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Title: The Amazing Argentine - A New Land of Enterprise
Author: Fraser, John Foster
Language: English
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                JOHN FOSTER FRASER




                   THE AMAZING


                JOHN FOSTER FRASER

                 FROM PHOTOGRAPHS

                     NEW YORK


  CHAPTER                                      PAGE

   1. THE INVADERS                                1

   2. SOME ASPECTS OF BUENOS AIRES               21

   3. ROUND AND ABOUT THE CAPITAL                31


   5. SETTLEMENT ON THE LAND                     52




   9. "CABBAGES AND KINGS"                      101

  10. LIVE STOCK IN THE REPUBLIC                116

  11. THE STORY OF THE RAILWAYS                 134

  12. ROSARIO                                   154

  13. CORDOBA AND ITS ATTRACTIONS               158


  15. THE FUTURE OF AGRICULTURE                 186

  16. MENDOZA                                   199

  17. A TRIP INTO THE ANDES                     212

  18. THE CAMP                                  223

  19. A MIXED GRILL                             235



  22. THE NORTH-EAST COUNTRY                    265

  23. PROSPECTS AND PROBLEMS                    270

      INDEX                                     281


  The Mayo Avenue, Buenos Aires                     _Frontispiece_

                                                       FACING PAGE

  Plaza Del Congreso, Buenos Aires                             20

  The Plaza Hotel, Buenos Aires                                22

  The Tigre, Buenos Aires Rowing Club                          26

  Lola Mora Fountain, Buenos Aires                             32

  La Recoleta                                                  36

  The Government Building, La Plata                            38

  The Southern Station at La Plata                             40

  In the Great Square at La Plata                              40

  Statue presented to Argentina by the French Community on
    the occasion of the Centenary of Independence              42

  Central Argentine Railway Company's Grain Elevators at
    Buenos Aires                                               46

  Latest Type of Passenger Locomotive                          50

  Latest Type of Dining Car                                    50

  View of Grazing Lands                                        54

  A Drinking Place on an _Estancia_                            54

  Branding Calves on an _Estancia_                             60

  A Group of Gauchos                                           64

  The Chamber of Deputies                                      74

  The Kindergarten at Mendoza                                  78

  Ox-Carts in the Argentine                                    90

  A Typical Argentine Public Park                             100

  A Regatta near Buenos Aires                                 110

  A Fine Argentine Bridge                                     114

  Breaking-in Horses in the Argentine                         120

  Interior of Dining Car, Central Argentine Railway           134

  The Statue of Christ on the Argentina-Chili Frontier        148

  Plaza Constitution Station at Buenos Aires                  150

  The Rosario Express, Central Argentine Railway              156

  On the Way to Market in Cordoba                             162

  The Ninth Green at Alta Gracia                              166

  In the Courtyard of the Monastery at Alta Gracia            166

  The Hotel at Alta Gracia                                    170

  A Typical House in Cordoba Province                         174

  A Street in Bahia Blanca                                    176

  The Elevators at Ingeniero White                            180

  Plaza Riverdavia, Bahia Blanca                              182

  A Bahia Blanca Bank                                         184

  The Town Hall at Bahia Blanca                               184

  Conveying Alfalfa to a Railway Station                      194

  The Entrance to the Park at Mendoza                         200

  The Promenade in Mendoza Park                               202

  The Grape Harvest in the Suburbs of Mendoza                 204

  In a Mendoza Bodega                                         208

  "Chico" in Charge                                           212

  A Corner of the English Club at Mendoza                     212

  The Hotel at Inca                                           218

  The Inca Bridge in the Andes                                220

  General View of an _Estancia_                               224

  A Gaucho and his Family                                     226

  La Rambla, Mar Del Plata                                    234

  The Esplanade, Mar Del Plata                                238

  A Historic Building: "Casa Independencia," at Tucuman       250

  The Statue of San Martin at Tucuman                         256

  The Longest Girder Bridge in the Republic, near Santa Fé    266




It was on a boat which was laden with bananas and running from Colon, on
the Isthmus of Panama, to New York.

The steward called me at dawn. He thought I was mad because I stood in
pyjamas without apparent heed of the mirky drizzle. Beyond the sad
waters there was little to see but a low-lying and dreary island with a
melancholy lighthouse. No vegetation brightened the scene. There was no
gorgeous sunrise. There was nothing but a lump of barrenness heaving out
of the sea. But this was the island of San Salvador, the western land
which Columbus first touched when he sailed to find the Indies.

There are now near one hundred and fifty millions of people of European
descent in the Americas. And a little glow came into my imagination that
rain-swept morning when I felt I was the only traveller on the boat who
had crawled forth to gaze at San Salvador. I tried to picture what
thoughts must have crowded the mind of Columbus when he sighted this
shore. He never knew what he had discovered for Spain. He could never
have dreamt he was the first in the greatest invasion the world has ever

A year later I was on an Atlantic liner. The fo'c'sle was thronged with
poor Spaniards from Vigo and poor Portuguese from Lisbon. In the voyage
across the Atlantic I had watched them in the steerage--tawny-visaged,
easygoing men, and broad-set, figureless women, sprawling, gossiping,
drowsing. To the accompaniment of an accordion they lifted their voices
in song on the balmy, starlit evenings whilst the ship churned through
the tropical seas.

Another misty morning and I climbed on deck. Saloon passengers were
tucked in their bunks. But all the steerage had turned out and were
crowding the foredecks, and were gazing at a dim strip of land and
watching a blinking light. The land was the coast of Brazil, and the
light was the harbour of Pernambuco, which means "the Door of Hell."

The immigrants raised a long-drawn shout of joy. They hailed Latin
America. There was the country of which they had heard so much. They had
broken with the Old World. Four hundred years ago their ancestors came
across these seas with eyes greedy for gold. Now they came, not to
snatch gold from temples or to terrorise the natives into showing where
the metal could be found, but to work on sugar plantations, to nurture
the coffee plant, to rear bananas, to do the humble work in the building
of towns and the construction of railways, to toil in the jungles, to
sit in the saddle and round up cattle on the prairies. They had come to
the New World to get gold by industry.

How much we talk and write about the enterprise and colonising power of
the Teutonic races, and how prone we are to dismiss the Latin races as
effete and played out! But our generalisations will not bear
examination. The spirit of adventure cannot have left Italy and Spain
and Portugal. Every year hundreds of thousands of people sail from those
countries across the Atlantic.

We speak of North America as Teutonic--made prosperous by the stock of
northern Europe--and South America as Spanish. Latin America, however,
does not all lie south of the Panama Canal. We must begin to reckon it
from the territory line which separates the United States from Mexico.
Southwards from the banks of the Rio Grande the Latin tongue is spoken,
chiefly Spanish, but with much Portuguese in Brazil, and Italian in
places right down, through the Torrid Zone, the heavy tropics, reeking
with luxuriant vegetation, to the bleak and rocky, inhospitable Tierra
del Fuego.

There are millions of Latins. They have set up half a score of
Republican governments. The wealthy world slowly and then impetuously
realised the possibilities of this strangely diversified region. Untold
gold has been poured forth to develop it and get quick return.

It is not stories of treasure which bring a glint into the eye of
modern men. It is enterprise and development which appeal. There are
cattle to be reared on the ranches of Mexico; there is rubber in Peru;
there are nitrates and fabulous mineral wealth in Chili and the
neighbouring lands; there are cotton and sugar and coffee in the mighty
sweep of Brazil; there are the illimitable wheat areas of Argentina, and
cattle rearing and the giant possibilities in supplying Europe with
frozen meat; there is the opening up of immense areas by networks of

"The stuff is there; it has only to be got," says the man who knows and
talks with the fire of enthusiasm.

South America is not the land of the future. It is the land of to-day.
Nowhere in the world is the speculator, the investor, more busy than in
Latin America. The tales told by the first Spaniards are baby talk to
the stories told to-day by those who have been and seen and are
fascinated. Of course it is overdone. Of course there is exaggeration.
Of course some of the jewels in El Dorado are useless stones. Of course
some of the caves of Aladdin are found empty. But what the modern world
ranks as precious is in abundance.

I like to conjure a contrast between the little barques of a few hundred
tonnage bobbing on unknown seas with the big fifteen-thousand tonners
which make their ports of call according to time-table. The early
invaders went into the unknown, crept along unmapped coasts, battled
with savages, and died like flies before the scourge of fever. The
whole story of the conquest and settlement of the Americas is one of
slow victory through a mist of tragedy. The invaders of other days left
their native lands with little hope to return. The invaders of to-day
set forth waving an au revoir to their friends on the dock side.

The man with the flimsiest imagination can think of the tiny craft,
ill-lit, ill-furnished, with scurvy-providing food, running before the
trade winds, lolling with idle sails in the doldrums, and with
uncertainty as constant companion. To-day the huge vessels scorn the
tides. Aflame with electric light they press through the dusk, and the
ship's orchestra plays ragtime music. You cross the Equator to the tune
of a Gaiety light opera. Sultry afternoons are relieved with
exhilarating deck sports. The warmth of the dinner hour is softened by
the whirl of electric fans. In the evening a space on deck is enclosed
and hung with the flags of all the nations, and dancers in fancy dress
whirl blithely on the powdered floor. These are the circumstances of the
modern invasion. The journey is a holiday with nothing of grim adventure
about it.

What Latin America means to-day is told in the personalities of the
passengers. There are the rich Argentines, after six months in Europe,
returning to Buenos Aires, occupying the cabins de luxe. They offer you
the information how much they are paying, contribute largely to the
sports fund, and their ladies dress with frank display. Whether Spanish
or English they are proud of the name of Argentine, and never weary
telling of the progress of their country. They have open contempt for
their Portuguese neighbours in Brazil. The wealthy Brazilian men,
swarthy and fat and bejewelled, do not join the deck games, but, with
cigar between lips, saunter the decks, leering at every woman with a
passable countenance. The Argentines thank God there is no nigger blood
in their veins. The Brazilians retaliate they could buy the Argentines
up. Care must be taken not to mix the two nationalities at the ship's
tables. Each nation sports its own flag. Sometimes rivalry threatens

There is the Englishman "with interests in Argentina" going out to look
after his property, frequently an _estancia_, or ranch, purchased when
land was cheap, and before the boom came. Now a railway cuts through his
property, and it has increased seventy-fold in value. Sometimes he
mentions drought; occasionally he shudders at the mention of locusts.
But he recalls the state of things when he went out thirty or forty
years ago "with not much more than a bob," and now he has a fortune made
out of meat shipped to Europe, and his only regret seems to be the
iniquitous amount of death duties which will have to be paid by his

"Argentina is not what it was," he tells you. That means the winning of
a fortune is going to be increasingly harder to this and subsequent
generations. But he is a fine type of Englishman, for he went forth
before South America had grown beyond its monthly revolution, when the
continent chiefly bred restlessness amongst the Spanish settlers, and
when life and prosperity was a gamble. He has come through the fire.
Foresight, daring, and good luck have swung him, as they have swung
thousands of others, into affluence. He has "retired." He lives at home
in Belgravia, and gives fine dinner parties. But he keeps an eye on
Argentine stock, and when you encounter him in the club he repeats that
"Argentina is not what it was, but still----" and then he makes you wish
you could place your hand on some of the plums that remain.

There is the rich Argentine who shows what he is made of by insisting
upon everybody in the smoking-room drinking champagne at his
expense--and he is uncomplimentary if anybody deliberately refuses his
hospitality. There is the man who hires a band to play to him during the
voyage. There is the delicate lady who has a special cow on board so
that she may be sure of fresh milk. The boat carries a cow so that the
children may have milk. The charge per pint for the milk is high. "Why,"
said one passenger when he heard what the price was, "I think I will
give my children champagne; it will be cheaper."

British gold has flowed like water into South America to make the
dormant region fruitful. British interests are colossal. The United
States has not taken much of a hand in development, partly because the
Latins do not love their northern neighbours, and partly because the
financiers of the States have been sufficiently occupied in their own
country. Three hundred million British pounds sterling has been invested
in Argentine railway and tramway companies, and there are on board men
who manage the lines--tall, stalwart, clear-skinned Englishmen, with
cool nerve and steady eye.

There are the big _estancia_ men, proud and ambitious, who pay enormous
prices for famous race-horses and get the best breeding stock from home
in cattle and sheep, no matter what competition forces the price up to.
There are shrewd men going out on behalf of syndicates to throw their
eyes round the country and scent out possibilities for money-making on
the grand scale. In the free talk of the smoking-room they speak with
vagueness of what their special mission is. There are the men who have
been charged to take control of city development schemes--for all ports,
towns, and cities in South America are crazy for development, and are
piling their backs with debt to achieve their desires. There are the men
who represent English firms who are intent on extending their
connections or in establishing branches. There are engineers, with jobs
in the far interior, proceeding to fill five-year contracts. There are
young bank clerks, flushed with increased salary, exchanging London for
a pampa town and scarcely realising they will find living three times as
expensive as at Bromley. There are the men who laughingly acknowledge
they have no direct mission except that they intend to see what they
can pick up. But they are mostly a good brand of Briton, well set, and
with courage in the veins. And when one remembers the growing Latin
population, and listens to captivating explanations about potentialities
and hears what has been accomplished--more wonderful in the making of
cities than a tale out of the Thousand and One Nights--there is the fact
in the background that all this continent must long have continued to
lie undeveloped if it had not been for the constant and confident inflow
of British money.

Beyond the rails are the second-class passengers, folk of humbler aim,
but going to play their part in the land of adventure. But, above all,
are the third class, the steerage--few British here--travelling to South
America with little but hope and muscle to do the labourer's part. It is
labour the country needs to-day more than capital. In the spring of the
southern hemisphere the Atlantic is trailed with ships packed with
Italians, Spaniards, and Portuguese. The continent swallows them. They
are men of courage, or they would never have gone forth. They take with
them their fiery Latin temperament and fierce political, frequently
anarchist views. The native Indians are mostly too cow-like to be of
much use in industry. The millions of negroes in tropical Brazil are too
lazy to be relied upon. Labour is the need, the ever-pressing need.
Emissaries are busy in southern Europe booming South America and filling
the boats which sail from Lisbon and Vigo and Genoa--chiefly from Genoa,
for the Italian is the ideal immigrant for a warm clime. He is
industrious, sober, frugal.

All the towns along the South American coastline have futures. They talk
about the future, always the future, and are preparing for it. Swung in
a basket from the deck of the liner, I boarded a tug and went ashore at
Pernambuco. The buildings which stood were decrepit, as though erected
by the original Portuguese, like their ramshackle homes on the other
side of the ocean, and they had done nothing to them since except an
occasional smear of pink, blue or yellow colour-wash. Most of the place
was in ruins; whole streets were literally choked with débris,
suggesting there had been a frightful earthquake, or that a
revolutionary episode had perpetrated dire havoc. In fact, Pernambuco
was in the throes of improvement. The first necessity of all these South
American towns is not a system of drainage but an Avenida--a wide main
thoroughfare with bedizened buildings on either side, and cafés and
bands and electric lights and motor-cars and a theatre. They have begun
with a theatre. But the ways of Western civilisation have travelled so
far because, instead of drama and opera being presented, the theatre is
devoted to kinema entertainments.

As though cleared with a hundred cannon, there is a way right through
the town; this is where the Avenida is to be. Open matchbox tramcars,
drawn by weedy mules, rumble over uneven metals. The next time, however,
I visit Pernambuco electric cars will whiz along the roads. There are
no cabs or carriages, even of ancient pattern, to be hired; but there
are plenty of motor-cars. There is a breakwater built on a coral reef;
yet huge harbour works are in progress, and before long liners instead
of lying outside will be fastened to the dock side. There are big shops
where you can buy most things, including the inevitable picture post
cards, though you pay twopence each for post cards of a kind which you
can buy for two a penny at home. I paid 1s. 8d. for a drink for which no
hotel at home would have charged me more than 6d. The neighbourhood is
rich in vegetation, but potatoes and fruits are imported from Portugal.
The people are town proud. They are proud of Brazil. The Brazilian flag,
with its yellow ground and star-spangled blue globe in the centre, waves

The next day we were at Bahia, picturesquely reclining on a wooded hill.
It used to be the great port in the slave trade, and most of the
inhabitants are negroes. Indeed, it must not be forgotten that most of
the population are negroes, or negro Indians, or negro Portuguese, or a
mixture of all three. However, it is only the Portuguese, a mere handful
in the total, who exercise political influence in the country. On the
boat came many Bahians. All down the coast, whilst we were losing the
European invaders, we were taking on board and losing Brazilians. Most
of them were podgy, and an inky tinge on their skins indicated there was
mixture in their blood.

The healthy sports which had entertained the English travellers on the
Equator were things of the past. There was a new sport, and it was
played in the smoking-room all day long and far into the night, when
most of us had gone to bed. The rattle of the dice-box never ceased.
Gambling was in the veins, and the English sovereign was constantly
shuffled from hand to hand on the green baize tables. There was
baccarat, first for low stakes and then for high. There were two glib
Yankee-Negro-Spaniards who had such luck that spectators shrugged
shoulders and exchanged glances. In a single game they netted £150, and
one young Englishman was a loser by £80.

From gambling at the tables one turned to talking about gambling in the
country. The enormous liabilities to foreign countries are all incurred
in a great gamble that the hinterlands will yield produce which will pay
for all and leave massive surpluses. The coffee trade of Brazil is
immense. But all merchants do not make their incomes by watching and
nursing the market. That is too slow. Transactions are decided quite as
often by the throw of the dice as by negotiation and bargaining.
Reckless, far removed from business principles, all this is; but it
bespeaks a buoyancy of belief that, notwithstanding the lapse of luck,
there is a bottomless well of prosperity to be dipped into in the
natural productions of the country. It is scarcity which breeds
timidity; it is the confidence of affluence which occasions waste.

Of course there was much talk about Rio de Janeiro, the city with the
most gorgeous setting in the southern hemisphere.

"Rio harbour is the most beautiful in the world," said the Brazilian.

"It cannot be a patch on Sydney harbour," said the Australian, who had
never seen Rio.

"Tut!" said the Brazilian, who had never seen Sydney.

It was in the fall of an exquisite Sunday afternoon that our glasses
caught sight of the hills around Rio. As we approached and ran past
picturesque islands a wonderful panorama was unfolded. The scenery was
unlike any other scenery in the world. The hills, radiant with
equatorial vegetation, rose like strange humps out of the sea. In the
background giant mountains reared their heads in the crimson-grey clouds
of approaching evening. The picture was not like real scenery. It was
like the realisation of a disordered imagination. I would say it was
like an imitation of Turner, were the illustration not so trite. Then I
thought there was something Chinese about the outreness of the
landscape. Then the sun went down in a hurry, and the background was a
weird purple. The ship dropped anchor, and the front part of Rio town, a
tumble of fantastic red and yellow washed houses, was for all the world
like a drop curtain to a stage. I felt we had slipped into another
world--and I am not given to rhapsody.

A thousand lamps began to blink along the esplanade which curves to the
bend of the bay. A thousand lights pricked the hill sides. There were
two big black Brazilian warships, and somebody had to tell the old story
how two battleships were sent out to visit the Brazilian convict island
in the Atlantic, and how one returned with the awful story that the
island had disappeared, for they sailed straight for it and it had gone,
whilst later on it was learnt that the other vessel had certainly found
the island, for it got piled up on the rocks. Gaily illuminated launches
scurried about whilst our liner was slowly being berthed alongside the

"Ah!" cried the Brazilian to me, whilst his eyes glowed brightly, "say
that Rio is the most lovely harbour in the world!"

"There's nothing to shout about," interrupted the Australian, "alongside
Sydney harbour; and you've seen Sydney harbour," he added, turning to

As a sort of amateur Solomon, I was turned to for judgment. My first
comment was to laugh. I had seen the two harbours which are each claimed
by their champions to be the grandest thing Nature has ever
accomplished. It was amusing to witness the fervour of the two men, as
though they had a hand in the making of these famous harbours. They were
both of the stuff which leads men to believe that for any other country
to have pretensions to beauty is just dull-witted boastfulness.

"Well," I remarked, "I think Vigo harbour is charming."

"Oh, Vigo!" they both exclaimed in disgust.

"And there is something to be said for the Golden Gate leading to San
Francisco," I added.

"But the Golden Gate and any other place is not in the same street with
Sydney harbour," blurted the Australian rather angrily, though he had
never seen the Golden Gate. "It cannot be," he said decisively.

"But what do you really think of Rio compared with Sydney?" asked the
Brazilian, who saw I was attempting to be funny at the expense of them

"I'll tell you," I said, actually throwing half a cigar overboard, for I
was called upon to give a verdict on one of the most debatable subjects
in the world. "It is like passing judgment on two lovely women. For
grand, impressive spectacular effect, being hit right between the eyes
with stupendous gorgeousness, seeing Rio harbour at the hour of sunset
is the most wonderful sight in the world."

The Brazilian smiled, and the Australian made a contemptuous noise with
his lips.

"But hold," I added. "You see all the beauty of Rio harbour at one view.
It is like suddenly coming face to face with an imperial lady of
dazzling attractions. When you have seen her you have seen everything.
Sydney harbour does not knock you over with bewilderment of beauty like
Rio does. It is more calm, less turbulent; it impresses you. The more
you know it the more it impresses you. And it has lovely arms,
stretching up between soft woodlands, as peaceful as the best bits of
the Thames. Rio has nothing like that. No, no; I'm not competent to pass
judgment. You two gentlemen can go on fighting over the matter, as I
dare say the people of your two countries will continue to do, till the
crack of doom. I admit the unrivalled grandeur of Rio, but personally I
have more affection for the grace and the delights of Sydney."

The Brazilian bowed politely. The Australian wanted to argue I had ceded
too much to Rio. Happily, just then a group of friends came on board to
rush me off to a dinner party on shore.

Rio will always remind me of Imre Kiralfy, the White City, and Earl's
Court. There are some narrow, old European-like streets that recall
places on the other side of the Atlantic: the houses high and sombre and
with a little mystery behind the shutters. But most of Rio is rampantly
new and garish. The people have driven a magnificent Avenida right
through the heart of the city, and hang the expense! The piles of
buildings, hotels, public offices, great stores along this Avenida are
generally eccentric in architecture--and there comes the feeling that
here these transplanted Latins, with a strain of negro in their veins,
are struggling to express themselves as a new people. The wonderful
thing is that five years ago this Avenida was not.

Nothing that the Riviera has can outvie the esplanade, broad, well made,
with miles of bright gardens and statues--and the motor-cars whiz along
at the maddest, breakneck pace. There is one exquisite avenue lined with
nothing but palm trees. Many of the houses, designed surely by someone
who has built palaces for pantomimes, are half buried behind splashes of
prodigal tropical vegetation. Everything is ornate, showy. From the
standpoint of British comfort the buildings are gaudy palaces, lacking
real ease. But always one has to remember one is in the tropics.

I know no place so dazzling as Rio. Behind all the glitter, however,
there is gold. There is commerce, abounding speculation, the
devil-may-care assurance of the gambler. Broad ways, electric car
services, hundreds of expensive motor-cars, extravagant restaurants,
ladies laden with jewels, the men eager, all tell the opening chapter in
the story of Brazil's future. In the cool Strangers' Club I met men of
the Saxon breed, quiet Englishmen, quiet Americans, representatives of
syndicates with millions of money at their backs, negotiating,
wire-pulling, securing concessions for railroads, for developing
stretches of that great back country of Brazil, as little explored as
Central Africa, but the possibilities of which the world is realising
and will scramble hungrily to turn into profit. What Brazil has
accomplished so far is but the turning of the key in the door.

The morning comes with a gasp, and a flavour of old oil is in the air.
The heavy stillness makes one recite the agony of the Ancient Mariner.
We are leaving the ocean, and the steamer is churning a way up an
ochreish river, banked on one side, but with a stretch of malarious
jungle on the other. We are making for Santos, and an old German who
rests his elbows on the rail tells how he has known this coast for
thirty years, and how, in the old days, it reeked with yellow fever;
how whole ships' crews went down before the scourge, and how no
passenger boats dared lie at Santos for the night, but always slipped
down to the mouth of the river in the evening so that fresh air could be

Now drainage has done wonders, and Santos, a great export town for
Brazilian coffee, is improving itself. I get into conversation with the
man who has been engaged to settle in Santos and see that the place is
improved. The river is deep, serviceable, and runs far inland. Casting
my eye over the flat lands, matted with vegetation, and dotted with many
a wretched nigger shanty, I have a vision of the time when docks will be
delved and many of the riches of Brazil will find their outlet to the
world by this gateway. Great wharves are on the river front at Santos.

The town, however, is in a hugger-mugger of change. The Brazilians seem
to lounge round, but they are forging for the future. Men who have been
with us for a fortnight hasten ashore. They have eagerness. They are off
by the quaint hill-climbing railway to San Paulo, high perched, healthy,
throbbing with trade. Others are bent for the interior, away from their
kind, to seek their fortunes.

"And that's the end of my six months' leave," says a red-faced
Englishman with a sorrowful smile. "I lived away back there for three
years, and never saw or talked to another Englishman. I've been home for
my holiday, and now it will be another three years before I come back
from the plantations. Good-bye. I'll hunt you up when I'm in London
again." Off he goes--one of the brave men of the world.

A peep at Monte Video, the neat capital of the miniature Republic of
Uruguay, and then the black-green of the ocean we have been travelling
for three weeks is left behind, and we are forcing a way up the yellow
waters of the River Plate. A river; but for hours there is no land in
sight, so wide is the mouth of this great stream. And shallow, for at
intervals the steamer shivers as she bumps on the bottom.

"That is all right," says the captain, "for we do not mind a couple of
feet of mud."

The journey of the new adventurers is nearing its end. Shipboard
friendships are sworn to be eternal. The ship's sports are long over,
and the prizes have been distributed. The fancy dress ball on deck is a
memory. There is the distribution of largesse amongst those who have
made things pleasant. Cabin passengers are light-hearted. The throng of
Spaniards and Italians in the steerage are silent and strangely
impressed. They were sad when they left the old lands; they were happy
during the voyage; now the mystery of the unknown is laying hold of
them. We pass a crowded emigrant ship from Italy, and cheers are

Out of the haze of the hot day rises the low land, Argentina. We see the
buildings of La Plata, once intended to be the capital of the country.
The ship makes strange zigzags, for it is following a channel known
only to the pilot. There rises a bank of smoke. As we get nearer we run
into shipping. From the background emerge tall buildings, white mostly,
and recalling the skyscrapers of the United States. So slowly,
laboriously, the good ship _Avon_, which has behaved so well, is brought
to rest in front of Buenos Aires. It is night, but the wharves are all
commotion. There is the shrieking of tugs. There is the shout of excited
Argentines, but their garb is south European. Beyond the Custom House
can be seen hastening motor-cars and whizzing electric tramcars. And
here is a newspaper man, wanting an interview. We are entering "the
amazing Argentine."

  _Photograph by H. G. Olds, Buenos Aires._



The Argentines call their city of Buenos Aires the Paris of the southern
hemisphere. It has a population nearing a million and a half, which is
greater than that of any other town below the line of the Equator. The
people promise that in time it will overtake London.

You insult an Argentine if you mix him up with Chilians, Brazilians, and
other South Americans. He does not thank you for being reminded his
father sailed from Italy, or his grandfather from Spain. He has no
affection for any old land from which his sires came. The beginning of
the world for Argentina was in May, 1810, when the Republic was set up.

He has no pride of historic race. When he makes money and visits Europe
it is not to find the ancestral home in Spain or Italy. It is to have a
good time in Paris. When he takes his family to Paris it is not to spend
three, five, or six months. It is to spend three, five, or six hundred
thousand pesos--and the value of a peso is one shilling and eightpence.
When the pesos have flown he returns to Argentina and makes more.

The Argentines are a dignified people. They accept the English because
in round figures five hundred millions of British capital in gold have
aided in developing the country. They dislike the citizen of the United
States because the big brother Republic of the north patronises them,
and they need nobody's help. They have a contempt for all other Latins
beneath the Isthmus of Panama, particularly the Brazilians. They are
conscious of their own qualities.

And the visitor blinks, and rubs his eyes, and admits the wonders of
Argentina. If his acquaintance with geography is casual he has shrugged
his shoulders at South American Republics, where they have revolutions
every six weeks, and where tawny Spaniards in quaint costumes drive
mules and die from difference of opinion with other Spaniards.

Then he goes to "B.A."--the familiar description of Buenos Aires--and he
finds he has landed in a rampantly modern American-cum-European city.
There is none of the sloth of the Southern, no checking of business
between noon and three to pass in siestas.

It is a busy city. The port is thronged with shipping, mostly British.
High-shouldered elevators stick out long tongues, and streams of wheat,
grown on the plains of the interior, pour food for Europe into the
holds. Trucks of cattle grunt through the noisy railway yards. There are
huge killing establishments, and animals go to their death by the many
thousand every day with a celerity which would awaken a Chicagoan. There
are mighty avenues of chilled and frozen meat. Labour-saving machinery
carries it on board the steamers which hasten across the Atlantic,
carrying cheap beef to the London and Liverpool markets. Commerce is
conducted on the latest scientific lines. The North Americans have
nobbled the meat trade, and the Jews have control of the wheat market.

        _Photograph by H. G. Olds, Buenos Aires._

Buenos Aires is the mart where the produce of the rich back-lands is
bartered. It levies a heavy toll. The most imposing business buildings
are the banks--national banks, British, German, French, Spanish, and
Italian banks. In and about Reconquista are these banks, ever busy. Near
by are the rival shipping offices, a glut of them. The offices of the
great railway companies are enormous. Wide-spreading premises exhibit
the latest and best agricultural machinery that Lincolnshire and
Illinois can produce. There is the hustle of commerce. The streets are
as narrow and as crowded and as vital as within the City of London.
There is earnestness about the men.

The Argentine is sombre in manner. He dresses in conventional black. A
light waistcoat, a gay tie or fancy socks, is bad form. You cannot tell
the difference between a millionaire and one of his clerks, except that
the former has an expensive motor-car and the latter hires a taxi or a
victoria, or travels by electric tramcar. At every corner you see
evidence of prosperity, of successful money-making. And money speaks in
"B.A." as loudly as it does in New York.

Folk of the Saxon breed tend to scoff at the decadence of the Latin
race. But there is something revivifying in the transplanting of a
people. We have evidence in our own colonies. The man of Spanish descent
in the Argentine is not always the spry fellow he thinks himself; but he
has dropped the cloak of sluggishness which enwraps Spain. He is often
rich; he lives in a gorgeous residence; his extravagances are beyond
those of a Russian archduke. He is polite and hospitable.

But the wealthy Spanish Argentine is not the creator of his own wealth.
I heard of only one case of a Spanish Argentine owing his great fortune
to commercial enterprise. The fortunes of most of these Argentines come
from land. Their grandfathers got immense areas by the easiest means.
Properties were so enormous that extent was not reckoned in acres, or
even square miles, but by leagues. But a hundred leagues, however good
for cattle or sheep, or wheat growing--what was its value a couple of
hundred miles from a port? Then came British railways. They pierced the
prairies. The land bounded in value, tenfold, a thousandfold. Other
people came in; first shrewd Scotsmen; then industrious Italians; then
Englishmen bent on becoming _estancieros_. Their children are
Argentines. But the mighty fortunes are mostly in the possession of the
early Argentines--those who were settled fifty and more years ago. They
have sat still and seen their land blossom in value. They pay no income
tax; there is no tax on unearned increment. Mr. Lloyd George was once
in the Argentine, associated with a land development company. That,
however, is another story.

Hundreds of thousands of immigrants pour into the Republic every year.
They come from every land on earth. Mostly do they come from Spain and
Italy. Italy provides the greatest number, and splendid colonists they
are. Though the language will always be Spanish, the race is rapidly
becoming Italianised. There is a commingling of the sterner stuff from
Europe. So in this rich land--rivalling Canada and Australia in
productiveness--there is being blended a new people, keen, alert,
successful, ostentatious, pagan--a people that has a destiny and knows

The Argentines are town proud. You are not in Buenos Aires a couple of
days before you are bombarded with the inquiry, "Don't you think this is
a beautiful city?" It is not that; but it is an interesting city.

In the oldest quarters the streets are narrow, after the Spanish style.
So narrow are they that, with electric cars jingling along them,
vehicles are allowed to journey only one way. To reach a shop by
carriage it is sometimes necessary to drive along three and a half sides
of a block of buildings. Funny little policemen, brown faced, blue clad,
and with white gaiters and white wands, direct the traffic. In the
Florida--the Bond Street of "B.A."--all wheeled traffic is prohibited
between the hours of four and seven in the afternoon, so that shoppers
may have an easier way.

Most of the streets are called after Argentine provinces, or
neighbouring republics, or national heroes, or some politician or rich
man who can influence the authorities. When a popular man has lost his
popularity the remnant of his fame is obliterated by the street called
after him being named after someone else. It is as though the Government
at home decided to change Victoria Street, Westminster, into the Avenida
Asquith, with the prospect of its being altered later on to the Calle
Bonar Law.

Wide plazas decorate the city. Vegetation is luxuriant, and statues are
numerous. The Plaza Mayo is not called after an Irish peer, but after
the month of May, 1810. The shops are as big as those in London.
Argentina manufactures practically nothing, and all the lovely things
have to be imported from Europe. The hotels are imitations of those in
Paris. The restaurants are on a par with the best we have in London. A
Viennese band plays whilst you have Russian caviare and the waiter is
asking your choice in champagne. But everything is expensive. A man
needs three times the salary in Buenos Aires to live the same way he
would live in London. If you calculate exchange rates you go mad. It is
best to count the peso (1s. 8d.) as a shilling, and then remember that
you are spending your shilling in South America, where things are dear.
You can get a modest luncheon for 10s.; but you will pay 2s. for a
bottle of beer, and 3s. 6d. for a cigar worth smoking.

        _Photograph by A. W. Boote & Co., Buenos Aires._

Yet nobody minds. Immense sums are being spent on improving
the city. It is built on the American T-square plan. But it is to be
subjected to the plan of Haussmann, with great tree-girt avenues
radiating diagonally from the Plaza Mayo. An underground railway,
honeycombing beneath the town, is in rapid construction. The railways
have a great suburban traffic, and are being electrified. There are
British colonies at Belgrano and Hurlingham, and you have a choice of
three golf courses. In the summer months--December, January, and
February--there is river life on the Tigre, the Thames of the Argentine.
A charming spot is Palermo, a combination of Hyde Park and the Bois de
Boulogne--open sweeps and charming trees, a double boulevard with
statues and commemorative marbles in the middle, well-cared-for gardens,
radiant flowers and the band playing.

A drive through Palermo at the fashionable hour causes one to gasp at
the thought that one is six thousand miles from Europe. Nowhere in the
world have I seen such a display of expensive motor-cars, thousands of
them. Ostentation is one of the stars of life in the Argentine.
Appearances count for everything. You must have a motor-car, even though
you have not the money to pay for it, and you owe the landlord of your
flat a year's rent. The ladies are exquisitely gowned, but they have not
the vivacity of the French women nor their daring in dress. There is a
demureness, a restraint which reminds one that the atmosphere of
far-away Castile is still upon them.

On Sundays and Thursdays there are races at Palermo. The price
Argentines pay for horseflesh has become a proverb. It is a good
race-course. We have nothing in England, neither at Epsom, Ascot, nor
Goodwood, so magnificent as the grand stand. It is a glorified royal
box. The restaurant is like the Ritz dining-room. Everybody dresses as
they would at Ascot. There are no bookmakers. The totalisator is used.
Betting is officially conducted by the Jockey Club, and there is
constant announcement of the amount of money put on the horses. Those
who have backed the winners share the spoil, less ten per cent. As this
ten per cent. is deducted from the total amount put on each race, the
income of the Jockey Club runs into hundreds of thousands of pounds. So
the Club maintains a good race-course, offers capital prizes, has a
house in "B.A."--undoubtedly the most palatial club-house in the
southern world--and distributes the remainder amongst the hospitals.
The income of the Jockey Club is so large it is really embarrassing.
The members are proceeding to build an Aladdin's palace of

But at the races at Palermo I noticed that no ladies attended, except in
the members' enclosure. Even there they did not mingle with the
men-folk. There was no mirth, such as we are used to in Europe. They
kept themselves to little groups. Moving from wonder to wonder, I was
present at a gala performance at the Colon Theatre. I have seen all the
great theatres in the world, and this is the loveliest--a harmony of
rose and gold. The audience was as fashionably dressed as at the opera
in London, though I missed the dazzling display of diamonds which had
been promised. Most of the audience were ladies; there were boxes of
them, and most of the men were in the stalls. There was one gallery
reserved for women.

I began to discern a strange Orientalism in the relations between the
sexes. The Argentine women are amongst the best mothers in the world.
But there is practically none of the good fellowship between young
fellows and young girls which is so happy a feature of our English life.
For a man and a woman to take a walk together would shock the
proprieties. There are brilliant receptions, but dinner parties, as we
know them, are rare. An Argentine seldom introduces a friend to his
wife. Except amongst the poorest a woman scarcely ever goes into the
streets alone. If she does she runs risk of being insulted. There are
Argentines, who would be offended if refused the name of gentlemen, who
think it excellent sport to walk in the Florida in the evening and
mutter obscenities to every unprotected woman who passes. Buenos Aires
is the most immoral city in the world. So the Argentine guards his
women-folk from contact with other men. His attitude is a relic of the
days when the Moors had possession of Spain.

I have called Buenos Aires a pagan city. So it is. The men are frankly
irreligious. In conversation I have been told of the tolerance to all
religions. What is really meant is indifference to any religion.

Money-making and flamboyant display--these are the gods which are
worshipped. The houses in the wealthier districts are exotic in
architecture. I remember driving along the Avenida Alvear, a street of
palaces, reminiscent of the Grand Canal at Venice if it were a roadway.
But the fine stone blocks are nothing but stucco. The ornamentation, the
floral decorations, are not carved stone; they are stucco. Imitation,
pretence, showiness, the flaunting of wealth, are everywhere.

Yet this city, which has grown in a generation on the muddy flats by the
side of the muddy Parana River, has something that is weird in its



The way not to see a city is to be trotted round and shown all the
"sights." I have an idea I may have missed some of the "sights" of
Buenos Aires. I did not "do" the churches. Acquaintances who knew I went
to South America to pursue my trade of writer sometimes asked me what I
was going to write about, and the reply was, "I do not know." But I was
not believed.

Anyway, I may say that I drifted about "B.A." I presented my letters of
introduction, made friends, lunched out and dined out, had motor trips,
went here and there as suggestion provided the inclination; maybe to a
theatre, or to smoke a cigar in one of the clubs with men who are of
account in Argentina or no account at all, or to spend a Sunday with an
Argentine family; maybe to idle an hour in one of the cafés; maybe to
have a serious talk with a Minister; maybe do nothing but idle round.
That is no scientific way to study a city. But it just happens to be my

The conclusions I draw may be wrong, for I may have met the wrong people
and seen the wrong things, especially as I had no system. Yet out of the
confused jumble of impressions and experiences something coherent
evolves, and that is the substance of my remarks when I am asked, "Well,
what do you think about Buenos Aires?"

It is not my wish to accentuate the point, but open-handed extravagance
is one of the traits of the people. It is a fault of democratic
countries that, having no aristocracy of birth, they proceed to create
one of wealth. Argentina has fine old Spanish families; but, though
esteemed, they are in the background. In the wrangle-jangle of frenzied
progress they are not to be counted amongst the moderns. So garish is
the display of money that the idea left is that you have had your
attention called to it by the constant blaring of a bugle.

But I would shrink from saying the display is vulgar. Keeping in mind
that the people are Latins, and are fonder of colour than we of the cold
and moral north, I would write there is a sort of ostentatious
restraint. Argentines glory in spending money, but amongst the older
settled people other things besides money have their place. They are
fond of music, and pride themselves that they discovered Tetrazzini and
Kubelik long before London. Here, as in Paris, London, and New York,
there is the mob which goes to the opera because it is "the thing" to
have an expensive box, and to wear lovely gowns and loads of diamonds.
The prices paid make the charges for a gala night at Covent Garden seem
like those of a twopenny show. It may be said that a well-known artiste
is sure of a kindly reception. Yet Buenos Aires has its moods; it has
its vagaries, and is petulant. For some undefinable reason it will take
a dislike to some performer who arrives with a European reputation.
Perhaps half a dozen ladies who lead the fashionable world will say the
artiste is overrated. "She may be all right for Paris, but she does not
come up to Buenos Aires standard"--that is the attitude. For anybody to
praise the poor singer after that is to advertise their inartistic
taste. There is a boycott. So a European singer or instrumentalist who
goes to the Argentine aglow with the prospect of a dazzling success
sometimes returns with the saddest of experiences--neglect.


With such a people, Latin in race and living in the sunshine, life is
something of a holiday. One hears stories of the looseness of life
amongst the men--on the boats running between France and Argentina can
be seen the girls going out to meet the requirements of the hundreds of
houses of ill-fame--but the Argentine women themselves are beyond
reproach. Indeed, their regard for correctness is often amusingly
prudish. Public opinion is so strong that no lady, if she wants the
esteem of her neighbours, dare show the slightest originality in costume
or conduct. Plays with the faintest hint of suggestiveness about them
are barred. Performances which would pass muster in a London West-end
theatre are shunned; plays to which the most innocent of girls cannot go
are taboo. The consequence of this is that there are other places of
amusement especially catering for men, which no respectable woman can
enter. Just outside the boundaries there are cinematograph shows "for
men only," which for indecency cannot be outdone in Port Said or Havana.

I have mentioned how the visitor to Argentina soon begins to be aware of
the low position of women in the minds of men, the way in which there is
no real friendship between the sexes outside the family circle, and how
no Argentine will trust another Argentine in regard to his ladies. With
all their finery and jewellery and expensive motor-cars and boxes at the
Colon Theatre, you are prone to remark, "How un-European!" when you see
the segregation of the women.

Yet with all their frivolity, dress, bridge, amusements, you make a
mistake if you fancy the Argentine lady a guarded, slothful doll--though
the description applies in thousands of cases. I had the opportunity of
seeing the other side of the picture. On two days, under the guidance of
ladies themselves, I visited the establishments of Las Damas da
Beneficencia and several Government hospitals. A noble work is being
done. I saw how the poor are cared for. There was the nurturing of the
old. There was tending the sick in buildings worthy of any city in the
world. There were the homes where the wives of poor folk could come to
bring their babies into the world. There is much illegitimacy, and
formerly there was much infanticide. So there was a kind of casement
where, at dusk, mothers could bring their unwanted offspring and deliver
them. No questions were asked, but the infant, because it was a
helpless little child, was cared for. The same work is done to-day, but
without the mystery of the casement. Foster-mothers are engaged to nurse
the children. As one went through the rooms, and saw the tiny morsels of
humanity, many of them feeble, with a shape of head which roused wonder
as to the future, it was hard to keep the tears away.

Poverty, as we understand it in Europe, does not exist in Argentina. But
there are men who are stricken down in early manhood, unable to earn
anything, and who need help. There are widows and the fatherless to be
cared for. There are poor folk, but their trouble is due to misfortune
and not to economic causes. Charity, however, is great, and funds are
numerous and the Government provides handsomely, and there is no
distress such as we know it. But all this good work, hospitals, looking
after the aged, providing for the fatherless, is carried on by the women
of Argentina. Except to serve as doctors, no men have any voice in the
control or management. Ladies, with their presidents and boards of
management and committees, have the work placed entirely in their hands.
It is set apart for them, and no man interferes. Yet the suffrage
question has not extended to Argentina.

Life is taken lightly and showily by this new nation. But when anybody
dies all the relatives go into mourning, to the fourteenth cousin. And
in death the display is just as rampant as in life. The Recoleta is a
strange cemetery, bizarre, ghoulish, tawdry. To own a tomb in Recoleta
is one of the necessities if a family wants to be in the swim. These
tombs are like chalets, occasionally of Italian marble, generally of the
Buenos Aires stucco--the capital surpasses all other cities in the world
in the amount of stucco--and they are ornate. There are streets upon
streets of them, and you take a walk through a town of the dead. The
doors are open, and you can step in and see half a dozen coffins ranged
round the shelves. Occasionally there are photographs of the dear
departed. On All Saints' Day it is usual for the living family to gather
in the tomb, have tea, and munch cakes. After a number of years the
coffins have to be removed, or a heavy sum paid, and the tomb is "to
let." The whole thing is repulsive to the Englishman, but the Argentine
loves it.

The capital of Buenos Aires province is La Plata, about fifty miles
away. I went down one day by the luncheon train, which runs out of the
Plaza Constitution just after midday and does the journey in an hour. It
was a fine train, and the luncheon car was bigger, and the food better
than we have on English lines. The car was crowded with a
sallow-skinned, black-moustached, black-garbed lot of gentlemen, and I
gathered they were all Government officials. Nobody in Government employ
thinks of doing any work in the morning. The men go to the office late
and leave early. It was almost like home.

La Plata is a town that has missed its way. Full of grandiose ideas, and
taking the United States as a model, it was decided to build La Plata
as the federal capital on the Washington plan. Gorgeous buildings were
erected; magnificent avenues were constructed; the loveliest of public
gardens were laid out; a fine museum was founded; a great municipal
theatre was piled up. In the public square bandstands were provided and
statues to national heroes hoisted. It was to be the flower of Argentine
towns. And every Argentine town, when it sets out to beautify itself,
must have an avenida and a plaza and an equestrian statue of San Martin;
the matters of water supply and drainage come later.

[Illustration: LA RECOLETA.]

But the federal capital absolutely refused to settle at La Plata. It was
too near Buenos Aires, where society lived, and where there was a whirl
of excitement. So, perforce, the capital had to be at Buenos Aires, and
a Government House for the residence of the President of the Republic
was built, and is known as the "Palace o Gold," because of the money
consumed in its construction.

Argentina is ever willing to vote vast sums for town adornment; but the
money has a habit of evaporating before half the work is done, and then
more is needed.

However, La Plata is the capital of the province of Buenos Aires; but
the majority of officials refuse to live there. They prefer to come down
from Buenos Aires at a quarter past one, and catch the quarter to five
train back. The Governor has made appeals; he has even threatened what
he will do if the officials do not live in La Plata. They take no
notice. The consequence is that this beautiful city--and without doubt
it is majestic in its spaciousness--is deserted, and a saunter through
it is like a walk through an old cathedral town on a drowsy afternoon.

As a companion and a host no one could be more charming than the
Argentine. He loves his country, but is willing to hear praise about
other countries without thinking you wish to depreciate Argentina. He
will go to infinite trouble to secure some particular information you
are anxious to possess. Men on whom I had no personal claim whatever
laid aside their work and devoted a couple of days in my behalf. As the
men are courteous so the women are graceful, until lack of exercise and
over-eating makes them stout. The girls are modest, but, I am afraid,
centre their thoughts on dress. It rather shocked one to see that it is
a habit for quite young girls of thirteen or fourteen years to daub
their faces with powder. As for the young gentleman, he begins when
twelve years of age to smoke and to tell lewd stories. He is impudent to
the servants and to his parents, and I have known fathers smile when
told their sons of fifteen have taken to visiting houses of ill-fame.
Some Argentines are taking to healthy sport; but it would be better if
all of them took to outdoor exercises, cricket, football, baseball,
tennis, and golf. The Argentine young gentleman is bright but
superficial, and is too fond of the clothes of the dandy
and jewellery and perfumes to excite any admiration amongst men who
dislike effeminacy in their own sex.


It was my good fortune to receive nothing but kindness from every class
of Argentine that I met. But I am not going to hide I met Englishmen,
who knew more about the Argentines and who had few generous things to
say. "There is no morality, unless the young women are guarded; the
Argentine is egotistic beyond words; domestic habits are dirty, and
taking a bath is rare; the men chatter, and, whilst voluble with
friendship, are suspicious; they are bombastic about patriotism, but are
not above receiving bribes; all the advantages the Argentine has he owes
to foreigners; he produces nothing himself; he is shallow and shiftless;
the only business instinct he has is cunning, and the old Spanish
_mañana_ spirit--always putting off till to-morrow the performance of a
business duty--is deep seated." All of which shows how impossible it is
to draw a composite picture of an individual to represent a nation. Just
as there are nice Englishmen and vulgar fellows, cultured Americans and
bounders, delightful Germans and hoggish sots, so in Argentina it takes
all sorts to make a people. The growing practice of well-to-do
Argentines of sending their children to be educated in Europe has its
advantages, though there is another side of the picture. They certainly
acquire better manners than they pick up at home; they learn that
Argentina is not the centre of the world. When they return to Argentina
and display the consequences of foreign travel they are not popular.

As far as I could discern the Argentine, though still infused with Latin
traits, still showy and talkative, more inclined to gamble than to do
hard work, is breaking through and away from the old Spanish habits.
European business men told me they were keen witted, but incompetent in
practical affairs. But there is too much business now going on in
Argentina, too much development of industries in which foreigners have
little hand, too thorough a grasp of some of the problems which face all
new lands, for the Argentines to be dismissed with a phrase.

I could see they were inexact, that they were fond of showing off, that
knowledge of the world was thin; but I did understand their genuine
ambition to lift Argentina into the first rank among nations; that where
they lacked technical and mechanical knowledge themselves they were
willing to let others come in; that they were quite alive to what
progress means in the modern sense. The conservatism of the old Spaniard
has completely disappeared. The Argentine wants the latest and the best.
If one goes forth to gather faults it is easy enough to get a basketful.
What drew me, however, was not so much listening to a catalogue of
things he is not, but to mark down what he is, what he has done and is
doing, and what he intends to do. As a small instance, in Buenos Aires
the habit of the Spanish siesta is abandoned. There is no pulling down
of business shutters between noon and three o'clock. The climate is
enervating, but be the day never so steamy, with hot gusts panting from
the north, the city is early alive with commerce, the suburban trains
are packed, the Stock Exchange is a babble of excitement--and there
never seems to be any drawing of rein till five or six in the afternoon.
There is hustle.



The way the population jumps up is phenomenal. It signifies much that an
eighth of a million is added to the population of a capital in a single
year. Skyscrapers now tower over the buildings which were thought
enormous a dozen years ago. Notwithstanding the services of the
policemen directing the traffic, there is often a tangle of motor-cars,
electric tramcars, private carriages and carts. New broadways are
being driven through the city, and up go palatial stores. Most English
newspapers are modest in _locale_. But the Argentine newspapers keep in
the sun. _La Prensa_ is one of the best-informed journals in the world.
It has a noble exterior to its offices. Inside are luxurious suites of
rooms, lecture halls, libraries, and the public are invited to enter.
Every public building, all the clubs, even the churches, seem to be tied
up with long ropes of different coloured electric lamps, so that on
nights of festival the switch is jerked and the whole place is radiantly

It is all very wonderful. The confusion, the barbarism, the love of
beauty and the display of dollars, the inflow of invested gold, the
coming of the immigrant, the whirl of business, the big deals, the
gambling, the making of fortunes and the losing of fortunes, dazzle the
mind. But you feel the fascination of Buenos Aires. It has grown so
astonishingly in so short a time that you gasp when you contemplate how
much more it is likely to grow.




The place Argentina holds in the world is due to the meat and wheat it
sends to other lands. But having recognised its fecundity as a good
food-producing area, it is well to start at the beginning. Argentina may
have had fine grazing tracks capable of rearing untold millions of
cattle and arable land that had only to be scratched to yield excellent
crops of cereals; but without transport values are at a minimum.
Accordingly, the development and prosperity of the Argentine is mainly
due to railways. The sum of £300,000,000 British capital is invested in
Argentine railways and electric tramways.

I travelled a good deal in the Republic, from Buenos Aires to Inca in
the Andes, and from Tucuman in the north to Bahia Blanca in the south. I
journeyed over hundreds of miles of flat, featureless, dreary country
that grew nothing but wild grasses until a few years ago. And there are
plenty of sandy, bush-studded, alkali-stricken acres--just as you find
barren patches in the United States, Canada, Siberia, and Australia--but
there are thousands of leagues awakened into life, _estancias_ with
great herds of cattle munching at the alfalfa, stretches of wheat and
maize, on and on, as though without end, the only break on the horizon
being the colonist's mud hut, a clump of trees--and it always seems the
same clump of trees--which indicates a ranch, and the ever-whirring
American water-wheel. As you travel through England it is the spires of
churches that pierce the sky. The only thing that ever pierces the sky
on the Argentine pampas is the zinc American water-wheel. The Argentine
_estanciero_ thinks a water-wheel is of more use to him than a church.

All over this land, zigzagging, curving, intersecting, sometimes running
in an absolutely straight line for a hundred and fifty miles, is the
greatest length of railway lines in the world for a population of seven
millions. The towns are far apart; villages are few. You journey half a
day, and, except at the little wayside stations, do not see more than
half a dozen folk on the land. Yet it is a smiling land, and greets the
sunshine with abundance. The railways in the Argentine are to garner
this wealth. Freight trains, with cars of the colossal American pattern,
trundle their long length across the plains.

I recall one night when, at a forgotten siding, the engine drew out to
get water, taking a saunter along the train side. It was brilliantly lit
with electricity, and the restaurant car, with the usual little
red-shaded lamps on the tables, was busy; crowds of passengers were
dining, and the usual waiters were scurrying, and there was the usual
Continental fare, and champagne and Moselle wines, and the usual mineral
waters you get on the Nord express. That gleaming train in central
South America was the symbol of what railway enterprise has done in

There are 20,000 miles of railroads in the Republic. The British showed
the way in the initial building, and their lines pass through some of
the fattest territory. The French have been tardy followers, but have
constructed useful minor lines. The Argentine Government has built State
lines through country that was suitable for colonisation, but which did
not appeal to the outside investor. These State railways are financially
a failure. One reason is that the territory through which they run is
not of the best. The principal reason is that they are the prey of the
politicians. Constituencies have to be considered, and innumerable jobs
found for the hangers-on of political parties. Business conditions are
the last to be thought of, and, though the Government has done well in
throwing these lines into distant regions needing development, they are
not likely to succeed until placed under different control.

Not only have the Argentines themselves not started railway companies,
but they have no money invested in the foreign companies. One cause is
that, though the Government insists on a local board of directors, the
real board of directors is abroad, chiefly in London. Another cause is
that dividends are limited by law to 7 per cent., and that is not a
sufficient return for the Argentine. He does not care to touch
investments that do not yield 12 per cent., and when he gets 30 per
cent. he thinks that about fair--and the country is so prosperous it can
afford it.

Although within the last fifteen years millions of British money have
poured into Argentina for railway construction, the investor in the old
days cast a hesitating eye on South America as a place to sink his
capital. In the 'fifties a railway a few miles long was all that
Argentina could boast, and ten years later, when 7 per cent. was
guaranteed, money was not forthcoming. As an inducement to construct a
line between Rosario and Cordoba the absolute ownership of three miles
on either side of the line was offered. Even with such an attraction the
British investor was shy.

Gradually, however, money was forthcoming, and lines were laid. In the
'eighties there came a spurt. It was not till the years following 1900
that money could be had for the asking. Lines cobwebbed the profitable
country; distant points were linked up; land which previously had little
beyond prairie value bounced up in price.


Though to-day there is a thought in the public mind that a little too
much money has been thrown into Argentina, that land prices are too
inflated--which they are--I have traversed districts which three years
ago were wilderness; but a spur of railway has been driven into them,
and instantly farming has been started. I saw hundreds of freshly-built
homesteads--crude, and the life harsh, but it was the beginning of
great things--and alfalfa had been laid down, and cattle were feeding,
and wide spaces which previously were sandy and apparently inhospitable
were carpeted with the bright green of new wheat. Just as in Canada
there is a belief that the breaking up of the land had decreased the
severity of the frost, so there is a belief in Argentina that rains
follow the plough. Places which formerly had little rainfall, and which
had a doubtful agricultural future, are proving successful. Yet without
the advance of railways the country would have been as forlorn as when
the Indians roved the pampas.

Railway companies in England have had to fight landowners to make
headway. In Argentina landowners welcome the coming of a railway, for
obvious reasons. Most of the wealthy Argentines owe their fortunes to
their land being benefited by the railways. As a rule, out in the far
districts, a railway company can get the necessary land for nothing.
Owners are willing to make financial contributions. The general managers
of the big British railways in Argentina get large salaries--£7,000 a
year. This is partly to remove them from the range of temptation of
being bribed by owners, syndicates, or land companies to authorise the
making of railways where they would not be economically advisable. Of
course, extensions near the big towns cost the railways as much as they
would in England. I know a man who thirty years ago bought a piece of
land for £1,600. He sold it to a railway company for over £200,000.

Though foreign capital is having so extensive a run in networking the
country with railways, the Argentine Government has a much closer grip
on the working of the lines than the Board of Trade has on English
companies. It is therefore no misrepresentation to say that, whilst
private owners are glad to have their property enhanced in value by the
juxtaposition of a railway, the Government puts obstacles in the way for
what are ostensibly public reasons. Accordingly, expensive "diplomacy"
has sometimes to be used. The Government is sufficiently aware of the
return the foreign investor gets--and when fresh extensions are sought
it invariably withholds its consent until some concession has been wrung
out of the company, such as an undertaking to construct a line through a
district that cannot, for some time at any rate, be a success. There is
never any guarantee that another company will not be formed to work the
same district. The Government smiles at the fight between the two lines
for traffic--to the public benefit. When companies propose to amalgamate
the Government either makes such demands in regard to uneconomic lines
that the thing falls through or a veto is put upon the amalgamation

Perhaps it is due to the excellence of the railways that the Argentine
high roads are so bad. And frankly, though I know most of the new lands
of the world, I know of no region where the country roads are so
villainous as in this Republic. Rarely are they anything beyond mother
earth. In wet weather they are quagmires, and I have seen vehicles
stranded, unable to be hauled by a team of five horses. In summer, when
rain is absent, they are foot-deep furrows of dust. I shall never forget
a motor excursion through the sugar plantations round about Tucuman. The
way was like a magnified ploughed field, and all the ridges were of
dust. We drove through it as an engine drives through snow.

All railway material comes in duty free, but one of the conditions is
that 3 per cent. of the profits shall be used for the making of roads
leading to railway stations. The companies do not object, because the
call is not large, and it is to their interest that agriculturists
should be able to get their produce to the railway station to be
transported over the lines.

The Direccion-General de Ferrocarriles is the authority over the
railways in Argentina. It decides the number of trains which shall be
run, and it insists on the number of coaches. There must be a certain
number of dormitory cars on all-night trains, and restaurant cars are
obligatory over certain distances. Every train carries a letter-box, and
recently the companies have been squeezed into carrying the mails for
nothing. A medicine chest, a stretcher, a bicycle--so that quick
communication can be made with the nearest station in case of
accident--and all sorts of necessities in case of a breakdown are
compulsory. Every carriage is thoroughly disinfected every month, and
there is always a card to be initialled by an inspector. All bedding and
mattresses are subject to scientific disinfection such as I have seen
nowhere in Europe.

No time-tables can be altered without the sanction of the National
Railway Board at least two months before coming into operation. If
trains stop at stations for which they are not scheduled a heavy fine is
imposed; and all late trains, and the reason, have to be reported to the
Government authority. No alteration, however small, to a station
building or to the design of rolling stock is permissible without the
sanction of the Government representatives. A complaint book is at every
station, open to anyone to complain on any subject. Guards also keep a
book. Many of the complaints are amusing. I heard of one man who
insisted on writing in the complaint book that "everything was in
perfect order and the staff faultless." Occasionally passengers will
have a dispute, and whilst one will find fault in the complaint book
with the manners of the train attendants, another will write beneath
that the attendants are all right, and it is the complainant's manners
which are at fault.

There are the usual buffers in front of an engine; but they are all
hinged, and have to be hoisted backwards when a train is travelling,
because if an animal were run into, the cow-catcher might not be able to
throw the beast aside, for it could be caught between the catcher and
the protruding buffer. Though, on the face of it, the Government
subjects the companies to innumerable restrictions, and frequently
imposes vexatious regulations, it must be recognised that public safety
is the thought behind them all.



The Republic lives by its exports of meat and agricultural produce.
Ninety-five per cent. of this trade is carried to the ports by the
railways. From the railroad cars one beholds productiveness; yet fifteen
or twenty miles away lies land just as productive but as yet untouched
by the plough, because there is neither sufficient population to
cultivate nor railways to carry. Within the next dozen years there must
inevitably be a further spurt in the making of feeding or auxiliary
lines. Something like £20,000,000 a year is crossing the ocean for fresh
railway enterprises in Argentina. Nearly 40,000,000 tons of goods are
carried over the lines each year, and the receipts are something like
£25,000,000 annually. And yet but a fragment of the harvest of this new
land is being garnered. Its untrodden millions of acres await new
railways to open up the country.



Prolific though Argentina is, and though its agricultural wealth has
only been scratched, it cannot be described as an ideal country for the
poor immigrant. The eyes of the land have been well picked, and there
are rich personal estates covering one hundred and fifty square miles.

There is little disposition to voluntary splitting up of estates, but
rather to hold whilst annually the value increases with the coming of
people and the advancement of railways. The Government is doing
something to assist the small man with limited capital to settle on
distant Government lands. But the poor immigrant, with nothing but his
muscle and his industry, has a long and rough road to travel before he
reaches independence as a landed proprietor. It is a hard land in which
to start making a fortune; but the man of money who can step into the
Republic, say, with £25,000 to play with, and who invests judiciously,
can double his capital in three years.

Whilst the old Argentines, those of Spanish descent, have waxed wealthy
simply by sitting still and letting the foreigner develop their
property, there are British Argentine families whose estates, if
realised, would produce double-figured millions, and whose proprietors
landed as labourers less than fifty years ago. Money has come to lots of
these people, shrewd and lucky, as though they held the key to a cave of
jewels. Some have remained modest in spite of possessions; others look
upon gold as the only god, and their blatant display at Mar del Plata,
and on the steamers of the Royal Mail Company, is something which would
make the conduct of the new rich of Chicago Quakerish by comparison.

The cry of Argentina, like that of all new lands, is for population.
Over 300,000 fresh arrivals land annually from all corners of the earth,
Russia, Syria, France, Germany, and England, but mainly from Spain and
Italy. Whilst the Spaniard comes to stay, there is a considerable ebb
and flow amongst the Italians, thousands coming out for the harvest when
wages are high, and making sufficient to return for the rest of the
year; then they return for the next harvest. Allowing for the ebb,
Argentina gets a solid increase in population by immigration of over
250,000 persons a year, and there are no assisted passages and no offers
of free land.

At each of the ports are Government hotels for immigrants. That at
Buenos Aires accommodates a thousand people. The new arrival, instead of
being distraught at landing in a strange country, or possibly falling a
prey to its sharks, is housed and fed for five days as the guest of his
new country. Careful inquiry is made as to capabilities, and, as there
is a never-satisfied demand from the interior for labourers, work is
certain, and officials see him and his baggage on the train, and an
official meets him at his destination and sees him firmly settled in his
fresh life. As work is assured, Argentina is a land where there are no
unemployed--except amongst the dissolute, who are to be found in all
countries. I saw these immigrants on the _Avon_ gathered at Vigo, and I
saw them in distant provinces, and I was struck with their sturdiness
and health. I place on record that I never saw a drunken man during all
my wanderings in the Republic. Blessed with a fine climate, and the
winter so temperate that fires are not necessary, life is easy, and
there is no crushing into towns for work, as is usual in Canada during
the frozen months.

[Illustration: VIEW OF GRAZING LANDS.]


Owing to such immense tracts being held by individual owners--many of
whom prefer the pleasures of Paris and Buenos Aires to living on the
land where the cereals are grown--most of the cultivation is done by
"colonists." The system varies in different parts of the country, but
the general procedure is much on these lines. In a little centre of
population, maybe a village, but important because those who live many
miles round are dependent upon it for supplies, is to be found a store
where most things can be bought, from a plough to a tin kettle. The
storekeeper enters into a contract with the owner of vast lands to
cultivate it, either on rent or on shares of the value of the produce.
This storekeeper is a middleman, often a sweater. Though I have no
doubt there are honourable exceptions, he is often a thief into the
bargain. He gets a "colonist" to take over a certain area and to
cultivate it on shares. The "colonist" has to build a mud house, and
sink a well, and he has to buy his plough and hire his horses, and
obtain all necessaries from the middleman, who can fix his own price.
When the wheat or the maize is gathered the only man to whom the
"colonist" can sell is the middleman, who has it very much in his own
hands to say what the price shall be, and he frequently furnishes the
ignorant "colonist" with false returns as to quantity. But even then he
keeps back what is owing on agricultural implements and loaned horses,
with the consequence that the poor fellow has very little--if
any--margin. It is not too much to say that the "colonists" are in the
grip of the middlemen, and it is with difficulty they are ever able to
break free.

Of course, the middleman runs risk of little return if there is drought
and a bad harvest, and, on the other hand, when he proceeds to sell the
wheat he finds himself encompassed by a ring of four Jewish firms, who
control the wheat market of the Argentine. The whole practice is
vicious, and I cannot but think that before long the Government will
have to take the matter in hand.

Admitting the exquisite climate, and the fertility of the soil, and
Nature's quick response to light work, the lives of these "colonists" in
the distant camp is sad. Men of the Basque country, the north of Spain,
the north of Italy, they come from the homeland, where means of
livelihood were sparse, to this new land, where, although the chances
are rather against them to secure independence, their material
well-being is certainly better than in the Old Country. But they are
ignorant people; they know nothing of, and so care nothing for, the
refinements of life; their houses are not much better than kraals. They
are removed by long distances from neighbours; they live on a
featureless plain, and have no communication with the outer world; they
cannot read, and books and newspapers are foreign to them. Their world
is fringed by the horizon. A visit to the wayside station, where, maybe,
one train a day passes, is their excitement. There are no schools and no
religious instruction. Their moral standard is low.

Many of these "colonists" take to farming with a minimum of practical
knowledge. Yet, though I have just drawn a rueful picture, I would not
have it thought there are no illuminating spots. A valuable work is
being carried on in agricultural instruction. On several occasions I
came across specially-built railway cars in which lecturers travel all
over the Republic and freely give advice to the peons how to get most
out of the soil. During the last seven years (since 1907) the Government
has zealously appreciated the need for organising the agricultural
and live-stock instruction. The work is not to be compared with the
splendid agricultural colleges to be found all over the United
States. The significant thing, however, is that the people of the
Argentine--perfectly conscious of all the advantages of science, and
with most of its best sons educated in Europe--have taken hold of this
problem of how to train its population to get the best out of the soil.
So schools are being formed over the country where information can be
obtained about the special productivity of particular districts, about
the growing of grasses, the feeding and care of beasts, milk production,
sugar-growing, cheese-making, market-gardening, fruit-rearing, and in
far western Mendoza I came across a college that is making instructive
experiments in viticulture.

Besides agricultural courses at the Universities, there is much done by
way of University extension lectures; but instead of lectures about
sea-power in the sixteenth century, or the relationship of Henry VIII.
to Rome, the lectures are on the breeding of cattle, the raising of
maize, the sowing of alfalfa.

It was my fortune to meet many cultured and travelled Argentines, but,
summing the people in a lump, and excluding the viciousness which trails
behind the wealth of Buenos Aires, and also making allowance for the
lack of that virility and perseverance of those strong men who are
fighting the big battle in Canada, the thing which constantly confronted
me was the fact that here in South America was a nation, born yesterday,
thoroughly alive to the worth of its possessions, brusquely modern,
content with nothing but the latest appliances and machinery and
thoroughly determined that, in the contest amongst the widespread
agricultural lands to supply food to the millions in crowded Europe,
Argentina will not be satisfied with an inferior position.

In a subsequent chapter I will deal with what has already been
accomplished in this field. Here, however, I limit myself to pointing
out that Argentina is increasing her capabilities with a purely
practical education. Men who can neither read nor write, but have come
under the influence of these itinerant schools, can talk with scientific
knowledge about their trade of food producing, be it meat or cereals.

Now another step is being made, and I trust with happy results in view
of the unfortunate position of the "colonists." So successful has been
the agricultural instruction during the past half dozen years, that the
next thing is to develop the commercial spirit so that the farmer may
have some chance of getting a fair return for his labour. Free lectures
are given on the business side of agriculture. Then, attached to the
schools are special buildings for experiments; and boarded pupils, the
sons of men who understand the money value of knowledge, are given a
thorough training. So that all may benefit there are free scholarships,
and I found that preference is given to competitors who come from
districts, suitable for a special industry, where schools have not yet
been established.

Anyone who visits the school for viticulture in Mendoza, for agriculture
and live stock in Cordoba, and for arboriculture and sugar-making in
Tucuman--and I saw all three--comes away nothing less than amazed at the
way these transplanted Latins, away south of the Equator and across six
thousand miles of ocean, are making headway--and the start only begun a
few years ago. There is the real spirit of enthusiasm combined with an
optimism which to a man from a staid old country seems exaggerated
until, seeing what has been done, imagination is allowed to jump freely
into the future. At Mendoza, nestling at the foot of the Andes and
reminiscent of a town in Tuscany, where the whole countryside is covered
with vineyards and wine is being made to supply millions of wine
drinkers in the country--for the Argentine peasant takes wine with his
breakfast--experiments are made with the best known vines from Europe on
a farm of sixty-seven acres, so that grapes suitable to the soil may be
matured. At Cordoba the school has 445 acres, and investigation is made
to secure earlier and higher yields, and with special attention to
obtaining varieties which have powers of resisting drought. The same
sort of thing goes on at Tucuman. The sugar industry is increasing at
astonishing speed. Many men with scant practical knowledge are attracted
to it. The school gives them instruction and will send members of the
technical staff to the sugar factories and distilleries to give
assistance. Facts like these argue that Argentina is a country really to
be reckoned with, and is not to be dismissed--as I have heard it
dismissed in England, even amongst those who consider themselves
educated--as a rubbishy South American Republic, whose only crop is

All over the Republic "regional schools" are being set up to provide
instruction, not in general agricultural subjects, but in regard to the
special requirements of the locality--for Argentina varies in climate
from tropical in the north to stern cold in the south; dairying, with a
model dairy, at Belle Ville; fruit culture at San Juan; forestry in the
Benitz colony. A scheme has been devised to equip Argentina with
agricultural knowledge by means of courses for children and adults,
travelling lecturers, information bureaus, co-operative experiments,
regional shows, encouragement of agricultural societies, organisation of
regional agricultural experts and military farms. Further, the National
Government have done an enormous service in providing irrigation works
in regions where the rainfall is uncertain.

It has to be admitted that some areas are subject to drought, and this
and other evils have to be taken into consideration when reviewing the
agricultural growth of a country like Argentina, which lives by its
produce, and which in 1912 exported £36,000,000 worth of live-stock
products and £53,000,000 worth of agricultural products. Given good
years, the _estanciero_ in average country makes 30 per cent. on the
year. He can afford to have one bad year in three and yet be prosperous.
But although districts suffer, the area of the country is so vast that
losses are swamped in general prosperity.

[Illustration: The irons are heated by fire made of bones of dead

        Putting cattle through the chute.

As the older countries of the world concern themselves with national
defence, Argentina has established a Department of Agricultural Defence,
chiefly to fight the plague of locusts, which can eat out a whole
district in a single night. I recall in Cordoba Province seeing in the
distance what looked like a cloud of smoke. It was a storm of locusts,
so dense as it passed that midday was reduced to twilight. The locust
blights the land--it is the enemy. The locust is the thing which makes
the farmer shudder. When it comes it not only devours every blade of
grass within miles, but it lays its eggs in untold millions. The pest
has to be destroyed. The Government readily assists localities to
destroy the ova. The route of the swarms from the tropical north is
known. The telegraph tells of the progress. When they land, the
countryside turns out and catches them by the cartload. Sometimes the
district in which they have settled is fired. The whole zone where eggs
have been planted is ploughed. Animals are driven forth to trample the
pest. The Government has in its possession over 20,000,000 yards of
metallic barriers to make a line of defence, and when a swarm is penned
it is suffocated, burnt, or trampled. The Government not only has its
inspectors out, is ever ready to meet and repel the locust invasion from
Brazil and Bolivia with suitable appliances, but gives financial
assistance to those who help in the extermination. The Argentines are
determined to stop this pest. The way they are setting about the work
is evidence of their earnestness.

The point I specially desire to make, however, is that farming in
Argentina is not all casual, but is becoming a developed national
industry. There are many things to criticise about the Government; there
is maladministration and there is peculation. But that so much has been
accomplished, notwithstanding these drawbacks, accentuates the wonders
of progress.



It is well to mark that of the British food supply from overseas
Argentina provides one quarter. Each person in the Republic, after
providing enough food to supply himself, sends at least £8 worth of food
to other countries.

Argentina covers 776 million acres. Eighty million acres are suitable
for wheat, but only one-fourth of this area is cultivated. The
population is growing rapidly; it is now over seven millions, and is
being increased by about a quarter of a million immigrants every year;
but still the cry is for more inhabitants.

At present there are six persons to the square mile; but when you
remember that the province of Buenos Aires has a population of two and a
half millions, you find the population for the outside areas is just
under two per square mile.

Three-quarters of the population are Argentines; everyone born in the
country, no matter from what land the parents come, is reckoned an
Argentine. Of the new-comers half a million are Italian, a quarter
million Spanish, a tenth of a million French; then come the British,
numbering 25,000; Germans 18,000; Swiss 15,000; Austrians 13,000, and
so on, decreasingly. North Americans are few, though within recent
years much United States capital has quietly taken hold of certain
industries. Argentina is capable of carrying a population of fifty
millions, and it will secure them within the next half-century. In race,
language, customs, religion, it is especially favourable to folk from
the thronged Latin countries of Europe.

Every settler becomes a violent Argentine. The emphatic patriotism of
the American is tepid alongside the hot-blooded nationality of
Argentina. It is daily inculcated in the schools. The blue and white
striped flag is honoured on every occasion. You are poetically reminded
it is of the blue of the sky. When the Argentines were in revolution
against Spain in 1810, and needed a banner to flaunt against the red and
orange of the enemy, they got pieces of blue and white cloth (intended
for garments) from an English warship lying at Montevideo, and made a
flag of it. So the Argentine flag, like much of Argentine prosperity, is
due to Britain.

In proportion to the population there are as many millionaires in
Argentina as in the United States. There are sturdy old fellows, who can
hardly write their names, who scarcely know the extent of their wealth.
Fifty years ago an Irish labourer landed in the country. He died the
other day worth over £4,000,000.

        _Photograph by A. W. Boote & Co., Buenos Aires._

It is none of my business to boom land values in Argentina. Though the
tendency of late has been a little too buoyant, I know of no land where
there have been such enormous heaves in values, not fictitiously
hoisted, but legitimate on development of commerce, as in this Republic.
In 1885 you could buy land in the centre of Buenos Aires at 2s. 6d. a
square yard. Now you must pay £200 a yard. A suburban plot of 60 by 20
yards, which you could have got twelve years ago for £5, will cost £150.
Fine camp land--the "camp" is the Argentine name for farming
districts--which could be got for a song a quarter of a century ago will
now fetch £100,000 the square league (three miles). I know a plot of
land at Rosario which has jumped in value from £2,000 to £40,000 in
twenty years.

It is easy to understand how Argentine millionaires are made. In the
wars with neighbouring Republics Argentine officers were given tracts of
country in lieu of pay: of small value then, but their descendants are
fabulously wealthy. The careful Briton who came out when railways were
beginning to speed through the country, and acted shrewdly, got land for
next to nothing which will bring a better price per acre than land in
the home counties. I am writing this in mid-Atlantic on my way home, and
each morning on deck I exchange a bow with an old lady who owns 180
square miles of the finest agricultural land in the province of Buenos

In a previous chapter my pen was somewhat free about the ostentation of
the Argentine. But the display of wealth is frequently put to a good
purpose. When a fabulous price is paid for a Derby winner it is an
Argentine who has found the money. Argentina has a fine breed of
horses. As the cattle industry is so important, the best stock is
purchased at home. I went to the agricultural show in September, 1913.
All the judges had been brought out from England, partly because good
judging was needed, but chiefly, I fear, because the Argentines cannot
trust each other to give unbiassed decisions. The show was finer housed
than any royal show in England, and the quality of the exhibits was
quite on a level with anything we can produce. The prize bull, Argentine
bred, was sold by auction for over £7,000. Admitted this was a fancy
price due to the rivalry of breeders to have the best and to boast about
it. A thousand pounds has been paid by a meat company for a Hereford
bull to kill; but this may be ascribed to advertisement.

The _estancias_--ranches or stations--are frequently enormous in extent,
as wide as an English county, and are managed as well as any great
estates in Australia, Canada, or New Zealand. There are the usual show
places, maintained by Anglo-Argentines, where the immediate grounds are
laid out like an English park, the farm buildings all on the model plan,
and the animals of the best stock, whilst a successful endeavour is made
toward converting the house into something palatial. Though some
_estancias_ are far inland, and distant from a railway line, life is far
more enjoyable than might be thought. The rich _estanciero_, however,
spends little of his time on his land. He is too often an absentee
landlord. He has tasted the joys of Europe; besides, his wife and
daughters are inclined to prefer Buenos Aires to life in the camp,
however healthy. The place is usually run by a manager. Then there are
sub-managers, often young Englishmen who have heard of the fortunes to
be made; next there are the peons, Spaniards and Italians, who do the
meaner work. Life in the camp is arduous. Men are out at dawn, rounding
up cattle, giving an eye to the "colonists," attending to fencing,
driving beasts to the railway station to be transferred to the
"freezers," and it is sundown when the work is over and men go to their
quarters. It is a strenuous life, and the employees have little of the
pleasures of civilisation.

Within the last ten years the export value of live stock products has
increased from £23,000,000 to £36,000,000, and agricultural products
from £21,000,000 to £53,000,000. Since 1896 the area under cultivation
has grown from 13 million acres to nearly 50 million acres. Of Argentine
cereals the United Kingdom imported 1,654,000 tons. There are 30 million
cattle in the Republic and 80 million sheep. The breeding of sheep is
not what it was, because the Argentine finds he can get a better return
from cattle and cereals. So, whilst the value of exported mutton remains
very much what it was ten years ago (about £1,250,000), the value of the
exported chilled and frozen beef has risen from £1,500,000 to over
£6,000,000 a year.

At the ports are big slaughtering establishments, some belonging to
Argentine companies, and others to American companies. A bitter feud is
being waged to capture the chilled and frozen meat trade, especially in
the English market. As England is only three weeks' distance, meat that
is only chilled has an enormous advantage over meat from more distant
countries which must be frozen. The fact is denied, but it may be taken
as certain that there is a big combination of Chicago houses
endeavouring to squeeze their competitors out of business--and they seem
in a fair way to succeed. The Argentine public are showing fright, and
there have been frantic appeals to Congress that steps be taken to check
the creation of a trust. Also it is hoped that England may take action.
But the authorities in both countries decline to do anything. The
Chicago firms have a long purse and are damaging their rivals at both
ends, first by paying Argentine cattle breeders unprecedented prices for
beasts, and then by selling the meat below cost price in the Smithfield
market. Of course, in reply to what is happening, one hears the
statement, "Why grumble, when the Argentine cattle dealer gets a high
price for his beasts, the London consumer gets cheap meat, and the
Chicago firms pay the difference?" That is true. But it does not need
much business foresight to understand that when the Anglo-Argentine
companies are bankrupt the Chicago trust, having the game in their own
hands, will pay their own price for cattle and lift the price of meat in
London. Meanwhile, the Argentine _estanciero_ is quite happy, and is
willing to let the future take care of itself. One thing, however, may
safely be prophesied. The Argentine Government has a drastic way of
doing things. If the expected happens, and the Chicago houses secure the
meat industry and begin to force down prices for cattle, there will not
be the slightest hesitation in passing a law which will make things
uncomfortable for the trust.

With the care taken in breeding, always striving after improving the
strain of the stock, Argentina, with its millions of acres of pasturage,
is determined not to slacken the stride of its improving meat trade. The
best lands are given to wheat, maize, oats; but the use of alfalfa has
meant an amazing expansion of productivity, for this nutritious plant, a
kind of sanfoil, will grow abundantly on land that is little good for
other purposes. Areas at which the agriculturist was inclined to shrug
his shoulders as barren prosper under alfalfa, the best of feeding
stuffs, and several crops can be got in a year. Two acres will carry a
beast. Alfalfa grown for fodder gives a hundred per cent. profit.
Alfalfa, whilst drawing nitrogen from the ground, attracts nitrogen from
the air. One ton of alfalfa contains 50 lb. of nitrogen. Three tons of
alfalfa has as much nitrogen as two tons of wheat. It is easy to grow,
and cattle fatten on it abundantly. The alfalfa of Argentina means more
to the prosperity of the country than rich gold mines. As there is no
winter, as we understand it, the cattle are left out all the year, and
there is no stalling or hand feeding.

Cattle disease is more prevalent than with us. This is partly due to
carelessness, but chiefly to the herds being so large that the scourge
becomes virulent before it is noticed. Then, as I have indicated, there
is the danger of drought and the dread of locusts. Further, so much of
the cereal growing being in the hands of "colonists," too often anything
but expert farmers, the yield is by no means what it would be if the
farming were in more skilled hands. So, whilst the average yield of
wheat in Great Britain is thirty-one bushels to the acre; in Argentina
it is only eleven bushels. But manuring is unknown in the Republic.

Yet, keeping one's eyes open to all the disadvantages, one cannot go
through the country and see its fecundity, go into the killing houses at
La Plata and Buenos Aires, watch the ocean liners, with the Union Jack
dangling over their stern, being loaded with many sides of beef, visit
the grain elevators at the ports of Bahia Blanca and Rosario pouring
streams of wheat destined for European consumption into the holds of
liners, without the imagination being stimulated when standing on the
threshold of this new land's possibilities.

Already Argentina holds first place in the quantity of exported frozen
meat. It was in 1877 that the Republic led the way in exporting such
meat to Europe. It was not till 1885, however, that the business of
freezing was definitely established. To-day £11,000,000 is invested in
"freezing works." And millions of cattle and sheep are slaughtered for
foreign consumption. There seems to be something of a race at present
between live stock products and agricultural products which shall hold
first place in value of exports. The ports of Argentina, with a capacity
for 45 million tons, are ever busy. Yet they are only in infancy.

Like all new lands, where enterprise and optimism frequently leap beyond
rigid economies, Argentina has its heaves and falls. We know of the
hundreds of millions of foreign capital invested. People do not go to
Argentina for the beauty of the scenery. They go for money-making. Often
when I came across some evidence of Latin sluggishness, saw what had not
been done, what might have been done, and then remembered what,
nevertheless, had been done, I found myself exclaiming: "Oh, that this
land were a British colony!"



New countries, in planning their system of government, have advantages
over old lands steeped in tradition and hampered by precedent. They can
profit by the mistakes of the older countries, and can, more or less,
start with a clean slate. As men past middle age are disposed to think
the young fellows of the present day headstrong, lacking in ballast, it
is all in the nature of things that the older countries should look with
a somewhat critical eye upon the experiments in government made by
youngsters amongst the nations. So it is instructive to look at the
system of law and administration in the Republic.

The head of authority, in which the executive power of the nation is
vested, is the President. He must be an Argentine, a Roman Catholic, and
being elected for six years can never be elected again. This is a
provision to prevent a Dictatorship. The President for the time being is
head of the Army and Navy; he nominates the judges, selects bishops,
appoints diplomatic representatives to other nations, and all the
secretaries of State are chosen by him. There are two Houses, the Senate
and the Chamber of Deputies; but a Minister can be neither a senator
nor a deputy. He can attend debates, speak and defend himself from
criticism, but he is beyond the power of either House. If he likes, he
need appear only once a year in Congress to make an annual report about
the working of his Department. So he is removed from the constant
cross-examination which is the fate of Ministers in the British Houses
of Parliament.

The Senate consists of thirty members, two from the capital and two from
each province. Those sent from Buenos Aires are elected by certain high
franchised electors, and those from outside are nominated by the
provincial legislatures. A senator must be thirty years of age, must
have been a citizen of the Republic for at least six years, and have a
personal income of £160 a year. A senator is elected for nine years, and
can offer himself for re-election. But every three years ten senators of
the thirty, decided by ballot, must retire, though they can be
re-chosen. No "carpet-bagging" is allowed. A senator must either be a
native of his province or have lived in it for at least two years before
his election. The provinces vary considerably in population, but they
have equal voice in the Senate. Thus it is a body which may be said to
represent localities rather than individuals.

The Chamber of Deputies, however, is chosen direct by the people. There
is one deputy for every thirty-three thousand inhabitants. No man can
become a candidate unless he is twenty-five years of age, has been a
citizen at least four years, born in the province, or lived in it for
two years. Thus there is never anything in the nature of a general
election, but there is a constant movement going on to secure the proper
representation of the people.

Both senators and deputies receive a salary of £1,500 a year, so they
are the best-paid legislators in the world. Both Chambers meet on May
1st and adjourn on September 30th. Only the Chamber of Deputies can have
a voice in taxation. As I have shown in the preceding chapter, the
Argentine Government--which, like all Governments, is open to
criticism--has done a great deal in advancing legislation for the solid
benefit of the country. There cannot be said to be government on party
principles, but the Government is maintained by the followers of
particular men. Politicians in Argentina, as elsewhere, have their
enemies, and when a man has been elected to Congress he sometimes dare
not attend, for that would mean leaving the constituency, and there
would always be some rival busy sapping his influence. I was in Buenos
Aires toward the close of the session. Day after day the House met, but
nothing could be done, for no quorum could be obtained. Public business
was at a standstill. It was proposed the President should employ the
police to search Buenos Aires, arrest legislators, haul them along, and
thus "make a House" with locked doors, so that business could be
proceeded with. Everybody was crying out against the scandal of
Congressmen drawing such large salaries and doing nothing to earn them.
But nothing was done.

        _Photograph by H. G. Olds, Buenos Aires._

Besides the excellent remuneration for not attending to business, the
Argentine politician has the advantage of getting jobs for all his
relatives. The majority of Government employees are the relatives of
politicians. There are true and honourable men in political life, but,
so far as I could gather, most men take to politics in Argentina because
they can do their families a good turn. The only group that is cohesive
is that of the Socialists. Socialist deputies are on the increase.
Nearly all the freshly arrived immigrants, Spanish and Italian, when
they get their naturalisation papers after a residence of two years,
vote Socialist.

Now, whilst everything which affects the Republic as a whole is decided
upon by the central Government, each province has its local government,
with governor, two Houses, and considerable power, quite independent of
the central executive. This is following the United States plan. The
principle of devolution is a good one, that districts should administer
their own affairs without interference by those who cannot know local
circumstances. But Argentina has frequently the same trouble that the
United States has, and similarly would like to get rid of. There are
differences in the provincial laws, so that what is allowed in one
province is prohibited in another, with the consequence that, though the
process of trade is not hampered, it is often irritated.

Then the provincial Governments, sovereign in their own realm, sometimes
enact laws which the federal Government declares affect general
conditions in the Republic. They infringe the prerogative of the
central executive. Accordingly, the relationship between the central
Government and the local Governments is frequently strained. It is the
smaller provinces which cause the most trouble. Some of them have a
population that, all told, would not stock a fair-sized town. That,
however, does not diminish their sense of importance. They are
cock-a-hoop. They know what is for their good; they will pass what laws
they like; they are not going to be dictated to by those overpaid
fellows who go to Buenos Aires. The federal Government cannot use force,
and the provincial Governments snap their fingers. For instance, Mendoza
insists on printing her own paper money. It is quite clear, if serious
trouble is to be avoided, that the federal and provincial Governments
must meet in conference and draw up hard-and-fast rules dealing with
their respective powers and limitations.

So far as the individual is concerned, the theory is liberty and
equality. The stranger has the same rights before the law as the
citizen. The State, however, interferes in the matter of property. A man
is not allowed, as in England, to leave his possessions to whom he
likes. A father must leave his wife and children four-fifths of his
property; a husband, if there are no children, must let half his
belongings go to his wife; an unmarried son is obliged to leave his
parents two-thirds of his property. Only the man without parents, wife,
or children can dispose of his property by testament.

There is no obligation upon a foreigner resident in the country to
become a citizen before he can start a trade or own estate. Two years'
residence is the qualifying period to become a citizen of the Republic.
If you enter the public service you can become a citizen earlier. If you
marry an Argentine woman you can become a citizen right away. Every
child born in Argentina, even though its parents be British and on a
fortnight's visit, and have no desire to change their nationality, is
counted an Argentine. Thus there are lots of residents with a dual
nationality, Argentine in the Republic, but British in any other part of
the world.

Though the Roman Catholic faith is that of the State, and other faiths
are not restricted, the average Argentine pays little attention to
religion. He likes his wife to go to church because it does her good.
Education comprises three divisions: primary, secondary, and higher. The
former is free, secular, and compulsory for children between six and
fourteen years. If religious instruction is to be given it is only for
those children who voluntarily remain after school hours on certain
days. Public schools are scattered all over the Republic--though there
are extensive districts where the population is thin where there is no
instruction, and thousands of children grow up illiterate--and are
subsidised by both the national and provincial Governments. Also there
are primary schools for grown-ups, men whose education has been
neglected, and who want to learn reading, writing, arithmetic, and
elementary history and geography. This teaching is given during the day
or evening, and is free.

Secondary education for pupils over fourteen years is neither compulsory
nor free, though the fees only amount to 8s. 9d. a year. This secondary
instruction, quite as wide in range as elsewhere, is given in national
schools, of which there are five in Buenos Aires and one in each of the
capitals of the provinces, and normal schools, which are twenty-eight in
number, three in Buenos Aires and the remainder in the provinces. Five
years is about the length of tuition at these schools. Then the students
can enter one or other of the faculties which form the university. There
are three universities in Argentina; the oldest is in Cordoba, and the
others are in Buenos Aires and La Plata. To qualify in either of these
universities for the practice of medicine, law, or engineering, a
seven-years' course is required for the former and a six-years' course
for the two latter. Minor terms of special study are required for
qualification as a chemist, accoucheur, dental surgeon, surveyor, or
architect. In order to obtain the degree of doctor in physical sciences
further studies are required outside those of the faculties. The
university council cannot grant a qualification for a notary public,
which must be acquired before the Supreme Court of the particular
province in which the applicant seeks permission to practise.


Primary education in the capital and national territories is under the
National Ministry of Education. In the provinces it is under the control
of the Provincial Council of Education, who receive subventions from the
national exchequer as occasion may require. The intuitive method is
employed exclusively, and the whole system is modelled on that of the
United States. As a rule, Spanish children learn Italian from their
classmates, and vice versa. In the elementary higher standards, boys
learn manual labour and French, and girls learn French and domestic
duties. The schools are well built, well ventilated, the rooms are airy,
each child has a separate desk, there is a medical visit every day, and
where schools are within reach they are fairly well attended. But only
42 per cent. of the children in the Republic who ought to go to school
do so. The low attendance may be put down to the great distances which
separate the children's homes from the schools in the country districts.
Very general complaints are heard in the villages of the manner in which
the schools are conducted, and the small amount of knowledge acquired in
spite of the flattering picture presented by the education authorities.

Considerable attention is paid to technical education, which is largely
encouraged throughout the country by means of schools and training
colleges maintained at the expense of the nation. Prominent among these
institutions stands the National School of Commerce, which trains and
prepares mercantile experts, public accountants, and sworn translators.
There are also commercial schools in Cordoba and Bahia Blanca. These
schools are attended by about a thousand pupils, who receive instruction
in commercial arithmetic, account and book-keeping, French, German,
etc. The schools are open to both sexes, and in them the pupils can
qualify for employment as book-keepers, accountants, clerks, etc. The
Industrial School has its own workshops for the teaching of trades. The
entrance conditions are similar to those for the national schools.
Thorough practical instruction is given to about four hundred pupils in
a number of subjects, including chemistry, mechanics, physics, optics,
electricity, architecture, practical carpentry, mechanical and
electrical engineering. The complete course lasts about six years, and
the school is said to have given very good results. There is a School of
Mines at San Juan, to which was added, by a decree dated April 20th,
1906, a section of chemical industry. There is an important agricultural
college known as the Agrarian and Veterinary School at Santa Catalina in
the immediate neighbourhood of Buenos Aires, and at Mendoza there is a
viticultural training school where the practical cultivation of the vine
is taught. Various other agricultural and horticultural schools are
being established by the Government, which also supports the National
School of Pilots, several conservatories of music, and a drawing school.

There is a naval and military college, from which officers are chosen
for the navy and army, but they do not come under the Ministry of
Education. By order of the Ministry of War physical drill and rifle
shooting are taught in the two highest classes of all secondary schools,
these exercises being subject to the supervision of a military officer.
The Argentine Government has founded numerous scholarships, and sends
students to England, the United States, Italy, France, and Germany. It
will be seen that the plan of education is very complete; but it would
not appear to give such good results as might be anticipated, for it is
a very general complaint that there are no good schools in the country

The attention of the public is frequently called in the newspapers to
the unsatisfactory condition of education, in spite of the large sums of
money spent upon it annually. It is shown how small is the attendance at
the primary schools compared with what it should be if the law was
properly obeyed, as would be the case were the results more
satisfactory. It is also asserted that the education in the secondary
schools is especially defective, and that certificates are issued to
university candidates without previous examination, and after merely
nominal questioning by inspectors. There are numerous foreign private
schools in the country, which all have to submit by law to Government

    [A] This information respecting education in Argentina is
        extracted from a British Foreign Office memorandum.

There is compulsory military service. The period of continuous training
does not exceed one year, and this only in the case of a proportion of
the annual contingent. The others are released after three months'
drill. With varying periods of training every Argentine from the age of
twenty to forty-five is liable to be called upon to defend his country.
Though years may pass without any call to attend military drill, every
man in the country must learn to shoot.

Heavy duties are imposed on most manufactured articles imported, except
in the case of material directly beneficial to the development of the
country, such as machinery. Anything which helps in the progress of the
Republic has easy entry. So, though it means two years' residence to
become a naturalised citizen, anyone who establishes a new industry, or
introduces a useful invention, who has contracted to build railways or
establish a colony, or who is going to be a teacher in any branch of
education or industry, is admitted at once. All these regulations go to
show that, despite the perfectly legitimate criticisms which can be
made, there is sound common-sense and foresight in the minds of the
governing classes.

Everyone in any business or profession must pay an annual licence, and
these vary from five to sixty thousand dollars. The latter sum is paid
by banks. Money-lenders have to pay from five to seven thousand dollars,
whilst in some provinces the _patente_ varies from three to six hundred
dollars a year. The postal and telegraph services are under the control
of the Ministry of the Interior. Most of the taxation is indirect.
Though the tariffs imposed on manufactured articles coming into the
country are high--except in the case of specified articles, which are
counted as beneficial for the development of the country--and
consequently one is disposed to gasp at the price of things compared
with Europe, it is not to be forgotten that the direct taxation is not
so high as in Europe. I heard it asserted that the reason there are high
tariffs is to stimulate manufacture in Argentina. If so, the result has
not been markedly apparent. The effect might have been so if the mass of
the immigrants into Argentina came from manufacturing countries, like
Germany, Belgium, France, Great Britain, or the United States. That is
not so, and one of the hindering checks has been the language. The crowd
has come from Italy and Spain, mostly unskilled labourers or men whose
knowledge is limited to the land.

Argentina has no coal--and that will always handicap her if she enters
the field as a manufacturing nation. The climate being what it is, there
is no need of coal for heating purposes. A fire-place is a rare sight.
But the importation of coal is a heavy charge on the working of railways
and on shipping. Syndicates are now endeavouring to introduce oil as
fuel. Oil has been found in the country, but as yet not in sufficient
quantity to make it an important addition to the products of the
Republic. So I see small prospect of Argentina's ever becoming a
manufacturing country in the modern meaning of the phrase. Blest as she
is in innumerable respects, she could not be worse placed if she had any
such desire. She cannot produce cheaper, because most of her raw
material, including coal, must be imported, and heavy freights would
handicap economic production. Take the case of two raw materials
which she has in abundance, leather and wool. There are shoe factories,
but the quality can in no way compete with that of the importations.
Only the rougher kind of boots are made. There is some woollen
manufacturing, but the material produced is crude, except in a few
cases. Besides, the rush of immigrants is to the land, and not into
workshops. The men who are skilled artizans are few. Therefore, although
here and there you get local manufacturers who can hold their own in the
markets, it may be said that in general the articles imported are better
and cheaper, notwithstanding the tariff. However, as I will show in a
later chapter, there is room for industrial development within a defined

Then there are the constant labour disputes in the towns. Running along
with the prosperity of the country is the trouble of repeated strikes
amongst the workers. It is not my province to go into the merits of the
respective disputes. But they have been so recurrent, and have so much
hampered trade, that the Government has taken the most drastic measures
by laying hands on the chiefs of trade unions when grievances are
fomented and strikes threatened.

Although the number of the strings of commerce which are in the hands of
Englishmen is gratifying, it would have been strange if I had not heard
the usual complaint that the Germans are edging in, and that, if care is
not taken, the British will be ousted from their pre-eminence. It was
the old story that British merchants are too conservative, and do not
pay sufficient heed to the personal likings of Argentine customers. It
is true I saw lots of German goods. They were cheaper and not of the
same quality as those of British make. Further, German houses give much
longer credit than do their British rivals. Another cause of complaint
is that in business disputes the long-drawn-out law's delay, and the
obstacles in the path of the foreigner seeking redress, mean that
justice is not always secured.

It is not to be denied that, although the returns are excellent, Britain
does not retain the same proportion of the import trade which she had a
few years ago. There is no disputing the superiority of the British
article; but German and French merchants having a market to secure are
more accommodating to their customers, whilst in regard to agricultural
implements the United States makers are pushing their hardest. Their
machines are more showy than the English. It seems a small point, and
yet I have thought it would be well if our British manufacturers would
not only turn out a serviceable tool, but bear in mind the temperament
of the people who are to be the buyers. Put two threshing machines in a
Buenos Aires warehouse, that from Britain painted grey, and that from
the United States painted red; the Latin Argentine is naturally
attracted to the red, even though its merits be inferior. Hundreds of
millions sterling are to be expended in public works during the ensuing
few years, and British contractors should be awake to the
possibilities. Belgian contractors have already been in the field, but
their work has not always been "up to sample," so that the present
opportunity is considerable.

Old residents directed my attention to a great change which is taking
place in the import houses of Buenos Aires. Until a few years back it
could be said that the British were first and the rest nowhere. British
capital has flowed abundantly into the country, but toward developing
its natural resources rather than in trade. Now German houses have a
strong footing in "B.A.," and, naturally enough, they are encouraging
the products of their own land. Go into a German house, and it is German
wares that are for sale. Go into a British house, and you find United
States and German wares as well as English being offered. I was
seriously convinced, whilst studying the trend of trade in Argentina,
that it is absolutely necessary that the managing heads of English firms
who have dealings with South America, and find they are not getting that
share of the increased trade which the growth of the country warrants,
should make periodic visits to Argentina to learn for themselves what is
the matter.

If there is one complaint to be made against the Englishman trading with
a foreign land, it is his lack of adaptability. So long as he had the
manufacturing of the world in his own hands, he could do as he liked.
The thing he made was good, and it was the only thing. Now he has keen
competitors, and the customer has a varied choice. The Englishman
has to consider whether it is worth his while to give the exaggerated
credit which manufacturers elsewhere are prepared to give if they can
secure the orders. The Argentine likes long credit. Then, is he prepared
to make an inferior, showy article at a cheap price? These are two
considerations which count enormously with the Argentine. You can
purchase the best Sheffield cutlery in the best shops, for it is what
the better-to-do people insist on having. But there are millions of
people in the Republic who have never heard of Sheffield, and,
therefore, know nothing about its reputation. What they want is cheap
knives. Sheffield firms do not make these, and the consequence is the
majority of the people have rubbish from elsewhere. I am not advocating
that the British manufacturer should drop making the things which have
won for him and his country a worthy reputation. I am pointing out some
of the things which must be well thought about if Britain is going to
keep its pre-eminence in the financial value of the goods imported into

Further, an Argentine when he orders anything wants it at once. Quick
delivery is an essential. Finally, all catalogues should be in Spanish,
and all prices in Argentine currency. No man who goes out to "chase up
business" in securing orders should be without a knowledge of Spanish.
Talking through an interpreter is no good. The personal touch is lost.
Spanish is a language much neglected in England. I can think of no more
profitable investment for a young fellow of parts, wanting to enter
commercial life, and without means to go into business as a principal,
than thoroughly to master Spanish.



It is well to get a bold, broad idea of the country. It covers 2,000,000
square miles. England is just about one-tenth that size. It is double
the size of Mexico.

In the far north you are in the torrid tropics. In the far south you
need a heavy coat, even in high summer-time. Its conditions may,
therefore, be described as variable. No other country can give you such

The 20,000 miles of railway run through most of the flat fertile areas,
and the ordinary traveller comes away with the idea it is one of the
most level, featureless countries he has ever been in. The old settlers
had the same idea, for their description _pampa_ applied to a boundless
stretch. You can journey for hundreds of miles and never see a tree. But
up in the north, under the shadow of Brazil, are great forests which
will be made useful to the world one of these days. Then you get the
backbone of the continent in the west, the Andes with Aconcagua rising
to 23,000 feet above sea level. In the middle land is the fruitful
Argentine Mesapotamia. In the far south is the last word of desolation,
the Patagonian wilderness.

Argentina has several navigable rivers, and two, the Plate and the
Parana, up which it is possible, for light draft steamers, at any rate,
to go hundreds of miles. If one pretends there is no Amazon in existence
the Plate discharges more water into the ocean than any river from
Hudson's Bay to the Magellan Straits. A learned book informs me that the
volume of water rolled into the ocean is 2,150,000 cubic feet per
second, which seems "prodigious." At Monte Video the width of the river
is sixty-two miles; so it is no trifling creek. The Plate is the
muddiest stream I have ever come across. This is not to be wondered at,
considering that it and its tributaries scour many thousands of miles.
As a matter of fact, the estuary is being filled up. Within knowledge,
the depth opposite Monte Video has lessened by fifteen feet, and though
dredgers are constantly at work, big liners moving up to Buenos Aires
have sometimes to force a way through two feet of mud. It is quite
likely that in the fullness of time Buenos Aires will not be a port, but
an inland town.

Sometimes Argentina has floods which ruin the crops, drown thousands of
cattle, break the railway banks, and reduce strong men, who thought they
were rich, to tears at the prospect of poverty. Or there are droughts
which shrivel everything up. Away back in the 'thirties, Buenos Aires
Province had a drought which lasted for five years. Scientists, who know
all about these things, say that the rainless zones are extending, and
that in the far future the whole Republic will be a rainless zone, and
umbrella sellers will go into the bankruptcy court. The prospect is not
immediate, and if we are wise we shall not worry over a trouble which
may have to be faced five hundred years hence.

        _Photograph by J. W. Boote & Co., Buenos Aires._
        The long pole in the man's hand is an ox-goad.]

Considering you can get a sweep of level country for 2,000 miles, with
scarcely a hill that would make a decent bunker, when a gale gets on the
rampage it runs away with itself. There is the _zonda_, which so
disturbs the elements that the thermometer jumps fifty degrees in about
as many minutes. Then, although there are those millions of cubic feet
of water emptying itself out of the Plate, there comes the _suestadas_,
which blows so hard that the water cannot get into the ocean, and, as a
result, the upper streams rise and tumble over their banks. Next there
are the _pamperos_ on the plains, which either grill you with their heat
or give you a chill from their rawness. I did not suffer myself; but
these hateful _pamperos_ are so charged with electricity that they give
you a shock which produces a sort of paralysis, "perhaps twisting up a
corner of the mouth, or half closing one eye, or causing a sudden
swelling of the neck," as one authority records.

Parts of the Republic are yet to be explored. Persistent man is having a
rough time in the Chaco region. When our ancestors invented hell they
had no knowledge of the Chaco. It is all swamp and forest, and mammoth
mosquitoes and fever, and pestiferous Indians who do not like the white
man, and put a spear into his back whenever they get the chance. The
Chaco Indians are amongst the few of their race who have not been
subjugated. There are rivers which come trailing from goodness knows
where; but when they reach the Chaco they are evidently so disgusted
that they burrow underground. When it rains, fish several inches long
drop from the clouds. Under a torrent a dip in the ground will become a
pool, and in it will be found fish a foot long. They do not drop from
the clouds. There are no little streams by which they can have arrived.
Where do they come from? The easiest explanation offered is that they
were formerly much smaller, did arrive on a storm cloud, and have been
lying in the mud since the last storm.

I heard yarns, vouched for, but which seem like travellers' tales. There
is a little bird which sits on a branch and twitters. Others come round,
and are apparently mesmerised. Then the little bird attacks one, maybe
much bigger than itself, and kills it without any resistance being
offered. There is another bird which lives on friendly terms with the
Indians, hops in and out of their mud huts, and is known as the "watch
bird," because it always raises a peculiar cry when a stranger

In its physical aspects the Chaco is strange, with swamps, arid plains,
and mighty clumps of forest. Here grows the quebracho, which means the
break-axe; so it is a very hard wood. It is to get this wood that
companies have men working in the Chaco, hundreds of miles from even a
vestige of civilisation. Bullocks are employed to drag the trunks, and
the poor beasts have a bad time of it. Then there are light railways to
carry the trunks to the mills. Originally the quebracho was sought
because it made serviceable and long lasting "sleepers" for railroads.
Now it is chiefly wanted for the tannin in it; it is said to contain 50
per cent. of tannin.

Mention has been made of singular birds in the Chaco. But there are
others to be found elsewhere in Argentina. W. H. Hudson, in his
instructive book "The Naturalist in La Plata," describes the ypecaha,
which holds public meetings and has dancing performances. "A number of
ypecahas," he says, "have their assembling places on a small area of
smooth, level ground, just above the water and hemmed in by dense rush
beds. First one bird among the rushes emits a powerful cry, thrice
repeated, and this is a note of invitation quickly responded to by other
birds from all sides as they hurriedly repair to the usual place. In a
few moments they appear to the number of a dozen or twenty, bursting
from the rushes and rushing into the open space and instantly beginning
the performance. There is a screaming concert. The screams they utter
have a certain resemblance to the human voice, exerted to its utmost
pitch and expressive of extreme terror, frenzy and despair. A long,
piercing shriek is succeeded by a lower note as if in the first the
creature had wellnigh exhausted itself. Whilst screaming, the birds rush
from side to side, as if possessed by madness, the wings spread and
vibrating, the long beak wide open and raised vertically. This
exhibition lasts three or four minutes, after which the assembly
peaceably breaks up." Quite like a political meeting at home.

European domestic animals have thrived since their introduction, though
there is a tendency, checked by the constant introduction of breeding
stock, to develop local characteristics. This has been particularly
remarked in sheep which have strayed and have been left to themselves
for several generations. They grow bigger and bonier, and with their
leanness comes the power of rapid movement, so that their flesh is scant
and their wool has an inclination toward growing straight and stiff like
the hair of a goat. In the outlands of Argentina ostriches, jaguars, and
deer may be seen; but you can live for years on the prairies--and that
is where most of the colonisation is going on--and never catch a glimpse
of one of these.

The thing which lays hold of the seeing man, after he has remembered the
ages during which the country, suitable for maintaining innumerable
millions of men and beasts, lay dormant, is the way the land has been
completely transformed in its inhabitants, human and animal, and how
alien vegetation has found a thriving home. The early Spanish
adventurers, as has already been told, had to start their settlement by
bringing animals from Spain, and it was chance, the extraordinary
reproductiveness of herds which strayed or were abandoned, which taught
them they had come into possession of something more valuable than gold
mines. Books of history chiefly deal with the lust and the cruelty of
the early Spaniards. I have nothing to do here with the story of the way
in which Spain conquered the land. We have not to lose sight of the
fact, however, they began settling in these parts nearly four hundred
years ago, when a voyage to the Americas was like a journey to another
planet, when the ships were small and incommodious and dangers were
great, and the world had no experience in the science of colonisation.
The authorities freely gave tracts of land, but in their wisdom they
always stipulated that European domestic animals should be introduced. A
settler got land for wheat and maize and an orchard, and then more land,
just in proportion to how many horses, cows, sheep, pigs, and goats he
would introduce. The land could be obtained for nothing, but always on
condition that it was put to its full use in the maintenance of stock.
That was a rough and ready, and yet very statesmanlike procedure. The
best incentive was given to the agriculturist and breeder. The more
cattle he introduced the more land he put to the plough, the bigger was
the grant given to him by the authorities. Thus possession and
prosperity advanced hand in hand. Here is a lesson which might be learnt
to-day and copied by such countries as Australia, where there are
millions of acres of undeveloped territory.

Time came when the wild herds waxed so numerous that the local councils
proclaimed that all such cattle were the public property of their own
people. To prevent those who lived under another local council taking
possession, the system of branding these cattle, when they could be
caught, was introduced. When the cattle thief came on the scene, and he
was got hold of, he was first branded on the shoulder and for subsequent
offences branded in the hand, flogged and hanged. The straying cattle in
a district belonging to the public, the public soon began to appreciate
that here were cheap meat and cheap hides. They were hunted as the
buffalo were subsequently hunted in North America, and it really seemed
as though they were going to be exterminated. Regulations had to be made
limiting the number of animals to be killed every year. Though there was
still great slaughter, the herds continued to multiply amazingly, and,
of course, wandered hundreds of miles away from any settlements. So the
tide rolled on until two hundred years ago the number of cattle had
increased to many millions. Carlos Gervasini, a Jesuit missionary,
writing from Buenos Aires in 1729, says, "So numerous are the cattle in
the neighbouring _campo_ here that any landlord may take from ten to
twelve thousand to breed from, merely for the trouble of lassoing them
and driving them home. In order to take more than this number a special
licence is required from the governor. The ships returning to Spain are
filled with the hides, and none but good specimens of these are troubled
about. As to the flesh, each man takes what he requires and leaves the
rest to the jaguars and dogs." Some years later a visitor to Argentina
said there were so many cattle that the plains were covered; and had it
not been for the number of dogs which devoured the young the country
would have been devastated by them. There were so many cattle that when
the Spaniards were at war, and invading boats appeared, their custom was
to drive vast herds pell-mell down the river bank and so prevent a

See the extraordinary whirligig. First no cattle. Then land granted to
settlers who would introduce cattle. Then so many cattle they could be
had by anyone for the asking, and this followed by wholesale slaughter,
the extermination so thorough that a halt had to be called. Then further
amazing multiplication, till the increasing wild dogs played havoc with
the young animals. Then the dogs got so numerous, and their ravages so
extensive, that soldiers were sent out to wage war on the canine pests.
They killed untold thousands, but the people, instead of being grateful,
chaffed the soldiers and dubbed them the "dog killers." The dogs started
to increase again, faster than the cattle, but men refused to go out and
kill the dogs when the only reward was to be nicknamed "dog killer." So
the dogs were left alone, and they kept down the number of cattle. It
was not till fifty years ago that a systematic massacre of the wild dogs
took place, because just then the Argentines were beginning to settle
down to scientific breeding.

It is astonishing how few dogs there are in Argentina. The dog may be
the friend of man in other parts of the world, but not in Argentina.
The Argentine hates the dog. In Buenos Aires the police have order to
arrest every dog, whether it is with anyone or not. During the time I
was in "B.A." I saw only one dog, and that was the property of Sir
Reginald Tower at the British Legation.

That is not all the story. Not only did the wild dogs develop a taste
for young calves, but the native Indians began to show a fondness for
horseflesh. For centuries, although he could have had any number of
cattle and nobody would have objected, the Indian maintained a
preference for horseflesh. Then, suddenly, his fancy extended to cattle.
When he started rounding up the cattle of the Spaniards there was
trouble. Sheep were prolific, but mutton was contemptible food. None was
so poor as to be obliged to eat mutton. The Spaniards regarded mutton
much as Englishmen now regard horseflesh. The only use of a sheep was
for its wool and fat. But the prejudice against mutton, after lasting
for nearly three hundred years, finally disappeared.

Whilst there was an increasing carrying trade from Buenos Aires to Spain
of skins, wool, and tallow--very profitable merchandise--Spain
officially was not enthusiastic over this mean trading. What she wanted
was gold and silver. As these came from Peru and Chili those countries
were favoured whilst Argentina was the Cinderella of the family. What
good was a country that had no mines but only grass to feed horses and
cattle and sheep?

We think differently in these days, but in those far-off times Spain
scarcely condescended to recognise Argentina. It was darling Peru that
was always favoured. All regulations in regard to trade were made
favourable to Peru. Spain accepted what she fancied from Argentina, and
hampered her in seeking other markets.

Nothing, however, could stop the advance of Argentina. It was with
reluctance that Argentina was raised to the first rank as a province,
and was given liberty to export where she liked. Her trade jumped ahead.
Then Argentina not only killed to get hides and wool and fat, but she
had to begin breeding in order to supply the European demand. She began
to dream dreams. There was little immigration; the people were the
descendants of the old settlers. They knew nothing of Spain. They had no
recollection of ancestors who did know anything of Spain. Spain meant
nothing to them but a distant country which once lorded them and
presumed to dictate to them. It was resentment at the relationship,
combined with a desire to fulfil an independent destiny, that brought
about the revolution and the declaration of a republic in 1810.

Since then Argentina has had many internal political troubles. She has
had her set-backs. But the ebb has always been succeeded by a tumbling
flow of fortune. The breed of cattle has been marvellously improved. The
number of animals now runs into hundreds of millions. Vast areas now
wave with wheat and maize. As you journey through Argentina, and see
the land smiling with success, you know that beyond your gaze are
thousands of square miles of soil as virgin as in the days when the
Indians roamed free.




One of the failings of new countries, like that of youth generally, is
conceit. Yet, on second thought, it is a useful offence, for it carries
a people light-heartedly over rough ground which older nations dare not
face and so turn aside.

In the new lands the settlers have the constant panorama of achievement
before their eyes. They remember things as they were ten years ago, see
them now, and are convinced that nowhere in the world has such progress
been made as they are making. Anybody who hints a doubt is scowled upon.
And the buoyancy of spirit, a sort of rampant optimism about themselves,
is fostered by a bent of mind to read about what goes on in "rotten old
Europe." A gracious Providence helps them to take notice only of the
good things in their own country, and to have a quick eye for the bad
things in other countries. Further, as all new lands need settlers, the
official flag-waving and trumpet-blowing to attract immigrants is
garish. You can, as a rule, reduce the value of the advertisements by
half, and still be quite sure that more than justice remains.

I have been induced to write the preceding paragraph because, as I
am not a hired agent to proclaim the wonders of Argentina, but merely a
man who has studied some of its capabilities on the spot, I have no
desire, in my endeavour to give a true portrait, to ignore the warts and
occasional blemishes. Of course, the Argentine thinks his land the most
remarkable in the world. In many respects I am disposed to agree with
him. But it is not without spot. For instance, the first thing he is
enthusiastic about is the climate. The freedom from severe winters, with
the possibility for cattle to remain in the open all the year round, is
an advantage. But in the Argentine winter (our summer) there are cold,
wretched, rainy days which are depressing. In their summer (our winter)
the heat is sometimes intense, especially in the northern region. I know
of the fine, clear, bracing climate of the plains, filling one's veins
with energy and the joy of living. I have enjoyed the charm of Mendoza,
the healthiest of all the towns in the Republic. Where I am inclined to
part company with the Argentine is when he wants to argue that the
climate of the whole country is adorable.

Take Buenos Aires. The new arrival is not only entranced with the
development and the encircling beauty of the city, but, with continuous
blue skies and glorious sunshine, he is prone to underline the usual
nice things about the climate. Then, one day, he feels uncomfortable,
limp, saggy in body and mind. The slight breeze is from the north, and
it seems to bring heavy inertia from the Brazilian forests. The old
inhabitants have probably got used to the "norther"--they show no
diminution in vigour--but the muscle-slackening and wearying effect on
the new-comer is undoubted. Most of Buenos Aires is built on low-lying
ground, much of it reclaimed from the shallow Plate, and the air is
relaxing. Though the sun is delightful, it is anything but invigorating.
So you reach the conclusion that, whilst Buenos Aires has usually most
delightful weather, it has an indifferent climate.

There are striking changes in temperature in Argentina. Within half an
hour of being broiled you may feel as though you had passed into a
refrigerator. Hurricanes sometimes sweep vast areas, and
everything--trees, buildings, crops--are mown down by the blasts. In the
sandy stretches the sand is swept up like a thick cloud, and, though
_estancieros_ shut every door and fasten every window, it is not long
before every room has an inch depth of sand. I have travelled all night
in a sleeping car with double windows to resist the sand, but it
filtered through nevertheless, and in the morning I found the only white
spot in the compartment was where my cheek had rested on the pillow.

Life on a ranch has the glamour of romance about it. The town-bred
Englishman, dissatisfied with his lot, lets his fancy roam to the
prairies of North America or the pampas of South America, and his
imagination glows with the conjured picture of cowboy life--quaintly
dressed, always well-mounted, and with nothing to do but ride over the
plains rounding up wandering cattle. As I have explained in an earlier
chapter, many of the large _estancias_ are not occupied by their owners;
a manager with a salary is put in charge, and he usually has several
young Englishmen as assistants. There are a number of peons. The
manager, usually married, has a decent house. The assistants have a
plain, bachelor establishment, and live in common. The peons rarely have
anything better than ramshackle quarters. Distances are enormous.
Frequently, outside the little clump of trees which is the
distinguishing feature of all _estancias_, there is nothing to be seen
as far as the eye can range but featureless prairie. The railways may be
many miles away. The country has comparatively few towns--really a good
point about an agricultural land--and though they are all attractive,
only Spanish is spoken. Months may elapse between the visits of an
Englishman to a town. He has to rise early; he has to work hard; the
glamour of cowboy life soon goes; he and his mates have told each other
all their stories; visitors are rare; there is practically no women's
society. At first the tendency is to be homesick. But in time the man
gets used to the life; possibly he may be happy. He, however, is far
removed from refining influences. He may have a fondness for reading,
but life in the saddle is so hard that at night, after supper and
receiving instructions from the "boss" for the next day, and having a
chat over work, there is little disposition to do anything except have a
game of cards, and then turn in.

It is no unusual thing for an _estancia_ to be fifty miles square. If
so, it is divided into three or four sections, with a manager over each.
Even then the property to be looked after is extensive. Though for food
there is plenty of beef and mutton, there is little variety. The men are
out by four in the morning, and breakfast is often no more than
biscuits, washed down with maté (native tea). There is a solid meal
about eleven o'clock, generally boiled meat, by no means always
attractively served. After dark, between seven and eight o'clock, there
is supper: meat, coffee, and biscuits. The surroundings are coarse and
dirty, and sometimes disgusting. Of course, conditions are occasionally
much better than these; but I think I am fairly describing the average
quarters of the young Englishman who goes out to Argentina to be
assistant on an _estancia_. What gave me frequent surprise was not that
the life roughened them, but that so many retained the kindly courtesies
of their homes in England.

The great thing is that the life is healthy. As years pass it gets a
grip of a man, so that even if he has the chance to return to
civilisation he generally prefers the camp. There is the driving of
cattle to the railway and loading them--often difficult work--into the
trucks to take them to the freezing factories. There is the cutting of
alfalfa and the shearing of sheep. There is breaking-in of colts and
looking after the stock.

A neighbouring _estancia_ may be twenty miles away. But Sunday is a
holiday, except for absolutely necessary work, and men will start off at
two o'clock in the morning to have a jollification with friends,
generally to witness some horse-racing, about which all the _estancias_
for fifty miles round are excited, and with a bottle of beer as first
prize. Maybe once or twice a year a wandering parson drops into an
_estancia_. Whatever be the religious views of the hands--supposing they
have any--the visitor is well received, and, be he Roman Catholic or
Protestant, he proceeds to "fill them up." He brings them something they
do not often think about. At the least he is a diversion. Undoubtedly
his praying and preaching have an effect, because for several days after
he has gone the men are serious, and language is not quite so ruddy as
formerly. Then arises the question of the rival merits of horses over a
level two miles, and the trend of thought changes.

The rural roads, as I have said, are shocking, especially after wet
weather, for they are no more than tracks across mother earth. But man
is an adaptable creature, and the Englishman gets used to the bad roads.
The very discomforts facilitate companionship. No man out on the road
and needing a meal has the slightest hesitation about dropping into an
_estancia_ and making himself at home. Young fellows will spend their
money; and, as they cannot get rid of it after the way of the towns, it
goes in buying horses to race or ponies for polo; because if there are a
dozen youngsters within hail they invariably form a polo club. Folk
think nothing of travelling across country many miles to witness a polo
match on the Sunday. Usually the matches take place at different
_estancias_ on successive Sundays, and if there should be a homely
English girl about--well, she receives as much attention as a real
beauty would get in Mayfair.

Where two or three men are gathered together in England the odds are
that conversation will turn to golf. Wherever men living in Argentina
meet, be they Spanish, Italian, or English, they talk about
horse-racing. I cannot recall that I ever met a man in the Republic who
was not interested in horse-racing. I have already described what goes
on at Palermo. But besides the swagger races at Palermo, and the races
amongst the natives, the English like to have their camp races every few
months. Not only is there the excitement of the contests, but there is
real warmth in the hearts of men meeting old friends. Everybody knows
what every horse has done; everybody is acquainted with the riders.
There is betting, but nothing like to the same extent as amongst the
born Argentines, who are gamblers, every mother's son, and will bet on
anything and everything.

Sometimes one reads in English newspapers and telegrams how, on the
arrival of emigrant ships in Australia and New Zealand, there is
hustling amongst the ladies of those countries to get hold of the girls
who are arriving as domestic servants. Every new country has its
domestic servant problem, and Argentina is no exception. Unless
wealthy, most people in the towns live in small flats, which is partly
due to the excessive house rent, but also because servants are scarce
and dear. The foreigner who has to make shift with an Argentine servant
is either driven mad or deserves a medal for an angelic temper. I
confess that at Cordoba I did meet with an English family who had
nothing but praise for their native servants. But mostly I had to listen
to tragic stories of dirtiness, theft, and unblushing lying. The trouble
with so many of these Latins is that, even when willing, they seem quite
incapable of learning. Of course, this applies to the lowest classes.
When you get amongst the business folk you find they are quite as cute
as North Americans--as the Argentines always speak of the people of the
United States. After having a dozen incompetent servants in twelve
unhappy months, many an English housewife ceases her search for a decent
servant and does the work herself.

There may be a Merchandise Marks Act in Argentina. What I am quite sure
about is, that it is the very paradise of the faked imitation article.
There are certain things in Europe, be they mineral waters, or
field-glasses, or razors, which are well known. It is possible to get
the real thing in Buenos Aires, but it is six to one you get a faked
article. The Argentines fake French wines of well known _châteaux_. You
pay a big price expecting to get a good cigar, and more likely than not
you get a brand with a well-imitated band. All the well-known Scotch
whiskies are imitated, and there are half a hundred "famous" whiskies
that are never heard of outside the Republic. I searched the whole of
Buenos Aires to get some briarwood pipes made by well-known
manufacturers. I was offered pipes bearing their names, but they were
all fakes. "Sheffield" cutlery is often the shoddiest product of
Germany. England has still a reputation for turning out a first-class
article, but my experience was corroborated by men I consulted in Buenos
Aires; it was impossible, or exceedingly difficult, to get the genuine
thing. I am not going to write that Argentina is responsible for the
shiploads of imitation muck which is dumped upon her shores. But there
are certainly some manufacturers in some parts of the world who make
cheap and nasty things, affix well-known English names, and do an
enormous business in exporting them to the Republic.

The "fool" Englishman is to be encountered on the boats sailing to the
Argentine. He does not read the newspapers, except the sporting columns,
and "books are so dull"; but somebody has told him Argentina is a
wonderful place with no end of "stuff" to be picked up. So with a
first-class ticket to "B.A.," and enough cash in his pocket to keep him
at the Plaza Hotel for a fortnight, he hopes to make his fortune.

"No end of Johnnies make lots of money," he explains as a preliminary to
proceeding to do the same himself.

"What do you intend to do?" is quietly asked.

"Oh, anything. I think I'd like to go on one of those _estancia_ things;
awfully jolly riding about all day rounding up beastly bullocks."

"Got any letters of introduction?"

"Yes; I've got two from a fellow at my club, awfully decent sort, who
met a couple of ripping Argentines in the Riviera summer before last,
but smelling with gold. They ought to put a chap in for something worth
having; what?"

That is not a fancy picture. I have met two of that type in one voyage,
and the above is a fairly good example of their hopes and credentials.
Without any qualification they land in Buenos Aires and have the haziest
knowledge what they propose to do next. Possibly they have some vague
ideas that wealthy Argentines will be down at the wharf eager to help
good-looking young Englishmen. The young Englishman proceeds to use his
letters of introduction, and finds that one of the men is in Europe and
nobody ever heard of the other. What next? The Englishman does not know.
He cannot speak a word of Spanish. He hangs round the hotel lounge, and
spends a lot of time in the American bar downstairs. At the end of four
days he confides to you he is "fed up with the stinking hole," and has
wired to the "old man" to send him enough "stuff" to take him home. Then
at the end of a week he returns to England in the same boat as that by
which he arrived, quite convinced Argentina is a place which he was
jolly lucky to get out of.


There was another young fellow, somewhat more spry than the example I
have given. I met him in the street one morning, and he was furious. He
had been in the running for the secretaryship of an English company that
had some big contracts in Argentina, and he had been ruled out at last
because he did not speak Spanish. That was his grievance. He knew he
could mess along somehow, and could always get somebody to explain if he
had to talk business with an Argentine who did not speak English; so
what was the good of having to swat to learn the lingo?

One of the biggest financiers in Argentina told me one day that whilst
plenty of young Englishmen made their way--indeed, if competent, they
were preferred to other foreigners--he was astonished at the way others
missed their opportunities. My friend, an Englishman himself, but who
has lived all his life in the country, and speaks Spanish more fluently
than he does English, has his finger in many concerns. Young men who
have come out to posts, and are not making the progress they hoped, go
to him to see if he can give them a helping hand.

"Delighted," he says; "I want to help my own countrymen as much as
possible. How long have you been in 'B.A.'?"

"Eight years."

"Then you speak Spanish like an Argentine, eh?"

"Well--er--no; but I've picked up enough to scrape along on."

"Could you take charge of a hundred Argentines and talk business to them
as well as an Argentine?"

"No; I wouldn't like to say that."

"Could you write a technical business letter in Spanish?"

"I'm afraid not."

"Good day, my young friend. I should have been glad to have helped you,
but I want a man who would not be sure to make mistakes."

There is a number of that pattern of Englishman in Buenos Aires. There
are excuses for them. They go out under a three- or a five-years'
contract to some post. A lad is a stranger in a strange land, and has
yet to pick up Spanish. He naturally consorts with his own countrymen.
They dine together; they meet in the same café; they belong to the same
club; they seek their pleasures together. It is very hard for a fellow
under such circumstances to become quick with the language, or extend
his knowledge to any great extent as to the Argentine way of doing
things. He can get all his requirements with a sort of pidgin-Spanish.
So at last he does not bother. That is the kind of man who sticks in the
same position all his life, and occasionally rails at his luck in not
getting a big post.

That is one side of the picture. There is the other. I have in my mind a
man who holds a high position in Argentina. When he went out twenty
years ago he saw that the first essential was to know the language. At
the risk of being thought unsociable, he lived with Spanish Argentines
for two years, and made friends with young Argentines rather than with
Englishmen. He made it a habit to read the Buenos Aires Spanish morning
papers. He has gone ahead and done exceedingly well, although I would
not describe him as a brilliant business man. Then there was a youth
with whom I made acquaintance on the boat. I noticed he was spending a
good deal of his time with a Spanish grammar. He told me he was going
out under a five-years' contract to be a clerk in one of the banks. "But
I am not going to stop a bank clerk," he confided to me, "though that
will be all right for five years. By then I hope to have got a good grip
of the language and picked up something about Argentina, and if then I'm
not able to go to some boss and get one of the good jobs, well, it will
be my own fault." With that spirit he would be a success. All over the
country I was meeting Englishmen of that standard, and, because they can
be relied upon, they are esteemed and trusted.

But I am not going to sing the praises of Argentina from a British
immigrant's point of view. First of all, take the case of the unskilled
labourer, the artisan, and the agriculturist. There is no man so
conservative in this world as the British working man. He has an
inherent contempt for all foreigners when he gets close to them, chiefly
because their ways are not his ways. So the working man who went out to
Argentina would be handicapped by not knowing the language; he would be
confused with the money; he would dislike the food; the way in which
the working class lives out there would disgust him. At the other end of
the string is the great capitalist. Capital knows no language, and owes
allegiance to no country. The capitalist with shrewdness, intelligent
anticipation, can make money quickly; in no country can a man get so
quick a turnover of his capital as in this Republic.

Between these two classes is an army of men who go into the railway
service, into the offices of great English firms, into banks. They get
better paid in Argentina, but living is three times as heavy as at home.
Take the case of a young friend of mine. He had a situation in England
at £200, and, with his amusements, he had but little left over. He got a
situation in Argentina at £700 a year. Living, more or less in similar
style to the way he did at home, cost him £400 a year. But he had £300 a
year over, and that was not £300 a year in Argentine value, but £300 a
year in English value, because he was investing it for the time when he
would return to his native land.

Of course there are promotions and superior posts to be obtained.
Occasionally a man will break away and get hold of something which will
lead to fortune. These cases, however, are the exceptions. The great
fortunes do not grow out of business, as they do in the United States,
for up to the present Argentina is not to be reckoned with as a
manufacturing country. They come to men who have colossal finance to
manipulate. To the great financier Argentina can give untold wealth.
There are, of course, cases of men who started with nothing, and can
now give their wives a £20,000 necklace. But to the man who lands in
Argentina with nothing but his muscle, or a salaried job, although his
position will be improved, and he can save more than ever he made in the
Old Country, the chances are against his ever joining the ranks of the




The constant wonder to me, as I traversed the fruitful prairies, was why
Nature had not supplied the country with indigenous live stock.

One would have thought that the forces of evolution would have provided
animals to benefit and multiply. Man, of course, has done much to
improve the land. By the laying down of alfalfa he has turned sandy
regions into rich pasturage. By irrigation he has converted wastes into
prosperous stretches. Still, there were thousands of square miles,
capable of maintaining great herds, for ages before the coming of the
Europeans. But Nature was niggardly in raising animals which the
adventures of man subsequently proved suitable to the soil.

The principal original animals were the alpaca, which provided meat and
wool, and the llama, used as a beast of burden by the natives, though
the loads it could carry were slight. Spain, when she took possession of
the country, saw its disadvantages. Though the Spanish Court was
prodigal in giving tracts of the new land to grandees and others, it is
significant that in practically all the concessions was the provision
that the grant failed unless horses, cattle, sheep, and goats were
introduced. They were for purely domestic uses.

A couple of centuries ago a bull and ten cows were abandoned. What
became of them troubled no one. Long afterwards their descendants were
found grazing, and they had increased to many thousand; now they have
increased to many millions. They were sturdy cattle, but too numerous
for the then exceedingly sparse population. Their hides, however, were
profitable for sending to Europe; and many thousands of beasts were
slain, and their carcases left to rot, in order that their skins might
be sent across the seas. In 1794 merino sheep were imported from Spain.
In 1824 Southdowns were imported from England. They made an excellent
cross, and that was the start Argentina got in the growing of wool.

There was no discovery that this part of South America was peculiarly
suitable for European stock. There was just a slow but increasing
consciousness of the fact that European animals were easily
acclimatised, and had a greater breeding capacity than at home. The
first European cattle did not come direct, but dribbled in by way of
Brazil from Peru--a roundabout route. Indeed, for several centuries
Spain, which was mistress of that part of the world, rigorously excluded
all other countries from assisting in its development or having any
share in its trade. Further, Peru, which was the most important of the
Spanish settlements, had sufficient power at the Court of Spain to
secure an insistence that all goods entering South America should do so
by the door of Peru. You have only to glance at a map to see how absurd
it was that articles intended for Buenos Aires or the east coast had to
be shipped to the Isthmus of Panama, taken across to the Pacific side by
mule caravan, shipped again down the coast to Peru, and then sent
thousands of miles over mountains, through jungle and across uninhabited
plains, to their destination. This intolerable condition of things,
which Spain refused to change, had much to do with Argentina's casting
off the yoke, in the beginning of the nineteenth century, and declaring
itself as a republic.

Though one hears much about the way Argentina has gone ahead as a
cattle-raising country during the last decade, one must not lose sight
of the fact that the Spaniards have been rearing cattle there for over
three hundred years. Even when the possibilities began to be realised
there were no means of land transport except by driving the beasts, and,
except for the hides and tallow and subsequently the wool, there was
little that could be sent to Europe.

In the first half of the nineteenth century, however, Argentina was
beginning to find herself. The Argentines were not content with the
quality of the animals which were bred haphazard. They took to importing
better strains from Europe, grasped what pedigree meant, began to demand
the best the world could produce, and were willing to pay for it, until
the call of Argentina for pedigree stock has almost become a mania, and
other countries have little chance when Argentina enters the market with
her bags of gold.

Not only was there a wonderful increase in cattle and sheep, but horses
multiplied. The Spanish contempt for females extends to mares, and no
self-respecting Argentine, who was not seeking the sneers of his
countrymen, would think of riding a mare. A hundred years ago European
nations had not thought of purchasing South American mares; and it has
been computed that in the first quarter of the last century over 500,000
mares were mercilessly slaughtered in Argentina. It has been said that
an enormous number of wild horses were at large, and their continued
incursions amongst the general stock caused great loss to the breeders.

But that Argentina is one of the most productive lands in the world for
horses is undoubted. They seem to have something approaching the
fertility of the Australian rabbit. Historians disagree as to whether
the first importation of horses to Argentina in the sixteenth century
were seventy-two horses and mares, or forty-four horses and mares, or
seven horses and five mares. Anyway, whilst Ruy Diaz de Guzman, who
vouched for the latter figures, wrote they had "attained such a
multiplication in less than sixty years that they cannot be counted,
because the horses and mares are so many that they appear like great
woods and occupy (the country) from Cape Blanco to the fort of Gabato,
rather more than eighty leagues, and reach inland to the Cordillera,"
the monk Fray Juan de Rivadancira, who declared for forty-four horses
and mares, states that "the coast is inhabited by a great many people,
and there is an immense number of horses that remained there from the
time of Don Pedro de Mendoza, that is forty-five years ago, forty-four
horses and mares that have multiplied themselves, but, strange to say,
in all this time they have not been seen by the Spaniards, who only know
of them from the reports of the Indians, who say that they cover the
plains to an astonishing extent." Allowing for these tales being
exaggerated, the very fact they should be recorded some fifty years or
so after the first importation of horses shows there must have been an
astonishing increase.

Argentine breeders of cattle, knowing of the care taken in Europe to
improve quality, realised that quantity was not sufficient. There would
be little merit in having millions of animals on the rich grassed plains
if commercially they were unable to compete with other countries with
their produce. So between fifty and sixty years ago they began
methodically and scientifically to improve their herds. The result was
so satisfactory that owners of herds conceived it to be their patriotic
duty--and Argentina is noisily patriotic--to raise the standard of
quality. The Argentine Agricultural Society was established. It has
increased in size and importance. Its offices at Buenos Aires have the
marks of energetic distinction, whilst its permanent show grounds in the
suburbs of the city are the finest buildings for such a purpose in
the world. I will not say, as is often said, that the display is the
finest in the world. Now and then it tops any other show in a particular
class. But it is a great show, provided by a country with only seven
million inhabitants; and, speaking generally, it is not a bad second to
any other, no matter where it is held.

        _Photograph by Moody, Buenos Aires._

There is tremendous rivalry amongst breeders, and the ambition to secure
the blue ribbons is so great that the Argentines, as I have mentioned in
a previous chapter, will not trust people of their own race to act as
judges. The judges all come from Britain, and are men of recognised
competence and integrity. They are the guests of the Society. They are
provided with first class return tickets, are entertained at the best
hotel for three weeks, have many courtesies piled on them, and each
receives £30 as out-of-pocket expenses. So keen are some Argentine
breeders to gain the coveted ribbon that I have heard of their sending
special representatives to travel on the boat from Southampton to Buenos
Aires so that an amiable judge may be "nobbled." Fortunately, British
judges are not made that way; and although stories of attempts are
common, there is no recorded instance of success.

I was present at the official opening of the show in 1913 by the
Minister of Agriculture. It was not an enthusiastic occasion. The
weather was bad and cold, and there was the reading of two interminable
speeches from manuscript--read to about a score of top-hatted and
frock-coated gentlemen standing round, looking insufferably bored and
never raising the equivalent of a single "hear, hear," whilst the crowds
in the stands heard not a word but waited patiently for the parade of
prize winners to begin.

But it was a show of cattle of which Argentina had a right to be proud.
It was another post along the road of evolution. The time is yet far off
when Argentina can rightly claim first position amongst the live-stock
nations; but it is a goal which the Argentines steadily keep in sight.
Stud farms are to be found all over the country. Prices which formerly
would have been thought reckless are now willingly paid for stallions,
bulls, and rams. Yet, though the Argentine is pleased with himself, he
does not so much boast of what he has accomplished as rhapsodise about
the future. To-day (1914) there are 8,000,000 horses in the country,
30,000,000 cattle, and over 80,000,000 sheep. Yet only a portion of the
country suitable for stock is utilised. Everything indicates that within
the next ten years 200,000,000 animals of all classes will be grazing on
the pastures of Argentina.

The love of horse-racing is bred in the bone of every man in the
country. All the big towns have their race-courses. Out on the prairies,
if there is no race-course, the men at the _estancias_ mark out a track
and race against each other's horses on Sunday afternoons. An eye is
kept on the famous European race-horses, and as much as £40,000 has been
paid for a great winner, so that he may be used for stud purposes. The
breeding of thoroughbreds has become part of the national life of the
Republic. The Jockey Club at Buenos Aires, possessed of an enormous
income, has by the offering of handsome prizes encouraged the breeding
of race-horses. The Argentine stud farms are, in excellence of stabling
and general surroundings, lavish in luxury. So successful has been the
breeding from expensive European sires that European breeders are now
looking to Argentina to purchase some of the sons.

But always, one must remember, the prosperity of Argentina rests with
her commercial cattle. As England prohibits the landing of live cattle
for fear of foot-and-mouth disease, increasing attention has been given
to the business of exporting chilled and frozen meat. The closing of
British ports and consequent slump in Argentine cattle gave a colossal
impetus to the frozen meat industry, so that at the present time the
Republic is the greatest exporter of frozen meat in the world. That,
perhaps, is the reward for Argentina's being the first country to export
chilled and frozen meat to Europe. This was as far back as 1877, though
it was not until 1885 that the first freezing works were established.
To-day something like £11,000,000, mostly English and United States
capital, is sunk in Argentine freezing houses. England is the largest
consumer. But though the quantity imported is enormous, it is a mistake
to suppose that frozen meat is yet ahead of English home-killed meat. As
a nation we are increasing meat eaters. We are now consuming something
approaching two million quarters a year. Only about a third of this is
chilled and frozen meat, and the consumption of home meat is increasing,
not decreasing.

That there is foot-and-mouth disease in Argentina is undoubted. Though
the Argentines protest we continue the cry as an excuse for keeping out
their stock from our meadows and from competing with our own fresh meat,
I was quite convinced that the disease does seriously exist in
Argentina, and that, whilst not so prevalent as occasionally alleged, it
is sufficiently bad to justify the British Board of Agriculture in
maintaining the prohibition. With care, however, I am sure the
Argentines could stamp out the evil. Its persistence is due to
carelessness. The natural conditions of the cattle, being out on the
pastures all the year round, count for healthiness. I have visited the
great canned meat establishments in Chicago, and when in Buenos Aires
and La Plata I inspected some of the biggest of the Argentine freezing
places. Though the latter lacked the magnitude of the Chicago houses, I
admit my complete satisfaction with the sanitary conditions surrounding
what, to me, is always a sickening business.

When a mob of cattle has been purchased the seller gives a guarantee of
the soundness of the animals. When they reach the stock-yard the
veterinary surgeon of the company makes inspection of each beast before
it goes to the slaughter-house. The operation is the usual one: the
animal is pole-axed, then the carcase is conveyed on a truck to a shed,
where it is hung up, bled, disembowelled, and skinned. The veterinary
surgeon makes an examination to see if he can detect disease. But this
is not enough; a piece of the meat, a few ounces, is cut off, labelled,
and sent to a laboratory, where further experiments are made. There is
much greater care taken in these slaughter-houses of Argentina in the
case of chilled and frozen meat than is usually taken at home in
providing the "roast beef of old England." The carcases are placed in a
chilling chamber, 34° Fahr., for twenty-four hours. Then they are cut in
two, each side wrapped in a cloth, and taken into the refrigerator
compartments on board a steamer. Should the investigation in the
laboratory reveal disease the carcase is burnt.

To the layman inclined to be confused between the terms "chilled" and
"frozen," it is well to explain the difference. Frozen meat is that
which has been kept well below freezing point, and can be kept for an
indefinite time. Chilled meat is not frozen, but it can be kept
wholesome for some weeks when in a low temperature. Chilled meat is of
better quality than frozen meat, and, as the Argentine ports are within
three weeks of Smithfield, her produce has a distinct advantage over
that of countries farther away, where the journey takes six weeks, and
the meat cannot be kept chilled, but must be frozen.

I am aware of the prejudice against chilled meat. Yet I suspect that
occasionally some of us, when paying for the home article, are really
receiving the foreign meat, but we do not know the difference. The
chilled meat trade--a later development than the frozen trade--has
sprung into existence in Argentina mainly during the last dozen years.
That which we get in London, whether from La Plata, Buenos Aires, or
Chicago, is of better quality than the meat the Argentine or the
American gets. The explanation is that the best meat is exported because
it has to come into competition with British beef, which admittedly is
the best in the world. The question, however, arises, what real
detriment is there to meat as the result of freezing? Professor Rideal,
of London University, who has made various experiments, has gone so far
as to declare that the nutritive and digestive qualities of Argentine
frozen meat are superior to those of the best freshly killed English
meats, and that Argentine chilled meats possess the same qualities as
English meat.

It was in 1880 that we began to receive frozen meat in any quantity from
the Argentine, and year by year the quantity has increased. Other
European countries are in need of cheap meat, and yet it is a singular
fact that nine-tenths of the cold storage meat of the world comes to
England. Just upon two hundred and fifty steamers are now engaged in
bringing chilled or frozen meat to England from Argentina, Australia,
and New Zealand. London alone has thirty cold stores with a capacity
for storing 3,000,000 carcases of mutton. South America, Australia, and
New Zealand have seventy freezing establishments, chiefly for the
purpose of supplying the British market. Satisfactory though that market
is, Argentina is not content. She is beginning to import her chilled
meat into the United States. She is making a bid for the French market.
Professor Armand Gautier, of the Academy of Science, of Paris, has
stated that the French people ought to eat a third more meat than they
do. As the French production is insufficient, he has urged the
importation of meat preserved by cold, because it can be kept almost
indefinitely, and because in times of epidemic disease in live stock, or
lack of forage, and above all in time of war, it would lend most
important service.

For a long time, however, Continental countries have been shy about
foreign meat, chiefly, I believe, because they were thinking of the
interests of the breeders at home. Frozen meat has, however, been
received in limited quantities in Italy, Switzerland, and Portugal. The
Austrian Government at first restricted the importation to 10,000 tons,
but as the meat was popular the restriction was removed. So, gradually,
frozen meat of good quality, and cheaper than native meat, is finding a
way into other European markets besides our own. The German-Argentine
Society, recently formed, has been petitioning the German Parliament for
the admission of Argentine frozen meat. The considerable
consumption of frozen meat in England is encouraging Argentina in her
ambition to contribute to the feeding of the immense artisan populations
in the industrial centres of the continent.

Now anyone who has been much at sea knows about jerked beef. The
preparation of salt beef in the old sailing days was a great business,
and Argentina's first endeavour in the meat business was the preparation
of jerked beef, as it is called. It is not going too far to say that it
was this business which opened the eyes of South Americans to the
potentialities of their country. But gradually the trade got shifted to
the neighbouring little Republic of Uruguay, with Monte Video as the
chief place of export. A great many of the cattle killed in Uruguay are
bred in Argentina. The trade has extended to Brazil. Brazil, however,
still calls for Argentine cattle. So although this dry-salting was first
practised in Argentina in South America, and the trade has to a great
extent been removed, Argentina is getting benefit because she sells
hundreds of thousands of steers to the neighbouring republics. During
the last year or two there has been a distinct movement in Argentina to
recapture the trade. There is a huge demand for jerked meat in Cuba--and
Argentina is after the business. Argentina has both eyes on the whole of
the West Indies, where there are great negro populations who, it is
supposed, would welcome this cheap kind of meat. It can be used in
tropical regions where expensive cold storage would be an impossibility.
Besides, an inferior standard of animal, scarcely suitable for
freezing, can be jerked.

The gigantic business in meat extracts carried on by such firms as
Bovril and Liebig has given a cue to the wide-awake Argentine for
another outlet to his enterprise. Indeed, the preparation of meat
extract in Argentina to-day needs the killing of 200,000 head of cattle
a year, whilst those killed for jerked beef are about three-quarters of
that number. Anyway, Argentines, whilst glad enough to have foreign
capital brought to develop their resources, are now constantly asking
themselves, "Why do not we do all this?"

The fact is not to be overlooked that Argentina has a population of
7,000,000 to feed as well as to contribute to the feeding of the outer
world. The population of the city of Buenos Aires is a million and a
half. So, whilst it needs the killing of 4,000 head of cattle every day
to keep the Republic supplied with meat, 1,800 of these are needed in
the capital.

England clings to old and sometimes unsatisfactory ways. When I visited
the abattoirs at Liniers I thought it would be no bad thing if a number
of British municipalities sent a shipload of representatives to
Argentina to study up-to-date slaughter-houses. One of the most important
features of Liniers is the veterinary pavilion, with rooms for
bacteriological and microscopical observations. There are twenty
veterinary surgeons who make it their business to examine every carcase
and stamp it before it is permitted to be sold as food. The annual
entry at the abattoir is, in round numbers, 750,000 sheep, 100,000 pigs,
and 1,250,000 cattle. Yet the animals slaughtered for local consumption
represent only three-fifths of the beasts sold in Buenos Aires, the rest
going to the slaughter-yards attached to the freezing houses. These
animals are not reared only in the province of Buenos Aires. Other
provinces supply cattle, Cordoba, Santa Fé, Entre Rios, Corrientes, and
further afield.

One of the most instructive places is the sheep market, covering 500
acres. Not only are there pens innumerable, but there are two galleries
set apart for sales so that buyers may obtain a quick bird's-eye view of
the stock offered. A police representative is constantly on duty,
keeping a lookout that the marks are all right and preventing sheep
stealing. Ten sanitary inspectors make inspection of sheep as they go
along the gangway or race. Any sheep showing signs of disease is sent to
the necropolis--supervised by the cattle division of the Ministry of
Agriculture--is killed and examined. Over 4,000,000 sheep are inspected
every year. Of these nearly 3,000,000 go to the freezing establishments
and the others are either for local consumption or are bought to be
fattened. On an average 4,000 railway wagons a month come in to Buenos
Aires filled with sheep.

More than once I was made conscious of the deep disappointment amongst
Argentine breeders that there is an embargo in Britain against the
importation of live stock. They insisted that if there were disease it
would show itself during the three weeks' sea journey, so that British
herd owners should have no fear of their own cattle being contaminated.
The Argentines cannot get it out of their minds that it is not fear of
disease, but protection for the British farmer which really actuates the
British Board of Agriculture. Notwithstanding the increase in the sale
of chilled and frozen meat, the Argentines, of course, recognise that
the Englishman would prefer fresh killed meat if he could get it at a
sufficiently cheap price. The steady increase in the price of home-grown
meat in English shops is noted, and all the strings possible are being
tugged in order to induce the British Government to relax. Besides,
there is a considerable body of opinion in Great Britain itself,
occasionally voiced in Parliament by the representatives of industrial
constituencies, favourable to the importation of foreign animals, of
course under proper inspection. Were admission granted, there would
undoubtedly be a fall in the price of meat. But, even eliminating the
natural antagonism of the British farmer, there is the consumer to be
considered. Without joining in the combat whether Argentine meat is as
good as British meat, there can be no doubt that the home buyer prefers
the home article, and in innumerable cases he is prepared to pay more
for it. There is the possibility, the danger if you like, if live stock
from Argentina were admitted, for certain graziers to buy them, give
them a week or two on English meadows, and for the retail butchers,
either in ignorance or with the intention to mislead the purchaser, to
ticket the sides as "English fed."

Though Argentines grumble at the British ports being closed to them,
causing a slump in their export of live stock, they acknowledge that the
effect has been counterbalanced by the increase in the export of frozen
meat. "Therefore why should they make such a fuss?" may be asked. Simply
because the Argentines are eager to find an outlet for the productive
capacity of their country. They do not rest on their oars. They are
looking to the future. There is no question in their minds what
Argentina can do. They do not want to be baulked by restrictions. It may
be argued that, whilst they are zealous to secure freedom for their
goods in oversea markets, they do not show any inclination to give an
equally wide freedom to the goods of other countries in their own
markets. That, however, just shows that considerations which often
influence individual traders do not disappear when the nation acts

The point to be marked--and it is the significance of much in this
chapter--is, that although other new nations provide increasing amounts
of meat, Argentina is as alive as any of them to the growing necessity
for the industrial communities of Europe--constantly increasing whilst
agriculture stands still or slides back--to look across the oceans for
their meat supply. The meat will be wanted. Competition to supply it
will be keen. In some European countries the live stock is diminishing.
Countries which formerly did much business in supplying neighbours have
now enough to do to supply themselves. Even Switzerland, unable to
provide for her own needs, and no longer able to get what she requires
from France and Italy, has turned to Argentina. The doors are closed by
some European Powers, including Spain. But Argentina is keeping a watch
on the artisan classes in commercial Europe. She expects the day will
soon come when they will clamour for cheaper meat, and break down the
doors. When that time does come, Argentina is determined to be ready
with a full basket.



I think I have made it clear that, accepting Argentina as an amazingly
fertile country, it is the railways that have chiefly been instrumental
in making it one of the most prosperous lands, with a big part to play
in providing food for the world. To-day 95 per cent. of its stock and
produce is carried over some part of the 20,000 miles of line
representing nearly £200,000,000 of British capital.

I remember riding in a coach attached to a freight train across some
hundreds of miles of sand and sage bush, an impossible region from an
agriculturist's point of view.

"This is an unprofitable stretch," I remarked to the railway official
who was my companion.

"Not at all," was the reply; "you see, we have a full load, and we get
paid mileage, whether we run through good or bad land."

That is one of the causes of railway profits in Argentina: the enormous
distances freight often has to be carried.


It was not my lot to travel over all the railway systems in the
Argentine, but I travelled over the most important of them, and from
first to last I was enthusiastic. The rolling stock is excellent; the
permanent way is better than over similar country elsewhere, and as for
the comfort of the passengers it is certainly unsurpassed. Frankly, I
often felt like rubbing my eyes in order to make sure I was "roughing
it" in Southern America.

Nowhere, out of Russia, have I seen the coaches so admirably adapted for
small or large parties. You can have a section of a coach
self-contained, dining-room, bedrooms and bathroom, suitable for
families; and meals can be supplied from the buffet. If you travel over
a certain distance you cannot miss having a buffet car; the law insists.
Also the law insists on dormitory coaches on the all-night journeys.
They are more commodious, because on most of the lines the gauge is
wider than in England. There is none of the uncomfortable sleeping
behind curtains, with, maybe, a stranger in the bunk overhead, and then
having to wash in the smoking-room, which the long-suffering men of the
United States put up with under the notion they possess the most
luxurious travelling in the world. When you come to "special cars," a
thing we know nothing about in England except for royalty, the United
States comes first, but I would say Argentina is a close second.

Nothing could be jollier--when a sand storm is not on the wing--than
travelling with pleasant friends in a reserved coach. It is like a flat.
There is a sitting-room, and on a chill evening the fire burns brightly
in an open grate. On a hot afternoon you have your easy chairs out on
the platform at the rear and, with legs cocked up on the rail, you can
smoke your cigar. You press a button, and when the attendant has brought
you an iced cocktail you agree that "roughing it" in Argentina is a
delightful experience. If your car is properly equipped with a good
kitchen and a good cook, and there is a decent "cellar"--hospitality is
one of the legitimate boasts of the people--you fare as well as you
would do in a first-class hotel. Were it not that I might be thought a
sybarite, I could write like a chef about the menus I experienced and
enjoyed in my long excursions throughout the land.

"This is a nice chicken," I said to my host one night. "Yes, we have a
chicken run under the car," he answered. I laughed, for I imagined the
innocent stranger was having his leg pulled; but the next morning
personal inspection assured me there was a "run," in the shape of a long
galvanised screened box beneath the car.

It was pleasant to have a bedroom four times the size of a crib on an
English "sleeper," to have a writing-table with electric light, and a
bathroom adjoining. But the chief joy of a special car was that there
was no changing to catch trains. Instructions were given that we would
stop at a certain place at nine o'clock in the morning. The car was
detached and shunted into a siding. We lived on the car and slept on it.
Orders were given that we were to be picked up by the 3.15 local train
in the morning, taken down a branch line forty miles, attached to the
express which would be coming along at seven o'clock, and were to be
released somewhere else at 10.15 and put into a siding. I lived this
sort of life for nearly a month. It was the best possible way of seeing
the country.

Sometimes we travelled from point to point during the night; sometimes
we camped, as it were, at a little wayside station, with the silence of
the plains around us except when a great goods train went roaring by. We
kept up the joke about "roughing it." After a dinner party, when the
coffee and liqueurs were on the table, and the sitting-room was pouring
billows of cigar smoke from the wide-open windows, we leaned back in our
big chairs and hoped that other poor devils who were "roughing it" in
the wilds were having no worse a time than we were.

Of course, the passenger traffic--except around Buenos Aires--is a
secondary consideration compared with agricultural produce. It is
estimated that the area of land suitable for agriculture but not yet
cultivated is 290,000,000 acres, really all beyond the zone of railway
influence. At a greater distance than fifteen miles from a railway
station the cartage of the produce becomes so expensive and difficult
that the profit disappears. Information supplied me by the Argentine
Agricultural Society shows that the average cost of cartage is 0.70d.
per mile per cwt. Therefore, whoever has his farm farther than fifteen
miles from a station has to pay 10d. per cwt. for cartage. Lands lying
within the agricultural zone, but distant more than fifteen miles from a
railway station, lose enormously in value, as they cannot be utilised
except for live stock. To find a means of facilitating and cheapening
the transport of cereals would be to double the production and value of
the lands. The Agricultural Society thinks the solution may lie in the
construction of cheap auxiliary lines of the simplest kind, which, laid
down parallel to the principal lines at a distance of nineteen to
twenty-two miles, or at right angles to them, would hand over to
cultivation considerable zones of valuable fertile lands, and
concentrate the produce in the loading stations at a fair cost to the

The question is well asked, if the 20,000 miles of rails are only
sufficient to permit the cultivation of 70,000,000 acres, how many will
be necessary when nearly 300,000,000 more acres are being worked? At
present about 1,000 miles of fresh railroad are being laid down each
year. £20,000,000 a year is being put into new railroad construction.
Yet thirty years ago (1884) the total amount invested in Argentine
railways--now running into hundreds of millions--was only £18,600,000.
In 1885 all the railways in the Republic transported cargo amounting to
a little over 3,000,000 tons. In 1905 it was over 12,500,000 tons. In
1913 it was moving toward 40,000,000 tons.

One harks back to the time of William Wheelwright, who may be called the
father of railways in Argentina. It is three-quarters of a century since
he was shipwrecked at the mouth of the River Plate. It was as a
starveling that he got his first knowledge of Argentina. He had come
from the United States, knew what railways were beginning to do for the
North, and dreamed what they ought to do for the South. When he got back
to the United States he tried to interest his countrymen. But the North
Americans turned a deaf ear. There they missed one of the greatest
chances in their commercial history. Had they seized their
opportunities, and come to South America with their adaptive enterprise,
the story of the relationship between the United States and the Latin
republics below them would have been very different from what it is
to-day. Finding he could raise no capital in his own country for railway
enterprise in Argentina, William Wheelwright came to England and
interested Thomas Brassey, one of our railway pioneers. Brassey,
Wheelwright, and others got capital, and a little line out of "B.A." was
built. Other little lines were built. Bigger lines were built. There
were set-backs; occasionally the investing public was shy. But, all
told, for forty years a mile a day of railroad was laid down in
Argentina, and during the last few years the rate has been three miles a
day. And it is all done by British capital.

Before I went out to this country I was conscious of a certain
apprehension in England that we had rather too much money in Argentina,
and that it was about time we called a halt. The general average of
dividend during recent years has been a fraction over 5 per cent., not
much return for adventure in a new country; but the fact is not to be
lost sight of that enormous extensions have been provided out of
revenue, as well as out of fresh capital. That there is jealousy
amongst considerable sections of the young Argentines at the financial
interests which a foreign country like England has in the Republic is
undoubted. But it may be said that the mass of the people recognise what
they owe to foreign capital, and although the Government is inclined to
increase the tightness of its grip on railway administration, making
bargains for lines through uneconomic country in return for a concession
through fertile land--so that occasionally a company will throw up a
scheme rather than pay the price by building in a region the Government
wants to be developed--I do not think it can fairly be said that the
Government is antagonistic to foreign capital. The danger of foreign
capital getting a hold on Argentina in the way of extensive concessions
is sometimes preached; but the pouring of foreign gold into the country
brings too precious a return to the Argentines themselves for any check
to be put upon it.

Besides, in strict fact, very little money is taken out of the country
in the way of dividend; the profits are mostly thrown back to provide
new works. I have lying before me the returns of the four principal
railways for the year ending June 13th, 1913 (the Central Argentine, the
Great Southern, the Buenos Aires and Pacific, and the Western of Buenos
Aires). During the year the four companies expended in additional
capital £8,870,639, and the earnings were £9,017,944, so that the
investing public extracted only £147,305, which is not a large draft in
return for the hundreds of millions invested. The manner in which the
earnings are thrown back into the country for further development shows
that, despite the vague apprehensions in certain quarters, the public
confidence is still firm.

The Central Argentine Railway may first be described, because not only
does it date its origin from the earliest times of railway enterprise in
the Republic, but it is one of the most up-to-date lines in the world.
At the head of it as general manager is Mr. C. H. Pearson, young,
shrewd, and, like most strong men, a quiet man. When in England I hear
of lack of capability in railway management I think of such a man as Mr.
Pearson, who has won his spurs at home, and by clear vision and steady,
determined action is successfully directing a company which has 3,000
miles of railroad, most of it through rich country. The line to-day is
the offspring of amalgamations. In the early 'seventies the Central
Argentine opened a line from the river port of Rosario to Cordoba, two
hundred and forty-six miles. Later on Buenos Aires and Rosario were
joined by another railway company. Subsequently the two lines were
linked. Always, without halt, the line has pushed its head into fresh
country, until now its arms stretch like a fan with Buenos Aires as the

I have heard Buenos Aires and Rosario described as the London and
Liverpool of Argentina--and the illustration is apt. Rosario, to be
pictured in a later chapter, is a business and shipping centre, and
between the two towns there is a constant rush by commercial men. It is
inspiriting to see the rush at the Retiro station in the early morning,
when men are busy getting their newspapers at the stalls and hastening
to the breakfast car and the roomy coaches. To the eye of the newly
arrived stranger there are innumerable little differences from things he
is accustomed to at home. But they are matters of detail to which you
speedily get used, so that after a week or two, or even a few days, you
have a little start in the realisation that you are not travelling in a
London and North-Western express, but amongst a similar crowd of
business men, in a far part of the world, who are intent on their own

Twelve passenger trains journey daily between Buenos Aires and Rosario.
Until Mr. Pearson came along with fresh ideas most of the passenger
traffic was by night. Trains left both places at ten o'clock; the
passengers went to bed, and early next morning the destination was
reached. Now there are two day express trains completing the journey in
just under five hours. Only first-class passengers travel by these
trains, as excellent as the expresses between New York and Philadelphia.
There is nothing in the way of scenery to move one to rapture; but there
is good agricultural progress on either side. The line is being double
tracked and stone ballasted, and the running is comfortable. And sitting
in this train, thronged with business men, whilst the great engine tears
along to keep to scheduled time, you understand something of the spirit
of modern Argentina.

Amongst the cities of the world Buenos Aires takes thirteenth place in
size. With its population of a million and a half, long-distance
electric tramcars and the institution of an "underground" system are
not enough. High rents are driving many thousands to the suburbs, and
when, in the morning, the rush of trains begins to deliver throngs of
men and women into the heart of "B.A.," the scene is animated. All the
big companies running out of "B.A." are nursing their valuable suburban
traffic. The Central Argentine is electrifying over forty-four miles of
double track in the neighbourhood of the city. This company, in the
suburban section of its system, now carries 15,000,000 passengers a
year. All the trains of the company run 889,000 miles a month. A
handsome new station is being erected on the site of the old Retiro. I
was able to inspect the latest pneumatic system of signalling. When at
Rosario I went over the extensive workshops, and although it would be
idle even to suggest they compared with Crewe, Swindon, or Doncaster,
considering most of the parts are imported, they are comprehensive
works, and the machinery of the best.

Since Mr. Pearson has been in charge the Central Argentine has taken to
running excursions, and encouraging the holiday makers in the flat lands
to go and seek bracing air in the Cordoba mountains. Alta Gracia--of
which more anon--an old Spanish town which has been drowsing in the sun
for several centuries, is now one of the most popular of holiday

But, though naturally enough the average passenger considers a railway
line from the way it ministers to his needs, it is the goods traffic
which is of first importance to railways in a country like Argentina. I
went on the Central Argentine line as far north as Tucuman, and as far
west as Cordoba and Rio Cuarto, and beheld the richness of the plains.
There were endless miles of wheat and maize and linseed; there were the
great herds of cattle and sheep. I witnessed the sugar cane harvest in
the north in full swing.

All the goods are not brought into "B.A." The line runs to three
up-river ports, Rosario, Villa Constitucion and Campana, where there are
wide wharves and grain elevators. A goods tonnage of nearly 7,000,000 a
year and receipts of nearly £3,500,000 a year spell big business. Yet
one found this was only the beginning of things. Already there are
gigantic schemes in project for irrigation works in those stretches
which are incapable of use because of the insufficient rainfall. The
Argentine Government is giving serious attention to this matter. But the
railway companies in the Republic are not content to twiddle their
thumbs and keep asking, "Why does not the Government do something?" All
of them are attending to irrigation themselves, or are doing the work
for the Government. The Central Argentine, on behalf of the Government,
have an irrigation scheme on hand which will cost close upon £600,000.
New lines and extensions up to a further 1,600 miles are projected to
cost £8,000,000. Over 35,000 employees are on this line. The length of
rolling stock is 143 miles, including 600 passenger coaches and 2,200
beds. Twenty million passengers are carried a year, and the total
receipts work out at £40 a week per mile.

The second big railway which attracted my admiration was the Buenos
Aires and Pacific, which strikes westward across the continent. The
company was formed as recently as 1882, but it has a present capital of
over £50,500,000. It owns 1,406 miles, it leases 2,011 miles, and so
operates 3,417 miles. Some 150 miles are under construction. It has over
16,000,000 passengers annually, and over 6,000,000 tons of freight; and
its gross earnings in the last financial year (July 1912 to June 1913)
were £5,590,613. During the last ten years it has absorbed a number of
lesser lines--the Villa Maria Rufino, the Bahia Blanca and
North-Western, the Great Western, and, lastly, the Argentine
Transandine. It has also bought a length of over 200 miles of Government
line out in the west. The "B.A. and Pacific" has several subsidiary
undertakings. In conjunction with the Great Southern Railway it has a
well-equipped light and power company. In my chapter on Bahia Blanca I
shall deal with the port accommodation provided by the Pacific Company
to dispatch the grain produced within its area to Europe. Perhaps the
most important improvement made by the company has been the high level
independent access to the city of Buenos Aires. This line, which is five
miles in length, consists of two viaducts of brickwork, containing 116
arches of 42.3 feet span each, and 19 steel bridges, the largest being
178.8 feet. From the River Plate an area of 366 acres is being reclaimed
to be used for goods sidings and access to the docks. For the conveyance
of coal, and materials for use on the line, the company owns its own
fleet of steamers. It would be easy enough to give a bunch of figures to
show how the passenger traffic has grown; anyway, its suburban service
bears comparison with that of any other line entering the capital.

The Buenos Aires and Pacific Railway is becoming increasingly popular,
for people desiring to see the world now travel from "B.A." across the
pampas, over the Andes, and so down to Valparaiso in Chili, where
steamers can be obtained to take them up to Peru, Panama, and San
Francisco. Leaving "B.A.," the train runs for some twelve hours across
an extensive plain which is far from indicating to the traveller the
great mountain ranges which will surprise him later on. Across this
plain the lines of the railway extend in an absolutely straight line
from Vedia to Makenna, a distance of 175 miles, which is the world's
record. Near the first-mentioned station the railway curves in the form
of an S; without this, the stretch on the straight would have been 206
miles long.

Although the pampas are occasionally marked by undulations and small
green-covered slopes, the first notable elevations are not encountered
until Mercedes is reached. These are the San Luis hills, the outposts
of the Cordillera. Passing on the western side of this chain the
picturesque city of San Luis is reached. As the traveller approaches the
Cordillera of the Andes he finds himself in a district topographically
distinct but always fertile, and watered by canals fed by the Tunuyan
and Mendoza rivers. The view of the Cordillera in the early morning is a
spectacle worthy of admiration. At a distance of one hundred miles
before arrival at Mendoza the interminable chain of the Andes, with its
snow-capped peaks mingling with the clouds, is distinguishable. As the
train approaches their imposing grandeur becomes more and more evident.
Another of the views which delights the tourist, and makes the business
man think, is that of the smiling vineyards extending on both sides of
the line in a delightful prospect until lost on the horizon.[B]

    [B] Subsequent chapters describe Mendoza and the author's
        personal experience during a trip into the Andes.

From Mendoza the line runs across the Andes by the Uspallata Valley
route, the only transcontinental line in South America. What the Suez
Canal and the Trans-Siberian Railway have done for the Far Eastern
trade, the Transandine Railway is achieving for transcontinental traffic
in South America by giving rapid communication between the two South
American Republics--reducing the journey between Buenos Aires and
Valparaiso from thirteen and a half days to thirty-eight hours--and
thereby cementing closer commercial relations and developing trade with
the Far East.

This has only been made possible by the summit tunnel of the Transandine
Railway, which was opened for public traffic in May, 1910, so that the
distance between Buenos Aires and Valparaiso has been reduced to 888
miles. It is probably of interest to state that this tunnel is one of
the longest of its kind in the world, being 10,384 feet long, including
two artificial ends 442 feet in length altogether, and it lies at an
elevation of 10,778 feet above the sea-level. It is nearly 1,500 feet
higher than the highest carriage road in Europe, that over the Stelvio
Pass, and more than 3,500 feet higher than the Mont Cenis, St. Gothard,
and Simplon tunnels. So well were the levels and lines kept that the
difference at the junction was only 3/4 inch, and of the line 2-3/4
inches, while the chainage was only 2.14 inches less than calculated. At
one period 1,700 men were engaged on the works.

Unfortunately, the beautiful and impressive bronze statue of the Christ
is not visible to passengers in the train, but it can easily be reached
by coach or mule from Inca. It stands some 3,000 feet higher than Las
Cuevas, and is situated on the dividing line between Argentina and
Chili. It was the gift of a pious Buenos Aires lady, Señora César de
Costa, and was erected as a monument to the signing of the peace treaty
between the two countries.

The Pacific Railway has expended over £80,000 in snow protection for
their line during the past two years, with the result that through
traffic can be maintained throughout the severest winter
with perfect safety.


The line brings Chili at least a fortnight nearer London, a great
consideration in these days of commercial enterprise. British
manufacturers are taking advantage of the fact, and that there is a
growing demand in Chili for British goods is shown by the increasing
number of representatives who favour this route. Previous to the opening
of the railway passengers and goods had to travel by boat through the
treacherous Straits of Magellan, a long and tedious journey. Now a
well-appointed and comfortable train is entered at Buenos Aires, and
thirty-eight hours later the traveller finds himself in Valparaiso or

But the fortune of the Buenos Aires and Pacific Railway really lies in
the V-shaped territory from Mendoza to Bahia Blanca and Buenos Aires.
There is a great country still to be awakened in the foothills of the
Andes. There are millions of acres on the pampas awaiting the plough and
the coming of the cattle breeder. The Pacific Company cannot but go on
and prosper. It is a matter of regret, however, that it has lost as
general manager Mr. Guy Calthrop. In the handling of a complex railway
system he has no superior. A strong man, physically and mentally, he has
had rough hours during labour trouble. But he kept a steady nerve. He
went out to Argentina with high reputation of his work on the Caledonian
line; he has shown the capacity of a general in the development of
traffic during the few years he has been in Argentina. But England
called him to take the most responsible post in the railway world, the
general managership of the London and North Western Company.

Now I come to the Great Southern Company, one of the oldest and one of
the most famous lines on the South American continent. From "B.A." it
extends southwards for 500 miles to Bahia Blanca. From there it shoots
westwards for 348 miles to Neuquén, and an extension to the Chilian
frontier is on its way. On behalf of the Government the company is
carrying forward extensive irrigation works in the Neuquén territory
which, when completed, will convert the valleys of the upper Rio Negro
and Rio Neuquén, hitherto one of the least productive, into one of the
most fertile regions of the country. The growth of the company, since it
started in 1865 with a length of 71 miles, is worth noting. After 1865
the mileage grew progressively as follows: 1873, 145 miles; 1883, 472
miles; 1893, 1,406 miles; 1903, 2,404 miles; 1913, 3,641 miles. The
lines actually in course of construction, or about to be commenced,
represent some 670 miles. Thus it can be safely calculated that the
mileage of the Great Southern Railway will, before long, exceed 4,300
miles. You get an appreciation of the zone served by the Southern by the
comparative figures of the increase in its passenger traffic during the
last five years: 1909, 16,865,200; 1910, 18,906,505; 1911, 22,231,112;
1912, 24,069,974; 1913, 27,454,719. Of these last figures, for
1913, it is significant that the suburban traffic is represented by
19,841,156, which shows the population that lives within reach of Buenos


Passenger traffic is, in fact, a main feature of the Buenos Aires Great
Southern Railway. On the Monday following the Easter holidays in 1913
trains with no fewer than 102 sleeping coaches arrived at the company's
termini in Buenos Aires. Of these, fifty were from the fashionable
bathing resort at Mar del Plata. The special feature of this Mar del
Plata service is, that during the season as many as three heavy trains,
composed of sleeping cars, are run nightly, in addition to afternoon
expresses, formed of luxurious parlour cars, which run three days a
week. In 1913 35,964 return tickets were sold to this watering place 250
miles from Buenos Aires. In the same year parcels and excess baggage
represented 291,608 tons, though it should be stated more than half this
amount was for milk, butter, and cream. The number of tons of goods
carried in 1909 was 4,852,379; in 1913 the tonnage was 7,977,663. Live
stock carried in 1909 were 5,576,983, whilst in 1913 the number was
6,562,951. Fully 50 per cent. of the live stock received at the
slaughter-houses for consumption in Buenos Aires, and by the freezing
establishments for export to England in the form of frozen or chilled
meat, is dispatched from southern stations. The bull that obtained the
championship in 1913 at Palermo, and fetched the world-record price of
£7,000, was born on Señor Pereyra Iraola's estate at Pereyra station on
the Great Southern Railway.

Practically the whole of the zone served by the Great Southern Railway
in the Province of Buenos Aires is adaptable to the growing of cereals
generally, with the exception of maize, which is limited to the
districts nearest Buenos Aires. The authorised capital of the Southern
is £53,525,530, and that issued amounts to £48,981,530. The net receipts
for 1913 (June 30th) amounted to £2,870,349, and the dividend for the
year was 7 per cent., which has been maintained for the last fifteen
years, being, indeed, as high as the law will permit. The company's
rolling stock, comprising some 15,000 vehicles, was recently valued at
£7,437,654. The general manager of the company is Mr. Percy Clarke, the
doyen amongst English railway officials in Argentina, and a man of
charming personality.

It is unnecessary for me to go through a catalogue of all that is being
done by the various railroads in the Republic. But I must refer to the
work being done by what is known as the "Farquhar group," an
amalgamation of railways under the spirited enterprise of Mr. Percival
Farquhar, a go-ahead North American who is chiefly responsible for the
creation of the Argentine Railway Company, which is incorporated under
the laws of the State of Maine, U.S.A. This company was formed a couple
of years ago (July 12th, 1912) to group together various railways in
order to obtain benefits of unified management, and provide increased
railroad facilities in the northern districts of the Republic. Two of
the principal railways which this company now control are the Central
Cordoba and the Entre Rios lines. Also it has a controlling interest in
a number of smaller companies. The biggest amalgamation effected by this
company has been the purchase by the Cordoba Central Railway of the
undertakings of the Cordoba and Rosario and Cordoba Central Buenos Aires
Extension Lines; and the proposal at the time of writing is to create
£23,000,000 worth of new stock, whilst £18,000,000 worth is to be issued
to the holders of existing stock in the three companies. A good deal of
reorganisation is in progress.

Although competition between the big lines is as severe as anywhere in
the world, except within the United States, this movement in Argentina
for amalgamation and agreement in regard to spheres of interest shows a
disposition to put an end to fierce rivalry. Indeed, it is more than
likely that within the next few years there will be more amalgamation
and working agreements between the big companies.



It was not my fortune to see Rosario, one of the leading commercial
cities in the Republic, under the most favourable circumstances. During
the few days I was there the weather was all it ought not to have
been--dull and rainy and cold--and the streets, except in a few central
thoroughfares, morasses of mire.

It is a purely commercial town. It puts forward no claim to be artistic
or cultured, and it has no pretensions to be a leader of fashion. All
the men in Rosario are engaged in money-making. There are big offices,
and the business men are at their desks early in the morning and remain
late in the afternoon. Great railway lines converge upon Rosario, and
along the front of the River Parana there are miles of goods sheds and
wharves, with ships lying alongside into which the elevators pour their
streams of wheat. There is the constant shunting of trains, the
shrieking of cranes, and the swinging of derricks.

The workers are the best type of Latins, Italians from North Italy, or
North Catalonian Spaniards or Basques. Other Latins do not get much of a
chance in Rosario. There are a number of Englishmen, but they are
swamped in the total. I made inquiries about the relative merits of
English and Italian working men, and was told that the Englishmen are
superior, two of them doing the work which it generally takes three
Italians to accomplish. But it did not strike me, considering the high
cost of living, that the workers in Rosario are highly paid from an
English point of view. Commerce is frequently held up by strikes.
Indeed, there is probably no place where strikes are so recurrent as in

This is a town which came into existence a century ago as a sort of
military outpost to fight the Indians. Half a century back it was little
more than a village, and in 1870 it had a population of 21,000. To-day
the inhabitants number 200,000. It is a great port for sending abroad
wheat, maize, and linseed; indeed, its exports annually are about
5,000,000 tons. As the country north of Rosario is rapidly being
colonised, and as the town is the up-river port capable of receiving
ocean-going steamers, its continued growth is assured. Though, of
course, I do not forget the gradual silting of the River Plate into
which the Parana flows, and the restraint this is sure to put upon
shipping in the future, Rosario is certain to go ahead. The day is not
far distant when there will be extended railway communication between
Argentina, Brazil, and Bolivia; and, as all the lines will pass through
Rosario, it will get the benefit. It is reported that Brazil has coal
mines yet to be exploited, and if this takes place Argentina, which is
much in need of coal, will be one of the principal markets.

I spent an interesting morning in the workshops of the Central Argentine
Railway, which are situated here. They are extensive works, though most
of the engines on the line are brought from England. The majority of the
workmen, naturally enough, are Italians, though the men at the heads of
departments are Englishmen. The goods yard of the Central Argentine
Company is as large as that at Crewe, and is ever busy with the great
freight cars coming in from the west and north. When I was there the
railway station was being transferred to another part of the city so
that passenger and goods traffic could be more expeditiously handled.

Though Rosario prides itself that it keeps its nose to the grindstone in
the matter of money-making, it is not quite neglectful of other sides of
life. There is a fine system of electric tramways. There are huge blocks
of municipal buildings, and imposing banks and theatres; but the law
courts, whilst having a fine exterior, suggested a certain shabbiness to
me because of the weeds that were growing in the courtyards. There is
the usual race-course, and close by there is the Parque Independencia.
And, of course, there is a Plaza San Martin, whilst in other parts of
the town is the Plaza San Lopez, and the Plaza Jewell, presented by an
Englishman who made his fortune in the city. Some distance outside
Rosario is the English suburb of Fisherton, and I noticed that the
Englishmen had fallen into the Argentine practice of calling their
houses after their wives--the Villa Elsie, the Villa Florence, the
Villa Ethel, and so on. As might be expected, there is a golf
course. In the city itself there is a Strangers' Club, of which most of
the members are Englishmen.


An evidence of the prosperity of Rosario is the way in which land has
increased in value. Plots which in 1885 could have been bought for 2s.
6d. a yard now fetch £200 a yard. On the outskirts of the town, where a
few years back a bit of land on which to build a residence--say twenty
yards by sixty yards--could have been obtained for £5, it cannot be
obtained to-day for less than £150. I saw one stretch on the river front
which was bought twenty years ago for £2,000 and sold last year for
£40,000. Twenty miles from Rosario camp land which a dozen years ago
could have been obtained for £10,000 the square league is not allowed to
change hands to-day for less than £100,000 the square league.

With nightfall the Rosario people give themselves up to pleasure.
Attached to the big hotel there is a huge saloon, and whilst men play
dominoes and cards, music is provided by a band composed of Austrian
girls. There is a great _café chantant_, and every night hundreds of
people, men and their wives, sit at the little tables having meals, or
partaking of beverages, whilst a band plays and comic singers perform,
or a kinematograph entertainment is provided. I saw nothing at all in
Rosario to suggest it was a place of culture. But it is a town throbbing
with commercial activity, and when business is over the people seek
nothing more than the lightest of entertainment.



An old-time languorous atmosphere seems to hang round Cordoba. It is a
city with eighty churches, and as it has a population of 80,000, I pride
myself on my arithmetic that works it out to one church for every
thousand inhabitants. It is named after Cordova, in Spain, was founded
in 1504, and is the Oxford of the Argentine. Its university dates from
1666, and has a high reputation for learning in law and medicine.

Those old Spaniards who came pioneering down this way from Peru in their
early days of conquest had a neat eye for the picturesque. Speaking
generally, I would not place Argentina high as a land of beauty. But in
the middle land there is a fine rib of mountains, the Sierra de Cordoba;
and on a rise, so that it may be seen from afar, when the heat dances
hazily there is something immaterial about Cordoba as though it were the
city of a waking dream. See it, however, in the early morning, when the
air is fresh and the gleam of the sun catches it sideways and the
buildings are silhouetted against shadows, and you witness a picture
which would enthral an artist.

By northern European standard it is not an ancient city. But as living
beneath the sun brings early old age to men and women, so cities which
have had a few centuries of constant sun glare get a drowsy mediævalism
which sister cities in more temperate climes must have long ages to
acquire. The aroma of the Church and of scholasticism permeates Cordoba.
In many respects it is quite modern, with its big new hotel, where the
band plays in the restaurant whilst you are dining, and its streets lit
with electricity and electric tramcars jangling their way through the
squares and plenty of taxi-cabs on the ranks.

But the tendency is to forget these, and in recollection of the place
you think chiefly of the quiet in the quadrangle of the university, the
calm of the great library, the weatherworn walls of the old churches and
the dim lights of their interiors doing much to soften the tawdriness of
the decorations. There is a good deal in the assertion occasionally made
that the towns of recently developed countries lack individuality,
distinction; that, with all their progress, they are more or less
duplicates of each other. It is easy enough in Argentina to find
evidence of this modern spirit in town planning. Yet I know of none of
the newer countries where the towns have such a separate character as in

Of course, there are raw townships of yesterday which have nothing to
show but two wretched rows of badly built houses on each side of the
railway track, just as you will find in the western parts of the United
States and Canada. As Argentine towns grow they do not grow uniformly,
as though they were designed by the same architect or were imitating one
another. They show individuality. If you like, it may be just a desire
to show off. Many municipalities are loaded with debt. But they will
have their cities beautiful. When they have made a broad grass-plotted,
tree-girt avenue right through the town to the railway station, and the
station buildings are low and ugly and out of keeping with the rest of
the town, and the railway authorities at Buenos Aires turn a deaf ear to
the deputations which may wait upon them, you can safely bet that one of
these nights the railway buildings will be consumed by fire, so that the
company is compelled to erect a new station.

Because it is the oldest city in Argentina and has inhabitants with
pedigrees, and because of the society attracted to it, Cordoba regards
itself as the aristocratic centre of the Republic. In the neighbouring
hills are sanatoria, like Jesu Maria, much favoured by the people of the
plains who need a change.

Cordoba, like other places, is quite certain it has the best-dressed
ladies. In a sedate sort of way there is a good deal of gaiety. On hot
summer evenings a band plays in the square, where there is a statue of
San Martin. There may be a town in Argentina which has not an equestrian
statue of the Liberator from Spain. If so, I must have missed it. The
statues are all facsimiles of the original, and there must be dozens of
them. It is the one point on which all the towns agree; they must have
a statue of San Martin on a prancing steed, and eternally pointing in
the direction of the Andes. Once I unfortunately made an Argentine
angry, for, being anxious to show me the beauties of his town, he sought
my wishes as to what I desired to see, and I replied, "Anything you
like, so long as you do not take me to see the statue of San
Martin--I've seen him so often during the last month." The feathers were
up at once. I smoothed them down by assuring him that we have very few
statues of Wellington in England.

The Cordobians are fond of music and racing and gambling, and sitting in
the cafés throwing the dice-box. There is a delightful theatre, the
Rivera Indarte, built by the provincial Government. Opera companies
which go to Buenos Aires are invited to come to Cordoba, and the
authorities give a guarantee against loss. The proper thing is to buy a
box, holding six persons, for the little season of ten performances. The
cost of such a box is £150. The charge is a dollar for the _entrada_
(entrance), which provides nothing except permission to enter the
building. This _entrada_ charge is like the charge for "attendance" in
old-fashioned hotels in England, which is an excuse for sticking another
eighteenpence a day on your bill so that you may be deceived into
thinking you are paying six shillings for your room when you are really
paying seven and sixpence. So at the opera in Cordoba, usually Italian,
the lowest ticket is two dollars to be permitted to stand up, but you
have already parted with one dollar to go in. Cordoba province, like the
other provinces, thinks no small beer of itself. It rather resents
receiving orders from the Federal Government sitting in Buenos Aires.
Perhaps that is the reason the Argentine National Anthem is so seldom

Students are attracted to Cordoba University from all over the country.
Most of the professors have had experience of European universities,
generally French. The library is extensive and varied. I handled some
fine old Bibles, bound in sheepskin, relics of the early Spaniards. Also
there is a remarkable collection of old maps, showing that the priests
as they travelled this way were first-class geographers. Whatever
literary sentiment there is in Argentina finds expression in Cordoba.
Indeed, it is the natural meeting-place for men inclined to culture for
its own sake. But it is by no means a sleepy hollow. It has several
really good newspapers. There is a great export of lime. Being the
centre of a big wheat area, much milling is done by modern electric
appliance. Light and power are provided by an enterprising English
company. There is a shoe factory, which turns out 2,500 pairs of
footwear a day.

Yet, as I have said, though there is plenty to prove that Cordoba is
awake, the impression left on the memory is that it is an old-fashioned
Spanish university town that has strayed to the central part of South
America. This may be because I spent most of my time in the university
buildings, or roaming through the churches. In the cathedral a
shrivelled but kindly old priest showed me a gallery of bishops of
Cordoba; but I suspect they are much like the Scottish kings which adorn
the walls of Holyrood Palace, many painted by one hand, and from
imagination of what the bishops looked like rather than from any
knowledge of their actual appearance.

        _Photograph by A. W. Boote & Co., Buenos Aires._

I went to the Jesuit church, where a tonsured, jolly monk showed me the
relics. People who had had rheumatism, and who had been cured by prayer,
gave acknowledgment by sending golden arms or silver legs. There was a
little golden motor car, and this came from a lady who in a terrible
smash prayed her life might be saved; and it was saved, and here was her
gift. Here was the statue of the Virgin, which performs miracles. Those
who are inclined to doubt are shown a stack of crutches of those who
hobbled into the church to seek the aid of the Virgin and walked out
quite cured. The little figure of the Virgin is as fresh as though it
had been carved and painted only last year. Yet the story goes it has
never been touched for nigh four hundred years. In those far-off days it
was sent from Spain. But the ship was wrecked in mid-Atlantic. Those who
had expected the statue were in distress, and prayers were offered on
the coast that the good Mother would send another statue. And whilst
they prayed the case in which was the statue was floated on the shore,
and the statue was quite unharmed. At once miracles were performed, and
miracles have been performed over since. I saw the crutches and I saw
the golden motor-car.

From the rafters hung many flags of foreign countries captured by
Argentina in war. There is a Union Jack, with colours dimmed with years,
which was seized from the British nearly a hundred years ago, when a
British force landed and it was a toss-up whether Argentina would not
become a British Colony. Many British visitors cast a regretful eye upon
that drooping flag in the Jesuit church at Cordoba. They are not
told--but it is a fact all the same--it is not the real flag. I was
shown the real flag folded in a glass case in a room behind the altar.
Some years ago a number of young Englishmen travelling in the country
recovered the real flag, which then hung in the chancel. There was such
a how-d'ye-do that it had to be returned. To avoid a similar mishap it
was put under lock and key in a glass case, and kept in a chamber not
accessible to the public. But the public would still want to see the
British flag. So not to disappoint them an exact copy was made, and it
is the imitation flag upon which most visiting Englishmen cast a
patriotic but regretful eye.

There is an agricultural college, a wonderful drive up a hill to a park
which provides long distance views, an English school and a German
school. I could easily give a dozen places where these developments can
be found, and better. The point is that you find these things at all in
the very heart of South America. Being the heart of the southern
continent, Cordoba has been selected by the Government as its chief
observatory. It is the Argentine Greenwich. The Republic keeps the same
time from east to west, and it keeps Cordoba time. The observatory is
under the control of a staff from the United States.

The Cordobians are great lovers of pleasure. Sometimes on the grim
hoardings of London you see how a railway company will take you, first
class, to a popular seaside resort, house and feed you in a well-known
hotel, and bring you back at a fixed inclusive sum for the week-end. The
Central Argentine Railway does the same thing in regard to Alta Gracia,
a pleasant village in the hills, and where there is the best mountain
hotel in the world. Alta Gracia is about an hour's run from Cordoba, and
on Sundays there is a rush of holiday-makers, reminiscent of the Pullman
express out of London down to Brighton on a Sunday morning. The "fixed
charge" is popular. Everybody knows exactly how much the outing is going
to cost. At ten o'clock a train thronged with holiday-makers sets out
for Alta Gracia. By eleven o'clock the place is reached. At noon there
is _déjeuner_. The afternoon can be spent lounging about, listening to
the band, playing golf, playing tennis, gambling in the casino, taking
walks in the wooded hills. At seven o'clock is dinner. The train returns
at nine o'clock, and by ten Cordoba and home is reached.

One of the pleasantest week-ends in my life I spent at Alta Gracia.
There is a little group of Englishmen, associated with the Central
Argentine Railway, living at Cordoba, and, as officials have special
cars, we had a couple of cars attached to the train on Saturday night.
At Alta Gracia these were detached and side tracked. Then we "roughed
it" for twenty-four hours. After the cocktails, and whilst dinner was
being prepared, we sat out on the plain. On one side rose the village,
revealed by points of light in the blackness, and on the summit of the
hill was a glow of light just like a great and well-illumined liner
appears as she ploughs the sea. That was the mountain hotel. On the
other side was the prairie, just a streak of dark below the deep blue of
the sky. The stars seemed bigger and nearer and more numerous than they
do in northern climes. There was the usual searching for the Southern
Cross, and when found we all agreed it was the most overrated
constellation in the heavens. A caressing warmth was in the air. It was
good to sit there, smoking our pipes and "listening to the silence."



Away on the plains of central South America--that sounds like "roughing
it." But you have got to go much farther afield to rough it. The car
which my friend and I had would have attracted much notice in England.
There was a pleasant sitting-room, with big easy chairs and a real
English open fireplace. There were three bedrooms, not the "cribb'd,
cabin'd, confin'd" cabins we have in our "sleepers" at home, and there
was the luxury of a bathroom. There was a kitchen, a chef, and a
sprightly waiter. The whole car was lit by electricity. So we sat down
to dinner--half a dozen courses as excellent as can be served at a
London restaurant which looks after its reputation. We filled the coach
with our tobacco smoke; we told our best stories; we exchanged yarns
about things which had befallen us in distant parts of the world--in
Siberia and Australia, Peru and Havana, the Soudan and California--for
here the corners of the earth were met in a side-tracked private car in
the lee of a pretty holiday village in the middle of Argentina. The
Spaniards have done much to this land; but bands of young Englishmen
have played and are playing their part.

In the delicious freshness of the dawn we sauntered about in our
pyjamas, drank tea and smoked cigarettes. The day came with a rush of
glory. It was Sunday morning, and the bell in the monastic church on the
hill was clanging for the faithful to go and pray. The mystery which
hung over Alta Gracia had gone, and in the truthful light of the morning
it was just a straggling Spanish village, with many trees about, and the
red hills in the distance making a jagged background. It was a torrid
Sunday morning, and when we had had our tubs, and had shaven and put on
our flannels, we set out to "make a day of it."

The bell of the old church was clang-clanging. Peasants in their Sunday
clothes--the women squat and short-skirted and with highly coloured
kerchiefs over their heads, the men in baggy velvet trousers and slouch
hats, their faces polished with soap and their hair reeking with scented
oil--were slowly climbing to worship. The walls of the church, and the
buildings where the monks formerly lived, suggested a fortress prepared
to resist attack rather than a haven of peace. There were long slits in
the stonework through which the nose of a musket could be stuck. For in
the old days the monks had to fight as well as pray. Alta Gracia was
very lonely centuries ago, and always liable to attack. But now all that
is far in the background. The church was crowded. The priest at the
candled altar was chanting. The air was pungent with incense. There was
not room for all the worshippers to sit so many stood, and when they
knelt they spread their handkerchiefs on the floor. There was nothing
which could be described as distinctively Argentine. Better-to-do folk
were dressed just like better-to-do folk are dressed in Europe. It was
just the usual Sunday morning scene you can witness in Spain and
Italy--countries six thousand miles away.

One blinked on coming from the shadows of the church into the sunshine.
The holiday-makers from Cordoba had arrived, and were scattering to find
suitable haunts for picnicking. We tramped up the heavy, dusty road,
panting and perspiring, but encouraged by the sight of the spreading,
low-roofed hotel. Ah! at last we were on the broad balcony, twice as
wide as the promenade deck of our greatest liner. A touch of the bell,
and we were having our favourite beverages, much iced. Through the
shimmering heat the eye could wander over the endless brown plains.
Solemn Argentines, inclined to portliness, sat in big basket-chairs,
surrounded by their sedate families, doing nothing at all. There were
invalids who had come here for the high, dry air. There were noisy
English youths, in gorgeous blazers, arranging a tennis match. A party
of heavy-shoed golfers were setting out.

Alta Gracia is renowned throughout Argentina as a health resort. In the
hot months--and it can be very hot around January--many families come
here, for there is always a refreshing breeze. There are hundreds of
rooms in the hotel. Bathrooms are innumerable. There are suites and
single chambers. The furniture is tasteful but not luxurious. The
dining-room is in white. There is a ball-room. There is a resident
orchestra. I know most of the big hotels in the mountains of
Switzerland, but no one is comparable in conveniences to this.

Across the gardens, a hundred yards away, is the casino, quite apart
from the hotel, but provided for those who want to gamble--and where is
the Argentine who does not like to gamble? There are large public rooms;
there are small rooms, decorated in a variety of styles, for private
gaming parties; there is a refreshment and reading-room, German in
appearance; there is a beautiful little theatre. No, I am receiving no
fee to advertise Alta Gracia. With the exception of my companion, I am
quite sure there was not a soul in the place who knew what my name was,
or bothered their heads what was the business of a tourist-looking
fellow like myself.

We lunched, we had our coffee, and then we hired one of the hotel
motor-cars and went for a forty or fifty mile spin. Roads--there were no
roads. There were passable tracks and a considerable amount of bouncing
which tested the springs of the car. Like all Latin chauffeurs the
driver had a mania for speed. The way serpentined amongst the rocks and
through scraggy woods, so we had often to make a sudden duck to avoid
getting whipped in the face by a branch. We banged and swerved, but even
the awful threat of not giving the driver a tip did not hold him in for
more than a hundred yards at a stretch from letting that car tear along
at its maddest. He took us to see a gurgling little river, the Bolsa,
tripping through a sylvan glade which caused me to exclaim, "Why, it is
just like a bit of Dovedale!"


Off again at a furious pace, heaving, diving, skirting hills. "If there
is a smash you will be the first killed." But the chauffeur only laughed
over his shoulder. We struck up a defile, and the hills rose high on
either side. Mountain ponies scampered about; goats hailed us from rocky
heights. Gauchos, swarthy and handsome, with their women perched behind,
were overtaken on stallions which were restive and inclined to bolt at
the approach of the automobile. A bend in the narrow way, and we nearly
ran into a funeral procession; the coffin on a cart and covered with a
dingy pall, and the friends of the dead man in many and varied
vehicles following, in no garb of mourning, but non-chalantly smoking
cigarettes. There was backing of the car till it could be run on a piece
of grass. The horses hauling the dead man laid their ears well forward
and then well back, but were led past the thing they were afraid of
without accident. We exchanged the greetings of the day with the friends
of the dead man. He was going to be buried twelve miles away, and it
would be well into the night before they got back. The motor-car snorted
and jumped on its way. It was a beautiful afternoon.

The chauffeur brought us to a chalet which we reached by crossing a
brook and passing through a garden. It was a house of refreshment. And
what kind of refreshment in an out-of-the-way part of the world? A
sad-faced girl gave us a curtsy and waited our orders whilst we
stretched our legs beneath an orange tree. Now what had she to offer in
the way of refreshment? The señors could have what they wished. I
inquired about champagne. Certainly! But who on earth could want
champagne on the edge of the world out there? We did not have champagne.
We had a bottle of native white wine and aerated water. The chauffeur!
Oh, his fancy ran to a bottle of beer; indeed, he had two bottles of
beer. And who was the dead man we had passed? we asked the maid. Her
brother. Last night he took ill and ere morning he was dead, and now
they had taken him away. An old man came to the door and looked up the
sunlit valley. The little two-year-old son of the dead man had a
stick, and was chasing some ducks toward the brook; he was radiantly
happy. We commiserated with the old man. He thanked the señors and hoped
the wine was as we wished. He did not know why his son died; the sweet
Mother in Heaven knew; anyway, he had gone; could he get the señor
another chair, for that he was sitting on could not be comfortable?

Back to Alta Gracia. Some of our friends had been playing golf, and we
must go to the club-house. A well-laid-out nine-hole course, but the
"greens" are of caked mud; they cannot grow grass out here as we can at
home. There is the usual golfers' talk; there was "rotten luck being
bunkered just in front of the fourth hole"; "That was a lovely drive
from the eighth"; "Hang it all, he was quite off colour with his
brassie, and he generally fancied himself with his brassie work"; "Well,
of all the fortunate foozlers, a chap like that doing the fifth in
three"--and so on. It was just like dear old England.

Somebody remarked there were gaucho races over on the other side of the
town. Gaucho races--races amongst the men of the soil, the native
cowboys of the Argentine prairies! Tune up that motor-car. I can see
lots of golf in other parts of the world, but here was one of the things
I had dreamed about coming out to see--a gaucho race-meeting.

No, I have no need to think out admiring adjectives to describe
that course. It was only a bit of a course. The posts were ramshackle,
and the wire which had connected them was broken and trailed on the
ground, or had gone altogether. There was what I took to be intended for
a grand stand, a wheezy erection of unpainted wood, but there was nobody
on it.

There were hundreds of gauchos, the real article, with skins like
leather, eyes as black as night, and most of them were on ponies and
astride Spanish saddles, and they were picturesquely garbed, but not so
picturesquely as you see them in coloured illustrations. They were
noisy, and prancing their horses about and challenging each other. They
had ridden in fifteen and twenty miles, some of them, and their women
had driven in the carts with provisions for the day. The women had
little encampments in the bushes, and fires burning, and they made
coffee and served their lords with chunks of food.

The men are all laughing and arguing the merits of their ponies. Nearly
everybody is mounted. One gaucho is jumping from group to group, waving
two paper pesos (about 3s. 4d.) and demanding who will lay two pesos
against his pony. The jabber is interminable. He gets taken. Excitement
runs through the crowd. The competitors each hand the money to an old
fellow who stands on a rickety platform which serves as judges' box.
Then they amble off toward a tree where they are their own starters. A
native policeman frantically yells for the course to be cleared. Some
sort of passage-way is made, and then there is the customary confounded
dog which will not get out of the way.

Here they come, and in a pelt of dust. They ride well and with a loose
rein. The riders swing their arms and yell as though they would frighten
their steeds to greater efforts. You can feel the quiver in the crowd.
By go the horses, running neck to neck. But one has won by a nose. The
winner trots up smiling, and he gets the four pesos held by the judge.

But the clamour has begun again. One man, rather a gaudy buck and with a
fine horse, challenges the world. He will race any man for five pesos,
and he has the money in his hand to show he means business. Well, he
will lay his five pesos to anybody else's four. Everybody is talking
about his own horse, or somebody else's horse, or egging two enthusiasts
to cease their talking and have the thing settled by a race.

These gauchos belong to a long line of men who have lived on their
prairies and had to do with horses ever since the Spaniards first
landed. They go to horse-races not for a pleasant holiday, but because
the fever of horse-racing is in their veins.

And that night after dinner we sat in the great light of the veranda,
and the mighty purple night was beyond, and the air was heavy with the
musk which rises from the plains after a hot day and the great locusts
which swerved toward us! Some women gave little screams in fear they
might get amongst their hair. Men who knew their harmlessness--except
when there was a crop of young wheat to be devoured--caught them in
their hands.

        _Photograph by A. W. Boote & Co., Buenos Aires._

We tramped through the dimly lit village and heard the songs of Spain
and Italy streaming from the cafés. We saw the crowd of merry-makers
packing into the train to return to Cordoba. And when the train, a
streak of light, had snorted into the blackness till in the distance it
appeared like a crawling glowworm, we got chairs from out of the private
car and sat beneath the stars and smoked our pipes, and wondered what
was happening in England. At first there was warmth in the air. But the
chill of midnight had come, and the grasshoppers had ceased their song,
before we climbed to bed.



If I were suddenly asked to name the town which has most rapidly sprung
ahead during the last few years, Bahia Blanca would at once jump to my

It is 350 miles south of the River Plate, and if you searched the coast
line for six hundred miles below Buenos Aires it is only here you would
find a natural harbour capable of receiving the largest of steamers.
With the gradual silting of the River Plate, which, notwithstanding
constant dredging, will be a constant handicap to the shipping of the
capital and Rosario, Bahia Blanca, with advantages which neither of the
other two towns possesses, will undoubtedly become the real Liverpool of

In 1880 the place had a population of less than 2,000. To-day its
population is 70,000, and it is increasing rapidly. Already it has third
place in commercial importance amongst the cities of the country, and
its ambition is to rival Buenos Aires itself.

Old timers--men who have been in the place a dozen years--waxed
enthusiastic to me about the way in which an unpaved village, built on a
flat, dusty, treeless waste, has become a city of broad paved streets
and plazas, with imposing public buildings, public gardens, electric
tramways, electric light, and an excellent water supply.


There was something exhilarating in driving in a motor-car along a busy
thoroughfare, with big shops on either side, and with clanging tramcars
picking up and dropping passengers, and to be reminded that seven years
before the place was quite a wilderness. The way in which some men had
made money quickly made the mouth water when one was shown a plot of
land which had originally been purchased for a few dollars, sold a few
years later for 10,000 dollars, and which had changed hands only a month
or two later for 30,000 dollars.

Though open to the scourge of disagreeable sand-storms--I experienced
one during my visit--the town is well placed, with fine open spaces; and
though the public park is a little "raw," the fact that there is a park
at all, with excellent drives and many trees, is the wonderful thing. I
dined one night at an excellent hotel, and afterwards accompanied some
friends to a wine hall, where men brought their wives and children and
witnessed a pleasant kinematograph entertainment. Of course there is an
Argentine Club, and, though without the sedate restfulness which English
folk like to feel is the characteristic of their clubs, its dimensions
and luxuriance provide a building which would be a credit to any town
three times its size. Bahia Blanca has a model municipality, and, with
all respect to the Spanish-Italian Argentines, I believe the secret is
that the development of the town has been chiefly in the hands of

With the opening of the country, fresh areas of land placed under
cultivation and with thousands of miles lying at the back capable of
wheat growing and cattle raising, Bahia Blanca is swiftly coming into
its own. The land was practically useless so long as there was no
transport, but now, with the Great Southern Railway, the Buenos Aires
and Pacific Railway and other lines converging upon the town, every year
marks an increase in trade. For instance, in 1901 seventy vessels were
cleared from the port; in 1912 there were four hundred and twenty-two.
In the same two years the shipments in wool jumped from 26,123 tons to
55,552; the number of hides from 394 to 77,401; the tons of hair from 3
to 248; and the tons of cereals from 188,875 to 1,747,702.

Let honour go where honour is due. It was the coming of the railways
which gave Bahia Blanca its leap forward. In 1884 the Great Southern
Railway first pushed its rails so far south. They ran through a country
which, loosely, might be described as desert. The bringing of the
railway was like putting new life into the desert. _Estancias_ dotted
the landscape. In 1885 an insignificant mole was built by the Great
Southern to receive its own materials, but this mole has developed into
the present Port of Engineer White--called after the man who built
it--which deals with over a million tons of public traffic yearly. This
port is a little over four miles from Bahia Blanca, and has berths for
ten vessels of less draught. I climbed through the two grain elevators,
stacked with 26,000 tons of wheat in sacks. By means of electric bands
grain can be conveyed to eight vessels at a time, and in the busy season
ships have been known to take over five thousand tons in a little over
six hours. Being a place of yesterday's growth all the newest appliances
are to be found, including thirty electric cranes, powerful tugs,
floating grain elevators. Indeed, the Southern company admit to an
expenditure on the port of £2,000,000.

But the port made by the Buenos Aires and Pacific Railway Company,
Puerto Galvan, occupying a position of fine natural advantage on the
estuary of the bay and lying a mile or two across the flat from Engineer
White, has also to be seen. At high tide there is a mean depth of
twenty-eight feet, and plenty of good anchorage is in the mainway.
Puerto Galvan is five miles from Bahia Blanca, and to a great extent has
been built on reclaimed swampy ground. I see the day when warehouses and
further elevators will cover this piece of reclaimed mudbank, and it
should never be forgotten that Mr. Stevens, the engineer, a man of great
ability and much modesty, has performed a fine piece of work. The port
has accommodation for twelve ocean-going steamers, and the berths, which
have a total length of over 4,000 feet, have been constructed with a
view to the rapid handling of cargo. Here again the appliances,
elevators to handle 8,000 tons a day, thirty-six cranes, traversers,
capstans, are all electrically driven. The total effective power amounts
to 4,265 horse-power. The port and the shunting yards are all lit at
night with electricity, and ships can be illuminated. There are special
facilities for the embarkation of cattle. Large bonded warehouses are in
course of construction. There is a flour mill with a capacity of 100
tons a day. Large storage tanks have been erected for the accumulation
of crude oil, an important provision in a country so deficient in coal.
I looked across the sweep lying between Puerto Galvan and Engineer
White, and visioned the day when it will be occupied with warehouses and
industrial enterprises, for oil fuel and electric power can be quickly
and cheaply supplied.

One morning I visited the Victoria Wool Market, long rows of well-built
sheds, where not only wool but cereals and general camp produce are
sold. I doubt if anywhere there is a similar market quite so large, for
it has a floor area of 484,000 square feet and a storage capacity of
50,000 tons. Close by are the deposits to receive the Mendoza wines,
which will have a profitable European sale when once the supply grows
beyond the Argentine demand. Then there are deposits for the storage of
alfalfa. The spread of development was revealed by the remarks which
came in reply to my inquiries. "Oh, that was built last year"; "This was
erected a couple of years ago, but we are going to make extensions";
"Five years ago we thought this place big enough, but we are going to
pull it down and put up something ten times the size." Here was
commercial progress expanding monthly. Here was a town which had been
little more to me than a name on the South American coast before I
visited it--and I consider myself a travelled man--and when I saw its
energy and its growth I wondered how much the great industrial
populations of crowded Europe knew of what was taking place so many
thousands of miles across the sea.


The success of Bahia Blanca lies in the back country known as the pampa.
I journeyed across it in a trip from Mendoza to Bahia Blanca, and, as
the name denotes, it is a vast featureless plain. Most of it is
naturally fertile, but even regions that are sandy will be productive in
the growing of alfalfa, which seems specially suitable, and which will
not only maintain herds of cattle, but is profitable as a feeding stuff
to be exported. As yet the pampa has been little more than scratched.
From the railway cars the idea is obtained that the whole of the country
is converted to the use of man. Ten or twenty miles beyond the line you
reach desert--desert so far as use is concerned, though the illimitable
expanse of waving grass tells the tale of future possibilities. Wherever
the railways stretch their arms there is cultivation, for the ever
spreading population follows quickly on the laying down of the rails.

I have heard people talk about the monotony of the pampa. But this
territory has a special fascination of its own. There is a bigness, an
immensity, an unendingness which lays hold of the imagination. The great
silence, save for the play of the wind amongst the long grass, seizes
the fancy. Sunrise and sunset come and go in a wonderful glory. At the
birth of day all the grass sparkles with dew; the softest colours seem
to brush the world. When the sun is up, and blazes from a sky with all
the blue burnt out of it, a sort of oppressive hot hush rests upon the
world. The long grass seems to drowse beneath the pitiless glare. You
can travel for hundreds of miles and never see a hillock or a tree or a
beast, or hear a bird. But into this land man is slowly but persistently
penetrating. To folk who live at home the life seems deadening. Yet men
come to love it, not passionately but clingingly, so that many a man who
has "made his pile" and returned home to spend it in ease begins to
crave for the pampa, and he is not content until he visits it again.


Gradually this area is being transformed. _Estancias_, with their
eternal clump of trees and inevitable windmill pump, break the line of
the horizon. Cattle stray over the prairie. The mud hovels of the
colonists are black specks, and when you reach them you find that a big
slice of the land has been given to the plough and is fenced with wire.
Here also are the sheep farms, and, as I have indicated, Bahia Blanca is
the chief market for wool. Yet sheep rearing in the Argentine, extensive
though it is, may be said to be stationary. This is not because the
limits of expansion have been reached, but simply because cattle and
wheat have been found more profitable. The quality of wool, inferior to
that of Australia, may have something to do with the restriction. The
constant tendency is toward hair, and the natural condition of wool is
only maintained by the importation of English sheep. Then the animals
are disposed to be gaunt rather than good meat producers. These are
drawbacks which have had their influence on breeding as a money-making
business. But the Argentines are a practical people, and everything
connected with agriculture they tackle in a scientific manner. That the
consequence of their experiments in cross breeding will be the
production of an acclimatised sheep, valuable for wool or mutton or
both, I have no doubt. Farther south toward Patagonia, where the climate
is more temperate and where there is fodder, I look upon as one of the
great sheep tracks of the world. The European market for chilled mutton
will be a spur to sheep-breeding.

Indeed, there are indications that the country at the back of Bahia
Blanca is being appreciated as the sheep lands. It has been found that
English sheep do better here than elsewhere. The Lincoln, Leicester,
Romney Marsh, and Merino sheep do well. There is a good opening in this
area for the British immigrant with money. Though there are something
approaching one hundred million sheep in the Republic, there is room for
hundreds of millions more. But the indifferent strain, consequent on a
long-woolled Spanish breed having run wild for over two hundred years,
must be eradicated if Argentina is going to secure and hold a foremost
place in the wool markets of the world. I have been told this has been
done during the last half century, but I am by no means convinced. For a
long time the West Riding of Yorkshire had a prejudice against Argentine
wool. This no longer exists. The preference is given to Australian wool
not for any patriotic reasons, but simply because it is better.

Argentina has for some time been attracting breeders from New Zealand,
and they have done much, by the importation of stock from England, to
improve the quality. At present three out of every four sheep stations
are in the hands of men of British name. You can strike a line from a
little north of Bahia Blanca, and then reckon that most of the country
lying south, right down to Patagonia, is suitable for sheep. But it is
not all of equal value. Sheep that are turned out on the alfalfa lands
provide good mutton, but the wool is inferior. The fine grasses of the
near south seem inclined to make coarse wool; yet careful crossing is
doing much to prevent this. Still, I am strongly disposed to agree with
M. Bernandez, that there is no reason why either the coarse or fine
wools now produced should be abandoned. 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. He looks to the establishment of woollen manufactories in the
Argentine, and, as a consequence, the development on a colossal scale of
all the breeds.

[Illustration: A BAHIA BLANCA BANK.]




It is, as I have abundantly shown, a simple truism to say that Argentina
is one of the principal agricultural countries in the world. But how far
is the country going to advance?

In the great industrial lands of the earth the tendency of population is
away from the land. But the increase of population means a bigger demand
for food. The time is swiftly coming when the United States will have
difficulty in growing sufficient to feed her own people, and must look
elsewhere. The wheat area in Canada is immense, but its extent is now
well known. The wheat lands in the Dominion are travelling farther
north, and though a short summer with long hours of sunshine are
sufficient speedily to raise crops, there is the danger--and it is
foolish to close one's eyes to it--that a summer frost may produce a
sudden shortage in the world's wheat supply. Russia is capable of
further development in wheat growing, and there are huge possibilities
in Siberia, which, physically, is a twin country to Canada. But the
Russians are the poorest of farmers, and the agricultural progress of
the land of the Tsar is doubtful.

Then there are plains of Australia which ought to be doing much more in
food production. But it cannot be said that the native-born Australian
is really fond of life in the back blocks. Anyway, the disproportionate
size of the urban to the rural populations would indicate he is not.
Though of late years something has been done to stimulate immigration,
the result is not sufficient to meet the needs of a country like the

One reason is that Australia is so much farther off than Canada, and
there is a belief amongst the country people of Great Britain that the
prospects of success are not so immediate. Further, there is the
unfortunate but undoubted and growing idea amongst Englishmen that
Australians, as a whole, are not kindly disposed to new-comers, and that
the fresh arrival has a rough time of it before he shakes himself down
to the fresh life. I do not discuss these points. I mention their
existence as some reason why Australia is not able to play the part it
is entitled to play as a great wheat country.

Now the best wheat lands of Argentina lie within the semi-tropical or
temperate zone. I have already explained why it does not have the
attractions which British colonies can offer to the man with grit and
muscle who desires to secure independence. But it does draw to its
shores a big army of workers from Italy and Spain, without the ambition
of Britons and content to be the servants of other men. Labour is
comparatively cheap. The country is easy to reach. The drift is not to
the towns but to the agricultural districts. The range for wheat
growing is boundless. But the possibility of drought is not to be

The money invested in agriculture falls short of that invested in live
stock. But there are more persons directly interested in the growing of
cereals, and I am one of those who believe it counts more for the
genuine, happy prosperity of a nation that a large proportion of the
population should be attached to the soil than when greater wealth is
secured by a smaller number. In my opinion it would be better if there
were easier means for the comparatively small holder, the man with
anything from three hundred to a thousand acres, to settle. I was not
unconscious of a movement, such as there is in Australia, to break up
the big estates, but at the present it is nebulous, merely something in
the air; and though the Latins, when they act, will act swiftly, the
type of colonist and labourer who lands, though he votes Socialist when
he gets the chance, is not of the brand to take vigorous political
action to secure land. His conditions are improved in comparison within
his native country, and he is inclined for the present to be content.

There is, however, a rustling amongst the leaves. There is a feeling
amongst Argentine politicians that the peon and the colonist have little
chance of becoming owners of small farms unless they are assisted by
credit banks. Various proposals have been made; but the one now before
the Chamber of Deputies, fathered by the Minister of Agriculture,
provides for the establishment of agricultural banks and the erection
of warehouses to receive produce as a pledge against cash advances.

It is reckoned that between £8,000,000 and £9,000,000 is necessary to
set the scheme on its legs, and the idea is that the State should find
half the money and private capital provide the other half.

Further, as most of the best land is in large estates and private
ownership, there is a growing public opinion that the Government would
do well if it bought up some of these enormous _estancias_ at their
present value, cut them into small holdings, and let them on the
deferred payment system to colonists. This would require enormous
capital, State provided. But, human nature being what it is, men in one
part of the country are opposed to finding money for the benefit of
another part. They do not look upon it as a national investment which
will bring good return to the State as a whole so much as increasing the
productivity and population in particular parts. However, some progress
has been made when you get a general consensus that, unbounded though
Argentina's capabilities are, closer settlement is necessary to provide
ballast in the economic progress of the nation.

"Give us of the best; let us be up-to-date and scientific; let us have
the latest twentieth-century equipment so that Argentina may have first
place"--that is the temper of the people toward agriculture. Much has
been done, an amazing amount, to place Argentina in the front line of
agrarian education. In giving praise there is, I know, always the
danger of overdoing it. And whilst the Argentine has a good conceit of
himself, he has the quality, not always readily discernible in a new
country, of being able to see his weak points and being willing to
learn. Here is a frank statement which I cull from the _Anales de la
Sociedad Rural Argentine_: "Up to the present agriculture has hardly
been carried on in a scientific, regular, methodic, reasonable and
economic manner with the endeavour to get from the soil all the benefit
and yield it can give. The empiric methods of cultivation often employed
up to now have given profits on account of the fertility of the land,
its exuberance, which, without great expense, yields a return far larger
than the general average known in other agricultural countries."

Less than forty years ago it took Argentina all its time to grow enough
wheat to supply its own needs, though its population was only a third
what it is at present. Within the memory of many Argentina had to import
wheat. Indeed, as near as 1876 thousands of tons of flour had to be
brought into the country. It is the recollection of this, in comparison
with the conditions to-day, which proclaims better than any attempts at
fine writing the strides which have been made. Look at the jumps. In
1888 the crops covered some 6,076,500 acres, representing an increase of
4,626,500 acres in sixteen years, an addition that seven years later had
reached 6,012,000 acres. By 1895 the total was 12,088,000. Then came the
wave. By 1908 the total was 43,692,228 acres, an increase of 31,603,728
acres in thirteen years, or 261 per cent. In 1911 the area cultivated
was 54,258,772 acres, and at the time of writing it must be approaching
70,000,000 acres. That tells its own story. Yet only one-sixth of the
country suitable for cultivation has been broken by the plough. The
value of the principal products of Argentine agriculture, wheat, maize,
oats and linseed, for 1913 is estimated at something over £80,000,000.

One strong advantage Argentina has is that the crops are spread over an
extensive area. They are grown in regions so far distant from one
another that no fear is felt at any time of a total loss of the harvest.
The Republic now sends her products to countries that were her purveyors
up to a few years ago. In the production of linseed she has first place
amongst the nations. In maize she figures in the third place, coming
after North America and Austria-Hungary; but in export of maize she
comes first. In the production of wheat Argentina holds the sixth
position, coming after the United States, Russia, France, India, and
Austria-Hungary; but in export of wheat and flour she has first rank. We
in Britain have Canada so much before our eyes that we assume her
progress is unequalled. The _Anales de la Sociedad Rural Argentine_ is
responsible for some interesting comparisons directed to show that the
Argentine farmer can produce for 43s. 5d. an acre what it costs the
Canadian farmer 88s. 4d. to produce. Whilst the occupancy of land has
increased 75 per cent. in thirty years in Canada, it has increased by
284 per cent. in Argentina. Whilst Canada has 20,000,000 more acres
occupied than Argentina, the Republic is far ahead of the Dominion in
the value of her live stock.

Though the capabilities of Argentina in wheat growing have been known
for centuries, and have not recently come in the nature of a revelation
as may be said in regard to Canada, the reason the boom has been so long
delayed has been because the country was in the throes of revolution,
thereby frightening off foreign capital, and because of the lack of
transport. But revolutions can now be described as things of the past,
and for its population Argentina has the longest mileage of railways in
the world. The day is not far distant when Argentina will produce
10,000,000 tons of wheat a year. Remarkable and gratifying, from a
trader's point of view, though her increase of exports are, the figures
are not so satisfying from a national standpoint. Her increase of
population, big though it is, is by no means keeping pace with her
increase in productivity.

Notwithstanding the spread of agricultural education, I must say that
full value is not got out of the land. Much of the farming is slovenly.
This is partly due to race, but chiefly because the farmers are not
owners, but only occupiers in return for giving a proportion of the crop
to the owner. Further, if there is an unsatisfactory season the
colonists neglect the land, take their departure, and try their luck
elsewhere. The Argentines are conscious of the difficulties, and, as I
have indicated, the remedy will probably be found by the State
purchasing great estates, cutting them into small farms, and letting the
colonists become the owners on easy terms. In alluding to the
immigration in a former chapter I mentioned that a number of Italians
and Spaniards return to their own countries. The migrated Latin always
finds the old country pulling at his heart-strings--a feeling, however,
which completely disappears in succeeding generations. But the
immigrants who go to Argentina to make money rather than to settle are
inclined to be reckless concerning care for the soil. The
rough-and-ready, haphazard, careless farming is, of course,
understandable in a new and fertile country. Only the passage of years
and closer settlement, and therefore more careful culture, will tend to
put things right.

The average production of wheat in Argentina is only 11.3 bushels per
acre, which is about the same as Australia. Canada does better than
that, for Manitoba can give 13-1/2 bushels to the acre and Saskatchewan
17 bushels. In England the yield to-day is 30 bushels. Germany has the
same return, whilst Roumania has 23 bushels and France 20 bushels to the
acre. There is not the slightest doubt that with improved conditions of
cultivation Argentina can do much better than she is doing. The United
Kingdom is now purchasing over £30,000,000 worth of foodstuffs a year
from the Argentine. Indeed, the Republic supplies us with a quarter of
the food we purchase from abroad. In cereals alone we purchased in 1912
from Argentina 619,000 tons of wheat, 592,000 tons of maize, 60,000 tons
of linseed and 383,000 tons of oats.

Mr. C. P. Ogilvie, one of the most astute authorities on the development
of Argentina, and whom I had the pleasure of meeting in Buenos Aires,
has demonstrated how the growing of alfalfa is useful for resting the
land after crops of wheat, maize, etc. I have already told of the way
this sanfoin plant has the property of attaching to itself
micro-organisms which draw the nitrogen in the air and make it available
for plant food. Every colonist knows the value of alfalfa for feeding
his cattle, says Mr. Ogilvie, but it is not every colonist who knows why
this plant occupies such a high place amongst feeding stuffs. Alfalfa is
easily grown, very strong when established, and, provided its roots can
get to water, will go on growing for years. The _raison d'être_ for
growing alfalfa is the feeding of cattle and preparing them for market,
and for this purpose a league of alfalfa (6,177 acres metric
measurement) will carry on an average 3,500 head. When grown for dry
fodder it produces three or four crops per annum, and a fair yield is
from six to eight tons per acre of dry alfalfa for each year. A ton of
such hay is worth about twenty to thirty dollars, and, after deducting
expenses, there is a clear return of about fourteen dollars per acre.
The figures supplied by one large company show that on an average
cattle, when placed upon alfalfa lands, improve in value at the rate of
two dollars per head per month, so it is easy to place a value upon its
feeding properties.


Thus, Mr. Ogilvie proceeds, we will take a camp under alfalfa capable of
carrying 10,000 head of cattle all the year round, where, as the
fattened animals are sold off, an equal number is bought to replace
them. Such a camp would bring in a clear profit of 200,000 dollars
sterling. An animal that has been kept all its life on a rough camp, and
when too old for breeding is placed for the first time on alfalfa lands,
fattens extremely quickly, and the meat is tender and in quality
compares favourably with any other beef. No business in Argentina of the
same importance has shown such good returns as cattle breeding, and
these results have been chiefly brought about by the introduction of
alfalfa, and a knowledge of the life history of alfalfa is of the
greatest importance to the cattle farmer. All cereal crops take from the
soil mineral matter and nitrogen. Therefore, after continuous cropping,
the land becomes exhausted, and generally poorer. Experience has taught
us that rotation of crops is a necessity to alleviate the strain on the
soil.... If soils were composed of nothing but pure silica sand, nothing
would ever grow; but in Nature we find that soils contain all sorts of
mineral matter, and chief among these is lime. Alfalfa thrives on land
which contains lime, and gives but poor results where this ingredient is
deficient. The explanation is simple. There is a community of interest
between the very low microscopic animal life known as bacteria and
plant life generally. In every ounce of soil there are millions of these
living germs, which have their allotted work to do, and they thrive best
in soils containing lime. If one takes up with great care a root of
alfalfa, and care is taken in exposing the root, some small nodules
attached to the fine hair-like roots are easily distinguished by the
naked eye, and these nodules are the home of a teeming microscopic
industrious population, who perform their allotted work with the silent
persistent energy so often displayed in Nature. Men of science have been
able to identify at least three classes of these bacteria, and to
ascertain the work accomplished by each. The reason for their existence
would seem to be that one class is able to convert the nitrogen in the
air into ammonia, whilst others work it into nitrate, and the third
class so manipulate it as to form a nitrate which is capable of being
used for plant food. Now, although one ton of alfalfa removes from the
soil 50 lb. of nitrogen, yet that crop leaves the soil richer in
nitrogen, because the alfalfa has encouraged the multiplication of those
factories which convert some of the thousands of tons of nitrogen
floating above the earth into substance suitable for food for plant
life. As a dry fodder for cattle, three tons of alfalfa has as much
nutrition as two tons of wheat.

The cost of growing alfalfa depends largely on the situation of the
land, and whether labour is plentiful. But, says Mr. Ogilvie, we will
imagine the intrinsic value of the undeveloped land to be £4,000, upon
which, under existing conditions, it would be possible to keep 1,000
head of animals, whereas if this same land were under alfalfa 3,000 to
3,500 animals could be fattened thereon, and the land would have
increased in value to £20,000 or £30,000. To improve the undeveloped
land it must be worked, and the plan usually adopted is to let the land
to colonists who have had experience in the class of work. Colonists
usually undertake to cultivate 500 to 600 acres. They pay to the
landlord anything from 10 per cent. to 30 per cent. of the crops,
according to distance of the land from the railway. The first crop grown
on fresh broken soil is generally maize. The second year's crop linseed,
and probably a third year's crop of wheat is grown before handing back
the land to the owner, ready to be put down in alfalfa. Sometimes the
alfalfa is sown with the colonist's last crop, the landlord finding the
alfalfa seed. After the completion of the contract the colonist moves to
another part. The owner, who has annually received a percentage of the
crops, takes back his land. Fences now will necessitate a considerable
outlay, also wells and buildings. The more of these the better, as the
land will carry a larger head of cattle, and the camp being properly
divided makes the control of the cattle easy.[C]

    [C] Extracted from "Argentina from a British Point of View," by
        C. P. Ogilvie (1910).

Allowing for the disadvantages--stretches of drought, pests of
locusts--I know of no new country balancing one thing with another,
where the future is so bright. Given a good year, an Argentine farmer
makes 30 per cent. on his invested capital. He thinks he is doing fairly
well if he gets 20 per cent. He grumbles if his return is only 10 per
cent. He can afford to have one bad year in three--I believe the average
works out one in five--and yet be doing very well compared with farmers
in some other parts of the world.



If I were called upon to make my personal choice in which part of the
Republic I would like to live, I would choose Mendoza--or at any rate
some part of Mendoza province. It lies far west, within the shadow of
the snow-crowned Andes. The glacier-fed rivers from the mountains are
making it one of the biggest vineyards in the world. The city is several
thousand feet above sea level, and the air is clear and invigorating.
Like most Spanish-Argentine towns, it has a long history, but its tale
of abounding progress does not stretch beyond the last seven or eight
years. There are over a quarter of a million people in the province, and
the capital numbers nearly 70,000 of them.

It is the old story of "Go west, my son." Whenever I fell into praise
about places in the east, or in the middle parts of the country, there
was generally somebody at my elbow to whisper, "Ah, but wait till you
get to Mendoza."

Hardened traveller though I am, I admit a little thrill of anticipation
when, after a hot and rather dusty day in the railway cars, I first
caught a glimpse of the gleaming Cordillera, and then ran long miles
through flourishing vineyards. So right into the heart of the town of
luxuriant avenues, through the main street it seemed, with tall poplar
trees on either side, and beyond the cool road rows of picturesque but
modest houses, white washed, blue washed, pink washed, and even with a
touch of quaintness about the houses that seemed to be neglected. Thus I
made acquaintance with a city of broad boulevards and fine squares, an
extensive park, and announcing its prosperity to all who pass that way
and have eyes to see.

But whilst there is much to be enthusiastic about, it is well not to let
enthusiasm run away with one. There was nothing of the raw west about
the people. The ladies were as well dressed as those you will see in the
Rue de la Paix. Then I was reminded that every woman out here dresses as
well as she knows how, even though she and her family live sparsely at
home. People judge their fellows by appearance, by show, and everyone
feels it a duty to be ostentatious. Next I was impressed with the
extraordinary number of motor-cars. "Yes," remarked my Mendoza-English
friend, "but I think there is only half the number now that there were a
couple of years ago. You had to own a motor-car, or you were not
considered worth knowing. We had nearly three hundred motor-cars, the
best the United States or France could supply, and their value ran into
millions of dollars. People had them with little prospect of paying for
them. But then, everybody is optimistic, expecting a pot of money to be
coming along soon. There is lots of money, but some folks did not get
what they expected, and so a great many of the cars have been seized for


We were making a little tour in a car. Most of the houses are
single-storied as a provision against earthquakes, which are not
infrequent in these parts. Indeed, one morning during my stay, whilst I
was shaving, there was a quiver and a jolt which I thought was due to
some heavily laden train passing. At breakfast I learnt there had been a
respectable earthquake. Everybody tells you about the great earthquake
of 1861, which completely destroyed old Mendoza. The only remaining
evidences are the ruins of the cathedral. The population of the city at
that time was 20,000, and I was told that half the population was
killed. Then there was the agony of fire, and--with horror piled on
horror, as those were lawless days--bands of miscreants began plundering
and murdering the affrighted inhabitants who remained. Tremors are now
frequent, and the prospect of another earthquake is like an abiding
nightmare. That is why the streets are so wide, the houses nearly all of
a single story, and made of a particularly light brick with a
considerable admixture of cane amongst the clay, so that the structure
has a springiness and does not crack when the shake comes. Really the
only big and substantial buildings are the Legislature and the Palace of
Justice, and they are imposing.

Mendoza continually reminded me of Salt Lake City. Like the capital of
the Mormon faith, it is in the lee of a mighty mountain range; there
are trees bordering most of the streets, and along the main ways are
innumerable rivulets. Boys are constantly employed to souse the road
with water and so keep it cool. The entrance to Western Park has
exquisite bronze gates. It is rather surprising, however, to see they
are mounted with imperial crowns. The explanation is that they were
originally made for Abdul Hamid, the deposed Sultan of Turkey. Owing to
political upheaval in Turkey they were never delivered, because there
was no one prepared to pay for them. Mendoza made a bid and bought them
for £5,000. Broad roads through this lovely domain, leading through
avenues of trees and past radiant flower gardens, make the Western Park
beloved of Mendozians. There is a band-stand; and on Thursday evenings,
the whole place flashing with electric light, the road is blocked with
automobiles and carriages, and thousands of people listening to the
music. There is a rustic chalet where people can sit and have
refreshment. There is a lake nearly a mile long. Here take place boating
races, and for the accommodation of the spectators there is a grand
stand which can hold 3,000 persons. There is a zoological garden. There
is what is called "The Lilliputian Railway," so that a tiny little train
starting from a miniature station can take passengers all over the
extensive park, through tropical vegetation, up tiny valleys, diving
through small tunnels, giving anybody who cannot provide a private
carriage an easy and cheap means of seeing the park.


Mendoza occupies a prominent place amongst the cities of Argentina. It
is a magnet of attraction, especially to Italians who have experience in
wine making; and now every year the province receives something over
fifteen thousand immigrants. Some freshly developed countries have a law
that no immigrant shall enter under "contract," that no man shall
(without special permission) be allowed to land if he has a job and a
definite wage awaiting him. There is no such regulation in Argentina.
There is an Immigration Law under which fresh arrivals are housed and
fed by the Government, and work found for them. But less than half come
within the operation of the law. About 150,000 fresh arrivals every year
come out to situations, or have sufficient money to look after their own
interests, and naturally many of these strike far west to Mendoza.

As I have intimated in an earlier chapter, the Federal Government has
occasionally a little difficulty owing to the independent spirit of
provinces like Mendoza. Mendoza, for instance, has its own paper money,
so that whilst the Federal dollars are acceptable in the province, the
Mendozian dollars are not currency beyond its own borders. It has all
the modern equipment of government: a House of Senators and a House of
Deputies. Each eight thousand inhabitants are entitled to a deputy, and
each department or county returns one senator. The trouble of some
democratic lands, strikes, are prohibited, and if attempted the soldiers
are called out. The Governor is elected for four years. Voting is
obligatory, and if a man will not vote he is put in prison. The State
has full legal equipment in one supreme court, two courts of appeal, and
two criminal courts. Whilst there is a public prosecutor there is a
State lawyer, whose business it is to defend the poor, and another to
defend minors when they come within reach of the arm of the law. Taxes
are not high. There is a considerable amount of Government land, and
this is sold in order to raise money for public works. Of course, there
is the usual boom in land values. In 1909 the estimated value of
property in the province (vineyards, orchards, cultivated and
uncultivated land, and buildings) was a little over £50,000,000. Up to
July 31st, 1913, property had increased in value to well over
£70,000,000. This is creditable for a population of 260,000.


In no other province in the Republic has there been so much land sold as
in Mendoza. From 1909 to 1912 inclusive transactions in land represented
a turnover of £37,000,000. In the neighbourhood of Mendoza City land is
as dear as close to Buenos Aires, rising to £2 a metre (3.28 feet). In
1909 193,061 hectares (hectare = 2.47 acres) was under cultivation. Now
there are 330,000 hectares. Development is not restricted to the
neighbourhood of the provincial capital. Take San Juan, in the north, an
old town which jogged along with viticulture till ten years ago, when it
made a bound, and progress in growing grapes has been considerable. Some
six hours by rail south-east of Mendoza is San Rafael. Twenty-five years
ago the only flourishing product was the Indian; and you could have
bought quantities of land at twopence a hectare. To-day ordinary
uncultivated land with water rights is worth from £140 to £160 per
hectare. Cultivated vineyards are worth from £600 to £650 per hectare,
according to class. Till 1903 San Rafael had no railway connection with
anywhere. The journey to Mendoza, which is now done in half a dozen
hours by train, then took eight days by cart. Railway building has
facilitated the development of the San Rafael district, which is just at
the doorway of its prosperity. The San Rafael grape has a richer colour
and more sugar than the Mendoza grape. If I had a large sum to invest I
think I would take my chances at San Rafael.

Now, whilst there is all this material progress, it was refreshing to
note that care is given to other things than just money making. I have
described the constant movement to beautify Mendoza. Education is
carefully nurtured. In the province are (1913) two national high-grade
colleges, two normal schools, twenty-five private schools, and one
kindergarten. This kindergarten is, so far as my knowledge goes,
unmatched in the world. It was not the size that impressed me, but the
thought-out plans to provide everything to attract and stimulate the
young intelligence. Beauty is the basis, not only in the schoolrooms but
in the theatre and playgrounds. Whether it be a school, or a
fire-station, or a penitentiary, expenditure is lavish in providing a
handsome building. Of course ambition, rivalry, town conceit--the desire
to show something better than another town can show--is behind much of
the enterprise. But the result is there, and it is the fact that counts.

Primarily, this abounding fortune of Mendoza is due to its vineyards. I
read in an official publication that the province has the finest soil in
the Republic. That is incorrect; but it has a soil that is peculiarly
adapted for vines, together with a climate and a situation which for
viticulture could not be improved--though there is a fly in the
ointment, of which more anon. Besides, the inhabitants have not had to
grope their way in the growing of grapes and the making of wine, as has
been the case in many instances in California and South Australia, good
though some of the wines are, through the cultivators coming from lands
where the grape industry is not natural. It may be fairly said that all
the folk in the province engaged in viticulture are from the
wine-growing regions of Italy and Spain. Further, wine has been made in
this region for several hundreds of years, though in the absence of
transport its consumption was purely local. Now it is drunk throughout
the Republic.

Neither the Californians nor the Australians are a wine-drinking people.
Wine producers have to look to markets beyond the seas. Not so the
Mendozians. The Argentines, being Latin, are a wine-drinking people.
Everybody drinks wine. The labourer on the railway has wine with his
frugal lunch. It is not at all unusual for children to have watered wine
with their meals. On the big emigrant ships wine is included in the
charge for fare and food.

Well, here is a wine-drinking population of 7,000,000 living next door
to the vineyards. Therefore the market for wine is enormous. Great
though the output is, it does not meet the demand. As a consequence
scant justice, from a connoisseur's point of view, is done to the
Argentine wine, for it never has an opportunity to mature. Again, the
wine is cheap; and it would never suit the wealthy Argentines if they
were seen drinking anything but expensive foreign wine. I did taste some
wine with delightful bouquet, such as that of the Château Norton; but,
as it is the crowd which drinks the wine, it cannot be said that the
average quality of native produce is high. With such piled-up orders for
quantity, growers have not bothered very much about quality. They told
me that sometimes they have felt rather ashamed to send out wine sour
with youth; yet the dealers must have it. More than once the railway
companies have been congested with barrels ready to be taken east. There
are millions of acres, as yet untouched, suitable for vines.

When one thinks of the people in South America, and of the prospective
expansion of population, all wine-drinkers, one must conclude that the
future of this land, amongst the foothills of the Andes, is very bright.
In the turn of time some rich Argentines will set the fashion of
drinking the wine of their own country. That will call for the
production of a better vintage, and then, very likely, Argentine wines
will be introduced to the other markets of the world. As it is, fortunes
are being rapidly made. Many of the vineyards are quite small. Two and a
half acres (one hectare) will grow between three and four hundredweight
of grapes, which can be looked after by one man, and ought, in an
ordinary season, to yield an income of about £100. A family with a small
holding of four or five hectares can live most comfortably. In 1913 the
province produced 592,969,670 kilos (kilo = 2.20 lb.). Of this
399,517,099 litres of wine were elaborated (litre = 0.22 gallon).

[Illustration: IN A MENDOZA BODEGA.]

Now I have mentioned there is a fly in the ointment, and I should not be
doing my duty if I failed to call attention to it. The soil is there,
the climate is there, grapes are carefully acclimatised. But there must
be water, and whether there will always be a sufficiency of this is a
doubt which sometimes comes into the minds of men who glance ahead. The
rainfall is not heavy. Various scientific experiments have been made to
attract rain, but without much success. The principal supply is from the
River Mendoza, fed by the melting of the snows in the mountains. At
first the wine growers helped themselves to what water they desired. But
as the industry developed, and as there was suitable land without water,
irrigation canals were introduced. Sometimes a man tapped water to which
he was not entitled, and then there was trouble. As a consequence, the
Government has boldly grappled with the problem of irrigation. I drove
out about a dozen miles to inspect a weir which had been constructed
across the Mendoza River. This holds back an immense quantity of water,
and the supply is regulated by the weir gates. Irrigation channels
zigzag across the country, and the cultivator pays a small sum for his
supply. These works fertilise over a million acres of land. Irrigated
land has bounced in value. Waterless land which could have been obtained
for £1 a hectare now fetches twenty, or even thirty times as much. This
has emboldened the Government into making contracts for several million
dollars for the damming of smaller rivers, and providing further
irrigation works. Still, there is much water which goes down the River
Mendoza that is not used at all. I asked a man who has the right to
speak as an authority how much country could be placed under viticulture
if all the available water supply was nursed and utilised. He told me
three times as much as at present. So, although there is a big
difficulty ahead, it is so far distant that the average man of the
present generation does not bother his head much about it.

There are just 873 bodegas in Mendoza, though 800 of them are
comparatively small. I went over two of the biggest and found them
equipped as well as the bodegas of Europe. Some of the vats hold tens of
thousands of litres of wine. Modern vats are built of cement lined with
glass, and one of them will hold over 100,000 litres. But what was
annoying--it is exercised elsewhere--was the practice of giving a
well-known name to a wine which it does not properly represent. There is
nothing so delicate as the grape in being affected by soil. Similar
vines, but grown on slightly dissimilar soil, produce a different
quality of grape, and give quite a different flavour to the wine. So,
generally speaking, the wine of Argentina has a different tone from that
of France, Italy, or Spain. The vintners endeavour by blending to
produce a European type, a hock, a moselle, a burgundy, a medoc, a
bordeaux, even a champagne--which, though good wines, are not always
good imitations of something else. It would be much better if they
classified and titled their own wines. The European plan of one type of
wine being produced in one particular district is ignored. Therefore you
will find the big bodega producing from grapes grown in one vineyard a
dozen brands which originated in France, Germany, Spain, Italy, and

It might be thought that in Mendoza, where wine is the cheapest beverage
procurable except water, there would be drunkenness. Not at all. Perhaps
the case of the people is like that of the girls in confectionery shops;
there are so many sweets about they never think of making themselves
ill. Now and then, however, there is a relapse. But a Mendozian "drunk"
is not fined and sent to prison. Armed with a pail, he has to give two
or three days to getting water out of the rivulets which run down the
sides of the main streets, and sprinkling the dusty road with it. This
is work usually given to boys. So when you see a disgruntled man engaged
at it you will be quite right in coming to the conclusion he has been
imbibing, and the authorities have put him to this job to disgrace him.

I have dealt rather fully with the wine-making business because it is
the chief source of the Province of Mendoza's prosperity. But it is a
happy country for other kinds of fruit, particularly the peach. Also
there are oranges, figs, quinces, nectarines, and cherries. Several
fruit canning concerns, turning out many thousand tins of fruit a day,
have sprung into existence and are doing well. Abundance of fruit has
been rather a cause of neglect in rearing, so that I do not place the
quality too high. For instance, the oranges are not within measurable
distance of the splendid oranges which New South Wales grows.
Improvement will assuredly come in time. As it is, the fruit season in
Argentina is when it is raw winter in Europe; and, as transport is
quickening, possibilities of an extended market are great. Sometimes I
hear young Englishmen, discontented with home, say they would like to go
to America and start fruit farming. They might inquire into the
prospects of Mendoza.



It was intended to be a jolly party. We were going to Puerta del Inca
and to make a picnic of it. There was the Englishman, born in Australia,
trained in the United States and now an engineering expert in Argentina.
He was the biggest man I met in the Republic, and his friends called him
"Chico," which means the little one. There was the Scot, grizzled and
cautious, who disappeared for months and was away exploring the unknown
mountains up in the snows, carrying his camp with him, never seeing
anybody with whom he could converse, coming back with maps of possible
new routes over the frozen shoulders of the Andes, and who loved long
hours in the English Club in Mendoza, expressing Carlylean views about
the world, quoting poetry and enjoying long games at cards. There was
the man who came out here from England many years ago to help in the
building of the Transandine railway, married a Spanish wife, has taken
to vine growing, and knows he now speaks his native tongue with a
foreign accent. There were others, men who had knocked about the world
and had done things; men with none of the light talk of stay-at-home
Englishmen, but showing strong character kneaded by rough

[Illustration: "CHICO" IN CHARGE.]


The trip was arranged amongst the orange trees which grow in the little
courtyard of the English Club. It was when the night was warm and we
stretched in easy chairs, puffing smoke rings at the moon. "Chico" was
master of ceremonies. What he arranged was to be right. And we were to
be ready early the next morning, for a special coach was to be fastened
to the express coming through from Buenos Aires on its way to

The early morning air was crisp and invigorating. The transcontinental
train had just come in, and whilst the early birds were out on the
platform, half-drawn blinds revealed the drowsy countenances of other
travellers who had no disposition for a peep at Mendoza, or who had seen
it before and lacked ambition to see it again. There was the usual
jostling on the platform of folk who had just arrived and those who were
taking their departure, joyous greetings, and sad farewells. The
stranger had to stand on one side and smile at the way Argentine men
held one another by one arm half round the neck, and with the other hand
gave continuous slaps in the small of the back. Yesterday morning's
papers from Buenos Aires had arrived, and there was a scramble round the
bookstall whilst the slow-moving newsboy undid the strings and we could
buy our newspapers, and were able to read what the Prime Minister of
England had been saying the day before yesterday.

"Chico," with hat stuck on the back of his head, hastened up to our
group with the intimation that we had better get on board if it was not
our intention to be left behind. "Have you got plenty of food," was the
inquiry, "for we are as hungry as hunters?" "Yes, plenty," was the
answer. "And drink?" "And the drink." "You have not forgotten the
cigars?" "No, the cigars are all right."

Our car was attached to the express. It was a long, narrow car, with a
table down the centre. We were met with the refreshing odour of ham and
eggs being prepared in the adjoining kitchen.

The long train panted toward the hills, leaving leafy Mendoza behind and
winding away through aisles of great grey boulders by the side of the
muddy Mendoza River. There was a dreary forlornness about the country as
the train, with the river as its guide, seemed to be making for a huge
black cutting in the mountains. We did not mind, for the Spanish cook
and his assistant were busy serving us with ham and eggs, and coffee,
and freshly baked rolls.

Maybe it was the breakfast, or the exhilarating air of the hills, or the
genial company, or the pleasure of the post-breakfast cigar; but we were
the merriest party imaginable. The engineer who had turned vine grower
became reminiscent of the days when he helped to build this line, and of
how, when work was over in the evening, he frequently mounted his horse,
rode twenty miles to attend a Spanish dance, mounted his horse again at
four in the morning, and was back at work in the hills by sunrise. Of
course, he was quite sure that those were romantic and adventurous days
compared with the present.

We were not travelling fast. The line was gradually rising, and the
engine was giving off sounds as though it were suffering from asthma. We
got into country--wild, moorlike, and broken with many streams--which
reminded some of us of parts of Scotland. We struck into what had looked
like a black defile, through which the river came racing, and on either
side of us rose gaunt rocks, black and brown, which suggested that a
terrific fire had once raged.

No snow was in sight--nothing but fierce, repellent crags. Suddenly we
came upon an upland valley with a wide stretch of grass, a straggling
village, and a big hotel--just the sort of hotel you are constantly
bumping into in the Swiss mountains. The passing of the train for Chili
is probably the one excitement. The Italian folk gathered about the
little station and gazed with curious eyes at the passengers.

Years ago I went down Kicking Horse Pass, in the Canadian Rockies, with
a seat on the "cow-catcher." It was now my good fortune to ride on the
"cow-catcher" of this train bound for Valparaiso. As luck would have it,
I met an American and his wife whose acquaintance I had made on the
Atlantic, and to whom I had bidden "good-bye" at Rio de Janeiro. They
were now returning to the United States by way of Chili, and, being of
an adventurous turn of mind, they, too, were eager to enjoy a ride on
the front of the engine. Over the "cow-catcher" a seat was fixed, with a
brass rail in front so that there was little danger of falling off. We
knew how cold it would be later, and so we put on our heaviest coats
and wrapped ourselves in our thickest rugs. We were "in the front row"
to obtain a view.

The way was now increasingly steep. It was necessary to have two
engines, one in front to pull and one behind to push. Slowly we grunted
on our way. There was a chill ping in the air which made our cheeks
smart. We kept close to the river, as though it were a guide that we did
not intend to allow to forsake us. Sometimes we ran not far above the
level of the scouring waters. At other times we seemed to be running
along a high-perched ledge on the rock side, so that when the engine
gave a sudden swerve round the elbow of a hill there was one traveller
who shut his eyes when he thought what might happen if the engine had
suddenly taken it into its head to make a leap into the abyss.

The hills closed in. They towered above us so that there was the sense
of going through a long gully. At every turn the engine shrieked, and
the echoes reverberated amongst the mountains. Now and then we came upon
gangmen engaged in the repair of the line. They jumped aside whilst the
train trundled by.

Then came a dip, with a great open, verdurous cañon in front of us. The
steam of the engine was shut off, and the train seemed to free-wheel
into the valley. We jumped and rocked and curved in the most exciting
way. There was no protecting fence. We gave a start when, swinging round
the bend, we came across a couple of scampering horses. We held our
breath, for it seemed certain we should crush into them. One animal gave
a violent jump amongst the adjoining boulders, and then, when we were
within a dozen yards of the other horse, it swerved, and we just missed
hitting it.

Again we started climbing. We ran past tiny stations, and on the
hillsides, where there was vegetation, we could see little chalets and
horses and cattle about. Once we had to cross a bridge very slowly, for
it was under extensive repair. The chief engineer was a young
Englishman, and he ran up and exchanged a few words with friends. We
went through long black tunnels, and the experience was eerie, for the
engine shrieked like a maniac that was being chased.

Still we kept fairly close to the Mendoza River. At one spot the hills
widened out where a tributary, the Rio Blanco, ran into the main stream.
At the joining place there was a chasm which it would have required an
enormous bridge to span. We avoided that difficulty by the line running
a little distance on one side by the Rio Blanco to where the valley
narrowed so we could cross by a small bridge; and then the train started
going the other way on the other side of the fall, and proceeded with
the Mendoza River on the right, having dodged the chasm by a sort of
V-shaped loop.

By the side of the chasm was a melancholy little cemetery. There was no
grass, or trees, or flowers; just a group of uneven headstones telling
of the last resting-place of the men who had died years before whilst
engaged in constructing the line.

We now seemed to be running along a scooped-out way over a great height
of shingle. We knew it was here that some of the hardest work was done
in building the line. For after the melting of the snows and the
torrential rains, great masses of shingle rolled, breaking the line, and
on one occasion throwing a whole train and the engine right into the
bottom of the river. One felt that the engine itself was trembling with
fear as it made a path across this dread hillside. It was bitterly cold.
The wind cut with icy blast upon us from the precipices. Higher still we
climbed to where there was no vegetation, nothing but scarped rocks and
strange shaped and strangely coloured mounds, reminding us of the
volcanic origin of the Andes.

Reaching another flat level we ran into the mountain station of Zanjou
Amarillo. Here were engine sheds, for it is necessary to change the
engine at this place. We dismounted from the "cow-catcher," and,
shivering with the cold, watched a heavy black engine attached. From
this point until the other side of the Andes is reached part of the way
is covered by the use of a rack rail. The railway is too steep for an
ordinary engine to climb. Accordingly, in the centre is a third line
with cogs. The engine has an extra wheel with cogs, so that it does not
run but grips its way to further heights.

[Illustration: THE HOTEL AT INCA.]

The day was bright. Through clefts in our shut-in way we could see snow
on the mountains. We travelled up a valley of desolation. We knew that
in the old days this was the main road from Chili into Argentina, and in
places we saw tumbled-down shelter houses, now deserted, but of use in
former times when travellers crossed the mountains by mule, for always
they were provided with food and fuel. There was something wonderfully
fascinating, crawling as it were to the roof of the world. It was easy
to understand how superstitious Indians believed that evil spirits had
their homes in the inaccessible fastnesses. There was no living thing to
be seen anywhere except a couple of eagles.

Gradually the panorama opened. We got a glimpse of the snow-covered
heights in front of us. Then the brightness of the day disappeared; the
sun was shrouded; there was a weird wail in the wind. A snowstorm came
upon us. Still the engine, with something almost human in its
determination, gripped the cogs and pulled us higher and higher yet. It
was so cold we closed all windows and put on our coats, and called for
the attendant to bring us beverages which we expected would produce

Midday arrived before we reached Puerta del Inca, which was as far as we
intended going. We had our car detached, and waved our hands to those on
the express train, which soon disappeared amid the rushing snow.

You may take it that the Incas never came to this part of the world.
That they did is a piece of imagination. The so-called "Bridge of the
Incas" is a natural formation. A little river has eaten its way through
the hillside, and the tear and drip of water during untold centuries has
formed a great natural arch. The water is volcanic and steamy, and has
mineral qualities which stain the rocks with strange colourings.

Of course, the benefits of the waters for rheumatism, and a score of
other ailments, have been exploited. Galleries have been built under the
arch, bath chambers cut above the rock, and water taken in pipes into
each, so that visitors may have a "cure." In the summer time there are
many visitors to Puerta del Inca to gain benefit not only from the
waters, but from the mountain air, and to have a pleasant time by
excursions into the hills. There is a commodious hotel.

In the winter time, when the snows are heavy, two trains a week are run
over to Chile. Sometimes the snowfall is so severe that the traffic is
completely blocked, though with the construction of snow-sheds, and
fences to resist the drifting snow, there is less danger than formerly.
However, there have been times when trains have been held up, and
passengers have had to stay for a week at Inca. First-class passengers
fend for themselves at the big hotel; but down near the railway station
there is a great caravanserai of a place where poorer passengers are
provided with rough accommodation, and where they can obtain food at
cheap prices.


The snow had ceased, but there was a knife-like wind whilst we battled
up the hillside, making for the hotel standing gaunt and solitary
amongst the barren mountains. We did not object to the little
discomfort. It was delightful to get into the warm rooms, to sit down
and have a meal, to smoke, to chat, to play billiards, and some of us to
have a doze. Then, in the grey of the afternoon, with occasional gleams
of sunlight through the heavy clouds which swathed the mountain tops, we
sauntered about this straggling, high perched village.

There was no passenger train to Mendoza that day. But we had arranged
for an engine to take charge of our car and run us back in the dark. So
at nightfall we climbed once more into the coach. The stove was ablaze
because the air was increasingly cold. Trains only run along this
mountain route in the daylight, and so perhaps there was a little
nervousness in making the journey down through the valleys in the
blackness. In the front of the engine was a great searchlight. So we
went groaning and rocking, with the whistle of the engine shrieking in
the cañons, on our way back to Mendoza. Once there was a violent jerk
when the engine was brought almost to a standstill, for some cattle had
strayed upon the line and it was with difficulty they were frightened
off the track.

We were snug enough in our well-lit coach, where before and after dinner
the hours were wiled away with games of cards. Occasionally we halted at
the tiny hamlets, and the residents ran out to have a look at the
unusual sight of an engine, with a huge gleaming eye in front, picking
its way, as it were, through the ravines, whilst behind was an
illuminated car with a party of merry Britishers.

Once I went on the little platform at the rear of the coach. The whole
world was wrapped in blackness. After a time I got used to it. It was
possible to discern the ragged silhouettes of the hilltops, and to peer
into the cimmerian gloom of the valley where the Mendoza River was
hastening noisily toward the plain. No wonder the natives had a horror
of these hills.

There was a kind of crunching clatter as the engine ran over the stretch
of the line with the cogged third rail. When we reached less precipitous
ground the worst danger had passed, and the engine rattled and bounced
on her way. Down and down we sank till at last, with a long-drawn scream
from the engine, we passed through the gates of the hills. We piled more
coal on the stove, and sat round smoking and telling yarns, and wondered
when we should all have a similar trip again. It was one o'clock in the
morning when we got back to Mendoza.



"To govern is to populate" is the maxim which has guided the policy of
the Argentine Government ever since the first days of political
emancipation. The immense wealth of the fertile plains must remain
unappropriated just as long as there is insufficient labour to sow and
reap, to tend, to feed, and shear.

As a result of this policy the immigration organisation of Argentina may
now be regarded as the finest in the world. Everything that could
possibly be done to bring a large number of useful emigrants to the
country has been done, with the result that while in 1858 the number of
immigrants was only 4,658 it increased until in 1913 it reached 300,000.
The increase has been steady except in 1888 and the two following years,
when the figures were 130,271, 218,744, and 77,815 respectively. These
were years in which an experiment was made with assisted passages, and
the result was that the supply of immigrants jumped up and soon exceeded
the demand. The misery and poverty which followed the arrival of the too
numerous thousands caused a reaction. Assisted passages were abandoned,
and in 1891 the number fell to 28,266. But since that date it has risen
steadily to its present height.

The reason for the great preponderance of Italians is that the climate
is more suitable to them than to those of any more northern nationality.
Labour is what is needed, and for hard manual work in an almost tropical
climate, quite unsuited to Englishmen, Italians are not only fitted but
expect considerably less wages and a lower standard of comfort. The best
chances come to those who can speak Spanish, and this the Italians learn
somewhat more quickly than the other immigrants.

Argentina is not a country for the casual Englishman whose motives for
leaving home are poverty or a longing for adventure. He cannot work as a
labourer. Other positions where money can be earned are few and
difficult to obtain except by personal influence. The Italians, too, are
quiet and frugal in their living--qualities which are not typical of the
English immigrant, and it is often remarked that an Italian will thrive
where an Englishman would starve.

Clerks and shop assistants, and those who can only do office work, are
not wanted at all. Farm labourers, dairymen, and stockmen of practical
experience are welcomed, and there is a fair demand for mechanics.
Engine-drivers can get work if they can speak Spanish, and Englishmen
have been found useful as butchers at the freezing works--but that is
not an occupation which will absorb an unlimited number.

        _Photograph by A. W. Boote, Buenos Aires._

A considerable number of overseers are required on _estancias_, but for
these posts personal introduction and previous practical experience are
necessary. Disappointment and chagrin await the young man who arrives in
the country with nothing except a large amount of physical energy and
high spirits, and wishes at once to obtain a big salary on a ranch. If
these ignorant adventurers feel they must go to that part of "abroad"
their best way is to go on a ranch as apprentice for some years at a
nominal salary. They will find the work hard, but the life is not
without its pleasures, and at the end of the time they will probably be
better qualified to take up good positions. If such a one, in disgust at
the hardness and the monotony of the work, should give up and should
succeed in obtaining a place in a bank or railway office, he will find
himself better off in money, but somewhat poorer in prospects than he
would be at home.

There is little chance of the immigrant securing a small holding and
forming a home. Even on established farms good openings are not
abundant. The colonists are often short of capital, and not long ago
farming operations throughout an entire district were almost stopped
because the colonists were unable to buy seed. The position was only
saved by the railway company providing the seed on easy terms and
without any security.

Among the more prosperous farmers are the small Welsh colony founded at
Chubut in 1865. There are 400 of them, who are mostly doing very well,
and maintain in habits, language, and religion the customs of their own
country. In the Andes, about 400 miles from Port Madryn, there is
another colony of about 500 Welsh people. One hears there on a Sunday
the sound of Welsh hymns from the chapel.

When the immigrant, after his long train journey, arrives at some
station on the plains he finds that the centre of life is the camp town.
Whether he comes from Italy or Spain, Syria or Bulgaria, he will
probably consider the camp towns are the ugliest he has ever seen,
unless he arrives at sunset, when the glow and colour turn everything to
beauty. The roads are about as bad as roads can be. There is no stone
anywhere, and if holes are filled up it is with earth which brings mud
to mud and dust to dust. When it is wet they are almost impassable
through depth of mud, and when it is dry the dust is even worse--one can
see the cloud of dust above a town sometimes a dozen miles away.

The inhabitants of the camp town--as distinct from those in the
cities--seem never to have developed the idea of making it beautiful or
even pleasant. Extra buildings are run up just where and how the owner
likes. The prospect is marred everywhere by the crude lines of
galvanised iron roofs. The houses are built along the uneven street in
an irregularity which has no charm. Refuse and dead dogs are left lying
about until someone specially affected, or possibly the policeman,
removes them a little farther off. The houses are all one-storied, and
have the street frontage built up to look twice as high as the house
really is. In these small towns the inns--generally at the corner of the
street--are one-storied also. The bar is a restaurant for the peons,
who in the evenings gather there to drink and gamble. Inside is a more
private eating-room, and beyond this the yard round which are the
bedrooms. The sanitary arrangements leave much to be desired, and there
is everywhere the strong odour of garlic.

        _Photograph by A. W. Boote & Co., Buenos Aires._

The most characteristic figure of the camp town is the gaucho. He is the
native of the plains, and is usually of mixed blood. The idle,
independent, nomad gauchos are almost an extinct class. In the early
days they refused to settle anywhere, or do any regular work. They were
horsemen and hunters, and roamed over the plains, staying here and there
in ramshackle huts till restlessness, or the owner of the land, moved
them on. They were the gipsies of the Argentine. Whenever there was a
war or a revolution the gaucho would be found in the vanguard, and in
times of peace he would enliven the dullness with private feuds which
did not end with words.

But civilisation has been too strong for him, and the modern gaucho is a
more law-abiding and useful person. He still wears his old, picturesque
costume, the broad sombrero, the shirt, and wide Turkish trousers, which
may be of any colour in the spectrum, tucked into his boots. In cold
weather he wears over his shoulders the poncho, a blanket which has as
many varieties of hue as his trousers. His saddle is ornamented with
silver, and he has fancy stirrups and jingling spurs. But the chief part
of his equipment is the big knife--often a foot long, and usually of
fancy pattern--stuck in his belt. This is used freely for defensive
purposes, or to avenge some real or imaginary insult; it also serves
when eating his lunch.

In spite of his rough appearance and manner, the gaucho is often
kind-hearted. He is, however, quarrelsome in his cups, and has all the
native capacity for fancying an insult and much tenacity in revenge.
Much of his spare time is spent in gambling, and any money he does not
lose in this way he spends in drink or extravagant and useless

At the heart of the camp town stands the camp store, and the gauchos
will always be found near it. It is the post office, the exchange, the
rendezvous. Under its roof are formed and discussed the ideas that
count in local self-government. Business is transacted with a delightful
absence of hustle. All the slowness of Spanish courtesy is added to the
deliberation of the dweller in wide solitudes. The result is an
unhurrying way of buying and selling which would make a Smithfield
salesman white with despair.

The gauchos are responsible for the chief amusement of the camp
town--other than drinking and gambling--for it is they who organise the
horse-races. These primitive meetings are not quite so frequent as they
used to be, but they still take place on many Sundays and holidays, and
for them the gaucho makes preparations such as he cannot be stirred to
at any other time. He gets a new suit of clothes, cleans and polishes
the saddle and bridle of his horse, puts round his neck a silk scarf of
gorgeous design, and has an unwonted show of silver both on his horse
and himself. Only on horseback is the gaucho thoroughly at home, and on
these days he looks his best. There is no finesse about the racing; it
is a test of sheer endurance of man and animal, and when the race is
over both are exhausted. The handicapping has none of the careful
science of Newmarket. When the best horse is in full course, running as
fast as it can be urged, the handicapper catches one of his hind feet in
a lasso and gives a quick jerk so that horse and rider are flung heavily
to the ground. This, as may be imagined, gives the second horse a very
fair chance of equalising a disadvantage in pace or staying power.
Although the riders are perfect horsemen, there is little attraction for
the European spectator in such a wild ordeal to man and animal. The
prizes are usually a saddle, a bridle, a suit of clothes, or even a
piece of beef of ample size and unusual quality. The gaucho, it may be
mentioned, is very fond of beef, which he roasts with the hide on.

The duties of the gaucho are to look after the stock on the ranch,
chiefly in connection with the "rodeo," or mustering of the cattle.
Mounted on horseback, the gaucho drives the animals to the
meeting-place. The herds are never allowed to stand still, but even at
the end of their journey are kept moving in a sort of rough circle so
that the chance of panic and stampede is minimised. The cattle are
counted by driving them in ones or twos through a narrow line, a task
requiring considerable activity--especially when the herd, after being
counted, has to be divided into two or three lots--if a stampede is to
be prevented.

Perhaps the only fear in the gaucho's life is that he may take anthrax
from the cattle, for should he do so, and the wound be not cut or burnt
out by the third day, his chance of recovery is slight.

With the changes that have come over the _estancias_ during the last
twenty-five years--fenced fields of alfalfa appearing where formerly
there was nothing but the open plain--the days of unrestricted gallop
over the prairie are over. The rider now passes through an endless
series of enclosures, through gate after gate. The law of trespass,
formerly unknown, may even prevent him from approaching the lagunas.
Barbed wire, too, has been introduced; but though injuries sometimes
occur, the cattle seem to have learned to keep clear of it.

In the house itself the change is as remarkable. The old cramped
quarters and ugly furniture have given place to more rooms, better
furnished, and pictures, pianos, and books are not at all uncommon.
Fruit and flower gardens have been laid out. Sometimes on a large ranch
a dairy is found; there is a blacksmith's and carpenter's shop, and
gardeners and book-keepers are kept. Better accommodation is also
provided for the peons. Still, generally speaking, these are the

Around the ranches of Britishers there are many signs of national
individuality--a tennis court, cricket grounds, even a golf course.
Pheasants and rabbits are sometimes reared so that the exile may not be
without a chance of shooting such as he would enjoy at home.

The houses themselves are not costly structures. Some are of the soft,
dark red Argentine brick, which mellows rapidly, and in a few years
looks as picturesque and soft-toned as English brick does after a
century or so.

The houses of the colonists are mostly built of mud. The new colonist,
when given his unprepared land, does not trouble to build anything but
the simplest of dwellings. Boards are built up so as to leave a narrow
oblong space of the same shape as the outer walls of the house are to
be, and in this is placed mud mixed with straw. When this has dried the
boards are removed, and the four walls of the required height are left
standing. Spaces for windows and doors are then cut out, a thatched roof
is put on, and, without much further elaboration, the tenants put in the
furniture and begin life in their new home. Sometimes the walls are made
of mud bricks.

A curious feature of the camp are the large carts, with wheels 8 feet
high, on which the wheat is taken from the camp to the railway station.
They are drawn by oxen, ten or twelve being required for each cart,
which will carry several tons. As the axles are never greased the noise
made by these carts is frightful.

Labour, especially at harvest time, is scarce, for owing to the lack of
granaries and elevators the grain must be gathered and threshed quickly,
and though the latest reaping machines are, of course, used, the best of
them require much auxiliary labour. Even in the busy harvest time,
however, the midday siesta for everyone in the camp is not omitted, as
the sun is extremely hot for two or three hours about noon.

The huge flocks of sheep, varying in size from 12,000 to 80,000, are
mostly owned by New Zealand ranchers who have settled in Argentina in
recent years. They are shepherded on the open pampas by gauchos on
horseback, whose chief duty is to keep the flocks apart, and so prevent
confusion of ownership or the spread of contagious diseases. Formerly
the mutton was burnt as fuel, only the wool, tallow, and skins being
sold; but since the advent of cold storage it has been exported. The
wool is not washed before sale, and therefore fetches a low price. The
shearing, which used to be done by hand, is now nearly all done by
machinery. Travelling from ranch to ranch each shearer deals, on the
average, with about a hundred sheep a day.

There is one farm where a flock of about 13,000 Lincoln ewes are milked
in dairies, and a considerable profit made. The milk is made into
cheese, which finds a ready sale. It is only in exceptionally rich
pastures that this is done, and the utmost care is taken that the lamb
does not suffer from the deprivation.

One of the most important changes of recent years has been the
introduction of windmills for pumping water. In the absence of rivers
and lakes a well worked by hand was used in the old days to draw water
for the house, while the cattle would drink at the shallow lagunas in
the hollows of the plain. But as the best land is higher up wells and
troughs had to be made. First there was the "jaguel," worked by a horse
and rider. Next came an arrangement of buckets on an endless chain,
which brought up water and emptied it into the troughs or reservoirs.
This was the "noria," and was worked by a horse or mule. But when the
water level began to fall--some say through the introduction of
alfalfa--and the lagunas to dry up, it was found necessary to dig deeper
wells, and to adopt the use of semi-artesian wells. The water, which
often is saline, is specially so when drawn from these semi-artesian

The great scourge which the camp has to fight, as already shown, is the
swarms of locusts which have come down annually from the north since
1905. Previous to that there had been freedom from this pest for five
years. The invasion usually begins in October, when a few flying locusts
may be seen. In a day or two they are arriving in millions, and at the
worst are so numerous that they form a cloud over the face of the sun,
and make a shadow beneath them. The principal damage is done by what is
left behind by the locusts--for millions upon millions of eggs are
deposited in the ground. In about six weeks the young are hatched. They
cannot fly, but jump like grasshoppers, which, indeed, they very much
resemble, except for their bright colouring--red and yellow, black and
green. They move in swarms from stem to stem, and every fragment of
green leaf disappears before their devouring energy. After they have
visited a cornfield nothing is left but naked stalks. Six weeks later
they develop wings, and swarms of them begin to fly across the sky like
clouds or smoke from some great conflagration. They will alight in such
heaps on a railway track that they sometimes stop a train.

Reference has already been made to the way in which the Government
assists the landowners to fight this plague. Under penalty of a fine
every landowner must maintain men to fight the locusts. But even if it
were possible to exterminate all those on one estate, they might arrive
in equal numbers from adjoining land, and a million are not missed from
a thousand million. Unanimous action alone would be effective, and this
the Government are trying to bring about. Meanwhile, a commission has
been appointed to deal with the subject. It is probable that if the
northern source from which they come could be found the country could
rid itself of the trouble within a few years.

[Illustration: LA RAMBLA, MAR DEL PLATA.]



In the hot months, December, January, and February, it is the proper
thing to move to Mar del Plata. There the rich Argentines disport
themselves with the gorgeousness of the Russians at Yalta in September.
If the ladies do not bathe in pearl necklaces they wear exquisite
"creations"; and propriety insists that the men must wear a costume
which is a cross between a frock coat and a suit of pyjamas. The
Parisian houses have their representatives in the Republic, and an
Argentine lady who does not change expensive dresses five times a day is
out of the fun. There is gold and gambling and dancing at the most
elaborate, though not the gayest--for the Argentine is not gay--seaside
resort in the world. As for the "tango" dance, no respectable Argentine
ever dances it. I have seen it performed in tempestuous manner amongst
those who do not mind whether they are considered respectable or not--a
very different thing from the milk-and-water efforts in London

It is not quite decided whether the phrase "filthy lucre" comes from the
United States or from Argentina. There is only one dirtier thing in the
world than the American dollar note, and that is the Argentine peso;
but in extenuation of its filth one has to remember it is less than half
the dollar's value. I am convinced that one of the reasons money is held
in small regard in the Argentine is that nobody can have any respect for
a worn, tattered, and evil-smelling piece of paper, even though its
equivalent be a shilling and eightpence. I never appreciated the genuine
value of money till I changed a bilious and decrepit ten peso note for
half-crowns, shillings, and threepenny bits. Of course, the Argentines
have no money but paper and nickel, though you are assured there are
untold millions of gold in the cellars of the national casa. But you
never strike anything but paper. When I drew English gold from the bank
for use on my voyage home, and swaggeringly emptied an envelope of
sovereigns on the table at a luncheon party given by the British
Minister, my lady neighbour gave a little shriek of delight at the
blessed spectacle of a real English sovereign. The only coin which holds
good the world round is the British sovereign.

Now of the cosmopolitan throng exploiting the resources of Argentina it
has been left to the Jews to work on distinctive racial lines. The
Hebrew population numbers 40,000, a community founded and fostered
according to well-defined plans which not only ensure the comfort and
well-being of the thrifty, but mark a revival of agriculture as one of
the industrial arts of the Jews.

Centuries of wandering, of persecution and oppression, of lethargic
waiting for the "return to the promised land," divorced the Hebrew from
his original position as an agriculturist. In the Argentine he is
beginning to rehabilitate himself. Backed by the Jewish Colonisation
Association, and aided by that commercial talent which has become
characteristic of the Jew wherever he may be, the Jewish farmer in South
America represents a new type in the great Israelitish family.

What more natural than that the Argentine should be regarded as one of
the likely homes for the wandering tribes by those who for years have
promoted the Jewish settlement movements? Jewish patriarchs and
philanthropists looked longingly at the map of South America in search
of a goal for racial and religious aspirations. The oppression and
persecution of co-religionists in Russia and Roumania in the early
'nineties called for action as well as ideals. Shelter had to be found
where thrift and enterprise were offered their due reward. Argentina was
fixed upon, and the foundation of to-day's well organised scheme was
inaugurated through the munificence of the late Baron Hirsch. Under his
last will and testament the financial stability of the colonisation
scheme was secured.

A society representative of Israelites in Berlin, London, Frankfort,
Paris, and Brussels, as well as the Anglo-Jewish and other Hebrew
associations, was formed under English jurisdiction. Only the interest
of the fund left by the baron may be spent in assisting Jewish colonists
to the ownership of their farms, and the tiding over of the inevitable
depressions in agriculture. Every two months the executive of this
society meets in Paris and considers the destinies of Jewish colonists
not only in the Argentine, but in the United States, Canada, Asia Minor,
Palestine, Brazil, and Russia.

The memory of Baron Hirsch is perpetuated in Argentina by the prosperous
colony bearing his name in the province of Buenos Aires. Altogether the
Jewish Colonisation Society owns some 250 leagues of land in the
country. The property in the Baron Hirsch Colony alone covers 44 square
leagues, and is served by three important stations.

In many respects the colonisation of the Jews in the Republic sets an
example in thoroughness that might well be copied. The main purpose of
the scheme--to succour the oppressed--is carried out without prejudicing
the financial security of the society. Houses are provided in each of
the Jewish colonies for the new immigrant, and here the family is cared
for till work on one of the farms has been found for the father. Only
those who have fled from oppression are granted the financial assistance
of the Colonisation Society in establishing their own independence. Jews
from Germany and Great Britain are not granted holdings by the society.
The probable explanation of this rule is that the English or German
emigrant arrives forearmed, and is financially equipped for colonial
enterprise before leaving these free countries.


The applicant for a holding, roughly 350 acres, must first of all have
had two years' residence in the country, and show that he has had
practical experience in farm work. His application is sent to Buenos
Aires, where the interests of the Jewish Colonisation Society in the
Argentine are watched by a permanent administration. From there a report
is forwarded to the international executive in Paris before the land is
finally allotted to the applicant. The rest follows the ideals of those
who are working at the rural and agricultural problems in Great Britain.
At practically cost price the land is sold to the new tenant farmer. The
rate of interest charged by the society is 4 per cent. Twenty years for
repayment of the capital is fixed as a minimum as well as a maximum
period. However successful the farmer may be, he is not allowed to
receive the title deeds of his allotment until twenty years have
elapsed. The value of this precaution has often been proved. For one
thing, it hinders any tendency to traffic in the land and to raise
mortgages on the slightest provocation. The successful tenant can always
find use for his year's surplus in developing and improving the estate
which is one day to be his own. On the other hand, the rapid increase in
land values leaves the society on the safe side should the tenant
purchaser be unfortunate or lacking in enterprise. Apart from the land,
the society advances the tenant 3,000 dollars in the form of horses,
machinery, and equipment. In the event of the farmer failing to make his
way, the society only stands to lose a year or two's interest on the
capital outlay. And the natural increase in the value of the land, as I
have before shown, is sufficient to cover any such deficit. A variation
of these conditions operates in the Baron Hirsch Colony. Here, instead
of being advanced the value of 3,000 dollars, the applicant for a farm
has to prove possession of such a sum before he is qualified to take
over an allotment.

With wise foresight the Jewish colonies have been set up in various
parts of the Republic. This prevents the scheme from being dedicated to
one class of agriculture, and enables the colonist to try his hand, say,
at cattle rearing if crop-raising does not prove to his liking. In the
northern colonies the industry is chiefly in cattle, corn, and olive
growing, while in the south the cultivation is chiefly in wheat, rye,
and oats.

A good year sees the industrious farmer with a surplus of anything from
10,000 to 20,000 dollars (Argentine). Should bad weather or working
misfortunes turn the account the other way he has only to apply to the
administration in Buenos Aires, and the money advanced is simply added
to the purchase price of his holding.

On the whole the Jewish colonists are thrifty and prosperous. They have
their own co-operative societies for the purchase of necessities and the
distribution of their products; they have their sick funds and local
hospitals; religious freedom has enabled them to establish their own
tabernacles and to observe the Jewish feasts. They have set a splendid
example in citizenship to their neighbouring colonists. In the
Argentine, perhaps more than elsewhere, the Jews are on the high road to
a restoration of their ancient virility, and are best fulfilling
their destiny as a great race.

With the exception of the Welsh settlements already alluded to, the Jews
stand alone as colonists on purely racial lines. The effectiveness of
their organisation is the measure of their contentment and prosperity.
We have the contrast in the case of other immigrants. Many of them are
captured by the political agitator. They are taught to see in revolt and
industrial uprising the short cut to affluence and ease. Strikes are
frequent, discontent is sown, and time is devoted to attacks upon
authority which might be better employed in individual effort. Politics
are so inseparable from the daily affairs of the country that discontent
in the main becomes wholly political. Its manifestations have no bearing
upon the social and commercial possibilities of the Argentine. With wise
and tolerant government on the one hand, and patience and perseverance
on the other, much of the friction that now arises would disappear.

For it has to be admitted that some of the attacks upon the bureaucracy
are not altogether inexcusable. With the influence of officialdom
forcing itself upon every interest of the working classes, the
inevitable increase in the cost of living, and the instances of
bureaucratic tyranny frequently brought to light, it is not to be
wondered that the unorganised labourer adopts the exaggerated point of
view of the agitator, and sees in revolution alone the pathway to

In Buenos Aires, for example, the cost of living is greater than
elsewhere, though the scale of wages is also higher. Imported goods are
dear, rent high, efficient labour scarce, and municipal rates heavy. The
result is that even the highly paid worker finds himself with only a
moderate balance when all charges are met.

With the agriculturist things are not so bad. He can produce for himself
most of the necessaries of life, and can avoid many of the burdens of
the townsman in the way of expensive clothing and other imported
luxuries. Strange as it may appear in a country supplying most of the
world's markets, meat in Buenos Aires is nearly as dear as in England.
The same applies to many other commodities produced or producible in the
country. A comparative list shows few things cheaper in the Argentine
than in the Old World.

The cost of the breakfast table might be reduced considerably if more
trouble were taken with what one might describe as the by-products of
agriculture. The people are invariably out for the big deal in cattle or
corn. Insufficient attention is paid to dairy-farming, poultry rearing,
gardening, fruit-growing, and the production of those little comforts
that are now part and parcel of agriculture in England and France. The
cultivator's first and, in the majority of cases, only thought is the
land and its direct yield. With the same opportunities many an English
small-holder would make a quick fortune in Argentina. In this oversight
the Argentine has gone the way of most new countries. The question of
"agricultural smalls," however, as I have shown, is now being considered
in conjunction with the increased cost of living.

Labour is so scarce in some parts that the introduction of Chinese or
Japanese colonists has been suggested. Such a step, however, would
arouse as fierce a criticism as did the introduction of Chinese coolies
on the South African Rand mines. They were tried in Chili, and are by no
means liked. The lumber trade of Posados still requires thousands of
workers. The natives cannot be kept at work to any extent, and to meet
the demand Russians, Poles, and Finns have been brought over in
thousands. Timber for railway sleepers is the principal product. Each
year some two million logs are sent down the Parana River to be used in
railway construction at home and abroad.

The lessons of the great coal strike in England during 1912 were quickly
grasped by the Government of Argentina. Like other countries depending
upon Great Britain for coal supplies, Argentina had to consider the
disastrous consequences of any disorganisation of her transport service.
Substitutes for coal fuel had to be counted. The crisis of this period
proved a blessing in disguise. Government attention was directed towards
the discovery of oil in widely separated districts of the Republic. A
law has now been passed reserving to the Government 12,500 acres of the
petroleum zone of Comodora Rivadavia, and prohibiting the issue of any
mining or proprietary rights. To displace coal, Argentina would require
2,000,000 tons of oil fuel and about 150 wells. A start has been made in
the south, where fresh wells are being sunk at Comodora Rivadavia. Five
wells produced 18,000 tons of petroleum in a year of experiment. In 1913
it rose to 28,000 tons. When the Argentine can turn its attention from
the sources of wealth now being tapped, who knows what will follow the
enterprise in oil? But nothing has been found which would warrant a
"boom" in Argentine oil.

Meanwhile, an annual increase of 1,000,000 tons in the shipping trade of
Buenos Aires has left Argentina, like Oliver Twist, asking for more. The
cattle-breeding industry responds to each stimulus given by the
provision of more refrigerating vessels. The supply of meat is always
greater than the means of distribution. Already America is looking to
the Argentine for meat to augment her own supplies. It is the only
country to which she can turn with confidence. Other parts of the world
have for years been fed from here. The dependence of the outer world
upon the meat and cereals of Argentina almost suggests that the country
was pre-ordained to be the larder of the human family.

For the hunter and traveller, Argentina and its bordering lands have
their full share of attractions. The plains and mountains of the Andean
land are the haunts of the jaguar, puma, wild cat, and various breeds of
wild deer. Its birds include the vulture, hawk, albatross, penguin,
snipe, bustard, partridges of several kinds, as well as singing birds in
great variety. In fact, many of the birds of the mountain and forest
are still unclassified, and are the study of ornithologists and
naturalists from all parts of the world. The martinetta, a big grouse,
brings into sport something of a novelty. It is slow to fly, and is
often caught by snares into which it is driven. For variation, however,
it is forced to take wing by means of a rope dragged by riders across
the path. The rope pulls the martinetta off its feet. As soon as it
flies the third huntsman behind the rope fires. Three are necessary to
form a party, and the turn with the gun is arranged.

A peculiar type of llama is found in these parts. In shape the long neck
and head resemble those of the giraffe and camel respectively. The body
is like that of a donkey and the legs are as graceful as those of a
deer. Their voracity makes them unpopular with sheep breeders, except
for the value of their skins, for it has been estimated that one
guanaco--as they are called--will eat as much grass as nine sheep. The
beautiful humming bird is found in parts of the Argentine as well as in
the Andes. Many of the vultures are also to be seen. The condor is a
bird of such immense size as to be worthy of special mention. From wing
to wing it measures 9 feet. To hatch its eggs it seeks the remote crags
of the Andes, and has been found at an altitude of 20,000 feet.

In Patagonia we are able to revive memories of the schoolroom, and to
see how far juvenile fancy has exaggerated the stature of what the
teacher said were the biggest men in the world. Their actual height is
from 5 feet 10 inches to 6 feet 4 inches, but their stature is rendered
more impressive on account of their huge arms and massive chests. As the
name implies, and as the school-reader reminded us, the Patagonians have
huge flat feet. Their adoption of such civilised habiliments as boots
would mean a revolution in the standards of the boot-making industry.
Among travellers the Patagonian has a good reputation for honesty,
amiability, and kindness to his womenfolk. The people have no idols, but
believe in witchcraft.

Patagonia is almost virgin land, and Santa Cruz is, perhaps, the most
dreary region of the country. It is considered, however, to have a
future, and some promising settlements have already been established.
The Patagonian pastures have not as yet been bothered about by
Argentines, because they are still wanting more workers to develop the
enormous northern areas.

The force of the alliance between good government and good health is
ever present to the traveller in South America. The continent has
witnessed the greatest ravages of leprosy. It is significant that the
greater number of lepers are found where governments are unstable and
administration uncertain. In Chili and Argentina, where government is
something more than a symbol, lepers are relatively few, and are
practically disappearing. Farther north the position is worse, and again
there comes the analogy between bad government and disease. Venezuela,
Colombo, and Ecuador, where the life of no government is certain for
above twenty-four hours, are among the worst areas of leprosy. Complete
segregation is the only effective method of coping with the disease.
This can only be accomplished with firm and effective administration.



It was my good fortune to visit Tucuman in the northern area of
Argentina during the height of the sugar-cane harvest. Here one was
about as near the centre of South America as could be desired. The
vegetation was wildly luxuriant, and seemed to have lapped over into
Argentina from the jungles of Brazil. Here, also, the Latin colonists
seemed to have been left behind, and one ran into a strangely mixed
people, mostly native Indian in origin, but with a tincture in their
veins from the Spanish settlers of centuries ago, together with a
subsequent negro admixture.

I had looked forward to visiting a tropical town, of long streets of mud
shanties heavily thatched, and with innumerable palm trees waving their
plumes overhead. This kind of thing was to be found in the suburbs,
where the Spanish-negro-Indians wore big, rough-made, straw-plaited
hats, and their dusky mates, in bright garments, gossipped in the
shadows, whilst their prolific offspring--often stark naked--gambolled
in the sand. But Tucuman itself is much like other Argentine towns, for
it has its plaza and statues and public gardens, its imposing houses and
hotels and restaurants, its tramcars and electric light.

Tucuman has played its part in the history of the Republic. It was here
that Independence was proclaimed in 1810, when the overlordship of Spain
was repudiated; and it was here that, after much fighting, the treaty of
peace was signed on July 9th, 1816. The house in which this took place
was a modest building, not much bigger than a cottage. Sentiment
prevented it being swept away before the rush for improvement, and so it
has been left standing. But about it has been erected an imposing
structure. Here is a house within a house; and a stout dame conducts the
visitor into a gaunt room where Argentina's first parliament assembled;
where there are paintings of fierce-eyed national heroes, frescoes
depicting the proclamation of Independence, the chair where the first
president of the Republic sat, and in which the visitor is invited to
sit; and there is the customary visitors' book to be signed.

Tucuman vies with Cordoba in having amongst its residents some of the
real old Spanish aristocracy of Argentina. Indeed, Tucuman puts forth
the claim that it has the most beautiful women in South America.
Certainly at the hour of promenade, when the sun begins to dip and
before nightfall comes swiftly, and the people take to walking amongst
the orange trees in the Plaza, or sauntering along the main
thoroughfares inspecting the attractions in the shop windows, there is
no difficulty in imagining that this is a bit of Madrid instead of being
a little-visited town tucked away in the north of Argentina. Several
enthusiastic residents assured me that their ladies were as close to the
fashions as Paris itself. I am no authority on these matters; but I can
say that the womenfolk appeared as well garbed as they are in the
capitals of Europe. Along the clean streets whizzed expensive
motor-cars. Before the restaurants were the little round marble-topped
tables with which most of us are acquainted in European cities; and here
men sat and drank their amer piquant and puffed their cigarettes, whilst
the band played music, ragtime and other, with which we are so familiar
at home.

The main avenue, still in the making, promises to be a gorgeous
thoroughfare one of these days. There is a casino, a theatre (the
Odeon), a palace for the bishop, barracks, a hospital, a brewery which
cost £250,000 to build, and a "Savoy Hotel," where there was on sale
whisky "as drunk in the House of Lords," and where one's admiration was
only checked by finding the telephone system defective.

Tucuman is the centre of the sugar-growing industry. For many miles
around the country is covered with sugar plantations, and the railway
companies have little belt lines running through the cultivated area to
facilitate the gathering of the crop. When I was there in 1913 the
harvest had been the most prolific within knowledge. In places the line
was blocked with wagons piled high with the cane, whilst in several
quarters I heard grumbling that there was not a sufficiency of trucks to
cope with the trade.


One day, accompanied by several friends, I made an extensive motor-car
trip to the sugar plantations. As soon as we got beyond the town, and
upon the broad road which stretched as far as eye could reach until it
was lost in the shimmer of sunshine, we experienced the inconvenience of
a bad way. With all its excellences, Argentina, as I have before
remarked, has as bad roads as you will find in the world. There had been
no rain for months, and our route was across miles of powdery earth. We
sank into it almost to the axle. We churned up dust so that soon we were
smothered in it. Our faces were almost as grimy as though we had been in
a coalpit. Gaucho horsemen pranced past us in clouds of dust. When we
overtook an ox-drawn wagon it was like pushing through a fog of dust. On
either side the vegetation was profuse and rank, and the terrific heat
of the tropics filled the air with a strong, nauseating aroma.

When we were in the sugar-cane district we saw hundreds of tawny-skinned
men cutting the cane. Armed with an instrument which seemed to be half
knife and half butcher's chopper, the peon seized the top of a cane, cut
it off near the root, gave it a swing in the air, and with rapid slashes
removed the protruding leaves, and then pitched the stalk on one side,
where a heap was lying to be gathered by women and children and carried
to the waiting wagons.

Twice we halted to watch the dexterity of the cutters and to visit the
mud huts. These were picturesque but not pretty. They looked like
disreputable brick-kilns, and although possessed of a door, were
deficient in windows. The interior was dark, but most of the family
spend their time out of doors under the trees, where they have their
fires and prepare maté, the native tea, which is served in a shell and
sucked through a tube. Whenever the natives have nothing else to do you
are sure to find them drinking maté.

Around Tucuman are twenty-five sugar mills, and it is reckoned they
produce 200,000 tons of sugar, of which between 60,000 and 70,000 tons
are exported. We went to the fine mills at San Pablo belonging to Nouges
Brothers, and the senior partner was good enough to show me over the
place, so that I could inspect the whole process, from the arrival of
the cane until the sugar is loaded in sacks ready to be sent to Buenos

The stalks, as high as a man, are thrown into a machine which literally
chews them up. As they pass through heavy rollers they crunch and crack,
and yield their juice which runs in a nasty brown fluid into a trough.
Again the mashed-up cane is subjected to further squeezings between
rollers, until practically the last drop of the syrup is squeezed out.
The treacle-like stuff is run into big basins beneath which furnaces are
blazing, and is kept at a simmer until the sugar reaches the consistency
of dough. After that it is sluiced into highly heated steel cups, which
are constantly whirling.

It is interesting to stand by in the sickly-sweet atmosphere and watch
how, in the constant spinning and evaporation from the heat, the stuff
loses much of its brown appearance and becomes, when thoroughly dried,
like the cheap brown sugar as we know it at home. It is further refined
in other hot chambers until it is quite white. Then men with sacks catch
the stream of sugar as it rushes from the mouth of the refinery. Much of
it is spilt, and the men are up to their boots in sugar. But the bags
are quickly filled, pushed on one side, sewn up, hastened on lorries to
waiting carts, which, when loaded, convey the freight to the railway
wagons close by. Señor Nouges told me that at that time his firm was
turning out 175 tons of sugar a day.

The sugar-cane must have plenty of sun and water. The rivers I saw
during harvest time were miserable, shallow streams, meandering their
way through what looked like a broad boulder-strewn bed of what once had
been a wide stream. I was there, however, in the dry season, but was
told that in the rainy season these streams are increased a thousandfold
in volume, are frequently a quarter of a mile wide, and, when the
torrents are heavy, overflow their banks and inundate the land.
Irrigation is carried to a high point, so that in times of flood the
waters of the rivers can be conveyed many miles and utilised in
providing moisture to the cane.

It has only been in comparatively recent years that the possibilities of
the extensive region of North Argentina, of which Tucuman is the centre,
in regard to sugar have been realised. There is the initial expense of
clearing the ground of jungle, and providing irrigation. Once, however,
this has been done, and the cane planted, a paying crop is obtained the
first year. The same roots grow useful stalks for three or four years,
and then comes the process of gradually planting new roots and removing
the old ones so that the same soil can be made productive. Weeds are
numerous, and in the early months of growth these have to be constantly
removed, first of all to prevent their smothering the young shoots, and
secondly to give the cane all the nutriment there is in the soil. There
is also the danger of invasion by locusts, and the occasional
possibility in the cold months--say about May and June--of frost doing
injury to the saplings. Allowing, however, for these disadvantages, the
advance in the sugar industry in Argentina during the last dozen years
has been nothing short of amazing. Still, I could not help feeling that
the industry is only in its infancy. As soon as the foreigner
appreciates what northern Argentina can do--at present most of the sugar
growing is in the hands of Spanish-Argentines--there will certainly be
enormous development. One of the things which will appeal to the foreign
capitalist who takes up sugar growing on an extensive scale is that
there is a quick return on the money invested in development.

Though Tucuman is the capital of the sugar growing interest, it may be
said there are plenty of areas equally favourable for raising the cane.
Sugar growing at Tucuman began about thirty years ago, long before the
railway ever reached the place, and to meet purely local demands;
because in those days the transport of imported sugar, as of other
goods, by cart was expensive. When the railway put Tucuman into near
communication with other parts of the Republic, the possibilities of a
great trade were at once recognised. Tucuman sugar, however, could not
in those days compete, either in quality or price, with that which came
from other countries. It was, therefore, decided to give encouragement
to Argentine sugar growing by a tariff on sugar which came from across
sea. As one who favours the saving of a struggling industry in a home
country from being strangled by vigorous foreign competition, I believe
this was the right thing to do. Sugar growing bounded ahead. Not many
years elapsed before the sugar growers became a powerful combination,
with much influence on the Government. The result was that, whilst at
the start the duty on imported sugar was small, it was gradually
increased until it became prohibitive. Therefore at the present time
very little foreign sugar comes into the country, and the Argentine
industry has gone ahead in a remarkable manner.

Mr. N. L. Watson, in his publication "The Argentine as a Market,"
describes how Tucuman became a veritable El Dorado. Two years sufficed
to give a net return four times as great as the capital invested. As a
natural consequence, labour and capital flowed into the sugar districts.
Lawyers deserted their professions, workmen their tools, to throw
themselves with a regular fever into an occupation so full of promise.
Works sprang up as if by magic, palaces were constructed to house the
staffs, capital was lavished on the industry by individuals and banking
houses alike. While fortunes were being created in the cultivation of
the sugar-cane, orchards, orange crops, pasturage, and arable land were
being either transformed or neglected.

Something like a trust has been formed amongst the sugar growers, with
the object of maintaining prices. But public opinion is becoming so
pronounced that, whilst there is no disposition to let the foreigner
come in and undersell the native production, the tariff should be
reduced in order that there may be more competition between the native
and outside growers, with a slight advantage always given to the
Argentine grower. The Republic is quite capable of growing all the sugar
its inhabitants may require; but fair competition from the sugar of
other countries will do much to regulate prices.




The main energies of Argentina must for some time be devoted to her most
obvious source of wealth. Yet it would be unwise to neglect a
consideration of her industrial possibilities. Naturally she is anxious
to supply herself with the commodities essential to daily life and
comfort. But up to the present the Argentine has relied chiefly upon the
exchange of its products, even for commodities which might be produced
at home. This is due to the tendency common to new countries of going in
for the "big deal." In this sense the agricultural industry has still a
long journey to go. Intensive culture has so far not become a necessity.
Extensive culture has yielded such good profits that no impulse has been
given to the full exploitation of Argentina's hidden resources. This
partly explains why the casual observer is confronted with the apparent
anomaly of vegetables, fruit, eggs, and other foodstuffs being dear in
an agricultural country.

It is on the lines of finishing her existing industries, attending to
by-products as well as main products, that the foundations of
Argentina's industrial future will best be laid. The immediate obstacle
is the scarcity of labour. The essential requirements already exist, a
good climate, excellent means of communication, a growing population, an
open Custom House for most of the machinery and implements required for
national industries, and a stable credit.

Few countries have been able to inaugurate home industries under more
favourable auspices. Nothing can deprive Argentina of her agricultural
eminence. But how she will fare when embarking upon the more uncertain
career of a home manufacturer depends upon many things. Necessity is
already driving Argentina seriously to face the problem of producing for
herself her more obvious needs. The comparatively high cost of living is
a growing trouble. Infant though she may be industrially, Argentina has
already experienced the evils of industrial unrest. The principal
manifestations have been in Buenos Aires, which, in addition to being
the port and the centre of national activities, has been the storm
centre of the rush to exploit her resources. It is the pulse of the
Republic. Like other great cities, it is crying out against the
diminishing value of the dollar.

Argentina's readiness for home manufactures is an urgent problem
confronting the Government. The Government wants a more all-round
development of the country's resources. Interwoven with this problem are
important considerations: a more equable distribution of the population;
the provision of more centres for the exchange of commodities; the
relation between taxes for revenue and protective tariffs; the
selection of what industries are to be established at an economic
profit; the extent to which foreign manufacturers can be induced to
start their industries within the Republic.

So far, the only industries that have continued with success are those
producing articles difficult of transport, or of an expensive character.
With a greater mobility of trade in the country, and a more scientific
manipulation of the tariff, there is no reason why Argentina should not
provide herself with many of the things which to-day furnish the labour
agitator with opportunities for tirades against "costly living." Backed
by agricultural wealth, and supported by splendid railway facilities,
Argentina should be able to make advance on particular lines. Take wool
as an illustration. Argentina produces more than sufficient for her own
requirements, and yet she obtains woollen goods from other countries. Is
it to be taken as final that the absence of coal in the country makes
the development of woollen industries at home an economic impossibility?
It is not, perhaps, so much a question of labour and initiative as the
absence of natural advantages.

It is necessary to look farther afield than Buenos Aires in considering
the chances of a new industry. The concentration of trade in the capital
has probably been a hindrance. The congestion of all interests,
commercial, political, and social, in "B.A." has caused land to increase
enormously in value, an important consideration in setting up factories.
In turn, other charges are correspondingly increased. Trade rises and
falls according to the season. There is less stability for the worker,
more fluctuations for the trader.

But, with railways linking up the interior with the coast, there is now
no necessity for the drama of Argentina's commerce to be confined to a
single theatre. There must be more centres of exchange, fresh districts
for production and manufacture. If the auxiliary industries to corn
growing and cattle raising were better fostered there would be no
necessity for inland towns to go to Buenos Aires for vegetables, eggs,
cheese, butter, and poultry. The market garden, the dairy, the poultry
farm, the orchard, and the auxiliary factories would pour their products
into the provincial centres. Local needs would be met locally. The
surplus would be sent on with the grain and the cattle to the markets at
Buenos Aires.

These, after all, are probably the safest lines upon which a new country
can travel in her march to greater economic independence. First the
purely agricultural; then the by-products of agriculture as a
supplement; then gradually the establishment of whatever manufactures
are practicable and profitable. For the present Argentina has greater
need for cheaper eatables than for cheaper motor-cars.

Countries doing a big trade with the Argentine are beginning to see the
force of providing goods on the spot. The crowding of agents in the
principal towns has increased competition to a point at which the next
move by certain competitors must be in the direction of producing in
the country or losing the trade entirely. This will be all the better
for Argentina. She has long had justifiable cause for complaint against
those who are sent to Buenos Aires and other parts to barter for her
trade. A well-worn lament in the reports of the British Consul concerns
the English trader's lack of adaptability to the peculiar conditions of
Argentina. Mention is made of quotations in English, the sending of
representatives unacquainted with the language and business terms of the
country, the adherence to methods applicable only to England.

On the other hand, the British exporter has grumbled at economic
conditions calling for long and sometimes exaggerated credit; the taxes
levied on commercial travellers; the difficulty of dealing direct with
customers. Between the two points of view is the fact that commercial
enterprise has stopped with the arrival of trade representatives in
Buenos Aires.

The Argentine has already made shots at industry building. Tangible
signs of an industrial future were visible on many occasions during my
tour. Tall and smoking chimneys and busy factories for tinned meats,
clothing, and boots were evidences of the start already made. Before,
however, an advance can go towards full development there must be a more
definite scheme of working, and a clearer apprehension of the end in
view. There are, for example, greater possibilities for brewing and
distilling. A recent census showed that these two activities engaged
about 160 factories. Sugar, too, has proved for itself that when worked
on proper lines it is a most profitable industry. Sugar-canes, formerly
exported for others to refine, are now refined in the country, where the
product finds a ready market.

It would be well-nigh hopeless for Argentina to attempt the introduction
of industries to compete in her own market with well-established foreign
industries of the same kind without the aid of tariff protection. This
might mean a temporary loss in revenue by checking imports; but
compensation would come through the success of the home industry. At the
present time Argentina exports in raw wool over £10,000,000 worth
annually. She imports woollen goods worth nearly £3,000,000. Her imports
are increasing and her export of raw material decreasing. In ten years
the latter fell considerably in actual bulk, through the rush to make
quicker money from meat. Meanwhile, the question arises as to why
Argentina should not prepare and manufacture woollen goods for home
needs? The existing market is a large one. Textile industries already
exist. They are few, but the fact that the number of establishments has
increased is a clear proof that textile industries can be profitable.
The opportunities here presented for the investment of capital are
invaluable. There is room for new and increasing enterprises in a
growing country with many years of growth before it.

It is essential to all industrial expansion that a country's credit
should be good and its currency stable. Argentina is well off in this
respect. Contrasted with some other American republics, in which
revolution, revolt, and financial distress are painfully frequent,
Argentina is a political and financial paradise. This stability, if not
in itself an inducement to the investment of capital, is at any rate a
guarantee that capital may be invested with safety. And in these days
safety itself is a big inducement. Paper dollars form the everyday
currency of the country. Careful provision has been made to establish
the paper in circulation on a definite gold basis. Since the Caja de
Conversion, the Government institution for the issue, exchange, and
conversion of the paper currency, was established in 1899, the paper
dollar has always been worth $.44 gold (between 1s. 8d. and 1s. 9d.).
Certain specified resources are appropriated for the formation of a
conversion fund, which guarantees the paper currency.

During the latter part of 1913 there was a considerable shipment of
English sovereigns to the Republic. Under the Pellegrini Law passed in
1902 the Caja de Conversion must hold in gold an equivalent to the paper
money in circulation. Indeed, the National Conversion Office, the
National Bank of Argentina, the London and River Plate Bank and other
banks had in June, 1913, an accumulation of gold amounting to
£67,188,039. The gold in the Caja de Conversion began with the
insignificant sum of £568 on December 31st, 1902; in 1904 it was just
over £10,000,000; the next year it was up to over £18,000,000, and on
June 30th, 1913, it was £53,306,866.

Argentina has a number of well-established banks, affording many
facilities for the development of trade and industrial enterprise. One
of the principal, the Banco Hipotecario Nacional, makes a feature of
special loans for building and land improvements. Its loans are made on
the mortgages of property by the issue of bearer bonds in lieu of cash
to persons mortgaging properties to the bank. It need not be feared,
therefore, that industrial enterprises of reasonable prospects will
starve for the want of financial credit during the difficult years of
inauguration. On the contrary, there is a good supply of money waiting
fresh outlets. Bankers realise that it is to their own as well as to the
country's advantage to have a wide field of financial operations. They
have the money if others have the enterprise and the initiative.

The point has now been reached at which manufactories might well be
harnessed to agriculture not only for the fuller working of Argentina's
resources, but for remedying some of the social difficulties that have
arisen through her relying too much upon one source of wealth.



Although travellers in the Republic usually visit Rosario, it is seldom
they devote much time to studying the full capabilities of the province
of Santa Fé, of which Rosario is the chief town. Yet Santa Fé and
Corrientes to the north, and Entre Rios to the east, deserve much more
than passing recognition.

Though in the north of Santa Fé, towards the region of the Chaco, there
are thick forests, the southern part is treeless, except for the ombu,
and is a plain with rich pasturage and soil. Along the side of the
province runs the Parana River, which can be ascended by flat-bottomed
stern wheel vessels for many hundreds of miles; and from ports like
those of Santa Fé and Villa Constitucion much agricultural produce in
maize, wheat, linseed, and barley are dispatched. The sugar industry is
gradually creeping into Santa Fé province. Nearly fifty flour mills have
been erected, and there are also sawmills, meat preserving factories,
and works for quebracho extracts. Though railways are penetrating in all
directions through the province, having at the present time 3,000 miles
of lines, the River Parana is, and long will be, the chief highway,
because circumstances in the old times led to the principal towns being
constructed on its banks, and because some of its tributaries are also
navigable for a considerable distance.

The Parana River stretches away north into Corrientes. There are places
with tremendous areas of well-watered pastures; but the farther north
one journeys the more the country becomes swampy and covered with heavy
forest. The vegetation is tropical, and parrots with gay plumage disturb
the silence of the woods with their shrieks.

It is here that the forest Indians are to be found, particularly the
Tobas and the Matacos. Formerly the tribes kept to their own territory;
but with the coming of the white man, and particularly the importation
of Russians, Poles, and Scandinavians to work in the lumber camps, this
custom has gradually been broken down. The Indians resent the presence
of the intruders, and there is many a black story of massacre. The
forest Indians cannot be induced to work in the hewing of timber, but
missionaries are doing a great deal in persuading them to take to
farming and raising crops of maize or bananas.

The Indians near the towns on the Parana River are taking to wearing
European clothes. In the time of the sugar harvest in the west they will
work for a month or so, but on their tramp back of several hundred miles
they frequently fall out with one another, and there is fierce fighting
and murdering of which the outer world never hears. Far in the forests,
up to the present but little penetrated, the Indians are found in their
original state, naked save for a loin cloth, producing fire by the
rubbing of sticks, still utilising bows and arrows in warfare, and
following the practice when an enemy has been slain of cutting off his
head and using the skull as a drinking bowl.


All this may seem to suggest that Corrientes is a somewhat forbidding
province, especially as much of its territory is marshy. For instance,
Lake Ibera and its marshes covers an area of something like 15,000
square miles. The vegetation is dense, the climate is bad, and there is
little to attract man unless he be a sportsman. But so vast is the
province that there are wide areas which are very productive, because
the province is well provided with rivers and streams.

There are in the province about 5,000,000 head of cattle, over 3,000,000
sheep, and about 600,000 horses. Besides cattle, there are the timber
trade and the sugar industry, also tobacco growing, to be counted
amongst its sources of revenue.

It was only in 1908 that the province of Entre Rios entered the
Republic. As will be gathered from its name, the province lies "between
rivers," the Parana and Uruguay, both of which are navigable for many
hundreds of miles. There are many smaller rivers which, although not
much good for traffic, are most useful in watering the country. Entre
Rios has as fertile a soil as will be found in any part of the Republic.
The country is more picturesque than can be said of Argentina as a
whole, and with its many farms it is often reminiscent of England. In
the north there are extensive forests; indeed, one-fifth of the province
is covered with valuable timber. Agricultural products and live stock
are, as elsewhere, the chief source of prosperity.

In the more pleasant undulating parts of the province there are many
prosperous _estancias_, often in the possession of Englishmen. Here,
more than in any other place in the Republic, are to be found small
freeholds owned by Austrian, Poles, Russians, and Scandinavians. The
Spanish and Italian Argentines seem to have left most of this area to
north Europeans, who in many cases retain the costumes of the countries
from which they emigrated. Formerly Entre Rios had a bad name because of
the stories of the way in which the old settlers shot every Indian on
sight. That, however, is a page now far back in the history of the land.

Until comparatively recent times the only communication with the outer
world was by means of the rivers. Now, as mentioned, Entre Rios has a
fine railway system. The capital of the province, Parana, is a
happy-looking, clean town, with exquisite gardens and, of course, the
usual theatre and band.

Most of the meat extract supplied to the world by the Liebig and Bovril
companies comes from Entre Rios. Both these companies own great
_estancias_ to breed cattle for the purposes of their business. Liebigs,
which afterwards changed its name to Lemco, practically built the town
of Fray Bentos, where there were schools, public halls, and, altogether,
a model settlement. Subsequently, however, the works were removed
to Colon. The Lemco company own eighteen great estates, covering
1,750,000 acres with nearly 400,000 head of cattle. The area of their
estates is nearly equal to that of Kent and Surrey.

It was as far back as 1850, long before the frozen and chilled meat
trade came into existence, that Baron Liebig saw the possibilities,
instead of killing cattle merely for hides and tallow, of boiling down
the meat for extract. The first exportation of 80 lbs. was in 1865, and
it was sent to Germany.

The Bovril company, in Entre Rios and the adjoining province of Santa
Fé, have nearly half a million acres of freehold and a quarter of a
million acres of leasehold land. On their estates they have about
150,000 cattle. Most of the cattle are of the Durham breed. Between
80,000 and 100,000 animals are slaughtered annually, principally at
Santa Elena; and whilst the meat is sent to England to be converted into
meat extract, the hides and tallow are dispatched to Buenos Aires, where
they are sold.

Altogether there are about a quarter of a million beasts slaughtered in
Entre Rios each year. As in other parts of Argentina, all the
slaughter-houses are under Government inspection; indeed, every carcase
is subjected to examination before it is passed. Entre Rios is still a
long way from the end of its journey as a meat producing country.



Argentina is a land without ideals. Religion is at a discount, and as
yet nothing worthy of the world's note has been produced in art or
literature. There is no national conscience. It is a country for
money-making, and, although I may have been unfortunate in the men I
met, I encountered few Argentines who had thought beyond money.

The Argentines are a people numbering seven millions--drawn from the
sturdier sections of the Latin race, reinforced by adventurous spirits
from other races, and backed by the finance of London--and their
ambitions are large. Argentina is a country to count in the new regions
devoted to providing the food of the world; and the end of its
possibilities is many generations away.

The travelled Argentine is conscious of the shortcomings of his
countrymen when engaged in the battle of commerce with men of other
nations. So he sees the need of a helping and guiding hand from other
folk, particularly British. Gradually, however, other countries are
getting their fingers into the pie: Germany and France. The United
States is making a big endeavour, but, though the North Americans lack
nothing in energy, they have completely failed to win the confidence of
the Argentines.

Yet the educated Argentine feels, as foreigners are quick to notice,
that the amalgam of races, with the Italian leavening the whole, is
creating a new people. The Argentine lad is quick-witted and adaptable,
and he is alert to learn the ways of the foreigner. So, though it is
true enough that you find Englishmen at the head of many of the great
concerns, the Argentine is pushing his way in and sometimes beating the
foreigner at his own game.

The new spirit is revealed in the way the young Argentine is taking to
sport besides horse-racing: rowing, tennis, and particularly football.
As every child born in the Republic is by law an Argentine, it is
subject for notice that many young English fellows native born are more
Argentine than those of Spanish and Italian parentage. It is inevitable
that, proportionately, the strictly Spanish population will decrease.
But the Spanish language remains. It has a hold in the Western continent
from Mexico to Patagonia.

Notwithstanding all that has been accomplished, one has only to look at
a map to realise this region is to be the home for the overflow of Latin
Europe, and that the scope of commerce at present is slight compared
with its probable dimensions within a few years. Having some
acquaintance with the great business countries of the world, I say
unreservedly that if I had a son, and intended to put him into commerce
in the hope of his making a fortune quickly, I would have him taught
Spanish and send him to South America.

However, there is a slowly accumulating public opinion that Argentina
can do without the foreigner, that the hour is coming when she should no
longer be exploited in order that large dividends be paid to investors
who live on the other side of the Atlantic. There is a sort of
sub-conscious feeling that it is the genius of the Argentines themselves
which accounts for the sunshine, the rich soils, the general
productivity. Evidence of that state of mind can be found in other
countries besides Argentina. Yet, though it is apparent to the most
casual observer of the world's conditions that Argentina must wax in
strength and become increasingly independent, it is clear that were she
to attempt to stand, far less run, alone she would come a tremendous

The pride of the Argentine has to be reckoned upon. The nation recalls
its decrepit past; it sees the abundant blossom of the present; it eyes
are large when viewing the future. It declines to confound its destiny
with any other South American Republic. For its northern neighbour
Brazil, Portuguese and negro in population, it has a scorn which raises
a smile on the lips of the outsider.

It resents the patronage of the United States. When the States preaches
the Monroe Doctrine, and announces it will not allow any European Power
to acquire fresh territory on the American continent, Argentina says:
"It is very kind of you, but we do not require your help; we are quite
capable of looking after ourselves."

Behind this is the belief that the Monroe Doctrine is but a design to
permit the United States to become the ruling factor in American higher
politics, if not to extend her sphere of authority the entire length of
the continent. The manner in which the United States got possession of
territory in Central America in order to construct the Panama Canal
rankles in the minds of Argentines, as it does in the minds of most
other South Americans. Bitter though the feeling is between rival South
American States, they are at one in their resentment of United States

Occasionally, United States Ministers of high position travel south, and
beat the pan-American drum. They are received politely, but there is
chilliness in the courtesy. In blunt truth these Republics--be they
right or be they wrong in surmise--do not trust the United States. I
think I am well within the facts when I state that there is an agreement
between Argentina, Brazil, and Chile--known as the A.B.C.
combination--to take common action if there is any step south of the
Panama isthmus savouring of aggression on the part of the United States.

Both in Argentina and Brazil, when I conversed with public men, I was
given clearly to understand how deep-seated is this dislike of the
United States. There is annoyance at the manner in which President
Woodrow Wilson has lectured the Latin Republics of America for granting
concessions to European syndicates for the development of their
countries. President Wilson laid it down that the growth of foreign
interests in these Republics was unwholesome, because they were sure to
influence the political life; therefore, he said, it was the duty of the
United States to assist in emancipating them from such subordination.
This was a considerable extension of the Monroe Doctrine. The
much-preached creed that the United States will not tolerate any other
Power acquiring territory in the Western hemisphere had been expanded to
mean that the United States is going to use its influence to free the
Latin Republics from being under obligation to European countries which
have given their millions of gold towards making those Republics
commercially prosperous which, so far as financial assistance from the
United States counts, would have remained practically undeveloped. At
the latter end of 1913 Mr. Page, United States Ambassador to Great
Britain, stated at a public dinner that President Wilson was determined
to assert the principle that no sort of European financial or industrial
control could, with the consent of the United States, be got over the
weak nations of America so far as this control affected political

What European countries think about this attitude of the United States
in practically warning off European financiers if the investments or
concessions have an influence over politics--which, of course, they must
have in all trading countries--it is not for me to discuss here. But
this over-lordship, this placing of the Latin Republics in a position
of tutelage to the great Republic of the north, is denounced and
repudiated by every Latin American public man.

I quite agree that it would be better for countries like Argentina and
Brazil if they were not so dependent on the foreign capitalist. That is
a view held by probably the majority of South Americans themselves. But
they are not going to accept dictation from the United States,
especially as they know that United States financiers and syndicates are
not only endeavouring to control the meat trade of Argentina, but within
the last year or so have been engaged in gigantic negotiations to secure
ultimately a controlling voice in many of the most important railway

In the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies in December of 1913, Señor Pedro
Moacyr questioned whether, even should the United States spare Brazil
the fate meted out to Colombia, in regard to setting up the baby
Republic of Panama so that the North Americans could construct the
Panama Canal, Brazil would accept the tutelage over Latin America which
President Wilson, improving on the imperialism of Mr. Roosevelt himself,
and yet further accentuating the disquieting deviations of the Monroe
Doctrine, had proclaimed? What it came to was, said Señor Moacyr, "that
the Latin Republics are no longer to have the right to grant to
foreigners such concessions and privileges as it may suit them to grant,
and, under pretext of preserving them from a problematical European
imperialism, the United States will subject them to its own domination
and control. What, in this case, becomes of the integrity and
sovereignty of Latin America for which the great Republic displays so
much solicitude? More and more the Monroe Doctrine, new style, displays
this manifest tendency: America for the United States.... Will the great
Latin Republics be willing to submit to this American control, and
subordinate their foreign policy and their economic orientation to the
views and interests of Washington? We do not believe it."

It is only right that United States financiers should receive privileges
the same as are accorded to the financiers of other countries; but such
a pronouncement as that of President Wilson only intensifies the
distrust of South Americans, so that when looking beyond their own
frontiers for money they are more disposed to direct their gaze across
the Atlantic than to the people of the United States. What may be taken
as quite certain is that the big Latin Republics have sufficient
confidence in themselves to refuse to accept any lectures from North

Coming late into the field the United States is now making strenuous
endeavours to increase its trade with Argentina. Operations in regard to
railways, and creating a meat monopoly in the hands of Chicago firms,
provide the most striking proof. In regard to the creation of a meat
trust, there is now a Bill before the Argentine Parliament providing
that any contract relating to commerce or transport affecting the price
to the consumer of articles of prime necessity is illegal. Those who
form the trust can, under this measure, be punished for misdemeanour,
and directors of companies or associations will be held personally
responsible, and on repetition of the offence their companies or
associations dissolved and effects confiscated.

At the present time there is a great American railway scheme to link up
the railway lines in Argentina and Brazil with a line running through
the Republics right up to New York, making a track over 10,000 miles in
length and involving the building of nearly 3,700 more miles of line.
The British Consul-General at Buenos Aires, Mr. Mackie, one of the most
distinguished men in the British Consular service, says, in regard to
this pan-American railway enterprise: "It would seem that out of the
3,648 miles of railway over which it was sought to acquire control, only
1,906 miles needed for carrying out the scheme in Argentina have been
acquired up to the present. This untoward circumstance must of necessity
substantially increase the original estimates of the mileage needed for
linking up the railway systems of the Republics lying between Buenos
Aires and New York. The dominion of the American controlled enterprise
is not apparently to be confined to the narrow limits of railway
undertakings, but it would seem that a lengthy list of subsidiary
companies has been grouped with the syndicate, in whose London offices
appear to be centred a South American lumber company, three development
and colonisation companies, a Para rubber company, a port company, two
navigation companies, a tramway company, light and power company, and an
hotel company."

With such endeavours on the part of the United States to extend its
power in the south, it is the obvious commercial duty of Great Britain
not only to take stock of what is happening, but to take steps to meet
it. When I was in Buenos Aires I was glad to hear of the formation of a
British Chamber of Commerce. Hitherto English people with interests in
Argentina have worked independently and sometimes in rivalry. Of course,
wholesome rivalry should continue; but there are occasions when the
British commercial community should act in concert, and the creation of
the British Chamber of Commerce, with Sir Reginald Tower, the British
Minister, giving it his active patronage, should be of immense

But all foreigners, be they British, German, French, or belonging to the
United States, must recognise the ambition of the Argentines ultimately
to do without them and to "run the show" for themselves.

The nationality of Argentina is not founded on tradition; it comes from
the fervour of self-appreciation. Despite the growth of Socialism in the
ports the country gives unprecedented scope for individual
daring--gambling on the future if you like. The doors are open to all
the races of Europe to become Argentines. The terror of Asiatic labour,
which troubles some other new countries, will be slain by the readiness
with which all Europeans are received, be they Russians or Turks. By
marriage the race is a jumble of Spanish, natives, Italians, and
northern Europeans. In North America a man or a woman with a drop of
black blood is called "a nigger." Unlike Brazil, there are few negroes
in Argentina; but many of the best families have native Indian blood in
their veins. In South America a half-caste, a _mestizo_, is always
counted as a white. Thus there are no race prejudices such as are to be
found in so democratic a country as the United States.

Yet there is no new country where there is such a gap between one
section of the population and the other. I ascribe the scanty
intellectual life of the Argentine to the big break between the
plutocracy and the labouring classes. The poor immigrant has an enormous
struggle to raise himself above the condition of a serf. There are
plenty of exceptions, but notwithstanding this the statement holds good.
To those who have wealth, money to play with, increase in possession
comes rapidly. There is little scope for the salary-earning middle
class--a most valuable class in all communities--and, though wages are
high according to European standards, the advance is not so great when
the heavy cost of living is borne in mind.

So far I have endeavoured fairly to picture Argentina as it is. It would
be idle not to count the disadvantages along with the merits of the
land. I did not go to South America with any preconceived ideas, but to
see what I could and write about what I saw and learnt. It has not
benefits for poor agriculturists such as Canada offers, though the life
is more pleasant. Out on the plains the climate is splendid. It is not a
country for the clerk whose knowledge of Spanish is nil.

But it is an amazing country nevertheless. For ages it has been lying in
the womb of Time. It has just been born, and its growth is one of the
wonders of the world. Its inhabitants are quickly adapting themselves to
modern needs. The revolutionary days are of the past. It has millions of
acres under the power of man; it has many millions more awaiting
population. It is crying out for population. And great steamers from
Spain and from Italy are driving southwards over the line of the Equator
carrying what Argentina needs. She receives nearly three hundred
thousand new arrivals annually. And within a couple of years most of
them become Argentine citizens.


  "A.B.C." combination, 273

  ABATTOIRS, model, at Liniers, 129


  AGRARIAN and veterinary school, Santa Catalina, 80

  AGRICULTURAL banks, proposed establishment of, 188

  AGRICULTURAL defence, department of, 61

  AGRICULTURAL land, extent of uncultivated, 77

  AGRICULTURAL produce, and the railways, 137

  "AGRICULTURAL smalls," 243

  AGRICULTURE, education for "colonists" in, 56-60;
    conditions of, 190;
    prospects of, 198;
    possibilities of development of, 257

  ALFALFA, development and cultivation of,69;
    importance of, 69, 116;
    value of, 194-7;
    reputed influence on water level of, 233

  ALPACA, the, 116

  ALTA Gracia, excursions to, 143, 165;
    golf at, 172;
    races at, 172-5

  ANDES, the, 89;
    the railway, and, 147, 215, _et seq._

  ANTHRAX, the gaucho and, 230

  ARBORICULTURE, school for, at Tucuman, 59

  ARGENTINA, possibilities of, 4;
    railway development in, 43-51;
    land question in, 52-62;
    call for population, 53;
    value of exportations of, 60;
    and world's food supplies, 63, _et seq._;
    production of food supplies in, 61-71, 244;
    constitution of government, methods of taxation, etc., 72-88;
    characteristics of, 89, _et seq._;
    from the British immigrant's point of view, 43;
    wheat production of, 186, _et seq._;
    immigration laws and regulations, 203, 223, _et seq._;
    the Jews and, 237-41;
    indigenous fauna of, 244;
    and industries, 257, _et seq._;
    credit of, 263;
    as overflow of Latin Europe, 271;
    and foreign capital, 275; possibilities of, 278-9

  "ARGENTINA from a British Point of View," by C. P. Ogilvie, 197

  ARGENTINE Agricultural Society, 120; cattle-breeding and, 121;
    and railway tariffs, 137

  ARGENTINE Club at Bahia Blanca, 177

  ARGENTINE Railway Company, 153

  ARGENTINE Transandine Railway absorbed by the Buenos Aires
    and Pacific, 145

  ARGENTINES, the, wealth and pride of, 5, 6, 7, 20, 22-23;
    source of wealth of, 24;
    social life of, 29;
    extravagance of, 32;
    moods of, 32-3;
    characteristics of, 38-40, 270-2;
    ambition of, 58

  AUSTRALIA and wheat supply, 186-7

  AUSTRIA and frozen meat, 127

  AVENIDA Alvear, "B.A.," 30

  _Avon_, the, 19, 54

  "B.A." _See_ Buenos Aires

  BAHIA, 11

  BAHIA Blanca, 43;
    commercial school at, 79;
    grain elevators at, 70;
    Buenos Aires and Pacific Railway at, 145;
    natural harbour, at, 176;
    growth of, 176-7;
    land values at, 177;
    life in, 177; railways at, 178;
    shipments from, 178;
    Victoria wool market at, 180;
    and the pampas, 181

  BAHIA Blanca and North-Western Railway, absorbed by the Buenos
   Aires and Pacific, 145

  BANCO Hipotecario Nacional, and loans for building, etc., 264

  BANKS, licences for, 82; and gold reserve, 263

  BELGRANO, "B.A." British colony at, 27

  BELLE Ville, dairy school at, 60

  BETTING regulations, 28

  BENITZ Colony, forestry school, in the, 61

  BIRDS, curious, 92

  BOVRIL, 15;
    and meat extract trade, 159;
    cattle-breeding station of, 268-9

  BRASSEY, Thomas, and first Argentine railway, 139

  BRAZIL, agricultural riches of, 4;
    gambling in, 12;
    and Argentine cattle, 128;
    reported coal mines in, 155;
    dislike of United States in, 273, 275

  BREWING, possible development of, 261

  "BRIDGE of the Incas," 219

  BRITISH capital in Argentina, 7, 21, 24, 43, 46, 123;
    in railways, 134

  BRITISH Chamber of Commerce at Buenos Aires, 278

  BRITISH immigrants, possibilities of sheep rearing for, 183

  BRITISH trade and Argentina, 260-1

  BRITISH trade methods, futility of, 85

  BUENOS Aires, arrival at, 20;
    business of, 22-3;
    the streets of, 25;
    hotels of, 26;
    expensiveness of, 26;
    railways in, 27;
    Jockey Club of, 28;
    Colon Theatre at, 28;
    immorality of, 29;
    irreligion of, 29;
    showiness of, 30, 32;
    "Las Damas da Beneficencia," 34;
    foundling hospital at, 35;
    the Recoleta, 36;
    as capital, 37;
    population and characteristics of, 41;
    fascination of, 42;
    immigrants' accommodation at, 53;
    land values in, 65;
    slaughter-houses at, 70;
    senators from, 73;
    national and normal schools in, 78;
    university at, 78;
    shallowness of river at, 90;
    regulations against dogs in, 98;
    variations of climate in, 102-3;
    offices of Argentine Agricultural Society at, 120;
    Jockey Club at, 123;
    frozen meat works at, 124;
    population and meat demands of, 129;
    sheep market at, 130;
    railways from, 141;
    the Retiro station at, 142-3;
    suburban traffic of, 143, 151;
    B.A. and P. high level line at, 145;
    railway connection with Valparaiso from, 146-7;
    Mar del Plata and, 151;
    cost of living in, 241-2;
    increase of shipping trade of, 244;
    labour unrest in, 258;
    British Chamber of Commerce at, 278

  BUENOS Aires and Pacific Railway, returns of, 140;
    growth and revenue of, 145;
    Light and Power Co. in connection with, 145;
    port accommodation at Bahia Blanca, 145;
    high level line to Buenos Aires, 145;
    reclamation of land from River Plate by, 146;
    transcontinental traffic, 146-7;
    Transandine line, 148;
    snow protection on, 148;
    prospects of, 149;
    Mr. Guy Calthrop and, 149;
    at Bahia Blanca 178;
    at Puerta Galvan, 179

  BUENOS Aires-Rosario Railway, 141-2

  BUENOS Aires Province, population of, 63;
    five years drought in, 90;
    cattle raising in, 130;
    cereal growing district of, 152;
    Hirsch Jewish colony in, 238

  CAJA de Conversion, effect on credit of, 263;
    gold reserve of, 263

  CALTHROP, Mr. Guy, and Buenos Aires and Pacific Railway, 149-50

  "CAMP" life in, 67, 223, _et seq._

  CAMP towns, ugliness of, 226

  CANADA and wheat supply, 186

  CATTLE, introduction of, by Spaniards, 95, 117;
    wild herds of, 95, 117;
    wild dogs and, 97;
    improvement and increase of, 99;
    numbers of, 122;
    and importation embargo in England, 130-1

    importation of bloodstock for, 118;
    improvements in, 120;
    Argentine Agricultural Society and, 120-2

  CATTLE disease, prevalence of, 69

  CENTRAL Argentine Railway, returns of, 140;
    growth of 141-2;
    electrification of, 145;
    suburban traffic, 143;
    excursions on, 143;
    goods and agricultural traffic of, 144;
    irrigation scheme of, 144;
    extension of, 144-5;
    weekly receipts of, 145;
    works of at Rosario, 156;
    excursions to Alta Gracia, 165

  CENTRAL Cordoba Railway, 153

  CEREALS, value of exportation of, 67;
    low yield of, 70

  CHACO, the, swamps of, 91;
    Indians of, 91

  CHAMBER of Deputies, constitution of, 73;
    qualifications of candidates and members of, 73;
    salary of members of, 74;
    Socialism in, 75

  CHICAGO and Argentine chilled meat trade, 68

  "CHICO," 212, 213

  CHILI, nitrates of, 4;
    railway communication with, 146-7, 149;
    leprosy in, 246

  "CHILLED" meat compared with "frozen," 125

  CHILLED meat trade, American attempts to capture, 68;
    extension of, 126

  CHRIST, statue of, on Chilian boundary, 148

  CHUBUT, Welsh colony at, 225

  CITIZENSHIP, qualifications for, 77

  CLARKE, Mr. Percy, and Great Southern Railway, 152

  CLIMATE, variations of, 89, 102-3

  COAL, lack of, and importation of, 83;
    possible supply from Brazil, 155

  COAL Strike, effect in Argentine of, 243

  COLON Theatre, the, gala performance at, 29

  "COLONISTS," system of, 54;
    and storekeeper, 55;
    position of, 55;
    agricultural education for, 56-8;
    difficulties of, 225

  COLUMBUS and his discovery, 1, 5

  COMMERCE, German and British competition for, 84-5

  COMODORA Rivadavia, government reservation on petroleum zone of, 243

  CONDOR, the, 245

  CORDILLERA of the Andes, railway and, 147

  CORDOBA, live-stock school at, 58, 59;
    university at, 78;
    commercial school at, 79

  CORDOBA, and Central Argentine Railway, 144;
    position and population of, 158;
    university of, 159, 162;
    social life of, 160-1;
    opera performances at, 161;
    cathedral of, 163;
    relics at Jesuit church in, 163;
    British flag in church at, 164;
    schools at, 164;
    observatory at, 165;
    excursions to Alta Gracia from, 165

  CORDOBA and Rosario Railway, 153

  CORDOBA Central Buenos Aires Extension Railway, 153

  CORDOBA Central Railway, extension of, 153

  CORDOBA Province, locusts in, 61;
    cattle raising in, 130

  CORRIENTES Province, Indians of, 266;
    resources of, 267

  DAIRYING, Regional Schools in, 60

  DE COSTA, Señora César, and statue of Christ, 148

  DE GUZMAN, Ruy Diaz, and introduction of horses, 49

  DE MENDOZA, Don Pedro, and introduction of horses, 120

  DEPUTY, salary of, 74

  DEVOLUTION in Government, 75

  DIRECCION-GENERAL de Ferrocarriles, 49

  DISTILLING, possible development of, 261

  DOGS, wild, and cattle, 97;
    extermination of, 97;
    stringent regulations against, 98

  "DOOR of Hell, The," 2

  DROUGHT, evils of, 60, 70; severity of, 90

  DUTIES on manufactured articles, 82

  EARTHQUAKES in Mendoza, 201

  EDUCATION, in agricultural subjects, 57-60;
    "regional schools," 60;
    divisions of system of, 77;
    religious instruction and, 77;
    secondary, 78;
    university, 78;
    authorities of, 78-9;
    intuitive method of, 79;
    national scholarships, 81;
    complaints upon methods of, 81

  ENGINEER White, Port of, 178-9

  ENGLAND and chilled meat trade, 68

  ENGLISH immigrant, prospects of, 43, 224

  ENGLISHMEN and Argentine prospects, 100-2

  ENTRE Rios Province, cattle raising in, 130;
    resources of, 267;
    foreign small freeholders in, 268;
    railways in, 268;
    Liebig and Bovril ranches in, 268-9

  ENTRE Rios Railway, 153

  "ESTANCIEROS," profits of, 60

  "ESTANCIAS," extent and equipment of, 66

  "FAKES" in trade, 108-9

  FARMING, profits and possibilities of, 60-2;
    equipment for, 66;
    slovenly methods of, 192

  "FARQUHAR Group" of Railways, 152

  FARQUHAR, Mr. Percival, and railway extension, 152

  FAUNA, 92-4, 116-7, 244

  FISHERTON, Rosario, 156

  FLOODS, dangers and extent of, 90

  FLORIDA, the, "B.A." 25

  FOOT-AND-MOUTH disease, and exportation of cattle, 124

  FORESTRY, school for instruction in, 61

  FRANCE and frozen meat, 127, 133

  FRAUDULENT trade descriptions, 108-9

  "FROZEN Meat" compared with "chilled," 125;
    methods of freezing, 124-5

  FROZEN meat industry, 22-3;
    influence of railways on, 43, 51;
    value of exportation of, 67;
    growth of, 70-1, 123, 126-7;
    establishment, 123;
    and England, 123-4

  FRUIT culture, school for, 60

  GAMBLING, on steamer, 12;
    at Alta Gracia, 169

  GAUCHO, and horse-racing, 172-4, 228;
    effect of civilisation on, 227;
    duties of, 229;
    and anthrax, 230;
    as shepherd, 232

  GAUTIER, Prof. Armand, on frozen meat, 127

  GERMAN-ARGENTINE Society and frozen meat, 127

  GERMAN influence in commerce, 84

  GOLD reserve of banks, 263

  GOLF at Buenos Aires, 27;
    at Alta Gracia, 172

  GOVERNMENT, Constitution of, 72 _et seq._

  GOVERNMENT House, "B.A.," 37

  GRAIN elevators, at Engineer White, 179;
    at Puerta Galvan, 180

  GREAT Britain, and importation embargo on Argentine cattle, 130-1;
    and Argentine railways, 139;
    and Argentine foodstuffs, 193

  GREAT Southern Railway, returns of, 140;
    Light and Power Co. of, 145;
    extent of, 150;
    increase of passenger traffic on, 150;
    Mar de Plata service of, 151;
    goods and live stock traffic, 151;
    capital and receipts of, 152;
    Mr. Percy Clarke and, 152;
    at Bahia Blanca, 178;
    Port of Engineer White, 178

  GUANACO, The, 245

  HIRSCH, Baron, colonisation scheme of, 237

  HORSE breeding, excellence of, 65-6;
    development of, 123

  HORSE, first introduction of, 119;
    increase of, 119, 122

  HORSE-RACING, at Palermo, 28;
    universality of, 107, 122;
    at Alta Gracia, 172-4;
    the Gaucho and, 228-9

  HUDSON, W. H., "The Naturalist in La Plata," 93

  HURLINGHAM, "B.A.," 27

  IBERA, Lake, 267

  IMMIGRANTS, Italians as, 10, 25, 53, 224;
    nationalities of, 63;
    typical English, 109-10;
    and political agitation, 241

  IMMIGRATION, inducements for, 53;
    organisation of, 203, 223

  INCA, 43

  INDIANS, of Chaco district, 91;
    and horse and cattle stealing, 98;
    of Corrientes, 266

  INDUSTRIAL school, methods at, 80

  IRRIGATION, Government work in, 60;
    results of, 116;
    State and railway works for, 144, 150;
    in Mendoza, 208-9;
    in sugar district, 253

  ITALIANS, as immigrants, 10, 25, 53;
    preponderance of, 224

  ITALY and frozen meat, 127, 133

  IRAOLA, Señor Pereyra, and champion bull, 152

  JERKED beef, trade in, 128

  JESU Maria, sanatorium of, 160

  JEWISH Colonisation Society, the, 237, 238

  JEWS, and wheat market, 23, 55;
    population of, 236;
    agricultural colonies of, 237-40

  JOCKEY Club of Buenos Aires, 28, 123

  JUAN de Rivadaneira, Fray, and introduction of horses, 120

  KINDERGARTEN at Mendoza, 205

  LABOUR, conditions of, 54;
    scarcity of, on _estancias_, 243, 252;
    influence of scarcity of, on industrial development, 257

  LABOUR question at Rosario, 154-5

  LABOUR troubles, frequency of, 84;
    in Buenos Aires, 258

  LAND, profits on sale of, 47, 53, 64-5;
    ownership and labour on, 52 _et seq._;
    conditions of ownership in, 188-9

  LAND values, 65;
    at Rosario, 157;
    at Bahia Blanca, 177;
    in Mendoza, 204

  LA PLATA, 19;
    description of, 36-8;
    slaughter-houses at 70;
    university at, 78;
    and frozen meat trade, 124

  "LA PRENSA," offices of, 41

  LAS DAMAS da Beneficencia, 34

  LATIN American, Spanish immigrants to, 2;
    range of, 3;
    possibilities of, 4;
    riches of, 5

  LATIN immigrants at Rosario, 154; as farmers, 193

  LATIN races, as emigrants, 3, 9, 25, 53;
    as seen in South America, 24, 59

  LEPROSY in South America, 246

  LICENCES for business, 82

  LIEBIG Co., and meat extract trade, 129, 269;
    cattle-breeding station of, 268

  LINIERS, slaughter-houses at, 129

  LINSEED, Argentina's production of, 191

  LIVE stock, value of exportations of, 60, 67;
    and importation embargo in Britain, 131

  LLAMA, the, 116

  LLOYD GEORGE, Mr., and Argentina, 24

  LOCUSTS, depredations of, 61, 70, 233;
    and sugar districts, 254

  LONDON and River Plate Bank, gold reserve of, 263

  LONDON, chilled and frozen meat and, 126

  LUMBER tracks of Posados, 243

  MACKIE, Mr., on Pan-American railway scheme, 277

  MAIZE, Argentina's production of, 191

  MANUFACTURES, inability to develop, 83

  MANUFACTURING resources, possible development of, 257 _et seq._

    life at, 235;
    Great Southern Railway and, 151

  MARES, distaste for, and slaughter of, 119

  MARTINETTA, the, 245

  MATACOS Indians, 266

  MEAT extracts, trade in, 129

  MEAT trade and U.S.A., 23, 68

  MENDOZA, Viticulture College at, 57, 58, 80;
    the railway and, 147;
    situation and population of, 199;
    life in, 200-1;
    earthquakes in, 201;
    Western Park at, 202;
    schools in, 205;
    English club in, 212

  MENDOZA Province, paper money of, 76;
    Government of, 203;
    how strikes are dealt with in, 203;
    taxation and land in, 204;
    vineyards of, 206;
    irrigation in, 208;
    fruit growing in, 211

  MENDOZA River, 147, 208, 214, 217, 222


  MEXICO and cattle, 4

  MILITARY service, compulsory system of, 81

  MILLIONAIRES, proportion to population of, 64

  MOCAYR, Señor Pedro, and U.S.A. influence, 275

  MONEY-LENDERS, licences for, 82

  MONROE Doctrine and Argentina, 272, 273, 274, 275

  MONTE Video, 19;
    the River Plate at, 90;
    and jerked beef trade, 128

  MUTTON, value of exportations of, 67;
    prejudice against, 98

  NATIONAL Bank of Argentina, gold reserve of, 266

  NATIONAL flag, 64

  NATIONAL Ministry of Education, 78

  NATIONAL Railway Board, influence of, 49, 50

  NATIONAL School of Commerce, 79

  NATIONAL School of Pilots, 80

  NATIONALISATION, Law of, 24, 63, 77

  NEUQUÉN territory, irrigation works in, 150

  "NORTHER," The, 103

  NOUGES Bros., sugar mills of, 252

  OBSERVATORY at Cordoba, 165

  OGILVIE, Mr. C. P., on alfalfa, 194-7

  OIL for fuel, 83, 243

  PAGE, Mr., and financial control of South American Republics, 274

  "PALACE of Gold, The," 37

  PALERMO, fashionable life in, 27;
    races at, 28

  PAMPA, dreariness of the, 89;
    extent and possibilities of, 181-2

  _Pamperos_, the, 91

  PARANA River, 90;
    wharves on, at Rosario, 154;
    lumber on, 243;
    highway of Santa Fé, 265-6

  PARANA, town of, 268

  PARQUE Independencia, at Rosario, 156

  PATAGONIA, wilderness of, 89;
    as sheep-rearing country, 183;
    stature of natives of, 245-6;
    pastures of, 246

  PEARSON, Mr. C. H., and Central Argentine Railway, 141, 142, 143

  PELLEGRINI Law, the, and gold reserve, 263


  PERU, rubber in, 4

  PESO, the, 236

  PETROLEUM zone, Government reservation on, 243

  PILOTS, National School of, 80

  PLATE, River, 19;
    volume of, 90;
    reclamation of land from, 146;
    silting of, 155, 176

  PLAZA Jewell, Rosario, 156

  PLAZA Mayo, "B.A.," 26, 27

  PLAZA San Lopez, Rosario, 156

  PLAZA San Martin, Rosario, 156

  POPULATION, call for, 53;
    growth of, 63

  POSADOS, lumber trade of, 243

  PORT Madryn, Welsh colony at, 225

  PORTUGAL and frozen meat, 127

  POVERTY, non-existence of, 35

  PRESIDENT, qualifications and powers of, 72-3

  PROPERTY, State regulations on disposal of, 76

  PROVINCIAL Council of Education, 79

  PROVINCIAL Governments, powers of, 75;
    relations of, with Central Government, 76

  PUERTA del Inca, 219

  PUERTA Galvan, 179

  QUEBRACHO, the, 92

  RAILWAYS, luxuriance of trains on, 36, 44, 134-5;
    influence on prosperity of, 43;
    British capital in, 43, 134;
    mileage of, 45;
    State lines, 45;
    limitations of dividends of, 45;
    landowners and, 47;
    government and direction of, 48;
    profits of, for roadmaking, 49;
    and mail carrying, 49;
    equipment of, 49;
    causes of profits of, 134;
    "special cars" on, 135, 166-7, 213;
    carriage of agricultural produce, 137;
    growth of, 138;
    William Wheelwright as founder of, 138;
    United States and, 139;
    Thomas Brassey and, 139;
    dividends and prospects of, 139;
    growth of the Central Argentine, 141-5;
    growth and prospects of the Buenos Aires and Pacific, 140, 145-150;
    growth and prospects of Great Southern Line, 150-2;
    "Farquhar Group," 152;
    amalgamation of, 153;
    at Bahia Blanca, 178;
    Transandine, 213;
    influence on possible manufacturing developments, 260;
    and development of Santa Fé, 265;
    American scheme in connection with, 277

  RANCH, life on the, 103-8, 230-1


  "REGIONAL Schools," 6

  RELIGION, indifference to, 29-30, 77

  RETIRO Station, Buenos Aires, 142, 143

  REVOLUTION of 1810, 64, 99;
    memorials of, at Tucuman, 249

  RIDEAL, Prof., on frozen meat, 126

  RIO Blanco, 217

  RIO Cuarto, and Central Argentine Railway, 144

  RIO de Janeiro, Harbour of, 13;
    the city, 16

  RIO Negro Valley, irrigation work in, 150

  RIO Neuquén Valley, irrigation works in, 150

  ROADMAKING, railway profits taxed for, 49

  ROADS, bad condition of, 48, 106, 170, 226

  ROSARIO, land values in, 64, 157;
    grain elevators at, 70;
    "The Liverpool of Argentina," 141;
    railway works at, 143, 156;
    as business centre, 154;
    labour question at, 154-5;
    growth of, 155;
    life at, 156-7

  ROSARIO-CORDOBA Railway, 141;
    concession of land for, 46

  ROYAL Mail Company, 53

  RUSSIA and wheat supply, 186

    at Bahia Blanca, 177

  SAN Juan, fruit culture school at, 60;
    School of Mines at, 80;
    progress of, 204

  SAN Luis, 147

  SAN Martin, statues of, 37, 160-1

  SAN Pablo, sugar mills at, 252

  SAN Rafael, progress of, 205

  SAN Salvador, 1

  SANTA Catalina, agrarian and veterinary school at, 80

  SANTA Cruz, dreariness of, 246

  SANTA Fé Province, cattle raising in, 130;
    development of, 265

  SANTOS, 17, 18

  SAVOY Hotel, Tucuman, 250

  SCHOLARSHIPS, at Agricultural Schools, 58;
    for European study, 81

  SCHOOL of Mines, San Juan, 80

  SCHOOLS, religious instruction in, 77;
    primary, for adults, 77;
    secondary, 78;
    equipment of, 79; attendance at, 79, 81;
    technical and commercial, 79;
    physical drill in, 80;
    in Mendoza, 205

  SENATE, the, constitution of, 73

  SENATOR, qualifications of, 73;
    salary of, 74

  SERVANT problem, 108

  SHEEP, development of local characteristics in, 94;
    introduction of, 117;
    increase of, 123; precautions against disease in, 130;
    for freezing works, 130;
    on the _pampas_, 232

  SHEEP-BREEDING, decline of, 67

  SHEEP market in Buenos Aires, 130

  SHEEP-REARING, drawbacks and possibilities of, 182-3

  SHOE factories, 84

  SIERRA de Cordoba, 158

  SIESTA, abandonment of, 40

  SMALL-HOLDING, difficult of securing, 225

  SOCIALISTS, cohesion of, 75

  SOUTH America, possibilities of, 4

  SPAIN, and Argentina, 98-9, 116;
    and frozen meat, 133

  SPANIARDS, and early colonisation of Argentina, 94, 116

  SPANISH, necessity for use of in commerce, 87, 110-12;
    firm hold of, 271

  "SPECIAL Cars" on railways, 135, 166-7, 213

  SPORTS, Argentine's adoption of, 271

  STEVENS, Mr., and Puerta Galvan, 179

  STOREKEEPER, as "middleman," 55

  STRANGERS' Club, Rosario, 157

  STUCCO, use of, in "B.A.," 30, 36

  "SUESTADAS," the, 91

  SUGAR industry, school for instruction in, 58-9

  SUGAR growing, at Tucuman, 250;
    possibilities of development of, 253-5, 262

  SWITZERLAND and frozen meat, 127, 133

  SYDNEY Harbour compared with Rio, 14

  TANGO, the, 235

  TARIFF on sugar, 255

  TARIFFS on manufactured articles, 82-3

  TAXATION, methods of, 82-3

  TECHNICAL education, attention to, 79

  TEXTILE industries, possibilities of, 262

  "THE Argentine as a Market," by N. L. Watson, 255

  "THE Naturalist in La Plata," by W. H. Hudson, 93

  TIGRE, the, boating on, 27

  TOBAS Indians, 266

  TOTALISATOR, use of, at Palermo, 28

  TOWER, Sir Reginald, 98, 278

  TRADE, British and German methods of, compared, 85-6

  TRADE Unions and Government, 84

  TRANSANDINE Railway, 147;
    Summit tunnel of, 148

  TUCUMAN, 43, 49;
    arboricultural school at, 58, 59;
    and Central Argentine Railway, 144;
    aspect of, 248;
    historic house at, 249;
    life in, 249-50;
    sugar harvest at, 250;
    development of sugar industry at, 251-6

  TUNUYAN River, 147

  UNDERGROUND Railway of Buenos Aires, 27

  United Kingdom and Argentine cereals, 67

  UNITED States and Argentine development, 7, 22, 64;
    and Argentine Railways, 139;
    influence in Argentina of, 271, 272, 275;
    wheat supply of, 186

  UNIVERSITIES, qualifications for and localities of, 78

  UNIVERSITY lectures in agriculture, 57

  URUGUAY and Argentine cattle, 128

  USPALLATA Valley route, 147

  VALPARAISO, railway connection between Buenos Aires and, 146-7

  VICTORIA Wool Market, Bahia Blanca, 180

  VILLA Maria Rufino Railway absorbed by the Buenos Aires and Pacific, 145

  VINEYARDS of Mendoza, 199, 206

  VITICULTURE, college at Mendoza for, 57-8, 80

  "WATCH Bird, The," 92

  WATER supply on the pampa, 233

  WATER-WHEELS, American, 44

  WATSON, Mr. N. L., "The Argentine as a Market," 255

  WHEAT, the Jews and, 23, 55;
    influence of railways on exportation of, 43, 51;
    average yield of, 70; world's supply of, 186;
    Argentina and, 190-2;
    the world's production compared with Argentina's, 193

  WHEELWRIGHT, William, and foundation of Argentine Railways, 138

  WELSH Colony at Chubut, 225; at Port Madryn, 225, 241

  WESTERN Railway of Buenos Aires, returns of, 140

  WILSON, President Woodrow, and South American Republics, 273-6

  WINDMILLS for pumping purposes, 233

  WINE, production of, in Mendoza, 206-11

  WOMAN, position of, in Argentina, 28, 29, 33-51

  WOOL, low quality of Argentine, 183-5;
    prospects of improvement of, 184-5;
    values of exportation and importation of, 262

  WOOLLEN industry, possibilities of, 259

  WOOLLEN manufactures, crudeness of, 84

  YPECAHA, the, 93

  ZANJOU Amarillo, 218

  "ZONDA," the, 91

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