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Title: Buenos Ayres and the Provinces of the Rio de La Plata - Their Present State, Trade and Debt
Author: Parish, Woodbine
Language: English
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[Illustration: GLYPTODON.]

                             BUENOS AYRES,
                         THE PROVINCES OF THE
                           RIO DE LA PLATA:



                     SIR WOODBINE PARISH, K.C.H.,

                    JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET.


                  Printed by WILLIAM CLOWES and SONS,
                           Stamford Street.


The greater part of the materials for this volume were collected
during a long official residence in the country to which they relate:
containing, as I believe they do, some information which may be
interesting, if not useful, I feel that I ought not to withhold them
from the public, in whose service they were obtained.

The chapters which give an account of the settlements made by the old
Spaniards on the coast of Patagonia, and of the explorations of the
Pampas south of Buenos Ayres, both by them and their successors in the
present century, will be found to throw some new light on the progress
of geographical discovery in that part of the world. Our occupation
of the Falkland Islands, in the first instance, and the work shortly
afterwards published by Falkner in this country, pointing out the
defenceless state of Patagonia, joined to the enterprising character
of the British voyages of discovery about the same period, appears
to have stimulated the Spaniards, in alarm lest we should forestall
them, to examine their coasts, to explore their rivers, and to found
settlements, of which every record was concealed from public view, lest
the world at large should become better acquainted with possessions,
all knowledge of which it was their particular care and policy to
endeavour to keep to themselves.

Thus, though Spain, at an enormous cost, acquired some better
information relative to countries over which she claimed a nominal
sovereignty, the results were not suffered to transpire, but remained
locked up in the secret archives of the viceroys and of the council of
the Indies; where probably they would have been hidden to this day had
not the South Americans assumed the management of their own affairs.

In the confusion which followed the deposition of the Spanish
authorities, the public archives appear to have been ransacked with
little ceremony, and many documents of great interest were lost, or
fell into the hands of individuals who, like collectors of rarities in
other parts of the world, showed anything but a disposition to share
them with the public at large. I will not say that this was always
the case, but the feeling prevailed to a sufficient extent to enhance
materially the value of those which were either offered for sale or
obtainable by other means.

Some few individuals were actuated by a different spirit, amongst whom
I ought especially to name Dr. Segurola, the fellow-labourer with Dean
Funes in his historical essay upon the provinces of La Plata, whose
valuable collection of MSS. (from which that work was principally
compiled) was always accessible to his friends, and to whom I have
to acknowledge my own obligations for leave to take copies of many
an interesting paper. Others, also, whom I do not name, will I trust
not the less accept my thanks for the facilities they afforded me
for obtaining such information as I required. The government, I must
say, was always liberal, in giving me access to the old archives, and
in permitting me to transcribe documents[1] which I could not have
obtained from other quarters.

With these facilities, and by purchase, I found myself, by the time
I quitted South America, in possession of a considerable collection
of MS. maps and of unedited papers respecting countries of which the
greater part of the world is, I believe, in almost absolute ignorance.

Amongst the most interesting perhaps of these I may mention--

The original Diaries of Don Juan de la Piedra, sent out from Spain, in
1778, to explore the coasts of Patagonia.

A series of papers drawn up by his successors the Viedmas, the founders
of the settlements at San Julian and on the Rio Negro.

The original Journal of Don Basilio Villariño, who, in 1782, explored
the great river Negro, from its mouth in lat. 41° to the foot of the
Andes, within three days' journey of Valdivia, on the shores of the

The Narrative, by Don Luis de la Cruz, of his Journey through the
territory of the Indians and the unexplored parts of the Pampas, from
Antuco, in the south of Chili, to Buenos Ayres, in 1806.

The Diary of Don Pedro Garcia's Expedition to the Salinas, in 1810,
given me by my most estimable friend, his son, Don Manuel.

Together with a variety of other unpublished accounts of the Indian
territories south of Buenos Ayres, principally collected by order of
that government, with a view to the extension of their frontiers.

The substance of these papers, all which relate to the southern and
least known parts of the New Continent, will be found in Chapters VII.,
VIII., and IX.

Respecting the eastern or Littorine provinces of the Republic, as
I have ventured to call them, the most valuable data existing are,
first, those collected by the Jesuits, and next, the various reports
and memoirs drawn up by the officers employed to fix the boundaries
under the treaties between Spain and Portugal of 1750 and 1777. The
especial qualifications of the individuals, particularly of those
employed in the last case, the length of time spent upon the service
(more than twenty years), and the enormous expenses incurred by Spain
in the endeavour to complete that survey, led to a large accumulation
of invaluable geographical data respecting extensive ranges of country
never before properly examined, much less described.

Nor were the labours of the officers in question confined to the
frontiers. They fixed, as I have stated in Chapter VIII., all the
principal points in the province of Buenos Ayres, made surveys of
the great rivers Paranã and Uruguay, and of their most important
tributaries; and drew up many notices of great interest respecting the
countries bordering upon the higher parts of the Paraguay, which the
pretensions of the Portuguese in that direction rendered it requisite
for them to explore with more than ordinary care and attention[2].

M. Walckenaer's publication at Paris, in 1809, of the Travels of
Don Felix Azara, one of the King of Spain's commissioners on that
service, contains a general review of the labours of those officers,
and is perhaps the best work in print upon the countries which it
describes; still it can only be regarded as a very imperfect sketch of
the information collected by one of many able men employed upon that
particular service.

Another of the commissioners, Don Diego Alvear, drew up an historical
and geographical work upon the provinces of Paraguay and the Missions,
quite equal in interest, if not more so, than that by Azara, for a MS.
copy of which I have to thank his son, the present General Alvear.

Colonel Cabrer, the only surviving officer of all those employed on
this important survey, was living during the time I was at Buenos
Ayres, and for many years had, to my knowledge, been engaged in drawing
up an elaborate account of the whole progress of the survey from first
to last; in his possession I saw a complete set of all the beautiful
maps executed by the Spanish officers, the originals of which are
deposited at Madrid. He is lately dead, and I understand that the
authorities of Buenos Ayres have been in treaty for the purchase of his
papers, which will be of the greatest importance, not only to them, but
to the governments of the Banda Oriental, of Paraguay, and of Bolivia,
whenever the time comes, as it must ere long, for definitively fixing
their respective boundaries with Brazil. I considered myself fortunate
in obtaining copies of several detached portions of these surveys, and
particularly of an original map, drawn from them by Colonel Cabrer
himself for General Alvear, when commanding-in-chief in the Banda
Oriental in 1827.

There is no doubt that, so far as the Spanish frontiers extended,
these maps are the best existing data respecting the countries which
they delineate: on the other hand, we must look to the Portuguese
authorities for materials for the adjoining provinces of Brazil. The
most perfect map of that part of the continent perhaps ever made
was drawn at Rio de Janeiro in 1827, for the use of the Marquis of
Barbacena, when appointed to command the Emperor's army in the war
with Buenos Ayres, and was taken with his baggage at the battle of
Ituzaingo, and afterwards given to me. It comprises, on a large scale,
all the country lying east of the Uruguay, from the Island of St.
Catharine's to the River Plate. On my return to England I placed it
in the hands of Mr. John Arrowsmith, with the rest of my geographical

As regards the greater part of the interior provinces west of the
Paraguay, the information obtainable is very imperfect; indeed of some
vast portions of those regions, it may be said that nothing but the
general courses of the principal rivers is as yet known. The immense
tract called the Gran-Chaco is still in possession of aboriginal
tribes, and other extensive districts are inhabited by people who,
though of a different race, seem little beyond them in civilization.

It was not the policy of Spain to take the trouble of accurately
examining her colonial possessions, except when obliged to do so in
furtherance of measures of self-defence, or in the expectation of some
profitable return in the precious metals, the primary objects of her
solicitude: and, but that the high road from Potosi to Buenos Ayres
ran through them, I believe in Europe we should hardly have known,
till recently, even the names of the capital towns of the intermediate
provinces: it is only since their independence that they have brought
themselves into notice, and that any information has been acquired of
the nature and importance of their native products.

When I arrived at Buenos Ayres in 1824, in hopes of obtaining the
best existing accounts of their statistics, I addressed myself to
the governors themselves; and I have every reason to believe, under
the circumstances, that they were desirous to meet my wishes. I
received from them all the most civil assurances to that effect; but,
excepting from the Entre Rios, Cordova, La Rioja, and Salta, I found
the authorities themselves utterly unable to communicate anything of a
definite or satisfactory nature; and, although they promised to set to
work to collect what I asked for, I soon found they had most of them
other matters on hand which had more urgent calls on their attention.

Of the information which I did so obtain, the most complete by far was
from General Arenales, the Governor of Salta, who not only forwarded
to me an interesting report upon the extent and various productions
of that province, but, what I less expected, a very fair map of it,
drawn by his own son Colonel Arenales; an individual who has since
distinguished himself amongst his countrymen by the publication of a
work[3] wherein he has with great pains collected all the information
he could obtain to elucidate the geography and capabilities of a
province which nature seems to have destined to be one of the most
important of the Argentine Republic. Were his good example followed
by equally intelligent individuals in other parts of the interior,
the natives, as well as foreigners, would be greatly assisted in
learning not only what are the productions of their own country, but
in what manner they might be rendered available in furtherance of its

He has done his duty, and rendered a service to his country, by
pointing out the great importance of the possibility, now proved beyond
a doubt, of navigating the river Vermejo throughout its whole course,
from Oran in the heart of the continent to its junction with the
Paranã, and thence to the ocean.

Mr. Arrowsmith has adopted his delineation of the course of that
river, as laid down from the diary of Cornejo, who descended it in
1790. Soria, who came down it in 1826, was deprived of all his papers
in Paraguay; and although, on reaching Buenos Ayres, five years
afterwards, he not only published a short account of his voyage, but
a map also to illustrate it, being entirely from memory, it is little
to be depended upon; neither is it reconcilable with the distance from
Oran to the Paraguay, as estimated either by himself or Cornejo.

Of Soria's voyage, besides his own account, I had a much more full
and curious narrative from an Englishman of the name of Luke Cresser,
who was one of the party, and whose personal adventures would form
an entertaining episode in any history of that enterprise. He was a
Yorkshireman by birth, and originally a watchmaker, in which trade,
after making a little money at Buenos Ayres, he had found his way into
the upper provinces, and had finally become a grower of tobacco in the
province of Oran. Having a large stock on hand about the time Soria
was about to descend the Vermejo, he was induced to ship it, and to
embark with him for Buenos Ayres. He was of the greatest service to the
party on the voyage, and was severely wounded, in the skirmish they had
with the Indians, by an arrow, which pierced his arm, and occasioned
him much and long suffering afterwards. On reaching the Paraguay, had
Soria listened to his urgent advice and entreaties, he never would have
placed himself in Dr. Francia's power; for which, indeed, there does
not appear to have been the slightest necessity. When the vessel was
detained by that despot's orders, Cresser, like the rest, was stripped
of all he possessed; and, after much suffering, was sent to Villa
Real,--a wretched establishment on the Paraguay, about 150 miles above

There, whilst his companions were bewailing their fate, the more
enterprising Englishman obtained leave to proceed into the interior
to the forests, where the yerba or tea is gathered, to work for his
livelihood; and with such success, that, from beginning without a
dollar of his own, by the time he was allowed to leave Paraguay, five
years afterwards, he found himself in comparative affluence; and,
though only permitted by the dictator to carry out of the country a
portion of the yerba he had by his industry collected, he had still
enough left when he sailed for Buenos Ayres to compensate him for the
loss of all the tobacco with which he had originally sailed from Oran.
The narrative of this person contains such curious details, not only
respecting his residence in Paraguay, but also regarding the country
about Oran, where he had passed some years previously to his voyage
with Soria down the Vermejo, that I have thought it worth communicating
to the Geographical Society for insertion, if they please, at length,
in one of their periodical journals.

If it was difficult to collect the most ordinary statistical data
relative to the interior, it may easily be supposed how much more so
it was to obtain information of any interest in a scientific point
of view; nevertheless, in this respect, I was not altogether without
resources; and the accidental residence of two or three observing and
intelligent individuals of our own countrymen in the remotest parts of
these widely-spread regions laid open to me sources of information even
upon such matters as I little expected. The results of that portion of
my correspondence will be found in various parts of this Volume, where
I have had the satisfaction of acknowledging my obligations to the
individuals from whom they were derived.

From the materials to which I have above alluded, and other papers
in my possession, my original intention was to have attempted a work
of a more extensive nature; but any necessity for this has been since
superseded by the publication, which has been commenced by M. de
Angelis, at Buenos Ayres, under the auspices of the Government, of an
extensive collection of unedited historical documents relative to the
provinces of La Plata.

In the course of the last three years five folio volumes, and portions
of two more, have already appeared, in which not only many of the most
interesting of the papers in my own collection are given, but a variety
of others throwing great light upon the history and geography of the
countries to which they relate[4].

I cannot hesitate to say that it is infinitely the most important and
interesting publication which has as yet appeared in any of the new
states of Spanish America, to the great credit of the enlightened
editor, who has illustrated it with his own learned notes and
observations, the fruits of a long study of the history of his adopted

Upon the appearance of the first volumes I gave up my own design, as a
work of supererogation where one so much more valuable was attainable.

It became however manifest, as M. de Angelis' work proceeded, that its
extent would rather render it available as a book of reference and
authority than for general purposes; and, as it was in the Spanish
language, particularly so for the general purposes of English readers.
I was again, therefore, induced to resume my task, though with the
essential change in its character from my original plan, to the brief
and general sketch of the Republic, and of the progress of geography
in that part of the world during the last 60 years, which now appears;
referring those who desire more detailed information to the invaluable
collection of original memoirs now in course of publication by Don
Pedro de Angelis: it has been of great use to me in enabling me to
complete my own chain of information, as indeed it must be to any one
who pretends to give any account of the part of the world of which the
documents it contains may be said now to constitute the original and
authenticated historical records.

To M. de Angelis I am also indebted for the copy of a MS. map, by Don
Alvarez de Condarco, in which are laid down not only a recent journey
of his own in 1837, to examine the mines in the Indian territory south
of the Diamante, but the several marches of the troops, detached from
Mendoza, in 1833, to co-operate with the forces from Buenos Ayres under
General Rosas, in the general attack made upon the native tribes. I had
already received, as I have mentioned in Chapter IX., through my friend
Don Manuel Garcia, a map drawn by General Pacheco, showing the march
of the principal division of that army, along the banks of the River
Negro, from the Islands of Choleechel to the junction of the Neuquen.

The routes in question have been very material to the laying down of
the true courses of some of the many rivers which constitute the most
important, though hitherto undescribed, features of that part of the
continent:--and it is satisfactory to find that they are strikingly
corroborative of the accounts, as far as they go, which I had already
cited as given both by Villariño, by Don Luis de la Cruz, and our own
countryman, Dr. Gillies.

Thus far I have spoken of my geographical materials:--they will be
found embodied in the accompanying map of the Republic by Mr. John
Arrowsmith, who has spared no time or labour in its construction. In
this he has also availed himself of the invaluable recent survey of
Captain FitzRoy, to give the whole of the line of coast upon the very
best authority. In the interior the various routes, which appear now
for the first time collected together, have been all re-protracted from
the original sources of information, whilst a careful re-examination of
the labours of the Boundary Commissioners and of other authenticated
authorities has enabled him to correct many errors of position which
had crept, I hardly know how, into the latest maps, not excepting those
compiled in the topographical department of Buenos Ayres.

Upon the whole, although we have yet a vast deal to learn before
any perfect map can be drawn of this extensive portion of the new
continent, I trust that the present attempt will be regarded as no
slight improvement upon our old geography of that part of the world[5].

I regret that I lost, during my residence at Buenos Ayres, the
opportunity of making what too late I learnt would have been very
acceptable additions to our zoological collections; but I never
imagined that our public museums were so entirely destitute, as I
found them upon my return, of specimens of the commonest objects of
natural history, from a country with which we had been so many years
in, I may say, almost daily intercourse. Mr. Darwin, and the officers
of His Majesty's ship Beagle, have since done much to supply these
deficiencies; but we still want, I believe, specimens of by far the
greater part of the birds and beasts of which Azara gave us the
description nearly forty years ago. The collections of some of the
museums on the Continent are, I believe, much more complete; especially
those of Paris, to judge from the accounts of the acquisitions made by
M. Alcide d'Orbigny, the fruits of many years spent in those countries,
to which he was sent in 1826, expressly, I believe, to collect
information and specimens for the Museum of Natural History.

Instigated first by Dr. Buckland, I made those inquiries for fossil
remains, the results of which I flatter myself have been of no
common interest both to the geologist and comparative anatomist. The
examination of the monstrous bones which I sent to this country, by
the learned individuals who have taken the pains to describe them,
assists us to unravel the fabulous traditions handed down by the
aborigines respecting a race of Titans, whilst it proves indisputably
that the vast alluvial plains in that part of the world, at some former
period, the further history of which has not been revealed to us, were
inhabited by herbivorous animals of most extraordinary dimensions, and
of forms greatly differing from those of the genera now in existence.

To the account of the Megatherium, and other extinct animals, I am now
enabled, by a delay which has unavoidably occurred in the publication
of this volume, to insert the representation of another extinct
monster, the Glyptodon, which has been very recently discovered at no
great distance from the city of Buenos Ayres, apparently in a very
perfect state, and which I trust ere long will be in England. Mr. Owen,
of the College of Surgeons, has been good enough to draw up for me the
description of it, which I have added in a note at the end of the tenth

It is, perhaps, not unworthy of a passing observation here, that,
amongst all the remains of extinct animals which we have now obtained
from the Pampas, most of which too seem to have been singularly
provided with a structure for self-defence, no instance, I believe,
has as yet been satisfactorily proved of the occurrence of any portion
of a _carnivorous_ animal.

It only remains for me to allude to the third and last part of my
book, upon the trade and public debt of the provinces of La Plata; and
of which I can only say that I have spared no inquiry to render it
as correct as is compatible with so brief and general a notice. The
accounts officially published by the Government of Buenos Ayres, and
the papers laid before Parliament, have enabled me to complete the
Returns of Trade to the close of 1837. They show that the River Plate
to the British manufacturer has been the most important of all the
markets opened to him by the emancipation of the Spanish Americans; and
that the value of the British trade there alone exceeds the aggregate
of all other foreign countries put together. Spain herself has not
taken for many years past so large a quantity of British manufactured
goods as, it appears, have been sent to the River Plate.

The particulars of the debt have only been brought down to the
commencement of 1837; for, although the accounts have since been
published for another year, I confess I do not sufficiently understand
them at this distance to attempt to explain them, further than to
say that they show increased difficulties, from the lamentable and
unexpected circumstances which have again disturbed the peace of the

On the party questions which have hitherto agitated the people of these
countries, I have purposely said as little as possible; much less have
I thought of writing the history of a country which has not been a
quarter of a century in existence; the institutions of which are quite
in their infancy, and must necessarily require a long period ere they
can assume a more definite character.

The generality of my readers, I take it for granted, are acquainted
with the nature of the old colonial government of Spain, with the
events which led to the emancipation of the South Americans, and with
the fact of their having declared for a democratic form of government
in all the new states.


[1] Amongst other documents which I obtained through the kindness of
the government were some large topographical maps of the province of
Buenos Ayres, drawn expressly for me by desire of General Rosas, the
present governor, comprising all the data respecting that province,
collected by the topographical department up to the year 1834.

[2] A re-calculation by M. Oltmanns, of some of the observations of the
Boundary Commissioners, has slightly altered a few of their positions:
his corrections will be found in the volume for 1830, of the Memoirs of
the Academy of Sciences of Berlin.

[3] Noticias Historicas y Descriptivas sobre el gran pais del Chaco y
Rio Vermejo, por José Arenales.--Buenos Aires, 1833, 8vo.

[4] Collección de Obras y Documentos relativos à la Historia antigua y
moderna de las Provincias del Rio de la Plata, ilustrados con Notas y
Disertaciones, por Pedro de Angelis.--Buenos Aires, 1836, folio. The
completion of this work has been suspended for want of paper to go on
with, owing to the French blockade of Buenos Ayres, since March, 1838.

[5] For the convenience of those who may desire to have it separately,
the map may be had from Mr. Arrowsmith without the book.


  INTRODUCTION                                                 Page iii.

                              CHAPTER I.


  Extent, Divisions, and General Government of the
  Provinces of La Plata. Jurisdiction of the old
  Viceroyalties:--Necessity of dividing and subdividing such
  vast Governments:--Embarrassments arising out of this
  necessity. The backwardness in the Political organization
  of these Provinces, common to all the new Republics of
  South America; and attributable to the same cause; the
  Colonial system of the Mother Country. Mistake in comparing
  the condition of the Creoles with that of the British
  Colonists of North America. Natural ascendency of Military
  Power in the new States. Their progress in the last
  twenty-five years compared with their previous condition        Page 1

                              CHAPTER II.

                             RIVER PLATE.

  The River Plate--why so called. Its immensity. Arrival off
  Buenos Ayres. Passengers carted on shore. Want of a better
  landing-place, for goods especially. Navigation of the
  River not so perilous as was supposed in former times          Page 12

                             CHAPTER III.

                         CITY OF BUENOS AYRES.

  First Impressions of Buenos Ayres. Date of the Foundation,
  and insignificance of the Colony for a long period.
  Contraband Trade carried on through it a grievance to the
  Mother Country. Erected into a distinct Viceroyalty in
  1776, and its trade opened in consequence of the modified
  system adopted by Spain about the same time. The advantages
  of this to Buenos Ayres.                                       Page 18

                              CHAPTER IV.

                      POPULATION OF BUENOS AYRES.

  Statistics of the Population. Its great increase in the
  last fifty years. Castes into which it was formerly divided
  now disappearing. Numbers of Foreigners established there,
  especially British. Their influence on the habits of the
  Natives. The Ladies of Buenos Ayres; the Men and their
  occupations.                                                   Page 22

                              CHAPTER V.

                         CITY OF BUENOS AYRES.

  Great extent of the City. Public Buildings. Inconvenient
  Arrangement and want of Comfort in the Dwellings of the
  Natives a few years ago. Prejudice against Chimneys.
  Subsequent Improvements introduced by Foreigners. Iron
  gratings at the windows necessary. Water scarce and dear.
  That of the River Plate excellent, and capable of being
  kept a very long time. Pavement of Buenos Ayres                Page 36

                              CHAPTER VI.


  Climate of Buenos Ayres, liable to sudden changes.
  Influence of the North Wind. Case of Garcia. Effects of a
  Pampero. Dust-Storms and Showers of Mud. The Natives free
  from Epidemics, but liable to peculiar affections from the
  state of the atmosphere. Lockjaw of very common occurrence.
  The Smallpox stopped by Vaccination. Introduced in 1805,
  and preserved by an individual. Its first introduction
  amongst the Native Indians by General Rosas. Cases of
  Longevity, of frequent occurrence                             Page 44

                             CHAPTER VII.


  Little known of Patagonia till the appearance of Falkner's
  work in 1774. It stimulates the Spanish Government to send
  out an expedition under Piedra in 1778, to form settlements
  upon the coast. He discovers the Bay of San Joseph's.
  Francisco Viedma forms a settlement on the River Negro.
  Antonio, his brother, explores the southern part of the
  coast, and forms another at San Julian's. His account of
  the Indians he found there. The New Settlements abandoned
  in 1783, with the exception of that on the River Negro.
  Villariño ascends that river, as far as the Cordillera
  opposite Valdivia. A dispute with the Araucanian Indians
  prevents his communication with the Spaniards of Chile,
  and obliges him to return. Piedra succeeds Viedma, attacks
  the Pampa Tribes, and is defeated. Don Ortiz de Rosas,
  father of the present Governor of Buenos Ayres, is taken
  prisoner by them, and succeeds in bringing about a general
  pacification. Subsequent neglect of the settlement on the
  Rio Negro. Its population in 1825, and coasting-trade with
  Buenos Ayres                                                   Page 58

                             CHAPTER VIII.


  Malaspina. Surveys the Shores of the Rio de la Plata in
  1789. Bauza maps the Road to Mendoza: De Souillac that
  to Cordova. Azara, and other Officers, in 1796, fix the
  positions of all the Forts and Towns in the Province of
  Buenos Ayres. Don Luis de la Cruz crosses the Pampas, from
  the frontiers of Conception in Chile to Buenos Ayres,
  in 1806. Attempt at a mew delineation of the Rivers of
  the Pampas from his Journal. His account of the Volcanic
  appearances along the Eastern Andes. Sulphur, Coal, and
  Salt found there, also Fossil Marine Remains. The Indians
  of Araucanian origin: Habits and Customs of the Pehuenches     Page 96

                              CHAPTER IX.

                     PROGRESS OF INLAND DISCOVERY.

  Ignorance of the Buenos Ayreans respecting the lands
  south of the Salado previously to their Independence.
  Colonel Garcia's expedition to the Salt Lakes in 1810.
  The Government of Buenos Ayres endeavours to bring about
  an arrangement with the Indians for a new boundary. Their
  warlike demonstrations render futile this attempt. March of
  an army to the Tandil, and erection of a Fort there. Some
  account of that part of the country. The coast as far as
  Bahia Blanca examined, and extension of the frontier-line
  as far as that point. The hostility of the Indians makes
  it necessary to carry the war into the heart of their
  Territories. General Rosas rescues from them 1500 Christian
  captives. Detachments of his army occupy the Choleechel,
  and follow the courses of the River Negro and of the
  Colorado till in sight of the Cordillera                      Page 117

                              CHAPTER X.

                        GEOLOGY OF THE PAMPAS.

  Geological Features of the Southern compared with those
  of the Northern Shore of the Plata. The Pampa Formation,
  probably derived from the Alluvial Process now going on, as
  exhibited in the Beds of the Plata itself and other Rivers.
  Fossil remains of land Animals found in it, above Marine
  Shells. Such Shells where met with, and of what Species.
  Mr. Bland's Theory of the Upheaval of the Pampas from the
  Sea, founded on the Deposits of Salt in them:--The presence
  of such Salt may be otherwise accounted for. Account of the
  Discovery of the Gigantic Fossil remains sent to England by
  the Author.--                                                 Page 163

  Additional Note on the Glyptodon, another fossil monster
  recently discovered in the Pampa formation                 Page 178_b_

                              CHAPTER XI.


  Importance of the rivers of the United Provinces. The
  Paraguay and its tributaries. The Pilcomayo. The Vermejo.
  Soria's expedition down it from Oran, proving it navigable
  thence to Assumption. Periodical inundations of the
  Paranã, similar to those of the Nile. The Uruguay and
  its affluents. Surveys by the Commissioners appointed to
  determine the Boundaries laid down by the Treaty between
  Spain and Portugal of 1777. Original Maps obtained            Page 179

                             CHAPTER XII.

                       THE LITTORINE PROVINCES.


  De Garay founds _Santa Fé_, and meets with Spaniards from
  Peru. His subsequent Deeds and Death. The Government of the
  Rio de la Plata separated from that of Paraguay, and Santa
  Fé annexed to Buenos Ayres. Its former prosperity, and
  great capabilities, especially for Steam Navigation. _The
  Entre Rios_--constituted a Province in 1814, its Extent,
  Government, and Population--chiefly a grazing Country.
  _Corrientes_--its valuable natural Productions--mistaken
  ideas of the people as to Foreign Trade. The Lake
  Ybera--Pigmies, Ants, Ant-Eaters, Locusts, and Beetles.
  _The Missions_ now depopulated--their happy and flourishing
  state under the Jesuits. _Paraguay_--some Account of its
  former Prosperity and Trade, and the establishment of the
  tyrannical rule of Dr. Francia                                Page 195

                             CHAPTER XIII.

                        THE CENTRAL PROVINCES.


  CORDOVA. Government. Pastoral Habits of the People.
  Productions. LA RIOJA. Population, &c. Famatina Mines.
  Evils arising from the present subdivision of the
  Provincial Governments. SANTIAGO DEL ESTERO. The Sandy
  Desert or Traversia. Quichua Language. Productions, &c.
  The Salado navigable to the Paranã. The Chaco. Mass of
  native Iron found there. Theory of its Meteoric Origin
  questionable. Account of the native Iron from Atacama.
  TUCUMAN. Delightful Climate. Mines--little worked. Richness
  of the Vegetation. Declaration of Independence of the
  Provinces made there in 1816. CATAMARCA. Population, &c.
  Original Inhabitants--their long Wars with the Spaniards.
  SALTA. Divisions, Population, Government, Climate, Rivers.
  The Vermejo, and its Affluents from Tarija and Jujuy.
  Valuable Productions of this Province. Labour of the Mataco
  Indians obtainable, and preferable to that of Europeans in
  such Latitudes. Importance of inland Steam Navigation urged
  Page 238

                             CHAPTER XIV.

                          PROVINCES OF CUYO.

                     SAN LUIS, MENDOZA, SAN JUAN.

  The towns of Cuyo formerly attached to Cordova. Value
  of the old municipal institutions. SAN LUIS, wretched
  state of the population. The miserable weakness of the
  Government exposes the whole southern frontier of the
  Republic to the Indians. Aconcagua seen from the town.
  Mines of Carolina. Account of a journey over the Pampas in
  a carriage. MENDOZA, extent, rivers, artificial irrigation,
  productions. Mines not worth working by English companies.
  Ancient Peruvian road. City of Mendoza, and salubrity of
  the Climate. SAN JUAN. The productions similar to those of
  Mendoza, Wine, Brandy, and Corn--Quantity of Corn produced
  yearly. Mines of Jachal Character of the people. Passes
  across the Andes. Dr. Gillies' account of an excursion by
  those of the Planchon and Las Damas. Singular animal found
  in the provinces of Cuyo named the Chlamyphorus, described
  by Mr. Yarrell                                                Page 294

                              CHAPTER XV.


  Advantages of the situation of Buenos Ayres in a commercial
  point of view. Amount of _Imports_ into Buenos Ayres in
  peaceable times. From what Countries. Great proportion
  of the whole British Manufactures. Articles introduced
  from other parts of the World. The Trade checked by
  the Brazilian War, and subsequent Civil Disturbances.
  Recovering since 1831. Proportion of it taken off by
  Monte Video since its independence. Comparative view
  of _Exports_. Scarcity of Returns. Capabilities of the
  Country. Advantage of encouraging Foreigners. The Wool
  Trade becoming of importance owing to their exertions.
  Other useful productions which may be cultivated in the
  interior. Account of the origin and increase of the Horses
  and Cattle in the Pampas                                      Page 333

                             CHAPTER XVI.

                             PUBLIC DEBT.

  Origin of the Funded Debt of Buenos Ayres. Receipts and
  Expenditure from 1822 to 1825, during peace. Loan raised in
  England. War with Brazil, and stoppage of all Revenue from
  the Customhouse for three years. Pecuniary difficulties in
  consequence. The Provincial Bank of Buenos Ayres converted
  into a National one. The Government interferes with it,
  and, by forcing it to increase its issues, destroys its
  credit. Debt at the close of the war at the end of 1828.
  Hopes founded on the peace destroyed by the mutiny of the
  Army;--deplorable consequences of that event. Depreciation
  of the Currency. Deficit in the Revenue, and increase
  of the Funded Debt:--its amount in 1834, and further
  increase in 1837. General Account of the Liabilities of the
  Government up to that year;--increased by subsequent war
  with Bolivia, and French Blockade                             Page 374


  No. 1.--Declaration of Independence of the United Provinces
  of South America, in 1816                                     Page 392

  No. 2.--Estimated Population of the Provinces of the Rio de
  la Plata, 1836-7                                              Page 393

  No. 3.--Statistics of British Residents at Buenos Ayres, in
  1831--                                                        Page 394

  No. 4.--Treaty between Great Britain and the United
  Provinces of Rio de la Plata                                 Page 396

  No. 5.--Copy, in the Guarani language, of the Memorial
  addressed by the People of the Mission of San Luis, praying
  that the Jesuits might be allowed to remain with them.
  Dated 28th February, 1768                                     Page 404

  No. 6.--Meteorological Observations in Buenos Ayres during
  1822 and 1823 (from the Registro Estadistico)                 Page 406

  No. 7.--Some Fixed Points in the Provinces of Rio de la
  Plata                                                         Page 407

  No. 8.--Return of Foreign Shipping arrived at Buenos Ayres
  from 1821 to 1837 inclusive                                   Page 411

  No. 9.--A Statement of the Quantities and Declared Value of
  British and Irish Produce and Manufactures exported from
  the United Kingdom to the States of the Rio de la Plata,
  in each year, from 1830 to 1837 (from Returns laid before
  Parliament)--                                                 Page 412

  No. 10.--Trade of Monte Video                                 Page 414

  No. 11.--Comparative Value (declared) of British and Irish
  Produce and Manufactures exported from Great Britain to the
  River Plate, Mexico, Columbia, Chile, and Peru, from 1829
  to 1837, and to Spain in the same years                       Page 415


  General Map.

  Plate of the Glyptodon                          opposite Title page.

  Buenos Ayres besieged by the Querandis in 1535     "      page  19.

  Plan of the City                                   "       "    28.

  Plate of the Megatherium                           "       "   178.

    "   of the Chlamyphorus                          "       "   330.




    Extent, Divisions, and General Government of the
        Provinces of La Plata. Jurisdiction of the old
        Viceroyalties:--Necessity of dividing and subdividing such
        vast Governments:--Embarrassments arising out of this
        necessity. The backwardness in the Political organization
        of these Provinces, common to all the new Republics of
        South America; and attributable to the same cause; the
        Colonial system of the Mother Country. Mistake in comparing
        the condition of the Creoles with that of the British
        Colonists of North America. Natural ascendency of Military
        Power in the new States. Their progress in the last
        twenty-five years compared with their previous condition.

The United Provinces of La Plata, or, as they are sometimes called, the
Argentine Republic, comprise, (with the exception of Paraguay and the
Banda Oriental, which have become separate and independent states) the
whole of that vast space lying between Brazil and the Cordillera of
Chile and Peru, and extending from the 22nd to the 41st degree of south

The most southern settlement of the Buenos Ayreans as yet is the
little town of Del Carmen, upon the river Negro.

The native Indians are in undisturbed possession of all beyond, as far
as Cape Horn.

Generally speaking, the Republic may be said to be bounded on the north
by Bolivia; on the west by Chile; on the east by Paraguay, the Banda
Oriental, and the Atlantic Ocean; and on the south by the Indians of
Patagonia. Altogether, it contains about 726,000 square miles English,
with a population of from 600,000 to 700,000 inhabitants.

This vast territory is now subdivided into thirteen Provinces, assuming
to govern themselves, to a certain degree, independently of each
other; though, for all general and national purposes, confederated by
conventional agreements.

For want of a more defined National Executive, the Provincial
Government of Buenos Ayres is temporarily charged with carrying on the
business of the Union with foreign Powers, and with the management of
all matters appertaining to the Republic in common. The Executive Power
of that Government, as constituted in 1821, is vested in the Governor,
or Captain General[6], as he is styled, aided by a Council of ministers
appointed by himself--responsible to the junta or legislative Assembly
of the Province by whom he is elected. The junta itself consists of
forty-four deputies, one-half of whom are annually renewed by popular

Geographically, these Provinces may be divided into three principal
sections:--1st, the Littorine, or eastern; 2nd, the Central, or
northern; 3rd, those to the west of Buenos Ayres, commonly called the
provinces of Cuyo.

The Littorine Provinces are, Buenos Ayres, and Santa Fé, to the west,
and Entre Rios and Corrientes to the east of the River Paranã. Those in
the Central section, on the high road to Peru, are Cordova, Santiago
del Estero, Tucuman, and Salta; to which may be added, Catamarca,
and La Rioja. Those lying west of Buenos Ayres, and which formerly
constituted the Intendency of Cuyo, are San Luis, Mendoza, and San Juan.

All these together now form the confederation of the United Provinces
of La Plata.

Under the Spanish rule, the Viceroyalty of Buenos Ayres comprehended
further, the provinces of Upper Peru, now called Bolivia; as well as
Paraguay, and the Banda Oriental: and immense as this jurisdiction
appears for one government, it was but a portion separated from that of
the old viceroys of Peru, whose nominal authority at one time extended
from Guayaquil to Cape Horn, over 55 degrees of latitude, comprising
almost every habitable climate under the sun; innumerable nations,
speaking various languages, and every production which can minister to
the wants of man.

To Spain, it was a convenience and saving of expense to divide her
American possessions into as few governments as possible; and under her
colonial system, without a hope of improving their social condition,
their native industry discouraged, and the very fruits of the soil
forbidden them, in order to ensure a sale for those of the mother
country, it was of little consequence to the generality of the people
by what viceroy they were ruled, or at what distance from them he

It became, however, a very different matter when that colonial system
was overthrown, and succeeded by native governments of their own
election. Then, all the many and various distinctions of climate, of
language, of habits, and productions, burst into notice; and as they
separately put forward their claims to consideration, the difficulty,
if not impossibility, became manifest, of adequately providing for them
by the newly-constituted authorities, which, although succeeding to all
the jurisdiction of the viceroys, repudiated _in limine_ the principles
of the system under which such discordant interests had hitherto been
controlled and held together.

The consequence has been, that most of the new states in their
very infancy have been subjected to the embarrassing necessity of
re-casting their governments, and dividing and subdividing their
extensive territories, as the varying and distinct interests of
their several component parts have shown to be requisite for their
due protection and development. Nothing has tended more to retard the
organization and improvement of their political institutions than this
necessity; and nowhere has it been more strikingly exemplified than
in the widely-spread provinces of La Plata. In the first years of the
struggle with the mother country, one common object, paramount to all
other considerations, the complete establishment of their political
independence, bound them together--perhaps I should more correctly
say, prevented their separation;--but the very circumstances of that
struggle, and the vicissitudes of the war, which often for long periods
together cut off their communications with the capital, and with each
other; obliging them to provide separately for their own temporary
government and security, gave rise in many of them, especially those
at a distance, to habits of more or less independence, which, as they
imperceptibly acquired strength, produced in some, as in Paraguay and
Upper Peru, an entire separation from Buenos Ayres; and in others such
an assumption of the management of their own provincial affairs, as ere
long reduced the metropolitan government to a nullity.

It is true that, up to 1820, the semblance of a Central Government
was maintained at Buenos Ayres, but in that year the unpopularity of
the measures of the Directory and of the National Congress led to its
final dissolution, under circumstances which precluded all hope of its
re-establishment, and terminated in the system of federalism, which has
ever since _de facto_ subsisted.

Experience has taught Buenos Ayres the inefficacy of forcible measures
to bring back the provinces under her more immediate control; and
though congresses have been more than once convoked for the purpose
of establishing something more definite as to the form, at least, of
their national government, whether central or federal, individual and
local interests have always prevailed in thwarting such an arrangement;
and the probability now is, that for a long time to come the national
organization of this State will be limited to the slender bonds of
voluntary confederation, which at present constitute the _soi-disant_
union of the provinces, not only with each other, but with their old
metropolis, Buenos Ayres.

It is not my purpose here to enter into the history of the domestic
troubles and civil dissensions which brought about this state of things
in the new republic: it is an unsatisfactory, and to most of my readers
would be a very unintelligible, narrative. Suffice it to say, that
whilst the political importance of Buenos Ayres has been apparently not
a little diminished; on the other hand, it may be questioned if the
provinces have reaped any substantial advantage by shaking off their
immediate dependence upon the metropolis. Most of them have suffered
all the calamitous consequences of party struggles for power, and have
fallen under the arbitrary rule of the military chiefs, who, in turn,
have either by fair means or foul obtained the ascendency; and if in
some of them the semblance of a representative junta has been set up in
imitation of that of Buenos Ayres, it will be found, I believe, that
such assemblies have, in most instances, proved little more than an
occasional convocation of the partisans of the governor for the time
being, much more likely to confirm than to control his despotic sway.

The present political state of the provinces of La Plata is certainly
very different from what was expected by the generality of those who
originally took an interest in the fate of these new countries. It is,
however, a state of things not confined to this republic; we shall
find, more or less, the same scenes; the same violent party struggles,
the same continual changes of government; the same apparent incapacity
for arriving at anything like a settled political organization in
almost every one of the several independent states into which the old
possessions of Spain on the New Continent have resolved themselves; and
this under circumstances, to all appearance, the most dissimilar with
regard to the locality, climate, soil, language, wants, and physical
condition of the inhabitants; with no one common element, in fact,
in their composition, save their having all been brought up in, and
habituated to, the same colonial system of the mother country. What,
then, is the conclusion we must draw from this fact? Is it not evident
that it was that colonial system which, wherever applied, unfitted the
people for a state of independence, and left them worse than helpless
when thrown upon their own resources?

Well might Spain urge upon other nations, as an argument against the
recognition of those countries, that the South Americans were unfit for
a state of independence. She knew the full extent of moral degradation
to which her own policy had reduced them; but it was futile to allege
it, when it had become manifest to all the world that her own power to
reduce them again to subjection was gone for ever, and that the people
of South America had not only achieved their complete independence, but
were resolved and fully able to maintain it. The notoriety of those
facts left no alternative to foreign governments whose subjects had
any real interest in the question, whatever might be the speculative
opinions of some parties as to the eventual prospects of the New States.

In this country our ignorance of the real condition of the people of
South America naturally led us to look back to what had taken place in
our own North American colonies, and with but little discrimination
perhaps, to anticipate the same results, whereas nothing in reality
could be more dissimilar than the circumstances of the colonial
subjects of Great Britain and Spain when their political emancipation
took place.

In the British colonies all the foundations of good government were
already laid: the principles of civil administration were perfectly
understood, and the transition was almost imperceptible.

On the other hand, in the Spanish colonies the whole policy, as well
as the power of the mother country, seems to have been based on
perpetuating the servile state and ignorance of the natives: branded
as an inferior race, they were systematically excluded from all share
in the government, from commerce, and every other pursuit which might
tend to the development of native talent or industry. The very history
of their own unfortunate country was forbidden them, no doubt lest it
should open their eyes to the reality of their own debased condition.

When the struggle came, the question of their independence was soon
settled irrevocably; but as to the elements for the construction at
once of anything like a good government of their own, they certainly
did not exist.

Under these circumstances, what was perfectly natural took place.
In the absence of any other real power, that of military command,
which had grown out of the war, obtained an ascendency, the influence
of which in all the New States became soon apparent. They fell, in
fact, all of them more or less under military despotism. The people
dazzled with the victories and martial achievements of their leaders,
imperceptibly passed from one yoke to another.

It is true that national Congresses and legislative Assemblies were
everywhere convoked; but, generally aiming at more than was practicable
or compatible with their circumstances, they in most instances failed,
and by their failure rather confirmed the absolute power of the
military chiefs. They, however, abolished the slave-trade, put an end
to the forced service of the mita, so grievous to the Indians, and
nominally sanctioned more or less the liberty of the press,--measures
which gained them popularity and support amongst men of liberal
principles in Europe, who fancied they saw in them expressions of
public opinion, and evidences of a fitness amongst the people at large
for free institutions; but this was an error.

The people of South America, with the Laws of the Indies still hanging
about their necks, shouted indeed with their leaders, "Independence and
Liberty," and gallantly fought for and established the first; but as to
liberty, in our sense of the word at least, they knew very little about
it:--how could they?

They have yet practically to learn that true liberty in a civilized
state of society can only really exist where the powers of the ruling
authorities are duly defined and balanced; and where the laws--not
the colonial laws of Old Spain--are so administered as to ensure to
every citizen a prompt redress for wrongs, entire personal security,
and the right of freely expressing his political opinions. The working
of such laws makes men habitually free and fit for the enjoyment of
free institutions. But such a state of things is not brought about
in a day or in a generation, nor can it be produced by any parchment
constitution, however perfect in theory. The experiment has been
tried of late years in some of the oldest states of Europe, and has
invariably failed. Is it then reasonable that we should expect it to be
more successful in such infant states as these new republics? Time--and
we, of all people in the world, ought best to know how long a time--is
requisite to bring such good fruit to maturity.

Education, the press, a daily intercourse with the rest of the world,
and experience not the less valuable because dearly bought, are all
tending gradually to enlighten the inhabitants of these new countries,
and to prepare them for their future destinies. And, although from a
variety of causes, their advancement may appear slow, and their present
state fall far short of what has been expected of them, the truth is,
they have made immense progress, compared with their old condition
under the colonial yoke of Spain;--and especially, I will say so, of
Buenos Ayres.


[6] Upon the election in 1835 of the present Governor Don Juan Manuel
Rosas, he refused, under the particular state of things at the time, to
undertake the office, unless invested with extraordinary powers, which
were in consequence granted by the Junta without limitation for such
time as circumstances might render necessary:--he was elected for five



    The River Plate--why so called. Its immensity. Arrival off
        Buenos Ayres. Passengers carted on shore. Want of a better
        landing-place, for goods especially. Navigation of the
        River not so perilous as was supposed in former times.

The river Plate, or La Plata, was originally named after De Solis,
who first entered it in 1515. Some years afterwards, Sebastian Cabot,
ascending it above its junction with the Paranã, found silver ornaments
amongst the natives; and thence believing, or desiring to induce others
to believe, that that precious metal abounded on its shores, he gave it
the false appellation by which it has ever since been known.

It is a singular coincidence, that thus the two mightiest rivers of the
South American continent, indeed two of the most remarkable rivers of
the world, the Plata, and the Amazons, should derive their names from
fictions, rather than from those brave adventurers who first made them
known, and to whom the honour was the more justly due; as both of them,
Orellana, as well as De Solis, lost their lives in the prosecution of
those particular discoveries.

But one feeling takes possession of the stranger on his arrival off
this wonderful river--that of amazement at the immensity of its extent;
a hundred miles before he enters it, he may have seen its turbid
current, and had to struggle with its influence in the ocean itself[7].
At its mouth, from Cape St. Mary's to Cape St. Antonio, its width is
170 miles. Farther up, between Santa Lucia, near Monte Video, and the
point of Las Piedras on its southern bank, within which its waters are
generally fresh, it is double[8] the distance across from Dover to

But for that positive freshness, the stranger can hardly credit that he
is not still at sea. He has yet to sail up it nearly two hundred miles
ere he reaches the anchorage off Buenos Ayres, and then, at the end of
his voyage, if the ship be large[9], he will probably find it difficult
to make out the land.

It is only from the pozos, or inner roads, that the city becomes
visible in its full extent, ranging along a slightly elevated ridge,
which bounds the river. The towers of the churches, and here and there
a solitary Umbú tree, alone break an outline almost as level as the
horizon of the river itself. There is no back-ground to the picture,
no mountains, no trees; one vast continuous plain beyond extends for
nearly 1000 miles unbroken to the Cordillera of Chile.

Unless the weather be perfectly settled, of which the barometer is the
best index, the landing is not unattended with danger. I have known
many a boat lost in crossing the bar or bank which lies between the
outer and inner roads[10]. Nor is the bank the only danger: thick fogs
at times come on, suddenly enveloping land and water in total darkness
without the slightest previous indication; in such a dilemma, if a boat
be caught without the means of anchoring, the chances are that she may
be carried down the river by the currents, and the people half-starved
before they are picked up or can find the land again.

But supposing these dangers passed, nothing can be more inconvenient
or strikingly characteristic of the country than the actual landing.
A ship's boat has seldom water enough to run fairly on shore, and, or
arriving within forty or fifty yards of it, is beset by carts, always
on the watch for passengers, the whole turn-out of which I defy any
other people in the world to produce anything at all approaching.

On the broad flat axle of a gigantic pair of wheels, seven or eight
feet high, a sort of platform is fixed of half a dozen boards, two or
three inches apart, letting in the wet at every splash of the water
beneath; the ends are open--a rude hurdle forms the side, and a short
strong pole from the axle completes the vehicle; to this unwieldy
machine the horse is simply attached by a ring at the end of the pole,
fastened to the girth or surcingle, round which his rider has the
power of turning him as on a pivot, and of either drawing or pushing
the machine along like a wheelbarrow, as may be momentarily most
convenient:--in this manner, for the first time in my life, I saw the
cart fairly before the horse:--in Europe we laugh at the idea; in South
America nothing is more common than the reality.

The wild and savage appearance of the tawny drivers of these carts,
half naked, shouting and screaming and jostling one another, and
flogging their miserable jaded beasts through the water, as if to show
the little value attached to the brute creation in these countries, is
enough to startle a stranger on his first arrival, and induce him for
a moment to doubt whether he be really landing in a Christian country.
It is a new and a strange specimen of human kind, little calculated to
create a favourable first impression.

In old times there was a sort of mole, such as it was, which ran
some way into the river, and obviated a part, at least, of these
inconveniences, but it was either washed or blown down some years
ago, and the people have been too indolent, or too busy ever since
to set about replacing it; not, however, for want of plans for its
reconstruction, amongst which one for a chain-pier, some years ago
submitted to the government, appeared particularly suited to the
locality; why it was not adopted, I never heard, but it is no credit to
the natives that something of the sort has not long since been built.
Nothing is more wanted, or more deserving the primary attention of
the authorities, whilst I believe no work they could undertake would
more certainly repay its expenses, for the convenience to passengers
is a small consideration compared with the value which any commodious
landing-place for merchandise at Buenos Ayres would be of to the trade.
The loss and damage yearly sustained by the present mode of carrying
goods on shore, in the rude carts I have described, is incalculable,
and highly detrimental to the port in a commercial point of view.

With respect to the passage up the river, though somewhat intricate,
it is by no means so perilous as it was long believed to be, probably
because the commercial shipping from Spain rarely ascended higher than
Monte Video, to which Port the country produce from Buenos Ayres and
the interior provinces was for the most part sent down in small craft
for shipment to Europe.

In 1789 Malaspina commenced the elaborate survey of the river,
afterwards completed by Oyarvide, and still further corrected by the
observations of Captains Beaufort and Heywood, of the British navy,
the latter of whom, also, published particulars directions for the
navigation of the several channels between the banks. With his chart
and sailing[11] directions, and due attention to the soundings and
currents, there is now little risk; and that little would be still
farther diminished by the establishment, long projected, of a floating
light off the tail of the Ortiz bank, and of two or three leading
landmarks opposite to the Chico channel.

The most dangerous parts of the river are buoyed, and licensed pilots
ply off its mouth to take vessels either into the harbour of Monte
Video, or up to Buenos Ayres.

Ships drawing fifteen or sixteen feet water may ran freely up to the
anchorage of that city. Foreign vessels do not go higher, Buenos Ayres
being at present the only port of entry; indeed, were it otherwise,
and the navigation of the upper parts of the river thrown open, and
declared free, as some of the provinces have at times wished, it is
not likely that European shipping would ever avail themselves of it,
seeing that the passage up from Buenos Ayres to Corrientes, besides the
additional risk, would at least occupy as much time as the whole voyage
out from France or England.


[7] Kotzebue says 200.--"In the parallel of the Rio de la Plata,
although 200 miles from land, we were daily carried by the current
thirty-nine miles out of our course; so great is the influence of this
mighty river."--Kotzebue's _Voyage round the World_, 1823-26.

[8] The distance between Point Piedras and Santa Lucia Point is
fifty-three miles.

[9] Vessels drawing more than sixteen feet water seldom get nearer than
seven or eight miles.

[10] In former times the commanders of our men-of-war established a
good rule, that "no boat should go on shore without its anchor, and
none leave it after sunset;" which, if attended to by our merchantmen,
might prevent many a calamitous accident.

[11] They will be found in Purdy's "Sailing Directory, for the South
Atlantic Ocean," published by Laurie, 1837, together with those of M.
Barral of the French navy, the results of a still more recent survey of
the River.



    First Impressions of Buenos Ayres. Date of the Foundation, and
        Insignificance of the Colony for a long period. Contraband
        Trade carried on through it a grievance to the Mother
        Country. Erected into a distinct Viceroyalty in 1776, and
        its trade opened in consequence of the modified system
        adopted by Spain about the same time. The advantages of
        this to Buenos Ayres.

If my first feelings on being carted ashore at Buenos Ayres in the
uncouth manner I have described, were none of the most agreeable,
they soon passed off, and gave way to different impressions. As I
walked up to the lodgings which had been prepared for me, I was struck
with the regularity of the streets and buildings, the appearance of
the churches, the general cheerfulness of the white-stuccoed houses,
and especially with the independent contented air of the people--- a
striking contrast to the wretched beggary and slave population, of
which I had lately seen so much at Rio de Janeiro.

The date of the foundation of this city is comparatively recent, and
long subsequent to the arrival of the first discoverers of the country,
to whom neither the aspect of the Pampas, nor the warlike disposition
of the Querandis, the then inhabitants, appear to have offered any
attractions. Their search was for the land of gold and silver, which
was evidently not this: in quest of those precious metals they
ascended the river, and for the most part settled in the more inviting
regions of Paraguay; hoping from thence to open an easy communication
with the rich countries of Peru.

[Illustration: _The first Settlement at Buenos Ayres, in 1535, beseiged
by the Querandi Indians._

(_From the original representation given in Ulric Schmidel's account
thereof, on his return to Nuremberg._)]

In 1535 the Adelantado, Don Pedro de Mendoza, on his way to Paraguay
with one of the most brilliant expeditions ever equipped in Spain
for South America, landed to recruit his people near the spot where
Buenos Ayres now stands, and caused a fort to be built there for the
first time, in which he left what he supposed a sufficient garrison
for its defence; but he was mistaken--the warlike natives as soon as
he was gone drove out the Spanish soldiers, and remained for nearly
another half-century in undisturbed possession of all that part of the

It was not till the year 1580 that the famous Don Juan de Garay, then
in Paraguay, determined once more to endeavour to form a permanent
settlement in the same neighbourhood. In this attempt the Spaniards
as before met with a most obstinate resistance on the part of the
natives, who attacked them armed with their formidable slings (the
bolas now used by the gauchos) and with bows and arrows, to which they
tied burning matches, which set fire not only to their tents but to
their shipping. De Garay's little band, which only consisted of sixty
men-at-arms, was at first well nigh overwhelmed by the number of the
savages who poured down upon them bravely fighting for their lands.
On both sides prodigies of individual valour are related. The death,
however, of the Cacique, who commanded in chief, seems to have decided
the battle; the Indians, seeing him fall, fled, followed by the victors
till they were weary of killing them: and such was the slaughter that
to this day the scene of the engagement is called _La Matanza_, or "the
Killing Ground."

After this victory De Garay took formal possession of the country
in the King of Spain's name, and founded the present city of Buenos
Ayres--A.D. 1580.

For two centuries the settlement thus planted languished in
insignificance, abandoned to its own resources, and the mother country,
to all appearance, fearing rather than desiring its aggrandizement:
nor was this without cause;--Spain, in fact, lost so immensely by the
contraband trade carried on from Peru, through the river Plate, that
she became accustomed to regard with something more than indifference a
possession which in consequence of her own prohibitory and restrictive
system, was totally unproductive to her, whilst the facilities it
offered for illicit trading made it a fruitful source of grievance and
of disputes with other nations.

The extent, however, of these evils in the course of time produced
their own remedy. The King of Spain at last discovered that a Viceroy
at Lima could not put down the smugglers in the river Plate, or prevent
the continual territorial encroachments of the Portuguese in the same

The necessity had long been evident of establishing a separate
and independent authority on the spot where its vigilance was in
daily request, and in 1776 Buenos Ayres was made the seat of a new
Viceroyalty, and separated from the government of Peru.

It was about that time, also, that Spain made most important changes in
her colonial system. The exclusive and pernicious monopoly of the whole
trade of South America, till then possessed by the merchants of Seville
and Cadiz, was put an end to, and a comparatively free intercourse
was, for the first time, permitted with many ports in the new world,
with which till then it was death to communicate. Buenos Ayres reaped
a large share of the advantages of this alteration in the commercial
views and policy of the mother country; and from a nest of smugglers
became one of the first trading cities in Spanish America. The rapid
increase of her population, under these new circumstances, is worth


[12] See annexed plate, copied from the original in the account
published by Ulric Schmidel, a volunteer under Mendoza, and one of the
garrison besieged by the Querandis.



    Statistics of the Population. Its great increase in the last
        fifty years. Castes into which it was formerly divided now
        disappearing. Numbers of Foreigners established there,
        especially British. Their influence on the habits of the
        Natives. The Ladies of Buenos Ayres; the Men and their

In the year 1767, when M. de Bougainville visited Buenos Ayres, he
tells us that the number of the inhabitants did not exceed 20,000.

In 1778, the year in which the port was partially thrown open under
the free-trade regulations of Spain, as they were called, a census
was taken, by which it appears that the inhabitants of the city and
of its campaña, or country jurisdiction, amounted to 37,679 souls, of
which 24,205 belonged to the city, 12,925 to the country, and 549 were
members of religious communities; divided as follows, viz.:--

  |                  |          CITY.          |         COUNTRY.         |
  |    COLOUR.       +-------+---------+-------+-------+---------+--------+
  |                  | Males.| Females.| Total.| Males.| Females.| Total. |
  |1, Spaniards and }|       |         |       |       |         |        |
  |     Creoles     }| 7,821 |   7,898 |15,719 | 5,008 |   4,724 |  9,732 |
  |2, Indians        |   276 |     268 |   544 |   841 |     702 |  1,543 |
  |3, Mestizoes      |   289 |     385 |   674 |  ..   |    ..   |   ..   |
  |4, Mulattoes      | 1,366 |   1,787 | 3,153 |   571 |     449 |  1,020 |
  |5, Negroes        | 1,933 |   2,182 | 4,115 |   351 |     279 |    630 |
  |                  +-------+---------+-------+-------+---------+--------+
  |      Total       |11,685 |  12,520 |24,205 | 6,771 |   6,154 | 12,925 |
  |                  +-------+---------+-------+-------+---------+--------+
  |                                                                       |
  |    SUMMARY.                                                           |
  |                                                                       |
  |Population of the city               24,205                            |
  |Population of the country            12,925                            |
  |Ecclesiastical establishments           549                            |
  |                                     ------                            |
  |      Total                          37,679                            |

To these numbers, however, some, and not an inconsiderable, addition
should be made for short returns, particularly from the country
districts; for, let it be borne in mind, in examining all such official
estimates of the population of the Spanish colonies, that, as any
attempt on the part of the authorities to take a census was sure to
be regarded as the forerunner of some new exaction for the service
of the mother country, so it was as certain to be evaded, especially
by the lower orders of the people, and, in proportion, to fall short
of the reality. In this census it does not appear that the military
were included, but in that year, or the preceding one, no less than
10,000 men were sent out from Spain under the command of the Viceroy
Cevallos, in addition to the ordinary forces, to carry on the war with
the Portuguese: a great part of them it may be assumed never returned,
and should therefore be added to the numbers of the colonists. Making,
then, a fair allowance for these deficiencies in the census for 1778,
the population at that time probably did not fall short of 50,000
souls; and this calculation may be rather under than over the truth.

In 1789, ten years afterwards, Helms, the German traveller, on his
way to Peru, was told by the Viceroy at Buenos Ayres that the city
contained between 24,000 and 30,000 inhabitants, a calculation probably
founded on the census of 1778, with his own vague notion of the
probable increase upon it in the interim. No mention is made by him of
the population of the country.

In 1795 the Viceroy Aredondo, on delivering up the government to his
successor, took occasion to allude to the great increase which had
taken place in the population since the opening of the trade, and spoke
of it as then amounting altogether to nearly 60,000 souls.

In 1800 Azara calculated it to be 71,668, estimating 40,000 for
the city, and 31,668 for the country-towns and villages within its
jurisdiction--a great increase since 1778, compared with the past,
which can only be ascribed to the more liberal policy adopted by Spain,
and to the extraordinary impulse thereby given to the colony. This,
however, was but an indication of the further results to be anticipated
from the removal of those remaining restrictions which still grievously
hampered the energies of the community, and retarded the development
of the capabilities of a country formed by nature to be a great
commercial emporium. The British invasions in 1806 and 1807 awakened
the Buenos Ayreans to a sense of their own political importance,
and the subsequent struggle with the mother country for their
independence opened their ports to all the world; and in nothing are
the consequences more strikingly exemplified than in the extraordinary
increase which since that epoch has taken place in the population,
notwithstanding all the waste of war in all its forms, foreign and
civil, by land and by sea.

The following Tables of the Marriages, Births, and Deaths in the city
and country districts of the province for 1822, 1823, 1824, and 1825,
are taken from data published under the authority of the Government;
and the calculations founded upon them give the most correct idea to be
procured of the extent of the population up to the close of 1825.

  |                            No. 1.--MARRIAGES.                           |
  |                 |          CITY.            |         COUNTRY.          |
  |                 +------+------+------+------+------+------+------+------+
  |                 | 1822.| 1823.| 1824.| 1825.| 1822.| 1823.| 1824.| 1825.|
  |                 +------+------+------+------+------+------+------+------+
  |1. Whites        | 331  | 366  | 357  | 393  | 602  | 547  | 513  | 549  |
  |2. Free Coloured}| 120  |  88  | 119  | 135  |  81  |  86  |  81  |  62  |
  |     People     }|      |      |      |      |      |      |      |      |
  |3. Slaves        | 130  | 112  | 107  |  71  |  40  |  59  |  48  |  41  |
  |                 +------+------+------+------+------+------+------+------+
  |      Total      | 581  | 566  | 583  | 599  | 723  | 683  | 642  | 652  |
  |                           No. 2.--BAPTISMS.                             |
  |                 |        CITY.       |             COUNTRY.             |
  |                 +------+------+------+------+------+------+------+------+
  |                 | 1822.| 1823.| 1824.| 1825.| 1822.| 1823.| 1824.| 1825.|
  |                 +------+------+------+------+------+------+------+------+
  |1. Whites        | 1962 | 2110 | 2163 | 2102 | 2703 | 2672 | 2534 | 2735 |
  |2. People        |      |      |      |      |      |      |      |      |
  |     of Colour   |   748|  816 |  835 |  793 |  498 |  532 |  498 |  399 |
  |                 +------+------+------+------+------+------+------+------+
  |      Total      | 2710 | 2926 | 2998 | 2895 | 3201 | 3204 | 3032 | 3134 |
  |                          No. 3.--DEATHS.                                |
  |                 |        CITY.              |       COUNTRY.            |
  |                 +------+------+------+------+------+------+------+------+
  |                 | 1822.| 1823.| 1824.| 1825.| 1822.| 1823.| 1824.| 1825.|
  |                 +------+------+------+------+------+------+------+------+
  |1. Whites        | 1448 | 1927 | 1498 | 1812 | 1463 | 1801 | 1446 | 1392 |
  |2. Free Coloured}|  591 |  846 |  714 |  895 |  350 |  364 |  333 |  252 |
  |     People     }|      |      |      |      |      |      |      |      |
  |3. Slaves        |  114 |  145 |  114 |   98 |   52 |   74 |   90 |   47 |
  |                 +------+------+------+------+------+------+------+------+
  |      Total      | 2153 | 2918 | 2326 | 2805 | 1865 | 2239 | 1869 | 1691 |
  |                            SUMMARY.                                     |
  |                                             | 1822 | 1823 | 1824 | 1825 |
  |                                             +------+------+------+------+
  |Total Marriages                              | 1305 | 1249 | 1225 | 1251 |
  |  "   Baptisms                               | 5911 | 6130 | 6030 | 6029 |
  |  "   Deaths                                 | 4018 | 5157 | 4195 | 4496 |
  |                                             +------+------+------+------+
  |Excess of Births over Deaths                 | 1893 |  973 | 1835 | 1533 |

Thus it appears that the proportion of births to deaths is in the ratio
of about four to three: amongst the coloured population, the births
are very little more than equal to the deaths; in the city they fall
much short of them; the increase, therefore, is on the white stock. The
births to the marriages appear to be as nearly five to one.

The _Statistical Register_ of Buenos Ayres assumes the annual measure
of mortality to be one in thirty-two in the city, and one in forty
in the country; and, taking the average of the results for 1822 and
1823, arrives at the conclusion that the inhabitants of the city
amounted, at the commencement of 1824, to 81,136, and those of the
country to 82,080, making in all a population of 163,216. If we
calculate, according to the same rule, the mean of the results of the
bills of mortality for the four years ending with 1825, it will give
us a population for the city of 81,616 persons, and for the country
districts of 76,640, in all of 158,256, at the close of 1825; about
5000 less than the estimate made in the _Register_ two years before,
the falling off being in the country: but this is at once accounted for
by the recruiting which took place in 1825 for the war with Brazil,
which must have taken off a much larger number: allowing for which, I
think we may fairly assume that the total population of the city and
province of Buenos Ayres at the close of that year was not far short of
165,000 souls, being, as nearly as we have the means of calculating,
about double what it was twenty years before. At the time I am
writing, ten years afterwards, I have not a doubt that it amounts to
nearly 200,000[13].

As an additional exemplification of the increase which has taken place
in the population since the time of M. de Bougainville, I annex a plan
of the city, showing what were its limits in his time, and what has
been added since.

From the numbers let us turn to the general composition of this

The census of 1778 divided it into five castes.

1. The Spaniards and their descendants born in America, generally known
as Creoles.

2. The native Indians.

3. The Mestizoes--offspring of the Spaniard and Indian.

4. The Mulattoes--offspring of the Spaniard and Negro.

5. The Negroes or Africans born.

Of these five castes, however, the Indians and their Mestizo offspring
formed a very small and insignificant proportion, and can only be
regarded as accidentally domiciliated at Buenos Ayres in consequence of
its being at that time the principal channel of communication between
Peru, their proper soil, and Spain.

[Illustration: _The City of_ BUENOS AYRES, _in 1767_ (_tinted thus_
[Black Square]) _and in 1825_, (_blank_).]

The original Indians of Buenos Ayres were a hostile race, who would
hold no intercourse with their conquerors. No mixture, therefore,
of Spanish and native blood took place in that particular part of
South America, which could produce a distinct caste, as in the Upper
Provinces and in Peru, where the more peaceable and domesticated
inhabitants continue to the present day to constitute the main stock
of the population. In those parts we see a striking difference in the
people; the further we advance into the interior, the more scarce
become the white in proportion to the coloured inhabitants. The
aboriginal Indian blood decidedly predominates in the Mestizo castes,
whilst the negro and his Mulatto descendants, so common on the coast,
are there almost unknown. The cause of this is easily explained;
for a long period very few European women reached the interior of
America: the Spaniards, therefore, who settled there, were under the
necessity of mixing with the natives, from which connexion has arisen
that numerous race, the Mestizoes, which forms so large a part of
the present population of those countries. The same difficulty in
transporting their women from Europe did not occur with respect to
Buenos Ayres; there the European stock was easily kept up, though for
a long period it increased but slowly; and, but for the adventitious
circumstance of its having been for some years a depôt for the
slave-trade, under the Asiento Treaties, the population of Buenos
Ayres would have been nearly free from be seen that the Indian and
Mestizo no longer appear: the division made is simply into the white
and the coloured population; and, although the latter still at that
time amounted to nearly a fourth part of the whole, it had ceased to
increase. In the four years the births barely exceeded the deaths, and
whilst the proportion of deaths amongst the coloured people increased,
there was a striking falling off in the number of their marriages
and births, even from 1822 to 1825. The slave-trade has in fact,
been prohibited since 1813, by a decree of the Constituent Assembly,
consequently any further supply from the Negro stock has ceased, and
it cannot be very long ere all trace of its having ever existed must
be merged in the rapid increase of the whites--a result which will
be greatly accelerated by the introduction of fresh settlers from
Europe, who are daily arriving and domiciliating themselves in the new
republic. Of the extent of this some notion may be formed when I state
that the number of foreigners, who, up to 1832, had fixed themselves
in the city and province of Buenos Ayres, amounted, with their wives
and children, to no less than from 15,000 to 20,000 persons. Of these,
about two-thirds were British and French, in about equal proportions;
the remainder was made up of Italians, Germans, and people of other
countries, not the least numerous of whom were emigrants from the
United States, and especially from New York.

As it may interest some of my readers to know what classes of
our countrymen find employment at Buenos Ayres, I have given in
the Appendix an account of them, as taken from a register which I
established on my own arrival there, together with the marriages,
births, and deaths amongst them, as far as they could be learned for
the period stated: to these I have further added a copy of the Treaty
I concluded with the Government of Buenos Ayres, in 1825, securing to
His Majesty's subjects in that country many important privileges, and
amongst the rest the free exercise of their own religion:--a great
object to so numerous a community:--I had subsequently the satisfaction
of seeing it fully carried out by the erection of an English church,
capable of containing 1000 persons, towards which the Buenos Ayrean
Government itself contributed, by giving a valuable plot of ground for
the purpose:--His Majesty's Government appointed the chaplain, and
regularly defrays one half of the annual expense, the British residents
paying the remainder. A Presbyterian chapel has been since built in
virtue of the same privilege by the Scotch part of the community; and
for the Catholics, an Irish priest is allowed to do duty in one of the
national churches.

In a population so intermixed, and in such daily communication with
the people of other countries, it is not surprising that national
peculiarities should have very nearly disappeared. Thus the men of the
better classes in Buenos Ayres are hardly to be distinguished in their
dress from the French and English merchants who have fixed themselves
amongst them, whilst the ladies vie with each other in imitating the
last fashions from Paris: it is only in their out-door costume that
any difference is apparent; then the more becoming mantilla and shawl
thrown over the head and shoulders supersede the European bonnet and
pelisse. Some of them are very beautiful, and their polite and obliging
manners, especially to strangers, render them doubly attractive. Our
countrymen have formed many matrimonial connexions with them, which
has contributed, no doubt, to the good feeling with which they are so
generally regarded by the natives.

Education, it is true, has not as yet made great progress amongst them,
but in this improvement is taking place, and if the young ladles of
Buenos Ayres do not study history and geography, they are adepts in
many pleasing accomplishments; they dance with great grace, and sing
and play very prettily; the piano-forte, indeed, is a constant resource
morning as well as evening in every respectable house.

Amongst the men there are native poets, whose productions do honour
to the Spanish language. A collection of them, called _La Lira
Argentina_, was printed in 1823, which is well worth the notice of all
lovers of Spanish verse. But the men have more advantages as respects
education than the ladies: in their schools and universities they are
now very fairly grounded in most branches of general knowledge, and of
late years it has been much the custom amongst the better families to
send their sons to Europe to complete their studies.

I should say of them in general that they are observing and
intelligent, and extremely desirous to improve themselves.

Their ordinary habits are certainly a good deal influenced by climate:
I cannot speak of them as an industrious people, and yet it is rare to
see a man who has not some nominal occupation.

From the number of _doctores_, a stranger might suppose that all the
upper classes were lawyers or physicians. This is not exactly the case;
but, as that degree serves to mark the man who has received a liberal
education, it is generally taken by those who pass through the schools,
without particular reference to their future calling. Thus I have known
_doctores_ in all pursuits--ministers of state, _employés_ of all
sorts, clerks in public offices, military officers, and merchants; all
attaching to it the same importance as we do, perhaps with less right,
to the ordinary title of esquire as the designation of a gentleman.

Law and physic, however, do give employment to revolution in
this, as in other Catholic countries, has put an end to the
unconstitutional influence exercised by them in old times, and under
different circumstances: the Government having taken possession of
the ecclesiastical property, the officiating priests are left to
depend upon a stipend, in general barely sufficient for their decent
maintenance, so that there is but small inducement left for men to
devote themselves to a life of celibacy.

But it is the trade and commerce of Buenos Ayres which is the great
source of occupation for its extensive population; since, though the
importing and exporting part of the business may be chiefly carried
on by the foreign merchants, the details are for the most part left
to the natives: they collect, and prepare, and bring in for sale, all
the produce of the country, and retail the goods imported from foreign
countries: nor is it thought at all degrading for young men of the best
connexions to stand behind a counter: there they gossip with their fair
customers upon a perfect equality, and in dandyism a Buenos Ayrean
shopkeeper may be backed against the smartest man-milliner of London or

The mechanics and artisans form also a large class, as may be supposed,
in a country where everything is wanted, and no man feels inclined
to do much; it is in this line that the European has so decided an
advantage over the native from his more industrious habits; for he
requires no siesta, and works whilst the natives of all classes, high
and low, are asleep: he cannot fail to prosper if he will but avoid
the drinking-shops; but he must be resolute on that point, for it is a
temptation which he finds at the corner of every street: no less than
600 pulperias are open in the city alone, as appears by the list of
licences annually taken out at the police[14].

For everyone who will work there is employment, and as to real _want_,
it can hardly exist in a country where beef is dear at a halfpenny
a-pound, and where the generality of the lower orders want nothing


[13] By a return for 1836, it appears that in the _City_ in that year,

  The Marriages were     412
            Baptisms    3211
            Deaths      2785 exclusive of those in the hospitals. I have
                             no return from the _Country_.

[14] The same list will give some idea of the general distribution of
the trades for 1836; it was as follows:--

  358  Wholesale stores.
  348  Retail shops.
  323  Tailors, shoemakers, milliners, and all handicrafts.
    6  Booksellers.
  598  Pulperias, or drinking shops.
   26  Billiard-tables.
   44  Hotels, taverns, and eating-houses.
   48  Confectioners and liqueur-shops.
   29  Chemists and apothecaries.
   76  Flour-shops and bakeries.
   44  Baracas, or hide-warehouses.
   33  Timber-yards.
   13  Livery-stables.
    6  Coachmakers.
  874  Carts and carriages paid duties.



    Great extent of the City. Public Buildings. Inconvenient
        Arrangement and want of Comfort in the Dwellings of the
        Natives a few years ago. Prejudice against Chimneys.
        Subsequent Improvements introduced by Foreigners. Iron
        gratings at the windows necessary. Water scarce and dear.
        That of the River Plata excellent, and capable of being
        kept a very long time. Pavement of Buenos Ayres.

Buenos Ayres, like all other cities in Spanish America, is built upon
the uniform plan[15] prescribed I believe by the Council of the Indies,
consisting of straight streets, intersecting each other at right angles
every 150 yards; and, from the peculiar construction of the houses,
covers at least twice the ground which would be required for any
European city of the same population.

With the exception of the churches, which, though unfinished
externally, exhibit in their interior all the gaudy richness of the
religion to which they belong, and will be lasting memorials of the
pious zeal of the Jesuits, who built the greater part of them, there
is nothing remarkable in the style of the public buildings. The old
government considered money laid out in beautifying the city as so
much thrown away upon the colonists, and the new government has been
as yet too poor to do more than has been absolutely necessary; what
has been done, however, has been well done, and does credit to the
republican authorities.

In their private dwellings there was a wretched want of every comfort,
when I first went to the country. With but few exceptions, they were
confined to a ground floor; the apartments built _en suite_, without
passages, round two or three successive quadrangular courts, called
patios, opening into each other; and the whole distribution about as
primitive and inconvenient as can be imagined.

The floors of the best rooms were of bricks or tiles, the rafters of
the roof seldom hid by a ceiling, the walls as cold as whitewash could
make them; whilst the furniture was of the most gaudy, tawdry, North
American manufacture: a few highly-coloured French prints, serving,
perhaps, to mark the state of the fine arts in South America.

Nothing could be more anti-comfortable to English eyes. In cold
weather these cold-looking rooms were heated by braziers, at the risk
of choking the inmates with the fumes of charcoal; chimneys, so far
from being looked upon as wholesome ventilators, were regarded as
certain conductors of wet and cold; and it was not till long after the
introduction of them by the European residents had practically proved
their safety and superiority over the old Spanish warming-pans, that
the natives could be induced to try them. The apprehension that they
increased the risk of fire was even without foundation, for never were
the habitations of man built of such incombustible materials. The
roofs and floors, I have already said, are all of brick, and the few
beams which are necessary for supporting the former are of a wood from
Paraguay, as hard as teak, and almost as incombustible as the bricks

Of the prejudices of the natives about chimneys I may perhaps have
rather a sensitive feeling, from a practical experience I had myself
upon the subject soon after my landing amongst them. There was but
one in all the apartments I occupied with my family, and that one my
Spanish landlord, to my no small dismay and astonishment, ordered a
bricklayer to stop up one afternoon over our heads, because he had had
a dispute with my servants about the necessity of occasionally sweeping
it, which he chose to take this summary way of putting an end to. The
weather was wet and bad enough, and I never was more in want of the
comfort of a good fire; but no entreaty or remonstrance could shake the
obstinate determination of the old Don. He had the advantage of us by
living over head, in the upper apartments of the building; and he was
determined to make us fully sensible of the _de facto_ superiority of
his authority. He required no chimney himself, and he could not be made
to understand that a Spanish brazier would not answer all our English
wants just as well as it did his.

I lived, however, long enough in Buenos Ayres to see great changes in
these matters, and such innovations upon the old habits and fashions
of the people as would make a stranger now doubt whether it really
be the place he may have read of. In nothing is the alteration more
striking than in the comparative comfort, if not luxury, which has
found its way into the dwellings of the better classes: thanks to the
English and French upholsterers, who have swarmed out to Buenos Ayres,
the old whitewashed walls have been covered with paper in all the
varieties from Paris; and European furniture of every sort is to be
met with in every house. English grates, supplied with coals carried
out from Liverpool as ballast, and often sold at lower prices than in
London, have been brought into very general use, and certainly have
contributed to the health and comfort of a city, the atmosphere of
which is nine days out of ten affected by the damps from the river. Nor
is the improvement confined to the internal arrangement of the houses,
a striking change has taken place in the whole style of building in
Buenos Ayres. With the influx of strangers, the value of property,
especially in the more central part of the city, has been greatly
enhanced, and has led the natives to think of economising their ground
by constructing upper stories to their houses in the European fashion,
the obvious advantage whereof will no doubt ere many years make the
plan general, and greatly add to the embellishment of the city.

Some peculiarities will probably long be preserved, such amongst
other as the iron gratings, or rather railings, which protect the
windows, and which, on more than one occasion, have proved the best
safeguards of the inhabitants: it requires some time for a European
to become reconciled to their appearance, which ill accords with the
_beau-idéal_ of republican liberty and public safety; yet when painted
green they are rather ornamental than otherwise, particularly when
hung, as they frequently are, with festoons of the beautiful air-plants
of Paraguay, which there live and blossom even on cold iron, and one
does get reconciled to them, I believe, from a speedy conviction of
their necessity in the present state of society in those countries:--in
the hot nights of summer, too, it is some comfort to be able to
leave a window open without risk of intrusion; though some of the
light-fingered gentry have made this not quite so safe as it used to
be. I have known more than one instance of a clever thief running off
with the clothes of the sleeping inmates, fished through the gratings
by means of one of the long canes of the country, with a hook at the
end of it:--in one well-known case, a gentleman's watch was thus hooked
out of its pocket at his bed's head, and he was but just roused by his
frightened wife in time to catch a last glimpse of the chain and seals
as they seemingly danced out of the window.

It will hardly be credited that water is an expensive article within
fifty yards of the Plata, but so it is; nothing can be worse than the
ordinary supply of it. That obtained from the wells is brackish and
bad, and there are no public cisterns or reservoirs, although the city
is so slightly elevated above the river, that nothing would be easier
than to keep it continually provided by the most ordinary artificial
means. As it is, those who can afford it go to a great expense in
constructing large tanks under the pavement of their court-yards, into
which the rainwater collected from the flat-terraced roofs of their
houses is conducted by pipes; and in general a sufficiency may thus
be secured for the ordinary purposes of the family; but the lower
orders, who cannot afford to go to such an expense, depend for a more
scanty supply upon the itinerant water-carriers, who, at a certain
time of day, are to be seen lazily perambulating the streets with
huge butts filled at the river, mounted on the monstrous cart-wheels
of the country, and drawn by a yoke of oxen; a clumsy and expensive
contrivance altogether, which makes even water dear within a stone's
throw of the largest river in the world. Taken at the very edge, it is
seldom of the purest, and generally requires to stand twenty-four hours
before it deposits its muddy sediment, and becomes sufficiently cleared
to be drinkable; it is then excellent, and may be kept for any time. I
have drunk it myself on board ship, after it had been two voyages to
England and back, and never tasted better.

The principal streets are now tolerably paved with granite brought from
the islands above Buenos Ayres, especially from Martin Garcia. How the
people got about before they were paved it is difficult to understand,
for the streets must have been at times one continued slough; at least
if one may judge from the state of those which are still unfinished,
and which, after any continuance of wet weather, are nearly, if not
entirely, impassable, even for people on horseback, much more so for
carriages. I have seen in some of them the mire so deep that the oxen
could not drag the country carts through it; and it not unfrequently
happens, in such a case, that the animals themselves are unable to get
out, and are left to die and rot in the swamp in the middle of the

It was a fair sample of the miserable economy and wretched policy of
the colonial authorities, that a commercial city of such importance,
and in which the traffic was daily increasing, should have been allowed
so long to remain in such a state, with an inexhaustible supply of the
best paving materials in the world within twenty or thirty miles of
it, and of such easy water-carriage. The people however, were led to
believe that the difficulties and impediments to such an improvement as
the general paving of the city were next to insurmountable.

The Viceroy himself, the Marquis of Loreto, when the first notion of
such a plan was started, gravely gave, amongst other reasons against
it, the danger of the houses falling down from the shaking of their
foundations, by the driving of heavy carts over a stone pavement so
close to them, whilst another and still more weighty objection in his
opinion was, the necessity it would entail upon the people to put
iron tires to their cart-wheels, and to shoe their horses, which,
he reminded them, would cost them more than the animals themselves.
Fortunately, his immediate successors, Aredondo and Aviles, were not
deterred by similar alarms. The former commenced the work with activity
about the year 1795, with the aid of a subscription voluntarily raised
by the inhabitants; and the latter carried it on to a much greater
extent, levying a trifling duty upon the city for the purpose, which
was readily submitted to, when, as the work advanced, the improvement
became manifest. In later times, especially during the government of
1822-24, much more was done, and there are few of the principal streets
which are not now more or less completed.

The granite is excellent, and was carefully examined in situ by Mr.
Bevans, an English engineer, a few years ago, who reported that it was
easy to be worked, and the supply inexhaustible. When the working of it
is better understood by the natives, it will probably be brought into
much more general use.


[15] Mr. Scarlet has given the best possible description of this plan,
in comparing it to a chess-board:--the relative proportions are as
nearly as possible four English acres to each square.



    Climate of Buenos Ayres, liable to sudden changes. Influence
        of the North Wind. Case of Garcia. Effects of a Pampero.
        Dust-Storms and Showers of Mud. The Natives free from
        Epidemics, but liable to peculiar affections from the state
        of the atmosphere. Lockjaw of very common occurrence. The
        Smallpox stopped by Vaccination. Introduced in 1805, and
        preserved by an individual. Its first introduction amongst
        the Native Indians by General Rosas. Cases of Longevity, of
        frequent occurrence.

Azara, the best of all writers upon the country, has with much truth
observed that the climate of Buenos Ayres is governed not so much by
its latitude as by the wind, a change of which will continually produce
an alteration of from 20 to 30 degrees in the thermometer[16]?

I have been often asked whether the heats in summer are not almost
intolerable. On some days they are so; the glass perhaps above 90°
in the shade, and all nature gasping for air; but on those very days
the most experienced of the natives will be clothed in warm woollens
instead of linen jackets and trousers, for fear of catching cold.

During the greater part of the year the prevailing winds are northerly,
which, passing over the marshy lands of Entre Rios, and then over the
wide expanse of the Plata, imbibe their exhalations, and, by the time
they reach the southern shores of the river, have a great influence
upon the climate. Everything is damp: the mould stands upon the boots
cleaned but yesterday; books become mildewed, and the keys rust in
one's pocket. Good fires are the best preservatives, and I found them,
if not absolutely necessary, at least very comfortable, during quite
as many months as I should have had them in England; and yet I never,
during nine years, saw snow, or ice thicker than a dollar, and the
latter only once. Upon the bodily system the effect produced by this
prevailing humidity is a general lassitude and relaxation; opening the
pores of the skin, and inducing great liability to colds, sore throats,
rheumatic affections, and all the consequences of checked perspiration;
one of the best safeguards against which is doubtless the woollen
clothing of the natives, of which I have already spoken; though they
require it, perhaps, the more especially, because they seldom stir
out of their houses in the extreme heat of the day; and it is at the
time they do go out, when the sun has lost its power and the damps of
evening are setting in, that such precautions are doubly necessary.
Europeans, at first, are loth to take the same care of themselves,
but sooner or later they discover that the natives are right, and
insensibly fall into their ways.

The evil effects of all this humidity, so far as they are dangerous,
appear to be confined to the immediate vicinity of the river, and to
the inhabitants of the city; for in the pampas the gauchos sleep upon
the ground during the greater part of the year in the open air without
risk. Their skins, however, like those of the cattle they watch, are
probably impervious to the wet.

Before I went to Buenos Ayres I had suffered much from malaria fever,
caught in Greece; and when I saw, for the first time, the low, flat,
marshy appearance of the whole country, I expected nothing less than
a return of my old ague. Everything around seemed to bespeak it: but
Buenos Ayres is free from such disorders, and cases of intermittent
fever, such as that I speak of, are rarely known there.

Still, though free from the malaria of the Mediterranean coasts,
the sirocco of the Levant does not bring with it more disagreeable
affections than the viento norte, or north wind of Buenos Ayres;
indeed, the irritability and ill-humours it excites in some people
amount to little less than a temporary derangement of their moral
faculties: it is a common thing to see men amongst the better classes
shut themselves up in their houses during its continuance, and lay
aside all business till it has passed; whilst amongst the lower orders
it is a fact well known to the police that cases of quarrelling and
bloodshed are infinitely more frequent during the north wind than at
any other time. In illustration of this, I shall quote a case in point,
the account of which I received from one of the most eminent medical
men in the country, who had paid particular attention during a practice
of more than thirty years to its influence upon the human system.

In the year ---- a man named Garcia was executed for murder. He was
a person of some education, esteemed by those who knew him, and,
in general, rather remarkable than otherwise for the civility and
amenity of his manners; his countenance was open and handsome, and
his disposition frank and generous; but when the north wind set in
he appeared to lose all command of himself, and such was his extreme
irritability, that during its continuance he could hardly speak to
any one in the street without quarrelling. In a conversation with my
informant a few hours before his execution, he admitted that it was the
third murder he had been guilty of besides having been engaged in more
than twenty fights with knives, in which he had both given and received
many serious wounds; but, he observed, it was the north wind, not he,
that shed all this blood. When he rose from his bed in the morning,
he said, he was at once aware of its accursed influence upon him;--a
dull headache first, and then a feeling of impatience at everything
about him, would cause him to take umbrage even at the members of
his own family on the most trivial occurrence. If he went abroad his
headache generally became worse, a heavy weight seemed to hang over his
temples, he saw objects, as it were, through a cloud, and was hardly
conscious where he went. He was fond of play, and if in such a mood a
gambling-house was in his way he seldom resisted the temptation; once
there, any turn of ill-luck would so irritate him, that the chances
were he would insult some of the by-standers. Those who knew him,
perhaps, would bear with his ill-humours, but, if unhappily he chanced
to meet with a stranger disposed to resent his abuse, they seldom
parted without bloodshed. Such was the account the wretched man gave
of himself, and it was corroborated afterwards by his relations and
friends, who added, that no sooner had the cause of his excitement
passed away than he would deplore his weakness, and never rested till
he had sought out and made his peace with those whom he had hurt or

Europeans, though often sensible of its influence, are not in general
so liable to be affected by this abominable wind as the natives,
amongst whom the women appear to be the greatest sufferers, especially
from the headache it occasions. Numbers of them may be seen at times
in the streets, walking about with large split-beans stuck upon their
temples; a sure sign which way the wind blows. The bean, which is
applied raw, appears to act as a slight blister, and to counteract the
relaxation caused by the state of the atmosphere.

But it is not the human constitution alone that is affected; the
discomforts of the day are generally increased by the derangement
of most of the household preparations:--The meat turns putrid, the
milk curdles, and even the bread which is baked whilst it lasts is
frequently bad. Every one complains, and the only answer returned
is--"_Señor, es el viento norte._"

All these miseries, however, are not without their remedy; when the
sufferings of the natives are at their climax, the mercury will give
the sure indication of a coming pampero, as the south-wester is called;
on a sudden, a rustling breeze breaks through the stillness of the
stagnant atmosphere, and in a few seconds sweeps away the incubus and
all else before it; originating in the snows of the Andes, the blast
rushes with unbroken violence over the intermediate pampas, and, ere it
reaches Buenos Ayres, becomes often a hurricane.

A very different state of things then takes place, and, from the
suddenness of such changes, the most ludicrous, though often serious,
accidents occur, particularly in the river; whither, of an evening
especially, a great part of the population will resort to cool
themselves during the hot weather. There they may be seen, hundreds
and hundreds of men, women, and children, sitting together up to their
necks in the water, just like so many frogs in a marsh: if a pampero
breaks, as it often does, unexpectedly upon such an assembly, the
scramble and confusion which ensues is better imagined than told;
fortunate are those who may have taken an attendant to watch their
clothes, for otherwise, long ere they can get out of the river, every
article of dress is flying before the gale.

Not unfrequently the pampero is accompanied by clouds of dust from the
parched pampas, so dense as to produce total darkness, in which I have
known instances of bathers in the river being drowned ere they could
find their way to the shore. I recollect on one of these occasions, a
gang of twenty convicts, who were working at the time in irons upon the
beach, making their escape in the dark, not one of whom, I believe, was

It is difficult to convey any idea of the strange effects of these
dust-storms: day is changed to night, and nothing can exceed the
temporary darkness produced by them, which I have known to last for a
quarter of an hour in the middle of the day; very frequently they are
laid by a heavy fall of rain, which, mingling with the clouds of dust
as it pours down, forms literally a shower of mud[17]. The sort of
dirty pickle in which people appear after being caught in such a storm
is indescribable.

Sometimes the consequences are more serious, and the pampero is
accompanied by the most terrific thunder and lightning; such, I believe
as is to be witnessed in no other part of the world, unless it be the
Straits of Sunda. Nothing can be more appalling. In Azara may be read
an account of nineteen persons killed by the lightning which fell in
the city during one of these storms.

But the atmosphere is effectually cleared; man breathes once more, and
all nature seems to revive under the exhilarating freshness of the
gale:--the natives, good-humoured and thoughtless, laugh over the less
serious consequences, and soon forget the worst; happy in the belief
that, at any rate, they are free from the epidemical disorders of other

Still such variations from the ordinary courses of nature cannot but be
productive of strange consequences; and, though the transient effects
of an overcharged atmosphere may be quickly dispelled by a pampero,
and the people be really free from the epidemics of other countries,
there is every reason to believe that, in this particular climate,
the human system is in a high degree susceptible of affections which
elsewhere would not be deemed worth a moment's consideration. Besides
those I have already spoken of as arising from the north wind, old
wounds are found to burst out afresh, new ones are very difficult
to heal; an apparently trivial sprain will induce a weakness of the
part requiring years perhaps to recover from, as I know from my own
experience; and lock-jaw from the most trifling accidents is so common
as to constitute the cause of a very great portion of the deaths from
hurts in the public hospitals. A cut thumb, a nail run into the hand
or foot, a lacerated muscle, will generally terminate in it; and our
own medical men well know how great a proportion of our wounded in
the attack of 1806 and 1807 died from this dreadful cause. The native
practitioners attribute its frequent occurrence to some peculiarity
in the atmosphere acting upon the system in a manner they are as yet
unable to explain. Under the name of the "mal de siete dias" (the seven
days' sickness), a vast number of children are carried off by it in the
first week of their existence; but, as this mortality is principally
limited to the lower orders, it may perhaps in most cases be traced to
mismanagement and neglect. With us, the long confinement of the mother
ensures the same care of the infant in the first weeks of its life;
but, in a country where the mother leaves her bed in two or three days
to return to her work, the child must often be neglected. Many a Buenos
Ayrean washerwoman may be seen at her usual work at the riverside
three or four days after her delivery, with her infant lying for the
greater part of the day upon a piece of cold hide, beside her on the
damp ground. Can any one wonder that it takes cold and dies? There was
a time, and but few years ago, when it was gravely asserted that the
mortality amongst infants arose from their being baptized with cold
water, and the authorities, concurring in the notion, actually issued
a decree that none but warm water should be used for such purposes in
the churches. I believe, however, that the deaths were not found to
diminish, and that the priests are again permitted to use cold water
as before, though I doubt the enactment to the contrary having ever
been repealed; but why should these cases so generally terminate in

The dreadful ravages occasioned formerly by the small-pox have latterly
been in a great measure arrested amongst the civilised portion of
the inhabitants by the general use of vaccination: accidentally
conveyed to Buenos Ayres in 1805 by the owner of a cargo of slaves,
it was preserved by the patriotic zeal of an enlightened priest,
Dr. Segurola, who, deeply impressed with its immense importance,
voluntarily devoted himself to the task of propagating it amongst his
countrymen, especially the poor, whose ignorant prejudices he had
often to combat, and whom he was not unfrequently obliged to bribe to
submit to the operation. For sixteen years he laboured incessantly in
this vocation, at the expiration of which, he had the satisfaction of
finding his single exertions no longer adequate to satisfy the general
demand for it. The Government then (in 1822) relieved him of his
charge, and instituted a proper establishment for the express purpose
of propagating vaccination gratis, not only in the city of Buenos
Ayres, but throughout the republic; others were afterwards added in
the several country districts, from which the lymph is now distributed
to all who apply for it, and has been sent into every province of the
interior. The authorities make it compulsory, as far as they can,
on parents to carry their children to these establishments; and the
parochial priests are charged to see that they do so.

By a report published in 1829 upon this subject, it appeared that in
the city alone, in the previous nine months, as many as 4160 children
had been vaccinated; a large proportion to the births, which are
estimated at little more than 6000 yearly. I was more than once applied
to for it from Rio de Janeiro, whither it was always most readily
forwarded by the Buenos Ayrean administrators.

But the destruction created by the small-pox amongst the Spaniards
was nothing when compared to its dreadful consequences amongst the
native Indians. Whole tribes have been swept away by it: I believe,
nations--whose languages have been lost. The plague is not more a
frightful scourge than this disorder, when it attacks the miserable
inhabitants of the pampas: they themselves believe it to be incurable,
a feeling which adds to its lamentable consequences, for no sooner
does it appear than their tents are raised, and the whole tribe takes
to flight, abandoning the unfortunate sufferers to the certainty of
perishing of hunger and thirst, if the virulence of the disorder itself
does not first carry them off.

An opportunity, however, offered during the time I was at Buenos Ayres
of making known to these poor people, also, the effects of vaccination,
under circumstances which it is to be hoped may eventually lead to its
diffusion amongst them, as well as their more civilised neighbours.

A large party of some of the friendly tribes, with their wives and
children, repaired to the city on a visit of duty to the Governor,
General Rosas, and had not been there long when some of them were
attacked with small-pox, amongst the rest, one of their principal
Caciques. As usual, the sufferers were immediately abandoned by their
own relatives, and might have died like dogs, had not their more
civilised friends taken charge of them, for which the poor wretches
were abundantly grateful; but their surprise was without bounds,
when the Governor himself, who had a regard for the old Chief, went
in person to visit him. General Rosas did not fail to remark the
strong impression created by his visit, and saw at once the advantage
to which it might be turned. Ordering the astonished Indians to be
brought before him, he showed them the mark upon his own arm, and
fully explained to them the nature of the secret which had enabled
him to visit their dying Cacique with impunity. The result was,
that nearly 150 of them, including some of their Caciques, Catrieu,
Cachul, Tetrué, Quindulé, Callinao, Toriano, and Venancio, with their
wives and children, were vaccinated on the spot at their own earnest
solicitation; and great was their childish delight on finding, in due
time, the appearance of the disorder upon their arms, which they were
fully satisfied would prove an infallible charm against the worst
powers of the Evil one.

The impression created by this interesting occurrence will not be
easily effaced, and, although subsequent events may have unfortunately
delayed for a time the further propagation of this inestimable blessing
amongst the Indians, I have little doubt that it will again be sought
for; and who can say that, with good management, it may not be
converted into a means of domiciliating and reducing to Christianity
the remnants of a race, who, in their turn, might repay with productive
labour their benefactors a hundred fold?

I must not close this chapter without adding that, notwithstanding
what I have said as to the effects of the climate upon some
constitutions, the people in general live to a good old age in perfect
enjoyment of their mental as well as bodily faculties; and that
instances of longevity are common, the following extracts from the
several population returns will sufficiently prove:--

"In the census of 1778, 33 cases are quoted of individuals then living
in the city, aged from 90 to 100; and 17 of from 100 to 112."

In the tables of mortality for 1823 and 1824, 58 persons are said to
have died between the ages of 90 and 100; 6 between 100 and 110; 3
between 112 and 116; 1 of 128, and another of 130. The two last were


[16] Meteorological Tables will be found in the Appendix.

[17] The following letter, received from Buenos Ayres after my own
departure, gives an account of one of these visitations. It is dated

                                     "Buenos Ayres, 11th February, 1832

"Yesterday we had another of those awful dust-storms which you have
previously witnessed; it came on about a quarter past twelve o'clock.
The rapidity of its approach, and awful opacity, alarmed the whole
population; in an instant, as it were, there was a transition from
the glaring ray of the meridian to the most intense darkness. Immense
flocks, or rather one immense flight of birds, immediately preceded it,
and, in fact, however incredible it may appear, commenced the obscurity
by their numbers.

"The whole time of its duration was eleven minutes and a half, the
total darkness eight minutes and a half, by watch, observed by Dr. S.
and myself by candlelight; it was accompanied by loud claps of thunder,
but not a ray of lightning was visible, although the thunder was by no
means distant. After eleven minutes and a half the rain began to fall
in very large black drops, which had the effect upon the white walls of
making them appear, when the sun again showed itself, as if they had
been stained or sprinkled with ink. I never witnessed a more majestic
or awful phenomenon. The consternation was general; every one rushing
into the nearest house, and all struggling to shut their doors on their
neighbours. I have heard as yet of no accidents, although doubtless
there must have been many; the wind, of course from S.S.W."

[18] Horses are very liable to the same affection, and are continually
lost from it.



    Little known of Patagonia till the appearance of Falkner's work
        in 1774. It stimulates the Spanish Government to send out
        an expedition under Piedra in 1778, to form settlements
        upon the coast. He discovers the Bay of San Joseph's.
        Francisco Viedma forms a settlement on the River Negro.
        Antonio, his brother, explores the southern part of the
        coast, and forms another at San Julian's. His account of
        the Indians he found there. The New Settlements abandoned
        in 1783, with the exception of that on the River Negro.
        Villariño ascends that river, as far as the Cordillera
        opposite Valdivia. A dispute with the Araucanian Indians
        prevents his communication with the Spaniards of Chile,
        and obliges him to return. Piedra succeeds Viedma, attacks
        the Pampa Tribes, and is defeated. Don Ortiz de Rosas,
        father of the present Governor of Buenos Ayres, is taken
        prisoner by them, and succeeds in bringing about a general
        pacification. Subsequent neglect of the settlement on the
        Rio Negro. Its population in 1825, and coasting-trade with
        Buenos Ayres.

Before they became independent of Spain, and whilst the people of
Buenos Ayres possessed in the Banda Oriental more waste lands than they
wanted, safe from any incursions of the Indians, and better adapted
perhaps than any other in South America for the rearing of cattle,
at that time their only object, they had no particular inducement to
extend their possessions further than the River Salado; all beyond
was left to the Indians, and little or nothing was known of their
country, except what they chose to communicate, until Falkner published
his account of Patagonia in a country town in England in 1774. The
appearance of that book produced results which the author perhaps
little anticipated, for it stimulated the Spanish Government to make a
general survey of the coast of Patagonia, and to form settlements upon
it, the history of which to this day has never yet been made public.
It is of those measures, and the information derived from them, that I
purpose to give some account in this chapter.

Father Falkner, the author above alluded to, was an Englishman, who,
from a very early age, seems to have had a passion for travelling.
Brought up to the medical profession, he went in the capacity of a
surgeon on board a trading-vessel to Cadiz, where he embarked in one
of the Assiento ships, bound on a slaving voyage, eventually to Buenos
Ayres: there he was induced to enter the order of Jesuits, in which, as
a missionary, he afterwards made himself conspicuous for the zeal with
which he devoted himself to the conversion of the Indian inhabitants
of the unexplored regions of that part of the world. Forty years he
passed amongst them, and, but for the expulsion of his order from South
America, he would probably have ended his days there. On his return to
England, he wrote his book, to this day the only authentic account we
have of the manners and customs of the Indians of the pampas, whilst
the map it contains, compiled partly from his own observations, and
partly from Indian accounts, has furnished the principal, if not the
sole data for all those which have since been published of the interior
of their country.

One of his principal objects avowedly was to point out how vulnerable
by any hostile naval power were the Spanish possessions in those parts;
and hardly had the book appeared when the Spanish Government, taking
alarm lest his suggestions should be listened to in England, sent
secret orders to the Viceroy of Buenos Ayres to have the whole coast
of Patagonia carefully surveyed, with a view "to the formation of such
new settlements upon it as might secure the King of Spain's rights, and
forestall the English in their supposed intention of appropriating to
themselves the valuable fisheries on the southern part of the coast."

Competent officers were sent out from Spain for the purpose, and no
expense was spared to execute the survey as completely as possible. The
command was intrusted to Don Juan de la Piedra, who sailed from Monte
Video on this service on the 15th December, 1778.

Running down the coast, on the 7th January he entered the great bay,
then called Bahia Sin-fondo, or San Matthias' Bay, but now more
generally known under the name of San Antonio, at the bottom of which,
in latitude 42° 13´, he discovered the entrance of a noble harbour,
which he named San Joseph's.

Piedra passed three months in examining the shores of this great gulf
and the peninsula which bounds it, and so impressed was he with its
capabilities that, without proceeding further, he left an officer and
part of his men to build a fort there, and returned himself to the
River Plate to give an account of his discovery.

According to his report, indeed, it appeared on many grounds to offer a
most eligible site for a new settlement. The port itself was said to be
deep and commodious, affording anchorage for ships of any size, whilst
its situation seemed particularly convenient not only for facilitating
the further exploration of the great rivers Negro and Colorado, which
empty themselves a little to the northward of it, but for securing more
or less the entrance of those rivers against any sudden surprise by
the enemies of Spain, a point to which great importance was attached
in the instructions of the surveying officers, in consequence of the
statements made by Falkner as to the possibility of passing up them
into the very heart of the Spanish possessions.

The vast number of whales and seals which were seen in its
neighbourhood, moreover, held out the promise of its becoming a station
whence to carry on those fisheries which the Spanish Government of
the day were so anxious to establish[19]; whilst the extensive salt
deposits in several parts of the peninsula promised an inexhaustible
supply of an article of the first necessity in Buenos Ayres in curing
the hides and beef.

The only drawback to the situation was the apparent scarcity of fresh
water, which the discoverers had great difficulty in finding in the
first instance, though subsequently a sufficiency was obtained at some
distance from the coast: it was, however, at all times more or less
brackish, and eventually caused much sickness and suffering to the

The Viceroy was dissatisfied with Piedra for returning, and superseded
him, when it devolved upon Don Francisco and Antonio Viedma (the
officers next in command of those sent out from Spain) to carry into
execution the intentions of their Government. These brothers were long
employed upon various parts of the coast of Patagonia, and collected
much valuable information respecting that _terra incognita_.

In April, 1779, Don Francisco sailed from San Joseph's, to form a
settlement on the River Negro, in favour of which he was fortunate
enough to propitiate the Viceroy, who supplied him with men and
stores, and all things necessary for the purpose.

Don Antonio was left in charge at San Joseph's; but, the scurvy
breaking out amongst the people to a great extent, they became so
dissatisfied that he was under the necessity in the course of the
summer of returning with the greater part of them to Monte Video.
He was not, however, permitted to be long idle; and in the January
following (1780) was again despatched to carry out the original plan,
and to survey the whole of the southern part of the coast of Patagonia.

In furtherance of these orders, he examined the several ports of St.
Helena, San Gregorio, the northern shores of the great Bay of San
George, Port Desire, and San Julian's: which occupied him till the end
of May, when, the cold weather setting in, he hutted his people for
the winter at Port Desire, and despatched one of his vessels to Buenos
Ayres with an account of his proceedings.

Of all the places he had visited, San Julian's appeared to offer the
best, if not the only suitable site for any permanent establishment.
Everywhere else, the coast presented the aspect of sandy, steril dunes,
intermixed with stones and gravel, fit only, to all appearance, for the
occupation of the wild guanacoes and ostriches, which wandered over
them in quest of the scanty coarse grass which constituted their only
herbage. No wood was to be seen bigger than a small species of thorny
shrub, fit only for the purposes of fuel; and, as to water, it was
every where scarce, and the little to be found was generally brackish
and bad. The ports, too, were most of them difficult and dangerous of
access, affording little or no security for vessels above the size of a

San Julian's was so far an exception, that at high tide the largest
ships might enter and lay safely at anchor within the bar off its
mouth. A constant supply of water, too, was found three or four miles
inland, proceeding from some springs in the hills, about which there
was good pasturage, and enough of it to have induced a considerable
tribe of Indians to fix upon it as their ordinary dwelling-place.
There, also, Viedma proposed to plant a little colony; and, the Viceroy
approving the plan, the people were removed from Port Desire in the
month of November, and commenced building their habitations in the
vicinity of the springs above mentioned, about a league from the coast.
They received the materials, and a variety of necessary supplies, from
Buenos Ayres, not the least useful of which were some carts and about
twenty draught-horses, which enabled them afterwards to keep up a
constant communication between the shore and their little settlement.

They found the Indians extremely well disposed, and ready to render
them every assistance in their power, in return for the trifling
presents they made them. Altogether there might be about 400 of
them, and about half as many more were encamped upon the Santa Cruz
River further south. These were apparently the only inhabitants of
those regions. They said that in their journeys northward they fell
in with no other toldos or encampments till they came to a river
twenty-five days off; there were some more two days beyond again upon
a second river, and thence it was twenty days further to the toldos
of the Indians of Tuca-malal, on the river called by Villariño the
Encarnacion, which falls into the great River Negro; altogether,
according to their computation, something less than fifty days' travel
from San Julian's[20]. To those parts they were in the habit of
occasionally repairing in order to buy fresh horses from the tribes
there resident, who they said had plenty of them, and exchanged them
for the guanaco skins which they took from the more southern part of
the country. They caught those animals with their bolas and lassoes,
and often supplied the colonists with fresh meat when they had no means
of their own of obtaining it.

This assistance was of the greater value to them, as the winter set in
with a severity, against which they were very indifferently prepared.
The months of June, July, and August were piercingly cold, much snow
fell, and the people, unused to such a climate, became very sickly,
and many of them died. Viedma himself was so ill as to be some time
confined to his bed; nor was it till the return of spring that the
survivors began to recover their strength, and were able to go on with
the works. They got through the subsequent winter better, after their
houses were completed, and they were able to collect some necessary
comforts about them. The vegetables they planted throve well, and
in the second February they gathered in their first harvest, which
yielded a fair crop in proportion to the corn sown. The brushwood in
the surrounding country was sufficient to supply them with fuel, but
there was no timber fit for building, of which they were daily in want;
and in quest of this Viedma was induced to make an excursion into the
interior by the Indians, who asserted that an abundance was to be had
near the source of the Santa Cruz river, which they said was a great
lake at the foot of the Cordillera, whither they offered to guide him.

On this expedition he left San Julian's early in November (1782), with
some of his own people, and a party of the Indians under their cacique.
Proceeding westward, and inclining to the south, over hills and dales,
at a distance of about twenty-five leagues they reached the Rio Chico,
or little river, which the Indians said fell into the harbour of Santa
Cruz. There was at that time no difficulty in fording it, the water not
being much above their saddle-girths, and its width not above fifty
yards, though, from the appearance of its steep and water-worn banks,
it was evidently a much more considerable stream during the season of
the floods. The Indians said it was the drain of a lake far in the
north-west, formed by the melting of the snows in the Cordillera.

So far, wherever they halted, they had found no lack of pasturage for
their horses, or water, or brushwood for fuel; but after crossing
the Chico the country became more rocky and barren: fourteen leagues
beyond the Chico they came to a much more considerable river, called
the Chalia by the Indians, who described it as issuing from another
lake in the mountains, between the sources of the Rio Chico and those
of the great river of Santa Cruz, which it joined, they said, further
on. They found it too deep to cross where they first reached it, and
were obliged in consequence to follow its course upwards for eight
leagues, over a stony, rugged country, which lamed all their horses,
and the desolate appearance of which was increased by the visitation
of a flight of locusts which had devoured all the vegetation for three
leagues. They crossed it, at last, at a place called Quesanexes by
their Indian guides, from a remarkable rock standing out like a tower
from the rocky, rugged cliffs which there bounded the bed of the river
(some basaltic formation probably).

On looking at the sketch, in the seventh volume of the "Journal of the
Geographical Society," of Captain FitzRoy's Survey of the river Santa
Cruz, it appears probable that the Chalia is the stream which runs into
it from _basalt glen_, and which, though a very inconsiderable one at
the season he passed by it, was manifestly one of much more importance
at other times.

Eight leagues after crossing the Chalia they came to the great lake
under the Cordillera, which the Indians had talked of as the origin of
the Santa Cruz River.

Viedma describes it as of great extent, situated in a sort of bay, or
vast amphitheatre of the mountains, from the steep ravines of which ran
down the many streams which filled it, chiefly derived from the melting
of the snows in the north-west: he skirted it for twelve leagues to
its extremity in that direction, and estimated its extreme length at
about fourteen; its width, he says, might be from four to five leagues.
Some dark patches amongst the snow on the distant heights indicated
the clumps of trees of which the Indians had spoken; but the few which
Viedma was able to examine were not what he had been led to expect; he
speaks of them as resembling a wild cherry, with a fruit in appearance
not unlike it, though of a more orange colour, and without a stone and
very tasteless; the wood stunted, and so crooked as to be entirely
unfit for anything but burning. May it not have been the crab-apple? We
know there are plenty of apples further north in the same range.

Describing the appearance of the Cordillera from the head of the
lake, he says, towards the north it looked like a vast table-land
stretching from east to west; but it had a different appearance in
the south, breaking into steep and broken peaks, for the most part
covered with snow. The Indians said that neither to the north nor
south was the main chain passable by man or beast for a very long
distance. They all concurred in stating that a large river issued
from the south-east angle of the lake, which they believed to be the
great river of Santa Cruz[21]; Viedma, unfortunately, was not able
to examine it, as he wished, in consequence of the apparent swelling
of the mountain-torrents, which alarmed the Indians lest they should
so increase the rivers as to prevent their recrossing them on their
return; nor were they very wrong, for, by the time they got back to the
Chico, they found it a wide and rapid stream no longer fordable.

It was proposed that some of the Indians who could swim should tow
Viedma across on a balsa, which they set to work to construct of hides
and sticks, but when completed, it looked so frail and dangerous a
ferry, that the Spaniards preferred running the risk of swimming their
horses over. This they accomplished without accident, and reached San
Julian's in safety again on the 3rd of December, after nearly a month's
absence, during which they were much indebted to the Indians for their
friendly aid, and knowledge of the country through which they passed.

The people of this tribe, who had never seen a Spaniard before, Viedma
describes as of large stature, generally above six feet high, and very
stout and fleshy; their faces broad, but of good expression, and their
complexion rather sunburnt than naturally dark. Their skin cloaks,
worn very long, and reaching when on foot to their heels, gave them
an appearance of greater height than the reality. Their habits and
customs, according to his account, seem to differ little from those
of the Pampa tribes, of which I shall elsewhere have to speak. The
men employed themselves in hunting guanacoes and other animals for
their skins, and for meat to eat, whilst the women performed all the
domestic offices and drudgery of the household, such as it was; but the
good disposition uniformly shown by them gave Viedma a most favourable
opinion of them, forming, as it did, a striking contrast with the
character of the tribes further north.

Shortly after this excursion (in April, 1783) Don Antonio, considering
his little colony as fairly planted, proceeded to Buenos Ayres for the
recovery of his health. There the mortification awaited him of learning
that all his labour had been thrown away, and that the Government of
Spain had resolved to break up the Patagonian settlements. The fact
was, that the great trouble and expense already incurred, from the
necessity of supplying all their first wants from Buenos Ayres; the
grumbling and complaints of the settlers themselves, of the hardships
they had to go through, and of the inclemency of a climate to which
they were unaccustomed (which, joined to the bad quality of their salt
provisions, had certainly produced scurvy amongst them to a frightful
extent), had all tended to create so unfavourable an impression upon
the Viceroy, that he had been led to express a strong opinion to his
Government as to their worse than uselessness. The consequence was,
that after three or four years, in which upwards of a million of hard
dollars was spent upon them, orders were sent out to abandon them all,
except the settlement upon the Rio Negro, after setting up at San
Joseph's, Port Desire, and San Julian's, signals of possession, as the
English had done at Port Egmont, for evidence in case of need, of his
Catholic Majesty's rights[22].

Don Antonio Viedma, who took a lively interest in the settlement he
had formed at San Julian's, in vain raised his voice against this
determination, and endeavoured to show that the grievances of the
settlers were but the natural difficulties to be expected in the
infancy of all new colonies; that they knew the worst of them, and many
of their remedies; that a further experience of the seasons had shown
that the lands, so far from being unfit for cultivation, as amongst
other things was alleged, were quite sufficiently productive to support
them in after-years without further aid from Buenos Ayres; and as to
the expenses, the heaviest were already incurred; whilst the fisheries
alone promised sources of wealth and revenue to the mother country, as
well as to the neighbouring viceroyalty. But these arguments met with
little attention, and came too late to alter the determination of the
higher powers.

The same jealous policy which led the Spanish Government to cause
the coast of Patagonia to be surveyed, equally influenced them in
withholding from publication the results, which remained carefully
hid from all inspection in the archives of the Viceroyalty, though I
cannot but think, had the reports even of Viedma himself been given
to the world, they would have been the best possible security to his
Catholic Majesty against the curiosity or encroachments of foreign
nations. Not only did they all tend to show that the coast itself
was full of dangers, but they also proved that the interior of the
land was, throughout, a steril and desolate waste, scarce of water
and vegetation: a region fit enough for the wild beasts which had
possession of it, but very little adapted for the supply of any of the
wants of man. I cannot conceive what temptations such possessions could
possibly have offered to any European power whatever, nor can it, I
think, create surprise that Spain herself abandoned them.

With respect to the fisheries, had there been any real spirit of
enterprise in the people of Monte Video and Buenos Ayres, they might
have monopolized them; but no such spirit existed, and they were
suffered to fall into the hands of the more adventurous sailors
of England, North America, and France. They equally neglected the
importation of salt, though a more necessary article to them, perhaps,
could hardly have been placed within their reach; and after Viedma's
voyage it was well known that any quantity of it, of an excellent
quality, could be obtained either at San Joseph's, Port Desire, or
San Julian's. All that was necessary was to collect it at the proper
season, in the months of January, February, and March, when it is hard
and dry, and consequently in the fittest state for shipping.

Dean Funes, the historian of Buenos Ayres, writing on this subject,
cannot suppress his indignation at the apathy of his countrymen,
though he attempts, at the same time, to find an excuse for it in
an observation of Humboldt's with a simplicity quite worth quoting.
He says--"Who doubts that the Spaniards of South America might have
carried on these fisheries at infinitely less cost than the English
and North Americans, when their own coasts of Patagonia and round
Cape Horn are known to abound in whales, even in the harbours, by all
accounts? But it was not the cost, neither was it the want of hands,
which caused this important object to remain neglected. It was the
natural indolence of the people and indifference of the Government.
How, indeed, was it possible," he adds, "to find men to follow the hard
profession of the sea, amongst a people who prefer a hunch of beef to
all the comforts of life? 'The hope of gain,' Baron Humboldt observes,
'is too weak a stimulus in a climate where bounteous nature offers man
a thousand ways of obtaining a comfortable subsistence without the
necessity of leaving his native home to go to fight with the monsters
of the deep.'"

The Dean was a wise old man, who knew the character of his countrymen
thoroughly. Nor are his observations confined to the Spaniards of
South America. Speaking of the ill-success of a company in Spain
to which the king, in 1790, had conceded extraordinary privileges,
as an encouragement to carry on these fisheries, he says--"Its
continual losses, up to the period of its final failure, lead us to
the conclusion, that projects depending upon intelligence, economy,
and activity, are not made for a people notoriously behindhand in
information, and habitually extravagant and lazy."

Whilst Don Antonio was occupied at San Julian's, his brother, Don
Francisco, was with no less zeal laying the foundations of the
settlement upon the Rio Negro, the only one, as it appeared, of these
new establishments which was destined to be maintained.

It certainly possessed many advantages over the more southern parts
of the coast which had been explored. It was not, like San Julian's,
a thousand miles distant from the governing authorities. Succours in
case of need could be sent to it by land as well as by sea from Buenos
Ayres; and this consideration alone obviated the strongest objections
made by the poorer classes to settling themselves permanently on other
parts of the coast. The river itself was not only a safeguard against
the Indians, but fertilized the adjoining lands, and insured to the
colonists a never-failing supply of fresh water, the want of which
had caused perhaps the greatest part of their sufferings at the other

There were also other motives which operated more powerfully than these
in determining the Spanish Government to maintain a settlement upon the
River Negro.

It was by proceeding up this river that Falkner supposed a hostile
naval power might surprise the Spanish territories in the interior
and in Chile--a notion founded upon the concurrent accounts given
him by the Indians of the possibility of ascending it as far as the
Cordillera, and even to Mendoza. If these accounts were to be depended
upon, and such a communication were really practicable between the
shores of the Atlantic and the provinces of Chile, and Cuyo, it was
impossible to foresee to what important consequences it might lead, and
how valuable (independently of its advantages as a military position)
might become a settlement which would necessarily be the key of that

To determine a point of so much interest, in a geographical as well
as political point of view, was therefore one of the first objects
after the first settlers were fairly established; and an expedition
was prepared to explore the river to its sources, and to examine
its principal affluents. The command was intrusted to Don Basilio
Villariño, a master-pilot in the Spanish navy, who had sailed with
Piedra in 1778; and had since been the chief practical officer engaged
in the survey originally undertaken by that commander. In the four
years which had elapsed since the commencement of that service, he
had himself examined and laid down the Bays of Anegada and of Todos
Santos, the bar of the River Negro, and the ports of San Antonio, of
San Joseph, and that to the south called Porto Nuevo. He had also
surveyed the River Colorado for about seven leagues from its mouth.
No man, then, in those parts could be better qualified for the task,
and no expense or supply was spared, that he might be furnished with
everything likely to ensure his success.

Four large launches (chalupas) were fitted out, to which masters,
carpenters, caulkers, and ample crews were appointed, besides a number
of peons with horses, who were to attend them along the banks of the
river to assist in reconnoitring the country, and in towing the boats
against the stream, when contrary winds might prevent their sailing.

On the 28th September, 1782, they started from the settlement of
Carmen, and were absent till the 25th of May following; and, although
on some points they did not perhaps realize all the expectations of
those who sent them, yet they certainly obtained much new and valuable
information, and for the first time determined correctly the course of
the great river they ascended, and proved the possibility of navigating
it to the very foot of the Andes.

The heavy Spanish launches unfortunately proved ill-calculated for the
service, and could make but little way with the fairest wind against
the force of the stream. They were obliged in consequence continually
to have recourse to the towing-rope, a tedious and laborious operation,
which occupied them a whole month before they reached the great
island of Choleechel, about seventy leagues, according to their daily
reckoning, from Carmen.

This island[23] (the eastern extremity of which was found to be in
latitude 39°) is not only one of the most remarkable features in the
map of the River Negro, but is a point of great importance connected
with the inroads of the Aucazes Indians into the Province of Buenos
Ayres. It is here that, in their journeys from the Cordillera, they
leave the course of the Negro and strike across to the River Colorado,
whence their beaten track runs straight to the mountain ranges of the
Ventana and Vulcan, where they pitch their tents, recruit their horses,
and watch for a favourable opportunity to scour the Pampas, and carry
off the cattle from the defenceless estancias on the frontiers of
Buenos Ayres.

Being at all times greatly encumbered with their women, children,
and cattle, and having no notion of anything like a raft or canoe
to facilitate the passage of the rivers they have to cross, they
are obliged to resort to those points where they are fordable, and
afterwards to follow such routes as will lead them by places affording
sufficient pasture for the daily maintenance of their horses and
cattle. Now, in their descent from the Cordillera, their only pass
across the great River Neuquen is just above its junction with the
Negro, the course of which they are forced afterwards to follow as far
as the Choleechel, from the impracticability of the country to the
north of it, and the scarcity of fresh water for their animals.

The great importance, therefore, of any military post at this point,
will be at once evident, and Villariño did not hesitate to give his
strong opinion to his superiors, that a fort built here, with a small
Spanish garrison, would be one of the most effectual checks upon these
savages, and the best defence for the cattle owners of Buenos Ayres.

After fifty years of further experience, this suggestion (in 1833)
has been acted upon by General Rosas, the present Governor, and the
Choleechel, now called Isla de Rosas, has been occupied as a military

After reaching their tracks, it was not long before the Spaniards fell
in with a party of the Indians themselves, travelling by the river's
side towards the Cordillera. Villariño, anxious to conciliate them in
order to obtain their aid as he proceeded, was at first lavish in his
presents to them, particularly of spirits and tobacco, which appeared
to be the objects most in request among them. The more, however, they
got, the more they wanted; and upon the first hesitation to comply
with their unreasonable demands, they became as insolent as they were
importunate. They conceived suspicions, too, of the real designs of the
Spaniards in exploring those parts, and shrewdly enough guessed that
some more permanent occupation of their country was projected--an idea
in which they were confirmed by the lies of a vagabond who deserted
to them from the boats, and whose first object, of course, was to sow
the seeds of dissension between them and his countrymen, in order to
facilitate his own escape.

Although they dared not openly attack the Spaniards, they soon gave
manifest proof of their determination to thwart the progress of the
expedition by every means in their power. Riding on in advance of the
boats they destroyed the pasturage along shore, and, hovering just out
of the reach of danger to themselves, annoyed the party by all kinds of
petty hostilities, and kept Villariño in continual alarm for the safety
of his peons and cattle.

This conduct on the part of the natives, added to the certainty now
acquired, that the service would be one of much longer duration than
had been contemplated, made Villariño pause before he proceeded
farther, and finally, determined him to halt where he was till he could
communicate with Carmen, and receive from thence such further supplies
as would render him independent for the rest of the voyage.

In passing the Choleechel, he had been much struck with a little
peninsula, covered with rich pasturage, and easily made defensible
against the Indians; and thither he now returned to await the further
assistance he had applied for to his superior.

By running a sort of palisade across the narrow isthmus which separated
their position from the main, and landing their swivels from the boats,
the Spaniards soon formed a little fortification[24], perfectly secure
from any sudden attack on the part of the Indians, but of them they saw
nothing more so long as they remained there.

Six weeks elapsed before Villariño received answers to his letters,
conveying to him the orders of Don Francisco Viedma, to proceed with
the expedition; but in the interval the river fell so considerably
that Villariño became alarmed (and not, as it appeared, without good
cause,) lest he should be driven into the season when the waters were
at their lowest, which would greatly add to his difficulties as he
advanced:--nor was this the worst:--though Don Francisco had sent him
an ample supply of provisions and other necessaries for the prosecution
of the enterprise, he had at the same time peremptorily ordered him to
send back all the peons with their horses, under the idea that this
would be the surest means of obviating any future disputes or collision
with the Indians. Villariño, without time to remonstrate, had no option
but to obey this order, though he saw at once that it deprived him
of his main-stay, and would necessarily very much retard his future

Under these circumstances, on the 20th of December, the boats once more
got under sail to proceed up the river. Its winding course rendered the
sails of little use, and it was hard work without the horses to make
way against the force of the stream, the rapidity of which, as well
as the difficulty of getting along, was much increased by innumerable
small islands, which stud the river above Choleechel; indeed the men
were nearly worn out, as might have been expected, with the toil of
working at the towing-rope almost continually.

In ten days they only advanced twenty-four leagues; they were not then
sorry to fall in again with some of their fellow-creatures, albeit
they were Indians, from whom they procured some horses, which relieved
them from this part of their labour at least. They too were journeying
westward, and much information was obtained from them respecting the
upper parts of the river which greatly encouraged them to proceed, for
there seemed little doubt from their accounts, that it was navigable to
the foot of the Cordillera, from whence they might easily communicate
with Valdivia.

These Indians were returning to their ordinary haunts on the eastern
slopes of the Cordillera, over against that city, and they readily
offered their assistance to the Spaniards to show them the way over,
when they arrived at their lands, which they described as being near
the Huechum-lavquen, or lake of the boundary spoken of by Falkner.
They said it was not more than three days' journey from thence to
Valdivia, with the people of which it appeared they were in the habits
of intercourse, and among whom they found ready purchasers for all the
cattle they could carry off from the Pampas. Thus it appeared that the
people of Buenos Ayres might thank their countrymen on the shores of
the Pacific for a great part of the depredations they were continually
complaining of from the hostile incursions of these savages.

This party was a fair sample of the evil consequences of such a system.
It consisted altogether of about 300 people under their caciques, who
had left their country more than a year before for the sole purpose
of collecting cattle for the Valdivians; and they were now on their
way home with about 800 head, every animal of which bore a Buenos
Ayrean mark, and had been stolen from some estancia in that province.
They were less shy than the Indians whom the Spaniards had before
fallen in with, and so long as they got plenty to eat and drink they
journeyed on by the side of the boats in apparent good humour, giving
such assistance as was in their power, and such information as they
could with respect to the country they passed through. But this did not
last long; and when after about a fortnight they found that Villariño
could not afford to make the caciques and their wives drunk every day
they changed their tone, and even went so far as to lay a plot for
getting the boat's crew on shore on pretence of a feast, in order to
rob and murder them. Frustrated in this by a timely discovery of their
treachery, they suddenly galloped off, carrying with them, however, two
of the men, whom it was supposed, by means of their women, they had
contrived to inveigle from the boats.

Cunning and treachery, Villariño observes, seem the special
characteristics of these people; thieves by habit, plunder is the
object of their lives, and to obtain it fair means or foul are alike
justifiable in their eyes. Kindness is thrown away upon them, and fear
alone seems to have any influence over them which can be calculated

In thirty days from their leaving Fort Villariño, the boats arrived
at the confluence of the River Neuquen, or Sanquel-leubú as it is
sometimes called by the Indians, from the huge canes or reeds which
overgrow its banks. This river was erroneously supposed by Villariño to
be the Diamante, and he did not hesitate to lay it down as that river,
and to express his belief that had he gone up it in twenty-five days
he should have found himself in the province of Mendoza. Subsequent
information has corrected this error, and shown it to be the river
_Neuquen_, which here joins the Negro, and which, rising a little above
Antuco, is increased by many other streams from the Cordillera, which
subsequently fall into it.

Villariño was blamed for not exploring this river, certainly by far the
most considerable affluent of the Negro. He seems to have satisfied
himself with merely ascending it in a little boat for about a couple of
leagues, which brought him to the place where the Indians are in the
habit of crossing it, and where he doubted whether there was sufficient
water at the time to allow the launches to go up, though, from the
vestiges of the floods along shore, it was evidently navigable at times
for much larger craft. His best excuse for not doing more was his
anxiety to reach the Cordillera before the state of the snow should
prevent his communicating with Valdivia. To make the best of his way
onward in that direction was now his main object; but the difficulties
he had as yet experienced were nothing to those which awaited him
in his further progress. The horses obtained from the Indians were
completely worn out, and after passing the Neuquen, the whole labour of
towing the boats along again devolved upon the men.

About a league above the junction of the two rivers, the latitude was
found to be 38° 44´. The course of the Negro shortly afterwards was
found to incline very much more to the south, apparently turned off
by the prolongation of a chain of hills from the north, which equally
determines the course of the Neuquen higher up, and as far as the eye
can reach from the point of its junction with the Negro.

Through these hills the Negro has either found, or forced a passage,
which on either side is bounded by steep, rocky escarpments, rising 500
or 600 feet above it; and here the stream ran with such violence, that
it was with the greatest difficulty the launches were dragged on, one
by one; a difficulty further increased by the shallowness of the water,
which made it necessary in many places to deepen the channel with
spades and pick-axes, and to unload the boats and carry their cargoes
considerable distances, before they could proceed[25].

All this caused incredible fatigue to the men, unaccustomed to such
service, and supported only on the dry and salt provisions they had
with them. Their legs became swelled with working for days together in
the water, and they were covered with sores from the bites of the flies
and mosquitos which hovered in clouds above its surface. The scurvy
broke out, and some of them became seriously ill: fortunately they fell
in with some apple-trees, the fruit of which was a great comfort to the
sick; but the snow-capped peak of the Cerro Imperial, as well as the
whole range of the Cordillera, was now in full view before them; and
the hope of being soon in communication with Valdivia gave them fresh
courage, and redoubled their exertions to reach their journey's end.

Two whole months were spent in making a distance of forty-one leagues
from the Neuquen. This brought them, on the 25th of March, to the foot
of the great range of the Cordillera, and to an island about a mile
and a half long, where the main stream was found to be formed by two
distinct rivers, there uniting from opposite directions; the one coming
from the south, the other from the north.

As they knew by their latitude, which a little before reaching this
point they had found to be 40° 2´ S., that they were already to the
south of Valdivia, Villariño had no hesitation as to which of these
rivers he should attempt to ascend. Before going on, however, he
determined on giving the men a day or two's rest, of which he availed
himself to make a short excursion in his little boat up the southern
fork, which turned out to be a river of some magnitude.

At its mouth, he says, even at that time, when the waters were at
their lowest, it was about 200 yards across, and about five feet in
depth; its course from the S.S.W., running with much velocity through
a deeply-cut channel over a bed of large rounded stones: the country,
as far as could be seen, was a desolate mass of gravel. Some little
way up, they found the burial-place of an Indian cacique, over which
two stuffed horses were stuck upon stakes, according to their custom;
further on, the shore was strewed with trunks of many large trees
brought down by the floods; they were of various sorts, but principally
pine and cedar, probably the same as is shipped in large quantities
from the opposite side of the Cordillera, and from Chiloe, for other
parts of Chile and Peru. From the Indians they subsequently learned
that dense forests of these trees were to be met with higher up the
river. How valuable they would be to the settlers on the Rio Negro, and
how easily they might be floated down to them!

Villariño named this river the Rio de la Encarnacion. By the Indians,
it is called Limé-leubú, or the river of leeches: indeed they call
the main stream so, during its whole course to the junction of the
Neuquen; after which, they give it the appellation of Curi-leubú, the
River Negro. They described it as proceeding from the great lake of
Nahuel-huapi,[26] where, in the year 1704, the Jesuits established
a mission, which was afterwards destroyed by some hostile savages,
and the Fathers murdered. The vestiges of their habitations and
chapel still remain, and that part of the country is called by the
Indians Tuca-malal, probably from some allusion to the ruins; the
inhabitants call themselves Huilliches, or the southern people.
Through them, to Villariño's surprise, the Pehuenches Indians, whom he
shortly afterwards fell in with, had already received accounts of the
establishment of the Spaniards at San Julians; the news had doubtless
been carried to them by the friendly Indians, with whom Viedma had been
in communication at that place, and whom he speaks of in his diary as
having gone northward on an expedition which lasted four months, to buy
horses from the Indians in that direction.

But if the Spaniards were surprised to hear these people speak of their
countrymen at San Julians, 600 miles off, they were much more so, to be
asked by them if the war between Spain and England was over. In this,
however, it turned out that they had a more direct interest than might
have been expected; certain articles of European manufacture which
they had been in the habit of purchasing from the Valdivians having
become scarce and dear, from the interruption of the trade of that
place with Spain in consequence of the war. Who would have supposed
that the Indians of Araucania could have known or cared whether England
and Spain were at war or not?

Having taken this cursory view of the Encarnacion, Villariño returned
to continue his voyage up the northern branch of the Negro, which is
called the Catapuliché by the Indians. It would perhaps be more correct
to consider, as they do, the Encarnacion as the upper part of the
Negro, and the Catapuliché as an affluent joining it from the opposite
direction. Its shallowness prevented their making much way up it; after
much labour and difficulty, in twenty days they had only advanced ten
leagues, and then all hope of getting further was at an end. This was
on the 17th of April, when they were in latitude 39° 40´, over against

The Catapuliché runs along the base of the Cordillera, distant five
or six miles; it is joined by several streams from the mountains,
which irrigate the intervening slopes and plains, and form good
pasture-grounds for the Indians; and here they found their old
acquaintances, who had run away from them lower down the river; and
who, nothing abashed by what had passed, came at once to the boats to
beg for spirits and tobacco.

Villariño, restraining his indignation at their effrontery, renewed
his intercourse with them in the hope of obtaining their assistance
in reaching Valdivia; which, by their accounts, was not more than
two or three days' journey distant across the mountains. Deputations
arrived also from the Pehuenches, and Aucazes, Araucanian tribes
in the neighbourhood, who showed a great readiness to be of any
use;--they brought the Spaniards fruit and other necessaries, and
everything promised a speedy realization of their wishes to be placed
in communication in a few days with their countrymen on the shores of
the Pacific. At the moment, however, when they were looking forward
to the speedy accomplishment of this object, their hopes were blasted
by an unlucky quarrel amongst the Indians themselves, in which one
of their principal caciques, Guchumpilqui, was killed. His followers
rose to avenge his death, and Chulilaquini, the chief who killed him,
fled with his tribe to the Spaniards, earnestly soliciting their
protection; to obtain which the more readily, he told a plausible story
of a general league being formed amongst the Indians to attack them
on the first favourable opportunity, and that it was in consequence
of his refusal to join in this coalition, that the dispute had arisen
which cost Guchumpilqui, the principal in the plot, his life. As this
Guchumpilqui was the leader of the tribe they had met with on the
Rio Negro, whose manoeuvres had already impressed Villariño with the
belief that he meditated some such treachery, he was quite prepared to
credit Chulilaquini's tale; and thinking it at any rate advisable to
secure the aid of some of the savages, he too readily promised him the
protection he asked for. This brought the expedition to an end.

As soon as it was known that the Spaniards were disposed to take
the part of Chulilaquini, they were regarded as declared enemies,
and preparations were made to attack them. The Indians were bent on
avenging the death of their chief, and it was soon evident that, as to
communicating with the Valdivians under the circumstances, it was out
of the question. After some fruitless efforts, at any rate, to get a
letter conveyed across the mountains, Villariño was reluctantly obliged
to make up his mind to return. Since entering the Catapuliché, much
snow and rain had fallen, which had increased its depth as much as
three or four feet: it had become in fact a navigable river, instead
of a shallow stream. Their Indian allies helped them to lay in a stock
of apples, of which there are great quantities in all those parts,
and of piñones, the fruit of the pine-tree, which, taken out of the
husk, is not unlike a Barbary date in taste as well as appearance; and
with these supplies they once more got under weigh, the swollen stream
carrying them down rapidly and safely over all the shoals and dangers
which had cost them so much toil and difficulty to surmount as they
went up; the land too, had put on a new appearance after the rain, and
many places which appeared arid and steril wastes before, were now
covered with green herbage. With little more than an occasional oar
to keep them in the mid-stream, they went the whole way down to Carmen
without the smallest obstruction, and arrived there in just three weeks
from the time of leaving the Catapuliché, after an absence altogether
of eight months. Thus it was proved to be perfectly practicable to pass
by this river from the shores of the Atlantic to within fifty or sixty
miles of Valdivia on the Pacific, the mountain-range alone intervening.

To what beneficial account this discovery of an inland water
communication across the continent might in the last fifty years have
been turned by an enterprising people, it is difficult to calculate.
The Spaniards seemed rather desirous to conceal than to publish the
fact of its existence. Till the expedition of General Rosas in 1833,
against the Indians, no boat ever again went up the Negro higher than
Choleechel; and but that I obtained possession of Villariño's Diary
during my residence at Buenos Ayres, and published the substance of
it in the "Journal of the Geographical Society," his Enterprise would
probably have been consigned to perpetual oblivion.

Chulilaquini followed the boats, and settled his people within reach of
his Spanish friends, in the neighbourhood of Carmen; but the Indians,
in general, looked upon the new settlement with the greatest jealousy,
and became extremely troublesome.

In this state of things, Don Juan de la Piedra, who it has already
been stated was originally sent from Spain to take command of the
establishments in Patagonia, and who had never ceased to remonstrate
against the act of the Viceroy, which deprived him of that command,
was reinstated by orders from the government at home; and proceeded
in consequence to the Rio Negro, to resume his functions as principal
Superintendent (1785); over-anxious, perhaps, after what had passed,
to distinguish himself, instead of making any attempt to conciliate
the Indians, he boastingly took the field, and advanced into their
lands to attack them, with a force totally inadequate to the purpose:
the consequence was, that he was surrounded and totally defeated. He
himself perished miserably, and several officers fell into the hands of
the savages: happily for them, some relations of the victors were at
the same time in the power of the Viceroy, and the hope of recovering
them by exchange, induced the savages for once to save the lives of
their prisoners.

Amongst them was Don Leon Ortiz de Rosas, father of the present
Governor of Buenos Ayres, then a Captain in the King's service, who
turned his captivity to such good account, that he not only succeeded
in an extraordinary degree in conciliating the respect and good will of
the principal Caciques, but finally brought about a peace between them
and the Viceroy, which lasted many years, and deservedly established
the celebrity of the name of Rosas throughout the pampas.

The Spanish government for a short time took some interest in the
establishment on the Negro:--upwards of 700 settlers were sent there
from Gallicia, and large sums were spent upon it; but the expectations
formed of its importance were not realized. The colonists remained
satisfied to carry on a petty traffic with the Indians for skins,
instead of launching out upon the more adventurous speculation of
the fisheries upon the coast, and the authorities at Buenos Ayres,
finding them more expensive than useful, became indifferent about
them, and allowed them to sink into the insignificance of a remote and
unprofitable colony.

Thus, in 1825, when the war between Buenos Ayres and Brazil broke out,
there were hardly 800 inhabitants. The blockade of the river Plate
made it then a resort for the privateers of the Republic, and once
more brought it into notice. A small coasting trade is now carried on
with it, and many seal-skins are collected there to be sent to Buenos
Ayres, as well as those of the guanaco, hare, skunk, and other animals,
brought in by the Indians from the deserts further south: it has of
late years also furnished occasional supplies of salt for the Saladeros
of Buenos Ayres.

Had the government of Buenos Ayres been able to exercise any efficient
superintendence over the adjoining coast, the fishery of seals, and
seal elephants, might have become of importance; but in the absence
of all control, the unrestrained and indiscriminate slaughter of the
young as well as of the old animals has driven them from their former
haunts further south, where they are still found by the English and
North American fishermen, who know their _rookeries_, as they are
called; and in the proper season, take them in great numbers.

The Governor of Carmen is an officer appointed from Buenos Ayres, to
the Junta of which province the inhabitants name a representative.


[19] In a subsequent report of Viedma's, he says that, when the first
accounts of San Joseph's were brought to Monte Video, a merchant of
that place, Don Francisco de Medina, fitted out a vessel to go a
whaling there, the crew of which, in the first month, harpooned no less
than fifty fish within the port.

[20] Their day's journey is usually about four leagues when on a long

[21] Captain FitzRoy followed it for nearly 200 miles, and found it a
very considerable river the whole way,--never fordable, according to
the accounts he received. He must have been very near the lake when he
found himself obliged to turn back.

[22] In 1670 Sir John Narborough passed six months at San Julian's; he
also visited Port Desire, and took possession of it, with all due form,
for his master, Charles II.--Anson was also at both places in 1741, and
the account of his voyage contains views of that part of the coast, and
of the harbour of San Julian's.

Narborough, who is very precise in his description of the country,
gives an account of a geological fact, which is of some interest
now-a-days. He says, "Going on shore on the north-west side of the
harbour of San Julian's with thirty men, I travelled seven or eight
miles over the hills, &c. On the tops of the hills and in the ground
are very large oyster-shells; they lie in veins in the earth and in
the firm rocks, and on the sides of the hills in the country; they are
the biggest oyster-shells that ever I saw, some six, some seven inches
broad, yet not one oyster is to be found in the harbour."

[23] The Choleechel is not now a single island, but is divided into two
or three, by branches of the river which intersect it. These channels
may have been formed since Vallarino's voyage.

[24] Fort Villariño in the map.

[25] The river was probably unusually low even for the season; for
Villariño observes in this part of his journal, that it was nearly five
months since they had had a rainy day.

[26] Nahuel-huapi signifies the Island of Tigers according to Falkner.



    Malaspina Surveys the Shores of the Rio de la Plata in 1789.
        Bauza maps the Road to Mendoza: De Souillac that to
        Cordova. Azara, and other Officers, in 1796, fix the
        positions of all the Forts and Towns in the Province of
        Buenos Ayres. Don Luis de la Cruz crosses the Pampas, from
        the frontiers of Conception in Chile to Buenos Ayres,
        in 1806. Attempt at a new delineation of the Rivers of
        the Pampas from his Journal. His account of the Volcanic
        appearances along the Eastern Andes. Sulphur, Coal, and
        Salt found there, also Fossil Marine Remains. The Indians
        of Araucanian origin: Habits and customs of the Pehuenches.

Piedra's orders confined him to the east coast of Patagonia, as has
been shown in the preceding chapter; but in 1789 Spain sent forth an
expedition of much more importance, especially in a scientific point of

The ships employed were the _Atrevida_ and _Descubierta_, under the
command of the well-known Malaspina, who not only revised Piedra's and
Viedma's surveys of Patagonia, but, rounding Cape Horn, explored the
greater part of the coast of the Pacific, from its southern extreme
to the Russian settlements in the north-west. Malaspina, upon his
return, was thrown into a dungeon and deprived of his papers,--why, has
never transpired; nor was it till several years afterwards that those
admirable charts, the results of his labours, were published by order
of Langara, the Spanish Minister of Marine, which have since been so
useful to modern navigators in the South American Seas, and will long
be an honour to the Spanish navy. Malaspina's name, however, was not
permitted to be affixed to them, neither has the journal of his voyage
ever been published.

It is only very recently that the details have been discovered at
Buenos Ayres of the first portion of his work, viz., the survey, in
1789, of the whole of the northern and southern shores of the Plate, as
high up as the Paranã, in which nearly 150 points were fixed by him. In
the Appendix all those of any importance will be found, in a tabular
form, together with other positions, determined on good authority.

It was this survey, with the soundings afterwards taken by Oyarvide
(who lost his life in completing them), that furnished the materials
for the chart of the river Plate, officially published at Madrid in
1810: nor was this all that Buenos Ayres owed to Malaspina: upon his
return to Valparaiso from the north-west coast, he detached two of his
most intelligent officers, Don José Espinosa, and Don Felipe Bauza,
well known in this country, to map the road across the pampas; and by
them the true positions of Santiago in Chile, of Mendoza, San Luis,
the post of Gutierres on the river Tercero, and other points along
the line, were, for the first time, determined. Their map, so far as
it extends, is the best, and the only one of that line of country, I
believe, ever drawn by any one capable of taking an observation.[28]

Whilst they were thus engaged in fixing one part of the geography of
the interior, the Viceroy turned to account the temporary sojourn at
Buenos Ayres of some of the officers attached to the commission for
laying down the boundaries under the treaty of 1777 with Portugal, and
employed them in mapping other portions of the territory under his
immediate jurisdiction.

In 1794 M. Sourreyere de Souillac, the astronomer of the third division
of that commission, laid down the line of road from Buenos Ayres to
Cordova, and fixed the latitude of that city in 31° 26´ 14".

In 1796 Azara, with Cerviño and other officers employed on the same
service, made a detailed survey of the frontiers of the province of
Buenos Ayres, in the course of which they fixed the positions of
all the towns and forts of any importance between Melinqué, its
north-western extremity, and the most southern bend of the river
Salado, beyond Chascomus. That river they found to have its origin in
a lake in latitude 34° 4´ 45", longitude from Buenos Ayres 3° 36´ 32";
it is an insignificant stream, of trivial importance till joined by the

Thus materials were collected for laying down a considerable portion of
country upon the very best authorities; but, like the surveys of the
coast, many years were suffered to elapse ere they were made available
to the public. Bauza's map was not published till 1810, and it was
only in 1822 that the positions fixed by Azara in 1796 appeared for
the first time as his in the "Statistical Register," published that
year at Buenos Ayres. De Souillac's might have remained unknown for
ever, had not Señor de Angelis lately brought them to light; as well as
Malaspina's "Fixed Points on the Shores of the River Plate."

But, after all, however valuable were these data in perfecting
a knowledge of the country already occupied, they led to no new
discoveries, and by far the greater part of the interior of the
continent, to the south of the Plate, remained unexplored, till Spain
becoming involved in the general war carried on between the great
powers in Europe, her colonial subjects on the shores of the Pacific
began to experience more or less inconvenience from the stoppage of
their ordinary trade. They found that the ships which used to visit
them direct from Europe for the most part ran into the river Plate,
rather than encounter the increased risk of capture in the longer
voyage round Cape Horn; and it became therefore to them an object of
considerable importance to shorten, if possible, the over-land journey
from thence to the opposite side of the continent, and particularly to
the southern parts of Chile.

This led to explorations being set on foot by the public authorities,
in the years 1803, 1804, and 1805, the result of which was, the
discovery of several new passes over the Cordillera, south of Mendoza,
one of which, the pass de las Damas, was examined by the same M. de
Souillac, already spoken of, who reported that at a very small expense
it might be made practicable for the passage of wheel-carriages. It
only remained to be shown whether or not it was possible to travel in a
direct line across the pampas from any of those passes to Buenos Ayres.

In this state of things, Don Luis de la Cruz, an enterprising officer
who had seen much of the Indians, offered to start from Antuco, in the
province of Conception, the most southern of the passes yet known, to
endeavour to reach Buenos Ayres by a straight course across the pampas.
This proposal was accepted by the Governor of Chile, and in order to
secure as far as possible the co-operation of the native tribes, which
indeed was absolutely necessary to the success of the undertaking, the
Caciques of the Pehuenches, who inhabited the country on the eastern
slopes of the Cordillera, were summoned to hold a grand parlamento,
or parley, to consider it. There had been long a friendly intercourse
between them and the Spaniards, who, moreover, had at times afforded
them protection from the attacks of their enemies; they therefore did
not hesitate on this occasion to intimate to them that they expected in
return all the good offices and aid which they could give to Cruz and
his party.

They attended at the time appointed, and after a grave discussion after
their fashion, which lasted several days, they agreed to take the
expedition under their particular protection, and see it safe to Buenos
Ayres; Cruz, on his part, engaging that the Indians who accompanied him
should be presented to the Viceroy, rewarded with suitable presents,
and sent back in safety to their friends at the conclusion of the
service. This pact was ratified with much formality; the hand of Cruz
being solemnly placed in that of the most ancient of the Caciques, to
signify that thenceforward he was under his special care.

Whist the expedition was preparing, Cruz spent a couple of days in
an unsuccessful attempt to get to the summit of the volcano in the
vicinity of Antuco, which he describes as being then in continual
action, and at times burning so strongly as to be visible from a very
considerable distance: but he was stopped, and obliged to turn back,
by a heavy fall of rain and snow, considered by the Indians as an
interposition of the Deity to prevent the examination of a region
which they held it to be forbidden to mortals to approach.

On the 7th of April (1806), all being ready, the party left the fort
of Ballenar, near Antuco, to commence their journey. It consisted of
twenty persons, viz., Cruz and four officers, a surveyor to measure the
daily distances, and fifteen attendants, besides their Indian escort;
having with them carts and horses and all things they might want on
the way. Striking across the pampas in as direct a course for Buenos
Ayres as the nature of the country would permit, in forty-seven days
they arrived at Melinqué,[29] the north-western frontier fort of that
province, having travelled, according to their measured daily journeys,
rather more than 166 leagues;--adding 68 more for the distance between
Melinqué and Buenos Ayres, made the total distance from Antuco to that
city, by this route, 234 leagues;--being 75 less than the ordinary
post-road from Buenos Ayres to Mendoza.

The narrative which Cruz subsequently drew up of this expedition is
extremely diffuse, and would be tiresome to most readers from the
extreme minuteness with which he has thought it necessary to detail the
daily discussions and parleys which, upon every trivial occurrence,
took place with the Indians.

In a geographical point of view, the most interesting part of it
is that in which he describes the rivers which he crossed after
descending the Cordillera; from which I have attempted in the map to
give an idea of them, differing, as will be seen, from that hitherto
adopted. In this I have been also much guided by the observations, in
my possession, of the late Dr. Gillies, my correspondent for many years
at Mendoza, who had himself been as far south as the river Diamante,
and had taken great pains to collect information respecting the
geography of that part of the country.

The old notion was, that nearly all the rivers south of Mendoza uniting
in one wide stream, to which the Diamante, as one of the principal
affluents, gave its name, ran direct south into the Rio Negro; and
this, as I have mentioned in the preceding chapter, was Villariño's
idea, and led him, without hesitation, to believe that the great river,
whose mouth he explored, and which, he says, he does not doubt would
have led him to Mendoza, was the Diamante.

From a careful examination of Cruz's journal, and other data in my
possession, I am satisfied this will be found to be an error, and that
the great river which flows into the Negro is the Neuquen, which Cruz
crossed on the sixth day after he left Antuco, at the place called
Butacura, and about eighteen leagues on his journey. The Neuquen[30]
is formed by many streams from that part of the Cordillera, all which
Cruz names, and the principal of which appear to be the Rinqui-leubú,
which descends from the mountain of Pichachen, and further north the
Cudi-leubú, the drain of many small rivers. No one, he says, doubts
that the Neuquen, from the junction of the Cudi-leubú, is navigable as
far as the Rio Negro, and thence to the ocean.

Proceeding in a north-easterly direction, Cruz fell in with another,
considerable river, as large, he says, as the Neuquen, called by the
Indians the Cobu-leubú,[31] whose sources they reported to be in the
Cordillera of Curriliquin, over-against the province of Maule, in
Chile; and they spoke of seven rivers which fell into it in its course
from the north to the place where the expedition crossed it. Cruz says
distinctly _it does not fall into the Neuquen_, but, changing its
southerly course about where they passed it, it ran eastward, in which
direction the travellers kept it in view, at times coasting it, for
several days, till at a place called Puelec it again turned towards
the south, taking thence, as the Indians affirmed, its course to the
sea. This river, there can be no doubt whatever, is the Colorado, which
falls into the sea a little to the north of the Rio Negro.

The hilly ranges of the Cordillera were found to extend about ten
leagues beyond the pass of the Cobu-leubú, above spoken of, after which
the pampas commence, which continue unbroken to Buenos Ayres.

Two days after passing Puelec, whence the river Cobu-leubú takes
a southerly course, and having gone about seventy-four leagues by
their daily computation from Antuco, the travellers reached the river
called by the Indians _Chadi_-leubú, or the _Salt_ River (probably a
continuation of the Atuel), which, uniting with the Desaguadero, or
Drain of the Diamante, about five leagues below where they crossed it,
discharges itself into a vast lake about ten leagues further south,
called by the Indians the Urré-lauquen, or the bitter lake.

In old times, according to Dr. Gillies, the Diamante, which he says
rises from the eastern base of Cauquenes Peak in the Cordillera, fell
into the Atuel a little below Fort San Rafael, where it will be seen on
reference to the map that the two rivers very nearly approximate; but
about twenty-five years ago it took another course, forming for itself
a separate channel, by which it discharges itself into the Desaguadero,
which carries to the south the waters of the rivers Tunuyan and
Mendoza, and is finally lost with the Chadi-leubú in the great salt
lake above mentioned.[32]

The Chadi-leubú, according to Cruz, was one of the most considerable
of the rivers he had yet passed. The people and houses crossed it
swimming, and the baggage was carried over in a balsa, a sort of
hide-raft. It formed the boundary of the lands of the Pehuenches, and
many were the debates which ensued amongst Cruz's Indian companions as
to the probable view which the tribes in the pampas beyond would take
of the expedition.

One day it was the dream of some old woman, another, the augury of
a soothsayer, that excited their doubts and alarms, and made them
hesitate as to the propriety or not of going on with the Spaniards.
In their embarrassment, however, they made a notable discovery, which
was no other than that Cruz held constant communication with a spirit
which directed him in all his proceedings:--he was observed continually
to refer to it, and the spirit, which was his watch, was heard to give
out certain mysterious sounds whenever consulted. Cruz had no desire to
deceive them, but the impression was not to be got rid of, and it was
so far of use that it inspired them with fresh courage to go on.

It was determined, after much consultation, to send forward an embassy
to the Caciques of the Ranqueles tribes, who lived in the pampas
beyond, and especially to Carripilum, the most influential amongst
them, to announce the approach of the expedition, and its peaceable
objects, and to endeavour to propitiate them beforehand in its favour.
Fortunately, Carripilum was in good humour, and, in the belief that he
should get presents in proportion to the importance of the expedition,
not only received them with honour, but resolved to accompany them
himself to Buenos Ayres, where Cruz assured him the Viceroy would
welcome his arrival, and be glad to enter into treaties with him for
opening a new road through his territories for the Spaniards trading
between Buenos Ayres and Chile.

In twenty-nine days after passing the Chadi-leubú, and in forty-seven
after their departure from Antuco, the travellers arrived at the fort
of Melinqué, on the north-west frontier of the province of Buenos
Ayres; where, whilst halting to refresh themselves, and to allow the
Indians to celebrate their safe, arrival, according to their custom, in
beastly drunkenness, some straggling soldiers, flying from the rout,
brought in the disastrous intelligence of the landing of the British
troops under General Beresford, and the fall of Buenos Ayres.

The dismay of poor Cruz at this unexpected intelligence may be
easily imagined. Encumbered with a numerous party of Indians who had
accompanied him across the continent, far from their homes, in the
expectation of the rich presents they were to have upon their arrival
at Buenos Ayres, and relying upon promises which it was now totally out
of his power to fulfil, he was in the greatest embarrassment.

To proceed was out of the question; and as to going to Cordova, whither
it was reported the Viceroy had fled, it was evident that at such
a time matters of much more pressing importance would prevent his
attending to the objects of the expedition. His resources too were
utterly exhausted. The Indians, however, who soon heard reports of what
had happened, evinced a degree of good feeling which could hardly have
been expected from them under the sore disappointment of their own
expectations. Having heard from Cruz a confirmation of the bad news,
they at once expressed themselves satisfied that it was impossible
for him to fulfil his engagements towards them, and announced their
resolution to relieve him from any difficulty on their account by
returning whence they came. All they desired was, that he would duly
report to the Viceroy that they had faithfully, and as far as they
could, fulfilled their engagements, so that they might claim their
due reward in better times. The Pehuenches did not part without much
lamentation from their Christian friends, and they repeated again and
again their readiness to obey any orders the Viceroy might be pleased
to send them. Carripilum made the same protestations, and left one of
his relations to proceed with Cruz in search of the Viceroy, expressly
to make an offer of any aid which the Spaniards might desire from the
Indians against the common enemy.

Cruz found the Viceroy at Cordova, who received him with kindness,
and paid every attention to the Cacique who accompanied him. He was
equipped in a new suit of Spanish clothes, and after a time dismissed
with presents and every demonstration of the high estimation in which
the Viceroy held the services of Carripilum and his companions.

Don Luis himself, upon the recovery of Buenos Ayres, repaired thither,
and drew up the diary of his interesting journey, which, like those
of Villariño and Viedma, and many other interesting papers of the
same sort, was thenceforward consigned to oblivion in the secret
archivo.[33] The various important political events which shortly
afterwards began and rapidly succeeded each other were, however,
perhaps some excuse for its remaining unnoticed.

In describing the eastern parts of the Cordillera, Cruz says that, at
the time he was there, only the volcanoes of Antuco and Villarica were
in activity,[34] though the traces of others extinct might be seen in
every direction:--the evidences of their ancient eruptions, he says,
might be followed for thirty leagues continuously:--he speaks, amongst
other volcanic appearances, of hot springs resorted to by the Indians
for their medicinal qualities, and says so abundant is the sulphur in
all those parts that several rivers are strongly impregnated with
it; vast quantities also of bituminous substances are everywhere to
be seen, and beyond the Neuquen, he says, there is an abundance of
coal.[35] Nor is there good ground for doubting his assertion, since on
the opposite side of the Cordillera, in about the same latitude, coal
has long been known to exist, and has been occasionally used by the
foreign vessels trading with that part of Chile. Near the sources of
the Neuquen are mines of rock-salt: in the level lands, also, between
that river and the Chadi-leubú, salt may at all times be collected from
the surface of the ground, and the intermediate streams are all more or
less brackish from its influence.

Fossil marine remains appear to abound amongst the lower ranges of
the Cordillera which Cruz passed, not only strewed over the surface
at considerable elevations, but deeply imbedded in the soil, as
might be seen wherever sections were formed by the courses of the

In addition to his description of their country, Cruz has added to his
journal some account of the manners and customs of the Pehuenches;[36]
those Indians who take their name from the abundance of pine-trees in
the lands they occupy, derive their origin from the Araucanian race
inhabiting the southern parts of Chile; as indeed do all the wandering
tribes found in the pampas from the frontiers of Mendoza and Cordova
to the Rio Negro in the south:--they all speak a common language,
and, if their customs in any degree vary, it will only be found to
arise from the greater or less distance they are removed from their
original stock, or as they are brought into occasional contact with
their Christian neighbours. Divided and subdivided into innumerable
petty tribes, or rather family groups, they wander from place to
place in quest of pasturage for the sheep and cattle which constitute
their sole possessions; continually quarrelling and fighting with
each other, and rarely united by any common object save to make some
occasional plundering expedition against the defenceless properties of
the Spaniards on the frontiers. Such at least are the habits of those
generally known as the Pampas, and Ranqueles, tribes; but of them I
shall speak more particularly in the next chapter.

The Pehuenches, whose customs Cruz describes, appear to be a somewhat
better race. They are not so far removed from their original stock in
Araucania; and their vicinity to the Spaniards of Chile, and friendly
intercourse with them, has had a manifest influence in modifying their
original habits.

In person they are described as fine men, stouter and taller than the
inhabitants of the plains, but, like all the Indians of the same stock,
in the habit of disgustingly bedaubing and disfiguring their faces
with paint. They wear a sort of cloak over the neck and shoulders,
with another square cloth fastened round the loins, and those who can
get them, little conical hats bought from the Spaniards, and the same
sort of boots as are made by the gauchos of Buenos Ayres from the dried
skin of a horse's leg fitted to the foot. The bridles of their horses
are beautifully plaited, and often ornamented with silver: spurs of
the same material are in great request amongst them, and are eagerly
purchased of the Spaniards.

The women as well as the men paint themselves: _their_ chief ornaments
consist of as many gold or silver rings as they can collect upon the
fingers, and large ear-rings, resembling both in size and shape a
common English brass padlock.

Their habitations consist of tents made of hides sewn together, which
are easily set up and moved from place to place. Their principal food
is the flesh of mares and colts, which they prefer to any other; if
they add anything in the shape of cakes or bread, it is made from maize
and corn obtained from the Spaniards in exchange for salt and cattle,
and blankets, of the manufacture of their women, for it is rarely they
remain long enough in the same place to sow and reap themselves.

Their Caciques or Ulmenes, as they call them, are generally chosen
either for their superior valour or wisdom in speech--occasionally,
but not always, the honour descends from father to son: they have but
little authority in the tribe, except in time of war, when all submit
implicitly to their direction.

They are not, however, entirely without laws and punishments for
certain crimes, such as murder, adultery, theft, and witchcraft. Thus
he who kills another is condemned to be put to death by the relations
of the deceased, or to pay them a suitable compensation. The woman
taken in adultery is also punishable with death by her husband, unless
her relations can otherwise satisfy him. The thief is obliged to pay
for what he is convicted of stealing; and, if he has not the means, his
relations must pay for him. As to those accused of witchcraft, they
are burnt alive with very little ceremony; and such executions are of
frequent occurrence, inasmuch as a man rarely dies a natural death but
it is ascribed to the machinations of some one in communication with
the evil spirit. The relatives of the deceased, in their lamentations,
generally denounce some personal enemy as having brought about his end,
and little more is necessary to ensure his condemnation by the whole
tribe: sometimes in his agony the unhappy victim names others as his
accomplices, and, if the dead man be of any importance amongst them,
they too are often sacrificed to his manes in the same barbarous manner.

As to their religion, they believe in a God, the creator and ruler of
all things, though they have no form of worship: they also believe in
the influence of an evil spirit, to whom they attribute any ill that
befalls them. They consider that God has sent them into the world to do
right or wrong as they please; that, when the body perishes, the soul
becomes immortal, and flies to a place beyond the seas, where there is
an abundance of all things, and where husbands and wives meet, and live
happily together again.

On the occasion of their funerals, that they may want for nothing in
the other world to which they have been used in this, their clothing
and accoutrements, and arms, are buried with them; sometimes a stock
of provisions is added; and when a Cacique is buried his horses are
also slain and stuffed with straw, and set upright over his grave. The
internment is conducted with more or less ceremony, according to the
rank of the deceased:--if he be a man of weight amongst them, not only
his relations, but all the principal persons of the tribe, assemble and
hold a great drinking-bout over his grave, at which the more drink, the
more honour.

They have great faith in dreams, especially in those of their ancients
and Caciques, to whom they believe they are sent as revelations for
the guidance of the tribe on important occasions; and they seldom
undertake any affair, either of personal or general importance, without
much consultation with their diviners and old women as to the omens
which may have been observed.

Marriage is an expensive ceremony to the bridegroom, who if obliged
to make rich presents, sometimes all he is worth, to the parents of
his love, before he obtains their consent. Thus daughters are a source
of sure wealth to their parents, whilst those who have only sons are
often ruined by the assistance which is required from them on these
occasions. Such as can afford it take more wives than one, but the
first has always precedence in the household arrangements, and so on in

When a child is born it is taken with the mother immediately to the
nearest stream, in which after both are bathed, the mother returns to
her household duties, and takes part in preparing for the feast that

In almost all these habits, the Pehuenches appear to fellow the
Araucanians, of whose manners and customs Molina has given a full
account in his History of Chile.

The mother of one of my servants lived seven years amongst these
savages, and confirmed Cruz's account on all the points I have here
stated. In general, she said, she was as kindly treated by them as was
possible under the circumstances:--she had been taken by the Pampas
Indians, and by them sold to the Pehuenches, that she might have less
chance of escaping and ever reaching her own home again. Men, women,
and children, she said, lived much more on horseback than on foot.

A knowledge of their language might assist much to make us better
acquainted with their country, for their nomenclature of places, as
well as of persons, is rarely insignificant. I have already stated that
the Pehuenches derive their name from pehuen, the pine-tree, which
abounds on the slopes of the Cordillera where they dwell. The Ranqueles
are so called from ranquel, the thistle, which covers the plains which
they inhabit. The Picunches take their name from picun, the _north_.
The Puelches signify the people to the east, and the Huilliches those
to the south: _che_ means people.

The following will serve as examples of some of the appellations
of their Caciques:--Culucalquin, the Eagle; Maripil, the Viper;
Ancapichui, the Partridge; Quilquil, the Little Bird; Guayquiante, the
Sun; Cari-mangue, the Condor; Antu-mangue, the Ostrich; Pichi-mangue,
the Vulture; Paine-mangue, the Old Condor.


[27] The only authentic notice which I believe has as yet appeared of
this important voyage is the very brief one attached to the "Collection
of Astronomical Observations by Spanish Navigators," published by Don
José Espinosa, chief of the Hydrographical Department of Madrid, in

[28] Carta esferica de la parte interior de la America Meridional
para manifestar el camino que conduce desde Valparaiso à Buenos Ayres
construida por las observaciones astronomicas que hicieron en estas
partes en 1794 Don José de Espinosa y Don Felipe Bauza, Oficiales de la
Real Armada--en la direccion hidrografica, año 1810.

[29] Position of Melinqué fixed by Azara, lat. 33° 42´ 24", long. from
Buenos Ayres 3° 30´ 38".

[30] _Neuquen_ or _Nehuen_ signifies the rapid river, according to

[31] Although in the copy of Crux's MS. in my possession, as well as
in Señor de Angelis's collection, the name of this river is written
_Cobu_-leubú; I suspect it to be an erroneous writing for _Colu_-leubú,
which signifies the great river. I believe this the more, as I find
that people who have journeyed south from Mendoza speak of it (at least
of what I suppose to be the upper part of the same river) as the _Rio

[32] The track laid down on the map from Fort San Rafael along the
northern bank of the Diamante, to its junction with the Desaguadero,
and thence southward into the Indian territory, was fixed by compass,
and given me by Dr. Gillies.

[33] An estimate, annexed to his journal, of the expenses which
he calculated would be requisite to make the road he had passed
practicable for carriages the whole way from Antuco to Buenos Ayres,
made them amount to no more than 46,000 Spanish dollars.

[34] Captain Fitzroy says that no less than four volcanoes, now in
activity, may be seen from Chile.

[35] If coal really exist at the sources of the Neuquen, which he
says is navigable to the sea, it is impossible to calculate on the
extent of its future influence upon the prosperity of the neighbouring
provinces whenever the people shall open their eyes to the power
of steam-navigation. As yet, it would appear as if the people of
Mendoza and San Luis had as little idea of the use even of a canoe as
the Indians themselves, otherwise it seems hardly credible that the
Spaniards should never have made the slightest attempt to send a boat
down any one of these rivers.

[36] Pehuen signifies a pine-tree.



    Ignorance of the Buenos Ayreans respecting the lands south
        of the Salado previously in their Independence. Colonel
        Garcia's expedition to the Salt Lakes in 1810. The
        Government of Buenos Ayres endeavours to bring about an
        arrangement with the Indians for a new boundary. Their
        warlike demonstrations render futile this attempt. March of
        an army to the Tandil, and erection of a Fort there. Some
        account of that part of the country. The coast as far as
        Bahia Blanca examined, and extension of the frontier-line
        as far as that point. The hostility of the Indians makes
        it necessary to carry the war into the heart of their
        Territories. General Rosas rescues from them 1500 Christian
        captives. Detachments of his army occupy the Choleechel,
        and follow the courses of the River Negro and of the
        Colorado till in sight of the Cordillera.

Having given some account of the explorations of the Old Spaniards
beyond Buenos Ayres, I shall now proceed to state what has been done
by their successors since their independence. It is inconceivable
the ignorance which, up to a very recent period, existed amongst
even the higher classes of the people of Buenos Ayres respecting the
Indian territories which immediately bounded their own lands to the
southward. It is indeed only by a laborious investigation of the
history of their frontiers, and of the steps taken from time to time
to advance them, that we can even now obtain any tolerable notion of
the physical features of that part of the continent. This, however,
is worth the trouble, as it will furnish materials for laying down
a considerable portion of country hitherto most imperfectly and
erroneously described in all existing maps.

One of the first attempts made by the Independents to acquire accurate
data respecting the country to the south of the Salado appears to have
been in 1810, on the occasion of one of the periodical expeditions
to the great salt lakes in the south. Those expeditions formed a
singular exception to the ordinary supineness and indisposition of the
Spaniards to cross their own frontiers. They consisted of large convoys
of waggons dispatched under direction of the municipal authorities
to collect salt for the yearly supply of the city, escorted by a
military force to protect them from the Indians. Of their apparent
importance some idea may be formed from one, of which an account has
been preserved, and which took place during the time of the Viceroy
Vertiz, in 1778, composed of 600 waggons, with 12,000 bullocks, and
2600 horses, and nearly 1000 men to load them, besides an escort of
400 soldiers. The Indians, on these occasions, were propitiated by
suitable presents, and, as the caravans never deviated from their
object, they became habituated to them, and, instead of regarding them
with jealousy, in general rather looked forward with eagerness for the
annual tribute in the shape of presents which the Spaniards were ready
to pay them for an unmolested passage across their territories. They
even lent the people their assistance at the salt-lakes to load their
waggons in exchange for beads and baubles from Buenos Ayres.

The Viceroy occasionally attached some pieces of artillery to the
troops, and generally availed himself of the opportunity to make a
salutary display amongst the savages of the military discipline and
power of the Spanish soldiers, which no doubt had its due effect;
but no one thought of turning these expeditions to any further
account:--they never departed from the same direct and beaten track
across the pampas, and not the slightest pains were taken to collect
any further information respecting the country beyond, at least in the
time of the Old Spanish rule.

The members of the National Government, set up in 1810, were animated
by a different spirit: they foresaw with the dawn of their new
destinies the prospect of their becoming a commercial people, and the
consequent necessity of giving such encouragement to the extension
of their pastoral establishments as would tend to the multiplication
of the staple commodities of the country. The extension of their
frontiers, and their due protection by military posts were consequently
among the first objects of their attention; and when the annual
expedition to the Salinas was about to set out, they took care to
select an officer for the command of it qualified to reconnoitre
the country and to collect such information as might assist them
in determining upon their future plans for an extension of their
territorial jurisdiction.

Colonel Garcia, the officer in question, had previously seen much
of the Indians on the coast of Patagonia. He was of a conciliatory
disposition, and was on many other accounts eminently qualified for the
task committed to him. From the diary of his expedition, which is in
my possession, it appears that the caravan or convoy placed under his
charge, on this occasion, consisted of 234 waggons, with 2927 bullocks,
and 520 horses attached to them. His attendants, including soldiers,
were 407: they had also two field-pieces with them. Nor was this
considered a large party, compared with former expeditions with the
same object; indeed Garcia soon found to his cost that his force was
hardly sufficient to secure him common respect from some of the many
Indian Caciques, who, from the time of his leaving the frontier fort
of Cruz de Guerra to his arrival at the Salinas, successively besieged
him with their importunities for presents, especially of tobacco and
spirits, and kept him in continual alarm lest they should attempt to
carry off by force what they could not obtain by other means. Each who
presented himself called himself master of the lands they were passing
through, and expected corresponding presents to purchase his permission
to pass forward. Nor was this the worst: it appeared that something had
given rise amongst the Indians to a suspicion of the ulterior objects
of the Buenos Ayreans; and, under an impression that they projected
a forcible settlement in their lands, the Ranqueles tribes from the
plains south of San Luis and Mendoza, under their principal Cacique
Carripilum (the same spoken of in the foregoing chapter), had collected
their forces with the secret determination to endeavour to cut off
the whole party. Fortunately the fidelity of some of the Puelches,
or Eastern tribes, who hate and are continually at variance with the
Ranqueles, enabled Garcia to discover and disconcert their hostile
plans, and finally, though with considerable difficulty and danger,
to accomplish his object, and return with his convoy of salt-carts in
safety to Buenos Ayres.

Amongst the results of this expedition was the determination by
observation of seventeen points along the line of road from the
Guardia de Luxan, in lat. 34° 39´, long. west of Buenos Ayres 1° 2´,
to the Great Salt Lake in lat. 37° 13´, long. west of Buenos Ayres 4°
51´;[37] the whole distance travelled being 97 leagues, or, adding 24
for that from Luxan to the capital, 121 from Buenos Ayres. The journey
out occupied 23 days, and the return 25; altogether the party was
absent just two months, viz., from the 21st of October to the 21st of

The only features which seem worthy of remark along the road are the
numerous lakes, which appear to be the collections of the streams from
the western ramifications of the Sierra Ventana; the most considerable
of which is the Laguna del Monte, in lat. 36° 53´, long. from Buenos
Ayres 3° 57´; its name, the Lake of the Wood, is taken from a large
island upon it covered with fine timber; it is formed by the river
Guamini, and other streams from the mountain group so called; its width
was estimated to be three or four leagues, and in the rainy season
it forms one with the lakes of Paraguayos, extending more than seven
leagues to the south-west.

Although, the Laguna del Monte was salt, it was observed that the
waters of some of the smaller lakes in its immediate vicinity were
perfectly sweet. The same observation was made at the Salinas; the
sweetest water was abundant in the immediate vicinity of the Great Salt

Shortly before reaching the lake of Paraguayos, the Sierra de la
Ventana and its ramification, the Guamini, were seen and particularly
observed: the Sierra Guamini bore south 15° east, and the Ventana
south-east a quarter east. There they were met by several of the
best-disposed of the Caciques and their followers, who supplied
them with cattle in exchange for the articles they had with them.
They accompanied them to the Salinas, which they reached two days
afterwards; and to them they owed their protection from the hostile
Renqueles and Carripilum, whose treachery they discovered and exposed.

Speaking of the character of these Indians, Garcia says they are
remarkable alike for their cowardice as for their ferocity: their
warfare is a system of continual deceit and treachery, and their stolen
victories are always signalized by savage cruelties. Nothing could
exceed their submissive obsequiousness to the Spaniards from the moment
they knew they had an intimation of their hostile intentions, and were
upon their guard against them. The prevailing vice amongst them all,
even the best of them, is drunkenness,--the Caciques set the example
upon every occasion; and it is seldom that their orgies end without the
loss of lives, for in their cups they are always quarrelsome:--then the
slightest offence is remembered, and they draw their knives, wounding
and killing one another, and falling upon all, even their nearest
relations, who would attempt to restrain them. Of all the Indians the
Ranqueles are the worst:--they may be called the bush-rangers of the
pampas:--if they cannot rob the Spaniards they will make war upon the
other tribes, to carry off their horses and cattle. The Puelches, on
the contrary, or eastern people, at that time settled about the Salinas
and the mountains towards the coast, were found to be more peaceably
disposed: they were the possessors of large herds and flocks of their
own, and the manufacturers of many articles in demand amongst the
Spaniards, such as ponchos, skin-cloaks, bridles, and feather-brooms,
which they used to sell to them at Buenos Ayres and on the frontiers.

The extent of the Great Salt Lake is not given, and Garcia says it
was impossible to ride round it from the thick woods which lined its
banks; but, from an eminence a little to the south, he got a general
view of it, as well as of the country for a considerable distance.
Looking towards the south, as far as he could see, was one immense
level plain, covered with pasturage: to the eastward, in the distance,
some woods were visible, which, he was told, extended to the hilly
ranges of Guamini and La Ventana. On the opposite side, to the westward
of the lake, was a vast forest of chañar, algaroba, and an infinite
variety of other trees, which the Indians told him extended with little
interruption for three days' journey in that direction; and they added
the singular circumstance that, about a day and a half off in the midst
of it, upon a hilly range of some extent, were to be seen the ruins of
the brick buildings of some former inhabitants (antigua poblacion),
though, as to who they might have been, or when they ceased to exist,
they had not the smallest notion, neither had they any tradition which
could throw light upon it. The fruit-trees, they said, which, had been
planted there, had multiplied exceedingly, so that it was a great
resort of the Indians in their journeys across the pampas, to gather
figs, peaches, walnuts, and apples, and other fruits, of which there
was an abundance for all that went there. Wild cattle also, they said,
were in the surrounding forest, but they were not so accessible, and
were difficult to follow up through the woods. Colonel Garcia hazards
no conjecture as to who could have been the settlers in this secluded
and remote spot, nor has any one else obtained since any further
account of them. The age of the trees might perhaps throw some light
upon the date of the buildings, and I imagine that the names alone of
those I have mentioned are sufficient to indicate that they must have
been of European introduction, and consequently that those who planted
them must have done so subsequently to the discovery of that part of
the world by the Spaniards. Nothing, I was told, existed at Buenos
Ayres which could throw any light whatever upon the subject.

Had the practice continued of carrying on these expeditions, it is
probable that the Buenos Ayreans would have become better acquainted
with the southern part of the pampas; but, upon the opening of an
unrestricted trade, the importation of salt from the Cape de Verd
Islands and other countries rendered it unnecessary for the government
to put itself to any expense about them; and, as individuals without
the protection of the troops would not run the risk of encountering the
Indians, the Salinas ceased to be resorted to, and the people of Buenos
Ayres became reconciled to purchasing of foreigners an article of which
they have an inexhaustible supply within their own territory.

Garcia proposed to the government to form a military settlement at the
Salinas, to be the central point of a line of frontier to be drawn
from the river Colorado across the pampas to Fort San-Rafael on the
river Diamante, south of Mendoza. This he conceived would effectually
check the depredations of the Ranqueles and their thievish associates,
whilst the friendly and well-disposed Puelches Indians to the south,
he was tolerably assured, would at that period have been glad to have
been brought under the immediate protection of the government of Buenos
Ayres. The principal Caciques of the latter were three brothers, from
the vicinity of Valdivia, where in their early life they had learned
to respect the Spaniards, and to appreciate the benefits of keeping
up a friendly and well-regulated intercourse with them. Nowhere had
the king's officers taken such pains to conciliate the native tribes
as in Chile, and so well had that system of treating them answered,
that, in the present case, these brothers declared there was nothing
they desired more than the permanent establishment of a more intimate
connexion between them and the people of Buenos Ayres, and that they
would gladly place themselves and their followers under the immediate
protection of the government.

But Garcia's plan embraced more than could be done at once by the
rulers of Buenos Ayres; and partly, perhaps, on that account, and
partly because all their disposable forces and means were shortly
afterwards required to carry on the struggle for their independence, it
was, with many other projects laid aside, and many years elapsed ere
any further step was taken.

Nevertheless the results of their new political condition developed
themselves, as was anticipated, and the increase of their trade led
to the extension of their pastoral establishments. Although the
government took no measures for their protection, the people of the
country began to occupy the lands to the south of the Salado, which
soon brought them into contact and collision with the Indians, who,
on their part, looked with a very natural jealousy upon settlements
planted without their concurrence on lands which from time immemorial
they had been accustomed to consider as exclusively their own. The
more peaceable tribes retired to the fastnesses in the mountains to
the south, but the Ranqueles and other migratory hordes retaliated by
carrying off the cattle and plundering those who had thus intruded
themselves within their territories. In these marauding expeditions
they were often joined by some of the vagabond gauchos, deserters
from the army, and such wretches flying from the pursuit of justice
as, in times of civil commotion especially, are to be found in all
countries. By those unprincipled associates they were soon taught to
look with less dread upon the fire-arms of the Buenos Ayrean militia,
and even to use them, whenever, either by the murder or robbery of some
defenceless estanciero, they fell into their hands. Nor was this the
worst. During the unhappy civil dissensions which broke out between
Buenos Ayres and the provinces, some of the unprincipled leaders of
the reckless factions which divided the Republic sought alliances
with the Indians,[38] the fatal consequences of which they only too
late discovered. Like bloodhounds it was impossible to restrain them.
When once the weakest points were shown them, they burst in upon
the frontier villages, murdering in cold blood the defenceless and
unprepared inhabitants, and carrying off the women and children into a
slavery of the most horrible description.

It was manifest that the impunity with which these outrages were
committed arose mainly from the total absence of any protection on
the part of the government for those settlers who had advanced their
estancias beyond the old forts within the line of the Salado, and the
public voice called loudly for some prompt remedies for the evil,
the most efficacious of which appeared to be the adoption of some
one of the many plans from time to time proposed for a new line of
military posts to cover the rural population south of that river; the
hilly ranges of the Vuulcan, especially, seemed to present a natural
frontier which it appeared only necessary to occupy to secure the
object; but the information respecting all that part of the country
was still exceedingly imperfect; and it was determined, therefore, in
the first instance, to send out an exploratory expedition to examine
them. This led to Colonel Garcia being again called upon to proceed
to the south, with the double object of endeavouring to induce the
Indians to enter into an arrangement with the government of Buenos
Ayres for a new boundary as the basis of a general pacification, and of
acquiring precise information as to the most eligible positions for the
establishment of military posts in the hilly ranges in that direction.

The communications he had had twelve years before with the leading
Caciques of the tribes inhabiting the country eastward of the Salinas
led him vainly to hope that those tribes at least might be brought to
acquiesce peaceably in the views of the government, and, provided they
were left in possession of the lands they occupied in the vicinity of
the Sierra Ventana, that they would not oppose the occupation by the
Buenos Ayreans of the more northern line of the Vuulcan and Taudil; but
Garcia was not aware of the great change which had taken place in the
feelings and policy of the Indians, from a variety of circumstances,
since his journey to the Salinas in 1810.

The messengers, however, sent forward to announce his mission were
well received, and a respectable deputation, headed by Antiguan, one
of their principal chiefs, was sent forward to meet and to conduct the
ambassador and his suite to their toldos at the foot of the Sierra
Ventana, where the Caciques of the Puelches proposed the negociations
should be opened, promising to invite thither at the same time
representatives from all the tribes of the Pampas, not excepting the
Ranqueles, and the Huilliches or People of the South, inhabiting the
lands as far as the rivers Colorado and Negro.

Under this escort, and accompanied by Colonel Reyes, an engineer
officer, and about thirty persons, soldiers and peons, Colonel Garcia
set out from Lobos for the Indian territory on the 10th of April,
1822. On the 12th they crossed the Salado at a place where its depth
allowed of the safe passage of carts, and where its width was not
above thirty or forty feet; this was some way above the junction
of the Flores, after which it becomes a river of more consequence,
its breadth extending to 300 yards in the winter season, when it is
impassable except in canoes. The next day they crossed the Saladillo
at the pass of Las Toscas; this stream falls into the Salado a little
above the river Flores, towards which they proceeded through a country
much intersected by swamps, which obliged them to deviate continually
from their direct course. When near the Lake de las Polvaderas, Colonel
Reyes, being desirous to take an observation, produced his sextant,
which led to an unexpected but serious manifestation of alarm and
suspicion on the part of the Indians. Some foolish person, it appeared,
when they were setting out had told them that the commissioners had
with them instruments through which they could see all the world at
once, and nothing would satisfy them, when they saw them brought out,
that the Spaniards were not in direct consultation with the gualichù,
or devil himself. It was impossible to do away with this notion of
theirs, which led to the inconvenience of obliging the officers
afterwards to take their observations by the stars at night instead of
by the sun in the day-time.

About two leagues beyond where they crossed the Flores they verified
its junction with the Tapalquen in a vast marsh. The Flores is in fact
but the drain of the waters of that river; it was found to be more
brackish than even the Salado. In the thick jungles along its banks
many tigers were seen, which, however, excited little apprehension
compared with the horseflies and mosquitos, from whose venomous attacks
there was no escape. They followed the Tapalquen till they came in
sight of the Sierra, distant ten or twelve leagues, the Amarilla Hills
bearing south-south-east, and those of Curaco south-south-west; between
these two groups runs one of the passes frequented by the Indians in
their journeys to the Ventana, where the travellers halted, and in the
night, whist their Indian guides were asleep, by an observation of
Mars, determined the latitude to be 36° 45´ 10"; the longitude they
fixed at 54° 13´ from Cadiz; variation 17° 10´.

The following morning, making a pretext for lagging behind out of sight
of their Indian friends, they reconnoitred the pass, and determined
with a theodolite the height of some of the hills in its immediate
vicinity; the highest point of the Amarilla, or Tinta group, called
Lima-huida, south-east of the pass, was 200 feet, and the two peaks of
Curaco, which they had seen at a distance the day before, measured,
the one 270, and the other about 200 feet. A small guard-house or fort
would effectually close this pass against the Indians.

To the south of this part of the chain, the country is a succession
of hills and dales, watered by many streams from the Sierra, and
apparently well adapted for an agricultural settlement. Taking a course
about south-south-west, on the third day after leaving the pass of
Curaco they came in sight of the second range of mountains, called
the Sierra de la Ventana, and arrived at the toldos of Antiguan their
conductor, whose people, apprized of their approach, came out in great
numbers, men, women, and children, to receive them. Antiguan lost no
time in despatching messengers in every direction to summon the general
meeting of the Caciques, whilst Colonel Garcia encamped with his little
party on the borders of a lake, where it was determined that the grand
parlamento, or parley, was to be held. Thither they were attended by a
friendly old cacique, Lincon, whom Garcia had known and made a friend
of on his former expedition, and to whose advice and assistance they
were in the sequel very essentially indebted. From him they learnt
that the chiefs of the Ranqueles were far from peaceably disposed, or
inclined to take part in any treaties with the government of Buenos
Ayres for their lands; and that there existed generally amongst the
Indians much jealousy and distrust of the Spaniards, in consequence
of the measures they had of late been taking with respect to them. He
warned them, also, not to be surprised at any warlike display which
might be made at the approaching meeting, as it was probable that the
Caciques would avail themselves of the opportunity to show the number
of fighting men they could command.

It was fortunate they had some such notice of what they were to expect;
for when, in two or three days afterwards, the Indians assembled, they
certainly made an appearance much more like a general gathering of
armed forces for war than of negociators for peace.

On the day appointed for the general conference, a body of about 200
men made their appearance at an early hoar, formed in battle array, and
slowly advancing towards the commissioners' tents to the sound of horns
(cornetas). On arriving within a short distance, they broke into small
parties, uttering loud shouts, and charging over the plain, making cuts
and thrusts in the air right and left with their swords and lances,
and then wheeling about and riding round and round their leader, who
apparently directed these manoeuvrings. The principal object of all
this, the commissioners were told, was to drive away the gualichù, or
evil spirit, whose secret pretence they apprehended might otherwise
maliciously influence the approaching negociations.

The trappings of some of the horses of these warriors were curiously
ornamented with beads, and hung, about with little bells. Several of
them wore sort of helmet, and a buff coating of hide, so well prepared
as to be perfectly soft and flexible, though several times double; the
helmets made of it are so tough as to resist the cut of a sword, and
sometimes are bullet-proof.

This was but the advanced-guard of a numerous host which afterwards
came in view, covering the horizon, and making really a very imposing
appearance. Altogether there might be something more than 3000
fighting men regularly marshalled under their respective Caciques in
nine divisions. Though these Indians belonged to the _soi-disant_
friendly tribes, the commissioners could not fail to be struck at once
with the quantity of arms and accoutrements amongst them, which were
manifestly the spoils of war and of their own countrymen murdered on
the frontiers. Their whole demeanour, too, was insolent and arrogant in
the extreme, partaking infinitely more of defiance than any real desire
for a permanent peace, which caused many misgivings to Garcia and his
officers as to the result of their mission.

After a variety of martial manoeuvrings, on a given signal a great
circle was formed, in the midst of which the Ulmenes or principal
Caciques, taking their places, commenced the parlamento by a
preliminary discussion amongst themselves as to whether or not they
should enter into any negociations whatever with the government of
Buenos Ayres without the Ranqueles. On this point there were great
differences of opinion, the most sagacious of the speakers shrewdly
prognosticating, that, unless the peace was to be a general one, it
was useless to enter into it, inasmuch as, if hostilities continued
between the Spaniards and any of the tribes, the rest could hardly
fail, sooner or later, to be involved in them. The majority, however,
only anxious to share at once the presents which they understood the
Spaniards to have brought with them, and of which they probably feared
that any co-operation of the Ranqueles tribes would deprive them of a
portion, called aloud for an immediate treaty, and the commissioners
were conducted, almost by force, to the place of deliberation, where
a scene of great confusion took place, every one desirous to speak at
once, and calling for the presents. The circle was broken, and, the
Indians rushing in upon them, the officers with difficulty extricated
themselves from the press.

After a time the authority of the Caciques was restored, and the
conference resumed; the sole result of which was, that the majority
present insisted upon treating at once with the Buenos Ayreans on their
own account, after which they said the commissioners might proceed to
negociate, as they could, separately with the Huilliches, or southern
tribes, and with the Ranqueles. All this was rather a dictation, on
the part of the Indians, than any mutual agreement; but it was evident
there was to be no alternative, and the commissioners, putting the
best face upon it, proceeded to distribute the greater part of the
presents they had brought for the occasion,--the possession of which,
it was perfectly clear, was the main, if not the sole object of the
savages in entering at all into discussions with them. These Indians
all called themselves _Pampas_ and Aucases. The latter term, which
signifies _warriors_, seems to be assumed by many of the tribes of
Araucanian origin.[39] In the course of their parleys with them, so far
from finding them disposed, as Garcia had flattered himself, to treat
for a new and more advanced boundary-line, they vehemently complained
of the encroachments already made by the Buenos Ayreans, and insisted
upon their withdrawing the establishments already formed to the south
of the Salado. Garcia found it useless to argue with them; and, as
his personal safety would probably have been endangered by a positive
refusal, he thought it better to temporize, and to promise to lay their
representations before the government of Buenos Ayres on his return,
contenting himself to stipulate that there should be peace in the mean

Having obtained all they could get, the Caciques took their leave,
leading off their followers to their respective toldos. The next day
they were succeeded by another and distinct party of the Huilliches
or southern people, who, though summoned to the general conference,
had not been able to arrive in time to take part in it. This tribe
presented even a more martial appearance than the others, and Colonel
Garcia, describing them, says, no regiment of cavalry could have made
a more regular or better figure than these strikingly fine men. They
were naked from the waist upwards, and wore a sort of helmet surmounted
by feathers (a distinguishing feature in the dress of this tribe),
which added to their extraordinary stature. Their Cacique Llampilco,
or the _black_, was upwards of seven feet high, and many others were
equal to him, and even taller. Most of them were armed with very long
lances, and, like the pampas tribes, had their faces bedaubed with red
and black paint; but their language was different, and, Garcia says,
identical with that of the people from the southern part of Patagonia,
from whom he imagines them to have sprung, and to the old accounts of
whose height he refers.[40] He speaks of them as a superior and finer
race of men in every respect than the others; admirable horsemen,
and brave in war, without the cruelty of the pampas tribes, sparing
their prisoners, and treating strangers with kindness and hospitality.
They had come from the lands south of the Ventana, about the rivers
Colorado and Negro, where they had located themselves, according to
their own account, to avoid collision with the Spaniards, with whom
they professed their great desire to establish a solid peace. They
spoke with contempt and detestation of the marauding habits of the
pampas tribes and of the Ranqueles, and offered at any time to assist
in chastising them. This party consisted of 420 fighting men. They
conducted themselves very differently from the others, and with great
propriety, receiving thankfully what was given to them.

After their departure, the commissioners removed to the lake where
the Cacique Lincon's people were located, and which bore his name.
Its situation was about five leagues from the mountain-range beyond,
something more than three to the west of that on which the conferences
had been held, and about five and a half from one named after
Pichiloncoy, another friendly Cacique, of whom more hereafter. From
this place, looking to the north-west, one boundless plain presented
itself to the eye. The Ventana mountain bore south-west, extending its
lesser ramifications to the west-south-west, as far as the Curumualà,
a small group of hills which may be seen running west to the more
elevated range of Guamini; an extensive plain running between them.
The highest part of the Guamini bore west 10° north, and was lost in
the boundless pampas beyond.

A stay here for a few days gave them a tolerable insight into the
manners and customs of the natives. Nothing could exceed the laziness
and brutality, in general, of the men, who, looking upon the women
as inferior beings, treated them as the most abject slaves. Not only
were they obliged to attend to all the ordinary duties of the family,
but upon them also, devolved the care of their husbands' horses, and
even the tending of the sheep and cattle. Polygamy was permitted,
and, according to his means, it appeared that a man kept more or less
wives, which, so far from causing jealousy, seemed generally a source
of satisfaction to the ladies themselves, inasmuch as it led to the
lightening by subdivision of their domestic labours. Unless engaged in
some predatory excursion, or in hunting deer and guanacoes, and other
smaller animals, for their skins, the men seemed to pass their whole
time in sleeping, drinking, and gambling, the habitual vices of all
the tribes:--they are passionately fond of cards, which they obtain
from the Spaniards, and will play for ever at dice, which they make
themselves ingeniously enough, and, like gamesters in other parts of
the world, will stake their all upon a throw, reckless of reducing
their families to utter destitution.

In each toldo, or tent, which is made of hides stretched upon canes,
and easily removeable from one place to another, five or six families,
barely separated from each other, perhaps twenty or thirty persons in
all, were closely huddled together in the most horrible state of filth
imaginable; indeed, in many respects, they were but little removed in
their habits from the brute creation. If fuel was scarce, as was often
the case in the pampas, they cared not to cook their meat, but ate it
raw, and always drank the warm blood of every animal they killed:--like
beasts of prey, there was no part, even to the contents of the stomach
and intestines, which they would not greedily devour.

They were superstitious in the extreme, and the credulous dupes and
tools of a few artful men, who are to be found in every tribe, and in
reality direct all its concerns by pretending to foretell the future,
and to divine the cause of every evil. They are called _machis_,
or wizards, and there is no tribe without them, and which does not
implicitly submit to their decisions and advice. Their word is law,
and the Cacique even, equally with the rest, submits to it. The
commissioners themselves were nearly made the victims of the malice
of some of these wretches, who probably anticipated a share of the
plunder, if they could have induced their countrymen to destroy them.
The old Cacique, named Pichiloncoy, already mentioned as living near
the toldos of Lincon, and whose life was of great consequence to his
tribe, fell seriously ill, and, according to custom, the machis were
assembled to pronounce on the nature of his complaint, and to denounce
those whose evil machinations or influence could have reduced him to
such a state, for in all such cases some one must be responsible, and,
once denounced, his life is seldom spared if the patient dies. In this
case the machis unanimously ascribed the old Cacique's illness to
the presence of the Christians, who, they declared, had brought the
Gualichù, or evil spirit, with them, probably deriving the notion from
the report spread by their guides respecting the supernatural powers
of the instruments they were known occasionally to consult. If the old
man had not fortunately recovered it might have gone hard with them,
for their lives would certainly have been in great peril. As Garcia
observes, it would have been a pretty ending of their embassy to have
been sacrificed to the manes of old Pichiloncoy by the mad machis.

Notwithstanding the excessive nastiness and filth of their general
habits, the women seldom failed to perform their daily ablutions,
repairing the first thing in the morning to the neighbouring lake to
bathe with their children, although the cold was so intense, that
the snow nightly beat through their tents during the whole time the
commissioners were there. Amongst these females were some Christian
girls, captives, whose fair skin was but too strong evidence of their
origin, and who seemed from habit to suffer as little from the
severity of the cold as their dusky mistresses. Their unfortunate
lot excited the strongest feelings on the part of the commissioners,
whose interposition to obtain their liberation they pleaded for, as
well they might, with tears and the most earnest entreaties. Nor were
the officers backward in urging upon the Caciques every argument to
induce them to give them up; but it was amongst the greatest of their
disappointments to find all their efforts on this point unavailing.
The Caciques declared they had no power in a case touching the spoils
of war, which, according to their laws, were the sole property of the
individual captors, to whom they referred them to make the best bargain
they could. These brutes, on being applied to, demanded in general so
extravagant a ransom as to destroy at once every hope on the part of
the poor women themselves of its ever being raised, their relatives in
general being of the labouring classes employed in the estancias on the
frontier; in many cases they too were no longer in existence, having
perished in the same inroads of the savages which had deprived them of
their liberty.

In expectation that the treaties to be made with the Indians would have
led to the immediate liberation of all prisoners, some poor people had
obtained leave to follow in the train of the commissioners, in the
hope of finding their wives and daughters, and carrying them back
with them; and a most affecting sight it was, as may well be imagined,
to witness their meeting again, and tender embraces after so cruel
a separation; but it was piteous indeed to behold their subsequent
despair on finding that the interference of the commissioners was
unavailing, and that the purchase-money demanded for the prisoners was
totally beyond what they could ever hope to raise. The parting again of
these poor people was perhaps one of the hardest trials to which human
nature could be subjected. Husbands and fathers forced to leave their
wives and daughters to the defilement of brutal savages, with scarce a
hope of ever being able to obtain their release; it need hardly be said
that force was necessary to separate them, and to restrain the men from
acts of violence which might have compromised the safety of the whole

If slavery as carried on by Christian nations appears so revolting
to all our better feelings, and excites our strongest sympathies on
behalf of the negro, whose condition, after all, is often perhaps in
reality ameliorated by being brought under the protection of humane
laws, and within the pale of Christianity, what must it be when the
case is reversed, when the Christian woman, brought up in at least the
decent and domestic habits of civilised society, falls into the power
of a savage, whose home is the desert, and who, though little removed
in his own habits from a beast of prey, looks down upon the weaker sex
as an inferior race, only made to be subject to his brutal will and

Though the unhappy condition of these poor women excited the
sensibility of the commissioners for an instant, it roused also their
more manly feelings, and satisfied them that the government of Buenos
Ayres owed it to its own honour, and to humanity, to act with energy,
and make some effort of force to rescue these poor victims from the
consequences of their own supine and too lenient policy. It was indeed
evident that any attempt to secure a permanent and satisfactory state
of peace would be futile without such a demonstration as would act upon
the fears of the Indians, and oblige them to submit to such terms as
the government might determine to impose upon them.

Under this conviction the officers would have returned at once to
Buenos Ayres, had they not been earnestly solicited by the inhabitants
of some other toldos about the Sierra Ventana to visit them before
their departure; a request they acceded to in the hope of its enabling
them to acquire some geographical information with regard to that range.

On the 2nd they set out with old Lincon, who insisted upon
escorting them as far as the place of rendezvous. Their course lay
west-south-west, through an undulating country, rich in pasturage, and
studded with small lakes, about which were generally found small groups
of Indians with their cattle. These lakes in the summer season are
for the most part dry, and then the Indians remove within reach of the
mountain-streams. Towards evening they pitched their tents on the banks
of a stream called the Quetro-eique, the Ventana about two and a half
leagues distant, where they found a large encampment of Indians, who
received them with rejoicings. As far as the eye could reach the plains
were covered with their cattle and sheep.

Whilst waiting for the assembling of the Caciques, the officers devoted
two or three days to surveying: following up the Quetro-eique about
three and a half leagues, they traced it to its sources on the side
of the Ventana. The height of the principal mountain, so called, they
determined by measurement to be 2500 feet above the level of the plain
from which it rises.[41] To the north-west a chain of low hills extends
as far as a break by which they are separated from the minor group
called the Curumualá. Through this break run two small streams, the
one called Ingles-malhuida, from the circumstance of an Englishman
having been put to death by the Indians there, the other Malloleufú, or
the White River; the course of both is from south-west to north-east,
running nearly parallel with the Quetro-eique, and all, according to
the Indian accounts, losing themselves in extensive marshes beyond. The
rivers Sauce-grande and Sauce-chico, which fall into Bahia Blanca,
rise from the southern declivities of this range, according to the same
authority. Beyond the Curumualá is the group of the Guamini, the most
westerly part of this range. An observation taken from their tents
on the Quetro-eique gave the latitude 37° 50´; longitude from Cadiz
56° 20´; and thence a clear day gave them a general view of the whole
range. The Ventana bore south 18° west, prolonging its ramifications
to south 40° west. The Curumualá south 60° west, extending to 80°. The
Guamini extended through 30° as far as west 10° north. The whole range
may be described as running from south-south-east to north-north-west.
The variation by repeated calculations was 18° 30´, at the other
range it had been found as stated to be 17° 10´, and at the Lake of
Polvaderas 16° 30´ east.[42]

When the Caciques and their followers were all assembled there might
be about 1500 men, who were paraded by their chiefs much in the same
manner as before described. The same ceremonies to drive away the
gualichú, and the same preliminary discussions amongst themselves,
before they commenced their parleys with the officers; and these
terminating precisely in the same unsatisfactory and indefinite manner.
The presents it was evident were the only objects contemplated by the
savages, and, when these were not produced quite so quickly as they
expected, an attempt was made to seize them by force, and the officers
themselves would have been stripped, if not sacrificed, had not old
Lincon bravely protected them, and killed upon the spot with his own
hand two of the most forward of the assailants: cowed by the old man's
intrepidity, and the preparations of their escort to defend themselves,
the wretches slunk away, and so ended in blood and confusion the
labours of the commissioners. To old Lincon they owed their lives, and
subsequent safety on their road back to Buenos Ayres, whither they were
glad to return as fast as they could, under an escort furnished by him
and some of the more friendly tribes of the Huilliches.

Their route homeward was by the Sierra Amarilla, on the eastern slope
of which rises the river Barancas, which they followed some way: before
it emerges from the mountains it is joined by the Quetro-leufú, and
both together form the Tapalquen. Beyond the Sierra Amarilla was seen
that group called by the natives the Huellucalel, from which proceeds
the river Azul, the waters of which, running parallel with those of
the Torralnelú and Chapaleofú, are lost in the marshes sixteen or
twenty leagues distant towards the Salado. Crossing the Tapalquen, they
once more found the beaten track to the Guardia del Monte, which they
reached in safety on the 28th of May, after an absence of about six

In reporting the results of their mission they recommended that the
range of the Vuulcan should be at once adopted as the boundary of the
province in that direction, and that a chain of military posts should
be established upon it, extending from the sea-coast as far west as
the Laguna Blanca, with a sufficient force to overawe the savages and
afford efficient protection to such settlements as might be made within
that line.

The government, at last roused to the conviction of the necessity of
some vigorous demonstration of physical force, in order to re-establish
something like that salutary fear of the superior military power
and discipline of the Christians, which, in old times, had, to a
certain degree, restrained and kept the savages in order, adopted
the suggestion, and preparations on a considerable scale were made
for carrying it into effect. The construction of a fortification on
the Tandil was determined upon, and the governor himself prepared to
superintend the work, and take the field against the savages with an
adequate force. The little army assembled for this purpose was ready
to march about the close of February, 1823. It consisted of 2500 men,
seven pieces of artillery, with a considerable accompaniment of carts
and waggons, and everything requisite for the establishment of a
permanent military settlement.

Instead of following the track of Garcia and his companions, by the
Tapalquen, after a consultation with some guides, who professed to
be well acquainted with the intervening country, General Rodriguez
determined upon marching direct across it to the Tandil; an attempt,
as it proved, more adventurous than prudent. On the 10th of March the
troops left the Guardia del Monte, and had hardly crossed the Salado
when they found themselves in the midst of apparently interminable
swamps, thickly set with canes and reeds higher than their horses'
heads. It was with great difficulty that the waggons and artillery
were dragged through; nevertheless they foundered onwards as far as a
lake, to which, from the clearness of its waters, they gave the name
of Laguna Limpia; but there it became absolutely necessary to halt in
order to reconnoitre the country before proceeding further. So far
they had been grossly misled by their guides, whose only knowledge
of the country it appeared had been acquired in excursions in quest
of nutrias, which little animals are found in vast numbers in these
swamps; but nutria catching and the march of an army accompanied by
heavy waggons and artillery are very different things, and the wonder
is that all the guns and baggage were not left behind in the bogs. The
marshes themselves are formed by the streams which run into them from
the hilly ranges further south, and which seem not to have sufficient
power to force their way through the low lands either to the Salado or
to the sea-coast. Beginning from the morass in which the Tapalquen
joins the Flores, they extend far eastward, and render useless a
considerable tract of country south of the Salado.

The scouts returning brought accounts that they had found the river
Chapeleofú, the course of which it was determined to follow to the
Tandil, where it was known to rise; but they had hardly left the Laguna
Limpia when they were beset by a new danger, which, for a short time,
threatened a frightful termination to the expedition. A sweeping wind
blew towards them clouds of dense smoke, followed by one vast lurid
blaze, extending across the horizon, and indicating but too clearly
the approach of one of those dreadful conflagrations, not uncommon in
the pampas after dry weather, when the long dry grass, and canes and
thistles, readily igniting, cause the flames to extend rapidly over the
whole face of the country, involving all in one common and horrible
destruction. The gauchos, on the first indication of danger, have
sometimes sufficient presence of mind to set fire immediately to the
grass to leeward, by which they clear a space on which to take refuge
before the general conflagration reaches them; but there is not always
time to do this, much less to save the cattle and sheep, great numbers
of which perish in the devouring element. Upon the present occasion
the guides seem to have lost their wits as well as their way; and, but
for the fortunate discovery of a small lake near them, into which men
and beasts alike rushed, dragging the carts with them, the whole army
would have been involved in the same tragical end. There, up to their
necks in the water, they remained for three hours, during which the
fire-storm raged frightfully round them, and then, for want of further
fuel, subsiding, left a desolated waste as far as the eye could reach,
covered with a black stratum of cinders and ashes.

After these dangers the army continued its march along the western
bank of the Chapeleofú, through a country which improved every step
they advanced towards the sierras beyond. Picturesque and fertile,
the lands seemed only to require to be taken possession of to form a
most valuable addition to the territory of Buenos Ayres. The wandering
tribes of Indians usually dwelling there had, to all appearance,
abandoned them, and withdrawn further south, no doubt in alarm at the
preparations made by the Spaniards to occupy them.

The wild guanacoes, and the deer, and the ostriches ranged in
thousands over the pastures of their native regions, and, with hares,
partridges, and armadilloes, afforded abundant sport to those sent out
to shoot them. For some days the army was almost entirely subsisted
upon them. Vast quantities of armadilloes, especially, were caught by
the soldiers. One memorable afternoon's chase is recorded, in which
upwards of 400 were taken; and a more delicate dish than one of these
little animals, roasted, in his own shell, I will venture, from my
own experience, to say, is not to be had in any part of the world.
The rivers and lakes swarmed with wild and water-fowl of every sort,
named and nameless, from the snipe to the beautiful black-necked swan
peculiar to that part of the world.[43]

An observation was taken on the Chapeleofú in latitude 37° 17´ 34";
shortly after which the army left its course, and marched eastward to
the Tandil, where they encamped, and whence the surveying officers
reconnoitred the surrounding country, and determined upon the site for
the new fortification.

The position of the fort constructed there has been fixed by repeated
observations in latitude 37° 21´ 43"; longitude, west of Buenos Ayres,
39´ 4"; variation 15° east. It stands upon a small eminence, one of
a lower group of hills which skirts the more elevated range beyond,
and from which it is divided by the bed of a streamlet, which, after
passing the works, about a quarter of a league to the eastward, and
being joined by another from the westward, forms the river Tandil,
which runs north till lost in the marshes in that direction already
spoken of. It is screened to the west and north-west by a range of
hills rising 300 or 400 feet above it, the summits of which are
strewed with large masses of quartzose rock, having a very remarkable
appearance when seen from a distance. The highest part of the range
of the Tandil, about two leagues to the south-east of the fort, was
ascertained to be about 1000 feet above the level of a small stream
which runs along its base. It is visible from a distance of forty
miles. The height of this part of the range gradually falls off till
lost in a wide plain or vale, about twelve miles eastward of the

The climate in winter was found to be very cold; the prevailing
winds from the south and south-west.[44] In the month of April the
thermometer was twice 1-1/2° below freezing-point; but variations of
20° and even 30° in the course of the day were of common occurrence.
In that month (April) the highest of the thermometer was 68°, the
lowest 28-1/2°; in May the highest was 61°, the lowest 31°; in June
the highest was 72°, the lowest 39°; in July the highest was 79°,
the lowest 41°. In the summer the heat was almost insufferable,
particularly in the low lands; but in the spring and autumn, which are
the best seasons, the weather was found temperate and very agreeable.

Whilst the fort was building on the Tandil, communications were
opened with the Indians residing near the Ventana, proposing to
them to join in active operations against the Ranqueles tribes--the
Spaniards thinking, as on other occasions, to invoke the tribes in war
with each other, and to profit by the weakening of both parties; but
the Indians were this time upon their guard. They saw clearly enough
that the march of such an army into their territory could have only
one object,--the forcible occupation of their lands,--and they took
their measures accordingly with their usual astuteness and cunning.
Assenting, apparently, to the general propositions made to them, they
invited the Buenos Ayrean general to repair with his principal officers
to the neighbourhood of the Ventana, there to enter into the definitive
treaties. They probably hoped by some _ruse_ to get the governor
himself into their hands, and were greatly disappointed at his only
sending his second in command, General Rondeau, to treat with them.
Rondeau marched into their territory with a force of 1000 men, passing
to the west of the Tinta mountains, and, after going some distance,
was met by the principal Caciques, with a large assemblage of their
fighting men; and here commenced a negociation, in which the Buenos
Ayrean general was fairly outwitted. The Indians, affecting distrust,
proposed that some officers of consequence should be sent to them as
hostages during the conferences, offering, on their part, to place
some of their principal Caciques in the power of the general. Rondeau
fell into the snare, and took his measures so badly, that, before the
exchange was made, his officers were suddenly made prisoners, and
carried off at a gallop, enveloped by a cloud of Indians, who were soon
out of sight. His cavalry was in no condition to follow the savages
into the pampas, and he returned to the Tandil with the conviction that
the Puelches tribes, as well as the Ranqueles, were combined in one and
the same determination to have no more friendly intercourse with the

After this affair nothing further was attempted, except to send out a
party to explore the continuation of the range of the Tandil to the
coast, of which the following was the result.

It has been already said that the range of the Tandil gradually
declines to the eastward till broken by a wide vale, which commences
about twelve miles from the new fortification; the vale in question
extends for a distance of forty-two miles:--many streams run through
it, some few of which, inclining towards the coast, fall into the sea,
though the greater part of them are lost in swamps in the low lands
which intervene. It is the greatest break in the chain, and, from its
rich pastures, a favourite resort of the Indians. They call it the
Vuulcan, which signifies, in their language, an opening; and thence
the sierra, which bounds it to the eastward, also takes its name. In
many maps it is written Volcan, which has led to the erroneous idea of
there being a volcano in those parts.

From the Vuulcan the range runs in a continuous line for thirty-six
miles towards the sea, presenting, for the most part, towards the north
the appearance of a steep dyke or wall. On the summits are extensive
ranges of table-land, well watered, and with good pasturage, to which
the Indians, who are well acquainted with the craggy ravines which
alone lead to them, are in the habit of driving their horses and
cattle, knowing that the nature of the ground requires but little care
to prevent their straying. At a short distance from the coast the hills
break off in stony ridges, running down to the sea, and forming the
headland of Cape Corrientes, in latitude 38° 6´, and further south a
line of rocky cliffs, which bounds the shore as far as Cape Andres.

Upon the borders of a lake a short distance from Cape Corrientes were
discovered the remains of the settlement formed by the Jesuits in the
year 1747,--a site chosen with all their characteristic sagacity,
well suited for an agricultural establishment, of easy access to
the sea, and with great capability of being rendered defensible. It
is a striking proof of the indomitable nature of the pampas tribes
that all the efforts of the missionary fathers to reduce them to
habits of order and industry only ended in disappointment, and, after
years of fruitless endeavours, to their being obliged to fly from
an establishment where their lives were no longer safe. The Indians
of the pampas, like the Arabs of the desert, inseparable from their
horses, and wild as the animals they ride, were not, like the more
docile people of Paraguay, to be subjected to the strict rules and
discipline which it was the object of the fathers to introduce amongst
them. The vestiges of their buildings, and the fruit-trees planted by
them, are the only evidences remaining of their pious but unavailing

Although this spot was in many respects a very inviting one for an
agricultural settlement, it wanted the principal requisite of some
tolerable roadstead or harbour to facilitate any direct communication
from Buenos Ayres by sea with the new line of frontier, an object of
great importance if possible to secure. The coast was vainly explored
in search of one from Cape Corrientes some way to the south, and to
the north as far as the great lake called the Mar-chiquita, which
empties itself into the sea by a narrow channel, capable, perhaps, of
being deepened by artificial means, so as to form a harbour for small
vessels; but even this seemed extremely doubtful, and depending on a
further examination and survey, which the officers were not at the time
prepared to undertake.

Under these circumstances, it was thought advisable to postpone the
construction of any further works till a more accurate survey of the
coast should be made. This was subsequently commenced, and carried
as far as Bahia Blanca, which was reported to be the only situation
from the Salado on all the line of coast intervening which combined a
tolerable harbour for shipping with the capability of being made a good
defensible position. Although this was far beyond the line of frontier
at first contemplated, which only reached to the range of the Vuulcan
and Tandil, other considerations eventually determined the government
of Buenos Ayres to extend their boundary to that point. Not only did
it appear that Bahia Blanca was the only place capable of being made a
harbour on the coast, but the want of some such harbour to the south
became more than ever apparent when the war broke out with Brazil, and
the River Plate was placed under blockade by the emperor's fleet; and,
although that war at first necessarily diverted the attention of the
government of Buenos Ayres from the completion of their original plan,
it forced upon them a more enlarged view of their position, and led
to the final adoption of an infinitely better boundary-line than that
which was first thought of merely as a check upon the Indians.

The line in question, which was finally adopted in 1828, and which
forms the present nominal frontier of the province of Buenos
Ayres towards the pampas, will be found upon the map drawn about
north-north-east, from the fort built on the river Naposta, which
falls into Bahia Blanca, to the Laguna Blanca, another point occupied
as a military position, at the western extremity of the range of the
Tapalquen; thence it runs north by the fort of Cruz de Guerra to
Melinqué, the north-west point of the province. It will be obvious,
on reference to the map, that, whilst this line embraced within it an
infinitely greater extent of country than that at first projected,
it was in reality, being straight, a shorter one, and required less
defences than the ranges of the Tandil and Vuulcan, supposing all the
passes to be fortified.

The whole area of the territory within this line and the Arroyo del
Medio, which separates the province of Buenos Ayres to the northward
from that of Santa Fé, comprises about 75,000 square English miles.

The Indians would listen to no terms of accommodation, and fought for
their lands; whilst, unfortunately for the people on the frontier, the
civil dissensions which broke out at the close of the Brazilian war
once more drew off the forces of the government, and exposed them to
the inroads of the savages, before the fortifications on the frontier
could be completed and sufficiently garrisoned for their defence. The
devastation they committed in consequence was frightful; but it was
signally avenged in 1832 and 1833 by General Rosas, who, at the head of
the largest force that ever entered their territory, marched southward
as far as the rivers Colorado and Negro, scoured the whole intervening
country, and put thousands of them to death. Many tribes were totally
exterminated, and others fled to the Cordillera of Chile, where alone
they were safe from the pursuit of the exasperated and victorious

That the Buenos Ayreans had ample cause for these hostilities may be
judged from the number of Christian slaves whom they succeeded in
rescuing from the hands of the savages; upwards of 1500 women and
children were retaken by General Rosas' troops, who had all been
carried off in some or other of their marauding incursions, their
husbands, sons, and brothers having been in most instances barbarously
butchered before them. Many of these poor women had been in their hands
for years; some taken in infancy could give little or no account to
whom they belonged; others had become the wretched mothers of children
brought up to follow the brutal mode of life of these barbarians.
General Rosas fixed his head-quarters on the river Colorado, midway
between Bahia Blanca and the settlement of Carmen on the river Negro.
Thence he detached a division of his forces, under General Pacheco, to
the south, which established a military position on the Choleechel, now
called Isla de Rosas, on the Negro, which river was followed to the
junction of the Neuquen. Another detachment marched under the orders of
General Ramos along the banks of the Colorado as far as latitude 36°
and 10° longitude west of Buenos Ayres, according to his computation,
from whence he saw the Cordillera of the Andes and believed he was
not more than thirty leagues from Fort Rafael on the Diamante.
Unfortunately not the slightest sketch was made of the course of this
river, respecting which, therefore, we have no new data beyond a
corroboration of the accounts obtained by Cruz, in 1806, of its being a
great river, which runs without interruption direct from the Cordillera
to the sea.[45] Of the Negro, General Pacheco has been kind enough to
send me a sketch, which strikingly confirms the general course of the
river as laid down by Mr. Arrowsmith, from Villariño's diary.


[37] The latitude of the Great Salt Lake was taken from about the
centre of the north side of it, where the party were encamped.

In 1786 Don Pablo Zisur, a lieutenant in the Spanish navy, had fixed
the north-east angle of the lake in lat. 37° 10´, and 4° 36´ west of
the meridian of Luxan (Guardia); according to him the lake of Cabeza
del Buey is in lat. 36° 8´, and the Guardia de Luxan in 34° 36´. Azara
fixed it in 34° 38´ 36".

[38] In the life of the _Carreras_, given in the Appendix to Mrs.
Graham's account of Chile, there is an account of some of these Indian
forays in conjunction with Carrera's troops, particularly of their
surprisal of the town of Salto, and the carrying off from thence of 250
women and children, after butchering all the men, in spite of every
effort of their unnatural allies to prevent it.

[39] Villariño found the Indians in the Cordillera opposite to Valdivia
calling themselves Aucases.

[40] Garcia seems to have believed that the language and origin of this
people was different from the other Indians he fell in with. There is
no proof, however, adduced of the difference of language, and I suspect
they were only a further-removed branch of the Araucanian family, as
were the Indians Viedma found at San Julian's in 1782.

[41] Captain Fitzroy determined it to be 3350 feet _above the level of
the sea_, from which its true distance is 45 miles.

[42] At Buenos Ayres the variation in 1708 was 16° 45´ east; in 1789 it
was 16° 30´; and in 1818 it was 12-1/2 east.

[43] A collection of the birds of those regions would form a most
interesting addition to any museum. A large proportion of them are, I
believe, quite unknown in Europe.

[44] An accident to the barometer prevented the officers making a
series of observations with that instrument, which would have been of
considerable interest. They made, however, good use of the thermometer,
of which a daily register was preserved.

[45] I understand, however, that General Ramos has expressed his
opinion that it is not navigable for more than _forty leagues_ from its



    Geological Features of the Southern compared with those of
        the Northern Shore of the Plata. The Pampa Formation,
        probably derived from the Alluvial Process now going on, as
        exhibited in the Beds of the Plata itself and other Rivers.
        Fossil remains of land Animals found in it, above Marine
        Shells. Such Shells where met with, and of what Species.
        Mr. Bland's Theory of the Upheaval of the Pampas from the
        Sea, founded on the Deposits of Salt in them:--The presence
        of such Salt may be otherwise accounted for. Account of the
        Discovery of the Gigantic Fossil remains sent to England by
        the Author.

I cannot leave the pampas without a few words upon their geological
features, and upon the remarkable contrast exhibited in the appearance
of the country on the northern and on the southern shores of the Plata.
On the north side the formation is of clay-slate, gneiss, and granite,
of which the islands in the river above Buenos Ayres are also composed,
particularly Sola, Las Hermanas, and Martin Garcia, where the granite
is quarried for the pavement of the city. On the southern side every
trace of rock is entirely lost, and for hundreds of miles inland not
even the smallest pebble is to be met with.

As far as we are yet acquainted with it, the whole of that vast level
called the pampas, reaching from the eastern terminations of the Andes
to the shores of the Plata, appears to be one immense bed of alluvium
tranquilly deposited during the imperceptible lapse of ages; the delta
perhaps, not of one, but of numerous rivers, originating in a once more
general diffusion of the waters from the Andes before their courses
were defined by their present channels. Some such process of formation
appears still to be going on in many parts of the pampas, where muddy
streams and streamlets, the collections from the mountains in the south
and of the rainy seasons, too sluggish to force a way through the
level country, inundate the plains, and gradually deposit the alluvial
sediment, together with a prodigious quantity of decomposed vegetable
matter, in the swamps and morasses, until accumulations of fresh soil
take place in sufficient quantity to throw off the waters again in
some other direction. The bed of the Plata, itself the reservoir of a
hundred rivers, is, from all I could learn, gradually silting up, and,
wide as it is at the present day, along its shores, and particularly
above Buenos Ayres, may be distinctly traced the evidences of the
waters having once occupied a bed of infinitely greater extent. Every
observation tends to the inference that this now mighty estuary may,
centuries hence, be reduced to similar bounds and rules to those which
govern the outlets of the Amazons, the Mississippi, the Nile, and the
Ganges. Nor will this require, perhaps, so long a period as might at
first be imagined.[46] If we except the narrow channel between the
Chico and Ortiz banks, below Buenos Ayres, the average depth of the
river between that city and Monte Video does not exceed twenty feet.
The prodigious quantity of mud and detritus brought down by it is well
known,--the whole river, wide as it is, is at times discoloured by it.
Now, if but enough of this sediment is deposited to cause the small
annual increase of only half an inch in the bed of the river, it will
not require 500 years to form a delta, which, in the language of the
country, will be nothing more or less than an extension of the existing

Such, I conceive, may have been the origin of the far spread formation
of the present pampas or plains, throughout which are to be found the
fossil remains of gigantic animals of long lost species, such as the
megatherium and mastodon, and other monsters yet unnamed, which in
former ages may have grazed upon the abundant pastures produced in the
rich loamy lands saved from the waters; whilst beneath, in strata of
marine shells, are no less incontestable evidences of the ancient bed
of the ocean.

It cannot be expected that, in a country so uniformly level as the
pampas, sections of sufficient depth will frequently occur to exhibit
the underlying strata. They must be looked for at the outlying
extremities of the formation, where the upper bed thins out,--to use a
geological term. Now there is nothing that I know of to interrupt the
uniformity of the stratum between the southern shore of the Plata on
the one side, and the eastern base of the Andes on the other, and at
both these extremes marine remains are strikingly exhibited.

General Cruz, in his journey from Antuco to Buenos Ayres (noticed in
chapter viii.), in passing through the valleys in the lower ranges
of the Cordillera, immediately before reaching the pampas, was
exceedingly struck with the abundance of marine remains thereabouts. He
says, in his diary, "In all the hills and valleys under the Cordillera,
as far as the river Chadileubu, a great quantity of marine remains are
met with, some of them constituting a sort of limestone. Not only may
these remains be observed upon the surface, but also at great depths
below it, in the sections formed by the torrents as they descend from
the mountains: there can, therefore, be no doubt that the waters of the
sea once occupied the place of the land in those parts."

Proceeding eastward, by the base of the mountain ranges of San Luis and
Cordova, which bound the pampas to the north, we have the testimony
of water-worn rocks and beds of shells in that direction, from
Schmitmeyer, Helms, and other travellers, at Portezuela and on the
banks of the Tercero; and beyond the Sierra de Cordova, on the great
river Paranã, near Santa Fé, Mr. Darwin found in the cliff which skirts
the river a stratum of marine shells distinctly exposed a little above
the level of the water, and with the alluvial bed over it, forty or
fifty feet thick, containing bones of extinct mammalia.

Here, then, I think, we may trace, all but continuously, the northern
and western shores of a gulf, which must have been nearly as large as
that of Mexico, and not very unlike it, perhaps, in general outline.
Travelling south from Santa Fé, along the shores of the Plata, which
bounds these pampas on the east, we find, at distances varying from one
to six leagues inland from the river, and from fifty to one hundred
and fifty miles from the sea, large beds of marine shells, which the
people of those parts quarry for lime. From these deposits I have
myself specimens of _Voluta Colocynthis_, _Voluta Angulata_, _Buccinum
Globulosum_, _Buccinum Nov. Spe._, _Oliva Patula_; _Cytheræa Flexuosa_?
_Mactra_? _Venus Flexuosa_, _Ostrea_, &c. In some places these shells
are so compact as to form a sort of limestone, easily worked when
first dug out, and hardening afterwards on exposure to the air. The
church of Magdalena upon the coast is built of this material. They are
generally in good preservation, and some of the species appear almost
identical with those found upon the coasts of Brazil; others, on the
contrary, found with them are not known. There is one, found generally
by itself, unmixed with others, which is particularly interesting on
this question, as strikingly proving the gradual growth of the pampas;
it is the small _mya_, named _potamo-mya_ by Sowerby, usually found in
estuaries at the junction of the fresh and salt water, and the existing
type of which is now to be met with at the mouth of the Plata; but
the bed from which my fossil specimens were taken is at the Calera
de Arriola, to the north of Buenos Ayres, nearly 150 miles from its
present habitat; and there (I think manifestly proved by these little
shells) must have been once the mouth of the mighty estuary, which is
now more than 150 miles below it.

I must not omit to state that all these marine deposits are found in
situations more or less above the present level of the ocean; this, in
the neighbourhood of the Cordillera, which is so continually liable
to volcanic disturbances, may be accounted for; but it leads to other
speculations in the flat alluvial plains towards the Plata, where
the phenomenon of an earthquake is utterly unknown, and where the
apparently perfect horizontality of the strata would seem to negative
the idea of any violent action by which it might have been upheaved.

Mr. Bland, one of the North American Commissioners sent to Buenos
Ayres in 1818, reasoning upon the quantity of saline matter found
in the pampas, hazards, as he says, the conjecture that the pampa
formation "may have been gently lifted just above the level of the
ocean, and left with a surface so unbroken and flat as not yet to have
been sufficiently purified of its salt and acrid matter, either by
filtration or washing:" and undoubtedly such saline matter does exist
very extensively over this formation. Many of the running waters, as
their names denote, are rendered brackish by it; and lakes which have
no outlet become saturated with it, and deposit it in regular beds,
where in the dry season it may be collected in any quantity. But it
does not necessarily follow that it has been left there by the ocean:
we know that salt abounds in the Andes, and that extensive beds of it
occur, particularly in those parts of them from which we may conjecture
that the greater part of the waters of the pampas are derived; and if
for a moment we can suppose the pampas themselves to have originated
in sedimentary deposits from those mountain chains, we must I think
equally admit that the alluvial soil washed down can hardly fail to
be impregnated with so soluble a substance as the salt which abounds
in them. In a country of more varied surface we might expect the
briny particles to be carried off by the streams and lost in the sea;
but in the dead levels of the pampas the greater part of the streams
themselves are lost long ere they reach the ocean. The waters deposit
their sediment over the surface, and the salt is left to amalgamate
with the mire of the marshes, until perhaps again the rains collect
it, and either partially carry it off in brackish streams, or deposit
it in the basins of the inland lakes, in which it is so abundantly
found. That it is a superficial deposit I think is proved by the fact
that (as elsewhere noticed) in the immediate vicinity of some of the
saline lakes and rivers in the pampas, and where the surface of all the
surrounding country appears to be incrusted with salt, the people dig
wells, and find perfectly fresh and potable water, as I understand,
at a depth of from twenty to fifty feet. The same may be said to
occur throughout the city of Buenos Ayres, where all the wells which
do not penetrate the _tosca_ produce water more or less brackish,
whilst those which go below it are sweet. Some of the best water I
ever tasted was from a well sunk in the sandy stratum below the clay
at Mr. Brittain's quinta outside the city. Further, I imagine that the
discovery of the remains of land animals so generally throughout this
formation is in itself conclusive of its deposition _subsequently_ to
the existence of the ocean in those parts, the ancient bed of which it
must very considerably overlie.

To speak of the megatherium alone, its remains have been found in all
parts of the pampas, from the river Carcaraña, in the province of
Santa Fé, to the south of the Salado, a distance of nearly 300 miles
in a direct line, and in all the intermediate country. Such remains
are much more common than is supposed, and I am satisfied might
frequently be met with if searched for during the dry season, or after
long droughts, either in the banks of the rivers, or in the beds of
some of the numerous lakes which are then dried up. All the remains I
sent home were so discovered, and so were those sent to Madrid by the
Marquis of Loreto, which were found in the bed of the river Luxan, a
short distance to the north of the city of Buenos Ayres. The great
skeleton I obtained was discovered in the river Salado, to the south
of Buenos Ayres, after a drought of unusually long continuance, by a
peon in the service of the Sosa family, who, attempting to cross the
river at an unfrequented spot, was struck by the appearance of a
large mass of something standing above the surface of the water, and
which, supposing at first to be some part of the trunk of a tree, he
determined to get out if possible: in this he was assisted by some of
his brother peons, who, throwing their lassoes over it, succeeded in
dragging it out, fortunately without injury, for it proved to be nearly
the entire pelvis of the megatherium: with it were also brought up
several of the other bones, and amongst them some of the vertebræ. To
the peons the pelvis luckily appeared to be useless: turn it which way
they would, they all agreed that it did not make half so comfortable
a seat as either a bullock's or a horse's head; but the vertebræ
did not so easily escape, and in a place where not a stone is to be
seen, were eagerly seized upon as excellent substitutes to boil their
camp-kettles upon. The smaller ones being best suited to the purpose
were the first to disappear, which may account for the deficiency of
all the cervical vertebræ as well as of many of the smaller bones
of the feet and other parts. After a time it was suggested that the
pelvis and some of the largest bones should be sent as curiosities to
the owner of the estancia on which they were found, Don Hilario Sosa,
at whose house in Buenos Ayres I first saw them. He was good enough,
seeing my great anxiety to obtain possession of them, after exhibiting
them to his friends, to place them at my disposal, and to allow me
to send people to his estancia to search for the remainder of the
skeleton: by their exertions many other portions of it were saved; and
but for the destruction of some by the country-people, as described,
and of others which, having been taken out in the first instance, had
remained exposed for some months to the sun, and had become so brittle
in consequence as not to bear removal, the skeleton would have been
tolerably perfect. As it is, it was very fortunate that amongst the
parts preserved were some of those which are wanting in the skeleton at
Madrid, especially the bones of the tail, which singularly corroborate
the anticipations of Cuvier, whose description of this remarkable
monster was drawn from a representation of that specimen, the only one
known to exist till mine reached Europe.

M. Cuvier was not I believe aware of the grounds which now exist for
supposing that the animal was covered with a coat of mail, like the
armadillo, which has led other comparative anatomists to ally it to
that family. There were no remains of such a shell appertaining to
the specimen at Madrid, neither were any found with the bones which I
have spoken of as discovered in the Salado. Portions, however, of a
shelly covering in a fossil state, which must have belonged to some
gigantic animal, had been at various times dug up in the pampas, which
had excited the attention and speculations of the curious. Even father
Falkner in his account of the country speaks of them:--he says, that
he himself found the shell of an animal composed of little hexagonal
bones, each bone an inch in diameter at least, and the whole shell
nearly three yards over: it seemed to him to be in all respects, except
its size, the upper part of the shell of an armadillo.

The researches I set on foot after finding the skeleton in the Salado
led to fresh discoveries, which, if they do not identify these shells
with the megatherium, must lead us to conclude that these regions were
once inhabited by other gigantic animals no less extraordinary. When
the country-people saw the eagerness with which the big bones from the
Salado were sought for, they were not backward in speaking of other
places where similar remains had been met with, and were still, as they
believed, to be found. Upon this information I once more despatched my
agent to the south of the Salado, and the governor, Don Manuel Rosas,
taking an interest in the matter, was good enough to furnish him with
a letter of recommendation to the local authorities, desiring them to
give him not only protection, but every assistance he might need to
ensure his success. In little less than three weeks we were repaid
by the discovery of two more enormous skeletons on the estancias of
the governor himself, called Villanueva and Las Averias, and in both
instances with the novelty of their being encased in a thick coating or
shell resembling that of the armadillo. The first, found at Villanueva,
though still of gigantic proportions, appears to have been very much
smaller than that which had been taken out of the Salado: it was
discovered in the bed of a small rivulet, and upon exposure to the
air nearly all crumbled to dust. The only portions it was possible to
preserve being part of a scapula, a small portion of the jaw with one
small but perfect tooth remaining in it, and a fragment of a hind leg,
with some of the feet bones. The shell lay, as Mr. Oakley, my agent,
described it, a little below the principal mass of the bones, looking
like the section of a huge cask; the form of it when first discovered
appeared natural and perfect, but it would not bear to be lifted out of
its bed, and broke into small pieces and crumbled away immediately.

From the account given by Mr. Oakley, and the apparent resemblance of
the remains of this specimen to those previously discovered, although
of a much smaller size, I was induced to believe that they belonged to
a younger animal of the same species; other persons, however, who have
since had an opportunity of comparing them with recent specimens of
the dasypus family, have suggested that it is more probable that they
belonged to a gigantic armadillo. Such is the belief entertained, I am
told, at Paris, where casts of the bones in question have been sent.
The other skeleton, found at Las Averias, was described to be as large
as that of the megatherium. It lay in a bed of hard clay, on the side
of the lake of Las Averias, partly exposed to view by the action of
the water against it in stormy weather. Here a large portion of the
shell appeared in a perfect state, and the country people, who took
Mr. Oakley to the spot, assured him that, when first discovered, it
was at least twelve feet in length, and from four to six in depth. It
was very hard, but could not be got out whole. Mr. Oakley, however,
brought away some considerable portions of it, which, in this instance,
became harder the longer they were exposed to the external air. Not so
the bones within, which, like those at Villanueva, almost immediately
mouldered away on being taken out of the earth. A very imperfect
fragment of the pelvis only reached Buenos Ayres.

On my return to England I exhibited these remains at the Geological
Society, and afterwards made them over to the Royal College of
Surgeons, whose collection of comparative anatomy is by far the finest
in this country. Mr. Clift, the curator of that collection, undertook
to describe them, and his paper upon them will be found in the
"Transactions of the Geological Society for 1835." Casts of them, which
were made at my desire, were also deposited in other museums, abroad as
well as at home. Sir Francis Chantrey was kind enough to superintend
the making of them, and to a simple suggestion of his, a solution of
linseed-oil and litharge,[47] with which they were very thoroughly
saturated, may be ascribed their restoration to a state hardly to be
distinguished from that of the most recent bone.

Dr. Buckland, the learned professor of geology at Oxford, has since
made the megatherium the subject of a chapter in his "Bridgewater
Treatise," wherein he has fully described the remarkable peculiarities
of its structure, in which, as he observes, it exceeds its nearest
living congeners in a greater degree than any other known fossil
animal. With the head and shoulders of a sloth, it combined, in its
legs and feet, an admixture of the characters of the ant-eater, the
armadillo, and the chlamyphorus: the latter it probably still further
resembled in being cased with a bony coat of armour. Measuring the
bones only, its haunches were more than five feet wide;[48] its thigh
bone was twice the thickness of that of the largest elephant; the fore
foot was a yard in length, and terminated by a gigantic claw; the tail,
the width of the upper part of which was at least two feet, and which
was probably clad in armour, must have been infinitely larger than
that of any other known beast, amongst extinct or living mammalia.
The whole body, according to the learned professor's calculations,
was about eight feet in height, and twelve in length.[49] The annexed
plate, carefully drawn from the original bones, under Mr. Clift's
superintendence, will serve not only to give a general idea of the
strange structure of this extraordinary monster, but to show the parts
which are still wanting to make up the specimen. I will only add that,
if any of those parts should fall into the hands of a casual collector,
he will render a service to science by transmitting them to the curator
of the College of Surgeons in London.

[Illustration: MEGATHERIUM.

_Note: The Parts uncoloured are wanting._

_Scale of 3 feet 3/8 of an Inch to a foot._]


[46] With respect _to the past_, it is, I fear, useless to look for
any very positive data as to the state of the river previously to the
last century:--the only allusion to it which I can find is in the
'Argentina,' an historical poem by Barco Centenera, who went out in
1572 with the Adelantado Zarate, and who, speaking of its depth between
Buenos Ayres and San Gabriel, off Colonia, on the opposite shore,

    "De ancho nueve leguas ó mas tiene
    El rio por aqui, _y muy hondable_.
    La nave hasta aqui segura viene
    Que como el ancho mar es navigable."

    The river's here nine leagues or more,
    _And very deep_, twixt shore and shore;
    _So far the navigation's free,
    As tho' twere on the open sea_.

                                          ARGENTINA, CANTO II.

And although, perhaps, a poet's authority to not the very best for a
geological fact, I have the less hesitation in quoting his couplet,
as it is, to a certain extent, corroborated by the circumstance that,
amongst all the dangers and disasters recorded with so much minuteness
by the historians of the first discoveries of those parts, there is no
instance, that I am aware of, mentioned by them of a shipwreck in the
river below San Gabriel, the port to which all vessels at that time
directed their course after entering it:--from this I think any one
who knows the dangers of the navigation of that part of the river now,
will be disposed to infer that it really must have been in former times
as Centenera describes it, much more free and safe than it is at the
present day:--it is probable that the Ortiz bank especially has very
much increased.

[47] In the proportion of an ounce of litharge to a quart of oil.

[48] The following comparative measurements of the bones of the
megatherium and of an elephant eleven feet high, are furnished by Mr.

                                        ELEPHANT.  MEGATHERIUM.
                                         Ft.  In.    Ft.  In.

  The expansion of the ossa ilia          3    8      5    1
  Breadth of the largest caudal vertebra  0    7      1    9
  Circumference of middle of femur        1    0      2    2
  Length of the os calcis                 0  7-1/2    1    5

[49] Mr. Clift quotes a MS. memorandum in his possession, stating the
measurement of the skeleton at Madrid to be, from the front of the
nasal bones to the setting on of the tail, thirteen feet seven inches,
and he is of opinion that, of the two, the specimen I brought home was
the older and somewhat larger individual.



    Importance of the rivers of the United Provinces. The Paraguay
        and its tributaries. The Pilcomayo. The Vermejo. Soria's
        expedition down it from Oran, proving it navigable
        thence to Assumption. Periodical inundations of the
        Paranã, similar to those of the Nile. The Uruguay and
        its affluents. Surveys by the Commissioners appointed to
        determine the Boundaries laid down by the Treaty between
        Spain and Portugal of 1777. Original Maps obtained.

Before proceeding to give any account of the Upper Provinces, a brief
description will perhaps here not be out of place of the great rivers
which form so remarkable a feature in the physical geography of this
part of the South American continent, and from the navigation of which
by steam-vessels hereafter such important political consequences may be

Of these, the Paraguay is the first. This river, which from Corrientes
takes the name of Paranã, has its sources between south lat. 13°
and 14°, in those ranges which, though of very trifling elevation
themselves, appear to connect the lofty mountains of Peru and Brazil,
and to constitute the water-shed of some of the principal rivers of
South America. From their northern declivities descend some of the
most important of the eastern affluents of the Madera, the Tapajos,
and other great streams which empty themselves into the Maranon, or
Amazons; whilst, on the other hand, all those which pour down towards
the south find their way into the bed of the wonderful river I am

Many navigable streams join it from the eastward, as it passes through
the rich Brazilian territories of Matto Grosso and Cuyabá. Its
tributaries from the opposite side are, though perhaps more important,
less numerous, the surface of the country being more level; of these
the Jaurú is the first of any consequence, the sources of which are
close to those of the Guaporé, which runs in the opposite direction
into the Madera and Amazons. The short portage which intervenes between
the heads of these rivers is all that breaks a continuous water-course
from the mouths of the Amazons to that of the Plata, as will be seen
on reference to the map. A little below the Jaurú commences a wide
region of swamps called the lake or lakes of Xarayes; which, during the
periodical inundations of the rivers that descend from the mountains
to the north of Cuyabá, is flooded for a vast extent, the waters
forming one great inland sea, to the depth of ten or twelve feet,
extending between 200 and 300 miles east and west, and upwards of 100
from north to south. As the rainy season passes away, this mass of
waters is finally carried off by the Paraguay, which even here, 1200
miles in a direct line from the sea, is navigable for vessels of 40
or 50 tons. The mouth of the Jaurú is in 16° 25´ long. 320° 10´ east
of Ferro:--here a marble pyramid is erected to mark the boundary
determined upon between the Spaniards and Portuguese by the treaty of

Quiroga, who accompanied Flores, the Spanish commissioner, to determine
this point, in descending the Paraguay fixed the latitude of most of
the numerous rivers which fall into it before its junction with the
Paranã.[50] On the eastern side they afford the means of communication
with the gold and diamond districts of Brazil, and lower down with
those districts of Paraguay proper which abound in the finest timber,
and produce the yerba maté, the article perhaps most in demand of all
the rich productions of that favoured country.

From the west its most important affluents are the Pilcomayo and the
Vermejo, which fall into it below Assumption:--both flow through
a prodigious extent of country, having their sources in the rich
districts of Upper Peru. The first passes not far from Potosi, and,
after a thousand windings through the chaco, or desert, falls into the
Paraguay by two branches, the one called the Araquay, in lat. 25° 21´
29", according to an observation taken by Azara; the other, about nine
leagues below it. M. de Angelis has I think clearly shown that the
river to the north of Assumption, which Azara has laid down as the most
northern branch of the Pilcomayo, is the Fogones of Quiroga.

In 1741 Father Castañares attempted an exploration of the Pilcomayo,
in the expectation that it would facilitate a communication with the
Jesuit missions in the province of Chiquitos; but after many hardships
and difficulties, at the end of eighty-three days, he was obliged to
give it up, from the river becoming too shallow for his canoes to pass
on. In 1785 Azara attempted to ascend it by the Araquay, in a small
vessel; but after proceeding about twenty leagues, was obliged to
return, for the same reason,--want of water; although it was at the
season of the floods, and the river was more than ordinarily full.

The Vermejo, on the contrary, which falls into the Paraguay still
further down, has been more than once proved to afford a navigable
communication with the province of Salta: First by Cornejo, in 1790;
who, starting from the confluence of the rivers Centa and Tarija,
reached the Paraguay in fifty-five days; the distance by the river
being, according to his computation, no less than 407-1/2 leagues. And
more recently, in 1826, by Don Pablo Soria, the agent of some spirited
individuals in Buenos Ayres, who about that time formed an association
for the purpose of endeavouring to open a water-communication between
the capital and the rich districts of the Upper Provinces. The vessel
they built for the purpose was fifty-two feet long, and drew about two
feet water; which, with but little more assistance than was necessary
to keep in the mid-stream, was floated down from the neighbourhood
of Oran by the current, and in fifty-seven days entered the Paraguay,
without any other impediment than a feeble attempt on the part of some
Indians, armed with bows and arrows, to annoy them as they passed
through their lands.

Once in the Paraguay, the main object of the voyage was accomplished.
Unfortunately, however, for the adventurers themselves, they were
there seized upon by Dr. Francia, the despotic ruler of that country,
who, worse than the savages, detained them for five years.[51] He
also deprived them of their papers; and thus the details of a most
interesting voyage were lost, although the great and highly important
fact was established beyond dispute of the existence of a safe and
navigable water-communication the whole way from Oran to Buenos Ayres;
a result which must sooner or later be of immense consequence to the
inhabitants of the Upper Provinces.

About thirty miles below the mouth of the Vermejo the Paraguay is
joined from the east by the great river Paranã, which name it thence
takes till it is finally lost in the Rio de la Plata. This river,
rivalling in extent the Paraguay itself, rises in the mountain-chains
to the north-west of Rio de Janeiro, in latitude 21°. Turning first
westward, and afterwards towards the south, it is increased by several
large rivers, amongst which the most noted are the Paranaiba, the
Tieté, the Paranapané, and the Curitava. On reaching the Guarani
Missions, near Candelaria, in about lat. 27° 30´, it turns again
westward, and runs with little deviation from that parallel till it
falls into the Paraguay. Thence these two mighty rivers, mingling
their waters flow on in one vast and uninterrupted stream, gradually
increased by many rivers of minor importance, which join it from either
side, till they finally empty themselves through a well-defined delta
into the estuary of La Plata.

The extent of the practicable navigation on the two great branches of
this mighty river varies with the geological formation of the countries
through which they respectively pass.

The Paranã, whilst running through the mountainous districts of Brazil,
is broken by many falls above the Guarani Missions, especially one
called the Salto Grande, in lat. 24° 4´ 58" (as fixed by the officers
of the Boundary Commission in 1788), where the river, which immediately
before is nearly a league across, becomes suddenly confined by a rocky
pass not more than sixty yards in width, through which it rushes with
inconceivable fury, and forms a splendid cataract, between 50 and 60
feet high, dashing down with such thundering noise that it is said
to be heard at a distance of five or six leagues. For a hundred miles
afterwards, as far as the mouth of the river Curitiba, in lat. 25° 41´,
the river is nothing but a succession of falls and rapids.

The Paraguay, properly so called, on the contrary, may be passed up by
vessels of some burthen the whole way[52] to the Jaurú, in latitude
16° 25´, presenting the extraordinary extent of an uninterrupted
inland navigation of nearly nineteen degrees of latitude, calculating
the straight distance north and south, throughout the whole of which
there is not a rock or stone to impede the passage, the bottom being
everywhere of clay or fine sand. The least depth of water is in the
channels through the delta by which it discharges itself into the
Plata, but in the passage called the Guazú (the great canal) there is
seldom less than two and a half fathoms.

The upper part of the river is extremely picturesque, and its shores
abound in all the varieties of an intertropical vegetation. The palms
particularly are remarkable for the magnificence of their growth.
Below the junction of the Paranã it is thickly studded with islands
covered with wild orange-trees, and a variety of beautiful shrubs and
parasitical plants, new to European eyes.

It has been remarked that there is a great resemblance in the
periodical risings and inundations of the Paraguay and those of the
Nile, and there is certainly a striking analogy between the two
rivers in many respects. Both rise in the torrid zone, nearly at
the same distance from the equator, and both, though holding their
courses towards opposite poles, disembogue by deltas in about the same
latitude; both are navigable for very long distances, and both have
their periodical risings, bursting over their natural bounds, and
inundating immense tracts of country.

The Paranã begins to rise about the end of December, which is soon
after the commencement of the rainy season in the countries situated
between the tropic of Capricorn and the equator, and increases
gradually till the month of April, when it begins to fall something
more rapidly until the month of July. There is afterwards a second
rising, called by the natives the _repunte_; but this, though regular,
is of no great consequence, the river never overflowing its banks. It
is probably occasioned by the swelling of the rivers from the winter
rains in the temperate zone.

The extent of these periodical risings is, of course, in some degree,
regulated by the quantity, more or less, of rain which may fall during
the corresponding season; but, in general, the inundation takes place
with great regularity, the waters rising gradually about twelve feet in
the bed of the river in four months; this is the ordinary average of
the increase of the river after its junction with the Paraguay; though
above it, at Assumption, where the river is much confined, the rise is
said to be sometimes as much as five or six fathoms.

The year 1812 was remarkable for the greatest flood in the memory
of the natives. Vast quantities of cattle were carried away by it,
and when the waters began to subside, and the islands which they had
covered became again visible, the whole atmosphere for a time was
poisoned by the effluvia from the innumerable carcases of skunks,
capiguaras, tigers, and other wild beasts which had been drowned on
them. On such occasions it frequently happens that the animals, to save
themselves, swim off to the floating masses of canes and brushwood
(called by the Spaniards "camelotes"), and are thus carried down the
river, and landed in the vicinity of the towns and villages upon the
coast. Many strange stories, are told of the unexpected visits of
tigers so conveyed from their ordinary haunts to Buenos Ayres and Monte
Video. One in my time was shot in my own grounds near Buenos Ayres,
and some years before no less than four were landed in one night at
Monte Video, to the great alarm of the inhabitants when they found them
prowling about the streets in the morning. In the swampy region of
Xarayes, where the inundation commences, the ants, which are in vast
numbers there, have the sagacity to build their nests in the tops of
the trees, far out of reach of the waters; and these nests are made of
a kind of adhesive clay, so hard that no cement can be more durable or
impervious to the weather.

During the inundation the river is exceedingly turbid, from the great
quantity of vegetable substances and mud brought down by it:--the
velocity of the stream in the higher and narrower parts of the river
at first prevents their deposition, but as it approaches the lower
lands, or pampas, where it overflows its bed, these substances are
spread over the face of the land, forming a grey slimy soil, which,
on the abatement of the waters, is found to increase vegetation in a
surprising degree.

A calculation has been made by Colonel Monasterios, author of an
excellent paper on this river, printed in the Statistical Register of
Buenos Ayres for 1822, that no less than 4000 square leagues of country
are annually covered by the waters during the periodical inundations of
the Paranã.

From the almost uninterrupted level of the country which intervenes
between the eastern ranges of the Cordillera and the Paraguay, many
rivers which descend from them are either partially or entirely lost,
after long and tortuous meanderings, in swamps and lakes, the waters
of which are absorbed by evaporation during the heats of summer. This
is strikingly exemplified in the river Pasages, or Salado, which, from
the great extent of its course, and the many other streams it collects
in its long course from the province of Salta to Santa Fé, would be a
river of the first importance, were not the greater part of its waters
lost in the level plains through which it runs. The Dulce, which,
passing by Tucuman and Santiago, runs parallel to it, is lost in the
great lake called the Porongos, in the pampas of the province of Santa
Fé. The Primero and Segundo, which rise in the province of Cordova,
disappear in the same plains. The Tercero, the most important river of
that province, with difficulty finds its way during part of the year
to the bed of the Carcaraña, which falls into the Paranã, near San
Espiritu, below Santa Fé. The Quarto and the Quinto, and, still further
south, the waters of the rivers from Mendoza and San Luis, are lost in
the swamps and lakes which form so striking a feature in the maps of
that part of the continent.

The Uruguay, which contributes with the Paranã to form the great
estuary of La Plata, takes its name from the numerous falls and rapids
which mark its course. The whole extent of its course is little less
than 300 leagues. It rises in latitude 27° 30´, in the mountains on
the coast of Brazil, opposite the island of St. Catharine's, and for
a long distance runs nearly due west, receiving, besides many rivers
of less importance, the Uruguay-Mini (or Little Uruguay) from the
south, and the Pepiry-Guazú (or Great Pepiry) from the north. As it
approaches the Paranã it changes its course, inclining southward
through the beautiful territories of the old Jesuit Missions. Opposite
to Yapeyú, the last of those establishments, it receives, in latitude
29° 30´, the Ybicuy, a considerable stream from the east. In 30° 12´
the Mirinay pours into it from the west a great part of the drainage of
the great lake or swamp of Ybera. Its principal tributaries afterwards
are the Gualeguaychú, from the province of Entre Rios, and the Negro,
the largest river of the Banda Oriental, soon after the junction of
which it falls into the Plata with the Paranã, in about 34° south
latitude. Flowing through a country the geological formation of which
totally differs from that through which the Paraguay takes its course,
its navigation is broken by many reefs and falls, only passable when
the waters are at their highest, during the periodical foods, or by
portages in the dry season. Of these the Salto Grande and Chico (the
great and small falls), a little below the 31° of latitude, are the
first and worst impediments met with in ascending the river. The former
consists of a rocky reef running like a wall across its bed, which
at low water is at times crossed by the gauchos of the country on
horseback, though during the floods it is passable in boats, by which,
and canoes, the river is navigable without further danger as high up as
the Missions.

Beautiful specimens of silicified wood and variegated pebbles are found
in the upper parts of the bed of this river, of which I brought many to
this country.

The Negro, which runs into it from the Banda Oriental, derives its name
(the black river) from the sarsaparilla plant, which, at a particular
season, rots upon its banks, and falls into the stream in such immense
quantities as to discolour its waters, which are found to be highly
medicinal, and much in request in consequence. The little village of
Mercedes, near its mouth, has of late years been much resorted to by
invalids from Buenos Ayres to drink these waters.

The river Paraguay, as high as the Jaurú, was carefully laid down after
the treaty of 1750; and the Spanish officers appointed to determine the
boundaries, in virtue of that subsequently signed in 1777, surveyed the
Paranã as high as the Tieté, as well as the whole of the Uruguay, and
determined the courses of all their most important affluents in the
course of the eighteen years during which they were employed in laying
down the southern division only of this survey. The results of their
labours, which were only stopped by the renewal of war, may justly be
ranked amongst the most beautiful and perfect geographical works ever
produced. Copies of the whole existed at Buenos Ayres during my time in
the hands of Colonel Cabrer, one of the officers originally attached to
the commissioners; and the Government of Buenos Ayres were in treaty
for the purchase of them for the use of the topographical department
of the state, where, it is to be hoped, they will not be buried in
unprofitable obscurity.

When the war with Brazil for the Banda Oriental broke out, in 1826,
Colonel Cabrer drew a MS. map from these materials for the use of
General Alvear, the Buenos Ayrean Commander-in-chief, which he was
afterwards kind enough to present to me. By a curious coincidence,
about the same time, I obtained possession of one upon a large scale of
the southern provinces of Brazil, drawn, by the Emperor's order, from
the best data to be collected at Rio de Janeiro, for the Marquis of
Barbacena, who commanded the Brazilian army, and lost it at the battle
of Ituzaingo. They have, I believe, afforded Mr. Arrowsmith data for
materially improving his last maps of that part of South America.


[50] His positions will be found in the tables of fixed points given in
the Appendix.

[51] The following wording of Francia's decree upon first hearing
of Soria's having arrived at Nembucú, within the jurisdiction of
Paraguay, is a fair sample of his mode of doing business:--"Soria is a
bold, insolent, and shameless fellow for having come here without any
previous permission, by a river which he has no business upon, and by
which he may return as he came, if he can, for downwards neither he nor
his vessel shall pass."

[52] Vessels of 300 tons burthen have been built above the city of
Assumption, and floated down the river to Buenos Ayres.






    De Garay founds _Santa Fé_, and meets with Spaniards from
        Peru. His subsequent Deeds and Death. The Government of the
        Rio de la Plata separated from that of Paraguay, and Santa
        Fé annexed to Buenos Ayres. Its former prosperity, and
        great capabilities, especially for Steam Navigation. _The
        Entre Rios_--constituted a Province in 1814, its Extent,
        Government, and Population--chiefly a grazing Country.
        _Corrientes_--its valuable natural Productions--mistaken
        ideas of the people as to Foreign Trade. The Lake
        Ybera--Pigmies, Ants, Ant-Eaters, Locusts, and Beetles.
        _The Missions_ now depopulated--their happy and flourishing
        state under the Jesuits. _Paraguay_--some Account of its
        former Prosperity and Trade, and the establishment of the
        tyrannical rule of Dr. Francia.


The first discoverers of La Plata, as has been already observed, fixed
themselves in Paraguay, and established the seat of their government
at Assumption, the capital of that province. In his way up the river,
Sabastian Cabot built a fort, called Sancti-Espiritu, at the junction
of the Carcarãna with the Paranã; Ayolas, a few years after, built
another not far from it, to which he gave the name of Corpus Christi;
but these, like Mendoza's settlement at Buenos Ayres, were very soon
destroyed by the warlike nations which then inhabited the whole of the
right bank of the river; and, for the first half-century, with their
views solely fixed on making a nearer approach to Peru, the Spaniards
concerned themselves but little about the conquest of the poorer lands
they had left behind them. The ships, which during that time continued
to arrive in the River Plate, with fresh adventurers from Spain, with
an inland navigation before them, to Assumption, requiring as much time
as the whole voyage out from Europe, were entirely dependent for the
refreshments they required on the accidental good will of the natives.
Once in the Paranã, if any accident befell them, for nearly a thousand
miles there was not a single Christian port in which they could take

It was under these circumstances that Don Juan de Garay, a Biscayan
hidalgo (in 1573), who had already greatly distinguished himself
amongst his companions at arms in those parts, solicited and
obtained permission to make a sally from Assumption, to endeavour to
re-establish Cabot's fort at the mouth of the Carcarãna, and to found
other settlements upon the right bank of the Paranã.

The whole force he could muster for this enterprise, when ready,
consisted only of eighty men, a small party wherewith to attempt to
seize upon lands defended by a numerous and warlike people, already
elated by former victories over the Spaniards, though probably as large
a one as his own means would allow him to equip; for in those days the
whole charge of such undertakings devolved upon the projectors:--they
were obliged to raise the means as they could, and their ultimate
success of course were mainly depended upon the extent of their
personal credit.

De Garay landed, in the first instance, with his followers, thirty or
forty miles to the north of the river Salado, and, finding the natives
disposed to be friendly, and the aspect of the country inviting, he
determined there to make his first settlement, naming it Santa Fé de la

The site originally fixed upon was where Cayestá now stands, upon an
inferior branch of the Paranã; but, at a subsequent period, the Santa
Fecinos removed lower down to the banks of the Salado.

Whilst part of his people were employed upon the works, De Garay
embarked with the rest in a small brig which attended him, and
descending the Paranã entered the Salado, and opened a communication
with the natives established upon its banks. There an adventure
attended him, which he little looked for. Just as he flattered himself
he had established a friendly understanding with the Indians, their
conduct was observed suddenly to change:--a great stir took place
amongst them, and they began to betake themselves, to their arms, and
to gather together in such numbers that the Spaniards, alarmed, and
expecting to be attacked by them, were glad to get on board their
little vessel, and make the best preparations they could for defence.
From the mast-head fires were seen lighting in every direction, the
well-known signal for war; and the man placed there to look out gave
notice that the savages were pouring down towards them in vast numbers,
not only by land, but by the river, in their canoes, apparently to
attack them in their ship.

De Garay, pent up in a little creek, into which he had run his vessel,
and believing his situation desperate, was exhorting his people at any
rate to defend themselves to the last, when suddenly the man called
out that he saw a cavalier, presently another, and another, and then
several more, charging the Indians in their rear; nor was it long
before they saw the whole host dispersed, routed, and flying before
a party of horsemen. The Spaniards were as much astonished at this
unlooked-for encounter as the Indians, nor could they imagine to whom
they were thus indebted for their preservation at the moment they
expected to have been overwhelmed without a chance of succour, though
that they were some of their countrymen they could not doubt after
seeing the horses.

The strangers were not long in making themselves known; they were
soldiers from Tucuman, who, under their leader Cabrera, having founded
the city of Cordova on the same day that De Garay had commenced his
settlement at Santa Fé, were then scouring the country to take
possession of it as belonging to his jurisdiction; De Garay in vain
resisted this pretension, and claimed it as belonging to Paraguay, in
right of prior possession and settlement: the others insisting with
a superior force, he had no alternative but to temporise, and submit
himself to Cabrera's orders, trusting to the higher powers to order the
matter differently.

Fortunately for the settlement of this question ere it led to more
serious consequences, the Adelantado Zarate opportunely arrived
from Spain with a grant from the King, explicitly including in his
government all settlements, which might be founded on either shore
of the river for the distance of 200 leagues: he not only confirmed
De Garay in his command at Santa Fé but took him into such especial
favour, that, dying soon afterwards, he left him guardian of his only
daughter; she, by his advice, married Don Juan de Vera and Arragon, who
in consequence succeeded to the Adelantasgo, which greatly increased
the influence of De Garay, who was immediately appointed lieutenant
over all the Rio de la Plata, and furnished with full authority to
carry into effect his own plans for reducing the Indians to subjection
upon its shores. Armed with these powers he conquered some of the
most warlike of the native tribes, and established the fame and power
of the Spaniards far and wide throughout all those regions:--the
last of his deeds was the foundation, in 1580, of the present city
of Buenos Ayres, as has been before stated. Alter passing three
years in superintending the laying out of the future capital of all
those provinces, upon his return to Assumption, going incautiously on
shore one night to sleep, he was surprised and killed by the savages.
Paraguay lost in him one of her wisest and most valiant captains,
whose death was greatly lamented, by the poor especially, to whom his
beneficence was unbounded.

The importance of the settlements he founded was soon apparent; and
in 1620 they were formed into a government independent of that of
Paraguay, under the name of the Government of La Plata; it comprised
all south of the junction of the rivers Paranã and Paraguay. Santa Fé
in consequence became a dependency of Buenos Ayres; an arrangement
confirmed in every territorial settlement subsequently made by any
competent authority.

In the domestic dissensions, however, which succeeded the establishment
of the Independent Government at Buenos Ayres, Santa Fé took an active
part, and disputed the right of the newly-constituted authorities
to interfere in the nomination of the provincial administrations.
Under these circumstances, in 1818, Lopez, a military officer who had
particularly distinguished himself in his resistance to the Central
Government upon this point, obtained the command of the province, in
which he has ever since been continued. Various circumstances have
concurred to leave him not only in undisturbed possession of this
local authority, but to render him in later times a personage of some
importance in the political history of the Republic. The jurisdiction
he lays claim to for the soi-disant province of Santa Fé extends as far
south as the Arroyo del Medio, to the west to the lakes of Porongos,
and to the north as far as the lands of the Indians of the Gran-chaco,
or Great Desert, against whom he has enough to do to defend himself.

In old times Santa Fé under the protection of the Central Government,
which spared no expense in constructing forts and maintaining the
forces requisite to keep the Indians in check, was the central point of
communication not only between Buenos Ayres and Paraguay, but between
Paraguay and the provinces of Cuyo and Tucuman: the wines and dried
fruits of Mendoza and St. Juan were brought there to be carried up
to Corrientes and Paraguay, which in return supplied the people of
those provinces, as well as those of Chile and Peru, through the same
channel, with all the yerba-maté they required, of which the annual
consumption in those provinces alone was calculated at from 3,000,000
to 4,000,000 lbs.

The _estancieros_ were amongst the richest in the Vice-Royalty; and
their cattle-farms not only covered the territory of Santa Fé, but
large tracts on the eastern shores of the river in the Entre Rios; from
which they furnished by far the greater part of the 50,000 mules yearly
sent to Salta for the service of Peru.

Their situation is now a very different one: the stoppage of the
trade with Paraguay and Peru has reduced them to a wretched state of
poverty; and their estrangement from the capital having left them
without adequate means of defence, the savages have attacked them with
impunity, laid waste the greater part of the province, and more than
once threatened the town itself with annihilation.

The population has greatly diminished;--perhaps in the whole province
there are not now more than 15,000 or 20,000 souls, a large proportion
of which is of Guarani origin, the descendants of emigrants from the
Jesuit missions in Paraguay, who abandoned them after the expulsion of
their pastors in 1768.

This state of things is the more lamentable as Santa Fé might, under
a different system, become one of the most important points of the
Republic: once more under the decided protection of the Government of
Buenos Ayres, not only might its own particular interests be vastly
advanced, but the greatest benefits might result to the rest of the

Its situation offers striking facilities for carrying on a more active
transit-trade between Buenos Ayres and the provinces north of Cordova.
The river Salado, on which it stands, is known to be navigable for
barges as high up as Matara, in the province of Santiago, and at no
great distance from that city; if it were made use of there would be
a saving of upwards of 250 leagues of land-carriage in conveying goods
from Buenos Ayres to Santiago; but, even if this should turn out not to
be so practicable as it is said to be, a direct road is open from Santa
Fé which, passing by the lakes of Porongos, skirts the river Dulce, and
falls into the high road from Cordova a few posts south of the city of
Santiago; which, at the lowest computation, would still be 100 leagues
short of the over-land route now used from the capital to the Upper
Provinces by way of Cordova.

In any part of the world such a saving of land-carriage would be a
considerable object; but in a country where the roads are just as
nature has made them, and where the only means of transport for heavy
goods are the most unwieldy of primitive waggons, drawn by oxen--the
slowest of all conveyances,--not to speak of its expense, and the
risks, independently of the wear and tear necessarily attending it,
it becomes of the greatest importance. That it has not hitherto been
available, is owing to the difficulties attending the navigation of a
large river, not only against the current, but against a prevalence
of contrary winds, which have rendered the passage of the Paranã up
to Santa Fé even more tedious and expensive than the long over-land
journey. But the introduction of steam-boats would at once obviate
this, and enable the people of Buenos Ayres to send their heaviest
goods to Santa Fé by water-carriage in less time than a horse can now
gallop over the intervening country, for there is no reason in the
world why the ordinary voyage thither should exceed at the utmost three
days. I can hardly imagine a greater change in the prospects of a
people than this would open to the Santa Fecinos.

There is, however, another point of view, of serious consequence to
Buenos Ayres, in which for her own sake it concerns her to look to
the advantages, if not to the necessity, of taking speedy measures to
introduce steam-navigation upon the Paranã. Since the erection of the
Banda Oriental into an independent state, the yearly imports into Monte
Video have increased out of all ratio to the scanty population of that
state:--it is very evident what becomes of the excess, and that not
only the people on the eastern, but those on the western, shores of the
Uruguay, are supplied through that channel. The government of Monte
Video takes care so to regulate its duties as to make this a profitable
trade:--whilst it cannot be denied that the inhabitants of Entre Rios
and Santa Fé have quite as much right to traffic with their neighbours
as those of Mendoza and Salta have to trade with Chile and Peru.

Buenos Ayres has already suffered a great loss of revenue in
consequence, and this loss will yearly increase, to the great detriment
of the national credit, for which she is responsible, and to the still
further estrangement of the provinces from each other, unless she
takes active means to counteract the evil:--those means are in her
own hands. The introduction of steam-navigation, by establishing a
cheaper communication between her own port and the Littorine provinces,
will soon put an end to the profits of the over-land trade which is
at present carried on through the Banda Oriental. It may, perhaps,
be necessary, in the first instance, to grant some remission of the
ordinary duties, in the shape of drawback or otherwise, upon goods
reshipped for other parts of the republic in steamers, as well as
upon all produce of the country received by the same conveyance in
exchange:--but, whatever apparent sacrifice Buenos Ayres may make
to promote this object, she may be assured she will be repaid a
hundred-fold by the results.

If the confederation of these provinces is to be a real one, and for
joint benefit, they must pull together, and help one another. They
possess, in a singular degree, within themselves, the means of mutual
aid and support, and, if properly applied, they can hardly fail to
insure them a great increase of individual prosperity and national

The reverse of the picture has been foretold in words which no man can
gainsay:--"_if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot


The Entre Rios territory, bounded on three sides by the Paranã, and
on the east by the river Uruguay, like Santa Fé, formed part of the
intendency of Buenos Ayres till the year 1814, when the general
government divided it into two distinct provinces, called the provinces
of Entre Rios and Corrientes:--the separating line between them,
for the present agreed upon, is that formed by the little river
Guayquiraro, which falls into the Paranã in about latitude 30° 30´, and
the Mocoreta, which runs in the opposite direction into the Uruguay.

The Villa del Paranã, or Bajada, opposite to Santa Fé, is, nominally,
the capital town of Entre Rios;--which province is subdivided by the
river Gualeguay into two departments, that of the Paranã and that of
the Uruguay.

According to the Provisional Reglamento or Constitution drawn up in
1821, in imitation of that of Buenos Ayres, the governor should be
chosen every two years by a provincial junta, composed of deputies
from the several towns or villages, the principal of which, after the
capital, are the Villa de la Concepcion on the Uruguay; and Nogoya,
Gualeguay, and Gualeguaychú, on the rivers of the same name.

The population may be about 30,000 souls,--very much scattered,--and
almost entirely occupied in the estancias or cattle-farms, in which
the wealth of the province chiefly consists. Many of them belong
to capitalists in Buenos Ayres:--they have the advantages of a
never-failing supply of water, and of being safe from any inroads of
the Indians,--the two great desiderata for such establishments in that
part of the world,--whilst their proximity to Buenos Ayres ensures a
ready sale for the produce.

These advantages made it a great cattle-country in the time of the
Spaniards, but it was devastated and depopulated in the first years
of the struggle for independence by the notorious Artigas and his
followers, and became the scene of much bloodshed and confusion:--from
that it had hardly begun to recover when the war, breaking out between
the Republic and Brazil for the Banda Oriental, again made it the
theatre, as a frontier province, of military operations, and unsettled
the habits of the population. The years which have elapsed since the
conclusion of that war have sufficed once more to cover the province
with cattle, and there are gauchos enough to take care of them.


The population of the province of Corrientes in 1824 was estimated at
from 35,000 to 40,000 inhabitants. It is ruled by a governor elected by
a junta of deputies,--how they are chosen I know not. His official acts
are countersigned by a secretary, and in law matters he is assisted by
an officer termed the assessor,--a point of form common, I believe, to
all the provincial administrations, and derived from the practice of
the intendents in the time of the Spanish rule.

The city of Corrientes was begun in 1588, soon after De Garay founded
his settlements at Santa Fé and Buenos Ayres. Its position is in
latitude 27° 27´, at the junction of the rivers Paranã and Paraguay,
and it may also be said of the Vermejo, the mouth of which is not more
than ten leagues distant from it:--it affords, in consequence, every
facility for an active commercial intercourse with the most remote
parts of the republic. The natural productions in these latitudes are
similar to those of Brazil, and cotton, tobacco, rice, sugar, indigo,
and many other articles of the first demand in the markets of Europe,
may be produced there in any quantity:--but the same difficulties to
which I have already alluded, in speaking of the navigation of the
Paranã, aggravated by increased distance, have hitherto prevented the
people of Corrientes from profiting, as might have been expected, by
these advantages, and have checked all inducement to industry; although
they themselves, in their simplicity, ascribe the non-cultivation of
their lands to different causes:--they think, with their neighbour
Dr. Francia, that foreign ships might just as well go to them as to
Buenos Ayres, and that they do not do so they ascribe to the policy
of the metropolitan government, which they ungratefully reproach with
refusing to throw open the navigation of the river to foreign trade in
order to appropriate to their own purposes the revenue resulting from
it,--regardless of the fact that the collection of those duties is the
only means by which Buenos Ayres can ever expect to discharge either
interest or capital of the heavy debts she has incurred in securing
the independence, and in since upholding the honour and credit of the

There can be no doubt that it will always be the true policy of the
governors of Buenos Ayres to render those duties as light as possible,
and especially to reduce, as far as they can, all charges upon the
native produce from the provinces of the interior; but if they are
to be placed, as they always have been, and from their geographical
position always must be, in the vanguard of the republic, to bear the
brunt of foreign wars, and all those expenses which must naturally
arise out of their intercourse with other nations, they can never give
up their right to avail themselves of the ordinary resources for
meeting such exigencies which are placed within their reach.

If the expenses of the war with the mother country for their
independence, and afterwards of that with Brazil for establishing
that of the Banda Oriental, could be fairly apportioned amongst the
population of the provinces, the people of Corrientes, as well as of
all other parts of the interior, would soon see that the custom-house
duties now levied at Buenos Ayres which affect them would go but little
way to meet anything like the share of that national expenditure which
might be justly charged against them.

It is, however, useless to enter into this discussion, when the truth
is, that, whether Buenos Ayres chooses or not to declare the navigation
of the Paranã free, the people of Corrientes may rest assured it will
never answer to the shipping of foreign nations to avail themselves
of it:--foreigners will purchase the productions of Corrientes and of
Paraguay if placed within their reach at low prices, but they will not
unnecessarily incur the risks and expenses of sending their own ships
a thousand miles up a river against wind and tide, in quest of a cargo
which may at all times be had in the seaports of Brazil.

Steam-communication will enable the Correntinos to compete with the
Brazilians, and it is perhaps the only means by which they will be
enabled to find any sale for their produce at such a rate as will make
it worth the while of foreigners to seek for it, even in the market of
Buenos Ayres. They have every facility for establishing it,--navigable
rivers communicating with the farthest extremes of the republic,--and
an endless abundance of wood of every kind for fuel.

A remarkable physical feature in this province is the great lagoon of
Ybera, extending in width about thirty leagues parallel to the course
of the Paranã, from which it is supposed to derive its waters by some
underground drainage, for no stream runs into it. Spreading far and
wide to the south it occupies the enormous space of about a thousand
square miles, and supplies four considerable rivers--the Mirinay,
which runs into the Uruguay; and the Santa Lucia, the Bateles, and the
Corrientes, which discharge themselves into the Paranã. It was Azara's
opinion, from the general aspect of the country, that the Paranã itself
at some former period took its course through this lake, and might
again resume its ancient channel. At present it is hardly possible to
explore any part of it from the prodigious quantity of aquatic plants
and shrubs by which it is for the most part covered.

What a store of lacustrine deposits is here forming for the examination
of future geologists!

Connected with this lake is the tradition, which has been handed down
by early Spanish writers, of a nation of _pigmies_ who were said to
have lived in islands in the midst of it, a tale which the first
discoverers, who were generally as ignorant as they were brave, seem
to have as implicitly believed as that a race of giants once occupied
other parts of the same continent.

Both tales are easily traceable to their true origin, and neither of
them is without a plausible foundation.

The bones of extinct animals of monstrous size, so frequently met
with, gave rise, as well they might, to the story of the giants. The
_pigmies_ are a race unfortunately not yet extinct, and are palpably
the _ants_, whose marvellous works (especially in the part of the
country I am speaking of), vying with those of man himself, are no less
calculated to have occasioned at first sight, amongst credulous people,
the most far-fetched conjectures as to their origin. I have made some
allusion, in speaking of the course of the river Paraguay, to their
ingenious contrivances in the lakes of Xarayes (where also the pigmy
tribes were said to have dwelt), but those are nothing compared to the
works of the ants of Corrientes and Paraguay, where whole plains are
said to be covered with their buildings of dome-like and conical forms,
rising five and six feet and more in height, and formed of a cement
hard as a rock, and impervious to the wet. Man's vanity might easily
prompt him to mistake them for works of his own kind in miniature;
but, all-presumptuous as he is, nothing he has ever yet constructed in
all the plenitude of his power is comparable to the works of these
little insects. The Pyramids of Egypt do not bear one half the relative
proportion to his own size which the ordinary habitations of these ants
do to theirs.

Their works under ground are no less extraordinary: Azara has described
with his usual minuteness the various species which he fell in with.
There is one amongst others which is winged, and the swarms of which
are so prodigious, that he says he rode for three leagues continuously
through one of them. This was in about the latitude of Santa Fé, where
they particularly abound, and where the people catch them and eat them.
The hind parts it seems are very fat, and they fry them into a sort of
paste or omelette, or, mixed up with sugar, make sweetmeats of them.

They are a sad pest to the agriculturist and a great nuisance when they
get inside the houses. At Buenos Ayres they are very troublesome: I
tried myself every means in vain to get rid of them; their ingenuity
always baffled us; no contrivance could keep anything in the shape
of sweetmeats or dried fruits or such things out of their clutches;
and as to the quantity of sugar they would carry off in a very short
time, it was incredible: we thought to escape them by placing our
stores upon tables, the legs of which were surrounded by water, but
they threw straws and sticks into the water, and so made themselves
bridges to cross by. If we hung them from the ceiling they climbed the
walls and descended by the ropes which suspended them. In our garden
they committed terrible depredations; and in the summer-season it was
always necessary to keep a couple of men constantly employed for the
sole purpose of destroying their nests. We observed that they could not
exist in the sun; so that, if a basin of sugar were half filled with
them, as was constantly the case, by putting it into the sun it was
presently cleared of every one of them.

The Jesuit father Guevara, in his account of Paraguay, speaks of a
species not noticed by Azara, found about Villa Rica, which deposits
upon certain plants small globules of white wax, which the inhabitants
collect to make candles of. The utility they are of in this respect,
he says, in some measure compensates for the damage they do to the
husbandman. Against their depredations, St. Simon and St. Jude, and St.
Bonifacio[53], have been by turns elected in due form to be the special
guardians and protectors of all good Catholics.

Fortunately, however, in those regions where these insects most
abound, an all-wise Providence has also placed a most remarkable
animal--formed, as it would appear, expressly for the purpose of
destroying them and preventing their overrunning the land--the
tamandua, or, as we call it, the ant-bear.

I hardly know any animal which exhibits more striking evidence of
design on the part of the Creator: slow and sluggish in all its
movements, without power of escape, and apparently without the ordinary
means of self-defence, its long trumpet-shaped snout solely formed to
contain the singular prehensory organ with which it is furnished for
the purpose of taking its diminutive prey, being entirely destitute
of anything like the teeth of other animals; it would be speedily
exterminated by the beasts of prey which abound where it is found, were
it not--as if to compensate for these deficiencies--providentially
supplied with strong sharp claws, and such courage and muscular power
to use them, as enables it to defy every assailant. When attacked it
throws itself upon its back, and in that posture will make so desperate
a resistance, that it is a match either for the jaguar or tiger, its
fiercest enemies.

The ants are not the worst plagues in these countries: destructive as
they are, they are not to be compared with the locusts; though, happily
(and indeed were it otherwise, all man's labour would be vain), they
are only occasional visitors. When they do come they lay the land
utterly desolate.

I once witnessed one of their visitations, and, but that I had myself
seen the extent of the devastation caused by them, I certainly would
not have believed it.

They made their appearance at first in a large dense cloud, hovering
high in the air, as if hesitating where to descend. All the shovels
and pots and pans in Buenos Ayres were put in requisition to make
a clatter to affright them, but in vain; down they came, to the
consternation of the owners of every quinta, or garden, in the
neighbourhood of the city. They soon spread for several miles over
the surface of the land, and so thickly that it was like driving
over gravel to go amongst them;--that, I well remember was just my
impression upon going out upon the high road in a carriage whilst they
were on the ground. They had then been at their work of destruction
two or three days, and were for the most part so gorged as to be quite
incapable of moving; in a day or two more they had literally not left
a blade of grass or a green leaf to be seen; some of those that were
not then dying of satiety began to devour one another. This was early
in the year 1826. Though they were always as thick as grasshoppers, I
never saw at Buenos Ayres what was termed a flight of locusts but that
once, in nearly nine years.

It was succeeded a few days afterwards by a flight of small black
beetles, which came down like hail, and were swept up by shovels-full
in our balconies: it was a small insect, about the size of an earwig,
and was said to have the same habits; they worked their way into the
house in great numbers, where they fell into a sort of torpid state, in
which they became an easy prey to the ants, who upon this occasion were
our active allies, and helped us to get rid of them.


To the eastward of Corrientes are the depopulated ruins, all that
remain, of the once famed Missions of the Jesuits, the greater part of
which were situated on the shores of the Paranã and Uruguay, where the
courses of those rivers nearly meet.

When the order was expelled from South America in 1767, there were a
hundred thousand inhabitants in the thirty towns in those parts under
their control. In those situated east of the Paranã, not a thousand
souls remained in 1825, according to an account I received from the
officer who was in command there at that period, and they were I
believe shortly afterwards swept off during the war with Brazil for the
occupation of the Banda Oriental. The other towns beyond the Paranã,
being within the jurisdiction of Paraguay, have fared little better
under Dr. Francia.

This was that _Imperium in imperio_ which once excited the astonishment
of the world and the jealousy of princes: how little cause they had to
be alarmed by it was best proved by the whole fabric falling to pieces
on the removal of a few poor old priests: a more inoffensive community
never existed.

It was an experiment on a vast scale, originated in the purest spirit
of Christianity, to domesticate and render useful hordes of savages
who would otherwise, like the rest of the aborigines, have been
miserably exterminated in war or slavery by the conquerors of the land.
Its remarkable success excited envy and jealousy, and caused a thousand
idle tales to be circulated as to the political views of the Jesuits
in founding such establishments, which unfortunately gained too easy
credence in a credulous age, and contributed, there is no doubt, to
hasten the downfall of their order.

Their real crime, if crime it was, was the possession of that moral
power and influence which was the natural consequence of their
surpassing knowledge and wisdom in the times in which they lived.

With respect to their Missions in South America, nothing could be more
inconsistent than the allegations made against them:--whilst accused,
on the one hand, of aiming at the establishment of a powerful and
independent supremacy, they were, on the other, at the same time,
reproached with having systematically kept the Indians in a state of
infantine tutelage.

What would have been the consequences of the opposite system? How long
would the Spanish rule in those countries have lasted had the Jesuits
trained up a hundred thousand of the proper owners of the soil in any
practical knowledge of the rights of man? How long would the Jesuits
themselves have preserved their influence with them?

The Indians loved the Jesuits, and looked to them as to their
fathers, and great were their lamentations when they were taken from
them, and replaced by the unprincipled Franciscan friars sent to them
by Bucareli, the Captain General of Buenos Ayres:--the following
memorials, addressed to him from the Missions of San Luis and Martires,
will serve to throw some light on the true feelings of the people with
regard to their old and new pastors.

I have given a copy of one of the originals in Guarani in the Appendix,
as a specimen of a language, which, of all the native tongues, was,
perhaps, the most diffused in South America, and which, to this day,
may be traced from the Paranã to the Amazons:--

No. I.

    _Translation of a Memorial addressed by the people of the
        Mission of San Luis to the Governor of Buenos Ayres,
        praying that the Jesuits may remain with them instead of
        the Friars sent to replace them._

                              (J. H. S.)

"God preserve your Excellency, say we, the Cabildo, and all the
Caciques and Indians, men, women, and children, of San Luis, as your
Excellency is our father. The Corregidor Santiago Pindo and Don
Pantaleon Cayuari, in their love for us, have written to us for certain
birds which they desire we will send them for the King:--we are very
sorry not to have them to send, inasmuch as they live where God made
them--in the forests,--and fly far away from us, so that we cannot
catch them.

"Withal we are the vassals of God and of the King, and always desirous
to fulfil the wishes of his ministers in what they desire of us. Have
we not been three times as far as Colonia with our aid!--and do we not
labour in order to pay tribute!--and now we pray to God that that best
of birds--the Holy Ghost--may descend upon the King, and enlighten him,
and may the Holy Angel preserve him!

"So, confiding in your Excellency, Señor Governor, our proper father,
with all humility, and with tears, we beg that the Sons of St.
Ignatius, the Fathers of the Society of Jesus, may continue to live
with us and remain always amongst us. This we beg your Excellency
to supplicate of the King for us for the love of God:--all this
people,--men, women, and young persons, and especially the poor,--pray
for the same with tears in their eyes.

"As for the friars and priests sent to replace them, we love them not.
The Apostle St. Thomas, the minister of God, so taught our forefathers
in these same parts,--for these friars and priests have no care for us.
The Sons of San Ignatius, yes,--they, from the very first, took care of
our forefathers, and taught them, and baptized them, and preserved them
for God and the King:--but for these friars and priests, in no manner
do we wish for them.

"The Fathers of the Society of Jesus know how to bear with our
weaknesses, and we were happy under them for God's sake and the
King's:--if your Excellency, good Señor Governor, will listen to our
prayer, and grant our request, we will pay larger tribute in the _yerba

"We are not slaves, and we desire to say that the Spanish custom is
not to our liking,--for every one to take care of himself, instead of
assisting one another in their daily labours.[55] This is the plain
truth which we say to your Excellency, that it may be attended to:--if
it is not, this people, like the rest, will be lost. This to your
Excellency, to the King, and to God,--we shall go to the Devil!--and at
the hour of our death where will be our help?

"Our children, who are in the country and in the towns, when they
return and find not the Sons of San Ignatius, will flee away to the
deserts and to the forests to do evil. Already it would seem that the
people of San Joaquim, San Estanislaus, San Ferdinand, and Tymbo, are
lost,--we know it well, and we say so to your Excellency:--neither can
the Cabildos ever restore these people for God and the King as they

"So, good Governor, grant us what we ask,--and may God help and keep
you. This is what we say in the name of the people of San Luis, this
28th of February, 1768.

                 "Your humble servants and children."
             (Signed by the members of the municipality.)

No. II.

    _Complaint of the people of Martires of the conduct of the
        priests sent to them after the expulsion of the Jesuits._

                              (J. H. S.)

  "To our most excellent Governor:--

"Blessed and praised be the holy sacrament! God our Lord grant you a
long life and health on earth, and happiness hereafter in heaven. So
we pray him,--we, the Corregidor, Cabildo, and Caciques of the people
of the Holy Martyrs,--who, casting ourselves with all humility at your
feet, give praises to God and to our King, and to you, Señor Governor,
for having come by his command, as his deputy, amongst us.

"Holding you in the highest reverence, we make known to you that all
this people are perfectly obedient to the orders of our Catholic King,
trying to esteem and respect the spiritual pastors sent to us, in
nothing failing in our duties towards them, with all due respect, as
they are the ministers of God.

"But, although this is our behaviour, they are not satisfied with
us:--for two or three days they were pleased with our humility, and no

"It has happened that the Corregidor, wishing to execute the orders
of the Governor, the Curate has said,--'This man wrongs you:--in
what light do you look upon his authority compared with that of your
priests? The King himself is only a superior governor, and shall be
food for the worms, and nothing more:--I fear no one.' Saying so he
ordered fifty stripes to be given to an Indian; and a poor woman he
ordered to be tied to a post, and flogged. He goes about with a stick
in his hand to beat us, and a few days past he punished an Indian with
blows in the church itself, before all the people:--another he beat in
the square, saying,--'If I kill him I shall do no great harm.'

"The Administrator alone sometimes protects us from these punishments,
saying to him, with proper respect,--'Father, you have no business to
interfere in temporal matters,'--and for this he is not well with him.
This officer endeavours to observe the commands of God and of the King
for the good of this people, and in nothing have we to complain of him.
He helps us on all occasions, and much we stand in need of it, Señor

"But God and the King have appointed you for our comfort, and so we
make known to you our difficulties. We are fearful lest the people
should lose their obedience and respect for the King's orders, when
they hear the priests call the mandates of the King, and of his
Governor, words of no consequence:--and so for your guidance we tell
you the truth, which God knows, and is testified to by all this
people. Santos Martires, 16th April, 1768."

                                           (Signed by the Cabildo, &c.)

Bucareli, on receipt of the first of these simple documents, sent
it to Spain, with the ridiculous announcement that he considered it
as the forerunner of a rising in favour of the Jesuits, and had, in
consequence, ordered a chosen body of troops to proceed immediately
from Paraguay and Corrientes to the neighbourhood of the Missions to
be in readiness to put down the expected insurrection: thither too he
proceeded himself to take the field in person against the rebels.

He found them not in arms but in tears:--the Jesuits, though he
could not believe it, had brought up the Indians in obedience, and
in the love of their King as well as of God,--and, having said their
say, they resigned themselves submissively to the orders of their
newly-appointed superiors,--giving thanks to the King for having sent a
personage of such importance as Bucareli to take care of them. Bucareli
met, in fact, with not the slightest opposition from the Indians, in
substituting his own system of administration for that of the Jesuits,
which he had been amongst the foremost to find fault with.

The efficacy of his own measures may be judged by their result:--he
sent them civil governors, and appointed Franciscan friars for their
spiritual pastors:--the misrule of the first, and the little respect
inspired by the latter, compared with the uniformly exemplary lives
of their predecessors, brought about in little more than a quarter of
a century, the entire ruin and depopulation of these once happy and
prosperous communities. The Indians, as they themselves predicted in
their letter to him, when there was no longer sufficient wisdom in
their governors to prevent it, were lost both to God and the King.

In saying this I do not pretend to dispute that the institutions of
the Jesuits were not, in many points, defective, like all others of
man's creation; they were, however, framed under very remarkable and
novel circumstances, for which great allowances must be made in any
comparison of them with the social systems of Europe; if we look at the
good they did, rather than for the evil which they did not, we shall
find that, in the course of about a century and a half, upwards of a
million of Indians were made Christians by them, and taught to be happy
and contented under the mild and peaceful rule of their enlightened and
admirable pastors,--a blessed lot compared with the savage condition of
the unreclaimed tribes around them.


strictly speaking, has no place in this book, being, as it is for the
present, a distinct and separate Republic; but, like the Missions, it
is impossible to pass so near it without some allusion to its former
prosperity, and to its present very singular condition under the
despotic rule of Dr. Francia.

It was in Paraguay that the first conquerors of the country fixed their
abode and the seat of their government:--it was there also, attracted
by the same inducements of a genial clime and a profusion of natural
productions to satisfy all man's wants, that the Jesuit fathers laid
the original foundations of their celebrated establishments just spoken
of. Its population, before it ceased to be a province subject to the
government of Buenos Ayres, was estimated at 200,000 souls, and the
yearly value of its surplus produce, exported for consumption to Buenos
Ayres and the interior provinces, fell little short of a million and a
half of dollars. Eight millions of pounds of Paraguay tea were annually
sent to Santa Fé and Buenos Ayres, besides a million of pounds of
tobacco, large quantities of timber for every purpose, cotton, sugar,
molasses, spirits, and a variety of other articles.

The yerba-maté, or tea, which forms the principal article in the list,
is as much in general use and demand throughout all the provinces of
La Plata, Chile, and many parts of Peru, as the teas of China are in
Europe. The plant which produces it (the _Ilex Paraguayensis_) is an
evergreen about the size of an orange-tree, which grows wild and in
great abundance in the dense forests in the northern and eastern parts
of the province, whither the people repair yearly in numerous gangs
to collect it. The difficulties of penetrating the woods to reach the
yerbales, as they are called, are considerable, but they are amply
repaid by the certain profits of the adventure. The whole process of
preparing and packing it for market is performed on the spot. The
tender branches and twigs, being selected, are roasted quickly over a
fire till the leaves are crisp; and then, after being partially crushed
or pounded, are rammed into hide bags, called serrons, containing 200
lbs. each, which, when sown up, are ready for sale.

The Jesuits cultivated the plant, of which there are three species,
in their Missions; and by attention produced a better quality of tea,
called _caa-mini_, than that from the wild plant collected in the woods.

From the practice of reducing the leaf nearly to dust probably
originated the general custom in South America of sucking the infusion
when made through a tube, at one end of which is a strainer, which
prevents the small particles of the tea-leaves from getting into the
mouth: it is usually made very strong, very hot, and very sweet with
sugar; its properties seem to be much the same as those of the China
tea. The Spaniards learned to use it from the Guarani Indians.

When the Viceroy's power was overthrown in 1810, the province of
Paraguay refused to acknowledge the central government set up at Buenos
Ayres to succeed him, and an army was in consequence sent to reduce
it to obedience; but the Paraguay troops defeated the Buenos Ayrean
general, Belgrano, who was glad to capitulate, and be permitted to
return whence he came. Emboldened by this success, which gave them an
idea of their own consequence beyond any they had before entertained,
they proceeded at once to assert their absolute independence, not only
of Buenos Ayres, but of the mother country, and to declare Paraguay a
free and sovereign state, a step beyond any at that time contemplated,
perhaps even by the rulers of Buenos Ayres themselves, who, though
self-elected, continued to act in the King's name up to 1816, the date
of their declaration of independence at Tucuman.

This proclamation of the independence of Paraguay was followed in the
first instance by the setting up of a triumvirate government, of which
Francia was the secretary, and soon became the secret mover of the
whole machine. A sort of Mephistopheles, he was not long ere he set the
members of the government by the ears, and by his intrigues brought
about their resignation.

Then came the convocation of a general assembly of deputies from all
the towns and villages of the province, to consider what was to be done
under the circumstances. By these poor ignorant people thus dragged
from their homes, Francia, a person in authority, a lawyer, or learned
man,--for the terms are synonymous in the language of Paraguay,--living
like an ascetic, and affecting a sort of cabalistical knowledge, was
looked upon with a kind of reverential awe, as a person of wonderful
acquirements and sagacity, whose opinions were eagerly sought to guide
them in the weighty matters they were called upon to discuss, whilst on
his own part he was not behindhand in maturing his plans and securing
his influence.

When the Congress met he laid before it the following project for a
government, which, as he anticipated, was regarded as the _ne plus
ultra_ of wisdom, and was adopted by acclamation (_por acclamacion_).
I give the document entire, not only because it has never before
appeared in English, but as the best evidence of the low cunning of
the projector, and of the extreme simplicity and subserviency of those
who adopted it, believing all the time that they were a free and
independent people.

    _Plan for a Constitution proposed by Dr. Francia to the General
        Congress of Paraguay, and adopted by acclamation._

"ARTICLE I.--The two citizens Don Fulencio Yegros and Don José Gaspar
de Francia shall alone constitute the government, with the title of
'Consuls of the Republic of Paraguay.' They shall have the rank and
honours of Brigadier-Generals, and their commissions as such shall be
signed by the President of this Congress.

"Art. II.--They shall wear, as the insignia of their Consular dignity,
a hat bound with blue, and the tri-coloured scarf of the Republic. They
shall have the like and equal jurisdiction and authority, which they
shall exercise uniformly and conjointly. In consequence, all acts of
the Government shall be signed by both.

"Art. III.--Their first duty shall be the preservation, security, and
defence of the Republic, with all the vigilance, judgment, and activity
required under existing circumstances.

"Art. IV.--There shall henceforward be no Presidency.

"Art. V.--All the forces of the Province shall be under the joint
command in chief of the two Consuls.

"Art. VI.--Nevertheless, all the active and effective troops of every
grade, as well as all the arms and ammunition, shall be equally
divided, and placed at the disposal, half and half, of each Consul, and
each shall have his own separate barracks and magazines under his own

"Art. VII.--There shall be two battalions of infantry, each to consist
of three or four companies for the present, or of more if necessary; so
that each Consul shall have his separate battalion, of which he shall
be the chief and commandant exclusively: he shall also have the command
of one of the two companies of artillery; Consul Yegros shall command
the first, and Consul Francia the second; the latter shall form his own
battalion, towards which he shall be at liberty to take the fifth part
of that commanded by Consul Yegros.

"Art. VIII.--The officers and men of these corps shall be approved
of by their respective Chiefs, the said Consuls; but all officers'
commissions shall be signed by both jointly, though they may be
proposed by their own commanders respectively: in like manner, if it
should be necessary to try them for any offence, it shall be before the
two Consuls jointly.

"Art. IX.--The Consuls shall preside over the tribunals in turn for
four months at a time each, with the title of 'Consul in Turn,' and not
'Consul Presiding,' lest that designation should give rise to mistakes.
Consul Francia shall take the first turn, and in all cases, when the
turn comes round, a notice of it, signed by both, shall be inserted in
a book, and sent to the Cabildo of the city for their information.

"Art. X.--A chamber shall be set apart in the Government House for the
Tribunal of the Consuls: it shall be open during the hours of office,
and its forms shall be regulated by the Consul in Turn for the time

"Art. XI.--The Secretary shall take cognisance of such cases on which
doubts may arise, and which are not hereby provided for.

"Art. XII.--It is left to the will and prudence of the two Consuls
to regulate by common accord all that may be requisite for the due
despatch of the business of the State, in all its branches; as well
as to appoint one or, if necessary, two secretaries; also to create a
superior tribunal of appeal, to determine, according to law, as a Court
of Last Resort, such cases as it may be necessary to refer to it.

"Art XIII.--If either of the two Consuls should die or resign, the
other shall proceed within a month to call together the General
Congress of the Province, which shall consist of _one thousand
Deputies_, chosen, like the present, by popular election; and it shall
be a fundamental, general, perpetual, and invariable law and rule, that
henceforward such General Congress of the Province shall assemble every
year, convoked in the same manner, and to consist of the aforesaid
number of one thousand representatives; and the day for their meeting
shall always be on the 15th of October: and the necessary convocation
and summonses shall be issued in consequence by the middle of every
month of September, in order that the Province may duly, and at least
once a year, meet as a free and sovereign people, to deliberate on what
may be most conducive to the general good, to improve, if necessary,
its government, to provide remedies for abuses, and to take all such
measures as may be suggested by the wisdom of experience.

"Art. XIV.--These rules shall be observed until altered by any future
Congress, and shall be copied into the Book of the Resolutions of

"Art. XV.--The Consuls shall immediately appear before the present
Sovereign Congress to swear to observe faithfully, and to cause to be
observed, these rules and regulations. The same oath shall be also
forthwith administered by their order to all the officers of the
troops, and by the officers to the soldiers, whereof a proper record
shall be inserted in the archives of the Congress; and whoever shall
refuse to take the said oath shall be dismissed the service, and
punished as though he had broken it.

"Art. XVI.--The Province adopts the forms, as well as the number of
Representatives assembled in the actual Congress, and the Government
shall make no change in either one or the other.

                                     "_Done and Signed at Assumption,
                                       the 12th October, 1813._"

Francia, having thus obtained one-half the power he aimed at, was not
long ere he secured the other. When the thousand deputies met, in
virtue of the 13th article of the Constitution, it was intimated to
them that the substitution of one Governor for a pair of Consuls would
be a great improvement; and Don Gaspar was, as a matter of course,
elected sole Dictator, of the Republic of Paraguay.

His nomination in the first instance was for three years; at the
expiration of which time he took care to have his power confirmed for
life. The Deputies who passed this act, in their simplicity, returned
to their homes exulting in an arrangement whereby they were saved all
further trouble, whilst the tyrant they had set up commenced a reign
which, for systematic selfishness, cruelty, and unrestrained despotism,
is almost unparalleled in the history of any country.

His first object, as may be supposed, was to put down all opposition;
and this he did by imprisoning, banishing, or putting to death every
individual of wealth or influence who could in any way interfere with
him in the exercise of his despotic sway:--his spies were in every
house, the most trivial expression of dissatisfaction was construed
into treason, and ere long no man dared to speak to his neighbour for
fear of being denounced: thus he silenced by terror all opposition from
within; and, lest any should be attempted from without, he proceeded to
restrict the communication with the adjoining provinces, and at last to
establish a system of non-intercourse which for nearly twenty years he
has rigorously enforced, and will doubtless continue to do so as long
as he lives. The only trade, if trade it can be called, which of late
years has been carried on, has been upon his own account, and such as
has been necessary to further his own policy of habituating the lower
classes to look to him, and to him only, for the supply of all their
wants. His mode of managing this business is as singular as all the
rest of his proceedings. When he wants an assortment of foreign goods,
a permit is sent over to the adjoining province of Corrientes for a
vessel to proceed to the opposite port of Nembucú; on her arrival
there, the invoice of the cargo is immediately forwarded to him at
Assumption, from which, after selecting such articles as he requires,
he orders a quantity of yerba-maté to be put on board in payment. There
is no appeal from his own valuation: no one is allowed to go on shore,
and the ship is sent back as soon as the yerba is delivered:--the
article itself is in such demand, from his having stopped the trade
in it, that the people of Corrientes are glad to get it upon his own
terms. He is the owner of several shops or stores, in Assumption, from
which the goods are afterwards retailed, by his permission, to those
who may stand in need of them.

In the same manner for a short period he allowed a peddling traffic to
be carried on between the Brazilian Missions beyond the river Uruguay
and the port of Ytapua, opposite to Candelaria, but that he altogether
stopped about ten years ago.

His revenue chiefly arises from properties confiscated by his own
arbitrary judgments, and from tithes in kind upon all articles of
produce, the right to levy which is yearly sold by the government to
the best bidder in each department; the contractors generally underlet
them to others, and they are in consequence rigorously exacted.[56] The
principal expenditure is in the maintenance of a large militia force,
in which every person capable of bearing arms is enrolled and called
upon to do duty in turn. Francia is of course commander-in-chief of the
army, as he is the head of the church, the law, and every other branch
of the administration.

When I arrived in the River Plate, in 1824, I found that many British
subjects had been for several years detained in Paraguay by this
monster against their will; and it became my duty in consequence to
make a representation to him upon the subject, and to apply for their
liberation. This I was fortunate enough to obtain, together with the
release of many other Europeans, whom, that it should not appear that
he was granting any special favour to the English, he allowed at the
same time to depart; amongst the rest Messrs. Rengger and Longchamps,
two Swiss gentlemen, who have since published a highly-interesting
account of their detention, and of the state of the country.[57]

He made, however, an exception of M. Bompland, the well-known companion
of Baron Humboldt, whom he had some years before caused to be seized
and carried off by an armed force, sent across the Paranã for the
purpose, whilst engaged in his own inoffensive pursuits in the province
of Corrientes. As there was no accredited French agent at Buenos
Ayres at the time, I took upon myself to make another application to
Francia, specially in favour of an individual in whose fate I could
justly say that all the scientific world was interested; and I further
offered to guarantee the fulfilment of any promise M. Bompland might
himself choose to make, in case of his liberation, to return at once
to Europe. I wrote in the same sense to M. Bompland, and enclosed my
letter, open, to the Dictator, to forward to its destination if he
approved of it. But, instead of doing so, he returned it to me, with a
rude intimation that that must close our correspondence.[58]

I believe he was disappointed at finding that I could not concur with
him in his notion of opening a direct trade between Great Britain and
Paraguay, on which it appeared he had long set his heart, the rather
as he expected thereby to be able to show to his own subjects his
independence of his neighbours, and especially of the Buenos Ayreans.

That so extraordinary a state of things should so long have existed
is I believe entirely to be ascribed to the miserable weakness of the
adjoining provinces, which, had they been able to make the slightest
combined effort, might long ago have put an end to the tyrannical rule
of this crazy old despot. Nature will probably do this ere long, when
it may be expected that Paraguay will once more join the confederation
of her sister provinces.


[53] The same saints are invoked to keep down the rats--another
plague of these countries--attracted, no doubt, by the smell of beef
everywhere, as they are in the _abattoirs_ of Paris. The eleven
thousand Virgins were the guardian angels against the locusts.

[54] The best sort of tea, in which the Indians paid their annual
tribute to the Crown.

[55] The Indians, under the system of the Jesuits, had been accustomed
to work _in community_ for a common stock, out of which all the wants
of every individual were regularly and adequately provided for.

[56] A commutation of these tithes for a fixed revenue was agreed upon
between the church and the municipal government of Assumption at an
early period of the Spanish rule in that country.

[57] The Reign of Don Gaspar de Francia in Paraguay, being an account
of a six years' residence in that Republic, by Messrs. Rengger and
Longchamps, translated, 1827.

[58] M. Bompland has since obtained his liberty, after a detention of
nine years.




    CORDOVA. Government. Pastoral Habits of the People.
        Productions. LA RIOJA. Population, &c. Famatina Mines.
        Evils arising from the present subdivision of the
        Provincial Governments. SANTIAGO DEL ESTERO. The Sandy
        Desert or Traversia. Quichua Language. Productions, &c.
        The Salado navigable to the Paranã. The Chaco. Mass of
        native Iron found there. Theory of its Meteoric Origin
        questionable. Account of the native Iron from Atacama.
        TUCUMAN. Delightful Climate. Mines--little worked. Richness
        of the Vegetation. Declaration of Independence of the
        Provinces made there in 1816. CATAMARCA. Population, &c.
        Original Inhabitants--their long Wars with the Spaniards.
        SALTA. Divisions, Population, Government, Climate, Rivers.
        The Vermejo, and its Affluents from Tarija and Jujuy.
        Valuable Productions of this Province. Labour of the Mataco
        Indians obtainable, and preferable to that of Europeans in
        such Latitudes. Importance of inland Steam Navigation urged.

In proceeding now to give such information as I have been able to
collect respecting the state of the provinces on the road to Peru, and
to the westward of it, I shall take them in their geographical order,
although it may be as well to observe that they were not, as may be
supposed, originally conquered and settled by the discoverers of the
Rio de la Plata. Those adventurers, following the course of the river
Paraguay, reduced to subjection the warlike tribes they found upon its
shores, and, navigating its higher branches, after incredible hardships
and many valiant deeds, succeeded in opening a communication with their
countrymen in Peru; but they made no attempt to possess themselves of
the vast extent of country lying to the westward of them.

The discovery of those regions was reserved for the followers of
Almagro, who, after the conquest of Peru, marched southward to take
possession of Chile, in fulfilment of his agreement with Pizarro;
and his successors laid claim to them as part of the jurisdiction
originally allotted to him in virtue of that agreement--a pretension
which gave rise to many contentions amongst the chiefs who first
established themselves in those parts; nor were they put an end to
until, by the king's authority, these settlements, comprising Tucuman,
Santiago del Estero, the towns in the valley of Catamarca, and many
others since destroyed, were erected into a distinct and separate
province called Tucuman, from the chief of the Calchaqui tribes which
inhabited them. This was in 1563, some years before the existence of
Buenos Ayres. Nor was it indeed till nearly half a century after De
Garay had founded his settlement there that they became politically
connected, and were united under one and the same government.


The province of Cordova, after that of Buenos Ayres, is the most
important of the Union. According to a census taken in 1822-23, the
population then amounted to something more than 85,000 souls, of which
from 12,000 to 14,000 lived in the city.

It is ruled by a governor, who is elective by a provincial junta
occasionally convoked, and whose power is almost arbitrary; he has the
command of all the forces and militia of the province, and has the
power of reversing, on appeal, all decisions of the tribunals.

It is bounded by the province of Santiago del Estero to the north, and
Santa Fé to the east, and on the western side by the mountain-ranges
generally known as the Sierra de Cordova. From these ranges descend
many rivers and streams which irrigate and fertilise the plains below;
amongst which may be enumerated the Rio San Miguel, the Tortoral, the
Carnero, the Primero, Segundo, Tercero, Quarto, and Quinto: of these
the Tercero is the only one which reaches the Paranã; all the rest are
lost in the flat intervening plains. It has been ascertained that very
little is requisite to render the Tercero navigable for boats from the
Paranã to within about thirty leagues of the city, whereby a water
communication might be opened, which would save much of the present
expensive and tedious land carriage of the productions not only of
Cordova, but of the provinces of Cuyo, to Buenos Ayres.

The perpetual irrigation of so many streams gives rise to a constant
supply of excellent pasturage for cattle and sheep, the facility of
rearing which may in some measure account for the preference evinced
by the people for pastoral over agricultural pursuits. These habits
occasion the country population to be much scattered: they congregate
but little in the towns; and the principal places after the capital,
Conception, Ranchos, and Carlotta, are at the best but wretched

In travelling from Buenos Ayres after passing the post of Frayle Muerto
on the river Tercero, the aspect of the country begins to change:
it becomes undulated, and at last there is an end of the monotonous
scenery of the Pampas, throughout which not a tree is to be seen save
the solitary Umbú, standing like a giant land-mark in the boundless

The traveler's eye is relieved by the appearance of woods and forests
which become more dense as the Sierra is approached. The trees are for
the most part varieties of the mimosa family, thickly set with thorns;
and so marked is this peculiarity in those parts, that I recollect a
gentleman from Cordova who came to Buenos Ayres whilst I was there,
expressing something more than common surprise at finding that the
greater part of the trees which grew in the gardens about the city, and
which were probably chiefly of European origin, were not covered with
thorns like those of his own province.

The palm-tree is scattered over the valleys in the northern part of the
province, and on the road to Santiago del Estero; and it is the land of
the aloe and cactus in every variety.

The city which gives its name to the province was founded by the
conquerors of Tucuman in 1573; it is situated in lat. 31° 26´ 14",[59]
long. from Ferro, 314° 36´ 45", in a pleasant valley upon the banks of
the river Primero, sheltered from the north and south winds, which,
in the more exposed parts of the province blowing alternately hot and
cold, produce great and sudden variations in the atmosphere, very
trying to the constitutions of the inhabitants.

By the post-road it is 172 leagues distant from Buenos Ayres.

It is related that for many years after its foundation, the inhabitants
were subjected to much inconvenience from the occasional overflowings
of a lake in the neighbouring hills, until an earthquake swallowed up
its waters, and drained it apparently for ever. Much damage, however,
is still done by the mountain-torrents which descend from the Sierra
in the rainy season, and have made it necessary to build strong walls
to save the city from being occasionally inundated.

Limestone and timber being to be had in the immediate neighbourhood,
the houses are generally better built than in other towns in the

Cordova contains many churches, and is the seat of a university, at
which, in the time of the Old Spaniards, most of the better classes
from all parts of the Vice-Royalty received their education: it was
under the management of the Jesuits, to whom this city owes much of its
importance. It was here they had their principal college (the Colegio
Maximo); and they held large possessions in the neighbourhood, from
whence they derived considerable revenues, the greater part of which
were spent in the foundation and embellishment of the churches, and in
other pious establishments. Here also they had a celebrated library,
rich in manuscript records of their Missions and labours amongst the
Indians, which upon their expulsion was sent to Buenos Ayres. The
printed books formed the nucleus of the present public library in that
city; but the greater part of the manuscripts, and amongst the rest
an unpublished portion of Father Guevara's History, have never since
been seen: they were probably, either sent to Spain or destroyed by
Bucareli, who was charged with the expulsion of the Order; a duty which
he fulfilled with a harshness and illiberality never to be forgotten in
a country which owes all it possesses in the shape of civilization, to
the indefatigable zeal and enlightened spirit of that community.

Out of their confiscated property the university of Buenos Ayres was
subsequently founded; and being more conveniently situated for the
rising generation, it has in proportion diminished the importance of
that of Cordova, which, though still kept up, has dwindled to the scale
of a provincial school.

From the year 1699 Cordova was also the residence of a bishop (removed
from Tucuman), but the see has been vacant since the first years of the

The effects of the preponderating influence of the monastic
establishments are still visible in the habits of the generality of
the people; and though the ladies are not all nuns, their manners are
a vast deal more reserved than those either of the capital or of the
other principal provincial towns. As an instance of this, a fair lady
of Buenos Ayres told me she had caused no little scandal whist on a
visit to some of her Cordova relations, by insisting on dancing at
a ball with a male partner, instead of with one of her own sex, an
innovation which greatly horrified the mamas. Captain Andrews, too,
has given a lively account of the alarm he unwittingly occasioned
by a like breach of decorum in offering his arm to a young lady on
going to dinner. These scruples, however, have I believe, since been
much modified, and I am told that ladies and gentlemen now dance
country-dances together at Cordova, much as they do in other parts of
the world, in spite of the fears of the mamas and the frowns of the

Living is very cheap and provisions abundant, the wants of the people
few, and their hospitality unbounded; their kindness, indeed, to
strangers, is spoken of by all who have been amongst them.

Cordova at present forms a sort of centre of communication between the
Upper Provinces and Buenos Ayres. Its own produce, consisting chiefly
of hides and wool, is all sent to the capital, whence it receives
European manufactured goods in exchange.

If steam navigation were established on the Paranã between Buenos
Ayres and Santa Fé, Cordova, as well as the provinces further north,
would share in its advantages, and would be more easily supplied
through Santa Fé, by the road which runs nearly in a direct line
between the two cities; whilst the shorter line of communication thus
opened between the provinces of Cuyo and those on the Paranã, passing
necessarily through Cordova, would fully compensate to the people
of that place for any loss they might sustain in consequence of the
transit trade from Buenos Ayres to the Upper Provinces being turned in
another direction.

The people of Cordova and Santa Fé would also once more have a joint
interest in checking the inroads of the Indians from the Chaco, and by
a better combination of their joint means might be enabled to protect
their frontiers more effectually and perhaps at less expense than
either province is now at for the maintenance of the militia which is
requisite for its separate defence.

Cordova, owing to the miserable weakness of the adjoining governments
of both Santa Fé and San Luis, is obliged at present to support a large
armed force to protect her frontiers, not only from the savages of the
Chaco, but from those of the Pampas.


To the west of the province of Cordova, across the Sierra, lies La
Rioja, formerly a dependency of that government, but now dignified with
the title of an independent province, divided into four departments,
viz., Arauco, Guandacol, the Llaños, and Famatina. It is nominally
under the rule of a governor and a municipal junta of five members.
The city from which it takes its name was founded in 1591, at the foot
of the Sierra de Velasco, a granitic range, and is situated, according
to a MS. in my possession, in latitude 29° 12´, though I know not
upon whose authority. In 1824 the population did not amount to more
than 3500 souls, though the whole province may contain from 18,000 to
20,000. Arauco, which is the most northern department, contains about
3000, chiefly occupied in the cultivation of vineyards, from which they
make 8000 or 10,000 small barrels annually, of a strong sweet wine,
which is sent to Cordova and the neighbouring provinces.

Guandacol, which lies to the westward, beyond the range of Famatina,
and along the base of the Cordillera of Chile, contains about 1500
inhabitants,--chiefly congregated in the towns of Guandacol and
Vinchina. They are employed in agriculture, and, at a particular
season, in hunting the vicuñas in the Cordillera, the wool of which
forms a valuable article of trade:--the flesh is an article of food.

The Llaños, which lie to the south of La Rioja, constitute a rich
grazing district, in which about 20,000 head of cattle are annually
bred. The inhabitants are calculated to be about 6000.

The department of Famatina, of which Chilecito is the principal place,
lies to the west of La Rioja; it contains 5000 or 6000 inhabitants,
who, like those of Arauco, are much engaged in the cultivation of their
vineyards, from which they make 6000 or 8000 barrels of wine yearly.
It takes its name from the famous mineral range of Famatina, distant
from La Rioja about thirty leagues:--this range is described to extend
for fifty leagues; in the centre is the Nevado, a lofty peak covered
with perpetual snow,--its geological formation is chiefly gneiss and
clay-slate; but it is specially celebrated for the richness of its
silver ores, which are said to surpass in intrinsic value those of
Potosi,--the extreme remoteness and inclemency of their situation,
however, accessible only by rugged and difficult mountain paths,
has been a constant bar to their being worked to any extent, and as
yet they may be said to be only superficially known: nevertheless
a mint was established at La Rioja, at which some gold and silver
coins have been struck; and, in 1824 and 1825, during the rage for
mining speculations in South America, companies were formed for the
working of those of Famatina:--those schemes, however, only ended
in disappointment to all concerned in them, not from any scarcity,
I believe, of the precious metals, but from miscalculations and
mismanagement, and an entire ignorance of the political state of the
country. In such remote parts it has been but too sadly proved how
little foreigners can calculate upon any effectual protection either
for their property or their persons. It is idle to talk of contracts
or title-deeds where the only real law is the will of some petty
despot, whose necessities or interests, direct or indirect, will always
overrule all other considerations. That such should be the state of La
Rioja is not surprising, when its geographical position is considered,
which cuts it off from almost all intercourse with the more civilised
parts of the republic. The roads which lead to it, if roads they can
be called, which are hardly passable by mules, are as bad as they can
be, whilst the distances by these circuitous paths to the nearest of
the other provincial towns are enormous. From La Rioja to Cordova it is
114 leagues, to Mendoza 159, and to Buenos Ayres by the nearest beaten
route 287. To Guasco or Copiapo, the nearest towns in Chile, the length
of the route by the Cordillera of Guandacol is 130 leagues:--this pass
is said to be easy of transit, and has been often used to convey goods
across the Cordillera from Chile, when the communication with Buenos
Ayres has been closed.

The people, as might be expected, are in a lamentable state of
ignorance. The governor himself, in sending me an account of his
province, confessed that the only school in it was one established in
the town of La Rioja, where the instruction was entirely limited to
reading and writing, and that, for want of support, was often closed.

If the establishment of the present federal system be found of any real
advantage, or gratifying to the ambition of some other provinces, the
local situation and means of which may induce them to look forward with
any confidence to improving their social condition; on the other hand
I fear it must be fatal to those which, like La Rioja, are necessarily
thrown by it upon resources which are palpably inadequate either to
ensure them any tolerably efficient government for the present, or
any likelihood of an improvement in their condition hereafter. It
seems to me that the only means of saving them from lapsing into a
state of semi-barbarism is to make them, as before, dependencies of
their more powerful neighbours:--nor would they alone benefit by such
an arrangement; a concentration of the Republic into half-a-dozen
instead of twice the number of provincial governments (as was
originally contemplated when it was divided into provinces in 1813 and
1814), would render each in itself infinitely more respectable, and
better able to maintain its own independence, whilst it would vastly
facilitate the management of all their national interests and affairs
by the government of Buenos Ayres.

The provinces to the north of Cordova and La Rioja originally formed
only two governments, according to the division established by the
National Congress in 1814:--that of Tucuman, which included Santiago
del Estero and Catamarca; and that of Salta with Jujuy, Oran, and
Tarija; but these have since subdivided themselves, and instead of
two now form five distinct governments,--viz., Santiago, Tucuman,
Catamarca, Salta, and Tarija,--the latter of which has become united to
Bolivia: of the others, the first, after leaving Cordova, is Santiago
del Estero.


The distance from the city of Cordova to that of Santiago del Estero
is 110 leagues by the post-road. Portezuela is the first station
beyond the jurisdiction of Cordova, shortly after which commences what
is called the Travesia, a vast sandy zone thirty to forty leagues in
breadth, for the most part covered with a saline efflorescence, and
producing a salsola, from the ashes of which the inhabitants extract
soda. It borders the Sierra de Cordova to the north, and extends west
as far as La Rioja, running southward nearly to San Luis. In this arid
district the sultry heat of the north wind, which is very prevalent in
the summer season, is almost insufferable.

My intelligent correspondent Dr. Redhead, who has lived for more
than a quarter of a century in the upper provinces, and to whom I am
indebted for some of the most valuable of my information respecting
them, speaking of its geological appearance, observes in one of his
letters how forcibly he had been led to conjecture that the southern
part of the province of Santiago must once have been a sea-coast. "Its
sandy hillocks, he says, always reminded him of those on the shores
of Flanders:"--certain it is, that throughout the whole extent of
this sandy zone, from Ambargasta to Noria, the level of the country
becomes very much depressed, and falls very nearly to that of Buenos
Ayres; thus in the very heart of the continent, at a distance of 700
miles direct from the sea, we have a considerable tract of land hardly
elevated above its immediate shores.

The following table of barometrical observations, taken by Dr. Redhead,
will not only show the variations in the height of the country
intervening between Buenos Ayres and Santiago, but also of that to the
northward, along the high road, as far as Tupiza in Peru:--

Barometrical Observations, made on the road from Buenos Ayres to
Potosi, by Dr. Redhead:--

  |Distance |                     |         |       |        |       |
  |from one |                     |         |       |        |       |
  |place to |                     |         |       |        |       |
  |another  |Point of Observation |Barometer|Thermo-|  Date  |  Hour |
  |         |                     |         | meter |        |       |
  |Post     |                     |         |       |        |       |
  |leagues  |                     |         |       |        |       |
  |   134   |Rio Tercero from }   |         |       |        |       |
  |         |  Buenos Ayres   }   |  28·945 |   86  |Feb. 11 |11 a.m.|
  |     3   |Cordova              |  28·400 |   86  |     20 | 4 p.m.|
  |    14   |Sin-Sacate           |  27·990 |   75  |Mar. 12 |11 a.m.|
  |    22   |San Pedro            |  26·990 |   60  |     17 | 6 a.m.|
  |     4   |Durasno              |  27·300 |   73  |     -- | 9 a.m.|
  |     4   |Piedritas            |  27·500 |   72  |     -- | Noon. |
  |     4   |Pozo del Tigre       |  27·550 |   71  |     -- | 5 p.m.|
  |     6   |Portezuela           |  27·860 |   69  |     18 | Noon  |
  |     6   |Ambargasta     }     |  28·875 |   67  |     19 | 9 a.m.|
  |     6   |Punta del Monte} The |  29·260 |   82  |     -- | 4 p.m.|
  |     6   |Salinas    } Travesia|  29·600 |   68  |     20 | 6 a.m.|
  |    14   |Noria      }         |  29·400 |   76  |     -- | 2 p.m.|
  |    24   |Santiago del Estero  |         |       |        |       |
  |    40   |Tucuman              |  27·563 |   75  |Feb. 10 |       |
  |   100   |Jujuy                |         |       |        |       |
  |    30   |Humaguaca            |  21·415 |   57  | June 2 | 4 p.m.|
  |     8   |Cueba                |  21·200 |   54  |      1 |       |
  |     3   |Abra de Cortaderas   |         |       |        |       |
  |     3   |Colorados            |  19·350 |   50  | May 31 | 8 a.m.|
  |     6   |Cangrejos            |  19·625 |   32  |     30 | 6 p.m.|
  |     9   |Quiaca               |  19·300 |   50  |     29 | 4 p.m.|
  |     5   |Cumbre del Cerro}    |  19·100 |   60  |     28 |11 a.m.|
  |         |  de Berque     }    |         |       |        |       |
  |     4   |Berque               |  19·975 |   54  |     27 | 4 p.m.|
  |     5   |Talina               |  20·800 |   56  |     26 | 9 a.m.|
  |     8   |Tupiza               |  26·260 |   60  |     25 | 9 a.m.|

_Note._--At Buenos Ayres the mean of the barometer for the month of
March, 1822, was 29·61.

In the upper parts of the Sierra de Cordova granite everywhere breaks
through the surface, and innumerable fragments of it may be traced
in the descent to the Travesia, whilst beyond that sandy zone there
is not a vestige of it throughout the rest of the road to Potosi,
the formation the whole way being of blue argillaceous schist and
slate, with occasional strata of limestone and red sandstone. In the
neighbourhood of Potosi, however, and on the tops of some of the
highest mountains in its vicinity, Helms tells us that he fell in with
a pretty thick stratum of granite pebbles rounded by the action of
water. How, he says, could these masses of granite have been deposited
here? Have they been rolled hither by a general deluge, or by some
later partial revolution of nature? His astonishment would have been
infinitely greater had he known that marine shells are to be found
on the lofty mountain of Chorolque (about twelve leagues north-west
from Tupiza, between Salta and Potosi), the summit of which has been
determined by Dr. Redhead to be 16,530 feet above the level of the sea.

The word Chorolque is corrupted from Churucolque, signifying in the
Quichua tongue that the mountain contains silver and shells. The
Spaniards, however, little suspected that the latter were to be found
there, till, in 1826, an enterprising Frenchman ascended the mountain
and brought down specimens which established beyond doubt the fact.

A further study of that language might lead the scientific inquirer
to many an important discovery. The disposition of the Peruvians
for observation is well known, and their nomenclature of places is
generally expressive more or less either of the nature of the soil, or
some peculiarity attached to it: thus a person well versed in Quichua
is beforehand aware of what he is to see. Peutocsi, for instance,
difficult to be properly pronounced by an European, and corrupted
into Potosi, signifies, "_It is said to have burst forth_:" such must
have been their tradition, which the very appearance of this singular
cone, standing alone and distinct from the system of mountains which
surrounds it, and the hot springs in its vicinity, would seem to

It is in the province of Santiago that the Quichua is first met with.
The Jesuits reduced it to a written language, and published a grammar
and dictionary of it in Peru.

The city of Santiago is a miserable ill-built place, containing not
more than 4000 souls. It is situated in lat. 27° 47´, according to
Azara, upon the banks of a considerable river which rises in the
territory of Tucuman, and running south through this province is
finally lost, under the name of the Rio Dulce, in the great lakes
called the Porongos, to the west of Santa Fé. The whole population of
the province it estimated to be about 50,000; the greater part of which
is much scattered in small villages built along the courses of this
river and of the Salado, which runs parallel to it, and separates the
province on that side from the gran-chaco, or desert, the low lands
along their banks being better suited for the pasturage of cattle and
for cultivation than the other parts of the province. The soil there is
well adapted to the growth of wheat, which is said to yield eighty for

In most parts of the province the cactus may be seen growing to an
unusual size, and the cochineal gathered from it used to form one
of the most valuable productions of this part of the country: from
8000 to 10,000 lbs. of it were annually sent to Chile and Peru. Large
quantities of wild beeswax and honey were also collected in the woods
and sent to the other provinces, in which they were always in demand;
but the civil dissensions which have of late years been so frequent
in these provinces have checked the industry of the people, who have
almost entirely abandoned their old pursuits, and given up their
yearly gatherings of these once valued productions. This is the more
to be regretted as they are said to be naturally an enterprising and
intelligent race, less given to habitual indolence than some of the
other inhabitants of these latitudes. The women manufacture ponchos and
coarse saddle-cloths, or blankets, which are sold in great numbers to
the people of Tucuman and Salta.

To the eastward of the river Salado lies the vast region commonly
called the Gran-chaco, or desert, which extends to the Paranã, and
reaches north as far as the province of Chiquitos, solely inhabited by
Indians of various tribes, who, safe in their own forests and jungles,
have there found a refuge from Spanish domination and persecution. It
is through this territory that the rivers Pilcomayo and Vermejo wind
their tortuous courses to the Paranã from the most remote parts of the
interior of the Upper Provinces.

Some way beyond the Salado, about seventy leagues east from Santiago
(in lat 27° 28´), was found that very remarkable specimen of native
iron which I sent to this country some years ago, and which is now
deposited in the British Museum. Its existence was first made known by
some of the people of Santiago, who had passed through that part of
the country in their journeys to the forests beyond to collect honey;
and their reports, which were transmitted to Buenos Ayres, induced
the Viceroy, in 1788, to send Don Reuben de Celis, an officer in the
King's service, to examine it. His report upon it was published in the
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London for 1788, and
excited much speculation at the time.

As in those times the working of iron was forbidden in South America,
after sundry specimens of it were forwarded to Lima, to Buenos Ayres,
and to Spain, the remainder lay neglected for many years in its
original site.

In the beginning of the struggle for independence, however, when the
Spanish ships of war blockaded Buenos Ayres, iron, amongst other
necessaries, becoming extremely scarce, the people recollected De
Celis's account, with the reports of the Indians, that in the same
parts there were extensive veins of the same mineral; and at a great
expense the mass in question was sent for and brought to Buenos Ayres.
By the time it got there the blockade was over; and as it was evidently
much easier to procure iron from Europe than by a cart-carriage of
1000 miles from the uninhabited wilds of the Chaco, no further trouble
was taken to determine whether or not the Indian reports of its being
procurable in larger quantities were true or not. By way of experiment
a pair of pistols were manufactured from it, which were sent as a
present to the President of the United States, and what remained was
placed at my disposal by the Minister of Buenos Ayres on the occasion
of my signing the treaty with him in 1825, which recognised on the part
of Great Britain the political independence of his country. I sent it
to Sir Humphrey Davy to be placed in the British Museum, hoping that he
would himself have analysed it, and given his opinion respecting its
supposed meteoric origin. The analysis I believe was never made, owing
to his death, which occurred very shortly after the arrival of the iron
in this country.

It seems, however, to have been assumed here that this iron, as a
matter of course, is meteoric, because it contains those admixtures of
nickel and cobalt which accompany other known meteoric productions.
It appears to me that the hypothesis is not very satisfactorily or
conclusively made out.

The mass I sent home weighs about 1400 pounds, and, making allowance
for what may have been taken from it at Buenos Ayres, may probably when
it arrived there have been not much less than a ton weight. Now De
Celis estimates the mass he examined to have been about fifteen tons
weight, and of much larger dimensions: either this therefore is only a
fragment of what he particularly described, or it is another which has
been found in the same part of the country, and if so, is corroborative
of the Indian accounts of there being more in the vicinity. This was
the opinion of Dr. Redhead, who, in writing to me on the subject, says,
"The native iron found in Santiago is not a single mass, as has been
said; there are several, and the most recent accounts describe them
as huge trunks with deep roots (I use the expression of the natives),
supposed to communicate with each other."[60]

Dr. Redhead's observation was caused by a discussion which arose here
upon some other specimens of native iron, which he had forwarded to me,
from the desert of Atacama, in Peru, and which were described by the
late Mr. Allan in the Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh
for 1828. They were analysed by Dr. Turner, who found them to contain--

  Iron    .      93.4
  Nickel  ...     6.618
  Cobalt    .     0.535

a result which he considered decisive concerning their origin, because,
he says, it differs from any compound hitherto described in the earth,
and corresponds exactly both in appearance and composition with other
meteoric iron.

But these opinions differ entirely from the belief of those who
procured the specimens.

That iron is found scattered in large quantities over a plain at the
foot of a mountain a little to the south-west of a small Indian village
called Toconao, ten leagues from San Pedro, the capital of Atacama,
and about eighty from Cobija, on the coast. The tradition there is,
that the fragments have been thrown out by some volcanic explosion from
the side of the neighbouring mountain, in which the people of Toconao
say there is a large _veta_ of pure iron. The Indian who collected
the specimens which I sent to this country was employed to _catear_,
or search for mines; and the nature of his occupation rendered it
requisite for him to be particular in his observations: his account
was, that "they were taken from a heap of the same nature, estimated at
about three hundred-weight, and that they existed at the month of a
_veta_, or vein of solid iron, situated at the foot of a mountain; he
called them '_reventazones_,' or explosions from the mine, or _veta_.
He had been charged to bring a piece of the _veta_ itself, and some of
the rock in which it is embedded, but this he said he could not effect
for want of tools; he therefore contented himself with picking up some
of the pieces that were at the foot of the hill, where the mouth of the
vein opens."

Dr. Redhead says, that in giving him this account the man endeavoured
to give him also some idea of the direction of the vein in the mountain.

Further inquiries were subsequently made, the result of which
corroborated his testimony. The alcalde of Toconao, who had been at
the place, stated that the fragments had issued from a cavity of about
fifteen feet diameter, which, from the nature of the soil, was filling
up. This is sandy, and for three leagues round there is neither wood
nor water nor pasture of any kind. Several persons in San Pedro, and
amongst others one named Gonzales, who had likewise seen the cavity,
gave a similar account.

The Atacama iron is certainly remarkably similar to the specimen of
that met with by Pallas in Siberia, which is to be seen in the British
Museum, but what proof is there of that being meteoric?

The Santiago iron differs from them both in appearance. The Atacama and
Siberian specimens are full of cavities, looking like large sponges or
scoriæ. That from Santiago, on the contrary, is more like a solid lump
of well-kneaded dough.

So long as such specimens were supposed to be of very rare occurrence,
and differing as they do from the character of all other known
minerals, it was not extraordinary that they should have been ascribed
to an extraneous origin; but now that further discoveries have proved
their existence in all parts of the world, and that enormous masses of
similar iron have been met with in the northern parts of America, in
Mexico, Columbia, Peru, Brazil,[61] and the provinces of La Plata, to
speak of that continent alone, I think we may begin to doubt whether
they may not be _bonâ fide_ productions of our own planet, instead of
bringing them from the moon, or elsewhere. On this I shall only quote
another passage from the letters of my excellent correspondent, who
took the trouble to institute the inquiries for me as to the origin
of the specimens from Atacama. "Time," he says, "may perhaps justify
the tradition or opinion of the Indians relative to the origin of
this iron; nor do I know why we should refuse to Nature the power
of reducing in her laboratory a metal so easily separated from its
combinations by the efforts of man."


Forty leagues (post distance) beyond Santiago del Estero is situated
the city of San Miguel de Tucuman. It stands (in lat. 27° 10´) on an
elevated plain in a position from which the prospect on every side is
delightful; indeed all accounts agree in describing it as the best
situated town in the republic. The climate, though hot, is dry and
salubrious; and Nature has been so prodigal of her choicest gifts, that
the province of Tucuman well merits its appellation of the garden of
the United Provinces. The population amounts to about 40,000 souls, of
which 7000 or 8000 reside in the city.

After leaving the travesia of Santiago, the road ascends a slightly
inclined plane the whole way to Tucuman, the jurisdiction of which
commences after crossing the river Santiago, there called the _Rio
Hondo_, or deep river, which separates the two provinces, and is
formed by the confluence of many streams which rise in the mountains
to the west. To the eastward the Salado continues to be the general
boundary-line separating it from the Chaco: to the north the river
Tala divides it from the territory of Salta; and to the west and
south-west the lofty mountains of Aconquija separate it from Catamarca.
The highest peak of this range is covered with perpetual snow, and is
said to be above 15,000 feet above the level of the sea. It abounds
in mineral treasures, and contains ores of gold, silver, copper, and
lead; but the toil and difficulty attendant upon mining operations in
those parts of the sierra where they are to be found have caused them
to be much neglected, and the mining, if mining it can be called, is
now confined to a few wretched people scattered amongst the hills, who
occasionally collect small quantities of silver, which they bring down
to the city for sale. I have had some of the specimens of silver so
collected, which are singularly rich and beautiful.

The _mita_, and other oppressive enactments have will nigh destroyed
the unfortunate race whose forced labour brought to light the mineral
wealth of these regions. The _mamelucho_, as the gaucho of Tucuman is
called, the horseman of the plains, with the help of his wife, who
makes the greater part of his clothing, has almost everything he wants
about him. He knows not, and therefore needs not, those comforts which
become wants in less genial climes, and where civilization is more
advanced. Free as the air he breathes, he gallops over boundless plains
unfettered by the slightest restraint upon his own inclinations. He has
no temptation to quit such a life for the fatigues and dangers of an
occupation which he considers as degrading,[62] to bury himself under
ground, and to seek by the sweat of his brow treasures of which he does
not stand in need. His cattle are the finest in the republic; and the
least possible cultivation and labour is sure to yield in return not
only the necessaries, but what in his opinion are the luxuries of life.

Nothing can be more luxuriant than the vegetation in this province;
whilst the plains yield corn and maize, and rice and tobacco, in the
greatest abundance, the base and slopes of the mountain ranges in
the west are covered with noble trees in every variety, interspersed
with innumerable shrubs, and hung with the most beautiful parasitical
plants. Extensive groves also of aroma and orange-trees produce a
fragrance which adds to the delights of this favoured region. The
sugar-cane grows naturally in the low lands, and might be turned to
valuable account; the demand for it, however, at present, is not
sufficient to induce the country people to attend to it. Not so with
the tobacco-plant, which they cultivate and find a ready sale for in
all the adjoining provinces. The people are a well-disposed hardy race,
proud of their beautiful country, and always ready to take up arms in
defence of _La Patria_.

It was at Tucuman, in 1816, that a Congress of Deputies from the
several provinces solemnly declared their independency and separation
from Spain. From 1810 to that period the ruling authorities set up
had been avowedly merely provisional, and all their acts had been in
the King's name, the people vainly looking forward to the King's
restoration for a redress of their grievances. It is useless now to
say that if the Spanish government had treated them with kindness and
conciliatory measures, they would have found the colonies abounding
in the same loyal and affectionate feelings for the mother country of
which in other times they had repeatedly given such striking proofs.

The King was otherwise advised; and the natural consequence ensued,
that the South Americans, who had acquired a knowledge of their own
strength and importance, simultaneously with the conviction that they
had nothing to hope, and all to fear, from a return to the rule of
the mother country, declared themselves the arbiters of their own


Catamarca, divided from Tucuman by the sierras of Aconquija, is one of
those subordinate provinces which, like Rioja, owes its independence
rather to its insignificance and secluded situation than to any
pretensions which the people can have to govern themselves; properly
it should be a dependency of the government of Tucuman, to which the
Congress annexed it in 1814.

When I applied to the Governor for some general statistical information
as to the extent and resources of his province, he fairly confessed his
own ignorance and utter inability to answer my queries; much less was
it possible to obtain any satisfactory topographical data.

The inhabitants of the province are estimated at 30,000 to 35,000,
of which about 4000 reside in Catamarca. The valley so called, and
in which the greater part of this population is settled, runs from
north-west to south-east, extending from the confines of Atacama to
those of Rioja. On the eastern side it is separated from Tucuman first
by the sierras of Ancasti and Ambato, and more to the north by the
lofty chain of Aconquija: it is watered by a river which holds its
course through it (said to have been once a much more considerable
stream than at the present day), the waters of which are finally lost
in the low sandy plains of the province of Santiago.

The climate is sultry, and the people, at certain seasons, are very
subject to intermittent fevers. They produce corn and cattle enough
for their own subsistence, and supply the adjoining provinces largely
with their cotton, the quality of that of Catamarca being in higher
repute than their own, for their domestic manufactures: considerable
quantities of red pepper are also sent from thence to Buenos Ayres.

Catamarca, by the usual track, is about sixty leagues distant,
south-west, from Tucuman. In a MS. by Dean Funes, in my possession, he
places it in south latitude 28° 12´. The first Spanish settlement in
this part of the country was formed by Juan Perez de Zurita, in the
year 1558. He named it New England, and the principal town London, in
celebration of the nuptials of his sovereign King Philip with our Mary.
From thence, however, the Spaniards were shortly after expelled by the
native Indians, and, removing to the valley of Conando, founded the
town of Villagran. That district was subsequently abandoned from the
same cause,--the continual hostility of the natives; and the population
was finally settled in the valley of Catamarca.

The Calchaquis, who originally occupied those parts, were a warlike
race, whose dominion extended from the confines of Peru over all the
country lying between the ranges of the Cordillera on the west and
those of Aconquija on the east. They derived their name from the valley
of _Calchaqui_, which, in the Quichua language is strongly significant
of the fertility of the soil; and for a long period they defended
themselves against the Spaniards with an obstinate bravery, unequalled
perhaps in any other part of South America, excepting Araucania. The
history of those parts for the first century and a half, indeed,
is little more than an enumeration of their bloody wars with the
Spaniards, in which the latter were often defeated with serious loss,
their towns besieged and destroyed, and they themselves obliged to fly
before the brave defenders of the soil, whom they drove to desperation
by their wanton cruelties and oppressive treatment. Amongst other
instances of the outrageous and overbearing conduct of the conquerors
which are recorded, one may serve as a sample, which Funes relates of
Don Philip Albornos, who, being named Governor of Tucuman, some of
the Caciques of the Calchaquis, at the time on good terms with the
Spaniards, repaired to Tucuman to tender to him their customary tribute
upon his appointment. Upon their arrival, instead of the welcome they
expected, he wantonly ordered them to be publicly flogged, to have
their heads shaved, and so to be sent back whence they came. The
Calchaquis swore to be avenged: they secretly sent forth emissaries to
rouse all the people of their tribes, especially those of Andalgala,
of Famatina, of Copoyan, and Guandacol, who were known to be smarting
under the yoke of their new task-masters, for that part of the country
was nominally reduced to subjection by the Spaniards; and then, with an
overwhelming force, at one and the same time, fell upon Jujuy, Salta,
Tucuman, London, and La Rioja, carrying everywhere desolation, and
sparing not man, woman, nor child. Never were the Spaniards in those
parts reduced to such shifts; in vain they endeavoured to make peace,
the Indians would listen to no terms, and this war raged for ten years,
with great loss to the Spaniards, and the utter annihilation of many of
their settlements. Nor was it till a large force could be spared from
Peru that this formidable insurrection was put down.

The Spaniards, once masters again, retaliated as usual. Many tribes
were exterminated; others capitulated with their conquerors to abandon
altogether their native valleys, and were removed to a distance;
amongst others a people called the Quilmes, inhabiting a part of the
valley of Calchaqui, being reduced to about 200 families, after a long
resistance, were sent to Buenos Ayres, where the Governor settled them
a short distance from the city, at the place which still bears their

The labours of the Jesuits, however, were eventually more successful
than all the military forces which were sent against the Calchaquis.
The indefatigable missionaries reduced one tribe after another to
a state of comparative civilization, and eventually removed the
greater part of them from their native soil to form the nucleus of
the Christian settlements which they were anxious to establish upon
their own plan on the shores of the Vermejo, amongst the Indians of
the Chaco. There they soon lost all importance, and the hostilities
of other Indian nations, and a dreadful epidemic which broke out
amongst them, in the year 1718, finally put an end to the existence
of a gallant people, who had not only signalized their name by their
successful wars against the Spaniards, but who, in times long before,
had maintained their independence in spite of all the efforts of the
dynasty of the Incas of Peru to reduce them to subjection.


is the frontier province of the republic to the north; and follows in
geographical succession those of Tucuman and Catamarca, which bound it
to the south and west. The river Vermejo and its tributary, the river
of Tarija, constitute its limits to the east. It is divided into the
four departments of Salta, Jujuy, Oran, and Tarija; the latter of which
has been occupied by the Bolivians, apparently with a determination to
maintain possession of it. Deducting the population of that department,
the rest of the territory of Salta is estimated to contain nearly
60,000 souls. The city of Salta has between 8000 and 9000 inhabitants.
It was founded in 1582, by Don Philip de Lerma, Governor of Tucuman,
with a view to secure the communication between that province and Peru
from being cut off by the hostile Indians. Its latitude is said to be
24° 30´. Upon the whole it has a neat appearance, and boasts of its
cathedral and many churches. It is, however, badly situated in the
bottom of a valley, through which flow the rivers Arias and Silleta,
the latter of which has of late years abandoned its ancient bed, and
seems to threaten at no distant period to burst over the low marshy
grounds upon which the city stands. Shut in by the mountain ranges in
the neighbourhood, the atmosphere is at certain seasons charged with
miasma, giving rise to intermittent fevers and agues, which are very
general at those periods amongst the inhabitants.

The form of government in this province, as in all the rest, is based
upon the example of that of Buenos Ayres; consisting of a popular
assembly, which has the power of electing the Governor. But though
democratic in theory, it is far otherwise in practice: the lower orders
have not the smallest notion of the real meaning of a representative
form of government, and bow with submission to the dictates of a
patriarchal coterie of influential families, which, alternately
electing and elected, arrange the government amongst themselves very
much as suits their own convenience and interests. If any appeal to the
people is ever made, it is generally from the necessity of supporting
by a demonstration of brute force the pretensions of some particular
candidate for power.

Such are these governments in the infancy of society. One may serve
as a sample of the rest, although local circumstances may have given
rise to slight shades of difference in their appearance. Salta, as
a frontier province, during the struggle for independence, was much
exposed to the vicissitudes of the war; but this very circumstance
roused the energies of the people, and excited in them a spirit
of improvement which has placed them in advance of most of the
Upper Provinces. The establishment of a printing-press, from which
occasionally a newspaper is produced, and of schools, in which
reading, writing, and the first rules of arithmetic are taught, are
great steps compared with the state of things under the old regime. The
clergy, too, either from conviction, or the force of circumstances, are
daily becoming more tolerant, and opinions which in old times it would
have been heresy to think of, are now as freely discussed as at Buenos
Ayres, where religious toleration has become the law of the land.

From Buenos Ayres, Salta is distant 414 leagues, by the post road, and
so far the journey may be gone the whole way in a four-wheel carriage;
but beyond Salta this is no longer possible, and the traveller must
mount his mule to traverse the regions of the Cordillera, which there
may be said to begin in earnest, and the rugged and precipitous passes
through which are quite impracticable by any other mode of conveyance.

The Salteños boast that within their own territory they possess
every climate, from extreme heat to the most intense cold; and,
consequently, that they can rear almost every production of nature;
for although directly under the tropic, the mountain ranges rise in
some places to the height of perpetual snow, counteracting the sun's
influence more or less according to the elevation. Thus whilst in all
the department of Oran, in the east of the province, the tropical sun
has its full influence, under the same latitude in the west, in the
mountain districts of Rosario and Rinconada, the cold is intense. In
the intermediate valleys the climate is temperate and agreeable. It
is in these valleys that the population is chiefly located: they are
for the most part highly fertile, being watered by many small rivers
and streams, which, running eastward from the mountainous districts,
fall into the Salado and Vermejo, which have already been described as
the principal aqueducts of these Upper Provinces. Indeed it is in this
province that both these noble rivers may be said to have their origin,
of which I shall venture to give the following account, chiefly from
data published by Colonel Arenales, son of the late Governor of Salta,
and now at the head of the topographical department of Buenos Ayres.

As a general observation it may be stated that the tributaries of the
Salado all run south, whilst those of the Vermejo will be found to the
north of the city of Salta, as may be seen on reference to the map.

The sources of the Salado may be traced to the snowy ranges of Acay,
where the river Cachi rises, about fifty leagues' journey westward of
Salta, running nearly due south, for more than thirty leagues, through
the valleys, successively named Cachi, Calchaqui, Siclantas, and San
Carlos; during this course it is joined by three smaller rivers from
the west. Six or seven leagues from San Carlos, the river Santa Maria
falls into it from the south. This river rises in the province of
Catamarca, forty leagues off, running from south to north with little
variation. The road from Salta to Catamarca and La Rioja follows
its course. At the junction of the Santa Maria the Cachi changes
its direction from south-east to north-east, and takes the name of
Guachipas, from the town so called, by which it afterwards passes.
A little beyond that place the Silleta falls into it, about sixteen
leagues to the south of Salta. This river rises near the lake del Toro,
to the north-west of Salta, and is augmented by the Arias, from that
city, and by two or three other minor streams. Thence the Guachipas
turns again south, and, ten leagues below its junction with the
Silleta, crosses the high road from Buenos Ayres, where it is called
"El Pasage." In the summer season, when the waters are low, its breadth
may be here about 100 yards, and not being then more than three or
four feet deep, it may be safely forded; but at other seasons when the
waters rise, it becomes a very wide and formidable river, the passage
of which is rendered extremely dangerous, even to those best acquainted
with it, not only from its increased depth and rapidity, but from the
many large boulders and trunks of trees which are hurried down by the
stream with irresistible violence, and which carry everything before

At those times couriers occasionally pass it swimming, or holding by
the tails of their horses, which they drive before them. All carriage
intercourse is for the time impossible, and the ordinary traffic
between Salta and the lower provinces is therefore as matter of
course suspended during the rainy season. To obviate so serious an
inconvenience, in the time of the Old Spaniards, a survey was made
of this part of the river, and a plan was proposed to the government
for throwing a bridge over a rocky pass, which, if executed, would
have enabled carts as well as passengers to cross it high and dry at
any season. The materials were at hand, and the estimate of the whole
expense so small that it was difficult to find an objection to it; on
the contrary, it was unanimously approved; but, as nothing is done
in a hurry in these countries, it was, like many other most notable
projects, postponed, "_hasta mejor oportunidad_," till better times,
which, unfortunately for the people of Salta, have never yet arrived.

Ten or twelve leagues below the pass, the river De las Piedras, the
last affluent of any consequence, falls in; thence the course of the
river is easterly inclining south, as far as Pitos, the frontier fort
of Salta in that direction. In the flat saline country through which
it afterwards runs, its waters imbibe a brackish taste, from which it
takes the name of the Salado, or the salt river, which it preserves the
whole way to its junction with the Paranã, near Santa Fé. I have before
stated that this river is believed to be navigable as high as Matara,
in the latitude of Santiago del Estero.

The Vermejo, the most important of all the affluents of the Paraguay,
is formed by two considerable streams, which may be generally called
the rivers of Jujuy and Tarija, from those two departments which they
respectively drain. At their sources they are at no great distance
from each other, but descending from opposite sides of a snow-capped
range, the buttresses of which branch out far and wide to the south and
east, they are soon hurried away in totally different directions; each,
however, finally sweeping round the base of the stupendous platform
above, describes, after a long course, the segment of a circle, which
is rendered all but complete by the junction of their waters at a
point about sixteen leagues below Oran, whence they flow together
south in one mighty and navigable stream the whole way to the Paranã.
The name of Vermejo, or the red river, is derived from the occasional
discoloration of the waters by the red alluvial soil which is washed
into them during the periodical floods.

With respect to the many minor streams which fall into the rivers of
Jujuy and Tarija, they are for the most part mere mountain torrents
of little importance, except as adding to their waters, which finally
become navigable below Oran.

The Jujuy river rises near the Abra de Cortaderas, about three leagues
from Colorados, one of the most elevated points passed by the traveller
on the road to Potosi: from thence the lofty peak of Chorolque
beyond Tupiza, in the north, and the snowy ranges of Atacama, in the
north-west, are distinctly visible. The channel of the river in its
descent from this elevated region, the whole way to Jujuy, is little
more than a succession of precipitous ravines, occasionally swelling
into basins, highly interesting to the geologist, as exhibiting on all
sides evidences of the tremendous convulsions which at some remote
period must have torn and shaken this part of the continent to its very
foundations. The road to Potosi winds along it, but it would seem to be
a region only suited to the wild llamas, alpacas, and vicuñas, which
range in countless herds over the snowy ranges above, looking down
with apparent surprise on the casual traveller, who wends his toilsome
way through these rugged defiles. The favourite food of these animals
is the ichú, a very coarse grass, which is only found at an elevation
little short of that of perpetual snow. At Jujuy the river turns
eastward through a more open and habitable region, which skirts the
southern base of these mountain ranges, and about twenty leagues beyond
receives the Siancas, or Lavayen, its most important tributary, which
rises in the heights of San Lorenzo, to the north-west of the town of
Salta:--it is afterwards joined by the Ledesma and three or four other
minor streams, before it falls into the Tarija river, as before stated,
below Oran.

The course of the Tarija, in the first instance, is nearly as
precipitous as that of the Jujuy, running through broken mountainous
passes; but when it trends to the south, and receives the Pescado
(which separates the departments of Oran and Tarija), and shortly
after the Senta, it opens into wide and extensive valleys, traversed
by many streams, which, running down into the main river, irrigate the
rich lands along its shores, and unite with the warmth of a tropical
climate to form one of the most fertile districts in the world.

These are the principal rivers of this province. Its productions are
as various as its physical features. In the west the mines of the
Cerro de Acay and San Antonio de los Cobres, have been at times worked
with considerable success; and in the still more elevated districts
bordering upon Atacama, the natives of Cochinoca, the Rinconada,
Cerillos, Santa Catalina, and Rosario, employ themselves in collecting
considerable quantities of gold from the alluvial deposits after heavy

It is in those cold regions that the alpacas and vicuñas are
found:--the guanaco also abounds there, and the beautiful little
chinchilla, thousands of dozens of the skins of which are yearly
collected and sent down to Buenos Ayres for exportation to Europe.

In the same part of the province, not far south of La Rinconada, are
extensive plains of salt, called the Salinas of Casabindo, to which
the natives of the adjoining districts resort when the salt is hard
and dry, and cut out large blocks of it with hatchets, which they load
upon their llamas and asses, and carry to Salta and Jujuy, and other
parts of the province:--there, also, they collect, in the same manner,
the snow which is used in those towns for making ices in the summer
season. The eyes of travellers obliged to traverse these inhospitable
wilds are said to be as much affected by the glare of the sun reflected
from these fields of salt, as from the snow-capped mountains which
bound them. Casabindo is about forty-five leagues east from Atacama,
the intermediate distance being all Cordillera, and is situated upon
the desolate road from Salta, which is appropriately called _El

In the valleys, further south, of Colalao, San Carlos, Calchaqui, and
Cachi, watered by the streams which afterwards fall into the Salado, as
already described, large quantities of corn and maize are grown, with
which the rest of the province is chiefly supplied: the vine is also
extensively cultivated there, from which a good deal of an ordinary
wine is yearly made and drunk in those parts for want of better.

It was from their rich pastures, however, watered by the mountain
streams, that the Salteños in former times derived their principal
profits. Before the revolution, and when the upper provinces, which
now form the separate state of Bolivia, were part of the Vice-Royalty
of Buenos Ayres, a great trade was carried on by the people of Salta
in mules, 50,000 or 60,000 of which were annually sold there for the
service of the carriers of Peru:--these mules were chiefly bred in the
provinces of Santa Fé and Cordova, and sent to Salta when two or three
years old, where, after being kept for a season or two in the rich
grazing grounds of that province, they were considered strong enough
for the work expected of them in the severer climate of the Andes. A
periodical fair was held in the neighbourhood of Salta, to which the
purchasers from Peru repaired, and bought the animals in droves at the
rate of fourteen or sixteen dollars each (five or six more if broken
in), about a third of which was clear profit to the Salteños, who
bought them of the Cordova and Santa Fecino breeders at a price seldom
above ten dollars. These that reached Lima were worth double the price
paid for them at Salta. A tax, called _sisa_, of three quarters of a
dollar on each mule, was levied by the government, the annual amount of
which was destined to the maintenance of the forts upon the frontier,
kept up as defences against the encroachments of the Indians of the

The struggle for independence stopped this traffic, for the upper
provinces and the greater part of Peru being in possession of the
Royalists to the last, all intercourse with Salta was cut off for many
years, nor has there been any sufficient encouragement to renew it
since the restoration of peace. Peru, however, must have mules, and it
does not appear that she is likely to be supplied with them from any
other quarter in sufficient numbers.

Proceeding eastward, through the valleys of Campo Santo, and those
watered by the Lavayen and its affluents, to Oran, and throughout all
that department, a tropical vegetation is found in all its natural
luxuriance.[64] Forests of noble trees stud the banks of the rivers,
and extend far down the shores of the Vermejo, valuable not only
as timber, but as producing fruits which may be said to supply the
place of bread and wine to the natives:--such, amongst others, is the
algaroba tree, a sort of acacia, from the fruit of which, a large bean
growing in clusters of pods, mixed with maize, the Indians make cakes;
and, by fermentation, produce their chicha, a strong intoxicating
spirit in very general use. The quinaquina, the palm-tree, and the
plant from which the famous maté, or Paraguay tea, is made, are equally
indigenous there, and many others, as yet only known to us by their
Indian names, which it would be useless to recapitulate.

The cactus, bearing the cochineal insect, and the aloe are found in
every direction:--from the macerated fibres of the latter, the Indians
of the Chaco make yarn and ropes, which are found less liable to rot
in water than hemp:--their fishing-nets are made of this material, and
a variety of bags and pouches, for which there is always a demand
amongst their more civilised neighbours: these articles are variously
dyed in indelible colours, prepared also by the Indians. There is no
doubt that this plant, which grows as commonly in most parts of South
America as the thistle with us, might be turned, here as elsewhere, to
very considerable account for many useful purposes. I have seen not
only beautiful rope, but very good coarse cloth manufactured from it;
indeed I have now in my possession some paintings done in Peru upon a
canvass made from it, which could not be distinguished from any coarse
linen of European make.[65]

At Buenos Ayres, where the hedgerows are generally formed of the common
aloe, I had an opportunity of trying various experiments with it, and
had some cordage made from it of beautiful texture and whiteness by
some sailors from one of his Majesty's ships. I also tried my hand
at making pulqué, after seeing Mr. Ward's account of the manner in
which it is made in Mexico; but, though we obtained an abundance of
the liquor, following the process described by him of taking out
the stem as soon as it began to shoot, and collecting the sap as it
accumulated in the socket or basin beneath, it was never sufficiently
palatable to our tastes to be drinkable; but this probably was from
our want of experience in the mode of preparing it: however, I have no
doubt that consumers enough might be found of this or any other such
beverage amongst a people who can drink so filthy a preparation as the
chicha, the liquor in common use amongst the natives of the united
provinces,--one of the ingredients of which is said to be maize chewed
by old Indian women.[66]

In some of those saline and arid districts, where no other fresh water
is to be found, there grows a species of the aloe, well known to the
natives, from which, on being tapped by an incision made in one of the
thickest leaves, a clear stream will spurt out sufficient to allay the
traveller's thirst.

In many parts of Oran is found the celebrated cuca, or coca, plant
(_Erythroxylon Peruviana_), sometimes called _El Arbol del hambre y
de la sed_,--"The tree of hunger and thirst;" to the natives more
necessary than bread. Hungry or weary, with some leaves of coca to
chew, mixed with a little lime or alkali of his own preparation, the
Peruvian Indian seems to care for no other sustenance:--he never
swallows it, but is perpetually chewing it, as the Asiatics do the
beetle-nut: give him but his bag full of this, and at most a little
dried maize besides, and he will undertake the hardest labour in the
mines, and, as a courier, perform the most astonishing journeys on
foot, frequently travelling a hundred leagues across the snowy and
desolate regions of the Cordillera.

In surveying countries like these, still in their natural state, it
is impossible not to be struck at every step with the infinite and
wonderful variety of the works of the Almighty, and with the manifest
evidences they uniformly display of an unceasing and beneficent
provision for all the wants of His creatures, in every clime and under
all circumstances.

In the valleys watered by the Jujuy and its tributaries, as in many
other parts of the republic, the indigo grows wild, and the sugar-cane
and tobacco are extensively cultivated, the two latter being produced
in sufficient quantity not only for the consumption of the whole of
the province of Salta, but for exportation to the rest of the upper
provinces, and occasionally to Chile. Cotton, also, is grown there in
considerable quantities, and of a quality which would be prized in
the markets of Europe,--as indeed would be nearly all the valuable
productions of this highly-favoured region.

Although in this, as in every other part of the republic, the want
of population may be considered as the great drawback to the full
development of its natural resources, the Salteños, and especially
those in the eastern districts of the province, obtain assistance to a
considerable extent in the cultivation of their lands from the Indians
of the Mataco nation, who live upon the shores of the Vermejo, below
the junction of the Jujuy. These Indians, now an independent people,
acknowledging no other authority than that of their own Caciques, were
in former times reduced, in a certain degree, to civilised habits
by the Jesuits, the fruits of whose influence are still perceptible
in their occasional intercourse with their Christian neighbours,
amongst whom they repair at the seasons of sowing and harvest to
barter their service in labour in exchange for articles of clothing,
and beads and baubles for their women. They are very industrious, and
in the allotment of work will undertake double the daily task of the
Creoles:--the payment they receive for a month's work is from ten to
fifteen yards of very coarse cloth or baize, the cost of which at
Salta may be about a quarter of a Spanish dollar, or about a shilling
a yard:--with this and their food they are perfectly content, and, at
a similar rate, any number of them might be induced to leave their own
haunts periodically to work in the sugar and tobacco plantations of the
Spaniards. I was told by an Englishman, long resident at Oran, that
many hundreds of them are yearly engaged at the rate above stated to
get in the crops in the vicinity of that place.

When to this low rate at which productive labour may be obtained, we
add the existence, now indisputably established, of an uninterrupted
navigation the whole way from Oran to the Paranã, and thence to Buenos
Ayres, it is impossible not to be struck with the very great natural
advantages possessed by this province, and with the very small degree
of energy apparently requisite on the part of the natives to turn them
to the fullest account. It is their own fault alone if the sugars and
tobacco, the cotton, the indigo, and cochineal of Oran, do not vie
with those of Brazil and Columbia in the markets of Europe. Let the
people of these countries open their eyes to the importance of their
own resources, and let them not imagine that they themselves are
incapable of calling them into action:--unfortunately, such a feeling
is one of those curses to the country engendered by the old colonial
system of Spain, and which has the effect, to a lamentable extent, of
counteracting that spirit of self-confidence and exertion which, on
every account, is called for on the part of the inhabitants of these
countries under their new political condition. It is this feeling
which has led them to turn their eyes to the formation of companies in
Europe as the best mode of bringing their fertile lands into notice and
cultivation,--an erroneous notion which cannot too soon be set right.
I do not say that in the temperate climate of Buenos Ayres European
labourers may not be employed to advantage; but when it becomes a
question of sending them into the tropical regions in the heart of
the continent, whether as agricultural labourers or miners, I am
satisfied that the experiment would only end in utter disappointment to
all parties. In the first place, it should be borne in mind that, to
ensure in Europe any sale for the productions of so remote a country,
the cost of their cultivation must be extremely low, as it appears to
be at present; but what labourer from Europe would be satisfied with
anything like even double the ordinary remuneration for daily labour
in that part of the world? Supposing him, however, to be conveyed
thither, and to be contented, for a time, with the abundance of the
necessaries of life around him, what does he know of the culture of
tropical productions, the chances being that he never saw a sugar-cane
or a cotton plant in the whole course of his life? But, what is of
more consequence, how long will his physical powers last in a climate,
the heat of which will be almost insufferable to him, and in which
the very indulgence of his own ordinary habits will soon undermine
his constitution and destroy all his energies? Of the hundreds of
Beresford's and Whitelock's men, who remained in the country after the
evacuation of Buenos Ayres by the British forces, how very few were
afterwards to be met with who were not sunk to the lowest scale of
misery and moral degradation!

In tropical climates I am satisfied that Europeans will never be
able to compete in amount of daily labour with the natives: on the
contrary, wherever the trial has been made, the Indian labourer has
been found capable of enduring an infinitely greater degree of bodily
exertion than the most robust European. It is hardly credible, indeed,
what these people will go through. In the mines especially, where
the amount of their daily work, and the loads they are capable of
sustaining, have excited the astonishment of every one who has paid
the slightest attention to the subject. The stoutest of the Cornish
miners who accompanied Captain Head in his visit to the mine of San
Pedro Nolasco, was scarcely able to walk with a load of ore which one
of the natives had with apparent ease brought out of the mine upon his
shoulders, whilst two others of the party who attempted to lift it were
altogether unable to do so, and exclaimed that it would break their

In these observations I allude of course to the labouring class,--I
speak of hands not heads, for I fully agree in the necessity
of introducing improvements in the cultivation of the native
products,--which improvements will assuredly be best introduced by
foreigners qualified by experience in other countries to superintend
and direct those processes, both of cultivation and after preparation,
which may be requisite to ensure their immediate sale in the foreign
markets for which they are destined. Such persons, perhaps, would
be best sought for in the East or West Indies or Brazil; and, no
doubt, they would not only benefit themselves but their employers by
introducing into these new countries the results of their practical
experience elsewhere. It is to foreigners, also, that the natives must
look to instruct them in the use of steam-vessels, upon which, after
all, the future advancement of these remote countries in wealth and
civilisation will so mainly depend.

I will only add to the observations which I have already made upon
this subject, my conviction that if the governments of Buenos Ayres,
Santa Fé, and Corrientes would but unite in a sincere determination
to give a fair trial to the experiment, men would be found at Buenos
Ayres who would desire no better than to be employed on such a
service:--as to any opposition Dr. Francia might offer to it, it is
not worth a moment's consideration.[67] Give an English midshipman, of
sufficient experience, an armed steamer and a picked crew, either of
his own countrymen or North Americans, to whom he might add some of
the excellent sailors of Paraguay, and I am quite sure he would carry
a cargo from Buenos Ayres up the Vermejo in perfect safety to Oran,
despite of Dr. Francia or any such bugbear. This, however, is an object
which must have the cordial support and co-operation of the ruling
powers. If they shut their eyes to the importance of its success, it
would be labour thrown away for any individual to volunteer the attempt.

The government of Buenos Ayres, as the authorities charged with the
general interests of the Republic, from their habitual intercourse with
the people of other countries, ought to be fully able to appreciate the
immense benefits which steam-navigation has produced elsewhere, and how
greatly it has tended to promote the prosperity and civilisation of
other nations. It is in their power to extend those blessings to their
own countrymen in the heart of the South American continent, and to
produce a really United Confederation of the Provinces, instead of that
which is now little more than nominal, from the vast distances which
intervene, and operate as a bar to almost any intercourse between them.

With the establishment of steam-navigation, distance will cease to be
distance, and the upper provinces will find a cheap and ready vent for
an abundance of productions which are now not worth the heavy expenses
of sending down by land-carriage to Buenos Ayres.

It is a grave question, deserving the most serious attention of those
to whom the government of these countries is at present intrusted,
and in the early solution of which, perhaps, their future political
destinies are involved to an extent far beyond the comprehension of any
casual observer.


[59] This latitude is the mean of four observations taken by M. de
Souillac (in 1784) one of the astronomers attached to the commission
for determining the boundary.

[60] Since this was written I have met with a gentleman who had
seen the original drawings of _three_ masses, with their respective
measurements; which drawings, he understood, were made by the persons
sent in quest of this iron by the government of Buenos Ayres when my
specimen was brought down.

[61] Luccock, in his Travels in Brazil, speaks of a very singular
metallic formation which he met with in the province of Minas Geraes,
not far from Villarica. He says (page 490), "A hill on our left
now presented a wonderful object; it was one entire mass of iron,
so perfectly free from any mixture of common soil as to produce no
vegetation whatever, but was covered with a complete coating of rust
or oxide of iron. The hill is so lofty and steep that its top was not
accessible; but from its more elevated parts nodules of corroded metal
had rolled down, and greatly embarrassed the road: at the foot of the
mountain the soil is red clay mixed with ponderous brown dust. As we
advanced the metal seemed to become less pure, until, after an extant
of two leagues and a-half, it altogether vanished, and was succeeded by
the common clayey land, &c. I had often heard of this immense mass of
metal, but none of the reports had presented any adequate picture of
it to the imagination. The very core of the hill, as far as we could
judge, appeared to consist of vast blocks of iron, in tables; and it is
so free from alloy as to produce when smelted ninety-five per cent. of
pure metal."

[62] As mining labour was imposed as an obligation upon the Indians
by the conquerors, so it came to be looked upon as the occupation of
a caste, and of a caste looked down upon by all who boasted of the
slightest admixture of European blood in their veins.

[63] The "Uninhabited Region."

[64] When Soria descended the Vermejo in 1826, it was deemed a good
opportunity to send a collection of specimens of the various woods
of these region to Buenos Ayres that they might be examined and more
properly described, and he told me he had no less than seventy-three
different species with him, the whole of which were taken from him by
Dr. Francia, in Paraguay, with everything else on board his vessel.

[65] In 1834 a series of trials was made at Toulon in order to
ascertain the comparative strength of cables made of hemp and of the
aloe (brought from Algiers), which resulted greatly in favour of the
latter. Of cables of equal size, that made from the aloe raised a
weight of 2000 kilogrammes, that of hemp a weight of only 400.

[66] Pulqué is described by Mr. Ward as the favourite beverage of the
lower classes in some parts of Mexico. The aloe plant, from which it
is prepared, is cultivated for the purpose in extensive plantations;
and so great is the consumption of it, that before the revolution the
revenue derived from a very small municipal duty levied upon it at
the gates of the towns averaged 600,000 hard dollars a-year, and in
1793 amounted to 817,739, or about 170,000_l._ sterling.--See Ward's
'Mexico,' vol. i. p. 55.

[67] A small iron steamer, which might be had for 25,000_l._ or
30,000_l._, would be quite sufficient to begin with.



    The town of Cuyo formerly attached to Cordova. Value of the
        old municipal institutions. SAN LUIS, wretched state of
        the population. The miserable weakness of the Government,
        exposes the whole southern frontier of the Republic to
        the Indians. Aconcagua seen from the town. Mines of
        Carolina. Account of a journey over the Pampas in a
        carriage. MENDOZA, extent, rivers, artificial irrigation,
        productions. Mines not worth working by English companies.
        Ancient Peruvian road. City of Mendoza, and salubrity of
        the Climate. SAN JUAN. The productions similar to those of
        Mendoza, Wine, Brandy, and Corn. Quantity of Corn produced
        yearly. Mines of Jachal. Character of the people. Passes
        across the Andes. Dr. Gillies' account of an excursion by
        those of the Planchon and Las Damas. Singular animal found
        in the provinces of Cuyo named the Chlamyphorus, described
        by Mr. Yarrell.

The towns of San Luis, San Juan, and Mendoza, with their several
jurisdictions, each of which is now considered a separate province, in
the time of the Viceroys were subject to the Intendency of Cordova.
In 1813, by a decree of the National Congress, they were separated
from that government, and formed into a distinct province, under the
denomination of the Province of Cuyo,[68] of which Mendoza was made
the capital; but in this, as in the other divisions of the republic
enacted about the same time, the bonds were too loosely knit to resist
the shocks of party struggles and domestic convulsions; and this
arrangement, though wisely planned, fell with the dissolution of the
Congress at Buenos Ayres which created it.

But for the cabildos and municipal institutions which still existed
in most of the principal towns of the interior when the metropolitan
government was dissolved, in 1820, I believe every semblance of a
legitimate authority would have ceased. They retained to a certain
extent powers not only for the preservation of the public peace, but
for the administration of justice; and although perhaps, under the
circumstances, they afforded facilities for the establishment of the
federal system in opposition to a more centralised form of government,
there is no doubt they saved the insulated towns in the interior from
worse consequences. Those institutions were by far the best part of the
colonial system planted by the mother country, and they were framed
upon principles of liberality and independence which formed a very
singular exception to her general colonial policy. I doubt whether
those which in most cases have been substituted for them have been
so wisely cast, or are so suitable to the state of society in those
countries. The people at large were habituated and attached to them,
and had they been retained, with some reforms adapting them to the new
order of things, they might have been made the very best foundations
for the new republican institutions of the country. But the truth was,
they were essentially too democratic for the military power which arose
out of the change; they succumbed to that, and the people, having no
real voice in their new governments, made no struggle to preserve them.


Of all the petty governments of the interior that of San Luis is one of
the most wretched. The population, estimated at from 20,000 to 25,000
souls, is thinly scattered over the estancias, or cattle-farms, at very
long distances from each other, where they lead a life so far removed
from anything like civilised society, that it may be doubted if their
condition is really much better than that of the wild Indians, of whom
they live in such continual dread, and against whose fearful inroads
their miserable provincial authorities can afford them no efficient
protection. Their independence and weakness is a serious evil to the
whole republic, which is in consequence of it left defenceless on its
most assailable side. The provinces of Cordova, Santa Fé, and Buenos
Ayres, are obliged to maintain each a separate militia to protect
their frontiers thus left open to the savages; and the most important
of all the communications in the republic, the road from Buenos Ayres
to Mendoza, is constantly unsafe from the total absence of all means
on the part of the government of San Luis to make it otherwise. Every
year this state of things goes on the evil consequences become more
manifest; and, unless the ridiculous independence of some of these
insulated townships be put an end to by their re-annexation to
their old provincial capitals, not only must their own interests be
annihilated, but those of the republic at large must materially suffer.
It is idle to look for any improvement under the present system, which
can only lead to the diffusion of ignorance and moral degradation, if
the wretched population does not altogether disappear under it.

The straggling mud-built town of San Luis de la Punta, which gives its
name to the province, contains about 1500 inhabitants, all miserably
poor. Bauza places it in lat. 33° 17´ 30", long. 65° 46´ 30". It is
prettily situated on the western slope of one of a group of hills,
which appear to be the last knolls of the Sierra da Cordova. Dr.
Gillies gives it 2417 feet above the level of the sea, by barometrical
observation, a greater elevation than the traveller from the pampas
perhaps would imagine. There is, however, a splendid prospect from it;
the great saline lake of Bevedero glistening at a distance, and the
interminable plains stretching away to the south, covered with a rich
vegetation, brilliant with gaudy flowers, amongst which the bulbous
plants are strikingly conspicuous.[69]

Towards sunset, the Cordillera, capped with snow, is often visible,
though above 200 miles distant. It has been generally supposed to be
Tupungato which is thus seen; but Tupungato does not rise above the
limit of perpetual snow,[70] and is often entirely free from it; is
it not more likely therefore to be Aconcagua, which Captain Fitzroy
found to attain the enormous elevation of 23,200 feet, upwards of 2000
higher than the famous Chimborazo? The direct distance differs very
slightly of either from San Luis, Tupungato is 213, and Aconcagua 216
geographical miles from it; the latter being about 50 miles to the
north of the other.

The gold-mines of San Carolina are about sixty miles to the north of
San Luis, in the mountains; they have long since been filled with
water, and, as there are no capitalists or machinery to drain them,
they are no longer worked, but the people of the hamlet wash and sift
the alluvial soil collected at particular places (the lavaderos) in the
neighbourhood, and so collect every year a quantity of gold in dust
and small bean-like lumps, which they call _pepitas_. According to
the official returns in the King of Spain's time, the produce of one
year, on which duty was paid, was about 150 lbs. At present the people
take little trouble to collect more than is absolutely necessary to
enable them to purchase at San Luis the few articles of clothing and
horse-gear which they require; if anything, they are even worse off
than the gauchos upon the estancias. Captain Head paid them a flying
visit, and has described the wretched poverty in which he found them.

Originally, and before the erection of Buenos Ayres into a
Vice-Royalty, the province of Cuyo was subject to the government of
Chile, of which San Luis was at that time the frontier-town to the
eastward, and the place where the Captains-General in consequence first
received the honours due to them when they crossed the pampas from
Buenos Ayres to take possession of their government. It takes its name
from Don Luis de Loyola, a Governor of Chile, who founded it in the
year 1596.

By the post-road it is 226 leagues distant from Buenos Ayres, and 84
from Mendoza; and it is the only place that exceeds the description
of a straggling village throughout the whole distance. The road which
runs through it has been often described by those who have crossed
the pampas in the last twenty years, and they have left little to say
about it. By all accounts it seems to be a most uninteresting one;
and the grand object, therefore, is to get over it with the greatest
possible expedition. The more common mode of performing the journey is
on horseback; but this is necessarily attended with great fatigue, and
he must have an iron constitution who attempts it; but if he can live
upon meat yet warm with life, or barely toasted over a gaucho fire,
dispense with bread, drink brackish water, and sleep as a luxury upon
the ground in the open air, in spite of bugs as big as beetles, which
will suck him like vampires, his saddle for a pillow, and the sky for
his covering, and with such fare gallop a hundred miles a day, he may,
barring accidents, reach Mendoza in about ten days. He will find no
temptation to loiter on the way, though much to make him wish to reach
his journey's end.

There are post-houses, or stations, along the whole line of road,
where relays of horses may be had; wretched animals in general, to
all appearance, though the work they will sometimes do is almost
incredible, and that of course entirely upon green food; it is true
their gaucho riders never spare them, and their tremendous spurs,
reeking with blood when they dismount, but too cruelly indicate in
general the goad which has urged them on. Unlike the Arab or the
Cossack, the gaucho seems to have no kind feeling whatever for his
horse; the intrinsic value of the animal being of no importance, if he
drops on the way his rider cares not, he lassoes and mounts another
beast, and abandons the exhausted one to the condors and vultures,
always on the look-out for such a chance, and which will tear the flesh
from the poor brute's bones as soon as they find he has not strength
enough left to shake or kick them off. The mares lead a better life,
being kept entirely for breeding; and custom is so strong that no
consideration would induce a gaucho to mount one. The pampa Indians
have the same feeling, but they keep them for food as well as breeding;
mare's flesh by them is preferred to all other, indeed it is their
ordinary food.

But it is not absolutely necessary to go through the fatigue of riding
on horseback across the pampas, and, for those disposed to consult
their ease, an admirable sort of carriage may be had at Buenos Ayres,
called a galera, in appearance more resembling a London omnibus than
any other carriage I ever saw; it is swung upon hide ropes, and is
of light though very strong construction; and in this the journey as
far as Mendoza may be performed in fourteen or fifteen days without
difficulty. At the same time that Captain Head started to ride on
horseback across the pampas, another friend of mine, with four or five
persons in his suite, who was desirous to combine as much comfort
as possible with such an undertaking, left Buenos Ayres in the sort
of carriage I have described; he had besides with him a cart on two
wheels, for the conveyance of baggage, bedding, cooking utensils, &c.,
and much such a supply of _stock_ as people would lay in for a voyage
by sea of two or three weeks' duration. On reaching Mendoza, he sent me
an account of his journey, from which I extract the following, for the
benefit of those disposed to follow his example:--

                                       _"Mendoza, December, 1825._

    "We reached this place on the morning of the eighteenth day
    from our leaving Buenos Ayres. H--d, who started on horseback
    at the same time, did it in nine, but with so much fatigue as
    to be obliged to lie up for some days afterwards to recruit.
    We might easily have done it in our carriage in fourteen or
    fifteen, for we galloped nearly the whole way, as he did, but
    for the tiresome stoppages we were continually obliged to
    make in order to repair our cart; these kept us half a day
    at one place, one day at another, and two whole ones at San
    Luis. Though you laughed, as well you might, at our set-out,
    and at the appearance of our galera and caratillo, stuffed
    with my manifold preparations for personal comfort, I can
    truly say, now the expedition is over, that of all carriage
    contrivances the galera is infinitely the best calculated for
    an excursion across the pampas; ours was remarkably easy over
    the roughest roads, capable of resisting all injury from them,
    and its high wheels well adapted for preventing our sinking
    in the quagmires, whilst it formed a comfortable bedroom at
    night. Of the caratillo I cannot speak favourably:--from its
    construction it was not suited to keep pace with the galera;
    two galeras would be better, especially if there were ladies
    of the party, in which case one might be fitted especially
    for their convenience, with couches for sleeping, &c. The pies
    and provisions might be stowed away in lockers, as the sailors
    would call them, made for the purpose; and the more good things
    in the shape of eatables and drinkables you can get into them
    the better, unless you have the stomach of an ostrich to digest
    what the gauchos offer you. The filth of the post-houses is
    beyond description, dirt and vermin of every kind in them, and
    no accommodation of any sort for the traveller; even our peons
    preferred sleeping in the open air, and you would not suspect
    them of being over nice; I never in my life saw such a set of
    wild devils.

    "The country is more uninteresting than any I ever travelled
    over, in any quarter of the globe. I should divide it into
    five regions:--first, that of thistles, inhabited by owls and
    biscachas; secondly, that of grass, where you meet with deer
    and ostriches, and the screaming horned plover; thirdly, the
    region of swamps and bogs, only fit for frogs; fourthly, that
    of stones and ravines, where I expected every moment to be
    upset; and, lastly, that of ashes and thorny shrubs, the refuge
    of the tarantula and binchuco, or giant bug.

    Its geological aspect differed somewhat from what I expected.
    I should say that, to the north and south of Mendoza, there
    have been volcanoes, the eruptions from which have covered the
    country (perhaps the bed of a sea) with ashes as far as San
    Luis: the peculiar soil so formed, combined with the effects
    of climate and the salt lakes, may perhaps account for the
    particular species of thorny plants which are undescribed and
    confined to this region. The mountain streams, overflowing the
    saline lakes, are the origin of the vast swamps between San
    Luis and the Rio Quarto; and the decomposed granite and gneiss
    from the Sierra de Cordova, gives rise to the difference in the
    soil, and to its elevation along the Rio Tercero."


The province of Mendoza occupies a space of something more than 150
miles from north to south, along the eastern side of the Cordillera of
the Andes, and nearly an equal distance from east to west, measured
from the Desaguadero to the central ridge of the Andes. The northern
boundary is formed by a line passing east and west through the post
station of Chañar, about eighteen miles north of the city, which
divides it from the jurisdiction of San Juan. To the south the nominal
frontier line is the river Diamante, although lands beyond that river
have been purchased from the Indians, which are likely, perhaps, to
become some of the most valuable of the province, especially for the
purposes of cattle breeding, for which those in the vicinity of Mendoza
are not suitable.

The river Desaguadero is the divisional line between the provinces of
San Luis and Mendoza:--this river is the drain of a singular chain of
lakes known by the name of Guanacache, formed by the confluence of the
river Mendoza, which runs into them from the south, and the San Juan
river, which, after passing the town or city so called, is discharged
into them from the north. The Desaguadero, after receiving these
rivers, runs first in an easterly direction, and afterwards south,
into a vast lake called the Bevedero, below the town of San Luis:--a
portion, also, of the waters of the river Tunuyan are lost in the same
great sack-like lake, which thus becomes the reservoir of the greater
part of the streams which issue from the Andes between the thirty-first
and the thirty-fourth degree of latitude. It is said that in old times
the Tunuyan also, like the rivers of Mendoza and San Juan, had no
other outlet, but that river, at a later period, opened for itself
a new channel, and though a portion of its waters are still carried
into the Bevedero, the greater part of them turn off to the south
before reaching it in a stream called the Rio Nuevo by Bauza, and the
Desaguadero by Cruz,[71] which runs in that direction a considerable
distance, till the Diamante and Chadi-leubú rivers join it, and
together they form another great inland water without any outlet,
called the Urré-lauquen, or Bitter Lake, from its extreme saltness, as
described in chapter eight. The account of this lake given to Cruz by
the Indians who accompanied him in his journey across that part of the
Pampas in 1806, has been verified of late years by General Aldao, who
personally examined it in an expedition which he commanded against the
savages in 1833, when he rode round it, and ascertained that it had no

The river Tunuyan rises from the base of the mighty mountain of
Tupungato, and at first runs south through a wide and rich valley in
the Cordillera; passing eastward of the volcano of Maypú, or Peuquenes,
it afterwards finds its way through the eastern chain of the Andes by a
deep chasm or opening, which it seems to have burst for itself through
the mountains seven or eight miles below the Portillo Pass, and nearly
opposite to where the Maypú leaves the Cordillera on the western side:
thence its course through the plains is north, and afterwards eastward,
in the direction of the great lake Bevedero, as already stated.

It would seem as though Nature herself had expressly directed the
course of these rivers, viz., the Mendoza, Desaguadero, and Tunuyan,
in such a way as to facilitate to the inhabitants the means of
artificially irrigating their lands, which, from the quality of
the soil, and the rarity of rain, would be otherwise barren and
unproductive[72]:--as it is, the quantity of lands artificially watered
by ducts from the rivers Mendoza and Tunuyan is estimated at about
30,000 square leagues, and these lands, which are arid and barren when
not so watered, become, under regular irrigation, uncommonly rich and
fertile, yielding frequently, under a very rude and simple mode of
agriculture, more than a hundred-fold. Wheat, barley, and maiz are thus
grown; besides which there are extensive vineyards and orchards, and
grounds covered with lucern grass for the fattening of cattle,--all
regularly enclosed, and walled in with thick mud walls, called

The products of the province are wine, brandy, raisins, figs, wheat,
flour, hides, tallow, and soap, which last is made from a species of
barilla, which abounds in most parts of it:--a considerable portion of
these is exported to Chile and to the provinces of Cordova, San Luis,
and Buenos Ayres. The quantities so disposed of will be best understood
by the following official return of the exports for a single year:--

Account of Exports of Produce of Mendoza for other parts during the
year 1827.

 |            |            |            |Corn  |  [73] |      |      |       |
 |            |            |            |and   | Dried |Hides.|Soap. |Tallow.|
 | Where sent.|  Brandy.   |   Wine.    |Flour.|Fruits.|      |      |       |
 |            +-----+------+-----+------+------+-------+------+------+-------+
 |            |Pipes.Loads.|Pipes.Loads.|Loads.|Loads. | No.  |Loads.|Loads. |
 |Buenos Ayres| 336 | 2144 |  290| 3120 | 1098 |  520  |  670 |   -- |   --  |
 |San Luis    |  -- |   70 |  -- |  488 | 1634 |   85  |  --  |   60 |   --  |
 |Cordova     |  -- |   95 |  -- |  355 |  125 |   49  |  --  |   -- |   --  |
 |Santa Fé    |  -- |   81 |  -- |  172 |  469 |   39  |  --  |   -- |   --  |
 |Chile       |  -- |   12 |  -- |  --  |   -- |   --  | 8700 |  571 |   88  |
 |            | 336 | 2402 |  290| 4135 | 4452 |  693  | 9370 |  631 |   88  |

In addition to these native products, the mineral riches of the province
are various and valuable. The silver mines of Uspallata have at times
been very productive, and in other parts of the same range veins, both
of silver and copper, are known to exist, though want of capital and
labourers has hitherto prevented their being opened. With respect to
the working of these mines by English companies, and in the English
manner, the best opinions seem to agree that it would not answer to
make the attempt.

Mr. Miers carefully examined the mines at Uspallata, and has given a
particular account of the mode in which they are worked by the natives,
and of the process resorted to for separating the silver from the ore.
At the time he visited them they were not yielding more than two marks
per caxon:[74] a very low average, upon which he has taken the trouble
to make calculations to show that the English mode of smelting can
never be brought into competition with the process of amalgamation as
practised in South America. He says,--"To ensure economical results
the aid alone of the people of the country, as well as the application
of their peculiar habits and management, must be resorted to: wherever
English improvements are attempted to supersede the old methods, such
trials would be attended with loss. "No one," he adds, "can doubt but
that in the barbarous mode of operation followed in Chile great loss of
product is occasioned; but when this loss is placed in competition with
the increased cost of labour, materials, and management necessary to
ensure a greater amount of produce, the inference is irresistible that
it is better to put up with this loss than to expend a sum of money
far beyond the value of what can be obtained by adopting the improved
methods used in countries where facilities abound which can hardly be
procured at any price in Chile and La Plata."

Captain Head, after seeing them, came to a similar conclusion: he
considered that, although they might yield a liberal return under the
more economical plan of employing native labourers properly directed,
and at the ordinary low rate of wages paid for such labour in that part
of the country; from the want of water, wood for fuel, and pasturage
for cattle throughout the region in which they are situated, they would
not repay the cost of working them by machinery, or by an English

In all this part of the Cordillera is to be found an abundance of
limestone, gypsum, alum, mineral pitch, bituminous shales with
appearances of coal in many places, slates, and a variety of saline
deposits, amongst others common and Glauber salts.

The same metalliferous chain of the Andes extends, according to
Gillies, with little interruption, from Chile to Peru, and contains
the greater part of the gold and silver mines yet known on the
eastern ranges of the great Cordillera, including, besides those of
Uspallata, the mines of the province of San Juan, and further north
those of Famatina in La Rioja. It is separated from the central ridge
of the Andes by an extensive valley, or succession of valleys, running
northwards from Uspallata, through which it is said that an ancient
road of the Peruvians is to be traced at the present day nearly to
Potosi; a point well worth the attention of the antiquarian, and of
great interest, as connected with the state of civilization which the
aborigines had attained before their conquest by the Spaniards.

The population of the province of Mendoza is calculated to be from
35,000 to 40,000 souls, about a third of which is resident in the
city and its immediate vicinity. The executive power is vested in a
Governor, periodically chosen, as in the other provinces, by the Junta,
or Provincial Assembly.

A visible improvement has taken place in the condition of this
people in the last twenty years; for, although at so vast a distance
from the Capital, like Salta, its position as a frontier town has
given it some special advantages: it has led to communications with
foreigners, and to a traffic with Chile and with Buenos Ayres, which,
by teaching them the value of their own resources, has roused a sort of
commercial spirit amongst the inhabitants, and has stimulated them to
more industrious habits. The government has taken pains to establish
schools for the education, of all classes, and the setting up of a
printing press, from which has issued an occasional newspaper, has been
of great use, not only in opening the eyes of the people at large to
the proceedings of their own rulers, but in furnishing them with some
notion as to what is going on from time to time in other parts of the

They are, in general, a healthy and well-conditioned race: descended
many of them from families originally sent from the Azores by the
Portuguese government to colonise Colonia del Sacramento on the
river Plate, and made prisoners and settled in those remote parts
by Cevallos, during the war which preceded the peace of 1777. It is
probably much owing to them that the cultivation of the vine has been
so extensively introduced in this part of the Republic.

The city of Mendoza, which, according to Bauza, is in south latitude
32° 52´, west longitude 69° 6´; at an elevation of 4891 feet above the
sea, and at the very foot of the Andes, is shut out from any view of
the great Cordillera by a dusky range of lower hills which intervene.
Its appearance is neat and cheerful: the houses, for the most part,
built of sunburnt bricks, plastered and whitewashed; and the streets
laid out at right angles, as usual in that part of the world. It boasts
of an Alameda, or public walk, said to equal anything of the kind
laid out, as yet, in South America:--it is nearly a mile long, neatly
kept, and shaded by rows of magnificent poplars:--there are seats and
pavilions at either end for the accommodation of the inhabitants, by
whom it is much frequented as a lounge, especially of an evening.

The climate is delightful and salubrious, and is remarkably beneficial
to persons suffering from pulmonary affections. The only ailment to
which the people seem more liable here than in the interior is the
goitre, which I suppose may be attributed to the same causes, whatever
they are, which seem to produce it in almost all alpine districts.


The province of San Juan, which adjoins that of Mendoza, occupies the
space between the great Cordillera and the mountains of Cordova, as
far north as the Llaños, or plains, of La Rioja. It is said to contain
about 25,000 inhabitants, governed, at present, like those of Mendoza,
and occupied very much in the same manner, in the cultivation of their
vineyards and gardens, and in agricultural pursuits. Their exports of
brandies and wines to the other provinces are little short of those
from Mendoza, and the quantity of corn they annually grow has been
estimated at from 100,000 to 120,000 English bushels. The same lands
produce yearly crops under the process of artificial irrigation from
waters highly charged with alluvial matter. The ordinary crops are 50
for 1, in better lands 80 to 100, and in some, as at Augaco, about five
leagues to the north of the city of San Juan, they have been known to
yield 200 and 240. The price in the province is from one and a half
to two Spanish dollars for a fanega, equal there to about two and a
half English bushels. The wages of a day labourer are from five to six
dollars a month, besides his food, which may be worth a rial a day more.

In times of scarcity corn has been sent from San Juan to Buenos Ayres,
a distance of upwards of a thousand miles; but this can never answer
under ordinary circumstances, from the great expense attending the land
carriage. It is different with the wines and brandies, which, after all
charges, can be sold in most of the provinces of the interior, and even
at Buenos Ayres, at a fair profit. They are in general demand amongst
the lower orders, and, if pains were taken with them, might be very
much improved. I have had samples of as many as eight or ten different
qualities, all of them good, sound, strong-bodied wines, and only
requiring more care in their preparation for market.

In the northern part of this province, in the lower ranges of the
Cordillera, is the district of Jachal, in which are what are called the
Gold Mines:--they are, as far as I could learn, much in the same state
as those of La Carolina in the province of San Luis, already spoken of.
Their yearly produce was estimated, in 1825, at 80,000 dollars, the
greater part of which was sent to Chile to be coined at the mint of
Santiago. The accuracy of this calculation has been disputed, but, men
if true to its fullest extent, the amount is of no great consequence.

The situation of the city of San Juan is in latitude 31° 4´, according
to Molina. Mr. Arrowsmith has placed it in longitude 68° 57´ 30".

The climate is described as truly heavenly, and the people as a
well-disposed race, extremely anxious to improve both their moral and
political condition. In this they have had chiefly to struggle with
the countervailing influence of an ignorant, vicious, and bigoted
priesthood, which has been greatly opposed to all innovations:--the
political power, however, of this class of persons is fast on the wane
at San Juan, as in most other parts of the Republic.


I shall conclude this chapter with a list of the passes across the
Andes from the several provinces of this republic of which I have any
account: they are twelve in number:--

First.--The most northerly is a continuation of the road called
the Despoblado, which crosses the mountainous districts of the
north-western part of the province of Salta by the mines of Yngaguasi
to Atacama.

Second.--A pass from the province of La Rioja communicates with Guasco
and Copiapo in Chile.[75]

Third.--Another, further south, leads from the province of San Juan to

Fourth.--That called Los Patos on the north flank of the great mountain
of Aconcagua, descending into Chile by the valley of the Putaendo,
a small river which joins the larger one of Aconcagua in the plains
below, near the town of San Felipe. It was by this road that General
San Martin made his celebrated march over the Andes with the army of
Buenos Ayres in 1817, which led to the liberation of Chile from the
Spanish yoke.

Fifth.--The pass of the Cumbre by Uspallata, the road most usually
taken by travellers proceeding from Mendoza to Santiago de Chile, and
which has been very particularly described by several Englishmen, who
have gone that way. Of the published accounts that of Mr. Miers is,
perhaps, the best, as he had the most opportunities of making it so,
having crossed it no less than four times, once with his wife, who
was taken in labour upon the road. Lieutenant Brand's is particularly
interesting, from his having crossed at the season when the Cordillera
was covered with snow, which obliged him to proceed on foot a great
part of the way, and to encounter fearful risks, which he has very
graphically described. The whole distance from Mendoza to Santiago is
107 post leagues; and the highest part of the Andes crossed is (by
barometrical measurement), according to Dr. Gillies, 12,530 feet above
the sea:--Mr. Miers says about 600 feet less. From the commencement of
November to the end of May, occasionally a few weeks sooner or later,
this road is passable the whole distance on mules:--for the rest of
the year it is generally closed to all but foot-passengers, and the
crossing is then attended with considerable danger; many lives have
been lost in attempting it.

A striking object on this road is the splendid arch called the Inca's
Bridge, seventy-five feet over, which nature has thrown across a ravine
one hundred and fifty feet deep, through which runs the river of Las
Cuevas. There are natural hot springs about it, which some persons
suppose to have contributed to its formation:--it is evident, however,
that some infinitely more powerful agency has been at work, from the
appearance of beds of fossil shells there at an elevation of 8650 feet
above the level of the present sea.

Sixth.--About half way over, near the station called the Punta de las
Vacas, a road branches off to the valley of Tupungato, and afterwards
crosses the Cordillera to the north of the peak so called, descending
on the opposite side into Chile by the valley of the little river
Dehesa, from which it is called the Dehesa Pass: it is very little used.

Seventh.--South of the mountain of Tupungato is the Portillo Pass,
which falls into the valley of the river Maypú in Chile with the Rio
del Yeso. By many travellers it is preferred to the high road by
Uspallata, being the shorter way of the two by twenty leagues:--it is,
however, seldom open longer than from the beginning of January to the
end of April, the greater elevation of that part of the Cordillera
causing it to be longer blocked up by the snow.

The way to it from Mendoza runs southward, parallel to the mountains
as far as the estancia of Totoral, upon the north bank of the river
Tunuyan, distant about sixty-five miles from that city, and some
twenty from the base of the Cordillera:--thence the pass bears
west-south-west, distant about thirty-six miles; the breach in the
mountains through which the Tunuyan runs being plainly visible to the
south of it. This part of the Andes seems to consist of two great
parallel ridges running nearly north and south, and separated from each
other by the valley of the Tunuyan, the width of which is about twenty
miles, and its elevation above the sea, where crossed by the road,
about 7500 feet. Of the two ranges the eastern one is the highest,
being, where the road crosses it, 14,365 feet above the sea:--this
chain extends with little interruption from the river of Mendoza,
southwards, to the Diamante, a distance of about 140 miles:--the
western, or Chilian range, where crossed by the road, is not above
13,200 feet high.[76]

In this part of the Cordillera is situated the volcano of Peuquenes,
or Maypú, eruptions from which have been frequent since the great
earthquake which produced such disturbance in 1822:--they generally
consist of ashes and clouds of pumice-dust, which are carried by the
winds occasionally as far as Mendoza, a distance little short of 100
miles. In crossing from the eastern to the western side of the valley
of the Tunuyan travellers have, at first, the summit of the volcano
concealed from them, but about half way between that river and the pass
of Peuquenes there is a good view of it eight or nine miles distant to
the south:--the summit is generally covered with snow, and cannot be
much less than 15,000 feet above the sea. It is from the pumice-rock
found in this neighbourhood that the people of Mendoza make basins for
filtering the muddy water of their river.

Eighth.--To the south of this volcano is situated a pass called De la
Cruz de Piedra, which enters the Cordillera where a small stream, the
Aguanda, issues from it, about two leagues to the north of the fort of
San Juan:--it unites with the road by the Portillo pass on the opposite
side of the Andes in the valley of the Maypú.

Ninth.--Further south one little frequented unites the valleys of the
rivers Diamante and Cachapoal: this is previous to reaching the volcano
of Peteroa, beyond which are situated the passes of Las Damas and of
the Planchon.

Tenth.--Of these the Las Damas, or ladies' pass, enters the
Cordillera from Manantial in the valley of the river Atuel, and
descends by that of the Tinguiririca, which issues from the mountain
of San Fernando:--this was the pass which M. de Souillac, in 1805,
reported might, at a very small expense, be rendered passable for

Eleventh.--The road by the Planchon leads to Curico and Talca,
following the courses of the rivers Claro and Teno:--on neither of
these roads does the elevation exceed 11,000 feet, or the vegetation
ever cease.

The twelfth pass is that of Antuco, from which Cruz started in 1806
to cross the Pampas to Buenos Ayres:--the road by it to Conception in
Chile follows the valleys of the rivers Laxa and Biobio. To the south
of the volcano in the vicinity of this pass, which Cruz could not get
up, but which has since been ascended by M. Pæppig, a German naturalist
(who nearly lost his life in the attempt), lies a ridge called the
_Silla Velluda_, rising, according to his estimation, to the height of
17,000 feet, on the rugged sides of which, below the snow and glaciers,
are to be traced ranges of basaltic columns.

Of the most frequented of these passes, viz., those by Uspallata and
the Portillo, there are, as I have already said, several accounts
in print, but, as I know of no other Englishman except the late Dr.
Gillies who has examined those of Las Damas and the Planchon with any
attention, I shall here quote part of a letter which he wrote to me in
1827, giving an account of a short excursion he made by them in that
year; and I do so the rather because it also gives some account of the
intervening country, which has never, as far as I know, been described
by any one else:--

"About the middle of May I returned from an excursion of ten weeks
to the south which I had long meditated. After reaching the river
Diamante, the southern boundary of the province of Mendoza, I crossed
that river and ascended the Cerro del Diamante, and at every step
found ample evidence of its volcanic origin: the ascent was covered
with masses of lava, and near the summit with loose pumice. The upper
part of the mountain consists of a ridge elevated a little at each
of the extremities into a rounded form, on the north side of which,
a little below the summit, is a plateau about 400 yards in diameter,
which undoubtedly has been formerly the crater of a volcano. The whole
mountain appears to rest on an immense bed of pumice-stone. On the
steep banks of the Diamante opposite to it such strata are laid open
on both sides:--at one place on the south bank I traced one great mass
of pumice-rock, 100 feet long and 145 wide, the whole forming distinct
basaltic pillars.

"From this interesting spot we proceeded towards the mountains of
the Andes, and amongst the first low hills examined several springs
of petroleum, about which it is curious to observe the remains of a
variety of insects, birds, and animals, which, having got entangled
there, have been unable to extricate themselves:--so tenacious is this
substance that (as I was assured by an eye-witness) some years ago a
lion was found in the same situation, which had made fruitless attempts
to escape. Following the base of this lower range southward, after a
few leagues we reached the banks of the river Atuel, a copious stream
much larger than either the river of Mendoza or the Tunuyan:--its
bed, very unlike that of the Diamante, is very little lower than the
surrounding plains, which gradually slope off to the eastward for
twelve or fourteen leagues, as I had an opportunity afterwards of

"The north bank, where we crossed it, seems admirably adapted for an
agricultural settlement: it is there that the several roads diverge
across the Cordillera to San Fernando, Curico, and Talca, in Chile; and
to the south into the country of the Indians. We proceeded from thence
towards the Planchon, along a succession of valleys rich in pasturage,
but very bare of shrubbery: in several places we saw immense masses
of gypsum, and passed a mountain from which is obtained an aluminous
earth, much used in Chile as a pigment for dyeing. The pass of the
Planchon is along the north shoulder of a lofty mountain, apparently
composed of sonorous slaty strata. My barometer unfortunately got out
of order before I reached the highest elevation; but, as vegetation
extends to the top of the pass, it must be considerably lower than
the passes of the Portillo and of Uspallata, on both of which all
vegetation ceases long before reaching the higher points of the road.
The descent from the Planchon is very rough, and in many places
steep: at a distance of three leagues from the top we reached our
resting-place, surrounded by luxuriant vegetation, and thence descended
to Curico, along a valley with steep mountains on either side, and
through a continuous thicket of lofty trees and shrubs, amongst
which I may enumerate the Chilian cypress, the quillay, the canelo or
cinnamon-tree, the caustic laurel, a variety of myrtles, a beautiful
fascia, and others no less interesting.

"From Curico we went to Talca, a considerable town, and thence explored
the river Maule, with a view to its capabilities for navigation. We
returned by Curico to San Fernando, where we re-entered the Cordillera
by the valley of the Tinguiririca to ascend the pass of Las Damas:
the road was very similar to that we had previously descended from
the Planchon to Curico; but, being much less frequented, it was in
many places difficult and dangerous. In the upper part of this valley
we examined some hot springs, the temperature of which reached 170°
of Fahrenheit. Thence we were induced to devote two days to visit a
volcano,--which was described to us as being in an active state,--about
ten leagues distant: thither we proceeded by a most rugged and
dangerous path, and reached within half a league of the summit, when so
serious a snow-storm came on, that we had the mortification of being
forced to return without accomplishing our object; nor had we any time
to lose, for the snow had so completely obliterated all traces of the
way, that our guide was completely lost, and, but for the observations
I had taken with my compass, I know not how we should have got back
at all. On reaching our mules again, the weather was so unpromising
that we made all haste to recross the mountains, lest they should be
closed against us by the heavy snow which was falling; this we happily
accomplished, and three days brought us back again to the place where
we had first crossed the Atuel river. After visiting the extensive
saline lakes in that vicinity, from which the province is supplied with
salt, we bent our way back to Mendoza.

"In this journey I had an opportunity I had long desired of examining
on the Cordillera the plant from the root of which the natives of Chile
obtain their admirable red dye."

Dr. Gillies, the writer of this letter, passed many years at Mendoza,
where he recovered from a severe pulmonary affection, and was himself a
striking instance of the beneficial effects of the climate under such
circumstances. Botany was his favourite pursuit; but he did not confine
himself to this, and never lost an opportunity of collecting useful
information on every other point which fell under his notice.

His botanical acquisitions were, I believe, chiefly communicated to
Professor Hooker, of Glasgow, through whom they were occasionally made
known to the public. His collections of the ores of Uspallata and other
parts of the Cordillera were given to the College Museum at Edinburgh.
I am myself indebted to him for the best part of my information
respecting the provinces of Cuyo. It was through him I obtained,
amongst other curiosities from those parts, the very remarkable little
animal which is figured in the annexed plate, and which is now in
the collection of the Zoological Society of London. It has hitherto
been only found in the provinces of Cuyo, and even there but rarely:
it burrows in the ground, and in its habits somewhat resembles the
mole, lying dormant during the winter months; the natives call it the
Pichi-ciego. Dr. Harlan, of New York, was the first to give an account
of it, from an imperfect specimen sent to him from Mendoza; and he gave
it the name of _chlamyphorus truncatus_.

European naturalists, however, doubted its existence till the point was
settled beyond dispute by the arrival of my specimen, which fortunately
was perfect, and in an excellent state of preservation. At the request
of the council of the Zoological Society, Mr. Yarrell drew up a
particular account of its osteology, which was published in the third
volume of their Journal, and from which, with his permission, I extract
the following observations upon its comparative anatomy.

"From the representation of the skeleton and its different parts it
will be perceived that the _chlamyphorus truncatus_ has points of
resemblance to several other quadrupeds, but that it possesses also
upon each comparison many others in which it is totally different.

"It resembles the beaver (_castor fiber_) in the form and substance of
some of the bones of the limbs, in the flattened and dilated extremity
of the tail, and the elongation of the transverse processes of the
lower caudal vertebræ, but no further.

"It has much less resemblance to the mole (_talpa Europea_) than its
external form and subterranean habits would induce us to expect. In
the shortness and great strength of the legs, and in the articulation
of the claws to the first phalanges of the toes, it is similar; but
in the form of the bones of the anterior extremity, as well as in the
compressed claws, it is perfectly different; nor do the articulations
of the bones, nor the arrangement of the muscles, allow any of the
lateral motion so conspicuous in the mole; the hinder extremities of
the chlamyphorus are also much more powerful. It resembles the sloth
(_bradypus tridactylus_) in the form of the teeth and in the acute
descending process of the zygoma; but here all comparison with the
sloth ceases.

"The skeleton of the chlamyphorus will be found to resemble that of
the armadillo (_dasypi species plures_) more than any other known
quadruped. In the peculiar ossification of the cervical vertebræ, in
possessing the sesamoid bones of the feet, in the general form of all
the bones, except those of the pelvis, as well as in the nature of the
external covering, they are decidedly similar; they differ, however, in
the form and appendages of the head, in the composition and arrangement
of the coat of mail, and particularly in the posterior truncated
extremity and tail.

"There is a resemblance to be perceived in the form of some of the
bones of the chlamyphorus to those of the _orycteropus capensis_ and
_myrmecophaga jubata_, as might be expected in animals belonging to
the same order. To the _echidna_ and _ornithorhynchus_ it is also
similar in the form of the first bone of the sternum, and in the bony
articulations, as well as the dilated connecting plates, of the true
and false ribs. It becomes interesting to be able to establish even
small points of similarity between the most extraordinary quadrupeds of
New Holland and those of South America; that continent producing in the
various species of _didelphis_ other resemblances to the _marsupiata_.
In the form of the lower jaw, and in other points equally obvious,
the chlamyphorus exhibits characters to be found in some species of
_ruminantia_ and _pachydermata_.

"In conclusion I may remark that in the composition and arrangement of
its external covering, and in its very singular truncated extremity,
the chlamyphorus is peculiar and unique; and if a conjecture might be
hazarded, in the absence of any positive knowledge of the habits of
the animal, it is probable that it occasionally assumes an upright
position, for which the fattened posterior seems admirably adapted.
It is also unique in the form and various appendages of the head, and
most particularly in possessing an open pelvis, no instance of which,
as far as I am acquainted, has ever as yet occurred in any species of

Since Mr. Yarrell's observations Dr. Buckland, in his description of
the _megatherium_, has further pointed out the resemblances of the
chlamyphorus to that fossil monster.

[Illustration: CHLAMYPHORUS.

_2/3 the Natural Size._]


[68] The word _Cuyo_, according to Angelis, in the Araucanian language
signifies _arena_, or sand, which is the general character of the soil.

[69] The cactus, which is found in every variety throughout the
province of Cuyo, abounds in the neighbourhood of San Luis, and the
natives collect the cochineal from it, and make it into cakes, which
they use in dying their ponchos.

[70] Although from June to December it is either wholly or partially
covered with snow, I have seen it in the month of May wholly bare,
when only a few days before there had been heavy falls of snow on
the Cumbre, or central ridge, &c. I mention these facts to show that
Tupungato cannot attain a higher level than that assigned to the limit
of perpetual congelation, which in this latitude to about 15,000 feet,
though, from the known height of the Cumbre, and its supposed elevation
above the central ridge, I am disposed to conclude that its actual
elevation cannot be far short of 16,000 feet (Miers).

[71] Dr. Gillies says where the Diamante joins it, it is called the

[72] In the more southern parts of the province, in the direction of
the Diamante, corn may be grown without the labour and expense of
artificial irrigation, the rains which fall there being sufficient to
render it unnecessary.

[73] The dried fruits of figs, peaches, apples, nuts, olives, &c.

Between 300 and 400 mules were sold for Chile in the same year. The
load or carga is equal to about 200 lbs.

[74] The mark is eight Spanish ounces, or seven ounces, three
pennyweights, fourteen grains, troy, English. The caxon is fifty
quintals, or 5000 lbs. of ore.

[75] According to Myen, a recent traveller, this part of the Cordillera
is not so elevated as more to the south:--he says it is passable at
several points of the province of Copiapo.

[76] These heights are given on the authority of Dr. Gillies.

[77] Zamudio, an officer in the service of Buenos Ayres, who examined
it the year before M. de Souillac, is said to have actually passed
it with a two-wheel cart. Dr. Gillies does not give so favourable an
account of its present state.





    Advantages of the situation of Buenos Ayres in a commercial
        point of view. Amount of _Imports_ into Buenos Ayres in
        peaceable times. From what Countries. Great proportion
        of the whole British Manufactures. Articles introduced
        from other parts of the World. The Trade checked by
        the Brazilian War, and subsequent Civil Disturbances.
        Recovering since 1831. Proportion of it taken off by
        Monte Video since its independence. Comparative view
        of _Exports_. Scarcity of Returns. Capabilities of the
        Country. Advantage of encouraging Foreigners. The Wool
        Trade becoming of importance owing to their exertions.
        Other useful productions which may be cultivated in the
        interior. Account of the origin and increase of the Horses
        and Cattle in the Pampas.

In a commercial point of view we have only to look at the map to
be satisfied of the great importance of the geographical position
of Buenos Ayres. From the Amazons along a line of coast upwards of
2000 miles in extent, the River Plate affords the only means of
communicating with all those vast regions in the interior of the
continent comprised between the Andes and the mountainous districts
which bound Brazil to the west. Not only the provinces of the Argentine
Republic and of Paraguay, but the now independent states of Bolivia
and Peru, are as yet only accessible from the Atlantic through the Rio
de La Plata.

If there is but little intercourse between these states at present, it
must be ascribed to political causes alone, and to such confined and
restrictive notions as are, perhaps, to be expected from governments in
their infancy.

The people of Bolivia and the eastern districts of Peru, whose wants
from Europe were formerly supplied through Buenos Ayres, are now under
separate governments of their own, which seem anxious to display their
commercial as well as political independence of their old connexions by
endeavouring to force the trade through other channels more immediately
under their own control; but, however desirous those governments may
be, under present circumstances, to establish a direct intercourse with
Europe through their own ports in the Pacific, and however well adapted
those ports may be for the supply of the provinces upon the west coast
of America, there can be no doubt, so far as regards all those which
lie to the eastward of the Cordillera, that, whenever the intermediate
rivers shall be navigated by steam, for which they are so admirably
calculated, the people of those vast countries will be much more easily
supplied with all they want from Europe by inland water-carriage direct
from Buenos Ayres than by the present circuitous route round Cape Horn,
and the subsequent expensive conveyance by mules across the sandy
deserts of Atacama, and the precipitous passages of the Andes.

As these young states acquire some practical knowledge of their real
interests, and advance in the science of political economy, it may
be expected that they will naturally make such arrangements amongst
themselves for an interchange of commercial advantages as cannot but
prove to their mutual benefit. And what could be of more importance,
either to Buenos Ayres or Bolivia, or the back provinces of Brazil,
than the establishment of an internal communication with each other by
means of steam-navigation?

In the mean time, however, the trade of Buenos Ayres is limited to the
supply of the people of her own provinces. If I may so call those in
more immediate political connexion with her,--the _soi-disant_ republic
of the Rio de La Plata.

In order to show what may be the extent of that trade in times of peace
and domestic quiet, it is necessary to go some years back.

From 1821 to 1825 the Republic was in a state of comparative
tranquillity, and the government of Buenos Ayres in the hands of a
provincial administration, wise enough to see how mainly the prosperity
and importance of their country depended upon the fostering of its
trade, and the establishment of a commercial intercourse with the rest
of the world upon the most liberal principles. It was during that
interval of repose and prosperity that I first landed in Buenos Ayres,
and found all classes of the people rejoicing in the blessings of peace.

All the information which it was my duty to collect tended to show
the great commercial capabilities of the country, and the facilities
afforded by Buenos Ayres as an emporium for the trade with a very great
part of the population of the interior of South America.

From a variety of documentary evidence in confirmation of this, which
was furnished to me at the time, both by the British merchants and by
the local authorities, I shall in the first instance quote the returns
for the year 1822, as exhibiting the nature and amount of the trade of
Buenos Ayres under the circumstances of undisturbed peace to which I
have referred--that is, the trade of Buenos Ayres independently of the
supply of any part of Peru, Bolivia, or Paraguay.

And first, with regard to the import trade:--

From a return furnished by the custom-house at Buenos Ayres of all
their imports from foreign countries in the year 1822, it appears
that they amounted to 11,287,622 Spanish dollars, according to their
official valuation, which, generally speaking, may be considered to be
about twenty per cent. below the wholesale prices in the market.

This amount was computed to be made up from the several foreign
countries as under, viz:--

  1st. From Great Britain to. the value of        5,730,952

  2nd.   "  France                                  820,109

  3rd.   "  the North of Europe--Holland,
            Germany, Sweden, and
            Denmark                                 552,187

  4th.   "  Gibraltar, Spain, and Sicily            848,363

  5th.   "  the United States                     1,368,277

  6th.   "  Brazil                                1,418,768

  7th.   "  China                                   165,267

  8th.   "  the Havana                              248,025

  9th.   "  Chile and Peru                          115,674
                                 Spanish Dollars 11,267,622

of which about 1,323,565 dollars were afterwards reshipped for ports on
the neighbouring coast of Brazil, Monte Video, Chile, and Peru.

The important proportion of the British trade in this statement is
very manifest; it amounts in fact to as much as the trade of all other
foreign countries with Buenos Ayres put together. Comparing it with
the importations in the most liberal period of the Spanish colonial
system, it is more than double the average value[78] of the whole
yearly imports into the Vice-Royalty, for the supply, not only of the
provinces immediately attached to Buenos Ayres, but of all Upper Peru
and Paraguay, containing a population numerically threefold that of the
present republic of the Provinces of La Plata.

At that period British cotton manufactures were unknown at Buenos
Ayres; silks from Spain, and French and German linens, alone were in
use, the high prices of which generally confined them to the rich, the
poorer classes being miserably clad in the coarse manufactures of the
interior. It is true that in some parts of Peru and Paraguay the native
manufactures were brought to some perfection, but it was by so tedious
a process, that if they reached any degree of fineness they were rather
articles of luxury and curiosity than of any advantage to the people
at large for their domestic purposes. But when the port opened, and
British manufactures became known, the low prices at which they were
sold at once occasioned a great and general demand for them, and this
has gone on yearly increasing, till, amongst the country population
especially, the manufactures of Great Britain are become articles of
primary necessity. The gaucho is everywhere clothed in them. Take his
whole equipment--examine everything about him--and what is there not
of raw hide that is not British? If his wife has a gown, ten to one it
is made at Manchester; the camp-kettle in which he cooks his food, the
earthenware he eats from, the knife, his poncho, spurs, bit, all are
imported from England.

I am tempted here to go further, and to ask, who enables him to
purchase those articles? who buys his master's hides, and enables that
master to employ and pay him? who but the foreign trader? Stop the
trade with foreign nations, and how long would it be ere the gaucho
would be reduced to the state of the Indian of the pampas, fed on his
beef and horse-flesh, and clothed in the skins of wild beasts? I put
the question to those people in Buenos Ayres, for there are still some
such there, who continue to look with jealousy on foreigners, and would
fain have the lower orders believe that the country has been ruined
since they were allowed freely to come amongst them.

To return, however, to our subject. By far the greatest part of the
British imports into Buenos Ayres consist of the plain and printed
calicoes and cloths, which, as I have just stated, are become of the
first necessity to the lower orders in this part of South America: the
cheaper we produce them, the more they will take; and thus it is that
every improvement in our machinery at home, which lowers the price of
these manufactures, tends to contribute (we hardly perhaps know how
much) to the comforts of the poorer classes in those remote countries.

In the sale of most of these articles no other foreign country can
compete with Great Britain, from the low cost of their production; and
as to any native manufactures, it would be idle to think of them in
a country as yet so scantily peopled, where every hand is wanted, and
may be turned to a tenfold better account, in augmenting its natural
resources and means of production, as yet so imperfectly developed.

Besides our cotton, linen, woollen, and silk manufactures, we also send
to Buenos Ayres considerable quantities of ironmongery and cutlery,
coarse and fine earthenware, glass, foreign brandies and wines, and a
variety of other articles, the nature and value of which, in detail,
is fully exhibited in the general return given in the Appendix of the
principal articles of British growth and manufacture which have been
exported from this country to the River Plate in all the several years
from 1830 to 1837 inclusive.

The total amount of the produce and manufactures of the United Kingdom
alone (exclusive of foreign and colonial produce), exported direct from
Great Britain to the River Plate to the last sixteen years, has been as

  Year.   Declared Value.  Observations.
  1822         £981,047 }
  1823          664,436 } Years of peace; average
  1824        1,141,920 } £909,330.
  1825          849,920 }

  1826          371,117 } Buenos Ayres blockaded
  1827          154,895 } by the Brazilians.
  1828          312,389 }

  1829          758,540 }
  1830          632,172 }
  1831          339,870 }
  1832          660,151 }
  1833          515,362 }   Average from 1829 to
  1834          831,564 }   1837, £643,291.
  1835          658,525 }
  1836          697,334 }
  1837          696,104 }

To these amounts may be yearly added about £40,000 more for the value
of foreign and colonial produce sent direct from Great Britain.

This will give some idea of the general nature and amount of our direct
trade with the River Plate, and it will be evident how mainly Great
Britain contributes to all the essential wants, as well as domestic
comforts, of the people of that part of the world.

The trade of _France_ is different;--whilst we administer to the
real wants of the community, France sends them articles rather of
luxury than necessity, such as superfine cloths and linens, merinos,
cashmeres, silks and cambrics, lace, gloves, shoes, silk stockings,
looking-glasses, fans, combs, jewellery, and all sorts of made-up

In 1822 it has been shown that the imports into Buenos Ayres from
France were calculated to amount to 820,109 Spanish dollars, or about
164,022_l._ sterling. By official returns since published in the
latter country it appears that, from 1829 to 1836, the imports and
exports were as follow, calculated in English sterling, viz.:--

             Exports from       Imports from the
  Year.        France.            River Plate.
  1829        £184,732             £182,861
  1830          69,378              155,838
  1831          92,675              128,732
  1832         187,486              186,100
  1833         201,348              187,053
  1834         154,219              234,116
  1835         178,766              215,809
  1836         231,373              198,787

From _Germany_ and _Holland_ the imports, generally speaking, are of
a more substantial kind again. German cloths and linens, and printed
cottons from the Rhine, were at one period introduced in considerable
quantities. A branch of the Rhenish Manufacturing Company was set up in
Buenos Ayres in 1824, for the sale particularly of the latter articles,
and the low prices at which, for a time, they were sold threatened to
interfere with the demand for similar goods of British manufacture; it
turned out, however, that the prices in question did not remunerate
the company, and the establishment, not answering, was broken up:--the
German printed cottons have been quite driven out of the field by
British goods of the same description.

From the _Netherlands_ arms, especially swords and pistols, are
brought; and _Holland_ sends gin, butter and cheese, and Westphalia
hams, for all which there is a large demand amongst the natives. This
trade is chiefly from Antwerp, which is the principal market for the
sale of the Buenos Ayrean hides on the continent.

The importations from the _Baltic_ consist of iron, cordage, canvas,
pitch and tar, and deals.

The _Mediterranean_ trade is principally in Sicilian and Spanish
produce, of which the most important items are the cheap red wines of
Sicily, the common wines of Catalonia, brandies, olive oil, maccaroni,
and dried fruits, and used to be chiefly carried on in British
shipping, and through British houses at Gibraltar:--latterly, however,
a great part of these importations have been in Sardinian vessels, from
twenty to thirty of which now visit Buenos Ayres annually, instead of
three or four, as was the case ten years ago; in amount this trade
is fully equal to that from France, or from the north of Europe. Had
Spain at an earlier period recognised the independence of the new
states, she, instead of foreigners, would undoubtedly have reaped the
advantages of this trade. Nor would this have been all: the habits of
the people, the customs they had been brought up in, not to speak of
international ties and connexions,--all would have most forcibly tended
to an active commercial intercourse between her _ci-devant_ colonies
and Spain, which would have been of vast importance to the latter:--as
it is, she has waited till those habits, and customs, and ties have
passed away, and till a new race has grown up destitute of those
kindred feelings which naturally animated the last generation, if not
hostile to her from the disastrous effects produced by her long and
obstinate refusal to recognise their political existence.

Spain must now take her chance in competing with other nations, with
the disadvantage of being the last in the field. The cheapness,
however, of her wines will always ensure a large demand for them,
especially the common red wines of Catalonia. There is also still some
demand for Spanish serges, and silks, and velvets, the sewing silks
of Murcia, and Spanish snuff; but, as most of these articles can be
imported from France of as good quality, and at lower prices, the sale
of them is very limited:--great quantities of paper also were formerly
introduced from Spain, but it is now brought from other countries,
especially from Genoa, of a quality which is preferred, and at lower
prices. The annual importation of Spanish and Sicilian wines is from
10,000 to 12,000 pipes, and about 1000 of brandy.

The trade with the _United States_ was long a very unnatural one, the
principal article of import from thence being flour, of which the
average importations for several years amounted to above 50,000 barrels.

It is not, perhaps, to be wondered at that the larger profits of
cattle-breeding should for a time have superseded the pursuits of
agriculture, but the inconvenience and evils of an habitual dependence
upon any foreign country, particularly upon one at such a distance
as North America, for the daily bread of a whole population, became
at last so manifest that the legislature found itself called upon
to interpose to put an end to it, and to pass such enactments as
were necessary to foster and protect the agricultural interests of
the native proprietors. The consequence has been that the province
of Buenos Ayres, which is capable of producing as good wheat as
any country in the world, has again commenced growing not only a
sufficiency for the consumption of its own population, but for
exportation; and in the last two or three years both flour and corn
have been articles of shipment from the River Plate, chiefly to Brazil.

If we except the flour, the principal articles of import from the
United States for several years were the coarse unbleached cloths of
their own manufacture, called "domestics," of which, for a time, very
large quantities were sent to the Spanish-American markets; indeed
the very low prices at which these goods were long sold brought them
into great demand in almost every part of the world where they were
admitted, although now, I believe, like the printed goods from Germany,
they can with difficulty compete with similar manufactures made at
Manchester. Their other imports into Buenos Ayres consist of spirits,
soap, sperm candles, dried and salted provisions, tobacco, furniture of
an ordinary though showy description, and deals.

From the returns laid before Congress it appears that the amount of the
direct trade between the United States and the river Plate from 1829 to
1836 was as follows, calculated at the rate of five dollars per pound

            Exports from the   Imports from
  Year.       United States.   River Plate.
  1829          £125,210        £182,422
  1830           125,977         286,376
  1831           131,956         185,620
  1832           184,608         312,034
  1833           139,945         275,423
  1834           194,367         286,023
  1835           141,783         175,723
  1836            76,986         210,700

Besides their direct trade, the North Americans have at times found
a profitable employment for their shipping in carrying Buenos Ayrean
produce (jerk beef) to the Havana, and in the coasting trade between
Brazil and the River Plate, though the latter is now for the most part
taken out of their hands by the Brazilians themselves, who of late
years have become the carriers of their own produce.

This trade (with _Brazil_) has been even more disadvantageous to Buenos
Ayres than that with the United States. The only article of native
produce to any amount which Brazil takes from the River Plate is the
jerk beef; whilst there is hardly an article of Brazilian produce
sent there which might not be grown within the republic itself. The
tobacco, the sugars, the coffee, and the rice sent from thence,
might all be produced in any quantity in the northern provinces of La
Plata:--even the yerba-maté, or Paraguay tea, once so fruitful a source
of profit to the Vice-Royalty of Buenos Ayres, is now introduced from
the southern provinces of Brazil. It is true that Paraguay Proper,
where the greater part of it was grown, has been closed for some
years, but there is no reason why it should not have been cultivated
in Corrientes or the Missions with just as much success as in the
Brazilian province of Rio Grande:--as it is, owing to the inferior
method of preparing it, the Brazilian yerba-maté is not equal to that
of Paraguay, and its use is, in consequence, very much confined to the
lower orders, whilst the higher classes are imbibing a very general
taste for the teas of China as a substitute.

The imports from _China_, which appear in the account quoted at page
337, consisted of assorted cargoes of teas, silks, crapes, nankeens,
wearing-apparel, tortoise-shell for ladies' combs, earthenware,
matting, and a variety of minor articles, introduced principally on
British account, though under the American flag, in consequence of our
own restrictive regulations not allowing at that time the employment
of British shipping in such a speculation. Cargoes of a similar
description have since occasionally been introduced, but I believe it
has been found to answer better to import the articles into Buenos
Ayres as they may be wanted, either from the United States, or from
Rio de Janeiro, or from England, than to freight ships expressly to
introduce cargoes direct from China. A certain quantity of Chinese
goods will always find a ready sale in the Buenos Ayrean market.

The _Havana_ trade has been an important one to Buenos Ayres. Besides
large shipments of mules which are sent there, it takes off the
greatest portion of the jerk beef made in the country. It is used there
and in Brazil as an article of food for the slave population; and the
method of preparing it having of late years been greatly improved,
there is a constant and increasing demand for it. If permitted to be
equally imported into the British West India colonies it would probably
find a large sale amongst the same class of persons. I have been given
to understand that the best quality might be delivered there under
twopence a-pound, allowing for a moderate duty:--its wholesomeness may
be estimated from the fact that, during the prevalence of the cholera
a few years back at the Havana, it was observed there was a much less
mortality among the slaves fed upon jerk beef than on those plantations
where they were kept on other diet.

With respect to the trade with _Chile_ and _Peru_, it is of very
trifling importance, and, whenever it has been otherwise, has mainly
consisted of re-exports from Buenos Ayres of surplus stocks of European
goods, for the favourable sale of which there may have been an
occasional opening in the ports of the Pacific. There is no sale for
Buenos Ayrean produce on the western coast, since the stoppage of the
supply of yerba-maté, of which, in old times, an immense quantity was
sent across the Andes to Chile and Peru, and paid for in the precious

From 1821 to 1826 the trade between Buenos Ayres and foreign countries
underwent little change, but the breaking out of the war with Brazil
then interrupted it, and for nearly three years Buenos Ayres was
blockaded by the naval forces of the Emperor, during which time the
only foreign goods imported were by such few vessels, chiefly North
American, as broke the blockade:--hardly was that war concluded,
when the troops returning from the Banda Oriental, elated with their
successes against the Brazilians, revolted, overturned the government,
and threw the whole republic into confusion; in the long struggle
to put them down which ensued, the country population, taking part,
abandoned their industrious pursuits, amongst the consequences of
which were a loss and destruction of property infinitely greater and
more ruinous to the nation than all the waste and cost of the war with
Brazil. Public confidence was shaken to its foundation, and, although
it is true that, after a time, the constitutional authorities were
re-established, it was at an enormous sacrifice of public and private

The commercial interests of the community were greatly depressed by
these events. When the blockade of the river was raised at the close
of 1828 there had been by no means such an influx of foreign goods
as might have been expected; and, when civil dissensions shortly
afterwards broke out, it was evident that the mercantile houses in
Buenos Ayres had suffered too severely from the consequences of the
war, and the ruinous depreciation of the currency, to encourage their
correspondents in Europe to recommence extensive speculations in a
country which, to all appearance, was destined to be sacrificed to the
passions of contending factions.

Whilst the republic was grievously suffering from these evils, the
results also of the newly constituted independence of the Banda
Oriental began to develop themselves in a manner very detrimental to
the interests of Buenos Ayres.

So long as Monte Video was in the hands of the Portuguese, its trade
was extremely insignificant; but no sooner was it freed from that
yoke than the people began to turn to account their local advantages,
and in a way which it soon became manifest would greatly interfere
with the trade of their old metropolis. In proportion as the domestic
embarrassments of Buenos Ayres increased, and led that government
to raise its duties on foreign trade, so the Monte Videans lowered
theirs, and offered advantages which were irresistible in the adjoining
provinces, where the duties levied by Buenos Ayres on foreign goods had
always been considered a grievance, and where there was no national
feeling strong enough to induce the petty authorities to forego their
own separate interests in order to aid in sustaining the honour and
credit of the capital.

Monte Video has in consequence become a sort of entrepôt for the
supply of those provinces, as well as of a portion of the neighbouring
Brazilian population in the Rio Grande; and to such an extent, that
the importations of foreign goods there were valued at no less than
3,000,000 in 1835, and had reached 3,500,000 hard dollars in 1836;
whilst the exports were nearly equal in amount, and now constitute an
important proportion of the returns in the general account of the trade
with the River Plate.

The amount of the imports into the port of Buenos Ayres has been
diminished in proportion. In 1837 they were barely equal to 7,000,000
hard dollars, according to the official valuation, being a falling off
of nearly a third from what they were before the war with Brazil.

Making allowances for this difference in its course, the foreign trade
with the River Plate has varied little in its general amount for the
last five years.

So far as regards the British trade, although there may appear to be
a diminution in the _value_ of our exports to the River Plate, as
compared with what they were in the years immediately preceding the
war between Buenos Ayres and Brazil, it will nevertheless be found
upon analysis that there has been a large increase in the _quantity_,
especially of our most important manufactures, viz., the cottons, the
_quantity_ of which now sent to the River Plate is double what it
was in 1825, though the total declared _value_ has only increased in
the proportion of from about 350,000_l._ to 400,000_l._, the apparent
discrepancy being accounted for by the greatly reduced rate at which
we can now afford to sell these goods; in the linens there is also an
increase; in the woollens there is, on the other hand, a slight falling
off; the silk goods sent out have varied very little in value, but
their amount was never of any importance.

The following is an account, taken from the custom-house returns, of
the average _quantities_ of these several descriptions of goods sent
to the River Plate in the four years from 1822 to 1825, inclusive,
compared with the last four years from 1834 to 1837, inclusive:--

                            Average Quantity    Average Quantity
                           from 1822 to 1825,  from 1834 to 1837,
                               inclusive.          inclusive.

  Cottons, yards               10,811,762         18,151,764
  Linens, do.                     996,467          1,176,941
  Woollens {pieces                 40,705             30,428
           {yards                 139,037            100,183
  Silks, value                    £16,612            £15,047

Upon the whole, the River Plate has been decidedly the most important
of all the markets which have been opened to us for the sale of British
manufactures in Spanish America. It takes off a much larger quantity
of them than either Mexico, Columbia, or Peru; and although it would
appear on the face of the official returns that of late years an equal
or rather larger amount has been sent to Chile, the truth is, that a
considerable part of those shipments were in reality destined for the
southern ports of Peru, and the west coast of Mexico.

A comparative account of our exports to all those several countries
during the last nine years will be found with the other returns of
trade in the Appendix, and will show the relative and aggregate amount
of British produce and manufactures taken by the new states during that

The average yearly value of them sent to the River Plate in the last
five years amounted to £680,000.


The nature of the _export-trade_ from Buenos Ayres may be generally
gathered from the following summary, or comparative valuation of the
exports from thence in 1822, 1825, 1829, and 1837; though, being taken
from the Buenos Ayrean custom-house accounts, some allowance must be
made for short manifests by the shippers, perhaps an addition of twenty
per cent. to the amount officially accounted for in each year. The
returns of specie and bullion exported are especially liable to this

  Comparative Return and Valuation of the principal Articles Exported
      from Buenos Ayres in the years 1822, 1825, 1829, and 1837.

  |                              |               1822.               |
  |                              +------------------------+----------+
  |                              |Quantity.|    Price.    |  Value.  |
  |                              +---------+--------------+----------+
  |                              |         |Dollars.      | Dollars. |
  |                              |         |              |          |
  |Spanish Dollars               | 474,633 |   --         |  474,633 |
  |Marks of Silver               |  84,690 | at 8         |  677,520 |
  |Gold (ounces)                 |  12,020 |   17         |  204,340 |
  |Gold (uncoined)               |      -- |   --         |       -- |
  |Copper (quintals of 100 lbs.) |     145 |   16         |    2,321 |
  |Ox-hides                      | 590,372 |    4         |2,361,488 |
  |Horse-hides                   | 421,566 |    1         |  421,566 |
  |Jerk Beef (quintals)          |  87,663 |    4         |  350,652 |
  |Horns                         | 673,000 |   70 per mil.|   47,110 |
  |Horsehair (arobes of 25 lbs.) |  38,137 |    3         |  114,411 |
  |Sheeps' wool (arobes)         |  33,417 |    1         |   33,417 |
  |Chinchilla skins (dozens)     |   9,077 |    4         |   36,308}|
  |Nutria skins (dozens)         |   9,914 |    3         |   29,742}|
  |Tallow (arobes)               |  69,400 |    2         |  124,800 |
  |Bark (lbs.)                   |   5,824 |    1/2       |    2,912 |
  |Cotton (arobes)               |      -- |   --         |       -- |
  |Sheep-skins (dozens)          |      -- |   --         |       -- |
  |Flour (fanegas)               |      -- |   --         |       -- |
  |Corn (do.)                    |      -- |   --         |       -- |
  |Sundry Minor Articles         |      -- |   --         |  118,780 |
  |Totals           {Value of Precious Metals  1,358,814} |5,000,000 |
  |                 {" Native Produce  3,641,156}         |          |

  |                              |            1825.                    |
  |                              +---------+-----------------+---------+
  |                              |Quantity.|      Price.     |  Value. |
  |                              +---------+-----------------+---------+
  |                              |         |  Dollars.       | Dollars.|
  |                              |         |                 |         |
  |Spanish Dollars               |1,272,745|  --             |1,272,745|
  |Marks of Silver               |   10,559|at 8             |   89,751|
  |Gold (ounces)                 |   10,625|  17             |  180,625|
  |Gold (uncoined)               |       --|  --             |    6,000|
  |Copper (quintals of 100 lbs.) |      175|  16             |    2,800|
  |Ox-hides                      |  655,255|   5             |2,621,020|
  |Horse-hides                   |  339,703|   1             |  339,703|
  |Jerk Beef (quintals)          |  130,361|   4             |  521,444|
  |Horns                         |1,553,880|60 per mil.      |   93,228|
  |Horsehair (arobes of 25 lbs.) |   44,776|   3             |  134,028|
  |Sheeps' wool (arobes)         |       --|  --             |       --|
  |Chinchilla skins (dozens)     |   35,670|   5             |  178,350|
  |Nutria skins (dozens)         |         |                 |         |
  |Tallow (arobes)               |   12,167|1-1/2            |   18,250|
  |Bark (lbs.)                   |    5,879|  1/2            |    2,939|
  |Cotton (arobes)               |    2,000|2-1/2            |    5,000|
  |Sheep-skins (dozens)          |       --|  --             |       --|
  |Flour (fanegas)               |       --|  --             |       --|
  |Corn (do.)                    |       --|  --             |       --|
  |Sundry Minor Articles         |       --|  --             |   84,117|
  |Totals                        | Precious Metals 1,551,921}|5,550,000|
  |                              | Native Produce  3,998,079}|         |

  |                              |              1829.                  |
  |                              +---------+-----------------+---------+
  |                              |Quantity.| Price.          | Value.  |
  |                              +---------+-----------------+---------+
  |                              |         |  Dollars.       | Dollars.|
  |                              |         |                 |         |
  |Spanish Dollars               |  189,581|  --             |  189,581|
  |Marks of Silver               |   12,699|at 8             |  101,592|
  |Gold (ounces)                 |   24,595|  17             |  418,115|
  |Gold (uncoined)               |       --|  --             |   13,667|
  |Copper (quintals of 100 lbs.) |       --|  --             |       --|
  |Ox-hides                      |  854,799|   4             |3,419,196|
  |Horse-hides                   |   64,563|   1-1/2         |   96,844|
  |Jerk Beef (quintals)          |  164,818|   2             |  329,638|
  |Horns                         |1,500,905|60 per mil.      |   90,000|
  |Horsehair (arobes of 25 lbs.) |   26,682|   3             |  110,046|
  |Sheeps' wool (arobes)         |   30,334|   1             |   30,334|
  |Chinchilla skins (dozens)     |   {6,625|   5             |   33,125|
  |Nutria skins (dozens)         |  {59,756|   3             |  179,268|
  |Tallow (arobes)               |   21,757|   3             |   65,271|
  |Bark (lbs.)                   |       --|  --             |       --|
  |Cotton (arobes)               |      968|   2             |    1,936|
  |Sheep-skins (dozens)          |       --|  --             |       --|
  |Flour (fanegas)               |       --|  --             |       --|
  |Corn (do.)                    |       --|  --             |       --|
  |Sundry Minor Articles         |       --|  --             |  121,387|
  |Totals                        |  Precious Metals  722,955}|5,200,000|
  |                              | Native Produce  4,477,045}|         |

  |                              |            1837.           |         |
  |                              +---------+------------------+---------+
  |                              |Quantity.| Price.             Value.  |
  |                              +---------+------------------+---------+
  |                              |         |   Dollars.       | Dollars |
  |                              |         |                  |         |
  |Spanish Dollars               | 258,748 |  --              | 258,743 |
  |Marks of Silver               |   4,881 |at 8              |  39,048 |
  |Gold (ounces)                 |  21,999 |  17              | 373,983 |
  |Gold (uncoined)               |     362 |  --              |   6,154 |
  |Copper (quintals of 100 lbs.) |      -- |  --              |      -- |
  |Ox-hides                      | 823,635 |   4              |3,294,540|
  |Horse-hides                   |  25,367 |   1-1/2          |   38,046|
  |Jerk Beef (quintals)          | 178,877 |   2-1/2          |  446,192|
  |Horns                         | 434,456 |  60              |   26,070|
  |Horsehair (arobes of 25 lbs.) |  70,372 |   3              |  211,116|
  |Sheeps' wool (arobes)         | 164,706 |   2              |  329,412|
  |Chinchilla skins (dozens)     |   3,317 |   4              |   13,268|
  |Nutria skins (dozens)         |  51,853 | 2-1/2            |  129,632|
  |Tallow (arobes)               | 100,249 | 1-1/2            |  150,373|
  |Bark (lbs.)                   |      -- | --               |       --|
  |Cotton (arobes)               |     160 | 3                |      480|
  |Sheep-skins (dozens)          |  56,188 | 2-1/2            |  140,470|
  |Flour (fanegas)               |  14,069 | 4                |   56,268|
  |Corn (do.)                    |   4,150 | 3-1/2            |   14,525|
  |Sundry Minor Articles         |      -- | --               |  108,818|
  |Totals                        |  Precious Metals   677,928}|5,637,138|
  |                              |  Native Produce  4,959,210}|         |

The annual account of the imports and exports, continuing to take the
year 1822 as an example, may perhaps be generally stated as follows:


  The imports for that year, as stated at
  page 337 (less those re-exported), were
  valued at                                   9,944,057

  From the gross value of the imports
  about 30 per cent. must be deducted
  for duties, landing charges, commission,
  guarantee of debts, and warehouse rent,
  say                                         2,983,217

  The exports are estimated at    5,000,000
  Add for short manifests         1,000,000
  For charges, 10 per cent.         600,000
                                 ----------   6,600,000

This difference, which upon the whole was of little importance, was
at once accounted for by the investments of foreign capital in the
purchase of every kind of property in the country previously to the war
with Brazil.

Although foreigners, as has been already observed, were heavy sufferers
by the events of that war, the country was benefited in a way which
could hardly have been foreseen. In the impossibility of making returns
to Europe during the continuance of the blockade, the greater part of
the large amount of foreign property locked up in it was laid out in
cattle-farms, agricultural establishments, saladeros (where the _jerk_
beef is made), houses, and a variety of speculations, the general
tendency of which was greatly to improve the real resources of the
country. Thus, although upon the whole there was afterwards apparently
a falling off in the foreign trade of the port of Buenos Ayres compared
with what it was before the war, there was in reality an increase in
the quantities of the staple commodities of the country brought to

This was encouraging, inasmuch as it is in proportion to the increase
and multiplication of the native productions that we must look for the
stability and improvement of this trade--the great difficulty being
to collect returns for the importations from foreign countries. Hides
and skins have been till lately the only articles of any importance
obtainable, though it is manifest that the country is highly capable of
producing a variety of other articles of great value in a commercial
point of view.

Had the provincial governments been sufficiently settled, and the
state of the laws in the interior been such as to have afforded any
adequate security to foreigners, intelligent men would doubtless long
ago have resorted to those parts, and would have given a stimulus to
the industry of the native population; for it is to such persons the
natives must look to teach them to what account the productions of
the soil and climate of the interior of South America may be turned
in other countries, as well as how they should be prepared for those
markets. Foreigners would soon show them new sources of wealth, and
give value to those which have hitherto been neglected or unknown. To
them also the natives must look for the introduction of machinery,
which may in some measure compensate for the want of hands, which at
present makes labour dear, and deprives them of a hundred comforts and
conveniences in the commonest use in the civilised countries of Europe.
It would be folly to disguise that these new countries are in the very
infancy of civilisation; studiously brought up by the mother-country
in entire ignorance of all that could teach them their own value and
importance, no wonder they now have all to learn.

When I state that in many of the towns of the interior a common
wheelbarrow is as yet unheard of, that in the capital itself the first
pump ever seen in a private house was put up a very few years ago
by an Englishman, it will easily be understood how much the natives
have yet to gain by the settlement amongst them of the intelligent
mechanics and artificers of more civilised countries. Still greater
will be the importance to the community if foreign capitalists should
find sufficient encouragement and protection to fix themselves in the

The province of Buenos Ayres, as contrasted with the interior, has
strikingly exhibited the fruits of a more liberal policy towards
foreigners; and could the practical administration of the new laws keep
pace with their spirit, and with the general desire amongst the people
for improvement, the consequences would be still more apparent. As it
is, Buenos Ayres is at least a century in advance of the provinces in
general knowledge and civilisation, and her wealth and importance have
increased in proportion. Amongst other improvements which she owes to
foreigners, she is indebted to some enterprising Englishmen for the
introduction of late years of a new source of wealth, which bids fair
to rival in importance the most valuable of her old staple commodities.

It is but a few years ago that the wool of the Buenos Ayrean sheep
was hardly worth the expense of cleaning it; and as to the meat, I
doubt whether the wild dogs would have touched it. It is well known
that their carcases, dried in the sun, were used for fuel in the
brick-kilns. The great pains and persevering exertions, however, of
some intelligent foreigners to introduce and cultivate a better breed
has met with a success beyond all expectation, and now promises to be
of the greatest importance to the future commercial prospects of the
country. The rapid increase in the value of this article of production
will be shown by the following comparative account of the quantities
which have been imported into Great Britain alone in the last eight

Imports of Wool from Buenos Ayres.


         1830       19,444 }
         1831       12,244 } 269,190 lbs.
         1832       30,359 }
         1833      207,143 }

         1834    1,099,052 }
         1835[79]  962,900 } 5,343,319 lbs.
         1836    1,073,416 }
         1837    2,207,951 }

Mr. Sheridan and Mr. Harratt are the individuals to whom Buenos Ayres
is principally indebted for this new source of wealth: the greater part
of the wool sent to England in 1834 was of their production, and sold
at Liverpool at very high prices compared with those obtained for the
old native wools of the country, the quality of which comes perhaps
nearest to the low Scotch wools, and is only suited for carpeting, and
other strong descriptions of goods. In a country where any quantity of
land applicable for the purpose may be had almost for nothing, it is
impossible to calculate to what extent the breeding and improvement
of sheep may be carried, now that the wool is known to fetch a
remunerating price in foreign markets.

Nor is wool the only raw material for our manufactures which we may
expect to derive from Buenos Ayres. In my notices of the interior
I have stated that in Paraguay and some of the Upper Provinces,
especially Corrientes, cotton of a quality equal to the average of that
of Brazil is produced:--this has been often satisfactorily shown by
samples sent to Liverpool. The natives cultivate it and make cloths of
it for their own domestic purposes; and we shall probably obtain large
quantities of it whenever foreigners shall enjoy such security as may
induce them to carry into the interior the machinery necessary to clean
and pack it for the markets of Europe.

From the same part of the Republic, as well as from several of the
Upper Provinces, any quantity of indigo may be obtained, of an
excellent quality. M. Bonpland, the celebrated naturalist, who has
spent so many years in those parts, took the trouble years ago to draw
attention to the peculiarity of the indigo found in the province of
Corrientes. Speaking of those parts called the Missions, he says, "The
whole of this country exceeds description; at every step one meets with
things both new and useful in natural history. I have already collected
2000 plants, a large quantity of seeds, &c.

"Amongst the number of interesting plants to which my attention has
been called, I am of opinion that this country may hereafter derive
great advantages from the three new species of indigo which I have
found in these fertile regions. They are very different from the plant
from which the indigo is obtained in Mexico, Venezuela, Brazil,
and India; and I flatter myself that the South Americans will avail
themselves of this discovery, and cultivate a plant which has hitherto
been disregarded under the common name of _yuyo_. The superior quality
of indigo that may be obtained from this newly-discovered plant, and
the facility of its conveyance down to a port of shipment, render it an
object of great importance to a country that has only a few exports,
and its cultivation, if encouraged by the government, and undertaken
by capitalists, will in a few years furnish an interesting and staple
commodity for trade."

This account of the Corrientes indigo was copied from the Buenos Ayrean
papers into the Annual Register for 1822, together with the following
remarks on some other of the natural resources of the provinces of La
Plata, which seem well deserving the notice of those interested in
the trade with that part of the world:--"there are many other natural
resources of the country to which the attention of the government of
Buenos Ayres ought to be called. The _seda silvestre_, a sort of wild
silk left in the woods by a certain caterpillar, is found abundantly on
the banks of the Paranã, and would constitute a valuable export. Very
good cochineal may be gathered in Tucuman, besides a great quantity of

"The _rubia tinctoria_ is found in many of the extensive forests, but
the best is in Tarija, the Chaco, and the Sierra de Cordova; it yields
a brilliant colour. It was not till within these few years that notice
was taken of a new mode of dyeing a green colour from a production
called by the Spaniards _clavillo_, from its resemblance to a little
nail. Some persons consider it to be the excrement of a certain insect
smaller than the cochineal; others believe it to be the insect itself.
Hitherto it has only been gathered in Carquejia, and the point is
found introduced into the bark of a shrub; it was first used by the
poor people of the country, and it has since been proved by repeated
experiments that the Vicuña and Alpaca wools, as well as cotton, after
being prepared with astringents, such as alum, and previously boiled
in a yellow dye, when thrown into a solution of clavillo, acquire a
beautiful green colour; the shade of this simple is in itself greenish,
and by keeping grows darker: abundance of it is found in the valley of
Catamarca and province of Tucuman, but as yet no scientific experiments
have been made with it."

A variety of valuable gums and medicinal balsams may be had from
Paraguay, of the efficacy of which marvellous stories are related by
those who have resided in those regions. The tree producing caoutchouc
is found in abundance about the rivers in the upper part of that
province, where the Indians have long known its value, and use it as
a substitute for candles: the children make balls of it to play with.
They obtain it by making an incision in the tree, from which the gum
is run into a hide placed beneath to catch it, and when cold is wound
upon large balls for use.

In addition to these, I may mention nitrate of soda, so much used now
in our cotton manufactories, which may be procured in any quantity from
the provinces of La Plata;--as yet, I believe, not a single bag of it
has ever been brought from Buenos Ayres, although there is no reason
why it should not be imported from thence at as low a cost as from
Chile and Peru; from which countries alone, of late years, the annual
importations have been from 50,000 to 100,000 cwt.

War in Europe will always create an increased demand for the produce
of such a country as Buenos Ayres. In the last years of the general
war, not only was there an enormous demand for the hides of Buenos
Ayres, but considerable quantities of tallow also were shipped from
thence; and, although those shipments ceased to answer when the Russian
markets were reopened, they may always be calculated upon again should
any stoppage take place of our ordinary supplies through the Baltic.
At present, though Buenos Ayrean tallow is worth as much as Russian
in the English markets, there is no great quantity of it produced, in
consequence of the animals being killed for their hides as soon as they
are marketable, which is before they yield tallow in any quantity worth

Corn also was an article of export from Buenos Ayres during the general
war in Europe, and is again beginning to be exported to Brazil--as
is shown by the account of the exports in 1837. It is of an excellent
quality, and might be grown to any extent.

Mules, horses, and asses have at times been shipped in large numbers
for the West Indies and for the Isle of France, and have been sold
there at an enormous profit.

In the short notices given of the provinces of the interior, I have
given such accounts of any other of their native productions as I could
collect. The silver and gold mines of Cordova, La Rioja, Mendoza,
San Juan, and Salta, may eventually become productive; and, when an
intercourse is once more permitted with Bolivia through the interior,
it may be expected that some portion of the precious metals produced
there also will, as formerly, find their way to Buenos Ayres.

In old times, not only were the rich and populous provinces of Bolivia
exclusively supplied through the Rio de la Plata with all such articles
as they wanted from Europe, but they took from the lower provinces a
variety of useful productions of their own, for all which they paid in
gold and silver. Of mules alone upwards of 60,000 were annually sent to
Potosi from the provinces of Tucuman and Santa Fé.

This internal trade, once of so much importance to the people of
the intermediate provinces, was annihilated in the struggle for
establishing the independency of the Republic; for, Bolivia remaining
to the last in the hands of the Spaniards, of course all commercial
intercourse was prohibited with the provinces of La Plata, which had
thrown off the yoke of the mother-country. To this may be ascribed in
great measure the extreme poverty and backwardness of many of those
provinces at the present day. Salta, Tucuman, Cordova, Santa Fé, and
Paraguay, lost the best markets for their native produce; whilst the
people, dragged from their pastoral and agricultural pursuits in the
first instance to fight against their old masters, and afterwards to
destroy one another in support of the ephemeral authorities which
succeeded them, naturally contracted such unsettled and disorderly
habits as it will require many a year of domestic peace and better
government to wean them from. To time, and a continuance of those
blessings, as I have elsewhere said, we must, I believe, look for
the remedy of these evils, and for any material improvement in the
condition of the interior provinces of the republic.


In connexion with what I have said upon the trade of Buenos Ayres, a
brief notice of the origin and extraordinary increase of the vast herds
of horses and cattle which at present constitute so large a portion of
the riches of Buenos Ayres, may perhaps be not uninteresting to some of
my readers.

America is indebted to Europe for these animals, which were unknown to
the people of the New World before its discovery by the Spaniards. Of
the two it will easily be understood that the horses, which formed so
important a feature in the military equipment of the conquerors, were
the first introduced. In 1535, the Adelantado Mendoza, who was the
first to effect a landing at Buenos Ayres, took seventy with him on
board the expedition which accompanied him from Spain, of which perhaps
half were lost on the voyage, if we may judge from the small number of
cavalry--one author says twelve, another thirty--which he was able to
muster in his first battle with the Indians. The few that survived,
when his followers were shortly afterwards driven out of that part of
the country by the warlike natives, were turned loose into the pampas,
where they multiplied exceedingly, and were found in great numbers
forty years afterwards by De Garay, when he re-established the Spanish
settlement at Buenos Ayres.

It was in that expedition (in 1580) that De Garay carried from Paraguay
the first horned cattle ever seen in the pampas. How the stock had
previously reached Paraguay is thus told by Dean Funes, the native
historian. He says, "In 1555 there arrived at Assumption, from San
Francisco, on the coast of Brazil, a few straggling emigrants, amongst
whom were two Portuguese gentlemen, brothers, of the name of Goa,
having with them a bull and eight cows, the origin of that mighty stock
of cattle which now forms the wonder of the provinces of La Plata." The
Portuguese servant intrusted with the important charge of these animals
in their long over-land journey from the coast, whose name was Gaete,
was rewarded for his care of them with one of the cows, a payment
thought so much of at the time, that it gave rise to a saying still in
use in those parts--"Es mas caro que las vacas de Gaete" ("Dearer than
Gaete's cows").

But the value then set upon all European animals carried to America
was enormous, as well it might be when the difficulties are considered
of safely transporting them in the crazy and inconvenient shipping of
those days. In Peru, in the same year (1555), so highly were horses
prized, that it was thought worth recording in the public archives
of Cuzco that 10,000 dollars had been refused for one offered for
sale;--in that city a boar and sow, about the same time, were sold for
1600 dollars, and European sheep and goats fetched prices nearly as

Of the cattle carried by De Garay to Buenos Ayres it was not long
before some escaped into the territory of the Indians, where they
increased and multiplied, as the horses had done before. The settlers
were too few, in the first instance, to domesticate more than were
necessary for their own immediate wants, neither was the extent
of their lands, for some time, adequate to the maintenance of any
considerable stock; the cattle, therefore, ranged at liberty in the
Pampas, and, though occasionally hunted down by the Spaniards for the
hides, or by the Indians for food, the destruction was as nothing
compared with the prodigious increase which went on:--they also found
their way into the Banda Oriental, probably from Paraguay, where they
multiplied even faster than in the Pampas, from the better quality of
the pasturage and the more constant supply of water; and here it was
that the illicit trade established by the Portuguese appears first to
have awakened the Spaniards to a notion of the future importance of
these animals.

The vicinity of their establishment at Colonia, immediately opposite
to Buenos Ayres, not only facilitated their smuggling across it the
European goods and tobacco and slaves which were wanted, but made it
a convenient station for collecting from the Spaniards the hides for
which they were but too glad to find any sale under the restrictions
then imposed upon all trade. The Portuguese took good care to buy them
only at such low prices as insured them an enormous profit upon their
exportation for other markets; but the speculation answered to both
parties, and as the contraband trade of the Portuguese with Buenos
Ayres increased, so we find did the cattle establishments of the
Spaniards in the Banda Oriental.

Cargoes of hides were occasionally shipped for Spain, particularly
after the Spaniards founded Monte Video, in 1726; but the demand was
far from equal to the production, and the stock of cattle went on
gradually increasing till the partial opening of the colonial trade
in 1778. At that period the cattle had reached an amount which,
perhaps, has never been equalled at any subsequent period, but the
increased demand for country produce which then took place was well
nigh exterminating the whole stock. In 1783 no less than 1,400,000
hides were officially registered for exportation, besides a vast number
clandestinely shipped.

Superabundance also led to waste to an enormous extent; a gaucho would
kill an ox for the tongue, or any other part of the animal he might
fancy for his dinner, and leave the rest of the carcase to be devoured
by the vultures, or by the wild dogs which swarmed in the country, and
destroyed an incredible number of the young cattle. Little respect
was then paid to this description of property, and the peons were
easily bribed to kill their masters' or their neighbours' cattle to
barter their hides for the tobacco and spirits offered to them by the
peddling traders who wandered over the country to collect them.

The government was obliged, at last, to take strong measures to stop
these evils:--they enacted heavy penalties on those found destroying
or selling what did not of right belong to them; whilst, for the
better identification of property, every proprietor was obliged, by
a given day, to brand his cattle with his own particular mark:--all
beasts found without a mark after that time were declared to be the
king's, and the right to seek for and seize them was sold to or farmed
by individuals. Proprietors were obliged to take out licenses to
sell their hides, and the slaughter of cows and calves was entirely
prohibited. War, also, to extermination, was declared against the wild

These regulations, however feebly enforced, were not without
effect:--the protection, at any rate, which they promised to property
was enough to induce the people to extend their cattle establishments,
whilst their own experience, after a time, led them to regulate their
annual sales in more due proportion to their stocks.

The annual increase on a well-regulated estancia has been ascertained
to be from 30 to 40 per cent., which yields an enormous profit to the
proprietor, whilst his expenses are comparatively trifling. The only
serious casualty to which the cattle-owner is liable is from the
effects of occasional droughts, which in these countries are, at times,
attended with frightful devastation:--the cattle then rush in thousands
from their own pastures in search of water in every direction, and
perish for want of it in immense numbers. In the last great drought,
which continued during the summers of 1830, 31, and 32, it was
calculated that from a million and a half to two millions of animals
died:--the borders of all the lakes and streamlets in the province were
long afterwards white with their bones[80]. But for this calamity the
quantity of hides brought forward in the last five years would have
been much greater than it has been.

In the years immediately preceding the independency of the republic
the annual export of hides from the river Plate was from 700,000 to
800,000, besides an enormous consumption of them for every conceivable
purpose by all classes of the people of the country, and great
destruction by waste; so that it is generally supposed that at that
time the number of cattle in the provinces was not less than five
millions. Azara estimated them at _twelve_ millions (in 1792), but I
never met with any one who would agree with him in that calculation.

By far the greater part of these animals were then reared in the
Banda Oriental and Entre Rios:--nor was it till subsequently to the
commencement of the struggle for their independence, when those
provinces became the seat of war, and were laid waste by the Portuguese
and by Artigas, that the people of Buenos Ayres began to occupy the
lands south of the River Salado, which have given so much increased
importance to that province. Since that period every encouragement and
protection which it is possible to give to this source of national
wealth has been wisely afforded by the ruling authorities.

The Pampas are no longer a vast, useless, and unappropriated waste
in which the animals run wild as formerly; by far the greater part
of the lands comprised within the boundary line laid down in the map
having been carefully measured by the government officers, and allotted
to individuals, who, as they occupy them, are obliged to set up and
preserve their marks of possession, which, together with the bounds
and extent of every separate estancia, are duly registered in the
topographical department of the state. Of the hundreds of thousands of
cattle now reared in these lands there is hardly, perhaps, a single
animal of a year old which is not branded with the mark of an owner,
and that mark is equally registered by the authorities, and entitles
him to claim his property wherever he may find it.

It is calculated by the best authorities,--the most extensive
proprietors in the province,--that the present stock of cattle in the
territory of Buenos Ayres alone may be from three to four millions;
and it is supposed there may be above another million in the other
provinces:--from this we ought to calculate upon an annual exportation
of nearly a million of hides, gradually increasing.


[78] The official valuation of the average imports from 1792 to 1796,
inclusive, was only 2,606,754 dollars; though at that period every
article sent from Spain was charged at the most exorbitant price to the

[79] In 1835 nearly a million and a half lbs. were also sent to the
United States, and the demand for it was likely to increase with its

[80] The drought in question was one of the most destructive on
record; large lakes in the south, never before known to have been
without water, were entirely dried up, in which immense numbers of
fish perished, the stench from which was described as enough to have
produced a pestilence. Another serious consequence from it, of a
different description, was the prodigious increase of all kinds of
vermin, especially field-mice, myriads of which overran the country,
and entirely destroyed the maize-harvest for 1833.



    Origin of the Funded Debt of Buenos Ayres. Receipts and
        Expenditure from 1822 to 1825, during peace. Loan raised in
        England. War with Brazil, and stoppage of all revenue from
        the Customhouse for three years. Pecuniary difficulties in
        consequence. The Provincial Bank of Buenos Ayres converted
        into a National one. The Government interferes with it,
        and, by forcing it to increase its issues, destroys its
        credit. Debt at the close of the war at the end of 1828.
        Hopes founded on the peace destroyed by the mutiny of the
        Army;--deplorable consequences of that event. Depreciation
        of the Currency. Deficit in the revenue, and increase
        of the Funded Debt:--its amount in 1834, and further
        increase in 1837. General account of the liabilities of the
        Government up to that year; increased by subsequent war
        with Bolivia, and French Blockade.

In any attempt to convey an idea of the finance accounts of Buenos
Ayres it should, in the first instance, be observed that, although
those accounts are, _primá facie, national_, they exhibit in reality
the receipts and expenditure of the government of the _province_ of
Buenos Ayres alone:--the other provinces, containing three-fourths
of the population of the whole republic, contribute nothing towards
the general expenses, though most of them manage to support their
petty provincial administrations. Buenos Ayres alone found all the
pecuniary means both for the war with Spain for the establishment of
the independence of the republic, and, subsequently, for liberating
the Banda Oriental from the domination of the Emperor of Brazil, which
latter state, though gaining everything by the result, has never repaid
her a single dollar. Chile owes her as much for the armies sent across
the Andes, which freed that country also from the yoke of the King of
Spain, and has been equally ungrateful.

It is only astonishing how this little State contrived, as she did,
to raise the ways and means for these efforts, and that she did not
altogether succumb to the difficulties and embarrassments they gave
rise to:--that they have left her finances in a wretched state can
hardly be wondered at. Nevertheless, if it had not been for the
struggle with Brazil, which succeeded the establishment of her own
independence of the mother-country, Buenos Ayres would long ago
have been quit with all her creditors, presenting a very different
appearance, quoad her finances, to the world.

When the struggle with Spain was over, and her military establishments
reduced, the arrangement of her pecuniary affairs became one of the
first objects of her provincial administration.

In 1821 commissioners were appointed to call in and liquidate all
outstanding claims against the government, of whatever description,
not excepting even those left unsettled by the authorities of the
mother-country previous to the declaration of independence. The greater
part of these debts were due for actual services, or for loans to
the government in times of necessity; others were of a more doubtful
character, and had been sold or made over to other parties by the
original creditors, and into these classes they were separated by the
legislature:--the one receiving obligations bearing an interest of six
per cent; the other, receiving the same, bearing an interest of four
per cent per annum; and these obligations were simultaneously provided
for by the creation of public stocks, bearing quarterly interest:--the
first instance of the establishment of anything like a public funded
debt in any of the new states of South America. Commissioners were
appointed to manage it, and to pay the dividends quarterly to the
stock-holders; transfer-books were opened, and a sinking-fund was
established for its gradual redemption. The first quarter's interest
became due on the 1st of January, 1822, and, for the credit of Buenos
Ayres, it should be stated that, notwithstanding the great subsequent
increase of the debt, under the circumstances to which I shall
presently refer, the quarterly dividends have, from that time to this,
been as regularly paid as those at the Bank of England.

The amount of stock created up to the close of 1825 was--


  of 6 per cents.     5,360,000
   " 4 " "            2,000,000

which was sufficient to provide for every outstanding claim against
the government up to that period, whilst the charge for the annual
interest was hardly felt in the general expenditure, which, after the
reductions consequent upon a state of peace, the revenue was more than
sufficient to meet,--as will be seen by the following returns of the
yearly receipts and payments from 1822 to 1825, inclusive.

The receipts were--


  in 1822     2,519,094
  "  1823     2,869,266
  "  1824     2,648,845
  "  1825     3,196,430 6-1/2

The total of the four years was, Spanish dollars, 11,233,635, which,
at the exchange of 45_d._ per dollar, was equal, in sterling money, to
about £2,106,306, or, on an average, £526,576 per annum.

Three-fourths of this revenue was derived from the custom-house duties,
the yearly account of which was, in the year--


  1822            1,987,199
  1823            1,629,149
  1824            2,032,945
  1825            2,267,709
  In the 4 years  7,917,002, or about £1,488,604.

The remainder was made up by duties on stamps, the contribucion
directa, a sort of property-tax; the post-office revenue, the
port-dues, rents of government buildings and lands, and other items of
little consequence.

The account of the expenditure for the same period stood thus:--

  |     Expenditure            |       1822      |      1823     |
  |                            |      Dollars.   |     Dollars.  |
  |On account of the Public }  |                 |               |
  |      Debt and Dividends }  |   643,791 3     |  452,038 3-1/4|
  |                            |                 |               |
  |Of the Home, or Government }|                 |               |
  |                Department }|   446,140 2-1/2 |  513,993 7-1/4|
  |                            |                 |               |
  |Of the Finance Department   |   264,187 2-1/2 |  323,663 3-1/2|
  |                            |                 |               |
  |Of the War Department       |   843,935 6     |1,249,258 2-1/2|
  |          Total             |  2,198,054 6    | 2,538,954  1/2|

  |     Expenditure            |      1824      |     1825        |
  |                            |     Dollars.   |     Dollars.    |
  |On account of the Public }  |                |                 |
  |      Debt and Dividends }  |   547,107      |                 |
  |                            |                |                 |
  |Of the Home, or Government }|                |                 |
  |                Department }|   679,585 2-1/2|                 |
  |                            |                |                 |
  |Of the Finance Department   |   290,696 4-1/2|                 |
  |                            |                |                 |
  |Of the War Department       | 1,111,976 3-1/2|                 |
  |          Total             | 2,629,365 2-1/2| 2,698,231  5-1/2|

Never had the financial concerns of the republic borne so creditable
and promising an appearance. In this prosperity nothing was thought of
but schemes for improvement of every kind; and projects were submitted
to the government for a variety of public works, piers, docks,
custom-houses, &c., some of which were of manifest utility.

It was under these circumstances, and with a view to carry into effect
some of the projected improvements, that the government of Buenos Ayres
determined to endeavour to raise a loan in England, which there was
no difficulty in obtaining upon the terms they stipulated for, viz.,
seventy per cent. At that price parties in London contracted with them
for a loan, nominally, of a million sterling, to be raised upon bonds
bearing interest at six per cent per annum, payable half-yearly. A
sinking-fund of £5000 per annum was to be applied to their redemption,
and the contractors were further allowed to keep back the amount of the
dividends for the first two years. This, with charges, &c., reduced
the sum to be paid over to the government of Buenos Ayres to about
£600,000. The first half-yearly dividend became due on the third or
fourth quarter of 1824.

Whilst the government were deliberating, amongst the many projects
before them, how to lay out this money to the best advantage, the
quarrel broke out with the Emperor of Brazil for the possession of the
Banda Oriental, which soon settled all difficulty on that point, and
absorbed every dollar of the loan in preparations for the ruinous war
which followed. From the commencement of that struggle not only were
the expenses of the state enormously increased, but, when resources
were most wanted, nearly the whole of its ordinary revenues (depending
upon the duties on foreign trade) were suddenly cut off by the blockade
of the river Plate instituted by the Brazilians, which lasted during
the whole continuance of the war, viz., from December, 1825, to
September, 1828,--nearly three years.

In their emergencies the government determined to avail themselves
of the bank, an establishment which had been set up by the leading
capitalists of Buenos Ayres in 1822, upon the grant of an exclusive
privilege of issuing notes _in that province_ for twenty years. It was
entirely independent of the government, and was managed by directors
annually chosen by the shareholders. To the mercantile body it was of
great utility, and its notes, payable in specie on demand, in default
of any national coinage, had become the ordinary currency of Buenos
Ayres, and were as readily taken as gold or silver:--its capital was
a million of dollars. But, as this could not be done compatibly with
its independence and existing constitution, it was further, in an evil
hour, resolved to alter entirely its original character.

Under pretence of extending the circulation of its notes throughout
the republic, application was made to the General Congress[81] to
sanction its conversion into a _national_ bank, with a nominal capital
of _ten millions_ of dollars, towards which the government subscribed
for shares to the amount of _three millions_, and very soon assumed
the right to exact from it almost any accommodation they required.
The consequences were soon apparent. The wants of the government
increasing, the bank was obliged, in order to provide for them, to
increase its issues, which, ere long, reached an amount obviously out
of all proportion to its real capital[82]. The aid of the legislature
was again called in:--the notes were declared a legal tender for their
nominal value, and the bank was relieved by law from the obligation of
paying them in specie on demand:--its credit fell to the lowest ebb,
and its notes became proportionably depreciated.

The government, however, had then no alternative but to go on with
the system it had commenced:--the precious metals having wholly
disappeared as a medium of circulation, it was in this depreciated
currency that it found itself obliged to continue borrowing such sums
as it required, until, as may easily be imagined, the nominal amount
of the public debt became fearfully increased. Before the close of the
war with Brazil, the value of the paper dollar of the bank had fallen
from 45_d._ to below 12_d._ sterling; and at the end of 1828, besides
6,000,000 dollars which had been added to the amount of the funded
debt, the deficit on the general account of receipts and expenditure
was 13,412,075 dollars, the whole of which was due to the bank; and
this was independently of the English loan.

Nevertheless, when peace was signed, upon terms highly honourable to
the republic, the public confidence immediately rallied. The value
of the current dollar rose at once to 24_d._, and amidst the general
rejoicings even the pecuniary prospects of the country put on a
flattering appearance. Nor were the hopes entertained by the Buenos
Ayreans of a speedy improvement in their finances without foundation.
It was evident, as has been observed in the preceding chapter, that,
although the foreign war had led to enormous expenses, the sudden
suspension of the trade had locked up a large amount of foreign, as
well as native, capital within the country, the investment of which,
in a variety of ways, had greatly tended to increase its means of
production, and consequently its national resources.

The mutiny of the army, however, under General Lavalle, and his
barbarous murder of General Dorrego, the Governor, blasted all these
flattering prospects, and involved the whole republic in confusion
and ruin. The consequences of the civil warfare which followed to
the finances of the country were deplorable, and infinitely worse
than those occasioned by the war with Brazil. The currency suffered
apparently beyond all hope of recovery, and the paper dollar, after
great fluctuations, fell to about 7_d._, at which rate it has, with
little variation, been stationary for the last seven years.

In the five years from 1828 to 1832, inclusive, the receipts and
expenses were as follow:--


  1 The expenditure of the Government,
  or Home Department, was ....                       8,254,515

  2 Of the Department of Foreign Affairs ....          778,935

  3 Of the Finance Department and Public
  Debt ....                                         29,884,831

  4 Of the War Department ....                      31,947,435
  Dollars, currency ....                            70,865,716

  The revenue in the same period only
  produced    ....                                  40,889,263
  Leaving a deficiency of  ....                     29,976,453
  to be provided for by loans and other
  extraordinary ways and means.

The _War Department_, it will be seen, absorbed more than three-fourths
of the whole revenue:--nor was this the final account of the
extraordinary expenses which may be traced to the revolt of the troops
above alluded to. Whilst they were cutting the throats of their
countrymen in the interior, the Indians broke in upon the frontiers,
left without defence, and made it necessary to organise a new army to
put them down, which occasioned a great expenditure, though it was,
perhaps, compensated for by the extension of the frontiers, and the new
security it gave to the lands in the south of the province.

To provide for these expenses the Funded Debt was again very largely
increased, and at the close of 1835 stood as follows:--

                             4 per cents.     6 per cents.
                              Dollars.         Dollars.

  Created before the
  war with Brazil            2,000,000        5,360,000

  In September, 1827                          6,000,000

  " February, 1831                            6,000,000

  " March, 1834                               3,000,000

  " November, 1834                            5,000,000
                             ---------       ----------
                             2,000,000  and  25,360,000

  Of which the Sinking
  Fund had redeemed
  up to that time              574,246  and   6,389,713
                               --------       ---------
  Leaving unredeemed at
  the close of 1835          1,425,754  and  18,970,286

Besides this there was a floating debt in treasury-bills and other
outstanding claims of nearly 8,000,000 more to be provided for out of
the ways and means for 1836, which, after every possible reduction of
the establishments, were hardly equal to meet the ordinary expenditure.
In the hope of being enabled to pay off this part of the debt, the
Legislature authorised the Government, in the first instance, to
offer for sale, at a fixed price, a portion of the lands in the
south, acquired in the recent campaigns against the Indians:--but
their expectations were not realised,--there were no bidders for the
lands; and when the junta met the next year to receive the accounts
for 1837, instead of any decrease in the floating debt, it had risen
to above 9,000,000 of dollars. They then adopted the alternative
of creating Public Funds, and passed a law for adding no less than
17,000,000 to the Public Debt. The funds in question were placed at
the disposal of the government for sale, at a price not lower than
sixty per cent, at which it was calculated that they would produce
10,200,000, and be, therefore, sufficient to cover the floating debt,
and leave the ordinary revenue free to meet the ordinary expenditure of
the states. To provide for the increased interest of the Public Debt,
new stamp duties and a more strict enforcement of the direct taxation
(Contribucion Directa) were enacted.

This was at the commencement of 1837, when, including this new creation
of stock, the responsibilities of the government appeared to be as

First.--The Funded Debt.

                                           Dollars.      Dollars.

  Created up to Nov.,
  1834                                    2,000,000 and 25,360,000

  Created in 1837 to provide
  for the Floating Debt                                 17,000,000
                                          ---------     ----------
  Total created                           2,000,000 and 42,360,000

  Of which there were redeemed
  at the beginning
  of 1837                                   585,967 and  7,385,422
                                          ---------     ----------
                                          1,414,033     34,974,578

  The 4 per cents, reduced
  to the same denomination,
  equal to                                                 942,688
  Amount of Funded Debt
  unredeemed (6 per cents)                              35,917,166

The annual charge for the interest and sinking fund of this part of the
debt amounted to 3,055,199 current dollars.

Secondly.--The English loan for 1,000,000 sterling, the interest of
which (at the rate of £60,000 per annum) has been unpaid since January,

And Thirdly,--The amount of the bank issues in circulation, understood
to be about 20,000,000 of dollars currency, for the whole amount of
which the government had declared itself responsible to the public as
the easiest mode of settling its own account with that establishment
upon the expiration of its charter in 1836.

On the other hand, the whole of the ordinary revenues were only
estimated at 12,000,000 of currency, of which about a fourth part, as
above stated, was required to be set apart in the first instance to
meet the charges for the funded debt.

The remaining 9,000,000 was insufficient by half to meet the ordinary
expenditure of the state, much less to enable the government to make
any provision for a settlement with the English bondholders, or for the
redemption of the currency.

This was the state of things at the commencement of 1837, as far as I
can collect from the accounts which have been published; deplorable as
it appeared, it perhaps would not have been altogether irremediable,
had the peace of the country been preserved, and the war establishments
been reduced.

The estimated revenue of 12,000,000 was based upon the average of the
years immediately preceding, which had been far from favourable to
the development of the resources of the republic. It was notorious
that many branches of it were very loosely collected; the contribucion
directa, or property-tax, especially, which produced little or nothing,
instead of being made, as it ought to have been, one of the most
important items in the revenue of the state. In this, as in other
branches of it, there was no doubt that, with care and good management,
the public income might have been greatly increased. Besides, there
were still the greater part of the public lands undisposed of, which
the legislature, in 1836, had given authority to the government to
sell, for the purpose of liquidating the debt previously contracted;
and with regard to the funded debt, the operation of the sinking
fund with its accumulating interest was becoming so efficient that,
notwithstanding its large amount, a very few years indeed would suffice
to redeem the whole of it, if not further increased. In 1837 the
sinking fund already amounted to more than a million of dollars, which,
in twelve months, redeemed little short of two millions and a half of

But, as I have before had occasion to observe, touching their social
condition, so it is most especially with regard to their financial
prospects, there can be no well-founded expectation of any improvement
which is not based upon a continuation of the peace and quiet of the
country. That, unfortunately, has been again interrupted in the past
year, and the Republic has not only become involved in the war declared
by Chile against Bolivia, but in a much more serious and disastrous
dispute with the French, the calamitous consequences of which it is
difficult to estimate.

Pending the settlement of their alleged grievances, the French have
instituted a strict blockade of Buenos Ayres, which falls heavily upon
those neutral parties who have established an extensive commercial
intercourse with the country.


[81] The Congress in question had been convoked principally for the
purpose of drawing up a constitution for the republic, and was properly
only a _constituent_ one:--after a time, however, it proceeded to
appoint a president, and to pass a variety of laws founded on the like
scheme of _nationalising_ the republic, which, though acquiesced in,
_per force_, by the people of Buenos Ayres, were resisted _vi et armis_
by most of the provinces at a distance, and led to much ill-will and
disunion amongst them, at the moment when all their joint efforts were
required against their common enemy. The president, Rivadavia, after
a vain struggle to establish his authority, found himself forced to
resign amidst a complication of difficulties.

[82] It never exceeded five millions of dollars, viz., one the amount
of the capital of the Provincial Bank, incorporated with it; three
subscribed by the Government; and about one more by individuals.


No. 1.


We, the Representatives of the United Provinces of South America, in
General Congress assembled, invoking that Supreme Being who presides
over the universe, in the name and by the authority of the people we
represent, and protesting before Heaven and all nations and inhabitants
of the earth, the justice of this our resolution, do hereby solemnly
declare that it is the unanimous and undoubted determination of these
provinces to break the bonds which have bound them to the kings of
Spain, to recover the rights of which they have been deprived, and to
take upon themselves the high character of a free nation independent
of king Ferdinand VII. and his successors, and of Spain; with full
and ample power in consequence _de facto_ and _de jure_ to establish
for themselves such form of government as the pressure of existing
circumstances may render imperative.

All and every one of them do publish and declare the same, and pledge
themselves, through us, to carry into effect and to maintain this their
fixed resolve with their lives, their fortunes, and their fame.

Wherefore be this duly published for the knowledge of all whom it may
concern; and considering what may be due to other nations in this
matter, a separate manifesto shall set forth in detail the grave and
weighty reasons which have led to this our solemn declaration.

Given in the hall of our meetings, signed by our hands, sealed with the
seal of the Congress, and countersigned by the secretaries thereof, in
the city of San Miguel de Tucuman, the 9th day of July, 1816.

[Follow the Signatures.]

No. 2.


  Province of Buenos Ayres, from  180,000 to 200,000
  Santa Fé                         15,000 to  20,000
  Entre Rios                       30,000 to  30,000
  Corrientes                       35,000 to  40,000
  Cordova                          80,000 to  85,000
  Santiago                         45,000 to  50,000
  Tucuman                          40,000 to  45,000
  Salta                            50,000 to  60,000
  Catamarca                        30,000 to  35,000
  La Rioja                         18,000 to  20,000
  San Luis                         20,000 to  25,000
  Mendoza                          35,000 to  40,000
  San Juan                         22,000 to  25,000
                                  -------    -------
                                  600,000 to 675,000

This is exclusive of independent Indians within the territory laid
claim to by the Republic.

The population of the Banda Oriental is estimated to be from 100,000 to
120,000 souls, rapidly increasing.

That of Paraguay I should assume, from accounts in my possession, to
be about 250,000, though I know it has been estimated at double that
amount by persons who have been in the country.

No. 3.



Registered in the British consulate, from 1825 to 1831.

  Merchants and traders and clerks                    466
  Shopkeepers                                         193
  Physicians, surgeons, chemists, and apothecaries     27
  Schoolmasters                                         9
  Hotel and tavern keepers                             13
  Master Mechanics                                     93
  Carpenters                                          362
  Bricklayers                                         123
  Labourers                                           667
  Farming men                                         125
  Tailors                                              66
  Shoemakers                                           63
  Painters                                              7
  Sailors                                             329
  Registered without denomination                     107
  Women                                               595
  Children                                            827

The individuals not registered were supposed to amount to at least a
thousand more, exclusive of the sailors on board the British shipping
trading with the port.



Return of marriages, baptisms, and burials of the Protestant population
in Buenos Ayres, from August 1825 to August 1831, showing the
proportion of British subjects--and in 1836.

From August 1825 to August 1831, six years.

                          Other foreign
                 British.  Protestants.   Total.

  Marriages       238          42          280
  Baptisms         77          13           90
  Burials         278          85          363

For 1836.

The Returns published of the foreign Protestant population in Buenos
Ayres, give--

  Total marriages in the year    19
        Baptisms                 63
        Burials                  55

The proportion of the British is not given, but may be estimated from
that quoted in the first period.

No. 4.


              _Signed at Buenos Ayes, February 2, 1825._

Extensive commercial intercourse having been established for a series
of years between the dominions of His Britannic Majesty, and the
territories of the United Provinces of Rio de la Plata, it seems
good for the security as well as encouragement of such commercial
intercourse, and for the maintenance of good understanding between
His said Britannic Majesty and the said United Provinces, that the
relations now subsisting between them should be regularly acknowledged
and confirmed by the signature of a treaty of amity, commerce, and

For this purpose they have named their respective plenipotentiaries,
that is to say;--

His Majesty the King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and
Ireland, Woodbine Parish, Esquire, His said Majesty's Consul-General
in the Province of Buenos Ayres and its Dependencies;--and the United
Provinces of Rio de la Plata, Señor Don Manuel José Garcia, Minister
Secretary for the Departments of Government, Finance, and Foreign
Affairs, of the National Executive Power of the said Provinces;

Who, after having communicated to each other their respective Full
Powers, found to be in due and proper form, have agreed upon and
concluded the following Articles:--


There shall be perpetual amity between the dominions and subjects
of His Majesty the King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and
Ireland, and the United Provinces of Rio de la Plata, and their


There shall be, between all the territories of His Britannic Majesty
in Europe, and the territories of the United Provinces of Rio de la
Plata, a reciprocal freedom of Commerce: the inhabitants of the two
countries, respectively, shall have liberty freely and securely to
come, with their ships and cargoes, to all such places, ports, and
rivers, in the territories aforesaid, to which other foreigners are or
may be permitted to come, to enter into the same, and to remain and
reside in any part of the said territories respectively; also to hire
and occupy houses and warehouses for the purposes of their commerce;
and, generally, the merchants and traders of each nation, respectively,
shall enjoy the most complete protection and security for their
commerce; subject always to the laws and statutes of the two countries


His Majesty the King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
engages further, that in all his dominions situated out of Europe, the
inhabitants of the United Provinces of Rio de la Plata shall have the
like liberty of commerce and navigation stipulated for in the preceding
article, to the full extent in which the same is permitted at present,
or shall be permitted hereafter, to any other nation.


No higher or other duties shall be imposed on the importation into the
territories of His Britannic Majesty, of any articles of the growth,
produce, or manufacture of the United Provinces of Rio de la Plata,
and no higher or other duties shall be imposed on the importation into
the said United Provinces, of any articles of the growth, produce, or
manufacture of His Britannic Majesty's dominions, than are or shall be
payable on the like articles, being the growth, produce, or manufacture
of any other foreign country; nor shall any other or higher duties
or charges be imposed, in the territories or dominions of either of
the contracting parties, on the exportation of any articles to the
territories or dominions of the other, than such as are or may be
payable on the exportation of the like articles to any other foreign
country: nor shall any prohibition be imposed upon the exportation or
importation of any articles the growth, produce, or manufacture of His
Britannic Majesty's dominions, or of the said United Provinces, which
shall not equally extend to all other nations.


No higher or other duties or charges on account of tonnage, light, or
harbour dues, pilotage, salvage in case of damage or shipwreck, or
any other local charges, shall be imposed, in any of the ports of the
said United Provinces, on British vessels of the burthen of above one
hundred and twenty tons, than those payable, in the same ports, by
vessels of the said United Provinces of the same burthen; nor in the
ports of any of His Britannic Majesty's territories, on the vessels of
the United Provinces of above one hundred and twenty tons, than shall
be payable, in the same ports, on British vessels of the same burthen.


The same duties shall be paid on the importation into the said United
Provinces of any article the growth, produce, or manufacture of His
Britannic Majesty's dominions, whether such importation shall be in
vessels of the said United Provinces, or in British vessels; and the
same duties shall be paid on the importation into the dominions of His
Britannic Majesty of any article the growth, produce, or manufacture
of the said United Provinces, whether such importation shall be in
British vessels, or in vessels of the said United Provinces;--The
same duties shall be paid, and the same drawbacks and bounties
allowed, on the exportation of any articles of the growth, produce, or
manufacture of His Britannic Majesty's dominions to the said United
Provinces, whether such exportation shall be in vessels of the said
United Provinces, or in British vessels; and the same duties shall be
paid, and the same bounties and drawbacks allowed, on the exportation
of any articles the growth, produce, or manufacture of the said
United Provinces to His Britannic Majesty's dominions, whether such
exportation shall be in British vessels, or in vessels of the said
United Provinces.


In order to avoid any misunderstanding with respect to the regulations
which may respectively constitute a British vessel, or a vessel of the
said United Provinces, it is hereby agreed, that all vessels built
in the dominions of His Britannic Majesty, and owned, navigated, and
registered according to the laws of Great Britain, shall be considered
as British vessels; and that all vessels built in the territories
of the said United Provinces, properly registered, and owned by
the citizens thereof, or any of them, and whereof the master and
three-fourths of the mariners, at least, are citizens of the said
United Provinces, shall be considered as vessels of the said United


All merchants, commanders of ships, and others, the subjects of His
Britannic Majesty, shall have the same liberty, in all the territories
of the said United Provinces, as the natives thereof, to manage
their own affairs themselves, or to commit them to the management of
whomsoever they please, as broker, factor, agent, or interpreter; nor
shall they be obliged to employ any other persons for those purposes,
nor to pay them any salary or remuneration, unless they shall choose
to employ them; and absolute freedom shall be allowed, in all cases,
to the buyer and seller to bargain and fix the price of any goods,
wares, or merchandise imported into, or exported from, the said United
Provinces, as they shall see good.


In whatever relates to the lading and unlading of ships, the safety
of merchandise, goods, and effects, the disposal of property of every
sort and denomination, by sale, donation or exchange, or in any other
manner whatsoever, as also the administration of justice, the subjects
and citizens of the two contracting parties shall enjoy, in their
respective dominions, the same privileges, liberties, and rights, as
the most favoured nation, and shall not be charged, in any of these
respects, with any higher duties or imposts than those which are paid,
or may be paid, by the native subjects or citizens of the power in
whose dominions they may be resident. They shall be exempted from all
compulsory military service whatsoever, whether by sea or land, and
from all forced loans, or military exactions or requisitions; neither
shall they be compelled to pay any ordinary taxes, under any pretext
whatsoever, greater than those that are paid by native subjects or


It shall be free for each of the two contracting parties to appoint
consuls for the protection of trade, to reside in the dominions and
territories of the other party; but before any consul shall act as
such, he shall, in the usual form, be approved and admitted by the
government to which he is sent, and either of the contracting parties
may except from the residence of consuls such particular places as
either of them may judge fit to be so excepted.


For the better security of commerce between the subjects of His
Britannic Majesty, and the inhabitants of the United Provinces of Rio
de La Plata, it is agreed, that if at any time any interruption of
friendly commercial intercourse, or any rupture should unfortunately
take place between the two contracting parties, the subjects or
citizens of either of the two contracting parties residing in the
dominions of the other, shall have the privilege of remaining and
continuing their trade therein, without any manner of interruption, so
long as they behave peaceably, and commit no offence against the laws;
and their effects and property, whether entrusted to individuals or
to the state, shall not be liable to seizure or sequestration, or to
any other demands than those which may be made upon the like effects
or property, belonging to the native inhabitants of the state in which
such subjects or citizens may reside.


The subjects of His Britannic Majesty residing in the United Provinces
of Rio de la Plata, shall not be disturbed, persecuted, or annoyed
on account of their religion, but they shall have perfect liberty of
conscience therein, and to celebrate divine service either within
their own private houses, or in their own particular churches or
chapels, which they shall be at liberty to build and maintain in
convenient places, approved of by the government of the said United
Provinces:--Liberty shall also be granted to bury the subjects of His
Britannic Majesty who may die in the territories of the said United
Provinces, in their own burial places, which, in the same manner, they
may freely establish and maintain. In the like manner, the citizens of
the said United Provinces shall enjoy, within all the dominions of His
Britannic Majesty, a perfect and unrestrained liberty of conscience,
and of exercising their religion publicly or privately, within their
own dwelling-houses, or in the chapels and places of worship appointed
for that purpose, agreeably to the system of toleration established in
the dominions of his said Majesty.


It shall be free for the subjects of His Britannic Majesty, residing in
the United Provinces of Rio de la Plata, to dispose of their property,
of every description, by will or testament, as they may judge fit;
and, in the event of any British subject dying without such will or
testament in the territories of the said United Provinces, the British
consul-general, or, in his absence, his representative, shall have
the right to nominate curators to take charge of the property of the
deceased, for the benefit of his lawful heirs and creditors, without
interference, giving convenient notice thereof to the authorities of
the country; and reciprocally.


His Britannic Majesty being extremely desirous of totally abolishing
the slave trade, the United Provinces of Rio de la Plata engage
to co-operate with His Britannic Majesty for the completion of so
beneficent a work, and to prohibit all persons inhabiting within the
said United Provinces, or subject to their jurisdiction, in the most
effectual manner, and by the most solemn laws, from taking any share in
such trade.


The present treaty shall be ratified, and the ratifications shall be
exchanged in London within four months, or sooner if possible.

In witness whereof the respective plenipotentiaries have signed the
same, and have affixed their seals thereunto.

    Done at Buenos Ayres, the second day of February, in the year
        of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and twenty-five.

                                 (Signed)  WOODBINE PARISH.
                                           MANUEL JOSÉ GARCIA.

_Note._--This was the first treaty entered into by any European power
with the new Republics of America;--whilst it provided a necessary
safeguard to British subjects resorting to that part of the world, it
was of great importance to the Buenos Ayreans, not only in a political
but in a moral sense, struggling as they were, in the infancy of their
institutions, under the difficult task which they had undertaken of
attempting to constitute a Government diametrically opposed in form and
principles to the whole system of legislation whereby the country had
been ruled for three centuries, and which, notwithstanding all their
declarations of independence, still hung like a drag-chain about their
necks:--under such circumstances every true patriot and advocate for
civilization hailed it as the best possible guarantee of sound and
liberal principles, whilst, on the other hand, the supporters of the
old Spanish laws were proportionately discouraged, as they saw in it
the death-blow to the old colonial policy of the mother-country.

No. 5.


                               I. H. S.

  Señor Governador,

Tupa tanderaârô anga oroè ndebe ore Cabildo Caziqs reta, Aba, haè
Cuna, haè mitâ rehebe San Lui y gua orerubeteramo ndereco ramo
Corregidor Santiago Pindo, haè Don Pantaleon Cayuari Oiquatia
orebe orerayhupareteramo ndereco aipo bae rehe ore yerobia hape
oroiquatia àngà ndebe hupigua ete rupi, co nande Rey poroquaita
Guira tetirô oromondo haguâ Nande Rey upeguâra, oromboaci mirî ey
ngatu ndoroguerecoi ramo oromondo haguâ rehe oico note Tupa omona
hague rupi Caàgui rupi, haè oneguâ hè orehegui haè ramo iyabai ete
oromboaye haguâ; aiporamo yepe oroico Tupa haè nande Rey boyaramo
hecobia tetirô oreyoquai reco rupi, Colonia mbohapi yebi ipiei bo,
haè ombae àpo hece tributo hepibeêmo, haè angà catu oronemboe Tupa
upene acoi Guira catupiribe Tupa Espiritu Sto. omeê haguâ ndebe, haè
nande Rey upe heçape bo, haè Angel Marangatu penaâromo rano. Aiporire
nderehe yerobiahape; Ah Sñor. Govdor. ore rubeteramo ndereco ramo
nemomirîngatu hape oroyerure àngà orereçay pipe San Ignacio ray reta
Pay abere dela Compã. de Jesus ipicopi haguâ ma rehe ore paûme yepi,
cobaè rehe catu eyerure àngà nande Rey Marângatu upe Tupa rerapipe,
haè hayhupape; Cobaè rehe oyerure gueçai pipe opia guibe taba guetebo,
Aba, haè Cuna, Cunumi, Cunatai reta rano; bite tenàngà y poriahu
baè meme. Pay Frayle, coterâ Pay Clerigo ndoroipotai. Apostle Sto.
Thome Tupa boya martu niâ omombeù corupi ore ramoî upe, haè cobaè
Pay Frayle, haè Clerigo nomaey orerehe, San Ignacio ray reta catu
ou y piramo i àngata oreramoi reta re cabo rehe, haè omboè oreramoî
ymongaraibo. Tupa upe, haè Rey Espana ùpe, ymonemeêbo, Pay Frayle
cotéra Clerigo, ndoroipotai ete; Pay dela Compa de Jesus. Orereco
poriahu oguero hôsâ quaabaè, haè orobià porâ hece, Tupa upe, nande Rey
upe guara, haè oremeêne Tributo Guaçube Caà mirî ereipotaramo, Eney
àngàque Sñor. Governr. marângatu terehendu àngà oreneê poriahu imbo
àyeucabo àngà? Aiporire orereco ndoicoi Esclavo rehegua, oreremimoâruâ
catu, noromoârúay Caray reco nabo nabô oyeupe ano inangatabae o amo
reta rehe maê ymo y piti bo ey mo, y mongaru ey mo rano; cohupigua ete
oromombeu àngà ndebe, nde ereipota reco rupi ore y mombeù haguâma? Ani
ramo cotaba; haè taba tetirô rui ocanimba ne coite nndebe nande Rey
upe haè Tupa upe Ana retâme oroyeoita coitene haè acoi ramo oremano
ramo mabaè àngà pihi pàngà y arecone! a ni etei oreray reta nia obia
yoya Caàguipe. Tabape rapicha, haè ndo hechairamo Pay San Ignacio ray
reta, acoi ramo oairine nu rupi coterâ Caàguipe teco marâ à pobo,
San Joachin retâ, San Stanislao retâ, San Fernando reta Timbo pegua
ocanimba yma rapicha, oroiquaa porâ reco rupi, oremombeù àngà ndebe,
haè rire ore Cabildo Tupa upe, haè nande Rey upe ndoromboyebi beichene
Taba reco Señor Governador Marângatu. Eney Fiyaye àngà oreyerurehague
ndebe, haè Tupa nde pitibone, haè tanderaârô yebi yebi àngà aipohaè
note àngà.

San Luis hegui, à 28 de Febro. 1768, rehegua nderayre ta poriahu Taba
guetebo. Cabildo.

No. 6.

Meteorological Observations in Buenos Ayres during 1822 and 1823 (from
the Registro Estadistico).

  |                    |    Thermometer.   |       Barometer.      |
  |                    +-----+-------+-----+-------+-------+-------+
  |                    |     |       |     |       |       |       |
  |       1822.        | Max.| Mean. | Min.|  Max. | Mean. |  Min. |
  |                    |     |       |     |       |       |       |
  |        { January   |  91 | 71·82 |  60 |  No   |observa|tions. |
  |Summer  { February  |  89 | 73·00 |  58 | 30·04 | 29·58 | 29·21 |
  |        { March     |  82 | 70·83 |  53 | 29·88 | 29·61 | 29·33 |
  |Autumn  { April     |  78 | 62·04 |  43 | 29·82 | 29·73 | 29·46 |
  |        { Ma        |  68 | 58·31 |  44 | 30·18 | 29·76 | 29·21 |
  |        { June      |  66 | 54·32 |  40 | 30·05 | 29·77 | 29·23 |
  |Winter  { July      |  68 | 52·55 |  38 | 30·17 | 29·65 | 29·21 |
  |        { August    |  66 | 51·83 |  36 | 30·21 | 29·84 | 29·51 |
  |        { September |  72 | 54·64 |  42 | 30·41 | 29·74 | 29·32 |
  |Spring  { October   |  81 | 58·91 |  46 | 30·13 | 29·67 | 29·24 |
  |        { November  |  88 | 68·43 |  56 | 29·91 | 29·61 | 29·17 |
  |        { December  |  86 | 70·91 |  62 | 30·00 | 29·45 | 29·15 |
  |        {           |     |       |     |       |       |       +
  |        {           |     |       |     |       |       |       |
  |Summer  {  1823.    |     |       |     |       |       |       |
  |        { January   |  94 | 75·31 |  60 | 29·92 | 29·54 | 29·25 |
  |        { February  |  93 | 78·42 |  66 | 29·95 | 29·60 | 29·21 |
  |        { March     |  93 | 75·79 |  52 | 30·02 | 29·88 | 29·18 |
  |Autumn  { April     |  72 | 67·50 |  57 | 30·08 | 29·30 | 29·27 |
  |        { May       |  63 | 52·50 |  41 | 30·14 | 29·79 | 29·53 |
  |Winter    June      |  65 | 52·50 |  40 | 30·15 | 29·68 | 29·15 |

  |                    | Hygrometer. |          Winds.           |
  |                    +-------+-----+------+------+------+------+
  |                    |  Days | Days| North| North| South| South|
  |       1822.        | Humid.| Dry.|  to  |  to  |  to  |  to  |
  |                    |       |     | East.| West.| East.| West.|
  |        { January   |       |     |  12  |   3  |   9  |   6  |
  |Summer  { February  |  19   |  9  |  12  |   8  |   3  |   5  |
  |        { March     |  20   | 10  |  12  |   6  |   6  |   7  |
  |Autumn  { April     |  22   |  8  |   7  |   8  |   4  |  11  |
  |        { Ma        |  30   |  1  |  13  |   7  |   2  |   9  |
  |        { June      |  30   |  0  |  14  |   5  |   2  |   9  |
  |Winter  { July      |  31   |  0  |  13  |   4  |   7  |   7  |
  |        { August    |  31   |  0  |  18  |   3  |   6  |   4  |
  |        { September |  30   |  0  |  13  |   3  |  11  |   3  |
  |Spring  { October   |  30   |  1  |  17  |   5  |   5  |   4  |
  |        { November  |  28   |  2  |  23  |   1  |   5  |   2  |
  |        { December  |  23   |  8  |  16  |   3  |   6  |   6  |
  |        {           +-------+-----+------+------+------+------+
  |        {           | 294   | 39  | 170  |  56  |  66  |  73  |
  |Summer  {  1823.    |       |     |      |      |      |      |
  |        { January   |   5   | 26  |  17  |   4  |   5  |   5  |
  |        { February  |   3   | 25  |  14  |   3  |   5  |   6  |
  |        { March     |  19   | 12  |  10  |   6  |   9  |   6  |
  |Autumn  { April     |  29   |  1  |  14  |   9  |   5  |   2  |
  |        { May       |  31   | ..  |  11  |  12  |   6  |   2  |
  |Winter    June      |  30   | ..  |  16  |   5  |   9  |  ..  |

    In the eighteen months the highest of the thermometer was 94,
        in the month of January; the lowest 36, in August. It
        sometimes rises to 96, as in January, 1824, when it was at
        that point some days. On the other hand, it has been known
        to fall as low at 28 and 29; but these extremes are very

No. 7.--Some Fixed Points in the Provinces of the Rio de la Plata.

_Province of Buenos Ayres._

  |      Place.            |   S.   | Longi- |    Where   |  Observations.   |
  |                        | Lati-  | tude.  |    from.   |                  |
  |                        | tude.  |        |            |                  |
  |                        |°   ´  "| °  ´  "|            |                  |
  |Centre of the City of}  |        |        |            |                  |
  |Buenos Ayres         }  |34 36 29|58 23 34| Greenwich  |                  |
  |Anchorage of H. M. S }  |        |        |            |                  |
  |Nereus in the Outer  }  |34 34 30|58  2  0|    "       |{Variation 12-1/2°|
  |Roads in 1813        }  |        |        |            |{E.--1813         |
  |Luxan                   |34 38 36| 1  1 10{W. of Buenos|                  |
  |                        |        |        {Ayres       |                  |
  |Guardia del Salto       |34 18 57| 2 14 49|    "       |{Variation 14°    |
  |                        |        |        |            |{39´ E.--1796     |
  |Fort Roxas              |34 11 48| 2 41 39|    "       |                  |
  |Fort Mercedes           |33 55 18| 3  4 14|    "       |                  |
  |Fort Melinqué           |33 42 24| 3 30 38|    "       |                  |
  |Corzo, near the Lake   }|        |        |            |                  |
  |(source of the Salado) }|34  4 55| 3 36 32|    "       |                  |
  |Lake Roxas              |34 19  7| 3  2 56|    "       |                  |
  |Lake Carpincho          |34 35 31| 2 52 44|    "       |                  |
  |Lake Toro-Moro          |34 49  1| 2 38 30|    "       |                  |
  |Lake Palentalen         |35 10 15| 2  6 34|    "       |                  |
  |Lake de los Huesos      |35 14 30| 1 34 44|    "       |                  |
  |Lake del Trigo          |35 14  3| 1 14 54|    "       |                  |
  |Cisne                   |35 46  0| 0 20  5|E. of ditto |                  |
  |Manantiales de Porongos |35 54 50| 0  1 55|     "      |                  |
  |Lake Camerones Grandes  |36  0 59| 0  9 19|     "      |                  |
  |Altos de Troncoso       |36  5 30| 0 10 55|     "      |                  |
  |Fort Chascomus          |35 33  5| 0 22 20|     "      |                  |
  |Fort Ranchos            |35 30 46| 0  3 20|     "      |                  |
  |Lake Ceajo              |35 29 49| 0 16 40|W. of ditto |                  |
  |Guardia del Monte       |35 26  7| 0 31 10|    "       |                  |
  |Guardia de Lobos        |35 16  7| 0 52 10|    "       |                  |
  |Fort Navarro            |35  0 13| 1  3 25|    "       |                  |
  |                        |        |        |            |                  |
  |N.B. The above positions from Luxan to Navarro were determined             |
  |in the course of a survey of the frontiers, made in 1796 by                |
  |Don Felix Azara, aided by Cerviño and Inciarte, all officers               |
  |attached to the Commission for laying down the boundaries under            |
  |the treaty, between Spain and Portugal, of 1777. The Statistical           |
  |Register of Buenos Ayres, for 1822, has added to them the                  |
  |following:--                                                               |
  |                                                                           |
  |San Pedro               |33 40 51| 1 32  0|   "        |                  |
  |Barradero               |33 43 50| 1 25  4|   "        |                  |
  |Conchas                 |34 25 15| 0 10 31|   "        |                  |
  |Pergamino               |33 53 16| 2 24 25|   "        |                  |
  |Areco                   |34 11 57| 1 26 47|   "        |                  |
  |Arecife (Fort)          |34  3  8| 2  6 13|   "        |                  |
  |Pilar                   |34 26  4| 0 52 54|   "        |                  |
  |Cañada de Moron         |34 40 45| 0 23 49|   "        |                  |
  |Magdalena               |35  5 29| 0 44  0|E. of ditto |                  |

No. 7--_continued_.

_Observations taken on the Journey of Don Pedro Garcia, in 1810, to the

  |      Place.            |   S.   | Longi- |    Where   |  Observations.   |
  |                        | Lati-  | tude.  |    from.   |                  |
  |                        | tude.  |        |            |                  |
  |                        |°   ´  "| °  ´  "|            |                  |
  |Pass of the Salado      |35  2  0| 1 56  0|Buenos Ayres|                  |
  |Palantalen              |35 12  0| 2  7  0|    "       |                  |
  |Lakes Tres Hermanas     |35 23  0| 2 16  0|    "       |                  |
  |Cruz de Guerra          |35 41  0| 2 24  0|    "       |                  |
  |Cabeza del Buey         |36 10  0| 2 52  0|    "       |                  |
  |First Lake of the     } |36 38  0| 3 24  0|     "      |                  |
  |Cañada Larga          } |        |        |            |                  |
  |Lake del Monte          |36 53  0| 3 57  0|     "      |                  |
  |Lake da los Paraguayos  |36 58  0| 4 12  0|     "      |                  |
  |Lake of the Salinas   } |37 13  0| 4 51  0|     "      |                  |
  |(centre)                                                                  |
  |                                                                          |
  |_Positions fixed on the Expedition in 1823, to extend the Frontiers._     |
  |                                                                          |
  |Fort on the Tandil      |37 21 43| 0 39  4|     "      |{Var. 14° 59´     |
  |                        |        |        |            |{E.--1823.        |
  |Lake beyond the Tinta } |37 40  3| 1 27  0|     "      |                  |
  |hills                 } |        |        |            |                  |
  |Another further on      |37 44  7| 2  0  7|     "      |Var. 15° 18´ E.   |
  |Ruins of the Jesuit     |37 59 48|        |     "      |                  |
  |Mission                                                                   |
  |                                                                          |
  |_By the Officers of His Majesty's Ship Beagle, in 1832._                  |
  |                                                                          |
  |Cape Corrientes         |38  5 30|57 29 15| Greenwich  |                  |
  |Sierra Ventana,       } |38 11 45|61 56 18|    "       |                  |
  |highest summit        } |        |        |            |                  |
  |Fort Argentine, near  } |38 43 50|62 14 41|      "     |                  |
  |Bahia Blanca          } |        |        |            |                  |
  |                                                                          |
  |_On the River Negro._                                                     |
  |                                                                          |
  |Pilot's house at      } |41  0 42|62 46 15|      "     |}Var. 17° 42´     |
  |the entrance          } |        |        |            |}E.--1832.        |
  |of the River Negro    } |        |        |            |                  |
  |Town of Carmen on ditto |40 48 18|62 58  0|      "     |}                 |
  |East end of the       } |39  0  0|        |      "     |}                 |
  |Islands of Choleechel } |        |        |            |}                 |
  |Junction of the River } |38 44  0|        |      "     |}by Villariño,    |
  |Neuquen               } |        |        |            |}  in 1782.       |
  |Junction of the River } |40  6  0|        |      "     |}                 |
  |Encarnacion           } |        |        |            |}                 |
  |Villariños, furthest  } |39 33  0|        |      "     |}                 |
  |up the Catapuliché    } |        |        |            |}                 |

No. 7--_continued._

_Positions on the road from Buenos Ayres to Chile, fixed in 1794
by Bauza and Espinosa, Officers attached to Malaspina's Surveying

  |      Place.            |   S.   | Longi-  |    Where   |  Observations.   |
  |                        | Lati-  | tude.   |    from.   |                  |
  |                        | tude.  |         |            |                  |
  |                        |°   ´  "|  °  ´  "|            |                  |
  |Post of Portezuelas     |33 53  0|  .     .| Greenwich  |                  |
  |Do. of Desmochados      |33 10  0|  .     .|    "       |                  |
  |Do. of Sanjon, on the } |32 40  0| 61 45  0|    "       |                  |
  |River Tercero         } |        |         |            |                  |
  |Pass on the Tercero     |32 23 30|  .     .|    "       |                  |
  |San Luis de la Punta    |33 18  0| 65 47  0|    "       |                  |
  |Pass of the Desaguadero |33 26  0|  .     .|    "       |                  |
  |Mendoza                 |32 52  0| 69  6  0|    "       |                  |
  |Uspallata               |32 33 20|  .     .|    "       |                  |
  |St. Jago de Chile       |33 26  0| 70 46  0|    "       |                  |
  |                                                                           |
  |_Provincial Towns._                                                        |
  |                                                                           |
  |Cordova                 |31 26 14|314 36 45|  Ferro     |{M. de Souillae,  |
  |                        |        |         |            |{  1784.          |
  |Santiago del Estero     |27 47  0| .      .|    "       |   Azara.         |
  |Tucuman                 | .     .| .      .|    "       |                  |
  |Salta                   | .     .| .      .|    "       |                  |
  |Corrientes              |27 27  0|319 55  0|    "       |   ditto.         |
  |Assumption              |25 16 40|320 12  0|    "       |   ditto.         |
  |                                                                           |
  |_Affluents of the River Paraguay._                                         |
  |                                                                           |
  |Mouth of the Vermejo    |26 54  0 |  .     .|  .    .   |}                 |
  |Do. of the Tebicuari    |26 35  0 |  .     .|  .    .   |} by Azara,       |
  |Fort Angostura          |25 32  0 |  .     .|  .    .   |}  in 1785.       |
  |Mouth of the Pilcomayo  |25 21  9 |  .     .|  .    .   |}                 |
  |Mouth of the Piray      |25  2  0 |  .     .|  .    .   |}                 |
  |Do. of the Salado       |25  1  0 |  .     .|  .    .   |}                 |
  |Do. Peribibuy           |24 58  0 |  .     .|  .    .   |}                 |
  |Do. Mboicay             |24 56  0 |  .     .|  .    .   |}                 |
  |Do. Ibobi               |24 29  0 |  .     .|  .    .   |}                 |
  |Do. Quarepoti           |24 23  0 |  .     .|  .    .   |}                 |
  |Do. Xexui               |24  7  0 |  .     .|  .    .   |}                 |
  |Do. Ipané-mini          |24  2  0 |  .     .|  .    .   |} Quiroga,        |
  |Do. Fogones             |23 51  0 |  .     .|  .    .   |} in 1750.        |
  |Do. Ipané-guazu         |23 28  0 |  .     .|  .    .   |}                 |
  |Do. Guarambaré          |23  8  0 |  .     .|  .    .   |}                 |
  |Do. Corrientes          |22  2  0 |  .     .|  .    .   |}                 |
  |Do. Tepeti              |21 45  0 |  .     .|  .    .   |}                 |
  |Do. Inboteti            |19 20  0 |  .     .|  .    .   |}                 |
  |Do. Tacuari             |19  0  0 |  .     .|  .    .   |}                 |
  |Do. Porrudos            |17 52  0 |  .     .|  .    .   |}                 |
  |Do. Jaurú               |16 25  0 | 320 10 0|   Ferro   |}                 |

No. 7--_continued._

_Towns in Paraguay._

  |      Place.            |   S.   | Longi-  |    Where   |  Observations.   |
  |                        | Lati-  | tude.   |    from.   |                  |
  |                        | tude.  |         |            |                  |
  |                        |°   ´  "|  °  ´  "|            |                  |
  |Yaguaron                |25 41 15|}        |            |                  |
  |Itapé                   |25 51 14|}        |            |                  |
  |Cazapa                  |26  9 53|}  .   . |  .    .    | Azara, in 1785.  |
  |Yuti                    |26 36  4|}        |            |                  |
  |Point of embarkation on}|26 35 21|}        |            |                  |
  | the Tebicuari         }|        |         |            |                  |
  |                                                                           |
  |_The Jesuit Missions of the Uruguay and Paranã, as fixed by the            |
  |Boundary Commissioners, under the Treaty of 1777._                         |
  |                                                                           |
  |San Ignacio-guazu       |26 55 12|321  5  9|    Ferro   |                  |
  |Santa Maria de Fé       |26 48 10|321 11  9|      "     |                  |
  |Santa Rosa              |26 53 12|321 14 28|      "     |                  |
  |Santiago                |27  8 40|321 20 14|      "     |                  |
  |San Cosmo               |27 18 55|321 47 53|      "     |                  |
  |Itapua                  |27 20 16|322 14  2|      "     |                  |
  |Candelaria              |27 27 14|322 19 30|      "     |                  |
  |Santa Ana               |27 23 40|322 31 23|      "     |                  |
  |Loreto                  |27 19 44|322 35 19|      "     |                  |
  |San Ignacio-mini        |27 14 55|322 43 11|      "     |                  |
  |Corpus                  |27  7 36|322 36 27|      "     |                  |
  |Trinidad                |27  7 35|322 19 20|      "     |                  |
  |Jesus                   |27  2 36|322 17  2|      "     |                  |
  |San José                |27 45 47|322 19 30|      "     |                  |
  |San Carlos              |27 44 36|322 11  1|      "     |                  |
  |Apostoles               |27 54 27|322 19 45|      "     |                  |
  |Conception              |27 58 51|322 33 22|      "     |                  |
  |Santa Maria Mayor       |27 53 34|322 38 59|      "     |                  |
  |San Xavier              |27 51  8|322 49 26|      "     |                  |
  |Martires                |27 50 24|322 36 49|      "     |                  |
  |San Nicolas             |28 11 23|322 44 21|      "     |                  |
  |San Luis                |28 25 41|323  1 23|      "     |                  |
  |San Lorenzo             |28 27 51|323 14 29|      "     |                  |
  |San Miguel              |28 33 13|323 22 24|      "     |                  |
  |San Juan                |28 27 51|323 37 22|      "     |                  |
  |San Angel               |28 18 13|323 47 15|      "     |                  |
  |San Tomas               |28 32 49|322  1 39|      "     |                  |
  |San Borja               |28 39 51|322  4 49|      "     |                  |
  |La Cruz                 |29 11  0|321 30  0|      "     |                  |
  |Yapeyú                  |29 28  0|321 17  2|      "     |                  |
  |                        |        |         |            |                  |
  |The Gran Salto, or Great}        |         |            |{by the Boundary  |
  | Fall on the Paranã     }24  4 58|  .    . |      "     |{Commissioners,   |
  |                        |        |         |            |{1788.            |
  |                                                                           |
  |N.B. The difference adopted between the meridian                           |
  |of Ferro and Paris by the Commissioners, was                               |
  |20° 30´.                                                                   |
  |                                                                           |
  |N.B. Malaspina's Observations on the Shores of the River Plate,            |
  |alluded to at page 97, are not inserted, owing to some                     |
  |apparent inaccuracies in the Copy received, which cannot be                |
  |corrected without further reference to Buenos Ayres.                       |

No. 8.--Return of Foreign Shipping arrived at Buenos Ayres, from 1821
to 1837, inclusive.

  |           |1821.|1822.|1823.|1824.|1825.|1829.|1830.|
  |British    | 128 | 133 | 113 | 110 |  99 |  78 |  73 |
  |N. American|  42 |  75 |  80 | 143 | 102 |  97 |  83 |
  |Brazilian  |   . |   . |   . |   . |   . |  15 |  38 |
  |Sardinian  |   3 |   7 |   6 |   6 |   5 |  15 |  23 |
  |French     |  19 |  21 |  24 |  21 |  29 |  28 |  16 |
  |Hamburgh   |   . |   . |   . |   . |   5 |   3 |   3 |
  |Dutch      |   2 |   4 |   6 |   8 |   6 |   5 |   8 |
  |Bremen     |   . |   . |   . |   . |   1 |   . |   2 |
  |Danish     |   1 |   1 |   5 |  10 |  14 |   3 |   6 |
  |Swedish    |   7 |  11 |   6 |  14 |  11 |   3 |   1 |
  |Tuscan     |   . |   . |   . |   . |   . |   . |   1 |
  |Roman      |   . |   . |   . |   . |   . |   . |   1 |
  |Russian    |   . |   . |   . |   . |   1 |   1 |   . |
  |Neapolitan |   . |   . |   . |   . |   . |   . |   . |
  |Austrian   |   . |   . |   . |   . |   . |   . |   . |
  |Hanoverian |   . |   . |   . |   . |   1 |   . |   . |
  |Portuguese |   . |   . |   . |   . |   . |   . |   1 |
  |Chilian    |   . |   . |   . |   . |   . |   1 |   1 |
  |Prussian   |   . |   . |   . |   . |   1 |   . |   . |
  |Belgian    |   . |   . |   . |   . |   . |   . |   . |
  |Haytian    |   . |   . |   . |   . |   . |   1 |   . |
  |Spanish    |   . |   . |   . |   . |   . |   . |   . |
  |           +-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+
  |Totals     | 202 | 252 | 240 | 312 | 275 | 250 | 257 |
  |           |1831.|1832.|1833.|1834.|1835.|1836.|1837.|
  |British    |  44 |  48 |  74 |  61 |  54 |  49 |  61 |
  |N. American|  77 |  55 |  91 |  67 |  51 |  37 |  40 |
  |Brazilian  |  42 |  44 |  47 |  43 |  42 |  39 |  42 |
  |Sardinian  |  20 |  26 |  30 |  43 |  23 |  21 |  20 |
  |French     |  10 |  22 |  17 |  10 |  14 |  19 |  24 |
  |Hamburgh   |   2 |   4 |   9 |  14 |   8 |   5 |   7 |
  |Dutch      |   2 |   2 |   2 |   2 |   3 |   2 |   1 |
  |Bremen     |   5 |   4 |   5 |   5 |   7 |   4 |   4 |
  |Danish     |   3 |   1 |   5 |   5 |   6 |   9 |   9 |
  |Swedish    |   . |   . |   1 |   . |   3 |   6 |   4 |
  |Tuscan     |   1 |   2 |   2 |   . |   . |   1 |   1 |
  |Roman      |   . |   1 |   2 |   1 |   . |   . |   . |
  |Russian    |   1 |   . |   1 |   1 |   . |   . |   1 |
  |Neapolitan |   1 |   . |   3 |   2 |   . |   . |   . |
  |Austrian   |   . |   . |   2 |   . |   . |   . |   . |
  |Hanoverian |   . |   1 |   1 |   . |   . |   . |   . |
  |Portuguese |   . |   . |   1 |   4 |   1 |   . |   2 |
  |Chilian    |   . |   . |   1 |   1 |   . |   . |   . |
  |Prussian   |   . |   . |   . |   . |   1 |   . |   . |
  |Belgian    |   2 |   . |   . |   2 |   . |   2 |   . |
  |Haytian    |   . |   . |   . |   . |   . |   . |   . |
  |Spanish    |   . |   . |   . |   . |   . |   6 |  12 |
  |           +-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+
  |Totals     | 210 | 210 | 294 | 261 | 213 | 200 | 228 |

N.B. The years 1825, 26, and 27 are omitted; Buenos Ayres having been
under blockade the greater part of that period. The vessels under the
flag of Monte Video are omitted also, being chiefly the carriers of a

No. 9

A Statement of the Quantities and Declared Value of British and Irish
Manufactures Exported from the United Kingdom to the States of the Rio
Produce and In each year from 1830 to 1837.--de la Plata, (From Returns
laid before Parliament.)

  |                                   |        1830.     |       1831.     |
  |             Articles.             +----------+-------+---------+-------+
  |                                   |Quantities. Value.|Quantities. Value.
  |                                   |          |   £   |         |   £   |
  |Apparel, Slops, and }        value |       .  |  6,305|   .     |  4,341|
  |  Haberdashery,     }              |          |       |         |       |
  |Arms and Ammunition           "    |       .  |    158|   .     |    443|
  |Bacon and Hams              cwts.  |       146|    338|   .     |   .   |
  |Beer and Ale                tuns   |       112|  2,097|       54|  1,003|
  |Books Printed               cwts.  |        12|    319|        6|    128|
  |Brass and Copper }           "     |       265|  1,219|       50|    279|
  |  Manufactures   }                 |          |       |         |       |
  |Butter and Cheese           "      |        98|    308|      215|    728|
  |Coals, Culm, and Cinders    tons   |       941|    585|      109|     94|
  |Cordage                     cwts.  |        80|    200|   .     |     . |
  |Cotton Manufactures, entered}      |          |       |         |       |
  | by the yard                } yards|10,805,990|324,305|6,242,134|176,874|
  | " " Hosiery,               }      |          |       |         |       |
  | Lace and Small Wares       } value|          | 20,005|   .     |  9,943|
  | " Twist and Yarn           lbs.   |     5,831|    587|      800|     30|
  |Earthenware of all sorts    pieces |   671,945|  9,617|  292,529|  4,274|
  |Fish, Herrings              barrels|        60|     72|      .  |    .  |
  |Glass, entered by weight    cwts.  |     2,265|  3,330|    1,669|  2,969|
  |  "      "     at value     value  |          |    254|      .  |     58|
  |Hardwares and Cutlery       cwts.  |     5,793| 24,356|    4,237| 20,000|
  |Hats, Beaver and Felt       dozens |     3,165| 10,262|    1,314|  4,340|
  |Iron and Steel, wrought and }      |          |       |         |       |
  | unwrought                  } tons |       545|  7,836|      391|  5,058|
  |Lead and Shot                  "   |        40|    662|       20|    351|
  |Leather, wrought and unwrought lbs.|    34,500|  9,791|   19,752|  5,253|
  |Saddlery and Harness          value|          |  1,254|      .  |    279|
  |Linen Manufactures, entered }      |          |       |         |       |
  | by the yard                } yards|   973,640| 31,893|  406,583| 16,663|
  |  "         "       Thread, }      |          |       |         |       |
  | Tapes, and Small Wares     } value|          |  1,078|      .  |  1,514|
  |Machinery and Mill Work         "  |          |     38|      .  |    222|
  |Printers' Colours               "  |          |    758|      .  |    293|
  |Plate, Plated Ware, Jewellery }    |          |       |         |       |
  | and Watches                  } "  |          |    941|      .  |  1,041|
  |Salt                       bushels |    15,610|    412|    5,770|     86|
  |Silk Manufactures          value   |          | 10,365|      .  | 13,319|
  |Soap and Candles           lbs.    |    51,730|  1,147|    2,710|     35|
  |Stationery of all sorts    value   |          |  1,325|      .  |  1,089|
  |Sugar, Refined             cwts.   |       149|    409|       84|    186|
  |Tin, unwrought               "     |          |       |       37|    125|
  |Tin and Pewter Wares and }         |          |       |         |       |
  | Tin Plates              }   value |          |    780|       . |    701|
  |Woollen and Worsted Yarn      lbs. |       .  |    .  |       . |     . |
  |Woollen Manufactures, entered }    |          |       |         |       |
  | by the piece               }pieces|    30,328|141,700|   14,901| 58,137|
  |   "          "         "   }      |          |       |         |       |
  |   "    yard                }yards |    84,830|  8,184|   49,119|  5,077|
  |   "          "      Hosiery}      |          |       |         |       |
  | and Small Wares            }value |       .  |  4,574|      .  |  1,705|
  |All other Articles             "   |       .  |  4,663|      .  |  3,382|
  |                                   +----------+-------+---------+-------+
  |                            Total  | For 1830 £632,172|    1831 £339,870|

  |                                   |        1832.     |        1833.     |
  |             Articles.             +----------+-------+----------+-------+
  |                                   |Quantities. Value.|Quantities. Value.|
  |                                   |          |    £  |          |   £   |
  |Apparel, Slops, and }        value |       .  |  5,067|          |  3,082|
  |  Haberdashery,     }              |          |       |          |       |
  |Arms and Ammunition           "    |       .  |    345|          |    419|
  |Bacon and Hams              cwts.  |        60|    157|       155|    490|
  |Beer and Ale                tuns   |        78|  1,465|       108|  1,712|
  |Books Printed               cwts.  |         2|     51|         1|     10|
  |Brass and Copper }           "     |       105|    485|        96|    555|
  |  Manufactures   }                 |          |       |          |       |
  |Butter and Cheese           "      |       547|  2,160|       829|  3,169|
  |Coals, Culm, and Cinders    tons   |       707|    430|       868|    438|
  |Cordage                     cwts.  |        55|     53|       144|    234|
  |Cotton Manufactures, entered}      |          |       |          |       |
  | by the yard                } yards|17,256,838|391,591|12,731,734|280,292|
  | " " Hosiery,               }      |          |       |          |       |
  | Lace and Small Wares       } value|       .  | 33,344|          | 23,311|
  | " Twist and Yarn           lbs.   |       .  |    .  |       300|     26|
  |Earthenware of all sorts    pieces |   354,684|  5,309|   770,172|  9,377|
  |Fish, Herrings              barrels|        35|     29|          |       |
  |Glass, entered by weight    cwts.  |     2,579|  6,620|     3,198|  9,737|
  |  "      "     at value     value  |       .  |    .  |          |    100|
  |Hardwares and Cutlery       cwts.  |     5,397| 22,718|     5,571| 20,281|
  |Hats, Beaver and Felt       dozens |     1,711|  4,039|     1,173|  3,085|
  |Iron and Steel, wrought and }      |          |       |          |       |
  | unwrought                  } tons |       792|  6,128|       734| 11,023|
  |Lead and Shot                  "   |        14|    219|        38|    555|
  |Leather, wrought and unwrought lbs.|    23,473|  6,809|    33,792|  9,219|
  |Saddlery and Harness          value|       .  |    309|          |  1,330|
  |Linen Manufactures, entered }      |          |       |          |       |
  | by the yard                } yards|   344,013| 30,680|   509,528| 21,690|
  |  "         "       Thread, }      |          |       |          |       |
  | Tapes, and Small Wares     } value|       .  |  1,619|          |    327|
  |Machinery and Mill Work         "  |       .  |    .  |          |     18|
  |Printers' Colours               "  |       .  |    690|          |  1,973|
  |Plate, Plated Ware, Jewellery }    |          |       |          |       |
  | and Watches                  } "  |       .  |    445|          |  1,081|
  |Salt                       bushels |       163|      8|     2,000|     34|
  |Silk Manufactures          value   |       .  | 24,786|          | 11,735|
  |Soap and Candles           lbs.    |   125,520|  2,661|   277,102|  5,416|
  |Stationery of all sorts    value   |       .  |  1,912|          |  1,441|
  |Sugar, Refined             cwts.   |       .  |    .  |       131|    287|
  |Tin, unwrought               "     |        35|    117|         8|     30|
  |Tin and Pewter Wares and }         |          |       |          |       |
  | Tin Plates              }   value |       .  |  2,754|          |  1,060|
  |Woollen and Worsted Yarn      lbs. |     1,672|     80|          |       |
  |Woollen Manufactures, entered }    |          |       |          |       |
  | by the piece               }pieces|    28,392| 39,445|    23,387| 79,231|
  |   "          "         "   }      |          |       |          |       |
  |   "    yard                }yards |    39,219|  9,099|    65,269|  5,640|
  |   "          "      Hosiery}      |          |       |          |       |
  | and Small Wares            }value |     .    |  4,462|          |  3,052|
  |All other Articles             "   |     .    |  4,066|          |  3,902|
  |                                   +----------+-------+----------+-------+
  |                            Total  |   1832 £660,152  |   1833   £515,362|

  |                                   |        1834.     |        1835.     |
  |             Articles.             +----------+-------+----------+-------+
  |                                   |Quantities. Value.|Quantities. Value.|
  |                                   |          |    £  |          |   £   |
  |Apparel, Slops, and }        value |          |  2,096|          |  3,986|
  |  Haberdashery,     }              |          |       |          |       |
  |Arms and Ammunition           "    |          |  3,035|          |  6,388|
  |Bacon and Hams              cwts.  |       104|    225|        59|    115|
  |Beer and Ale                tuns   |        74|  1,083|        87|  1,394|
  |Books Printed               cwts.  |         5|    126|         7|    166|
  |Brass and Copper }           "     |       139|    807|        37|    265|
  |  Manufactures   }                 |          |       |          |       |
  |Butter and Cheese           "      |        86|    277|         2|      5|
  |Coals, Culm, and Cinders    tons   |       966|    508|     1,544|    751|
  |Cordage                     cwts.  |       100|    150|       430|    646|
  |Cotton Manufactures, entered}      |          |       |          |       |
  | by the yard                } yards|20,942,118|449,831|12,853,287|312,400|
  | " " Hosiery,               }      |          |       |          |       |
  | Lace and Small Wares       } value|          | 33,313|          | 26,488|
  | " Twist and Yarn           lbs.   |     9,258|    446|    34,560|  2,824|
  |Earthenware of all sorts    pieces |   523,161|  5,762|   598,001|  6,212|
  |Fish, Herrings              barrels|          |       |          |       |
  |Glass, entered by weight    cwts.  |     2,156|  4,929|     3,029|  9,844|
  |  "      "     at value     value  |          |     60|          |    196|
  |Hardwares and Cutlery       cwts.  |    10,454| 33,040|     8,347| 30,117|
  |Hats, Beaver and Felt       dozens |     2,900|  4,891|     2,924|  5,780|
  |Iron and Steel, wrought and }      |          |       |          |       |
  | unwrought                  } tons |     1,143| 12,433|     1,033|  9,414|
  |Lead and Shot                  "   |        15|    283|        13|    295|
  |Leather, wrought and unwrought lbs.|    38,457|  8,341|    30,669|  7,151|
  |Saddlery and Harness          value|          |    943|          |  1,284|
  |Linen Manufactures, entered }      |          |       |          |       |
  | by the yard                } yards| 1,487,576| 43,919|   948,026| 34,789|
  |  "         "       Thread, }      |          |       |          |       |
  | Tapes, and Small Wares     } value|          |  1,073|          |    842|
  |Machinery and Mill Work         "  |          |     72|          |  4,022|
  |Printers' Colours               "  |          |  2,907|          |  2,634|
  |Plate, Plated Ware, Jewellery }    |          |       |          |       |
  | and Watches                  } "  |          |  1,232|          |  1,095|
  |Salt                       bushels |     1,144|     32|     2,200|     50|
  |Silk Manufactures          value   |          | 19,274|          | 18,307|
  |Soap and Candles           lbs.    |    13,100|    290|    18,369|    380|
  |Stationery of all sorts    value   |          |  2,064|          |  3,202|
  |Sugar, Refined             cwts.   |       504|  1,368|        32|     91|
  |Tin, unwrought               "     |        78|    185|          |       |
  |Tin and Pewter Wares and }         |          |       |          |       |
  | Tin Plates              }   value |          |  2,006|          |  2,286|
  |Woollen and Worsted Yarn      lbs. |         6|      1|          |    816|
  |Woollen Manufactures, entered }    |          |       |          |       |
  | by the piece               }pieces|    36,673|172,393|    35,970|140,915|
  |   "          "         "   }      |          |       |          |       |
  |   "    yard                }yards |   112,124| 10,781|   113,750|  9,251|
  |   "          "      Hosiery}      |          |       |          |       |
  | and Small Wares            }value |          |  4,801|          |  3,593|
  |All other Articles             "   |          |  6,587|          | 11,347|
  |                                   +----------+-------+----------+-------+
  |                            Total  |    1834  £831,564|    1835  £658,525 |

  |                                   |        1836.     |        1837.     |
  |             Articles.             +----------+-------+----------+-------+
  |                                   |Quantities. Value.|Quantities. Value.|
  |                                   |          |  £    |          |   £   |
  |Apparel, Slops, and }        value |          |  5,028|          |  2,111|
  |  Haberdashery,     }              |          |       |          |       |
  |Arms and Ammunition           "    |          |    867|          |  1,391|
  |Bacon and Hams              cwts.  |        28|     70|       105|    220|
  |Beer and Ale                tuns   |       107|  2,065|        68|  1,149|
  |Books Printed               cwts.  |        12|    275|         9|    180|
  |Brass and Copper }           "     |         1|      5|        72|    675|
  |  Manufactures   }                 |          |       |          |       |
  |Butter and Cheese           "      |          |       |        35|     49|
  |Coals, Culm, and Cinders    tons   |       975|    514|       713|    400|
  |Cordage                     cwts.  |        30|    100|       153|    288|
  |Cotton Manufactures, entered}      |          |       |          |       |
  | by the yard                } yards|18,628,197|435,932|20,183,454|445,291|
  | " " Hosiery,               }      |          |       |          |       |
  | Lace and Small Wares       } value|          | 20,588|          | 18,818|
  | " Twist and Yarn           lbs.   |     4,600|    350|     5,734|    364|
  |Earthenware of all sorts    pieces |   966,687|  9,748| 1,093,905|  7,724|
  |Fish, Herrings              barrels|         2|      2|         2|      2|
  |Glass, entered by weight    cwts.  |     2,596|  2,654|     1,314|  3,856|
  |  "      "     at value     value  |          |       |          |       |
  |Hardwares and Cutlery       cwts.  |     7,211| 27,629|     6,929| 20,531|
  |Hats, Beaver and Felt       dozens |     1,099|  1,925|     2,146|  3,239|
  |Iron and Steel, wrought and }      |          |       |          |       |
  | unwrought                  } tons |       963| 13,614|       994| 12,859|
  |Lead and Shot                  "   |        24|    775|        34|    703|
  |Leather, wrought and unwrought lbs.|    16,708|  3,760|    23,987|  5,763|
  |Saddlery and Harness          value|          |    888|          |    341|
  |Linen Manufactures, entered }      |          |       |          |       |
  | by the yard                } yards|   794,772| 27,844| 1,477,392| 42,591|
  |  "         "       Thread, }      |          |       |          |       |
  | Tapes, and Small Wares     } value|          |    460|          |    656|
  |Machinery and Mill Work         "  |          |     40|          |    390|
  |Printers' Colours               "  |          |  2,066|          |  1,769|
  |Plate, Plated Ware, Jewellery }    |          |       |          |       |
  | and Watches                  } "  |          |    420|          |  1,192|
  |Salt                       bushels |     1,121|     32|     3,480|     60|
  |Silk Manufactures          value   |          |  9,514|          | 13,098|
  |Soap and Candles           lbs.    |          |       |       224|     12|
  |Stationery of all sorts    value   |          |  1,708|          |  1,545|
  |Sugar, Refined             cwts.   |          |       |          |       |
  |Tin, unwrought               "     |          |       |        15|     61|
  |Tin and Pewter Wares and }         |          |       |          |       |
  | Tin Plates              }   value |          |  3,390|          |  4,052|
  |Woollen and Worsted Yarn      lbs. |          |     90|       672|    130|
  |Woollen Manufactures, entered }    |          |       |          |       |
  | by the piece               }pieces|    26,514|105,223|    22,555| 93,355|
  |   "          "         "   }      |          |       |          |       |
  |   "    yard                }yards |   114,023| 10,121|    60,857|  5,578|
  |   "          "      Hosiery}      |          |       |          |       |
  | and Small Wares            }value |          |  4,607|          |  2,301|
  |All other Articles             "   |          |  5,030|          |  3,365|
  |                                   +----------+-------+----------+-------+
  |                            Total  |1836     £697,334 |1837     £696,104 |

No. 10.


I.--Return of Foreign Shipping entered and sailed from the Port of
Monte Video in 1836, with the _Estimated Value_ of their Cargoes.

  |                 |                         |                         |
  |                 |        Entered.         |         Sailed.         |
  |    Countries.   |                         |                         |
  |                 +------+------------------+------+------------------+
  |                 |Ships.| Value of Cargoes.|Ships.| Value of Cargoes.|
  |                 |      | Spanish Dollars. |      | Spanish Dollars. |
  | British         |  58  |     1,172,658    |  57  |     951,423      |
  | Brazilian       |  62  |       713,793    |  62  |     825,440      |
  | American        |  50  |       217,402    |  48  |     295,829      |
  | French          |  40  |       578,178    |  40  |     464,430      |
  | Spanish         |  15  |       311,285    |  15  |     236,672      |
  | Sardinian       |  57  |       102,039    |  41  |      30,252      |
  | Portuguese      |  13  |        15,200    |  13  |      62,700      |
  | Other Countries.|  ..  |       502,082    |  ..  |     639,909      |
  |                 +------+------------------+------+------------------+
  |                 |      |     3,597,437    |      |   3,443,957      |

II.--Return, showing the _quantities_ of each Article Exported, and the
Foreign Countries for which they were shipped from Monte Video in the
year 1836.

  |                      |England.|France.|U. States. Spain. |
  |                      +--------+--------+--------+--------+
  |Hides, dry        No. |  61,718| 108,428|  38,848|  67,026|
  | Do. salt          "  | 124,666|  13,288|     297|     230|
  |Horns              "  | 329,836|  32,110| 142,766|  20,328|
  |Jerked Beef      cwts.|   ...  |    ... |    ... |    ... |
  |Horsehair { arrobes  }|        |        |        |        |
  |          {of 25 lbs.}|   9,578|   4,622|   3,984|    ... |
  |Cuttings of Hides     |   4,468|     764|   1,584|    ... |
  |Horse Hides       No. |  15,820|      46|  20,144|   1,121|
  |Grease        arrobes.|  14,857|    ... |   2,710|    ... |
  |Wool              "   |  14,930|   2,300|  14,140|      30|
  |Sheep Skins      doz. |   1,937|   2,636|   4,070|     353|
  |Tallow        arrobes.|   6,158|   4,112|     452|   3,787|
  |Nutria Skins     doz. |   3,990|     320|   1,640|    ... |
  |Mares' Grease arrobes.|   2,944|    ... |      59|    ... |
  |Seal Skins        No. |   3,831|    ... |  16,000|    ... |
  |Tongues          doz. |    ... |    ... |    ... |    ... |
  |Mules                 |    ... |    ... |    ... |    ... |
  |Horses                |    ... |    ... |    ... |    ... |
  |Bones           tons. |     259|      53|      10|    ... |

  |                      |Sardinia.Antwerp.|Brazil. |Havanna.|  Total  |
  |                      |        |        |        |        Quantities.
  |                      +--------+--------+--------+--------+---------+
  |Hides, dry        No. |   4,668|  87,942|   3,270|     119|  372,019|
  | Do. salt          "  |    ... |   2,901|    ... |    ... |  141,382|
  |Horns              "  |  27,291|  20,242|  12,552|     850|  593,625|
  |Jerked Beef      cwts.|    ... |    ... | 218,318|  88,036|  306,354|
  |Horsehair { arrobes  }|        |        |        |        |         |
  |          {of 25 lbs.}|     436|      72|    ... |    ... |   18,692|
  |Cuttings of Hides     |     960|    ... |    ... |    ... |    7,776|
  |Horse Hides       No. |    ... |     170|    ... |    ... |   37,401|
  |Grease        arrobes.|    ... |     192|   1,419|   4,390|   23,568|
  |Wool              "   |   2,500|    ... |    ... |    ... |   33,900|
  |Sheep Skins      doz. |     837|    ... |      22|    ... |    9,855|
  |Tallow        arrobes.|   2,123|     450|   2,425|   1,847|   43,182|
  |Nutria Skins     doz. |     220|     400|    ... |    ... |    6,570|
  |Mares' Grease arrobes.|    ... |    ... |    ... |    ... |    3,003|
  |Seal Skins        No. |      53|    ... |    ... |     161|   20,045|
  |Tongues          doz. |    ... |    ... |     440|    ... |      440|
  |Mules                 |    ... |    ... |    ... |    ... |      410|
  |Horses                |    ... |    ... |     164|    ... |      164|
  |Bones           tons. |    ... |       3|       1|    ... |      326|

No. 11.--Comparative Value (declared) of British and Irish Produce and
Manufactures Exported from Great Britain to the River Plate, Mexico,
Columbia, Chile, and Peru, from 1829 to 1837, and to Spain in the same

  |          |               |            |             |           |
  |   Year.  |  River Plate. |   Mexico.  |  Colombia.  |   Chile.  |
  |          |               |            |             |           |
  |          |      £        |     £      |     £       |     £     |
  |   1829   |    758,540    |   303,562  |   232,703   |   818,950 |
  |   1830   |    632,172    |   978,441  |   216,751   |   540,626 |
  |   1831   |    339,870    |   728,858  |   248,250   |   651,617 |
  |   1832   |    660,152    |   199,821  |   283,568   |   708,193 |
  |   1833   |    515,362    |   421,487  |   121,826   |   816,817 |
  |   1834   |    831,564    |   459,610  |   199,996   |   896,221 |
  |   1835   |    658,525    |   402,820  |   132,242   |   606,176 |
  |   1836   |    697,334    |   254,822  |   185,172   |   861,903 |
  |   1837   |    696,104    |   520,200  |   170,451   |   625,545 |
  |          +---------------+------------+-------------+-----------+
  | Totals   |  5,789,623    | 4,269,621  | 1,790,959   | 6,526,048 |
  |          +---------------+------------+-------------+-----------+
  |          |               |            |             |           |
  | Yearly  }|    643,291    |   474,402  |   198,995   |[83]725,116|
  | Averages}|               |            |             |           |

  |          |            |                |              |
  |   Year.  |    Peru.   |     Total      |   To Spain.  |
  |          |            | to New States. |              |
  |          |     £      |      £         |     £        |
  |   1829   |   300,171  |   2,413,926    |   861,675    |
  |   1830   |   368,469  |   2,736,459    |   607,068    |
  |   1831   |   409,003  |   2,377,598    |   597,848    |
  |   1832   |   275,610  |   2,127,344    |   442,926    |
  |   1833   |   287,524  |   2,163,016    |   442,837    |
  |   1834   |   299,235  |   2,686,626    |   325,907    |
  |   1835   |   441,324  |   2,241,087    |   405,065    |
  |   1836   |   606,332  |   2,605,563    |   437,076    |
  |   1837   |   476,374  |   2,488,674    |   286,636    |
  |          +------------+----------------+--------------+
  | Totals   | 3,464,042  |  21,840,293    | 4,407,038    |
  |          +------------+----------------+--------------+
  |          |            |                |              |
  | Yearly  }|   384,893  |   2,426,697    |   489,670    |
  | Averages}|            |                |              |


[83] A considerable portion of the articles sent to Chile are intended
for the supply of the West Coast of Mexico.

 LONDON: Printed by W. Clowes and Sons, Duke Street, Stamford Street.

    Transcriber's Notes:

    Simple spelling, grammar, and typographical errors were

    Punctuation normalized.

    Anachronistic and non-standard spellings retained as printed.

    Italics markup is enclosed in _underscores_.

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