
must be made of the South American edition of the _Times_, published
December 28, 1909. This colossal number of 56 pages contains an
invaluable store of accurate articles by the best authorities on South
America, and Argentina has its full share. It is characteristic of our
history in Argentina that this fine piece of work is due to private
enterprise.

To celebrate the Centenary of the Revolution of the 25th of May, 1810,
there will be held this year a group of exhibitions in Buenos Aires.
They will be as follows: The International Exhibition of Railways and
Land Transport; the International Exhibition of Agricultural and
Pastoral Products; the International Exhibition of Hygiene; the
National Exhibition of Industry; the International Exhibition of Art.
There will also be held the International Congress of America, and the
International Congress of South American Railways.

The Railway Exhibition will have its site in the city itself. English
exhibitors have applied for a far larger space than any of their foreign
rivals. The Agricultural Exhibition will be held in the suburb of
Palermo, and is sure to present splendid stock. Of cattle (excluding
dairy cattle) there will be the following classes--Shorthorns (Durhams),
Polled Durhams, Herefords, Polled Angus, Red Polled, Red Lincoln, Devon.
The classes of sheep will be--Merinos, Lincolns, Leicesters, Romney
Marsh, Southdowns, Shropshires, Oxford and Suffolk, Hampshires.

The increased number of English people visiting Buenos Aires this year
will add to the interest which the average newspaper reader takes in
this country. Our stake in the country is already so large that, well
known as Argentina now is compared to most parts of South America, it
is surprising that the country does not fill a larger space in the
public mind. The English railways are being fast extended by English
capital. English farmers and ranchers are busily at work, and English
blood is improving the breeds of sheep and cattle. It is certain,
therefore, that our relation with Argentina will become yearly closer
and still more mutually advantageous, and the more we learn about the
country the better. We have to depend almost entirely upon private
enterprise, for, as has been shown in an earlier part of this book,
our Government does little in the way of collecting information and
putting it in an accessible and attractive form. There are many ways
in which the Foreign Office could help traders and others without
extravagant expense or incurring the suspicion of grand-motherly
legislation. However, these defects are balanced by the splendid
enterprise and liberal attitude of private companies which have for
years been instructing our countrymen in South American affairs. The
railway offices, whether in London or Buenos Aires, are ever ready to
give facilities to those who wish to study the industries of Argentina
and the same is the case with other commercial organisations. The
building up and consolidating of our position in Argentina is one of
the proudest exploits of English industry.

Argentina is a nation of which the historical continuity was very
roughly broken, and within the last half-century she had to begin her
life over again with less help from the past than is afforded to most
peoples by tradition and historical associations. Kept in subjection
by the Spaniards as one of the less important corners of their
dominions, and regarded with a certain measure of indifference and
even suspicion as being a discordant factor in the Colonial system and
its great industry of exporting gold and silver, Argentina owed her
spiritual and intellectual progress chiefly to the Jesuits and her
material progress chiefly to benevolent Governors and spirited
Creoles. The first rude shock was the expulsion of the Jesuits, and
this was followed by a much ruder breach of historical continuity in
the Revolution. Misfortune and incompetence long paralysed her, and in
fifty years she lost most of what was good in the old system and
gained little good from the new. Then the revival came. It was a
revival in material prosperity, and also in courage and self-reliance,
strenuously fostered by one or two great men. She has prospered beyond
the utmost expectations of the world, but hitherto has experienced the
usual fate of new countries in failing to grow in wealth of ideas in
proportion to her increase in material riches.

One good legacy she had from old days--the Spanish love of liberty.
This became perverted as years of anarchy and tyranny ran their
demoralising course, and now it is somewhat overgrown by abuses which
have been described in the earlier chapters.

But it is not extinct, and political theory is certainly better than
political practice, and the people themselves are keen and shrewd
critics of their system of government. As they gain more political
experience and better assimilate their immigrants, they will force
reform after reform upon the office-holders. In one respect they have
followed Spain too closely. Madrid usurped the rights of the local
governments in Spain, Buenos Aires has done the same. As far as
political power goes, the preponderance of the Argentine capital is
inevitable and probably beneficent, for the various Provinces are small,
weak, and thinly populated; they need a strong and intelligent head. But
it is unfortunate that the various provincial centres should be
neglected, and that Buenos Aires should be the Mecca of every Argentine.
The course of trade is tending somewhat towards decentralisation, and
Rosario and Bahia Blanca are growing perhaps as rapidly as Buenos Aires.
But it would be well if the many picturesque old Spanish towns in remote
districts became, instead of seats of somewhat unimportant governments,
real centres of light and leading. There is somewhat of a tendency to
regard them as mere places of business at which a man must work until he
has time or money to spend in the capital.

Another Spanish tradition which Argentina has received is that
of religion. This, it may be feared, has been dulled among the
intellectual classes, but the numerous, large, and well-kept churches,
well attended by reverent worshippers, show that the tradition is not
forgotten. In course of time, when the glamour of new wealth is less
powerful, the people of Argentina will turn in increasing numbers for
teaching from the few who are now keeping alive the intellectual and
spiritual life.

It is certain that Argentines are essentially teachable. They welcome
foreigners and travel to seats of civilisation to educate their
children and to learn new ideas. They are extremely sensitive to
foreign opinion, and newspapers constantly argue against this or that
course by urging that it would give other nations an unfavourable
impression of Argentina. In this they are aided by their Government.
It has been necessary to say some hard things about it, but this may
be said as a set-off--that the Government, on its bureaucratic side at
least, represents the considered intellect of the nation and is
intelligent and indefatigable in encouraging the best methods in
commerce and industry, in beautifying the cities and raising splendid
edifices to serve as homes for useful institutions. It has many
methods and many enterprises which England might imitate with
advantage. Working in a new country, while lacking in traditions to
guide it, the Government has, on the other hand, the less rubbish to
impede its progress and can make spacious plans.

England has had a long and close connection with Argentina, and each
is deeply interested in the other's prosperity. The country may become
as great a political force in the world as she is now an industrial,
and England, the peace-preserving nation, will then have a redoubled
interest, for Argentina has showed herself above all Latin-American
nations ever resolute to maintain peace and submit all reasonable
claims to arbitration, and while not abusing her superior strength,
she sets an example to other nations of firmness, dignity, and
good faith in foreign politics. Her increase, then, in power and
population, will be for the good of South America and for the good of
the world.

Although within the limits of a single volume it is impossible to make
an adequate presentation of a country so vast and varied as Argentina,
an attempt has been made to view this wonderful land and people as a
whole, and it is hoped that this sketch, though inadequate, may be
judged not untrustworthy.



BIBLIOGRAPHY


Much information is to be found in small publications too numerous to
be specified. Many are issued by the Oficina Meterologica Argentina at
Buenos Aires and by other Government Departments, and a large number
of pamphlets, newspapers, and periodicals, both current and extinct,
may be consulted with advantage. This list aims at giving a catalogue
of useful books dealing with the history of Argentina and the country
in general.


HISTORICAL.

Akers, C. E. A History of South America (1854-1904). London, 1904.

Angelis, Pedro de. Coleccion de Obras y Documentos. 3 vols. Buenos
Aires, 1900.

Anonymous--

    An account of the Spanish Settlements in South America. London,
    1904.

    The Argentine Republic, by a Friend of Free Government. London,
    1865.

    An Authentic Narrative of the ... Expedition ... of ... Gen.
    Craufurd. London, 1808.

    Les Dissensions des Républiques de La Plata. Paris, 1865.

    La Doctrina Drago. London, 1908.

    Emancipation of South America. _Edinburgh Review_, January, 1809.

    The History of Don Francisco Miranda's Attempt, &c. Boston, 1810.

    The Missiones Award. Washington, 1895.

    Report ... upon the Differences ... with regard to the Frontier
    between the Argentine and Chilian Republics. 2 vols. London,
    1900.

Arcos, S. La Plata. Étude Historique. Paris, 1865.

Blanchard and Ramsay. The Trial at Large of Lieut-Gen. Whitelocke.
London, 1808.

Blanco White, J. El Español. 8 vols. London, 1810-14.

Bonnycastle, R. H. Spanish America. London, 1818.

Brackenridge, H. M. Voyage to South America. 2 vols. Baltimore, 1819.

Brossard, Alfred de. Considérations sur les Républiques de la Plata.
Paris, 1850.


Calvo, C. Coleccion Completa de los Tratados de la América Latina. 16
vols. Paris, 1862-7.

Cole. J. W. Memoirs of British Generals. 2 vols. London, 1856.


Dawson, T. C. The South American Republics. 2 vols. London, 1893.

Deberle, Alfred. Histoire de l'Amérique du Sud. Paris, 1897.

Dominguez, Luis, L. Historia Argentina. Buenos Aires, 1870.


Echeverria, Estevan. Insurreccion del Sud. Buenos Aires, 1854.

Estrado, J. M. La Politica Liberal bajo la Tirannia de Rosas. Buenos
Aires, 1873.


Funes, G. Ensayo de la Historia Civil del Paraguay, Buenos Aires, y
Tucuman. 3 vols. Buenos Aires, 1816-17.


Hernandez, José. El Gaucho Martin Fierro. Buenos Aires, 1874.

Herrera, Antonio de. History of America, Vol. VI. Translated by
Captain John Stevens. London, 1726.

Herrera, Antonio de. M. Purchas, His Pilgrimage by Samuel Purchas,
B.D., Vol. XIV. Glasgow, 1906.


Kennedy, C. The Drago Doctrine. _North American Review_, New York,
July 31, 1907.

King, Colonel J. A. Twenty-four Years in the Argentine Republic.
London, 1846.

Kirkpatrick, F. A. The Spanish Dominions in America. The Establishment
of Independence in Spanish America. The Cambridge Modern History, Vol.
X., Chaps. VIII. and IX.

Lopez, V. F. Manual de la Historia Argentina. Buenos Aires, 1907.


Mitré, Bartolomé. Historia de Belgrano. 2 vols. Buenos Aires, 1859.

Mitré, Bartolomé. Historia de San Martin. 3 vols. Buenos Aires,
1887-8.

Moses, Benjamin. The Establishment of Spanish Rule in America. New
York, 1898.

Mulhall, M. G. The English in South America. Buenos Aires, 1878.


Parish, Sir Woodbine. Buenos Ayres and the Provinces of the Rio de la
Plata. London, 1852.

Payne, E. J. History of the New World called America. Oxford, 1892-4.

Pradt, Archbishop M. de. The Colonies and the Present American
Revolution. Translated from the French. London, 1817.


Robertson, W. The History of South America. 4 vols. 12th ed. London,
1812.

Rodney and Graham. The Reports ... of South America. London, 1819.

Root, J. W. Spain and its Colonies. London, 1898.


Sarmiento, D. F. Life in the Argentine Republic in the Days of the
Tyrants. Translated from the Spanish by Mrs. Horace Mann. New York,
1868.

Sarmiento, D. F. Vida de Facundo Quiroga. Santiago, 1851.

Southey, Robert. History of Brazil. 3 vols. London, 1810-19.


Torrente, D. M. Historia de la Revolucion Hispano-Americana. 3 vols.
Madrid, 1829-30.


Watson, R. G. Spanish and Portuguese South America. 2 vols. London,
1884.

Wilcocke, S. H. History of the Viceroyalty of Buenos Ayres. London,
1807.

Winsor, J. History of America. 8 vols. London, 1886-9.


Zinny, A. Biografia Historica. Buenos Aires. 1875.

Zinny, A. Historia de las Provincias Argentinas. 4 vols. Buenos Aires,
1879-82.


GENERAL.

Akers, C. E. Argentine, Patagonia, &c. London, 1893.

Akers, C. E. Article in _Enc. Brit._, Vol. XXV., 10th ed. London,
1902.

Alberdi, J. B. Confederacion Argentina. Valparaiso, 1854.

Alcock, F. Trade and Travel in South America. London, 1903.

Alsina, J. A. La Immigracion Europea en la Republica Argentina.
Buenos Aires, 1903.

Ameghino, Florentino. La Antiguëdad del Hombre en La Plata. 2
vols. Paris, 1880.

Andrews, Captain. A Journey from Buenos Ayres, &c. 2 vols. London,
1827.

Anonymous--

    The River Plate as a Field for Immigration. London.

Azara, Felix de. Essais sur l'Histoire Naturelle. 2 vols. Paris,
1801.


Barclay, W. S. To the Falls of Iguazu. Buenos Aires, 1903.

Barclay, W. S. The Land of Magellanes. _Geog. Journ._, January,
1904.

Barclay, W. S. The River Parana. _Geog. Journ._, January, 1909.

Bernandez, M. The Argentine Estancia. Buenos Aires, 1903.

Bonelli, L. Hugh de. Travels in Bolivia, with a Tour across the
Pampas to Buenos Aires. London, 1854.

Bougainville, Louis de. Voyage autour du Monde. Paris, 1771.

Bresson, André. Sept Années dans l'Amérique Australe.

Burmeister, H. Description Physique de la République Argentine.
Paris, 1876-8.


Campbell, W. D. Through Patagonia. London, 1901.

Caldcleugh, Alexander. Travels in South America. 2 vols. London,
1825.

Carpenter, F. G. South America. New York, 1900.

Child, Theodore. The South American Republics. New York, 1892.

Church, Colonel G. E. South America: An Outline of its Physical
Geography. _Geog. Journ._, April, 1901.

Church, Colonel G. E. Argentine Geography and the Ancient Pampean
Sea. _Geog. Journ._, October, 1898.

Conway, Sir Martin. Aconcagua and Tierra del Fuego. London, 1902.

Cunninghame-Graham, R. B. A Vanished Arcadia. London, 1901.

Daireaux, Émile. La Vie et les Moeurs à la Plata. 2 vols. Paris,
1889.

Darwin, Charles. Journal of Researches during the Voyage of H.M.S.
_Beagle_. London, 1843.

Davie, J. C. Letters from Paraguay, &c. London, 1805.

Davie, J. C. Letters from Buenos Ayres and Chile. 2 vols. London,
1819.

Dixie, Lady Florence (Julius Beerbohm). Across Patagonia. London,
1880.

Dixie, Lady Florence (Julius Beerbohm). Wanderings in Patagonia.
London, 1879.

D'Orbigny, Alcide. L'Homme Américaine. Paris, 1839.

D'Orbigny, Alcide. Voyage dans l'Amérique Méridionale. 4 vols.
Paris, 1835-39.

D'Ursel, Charles. Sud Amérique. Paris, 1879.


Evans, Patrick F. From Peru to the Plate Overland. London, 1899.


Falkner, Thomas. A Description of Patagonia. Hereford, 1774.

Farrell, H. W. The Argentine Year Book. London, 1909.

Ford, I. N. Tropical America. London, 1893.

Fitzroy, Admiral R. The Surveying Voyages of H.M.'s ships
_Adventure_ and _Beagle_. London, 1839.


Gallois, Eugéne. En Amérique du Sud. Paris, 1906.

Gibson, Herbert. Sheep Breeding Industry in the Argentine
Republic. Buenos Aires, 1893.

Gonnard, René. L'Immigration Européenne au XIX^e Siécle. Paris,
1906.

Gonzalez, Meliton. El Gran Chaco Argentino. Buenos Aires, 1890.

Granillo, A. Tucuman. Buenos Aires, 1872.

Guilaine, Louis. La République Argentine. Paris, 1889.


Haigh, S. Sketches of Buenos Aires and Chile. London, 1829.

Harrisse, Henry. John Cabot. London, 1896.

Hawkesworth, John. An Account of the Voyages. 2 vols. Dublin,
1775.

Head, Captain F. B. Reports relating to the Failure of the Rio
Plata Mining Association. London, 1827.

Head, Captain F. B. Royal Notes taken during some Rapid Journeys
across the Pampas. London, 1826.

Helps, Sir Arthur. The Spanish Conquests in America. London, 1900.

Holdich, Sir T. H. The Countries of the King's Award. London,
1904.

Holdich, Sir T. H. The Patagonian Andes. _Geog. Journ._, February,
1904.

Hudson, W. H. The Naturalist in La Plata. London, 1903.


Jordan, W. Leighton. Article in _Enc. Brit._, Vol. II., 9th ed.
London, 1875.


Keane, A. H., and Markham, C. R. Central and South America.
London, 2nd ed., 1909.

Keltie, J. Scott. The Statesman's Year Book. London, 1909.

Killik, S. H. M. Manual of Argentine Railways. London, 1910.

Koebel, W. H. Modern Argentina. London, 1907.


Latzina, F. L'Agriculture et L'Élevage dans la République
Argentine. Buenos Aires, 1891.

Latzina, F. Diccionario Geografico Argentino. Buenos Aires, 1890.

Latzina, F. Géographie de la République Argentine. Paris, 1889.

Leach, Walter. Exploration of the Bermejo River. _Geog. Journ._,
June, 1890.

Le Bon, Gustave. Les Lois Psychologiques de l'Évolutions des
Peuples. Paris, 1894.


MacCann, William. Two Thousand Miles' Ride through the Argentine
Provinces. London, 1853.

Mangel du Mesnil, E. Notoriedades del Plata. Buenos Aires, 1862.

Mansfield, C. B. Paraguay, Brazil, and the Plate. Cambridge, 1856.


Markwich, W. F., and Smith, W. A. The South American Republics.
New York, 1901.

Martin, Percy F. Through Five Republics. London, 1905.

Martinez, A. B., and Lewandowski, M. L'Argentine au XX^e Siécle.
3rd. ed. Paris, 1909.

Moncousin, M. P. Notes sur les Tehuelches. Paris, 1900.

Moreno, F. P. Neuquen, Rio Negro, Chubut, y Santa Cruz. La Plata,
1897.

Moreno, F. P. Explorations in Patagonia. _Geog. Journ._, September
and October, 1899.

Moreno, F. P. Patagonia. Article in _Enc. Brit._, 10th ed. London,
1902.

Mulhall, M. G. and E. T. Handbook of the River Plate. Buenos
Aires, 1885.

Mulhall, Mrs. M. G. Between the Amazon and Andes. London, 1881.

Musters, G. C. At Home with the Patagonians. London, 1873.


Napp, Richard. The Argentine Republic. Buenos Aires, 1876.

Nordenskjöld, Otto. A Journey in South Western Patagonia. _Geog.
Journ._, October, 1897.


O'Driscoll, Florence. A Journey to the North of the Argentine
Republic. _Geog. Journ._, October, 1904.


Pearce-Edgcumbe, Sir E. R. Zephyrus. London, 1887.

Pelleschi, Juan. Los Indios Matacos. Buenos Aires, 1897.

Pillado, Ricardo. Politica Comercial Argentina. Buenos Aires,
1906.

Prichard, H. H. Through the Heart of Patagonia. London, 1902.


Quesada, Ernesto. La Iglesia Católica y la Cuestion Social. Buenos
Aires, 1895.


Rumbold, Sir H. The Great Silver River. London, 1888.


Scarlett, Hon. P. Campbell. South America and the Pacific. 2 vols.
London, 1838.

Sclater, P. L., and Hudson, W. H. Argentine Ornithology. 2 vols.
London, 1888-9.

Seeber, Francisco. Great Argentina, &c. Buenos Aires, 1903.


Turner, T. A. Argentina and the Argentines. London, 1892.

Ulloa, Antonio de and G. Juan. A Voyage to South America,
translated by John Adams. 2 vols. London, 1807.


Vaulx, M. Henry de. A Travers la Patagonia. Paris, 1898.


Wallace, Professor Robert. Argentine Shows and Live Stock.
Edinburgh, 1904.

Walter, Richard. A Voyage round the World. Dublin, 1748.

Webster, H. A. Patagonia. Article in _Enc. Brit._ London, 1885.

Wiener, Charles. La République Argentine. Paris, 1899.


Zeballos, E. S. Descripcion Amena de la Républica Argentina. 3
vols. Buenos Aires, 1881-8.

FOOTNOTES:

[158] The _Argentine Year Book_ supplies useful up-to-date information
in small compass.

[159] The _Geographical Journal_, January, 1909.



INDEX

[For plants and animals, _see_ Flora and Fauna; and for names of firms
and railways, _see_ English Engineers, and Railways.]


  Aconcagua, 260

  Adams, 77

  Aguirre, 94

  Akers, 109

  Albarracin, 256

  Alberoni, 39

  Alcorta, 109, 110, 113

  Alem, 103

  Alfafa, _see_ Lucerne

  Alfaro, 55

  Almargo, 28

  Alvear, 81

  Alzaga, 88

  Amusements, 183, 184

  Anchorena, 90

  Andes, 3, 4, 28, 106-108, 258, 260-264

  Andrewes, Capt., 160, 278, 280

  Anson, 43, 242

  Apipe, 265

  Apostoles, 266

  Arbitration, 109, 110, 121, 122

  Arcos, 78

  Army, 116-119

  _Asiento de Negros_, 38, 39, 40

  Asuncion, 26, 27, 28, 97, 188

  Atahualpa, 159

  Auchmuty, 69-71

  Avellanada, 100

  Azara, 276

  Azolas, 26


  Bahia Blanca, 1, 9, 13, 121, 151, 216, 238-240, 292

  Baird, 66, 74

  Balcarce, 90

  Banks, 180, 286

  Barclay, 266, 268, 270, 288

  Battle of Acari, 28
    Angostura, 97
    Campo Grande, 97
    Casseros, 92
    Chacabuco, 82
    Curupaiti, 97
    India Muerta, 92
    Ituzaingo, 88
    Maipu, 82
    Riachuelo, 96
    Tucuman, 80

  Belgium, 181, 212

  Belgrano (port), 121, 239
    (soldier), 79-81, 83
    (suburb), 147, 149, 150

  Bell, 164

  Beresford, 66-68

  Bernandez, 202

  Bohorquez, 34, 35

  Bolivar, 84

  Bolivia, 2, 10, 90, 121, 163, 269, 277, 279, 282

  Bonelli, 281

  Bovril, 204, 205

  Bradford, 201

  Bravard, 8, 256

  Brazil, 10, 37, 48, 87, 95-98, 105, 116, 163, 187, 269, 274

  Brewing, 194

  Brossard, 90, 93

  Brown, 83

  Buchanan, 109

  Budget, 104

  Buenos Aires, 139-151, and _passim_

  Burke, 40

  Byron, 242, 247


  Cabot, 24, 25

  Calchaquies, 34, 35

  Calvo, 168, 169

  Camerones Bay, 251

  Campbell, 3, 248

  Canning, 85

  Capital, British, 180

  Carlyle, 40, 53, 125

  Carmen, 244, 249

  Casas, La, 159

  Catamarca, 15, 33, 113, 146, 257

  Cathedral, 67, 146, 257, 259

  Cattle, 140, 156, 196-209

  Cavendish, 241

  Caxias, 97

  _Cédulas_, 60

  Celman, 101, 105, 129, 142, 215

  Cerrito, 276

  Chaco, El, 114, 138, 187

  Charles III., 61

  Charles IV., 76

  Charles V., 25

  Chatham, Lord, 53

  Child, 132

  Children, Argentine, 153

  Chile, 2, 63, 68, 82, 106, 107-110, 116, 118, 163, 165, 230, 246,
          255, 263, 264

  Chinipies, 276

  Chubut, 114, 136, 161, 204, 249

  Church, _see_ Religion

  Church, Col., 240

  Cigars, 148, 222

  Cisneros, 77-79

  Clarke, 248

  Clapham, Prof., 200

  Clement XIV., 47

  Cleveland, 105

  Climate, 13-15

  Clubs, 146, 149, 208, 258, 269

  Coal, 214, 237

  Cole, 69

  Colombia, 174

  Colonial System, Spanish, 49-64

  Commerce, 210-214, and _passim_

  Conchas, 81

  Concordia, 274

  Congress, 108, 112, 123, 146

  Consuls, 179, 268

  Cordillera, 6, 7, 12, 106, 107

  Cordoba, 4, 13, 14, 28, 33, 66, 79, 89, 103, 161, 185, 230, 232,
          259, 277-280, 283

  Corrientes, 10, 11, 29, 30, 95, 96, 113, 207, 265

  Costa, 103, 104

  Cotton, 281

  Cotton-spinning, 195

  Crawford, 68, 70-72

  Credit, 101

  Crossbreeds, 201

  Cunningham, 247, 248

  Currency, 196

  Cuzo, 265


  Daireaux, 163, 171

  Darwin, 5-9, 12, 13, 15, 19, 89, 141, 156, 235, 241, 245, 246,
          247, 250, 252, 262

  Davis, 241

  Dawson, 99

  Deputies, House of, 112, 113

  Desire, Port, 241

  Diamond Jubilee, 150

  Distilleries, 194

  D'Orbigny, 8, 9, 12, 20-22, 247

  Dorrego, 87-89

  Drago, 169, 170

  Drake, 38, 241, 247

  Duff, 72

  Durhams, 205, 208, 290

  Durqui, 94


  Education, 161-163

  Edward VII., 110, 150, 208, 264

  Ehrenberg, 5

  Elio, 80

  England, 65-75, and _passim_

  English Engineers, 270, 271
    Trade, 211, 212, and _passim_

  Ensenado, 70

  Entre Rios, 11, 30, 47, 92, 99, 113, 187, 215, 230

  Estancias, 196-209, and _passim_

  Ethnology, 20-23

  Exports, 213, 214


  Falkner, 243, 244, 247

  Falkland Islands, 202

  Famatina, 234, 235

  Famine, Port, 241

  Fauna, 251-253, 276

  Federalists, 87, 93, 100

  Ferdinand, 50, 76, 79

  Finns, 266

  Flora, 276

  Flores, 95

  Flotsam, 150

  Flour, 195

  Formosa, 95, 114, 194

  France, 63, 78, 212, and _passim_

  Francia, 92

  Free Trade, 218, 219, 224

  French Railways, 191

  Funes, 34, 167, 278


  Gallegos, Port, 241, 243

  Gamboa, 241

  Garay, 28-31, 272

  Gardiner, 252

  Gaucho, 117, 155-157, 198

  Germany, 179, 180, 211, 212

  Giants, 243

  Giebert, 206

  Goats, 197

  _Gobernaciones_, 113, 114

  Godoy, 267

  Gold, 56, 289

  Gonnard, 131, 135

  Gonzalez, 277

  Gran Chaco, 2, 4, 11, 195, 270, 275-277

  Gregory XV., 279

  Guaranies, 20, 21, 28

  Guarpes, 258

  Guatemala, 174

  Guilaine, 132


  Hague Congress, 169, 170

  Hawkesworth, 243

  Hay, 169

  Head, 141, 235, 236, 256, 272, 288

  Herefords, 207, 208, 290

  Hernan Darias, 31

  Hernandez, José, 157

  Hides, 46, 56, 206

  Hogs, 197

  Holditch, Sir T., 109, 110, 117, 118

  Holland, Lord, 69

  Horn, Cape, 2, 38, 252

  Horses, 117, 150, 197, 249

  Hotels, 144, 286

  Howorth, Sir H. H., 8, 19

  Hudson, 249

  Humaita, 96, 97


  Ibicuy, 187

  Iguazu Falls, 273, 274

  Immigration, 131-138, 266

  Imports, 211, 212

  Incas, 22, 60

  Industries, 178, and _passim_

  Indians, 2, 100, 159, 253, 275

  Irala, 28

  Italy, 133-135


  Jenkins' Ear, War of, 40-44

  Jesuits, 22, 29, 33, 35, 44-47, 61, 91, 160, 266, 279, 289

  Jordan, 99

  Journalism, 163-166

  Jubileo, 207

  Justice, 105, 114

  Jujuy, 114, 163, 279


  Kirkpatrick, 62


  La Luis, 207

  La Madrid, 189

  La Plata, 143, 162

  La Quevas, 185

  La Rioja, 14, 113

  La Sabana, 227

  Lakes, 251, 252

  Larreta, 173, 174

  Lavalle, 88, 89

  Laughton, 41

  Lebon, 132

  Lemco, 205

  Lerma, 281

  Leveson-Gower, 71

  Lewandowski, 198

  Lewis, 69

  Licences, 130

  Liebig, 206

  Lincolns, 201

  Liniers, 67, 72, 73, 79

  Linseed, 228

  Literature, 166-177

  Locusts, 288

  Londonderry, Lord, 82

  Lopez, 88, 90, 91, 95-98
    Dr., 104

  Los Andes, 114

  Lozano, 223, 274, 280

  Lucerne, 228, 229

  Luiggi, 239

  Luscan, 259

  Lumley, 70

  Lynch, 97


  MacCann, 215

  Macovies, 276

  Magellan, 26, 37, 106, 107
    Explorer, 241

  Mahon, 70

  Maize, 214, 227, 228

  Mammoth, 19

  Mansfield, 141

  Marmol, 172, 175

  Martinez, 198

  Manufacturers, 53

  Marriage, 153

  Matacos, 276

  Maza, 91

  Meat, 204-207

  Mendoza, 4, 13, 15, 129, 130, 154, 161, 254-261

  Mercado, 34

  Mérou, M. G., 170, 171, 176, 219

  Miranda, 77

  Misiones, 14, 67, 96, 105, 114, 194

  Mitre, A, 176
    General, 94, 95, 97, 103, 167

  Moore, 38

  Moreno, 79

  Mules, 197

  Mulhalls, The, 164, 198, 256, 287

  Munroe Doctrine, 83, 169

  Musters, 247

  Mutton, 201


  "Nacion, La," and other journals, _see_ Journalism

  Napp, 201

  Navy, 119-121

  Nequen, 114

  Nordenskjöld, 249, 251

  Nova Colonia, 37, 38, 44, 67


  Oats, 229

  Ocantos, 172

  Officers, Army, 117


  Pacific Steam Navigation Company, 143, 284, 285

  Palermo, 142, 147, 149

  Pampa, 114

  Pampas, 2, 4, 5, 11, 15, 90, 155, 199, 204, 205, 275

  Pampean mud, 7-9
   Sea, 240

  Paper, 195

  Paraguay, 10, 28, 31, 38, 45, 80, 92, 94-98, 139, 140, 161, 163, 187
    River, _see_ Rivers

  Parana, river, _see_ Rivers
    town, 162

  Parish, 39, 83

  Patagonia, 2, 3, 5, 8, 10, 12, 13, 15, 31, 107, 108, 136, 199, 240,
          242, 244-253

  Patagonians, size of, 2, 3, 100, 247, 248

  Paulistas, 21, 35, 36, 61

  Pavon, 94

  Payaguas, 276

  Payne, 18

  Paz, General, 89, 90
    José C., 164

  Pellegrini, 101, 105, 133

  Peña, 103, 104

  Peribebuy, 97

  Peru, 31, 38, 43, 63, 119, 140, 163, 174, 200, 255, 275, 278

  Petroleum, 236, 237

  Pettenkofer, 206

  Philip II., 143

  Pigafetta, 247

  Pillado, 220, 223

  Pitt, 77

  Poles, 266

  Politics, 122-124

  Polled Angus, 205, 290

  Polo, 149

  Pombal, 44

  Popham, 66, 68, 74

  Population, 99, 113, 114

  Port Madryn, 250

  Port St. Julian, 5, 6

  Ports and Docks, 180, 183, 216, 239

  Porteños, 94, 100, 101, 103

  Portuguese, 18, 61

  Posadas, 81, 187, 266, 274

  President, 112
    Vice, 113

  Provinces, 113, 114

  Puente del Inca, 261-263

  Puirredon, 67, 81, 82

  Puna de Atacama, 108, 109

  Punta Arenas, 249

  Purchas, 25


  Quesada, Ernesto, 166, 167, 171, 280
    V. G., 166

  Quilmes, 66

  Quiroga, 88-91


  Racing, 149, 150

  Rafaela, 189

  Railways, 178-194

  Rain, 5, 14

  Rams, 201

  Religion, 158-161

  _Reseñas y Criticas_, and other works, _see_ Literature

  Resistencia, 277

  Rio Negro, _see_ Rivers
    _Gobernacion_, 114, 249, 250

  Rivadavia, 82, 88, 90, 110

  Rivers, Chico, 12
    Chubut, 3, 12
    Colorado, 2, 4, 6, 11
    Coyly, 3
    Desaguerdo, 259
    Deseado, 243, 251
    Gallegos, 3, 12, 251
    Ivahi, 265
    Iguazu, 265
    Limaz, 12
    Mendoza, 11
    Nequen, 12
    Negro, 4, 9, 90, 100, 244, 249, 250
    Paraguay, 25, 28, 29
    Parana, 10, 12, 28, 45, 93, 96, 143, 184, 265-272
    Paranahybo, 265
    Paranapanema, 265
    Pardo, 265
    Pepiri, 105
    Pilcomayo, 11
    Salado, 11, 265
    San Antonio, 105
    Santa Cruz, 3, 6, 12, 244, 252
    Saranai, 11
    Sauces, 244
    Tiete, 245
    Tunuyan, 259
    Uruguay, _passim_
    Vermejo, 11

  Robles, 96

  Roca, 100-103, 105, 110, 112, 250

  Rojas, 188, 189

  Romney Marsh, 201

  Rondeau, 82

  Rosario, 10, 13, 94, 103, 129, 130, 151, 185, 190, 238, 290

  Rosas, 89-93, 100, 112, 122, 132, 142, 175, 255, 279, 281

  Rum, 194

  Russia, 200, 216, 266


  Saavedra, 79, 80

  Salta, 14, 91, 114, 189, 232, 277, 281, 282

  San Javier, 205
    Juan, 13, 14, 113, 185, 230, 255
    Luis, 13, 114, 235
    Martin, 81, 82, 83, 118
    Rafael, 135, 185, 260

  Santa Cruz, 114, 204, 249, 251, 252
    Elena, 205
    Fé 13, 80, 92, 103, 113, 162, 189, 230, 268, 272

  Santiago del Ertero, 114, 163, 277

  Schouten, 38

  Seeber, 117

  Seeley, 52

  Senate, 112

  Seneca, 17

  Sheep, 196-209

  Shoes, 195

  Smith, Adam, 54, 56

  Smollett, 43

  Solis, de, 34

  South American Missionary Society, 250

  Southey, 29, 36

  Spain, _passim_

  Stallions, 150, 199

  _Statesmen's Yearbook_, 211, 217

  Steamship Lines, 284, 285

  Sterling, 65

  Stuart, 83

  Sugar, 4, 194, 223, 229


  Tallow, 205

  Tanning, 195

  Tariff, 218-224

  Tehuelches, 244, 247

  Thucydides, 23

  Tierra del Fuego, 106, 114, 202

  Timber, 214, 231-233

  Tobas, 276

  Tobacco, 56, 229

  Tosca, 7

  Tramways, 180, 188

  Tucuman, 1, 11, 14, 31, 35, 38, 55, 80, 83, 90, 91, 189, 194, 195,
          200, 223, 232


  United States, 109, 110, 116, 211, 212, 215, 216, 219

  Universities, 33, 162, 279, 280

  Urquiza, 91, 92-94, 95, 96

  Uruguay, 36, 37, 47, 81, 84, 88, 94, 95, 142, 187, 199, 206
    river, _see_ Rivers

  Ushwiya, 13


  Vaca, Cabeza de, 27

  Valparaiso, 185, 254

  Valverde, 159

  Van Noort, 247

  Venezuela, 169

  Vernon, 42

  Viamont, 89

  Viedmas, 244, 245, 247, 249

  Vilelas, 276

  Villa Corta, 38
    Mercedes, 196

  Villaruel, 280


  Wages, 126-129

  Waleffe, 174

  Wallis, 247

  Walpole, 40

  Wentworth, 42

  Wheat, 225-227, and _passim_

  Whitelocke, 68, 70

  Whittingham, 73

  Windham, 83

  Windsor, 159

  Wine, 56

  Witchcraft, 248, 249

  Women, Argentine, 132, 153, 259

  Wool, 214


  _Yerba Maté_, 233, 234


  Zarate, 188, 200


UNWIN BROTHERS, LIMITED, THE GRESHAM PRESS, WOKING AND LONDON.



THE SOUTH AMERICAN SERIES

EDITED BY MARTIN HUME, M.A.

    THE SOUTH AMERICAN SERIES

    _Demy 8vo, cloth._

    1. CHILE. By G. F. SCOTT ELLIOTT, F.R.G.S. With
    an Introduction by Martin Hume, a Map, and 39 Illustrations.
    (3rd Impression.)

    2. PERU. By C. REGINALD ENOCK, F.R.G.S. With
    an Introduction by Martin Hume, a Map, and 72 Illustrations.
    (2nd Impression.)

    3. MEXICO. By C. REGINALD ENOCK, F.R.G.S. With
    an Introduction by Martin Hume, a Map, and 64 Illustrations.
    (2nd Impression.)

    4. ARGENTINA. By W. A. HIRST. With an Introduction
    by Martin Hume, a Map, and 64 Illustrations. (3rd Impression.)

    5. BRAZIL. By PIERRE DENIS. With a Historical
    Chapter by Bernard Miall, a Map, and 36 Illustrations.

    6. URUGUAY. By W. H. KOEBEL. With a Map and
    55 Illustrations.

    7. GUIANA: British, French, and Dutch. By
    JAMES RODWAY. With a Map and 36 Illustrations.

    8. VENEZUELA. By LEONARD V. DALTON, B.Sc.
    (Lond.), F.G.S., F.R.G.S. With a Map and 36 Illustrations.

    9. LATIN AMERICA: Its Rise and Progress. By
    F. GARCIA CALDERON. With a Preface by Raymond Poincare,
    President of France, a Map, and 34 Illustrations.

    10. COLOMBIA. By PHANOR JAMES EDER, A.B.,
    LL.B. With 2 Maps and 40 Illustrations. (2nd Impression.)

    11. ECUADOR. By C. REGINALD ENOCK, F.R.G.S.

    "The output of the books upon Latin America has in recent years
    been very large, a proof doubtless of the increasing interest that
    is felt in the subject. Of these the South American Series edited
    by Mr. Martin Hume is the most noteworthy."--TIMES.

    "Mr. Unwin is doing good service to commercial men and investors
    by the production of his 'South American Series.'"--SATURDAY
    REVIEW.

    "Those who wish to gain some idea of the march of progress in
    these countries cannot do better than study the admirable 'South
    American Series.'"--CHAMBER OF COMMERCE JOURNAL.


       *       *       *       *       *


Transcriber's Notes

A page of advertisements for other books in the series has been moved
from the beginning to the end of the book. Illustration captions have
been moved next to the text which they illustrate, and so may not match
the order in the List of Illustrations. A duplicate heading "ARGENTINA"
on the half title page has been removed.

Superscript is represented by a carat symbol (^) preceding the
superscripted characters.

The following were not clearly printed, and have been corrected by
reference to a 1910 printing:

p. 96 "Ertigarribia"

p. 96 "Lopez"

p. 97 "war. The allied"; "and Brazilian"; "beyond Curupaiti."

p. 123 note "Siècle"

p. 269 "the workshop"

p. 292 "received is that"

p. 303 "Curupaiti, 97"


The following were inconsistently hyphenated, capitalised or spelled:

cheekbones and cheek-bones

seafaring and sea-faring

snowdrifts and snow-drifts

Viceroyalty and Vice-royalty

yerba maté and Yerba Maté

gaucho and Gaucho

Cordoba and Cordova

alfalfa and alfafa

Mitré and Mitre

Asunçion and Asuncion

Paraná and Parana

Républica and Republica

São Paulo and Sao Paulo


Obvious errors in spelling and punctuation have been corrected as
follows:

p. XX "smalls barks" changed to "small barks"

p. 19 quotation mark added (sepulchre for these extinct animals.")

p. 57 full stop added (long period of disorder and bloodshed.)

p. 63 "hidalguiá" changed to "hidalguía"

p. 64 it changed to its (was successful as far as its)

p. 69 hyphen added (Leveson-Gower was in favour)

p. 78 "favourable" changed to "unfavourable"

p. 78 "influenc ewas" changed to "influence was"

p. 78 (note) quotation mark added (Peru or Spain")

p. 78 (note) quotation mark changed to comma (Arcos, "La Plata)

p. 91 "prescription" changed to "proscription"

p. 108 (note) "_I.e,_" changed to "_I.e._,"

p. 123 "megolomania" changed to "megalomania"

p. 132 quotation mark removed (M. Gustave Le Bon,[2])

p. 133 (note) quotation mark added (au XX^{e} Siècle,")

p. 137 "heathly" changed to "healthy"

p. 143 "Montevides" changed to "Montevideo"

p. 173 "Isles of March" changed to "Ides of March"

p. 182 (note) full stops added (Argentine Great Western.; Blanca and
North-Western.)

p. 193 (note) "Emile" changed to "Émile"

Illustration after p. 196 "SANTIA" changed to "SANTA"

p. 207 "north of Argentina" changed to "north of Buenos Aires"

p. 209 quotation mark added ("One way a band)

p. 212 "sent to Argentine" changed to "sent to Argentina"

p. 216 "Steamship" changed to "Steamships"

p. 247 (note) full stop added (six feet by a few inches.)

p. 249 opening bracket added ((Hudson, "Idle Days)

Illustration after p. 250 full stop added (six feet by a few inches.)

p. 256 "If" changed to "It" (It seemed an interminable)

p. 272 Quotation mark added (and its longitude 47°.")

p. 277 (note) "El Gran Chaco Argentins" changed to "El Gran Chaco
Argentino"

p. 282 "1852" changed to "1582"

p. 289 "Panana" changed to "Parana" (Parana and Sao Paulo states.")

p. 296 "Considerations" changed to "Considérations"

p. 298 full stop changed to comma (2 vols. Paris, 1880.)

p. 299 "El Gran Chaco, Argentine." changed to "El Gran Chaco Argentino."

p. 301 full stop changed to comma (Matacos. Buenos Aires, 1897.)

p. 301 full stop added to text (Heart of Patagonia. London, 1902.)

p. 304 comma added to text after 34 (Calchaquies, 34, 35)

p. 304 "Cedulas" changed to "Cédulas"

p. 304 comma added to text after 208 (Clubs, 146, 149, 208, 258, 269)

p. 304 comma added to text after 150 (Edward VII., 110, 150, 208, 264)

p. 305 "Hernandez, Jose" changed to "Hernandez, José"

p. 306 "Merou, M. G.," changed to "Mérou, M. G.,"

p. 307 "Pena" changed to "Peña"

A possible spelling error on p. 156 ("carne cum cuero") has been left
unchanged.





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