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Title: A Five Years' Residence in Buenos Ayres - During the years 1820 to 1825
Author: Love, George Thomas
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Five Years' Residence in Buenos Ayres - During the years 1820 to 1825" ***

                  BUENOS AYRES,

          DURING THE YEARS 1820 to 1825:

                AND A VISIT TO

                BY AN ENGLISHMAN.

               _WITH AN APPENDIX_,

                _SECOND EDITION._



  Stirling, Printer, 20 Ironmonger Lane, Cheapside.


At a time when the rich and fertile provinces of South America are daily
becoming increased objects of commercial consideration--when their
riches and advantages are constantly forming the bases of fresh
speculations--and when, under the security offered to person and
property by the liberal institutions of a free and independent
government, communication with them is every hour becoming more
extended,--an illustration of their local affairs, customs, manners, and
people, cannot but be interesting.

Of these provinces, the one which forms the subject of the following
Remarks is far from being the least important. Without adverting to the
fertility of the soil, and the general healthiness of the climate, the
prospects which Buenos Ayres presents in a mercantile point of view,
forming, as she does, from her situation, the medium of communication
with the whole interior of this vast continent, must ever render her an
object of considerable importance to a commercial nation like England.
Nor is she less a source of interest to the politician and the
philanthropist. To Buenos Ayres is due the credit of setting the noble
example to the other provinces, of bursting asunder the shackles of a
despotic mother-country, whose selfish policy had long immured them
under the deepest veil of ignorance and degradation, debarring them from
any communication with the rest of the world, in order that she might
reap the exclusive advantage of those treasures with which Nature had
enriched them. Nor has Buenos Ayres confined herself to example merely,
but, from the moment of having secured her own independence, she has
never ceased to encourage and assist the other states in throwing off
the same degrading yoke.

It is true, that preceding works have thrown much light on these
countries, and the subjects I have here handled have been treated by
abler pens than mine; but, besides the expensiveness of those works,
which renders them inaccessible to a great class of readers, the subject
is so new, and embraces such a wide field of research, that an abundant
harvest still remains for fresh labourers. Having confined myself to one
portion of this vast territory, I have been able to enter into a minuter
detail of many things that have been cursorily passed over by preceding
writers; and, finally, having resided in the country which is the
subject of these Remarks during the last five years, my means of
observation have been neither few nor limited.


  The Port--Custom-House Regulations                                 1
    Visit of the Health Boat                                         2
    Outer and Inner Roads                                            3
    Pilots                                                           4
    Port of Ensenada                                                --
    Barraccas                                                       --
    Navigation of the River Plate                                   --
    _Balandras_, or lighters, for lading and unlading vessels       --
    Carts used for embarking and disembarking                       --

  Packets between Buenos Ayres and Monte Video                       5

  Climate                                                            6

  Diseases                                                           9

  Environs of the City                                              --

  Alameda, or Public Walk                                           10

  The Beach, crowded with Sailors                                   --

  Coffee-Houses and Hotels                                          11

  Public Buildings: The Fort--Consulado--Cabildo--Bank--House
      of Representatives--Custom-House--Public
      Library--Botanical Museum--Retiro--Residencia           14 to 16

  Squares and Streets                                               16

  Houses                                                            17

  Churches                                                          18

  Theatre                                                           22

  Circus                                                            33


  British: Merchants, Shopkeepers, Medical Men, &c.           33 to 35
    British Commercial Subscription-Room                            37
    Establishment of Packets from Falmouth                          39
    Dispute between Captain Willis and the Government               41
    Treaty with England                                             43
    English Females at Buenos Ayres                                 44
    Many Englishmen have married Buenos-Ayrean Wives                45
    Death of Mr. Dallas, and of Mr. Rowcroft                        47
    Death of Jack Hall                                              --
    Irish Yankies                                                   48

  North-American Residents                                          49
    Death of Mr. Rodney                                             51

  Frenchmen                                                         52

  Portuguese                                                        53

  Germans, Italians, Prussians, &c.                                 54


  Persons, Dispositions, and Manners                                55
    Compliments of Salutation                                       57
    Practice of giving Flowers to Visitors                          --
    Smoking Segars                                                  --
    Politeness                                                      58
    Yerba, or Tea of Paraguay                                       59
    Time of Meals                                                   --
    _Siesta_, or Afternoon Nap                                      --
    _Tertulias_, or Public Dances                                   60
    Sweetmeats much eaten                                           61
    Etiquette, when walking in public, and in the ball-room         --
    Dancing                                                         62
    Music                                                           --
    Consulado Musical School-Room                                   63
    Philharmonics, a Musical Subscription Society                   64
    Mothers watch their Daughters with great strictness             --
    Marriages take place early                                      65
    Washerwomen on the Beach                                        66
    Treatment of Slaves                                             67
    Superstition of the Negroes                                     68
    Orderly conduct of the lower orders                             --
    Beggars very annoying                                           69
    Savings Bank                                                    --
    Propensity to Gaming                                            70
    Bathing practised by all Classes                                --

  Dress                                                             71
    Females make their own Clothes                                  74

  Travelling                                                        --
    Value and description of the Horses                             75
    Arrival of some English Horses in the _Rhoda_                   --
    Country Waggons                                                 77

  Sports and Amusements:--Horse-racing--Sailing--
      Cock-fighting--Hunting--Shooting--Fishing                     78
    Throwing the Lasso                                              --
    Annual Fair near the Recolator                                  79

  Provisions: Beef--Mutton--Poultry--Wines--Beer              81 to 85
    Vegetables                                                      --
    Fruit                                                           86
    Other Animal and Vegetable Productions                          --

  Population                                                        89

  Trade and Manufactures                                            --
    Exports                                                         89
    Imports--List of Vessels that arrived in 1821, 2, 3, 4          90
    Shops in Buenos Ayres very numerous                             92
    English Manufactures very cheap                                 93

  Currency, &c.--Notes engraved in England                          95
    Average of Exchange                                             96
    Bank of Buenos Ayres--Funds                                     --

  Education and Literature                                          97
    College School--Academy in the Merced Church                    --
    Mrs. Hyne's Seminary                                            --
    Many Buenos Ayreans speak and write English                     98
    College of Stonyhurst, near Liverpool                           99
    Education of Females                                            --
    Variedades et Mensagero de Londres                             100
    Newspapers published in Buenos Ayres                           101
    Printing Offices                                                --

  Religion                                                         102
    Contrast of the Catholic and Protestant faith                   --
    Reception of an Archbishop, who arrived in 1824                 --
    Times of Public Worship                                        103
    Oration-Time                                                   104
    Music of the Masses                                             --
    Confession                                                     105
    Figures of the Virgin Mary kept in glass cases                 106
    Priesthood not illiberal                                        --
    Friars                                                         107
    Suppression of the Monasteries                                  --
    Convents for Nuns                                              111
    Religious Processions: St. Rosario, and St. Nicholas           113
    Feast of Corpus Christi                                        113
    Observances during Lent--Passion Week--Holy
      Thursday--Good Friday--Burning of Judas               113 to 114
    Procession of the Holy Ghost                                   117

  Funeral Ceremonies                                               119
    Masses for the repose of the Soul                               --
    Protestant Burying-Ground                                      120

  Police, &c.                                                      121
    Assassination very frequent among the lower orders             122
    Thieves ingenious                                              123
    Boys about the Theatre-door great thieves                      124
    Modes of Punishment: Shooting--Public Whipping--
      Imprisonment--Working in the Streets, ironed                 126
    A great increase of crime in 1824                               --
    First execution for forgery                                    126
    Committals before Trial                                        127
    Law proceedings expensive and tardy                             --
    Passports required to leave Buenos Ayres                       128

  Army--Punishment of flogging resorted to                         130
    Bands of Music                                                  --
    Custom to fire the Fort Guns on the 4th of July, the
      Anniversary of Whitelock's Defeat                            131

  Government, and Public Events                                    133
    Governor and Public Officers--Junta, or Senate                 134
    Æra of the Independence of Buenos Ayres--Celebration
      of its Anniversary--Sports of the day                        135
    Frequent Political Revolutions in 1820--Rodriguez
      appointed Governor                                           138
    Administration of Rivadavia                                    139
    Two persons shot for state offences, in October, 1820          141
    Attempt at another Revolution--Execution of Garcia              --
    Execution of Colonel Peralto and Urien                         142
    Carrera shot at Mendoza                                        143
    San Martin embarked for England                                144
    A day set apart for the Funereal Rites of Gen. Belgrano         --
    Visit of a New-Zealand Chief                                   145
    Dinner on St. Andrew's Day                                     146
    Camden Packet took home the treaty with England                146
    Rejoicings for the Victory of Ayacucho                          --
    Arrival of a Brazilian Frigate                                 148
    Opinion of Foreigners with regard to his Majesty
      George IV. of England                                        148
    Mr. Canning popular in Buenos Ayres                            149
    A Triumphal Car paraded through the streets                    152

  Concluding Remarks                                                --
    Great want of population, and consequent insecurity
      of the country                                                --
    Ravages of the Indians--Four officers detained and murdered
      by them, in 1822--Description of the Indians                 154
    Very little employment for Clerks in Buenos Ayres               --
    Mechanics and Labourers sure of employment                     155
    Farming not a profitable concern                                --
    Grazing farms more beneficial                                   --
    Emigrants will not find the same comfort as at home            156
    French faction at Buenos Ayres                                  --
    Contrast between Frenchmen and Englishmen                       --
    Inducements to Emigration                                      158

  Colonia del Sacramento                                           159

  Appendix.--Rules of the Port                                     167
    Anchorage Dues                                                 168
    Police of the Port                                              --
    Penalties to which those are subject who destroy the
      line of Buoys established by Government                      169
    Instructions for sailing from Buenos Ayres to Monte
      Video                                                        170
    ---- ---- ---- from Monte Video to Buenos Ayres                172
    Variation of Depth of Water between the Banks Ortiz
      and Chico                                                    174
    Positions of the Ten Buoys in the River Plate                  175


The city of Buenos Ayres, when viewed from the outer roads at a distance
of about eight miles, has an imposing appearance. The domes of the
numerous churches, the public buildings, &c. give it an air of grandeur,
which a nearer approach diminishes. On landing, the dilapidated mole
(destroyed by the storm of the 21st August, 1820) and the mean streets
near the beach, do not augur well for the beauty of the town: it
requires an inspection rightly to appreciate it, for there are edifices
worthy of attention. When I landed, in October, 1820, two cannons,
forty-two-pounders, in very good condition, were mounted on the mole:
they had the Spanish royal arms engraven on them, and inscriptions,
purporting, that one was cast at Seville, and the other at Lima, some
sixty years since.

A passenger is not exposed to any particular custom-house obstructions
when he comes on shore. Should he bring his trunks with him, he is
simply requested to open them, and a slight examination takes place.
Several obnoxious customs have lately been abolished. Formerly, a
sentinel was posted, to prevent any one passing to the water-side at
the mole without first asking permission at the guard-house on the
beach. The system of vessels being obliged to wait, upon their arrival,
in the outer roads, for the visit of the health boat from shore, has
also undergone reform. Masters may now leave their vessels immediately.
It is necessary to go on board the gun-brig, which is now stationed in
the inner roads, and there await the visit of the health boat, which
comes off by a signal from this brig, and very little delay occurs. Upon
the old plan, vessels often remained, through bad weather or neglect,
four or five days before they were visited; during which time no
communication was allowed with the shore. A manifest of the cargo,
the ship's papers,[1] letters, &c. are given to the visiting officer,
provided no consul or agent of the nation whose flag the vessel bears
resides in Buenos Ayres.

  [1] The unsettled state of the country formerly deterred masters of
  vessels from giving up their registers, fearing they might be lost;
  and various shifts were resorted to as substitutes, such as rendering
  Mediterranean passes, apprentice indentures, any thing in the shape of
  parchment or printing--all went current. Some years since, Matthews,
  an adjutant of the port, who had been aid-de-camp to Admiral Gravina,
  at the battle of Trafalgar, detected a trick of this sort, the parties
  not being aware that he understood English. Matthews was a Spaniard
  born, but educated in London.

The removal of the brig of war from the outer roads has taken away the
occasion of much offence. Disputes were continually occurring, from her
firing at vessels and boats to bring them to. The boat of the Countess
of Chichester, the first packet that arrived from Falmouth, had
two shots fired at her, when going on shore with Mr. Pousset, the
vice-consul. Captain Little, who was on board the packet at the time,
not knowing what to make of this firing, ordered the guns to be
double-shotted, and the crew to get under arms. A representation was
made, and an apology promptly given. Serious misunderstandings, however,
I am persuaded, must, some time or other, have occurred, had the brig
continued outside, and pursued the same system.

It is only since October, 1821, that the health boat has been regularly
established. The enforcement of the quarantine laws, and the prevention
of smuggling, were the reasons assigned for it; but there were probably
other motives, one of which might be, to prevent the boats of British
men-of-war from boarding vessels of their own nation before their
visit boat. It would, however, be difficult, strictly to enforce the
quarantine laws at Buenos Ayres. Vessels have frequently arrived at
night, or in a fog, and the captains have come on shore without being
visited, not being aware of the regulations.

The outer and inner roads are, in fact, open roadsteads; neither of them
possessing good anchorage. A strong wind from the E. or S.E. blowing
almost direct on land, is always dangerous; and vessels often drive.
In the storm of the 21st August, 1820, in which sixty vessels of all
descriptions were lost, the wind was at S.E. The winter season is much
better for shipping than the summer; as in the latter, the wind blows
fresh nearly every afternoon from the eastward. Good anchors and cables
are very necessary in the river Plate; chain cables particularly.

In the outer roads, the average depth of water is 18 feet, in the inner
roads, 18: at high tides, there is 25 feet in the outer, and 13 in the
inner roads. A Pampero wind, blowing off the land from the W. or W.S.W.
causes at times a very low river, leaving not more than 5 feet water in
the inner, and 8 in the outer roads. The banks that divide the roads are
then dry, and people ride on horseback upon them. This extreme low tide
does not often happen. The brig Candidate, salt-laden from the Cape
de Verds, was lost, on the 13th June, 1823, near the Ortiz bank, from
an occurrence of this sort: the water having suddenly left her, she
foundered at her anchors. The state of the tide sometimes causes great
delay to vessels leaving the inner roads; days, and even a week, being
lost at some periods.

Pilots, appointed and paid by the government, conduct vessels to and
from the outer and inner roads: two of them are Englishmen, Lee and
Robinson; the others are Portuguese and Creolian, who speak a little
English. The charge for pilotage is about 10 dollars each way. Masters
piloting their own vessels, which is now and then the case, do not
thereby save the charges.

The port of Ensenada, situated 30 miles S.E. from Buenos Ayres, has good
anchorage; and for vessels drawing much water, it is preferable to go
thither. They incur more experience of lighterage, if they require to
be hove down; but it is the only place appertaining to Buenos Ayres in
which it can be done, and the charge is great. Ensenada is only a small,
dull village. Mules are shipped with greater facility there, than at
Buenos Ayres.

The Barraccas is a creek on the south of the town, in which schooners
and small craft repair their defects.

The river Plate may well be called the "hell of navigators:" a survey of
it was made by Captain Heywood, in H.M.S. Nereus, and his chart, though
not exactly correct, is considered to be the best. Buoys have been
lately placed by the government upon the Ortiz and Chico banks;[2] and
they have long had in agitation, the building of a mole, a dock for
shipping, and other extensive works. In addition to a French engineer,
a Quaker gentleman, named Bevans, is engaged. He arrived from London,
with his family, in October, 1822; but, for want of means, nothing of
importance has yet been done. Raising moles and docks is no trifling
undertaking, in a country so destitute of labourers. To remedy the
latter defect, 200 Irishmen, it is said, are coming out under the care
of Colonel O'Brien, one of San Martin's officers. Mr. Bevans has been
traveling about the country, for the purpose of collecting information
of the requisites necessary for his undertaking: he has, however, to
encounter many obstacles. A trifling tax on shipping would be cheerfully
agreed to for an undertaking so important.

  [2] For Instructions for navigating the river Plate, see _Appendix_;
  where also will be found the Rules of the Port, Dues to be paid by
  Vessels, &c.

Several pilot boats cruise about the river Plate, from which pilots may
be obtained.

In addition to the difficulty of large vessels getting up the river, an
adequate freight cannot be procured for them in Buenos Ayres. The Lord
Lynedoch, a ship of 550 tons, with a numerous crew of Lascars, remained
sixteen months and at last took a cargo of mules to the Isle of France.
Vessels of 150 to 200 tons burthen are the most likely to get employed.

Vessels discharge and take in their cargoes by means of lighters, called
_balandras_. An English gentleman, Mr. Cope, has several in his employ,
and does the chief part of the English and American business. Should
there be the least swell upon the water, these lighters cannot lie
alongside; it is only in fine weather that work can be performed.

Boat-hire is dear: to the outer roads, 8 dollars 4 reals, to the inner,
in proportion. The boatmen are mostly Englishmen, strong, active

The landing-place, at what was once the mole, is very bad; heavy boats
cannot get near. Carts are used to embark and disembark, for which there
is no fixed charge; they get what they can, like our watermen at home.
Those whose business leads them often afloat, find it a great tax, and
some prefer riding on the backs of their sailors, to paying it. It is
seldom there is water sufficient for boats to come close in, and they
are at all times liable to damage, from the pieces of rock, wrecks, &c.
near the shore.

Buenos Ayres, at the present period, may be said not to possess a navy;
neither, indeed, is so expensive an establishment necessary. The captain
of the port, Don Batista Azopardo, is an Italian by birth; he is said
to be a well-meaning man. He commanded an armed vessel in the last war,
and has been once or twice a prisoner to the English. There are likewise
a number of marine officers in the service of Buenos Ayres. The
_Aranzazu_, national brig of war, so long anchored in the outer roads,
has a crew chiefly English; some of them are refractory seamen from the
merchant vessels. The marines are black soldiers.

       *       *       *       *       *

There are three regular packets which run between Buenos Ayres and Monte
Video; the _Pepa_, _Dolores_, and _Mosca_, schooners. Seventeen dollars
are charged for the passage each way, every thing being provided, except
beds. This passage, which is about 150 miles, is sometimes made in 12 or
14 hours; at others, it takes several days. The favourite packet is the
_Pepa_, an American-built schooner, with good accommodations, commanded
by Campbell, an Englishman, who, from his skill and attention, is
peculiarly fitted for such an employment.

       *       *       *       *       *

The CLIMATE of Buenos Ayres, taken generally, is decidedly good, and
more congenial to English habits than that most places abroad. Its
salubrity, however, is overrated: a consumptive person must not think
of coming here; many of that class have been obliged to fly to Mendoza
and other climes, to escape the vicisitudes of this.

The spring months of September, October, November, and the autumn
ones of April and May, are the most agreeable parts of the year. The
thermometer, at those seasons, averages about 60; and we have repeated
clear and bracing weather, intermingled, however, with inclement days.

The summer is not so hot as the latitude would denote. A sea breeze sets
in, at times, towards the afternoon; but this is not regular. December
and January are the hottest months. On some days of oppressive heat, the
thermometer may average 80, and at others, the pleasing temperature of
70 and 75. In January, 1824, for nearly a week it was 96 in the shade:
the oldest inhabitant never remembered such a continuance of heat.
When the heat is at the greatest, a _pampero_ suddenly comes, with its
accompaniment of rain, thunder and lightning, and cools the air. These
Pampero winds from the W. and W.S.W. with nothing to impede their
progress across the extended Pampas, blow with great violence, raising
clouds of dust, and obliging every one to close windows and doors. Being
off the land, they are not dangerous to shipping; though vessels at
the mouth of the river have been blown in sea hundreds of miles, by
a Pampero. The thunder and lightning to an European is terrific: the
lightning is often dangerous.

The dust, fleas, and musquitos, render the summer months very
disagreeable. The fleas are a great annoyance, the houses being filled
with them; the very dust breeds them; and they seem to have a great
partiality for foreigners. I don't observe that the natives heed them.
They laugh at the English mode of washing the rooms to get rid of these
vermin; their plan is, to strew the room with fennel, sweeping that
and the fleas altogether into the street. Musquitos are another of the

A north wind, in summer, is very unpleasant, the heated atmosphere
relaxing both mind and body. The combined effects of heat, dust, and
wind, make the enjoyment of an evening promenade extremely precarious.

In summer, the pastures frequently catch fire, from the intenseness of
the heat. In 1821, Mr. Halsey, an American gentleman, who has a large
sheep farm, sustained a considerable loss by an event of this kind,
many of his sheep having been burnt. The same heat that occasioned Mr.
Halsey's loss brought on a violent Pampero; and, from the dust and
burning ashes that enveloped the city, one might have supposed that
the days of Herculaneum and Pompeii were about to return.

The winter is mild, yet there are days of piercing cold in the months of
June, July, and August; and thin ice may be seen in the morning, but not
any snow. We have here the penetrating rains, mists, and November days
of England, without its comforts: from these circumstances, and the heat
of the summer, Englishmen feel the cold much more than in England, and
cling to their fire-sides, for they have introduced those luxuries, and
the natives in some cases follow our example; otherwise, the ladies wrap
themselves up in their shawls, and the gentlemen in their capotes, and
thus pass the severe days of winter. The thermometer in winter is
generally at 40 to 50, sometimes at 35.

The roads, after heavy rains, are nearly impassable, forming _pantanas_,
or mud holes, which are dangerous to travellers; but, on the return of
fine weather; they quickly dry again. The dead horses and dogs, that lie
about the roads, quickly decay.

The rich pastures afford food to the cattle all the year round. The
winter's general mildness prevents the necessity of housing them.

That Buenos Ayres possesses a fine climate, no one can deny; but not
to the extent its panegyrists have stated. I speak as I have found it,
having in vain looked for that Italian sky, soul-breathing softness
in the air, that some pretend to have found: but it may be defined a
healthy, warm climate.

The various and sudden changes to which the British climate is subject,
form a fruitful grumbling topic to many Englishmen and foreigners, who
can fancy nothing that is not foreign. According to their accounts, even
the moon shines better here than at home. I will venture to assert, that
we have in England more real fine days in May, June, July, August, and
September, than in the best months at Buenos Ayres. Of our delightful
summer evenings, they have nothing to compare. To make any contrast of
a winter, in latitude 34, and that of 50, is out of the question.

In this part of South America, earthquakes are only heard of; we dread
not, here, the catastrophes of Peru, Chili, and Mexico.

       *       *       *       *       *

The prevalent DISEASES of Buenos Ayres are fevers, sore throats,
rheumatism, and others common to Europe. Strangers are subject to
rheumatism from the dampness and searching winds. Sore throats, in
many instances, have been fatal.

It has often been observed, that we feel the effects of free-drinking
here, more than in England. I have experienced this more than once, and
thought it peculiar to myself, till others complained of the same.

       *       *       *       *       *

The country round Buenos Ayres is uninteresting; all is dreary sameness.
But where, indeed, shall we find the charming scenery of our dear
England,--its hills and dales, parks, thick-set hedges, and splendid
mansions? We miss, too, that endless chirping of birds, ever heard in
our thick-set hedges. Here, the equestrian takes his ride merely for the
sake of exercise, and not from any pleasure the country can afford. I
did not expect to find villas, parks, and cultivated grounds; but I
thought it would be more diversified.

In a place where horses are so cheap, one might conclude that Englishmen
would be continually on horseback, but they soon get tired of a
recreation, in which nothing but exercise is concerned. The most
frequented ride is to the village of Isidro, fifteen miles from the
city, the Richmond of this place. On Sundays and holidays much company
resort thither. It has some attractions in point of scenery.

The Barracca road is good--upon a par with those of England.
Horse-racing and other sports are practised there, both by Englishmen
and natives.

A ride in the neighbourhood of Buenos Ayres is not, however, entirely
devoid of interest; especially in the fruit season, when the _quintas_,
or farm-houses, with the peach trees weighed down by delicious fruit,
the orange trees (though this is not their soil), and the wild aloe, so
common in this and the opposite continent of Africa, afford an agreeable
prospect. But the wild rose, blackberries, and the mass of roots and
plants of English fields and hedges, are not to be seen. The trees (if
they can be called so) are of a nature so dwarfish, that they seem like
apologies for trees, stinted in their growth by bad nursing.

       *       *       *       *       *

The _Alameda_, or public walk of Buenos Ayres, is upon the beach, near
the mole. It is totally unworthy such a city, and in the neighbourhood
of all the rabble of the town. It is only about 200 yards in length,
with rows of trees the height of bushes on each side, and brick seats,
which are too much honoured by the fair forms that use them. A moderate
assemblage frequent this walk on Sunday evenings: the beauty and dress
of the females could alone tempt a stranger to visit it. On other days
it is deserted, except by some elderly gentlemen, who, as in our St.
James's Park and Kensington Gardens, are glad to escape from the
multitude, and commune with themselves.

       *       *       *       *       *

The beach well deserves its nick-name of _Wapping_; being crowded with
sailors of all nations, grog-shops, stores, &c. The English sailors
idling about the beach would man a ship of war. A stranger, seeing so
many English faces, might suppose it an English colony. At night, the
sailors in the grog-shops dance, to the music of the fiddle and flute,
reels, and the College hornpipe in perfection, astonishing the Spanish
girls. At one of these _pulperias_, or grog-shops, on the beach, a
large picture was lately hoisted, of H.M.S. Boyne in full sail, flags,
signals, &c. streaming. The English sailors mustered in great numbers
upon this occasion, and rent the air with their cheers.

The seamen upon the beach are, at times, disorderly; but not more so
than in other countries. American sailors have been the most refractory,
causing their captains infinite trouble. The captain of an American ship
going to sea, lately, made application to the captain of one of our
packets, for irons, to punish his mutinous crew; but he replied, that he
never had such articles on board his ship.

In no part of the world are masters of vessels subject to such annoyance
from the desertion of their crews.[3] Men get into the hands of crimps,
who conceal them, and exact their own price from those who are in want
of sailors. This has been in some measure rectified lately, especially
since the suppression of privateering. Many sailors roam about the
country, working as labourers; but they soon get tired of that, and
hanker after their old employment, as an old coachman likes to hear the
smack of the whip. These "beach-rangers," as they are called, have often
wished to enter for his majesty's ships that have been lying off Buenos
Ayres; but few or none have been accepted. Sailors begin to find there
is no service equal to our's.

  [3] On the 4th December, 1823, the Dutch ship of war _Lynx_, of 30
  guns, arrived at Buenos Ayres, on her way to the Pacific; and thirty
  of the crew deserted, during her stay of nineteen days. The boats came
  on shore latterly with armed marines, and the men were not permitted
  to land.

  The French brig of war _Faune_ arrived on the 11th, and sailed on the
  23d June, 1824: she lost six men by desertion. This brig brought to
  Buenos Ayres the French Admiral, Rosamel.

       *       *       *       *       *

There are two English COFFEE-HOUSES, or HOTELS; Faunch's, and Keen's.
The former is a very superior one, and provides the dinners given upon
our national days, such as St. George's, St. Andrew's, &c. besides
numerous private dinners of Englishmen, Americans, Creolians, &c. It is
situated near the Fort. Faunch, the master, and his wife, have had great
experience in their profession in London; and the style of his dinners
is hardly to be exceeded there. The king's birth-day dinner is kept
up with great _éclat_: the room is surrounded by flags of different
nations; and they have both vocal and instrumental music. From 70 to 80
persons generally sit down to table, including the ministers of the
country, who are always invited. The government pay us the compliment of
hoisting the flag at the Fort, on that day.

Another hotel, kept by a respectable North-American female, Mrs. Thorn,
a widow, is much resorted to by the Americans.

In the above coffee-houses, they charge 40 dollars per month for board
and lodging. An abatement is made to those who agree to remain a certain
period. Dinner for one person, including a pint of wine, is a dollar;
breakfast, tea, and supper, from 2 to 4 reals each; and a bed per night,
4 reals.

On the beach, near the Fort, is a tavern, or eating-house, called the
Commercial Hotel; the master of which is a Spaniard, but most of the
waiters and servants are French: they have, likewise, an English waiter.
Dishes of all sorts can be procured there. To dine well, the price
amounts to nearly the same as at other taverns. The large dining-room
will accommodate from 70 to 80 persons, and is neatly fitted up.
Pictures of the battle of Alexandria, the storming of Seringapatam;
portraits of the French Marshals, Bertrand, Drouet, Foy, &c.; and views
of Paris and other cities, are suspended round the room.

The Café de la Victoria, in Buenos Ayres, is very splendid; we have
nothing of the sort in London. It may not perhaps vie with the Mille
Colonnes, or other Parisian coffee-houses. There are, likewise, in
Buenos Ayres, those of St. Marco, the Catalan, and Café de Martin. They
have all large court-yards, or _patios_, attached to them, and stand
upon a great space of ground, more than could be well spared in London
for such purposes, where land is so valuable. These _patios_, in summer,
are covered with awnings, affording an agreeable retreat from the sun's
heat. They have wells of good water. To each also is attached a billiard
table; and, as this is a pastime to which they are much addicted, the
tables are always crowded. The coffee-rooms are covered with shewy
French paper, representing scenes in India, Otaheite, Don Quixote, and
designs from Grecian and Roman history.

A new coffee-house was opened in December, 1824, near the church of St.
Michael. The music, illuminations, and fireworks, in front of the
establishment, on the evening of its opening, attracted a great
concourse of people.

About four miles from town is a public-house called the York Hotel, kept
by a native. Creolian masters and mates of vessels, upon their hired
horses, at one dollar per afternoon, generally stop there; and the
horses are so accustomed to it, that it is with difficulty they will go
beyond it.

In the coffee-houses the charges are very moderate: a wine-glass of
liqueurs, brandy, or any other cordial, tea, coffee, and bread, half
a real; with toast, one real. The waiters do not expect fees, as in
England: a _capitas_, or head waiter, superintends the coffee-room.[4]

  [4] In the coffee-houses, the waiters are very inquisitive, and in a
  manner that one cannot be angry with. A knight of the napkin got me
  into conversation, asking me a host of questions about England and
  Englishmen, declaring, that he liked them better than any foreigners;
  and, after passing those compliments, which I received with due
  reverence, he eagerly demanded the reason of the English having such
  red faces? I knew he could not mean mine, as I am dark, and of a
  sallow complexion; so I told him, that the rich people drank a great
  deal of Port wine, and the poor equally so of beer, which accounted
  for the bloom he had noticed.

In the arrangements and decoration of coffee-houses, the French and
Spaniards far outstrip us. The English are not a coffee-house-going
people: that time which other nations spend in them, the Englishman
passes in business, or with his family.

Many Englishmen, upon their first arrival, reside with Spanish
families, to improve themselves in the language: forty dollars per month
is the charge. The houses of Mrs. Cassamajor and Mrs. Rubio take in
boarders; these families are of the highest respectability, and they
have several accomplished daughters, whose society is very interesting;
but Spanish cookery, with its garlic and grease, no more pleases an
English taste, than does that of the French.

       *       *       *       *       *

Of the PUBLIC BUILDINGS, the Fort is the seat of government, the
Downing-Street of Buenos Ayres: it is situated near the river, with
residences inside. Though surrounded by a ditch, with cannon mounted on
the ramparts, drawbridges, &c. it could make but little defence against
a serious attack. One would suppose, that those who chose the spot on
which the city is built, had in view the prevention of attack by hostile
fleets, the shallowness of the water being a defence against any danger
of this kind.

The Consulado is a respectable-looking house; it contains a Court of
Justice, or Appeals, for persons cited for debt, of which they regulate
the payment according to the ability of the party summoned, very similar
to our Courts of Request. In cases of debt they are very lenient,
seldom committing to prison, except for a flagrant attempt at fraud,
and sometimes giving the debtor five years to pay his creditors,
which is almost tantamount to a release. Disputes are decided by the
magistrates, at the Consulado, with an impartiality that gives universal
satisfaction. The English disputants, it has been observed, are very
numerous, causing more trouble than those of all the rest of the town
put together. The Post-Office is held in this building; and on the first
floor (for the house is one story high) is a Music School, in the
morning for young ladies, and in the evening for gentlemen.

The Cabildo, or Town-House, has nothing remarkable about it, but the
church tower, and a long balcony in front: it is built in the Plaza, of
which it forms the western boundary. The great powers possessed by the
Members of the Cabildo, according to the old Spanish law, have been
reformed within these three years. It has a prison for criminal
offenders; and the head Police-Office is near it.

The Bank, and the adjoining range of houses, are lofty and handsome.

The House of Representatives has been lately constructed; it follows
the model, on a minor scale, of the French Chamber at Paris, and forms
a perfect theatre. The members are seated in the pit, the president
and secretary on the stage, and the spectators in the boxes. A bell
announces the commencement and the close of business. The orators, when
speaking, remain seated; so that they have no opportunity to display the
graces of action. It is well lighted, by tasteful chandeliers. The armed
soldiery, both inside and outside the house, destroys the idea of

The Custom-House has no pretensions to notice, on the score of
appearance, whatever it may merit for its convenience. It was proposed
to build another, in the extensive grounds and gardens of the suppressed
monastery of Le Merced; but this, like many other propositions, has been

The Public Library is a credit to this infant state; it contains about
21,000 volumes. Every respectable person is allowed admittance, to
peruse the books. Mr. Moreno, who speaks English, is the librarian.
Some choice drawings of medals from France are in the library.

There is a small Botanical Museum; but the country furnishes few
specimens of plants.

The Retiro, occupied as barracks, is on the north extremity of the
city, and has nothing worthy of notice about it, but its theatrical
appearance, and daubs of paintings on the walls. There is a large space
in front, called the Bull Ring, in which bull-fights used to take place.
The band performs there, for a short time, in the afternoon. It is here
that criminals are shot, when the punishment is not for a state offence.
Being situated upon high ground, and near the river, the Retiro has
a pleasant prospect. In one of the streets near it, is a large brick
building, built for a distillery, twelve years since, by Mr. Thwaites,
an Englishman. The speculation did not answer, and the house is now in
a state of dilapidation. A windmill, west of the town, is a conspicuous
object; it is the only one in the country, and was erected by Mr.
Stroud, also an Englishman. It had, for some time, the fate of the
distillery; but I have heard that it now flourishes.

The Residencia, on the south side of the Fort, is appropriated as an
hospital. There are two or three other public hospitals, including one
for foundlings.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Grand Plaza is a large square, environed by buildings: on the east
is the Recoba, a piazza with shops; on the west, the Cabildo; on the
north, a part of the cathedral; and on the south, a range of shops.
There is a pyramid in the centre, which, on festival nights, is
illuminated. If paved, it would be an admirable place for the parade
of troops; at present, wet weather renders it almost impassable.

A second Plaza has been made, adjoining the other, near the Fort, by
the removal of the market-place and some dirty sheds and stabling.

The river, the fort, some neat buildings on the south, the handsome
arch, under which there is a passage to the two plazas, the towers of
St. Francisco's church, and the Cabildo, taken in perspective from
Faunch's Hotel, would form a good picture.

At night, the streets are respectably lighted by lamps fastened to the
walls, which extend as far as the eye can reach in some of the principal
thoroughfares, in St. Francisco Street particularly. A stranger, on
viewing this street, would imbibe no mean opinion of the city. The
lamps do not afford any thing like the illumination of the gas lights of
London; they are equal, however, to those used before the introduction
of gas.

From the state of the pavements, except in the principal streets,
walking at night is very disagreeable--in wet weather, dangerous; and
here are no accommodating hackney coaches to jump into.

It is intended to pave all the streets; but, from the scarcity of
workmen and materials, it will be some time before this can be effected.
Those that have pavements, bating their narrowness, are similar to the
streets of London; the unpaved ones are very miserable.

       *       *       *       *       *

The HOUSES of Buenos Ayres are mostly built of brick, and white-washed.
Very few of them are one story high: they are flat-roofed, with a high
parapet, and have a court-yard attached. The windows are protected by
iron bars placed lengthwise in the front, so that a Londoner might fancy
them lock-up houses. They form a complete fortification; and the loss
sustained in Whitelock's attack ceases to excite surprise, recollecting
that our troops had to run the gauntlet through an enemy they could not
get at.

Many of the houses occupy a large extent of ground. The _sala_ is the
principal room. The roofs of the houses, denominated the _azotea_, are
very pleasant, especially near the river; and the party-walls are so
low, that a person can traverse whole streets upon the house-tops. The
inhabitants do not fear robberies, relying upon the strength of their
doors, iron-barred windows, and barking dogs: of the latter, two or
three are in a house. The bars in the window fronts are an excellent
contrivance, and quite necessary, in a climate requiring so much air,
and likewise for security, the street windows being close to the
foot-path, and no areas to protect them. They report that this fashion
is a remnant of Spanish jealousy; at any rate, it does their invention
credit. Many of the mansions are specimens of Moorish architecture;
those belonging to the richer class are splendidly furnished with
carpets, handsome mirrors, &c. So little wood is used in building, there
is no fear of fire. Extensive houses, formerly occupied by the first
families of the country, are now tenanted by British merchants; and the
salas that were once graced by beauty, music, and the dance, are now
stored with dry goods, and nothing is heard but the hum of business.

House rent is very high: for a moderate-sized house, from 60 to 80
dollars per month.

       *       *       *       *       *

CHURCHES.--In Catholic countries, the attention of the Protestant
traveller is ever attracted towards the churches. Their gorgeous
decorations, music, dress of the priesthood, &c. form so great a
contrast to the simplicity of the reformed religion, that we gaze, as
if viewing the splendid scenery of some theatrical spectacle, and, for
the moment, cease to be astonished at the influence which this imposing
church has exercised, and still continues to exercise, over a great
portion of the Christian world. If the Spaniards in Europe are supposed
to surpass all other Catholic nations in their strict adherence to the
rights and ceremonies of "holy church," they have not neglected to
transplant to South America this formidable engine of power. The charms
of its music, and its general magnificence, must have bewildered the
imagination of the natives, and insured to the Spaniards complete

I have visited most of the churches of Buenos Ayres, with feelings I can
scarcely describe. My mind was ever strongly imbued with recollections
of those youthful readings of monastic institutions, of cowled monks
and nuns, which, in our Protestant land, we only read of; but to have
the reality before me, absorbed every faculty--I gave a loose to
fancy--every thought was engaged.

I believe the following to be a tolerably correct list of the churches
and chapels in Buenos Ayres:--

  The Cathedral.
  St. Francisco.
  St. Domingo.
  St. Ignatio, or College Church.
  St. Catalina (Convent of Nuns).
  St. Juan     (ditto).
  St. Nicholas.
  St. Miguel.
  La Merced.
  La Conception.
  La Piedad.

  St. Lucia.
  St. Roque.

The Cathedral is a large domed building, built of brick, as indeed they
all are. Its outside presents nothing particular, with the exception of
its loftiness; and, in common with the rest, it has crosses placed upon
every prominent part. A new front is building towards the Plaza; but
it gets on very slowly, the scaffolding being so very expensive. The
interior is lofty and spacious; it is ornamented with figures of the
Virgin Mary and the infant Jesus, in glittering attire. Jesus on the
cross, and saints in strict costume, occupy places at the different
altars. Flowers, artificial and real, are plentifully bestowed, and
relics are strewed in all directions, informing the foreigner that he is
in a land where Catholicism once existed in all its pristine grandeur.
These emblems of peace, in the body of the church, are shaded by those
of war from above. Suspended from the ceiling are about twenty flags,
taken from the Spaniards on various occasions, as at Monte Video, Maypu,
&c. _Fernando VII._ is inscribed upon most of them. The grand altar is
adorned with costly gems; and when the large and numerous candles are
lighted, the effect is grand. The organ and choir are good: the tones
of the former vibrating through the aisles, and the kneeling females in
black attire, make an impression of no ordinary nature. The government
and municipal authorities attend at the Cathedral on state and feast
days, forming processions to and from the church. The Sunday mass, about
twelve o'clock, is attended by most of the fashion and beauty of the

Of the churches, that of St. Francisco seems most profusely ornamented.
Virgins and saints of all descriptions occupy every altar and nook of
the interior, clothed in rich and fanciful attire, which the devotion of
the faithful has bestowed. The grand altar is very brilliant; and when
fully lighted, it appears a sheet of gold. Some of the ornaments, I
should think, are valuable. This edifice is of considerable length, and
contains twenty friars of the order of St. Francisco, the only community
of the sort now existing in Buenos Ayres. The towers are paved with
tiling, which, at a distance, looks like marble. St. Francisco's church
is my favourite, for, child-like, I am attracted by glitter.

The College church is one I rarely visit, from prejudice or revenge at
an insult offered to me by one of the servants, who told me Englishmen
had no business there, and absolutely took my arm to conduct me out. In
any other place I should have chastised him.--It is a gloomy structure,
both outside and inside, even with the usual decorations. The Holy Ghost
proceeds on its different missions from this church.

St. Domingo church is large, with a spacious dome. It had, until the
suppression, in 1822, forty-eight friars of the Dominican order; amongst
whom was an Irish priest, Father Burke, who, from motives of kindness,
is still allowed to occupy his apartment. He is more than 70 years of
age, and much esteemed by the British as well as natives, being divested
of those prejudices which so often disgrace his cloth. The rooms of the
friars, and the garden, make it a comfortable retreat. The interior of
St. Domingo is light and airy, without much decoration; but it contains
objects that swell the beating hearts of Englishmen--British standards
ranged around the dome, the trophies of Beresford's and Whitelock's
expeditions. Crawford, with part of his division, it will be
recollected, took refuge in this church. I have viewed those flags with
the most painful recollections, obtained, as they were, not in open
fight, but by concealed and inaccessible enemies; and have felt for the
fate of my unhappy countrymen, slaughtered, without an opportunity to
retaliate, by those who could not have stood one half-hour before them
in a fair field of battle. This city is almost the only one in the world
that can boast the possession of such prizes.

The church of Le Merced is a very pretty building, with a dome and
tower. The interior is compact, and, in splendour, very little inferior
to St. Francisco; containing virgins, Madonas, holy pictures, &c. &c. in
gorgeous abundance, with the usual quantity of confessional boxes. It is
much resorted to. Until lately, it held forty-five friars, of the order
of Le Merced; a peculiar order, allowing its professors, it is said, to
wear concealed arms. One of the regiments attends divine service, and
their band performs, in this church.

The description of one may be said to include a description of all the
churches, as they partake of the same general character, excepting only
that some are more splendid than others. No impediment is offered to the
admission of foreigners into these sacred buildings; and they may roam
about _ad libitum_. The obstruction I received in the College church, I
am persuaded, was the unauthorized act of the fellow who offered it. To
avoid singularity, it is best to conform to their mode of devotion. The
eye of curiosity will, now and then, be directed towards a stranger; but
this is to be expected, though some gentlemen express a repugnance to
visit their churches for that reason, and a fear of intruding.

The churches, with the buildings attached, gardens, &c. occupy a great
extent of ground; particularly those of St. Juan and Catalina, which
were erected at a time when religious enthusiasm was at its height.

       *       *       *       *       *

The THEATRE, as an edifice, has nothing to boast. The exterior looks
like a stable; but the interior is better than the outside promises. It
has been much improved since my arrival. They sadly want a new theatre.
There is a plot of ground near the Plaza just adapted for it: but unless
the government take it in hand, the public spirit of individuals, I
fear, will not; and yet, with a people so theatrically inclined, it is
somewhat surprising. Almost the first inquiry of a foreigner is of the
Theatre: at present, they smile at its insignificance.

The pit is large, extending a considerable length from the stage, with
backs to the seats, and partitions to each, which serve as a rest for
the arms: they are numbered, and let out under the appellation of
"_lunetas_;" every person proceeding to his own seat; thus the crowding
and fighting, for places, so common in our theatres, is avoided. No
females are admitted into the pit.

In the dress circle, some blue silk spread over the panels of the boxes
is all that distinguishes it from the others.

The dress boxes will contain about eight persons each. As they have not
any seats affixed to them, those who engage them send chairs; or the
theatre will supply them, by paying a trifle for their use. The price
of a box, for a night's performance, is three dollars. These boxes, and,
indeed, places for every other part of the house, may be taken for a
certain period called a "_function_," which lasts ten nights. Many
families engage their boxes this way, which makes them come reasonable.

Under the dress circle, and even with the pit, are boxes called
_palcos_, at 2½ dollars per night.

The _cazuela_, or gallery, is similar to the one at Astley's, except
that it is not so large. It is appropriated to females alone. The
keeping females thus crowded together in a theatre, and separated from
their natural protectors, seems an abominable practice. A stranger is
apt to form erroneous opinions of the fair occupants of the cazuela, and
can scarcely believe that the most respectable are to be found there:
but it is so; and husbands, brothers, and friends, wait for them at the
gallery door. This custom, it is said, they inherit from the Moors. The
_goddesses_ of the cazuela behave in the most orderly manner; much more
so, I suspect, than my countrywomen would, similarly situated.

Over the stage is inscribed the words--"_Es la Comedia Espejo de la

The Governor's box was close to the stage, on what in the London
theatres is denominated the Prince's side of the house; and the
_cabildo_, or box of the chief magistracy, was in front. But now the
Governor's box is removed to what was the _cabildo_, and the English
consul occupies the one lately the Governor's. The Governor, except on
national days, seldom attends the theatre.

That important personage, the prompter, has his little tub, as usual,
in the middle of the stage, destroying all the illusion of the scene,
and, from necessity, obliging the audience to hear him as well as the
performers. Senor Zappucci, an Italian, intent, one evening, upon
impressing the audience with the drollery of a comic song, fell through
the prompter's hole; and the spectators began to consider whether this
was a part of his song. Fortunately he was not hurt. The superior
arrangement, in this respect, of the English theatres, might afford a
lesson to the most prejudiced foreigners.

The admittance is two reals to all parts of the house: but this does not
include a seat. It is, therefore, necessary to take a whole box, or a
single place in the pit (which costs three reals), in addition to the

Soldiers, who constitute every where the police of the city, were
formerly stationed both inside and outside of the theatre; but this
is no longer the case; and the eye of the republican citizen is not
offended by their presence at places of public amusement.

No refreshments are sold in the theatre; we never hear the "Choice
fruit, ladies and gentlemen, and a bill of the play!" and the spectators
in the pit are saved the nuisance of having the peelings of oranges and
apples dropped upon them. But then they are not condemned to sit five or
six hours, as in our theatres; three hours and a half is the utmost. The
pit audience generally walk out between the acts, and reassume their
seats without disturbance or difficulty.

Smoking in the theatre is not allowed; but such charms has the segar,
that they watch the opportunity of the absence of the police to smoke in
the lobbies.

The theatre continues open all the year round, with the exception of
Lent; and then music is permitted.

The regular nights of performance are Sundays and Thursdays; though
there are sometimes performances on Tuesdays, saints' days, &c. Sunday
nights are the most crowded, as in all Catholic countries. On rainy
nights there is no performance.

The usual performances at the theatre consist of a play and farce; with
singing, sometimes, between the acts.

"_Othello_" is at times performed--not that of our Shakspeare, but a
translation from the French. Its absurdities and tameness no Englishman
can endure with common patience; he looks in vain for those bursts that
overpower the imagination, and electrify the spectators.

An ingenious English gentleman translated Cumberland's "_Wheel of
Fortune_," and "_The Jew_;" but they are too sentimental to please this
audience. "_Love laughs at Locksmiths_" and "_Matrimony_," from the
original French, are stock pieces; and "_The Scottish Outlaw_," and
"_Charles Edward Stuart_" are very successful.

The performers are about equal to those of our country theatres. Of the
females, Doña Trinidad Guevra takes the lead. She has a good figure, a
tolerably expressive face, and a sweet, plaintive voice. In such parts
as _Letitia Hardy_, and _Maria_, in "_The Citizen_," she excels; and
likewise in the sentimental.

Velarde is their first male performer, and plays tragedy, comedy,
farce--it would be unkind to say, with _Silvester Daggerwood_--and
"makes nothing of them;" for, in comedy, he has talent: his tragedy
is not first-rate. He has the merit of dressing his characters with
some regard to costume. I have seen him personate a British officer,
with a uniform coat nearly a copy of those worn by our Foot-Guard
officers.--The general manner of dress upon the stage, at times,
approaches to the burlesque. An English nobleman is always made to
wear the order of the Garter, and a star, whether in street, forest,
or drawing-room. Señor Rosquellas, in the part of _Lord Leicester_ or
_Essex_ (I know not which) in Rossini's "_Queen Elizabeth_," wears the
dress of a modern French field-marshal: his taste and experience should
reform this.

Señor Culebras (in English, Mr. Snake) is made the butt of the juvenile
part of the audience--the _Claremont_ of this theatre. When he appears
to give out the play, they vociferate his name. Why they thus make sport
of him, I know not, except that he has a peculiarly spare person, and is
a sort of deputy manager, the Mr. Lamp of the company. He is said to be
a sensible man, speaking the Spanish language very correctly. As an
actor, he is both chaste and pleasing.

In low comedy, they have a good actor, named Felipe David, the Liston
of the company; and one Señor Vera, who is a useful performer, as well
as singer, and has abilities of no mean order. His representation of
_Colonel Cox_, in the play of "_Charles Edward Stuart_," founded upon
an incident after the battle of Culloden, forcibly brought to my
recollection Lovegrove's _Rattan_, in the farce of "_The Bee-Hive_."

Our English actresses, when they come on the stage, "prepared for woe,"
have their white pocket-handkerchiefs pinned to their clothes: here they
are held in the hands. Both customs are ridiculous; and the constant
application they make of them in this theatre renders it more so.

The orchestra consists of twenty-eight instrumental performers. The
symphonies between the acts are from Haydn, Mozart, &c. &c. as in the
English theatres. The performances are ushered in by an overture,
generally selected with great taste.

The musical department has greatly improved; and they get through
difficult compositions with considerable spirit: constant practice, and,
above all, the great exertions of Señor Rosquellas has effected this.
This gentleman, a Spaniard by birth, made his first _debût_ before a
Buenos Ayres audience in 1822, as a vocalist. His science has enabled
him to surmount the imperfections of a very indifferent voice, and he is
always heard with pleasure. Mr. Rosquellas[5] may be called the founder
of the Buenos Ayres Opera; for, until he came, the orchestra was very
indifferent. Mr. Rosquellas speaks English, and is married to an English
lady. He has been in London, and, I believe, sung with Braham there.
He was ably seconded by Señor Vacani, also from Rio Janeiro, the best
_buffo_ I have seen (Naldi, perhaps, excepted). We had the music of
Rossini night after night to delighted audiences: the duet of "_Al'
idea di quell metallo_," from "_The Barber of Seville_," is as great
a favourite here as in Europe.

  [5] As Mr. R. is an important personage in Buenos Ayres, I cannot
  forbear relating an anecdote of him:--In an excursion to Rio Janeiro,
  he took away with him a slave girl, reporting (or scandal had done
  so for him) that she was a present from the governor's lady, as a
  trifling reward for the pleasure his musical talents had afforded her.
  This coming to the ears of the lady made her highly indignant, saying,
  that "she was not in the habit of giving away her slaves." Rosquellas,
  upon his return, was sent to prison, and made to account for the
  slave, by paying a round sum of money.

The departure of Vacani left a blank in the musical world, which has
been since, in some degree, compensated by the appearance of Doña
Angelina Tani. She has a fine tenor voice; the lower tones are of great
depth, and some of them she elicits with great effect in a trio from
Rossini's "_Elizabeth Queen of England_."

During the Lent of 1824, we had some delightful musical treats,
which rendered the representations of their regular drama very dull,
particularly to a foreigner.

An English mechanic, by name Waldegrave, was tempted to make a trial
upon this stage as a singer. He sung "_The Beautiful Maid_," and "_The
Bewildered Maid_;" but he failed to make any impression. His voice was
good, but he wanted grace.

In English singing, I doubt whether the inimitable Braham would please
them. They smile at the idea of our having a talent for music. The
finest compositions of Arne, Storace, Shield, Braham, &c. might stand
a chance of being suspected to be stolen from foreign composers;
for nothing goes down but Italian or Spanish music. Rosquellas,
from being a Spaniard, and singing their popular songs, such as the
"_Contrabandista_," &c. is just to their taste: for, though no longer
owning the Spanish sway, they still cling to that music which charmed
them in their youth.

With a people so fond of dancing, one would expect to find a regular
corps de ballet at the theatre; but a dance was not to be seen, except,
now and then, dancers from the Rio Janeiro Theatre accepted engagements
for a limited period, until Monsieur and Madame Touissaint, from the
Paris and London Opera, arrived, who meet with great and deserved

The bolero, fandango, and the pleasing castanets, seem peculiar only to
Spain: I had thought to have found them common here. The Touissaints
have introduced the bolero, and dance charmingly.

An Englishman, at a foreign theatre, cannot help being struck with the
stillness and order, which form so great a contrast to what he has been
accustomed to at home. The theatre of Buenos Ayres, in this respect,
might serve as an example to those of more polished nations.[6] But,
notwithstanding Lord Byron's remark, that he would never write a play
for our winter theatres, whilst the one-shilling gallery was suffered to
remain; I prefer their boisterous mirth, and its many inconveniences, to
the monotony of the foreign stage. The magnificence and ingenuity of our
Christmas pantomime, which every body pretends to despise, and yet which
all go to see, with the joyous faces of so many children seated round
the boxes, convulsed with laughter at the drolleries of a Grimaldi, are
not to be paralleled elsewhere. A London theatre is, indeed, a world
within itself.

  [6] I once witnessed a most disgraceful scene at the Theatre Français,
  at Paris. Talma was performing _Cinna_--the house was crowded, when
  some English ladies entered the boxes, escorted by two of their
  countrymen, military officers. It was at the time when the British
  army occupied Paris. In taking off their shawls, the backs of the
  ladies were, for a moment, turned towards the pit; when a yelling
  commenced from that quarter, which would have disgraced savages. The
  interference of the British officers increased the confusion; the
  most insulting gestures were resorted to; and the ladies quitted the
  theatre in tears, affording a noble triumph to those brave champions
  of etiquette.

Sometimes a straggling English sailor will wander into this theatre; but
not understanding it, he soon leaves it for the grog shop. A sailor is
always a troublesome inmate of a theatre. Two of them were passing their
remarks rather loudly, one evening: the audience laughed; but not so the
police, for they handed the two poor fellows into the street. Jack swore
that he had had many a row at the Liverpool and Portsmouth play-house,
without being molested; and damned such liberty as that at Buenos Ayres.
I got my weather-beaten countrymen away, seeing them inclined to resist;
for unarmed men stand but a poor chance with a police of bayonets and

Managers and actors quarrel in the new as well as in the old world.
Velarde has had one or two disputes, and left the theatre. The audience
insisted upon his return, and the manager was obliged to yield. The
actor's appearance, after these squabbles, is made a triumph by his
friends; and the ladies in the cazuela throw bouquets, literally
strewing the stage with flowers. These disagreements give rise to formal
appeals to the public, from both parties, in the shape of printed
addresses. In Velarde's dispute, the manager had charged him with
getting drunk. The actor indignantly denied this; but allowed that, on
the 25th of May (the anniversary of their independence), he did get a
little merry, broke glasses, and quarrelled with the landlord, in honour
of the day, as every good patriot should do; and, in answer to a remark
that had been made upon the graces of his person, he stated, that he did
not possess Jacob's ladder, to climb to heaven, and ask God why he was
not made an Adonis.

A certain priest, Castañeda, having, in a publication, attacked the
character of Doña Trinidad, for wearing upon the stage the portrait of
a married gentleman (as he asserted), the lady absented herself from
the theatre for some nights. On her re-appearance, she was greeted with
applause; the audience reasoning, like our's in the affair of Mrs. H.
Johnstone and Braham, that the public have nothing to do with private

Performers, at times, in Buenos Ayres, announce their own benefits--even
the females. A lady will address the audience with all the earnestness
so important an occasion demands, and will go round the house,
delivering bills of the intended performance, couched in high-flown
language, "To the immortal and respectable public of Buenos Ayres," &c.
&c. They know how to "bill the town," as well as any English country
manager. Previous to a benefit night, they have a custom of illuminating
the front of the theatre, and exhibiting a transparency of the proposed
representation;[7] with bonfires, rockets, and a band of music at the
door. This has been ridiculed by one of the newspapers, but it still
continues in a degree.

  [7] A performance was advertised for a benefit, founded upon the
  battle of Salamanca. In the front of the theatre, on the evening
  previous, a transparency was exhibited, representing the discomfited
  French pursued by Wellington and his troop: they had, likewise, a
  British flag hoisted. All this was too much for Monsieur to bear; and
  a scuffle took place, in an attempt to haul the flag down. On the play
  night, an O.P. row was expected, but all went off quietly.

The British are not great patrons to the theatre: they assign, as a
cause, the want of attraction; but business, and their inclination
to society among themselves, are perhaps the chief reasons of their
neglect. There are, however, a number of Englishmen, who find relief
from the cares of business, and are constant attendants at the theatre;
some of them, without any fixed object, stroll about, earnestly gazing
at the pretty girls, whom they designate by particular names. I have
been much amused, when they have pointed out to me the different ladies,
under their fixed appellations; as, Imogen, Euphrosyne, Discretion,
Corinna, Zenobia, the Greeks, &c. One gentleman, Don Geronimo Salas,
they have named the King, from his great likeness to George the Fourth
of England. The resemblance is considerable; only that Don Geronimo is
not so corpulent as his Majesty. It is not every day we see men with
persons so corpulent as his Britannic Majesty and Don Geronimo: the
former (national prejudice apart) does indeed look like a king; the
latter is a very handsome man.

It is not uncommon to see infants a few months old, in the arms of their
mothers, and slaves, at the play.

The ladies attend the boxes in their most brilliant attire, combining
neatness with elegance, mostly in white; the neck and bosom partly
exposed, just enough to excite admiration, without alarming the most
fastidious modesty; a gold chain, or other ornament, is now and then
suspended from the neck; the dress, with short sleeves; the hair
tastefully arranged; a simple comb, and a few real or artificial flowers
braided about the hair.

On a full night, the theatre presents a spectacle of lovely women, that
a stranger would hardly expect. I have often contemplated them, with
their dark expressive eyes and raven hair, adding, if possible, more
beauty to countenances already so beautiful.

I think no city in the world, of the same population, can boast more
charming females than Buenos Ayres. Their appearance and brilliancy, at
the theatre, is not exceeded either at Paris or London; and I write from
a tolerable acquaintance with the theatres of both capitals. It is true,
the costly diamonds and waving plumes, that blaze from the persons of
the British and French fair, are not to be seen in Buenos Ayres: those
appendages, however, in my humble opinion, add not to female loveliness.

The theatre was re-opened on the 16th January, 1825, under the
management of Messrs. Rosquellas and others, after having been
closed two months for the purpose of repairs and alterations. Great
improvements have been made: the seats in the pit are covered with
crimson velvet; the whole interior of the house has been cleaned and
painted; the stage thrown more forward, and the orchestra enlarged. A
new drop-scene is exhibited, with the arms of the country and other
devices painted upon it; and, from being better lighted, the theatre
has now a neat appearance.

The operatic department constitutes the chief attraction of the theatre:
in this they have Rosquellas, Vacani (the renowned _buffo_), the younger
Vacani, Vera, the two Señoras Tanis, and Doña Angelina Tani, who sings
as exquisitely as ever. Vacani, upon his re-appearance, after a short
absence, was hailed with shouts of approbation, and bouquets of flowers
thrown upon the stage.

In the dance, we have Touissaint, his wife, and a corps de ballet,
including some Portuguese comic dancers from Rio Janeiro. Regular
ballets of action now take place, in lieu of the pas de deux, and pas
seul, of one or two principal dancers.

Under the old Spanish regime, the season of Lent was the most gloomy
part of the year; it is now the gayest: we have operas and ballets two
and three times a week, to delighted audiences; selections from _The
Barber of Seville_, _Figaro_, _Henry IV._ &c. the orchestra led by
Masoni, the skilful Masoni, whose talent draws forth raptures of

It is in contemplation to get up regular operas, instead of detached
pieces: _Don Giovanni_ has been mentioned--Rosquellas to be the hero; he
would both look and perform it admirably, at least to those who have not
seen Ambrogetti.

At the theatre door, on performance nights, several handsome carriages
are now to be seen, with lighted lamps and well-dressed servants,
belonging to English and other families. When I arrived, in 1820,
scarcely one was in existence. Were a Spaniard to revisit this place,
after an absence of a few years, he would feel surprised at the
alteration; the rigid fasts of the church laid aside for innocent
enjoyments, the hum of business greeting his ear, and European strangers
every where meeting his eye. Old Spain's ancient dominion of Buenos
Ayres is gone for ever: a few of the old school may yet cling to the
mother country; but the grand mass of the people, especially the younger
branches, are decidedly patriots.

An amateur performance took place, on the 21st February, 1825, for
the benefit of the widows and orphans of those who had fallen in the
revolutionary wars. It was a full house, and profitable--the reverse
of Silvester Daggerwood's. Orders are not admitted to the Buenos
Ayres theatre. The play was _Virginius_; and the different parts were
sustained by gentlemen of the city, in a style so creditable, as to put
to the blush the regular actors.

A North-American Frenchman, named Stanislaus, last from the Havannah,
has given several exhibitions at the theatre upon galvanism,
slight-of-hand, &c. aided by machinery, the best I have seen of the
sort. His performance was more than upon a par with our English
professors. The natives declared, he must have dealings with the devil;
or how could he transport handkerchiefs from the pockets of individuals
in the theatre to the lofty towers of the Cabildo, in the Plaza? and
this, they asserted, he had done. Stanislaus was rewarded with good
houses. His pronunciation of the Spanish language excited bursts of
laughter; it was a mixture of Spanish, French, and English.

A Lecture on Astronomy was attempted; but it did not meet with the
success it merited, either from a want of taste for this instructive
science, or that the audience conceived the theatre an improper place.
The lecturer reading his part, diminished the effect.

       *       *       *       *       *

An Englishman (Bradley) has a CIRCUS, which is sometimes open on Sunday
afternoons, and on saints' days. Bradley is a decent horseman and clown;
but he has to contend with many disadvantages.

       *       *       *       *       *

BRITISH RESIDENTS.--Before entering into a detail of the manners and
customs of the native or Spanish part of the population, I shall take
some notice of the various FOREIGNERS who have become residents in this
city. Of these the most numerous are the ENGLISH: I have heard, that the
province of Buenos Ayres contains, of men, women, and children, 3500
British individuals, according to a census taken in 1822.

The British merchants are a respectable body in Buenos Ayres: the
commerce of the country is chiefly in their hands; and, taking the
clerks, servants, and others employed in their barraccas, or hide
warehouses, as well as in their houses, the numbers are very imposing.
Most houses have a Spanish clerk, who (as well as his English brethren)
generally boards and lodges in the house.

The following is a list of the British mercantile establishments at
present existing in Buenos Ayres:--

  Messrs. Brown, Buchanan, and Co. Agents for Lloyd's.
  Dickson, Montgomery, & Co.
  M'Crackan and Jamieson.
  Miller, Eyes, and Co.
  Miller, Robinson, & Co.
  Winter, Britain, & Co.
  Plowes, Noble, & Co.
  Duguid and M'Kerrell.
  Bertram, Armstrong, & Co.
  Heyworth and Carlisle.
  William P. Robertson & Co.
  Anderson, Weir, & Co.
  Tayleure, Cartwright, & Co.
  William Hardesty & Co.
  Joseph and Joshua Thwaites.
  John Gibson & Co.
  Hugh Dallas & Co.
  Peter Sheridan.
  John Appleyard.
  Messrs. John Bailey.
  C. S. Harvey.
  Thomas Eastman.
  Thomas Fair.
  Thomas Nelson.
  Green and Hodgson.
  Richard and William Orr.
  Jump and Priestley.
  Stewart and M'Call.
  John Ludlam.
  James G. Helsby.
  Henry Hesse.
  John M'Dougall & Co.
  John Harratt & Co.
  R. B. Niblett.
  Daniel Mackinlay.
  Thomas Barton.
  George Macfarlane.
  Stephen Puddicomb.
  Robert Utting.

Most of the above houses have their corresponding firms at Rio Janeiro,
Monte Video, Chili, and Peru, forming an immense link, of no mean
importance, to the trade of Great Britain.

Our merchants, in Buenos Ayres, are not only land and stock-holders;
but, since the establishment of the Bank, they have become Bank
Directors. In thus identifying themselves with the country, I am
persuaded, they will not forfeit one iota of their independence.

In 1821, the British merchants in Buenos Ayres advanced to the Buenos
Ayrean government a sum of money, by way of loan, which was punctually
repaid, contrary to the expectations of many; for as this money was lent
only a few months after a revolution, when Ramirez and Carrera were in
the field, threatening the province, its return was problematical.

The majority of the British merchants are natives of Scotland,
proverbial for their talent and activity in trade. Without being
accused of undue partiality, I may safely assert, that our merchants do
honour to the country in which they are domiciled. Quoting the language
of Don Valentin Gomez, at the King's birth-day dinner, of April 23,
1823, "The English citizens have shewn themselves worthy of the
distinguished character they have acquired. In Buenos Ayres, they have
always been good fathers of families, and good guests. The province owes
them every protection."

The clerks in the mercantile houses are kept pretty closely to business,
from eight in the morning till near the same hour at night, holidays
excepted, which is fagging work.

Besides the merchants, there are a host of English shopkeepers. The
street of La Piedad is full of them; and they retail almost every
article that can be mentioned. In all parts of the city, the eye
continually meets with English, and their inscriptions in front of the
shops; as, _Zapatero Ingles_ (English Shoemaker), _Sastre_ (Tailor),
_Carpenteria_ (Carpenter), _Roloxero_ (Watchmaker), &c. &c.; and
the quantity of British subjects dispersed all over the country, as
collectors of hides, agriculturists, &c. is more than would be believed.

A trifling jealousy is, at times, to be observed amongst the natives,
at the numbers of the English resident here; the former supposing that
we have a monopoly of business, and drain the country of money. These
false reasoners in political economy cannot comprehend that, in trade,
obligations are mutual, and that for our goods we buy their produce,
often at a ruinous price. All increase of population to a new and
thinly-peopled country, like Buenos Ayres, just released from a
disgraceful thraldrom, ought to be viewed as a benefit: the well
informed know it to be so.

The British medical practitioners at Buenos Ayres are--Drs. Leper,
Dick, Oughan,[8] Jenkinson, and Whitfield: the two last are
apothecaries. Drs. Leper and Dick are surgeons in his majesty's navy,
and are allowed to be men of talent, and have good practice.

  [8] Dr. Oughan has returned to England, in the _Kingfisher_ packet:
  some eccentricities in the doctor's conduct occasioned the British
  consul to make application for his being sent home.

A physician here is not so profitable a concern as in England: the
guinea fee dwindles to a dollar per visit, though to a favourite doctor
they make presents. Once, in London, I remember seeing thirty single
guineas, for as many visits, lying upon a doctor's table, the result
of a morning's work; and this was thought but little, to pay for house
expences, carriage, &c.

A Medical Board has been formed here, which, a short time since,
examined into the qualifications of the different medical men,
propounding questions which, I am told, would have puzzled Esculapius
himself to answer. Two unfortunate Irishmen were caught in the trap,
and forbidden to practise. Paddy, at no time, likes his talent to be
depreciated: accordingly, one of them took up the pen, and wrote a long
philippic; the other did not confine himself to this, but made use of
language, in the full senate of medical sages, that consigned him to a
dungeon for three weeks, and he was afterwards banished the country. A
French doctor was suspended, for an error in the accouchement of a lady.

There is a North-American doctor (Bond), and plenty of native ones.

I should think this would be an excellent place for quack doctors;
indeed, they are beginning the trade already. A medicine called
_Panquimagoge_, invented by a man named Le Roy, "the immortal Le Roy,"
as the papers stated, was puffed up, as being a certain cure for
all complaints, equalling the miracles of Prince Hohenlohe. He who
doubted the efficacy of _Panquimagoge_, was rated an _ignoramus_. Its
discoverer, it was added, had a statue of gold erected to his memory in
the Havannah. During this infatuation, the medicine sold at an enormous
price; but the bubble soon burst: several persons became seriously
ill, and others absolutely lost their lives, by taking it. The former
enthusiasts looked quite "chop-fallen." Strange to say, several
Englishmen were the dupes of this quackery; indeed, the old and young,
healthy and infirm, all took _Panquimagoge_.

Several English have purchased _estancias_, or farms for breeding of
cattle; but, I fear, they will find some difficulty in competing with
the natives, who have every advantage over them in this branch of

The British Commercial Subscription Room, in Buenos Ayres, is a concern
entirely British; and none but those of that nation are, by the laws
of the room, allowed to subscribe. The present subscribers are about
fifty-six; and it is supported at a moderate expence. It has been
established since the year 1810, and affords not only a relaxation,
but a source of continual information. A constant look-out is kept for
vessels arriving and departing; and entries are made of them, and sent
home. By means of excellent telescopes, national flags can be discerned
at a great distance. They have a constant supply of English newspapers:
the Courier, the Times, Morning Chronicle, Bell's Messenger, Liverpool
and other Gazettes, as well as those of Buenos Ayres, Price Currents,
Shipping List, Quarterly Review, Edinburgh Review, Navy List, and other
publications. The room contains the best maps of Arrowsmith, of the four
quarters of the globe; charts of the river Plate; a picture of Nelson's
death, finely executed, and another of the battle of Copenhagen.
A committee have the management of the room, but its general
superintendence devolves on the secretary. Correct mercantile
information can always be obtained there; and every stranger is at
perfect liberty to collect the news of the day, although, from the
nature of the institution, none but British subjects can subscribe.
To enjoy the privilege of reading in the rooms, the parties must be
regularly introduced by a subscriber.[9] All British residents of
respectability are expected to subscribe.

  [9] Clerks are no longer permitted to enter the reading-room, unless
  they subscribe, or make application to their employers for a ticket:
  this they have declined to do, and keep aloof from the room, depriving
  themselves of their chief source of amusement.

The members dine together once in every quarter, at Faunch's hotel, and
discuss the affairs of the society.

The British Commercial Room is held in the house of Mrs. Clark,[10] Dona
Clara; and what person has visited Buenos Ayres without hearing of this
lady--the "Lady Bountiful" of the place?

  [10] Mrs. C. formerly possessed a handsome competence, gained by
  keeping an hotel; but her fortune has been much reduced, by advances
  made to her late husband, Captain Taylor, and by losses in different
  speculations. She has now retired from business, and lives upon a
  moderate annuity. Her adopted daughter, Dona Panchita, who is grown
  a fine girl, resides with her. Captain Taylor was a visionary, yet a
  good-hearted man; he died in October, 1822. I am informed that it was
  he who first lowered the Royal Spanish flag, and hoisted the Patriot
  flag, at the Fort, at the beginning of the revolution.

There is a library of English books attached to the room, consisting of
600 volumes, and which is every day increasing. It is a distinct affair;
and natives of all countries can subscribe to it. Several Creole
gentlemen, who speak English, North Americans, &c. belong to it. The
secretary to the Commercial Room acts as librarian.

Some individuals have attributed illiberality to the Commercial Room, in
not permitting those of other nations to become members; but, waiving
the right which the British have for an establishment of their own, if
they like to support it, Great Britain might be involved in war, and it
could not then be pleasant to come in daily contact with natives of
hostile countries.

Letters arriving by British vessels were, until October, 1821,
forwarded to the Commercial Room, which collected and paid the
government the postage; but this arrangement always caused great
jealousy to foreigners, and they are now sent to the Post Office, where
every facility is afforded. Many English letters, however, to persons
up the country, never reach their destination, from the practice of
allowing any one to take letters from the office who will pay for them:
mean curiosity has caused the loss of many letters by this mode.

The recent establishment of packets to Buenos Ayres (the first of which,
the Countess of Chichester, arrived on the 16th April, 1824) is an event
of some consequence. They bring the correspondence for Chili and Peru,
opening a direct and speedy communication with regions, which Spanish
jealousy, not many years ago, had shut out from the rest of the world.
The captains of these packets must not, for the present, expect to find
their employments to Buenos Ayres very lucrative: but little specie goes
home, and there are few passengers that can afford to pay the packet
price, which really is not exorbitant, considering the excellent
accommodations and fare provided; _viz._ For the cabin, £80 sterling;
steerage, £40. Their arrival is looked forward to with great anxiety
by all classes. At first, they made long passages; latterly, they
have improved in this respect: the _Lord Hobart_ packet came out in
forty-seven days; the _Eclipse_ brought thirteen passengers, chiefly
gentlemen connected with mining affairs. They will soon prove a
profitable employment to their commanders; and, certainly, the system
altogether reflects the highest credit upon the British government, the
only nation which has such an establishment.

The inclination which Englishmen, engaged in business, have, when at
home, to live away from the scene of their pursuits, at a short distance
from town, is shewn here; and we have the Stockwells, the Kenningtons,
the Newingtons, the Camberwells, &c. of Buenos Ayres, with the attached
farm-yards, orchards, and gardens, similar to those in the vicinity of
London, wanting only the stages, and the eighteen-penny ride from the
Bank and Gracechurch Street. Their houses may be easily recognized, from
the degree of neatness and comfort attached. The house of Mr. Fair,
situated upon an eminence near the water-side, southward of the Fort, is
a good land-mark. Mr. F. has lately built it at a considerable expence.
Mr. Cope's house, near the Retiro, I think the most pleasantly situated
of all.

The British have been engaged in numerous disputes with this government.
The last that occurred was in April, 1821, upon the decree ordering all
foreigners to take up arms; which the British very properly refused to
do, for it could not be expected they would submit to be made parties in
their quarrels. Captain O'Brien, of H.M.S. _Slaney_, then at anchor
in the outer roads,[11] was appointed British agent, and a long
correspondence took place. The affair was, however, settled by the
merchants, and Captain O'Brien felt displeased, conceiving that, having
been thrust forward officially, every arrangement ought to have come
through him. This quarrel caused some stir in Buenos Ayres. One or
two members of the Junta threatened us lustily; but those Tybalts
were silenced by the moderate party. Since then, Mr. Rivadavia's
administration has made every thing go on amicably and smoothly.

  [11] The _Slaney_ was stationed in the outer roads, from January,
  1821, to February, 1822. Captain Stanhope assumed the command in
  October, 1821, Captain O'Brien having been promoted. A laughable event
  happened during her stay in the outer roads:--She was accustomed to
  signalize with the shore. One day, a black fellow was ordered to
  whitewash the wall from which the signals were made on land: he was
  mistaken by those on board for a signal ball; and, by a reference,
  his position corresponded with the order, to bend sails. Accordingly,
  the boatswain piped all hands, and never were sails bent with more
  dispatch: the crew, tired of their monotonous life, felt eager to
  leave, and with alacrity obeyed the command. During this time, Blackee
  had taken another position on the wall: book opened again--it made
  the number, to unmoor the ship. This corroboration of the first order
  was hailed with joy. Another movement was imperfectly understood; it
  seemed to convey--send a boat on shore for the captain; and a boat was
  sent for explanation. Captain O'Brien was astonished: the wall was
  examined; and there they found the black man harmlessly pursuing
  his work, unconscious of the important part he had been performing,
  exposed to the ardent gaze, and raising the beating hearts, of 150
  men. At a distance of eight miles from the shore, a mistake of this
  sort cannot surprise. The crew were greatly disappointed, and, taking
  hold of one of their shipmates, a black man, declared that, as they
  amused themselves on land by making signals with one of his colour, he
  should be the answering pennant.

The dispute between Captain Willes, of H.M.S. _Brazen_, and the
government of Buenos Ayres, caused a considerable bustle. Captain W. was
ordered, by his instructions, to board all vessels of his nation upon
their arrival; in the execution of which, his boat was fired upon by the
gun-brig stationed outside. Other disagreements took place; and Captain
W. was ordered to quit the shore in two hours. He did so. When on board,
fruitless efforts took place to accommodate matters. The boats of
H.M. ship took possession of their brig, and sent her to the inner
roads. The public mind was inflamed by a string of falsehoods and
misrepresentations published in the _Centinella_ newspaper; the doors of
one or two English houses had threatening placards stuck upon them; and
a list was handed about for signatures, to avenge the insult offered
to their flag. I am not aware, if they meant to attack the _Brazen_;
volunteers for such an expedition, I should think, would have been
scarce. The British addressed a note to Captain W. soliciting, that, if
consistent with his duty, he would leave Buenos Ayres, as the present
irritation might lead to extremes. The _Brazen_ sailed for Colonia; her
captain stating, that nothing but consideration for his countrymen on
shore should have tempted him so to do: and thus the affair ended.

The government had promised protection to British persons and property,
the quarrel being a private one; but retaliation would, no doubt, have
taken place, had Captain Willes remained, and seized any of their
vessels. The Buenos Ayres government were somewhat precipitate in their
proceedings, and wanting in their respect to the officer of a nation,
which, if not in alliance, was on terms of strictest friendship with
them. It was regretted by many, that Captain Willes refused to come on
shore, when solicited by Mr. Rivadavia. Our captain was sadly hampered
by what he conceived to be his duty, and the alarm on shore. Those
gentlemen who had been long settled in the country, with their wives and
families, wished, I have no doubt, that the Brazen had been a thousand
miles off, particularly the female branches; though none, I trust,
possessed spirits so mean, as to brook insult for the enjoyment of
present comfort.

The outer roads had long been an object of dispute. I regret that, in
this instance, it should have deprived us of the society of an officer,
whose amiable manners and disposition delight all who have the happiness
of knowing him. At Monte Video, Captain Willes was literally adored. I
do not think the British would have been seriously molested, for they
had numerous friends in the town, and Captain Willes was not without his
advocates. A pamphlet, shortly after, appeared, said to be written by an
Englishman, exposing the malevolence of the _Centinella_.

The appointment of consuls will prevent these disputes in future. Our
naval officers are not the best diplomatists; they would, as a member in
the House of Commons observed, "much rather fight than write."

Some Germans, in Buenos Ayres, were in a terrible fright, lest they
should be taken for Englishmen, when the supposed work of retaliation
should begin. In complexion and appearance, they much resemble us, and
they nearly all speak English. Germans and Americans are all denominated
Englishmen by the natives; they cannot find out the distinction.
A Creole boy once told me, that he supposed every body to be my
countryman, that could say, _How do you do?_ in English.

In the little disagreements that take place on the beach between the
sailors and the natives, the term _English brute_ is always applied to
the former. These disputes are rare, for our sailors do not mix much
amongst them.

Mr. Woodbine Parish, the British consul-general for Buenos Ayres,
seems well adapted for the station he fills: his manners are mild and
gentlemanly. The two vice-consuls, Messrs. Griffiths and Pousset,
share in the same praise; the latter, in countenance and figure, much
resembles the royal family; if he were a trifle more portly, one might
fancy him the Duke of York.

The different states of this part of South America, such as Entre Rios,
Cordova, Santa Fe, Mendoza, &c. sent Members, to attend the congress in
Buenos Ayres, empowering the government to act for them in the treaty
with England; which, after considerable discussion, has been signed and
ratified. Mr. Parish, attended by the vice-consuls and other gentlemen,
went in state to pay his respects to the governor upon the occasion. The
reception of the consul was, of course, flattering: the flag was hoisted
at the fort, and a gun fired. The clause which caused most debate in the
congress, was that of religious toleration. Some of the members seemed
alarmed. It was, however, allowed, with free liberty for Protestants to
build their own places of public worship. This is something gained from
ancient prejudices. I have not, however, a high opinion of English
devoutness in Buenos Ayres. We have now a sort of prayer, or methodist
meeting, held in a private house. A captain of a Liverpool brig brought
out some religious tracts, which he circulated, and hoisted the Bethel
flag in his vessel: I fear he found Buenos Ayres an uncongenial spot for
those subjects.

Another article in this treaty which has given general satisfaction, is,
that no British subject shall be compelled to military service. In any
disputes upon this topic, the British have been the only foreigners
who have stood forward to resist it; the others have remained passive

On Sundays and holidays, the British and American consuls hoist the
flags of their respective nations from the tops of their houses. The
Buenos Ayres flag floats by the side of the American: Colonel Forbes,
like a skilful manager, studies the taste of the town.

I have noticed, that many of my countrymen, in their desire to visit
their native land, still talk of returning to Buenos Ayres. They
certainly must feel some attachment to a country in which they have
lived happily for a series of years. Eight or ten years of absence from
home makes a great alteration amongst our dearest friends; some are
dead, and others are absent, or indifferent. In England, too, every one
must be content to mix with the crowd.

A great many of the English are perfect masters of the Spanish language,
having obtained their knowledge of it by a long residence in the
country, and by coming to it at a very early age. I have been surprised
at the quickness with which English children learn it: in a few months
they are able to carry on a conversation, whilst those of riper age take
years to attain it. When a man gets near thirty years of age, he feels
little inclination to study languages.

In mentioning any thing of the English females in Buenos Ayres, I feel
a delicacy bordering on timidity, and ought to recollect the homely
proverb, "The least said is the soonest mended." Certain, however, it
is, that, with some exceptions, they are not a fair specimen of our
country. Those placed in the higher circles are few in number, and
appear to be amiable women, as are many whom I will take the liberty of
calling the second class; but with respect to the lower orders, I can
only say, that I have been more than once reminded of the neighbourhood
of St. Giles's. In reply to some remarks of a Spanish lady, I mustered
courage to tell her, that, in spite of all the charming women of Buenos
Ayres, we had those at home who equalled, if not far surpassed them; of
which I would speedily convince her, could I, with Harlequin's wand,
waft her to my country, where they may be seen in all their charms of
beauty and splendour; and that the few who traversed the ocean, formed
no criterion, a voyage to South America being rather a serious
undertaking for a lady.

In commenting upon the dowdy appearance which some of the British
females make in this country, I am not singular;--all my countrymen
converse upon it, and join me in my opinion.

Families should never think of bringing pretty unmarried servant girls
with them from Europe; they are almost sure of losing them. Be the girls
ever so determined, they will find a difficulty in resisting the offers
of marriage from the numerous English bachelor mechanics, who are at a
sad loss for wives:--a Spanish wife is not to their taste. Therefore,
those who wish to keep their servants, must choose the ugliest they can
procure--something that may be an antidote to the warm passions of
our English Damons. An importation of British females with tolerable
personal charms would answer here, as well as in many other places
abroad. I wish some adventurer would beat up for recruits amongst the
nursery maids at the west end of the town in London; it would be an
excellent speculation, and serve the poor girls into the bargain.

Several Englishmen have married Buenos Ayrean ladies; and, from all
accounts, they do not repent having done so. The worst of it is, in
marrying into Spanish families, one may be said to marry all the family,
for they expect to reside under the same roof. The English resist this,
and with success: the good sense of their wives will make them conform
to our ideas; yet the parting of a beloved daughter from the paternal
roof must be a painful task for parents, whose only consolation is in
yielding her to the arms of the man she loves.

Englishmen married to Spanish females have been, in a degree, obliged to
conform to the Catholic ceremonies of marriage. The over-scrupulous will
start at this; but, if they have ever been in love, they will readily
conceive that these oaths of form may be swallowed with as much ease as
many of the absurd ones of our Custom-House. The difference of religion,
in liberal minds, cannot in any way disturb domestic harmony: we differ
only in forms.

So great were religious prejudices not many years ago, that a lady would
have hesitated, and her family interfered to prevent a marriage with one
of "heretic creed." The alteration is a credit to their understandings;
it evinces that they are neither bigots nor fanatics. A generation of
children are now springing up, half English, half Creolian, speaking
both languages; their fathers teaching them English, their mothers
Spanish. Could we look a few years forward, and see these youngsters
grown to maturity, loving the land of their birth, and having a yearning
towards that of their fathers, what important consequences may not
result, in cementing friendships between nations that once regarded each
other with a rooted dislike.

Englishmen who have married in this country, I should presume, intend
making it their adopted land. It is an alternative that would cause
me to pause: I could not consent to lose the hope of again seeing my
paternal home. Now, if I could fancy such an event, as taking my Buenos
Ayrean wife with me to London, lodging her in some fashionable mansion
near Grosvenor Square, or in the Square itself--visiting the Opera and
all the Theatres--pointing out to her Rossini, Catalani, our Braham,
Stephens, Kean, and Macready, and explaining their different talents,
poor Rosquellas, and the Señoras Tani, would be quite forgotten; and,
instead of a ride on the Barracca Road, or to San José de Flores, San
Isidro, &c. conducting her along the Queen's Road to Putney, Richmond,
or Windsor--taking a stroll with her in Kensington Gardens--Heavens!
whither will my imagination lead me? and why cannot I persuade some
kind-hearted Creolian to give me his daughter, and two hundred thousand
dollars, in return for the fond love I should lavish on her?

The marriages of English people have been performed by captains of
vessels of war, or in the presence of two or three merchants, whose
signatures are said to be sufficient acts of parliament. The residence
of a consul will obviate some of these difficulties.

The British community, in Buenos Ayres, lost one of its chief ornaments,
by a melancholy suicide, which took place in December, 1824--that of
Mr. Dallas, who cut his throat with a razor: disappointment in business
is stated to be the cause. He has not left his equal in Buenos Ayres;
his character fully warranted that expressive term in the English
language--a perfect gentleman.

The death of Mr. Rowcroft, in Peru, caused infinite regret amongst
the British in Buenos Ayres, by whom he was much respected. He was,
probably, the first alderman of the city of London that ever crossed the
Andes. It was hard to meet his death by the bullets of foreign soldiery.
It is some consolation, that accident alone caused the fatal affair. It
is said, that he was taken for a Spanish officer, Mr. R. being clothed
in his uniform as Colonel of the City Light Horse, a dress he appeared
particularly proud of.

A son of Sir Robert Wilson arrived here, and went to Peru; but he soon
returned, and went to the Brazils, in order to join his father's friend,
Lord Cochrane.

Amongst my countrymen in this city, may be found some very eccentric
characters, who would be accounted originals even at home.

Who has visited Buenos Ayres without having heard of the noisy drunken
Englishman, Jack Hall, the Caleb Quotem of the town, and who, in
appearance and dress, looked as if he had just escaped from Newgate.
Poor Jack died in July, 1824, and was carried to the grave in his own
cart, which had, for a series of years, borne so many of his countrymen
to their last abode, and on that account was called "the English
hearse." Hall was a Jack of all trades, painter, glazier, whitewasher,
&c. &c. The Spaniards, when he first arrived amongst them, viewed him as
a prodigy.

Irishmen naturalized into American citizens, or what are called "Irish
Yankies," from time to time pass through Buenos Ayres, on their route to
different parts: I have known several. It is heart-rending to think,
that political events should thus have estranged men from their native
country, and made them its bitterest enemies. It is true, they "rail
against a rock they cannot pull down." If an excuse can be found for
them, it is that the hopes of their youth have been blighted, and that
oppression has made them aliens to their native land. North Americans
remark, that those who abuse Great Britain most in the United States
are our own countrymen. I believe it; and in the falsification of their
long-told predictions of England's downfall, there is a wider field
opened for their hate, and to brood upon what is to happen to ill-fated

As regards some Irishmen whom I have known (or, if it must be so, "Irish
Yankies"), I sincerely regret that I cannot embrace them, take them by
the hand, and call them countrymen. I have noticed them to be men of
warm imaginations; and when listening to any detail of Irish intrepidity
in the French war--and where is it that Irish blood has not flowed in
torrents for the cause of Great Britain?--their hearts appeared elated,
and they knew every Irish officer who had distinguished himself; they
spoke of his deeds with rapture, and, for the moment, assumed their
natural character of British subjects;--for, say what they will, a man
feels little enthusiasm in the glories of any nation but his own. I
congratulated one upon the change in his ideas:--he started; "No," said
he, "I regret not the past; I am, and ever will remain, an American

       *       *       *       *       *

There are three NORTH-AMERICAN mercantile houses--Mr. Ford; Zimmerman
and Co.; and Stewart and M'Call. The residents are few, excepting
the casual visitors. I find a difficulty in distinguishing them
from Englishmen, though a Creole friend of mine pretended to do it,
describing the Americans as generally wearing white hats, spectacles,
and carrying a stick. This observation I afterwards found tolerably
correct. We laugh at their phrases--"I guess,"--"I calculate,"--"I
expect," &c.; and they retort upon our continual use of "You know,"
in conversation. It will be well for the two nations, if their future
differences consist only in laughing at each other's peculiarities of

The North Americans carry on a considerable trade in this river, and
have brought some valuable cargoes from China and India. Flour, lumber,
a few dry goods, soap, &c. are their general import; salt vessels also
arrive from the Cape de Verd, which article is at times very profitable.
Now and then the domestic manufactures of North America are brought to
this market; but the profit of them, if any, must be very small. The
immense capital, machinery, and talent of England, must for a long time
give her the advantage over every other nation; and as regards North
America, I should not suppose it would answer her purpose to divert
her population from the health-inspiring pursuits of agriculture to a
pernicious manufacture. Their chief commerce is in flour; and owing
to one or two bad harvests in this province, the advantages have been
great. It has been sold at thirty dollars per barrel; the cost in North
America being only seven or eight. During the year 1823, upwards of
70,000 barrels of flour was thus imported into Buenos Ayres. For a
country so luxuriant in soil to be dependent upon foreigners for bread,
appears strange; but agriculture is yet young in South America.

The North-American trade is mostly carried on in ships with supercargoes:
the captains are a superior set of men. But few English ships arrive;
they are nearly all brigs, commanded by our roughest seamen: but these
brigs often contain valuable cargoes. The Americans manage to run about
the world with small cargoes. A number of their vessels come here for
the purpose of being sold and broken up; which seems to be a good
speculation, if we may judge from the number hauled upon the beach for
that purpose: those ships that cut such a dashing figure at first sight,
have only "a goodly outside, but are rotten within."

The circumstance of North America having been the first to acknowledge
the independence of this province has not insured to her any particular
commercial privileges. In a coffee-house, one evening, I witnessed a
serious debate amongst some Creolians; one of them, in the heat of
argument, asserted that the acknowledgment by North America was of no
more consequence to the state, than if the province of Santa Fé had done
so. The acknowledgment by Spain and England is what materially interests
them: North America, however, has decidedly paved the way for this.

Although there are a great many North-American mechanics, yet we find
very few of them have shops of their own in Buenos Ayres. In the
manufacture of boots, shoes, hats, &c. as well as dry goods, they must
yield the palm to us. In the stores, a preference is given to English
hams, cheeses, &c.; but I have tasted American articles of this
description, of good quality. The Americans, aware of the partiality,
pass off many of their goods as English; and I have purchased American
soap with the British crown impressed upon it.

Perhaps in no part of the world has such a marked distance been kept
between Americans and Englishmen as in Buenos Ayres; but this, I rejoice
to observe, is subsiding. Both parties are to blame. The English are
said to be the most conceited nation on earth; it may be true, but our
North-American friends have a touch of that quality likewise. When told
of this; their reply, that "their vices they inherit from us; their
virtues are peculiarly their own."

Mr. Rodney, the minister from North America, departed this life on the
10th of June, 1824. His death was sudden, from an attack of apoplexy.
The evening previous to his decease, he had a large assemblage of
visitors at his house. He was a plain republican of the old school, and
much esteemed by all parties: he has left a large family. The government
of Buenos Ayres evinced the most marked respect to his memory.[12]
Colonel Forbes is the Secretary of Legation: he has been in Buenos Ayres
since October, 1820, and acted as agent to the United States till the
arrival of Mr. Rodney.

  [12] The following are extracts from the decrees issued by the
  government on the occasion:--

  "A sepulchral monument, at the expense of the government, shall be
  raised over the remains of the Honourable Cæsar Augustus Rodney, as a
  memorial of gratitude.

  "In the funeral rites to be observed towards so distinguished a
  citizen, the following orders shall be executed. A Battalion of
  Infantry, with four pieces of Light Artillery, shall be stationed at
  the place where the body is to be buried. As the corpse leaves the
  house of his decease, the fort shall fire a national salute. Another
  similar salute shall be executed by the Light Artillery, on the entry
  of the corpse into the cemetery. On putting it into the grave, the
  battalion being formed, shall fire a general discharge.

  "The general staff of the army, and the chiefs of all the departments,
  shall be invited to meet at the house of the government, to accompany
  the ministers during the said funeral rites."

  The funeral was the grandest thing of the sort ever seen in this
  country. A great concourse of people of all nations attended, on
  horse and foot; not the least remarkable of whom were the Catholic
  clergymen. In the detail published of the ceremonies, we read the
  following observations:--

  "In addition to the civil authorities who attended, it was peculiarly
  pleasing to all the Protestants, to observe the public respect shewn
  by the attendance of the head of the church, and many of the most
  distinguished Catholic clergymen, the Rector of the University,
  &c.; proclaiming, in the most unequivocal manner, the increasing
  liberality of this Catholic people. They had, before, kindly granted
  the Protestants the privilege of a burial-ground; and on this
  occasion they attended, with the greatest respect, to all the
  exercises of the funeral, and mingled their sympathies with our's.
  Their high-minded example in this instance is at once indicative
  of the elevation and nobleness of their character, and worthy the
  imitation of Christians of every name and country."

  Mr. Rivadavia made an oration over the grave; the concluding words
  ran thus:--

  "Illustrious soul of Cæsar Augustus Rodney! return to the bosom
  of thy Creator, with the elevation and confidence to which you
  are entitled. Being his image here on earth, separate not thy
  compassionate regard from this country, which is so highly honoured
  in preserving your remains. Yes, we will preserve them, as the most
  precious treasure that this soil can receive." [_Taking some earth in
  his hand._] "And thou earth! that art going to cover these venerable
  remains, receive also the honour of being mingled with the most
  fruitful seeds of virtue, and cause it to produce similar heroes,
  that may immortalize the American name."

       *       *       *       *       *

The FRENCH are numerous in Buenos Ayres; report says, they are equal in
number to the British, but I do not believe it. Their trade here, what
there is of it, must be advantageous: they bring every requisite for the
ladies' toilet; fans, silk stockings, perfumery, scented waters, gloves,
jewellery, and those nic-nacs in which the French so much excel. Some
shops make a great figure in French goods, as silks, shawls, and every
essential to gratify female taste. Roquin, Meyer, & Co. is the chief
mercantile French house; but there are numbers of Buenos Ayrean and
other firms, that import largely from France, as do also some English

There are many gentlemanly and intelligent men amongst the French
settled in Buenos Ayres; but the mass will not bear a comparison with
the British in point of respectability. Frenchmen themselves allow this,
and laugh at the billiard-markers and waiters of Parisian growth. The
superior class are to be found in the best societies of the city. Their
lively manners and conversation have ever been a contrast to the reserve
of the English; and, as companions, they may be more sought after than
my modest countrymen: a Frenchman is at home in all countries.

The English likewise visit the first families, and give at times
splendid entertainments, or _tertulias_; yet, I have fancied, they
appear more happy when amongst themselves. Their behaviour has been
attributed to pride and many other causes: the French term "_mauvaise
honte_," affords a better solution. Notwithstanding these drawbacks, I
am convinced, the British character is esteemed; and, however the French
may beat us in companionship, they cannot deprive us of that esteem.

The news of Napoleon's death caused great tribulation in French society
at Buenos Ayres. It was some time ere they would believe it; it must be
a trick, they said, of the English; and until the causes of his death
became so well authenticated, expressions of foul play were more than
whispered. Their love for this "man of blood" has ceased to astonish
me: were I a Frenchman, it is probable I should love him too.[13] On
Bonaparte's birth-day, in 1821, I observed the tri-coloured flag, waving
from a French _pulperia_ near the beach. This flag, once so formidable,
and which made every Briton prepare for "bloody fight," now floats
harmlessly in Buenos Ayres, being used as a signal for merchant vessels.

  [13] A translation of O'Meara's work, in French, has appeared in
  Buenos Ayres, with the consequent conclusion, that Sir Hudson Lowe
  must be a perfect brute. In Spanish, we have one or two diatribes
  against the British government, and their tyranny exercised on the
  seas; but the malignity so apparent in the observations destroys their

       *       *       *       *       *

A great many PORTUGUESE are residents of Buenos Ayres, as merchants,
shopkeepers, &c.; they carry on a constant commerce with the Brazils.

The jealousy, bordering upon contempt, in which the Spaniards affect
to hold the Portuguese, is very conspicuous here. At the theatre,
when a Portuguese character is represented, the performer is arrayed
fantastically, strutting about the stage with self-assumed importance,
amidst vehement laughter and applause, as fervent and more boisterous
than that bestowed upon Sheridan's "little cunning Portuguese," Isaac

       *       *       *       *       *

GERMANS, ITALIANS, and, indeed, the natives of all countries, are to be
met with in Buenos Ayres, as merchants, store and shopkeepers, &c.

Mr. Schmaling, agent to the PRUSSIAN _Linen Company_, has lately
established an extensive mercantile house in Buenos Ayres. The Prussian
cloths and flannels have been bought with much avidity, a preference
being given to them from their being cheaper, and some say better than
our's. Mr. S. sold his cloths 20 per cent. cheaper than the English
could afford to sell. It is hard to be undersold in a foreign market, in
what was once considered our staple commodity. British skill, however, I
have no doubt, will surmount this temporary advantage: the repeal of the
wool tax may be one step towards it.

       *       *       *       *       *

INHABITANTS.--It might be supposed, from the latitude in which Buenos
Ayres is situated, that the faces and general appearance of the natives
would partake of a dusky hue: as regards the male sex, this is certainly
the case, though here and there the reverse is seen. Of the females,
however, many can boast a countenance of roses and lilies, equal to
those of a colder climate. Amongst the mulatto cast, there are some
pretty girls. I have noticed that some distinctions are kept up,
the word _mulatto_ being often used as a term of reproach: this is
illiberal. One or two families of red-haired children are rather
remarkable in a country where the darker hue predominates. I really
thought they were of Scotch extraction, till I was informed to the
contrary. Some scandalous wits have dared to be jocular on the occasion,
asserting that they must be the offspring of Beresford's Scotch
regiment, the 71st, who were here in 1806.

It is rarely we see, in Buenos Ayres, a person marked with the small
pox, vaccination being generally practised;[14] and very few deformed
people. Indeed, the generality of them may be called handsome. The young
men are well grown, possess good figures, and their manners render them
truly agreeable.

  [14] Foreign nations duly appreciate this invaluable discovery. In
  England alone, the birth-place of its immortal author, a portion (I
  believe, a very small one) still persist in denying its efficacy: "A
  prophet is no prophet in his own country."

Faces may be seen here, of female beauty, worthy a painter's study;--the
intelligent dark eye, polished forehead, and persons moulded by grace
itself. England is called the land of beauty, and it deserves its name;
but beauty is not peculiar to England alone. Buenos Ayres contains
within its walls as much loveliness as imagination can dream of.[15]

  [15] Conspicuous amongst the fair-haired beauties of Buenos Ayres, is
  the Senorita Dona Segunda Iglesia. This young lady (and she is not yet
  sixteen) is a perfect Hebe. Dona Isaaca, her sister, two years younger
  than herself, forms a charming counterpart of the fair Segunda.

  Another accomplished and elegant girl, whom we Englishmen have named
  the Marchioness (from her likeness in face to the Marchioness of
  Hertford), attracts much admiration. She is an enthusiast in music:
  at the theatre, when the orchestra performs any of her favourite
  airs, her animated countenance evinces the emotion which this divine
  science inspires.

The stately elegance of walk, for which the Spanish ladies are so
remarkable, is in no place more conspicuous than in Buenos Ayres; and it
is not confined to the upper class--females of all descriptions possess
it; one must therefore conclude it to be an acquired accomplishment. If
my fair countrywomen would deign to imitate them in this respect, and
get rid of that ungraceful postman-like pace they now have, I should
love them all the better.

The inhabitants possess a happy medium between French vivacity and
English reserve. An Englishman feels at home with them; for should he be
deficient in the language, he need not fear that his blunders will be
laughed at. In sickness, they are proverbial for their kind attention,
as many of my countrymen have experienced, preparing every little
delicacy they think will please. It is only to know these people, to
esteem them.

Their happy disposition, and having so few real cares, protect them
from suicide, that calamity which afflicts populous Europe. The future
provision for a family, indeed, scarcely enters their thoughts, in a
country where "a fathom of beef can be purchased for sixpence." This
expression was used by an English "beach-ranger," when trying to prevail
upon some of a Falmouth packet's crew to desert.

Although there may be families who, in the common acceptation of
the term, are well off, yet I do not think there are many who are
extraordinarily rich, that is to say, worth from 30 to £50,000 sterling.
Houses, cattle, and land constitute the best property.

The enthusiasm with which the Spaniards regard the female sex, like most
other things, has, doubtless, been exaggerated. In Buenos Ayres, if they
have not exactly caught this enthusiasm, they have done better: their
attentions are founded on real respect to the virtues of the sex, and
are therefore more likely to last.

The character given to Spaniards of all descriptions for jealousy of
their females, must have been either fabulous, or a great change has
taken place; for nothing approaching to it can be observed in their
descendants here. The gentlemen conduct themselves with the most marked
politeness towards the females, paying them the greatest attention and
respect. I have heard it asserted, that they make negligent husbands. In
every populous city, no doubt, many of this class are to be found; but
those Buenos Ayrean husbands, whom I have the pleasure of knowing, seem
devotedly attached to their wives, behaving with a tenderness not every
day found even in England, that land of domestic felicity.

The ladies appear equal in affection; and are kind and tender mothers.
It is pleasing to see the care and fondness they bestow on their
children. A stranger need not be a day in Buenos Ayres without
discovering this; and such traits speak volumes. They do not follow the
unmotherly practice of putting their infants out to nurse, thinking it
no disgrace to suckle their own offspring. In my opinion, there is as
fair a proportion of married happiness in this city, as can be found in
those that bear a name of being more domesticated.

The compliments of salutation are much the name as in England with the
gentlemen, _viz._ the good old hearty shake of the hand. The French
embrace of the males, kissing each other, is not followed; for which I
am better pleased. Much as I esteem my friends of Buenos Ayres, I wish
no other than female lips to touch my cheek. The salutation of the
females, on bidding adieu for long journeys, or on returning from one,
is kissing and embracing each other: in this respect they differ but
little from British females--perhaps a little more fervent. I have seen
ladies, when returned from a voyage to Monte Video, hug their old black
servant, who has come to meet them on the beach, with all the ardour of
affection, so different from our notions of propriety.

Should a lady be seized with a fit of yawning, she crosses herself with
the most burlesque sanctity. The style in which they cross themselves,
requires a rehearsal to understand it: they touch the cheeks, chin, and
bosom, quick, with the thumb, or, as a military man would denominate it,
"in double quick time."

A very pleasing practice exists, of giving flowers to visitors, as a
mark of respect: some fair lady hands a rose or tulip. I recollect, a
charming girl gave me a rose, a few days after my arrival, and my vanity
was not a little gratified by it; and I felt some mortification in
finding it was only the common civility of the place.

Smoking segars is a general practice--I might almost add, with men,
women, and children; the ladies of the better class always excepted,
though report says, they will, in secret, take the luxury of a segar. I
hope report has erred in this respect--indeed, I think it has; for such
an outrage against my English feelings, as a Buenos Ayrean lady smoking,
would abate much of the enthusiasm I feel for them. In the male sex I
like to see it; and the pleasure it seems to afford, has repeatedly made
me regret that I am no smoker. Here boys of eight, nine, and ten years
of age, may be seen smoking.

The English soon get into the fashion; and most of them are as fond of
the segar as the natives, who are smoking from the time they get up,
until they go to bed. If they ride on horseback, a segar is in their
mouths. Should they want a light in the streets, it is only to stop the
first person they meet smoking, to obtain one. I have often smiled to
see a first-rate Creolian dandy lighting his segar from that of some
dirty black fellow.

Havannah segars are the favourites; but they are dear, and not at all
times to be had in perfection. The paper ones, or segars de Hoja, made
from the tobacco-leaf, are mostly used, and by many preferred. The
manufacture of them affords employment to a great many people, including

So refined are their ideas of politeness, that a person smoking
invariably takes the segar from his mouth, when passing another in the

In another branch of politeness, Buenos Ayres is not outdone, even by
Paris itself; _viz._ the constant custom of taking off the hat, when
meeting each other in the street. The English mode of touching the hat
is too groom and footman-like, to be followed here: their's is taken
entirely from the head; and, when in compliment to ladies, they remain
uncovered until the objects of their politeness have passed. It is
managed gracefully--removing the hat from behind, similar to those
who are accustomed to wear wigs; it may be, to save the fronts from
dilapidation, which such continual calls on them would occasion.[16]

  [16] I remember once meeting a Frenchman at Paris, whom I had known at
  London in rather indifferent circumstances. He had obtained an office
  in the palace of the Thuilleries; and, upon my congratulating him
  thereon, he said, that it was all very well, except the d----d hat
  business. On asking for an explanation, he stated, that, being a
  public officer, he was obliged to take his hat off so often, that it
  cost him £30 per annum for that single article.

The plant called _yerba_, the growth of Paraguay and the Brazils, is
the tea of Buenos Ayres. They drink it out of a small globe, to which
a tube is fixed, nearly as long as our tobacco-pipe; it is called the
matté-pot, and the beverage drawn from the yerba, is the _matté_. These
pots are generally of silver; and they hand them from one to the other,
in drinking--a practice not the most cleanly. When I first saw the tubes
in the ladies' mouths, I conceived they were smoking. Matté has not a
bad flavour, but nothing equal to tea. It is reported by some to be
pernicious to the teeth. In visiting parties it is always handed round.
It carries such an idea of the tobacco-pipe, that I do not much admire
seeing these matté-pots in the hands of ladies.

The general time of meals in Buenos Ayrean families is pretty nearly
as follows:--They have _matté_ the first thing, which they often take
in bed; at eight or nine, they have what we should call breakfast,
beef-steaks, &c.; dinner at two and three; _matté_ at six and seven,
followed often by a supper. The fashionable London hours of breakfasting
at one and two in the afternoon, and dining at eight and nine in the
evening, have not travelled to this quarter of the globe yet. They drink
wine out of tumbler glasses.

The _siesta_, or afternoon nap, is not so regularly taken as formerly:
they have got more into the habits of business, and cannot afford time
for sleeping in the day; and it does away with the remark, that, during
_siesta_ time, nobody is to be seen in the streets, but Englishmen and
dogs. The _siesta_ has its regular season; it is supposed to begin with
the summer season, in October, and end at the close of the summer, or
passion week. The plodding and industrious world cry out against this
practice, as encouraging sloth; but I think a nap after dinner, in warm
latitudes, both refreshing and conducive to health.

Houses are not provided with the convenience of bells: their servants
are summoned either by calling, or making a noise upon the tables. At
meals, the servants and slaves are in attendance at the table.

They retire to rest, in winter, at ten or eleven; in summer, later, as
at this season they enjoy the cool of the evening from the azoteas, or
from seats near the windows.

A walk in the streets on a fine summer's night is not uninteresting,
from the number of ladies walking and at the windows. Evening is the
time devoted by ladies to shopping. A night previous to a holiday or
Sunday, the shops are crowded.

In families of respectability, which have unmarried daughters, weekly
_tertulias_, or public dances, are often held during the winter, which,
they say, are for the purpose of shewing the young ladies off, and
getting them husbands: as I am not in the secret, I only give it as I
hear it.

These dances are got up at very little expence or preparation. One
of the ladies presides at the piano; the refreshments are cakes,
sweetmeats, and liqueurs: a few dollars provides for all; and I like
their plan--it looks more like a friendly entertainment. The sumptuous
repasts provided on such occasions in England, bespeak so much of
ceremony as considerably to mar the pleasure.

On birth-days, compliments are sent and received, with presents of
sweetmeats, &c. and dinners and tertulias are given. Those days are more
kept up than with us; but the itinerant musicians, about the doors, has
a little fallen off lately.

Sweetmeats are much eaten, and by the children in large quantities. In
coffee-houses they sprinkle the toast with sugar: an English child would
call them "sugar-babies." I am not dentist enough to decide whether
this is one of the causes of decayed teeth, so often observed in young
people, and the prevailing malady of the tooth-ache; but persons are
continually seen with their faces tied up for this complaint: it is,
indeed, a disease of the country. Bad teeth is a sad drawback, as they
are both "useful and ornamental;" and the purchase of new teeth and
gums, in Buenos Ayres, would be rather difficult: besides, all the world
must know about it. In London and Paris, such things pass as nothing.

When walking in public, the female rarely takes the arm of a gentleman,
except it be night. This seems to us an unsocial fashion. At dark,
however, the restriction ceases, and ladies will then honour us by
accepting our arm: with married persons this is more common. The
Englishman and his wife, in spite of Spanish modes, are seen trotting
comfortably along the Alameda, on a Sunday, arm-in-arm, as if at home.

Neither is it the fashion for gentlemen to escort the ladies, but to the
theatre, or public places: their visits and shopping are in company only
with their own sex. If a fair lady should wave this rule, and allow
us to proceed by their side for a few streets, it would be the height
of vulgarity to offer the arm. In England we have other notions of

At the ball room, the females sit together, when not engaged in dancing.
During this pause, some gentleman will, with hesitating steps, approach
them, and solicit a lady to waltz, or dance a minuet with him.

The Spaniards pride themselves upon the delicacy and respect with which
they treat the females; and though there are many Spanish customs which
I think "more honoured in the breach than the observance," this is one,
I trust, will last for ever.

The Buenos Ayreans are passionately fond of dancing. Their evening hours
are given to this pastime: in their houses, daughters, mothers, nay,
grandmothers, will enjoy it with all the spirit of youth. To me it is
the most gratifying sight--a proof that age is not always accompanied by
moroseness. I have been delighted to see father, mother, daughters, and
sons, dancing with that apparent happiness, as if life had no other
object but enjoyment.

Walking in the environs of the town, one evening, a family dance
attracted my attention; and I looked through the windows. The ladies saw
me, and the master of the house came out, entreating me to enter, with
the Spanish compliment, "that his house and family were entirely at my
service." He seemed disappointed at my declining the invitation. These
evening family dances are very fascinating.

It is said, a Frenchman, from his gaiety, never gets old; the
observation applies with equal truth to this people. In our peculiar
England, education, climate, and the state of society, render its
inhabitants more thoughtful and care-worn: we regard as frivolity what
other nations consider the essentials of existence; yet, in general, we
are not the gloomy people foreigners would paint us. We can love, and
hate, too, with all or more of the fervour ascribed to warmer climes.

Of the dances, some are pretty. The steps of the Spanish dances have a
great sameness. The ladies appear graceful; but, indeed, when is it they
do not?

The _cielito_, or little heaven, is opened by the parties chaunting a
part of a song all the time in movement, and smacking their fingers
together; it then proceeds to the figure.

The _contre-danse_ is involved in intricacies and positions rather
difficult to a stranger; twisting the arms, and running in and out,
like the game of Thread-my-needle, or, excepting the tumbling part, the
comic dance in Mother Goose. The English contre-danse has more life and
variety both in music and figure.

Waltzing is a favourite: they have not read the lectures of our
moralists upon it, but indulge in the mazes of this luxurious dance.

The minuet dance here is, I think, tame and ungraceful.

The piano forte is the favourite musical instrument; and every
well-educated young lady is supposed to possess some knowledge of it.
I have heard them perform with great taste and skill. The young and
interesting daughter of Don Cornelius Saavedra, Doña Dominga, I thought,
excelled; and, with instruction, would be a proficient. This young lady,
with a countenance just "budding into beauty," has talents, which, if
properly cultivated, will adorn society. Her father, Don Cornelius, was
the first Director of the Province after the Revolution, and one of the
old and respectable families. His manners are very pleasing: in person,
he much resembles a British general officer. Like many others, he has
forsaken the sword for the ploughshare, and resides upon his estate,
ninety miles from town, on the banks of the Parana.

A good piano will sell for 1000 dollars: the English, in this likewise,
take the lead, and those of Clementi, Stodart, &c. are found in many
houses; Miss Saavedra has a fine-toned one of Clementi's. The French and
German pianos do not readily sell.

Male teachers of music (and, on mentioning these, the remark of
Anastasius occurs to me) find good employment in this city, where all
are so musical. An English lady, Miss Robinson, gives lessons on this
heavenly science.

The Consulado musical school-rooms, with the young ladies warbling
there on a morning, repeatedly attract the attention of the passing
pedestrian. At one o'clock, attended by their mammas and slaves, with
music-book under arm, those little syrens trudge home. On one or two
occasions, there has been a public trial of musical skill, a sort of
show-off before their relations and friends.

A musical subscription society, called The Philharmonics, has been
established, and the most respectable natives and foreigners are
subscribers. The vocal and instrumental performers from the theatre
attend there. It is a superior affair, and held in a spacious sala of
what was formerly a prison--the "Coona:" Orpheus has driven away the
ministers of justice.

Using an English phrase, the mothers of Buenos Ayres keep "a sharp
look-out" after their daughters, attending them to public places, and in
the streets. Should the mother, by any chance, be absent, the care is
probably delegated to a slave or servant, who may have their secret
orders whispered to them, as well as other trusty centinels. But cannot
the slave be bribed? If report speaks true, they are so; and the ardent
lover has been ready to embrace the black messenger that has conveyed to
him tidings from a beloved mistress.

Young ladies before marriage are, by some mothers, watched with great
strictness, not unlike austerity. I fear, females here, as well as in
other countries, have often given their hands without their hearts.
"Why did you marry?" said a friend of mine to a lady who seemed unhappy.
"To gain my liberty," she eagerly exclaimed, "as many others have done
before me."

Marriage with the Buenos Ayres female takes place at an early age,
frequently at thirteen and fourteen. Certain it is, they ripen into
womanhood much sooner than those of our clime; and their beauties more
quickly fade. An English female at forty looks as young as a Buenos
Ayrean at thirty. How many charming and attractive women we find in
England at the age of forty; and though I cannot quite agree with our
gracious sovereign in his admiration of "fair, fat, and forty,"
yet I have known, at home, some ladies at that age with charms and
acquirements sufficient to alarm a sensitive heart. In Buenos Ayres
I have likewise seen females whose beauty seems to improve as years
advance; but this is a rare occurrence.

In marriage, the custom of all the family living together seems strange
to English ideas, and we cannot help picturing petty jealousies and
quarrels amongst such a groupe. Custom, however, and their natural
happy temper, free from the corroding cares of more populous countries,
prevent these. I cannot help admiring their happiness in this respect,
and I trust they may long enjoy it. I know the misery I should feel,
were I a father, to see a beloved child depart for ever from the
parental roof.

Married females still preserve their maiden name, conjoined with that of
their husband's. The children by such marriage bear the surname of the
father. The saint's-day on which they may be born provides them with a
Christian name; and, as the Romish church has a saint for every day in
the calendar, the difficulties that the Rev. Mr. Shandy had to encounter
are avoided.

In the lottery of names, people of all classes take their chance. It is
rather droll to hear the black girls addressing each other by the names
of Eugenia, Marcela, Florencia, &c. Some fair ladies bear the pretty
romantic names of Rosaria, Irené, Magdalena, Victoria, Martina,
Fortunata, Celestina, Adriana, &c. whilst others, not so fortunate in
their time of coming into the world, are obliged to be content with the
ordinary ones of Juana, Tomasa, &c. But what is there in a name? a rose
would smell as sweet under any other name.

John is unquestionably the most vulgar of all names; it is worse
than Tom: every body applies it, when unacquainted with one's real
appellation. In Buenos Ayres, a stranger is addressed as "Don Juan." The
Toms and Jacks of the Spanish vocabulary are softened down into Tomas
and Juan.

The Spanish custom, when speaking or writing to an individual, of using
the Christian name instead of the surname, is very pleasing; and as I
am a great lover of the romantic, it will necessarily follow, that I am
more charmed with Don Carlos, Don Henrico, Don Guillermo, &c. than plain
Mr. Smith, Mr. Wilkins, and Mr. Tomkins; and Doña Clara, Doña Dominga,
and Doña Saturnina, than Miss Williams, Miss White, and Miss Brown.

Respectable families think it no disgrace to let lodgings, take in
washing, make and mend clothes and linen: these occupations are not
looked upon as belonging to the inferior orders, as with us. Their
slaves perform the laborious part.[17] I was not a little surprised,
when I first arrived, to have an application from the wife of an Alcalde
to perform any jobs in needle-work that I might have. I concluded the
lady meant to jest. The wife of an Alcalde, a sitting magistrate, to
take in needle-work! thought I. What would the Sir Richard Birnies and
the other sages of Bow-street, Marlborough-street, &c. say to this?

  [17] The washerwomen of Buenos Ayres present a singular spectacle to a
  stranger. They pursue their avocation on the beach; and this soap-sud
  army extends for nearly two miles: all the washing of the town is
  performed there, by black women-slaves, and servants. At a distance
  upon the water, it looks like surf breaking upon the shore. They wash
  well, extending the linen upon the ground to dry. Robberies amongst
  them are punished by ducking. A wedding, or other joyous ceremony,
  is celebrated with African magnificence: a canopy is formed from the
  linen, and the heroine of the day placed under it; red handkerchiefs
  for flags are carried upon sticks, with saucepans, drums, &c. They
  dance pas-seuls, after the mode of Guinea and Mosambique, I presume.
  The music consists of singing and clapping of hands; thunders of
  applause follow--Parisot and Angiolini never received more; a general
  shout ends the entertainments. Their adherence to African customs is
  a peculiar trait. At the approach of rain, confusion seems at its
  height, and "chaos come again;" the ladies hurrying in all directions,
  to save their linen from "the pitiless storm."

Washing is dear--four to ten dollars per month, according to the clothes

Slavery has been abolished here, since the year 1810: those born prior
to that time, remain slaves.[18] The humanity of the Spaniards to their
slaves, compared with other nations, is well known: in Buenos Ayres they
are treated with great kindness. The female slaves are often placed more
on the footing of friends, than either slaves or servants. They attend
their ladies when visiting, seating themselves on the ground in the
room in which their mistress may be, and witnessing the dances that
continually take place amongst the members of families. These slave
girls, in consequence, become quite knowing and accomplished, in
their way; and, from being so much in the fashionable world, imitate
their superiors. I have observed them dance the minuet, and Spanish
_contre-danse_, with great elegance. The men slaves, when deserving,
are treated with equal kindness: it does honour to the humane hearts of
their employers; and I almost adore them for it. In other countries,
it has been my lot to see those unfortunate people treated with
barbarity--even by my own countrymen. No ill effects in the end can
possibly result from kind behaviour to the slaves: in Buenos Ayres,
they appear affectionate, happy, and grateful. Of course, discontented
spirits are to be found; but I speak in a general sense. Of an evening
(though I believe it is not a constant rule), I have seen female slaves
seated in the same chamber with their mistress and family, at

  [18] I heard a slave boy once complaining, that he was a most
  unfortunate fellow, in having been born only one day before the decree
  passed for the abolition of slavery: "Could I have remained unborn,"
  said he, "only one day longer, I should have been a happy boy, and no

Slaves can demand their paper, that is, the deed which binds them, and
seek other employers; and, for cruelty, can allege a complaint with the
_alcalde_. For serious misbehaviour, a proprietor can have them punished
by flogging, &c. There are other chastisements for females.

The men slaves are not numerous; a great portion of them having enlisted
as soldiers.

The English prefer having servants, to slaves, in their houses, and have
purchased but few. Those black gentlemen, in the employ of Englishmen,
have picked up a little of our language, which they are proud of

A great many North-American black men are about the town, and on the
beach; crowding the _pulperias_.

The negroes have great confidence in the effect of charms for different
diseases: they stick a small bean-shell to the forehead for the
headache; another for the tooth-ache, &c. They wear, likewise, round the
neck, a cross, with a piece of leather in the shape of a small morocco
purse, like those sold in London: this is a religious badge.

The excellent and orderly conduct observed by the lower order of people
in the streets, compared with other countries, is very remarkable: no
obscene insulting jests meet the ear; and persons may accompany modest
females in the street, without dread of molestation from the groups of
all descriptions strolling about, who evince towards the stranger every
respect: we cannot but esteem them, for thus contributing to render a
foreigner's abode in this city so free from apprehension.

The riotous noise of the English lower orders is by some called one of
the evils of liberty, and I could not consent to curtail that liberty
even to purchase civility from them. I should, however, be glad if they
would condescend to copy, in some degree, Buenos Ayrean manners. I do
not wish them to be servile--good manners is not servility; but to
moderate that effusion of liberty, descending sometimes to ferocity.

Drunkenness is not a vice of this country; the rabble of blacks and
porters are at times so. The mechanic employs his spare hours with
the guitar: on a summer's night, the doors and windows are open, when
they are to be seen singing, and dancing, and smoking the segar. My
countrymen of the same grade, at home, prefer the comforts of society
in a public house, where they can, over their grog and song, damn the
ministers and taxes, swearing that they are true-born Britons, back and

From the orderly conduct observed in the streets of Buenos Ayres,
a stranger would suppose it a most moral city; we have no drunken
disorderly females, creating abhorrence and disgust. Intrigue is common
enough, but then it is modestly managed: besides, a lady's frailty is
not considered an offence so heinous as in our scrupulous England; more
compassion exists for the lovely sinners. Here are no crim. con. actions
to amuse some amorous judge and counsel, and inflame the passions.

This country has its portion of beggars, who are, at times, very
annoying, besieging the court-yards, &c. The best way to get rid of
them is to exclaim "_Perdone por Dios!_" (pardon for God's sake). This
expression, singular as it may appear, seldom fails in its effect; but
"_Perdone por Dios!_" would have but little chance amongst the sturdy
beggars of Europe.

The operation of lousing, so common in old Spain, is followed here, in
a degree, amongst a particular class. It is a most unseemly sight, for
female fingers to perform the office of combs.

A great aversion used to exist to reside in a house in which a person
had died of a fever, until it was thoroughly cleaned.

A savings bank has been established, upon the English plan; I doubt
if it will suit the meridian of Buenos Ayres: they are too careless
of to-morrow. If beef was one real per pound, their ideas would be
different; the labourer would be more industrious, and not refuse to
work on a rainy day, which is the case now. A tolerable sum has been
collected for the savings bank.

A propensity to gaming exists with the Buenos Ayreans; I mean with the
male part. The vices of London's fashionable dames, in this respect, are
not followed by the fair that inhabit the banks of La Plata.

There are no houses publicly appropriated for gaming, the government
having discountenanced this: but what can impede the infatuated
gamester? A few nights after my arrival, I visited a gambling-house;
they were playing a game like those of our E.O. tables. The police
entered;--I thought they were going to take us all into custody, in
the London mode; but they were more considerate, and only took the
principals: several Englishmen were in the room. If I am correctly
informed, Buenos Ayres contains individuals who, in the management of
the dice-box, might cope with gentlemen in the parish of St. James,
which some South American deputies, resident in London, can vouch for.

Even the boys of Buenos Ayres have a _penchant_ for gambling; especially
the milk-boys, who often go home _minus_ the day's receipts.

Bathing in summer by all classes, particularly the ladies, is one of
the fashionable recreations of the place; and as regards the latter, a
stranger is not a little interested; for here are no Ramsgate, Margate,
or Brighton machines, to shield them from prying eyes. They use bathing
clothes, and the operations of undressing, dressing, &c. are managed
with great dexterity.

They bathe in front of the town, attended by their female slaves. I have
often smiled to see them splashing about the water, with their hair
dishevelled, like a groupe of mermaids, wanting but the comb and glass
to make the picture perfect. At dark, the scene continues, and not being
exposed to the unhallowed eyes of man, they give a loose to joy and
merriment. Many lanterns are lighted, and the quantity of them convey
an idea of a Chinese festival. Bathing machines would be a great
accommodation, as it is necessary to walk nearly a quarter of a mile to
get out of depth; and, except in some parts, the bottom is stony and
disagreeable. It is altogether a wretched place for bathing.

Some _soi-disant_ modest persons (foreigners) take occasion to censure
this fashion of the females bathing, denominating it indecent. The
assertion is hardly a fair one. It has long been the custom; and such is
the circumspection used, that a bathing machine could scarcely add to
the decorum of the scene. Some grotesque scenes sometimes occur, such
as the lower orders of women bathing and smoking the segar at the same
time. Umbrellas are at times used to shade off the sun. No respectable
person ventures near the place occupied by the bathing females.

       *       *       *       *       *

DRESS.--In their attire, the gentlemen of Buenos Ayres follow the
English fashion, except that they have not had the folly to imitate us
in our French short-tailed coats, which were only worn by porters and
oyster-men when I was in England. From the summer's heat, jackets and
light trowsers are worn, with straw hats, particularly those singularly
shaped ones from Chili. It is not genteel to wear jackets at the
theatre, or at parties. From November to March, light clothing is very
agreeable, except now and then during some days of cold.

In England, they would smile to see the dress of the boys in Buenos
Ayres; they have long coats, capotes, large hats, Wellington trowsers,
and boots; and this for children of eight and nine years of age, who
look like men of Lilliput.

The dress of the Buenos Ayrean ladies, I think, includes all that is
charming in female attire. The street dress is enchanting, equal to that
of our ball-room. White is the prevailing colour. The waist is neither
so short as the French, nor so long as the English. Shawls of all
descriptions are worn; some of them serve both for veil and shawl,
covering the bosom, and hanging loosely over the back part of the head:
the face is never concealed. In fine weather, they throw the shawl
entirely from the head, and walk the streets in conscious beauty,
heedless of the admiring eyes that will, in spite of resolution, turn
to gaze at them, as fancied beings of another sphere. Many times I have
done this, and found it impossible to withdraw my eyes, till distance,
or the fear of being observed, has obliged me. Those provoking fair ones
wear the frock and petticoat of that shortness, as just to expose enough
of the leg and ancle to increase the temptation. The persons of some of
them are symmetry itself.

So eager are the Buenos Ayrean ladies to display advantageously their
pretty feet and ancles, that they wear such tight shoes, as must cause
them infinite pain, which is evident from the limping manner in which
they are often observed to walk.

The ball dress is similar to that worn in the theatre; there may be
more of ornament, but some young ladies whom I could name want "no more
diamonds than their eyes can give."

Some ladies change their dress three and four times in a day.

The greatest attention is paid to the hair, which is suffered to grow to
a considerable length, and is fastened by a comb behind, with ringlets
in the front. Caps or bonnets are never worn, even in extreme old age.
The elderly lady has her white locks as carefully combed as when in
youth; and the same peculiar style of managing the veil. They have not
recourse to powder, or other disguises, to hide the approach of age. In
company, they are exceedingly free and talkative, and very cheerful.
It is a sight not devoid of interest, to see them gliding along, in
their black attire, to church, at which they are the most constant
visitants--the faded forms of what was once, perhaps, so lovely.

The sable dress worn by the ladies at church, and which I so much
admire, is the ancient Spanish costume, the _basquina_.

The wearing of mourning does not continue so long as with us;
neither are young and handsome widows disfigured by those close and
melancholy-looking caps that we see in England.

I am so charmed with the costume of the Spanish ladies, that I begin to
think my dislike of the cap and bonnet has something of prejudice in it.
If fortune should conduct me again to England, it will be some time ere
I shall fancy those articles of dress. In Buenos Ayres, the sight of
them are my perfect abhorrence: at home, they are more applicable to the

Fans are the ladies constant companions--in the street, theatre, ball,
and chamber; and their style of using them is unique, and, I think,
graceful. They are expensive: I have heard of sixty to seventy dollars
being given for one. The French send a great many, with all the
embellishments so peculiar to that nation.

The dress of the female children displays equal taste with that of
their elders; from which, indeed, there is little difference--the
short-sleeved frock, silk stockings, curled hair, and fan. They walk the
streets with immense importance--the miniatures of those of maturer age.

The children of Buenos Ayres are handsome; many of the female part,
perfect seraphs, bidding fair to fill up the void that time will soon
occasion in those whose charms now so much delight us. I sometimes
look at these little creatures with a feeling almost bordering upon
melancholy, to think that, in a few years, they will replace those who
at this period shine forth in all the heaven of beauty, to be themselves
replaced, another and another race succeeding. Who can prize life, when
our dream of happiness is so short; the vale of coming years so soon
casting its blight upon all our ardent, youthful fancies?

The females are really industrious, making their own clothes, and, I am
informed, the silk shoes they wear: a British lady is lost without the
milliner's aid. One of that profession might answer here, if it were
only for the novelty of the thing.

       *       *       *       *       *

TRAVELLING.--Not many carriages or coaches are to be seen; but they
increase in number. The _callé coché_, or street coach, is much used; it
is drawn by two horses, or mules, with a postillion, and in shape very
much resembles our bakers' carts: the passengers are seated sideways.
Some English merchants and Creoles have carriages after the English
mode; but the nature of the roads and streets does not afford them a
great opportunity to "show off." Morris, an Englishman, carries on a
profitable trade as coach-maker: he is, indeed, the only good one in the

The travelling carriages, that convey families to their estates,
hundreds of miles distant, are heavy cumbersome machines, in the old
Spanish style. A family going to the country is no ordinary sight;
the mules and waggons following with the baggage, and the quantity of
out-riders, slaves, and servants, in _ponchos_ and little dirty hats,
surrounding the carriages containing the ladies and female slaves,
appear like a banditti escorting their plunder.

A gentleman travelling has dirty white leather boots, large spurs,
poncho, slouching hat, pistols, sword, dagger, and knife; he appears a
complete robber captain--in fact, another Rugantino: he has generally
one or two slaves to attend him.

There are post-houses on the road, and those leading to Chili are very
regular. A constant supply of horses and guides are kept; but persons
mostly go on horseback, for the sake of expedition. The journey is thus
made to the Andes in about fourteen days. Crossing the mountains, and
getting to Santiago, in Chili, will take about three weeks, from Buenos
Ayres; but the horse must always be kept at a full gallop. Carriages are
expensive, and very dilatory, but they save a great deal of fatigue.

There are persons in Europe who suppose that horses may be obtained in
South America for the trouble of catching them: but that is not exactly
the case in this province; here they have all owners.

Horses may be bought from 3 to 100 dollars, according to their quality;
a very good one may be had for seventeen dollars. They average about 12
or 13 hands high, and have the tail mostly long. They will endure much
fatigue. Their pace is the gallop, or canter; trotting, the horse's
natural pace, appears quite unnatural here; but we must not include
those trained for the carriage or gig. There are some fine horses in
Buenos Ayres; and by those who have not seen the hunters, the dray, and
the heavy horse of Europe, they will be admired. To tell a native that
horses have been sold in England for 2, 3, 4, and 5000 guineas, would
hardly gain belief.[19] If these animals are cheap here, the keep of
them is dear--from 12 to 17 dollars per month. Hay is not much used:
grass may be purchased from the country, every morning, from the grass
carts that pass through the town.

  [19] Great curiosity was excited by the arrival in the brig Rhoda from
  London, of three English draught horses and a mare, sent out by Mr.
  Rivadavia, as a present to the government. The animals were landed in
  good condition, notwithstanding their having endured a confinement of
  thirteen weeks on board ship. Their great size and muscular appearance
  excited universal admiration. What would the Buenos Ayreans say, could
  they see our regiments of Life-Guards, and heavy cavalry, and the
  cattle in the brewer's drays and coal waggons? An English groom
  attended the horses to the stables, and numbers went to view them

  I am afraid, that the sanguine hopes of improving the breed of
  horses, in this country, by the introduction of English ones, will
  not be realized; for, in spite of their boasted climate and pastures,
  I am persuaded, neither will be found congenial to our horses, who,
  being accustomed to the ever-verdant plains of England, can ill bear
  the long drought and oppressive heat of this country. The people,
  too, are prejudiced in favour of their own cattle; and were they to
  pay attention to them, they would indeed be excellent; but their
  treatment of horses may be compared to the manner in which Esquimaux
  treat their dogs. Comfortable stabling and grooming are unknown here.
  Horses are so cheap and plentiful, they are little valued.

  Some English blood horses, for Mr. W. P. Robertson, of this place,
  unfortunately perished during the passage from England. Had they
  arrived, the Buenos Ayreans might have witnessed the hunter and
  draught horse of Great Britain. Our countrymen in Buenos Ayres seemed
  highly delighted to see their country horses; and, as they passed the
  beach, the sailors eyed the animals with rapture, commenting upon
  their noble appearance.

  A quantity of English sheep, stated to be Merinos, likewise came out
  in the Rhoda.

They have no convenience like the livery stables of England. The
horses are put under a shed, or left in the open air; the mild climate
requiring no other care. Those employed in drudgery with carts, at the
custom-house, &c. are as hard worked as our post and hackney-coach

English saddles are in vogue. The _ricado_, or saddle of the country,
keeps its sway, being so constructed that on journeys it serves for
saddle and bed. The Spanish bridle and bit are preferred both by the
English and the natives. The Spanish fashion of having the stirrups long
is invariably followed, and I think it more graceful than our mode.

Silver stirrups, spurs, &c. are not so much in use as formerly. Horses,
bridles, and saddles were repeatedly stolen in the streets; but such
events, from the regularity of the police, do not often happen now.
Every horse has a burnt mark, by which its owner can be traced.

The ladies ride on horseback; but they neither look so well in their
riding attire, or manage the horse so dexterously, as the British

The lower orders of countrymen ride with one toe in the stirrup, and
gallop for miles in that way.

They strap the front of the horses' legs, to prevent their running away,
in the streets. Galloping is not permitted in the town.

The country waggons are roofed with hides, and have large wheels: the
creaking of the latter is very disagreeable; but they will not take the
trouble to grease them. Whole families and parties, going long journeys,
live and sleep for weeks or months together in waggons drawn by oxen.
Six or eight of them are yoked, in pairs, to a log of wood at the back
of the horns, to which the rope harness is tied, and they are thus made
to draw the burthen from the head. They are urged on by poles with a
sharp substance at the end: the drivers have likewise a piece of lead,
in shape and size like our constables' staffs, with which they belabour
the poor animal about the horns. They sadly want a Mr. Martin here. From
being so constantly goaded, these animals have got a mischievous trick
of kicking; and, not being aware of them, I once received a favour of
this sort, which has since made me (to use the sailor's phrase) "give
them a wide birth."

       *       *       *       *       *

SPORTS and AMUSEMENTS.--Near the Recolator is a decent even road, where,
on fine evening, are horse-races. The natives ride without saddle; and
the animals have great spirit. Englishmen sometimes get up a race, the
natives acting as jockeys.

Exercise on the water is not a popular amusement. The inhabitants have
no taste for sailing-boats and rowing-matches: the river, it is true,
has no very great inducement for aquatic sports.

A particular class of the people are very fond of cock-fighting, and
will give thirty to forty dollars for a good English game-cock. The
packet sailors have brought some out, and sold them well. The native
game-cocks are good, but not equal in strength and courage to the

Greyhounds and foxhounds would come to a bad market, for neither climate
nor country is adapted for hunting. My fox-hunting countrymen would
be out of their element here: foxes there are none; but deer are
plentiful. Athletic sports must be confined to countries more congenial
to them.

The amateurs of shooting would be at home: birds abound so much as
almost to destroy the pleasure of the sport. A short distance from town,
there are lakes, with wild ducks, geese, swans, &c. In cold weather, and
in other periods, flocks fly over the town, and alight near the beach.
The black-necked swans are fine birds; and wild ducks, which are always
an excellent dish at table, are much better than the tame ones: the
market is well supplied with them. There are also excellent partridges,
of a larger size than our's; but there are no pheasants. English
sportsmen, habited in the mode of their country, with fustian jacket,
gun fastened to the horse, and the dogs behind, greatly enjoy this
recreation: they bring to my recollection our sporting farmers of
Gloucestershire and Norfolk, revived in South-America. The Frenchmen
in this country are fond of the sport: they go out, dressed in French
sporting costume, with cap and jacket, and on foot. I have observed
that this amusement is, in a great measure, confined to foreigners; the
natives take very little interest in it. The cockney sportmen of Buenos
Ayres sometimes amuse themselves by shooting gulls on the beach.

The country affords little facility to follow fishing as a sport;
and the fish found in the river, with a few exceptions, is not worth
catching. They fish on horseback. Two horses are attached, one to each
end of the net,--a man standing on their backs, in the manner of one
of Astley's equestrians; and they go so deeply in the water, that the
horses are, at times, obliged to swim. I have expected to see the men
thrown off. The net is then hauled to the shore; the fish that is fit
for the market is taken out, and the rest thrown or given away. People
don't go out fishing at a distance, in boats. The sailors on board the
vessels in the roads catch great quantities of fish, but they are of a
very indifferent kind: one called the cat-fish is the most common.

Throwing the _lasso_ is a favourite amusement of this country, and
is performed by the natives with great dexterity. A man on horseback,
holding the _lasso_ (a rope looped at the end) rides amongst a herd of
cattle, casting the rope towards the object he wishes to entrap; the
first attempt almost always succeeds, and the animal is fast secured by
the leg. They practice this _lasso_ from boyhood: it is a formidable
weapon, against a flying enemy.

An annual fair is held on some open ground, before the Recolator church,
about two miles from the fort, and one mile north of the town. It
commences on the 12th of October (the nativity of Nostra Señora del
Pilar), and continues a week. The amusements are not very great:
there are a few booths for eating and drinking, swings, two or three
humourless clowns running about, and a military band. The national
British and American flags are hoisted from houses and booths devoted to
good cheer, rented for the occasion by individuals of those nations. At
night, the country people dance till a late hour in the booths; they may
be observed to perfection then. I wandered into several; and the Gaucho
ladies and gentlemen behaved with the greatest politeness, offering me
a seat, and entreating me to dance. The guitar was the music, with the
usual accompaniments of singing, and snapping the fingers during the
dance. On fine evenings a very elegant assemblage attend this fair,
which is a promenade for the beauties of the city; but being held
so near the equinox, the weather is generally unsettled. In 1822, a
tremendous storm took place, one night of the fair, overwhelming booths,
flags, and preparations; hundreds took refuge in the church. At the
theatre (in which I happened to be during the storm), the dust filled
the interior, obscuring the stage. The small stones and dust, rattling
against the walls and windows, had the effect of what one might suppose
of a shower of small shot.

The fair at the Recolator, in 1824, as regarded amusements, was very
dull. The promenade, however, was well attended: the _elegantes_, and
others of Buenos Ayres, appeared in their best attire; and the dashing
mulatto girls, in silk stockings, white dresses, and veils, seemed
determined to rival the fair ones of higher birth. As usual, the
equinoctial gales vented their spite at this devoted fair.[20]

  [20] On the second day of the fair, it blew a gale of wind, in which a
  boat, belonging to H.M. brig of war, _Plover_, was upset, between the
  inner and outer roads, and five men were drowned. A subscription was
  opened for their families, in England, and 500 dollars were collected.
  Mr. Poussett, the vice-consul, generously exerted himself to forward
  this charitable act.

During Carnival they have a disgusting practice: in place of music,
masques, and dancing, they amuse themselves by throwing buckets and pans
of water from the tops of houses and windows, sousing every passenger
that passes, and following each other, from house to house, in regular
water attacks. Egg-shells filled with water are also thrown: these are
sold in the streets. The audience, on leaving the theatre the night
before Carnival, get a plentiful salute of them. It lasts three days;
and many persons go out of town to avoid it, as it is hardly possible to
walk the streets without a ducking. The ladies receive no mercy; neither
do they deserve any, for they take a most active part. Repeatedly, on
passing groups of them, at night, an egg of water has been adroitly put
into my bosom. Those whose occupations lead them into the street, must
expect a wetting. Strangers seem to join in the sports with great glee.
An English master of a vessel, just arrived, received a bucket of water.
Not being aware of the practice, he took up bricks, swearing he would
break every window in the house. He could scarcely be pacified. Many
persons have been seriously ill from the effects of Carnival playing.
The newspapers and police have interfered to suppress it, hitherto,
without effect, though it is somewhat lessened. They follow it as an
ancient custom of the country; and, like other absurdities, it will, I
suppose, die a natural death. If the ladies knew how much it detracts
from feminine softness, surely it would be discontinued by them.

In 1825, government seized the opportunity of the victory in Peru, to
devote the three days of Carnival to public rejoicings. Handbills were
accordingly issued, requesting fathers and masters of families to assist
them, and prevent water-throwing, denominating it "disgraceful to a
civilized people." The appeal had, in some degree, the desired effect:
at night, however, the water-playing folks could not resist indulging in
their favourite amusement--sprinkling the pedestrians with water from
phials; especially in the Plaza, where, some mischief-loving girls
managed to accommodate me with some of their favours in this way. In
time, the good sense of the people will banish this, as they have many
other of their antique and absurd customs; for instance, the musical
exhibitions during Lent--a triumph gained by reason over bigotry and

       *       *       *       *       *

PROVISIONS.--The new market, in the centre of the town, is convenient,
and well supplied: soldiers are stationed in the outlets, to keep order.
Beef is sold at three reals the _arroba_, or 25 lb.; mutton, for the
whole sheep, six reals. Veal is not allowed to be killed; and pork is
very bad indeed, and seldom used at table. Turkeys cost from 5 to 7
reals; ducks and fowls, 3½ reals each; partridges and pigeons, 1½ real
the pair: geese are moderate--3 reals each. Vegetables are very dear:
cabbages, one real; carrots, green peas, cauliflowers, spinage, &c. in
the same proportion.

Although the chief articles of life are, at first cost, so cheap, the
expense of fire in cooking makes them come almost, if not quite, as dear
as in England. Coals are imported from England, and are dear.

The beef is good, but much inferior to our's; and their fashion of
always baking it gives it a taste of the charcoal and wood, and renders
it insipid. They have no idea of roasting by the spit. Mr. Booth, an
Englishman, who keeps a store, is noted for having dinners in the
English style.

In summer, meat will not keep beyond the day, and cattle are slaughtered
in the morning for the day's consumption; in winter, the night previous.
In England, meat kept two or three days is supposed to eat more tender;
here, it is the reverse--as report tells me, for I have never been
housekeeper enough to know from experience.

Mutton is indifferent: from some farms, they tell me, good mutton can be
procured, but it has not been my lot to partake of any of this superior
sort. The natives have not much relish for mutton: sheep were, at one
time, of so little value, that, in the country, they were killed, and
used as fuel for brick-kilns. This has improved, and will continue
to do so, from the number of well-stocked sheep farms, that now send
large droves far into the interior for sale. Mr. Halsey, an American
gentleman, has a large concern of this nature.

The poultry bought in the market are not of the best description; they
are in general, diminutive and tough. To have good poultry, it is
necessary for persons to fatten them themselves, or purchase them at
farms that can be depended upon. Ducks are better; the turkeys are
large, and, when properly reared, eat tender; the geese are indifferent.
Partridges are large and tender, and very excellent. The ordinary
poultry, in a manner, live upon beef, for which they seem to have a
peculiar _penchant_. I have seen beef and corn placed before turkeys,
and they preferred the former. In a place where so many animals exist
upon beef, the pig, it may be believed, comes in for his full share.
Indeed, all animals, in this country, appear to live upon beef. The
quantity that is wasted would be most acceptable to the poor in populous

This country is as famous for the quantity of beef produced, as the Cape
of Good Hope is for sheep. A bullock now costs eight dollars, without
the hide; formerly, they could be purchased at ten reals. The hide now
sells for six dollars. Some of the _estancias_ have from forty to fifty
thousand head of cattle of all classes.

An order exists, that beef is not to be sold at more than three reals
the arroba, at market. The year of 1823 was one of great drought, and
the cattle perished by thousands: the beef market was in so terrible a
condition, that scarcely any were to be had, and what there was was very
bad; for cattle could not be brought to market, but at a very great loss
to the owners. The impolicy of a fixed price in an open market, except
when monopoly is apprehended, was fully proved. When any beef came to
market, there was perfect fighting for it with the slaves and servants
of families and others. The poor endured privations with patience: John
Bull would have been more riotous.

Besides the principal market, there are others in different parts of the
town; and beef is sold in carts, that take their stations in yards and
outbuildings, holding a butcher's shop, the ground serving for block.
The first sight of this operation, so different to the cleanliness and
style of English butcher's shops, is sufficient to disgust a stranger.

Salt, or corned beef, is only to be had good in winter, and then it is
nothing like that we get in England. It is only at English or American
tables this dish is to be seen: the natives pretend not to understand
it; I have seen them, notwithstanding, partake of a buttock of beef with
great relish.

A beef-steak is so entirely an English dish, that it preserves in all
climates its original name: they may be had in the coffee-houses here,
but, like the French "_bif-tik_," are no great things.

The Gauchos in the country exist upon beef: bread is a rarity with them.
Having no ovens, they are obliged to roast the beef upon sticks placed
lengthwise. I wish they were under the same necessity in Buenos Ayres; I
should eat it with much better appetite. The true roast beef is only to
be obtained amongst those Gauchos.[21]

  [21] These Gauchos are a peculiar race: some wear their hair long,
  and plaited, Chinese fashion; and, in addition to their other
  singularities of dress, they wear handkerchiefs tied under the chin,
  and hanging loose behind. A group of them in a field, seated round a
  fire, is all we can fancy of Macbeth's witches.

_Carné conquiero_ (beef baked with part of the hide attached), and
_mater ambre_, or kill hunger (baked beef, with sauce _piquant_), is
relished by many here; but I am not one of the number.

The sausages I should like, were it not for the abhorrent garlic in

The dainties of English hams, cheese, potatoes, &c. are bought at the
stores; the two former, at four reals the pound; the latter, one real:
the duties are rather high upon them. Bottled beer may be purchased at
four reals per bottle; and draught beer may sometimes be had. Articles
of the above description are almost wholly imported from England. The
length of the voyage will not permit our rich English cheeses to be
brought here; consequently, we are deprived of the luxury of a real
"Welch rabbit." The Penco cheese, brought from the district of that
name, in Chili, approaches nearest to our toasting cheese.

Bread is dear: two small loaves (a trifle larger than our French rolls),
one madio. They decrease the size according to the price of flour. That
made of American flour is the best. They are, at present, entirely
dependent upon foreign importation; and the Americans have taken away
immense sums of money. The corn of the country, from some unaccountable
cause--a want of attention, or deficient harvests--is nothing equal to
the demand. They generally grind the corn at the bakehouses, which, by a
late order, are removed out of town. Mules are employed in the grinding.

Tea is not much drank by the natives, though more so than formerly. In
English families, it is, as at home, an article of the first necessity;
it sells here from 1 to 1½ dollar per lb. Coffee is 3½ reals per lb.
Lump sugar, dear and scarce; that of Havannah and Brazils is used.
Chocolate, from 2½ to 3 reals per lb.

Altogether, living in Buenos Ayres is much more expensive than in
England, without its various comforts.

Here are wines of all sorts, "from humble Port to imperial Tokay," and
but little good. Port and Madeira are retailed at one dollar per bottle;
champaigne, a dollar and a half. Of French and Spanish wines, there
are great quantities. The cheapest and common drink is the wine of
Catalonia, or, as it is denominated, Carlon wine, which is sold at from
two to three reals per bottle, and is far from an unpleasant beverage.
Not much wine is made in the country; that of Mendoza has a sweet taste,
like our homemade wines.

Beer is only used as a _bonne bouche_. Bottled beer has not that relish
to me, that the London draught porter has. Brandy, gin, and rum, are
abundant. The latter arrives from the Brazils, Havannah, and Isle of
France. The good old Jamaica rum is a scarce commodity. Caña, a sort of
white brandy, from the Havannah, Brazils, and Spain, and called Spanish
brandy, is much drank, and makes capital punch.

The vegetables of this country, to my thinking, are not very enticing.
We miss the delicious flavour of the summer cabbage, large asparagus,
and peas, that we have at home. A good salad, with cucumbers and onions,
may be procured. Turnips are scarce and bad. Indian corn grows in

English potatoes are much sought after: the packet sailors have brought
a great many;[22] and so eager were the English potatoe merchants to
obtain them, that they quarrelled one with the other, and their disputes
were referred to the Consulado, who must have imbibed strange opinions
of the trading English. All efforts to raise potatoes on this soil have
failed: they are small and insipid. An Englishman, Mr. Billinghurst, has
been endeavouring, some years, to effect this object without success.
Those grown at Monte Video are something better. In Peru, they are
thought equal, if not superior, to our's: but our islands appear to be
their home.

  [22] The packet sailors are allowed a portion of trade; and the most
  profitable of their imports have been potatoes and game-cocks. These
  packet sailors are complete pedlars.

The peaches in their season, from January to March, are excellent, and
the consumption great, being esteemed healthy: they are sold in all
parts--in the markets, shops, and hawked about the streets. From eight
to ten can be purchased for a _madio_ (three-pence English money). The
strawberries, apples, pears, cherries, &c. are, for their quality, not
worthy of notice. Grapes are tolerable. Oranges will not thrive in this
climate; and the lemons are very inferior. Gooseberries, currants, and
plums are unknown, except by name. After all the praises bestowed upon
the fruits grown in tropical and warm climates, they cannot, in the
gross, equal those of others. What have they to compensate for the
green-gage, gooseberries, currants, strawberries, cherries, apples,
pears, and plums of every description? Travellers must not believe all
they hear in Europe; they will not find the fields and boughs, in South
America, teeming with every species of fruit, free to those who choose
to gather them.

       *       *       *       *       *

In addition to those already noticed, this country produces very few
OTHER ANIMAL OR VEGETABLE PRODUCTIONS. Indeed, persons who wish to send
presents to England are often at a loss what to forward, the country not
producing any great variety, either in the animal or vegetable world.

The herds of cattle that exist in the Pampas are immense: of this we
can form a tolerably correct estimate from annual exports. In one year a
million of ox and cow hides were exported.

Mules are numerous and cheap; they cost from two to four dollars each.
There is a traffic in them, but not very great, to the Isle of France
and West Indies. The expense of provender and fitting for such a
freight, and the numbers that die during a voyage, lessen the profits
considerably; and vessels will not venture upon each troublesome
shipmates when any thing else offers.

A great many tigers are found up the country, and about the islands of
the river Parana; but they have nothing of the ferocity or terrific
grandeur of the East-Indian tygers: they are, in fact, more like
leopards; and those that I have seen are not larger than a common sheep
dog. They will, however, often attack individuals; and several have been
devoured by them.

The tiger-cats are plentiful.

Buenos Ayres swarms with dogs, and none of them very valuable. An
English bull-dog would beat fifty such. They had an abominable practice
of sending criminals, under a guard, into the streets, armed with heavy
clubs, for the purpose of killing the dogs they met with, leaving the
carcases in the street to rot. Many a pet has been slaughtered this way.
Some more humane method might be devised, to lessen the number of dogs,
than this cruel and disgusting mode: it has been lately discontinued.
Hydrophobia, I conceive, they only know by name, as I have never heard
of any accident from it.

Of the small field animals the nutria, for the sake of its skin, it the
most valuable, and forms a valuable article of export. They are, in
shape, much like rats; but are larger, and have long front teeth
projecting: they are quite harmless.

The _armadillo_ is the South-American hedge-hog, without the prickly
substances they have in Europe: the natives eat them.

Here are, also, the _boscatcha_, or South-American badger; and a pretty
little animal, like a weasel, which is often tamed, and runs about the

Rats and ants are a great annoyance in this country: they swarm in the
houses, and are very active in their vocations. The former are not so
ferocious as the English ones, who often, when retreat is cut off, fight
most ratfully. The Buenos Ayres rats are better educated.

The fire-fly, on summer nights, is seen gliding through the air.

This not being a woody country, the feathered creation presents very
little variety. Here are the canary, cardinal, common sparrow, owls, &c.

About Paraguay, and where it is more intersected, there are some
beautiful birds, including the parrot and parroquet; the latter are
likewise plentiful on the other side of the river, in Entre Rios,

  [23] The parrots brought from the Brazils, Paraguay, &c. to Buenos
  Ayres, differ in nothing from those we every day see in England; and
  they chatter as loudly, generally in the following strain--"_Lorito
  Real_," (Royal Poll); "_Pare la Espana y no para la Portugal!_" (Spain
  for ever and no Portugal); "_Est casada?_" (Are you married?) "_Aye,
  Jesus!_" (O, Jesus!)

Ostriches are very numerous in the Pampas.

The beautiful and scarce little humming-bird, now and then, makes its
appearance among the lowers. I have made several efforts to catch them,
but without success.

This portion of South America, in the summer of 1824-25, was most
seriously annoyed by locusts; the memory of the oldest inhabitant cannot
recollect such a swarm. The air was darkened, and the ground strewed,
with the millions of those devouring insects: a north wind brought them
down from the Parana, like a snow-storm. The fruit trees, plants, &c.
dreadfully suffered. The inhabitants have an idea, that, by ringing
bells, beating tin saucepans, and other noises of this description,
locusts can be frightened away. An easterly wind, rain, and cold
weather, are, I believe, their only destroyers. The months of December,
1824 and January, 1825, were foggy, dry months, the wind constantly
from the north; and, for want of water, a great mortality took place in
the country among the cattle.

Mushrooms and water-cresses are not very plentiful: they are more found
in the neighbourhood of Ensenada; as are also leeches, for which doctors
give a good price.

The flowers reared in this country must likewise yield, in beauty and
sweetness, to our own: we do not see the polyanthus, moss rose, and many
others that strew their beauties over the British isles.

       *       *       *       *       *

POPULATION.--The province of Buenos Ayres, which extends nearly 500
miles in length, with a breadth undefined (perhaps equal to its length),
has only a population of about 150,000 souls; and Patagonia, which is
under the same government, 1000.

It is estimated, that in the population of Buenos Ayres, there are five
females to one male. If this be correct, some ladies are likely to come
under the horrid list of old maids. That more female births take place
in comparison with those of Europe cannot be doubted. I know families of
eight, nine, and ten daughters, and perhaps one son. The causes of such
disproportion, I must leave the natural philosophers to develope.

       *       *       *       *       *

TRADE and MANUFACTURES.--From its extensive produce, Buenos Ayres will
ever command attention in a mercantile point of view.

The exports consist of ox hides of all descriptions, horse hides, horse
hair, wool, tallow, nutria skins, horns, chinchilla skins, salted beef,
and silver in hard dollars and bars.

The quantity of European goods annually imported is very great: I
am surprised how they find vent for them. The cargoes brought from
Liverpool, of manufactured goods, of Manchester, Glasgow, &c. are of
considerable value, often from 70 to 80, and £100,000.

The following is a list of square-rigged merchant vessels that entered
the port of Buenos Ayres in the years 1821, 1822, 1823, and 1824:--

                  In 1821.    In 1822.   In 1823.  In 1824.

  British[24]        128         183        113       110
  American            42          75         80       143[25]
  French              19          21         24        21
  Swedish              7          11          6        14
  Sardinian            3           7          6         6
  Danish               1           1          5        10
  Dutch                2           4          6         8

  [24] Of the British vessels, the following were from London and
  Liverpool; the remainder from Gibraltar, Rio Janeiro, the Havannah,
  &c. &c.

                  In 1821.    In 1822.   In 1823.  In 1824.

  From Liverpool      33          35         23
  From London         10           7          8

  [25] The number of American vessels in 1824, compared with former
  years, is very great. They were chiefly laden with flour, which,
  although now a losing speculation, has, lately, been beneficial.

Under the Portuguese, Brazilian, and Buenos Ayrean flags, brigs and
small craft are daily arriving and sailing from and to Rio Janeiro, and
all parts of the Brazils, Patagonia, and trading in the River Plate, and
up the rivers of the interior.

A number of American vessels are sold, as well as broken up, in Buenos
Ayres, which, assuming the flag of the country, trade with Rio Janeiro,
Rio Grande, Patagonia, &c. Many of them are under the command of
Englishmen and North Americans, who, at no great distance of time will
carry the Buenos Ayrean flag to every part of the world. This country
must for some time rely upon foreigners for their shipping. The
population are not maritimely inclined.

Several persons gain a livelihood by leaving notices, or _avisos_, of
vessels arriving, and their cargoes.

A long report upon the trade of this country has been drawn up by a
committee of British merchants, and presented to the Consul, extracts
from which have appeared in the English newspapers. Great talent has
been exhibited in the detail and writing of this report, although I
think the picture has been too highly painted.

Should the trade of Paraguay be thrown open to Buenos Ayres, it will be
of great advantage. The present Governor, Francia, follows the Jesuits'
system; and Pekin is not more secluded from the inspection of strangers.
Some unfortunate Englishmen, who ventured there with goods, had both
their persons and property detained, and no satisfactory intelligence
has been received of them. In February, 1823, a memorial was sent
to Sir Thomas Hardy, by their friends in Buenos Ayres, entreating
his interference. This memorial has been forwarded to the British
government. It is surprising that the people of Paraguay, a country
so rich in its natural productions should be quiet under such severe
restrictions. One is led to suppose, from their passiveness, that they
are content with the system. Francia, however, has lately permitted
communication and trade with the Portuguese in Brazil; Itapua, on the
frontiers, being the depôt town.

They have no regular exchange for the merchants to meet in, at Buenos
Ayres. A new general Commercial Room is about to be established, to
which persons of all nations will be allowed to subscribe. Some late
regulations of the British Room have given offence; the committee of
which, in derision, have been named "the Holy Alliance," and have had
several anonymous letters addressed to them, upon their aristocratical
notions in a foreign country. The refusal to allow any but British
subjects to subscribe to the Commercial Room, has been much commented
upon; some years back it might have been advisable, but at this period
a more liberal system would perhaps be better.

The Creoles of the country now engage in mercantile pursuits with great
avidity; and commerce has spread into so many hands, that money does not
roll in quite so fast as formerly.

The competition amongst the store-keepers materially diminishes their
profits, and reduces the concern upon a level with English chandlers'

The number of shops in Buenos Ayres is very great; they abound in the
streets leading from the Plaza. Every shop and house has a proportion of
taxes levied upon it: and there is also a species of property tax upon
the English plan. The taxes now imposed considerably diminish the
profits they used to make.

The linen-drapers have a choice assortment from all countries, neatly
arranged. Their shops are well lighted; and although they fall very
short of the splendour of the London ones, yet they are equal to some
of those of our best country towns: they are open till nine and ten at
night. They call the Buenos Ayreans a lazy people: the shopkeepers, at
least, do not merit this epithet.

The shopmen are mostly young men, who appear to have all the persuasive
arts of their brethren in London, prevailing upon their fair customers
to get rid of their money, and subjecting them to a good scolding from
husbands and mammas, for extravagance, leading to pouting and sulks for
a week. Those gentlemen of the shop have a great deal to answer for.

Every article of apparel, both for male and female, can be purchased at
the retail shops, of which there are many: they have coats, waistcoats,
trowsers, &c. hanging in front, in the mode of Monmouth Street. Mr.
Niblett was the first Englishman that opened a shop of this description.
A great many Englishmen have their clothes sent from England: but the
duty and incidental expences make them come as dear as if made here.

Buenos Ayres contains several English tailors, whose work is tolerably
well, considering they have not English workmen; although not with that
exquisite finish which is to be seen in London. A coat will cost thirty
dollars, trowsers twelve; the rest in proportion. The town swarms with
Creolian and other tailors.

Manufactories for hats exist in Buenos Ayres: one of them, Varangot's,
has a considerable trade, and they are really good, from seven to eight
dollars each, far superior to our second-rate hats; the misfortune is,
that on the approach of rainy weather they act as a perfect barometer,
and get limp.

Of the hats imported into Buenos Ayres the English are preferred; but
the heavy duty has brought out those of an inferior description. At
present, there are some good ones at ten or twelve dollars each, which
at that price meet with a ready sale. The French import a quantity of
hats; but the quality of them is much inferior to our's.

English manufactured goods are cheap; the market has been overstocked,
and, I fear, does not yield much profit to the adventurers. I have
bought English stockings cheaper than I could buy them in London,
leather gloves (a good pair) for a dollar. It is cheaper to purchase a
stock of linen here than at home. I have purchased good white cotton
neckcloths, after the rate of sixpence each. In summer, cotton shirting
is preferred.

English saddles and bridles are imported largely; we thus return them
their own hides, manufactured into choice and costly goods. Of the many
saddlers' shops, several are kept by Englishmen; as also watch-makers,
with loads of English watches.

All sorts of hardware, as knives and forks, and scissars, are imported
from England, and can be obtained at a cheap rate; also furniture, such
as tables, chairs, &c. Of the latter, the North Americans bring great

India goods are sought after, particularly the China crape shawls.

Articles of stationery arrive from every quarter: Spanish writing-paper
from Gibraltar and the Mediterranean, and I think it of better quality
than ours, at least more pleasant to write upon.

Barbers' shops are in great abundance.

At the _pulperias_, or grog-shops, they sell almost every article of
life; they are, indeed, perfect chandlers' shops.

The pastrycooks neither cut a figure in their shops, nor in the articles
they sell; here are no hot buns or tarts on a morning, nor stale pastry
for the ragamuffin boys to purchase. Sweetmeats are the order of the

A pastrycook's shop in the English style, I am confident, would
succeed--with the addition of hot rolls in the morning: none of those
luxuries are known here.

A good portrait-painter, I conceive, would meet with encouragement in
Buenos Ayres: at any rate they would have a fine field for study. An
English artist, named Hervé, practised some months: indisposition forced
him to leave.

It had occurred to me, that a pawnbroker would be a good business in
Buenos Ayres; but I find every shopkeeper, or monied person acts in that
capacity, and that respectable persons do not hesitate to send silver
spoons, matté-pots, and other valuables, to pledge from day to day--at
what interest (or if any) I know not, though I am apprehensive some of
them are guilty of what we should call usury. Poverty is a crime in
England; here they dread not exposure: but such is my delicacy in money
affairs, I should prefer being under an obligation to the gentlemen
with three balls, and to slide in at one of their secret doors, to the
publicity practised here.

An Englishman has lately undertaken a speculation which has cost him
a considerable sum, to have the exclusive privilege of taking cattle
in the Falkland islands--in fact, to be sole proprietor for a term
of years. He has forwarded to his new sovereignty a small colony of
settlers, servants, &c.; the chances of his success are very doubtful.
Buenos Ayres claims the jurisdiction of these islands, and those claims
will not cause such a dispute as in the year 1770. The voyage to them
from Buenos Ayres is made in about fourteen days.

       *       *       *       *       *

CURRENCY, &c.--In the year 1822 silver became so scarce, that, it was
impossible to get change of a doubloon without allowing a consideration
for it. Foreigners, of course, bore the blame of draining the country
of the money. To remedy the evil, small notes were issued; and, shortly
after, a large supply of copper coin arrived, that had been contracted
for in England. This currency of paper and copper was something so new,
that not a few sneers and forebodings took place. The facility that
paper money affords to business, however, soon began to be experienced
in Buenos Ayres. Previous to its issue, if a person had to receive a
hundred dollars, it was necessary to hire a porter to carry it, and
for larger quantities a cart; besides the endless trouble of counting
thousands of dollars, often in reals and madios, and the detection of
bad money: hours and days of valuable time were consumed by it. The
collecting clerks are no longer tormented with counting piles of silver,
before they take it from the house. Saturdays are the days appropriated
for money collecting.

Notes, engraved in England, are now issued on a grand scale, from 5 to
1000 dollars, upon the security of the government and bank; the people
are reconciled to it, and begin to find that a currency of gold and
silver is not at all times a proof of the credit or riches of a

  [26] Englishmen, on their first visit to France, soon after the peace
  of 1814, were eager to receive French gold; but they soon tired of it,
  and asked for paper. I was at Peregaux and Lafitte's banking-house at
  Paris, when an application of that nature was made: the clerk replied,
  that France must first get credit, before she could venture upon

Besides the above notes, the present currency consists of the doubloon
of 17 dollars; the half, quarter, and half-quarter doubloon; the dollar,
half dollar, and quarter dollar; with reals, madios, and quartillos. The
hard dollars are scarce, being bought up for exportation.

In exporting money, there is a small duty of two per cent. to pay. Being
so trifling, it prevents smuggling, which was formerly the case. Making
returns in produce, however, is at all times preferred to money, when it
can be obtained at any thing like a moderate rate; but it is at times so
scarce and dear, that it renders the purchasing ruinous.

The average exchange for the last three years has been forty-five pence
the Spanish dollar.

The Bank of Buenos Ayres opened in 1822, the first thing of the sort in
this province. Its capital is one million of dollars, in 1000 shares, of
1000 dollars each. The number of directors are ten, _viz._ six Creolian
gentlemen, and four British. It has hitherto proved a profitable
concern. The Bank shares rose from par to 170, but quickly declined to
90 and 100 per cent. premium, at which price they seem stationary. The
last dividend paid on Bank stock was after the rate of 30 per cent.

The reported establishment of a National Bank, has created some alarm,
amongst the present Bank proprietors; numerous controversies have taken
place in the newspapers, upon the occasion. The affair, however, seems
at rest for the present.

The government funds of Buenos Ayres have lately had a considerable
rise, from 28 to 100. The bulls carry all before them; and the bears
have had to pay pretty handsomely. Who knows but a Stock Exchange may be
established here some years hence?

Considerable sums of money have been made by the advance in the public
funds in Buenos Ayres; and, from the eagerness of all classes to
speculate in them, it is probable that lame ducks will not be confined
to Capel Court. Every shopkeeper now dabbles in the funds; and, in a
market so confined, the mischief may be very serious.

       *       *       *       *       *

EDUCATION, and LITERATURE.--The government expresses the most laudable
anxiety to forward education, by patronizing schools upon the
Lancasterian system; and the numerous seminaries in this city are a
credit to the people.

The College School consists of 125 youths, from the age of 15 to 16 or
17 years of age. In their walks, they wear black clothes, with a light
blue ribbon over their coat. Their behaviour is better than that of the
boys at our public schools: a person may mix amongst them, without being
subject to those insolent remarks so common at home, and which makes a
stranger dread to enter their precincts.

At the Buenos Ayres College, pupils are taught every branch of
the classics. They have not the advantage of professors, as at
Oxford, Cambridge, Eton, Westminster, and the rest of our public
schools--professors, whose talents not only confer honour upon their
country, but on the human species generally. Some students have elicited
considerable talents. A younger branch of the Belgrano family, Manuel,
wrote a play founded on _The Virgin of the Sun_, which was performed
with success; he has likewise acquired a knowledge of the English
language, and is at present employed in the British Consul's office.

In the Merced Church, an academy is held for the instruction of 30
youths in the study of divinity.

Among the numerous seminaries here, is one kept by an English lady, Mrs.
Hyne, which receives great encouragement; she has had 70 scholars at a
time, who are taught, with other requisites, the English language. From
the anxiety expressed by parents, that their children should attain this
language, the next generation will become completely anglicised. In
placing them under the care of a Protestant lady, they are not so
narrow-minded as to fear that their religion will be tampered with.
One of the stripling scholars conversed with me the other day in good
English, which he had learned in a very short period.

A number of Buenos Ayrean gentlemen speak and write the English language
with much fluency and correctness. Don Manuel Sarratea, late a governor
of the province, and who resided some time in London as their minister,
is a proficient, and a man of talent. To the British he is very
attentive, and is much respected by them. Don Miguel Riglos is another
instance: this gentleman has made the tour of Great Britain, and speaks
English with so little of foreign accent, that, on my introduction
to him, I supposed him to be an Englishman: his manners are very
prepossessing and amiable. Some self-taught young men have also an
excellent idea of it, and others express a great desire to learn it. It
has now become a branch of education in their public schools; and, from
the continued intercourse they are likely to have with the British and
North Americans, and others who speak the English tongue, the utility
of learning it will become every day more apparent, and, as regards
business, it will be of greater importance than the French.

The prejudices of ages is fast wearing away: the South-Americans,
and, Spain herself, no longer view us as renegades, heretics,
"God-abandoned." Twenty years back, England and Englishmen were as
little known or understood by the Buenos Ayreans, as is the interior of
the Chinese empire now to the rest of the world. For centuries past,
care was taken to inflame the passions of the Spaniards against us and
our country; and it is not strange that a remnant of this animosity yet
remains. Their best poets have stigmatised us: I recollect hearing, in
Buenos Ayres, that part of Lope de Vegas' popular ballad--

  "My brother Don John to England's gone,
  To kill the Drake, the Queen to take,
      And the heretics all to destroy;
  And he shall bring you a Protestant maid
  To be your slave, &c."

It is gratifying to observe, that those Creolians who have been in
England evince the greatest attachment to us.

In the college of Stonyhurst, near Liverpool, are several Buenos
Ayrean youths, who have been sent thither to be educated. The
British government deserves praise for the countenance given to this
establishment; silencing at once the complaints of our own Catholics, in
not having a proper place to educate their sons, and bringing the youth
of foreign nations in contact with our's, from whence it is natural
to expect they will feel an attachment to a country where they have
received almost their first impressions. So far from its infecting our
population with Catholicism,[27] the reverse would seem more probable.
It will give strangers an opportunity of judging, from actual
observation, of the institutions of our country, and the advantages
arising from a liberal system of government.

  [27] A book entitled _A History of the Jesuits_, but which is
  chiefly filled with attacks upon the Roman Catholic faith, holds out
  Stonyhurst College as pregnant with danger, asserting that it has
  already increased the number of Catholics in its immediate vicinity.
  Lancashire has always been a catholic county, and it is to be expected
  that people will crowd to a neighbourhood that contains edifices
  devoted to their manner of worship. I cannot believe that any
  considerable number of Proselytes has been made: we are too sensible
  of the happiness enjoyed under our own, to be caught with the glare of
  another church.

The education bestowed upon females is far from being solid: reading,
writing, music, and dancing, are all that is thought necessary. In the
two last they are enthusiasts, and some of the proficients; the study
of languages, or deep reading, is not thought of consequence. Spanish
husbands, they say, have an antipathy to blue-stocking wives: from the
natural talent of the females, they would soon be adepts in more
abstruse studies.

If the Buenos Ayrean ladies do not possess the higher branches of
learning, they have an indescribable sweetness of manners, free from
affectation, at once giving confidence to the timid stranger, and
delightful to all who have the happiness to know them. They seldom
address a person but with a smile, listen attentively to conversation,
without that listless indifference, and answering with the monosyllables
of _yes_ and _no_, that I have witnessed in some societies.

The time may arrive, when South America may have to boast her Madame de
Staels and a host of female literati; and another Corinna may conduct
her lover over Southern scenery, the snow-topt Andes, and Imperial
Cusco, with as much soft enthusiasm as belongs to her Italian rival. At
present, however, their natural talent is thrown into the shade, for
want of cultivation.

The letter-writing between female friends is very energetic: I caught
a glimpse of one, which ran thus--"Farewell, my idolized and beloved
friend! receive the heart of your devoted, constant, faithful, &c."
Notwithstanding this fervour, we never hear of those fatal love
attachments that end so tragically with us: is it that, south of the
line, the female heart is so tenderly moulded, they will not bid the
despairing lover die? or, are they convinced, "that men have died, and
worms have eaten them, but not for love," and therefore doubt the truth
of man's protestations? Alas! I fear that, in this love-inspiring city
of Buenos Ayres, it is possible to find Violas and Rosalinds, but not
many Juliets, and of the other sex still fewer Werters.

The Spanish language is certainly delightful; its very sounds bring to
recollection the Don Guzmans and Don Antonios of chivalric days. I wish
they would make it the fashionable study in England, as in good queen
Elizabeth's reign, instead of the trifling French. From the great
changes in the Spanish world, and our South-American connections, it
must ever be an object of importance.

A work published in London, by Mr. Ackerman, in the Spanish language,
with plates, called _Variedades et Mensagero de Londres_, has numerous
purchasers here. It is published quarterly, and reflects great credit
on its author. This publication will afford to the South Americans an
excellent idea of Great Britain and Europe generally;[28] it contains
selections from our best authors.

  [28] Many of the Buenos Ayreans, of the second and third grade, have
  most confused notions of London. They think that all England is in
  London; and in speaking of the arrival of a vessel from Liverpool,
  Falmouth, or any other port, they add Liverpool in London, Falmouth in
  London; and when speaking of English passengers arriving, no matter
  from what part, they are all from London. Seeing so many Englishmen in
  their country, gentry of the above description have the most exalted
  notions of themselves, and of the superiority of Buenos Ayres over the
  rest of the world. We must not blame their self-importance; for we
  have a tolerable share of it ourselves, else the world has terribly
  belied us.

The NEWSPAPERS published in Buenos Ayres are, the _Argus_, _Teatro del
Opinion_, _Republicano_, and _State Register_. There was, likewise, a
Sunday paper, called the _Centinella_, which has been discontinued--for
what reason I know not, for it was managed with ability. The freedom of
the press may be said to exist in a degree here; to the same extent as
in England, would be dangerous at present.

The _Mercantile Gazette_, edited by Mr. Hallet, a North-American
gentleman, is very useful; it has every sort of commercial information.
A newspaper of the same description, the _Diario_, carried on by a
Portuguese, failed for want of requisite attention.

A number of ephemeral productions appear from time to time, "to fret and
strut their hour upon the stage, and then are heard no more."

In the almanack of 1824, there is a selection of English puns and Joe
Miller's jests, to amuse the Buenos Ayreans, and give them a specimen of
English low wit.

       *       *       *       *       *

The PRINTING-OFFICES are spacious, and furnished with every requisite,
from London. An English printer, Mr. Cook, is employed in one of the
offices, and report states his professional talents to be of the first

       *       *       *       *       *

RELIGION.--Previous to the late treaty with Great Britain, no other
place of public worship was allowed in Buenos Ayres, except those of the
Romish church; and it was only after much discussion, that the article
allowing religious toleration was obtained.

The Catholic faith has been denominated a religion of the fancy; the
Protestant, one of the mind. A book I have lately read, Blunt's _Italy_,
ingeniously endeavours to prove that most of the Catholic ceremonies
are remnants of Paganism; and the author illustrates his arguments by
comparing the Roman with the Popish festivals. The great similarity
would certainly incline one to give credence to the assertion. The
reformed church, however, has its incongruities likewise. In Buenos
Ayres I have not witnessed any thing like the superstition that reigns
in Belgium; bigots there are, but not more than in some of our sects at
home. The rising generation of Buenos Ayres have gone from one extreme
to another, and are quite Voltairians: at the theatre, during a portrait
exhibition of different public characters, that of Voltaire ran away
with all the applause.

In January, 1824, an archbishop, named Don Juan Muzi, arrived from Rome
with a large suite, in a Sardinian brig, which hoisted the Papal flag in
addition to her own, and fired a salute. Some time ago, such an event
would have put the whole town in commotion; as it was, few attended to
see him land, and his reception by the government was any thing but
cordial: he shortly after departed for Chili. During his abode, he
lodged at Faunch's Hotel, and there gave his benedictions to the
crowds that visited him, who were mostly females, attracted, I thought,
more from curiosity than from any other motive. The manifest of the
archbishop's effects raised a smile:--there were beads, crosses, and
every trifling appendage of the church. The archbishop himself, from his
venerable aspect and mild manners, engaged the esteem of all; but the
Papal power is on the wane here now, whatever it might have been in
other times. The Catholic church, however, under the care of a liberal
priesthood, and shorn of its superstitions, will insure the respect of
all countries.

A church, in Catholic countries, ever possesses something to strike the
eye, though there may not be service going on. There are generally to
be seen numbers of poor old women, before their saint, counting their
beads, the low murmurings of their prayers alone breathing the silence
of the place: many times have I advanced with cautious steps, fearing
to interrupt their devotions. The absence of a congregation gives one,
likewise, an opportunity of a closer inspection of the glittering
altars, virgins, saints, and Madonas. No fear exists that sacrilegious
hands would dare purloin any thing from the sacred walls; alas! in
England, our thieves would not be so scrupulous.

The churches, on a Sunday, or feast day, are worthy a stranger's
attention; and he must be cold indeed, that can view such an assemblage
of beauty unmoved: the dress, the veil, and prostrate persons; indeed,
we might picture other Lauras besides Petrarch's: it is almost enough to
make one turn renegade, forsake the religion of our fathers, and rush
into the bosom of a church so enchanting.

Public worship takes place at various hours: one mass, as early as six
in the morning, and the sweet girls and their mothers are seen hurrying
to church at that early hour.

Families going to mass are attended by slaves and servants carrying the
carpeting upon which they kneel. Of books they have few enough; and
would, I dare say, stare to see our London footmen, in gorgeous
liveries, looking like Austrian field-marshals, walking behind their
mistresses, with a load of books, to church, and the host of carriages
that attend a fashionable chapel.

Upon entering or leaving a church, many of the congregation are content
to receive the holy water at second hand; that is to say, one who is
near the vessel which contains it will dip his fingers in, and furnish
to three or four other persons drops of the sacred element, to make the
sign of the cross. The ladies often condescend to mark with this water
the foreheads of their female slaves and attendants.

At "oration time," in the dusk of evening, a small bell tingles from the
churches, when, it is presumed, every true Catholic whispers a prayer.
In Buenos Ayres, I am afraid, this is not always the case.

Some of the music sung in the masses is very pretty: friars and boys
are the vocalists, selected from the best voices. Friar Juan, at the
Cathedral, has a fine bass voice. The Portuguese hymn they sing with
science; but, as I had heard this hymn at the Portuguese Ambassador's
Chapel in London, in which several of the first-rates of the Opera took
parts, the effect here was diminished: they select, too, from profane
music, and I applaud them for it, following the remark attributed to our
Rev. Rowland Hill, on the introduction of "Rule Britannia," and "Hearts
of Oak," into his chapel--"It is really a great shame the devil should
have all the pretty tunes to himself." If music be the "food of love,"
it is equally so of religion, insensibly leading the mind to an
enthusiasm, and that softness, that compensates for "a dull age of
pain." I wish they would reform the dismal hum-drum music of our English
churches. I do not wish the lively dance; but something a little less
gloomy than the present mode. My English friends will be shocked to hear
that in a Buenos Ayres church they have played and sung to the charming
air that opens our petit opera of _Paul and Virginia_, "See from ocean
rising." At Monte Video, I heard the Tyrolean war song, or our "Merrily
O," upon the organ, in a church. Music and religion have, and will,
raise these people to war and desperation; other causes must combine to
have the same effect upon Englishmen.

Persons of both sexes go to confession very young--even at the early age
of ten years. At church confessions, the priest is seated in the box,
to which there is an iron-grating on one side, and through this he hears
the confession of the parties upon their knees outside. I have seen
several women confess;--somehow or other the sex have more devotion than
us men. Doubtless, it is a relief to the overcharged heart to unbosom
itself, and receive the consolations of religion; and I can fancy the
happiness experienced from the gentle expostulations of an amiable
priest, who, in censuring the errors, bids the sinner not despair of
mercy. We, of Protestant creed, appeal to God alone, disdaining earthly
interference. This system of divulging our inmost thoughts has, at all
times, been an argument with the opponents of the Romish church, who
instance, that the peace of families or nations are at the mercy of a
mortal man; and if breaches of confidence are rare, still some villain
might betray his trust, and ruin his unsuspecting victims. To the honour
of the Catholic priesthood, such probabilities are very remote. I am
afraid that I should make a sad father confessor: loveliness upon the
bended knee before me would destroy all my philosophy; I should at once
accord them absolution, remission, and every thing else; and, forgetful
of my oaths and sacred calling, turn suppliant at the feet of those who
came to me as their pastor and guide.

Females are at times seen in the streets habited as nuns, in flannel
vestments, crosses, beads, &c. the effect of a vow made during sickness
or penance. The sins of some of these young creatures cannot have been
very flagrant: I should have pardoned them for the pleasure of receiving
their confessions again. There is likewise a house in which females pass
weeks in penitence and prayer.

It is observed of the Spanish female, that she will give herself up
to all the voluptuousness of pleasure, haste to the church, and,
prostrating herself before her favourite saint, return to sin again.
I will not venture to be so severe a censurer as to hazard an opinion
upon this: but, as my eye wandered over the countenances of many a
fair creature of Buenos Ayres, kneeling in graceful beauty before the
inanimate saint, I fancied all and more than books had ever told me;
for, "with faces that seemed as if they had just looked in Paradise, and
caught its early beauty," I fancied that many of earthly mould shared in
those contemplations so seemingly devoted to heaven.

Small figures of the Virgin Mary, in glass cases, are kept in the
apartments of various homes. In apothecaries' shops I have particularly
noticed them, to bespeak a blessing, doubtless, upon their physic. In
the mansions of the poorer class they are more frequently seen; the
costly saint and miserable dirty furniture of the rooms contrasted. A
full-length figure of a saint, in a wire cage, with lamps on each side,
is in the street of Le Cuyo, placed in accordance with a vow made in
a period of danger; but, in general, there are less externals of the
church in the public streets and roads than might be expected.

On passing a church, it was a constant custom to take off the hat;
but few do it now. The beggars about these holy edifices clamour for
charity, for the love of God and St. Rosario, or any other apostle
favourite. These beggars are great thieves; I have lost several articles
by their professional visits to my lodgings. They do not shoulder
crutches and wooden legs, either to fight or run, as their London
brethren, upon the approach of the police. One of my friends told me of
an old woman, in Buenos Ayres, that spits upon every person she supposes
to be an Englishman. Not having had the fortune to receive this lady's
favours, I cannot vouch for the truth of the story.

The priesthood are not so illiberal as report makes them out; they are
painted to us as having a fixed hatred to Protestants, conceiving them
to be the authors of all the obloquy the Catholics have endured from
time to time. It must be recollected, that we have our errors on the
score of prejudice likewise.

The friars of Buenos Ayres have amongst their body men of considerable
learning; and, whatever hostility exists towards the system, they, as
individuals, do not generally share in it. There may be one or two black
sheep in the flock; and scandal takes care to blazen forth their deeds,
particularly all that relates to their amours, but the common frailty
of our nature should teach us to be merciful judges where love is
concerned. The people have much respect for them; and, from what I have
heard, they deserve it. Formerly, it is related, that on any offender
being flogged in the public streets, the appearance of a priest calling
for mercy would stop the infliction. If this was the case in England,
our unflogged thieves would be bound to pray for them.

Four years since, two Englishmen having quarrelled, one of them ran into
Le Merced church for protection from his opponent, who followed, and
beat him under the very robes of the priest; a guard was called, and
the offender taken into custody. Having an excellent character, he was
liberated from prison on bail; and the affair ended in an expensive law
suit. Some years back, he would have been severely punished for his
inconsiderate conduct.

Some of the friars are handsome men: I have remarked one of them a
counterpart of Young the actor. Their dress, shaven crown, and dark
hair, added much to their appearance: the ugly attire they now wear, is
a sad drawback. In my casual rencontres with them, I ever found them
polite and attentive, effacing that diffidence which a stranger feels in
venturing upon their hallowed precincts. The inquisition has never been
established in Buenos Ayres; but I have often been cruel enough to
fancy, that such and such a priest had a countenance like an inquisitor.

The suppression of the monasteries, in 1822, caused a great deal of
discussion. There were those of the well-inclined who were not without
apprehensions, and seemed disposed to let the presumed evil continue,
rather than risk a change. The government must have felt their own
strength, when they determined to reform so influential a portion of the
church, having to encounter the prejudices and fanaticism of those grown
grey in the old order of things, who regarded meddling with the church
as little short of heresy. The friars were, in a manner, domesticated
with the first families of Buenos Ayres, and ever received as welcome
guests. They must (at least, some of them) have felt great reluctance
to quit the convents, in which they had expected to remain for life,
and regret at parting with the attire of their order. Discontent was
engendered, at times, almost amounting to threats, which found vent in a
conspiracy, ending in the banishment of Taglé, its author; and another
more serious one, of the 19th March, 1823. The result of these abortive
attempts served to confirm the power and influence of the existing
government. The majority of the people, I should conceive, thought an
alteration necessary in the clergy: many of that majority had visited
Europe, and became divested of the narrow policy the Spaniards had
taught them.

Elderly ladies, of all countries, are allowed to be more pious than the
rest of society. The friars in Buenos Ayres found them staunch advocates
of their cause.

To counteract the strong feeling that existed for the friars, the
press of the day had recourse to ridicule, as well as to argument:
a publication called the "_Llobera_," teemed with paragraphs and
anecdotes, often so indecent that it injured the cause it proposed to
serve. This print was soon laid aside. In the mean time, the suppression
gradually went on; and all that now remains of the monasteries of Buenos
Ayres are the Franciscans. The buildings will soon perhaps be converted
to other uses. The ejected friars, throwing off their habit, assumed
a clerical half-dress, very similar to that of our clergymen; and the
Dominicans, Mercedites, &c. are now met in the streets, as simple
citizens, no longer wearing the livery of the founders of those orders.
Three years ago, groupes of friars were continually about the church
doors, in coffee-houses, and the streets, segar smoking, apparently
under no church restrictions: when a reform was agitated, they were
more strict, and the convent gates were closed at a certain hour. The
Franciscans, who yet keep together, are rarely to be seen abroad, except
the messengers, or lay brothers, who are, in dress and figure, no bad
copy of their prototype, in _The Duenna_.

If the original rules of monastic institutions were put in full force,
few claimants would be found for the honour of entering them. A suitable
provision has been made for those who have left their convents; the
government appropriating the lands attached for the benefit of the
state. Time appears, in some measure, to have healed the wounds of the
discontented, though there are some who pretend the flame is smothered,
and not burnt out; "Give it vent," they say, "and 'twill blaze again."

There are two convents for NUNS, St. Juan and St. Catalina, each
containing about thirty. The regulations of St. Juan's are very rigid:
they wear clothing of the coarsest nature, and the beds, and every other
accommodation, are of the same description. No one is permitted to see
them, except their nearest relations, and that very rarely. Heavens! how
ardent must be that devotion, that can voluntarily embrace such a life!
A female, on her first entrance, may leave at the end of a year; but,
after that time, she is professed, and must conform to the rules. Very
few, I believe, take advantage of this option. Such is the force of
religious enthusiasm, that they gladly bid farewell to the world,
wishing no father, mother, lover, friend, but their God and Saviour.

At St. Catalina's they are not so strict, being allowed indulgences
unknown to the self-immolated of St. Juan.

I have never seen any of the fair inhabitants of these convents; but
when the nuns of Buenos Ayres have formed the subject of conversation, I
have eagerly listened, expecting to hear something of disappointed love,
or confidence betrayed. Alas it was in vain: the ladies of St. Juan and
Catalina are nuns from the dull routine of religion, with one exception
only, if my information is true; and advantage was not taken to quiz
my avidity for nunnery news. The tale runs, that St. Juan's convent
does contain, a victim of "despised love." Her lover, an officer, of
course--for what men in trade ever think of love?--joined the army
in Peru, and married another. At the age of seventeen, the fair,
betrayed girl fearlessly took the veil, chiding her weeping mother
for her cruelty, nay, sinfulness, at shewing such affliction for what
constituted her daughter's only happiness. An account of the ceremony
was given me;--but who shall take the field in description, after the
glowing details we have read in romances? and especially at second-hand.

The majority of the nuns in these two convents are aged, having received
very few additions, lately, of the youthful class. Has man, false man,
become more constant, no longer striving to break the heart of the
doting fair one or, are the ladies less sensitive, preferring, at all
hazards, this bustling world to the cloister's gloom, exclaiming with
Sheridan's _Clara_,

  "Adieu, thou dreary pile, where never dies
  "The sullen echo of repentant sighs!"

In the most minute affairs of the Romish church, there is a formula,
which, having antiquity for its basis, imposes upon the mind of its
followers; and, as regards a conventual life, the first dawn of such a
wish, even before the parties quit their parents' house, amounts to a
ceremony. In the year 1822, my curiosity was gratified by an exhibition
of this sort. I was invited to a house, in which a lady, about to become
a nun, was receiving the last farewells of her friends. It was evening;
and it was with difficulty that I gained admittance from the crowd
outside. The lady was seated in the _sala_; arrayed in her best attire;
her head and neck decorated with jewellery; such is the fashion, this
being a contrast to the dress she was about to assume. Music was heard;
and it seemed more like a party met for gaiety, than one in which
the afterpiece was to be so serious--the taking from the world a
fellow-creature. The lady--I was going to write, victim--was all smiles;
no regrets were apparent in her bosom; she received the adieus of her
friends with calm composure. A friar, attached perhaps to the convent,
was in the room: in taking her final leave, she was escorted by him and
her relatives. With a firm step, bowing to all around, she quitted the
room. In passing our party (consisting of several Englishmen), I thought
she eyed us particularly; we bowed to her; and the door closed upon us.
That same night, I am informed, she was conducted to the gloomy walls of
St. Juan, and has since taken the veil. The lady appeared about nineteen
or twenty years of age; she was not handsome, but the occasion rendered
her very interesting.

The first RELIGIOUS PROCESSION I had ever seen, was that of St. Rosario,
in Buenos Ayres; and it is not possible I can forget the impression it
made upon me. Those details which, when a school-boy, I dwelt upon with
such delight, were now, in my manhood, brought full before my eyes,
losing nothing of their interest; on the contrary, I found that
imagination does not always come up to the reality. The churches of
France and Belgium I had visited with far different emotions: Spain, and
Spanish connexions, thought I, contain all that can fix the attention of
the Protestant inquirer, who wishes to see the Catholic church the same
in the nineteenth as in the fourteenth century. Spain clings to it; with
its many imperfections, as a fond lover to an idolized mistress; else
they would not have suffered foreigners to overrun their soil. What
would the heroes of Roncevalles and Pavia have said to those events?

The figure of St. Rosario, full-robed, was carried by soldiers, on a
stage. The Virgin, on another stage, followed, flanked by numbers of the
faithful carrying large lighted candles; these were chiefly old men,
and boys. The host, and attendant priests wafting incense towards
this sacred emblem, formed a conspicuous part; with groups of friars
chaunting their prayers, in which they are joined by the crowd. A huge
cross, apparently of silver, and borne by friars, precedes the whole.
A small band of violinists attend, and accompany the singing: they
reminded me of our itinerant musicians, that serenade us of an evening
in London. The military band has a better effect. A halt is made, at
intervals, at the corners of streets, or opposite temporary altars,
which the devotion of the pious has raised in front of their houses:
they consist of tables, covered with white linen, with small images of
Jesus, the Virgin, crosses, &c. &c. and a mirror, garnished with flowers
and other decorations. Soldiers march in front and rear. They, as well
as every one else near the procession, are uncovered; and when the
ceremonies of the host are going on, all must kneel. The houses display
silks, tapestry, and other finery, arranged in front, in the streets
through which the cavalcade passes; and the balconies are filled with
spectators. The saints and his dumb attendants (the images), are finally
deposited at their head-quarters, the church. A great quantity of
females are always to be seen at those exhibitions, fervently
ejaculating their "Ave-Marias."

These processions vary but very little, except that I thought there was
more of preparation, banners, &c. in that of St. Nicholas, on the 6th
December. The streets were profusely adorned, road and foot-path strewed
with flowers, leaves, and boughs. Small cannon were placed on the
pavement near the church, the firing of which, and the discharge of
rockets and other fire-works, gave notice that the saint and his holy
attendants were about to leave the church. Gentlemen, both civil
and military, of the first families, at times, bear banners in the
procession. These days being kept as holidays, a vast concourse stroll
about the decorated streets before the attraction of the day begins. The
windows, house-tops, and benches ranged near the houses, are occupied by
females, the lovely persons of some of whom might move an anchorite. A
scene so new has almost upset my sober reasoning; and I have looked at
the host, friars, crosses, music, and all the et ceteras, till I could
nearly fancy that time had rolled back, and found me living when the
Catholic church knew no rival.

The feast of St. Nicholas, in December, 1824, was but a mockery of its
former splendour: however, the church of San Nicholas was illuminated,
and looked very pretty; and we had some bonfires, music, and fire-works.
A procession was to have taken place, but the government would not pay
the expense, and the church, in its present reduced state, cannot afford
it. The devotees muttered their Ave-Marias and maledictions; but, as St.
Nicholas did not interfere in their behalf, all went off quietly.

The feast of Corpus Christi is another grand day. The whole body of
friars, with banners and flags of their different orders, mustered on
the occasion, and, before the suppression of the monasteries, they
constituted a decent battalion. The dress of the friars differs in
nothing to what we find represented in England,--the cowl and crown,
with the small cross suspended. The processions, in the course of the
year, used to be very numerous. Since the dispersion of the friars, they
are somewhat shorn of their beams; and, by-and-by, the sight of a friar
may be a curiosity. To decorate the churches on these occasions, the
priests borrow candlesticks, silks, &c. of their neighbours.

During Lent, sermons are preached on an evening, in various churches.
The congregations are numerous, and the females always kneel. The custom
of allowing males to be seated in church, while the other sex are upon
their knees, appears strange.

As the theatre is situated opposite the Merced church, during the
sermons of the Lent evenings, some of the congregation may be seen
wandering from the church to the theatre.

In passion week, there are various masses and sermons.

The afternoon and evening of Holy Thursday bring forth all the world
into the streets: every house appears deserted. The concourse is
astonishing: the great proportion are females. A rule of Catholic
creed enjoins them to visit seven churches on this day; and this they
religiously perform, stopping but a few minutes in each church, just
time enough to kneel, and utter a short prayer. The governor and his
aides-de-camp, likewise, go to seven churches. A crowd of both sexes
assemble round the doors, especially of the Cathedral, absolutely
blocking up the road way, kneeling, counting beads, and in earnest

In 1821, I saw images and other insignia of the church at the corners of
the principal streets; prisoners ironed, with their guards, soliciting
charity; small tables, with virgins, Jesus, and crosses: but these
customs have much fallen off. Near a church, those altars are still
raised on Holy Thursday, and people press around, to kiss the garments
of the "mother of God." Near St. Juan's church, in 1824, I observed a
pretty design of this nature upon a small scale, and envied the kisses
it received from some charming girls. On this night, too, the military
bands muster in their best dresses, with drums muffled, and other marks
of mourning. They advance across the Plaza, and through the streets, at
a solemn pace, playing music even more melancholy than the Dead March
in Saul, preceded by one of the soldiers carrying, on a pole, a balloon
with transparencies, and a light inside, which makes them look a
counterpart of those that paraded London streets, a few years ago, from
the lottery offices. During this period of mourning, both sexes are
clothed in black. This continual crowd in the streets, and the peculiar
church attire, serve to attract one's attention; it is so much the
reverse of our English mode: we go to church in all the colours of the

In addition to other observances of Holy Thursday the flags of vessels
belonging to Catholic nations are half-masted, yards crossed, and at the
Fort, likewise, they remain till near twelve o'clock on the Saturday, at
which hour cannon are fired, yards squared, the flag run up, bells rung,
and shops are opened, for the joyful resurrection. But the bells do not
give us those inspiring peals that we hear from our churches of St.
Martin's, St. Clement's, and from the far-famed Bow bells: here, they
are an inharmonious jangle. Our churches, so superb in architectural
splendour, would astonish those gentlemen who fancy an Englishman's
taste only leads him towards vending merchandize, and receiving the

Good Friday passes as a solemn day of prayer and mourning.

The burning of Judas is a grotesque affair. Stuffed figures, like our
old Guys, are suspended from ropes in the middle of the street, charged
with combustibles and fire-works. On the night of Saturday, they are
fired, and Mr. Judas is blown up, amidst the shouts of the multitude.
This, like our Guy Fawkes, has much fallen off, and may soon drop
altogether. The newspapers have designated it barbarism. I am not for
meddling with the sports of the lower orders, if they do not offend
decency. The quarrel with Captain O'Brien happened about Easter, 1821;
and one of the Judases of that period was observed in something of the
dress of a naval officer: report said, it was meant for Captain O'Brien.
It was ordered to be taken down. The people took very little interest
in that dispute. When it was at its height, the Captain passed through
a crowd opposite the College church, and they treated him with great
respect, making way for the "English Commandant" to pass. "We may all
suffer in this business," said our captain to one of his countrymen;
"but we shall, if extremes are resorted to, be gloriously revenged."

The holy or passion week in 1825 passed off much as usual. On the
Thursday evening the ladies crowded the churches and streets in their
black attire; and being a fine moonlight night, the scene (to me at
least) was very interesting; and although I did not follow the custom
of visiting seven churches on this evening, I went to four. At the
Cathedral I remained a considerable time, listening to the music of the
vespers. The fine bass voice of Friar Juan was sadly missed. He was
banished for being concerned in the conspiracy of the 19th March, 1823.
Valentin Gomez, one of the canons of the church, sat in full pontifical
robes. Some of the Spaniards were jesting, in the church, upon his
portly appearance, so different from the figure he cut at nearly the
same period last year, when shipwrecked upon the English bank in the
river Plate. I felt much impressed with my visit to the Cathedral: every
thing combined to make me so;--the music, lights, and glittering altars,
with the prostrate females attended by their slaves and servants.

The sermons at the churches, on the evenings of Lent, were well
attended. The friar who preached at the church of Le Merced always
attracted great crowds. At the porch of this church was placed an image
of Christ, as large as life, in the act of being scourged; many devout
females kissed the ropes which tied the wrists of the image.

Till late in the evening of Holy Thursday, people were kneeling before
the church doors, counting beads, and saying their Ave-Marias. At nine
o'clock at night, three military bands of music, of the artillery,
Caçadores, and Legion de la Patria, each preceded by the globe, or
balloon, with transparencies, carried upon a pole, entered the Plaza
with drums muffled, and playing solemn airs. The artillery band was
much admired; Masoni, and other professors, performed in it. I followed
two of the bands to their barracks, at the Retiro. The night was lovely;
and it was late ere I returned home, my thoughts entirely absorbed in
the scenes of the day.

On the afternoon of Good Friday, the mass at the cathedral was well

The custom of burning Judas has fallen off. On the Saturday, this year,
the rain fell in torrents; but, a few nights after, Judas was burnt near
the Victoria coffee-house, amidst fire-works and music.

Another great object of attention to us Protestants is the Holy Ghost
proceeding through the streets, to administer the last offices of
religion to those who are presumed to be in a dying state. The holy
father, and one attendant, both richly attired, are seated in a coach
drawn by white mules. They go at a walking pace, with a few soldiers for
escort; negresses, boys, and others, carrying lighted lanterns, both by
night and day. A bell warns passengers of its approach, when all within
view must be uncovered, and, when they are near the carriage, kneel.
This last operation, not being very agreeable in dirty weather,
foreigners try to avoid his holiness altogether, by going up other
streets. Equestrians descend from their horses, and kneel. At night,
lights are placed in the windows of the houses they pass, and their
inmates kneel. Why do you kneel? said I, to a slave boy, at a house in
which I resided. "Because God is in the coach," he replied. A brutal
soldier, of the escort, once knocked an Englishman down, for not
kneeling in time. The magistrates took cognizance of it; and, I hear,
that strangers are not now obliged to kneel, though common respect will
always teach them to be uncovered. In passing the guardhouses, the
guards turn out, drums are beat, &c. They have now a large bell,
the small one having been mistaken for those belonging to the
water carts:[29] a Londoner might mistake it for the bell of the
six-o'clock-afternoon postman.

  [29] Carts, with a bell affixed, go about the streets vending water.
  The city is but ill provided with water, that in the river being
  considered unwholesome. Mr. Bevans, the engineer, has sunk the ground
  at the Recolator to a great depth, for the purpose of forming a well
  to supply the town with water. The work still goes on; but, hitherto,
  the desired water is not to be found.

Great veneration is paid to all that concerns this ceremony of the Holy
Ghost: the very mules, it is said, were formerly looked upon as sacred.
In passing coffee-houses, billiard-players, and gamblers of all
descriptions, leave their profane games, to kneel. At the theatre, the
performance is stopped; actors and actresses kneel on the stage, and the
audience upon their seats. I have several times been present at scenes
of this sort, and regarded them with great curiosity; though I have been
very angry with the holy father, and impious enough to wish he had taken
another route. I recollect, during an opera, one evening, the cavalcade
passed no less than three times, and interrupted a delightful duet
between Rosquellas and Señora Tani.

The summer of 1824-5, judging from the frequent appearance of the Holy
Ghost in the streets, must have been rather a sickly one. Great respect
is still paid to this holy visitant, who generally selects the evening
to pay his visits. A smile will now and then take place, when the
procession suddenly appears in a crowded neighbourhood, forcing all to
bend the knee. The contrast of such Catholic customs with those of our
sober England often occurs to me.

I am informed that great preparations take place in the sick chamber,
where the sacrament is to be given. I do not admire this. The patient,
enfeebled by disease, concludes there is no hope left; and often yields
to despair. In England, on such occasions, a clergyman comes without
pomp or attendants: his attentions are more like those of a friend, and
he insensibly prepares the mind of the sufferer for the purposes of his
visit. But we have much to correct in the dismal funeral bell, closing
shops and windows, usual with us at burials. Life hourly presents enough
to remind us of death, without those auxiliaries.

       *       *       *       *       *

FUNERAL CEREMONIES.--The room in which a corpse is deposited is lighted;
large candles are placed round the coffin; and the wainscoting, tables,
&c. are covered with white furniture, crosses, &c. The windows are often
thrown open, for passengers to view the scene of death, as a warning
that "to this complexion we must come at last." I remember my surprise
on first seeing a spectacle of this sort. The corpse of a female about
thirty lay shrouded in her coffin, the lid of which was taken off, with
her hands folded over her breast, and a small cross placed between them.
The gaudy coffin, and the lights around it, gave it the appearance of
wax work; indeed, I had an impression that it was so, for some minutes,
not being aware of the country's fashion in this affair.

Deceased persons are interred twenty-four hours after their decease; a
necessary precaution in a warm climate. From the crowded state of the
church-yards, they are now taken to the New Burial-Ground, at the
Recolator; and corpses were removed thither from the church-yards, after
having been buried some time. Scenes of confusion, in consequence,
took place; with various imprecations from near relations, as mothers,
husbands, and wives, upon recognizing the bodies of those whom they
never expected to have seen again in this world.

The hearses are modelled after the French fashion, and are not followed
by mourners. The relatives of the deceased attend the burial-ground to
receive the body, and the church ceremonies of mass, &c. take place some
days after.

The death of a friar, or any priest, is announced by a particular
tolling of the bell.

The masses for the repose of the soul are performed at various churches,
according to the wish of the relatives, who issue printed notices,
inviting the friends of the deceased. Any one is at liberty to attend.
Those of respectability, who can afford to pay, have several masses: but
it is rather an expensive affair. The ceremony lasts from one to two
hours. An imitation coffin is placed near the altar, surrounded by
lights. If it be for a military or public man, the sword and hat are
placed on the coffin, and a company of soldiers fire a volley at the
church door. Towards the end of the mass, candles are put into the hands
of the male part of the congregation, and in a few minutes taken from
them again, and extinguished. At the close, the priests and friars,
headed by their superior, take their station, in two lines, near the
door, and receive and return the obeisances of the congregation.
The relations and particular friends adjourn to the dwelling-house
(sometimes to the refectory of the church), where a repast is prepared,
of cakes, fruit, wine, liqueurs, beer, &c. the room being lighted, and
hung with black and white decorations. I have heard some charming music
in these masses, and it is far from being an unimpressive scene: the
holding a light at the requiem of those we loved, carries with it a
pleasing idea. There is, however, more real feeling in the simple
country church-yard funerals in England, than in all this appeal to
the senses.

A fantastic ornamented hearse, for carrying the bodies of children
to their last home, has lately come into use. It has plumes of white
feathers streaming from the top, and is drawn by two mules; the rider,
a boy, is clothed after the manner of Astley's equestrians.

Until the year 1821, the Protestants had no allotted place of burial;
and, to satisfy the jealousy of the church, various subterfuges were
obliged to be resorted to, in order to obtain something like a christian
funeral. The government gave permission, and a piece of ground was
bought, near the Retiro, for a cemetery, which has been inclosed, and
a small chapel, with a neat portico of the Doric order, erected. The
expence amounted to 4800 dollars, which was defrayed by Protestants of
all classes: the British, were, of course, the chief contributors. The
number buried there, from January 1821, to June 1824, was 71; of which
60 were British subjects. The service is read by some of the parties

At the funerals in the Protestant Burial-Ground, I have seen many Buenos
Ayreans, both male and female, attracted thither by curiosity; they paid
great attention, and expressed their approbation of our method of making
the graves so deep.

Before this ground was opened, Protestants were buried without any
service being read, and the shallow ground was hastily filled up. It was
a favour that their fellowman was allowed to take up his "everlasting
rest" in holy Catholic earth. I saw an English sailor interred in the
Cathedral church-yard: a police-man attended, to see that no unfair
means had been used, and three or four friars were strolling about. The
sailor mourners eyed them askance, declaring it was shameful that they
did not offer to perform the funeral service: "But what can you expect,"
they added, "in such an unchristianlike land?" Their resentment was
increased by seeing the mutilated body of a dead black child, which,
from the nature of their graves, had made its appearance above the

       *       *       *       *       *

POLICE, &c.--To every barrier or parish an _alcalde_, or sitting
magistrate, is appointed, who takes cognizance of the offences and
disputes in his jurisdiction, and superintends the night-patrole. Every
male is liable to be called out to act as watchman for the night; and he
must attend, or provide a substitute, which costs six reals; and as this
happens very often, strangers find it a tax. The patrole are armed with
musquets and bayonets, and proceed through the streets at intervals
during the night, visiting public houses, &c.

The most inferior officer connected with the police, or any public
office, carries a rusty dragoon sword with him as his staff of office.
The very messenger that delivers the summons for the nightly patrole
comes thus armed, and upon the least provocation out goes the sword:
this has been of late years a little corrected.

Buenos Ayres can boast of a well-disposed and orderly population.
Robberies are sometimes committed, but nothing to the extent that might
be supposed; many more are committed in an English city of the same
magnitude, notwithstanding the expensive police. I have been out at all
hours of the night, and have felt myself as secure as though I were in
London, and perhaps more so.

The only time that I ever met with any thing like annoyance or
interruption in the streets, was from a soldier on guard at the Cabildo,
who made an attempt to push me from the pavement. I did not wish to
notice the affair; but a Creole friend insisted that I should do so,
stating, that in London he presumed Englishmen protected strangers when
insulted. He went with me to the guard-house, alleged a complaint before
an officer, and the soldier was confined: he appeared to be drunk.

The great blot of this country is, that amongst the lower orders, upon
the least quarrel, knives are out; and what in England would vent itself
in black eyes and bloody noses, here ends in murder; and until certain
and speedy punishment follows these deeds, it will ever be so. The
crime has decreased since the administration of Mr. Rivadavia, and
the enactment of the law prohibiting the wearing of knives; still
it continues in a degree. Justice is tardy, and the chance that the
criminal may again be at liberty deters people from prosecuting,
dreading his future vengeance. In England, where the law is strong,
every one assists to apprehend an offender; but here a lukewarmness

Several have, within these three years, suffered death for murder. I am
inclined to think, that a law upon the plan of Lord Ellenborough's act
would do much to stop it. A Portuguese, some months since, stabbed to
death the servant of Mr. Bevans, the Quaker engineer, in open day. The
opponents of boxing, in England, should pause ere they so decidedly
condemn it; its suppression might lead to more fatal results in deciding

It was a common event, long after I arrived, to see bodies of persons
who had been stabbed in some broil, exposed in the Plaza, to be
recognized by their relatives or friends, with a saucer placed at their
side to collect money to pay the expences of burying them.

These murders are confined to the very lowest orders of the people,
and are generally the effect of a drunken quarrel. I must do them the
justice to say, that I have not heard of any deliberate assassination,
committed either upon a native or foreigner. Their annals are free from
the refined murders of polished Europe, even, I regret to add, of our
own England; we must not always cite the latter as an example, when we
censure the abuses of other countries.

This stabbing system was thought so little of in Buenos Ayres, that no
one cared to seize the murderer. If by chance he was apprehended, a
short imprisonment sufficed, and he was then set at liberty to commit
more crimes. Six or seven murders have been related to me, as known to
have been committed by one man with apparent impunity; and that these
things should be so, excites the astonishment of all strangers.

Foreigners newly arrived were accustomed to carry pistols about their
persons at night; but this is very seldom the case now--they have more

The thieves, in some of their feats, may rank in ingenuity with the
second-rate ones with us. One of their operations is hooking out
clothes, linen, &c. from rooms, by means of a long pole with a hook at
the end; and if the windows are not fastened at night, a risk is run of
being robbed, though the iron bars should prevent any one from entering.
Some friends of mine, lodging at the American Hotel, were plundered by
those pole gentlemen one night, although sleeping three in a room, and
they knew not of their loss until the morning, when they missed coats,
trowsers, &c.; a writing-desk had also been hauled towards the window,
the valuables taken out, and the loose papers scattered about the street
and room. The comparing notes in the morning of their losses, and
cursing the marauders, was laughable enough. Another friend was awoke at
break of day, and observed his waistcoat dangling in the middle of the
room from the top of a pole, and a man's arm extended through the iron
bars of the window guiding it. My friend having a sword could with ease
have cut off the thief's arm, but his humanity prompted him rather to
make an alarm; upon which the pole and waistcoat were dropped, and the
vagabond made his escape. Very serious losses of papers have been
sustained by this mode of robbery.

The boys about the theatre door begging for the return tickets, or
"contre-signs," were a great annoyance; they were perfect thieves,
and very impudent. I have lost several pocket handkerchiefs by their
talents. Having refused to give my pass-check one night, they secretly
followed me, and when near the wall of the Merced church, to my great
surprise, saluted me with a shower of stones and bricks: I pursued
the young rascals, but it was without effect. The soldiers prevent
occurrences of this sort now, and two or three that were caught in the
fact have been punished.

The boys in the streets of Buenos Ayres are as saucy a set of ragamuffins
as those of London, without that daring and instant battle of the English
boys. Many of their juvenile sports are similar to our's; as kite flying,
pitch in the hole, &c. They have a system of managing their kites, which
may be called privateering: a knife is affixed to the tail of the kite,
with which they endeavour to entangle other kites, and cut the string;
should they succeed, knife, kite, string--all become lawful prize.
Cricket, trap-ball, hoops, tops, and skipping, they do not practise.
Riding on the backs of sheep, harnessed as horses, is another amusement;
and those mutton cavalry are very expert.

The boys of the upper class are exceedingly well-behaved, and have very
pleasing manners: they excel our's in this respect. The greatest care is
bestowed upon them; and we do not meet with that roughness among them,
which is observable in my young countryfolks. The Buenos Ayres boy
addresses a stranger in the street hat in hand, and with the greatest

Since my abode in Buenos Ayres, I have been lucky enough to keep clear
of all law proceedings; and never, until lately, visited a judicial
court, except from curiosity. I was, however, requested to appear, in
order to speak to the character of an English sailor, who was imprisoned
at the Cabildo for a row, on the beach. I visited the prison, and found
poor Jack roaming about a spacious yard, with lots of other prisoners;
he spoke highly of the kind treatment he had received in prison. The
presiding judge, or magistrate (a most gentlemanly man), after hearing
the depositions read, discharged the sailor, no witnesses appearing
for the prosecution. Mr. Poussett, the vice-consul, attended upon this
occasion, and received every attention from the judge.

The mode of punishment by death is shooting; many think that hanging
would be more appropriate for murder, and that the soldier's death ought
to be reserved for a soldier: however, death cancels all crimes.

In a public whipping, the offender is placed on a horse or mule, with
his back bared, and his hands tied, and at the corners of streets he
receives his punishment: those disgusting scenes I always avoid, if I
can. I came once in contact with one: the poor wretch did not seem to
suffer much; I fancied I had been as severely flogged at school. They
appeared to strike him about a dozen quick blows at a time, with a piece
of wood like a scrubbing-brush with some sharp substance attached.

Those ordered for imprisonment, are made to work in the streets, heavily

Sailors are punished by being put in the stocks; and for criminal
offences, they are made to work in the streets in irons.

The close of the year 1824 witnessed a great increase of crime in Buenos
Ayres. An atrocious murder was committed by two black fellows, upon a
Genoese, who kept a tin shop near the College church. The murderers
were apprehended, and shot at the Retiro, and their bodies afterwards
suspended upon a gallows. A boy, accessary to the fact (having let the
villains into the house), escaped capital punishment, being under the
age regulated by law: he was, however, present at the execution. Two
fellows broke into the house of Mr. Nelson, an English merchant, and
stabbed his man-servant in several places; an alarm being given, they
effected their escape. The servant recovered from his wounds. Numerous
other robberies have taken place; amongst which, Mr. Parvin, an American
clergyman, and three of his friends, were stripped of their clothes, a
short distance from town.

The first execution in this country for forgery took place in February,
1825, upon the person of Marcelo Valdivia, who was shot at the Retiro.
By the old Spanish law, a person convicted of forgery was condemned to
lose his hand. This young man had been before sentenced to death for the
same crime, but his punishment was commuted to exposure in the Plaza,
imprisonment for eight years, and banishment for life. In July, 1824, he
underwent the first part of his sentence, being seated in the Plaza for
four hours, with the notes he had forged suspended from his breast.
In prison, he committed other forgeries, including a forged order for
his own release. The government have been highly applauded for their
firmness in punishing this criminal. His friends applied to the British
consul for his intercession, which was declined. Colonel Forbes, the
American agent, was much censured for having, in 1821, interfered and
saved a murderer from justice.

A black woman was shot, for attempting the life of her mistress. The
execution of a female is a rare thing in this country.

Much as Buenos Ayres has improved in her jurisprudence, she has still a
great deal to amend--that part which relates to committal before trial
for civil offences particularly. The two following circumstances passed
under my observation.

Upon the first issue of paper money, some forgeries were detected. An
English captain, West, of the brig _Fortune_, conversing on this subject
at a tavern, remarked, that a forgery might easily be effected; and that
the gentlemen in that line at home would not be long about such a thing.
This was reported to the police; and he was sent to prison without
examination, upon suspicion of knowing of the forged notes, and was not
released for some days.

In another case, Captain Harrison, of the brig _Asia_, was imprisoned
nearly a month, for bringing a false report of Monte Video being
blockaded; which was indeed partly true, Brazilian schooners of war
having been off there, and sailed for Colonia.

If such regulations were followed in England, we must build more prisons
as well as churches, and I know not what would become of the gentlemen
of the Stock Exchange.

The trial by jury, which alone is worth fighting for, may yet reach
South America. Every abuse cannot at once be rectified; they have,
already, done wonders in this country.

Law proceedings are as expensive and tardy here, as in other parts of
the globe. What with depositions, answers, &c. the suit goes on for
years to the great benefit of lawyers; but they have reformed a great
deal of the old obnoxious Spanish laws, particularly as they related to
foreigners and their property. By the old law, when a foreigner died,
their property in the country went to the state.

To leave Buenos Ayres, if it is only for a neighbouring town, passports
must be obtained, which cost two dollars to quit the country, and four
reals for any neighbouring town. Surprise is expressed that we can
manage without those ceremonies in England; some passengers arriving
from thence were once asked by a visiting officer for their English

       *       *       *       *       *

ARMY.--The standing army of the province consists of from 2500 to 3000
men in six regiments, _viz._ three of infantry, and three of cavalry. Of
the infantry, there is one regiment of artillery, one Caçadores, and one
of the line. There are also two regiments of Civicas, or militia.

The troops have lately improved, both in appearance and discipline; and
indeed, there was great need of it: at present, a great deal cannot be
said in their praise. Their manoeuvres are few, such as forming line,
companies, &c. and some minor movements, as firing volleys, street
firing, &c. sufficient, probably, for the warfare in which they are
likely to be engaged. The sudden change of front, close column, solid
squares, the quick deploying into line, close firing, and rapid bayonet
charge, are not to be seen among the troops of Buenos Ayres. Against
veterans they could make but a feeble resistance; but in defending
the town, with the assistance of the inhabitants and their house
fortifications, they would be invincible; and to this mode of fighting
I would advise the Buenos Ayreans to trust, should their city ever again
be attacked.

The artillery corps are better: they work the guns with smartness, and
have a good train of artillery, of six, eight, and twelve pounders,
taken from the Spaniards at Monte Video and other places. Repeated
exercise and firing take place with those great guns, early in a
morning, on the beach.

The uniform coat of the soldiers is blue, with different facings of red,
white, and green: they have caps like our infantry. The undress is a
foraging cap, with a loop hanging on one side, trowsers of all colours,
and some without shoes or stockings. The recruits are not immediately
clothed in the soldier's uniform, but drilled in all their dirt and
native raggedness. The population will not admit of the mode of
recruiting practised in Europe; they take every one they can: the
equipments and material of their army are not, in consequence, very

If the men, in their attire, look sometimes like Sir John Falstaff's
famed regiment--not so the officers; they have fine showy uniforms, and
cocked hats with the national cockade. The subaltern part are young men;
the colonels make a good soldier-like appearance. Colonel Ramirez, in
his blue coat and gold epaulets, always puts me in mind of a British
naval officer; and Colonel Alvarez, who was wounded in our storming of
Monte Video, reminds me of Raymond of Drury-Lane theatre.

There are some French and German officers in the service: the former, in
blue coats and white facings, still look like the soldiers of Napoleon.

The only English officer at present in the military service of Buenos
Ayres, is a gentleman named Charles Bowness; who, from having been
nearly fifteen years in this country, is, in appearance, more like a
Spaniard than an Englishman. He left England when very young, and has
not heard of his family since his departure.

It was seldom that military officers were seen out of uniform; they wore
it in the theatre, in the coffee-house, and in the assembly. But this
fashion has changed; and when not on duty, the dress of the citizen is
now preferred. On the continent of Europe, we are in constant contact
with the military, and as constantly reminded of military despotism.

The infantry soldier is armed with a musquet and bayonet: the musquets
have the Tower of London mark, and, as well as the cavalry swords, would
look all the better for cleaning. The sergeants of infantry do not
carry halberts. The regular cavalry are few in number, and not quite
so brilliant as the Marquis of Anglesea's crack regiment, or the Tenth

The punishment of flogging is resorted to: I have often heard the cries
of the sufferers belonging to a black regiment, quartered near my abode.
I fear it is impossible to keep discipline without it, or public opinion
would, long ere this, have suppressed it in England.

The bands of music attached to the regiments have made great progress
in their profession: three years ago they were hardly bearable.
Unfortunately, now, the ruling military authorities will not give us
much opportunity of judging of their talents. They were accustomed, on a
fine evening, to leave the Fort, in the summer at nine, in the winter at
eight o'clock, and crossing the Plaza, take their station in one of the
streets adjoining, generally the street of Victoria, or, as we named it,
Bond Street, from its being the fashionable one, and filled with shops:
here they would entertain us for an hour or more, and I have been
gratified in hearing many tunes that charmed me in Europe, such as the
overture to _Lodoiska_, &c. Another attraction was the number of girls
that nightly attended: many a lover ("how silvery sweet sound lovers'
tongues by night") has taken this opportunity to address his fair one.
On a moonlight night, I have frequently viewed the countenances and
elegant figures of the sweet creatures, no envious bonnet intercepting;
and now some unmusical being has deprived me of this pleasure--I wish he
would read Lorenzo's observation in the _Merchant of Venice_ upon those
who lack taste in music.

About four times in the week, however, at eight or nine in the evening,
one of the military bands parade from the Fort to their barracks at the
Retiro, and at times we have heard some good music. On a fine night much
company attend. From constant practice, the regimental musical bands
have become proficients in their art; they perform some fine pieces of
music, including the overture to _Lodoiska_, and the _Polacca_ from the
opera of _The Cabinet_. Braham ever occurs to my memory, when I hear the
latter performed, and the enthusiasm with which a London audience always
hail this song.

The dresses of the bands are of the Turkish costume, and though not so
splendid as our third regiment of foot-guards, are equal to those of the
line. They have instruments of English manufacture, all that constitutes
a military band--triangle, cymbals, and bells, similar to our first
regiment of Guards.

In 1820, some English shopkeepers and mechanics, in the excess of their
zeal, determined to form a corps of cavalry, to act as body-guard to the
governor. Twenty or thirty equipped themselves in a light blue jacket,
and nondescript cap, and attended the procession as the life-guards of
the state. The St. George assault, and vulgar exercise of the sword,
made no part of their discipline. Now, whether Englishmen make but a
poor figure when armed in the service of a foreign people, or that
opinion is against it, from Coriolanus downwards, I know not; certain it
is, that this regiment has decreased from its full complement to some
five or six rank and file.

It was the custom until lately, to fire the fort guns on every 4th of
July, the anniversary of our expedition under Whitelock. If they have
discontinued it to spare us the mortification of being reminded of such
an event, from my very soul I thank them;--it is a subject that makes
the heart ache to think upon. No one can view the houses of Buenos Ayres
without being struck with the impossibility of taking a town by such
a mode of attack as it was our fate to pursue, against an inflamed
population who were, from the highest to the lowest, our enemies.
Well-informed men know that 5 or 6000 troops, with an adequate
artillery, might have taken the town without scarcely entering it, and,
what is more, by proper precautions might have kept it. The Spaniards
had no troops of any consequence to oppose us; and if all the population
of the town had ventured out of their fastnesses to combat us, the
issue would not have been for one moment doubtful; for, as the lamented
General Ross observed, when inquiring of an American friend of mine, his
prisoner, the force near Baltimore, "I ask you, sir, of the regulars; it
may rain militia."

Our wounded, they tell me, were treated with kindness, especially by the
female part of the population, who had been amongst the most inveterate
of our foes. The heretic Englishman is not looked upon with that horror
now, as it was formerly the fashion to paint him.

In the Annual Almanack, the following paragraph is tacked to the fatal
4th of July:--"Service in St. Domingo church: thanks to our Señora and
St. Rosario, for the triumph, under their protection, in the year 1807,
in having vanquished 12,000 English who attacked us." With Macbeth, I am
ready to exclaim, "May that pernicious hour stand aye accursed in the

That such unlooked-for success should have inflated their imaginations
is to be expected; but, in justice to this kind people, I must mention,
that in English company they never in any way allude to the affair. They
are well aware of the disadvantages we had to encounter, and that our
troops were exposed to an absolute massacre.

I could fill pages with the anecdotes that have been told me of
Beresford, Pack, and other officers; but it is a theme I care not to
dwell upon.

       *       *       *       *       *

GOVERNMENT, and PUBLIC EVENTS.--The government of Buenos Ayres is an
attempt at republicanism, without its simplicity. However, if the people
are contented, we must not quarrel about forms, or expect an Utopia. I
am no particular friend to republics; I have seen and enjoyed so much
real liberty and happiness under the limited monarchy of my own country,
that I can fancy no other form of government better.

The present governor, Don Gregorio Heras, is a military man: he served
in several campaigns against the Spaniards, and is reported to be a man
of decided character. In his opening speech to the junta, he observed,
that, "being determined to obey the laws himself, he expected every
one else to do the same." Señor Heras is tall and personable, about
forty-five years of age, with rather an expressive countenance. His
title is Governor and Captain-General of the Province of Buenos Ayres.
His prerogatives are very limited.

The governor, when taking the air in his carriage, has an escort of
two dragoons; when on horseback, he is generally accompanied by his

Every public officer is allowed a soldier, who acts both as guard and
servant, and is called the _Ordenanza_. The French Engineer cuts a great
figure, with his soldier riding behind him: our humble Quaker prefers

  [30] One cannot help smiling at the contrast which the two state
  engineers of Buenos Ayres present--our Quaker with his broad brim and
  plain clothes, and the dashing Frenchman in large cocked hat; the
  only point of similarity is in their both wearing large hats, though
  differently shaped. Upon the installation of the new governor, the
  usual notice was given for public officers to attend the procession in
  full uniform; Mr. Bevans did attend--not in military attire, but in
  full conventicle dress, as became the man of peace, and looked a
  comfortable respectable gentleman. He was seated in a carriage with
  a military officer, and, but for that, I could have fancied him a
  wealthy miller from Uxbridge, Quaker Town, proceeding to hear the
  price of corn. The singularity of Quaker costume attracted much
  notice, upon the first arrival of Mr. Bevans: they stared at him in
  the streets, but offered no insult; now and then a vagabond boy would
  call out "_Lobo!_" Mr. B. is a very good-tempered man.

Señor Garcia fills the office of secretary of state, having succeeded
Mr. Rivadavia.

The Junta, or senate, consists of forty-eight members, who are elected
annually: Señor Don Manuel Pinto is the president. The last election
brought in several of the radical party; one or two of whom are the
Humes of the Buenos-Ayres House of Commons. Since the secession of Mr.
Rivadavia, Señor Gomez leads the ministerial side.

Señor Dorrego, who now distinguishes himself as an opposition speaker,
is a colonel. In 1820, when the town was threatened by some armed
countrymen, called Monteneros, he, on the spur of the moment, collected
porters and carmen, and drove the enemy away, proving himself a dashing
soldier. For a short period he assumed the "imperial purple," until
Rodriguez and his Colorados, in October, 1820, displaced him.

On the evening of the day on which the election for the members of the
Junta terminates, a military band, with the balloon, or globe, preceding
it, and attended by a crowd of young men, parades through the streets.
The band stops opposite the houses of the members, and performs an air
or two; the mob--if there is such a thing as a mob in Buenos Ayres--all
the time shouting, "Viva la Patria!" "The representatives of the people
for ever!" &c. If the Buenos Ayreans were to see our last day of
an election--the thousands of mobility and patriots, hoarse with
bawling--the banners--the rough music of marrow-bones and cleavers,
tuned from counter-tenor to double bass--the sight, I think, would
astonish, if not frighten them.[31]

  [31] Sir Murray Maxwell, of H.M.S. _Briton_, lying at Monte Video,
  honoured us with a visit, in June, 1824. The last time I saw this
  veteran seaman, previous to his arrival here, was under a shower of
  cabbage stumps, carrots, turnips, mud, &c. upon the hustings at Covent
  Garden, when a candidate to represent Westminster. Sir Murray's
  unaffected and amiable manners greatly pleased the British in Buenos
  Ayres; and the remembrance of his Chinese exploits rendered him an
  object of considerable interest. It was a singular coincidence that
  the French Admiral, Rosamel, who had been Sir Murray's prisoner, in
  the war with France, should, at the same time, be on a visit to Buenos
  Ayres. The French admiral, who, in person, looks a complete John Bull,
  attended the theatre, with his officers, in full uniform. His is the
  nation for effect. Our officers seldom visit the theatre; and when
  they do, it is in plain clothes. The French naval uniform appears more
  like a military one--the blue coat, buttoned close to the neck, and

The 25th of May, 1810, is the æra of the independence of Buenos Ayres;
the period when, the French armies having overrun Spain, the people
of this city deposed the viceroy, and appointed a junta of nine as
a provisional government. This event is annually commemorated by a
festival of three days. It commences on the evening of the 24th,
when the Plaza is illuminated, by means of a lofty circle, formed of
wood-work, erected round it. At sunrise on the 25th, the national hymn
is sung by boys, &c. opposite the pyramid in the Plaza: to hail the
rising sun is a Peruvian custom. In the day-time, various sports take
place: greased masts are erected, at the summit of which are shawls,
watches, and purses of money; and whoever can reach the top, may take
any one of the above prizes. An English sailor, in 1822, brought down
all the stock in trade, wrapping the shawls about his body, and putting
the watches, money, and other articles, in his pockets and mouth. On his
descent, he was surrounded by soldiers, who took away his booty; and
on Jack making a shew of resistance, they marched him to prison. The
bystanders, however, were indignant at this, and he was soon released,
and allowed to retain one of the prizes. These masts cause great
diversion, as very few succeed in mounting them; and our sailor was
highly applauded. There is also an ingenious machine, called _rompe
cabeza_, or break head, consisting of a pole placed lengthwise on
pivots, elevated from the ground, with a cord on which to rest the feet.
The difficulty is in getting along this pole; in doing which, hundreds
are thrown off: the successful candidate obtains a piece of money.
Military music plays at night in the galleries of the Cabildo; and
fire-balloons and fire-works are let off, the latter emitting their
balls of fire among the people. From the careless manner in which the
fire-works are used by boys in the streets, I am surprised that no
accidents happen.

The theatre is open every night of the holidays, and is always crowded;
the anthem is sung; and they have extra lights, &c. The governor and his
suite attend.

In the College church, on the 25th of May, prizes are distributed to
those young females who have excelled in any particular branch of their
studies. The ladies of the town take great interest in this, and attend
the church in crowds. The organ performs during the ceremony, as well as
other music.

In 1821, the rejoicings went off gloomily, with little or no

The arrangements in May, 1822, were the best that I have seen. The
weather--indeed, every thing combined in its favour. Children of both
sexes, dressed in fanciful costume, danced upon a stage in the Plaza,
and at the theatre, and were drawn through the streets upon ornamental
cars, by persons disguised as lions, tigers, and leopards. The music of
the Plaza dance even now dwells upon my mind, producing remembrances I
can scarcely account for. Its soft and pretty music ought to make it a
standard dance for the 25th May. In this May, of 1822, I was delighted,
and, for the moment, relieved from worldly cares. I strayed, at evening,
about the Plaza: the mimic angels I could almost fancy real; and the
sweet dark-eyed girls that every moment met my eye were, to me, Houris
of Mahomet's Paradise. The illusion was complete: but, alas! like all
other earthly pleasures, it has passed away--would that I could add, as
a "dream slightly remembered." A troop of equestrians rode through the
streets, dressed like Astley's horsemen, and masqued: they proceeded to
the Alameda, and fixing a small ring to a cord in the middle, they each
endeavoured to pull it down at full gallop.

In 1823, the weather was cold and wet. The Quaker made an effort to
light the Police-Office with gas; it only partially succeeded: the words
_Viva la Patria_ blazed out at intervals. Considering the obstacles, I
am astonished he did so much.

In 1824, the weather was fine; but, to me, the affair appeared
altogether inferior to 1822. There was no dancing, or Astley's troop;
the fire-works were something better, and were judiciously placed on the
arch, instead of the Cathedral, as heretofore.

On the 25th of May, the governor and the public officers, with the
dignitaries of the church, walk in state to the Cathedral church, at
which there is a solemn service.

In 1824, the new governor, Don Gregorio Heras, gave a grand dinner at
the Fort: 120 sat down, including the American minister, the English
consul and two vice-consuls, and many foreigners. The dessert was
superb; not like those we have, but chiefly of sweetmeats; sugar
castles, fortifications, and other designs made up of this latter

Velarde gave a very comic description of the Fiestas, at the theatre, in
blank verse, in the character of a Gaucho, seated with his companions
round a fire, smoking, to whom he is relating the events of the day,
and, among the rest, of the English sailor climbing the mast like a cat.
This actor displays abilities of no ordinary merit in this style of

These four days passed without a single robbery, or even the dread of
such an event. Few cities in Europe can boast as much, with a population
of 60,000 persons.

It is said, that the diversions of the 25th of May, from the expense,
and uncertainty of the weather, are to be discontinued, or at least
postponed to another part of the year. I hope they are not to be done
away with. Some few hours may surely be taken from the cares of life,
and devoted to enjoyment, in spite of the heartless censure of the few.

It is not my intention to enter into an historical detail of the
political events that have agitated this country since the declaration
of its independence: they would alone occupy more space than I have
proposed to myself for these Remarks. The notice of a few events,
however, connected with public affairs, since my residence in this
city, and of public men, may not be uninteresting in this place.

The year 1820, in which I arrived, was remarkable for its frequent
political changes. Scarcely any of the several chiefs, who rapidly
succeeded each other at the head of government, retained their power
more than a few weeks, till Don Martin Rodriguez, at the head of his
Colorados,[32] or Red Men, (so named from the colour of their _ponchos_,
or cloaks), having succeeded in an attack upon the town, put down the
Civicas, or militia, who, although appointed to preserve the peace of
the city, by their frequent insurrections, kept it in a constant state
of agitation. A battle was fought in the streets of the town, and many
lives were lost. He was finally confirmed Governor, on the 6th October,
1820, and continued in office for three years, the period prescribed
by law. Since that time the government has assumed an appearance of
stability, and improvements have taken place in every department of the

  [32] These Colorados are all cavalry. I saw them drawn up in the
  Plaza; and, whilst gazing at the singularity of their appearance, one
  of them claimed me a countryman of his. He spoke to me in English, and
  told me he had been fourteen years in the country. He was, probably,
  one of Beresford's men; many of whom, as well as deserters from
  Whitelock's army, are to be found in the province. Some of them,
  from having been so long accustomed to the Spanish language, have
  absolutely forgotten their own; of this I have known several

  These British deserters find various employments. Hearing an Irish
  cobler, one day, in a miserable stall, bewailing his sad lot, and
  regretting that he had left the army; I asked him what army? "By
  Jasus," said he, one of "Whitelock's regiment; and if I was in it
  now, I should have a comfortable pension by this time."--"Why did you
  leave it?"--"They embarked without me."--"Or, in other words, you
  deserted."--"By the powers! you have hit it; and a bad day's job I
  made of it," said he.

Don Martin Rodriguez is a tall, well-looking man, and a good soldier.
Without the possession of any very shining abilities, he has done more
for the benefit of the state than any of his predecessors, and retired
from office with the esteem of all parties. He was succeeded by Don
Gregorio Heras, the present governor, in April, 1824.

During his government, Rodriguez owed much to the able administration
of Don Bernadino Rivadavia, who may be considered the William Pitt of
Buenos Ayres. He entered office, as minister, in 1821, and left it with
Señor Rodriguez; the law requiring that ministers should resign, or be
re-elected, with the new governor. Mr. R. was strenuously entreated to
continue in his situation; but he steadily refused, and his friends
deplored the determination. One of the first acts of his administration
was to annihilate privateering.[33] By him the revenue was simplified
and increased; public plunderers could no longer escape detection; and
his firmness awed the disturbers of public peace, and made the province
respected by foreigners. In the suppression of the monasteries, he
encountered every species of obloquy from a certain class. Now that
passion has in some degree subsided, his opponents, and even the
priesthood, must allow, that he had no other motive but his country's
good; and they cannot deny him the merit of disinterestedness and
unshaken resolution. Strangers of all descriptions are grateful to
him for the protection and attention he has shewn them, and the
encouragement given to their pursuits, which add to the capital and
prosperity of the country. The greatest eulogium that can be bestowed
upon Mr. Rivadavia's government is a comparison of Buenos Ayres in 1821
and 1824, the periods when he accepted and when he retired from office.
His administration forms an æra in the political annals of the state,
and will rank him as an able--nay, more--an honest minister. His system,
it is said, will be strictly followed by his successors: I trust it may,
for the good of their country.

  [33] A great deal of money was made and lost by speculators, at the
  time privateering was allowed in Buenos Ayres. The last vessel that
  sailed was the _Heroine_ (formerly the French _Braak_), commanded by a
  North American, named Mason, and which was captured by the Portuguese
  frigate _Perola_. Mason has been confined at Lisbon, more than two
  years. His wife, an English lady, and large family, reside in Buenos

Mr. Rivadavia was bred to the law. He has been represented to me as a
man of strong passions, with nothing of the courtier in his manners,
which, at times, approach to abruptness. The three years he was in
office have proved that he possesses first rate talents as a statesman.
Political as well as personal enemies every man must expect, in a
situation like his; and though such a consideration might not have
intimidated him from again accepting office, very possibly it might have
had some influence, conceiving, that, as the foundation was laid for a
good system of government, they should not reproach him with clinging to
office for the sake of power and emolument.

Mr. Rivadavia has visited both France and England in a public capacity,
and has again sailed for Europe, in the _Walsingham_ packet, in part
to superintend the education of his son, who is now, I believe, in the
college of Stonyhurst. He will carry with him a distinguished name;
before, he was in a manner unknown. He speaks a little English, and very
good French.

In person, Mr. Rivadavia has some peculiarities; and were he much before
the public in London, I fear, he would not long escape the wicked
pencils of our caricaturists: should it be so, he cannot complain; he
will find the king, and the first people in the realm, not spared by
them. His figure is short and thick, with a dark complexion; and he
generally walks with one arm behind him. He wears black clothes, with
tight pantaloons, displaying Herculean limbs.

As an orator, Mr. Rivadavia is not very imposing; he has a deep sonorous
voice, and is eloquent--but not exactly a Cicero.

In October, 1820, two persons were shot in the Plaza, near the Fort,
for state offences connected with the revolution of the period--one a
military officer, and the other a drum-major. The former was executed
in a _poncho_, in which disguise he was taken. They were conducted from
the Fort in heavy irons, each holding a small cross, and accompanied
by friars on each side, to whom the criminals eagerly listened. At the
fatal spot their sentence was read: they were placed on seats, and tied;
the priests slowly withdrew, still whispering comfort to the unhappy
men; an officer waved his handkerchief--and they were no more. The band
struck up the tune of "The Downfall of Paris," as the troops marched
past the bodies. A number of females witnessed the appalling sight from
the neighbouring balconies.

On the night or morning of the 19th March, 1823, an attempt was made at
another revolution, upon the plea that the religion of the country was
in danger. Gregorio Taglé, a lawyer, and a man of some talent, was
the chief of this conspiracy: he had been formerly one of the state
ministers; and, after its failure, he escaped to Colonia. The
disturbance began by some hundreds of Gauchos from the country galloping
into the town, shouting "_Viva la religion!_" &c. &c. They overpowered
the guard at the Cabildo, released the prisoners, and began to toll the
bell; and at that hour (two o'clock in the morning) it did certainly
frighten the town "from its strict propriety." In the Plaza they were
received by a discharge of musquetry from a few troops, who had advanced
out of the Fort, and who, after killing and wounding several, put the
rest to the rout. Garcia, a Colonel, implicated in the plot, was shot a
few days afterwards: he met his fate with firmness.

This execution was followed by two more, those of Colonel Peralto
and Urien. The latter had been an officer both in the Buenos-Ayrean
and Peruvian services, and now suffered for a participation in the
conspiracy, and a murder committed some years ago. He was in confinement
at the Cabildo, awaiting his sentence for the latter offence, and being
a relation of Mr. Rivadavia, interest was making to save him, when
the conspirators released him. Strict search was made for the escaped
criminal; and in a few days, he surrendered himself, upon a promise of
pardon on condition of his making discoveries of those concerned in the
late conspiracy. Several were arrested upon his depositions; amongst
them, an English shopkeeper named Hargreaves, whom he accused of selling
fire-arms to the rioters at one and two in the morning of the 19th
March. An examination proved that all the accusations were false: the
accused were released, and Urien desired to prepare for death.

Urien was well known in the coffee-houses of Buenos Ayres; he was much
in debt, and some of his creditors were Englishmen. The murder of which
he was convicted, was committed in conjunction with a female, the wife
of the murdered man, and the body had been cut in pieces, and buried at
different times. Since the murder, he had been in Peru, and had also
lived in Buenos Ayres, unsuspicious of discovery. Having a fine person
and countenance, he was a favourite with the ladies, and a complete "man
upon town."

The execution of Urien and Colonel Peralto took place between ten and
eleven o'clock in the morning: they were conducted from the Cabildo
prison, ironed, and under a strong guard. They moved slowly along the
Plazas to the appointed spot, near the Fort, where they were both
uncovered, each holding a cross, and attended by priests: the person
of Urien attracted much attention, on account of his tall figure, and
dark expressive countenance. He was dressed in a silk _levita_, or
frock-coat, and walked unsupported, and with great firmness; a smile now
and then appeared upon his face, as he conversed with the priests. He
would have gained universal sympathy, but for his great crimes; as it
was, disgust was mingled with pity, that such a man should be so guilty.
The other wretched man, Peralta, covered with a large great coat, with
his head bound up, and supported by his friends and the priests, seemed
the picture of misery. At the arch which parts the Plazas, the sentence
was read to the prisoners; and again near the fatal place, at which
it was some time ere they arrived, from the slowness with which the
procession moved. Near the Fort, Urien eyed the artillerymen at their
guns, upon the ramparts: his resolution appeared to falter, and he
apparently wished to prolong the time at the place of execution by
conversation with those about him. At length he was seated. His
companion, during this delay, had taken his seat, and, at this last
trying moment, was more composed than Urien. The soldiers fired: Peralta
fell dead; but Urien still kept his seat, appearing only slightly
wounded. The drums, which began to beat, were stopped, and a horrible
scene ensued. Several soldiers placed their musquets at the head of
Urien: they missed fire, one after the other; at last, one exploded,
which, from the report it made, could only have been slightly charged.
The poor wretch fell upon the ground, but was not dead; and he
endeavoured to raise himself up upon his elbow. Other musquets were
discharged, and Urien moved no more. The feelings of the spectators,
during this appalling spectacle, may well be conceived. The hearse and
coffin were in attendance; and, after the troops had passed, the bodies
were placed in them, and taken for interment. A great concourse attended
the execution. Peralta was much pitied, having borne an excellent
character. The ceremony altogether was terrible; and the part in which
the magistrate reads the sentence appears singular to a stranger: a man
repeats every word after him in a loud voice; he is selected, I presume,
for this qualification.

José Miguel Carrera, so conspicuous in the revolutions of this part
of South America, was shot, at Mendoza, in 1821. He was a Chilian by
birth, and belonged to one of the first families there: he was a man of
considerable abilities. The execution of his two brothers, Antonio and
Luis, in that same city, and other political affairs, had made him vow
eternal enmity to the government of Buenos Ayres; particularly to San
Martin, whom he much disliked. In his vengeance, he had raised the
Indians to assist him. This act lost him many of his friends, who
now viewed him with a kind of horror, as chief of barbarians. He was
betrayed into the hands of his enemies, and immediately put to death,
which, it is almost needless to observe, he underwent with courage, and
was buried, it is said, in the same grave with the brothers he so dearly

Carrera was in the prime of life, tall, and elegantly formed: his
desperation and courage rank him as one of Lord Byron's heroes, though
not exactly "with one virtue linked to a thousand crimes." His widow
(who has been a fine woman), and infant family, I afterwards saw at
Buenos Ayres. One of the latter, a little girl not five years of age,
was imprudently asked, in my presence, what had become of her father?
"Murdered by the Mendoceans," she quickly replied.

San Martin, having retired from public life, embarked at Buenos Ayres
for France and England, attended by his daughter. His wife, one of the
daughters of the late Señor Escalada, died a short time since in this
city. San Martin is a tall, stout man, about forty-five years of age:
he is said to be rich. He has his detractors; however, they cannot deny
him one great military qualification, that of a determined mind. In his
dispute with Lord Cochrane, the latter had decidedly the best of the
argument, judging from a pamphlet which his lordship has published.

The late General Belgrano, a native of this province, and who
distinguished himself in several actions against the Spaniards, has
a day set apart for funereal rites: it takes place in June, the
anniversary of his death.

In the month of October, 1824, the visit of a New-Zealand chief to
Buenos Ayres, by name Tippahée Cupa, attracted much curiosity; he
arrived in the British ship _Urania_, Captain Reynolds. Tippahée came
alongside this ship in Cook's Straits, with a war canoe filled with
his people, and, in spite of the remonstrances and even force used by
Captain R. refused to quit the vessel, expressing his determination
to proceed to England. He bade his followers an affectionate adieu,
enjoining obedience to his successor during his absence. The _Urania_
sailed for London with her passenger the 8th December, 1824.

Tippahée, when he first arrived in Buenos Ayres, was clothed in an old
red coat, formerly belonging to a London postman. The English paid him
many attentions, inviting him to dine at their houses, and new clothing
him. His behaviour at table was easy and unembarrassed; and, when
requested, he would perform the dances and war songs of New Zealand. He
understood a little of the English language, and spoke a few words of
it; his intelligent manners, and circumspect conduct, rendered him an
universal favourite. On the map he could trace the ship's course from
New Zealand to Lima and Buenos Ayres. He knew an Englishman immediately;
the Spaniards he did not much admire, fancying they viewed him with
contempt, and was glad to get among Englishmen. His age is about forty;
he possesses amazing strength; his tattooed face and appearance always
attracted a crowd after him in Buenos Ayres. On board ship he was found
very useful, doing all sorts of work, but he positively declined to go
aloft. The fate of Captain Thompson, and the crew of the British ship
_Boyd_, ought to bespeak caution in using coercion with these savage
chieftains of New Zealand. In Cruise's book of New Zealand, Tippahee was
shewn a picture of a chief of his country, with which he was greatly
delighted. The object of his journey to England is to solicit arms and
ammunition, to place him upon a par with a rival chief, who possesses
those requisites.

At the dinner given on St. Andrew's day, in December, 1824, by the
Scotch gentlemen, Mr. Parish, the British consul, hinted at the speedy
acknowledgment of the independence of Buenos Ayres by his government.
This intimation was received with great enthusiasm by a numerous
company, among whom were the principal members of government.

The _Camden_ packet took home the treaty between the British and
Buenos-Ayrean governments, with several passengers, including Mr.
Griffiths, one of the vice-consuls, and Mr. Nunez, a Creolian gentleman,
secretary to Mr. Rivadavia. The _Lord Hobart_ packet took home passenger
Mr. M'Crackan, many years a merchant in this country, and a worthy man.

Don Carlos Alvear, and Don Felix Castro, have proceeded to England from
Buenos Ayres: the former makes it on his way to the United States of
North America, to which he is appointed minister. Their mission to
London is supposed to have reference to the loan about negotiating.
The security to British capitalists is surely as good, if not better
than in many other cases in which they have lent money. There are no
restrictions upon interest: the average has been 12 per cent.; but this
is decreasing.

Alvear was formerly a director of Buenos Ayres, and is a very active
man. In the early part of his life, he narrowly escaped destruction,
when going to Spain in one of the Spanish frigates captured, in 1804, by
Captain Graham Moore. The frigate in which he had taken his passage was
one that blew up, and he had only left it prior to the action, to pay a
visit on board another ship: some of his nearest relatives perished in
the explosion.

Should Alvear harbour any dislike to our country, it may be attributed
to this shocking catastrophe; but, I am persuaded, his good sense has,
long ere this, made him view it as one of the accidents inseparable from
the quarrel of nations.

At eight o'clock in the evening of the 21st January, 1825, an express
entered Buenos Ayres with news of the battle of Ayacucho, in Peru.
A victory so decisive and unexpected caused a tumult of joy: people
crowded round the coffee-houses, listening to the different orators
describing the victory; it brought to one's recollection the crowds at
the newspaper offices in London, upon similar occasions. At ten o'clock
at night, a triple salute was fired from the Fort, which was answered by
another from the _Aranzazu_ brig of war, anchored in the inner roads,
and a Brazilian brig of war. Partial illuminations and fire-works took
place the same evening.

On the 22d January, there was a performance at the theatre, when the
national hymn was sung, amidst loud _vivas_ for Bolivar, Sucre, &c.;
and Colonel Ramirez read the official detail to the audience from the
boxes. The theatre was decorated with silks and national emblems, and
illuminated with extra lights: an ode upon the victory was sold at the
doors, and a military band stationed there.

The rejoicings continued for three nights, with bonfires, illuminations,
and military music in the gallery of the Cabildo; the pyramid in the
Plaza was illuminated, and surrounded by transparencies, &c. The people
seemed mad with joy; I could scarcely have believed them capable of such
enthusiasm; and though, perhaps, these ebullitions are not at all times
to be taken as a test of patriotism, yet I am persuaded, the mass of the
people sincerely rejoiced.

The Coffee-house de la Victoria was thronged both inside and out;
and wine and beer were drank in profusion. Various toasts were given,
amongst which was "Religious Toleration." There was abundance of
speechifying, describing the past and the future, with the happiness in
reserve for the inhabitants of the province of the Rio de la Plata. Some
hundreds formed themselves into military array, and, with banners and
music, proceeded through the streets, singing the national hymn, and
shouting opposite the houses of known patriots with loud _vivas_. At the
residence of the British Consul they cheered for England, the King of
England, and liberty. At the American minister's, similar compliments
were bestowed on North America. Colonel Forbes invited them inside,
and pledged them in bumpers of wine. During the whole of the night the
assemblage continued in the streets, with music and singing; yet but few
irregularities took place. Some violent spirits declaimed against the
Brazilians, and, it is said, windows were broken at the Brazilian
Consul's house;[34] but this act was quickly discountenanced by the
rest. In fact, they have nothing here which can put one in mind of a
mob, especially an English mob. The bands that paraded the streets were
composed of the most genteel young men of the town. A young man named
Saravia is looked up to as a sort of leader and manager on these popular
occasions; possessing abundance of wit, activity, a tolerable share of
oratory, and staunch patriotism, Saravia plays no insignificant part in
the politics of Buenos Ayres.

  [34] The arrival of a Brazilian frigate _Maria de Gloria_, of
  thirty-two guns, Captain Beaurepaire, on 7th March, 1825, caused much
  conversation and speculation upon their errand; such as coming to
  demand satisfaction for insults offered to their consul, &c. A
  burlesque letter appeared in the _Argentina_ newspaper upon the
  subject. Considerable animosity exists against the Brazilians, in
  consequence of their continuing to occupy the other side of the river.
  The frigate departed on 16th March. The officers appeared well-behaved

Public dinners were given at Faunch's Hotel. Eighty Creolian gentlemen
sat down to an entertainment of this description. The dining-room was
decorated with flags of all nations, portraits of Bolivar, Sucre, &c.;
and military music was in attendance, which played "God save the King!"
upon the King of England's health being proposed.[35]

  [35] It is amusing to hear the opinion which most foreigners entertain
  of his majesty George IV. of Great Britain. They fancy him another Don
  Giovanni. I was riding with a Portuguese officer, near Colonia, one
  evening in December, 1821, when we heard the discharge of minute guns
  fired from H.M.S. _Slaney_, in the outer roads of Buenos Ayres, upon
  the death of the Queen. I explained to the Portuguese the cause of the
  firing: he smiled, and exclaimed, "Is it possible that your libertine
  King has ordered a mourning salvo upon such an occasion? surely it
  must mean a rejoicing." The people in Colonia, I found, harboured
  pretty much the same opinion; so I thought it behoved me, as a good
  and loyal subject, to take up the cudgels in defence of his majesty,
  of whom I am a great admirer; and I took great pains to impress upon
  them, that the chief failings laid to his majesty's charge were
  nothing more than those so common with our countrymen, _viz._ a too
  enthusiastic devotion at the shrines of Venus and Bacchus.

Another dinner was given by Don Gregorio Heras, the governor, at the
house of the Consulado, in the same style and splendour, and rivalling
even London itself. The bumper toasts were numerous and appropriate.[36]

  [36] Among the toasts given at one of the banquets held in honour
  of the victory of Ayacucho, Mr. Canning's health was drank in the
  following terms:--"_El Sabio Ministro de Inglaterra, el primer
  Estadista del mundo, el Honorable George Canning, fiel amigo de la
  libertad! la justicia preside en sus deliberaciones; su nombre sera
  un motivo de placer para nostros, y para las generaciones que nos
  sucedan._" Translation: "The learned Minister of England, the first
  Statesman in the world, the Honourable George Canning, the faithful
  friend of liberty! justice presides in his deliberations; his name
  will be an honour to place amongst our's, and the generations which
  succeed us."

  Mr. Canning is highly popular in Buenos Ayres, especially with the
  Creolian part of the inhabitants: a report that he had resigned
  office, created much uneasiness, as he is looked up to as the firmest
  friend of South American liberty. The _éclat_ of his ministerial
  career throws into the shade the Castlereagh quarrel, and his alleged
  desertion of the King in the affair of the Queen. Such appears to be
  Mr. Canning's popularity, that his enemies may now "scoff in safety."

A subscription ball and supper was likewise given by some of the Buenos
Ayrean gentlemen, at the Consulado. English and other foreigners
attended in considerable numbers. The _patio_, or court-yard, covered
by an awning, and brilliantly decorated, was devoted to dancing: the
concourse of ladies was very great, who, by their style of dancing and
charming attire, rendered the scene exceedingly fascinating, upon a par
with any such amusements in Europe. The dancing continued all night, and
until nearly seven o'clock on the Sunday morning, not having any Bishop
of London or sanctified gentry to interfere. Unfortunately, the night
proved intensely hot. The supper table was laid out in the grand saloon.

The North-American gentlemen resident in Buenos Ayres, on the 23d
February, 1825, gave a similar entertainment at the same building, the
Consulado, in honour of the victory of Ayacucho, and of Washington's
birth-day. Having more time for preparation, and the evening being cool
it was the most superb affair ever seen in this country; and as regarded
effect, it could hardly be surpassed. The awning was arranged in the
form of a dome; and the walls of the court-yard in which the dance was
held were covered with flags: Buenos Ayrean, Peruvian, Chilian, British,
and American, were most conspicuous. The glare of light falling on these
colours, with the sylph-like movements of the ladies mingling in the
dance, made all appear enchantment, realizing the fables of Eastern
romance. "London cannot beat this!" exclaimed a John Bull just arrived
from England, as he entered the scene of festivity: the graceful
attitudes and appearance of the female part of the company evidently
surprised him. The music was of the first description; Masoni and other
professors presiding. It was the first entertainment given in this
country by the North Americans to the Buenos Ayres public; and they
certainly succeeded to the utmost, reflecting the highest honour upon
their liberality and patriotism. It may be said that "all the world" of
Buenos Ayres was there, and they did not separate until seven o'clock
the next morning. The exterior of the Consulado was illuminated, with
the names of _Washington_, _Bolivar_, _Sucre_.

The substantial part of these different entertainments was superintended
by Faunch, the English hotel keeper, the only man in this country
competent to the undertaking: his arrangements would not disgrace
Messrs. Gunter and Debatt.

The town was illuminated during the three nights of Carnival. In the
Plaza, the names of the South-American heroes blazed from the "Casa de
Policia." The _rompe cabeza_ (or break head), greased masts, and other
sports, took place; two military bands of music playing alternately. The
weather being fine, added to the pleasure; the streets and Plaza were
filled with people. I viewed the scene as an event, perhaps, never
to occur again--I mean as to such a continuance of enthusiasm and
festivals; and, like Noodle and Doodle, "as we never saw the like
before, 'tis fit we make the most of it." I had, too, my forebodings,
and was not quite so sanguine as to the future moral happiness of the
country: for as population increases, its attendants, crime and misery,

The theatre was open the three nights; the national hymn was sung, the
house decorated, &c. The British consul, with his suite, attended on one
of the nights of Carnival; and on the Sunday, went in state from the
Fort to the Cathedral church. All the public officers were in the
train, including the foreign consuls. It was a walking procession; and
Mr. Poussett, the British vice-consul, walked with Mr. Slacum, the
North-American consul. Some forty or fifty years back, who could have
dreamt of such an event--a British consul joining in a procession with a
consul of her colonies, now independent, to celebrate the independence
of another part of the American continent.

Buenos Ayres illuminations are of a very inferior description, a candle
or two placed in each window; no tasteful transparencies. The house of
Mr. Losana was an exception: he had a transparency of the British and
North American national arms, and an incessant rattling of fire-works
(crackers) from the roof and windows of his mansion.

On the 24th February, a triumphal car was paraded through the streets,
followed by a piece of artillery, and another car containing arms of
all descriptions, the whole preceded by persons bearing torches, and
military music. The grand car was adorned with flags: the British flag I
did not observe amongst them. When the cavalcade reached the Plaza, it
was overtaken by a Pampero wind, with the usual accompaniment of dust,
obscuring the atmosphere, and obliging shops and windows to be instantly
closed. The London pickpockets, during these squalls would find ample
field for their talents.

During the rejoicings for the Ayacucho victory, the _Aranzazu_ brig of
war had the flag of old Spain floating under that of Buenos Ayres.

       *       *       *       *       *

CONCLUDING REMARKS.--The great want of this country is population; and
until it is increased by an industrious race, agriculture will remain at
its present low ebb; and they will have no sure defence against distant
enemies, powerful neighbours, and the ravages of the Indians. It would
be advantageous to encourage emigration from the over-peopled countries
of Europe, give them protection and an interest in the country;
then Buenos Ayres may reach those high destinies which her sanguine
politicians pretend to see in perspective; but it is not by simple
talking, that this is to be done. England reached her present greatness
by degrees, and by various sacrifices. I am aware that many in Buenos
Ayres view the influx of strangers with jealousy, and talk very highly
of their powerful means, &c. But, setting aside the old adage, that
"boasters do the least," what could protect them, if an alteration
should take place in European politics, and any one of the states of
Europe, without fear of obstruction, should determine to appropriate
the province of Buenos Ayres to itself? The 150,000 men, women, and
children, that now inhabit it, would stand a miserable chance against
the hordes that would be then let loose upon them. Therefore, an
increase of population, having all the rights of citizens, would be an
increase of power; and, in defence of their property and homes, they
would all join heart and hand to drive the spoilers from their adopted

If, however, an attack from any European power be considered an event
too distant or improbable to create any apprehension, Buenos Ayres has a
more immediate danger to provide against, from an enemy whose attacks
are neither problematical nor easily to be parried. This province is
unfortunately exposed to the ravages of the Indians, who murder the
inhabitants, and carry off the cattle, spreading desolation and terror
around. They are frequently within a hundred miles of the city, and in
1823 they approached much nearer. They advance in general, from the S.
or S.E. quarter, in bodies of 3, 4, 5, and 600, armed with spear
and lasso. In using the last, they are almost sure to entrap the
unfortunates within their reach. The forces opposed to them appear
inadequate; the horses, unable to endure the hardships of such a
campaign, have not been found equal to those of the Indians; and
as prisoners taken by them seldom meet with mercy, it has inspired
timidity. When likely to be hard pressed, the Indians disperse in all
directions, flying to their inaccessible retreats. The late Governor
Rodriguez headed several expeditions against them, but without any
marked success.

Four officers of Buenos Ayres, in 1823, were sent with a message to
the Indians, who were detained and murdered. One of them, a Polish
gentleman, named Bullicusque, had been in Napoleon's army, and was much
esteemed. He had some talent at caricature: one which he made of Mr.
Rivadavia attempting to climb the _Rompe Cabeza_, in allusion to the
suppression of the Friars, caused some mirth.

That any portion of the civilized part of South America should, at
this period, be held in terror by Indians, is a disgrace to Spanish
management, after 350 years of possession. The East Indies, and its
hundred millions of people subject to British sway, present rather a
different spectacle: they are in peace, and under the protection of
the laws; the once powerful Mahratta nation, the Pindarees, and other
warlike tribes having been subdued or conciliated within our time. The
suppression of the predatory Indians about this province is a legacy
left by the Spaniards to their late colonists.

The Indians of South America are, in persons and countenance, a striking
contrast to those of Africa. They have long black hair, flat faces,
short thick persons, and complexions of the mulatto cast, without any
thing in their countenances to denote ferocity, judging from those I
have seen in the streets of Buenos Ayres as prisoners. They have a
slight clothing, but it is very filthy. The woolly hair and tawny skin
are not seen amongst them. They are much attached to their _caciques_,
or chiefs.

In the present state of the province, it is a question whether it would
not be sound policy to take into pay 3 or 4000 foreign troops, and, by
placing them in cantonments on the exposed frontiers, awe the Indians,
and give the state a greater respect with other nations.

Every Buenos Ayrean who really loves his country, will view the arrival
of a settler emigrant amongst them more as a benefit than an injury.

Some of my countrymen are of opinion, that the acknowledgment of the
independence of Buenos Ayres by the British government will induce many
to emigrate from home, and thus add to the strength, industry, and
capital of this province. I should rejoice at such an occurrence; our
England, Ireland, and Scotland, can well spare from their too numerous

But, unless a person has some settled object of business, Buenos Ayres
will not prove the most eligible place to speculate upon for employment.

Clerks, unless they possess strong recommendations, or come expressly
engaged, had better not venture upon the voyage: they will, in all
probability, meet with great disappointment. The mercantile houses
have their clerks sent from the firms at home; little chance in that
capacity, therefore, remains for others. Many have returned to England,
finding that to continue here was only making bad worse.

It is professions of the first necessity that succeed. Mechanics are
sure of employment, and with prudence can save money. A journeyman
carpenter may earn, by piece-work, four to five dollars per day; their
regular wages from the English masters are from forty to forty-five
and forty-eight dollars per month. Braziers, blacksmiths, &c. do
well: Englishmen have shops in all those branches. Labourers of all
descriptions are in request.

Farming I do not conceive a profitable concern: labour is high, and the
foreign farmer, from the sort of men he must employ, is continually
exposed to petty thefts, the punishment of which causes great annoyance
and trouble. English labourers generally manage to leave their master
the moment they become useful. Several Englishmen have tried the system
of farming, without much success; it is more adapted to the natives,
and, from what I have heard, they make nothing extraordinary of it. It
is possible that a man with a capital of 800 to 1000_l._ may more than
live; but it ought to be a strong temptation to induce an individual
with that property to leave his country, and to be well assured of the
probable advantages of such an experiment. At the present moment a rapid
fortune is not to be made as a farmer; he must be content to plod on for
years, with great anxiety, and labour to boot. The soil, rich as it is,
requires artificial aid.

It is in holding _estancias_, or grazing farms, that money has been
made; and from the high price of hides, and the continual demand for
them, this affords every prospect of advantage.

Emigrants will not find the conveniences they have at home, but as many
comforts as they can possibly expect in a foreign land, including the
favourable climate.

An English female, upon her first arrival in this country would not find
herself very comfortable; it must take some time to reconcile her to
the loss of home, dress, mode of living--every thing so different; the
only alleviation is in the society of her country folks, and the kind
behaviour of the people, which will soon soften those feelings, and
when somewhat conversant in the language, she would become attached to
Spanish society, from whom she may be assured of receiving the most
delicate attentions that hospitality can prompt.

A person will not be long in Buenos Ayres without picking up
acquaintances with its inhabitants; amongst whom are some very
intelligent young men. I have sometimes thought it would give me
pleasure to conduct one of them to England, to be--not exactly a Mentor
(needing that myself), but a sort of escort to him in the modern
Babylon, London; to explain its many varieties, from the mansions of the
nobility, down to the _fondas_ of St. Giles's, where plates, knives, and
forks, are chained to the tables, to prevent the customers walking off
with them.

Common report asserts, that a strong French faction exists in Buenos
Ayres. I will not pretend to offer an opinion upon this. Three years
ago, I thought there was a decided leaning towards France: but I do not
think there is so much now. If it were only for the sake of consistency,
they must be ashamed of French politics, and the war in Spain,
undertaken, as "an experiment to try the fidelity of the French army,"
according to Monsieur Chateaubriand, who asserted that a few months
campaigning had done more good for France than years of peace. That a
portion of the inhabitants may be attached to the French, is probable;
their manners and religion assimilate more than ours. An Englishman
is looked upon as a strange creature, different from the rest of the
world. Other nations have not that characteristic of country (excepting
the North Americans): a Frenchman, Italian, &c. mixes in the crowd as
one of the country in which he resides, and is scarcely recognized as a
foreigner; but nature seems to have placed her peculiar mark upon us,
and, in conjunction with our law against expatriation, seems to assert,
that "once an Englishman, always an Englishman." It would appear that
strangers can almost discover us blindfold: often, on the darkest night,
I have been accosted by boys and others as an Englishman.

The old Spanish part of the population, I dare say, dislike, and can
never forgive us; we are ever the subject of their sneering remarks, and
must expect to be so. That we can act from principles of pure honour,
appears to them impossible; and they affect to trace self-interest at
the bottom of all our professions, particularly as to the proceedings
of the British government toward South America, which have gained us so
much popularity with those states; and given British politics the lead,
which indeed never stood more high in Buenos Ayres than at the present

Englishmen are aware that very few like them as a nation, however they
may respect them as individuals; and should our country be once on the
wane, there would be plenty of helping hands to press us further down.
It requires no extraordinary sagacity to account for this animosity.
I am certain, however, we have numerous friends in Buenos Ayres. The
rising generation have, in a manner, grown up with us. Time will wear
away antiquated prejudices, and it will be seen that the calumnies which
have been heaped upon our nation for ages, have not been deserved. Many
fine young Englishmen reside in Buenos Ayres in mercantile and other
employments: this portion associate a great deal with the inhabitants,
with whom they have formed a perfect intimacy.

I do not expect emigration from England yet, to any great extent. The
English people, in general, have a repugnance to live under foreign
laws, and where the influence of a religion prevails which from
childhood they have been taught to believe is inimical to their own.
But, waving these considerations, they would have little else to
complain of. Here is a rich soil, without any dread of sands and
blights, as at the Cape of Good Hope; and if they cannot amass
a fortune, they are sure to live, and that comfortably. Of the
kind-hearted inhabitants I have already spoken: my countrymen may be
assured, there are no foreigners with whom he will find himself so much
at home as with the Buenos Ayreans. Therefore, I again repeat, that
farmers with a small capital may gain a livelihood--perhaps, more;
labourers are sure of constant employment; and mechanics are ever
in request. The climate is congenial; the government are their sure
protectors; and the people, in spite of every prejudice, esteem our
nation. The age of revolutions, I think, is past; and, during their
utmost violence, strangers were never molested. British vessels from
Liverpool are continually arriving: and the cost of the passage is

Whenever fate conducts me from this country, I shall quit it with regret
for any other place but my native home, and must always feel the most
sincere esteem and gratitude towards the fine and generous people
amongst whom I have so long resided, and where I have enjoyed happiness
I little thought to experience out of Great Britain. I came to Buenos
Ayres somewhat prejudiced, expecting to observe illiberality and
bigotry, in place of the many amiable qualities of which I have found
them possessed; and although I am as complete an home-sick Englishman as
ever quitted his paternal shores, yet such is my attachment to Buenos
Ayres, that I look up to it as my second home, and feel the deepest
interest in its welfare.


I visited Colonia del Sacramento for a short period. It lies east of
Buenos Ayres, distant across the river thirty miles, and may sometimes
be seen from the latter city: when this is the case, it denotes a change
of weather to wind or rain.

Colonia is fortified both on the land and sea side: heavy guns are
mounted on the lines, and it is capable of making a good defence. It is
now in the possession of the Brazilian government. In December, 1821,
during my abode there, it was occupied by the Portuguese, and 600
European troops constituted the garrison; they were all light infantry,
and had served in the Peninsular war. I should suppose them a "crack
regiment," for in appearance they fully equalled British troops: the
uniform, brown jackets with black facings, and caps similar to our's.
Most of the officers wore orders for services in Europe. The music
consisted of bugle trumpets. Parade every morning: officers marched
to their guard, colours trooped, and all the evolutions of the parade
in St. James's Park. On Sundays they mustered in their best uniform,
governor attending, for church. I could not but express my admiration,
at the fine order and discipline of the troops, to a Portuguese officer.
He answered, that whatever improvement had taken place, was entirely
owing to British example and instruction; that we had found them a mob,
and transformed them to decent soldiers. It will be long ere Spain can
put forth such troops.

The officers, in Colonia, were good-looking gentlemanly men, speaking a
little French and English, picked up in campaigning. Many of them had
married, and preferred remaining in the country, when the regiment was
ordered away, turning farmers, cattle dealers, &c.

The governor (Rodriguez) is a veteran of the Peninsula. Strangers, upon
their arrival, are introduced to him. I found him working in his garden,
at a cottage, near the town: he received me with great civility. How
strangely the Spanish and Portuguese character has been represented
to us at home! I cannot discover that assumption of dignity and pride
attributed to them; on the contrary, they are of very amiable manners.

In Colonia, the soldiers were much esteemed, and industrious men. A
comparison with those of Buenos Ayres would be invidious.

The officers must have had a monotonous life, in so dull a place as
Colonia. They were great favourites with the ladies; and, in riding
about the country, visiting, and dancing, whiled away their spare time.

The soldiers were quartered in different houses: their behaviour
reminded me of the domestic character of our troops; I observed them
nursing children, and busily employed about the house, with nothing of
that swaggering consequence so usual with foreign troops. The Duke of
Wellington discovered and rightly appreciated their merits, which have
brought such renown upon the military annals of Portugal.

The world are accustomed to speak very slightingly of the Portuguese
character as a nation; and when the deeds in the Peninsula have been
mentioned, it has been said, "they have fought well, because British
bayonets were at their backs." Those same British have done the
Portuguese army the justice their bravery deserves; and the pitiful
sneers of their calumniatos will fall harmless.

Our saucy sailors, too, in the plenitude of their impudence, must have
their joke at the Portuguese: I remember, upon my first trip to sea, I
was called from the cabin to look at a Portuguese man-of-war, which,
they told me, had just hove in sight: I did look, but no vessel was to
be seen. At last, the sailors pointed out to me a nautilus, with all
sail set, skimming along the water which they asserted, was a Portuguese
ship of the line.

Colonia has about 800 inhabitants. There are very few good houses: the
greater part may be called huts, and are occupied by a mixture of South
Americans, old Spaniards, Portuguese, and some half-dozen of Englishmen
married to South-American ladies.

The governor's house is a very ordinary building. The streets are
irregular; and the town altogether presents a most miserable appearance.

The town cannot afford a tavern; there is only a paltry billiard-room,
in a public house, to which the Portuguese officers resorted.

The inhabitants of Colonia are very hospitable. I attended a birth-day
feast, at one of their _quintas_; forty persons sat down to a dinner
of beef, fowls, turkey, pastry, &c. The wine went merrily round, under
a continual call for _bompas_ (bumpers); and after dinner, there was
dancing. Some Portuguese officers were present, with their young Spanish

At those dinner parties, they have a practice of throwing bits of bread
at each other; and I felt some degree of surprise at first receiving
those bread shots.

The captain of the port, Mr. Short, is an Englishman, belonging to the
Portuguese navy, and is very attentive to his countrymen, whom business
may call there: the same may be said of Mr. Bridgman, who has been many
years resident in the town.

Colonia has but little trade. Small craft from Monte Video and Buenos
Ayres, bound up the river to Paysan Lee, &c. and sometimes British and
other vessels call in, to ship produce. A vessel can anchor within a
quarter of a mile from the shore, in 3½ fathom water. The harbour is
good, considering the bad anchorage of this river. There is a constant
communication overland with Monte Video; the distance is about 150
miles. To load vessels of any burthen, craft are sent from Buenos Ayres.
There is a dangerous reef near the harbour, on which a British brig (the
_Euxine_) was wrecked, in March, 1824.

Our ships of war, stationed in the outer roads of Buenos Ayres, send
their boats for brush-wood to the Island of St. Gabriel, near Colonia.
The church is a conspicuous land-mark, and looks very much like an
English country church, in its exterior; the interior has nothing of
splendour to boast--no organ, or decorations; the service is confided to
some poor old priests, who are fast approaching their earthly end.

If Colonia in itself has nothing attractive, the country around makes
ample amends, being interspersed with small hills, dales, lakes, and
agreeable rides--affording a fine field to the sportsman. The prospect
of the river is uninterrupted, assuming the appearance of a perfect sea.
Here is every facility for bathing: the water is clear and bracing. This
side of the river, in point of scenery, is far beyond the Buenos Ayrean:
an Englishman, however, regards it with almost equal indifference. If
any particular view is pointed out, Sussex, Kent, Devonshire, crowd
upon his thoughts; in comparison with which, the flat coast and few
diminutive hills of this part of South America appear insignificant.

In the environs of Colonia are many comfortable _quintas_, or
farm-houses. Provisions are dearer than in Buenos Ayres, and the beef
is not so good.

In the neighbourhood are found the birds called cardinals, from having
a tuft of feathers upon their heads shaped like a cardinal's hat. Their
plumage is pretty; and they sing. Care is required to convey them safe
to Europe.

The air plant is a singular production of this place; it grows on
bushes, and will thrive in the open air, without the aid of mould.

I think it possible, a few years hence, that Colonia may start from its
present inferiority, and take a station commensurate with the advantages
it possesses as a port in the river Plate. It was occupied by a division
of our army in 1807. History reminds us of our countryman, Penrose, and
the mishaps he encountered here in 1762.

Lately, the church and several houses have been damaged, and some lives
lost, by the blowing up of a magazine of gunpowder.

The occupation of the Banda Oriental by the Portuguese, and now by the
Brazilians, has been the subject of a strong remonstrance from the
government of Buenos Ayres. The original plea of the disturbed state of
the country, and danger thereby to the neighbouring Brazilian provinces,
no longer existing, Don Valentin Gomez[37] was sent to Rio Janeiro, but
returned without accomplishing his object. The Brazilian flag still
waves, and is likely to do so, from the fortresses of Monte Video,
Colonia, Maldonado, and the adjacent country. I am not aware upon
what arguments the Brazilians determine to keep their hold, excepting
possibly that of "might constituting right." Buenos Ayres would seem
its more natural protector. A portion of the inhabitants, it is likely,
prefer that the country should remain under its present masters,
satisfied with the manner in which authority has been exercised, and
dreading revolutions.

  [37] Senor Don Valentin Gomez belongs to the clergy: he has talents
  and eloquence, and is withal a handsome man, with a face as rosy as an
  English fox-hunter. As he was returning from Rio, in the British brig
  _Agenoria_, the brig struck upon the English bank in the river Plate,
  on the 11th March, 1824: there were eleven passengers on board.
  The captain left the vessel to get assistance, which was promptly
  dispatched from Buenos Ayres; but before any thing effectual could be
  done, eleven persons had quitted the wreck, on four rafts: one was
  picked up by a Portuguese vessel, containing five persons, who, after
  enduring great misery, arrived at Rio Janeiro; of the other three
  no tidings have since been heard. Those that remained on the wreck,
  amongst whom was Mr. Gomez, and Mr. George Brittain, an Englishman,
  were preserved: they, too, encountered great privations. This
  misfortune caused great anxiety in Buenos Ayres, from the extensive
  connections of Senor Gomez, and his secretary, Lucca, a young man of
  considerable acquirements, and who was one that perished. The brig of
  war, in the outer roads, was ordered to signalize, should she gain
  information from vessels arriving; and, on doing so, the Fort fired a
  gun, and hoisted a flag; crowds went to the beach. Upon Padre Gomez's
  arrival, he was met by relations and friends, the females crying
  for joy. The sufferings of the Padre had not blanched the roses in
  his cheeks: he came on shore as blooming as ever. Blame has been
  attributed to the captain: he had often navigated this river, and,
  perhaps, was too confident. A Danish and American ship passed at the
  time of the wreck, and have been much censured for not rendering

The old Spanish part of the population bear no particular love to the
Patriots: of the two, it is doubtful which they hate most, the Patriots
or the English.

Buenos Ayres would find it difficult to dislodge the Brazilians by
force, though there are advocates for this measure. Prudence, I trust,
will guide their resolves; and if injustice has been perpetrated, let
revenge be deferred until it can be securely taken. The separation,
after centuries of fellowship, and falling under foreign dominion, must
be galling.

If Buenos Ayres held the Banda Oriental, she would be a powerful state,
which it is the policy of the court of Rio de Janeiro to prevent. Its
fortresses, fine climate and country, improving population, influx of
emigrants, under a strong government, would make even the empire of
Brazil to look about them. However, such an event is distant; every
thing leads me to think its present occupants will long keep possession.


  RULES of the PORT of Buenos Ayres; DUES to be paid by Foreign and
    National Vessels; PENALTIES to which those are subject who violate
    the Laws of the Police, or who attempt to destroy in any manner
    the line of Buoys established on the Ortiz and Chico Banks, Mount
    Santiago, and Point Lara, or those which the Government may
    hereafter establish on other points of the river for the safety
    of navigators.


Article 1. The guard ship, in the inner roads, on observing a vessel
anchor in the outer roads, will hoist a red flag at the mizen mast, as
a signal to the captain of the vessel which has arrived, to proceed
towards the shore in his boat.

2. The said captain, taking with him his papers, will go on board the
guard ship.

3. On the arrival of the boat, the commandant of the guard ship will
desire her to anchor astern, and will then hoist a yellow flag, for the
health boat to come and pass the visit.

4. The commandant of the guard ship must not permit any communication
between his crew and those of the boat, until after the health visit.

5. The captain will be interrogated by the health and war visit; and if
he does not answer truly, he will be tried by the laws of the country.

6. If the weather will not permit the health-boat to pass the visit, the
commandant of the guard-ship will wait till they make signals from the
shore. Those signals will generally be, to permit the boat of the vessel
which has arrived to disembark on the quay. If, nevertheless, the
weather be too boisterous, and the boat cannot come on shore, the
commandant of the guard-ship may permit the crew to go on board him, and
then the guard-ship herself will be considered in a state of quarantine,
and must not communicate with any person, be who they may, until after
the health visit has passed.

7. When the health visit has fulfilled her office, the commandant of
the guard-ship will strike the red and yellow flags, mentioned in the
Articles 1st and 3d.

8. Having permission to communicate with the shore, captains will
present themselves at the Captain of the Port's office, where they will
fully inform him of the police of the port.

9. On arriving at the anchorage of Point Lara, captains who wish to
enter the port of Ensenada, will hoist a flag at the mizen-mast, proceed
to the vicinity of the fortress, and there wait the health and war
visit. They are expressly forbidden to communicate with any person,
under the penalties established by the quarantine laws.

10. Ships of war are an exception; they are not required to conform to
the above articles.

11. All ships of war, in which the crew may be attacked by a contagious
disorder, will hoist a yellow flag, and be subject to the laws of


For foreign vessels, by the ton, four reals.

For national vessels, from foreign parts, two reals.

The dues mentioned in the two preceding articles must be paid, half on
arrival, and half on the departure of the vessel.

National and foreign vessels, which neither take nor receive cargo, will
only pay half the dues mentioned above.

Foreign vessels will pay, besides, on their entry, twelve dollars for
the health visit, and twelve dollars more upon their departure for the
health certificate.

National vessels only pay half for the visit and the health certificate.

The charges for pilots are included in the anchorage dues.


Article 1. Every vessel anchored in the port of Buenos Ayres must
mutually render each other assistance, in case of drifting, or other
risk of average. Those who refuse will be subject to the sentence and
penalties prescribed by law.

2. In consequence of the little depth of water, it is expressly
enjoined to every vessel anchored in the port to have on its anchors
correspondent buoys, as vessels coming in and going out, not seeing
the buoys, run a risk of striking on the anchors. Those who fail using
precaution in this respect will be responsible for the averages and
losses that may result from it.

3. Vessels which have not buoys will give notice to the Captain of the
Port, who will send some, with a pilot to place them. The anchor must
not be raised without a permission to that effect.

4. At the moment of anchoring, the regular pilots will take care to
inform the captains, that they may provide themselves with every thing
necessary for the anchorage of their vessels; and if the pilot discovers
an infraction of this article, he will immediately inform the Captain
of the Port, under the penalty of being himself punished with all the
rigour prescribed by law, as negligence in this respect may cause the
greatest losses and averages.

5. If, in consequence of bad weather, the anchors and cables of a vessel
fail to hold, and it can be proved that those same cables and anchors
do not correspond with the size of the vessel, or that the cables were
in bad condition, then the said vessel shall be responsible for the
averages that may be occasioned thereby.

6. Every vessel from foreign parts, who moor themselves in the port,
without asking for a pilot at the Captain of the Port's office, will
be, by this proceeding, responsible for all the averages which may be
occasioned thereby, and will have no right of claim, in case they suffer
damage themselves.

7. Every vessel anchored, who may have its long boat or boat astern,
and, seeing another vessel under sail, neglects to haul them up out of
the way, not only will forfeit the right to claim in case of average,
but will even be responsible for that which such negligence may

8. It is expressly forbidden to every vessel in the port to throw any
thing into the water, of their ballast, or any other object that does
not float, under the penalties prescribed by law.

9. It is forbidden to each vessel, under any pretext whatever, except at
the moment of her arrival, to fire salutes, in the inner roads at least,
without having first obtained permission of the Captain of the Port. The
captain of a vessel who infringes upon this article, will be placed at
the disposal of the government.

10. Boats belonging to vessels anchored in the outer and inner roads
must go on board one hour after sun-set.

11. All boats found on shore after the evening gun, and until the
morning gun has been fired, will be dismantled, and the crew punished
according to the case and circumstances.


Article 1. To throw a kedge anchor, or hold on in any manner whatever to
the said buoys, the punishment of the galleys.

2. Those who take them away, or change their places, unless it be by the
authority of government, will be punished with all the rigour of the
law, even to the penalty of death.

3. They will punish equally those who make a fire on the said buoys, or
by any other means attempt to destroy them.

4. Every captain will receive, on his arrival, a copy of these
regulations; the cost of which will be included in the dues of the port.

The Government approves the above regulations, orders them to be
printed, and fixes the price of each copy at two reals, to be
distributed according to the tenor of the last article.

                                    (Signed)     HERAS.
    By order of the Government,
                          (Signed)     IGNACIO ALVAREZ.

_Buenos Ayres, July,_ 1824.

       *       *       *       *       *

  INSTRUCTIONS for sailing from the Outer Roads of Buenos Ayres to Monte
    Video, by the North and South of the Chico Bank.

_By the North, or Main Channel._

1. From three fathoms in the outer roads, steer E. by S. by the compass,
until Point Santiago of the Ensenada of Barragan bears S.W. by the
compass. Off this point, you will find from 5½ to 6 fathoms of water,
according to the state of the river.

2. When the above-mentioned point bears S.W. steer E.N.E. until you make
the Ortiz Bank, which will be when you lessen your water to 3 or 3½
fathoms. This bank may be approached, on the South side, without danger,
as the water diminishes gradually. It is a very good guide to navigate
in the night, or in thick weather.

3. From 3 fathoms on the Ortiz Bank, steer S.E. by the compass, until
you make Point Indio. In this track, you will deepen your water to 5 or
5½ fathoms, crossing the middle channel, according to the state of the
river. Passing the middle of the channel, the water diminishes
gradually, according as you near the land.

4. When you think you are about 7, 8, or 9 miles from the land, which
will be in 3¼ or 3½ fathoms of water, steer E.S.E. and coast it along.

5. When Point Indio bears S.W. by the compass, steer N.E. by E. until
you see Monte Video, which may be seen about 30 or 33 miles distant from
the top of a common-sized vessel. Keeping your course N.E. by E. you
will continue in 3½ fathoms of water, until you find yourself 6 or 7
leagues from Monte Video.

6. When you find 5 fathoms of water, you will be 9 or 10 miles from the
harbour of Monte Video.

From the said 5 fathoms to the harbour, it will lessen to 2½.

_By the South of the Chico Bank._

1. From 3 fathoms in the outer roads, steer E. by S. as before, until
you have 6 fathoms off Ensenada.

Before you lose sight of the town of Quilmes, you can see Point Lara,
which is easily known by a grove on the side of the river.

S.E. of Point Lara, there is a large _ombu_ tree on Mr. Wright's
_stancia_, distant about 2½ miles.

E.S.E. of Point Lara is the Point and Mount of Santiago, easily seen at
the distance of 7 miles.

2. Having passed the bank of Ensenada, which runs out about 5 miles from
Point Lara to the N.E. by N. steer S.E. by compass, until you find
yourself 5 or 6 miles from land.

3. When 5 or 6 miles from land, steer E.S.E. by compass, to keep along
the shore.

Before you lose sight of Point Santiago, you will see the _ombu_ tree of
the Balandra to the E.S.E. distant about 14 miles, and is one of those
nearest the river.

From this _ombu_, the N.W. point of the Chico Bank bears N. 30° E.
Keeping an E.S.E. course, after you have run a short distance, you will
see Point Atalaya, resembling two mounts. Keeping still on the same
course, you will see many _ombu_ trees; and when you have run about
six miles, you will see a large grove of them, where lies the town of
Magdalene. The church of Magdalene is easily discovered, having two
steeples, the largest at the east.

From this church, the S.W. point of the Chico Bank bears N. 15° E. by
the compass.

Between the Chico Bank and the land, the least water you find is between
the S.E. point and the coast; when the river is low, you have generally
about 17 feet.

Having passed the church, you may keep farther from the shore, as you
have likewise passed the Chico Bank; and keeping on your course E.S.E.
you will see four _ombu_ trees, being the last you will see.

After passing the last _ombu_ trees, the shore is level, with shrubs,
grass, turfs, and junks, until you make Point Indio, about 15 miles

Point Indio is low level land, with only one tree on it; and to the S.E.
you can see two large groves of tallow wood and espinillos.

These mounts are near Point Piedras and Point Indio.

From Point Indio, the S.E. part of the Ortiz Bank bears N. 30° E. by
compass, distant about 14 miles.

       *       *       *       *       *

  INSTRUCTIONS for sailing from Monte Video to Buenos Ayres, when
    passing by the Channels to the North and to the South of the Chico

_By the North side of the Chico Bank._

1. Being athwart the points which form the Port of Monte Video, steer to
the S.W. of the compass for the space of thirty miles.

2. Then change to the W.S.W. of the compass, until you can make out la
Punta del Indio, or Point Indian.

3. Having made Cape Indian, steer to the W. of the compass, until the
bearing of the said Cape be at S.S.W. distant 7 or 8 miles.

4. As soon as you have the Cape Indian to the S.S.W. of the compass,
steer to the N.W. in order to make the two first buoys of the Ortiz
Bank, which you will approach at the distance of about one or half a
mile, being cautious to have 15 feet water, in case there should be
little water in the river.

5. Here, you will change your course to the W. of the compass, taking
care to pass to the distance of the two last buoys, which are to the
N.W. of Chico Bank; for if the river should ebb with rapidity, and there
should be a strong current on the larboard-tack, you would run the risk
to pass too near. Continue to steer to the W. by which means you will
make out Ensenada, and the Point Lara, which last you will recognise by
a tufted tree, called the _ombu_, which is to the S.E. of this point;
and on the brink of the river, before you are out of sight of Point
Lara, you will perceive a small wood of _ombus_, situated on the hill
of the village of Quilmes; afterwards you will see the towers of Buenos
Ayres, and the vessels anchored in the roads, towards which you will
direct yourself.

_From Punta del Indio, or Cape Indian, passing to the Southward of the
Chico Bank._

_Observation, to know La Punta del Indio, or Cape Indian._--Making
sail to the N.W. at a distance of about 7 or 8 miles from La Punta de
Piedras, or Point Piedras, you observe, to the N.W. of this Point, two
woods of _talas_ (American trees), visible at a distance of about 7
miles from the said Cape.

To the N.W. of this wood of _talas_, there is a plain, which extends
about 4 miles. You will perceive then a small wood, or copse, remarkable
by a tree of _tala_, which forms the Point of Cape Indian.

When you have made the Cape Indian to the S.S.W. distance about 7 to
8 miles, steer to the W.N.W. of the compass; you will discover three
_ombus_ (tufted trees) upon the hills, upon the land of the Magdalene,
distant about one league from the river. Continuing your course, you
will observe six _ombus_, situated in the Village of Magdalene, and
which appear to be on the same line; at the fifth _ombu_ you will
perceive the Church, with its two little towers; that of the E. is
larger than that of the W. Observe, that the first buoy, placed to the
S.E. of the Bank Chico, is to the N. 15° E. of the compass from this

In making the first _ombu_ S.S.W. of the compass, at a distance from
land of about 6 miles, you will see, with a spy-glass, to the N.W. in
running over the horizon, and of the elevation of an ordinary-size
vessel. When the weather is clear, and a smooth sea, you will see just
5 miles distance, the buoy which is placed upon the Bank Chico, and upon
a bottom of 3 fathoms. To the W.N.W. of this buoy, distance of 3 miles,
there is only 1½ fathom. In passing one mile to the S. of this same
buoy, you will discover another to the W. ¾ N.W. distant 4 miles. When
you have passed the second buoy, you can sail without any fear to the
W.N.W. at a distance from land of about 7 or 8 miles; because the Bank
Chico pointed out by the second buoy remains to the N.N.W. of the

Passing the two buoys situated to the S.E. of the Bank Chico, and
continuing to sail W.N.W. you will distinguish several _ombus_ situated
upon some hills. When you close in the two small woods of _talas_, upon
the side of the river, then you close in to the Point of the Atalaya,
and arrive to the small wood, or copse of _talas_, you will have passed
the Bank Chico.

Leaving the copse of _talas_, the coast is very low, and presents small
regions of sand, to a distance of about 6 miles; that which follows, and
which is more raised, is the Forest of Santiago of the Ensenada: to the
end of this Forest, there is three leagues of length; it is the Point,
or Cape de Santiago of Ensenada of Barragan: arrived there, follow the
same directions that have been given in the first course from Monte
Video to Buenos Ayres.


In the passage from Monte Video to the Southern Coast, the bottom is
bad, as well as in the environs of Cape Indian.

From Cape Indian, as far as the first _ombu_, situated upon the land of
the Magdalene, you must not anchor nearer than 6 or 7 miles from the
shore, because there is a ridge of rocks, which extends itself to more
than 5 miles, and on which anchors will not hold.

_Variation of Depth of Water from Monte Video to Buenos Ayres, between
the Banks Ortiz and Chico._

Leaving Monte Video, having the Cape to the S.W. you will find 2½ or 3
fathoms of water; at 9 miles, you will find 5 fathoms; at 18 miles from
thence, you will not find more than 3½ fathoms; at 30 miles farther, you
will have a quarter of a fathom less; proceed 33 miles farther, and the
sounding lead will give you once more 3½ fathoms; in short you will find
the same depth of 3½ fathoms, until you find yourself within six miles
of the Southern Coast.

From Cape Indian, with the 3½ fathoms, steering to N.W. towards the Bank
Ortiz, the sounding lead will give you from 4½ to 5 fathoms, according
as the river flows or ebbs; when you do not find more than 3 fathoms,
then you will be on the brink of the Bank Ortiz.

From the 3 fathoms from the brink of the Bank Ortiz, steer to the W.
towards Buenos Ayres; your soundings will increase progressively from 5½
to 6 fathoms, according as the river is either low or high.

At the commencement of the 6 fathoms, you will make the Point of
Santiago of Ensenada to the S.W. of the compass.

This same depth of water continues, until you find yourself N. & S. with
the Point or Cape Lara. Keep always steering to the W. of the compass,
as before mentioned, and the soundings will diminish to 3 fathoms. If,
during this passage, the river ebbed, you would have 3 fathoms from the
Village des Quilmes.

By the course, and the differences of soundings above-mentioned, you
will be able to navigate by night, or when the weather will not permit
you to make out the marks.

Between the two Buoys which are placed to the N.W. of the Bank Chico and
Ortiz, you will find 5½ and 6 fathoms, according as the river is high or

Between the Banks Chico and Ortiz, the anchorage is good, and the
anchors hold tolerably well.

In the environs of the Bank Ortiz, vessels are less subject to part from
their anchors, because the bottom is mud and sand.

From the Cape Indian to Buenos Ayres, the currents flow from the E.S.E.
to the W.N.W.; their rapidity is much about from 1½ to 2 miles an hour.

In tacking, when the wind is contrary, a great deal of way can be made
by means of the currents.

From the S.E. extremity of the Bank Ortiz, to the S.E. extremity of
the Bank Chico, as you gradually proceed up the river, you will find
yourself nearer the Bank Ortiz than the land; you will keep taking from
3 fathoms along the chain of rocks which run along the coast, until 3
short fathoms on the side of the Bank Ortiz. Observe, that during this
tack, when you find yourself in 4 or 4½ fathoms, you are then nearer the
bank than the land.

Having doubled the Bank Ortiz, you can safely proceed until you have 3
fathoms of water; for the depth diminishes gradually.

In tacking about between the Bank Chico and Ortiz, you can, as before
said, run your tacks upon all the points of the Bank Ortiz as long as
you are in 3 fathoms water. But in the tacks which you run upon the Bank
Chico, you must put about ship as soon as the sounding line does not
give you more than 4 fathoms, because this bank is full of pointed
rocks, particularly at the place where the second buoy is placed, upon
the point from the N.W. to the S.E.; it is also equally rocky from the
first buoy to the S.E. as far as three miles to the W.N.W. because on
the two points you find no more than 1½ fathom water.

       *       *       *       *       *

POSITIONS of the TEN BUOYS placed on different Banks in the River Plate.

_Upon the Bank Chico there are Four Red Buoys._

1st. Is placed at the S.E. extremity of the Bank Chico, on a bottom of 3
fathoms. From this Point, you make the Magdalene Church at the S. 15° W.
of the compass.

2d. Is placed at the S. extremity of the Bank, on a bottom of 3 fathoms.
It is situated at the W. ¼ N.W. of the first, distant 4 miles: you make
the Church, at 15° E.

3d. Is situated to the N. ¼ N.W. of the second, distant 4 miles, upon a
bottom of 1½ fathom; it is in the middle of the Bank. You make the Point
of Atalaya to the S.W. of the compass.

4th. Is placed at the N.W. extremity of the Bank, on a bottom of 3
fathoms, to the W.N.W. of the third, distant 4 miles. You make the Point
of Atalaya to the S. 24° W. of the compass, distant 10½ miles.

_Upon the Bank Ortiz are placed Four Black Buoys._

1st. Is at the S.E. extremity of the Bank Ortiz, on a bottom of 3
fathoms. From the buoy, you make Cape Indian to the S.W. ¼ S. of the
compass: you will, at the same time, see, from the deck of a vessel of
an ordinary size, and on a clear day, the buoy, and the coast of Cape

2d. Is at the S. extremity of the Bank Ortiz, on a bottom of 3 fathoms,
and to the N.N.E. of the buoy of the S.E. of the Bank Chico.

3d. Is placed upon the side of the Bank Ortiz, on a bottom of 3 fathoms,
to the N.N.E. of the middle of the Bank Chico.

4th. Finds itself upon the Bank Ortiz, by 3 fathoms, and to the N. of
the one of the N.W. of the Bank Chico.

_To the Ensenada de Barragan, on the Banks of Santiago and Lara, are
placed Two Black Buoys._

1st. Black Buoy is upon the Bank of Santiago, in 3 fathoms: the bearing
of this buoy has the Point of the Santiago to the S. 28° E. and Point
Lara to the S. 53° W. of the compass.

2nd. Black Buoy is placed upon the Bank Lara, on a bottom of two
fathoms, on the bearing of Point Lara to the S.E. ¼ S. and the Point
of Santiago to the S. 63° E.

These two buoys are placed to warn Navigators to pass to the Northward.


The Bank Chico is not parallel with the S. coast, because, from the
first buoy of S.E. you take the bearing of the third buoy to the N. 42°
W. of the compass. This bank is nine miles in length.

This Bank forms to the N. a pretty considerable bay; it extends itself
from the buoy of the S.E. to a distance of 4 miles to the N.W. In the
middle of this bay, you have 3½ fathoms; but in steering to the S.S.W.
of the compass, at a distance of 150 fathoms, you will only find 1½

In the S. part, this bank forms another bay; it extends itself from the
buoy of the N.W. as far as that of the Point of the S. in the direction
of the S.E. ¼ S. distance about 6 miles; and in all this bay, in
following the edge of the bank, there is 3½ fathom water.


Printed by R. Macdonald, 30, Great Sutton Street, Clerkenwell, London.

       *       *       *       *       *

  Transcriber's Note: Some page numbers listed in the Table of Contents
  have been changed to more accurately denote the appropriate page. No
  attempt has been made to standardize spelling inconsistencies within
  this text. However, a few printing errors have been amended and noted
  within the following table.

  Page | Original Word | Amended Word
   vii | Processsion   | Procession
    11 | Saliors       | Sailors
    20 | Dominician    | Dominican
    38 | subscriber.   | subscriber.[9]
    48 | bilghted      | blighted
   130 | musc          | music
   139 | Gregogorio    | Gregorio
   163 | orignal       | original

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