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Title: The Capitals of Spanish America
Author: Curtis, William Eleroy
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                         [Illustration: MAP OF

                             SOUTH AMERICA


                             THE CAPITALS


                            SPANISH AMERICA


                         WILLIAM ELEROY CURTIS

                       CENTRAL AND SOUTH AMERICA


                               NEW YORK

                Copyright, 1888, by HARPER & BROTHERS.

                        _All rights reserved._


                             THE MEMORY OF

                          CHESTER ALAN ARTHUR


                             THIS BOOK IS



           _Mr. Arthur’s Acceptance of the Dedication._

            *       *       *       *       *

New York, April 7, 1887.

_William E. Curtis, Esquire, Washington_:

     DEAR SIR,--In compliance with your request, I enclose an unsigned
     draft of a letter dictated by Mr. Arthur last November. It was
     submitted to him a few days before he died, and as he desired to
     make no further changes in the text, I was to have a clean copy
     made for his signature; but he was fatally stricken before that was

Very respectfully yours,

            *       *       *       *       *

November 13, 1886.

     MY DEAR CURTIS,--The graceful terms in which you propose to
     dedicate your book to me add still another obligation that I may
     not be able to repay.

     I appointed you Secretary of the South American Commission without
     your solicitation, because I knew your ability, energy, and
     industry would be felt as they have been in the effort to bring our
     Spanish-American neighbors into closer commercial and political
     relations with us.

     I had given much consideration to the subject, and realized what is
     made so clear in the Reports of the South American Commission, that
     the future commercial prosperity of the United States required
     something to be done to extend our trade with the continent
     southward. The Commission, of which you were Secretary and
     subsequently became a member, was intended as an initiatory step in
     that direction.

     In my judgment, it is not only the duty of the United States to
     encourage and assist our merchants and manufacturers in the
     expansion of their foreign trade, by seeking new markets and
     furnishing facilities for reaching them, but there is a higher
     achievement in promoting the welfare of our sister republics
     through the consistent exercise of every friendly office tending to
     secure their peaceable development and national prosperity.

     I am sure your “The Capitals of Spanish America” will furnish our
     own people with trustworthy and late news about our neighbors to
     the southward, and that your graphic pen will make the book as
     interesting as it is instructive. I shall await its publication
     with very deep interest.

     If my strength permits, it will give me great pleasure to act upon
     your suggestion,[A] but just now I am hardly equal to the demands
     of my private correspondence. With cordial regard,

I am faithfully yours,



Washington, D. C.

      [A] To write an Introduction to this volume.




THE CAPITAL OF MEXICO                                                  1


THE CAPITAL OF GUATEMALA                                              60


THE CAPITAL OF HONDURAS                                              114


THE CAPITAL OF NICARAGUA                                             138


THE CAPITAL OF SAN SALVADOR                                          171


THE CAPITAL OF COSTA RICA                                            196


THE CAPITAL OF COLOMBIA                                              225


THE CAPITAL OF VENEZUELA                                             257


THE CAPITAL OF ECUADOR                                               298


THE CAPITAL OF PERU                                                  355


THE CAPITAL OF BOLIVIA                                               416


THE CAPITAL OF CHILI                                                 454

PATAGONIA                                                            516


THE CAPITAL OF THE ARGENTINE REPUBLIC                                542


THE CAPITAL OF URUGUAY                                               591


THE CAPITAL OF PARAGUAY                                              623


THE CAPITAL OF BRAZIL                                                660

INDEX                                                                707


MAP OF SOUTH AMERICA                                       _Frontispiece_.


It was used in the Days of Moses                                       2

A Water-carrier                                                        3

Ruins of the Covered Way to the Inquisition                            4

Mexican Muleteer                                                       5

Shops                                                                  6

Castle of Chapultepec                                                  7

Tile Front                                                             9

The Tree of Montezuma                                                 10

Prince Yturbide                                                       11

General Grant on a Banana Plantation                                  15

Church of Guadalupe                                                   19

Iztaccihuatl                                                          20

Ex-President Gonzales                                                 22

President Porfirio Diaz                                               23

The Dome                                                              25

San Cosme Aqueduct, City of Mexico                                    27

The Palace of Mexico                                                  29

The Cathedral, City of Mexico                                         33

Styles of Architecture                                                35

A Mexican Caballero                                                   38

Noche Triste Tree                                                     41

The Picadors                                                          45

Teasing the Bull                                                      45

The Encore                                                            46

Mexican Beggar                                                        48

On Market-day                                                         51

Sunday at Santa Anita                                                 53

A Mexican Belle                                                       54

Cactus, and Woman kneading Tortillas                                  55

First Protestant Church in Mexico                                     57

The first Christian Pulpit in America--Tlaxcala                       58

Font in old Church of San Francisco                                   59

View of Guatemala City                                                61

Ruins of the old Palace at Antigua Guatemala                          65

Alvarado’s Tree                                                       69

Ancient Arches                                                        70

The Old and the New                                                   71

How the Old Town looks now                                            73

Fragment of a Ruined Monastery                                        74

José Rufino Barrios                                                   75

Francisco Morazan                                                     77

Church of San Francesca, Guatemala la Antigua                         79

One of fifty-seven Ruined Monasteries                                 81

Façade of an old Church                                               83

A Remnant                                                             85

Fort of San José, Guatemala                                           87

Yniensi Gate, Guatemala                                               89

A Volcanic Lake                                                       91

On the Road to the Capital                                            93

Tiled House-tops                                                      99

Market-place, Guatemala                                              101

In the Rainy Season                                                  102

Maguey Plant                                                         103

A Native Sandal                                                      107

Ornamental, but noisy                                                109

A Conspicuous Landmark                                               115

The Trail to the Capital                                             116

A Glimpse of the Interior                                            117

View of the Capital                                                  118

A Popular Thoroughfare                                               119

Church of Merced and Independence Monument, Comayagua                120

Rubber Hunters                                                       121

The Pita Plant                                                       122

Harvesting one of the Staples                                        123

The Floating Population                                              124

Branch of the Rubber-tree                                            125

A Modern Town                                                        126

Up the River                                                         127

A Mining Settlement                                                  128

View in Nicaragua                                                    129

An Interior Plain                                                    130

One of the Back Streets                                              132

Plaza of Tegucigalpa                                                 133

Making Tortillas                                                     134

Indigo Works                                                         135

The Tlachiguero                                                      136

View of Lake from Beach at Managua                                   139

Corinto                                                              140

Hide-covered Cart                                                    141

An Interior Town                                                     143

The Indigo Plant                                                     144

The King of the Mosquitoes                                           145

A Mahogany Swamp                                                     148

Internal Commerce                                                    149

How the Peons live                                                   150

A Familiar Scene                                                     152

A Country Chapel                                                     153

The United States Consulate                                          154

Cathedral of St. Peter, Leon                                         155

The Pacific Coast of Nicaragua                                       158

Antics on the Bridge                                                 159

In the Upper Zone                                                    161

Volcanoes of Axusco and Momotombo, from the Cathedral                162

Volcano of Cosequina, from the Sea                                   163

La Union and Volcano of Conchagna                                    164

The Fate of Filibusters                                              165

A Farming Settlement                                                 167

The Quesal                                                           168

Landing at La Libertad                                               173

En Route to the Interior                                             175

The Peak of San Salvador                                             177

The Plaza                                                            179

Spanish-American Courtship                                           180

A Hacienda                                                           182

Interior of a San Salvador House                                     183

A Typical Town                                                       185

What alarms the Citizens                                             186

Yzalco from a Distance                                               189

Yzalco                                                               191

In the Interior                                                      193

Hauling Sugar-cane                                                   194

Crater of a Volcano                                                  197

Rubber-trees                                                         199

The Road from Port Limon to San José                                 201

A Peon                                                               203

A Banana Plantation                                                  206

Picking Coffee                                                       209

The Marimba                                                          215

Coffee-drying                                                        217

Don Bernardo de Soto, President of Costa Rica                        222

Barranquilla                                                         226

Carthagena                                                           227

Entrance to the Old Fortress, Carthagena                             230

Colombian Military Men                                               233

On the Magdalena                                                     235

Colombian ’Gators                                                    237

Vegetable Ivory Plant                                                239

En Route to Bogota                                                   241

Sabana of Bogota                                                     243

Santa Fé de Bogota                                                   245

Monument in the Plaza of Los Martirs                                 246

Plaza, and Statue of Bolivar                                         247

Going to the Market                                                  249

A Caballero                                                          250

An Orchid                                                            251

Over the Mountains in a “Silla”                                      253

Natural Bridge of Pandi, Colombia                                    255

Don Rafael Nuñez, President                                          256

Waiting for the New York Steamer                                     259

In the Suburbs of La Guayra                                          261

Still more Suburban                                                  263

On a Coffee Plantation                                               267

On a Back Street                                                     269

Interior Court of a Caracas House                                    273

Spanish Missionary Work                                              276

Woman’s chief Occupation                                             277

A Bodega                                                             279

A Glass of Aguardiente                                               281

A Venezuela Belle                                                    283

The Lower Floor of the House                                         285

An Old Patio                                                         289

Chocolate in the Rough                                               293

Separating the Cocoa-beans                                           294

Puerto Cabello                                                       296

Along the Coast                                                      299

The River at Guayaquil                                               301

The River above Guayaquil                                            303

An average Dwelling                                                  304

Guayaquil                                                            305

A Person of Influence                                                306

A Family Circle                                                      307

Cathedral at Guayaquil, built of Bamboo                              308

A Commercial Thoroughfare                                            309

The President’s Palace                                               310

The Outskirts of Guayaquil                                           311

A Business of Importance                                             312

A Pineapple Farm                                                     313

A Water Merchant                                                     314

A Freight Train on the Way                                           315

A Passenger Train                                                    316

The Common Carrier                                                   317

Hotel on the Route to Quito                                          318

Waiting for the Mules to Feed                                        319

En Route to the Sea                                                  320

Somewhere near the Summit                                            321

The Altar                                                            323

A Street in Quito                                                    324

Where Pizarro first Landed                                           325

Equipped for the Andes                                               327

The Old Inca Trail                                                   329

A Typical Country Mansion                                            331

A Wayside Shrine                                                     332

Charcoal Peddler                                                     333

Government Building at Quito                                         335

Court of a Quito Dwelling                                            336

What the Earthquakes left                                            338

A Professional Beggar                                                339

An Ecuador Belle                                                     340

A Hotel on the Coast                                                 343

Customs Officers                                                     346

A Home on the Coast                                                  347

Peruvian Soldier and Rabona                                          349

Looking Seaward                                                      352

A Boatman on the Coast                                               354

Lima and its Environs                                                356

A Peruvian Interior                                                  358

Grand Plaza, Lima                                                    363

A Peruvian Chamber                                                   366

Interior of a Lima Dwelling                                          368

A Peruvian Palace                                                    369

A Peruvian Belle                                                     370

Watching the Procession                                              371

The Daughter of the Incas                                            373

Ruins of the War                                                     375

Interior of the ordinary Sort of House                               378

A very Common Spectacle                                              379

A Peruvian Milk-peddler                                              381

Mindless of Care                                                     383

View of Cuzco and the Nevado
of Asungata from the Brow of the Sacsahuaman                         389

Between Battles, Balls                                               393

A Warrior at Rest                                                    397

Gate-way to the Andes                                                399

Henry Meiggs                                                         402

The Heart of the Andes                                               404

An Inca Reminiscence                                                 405

Cowhide Bridge over the Rimac                                        407

Inca Ruins of Unknown Age                                            408

A Settlement of this Century                                         409

A City of Four Centuries Ago                                         410

A Bit of Inca Architecture                                           411

Relic of a Past Civilization                                         412

Ruins of the Temple of the Sun                                       413

An Old Settler                                                       414

Fresh from the Tomb                                                  414

Where Peru’s Wealth came from                                        417

A Peruvian Port                                                      419

The Old Trail                                                        420

Arequipa                                                             421

The Vicuña                                                           424

Lake Titicaca                                                        425

A Street in Cuzco                                                    428

Ruins of an Inca Temple                                              429

Convent of Santa Domingo, Cuzco                                      430

What the Spaniards left                                              431

Where the Guano Lies                                                 432

A Nitrate Mining Town                                                433

Guano Islands                                                        435

Across the Continent                                                 437

A Station on the Road                                                438

Chasquis at Rest                                                     440

Chasquis Asleep in the Mountains                                     441

A Bit of La Paz                                                      442

The Cathedral at La Paz                                              443

An Ancient Bridge in La Paz                                          445

A Bolivian Elevator                                                  446

A Bolivian Cavalryman                                                447

A Home in the Andes                                                  448

Juan Fernandez                                                       450

Cumberland Bay                                                       451

Tablet to Alexander Selkirk                                          453

The Harbor of Valparaiso                                             455

Victoria Street, Valparaiso                                          459

Santa Lucia                                                          467

The Zama-cuaca                                                       469

Exposition Building, Santiago                                        471

Statue of Bernard O’Higgins, Santiago                                474

Patrick Lynch                                                        475

Peons of Chili                                                       477

The “Esmeralda”                                                      481

Inca Queen and Princess                                              485

Señora Cousino                                                       491

A Belle of Chili dressed for Morning Mass                            497

A Solid Silver Spur                                                  505

Over the Andes                                                       506

Mount Aconcagua                                                      507

Uspallata Pass                                                       509

Caught in the Snow                                                   511

Road Cut in the Rocks                                                512

A Station in the Mountains                                           513

The Condor                                                           515

Cape Froward (Patagonia), Strait of Magellan                         517

Fuegians Visiting a Man-of-war                                       519

A Fuegian Feast                                                      521

The Signs of Civilization                                            523

Port Famine                                                          526

Starvation Beach                                                     529

Use of Lasso and Bolas                                               531

In their Ostrich Robes                                               532

A Patagonian Belle                                                   533

The Guanaco                                                          539

Patagonian Indians                                                   541

The Harbor, Buenos Ayres                                             542

The City of Buenos Ayres                                             545

Loading Cargo at Buenos Ayres                                        548

Going Ashore at Buenos Ayres                                         549

A Private Residence in Buenos Ayres                                  552

The Colon Theatre, Buenos Ayres                                      554

An Argentine Ranchman                                                564

The Cathedral of Buenos Ayres                                        567

The Gaucho                                                           570

General Rosas                                                        573

Palace of Don Manuel Rosas                                           575

Map of the Argentine Republic                                        580

Country Scene in the Argentine Republic                              584

Juarez Celman, President of the Argentine Republic                   587

The City of Montevideo, looking towards the Harbor                   591

Harbor of Montevideo                                                 593

Maximo Santos, of Uruguay                                            595

One of the Old Streets                                               597

Montevideo--the Ocean Side                                           603

Scene in Montevideo                                                  608

Gaspar Francia, First President of Paraguay                          624

Street in Asuncion                                                   625

Lopez, the Tyrant                                                    626

After the War                                                        627

Asuncion, from the West                                              628

Asuncion--the Palace and Cathedral                                   629

Wreck of the Old Cathedral                                           631

Station on the Asuncion Railway                                      633

A Visit to the Spring                                                634

The Paraguayans at Home                                              635

Paraguay Flower-girl                                                 636

Remains of the Palace of Lopez                                       637

Interior of the Lopez Palace                                         639

The Cathedral, Asuncion                                              640

Market-place at Asuncion                                             641

A Paraguay Horseman                                                  642

Paraguay Belles                                                      643

Costumes of the Interior                                             644

An Interior Town                                                     645

Home, Sweet Home                                                     646

The Mandioca                                                         647

Ox-cart on the Pampas                                                649

Curing Yerba Mate                                                    650

A Siesta                                                             651

A Paraguay Hotel                                                     653

Native Pappoose and Cradle                                           654

A Hacienda                                                           655

People of “El Gran Chaco”                                            656

An Armadillo                                                         657

A Ranch on El Gran Chaco                                             658

Bay of Rio de Janeiro                                                661

A Street in Rio                                                      662

The City of Rio from the Bay                                         663

Aqueduct at Rio                                                      665

The Avenue of Royal Palms--Rio                                       666

The Prettiest Things in Brazil                                       667

A Brazilian Hacienda                                                 669

The Old City Palace                                                  671

In the Suburbs                                                       672

Cottages in the Interior                                             673

The Iguana                                                           675

A Brazilian Laundry                                                  676

A Country School                                                     677

Brazilian Country-house                                              679

Up the River                                                         681

Dom Pedro II.                                                        682

On the Way to Petropolis                                             683

The Empress of Brazil                                                685

Dom Pedro’s Palace at Petropolis                                     687

The Colored Saint                                                    691

Statue of Dom Pedro I.                                               693

Carrying Coffee to the Steamer                                       696

Market-place in Country Town                                         697

“Sereno-o-o-o-o-o! Sereno-o-o-o-o-o!”                                699

Slave Quarters in the Country                                        702

The Political Issue in Brazil                                        703

Military Men                                                         705




With the exception of Buenos Ayres and Santiago, Chili, the city of
Mexico is the largest and the finest capital in Spanish America; but
unfortunately the shadow of the sixteenth century still rests upon it.
It wounds the pride of the Yankee tourist to discover that so little of
our boasted influence has lapped over the border, and that the historic
halls of the Montezumas are only spattered with the modern ideas we
exemplify. The native traveller still prefers his donkey to the railroad
train, and carries a burden upon his back instead of using a wagon.
Water is still peddled about the capital of Mexico in jars, and the
native farmer uses a plough whose pattern was old in the days of Moses.
Nowhere do ancient and modern customs come into such intimate contrast
as in the city of Mexico.

The people are highly civilized in spots. Besides the most novel and
recent product of modern science, one finds in use the crudest, rudest
implement of antiquity. Types of four centuries can be seen in a single
group in any of the plazas. Under the finest palaces, whose ceilings are
frescoed by Italian artists, whose walls are covered with the rarest
paintings, and shelter libraries selected with the choicest taste, one
finds a common _bodega_, where the native drink is dealt out in gourds,
and the _peon_ stops to eat his _tortilla_. Women and men are seen
carrying upon their heads enormous burdens through streets lighted by
electricity, and stop to ask through a telephone where their load shall
be delivered.


The correspondence of the Government is dictated to stenographers and
transcribed upon type-writers; and every form of modern improvement for
the purpose of economizing time and saving labor is given the
opportunity of a test, even if it is not permanently adopted. There is
no Government that gives greater encouragement to inventive genius than
the administration of President Diaz, and it has been one of the highest
aims of his official career to modernize Mexico. The twelve years from
1876, when he came into power, until 1889, when his third term
commenced, may be reckoned the progressive age of our neighborly
republic; but the common people are still prejudiced against
innovations, and resist them. In all the public places, and at the
entrance of the post-office, are men squatting upon the pavement, with
an inkhorn and a pad of paper, whose business is to conduct the
correspondence of those whose literary attainments are unequal to the
task. Such odd things are still to be seen at the capital of a nation
that subsidizes steamship lines and railways, and supports schools where
all the modern languages and sciences are taught, and has a compulsory
education law upon its statute-books. In the old Inquisition Building,
where the bodies of Jews and heretics have been racked and roasted, is
a medical college, sustained by the Government for the free education of
all students whose attainments reach the standard of matriculation; and
bones are now sawn asunder in the name of science instead of religion.

[Illustration: A WATER-CARRIER.]

The country within whose limits can be produced every plant that grows
between the equator and the arctics, and whose mines have yielded
one-half of the existing silver in the world, is habitually bankrupt,
and wooden effigies of saints stolen from the churches are sold as fuel
for locomotives purchased with the proceeds of public taxation. What
Mexico needs most is peace, industry, and education. The Government now
pays a bounty to steamships upon every immigrant they bring, and is
importing coolie labor to develop the coffee and sugar lands. Since 1876
there has not been a political revolution of any importance, and the
prospect of permanent peace is hopeful.

The political struggle in Mexico, since the independence of the
Republic, has been, and will continue to be, between antiquated,
bigoted, and despotic Romanism, allied with the ancient aristocracy,
under whose encouragement Maximilian came, on the one hand, and the
spirit of intellectual, industrial, commercial, and social progress on
the other. The pendulum has swung backward and forward with irregularity
for sixty years; every vibration has been registered in blood. All of
the weight of Romish influence, intellectual, financial, and spiritual,
has been employed to destroy the Republic and restore the Monarchy,
while the Liberal party has strangled the Church and stripped it of
every possession. Both factions have fought under a black flag, and the
war has been as cruel and vindictive on one side as upon the other; but
the result is apparent and permanent.


No priest dare wear a cassock in the streets of Mexico; the confessional
is public, parish schools are prohibited, and although the clergy still
exercise a powerful influence among the common people, whose
superstitious ignorance has not yet been reached by the free schools and
compulsory education law, in politics they are powerless. The old
clerical party, the Spanish aristocracy, whose forefathers came over
after the Conquest, and reluctantly surrendered to Indian domination
when the Viceroys were driven out and the Republic established, have
given up the struggle, and will probably never attempt to renew it. They
were responsible for the tragic episode of Maximilian, and still regret
the failure to restore the Monarchy. The Aztecs sit again upon the
throne of Mexico, after an interval of three hundred and fifty years,
and the men whose minds direct the affairs of the Republic have tawny
skins and straight black hair.

[Illustration: MEXICAN MULETEER.]

Several of the aristocrats have left the country and reside in Paris,
receiving enormous revenues from their Mexican estates, which they visit
biennially, but will not live upon. Others are friends of Diaz,
sympathize with the progressive element, and will turn out full-fledged
Republicans when the issue is raised again. The finest houses in Mexico
are unoccupied, and the palatial villas of Tacubaya, the aristocratic
suburb, are in a state of decay. They are too large and too costly for
rental, and the owners are too obstinate and indifferent to sell them.
Perhaps these haughty dons still have a hope of coming back some time to
rule again as they did years ago, but they will die as they have lived
since Maximilian’s failure, impotent but unreconciled.

The beautiful castle of Chapultepec, which was dismantled during the
last revolution, but has been restored and fitted up as a beautiful
suburban retreat for the Presidents of Mexico, was occupied by
Maximilian and Carlotta in imitation of the Montezumas, whose palace
stood upon the rocky eminence. Around the place is a grove of monstrous
cypress-trees, whose age is numbered by the centuries, and whose girth
measures from thirty to fifty feet. It is the finest assemblage of
arborial monarchs on the continent, and sheltered imperial power
hundreds of years before Columbus set his westward sails. Before the
Hemisphere was known or thought of, here stood a gorgeous palace, and
its foundations still endure. Here the rigid ceremonial etiquette of
Aztec imperialism was enforced, and human sacrifice was made to invoke
the favor of the Sun.

[Illustration: SHOPS.]

In Mexican society one meets many notable people; some are remarkable
for talent, or their birth, etc., and others for the strange
vicissitudes of their lives. For example, in an obscure little house
lives a well-educated gentleman who is, by lineal descent from Montezuma
II., the legal heir to the Aztec throne, and should be Emperor of
Anahuac. This Señor Montezuma, however, indulges in no idle dream of the
restoration of the ancient Empire, and quietly accepts the meagre
pension paid him by the Government. In contradistinction to this scion
of the house of Montezuma, the heirs of Cortez receive immense revenues
from the estates of the “Marquis del Valle” (Cortez), live in grand
style, and are haughty and influential. There is also a lineal
descendant of the Indian emperor Chimalpopoca. This young man is a civil
engineer, industrious, and quite independent.

The acknowledged heir to the throne of Mexico is young


[Illustration: TILE FRONT.]

Augustin Yturbide, according to the feelings of the few and feeble
remnants of the Monarchical party; but it may be said to the young man’s
credit that he entirely repudiates their homage, although he is the heir
to two brief and ill-starred dynasties. He is the grandson of the
Emperor Augustin Yturbide, and the adopted heir of Maximilian and
Carlotta. The Yturbide they call “Emperor” was an officer in the Spanish
army when Mexico was a colony, and during the revolution headed by the
priest Hidalgo, in 1810, he fought on the side of the King. But, being
dismissed from the army in 1816, he retired to seclusion, to remain
until the movement of 1820, when he placed himself at the head of an
irregular force, and captured a large sum of money that was being
conveyed to the sea-coast. With these resources he promulgated what is
known in history as “the plan of Iguala,” which proposed the
organization of Mexico into an independent empire, and the election of a
ruler by the people. The revolution was bloodless, and in May, 1822,
Yturbide proclaimed himself Emperor, declared the crown hereditary, and
established a court. He was formally crowned in the July following, but
in December Santa Anna proclaimed the Republic, and after a brief and
ignominious reign Yturbide left Mexico on May 11, 1822, just a year,
lacking a week, from the date he assumed power. The Congress gave him a
pension of $25,000 yearly, and required that he should live in Italy;
but impelled by an insane desire to regain his crown, in May, 1824, he
returned to Mexico, and was shot in the following July.

[Illustration: THE TREE OF MONTEZUMA.]

He left a son, Angel de Yturbide, who came to the United States with his
mother, and was educated at the Jesuit College at Georgetown, District
of Columbia, the Government having given them a liberal pension. There
he fell in love

[Illustration: PRINCE YTURBIDE.]

with Miss Alice Green, the daughter of a modest but prosperous merchant
of the town, and married her. They had one child, the so-called Prince
Augustin, who, when three years old, with the consent of his ambitious
mother, was adopted by the childless Maximilian and Carlotta, in the
vain hope that the act might in a measure increase their popularity
among the Mexicans.

Meanwhile Maximilian’s fate was fast overtaking him. When he saw the
catastrophe was at hand, he determined to save the young Yturbide, and
with the assistance of the Archbishop of Mexico notified Madame Yturbide
that her child would be placed on a certain steamer reaching Havana at
such a date; and it was there the mother was united to him after a
separation of two years. Maximilian and Carlotta had surrounded the
young prince with all the elegancies of royalty, and he retained many of
their royal gifts. His father was then dead, and his mother had sole
charge of his education. He was educated at Washington, where Madame
Yturbide lived in a fine house on the corner of Nineteenth and N
streets. When her son came of age she sold her house and returned with
him to Mexico. His intention was to enter the army at once, but by the
advice of his Mexican friends he entered the national military college
for a course of study before taking his commission. He is a handsome
young man, very quiet and prepossessing. His abilities can scarcely be
judged so far, but he has always conducted himself with great
good-sense. Madame Yturbide is now with him in Mexico. One of the most
promising signs of the permanency of the Republic is the presence in the
party of progress of this young man, whose name represents all the
ancient aristocracy desires to restore. He has inherited two worthless
crests; but, whether from policy or principle, has added his youthful
strength and the traditions that surround his name to the support of the
Diaz administration.

The widow of General Santa Anna is a woman who played a prominent part
in the political tragedies that have succeeded one another with such
great rapidity upon the Mexican stage. Until her death in the autumn of
1886, she was an object of interest to all visitors to the capital, and
always welcomed cordially strangers who called upon her, provided they
would permit her to smoke her cigarettes, and talk about her beauty and
the attentions she had received in the past.

Santa Anna is not so highly estimated in Mexico as in some other parts
of the world where people are not so familiar with his eccentric and
adventurous career. He was a man of remarkable natural abilities, force
of character, energy, and personal courage, but devoid of principle,
education, culture, and mindful only of his own interests. He served all
political parties in turn. She was his second wife, and was only
thirteen years old when he married her, in the fifth term of his
presidency, and when he was trying to set himself up as an absolute
monarch. For twenty years her life was spent in a camp, surrounded by
the whirl of warfare. Her husband was five times President of Mexico,
and four times Military Dictator in absolute power. He was banished,
recalled, banished again, and finally died, denounced by all as a
traitor. She had seen much “glory,” and had received unlimited
adulation, but she hardly ever enjoyed one thoroughly peaceful month in
her life.

It created a sensation in Mexico when the pretty peon girl, Dolores
Testa, was suddenly raised from abject poverty to affluence. The
Dictator ordered all to address his bride as “Your Highness,”
ladies-in-waiting were appointed in order to teach the bewildered little
Dolores how to play her rôle in the great world, and then the President
organized for her a body-guard of twenty-five military men, who were
uniformed in white and gold, and were styled “los Guardias de la Alteza”
(her Highness’s Body-guard). When the President’s wife attended the
theatre these guards rode in advance of and at the sides of the coach,
each bearing a lighted torch. During the performance they remained in
the _patio_ or _foyer_ of the theatre, and then escorted her Highness
back to the palace in the same order. Such was the power of General
Santa Anna in those days that even the clergy bent before him; and when


his young wife went to mass, the priests, attended by their acolytes,
actually used to leave the cathedral to meet her on the pavement, and
with cross and lighted tapers escort her from her carriage to her seat
within the church, and at the conclusion of the mass accompanied her to
her coach.

Her last days were quite in contrast with the glory of her youth. She
owned a residence in the city and a lovely country-seat in Tacubaya, the
aristocratic suburb; her wardrobes and chests were filled with rich
robes of velvet, satin, and silk, costly laces, and magnificent jewels;
but she was too listless to interest herself in anything. No stranger
who by chance might see her ex-highness at home, with her pretty feet
thrust into down-trodden old leather shoes, and her unkempt hair covered
by a common cotton _rebosa_, could ever, by the greatest effort of
imagination, possibly fancy her to be the same person who once dazzled
Mexico by a display of pomp that exceeded even that of the Empress
Carlotta. Mrs. Santa Anna was an estimable woman, but was almost
forgotten by the generation that once bent before her. Her family plate,
and the diamond snuffbox which was presented her husband when he was
Dictator, and cost twenty-five thousand dollars, were, during the latter
years of her life, and still are, in the National pawn-shops of Mexico,
and his wooden leg, captured in battle during our war with Mexico, is in
the Smithsonian Institute.

The family of the great Juarez, the Washington of Mexico, an Aztec peon,
who overthrew the empire of Maximilian as Cortez had overthrown the
ancient dynasty of his ancestors, live in good style in the city of
Mexico, the daughters being well married, and the son the secretary of
the Mexican legation at Berlin. They all talk English well, and are very
highly educated. Every American who visits their city is handsomely
entertained by them.

But time spent in conjecturing the future of the aristocratic or
clerical party is wholly wasted. No priest, no bishop, is allowed by law
to hold real estate; titles vested in religious orders are worthless;
the Church is forbidden to acquire wealth, and has been stripped of the
accumulated treasures of three centuries. The candlesticks and altar
ornaments are gilt instead of gold, and the heavy embroideries in gold
and silver have been replaced by tinsel. A solid silver balustrade which
has stood in one of the churches since the time of Cortez was torn down
not long ago and taken to the mint, and a chandelier in the cathedral of
Puebla, when it was melted, made sixty thousand silver dollars.

There still stands in the cathedral at Guadalupe, on the spot where the
Mother of Christ appeared to a poor shepherd and stamped her image in
beautiful colors upon his cotton _serape_, a double railing from the
altar to the choir, perhaps sixty feet long and three feet high, which
is said to be of solid silver, with considerable gold. This is the only
one of the remnants of pontifical magnificence which remains
undespoiled, for the superstition which pervades all classes of society
has protected it; but the altars have been stripped of the jewels which
were bestowed by grateful people who had received the protection of the
Virgin, who watches over those in distress, and the veneering of gold
which once covered the altar carvings has all been ripped off. It is
said that an enterprising American offered to replace the solid silver
railing with a plated one, and give a bonus of three hundred thousand
dollars to the Church, but the proposition was rejected.

This Guadalupe shrine is the most sacred spot in Mexico, and to it come,
on the 12th of each December, the anniversary of the appearance of the
Virgin, thousands upon thousands of pilgrims, bringing their sick and
lame and blind to drink of the miraculous waters of a spring which the
Virgin opened on the mountain-side to convince the sceptical shepherd of
her divine power. The waters have a very strong taste of sulphur, and
are said to be a potent remedy for diseases of the blood. In testimony
of this the walls of the chapel, which is built over the spring, are
covered with quaint, rudely written certificates of people who claim to
have been miraculously cured by its use. In the cathedral are multitudes
of other testimonials from people who have been preserved from death in
danger by having appealed for protection to the Virgin of Guadalupe; but
nowadays, instead of sending jewels and other articles of value as they
did when the Church was able to protect its property, they hang up
gaudily painted inscriptions reciting specifically the blessings they
have received. On the crest of the hill is a massive shaft of stone,
representing the main-mast of a ship with the yards out and sails
spread. This was erected many years ago by a sea-captain who was caught
in a storm at sea, and who made a vow to the Virgin that if she would
bring him safe to land he would carry his main-mast and sails to
Guadalupe, and raise them there as an evidence of his gratitude for her
mercy. He fulfilled his vow, and within the double tiers of stone are
the masts and canvas.

[Illustration: CHURCH OF GUADALUPE.]

In the cathedral is the original blanket, or _serape_, which

[Illustration: ISTACCIHUATL.]

the shepherd wore when the Virgin appeared to him, and upon which she
stamped her portrait. It is preserved in a glass case over the altar,
and may be seen by paying a small fee to the priest. Copies of the
Guadalupe Virgin are common and familiar; one can scarcely look in any
direction in Mexico without seeing the representation upon the walls of
a house, or pendent from the watch-chain of a passer-by; but the average
reproduction is a great improvement upon the original, which is a dull
and heavy daub, without any evidences of skill in its execution, or even
the average degree of accuracy in drawing. According to the story, the
portrait was stamped upon the _serape_ or blanket of the shepherd, and
this all Catholics in Mexico devoutly believe; but a close examination
reveals the fact that it is done in ordinary oil colors, upon a piece of
ordinary canvas, and that the pigments peel off like those of any poorly
executed piece of work.

In the ancient town of Guadalupe, in a house near the cathedral, was
signed the famous treaty determining the boundary line between Mexico
and the United States, while in a cemetery on the hill General Santa
Anna lies buried.

The Mexican people, like all the Spanish race, are fond of ceremony, but
the inauguration of their President is not attended with so much display
or interest as is shown on similar occasions on this side of the Rio
Grande. Perhaps it is because the event occurs so often. During the two
hundred and eighty-six years between the fall of the Empire and the
establishment of the Republic, there were but sixty-four Viceroys; but
during the sixty-three years that followed there have been thirty-two
Presidents, seven Dictators, and two Emperors. Although the
constitutional term of the presidency is four years, but two in the long
list were permitted to serve out their time, and they were the last,
which at least shows improvement in the political condition of the

I witnessed the inauguration of President Diaz on the 1st of December,
1884. The ceremonies, which were simple enough to satisfy the most
critical of Democrats, took place in the handsome theatre erected in
1854, and named in honor of the Emperor Yturbide. It is now called the
Chamber of Deputies, and is occupied by the lower branch of the National
Legislature, a body of some two hundred and twenty-seven men. The
Senate, composed of fifty-six members, meets in a long, narrow room in
the old National Palace which was formerly used as a chapel by the
Viceroys. The viceregal throne, a massive chair of carved and gilded
rosewood, still stands upon a platform opposite the entrance, under a
canopy of crimson velvet, but upon its crest is carved the American
eagle, with a snake in its mouth, the emblem of Republican Mexico.
Maximilian hung a golden crown over the eagle; Juarez tore it down and
placed the broken sword of the Emperor in the talons of the bird. The
Aztecs say that the founders of their empire, whose origin is lost in
the mists of fable, were told to march on until they found an eagle
sitting upon a cactus with a snake in its mouth, and there they should
rest and build a great city. The bird and the bush were discovered in
the valley that is shadowed by the twin volcanoes, and there the
imperishable walls were laid which are now bidding farewell to their
seventh century.


The old Theatre Yturbide has not been remodelled since it became the
shelter of legislative power, and all the natural light it gets is
filtered through the opaque panels of the dome, so that during the day
sessions the Deputies are always in a state of partial eclipse. It is
about as badly off for light as our own Congress. The members occupy
comfortable arm-chairs in the parquet, arranged in semicircular rows.
The presiding officer and the secretaries sit upon the stage, and at
either side is a sort of pulpit from which formal addresses are made,
although conversational debates are conducted from the floor. The
orchestra circle and galleries are divided into boxes, and are reserved
for spectators, but are seldom occupied, as the proceedings of the
Congress are not regarded with much public interest.


The members of both Houses have no regular seats, but sit where they
please. As they have few constituents to write to, they use no desks.
There are some that might be used, but never are. The members vote
themselves no stationery, postage-stamps, or incidentals, as our
Congressmen do, but are paid two hundred and fifty dollars a month
during the two years for which they are elected. Habit and the exercise
of military power have reversed the constitutional relations of the
executive and legislative branches of the Government, and the business
of the Congress sometimes is not to pass bills for the approval or
disapproval of the President, but to enact such legislation as he
recommends. The members of the Cabinet have seats in both houses of the
Congress, participate in the debates, and submit measures for
consideration, but have no vote; and the President himself often
exercises his constitutional right to meet and act with the Legislature.
Very seldom is a law passed that does not come prepared and approved by
the Executive Department, and to oppose the policy of the administration
is usually fatal to the ambition of Mexican statesmen.

In appearance the members will compare favorably with those of our
Congress, and they are far in advance of the average State Legislature
in ability and learning. The first features that strike a visitor
familiar with legislative bodies in the United States is the decorum
with which proceedings are conducted, and the scrupulous care with which
every one is clothed. On certain formal occasions it is usual for all of
the members to appear in evening dress, which gives the body the
appearance of a social gathering rather than a legislative assembly.
Nine-tenths of the members are white, and the other tenth show little
trace of Aztec blood. There is never anything like confusion, and the
laws of propriety are never transgressed. One hears no bad syntax or
incorrect pronunciation in the speeches; no coarse language is used, and
no wrangles ever occur like those which so often disgrace our own
Congress. The statesmen never tilt their chairs back, nor lounge about
the chamber; their feet are never raised upon the railings or desks;
there is no letter-writing going on; the floor is never littered with
scraps of paper; no spittoons are to be seen, and no conversation is
permitted. Extreme dignity and decorum mark the proceedings, which are
always short and silent, and the solemnity which prevails gives a
funereal aspect to the scene.

[Illustration: THE DOME.]

But everybody smokes. The secretary lights a cigarette at the end of a
roll-call, and the chairman blows a puff of smoke from his lips before
he announces a decision. The members are constantly rolling cigarettes
with deft fingers, and the people in the galleries do the same, so that
a cloud of gray vapor always hangs over the body, and in the dark
corners of the chamber one can see the glow of burning tobacco like the
flash of fire-flies. But cigars are never used, nor pipes, and no one
chews tobacco.

Whole sessions pass away with nothing but formal business, such as
receiving communications from the Executives of the States or petitions
from the people, which are rarely acted on. Occasionally a bill is
passed, but it passes almost as a matter of course, some of the members
giving a delicate little wave of the hand to the secretary as he calls
their names by sight, others merely smiling at him, some paying no
attention whatever to him, but none of them taking the trouble to open
their mouths or rise, as the rules require. Weeks and months pass away
without a speech of any kind, or even a point of order.

In the presence of this body, and with a similar indifference, Profirio
Diaz was inaugurated President of the United States of Mexico. He had
been President once before, having seized the government by force of
arms from Lerdo, but was so just and wise a ruler, and possessed the
confidence of the people so thoroughly, that he was allowed to serve out
a full term, being one of the few Mexican Presidents to enjoy that
privilege. He would have been re-elected at the expiration of his
administration but for a constitutional provision prohibiting it. Four
years passed and he was restored to power by the votes of the people
against a man whose administration was a saturnalia of corruption and
extravagance, that ended with a bankrupt treasury and an impoverished

The last days of the term of Gonzales were stormy. His attempt to secure
certain unpopular financial legislation created great excitement, and
the students of the universities, who numbered six or seven thousand,
made a protest which would have ended in violence and assassination but
for the overpowering military guard that surrounded the palace. The
students would have resisted any attempt of Gonzales to prevent the
inauguration of his successor, and kept up a demonstration against the
existing Government until that event occurred.


It was nine o’clock on the morning that the ceremonies were to occur.
Long lines of bayonets and sabres glittered in the streets around the
theatre, regiments of cavalry and infantry were drawn up in the Alameda
and Plaza, squads of police, on foot and mounted, were marching here and
there. Bands of students yell “_Viva!_” and “_Mira!_” Some were fired
into, and several students wounded. The shops were nearly all closed
early in the day; huge iron padlocks and bolts that would resist a
sledge-hammer for half a day hung on doors that but a few days ago were
thronged with customers, and the few that remained open were merely
ajar, ready to be slammed shut in a minute, and the ponderous bars swung
into place.

The attendance at the theatre was not large, and consisted almost
entirely of officials, foreign ambassadors, and the personal friends of
the President, who, like the members of the Congress, were nearly all in
full dress, but carried revolvers in their pockets for use if the
occasion demanded. In a gilded box over the stage was the wife of
General Diaz, of girlish years and striking beauty, attended by a party
of lady friends and two military officers resplendent in gold lace.
There was no crush, no confusion, but a suppressed excitement and
anxiety, made intense by the recollection that such incidents in the
history of Mexico had been usually attended by war. The outgoing
President was regarded as the enemy of his successor, and the Congress
was about equally divided in its allegiance. The former was not present,
and his movements and intentions were unknown.

The members of the Senate sat in a double row of chairs which had been
placed around the sides of the parquet for their accommodation, and all
of them wore white kid gloves. The members of the Lower House, the
Deputies, sat in their accustomed seats, and their chief officer
presided. Promptly at nine o’clock General Diaz, in full evening dress,
with white gloves, was escorted to the platform by a committee of
Senators, took the oath of office with his back to the audience, and
passed rapidly out of the building. The whole proceeding did not last
more than five minutes, and when the clerk announced that the oath of
office had been taken in accordance with the law, and declared Diaz
“Constitutional President,” the audience quietly left the chamber as if
nothing more than the ordinary routine had taken place.

But the excitement was not abated. The oath had been taken, but the
outgoing administration by its absence from the ceremonies had
intensified the anxiety lest the admission of Diaz to the Palace might
be denied. Accompanied by a committee of Senators and an escort of
cavalry. President Diaz drove half a mile to the Government building,
and to his gratification the column of soldiers which was drawn up
before the entrance opened to let him pass. The plaza which the building
fronts was crowded with thousands of people, who announced the arrival
of the new President by a deafening cheer, and the chimes of the old
cathedral rang a melodious welcome.

[Illustration: THE PALACE OF MEXICO.]

In the centre of the old palace, which stands upon the foundations of
the heathen temple Cortez destroyed, is an enormous court, in which the
President’s party alighted and ascended the marble stairs. The sentinels
which lined the staircase saluted them respectfully, and this omen
relieved their minds. At the entrance of the Executive chamber, where
relics of the luxurious taste of Maximilian still remain, Diaz was
received by an aide-de-camp of Gonzales, who ushered him into the
presence of the retiring administration. Surrounded by his Cabinet,
Gonzales stood, and as Diaz entered stepped forward to welcome him, and
according to the ancient practice, handed him an enormous silver key,
which is supposed to turn the bolts that protect authority. Short formal
addresses were made upon either side, and after wishing the new
administration a peaceful and prosperous term, Gonzales and his
ministers retired.

General Porfirio Diaz, the foremost man in Mexico to-day, and one whose
public career will fill pages in the history of that Republic, is the
representative of mixed Aztec and Spanish ancestry, like all of the
famous native leaders of the last half century. He is tall and dark, his
muscular figure impressing one as the very incarnation of health and
endurance. He has a military, yet nonchalant air, his brown eyes meet
you squarely with the glance of one born to command, and his voice is
peculiarly pleasant as in deep tones he rolls off the musical dialect of
his mother-tongue.

His career, like that of all Mexican leaders, is full of romantic
adventure. He was born in the rich State of Oaxaca, which was also the
birthplace of Juarez, Mejia, Romero, Mariscal, and others famed in
politics and literature. Don Porfirio’s parents designed him for the law
and sent him to the Literary Institute, in Puebla, the City of the
Angels, which celebrated institution has graduated many of Mexico’s most
eminent men. But Diaz, at the age of twenty-four, enlisted as a private
in the National Guard against the government of Santa Anna. Again, in
the so-called war of reform--in 1858 and 1861--he won more substantial
honors than the straps of an officer, and when his country was
convulsed by the French invasion of 1862, Diaz, then a general, took a
prominent part in the struggle. Once during those wars, when a prisoner
at Puebla, he escaped by letting himself down from the tower in which he
was confined by means of a rope spliced out with his clothing. Another
of his numerous hair-breadth escapes was during the bloody struggle by
which he made himself President for the first time. Having captured
Matamoras by daring strategy, he was seized on shipboard by the
Lerdists, and saved himself only by leaping into the sea, assisted by
the connivance of a French captain, whom he afterwards made consul at
Saint Nazaire.

In 1871 General Diaz was one of the three candidates for the Presidency,
and being defeated by Juarez, issued his celebrated manifesto known as
the “Plan of Noria,” repudiating all existing powers, and proposing to
retain military command. Being thoroughly whipped by the Indian
President, after more than a year’s hard fighting and the loss of
thousands of lives, the general left Mexico for a time, along with a
number of his fellow-partisans.

After Juarez died in office, his successor, Don Sebastian Lerdo de
Tejada, recalled all political exiles by issuing a general amnesty,
which act Diaz hastened to repay by rushing again to arms and speedily
deposing his rival. Although the Electoral College had declared Lerdo
the legally elected ruler by a vote of 123 to 49, Diaz proceeded to
issue a pronunciamento from Palo Blanco, State of Tamaulipas, denouncing
the President, Congress, and all recognized authorities, and at the head
of the Constitutional army took possession of the capital and usurped
the Executive chair, driving the incumbent into exile, and holding his
position by force of arms.

When the term was over for which Diaz had thus elected himself, he
retired temporarily to fulfil the law he had so strenuously advocated,
Article 28 of the amended constitution. Next he set about paving the way
to permanent success by placating all opposing factions. First, he
forever laid any restless ghost of Lerdist sentiment that might arise
and shake its gory locks in the future, by marrying in the very midst
of the enemy’s camp. His young and beautiful wife is the daughter of
Romero Rubio, who was President Lerdo’s most influential adviser, and
his bosom friend and companion in exile. Señor Rubio has since been
President of the Senate, and Minister of the Interior.

No man since the Indian Juarez, who was the Abraham Lincoln of Mexican
history, has achieved the popularity that Diaz enjoys, or has won the
confidence of the people to so great a degree. The ballad-singers at
Santa Anita, an Indian village in the suburbs of the capital, on the
romantic canal that leads to the far-famed Floating Gardens, where the
populace swarm on Sundays to drink _pulque_ and dance fandangoes, carol
many a long-drawn refrain to twanging guitars in praise of Porfirio
D-i-i-iaz, while the dedications of their myriad _pulquerias_ are about
equally divided between Diaz, Montezuma, and the Mother of God.

The old Capitol, or Palace, as it is called, which Cortez raised upon
the ruins of the Aztec temple is still occupied as the seat of
government, and shelters the Executive departments. Here, too, is the
National Museum, with its collection of antiquities, and in its centre,
near the Sacrificial Stone of the Aztecs, is the imperial coach in which
the ill-fated Emperor rode. Public business is conducted very much as in
the United States; the officials are usually accomplished linguists, and
well read in political economy. The science of government is studied
there more than with us, and public life is a profession, like law or
engineering. There still exists, however, and many generations will come
and go before it can be eradicated, a caste that divides the people into
three classes--the peon, the aristocrat, and the middle class. The
prejudice that separates them is usually overcome by military force. The
peon, who like Diaz becomes a political and a social leader, must win
the place by military skill, or wear a _sarepa_ forever.

Among the upper classes of Mexico will be found as high a degree of
social and intellectual refinement as exists in Paris, as quick a
reception and as cordial a response to all the sentiments that elevate
society, and a knowledge of the arts and literature that few people of
the busy cities of the United States have acquired.


Their wealth is lavishly displayed, their taste is exercised to a degree
equal to that of any people in the world, and the interior of many of
their dwellings furnishes a glimpse of happiness and cultured elegance
that, with their less active temperament, they enjoy more than their
northern neighbors. Yet the people who receive the latest Paris fashions
and literature by every steamer, and who would rather wear a shroud than
a garment out of style, still cling to some ancient customs as eagerly
as they seize some modern ideas. Social laws restrict intercourse
between the sexes, as in the Latin nations of Europe, and Pedro makes
love to Mercedes through his father and hers. Marriage is often a
commercial contract for pecuniary or social advantages, and a parent
chooses his son-in-law as he selects his partners or the directors of a
bank. It is an impropriety for men and women to be alone together, even
if they are closely related, and no woman of the higher caste goes upon
the streets without a duenna.

The funeral customs of Mexico are a source of constant interest to
strangers in that land, as the burial of the dead is a ceremony of great
display. The poor rent handsome coffins which they have not the means to
buy, and transfer the body from its temporary casket to a cheap box
before it is laid in the grave. Invitations are issued by messenger, and
advertisements of funerals are published in the newspapers or posted at
the street corners like those of a bull-fight or a play. Announcements
are sent to friends in big, black-bordered envelopes, and are usually
decorated with a picture of a tomb. The information is conveyed in
faultless Spanish, that Señor Don Jesus San a Maria Hidalgo died
yesterday at noon, and that his bereaved wife, who mourns under the name
of “Donna Maria José Concepcion de los Angelos Narro Henriandos y
Hidalgo,” together with his family, desire you to honor them by
participating in the ceremonies of burial, and in supplicating the
Mother of God and the Redeemer of the world to grant the soul of the
dead husband a speedy release from the pains of Purgatory, and eternal
bliss in Paradise.

The oddities of Mexican life and customs strike the tourist in a most
forcible manner. The first thing he observes among the common people is
that the men wear extremely large hats, and the women no hats at all.
The ordinary sombrero costs fifteen dollars, while those bearing the
handsome ornaments so universally popular run in price all the way from
twenty-five to two hundred and fifty dollars. The Mexican invests all
his surplus in his hat. Men whose wages are not more than twelve dollars
a month often wear sombreros which represent a whole quarter’s income. A
servant at the house of a friend was paid off one day for the three
months his employer had been absent. He got forty-two dollars, of which
he paid thirty-five dollars for a hat and gave seven dollars to his


The next thing that you notice is that every block on the same street
has a different name, and when you start out on foot to make a visit you
become bewildered at once, and have to call a carriage. Take the chief
street, for example, which begins at the Grand Plaza, where the Palace
stands, and runs to the statue of Charles IV. of Spain. Each of the
seventeen blocks has a name of its own, and the names that are used are
quite as striking as this perplexing custom. Here is a list of some of
the principal blocks or streets translated into English: “Crown of
Thorns Street,” “Fifth of May Street,” “Holy Ghost Street,” “Blood of
Christ Street,” “Body of Christ Street,” “Mother of Sorrows Street,”
“Street of the Sacred Heart,” “The Heart of Jesus Street,” “Street of
the Love of God,” “Jesus Street,” and “John the Baptist Street.” Nearly
every saint in the calendar has a street named after him or her, and
nine-tenths of the city has the religion of the people thus illustrated.

Another thing that surprises you greatly is that nearly every man you
meet makes you a present of a residence. He grasps your hand with ardent
cordiality when he leaves you, and says, “My house is yours; it stands
numero tres--Calle,” and so on, “and is at your service.” The next man
tells you that your house is such and such a number, and he shall be
angry if you do not occupy it. As neither of them has enjoyed the honor
of your acquaintance for more than five minutes, and both are only
casually introduced, this excessive generosity is quite embarrassing. An
English lord told me he met fourteen men at the Jockey Club one evening,
and was presented with thirteen houses. The other man lived in Cuba. But
it is only the Mexican way of saying, “I’m pleased to meet you.” It
often leads to comical adventures, however, for the gentleman who
tenders such profuse hospitality seldom remembers you the next morning.
People have accepted these ardent invitations and been met with a cold
welcome. Another amusing and puzzling peculiarity is that everybody
lives over a shop. Even the millionaires rent out the first floor of
their residences for purposes of business, and live in the third story.
The handsomest house in all Mexico has a railway ticket-office on one
side of the entrance and a cigar shop on the other. Everybody smokes:
women as well as men. They smoke in the street-cars, in the shops, at
the opera, everywhere. I have often seen a man upon his knees in a
chapel muttering his prayers with a lighted cigar in his hand.

The street-cars run in groups. Instead of starting a car every ten
minutes from the terminus, three are started together every half hour.
One car is never seen alone, nor two together, but always three in a
row, less than half a block apart. It requires two conductors to run a
car. One approaches a passenger and sells him a ticket; the second one
then comes in and takes it up. In some respects it is an improvement on
the bell-punch system. There are first-class cars and second-class cars.
The former are of New York manufacture, and similar to those used in
that city; the latter are of domestic construction, have but few
windows, and look like the cabooses used on railroad freight trains.
First-class fares are sometimes as high as twenty-five cents, but are
more often a _medio_ (six and a quarter cents), being governed by the
distance. Second-class fares are always one-half the amount of
first-class fares. Street-car drivers carry horns, and blow them when
they approach street crossings. The conductors usually carry revolvers.
Nearly everybody, in truth, carries a revolver.

Horseback riding is the national amusement, and the streets are full of
horsemen, particularly in the cooler hours of the morning and evening.
The proper thing to wear is a wide sombrero, very tight trousers of
leather or cassimere, with rows of silver buttons up and down the outer
seam, a handsomely embroidered velvet jacket, a scarlet sash, a sword,
and two revolvers, not to mention spurs of marvellous size and design,
and a saddle of surpassing magnificence. A Mexican caballero often
spends one thousand dollars for an equestrian outfit. His saddle costs
from fifty dollars to five hundred dollars, his sword fifty dollars, his
silver-mounted bridle twenty-five dollars, his silver spurs as much
more, the solid silver buttons on his trousers one hundred dollars, his
hat fifty dollars, and the rest of his rig in proportion. The Mexican
small boy, if he has wealthy parents, is mounted after a similar
fashion, even to the revolver and sword. An equestrian costume for a boy
of ten years can be purchased for about fifty dollars, not including
saddle and bridle.

[Illustration: A MEXICAN CABALLERO.]

The Mexican ladies do not ride any more than their sisters in the United
States. Social etiquette prohibits this recreation, unless they have
brothers to go with them. The señoras and señoritas take their exercise
in closed carriages. You never see a phaeton or wagon in Mexico. When
they go shopping they sit in their carriages and have the goods brought
out to them. It is a common thing to see a row of carriages before a
fashionable store with a clerk at the door of each one exhibiting silks
or gloves or ribbons. In some of the stores are parlors in which a
señora can sit if she likes and have the goods brought to her. None but
foreigners and the common people stand at the counters and buy. Mexican
merchants never classify their goods. They have no system in arranging
them. Silks and cottons are indiscriminately mixed on the shelves. There
is no place for anything, and nothing is ever in place. Hence shopping
requires the exercise of a vast deal of patience. I went to buy a pair
of gloves one day. The clerk pulled open a drawer in which were shoes,
corsets, and ribbons. He found some gloves, but there being none in the
box to fit, he hunted around on the shelves and in the drawers until he
discovered another lot. Nor are goods ever delivered at the residences
of purchasers. If your package is too bulky to carry in your hands or in
your carriage it is sent to your house by a licensed carrier, similar to
the district messenger boy of New York, to whom you pay a fee. Each
carrier has a brass badge like a policeman’s, bearing a number, and if
he does not deliver the goods promptly and in good order you report him
at police headquarters, where he is heavily fined. On the other hand, if
he cannot find your residence, or there is a mistake in the directions,
he takes the goods to police headquarters, and you can find them there,
and discover the reasons why they were not delivered.

On pleasant afternoons--and except in the rainy season all afternoons
are pleasant here--everybody who owns a carriage, or is able to hire
one, drives on the boulevard which Maximilian made from the city to the
Castle of Chapultepec, a distance of two and a half miles. As most of
the carriages are closed, the scene is not so interesting as it might
be, but you can occasionally catch a glimpse of a beautiful face
through the carriage windows. The horses are indifferent. Some of the
handsomest equipages are drawn by mules.

There are more public hacks and carriages in Mexico than in any other
city in the world in proportion to its population, and few cities have
worse pavements. Most of the vehicles are coupés, but there are a few
victorias. There are no hansoms. The public carriages are all under
police regulation, and the rates are fixed by law, according to the
condition of the vehicle and the horses. Each carriage has a small tin
flag attached to the top. A green flag means that you have to pay a
dollar and a half an hour, for the carriage is new, the horses are good,
and the harness is handsomely trimmed. A blue flag means a dollar an
hour, with a little less style; a white flag, seventy-five cents. The
latter class are about the toughest-looking outfits that can be found

Each of the other sort of carriages has a footman as well as a coachman,
without additional price, although generous people give him a tip to the
extent of a _real_ (twelve and a half cents). The footman is called a
_mozo_, and acts as a sort of apprentice or private secretary to the
_cochero_, or driver. When you hire a hack the _mozo_ rushes off to the
nearest store, looks at the clock, and brings you back a card upon which
the hour is written. When you finish your ride he hands you the card
again, and you pay from the time you started. On feast-days charges are
doubled, and as feast-days are frequent, when all the stores are closed,
the hackmen make a good thing of it. They drive in a most reckless
manner, and as the pavements are rough the passengers are bounced about.

The Spaniards drink cognac and sour wines. Whiskey is not a safe
beverage for the climate. American mixed drinks are not popular, and the
scarcity of ice makes juleps and that sort of thing expensive. The
stranger in Mexico is always very thirsty; the rapid evaporation makes
the mouth and throat dry, and water furnishes only temporary relief. The
most refreshing drink is lime-juice in Apollinaris water.

Pulque (pronounced _poolkee_) is the national drink, and is

[Illustration: NOCHE TRISTE TREE.]

the fermented milk of the cactus. Eighty thousand gallons are said to be
sold in Mexico every day, and double that amount on Sundays and saints’
days. It is a sort of combination of starch and alcohol, looks like
well-watered skim-milk, and tastes like yeast. It costs but a penny a
glass, or three cents a quart, so that it is within the reach of the
humblest citizen, and he drinks vast quantities of it. Five cents’ worth
will make a peon (as all the natives are called) as happy as a lord, and
ten cents’ worth will send him reeling into the arms of a policeman, who
secures him an engagement to work for the Government for ten days
without compensation. But it leaves no headache in the morning, and is
said to be very healthful. In the moist climates one might drink large
quantities without injury, but all the usual intoxicants are harmful in
this altitude.

The police system of Mexico is admirable. At every street corner there
is a patrolman night and day--not a patrolman either, for he never
moves. He stands like a statue during the day, occasionally leaning
against a lamp-post, and answers inquiries with the greatest urbanity.
Whenever there is a row two or three policemen are instantly present,
and if their clubs cannot suppress it they use revolvers. At night the
policeman brings a lantern and a blanket. He sets the lantern in the
middle of the street, and all carriages are compelled to keep to the
right of the row of lanterns, which can be seen glimmering from one end
of the street to the other. As long as people are passing he stands at
the corner, but when things quiet down he leaves his lantern in the
road, retires to a neighboring door-way, wraps his blanket around him,
and lies down to pleasant dreams. As all the windows in the city of
Mexico have heavy prison-like gratings before them, and all the doors
are great oaken affairs that could not be knocked in without a catapult;
as there are never any fires, and everybody goes to bed early, the
policeman’s lot is usually a happy one. He is numerous because of
revolutions, and because the Government always wants to know what is
going on. There is a popular belief in Mexico that no stranger ever
comes to town without having his past history and future plans recorded
at police headquarters. One never reads of robberies or pocket-picking,
or assault and battery cases, in the city of Mexico. Common thieves have
no chance there. The only disturbances are political revolutions, and
the Government alone is robbed.

All the ice that is used in Mexico comes from the top of Popocatepetl.
It is brought down the mountain on the backs of the natives, and then
sixty miles on the cars to the city, where it is sold at wholesale for
ten cents a pound. At the bar-rooms iced drinks are very expensive, and
ice is seldom seen anywhere else. The people all use a jug of porous
earthenware made by the Indians in which water is kept cool by rapid
evaporation. The stranger should always squeeze a little lime-juice into
his glass before he drinks water, to get a pleasant flavor, and escape
evil effects from alkaline properties.

From the top of the cathedral spire you can see the entire city, and the
most striking feature of the view is the absence of chimneys. There is
not a chimney in all Mexico; not a stove, nor a grate, nor a furnace.
All the cooking is done with charcoal in Dutch ovens, and, while the gas
is sometimes offensive, one soon becomes used to it. Coal costs sixteen
dollars a ton, and wood sixteen dollars a cord. All the coal was
formerly imported from England, but now comes from Cohahuila, and the
wood is all brought from the mountains.

As formerly, bull-fighting is at present the most popular amusement in
Mexico, and a matador is more distinguished in the eyes of the common
people than a prima donna or a president. The Mexican Government has of
late years become humanized to the extent of prohibiting these brutal
spectacles within the city limits, and they now take place at what is
called the “Plaza de Toros,” or Bull Park, on the plains five or six
miles from the city. Here the people gather on every Sunday and
saint-day to witness the butchery of three or four bulls and twice as
many horses, under the official patronage of the Governor of the State,
who always is present with his family and official staff, and from a
decorated platform directs the entertainment, giving his orders through
a trumpeter.

Back of the Castle of Chapultepec is the battle-field of Molino del Rey
(The Mill of the King), where General Scott met stubborn resistance when
he attempted to enter Mexico, but drove the Mexicans up the hill. The
old earthworks erected by the latter still stand as they were at the
time of the battle, and are usually visited by tourists. On the plain
beyond the battle-field stands an amphitheatre enclosed within a massive
wall of adobe--the mud bricks which are used for building material in
all the rainless region of this continent. The amphitheatre is arranged
in the usual form, except that the shady side is divided up into boxes
to be occupied by the grandees, while the sunny side has plain board
benches for the barefooted Castilians whose mild eyes and pathetic
deference give no key to the cruelty of which their race has been
guilty. The centre of the amphitheatre is enclosed by a board wall,
perhaps eight feet in height, surmounted at a point two feet higher by a
heavy cable strung through stalwart iron rods. The top of this fence
appeared to be the favorite eyrie from which to survey the field, and
upon it for the entire length sat a row of urchins, with here and there
a bearded man, all poised upon the edge, with their legs hanging over
into the bull-ring, and their arms clinging to the rope.

The Governor, a tall, swarthy man, with a wide sombrero, mustache and
goatee, the very picture of the “haughty Don,” sat in a decorated box,
with the flag of his country profusely draped around him. He had two
aides-de-camp, his three children, and an orderly, who with a trumpet
sounded a blast now and then to convey his excellency’s desires. We
happened luckily to have the adjoining box, from which we could watch
him closely and hear his comments upon the performances.

The audience was very large, and composed of all classes, from the proud
Castilian who came behind his four-in-hand, with a retinue of outriders,
to the poor peon who had been saving his scanty earnings for a week, and
walked five miles to witness the ghastly spectacle. There were perhaps
ten thousand people, and one-fifth of them were women in silks and
satins, in jewels and rare laces, who hid their eyes behind their fans
when the spectacle was too repulsive, but encouraged the matadors with
applause at the end of each act.

A band of music played lively airs, and played them well, to entertain
the people until the Governor came, whose presence being recognized, the
people gave a cordial cheer by way of welcome. Then the herald in the
Governor’s box blew a signal which sounded like the “water call” of the

[Illustration: THE PICADORS.]

[Illustration: TEASING THE BULL.]

States Cavalry, the doors of the pit were opened, and in marched a dozen
or so of matadors, in the same sort of jackets and breeches which they
wear in the pictures of Spanish life so familiar to all. Each wore a
plumed hat, a scarlet sash, a poniard, and the gold lace upon the black
velvet showed their lithe and supple forms to advantage. They looked as
Don Juan looks in the opera, while the leader, Bernardo Cavino, “del
decano de los toreros,” I was a veritable Figaro, in appearance at
least. Each carried a scarlet cloak upon his arm, and in the other hand
a pikestaff. Behind them came a troop of eight horsemen upon gayly
caparisoned steeds, with the usual amount of silver and leather
trappings in which the Mexicans delight. The procession tailed up with a
team of four mules hitched abreast, dragging a whiffletree and a long
rope. These, we are told, were for the purpose of dragging out the dead.
The cavalcade made a circuit of the amphitheatre, like the grand entrée
at a circus, and upon reaching the Governor’s box stopped, saluted him,
and received a short address in Spanish, which probably was simply one
of approval and congratulation at their fine appearance. There was a
rack in front of the Governor’s box upon which hung several rows of
darts, gayly decorated with paper rosettes and paper fringes of gold and
other brilliant tints. Upon these racks the matadors hung their plumed
hats, and stood a while to give the ladies and gentlemen of the audience
an opportunity to see and admire.

[Illustration: THE ENCORE.]

The gay horsemen then rode out, and were followed by the mules, but the
horsemen soon returned upon an entirely different style of
animals--poor, broken-down, lean, lame, and mangy hacks, which looked as
if they had been turned out of some street-car stable as bait for
vultures. They were covered with a sort of leathern armor, and this
concealed their fleshless ribs; but nothing could disguise the shambling
and uncertain gait with which they painfully ambled across the arena
under the savage spurring of their riders. They managed to get across,
and that was all. The first set of horses were intended for show, and
the second for slaughter. Public opinion appears to demand that
something besides a bull be sacrificed, and the matadors not being
amiable enough to afford this gratification, a pair of animated
clothes-racks are turned in to be gored. The poor beasts are
blindfolded, which is about the only humane feature of the show.

The Governor’s herald gave another blast, at which the entire audience,
who were on the _qui vive_, arose and shouted. A door across the pit
opened, and a large, clumsy, long-horned bull poked his head out into
the arena. The crowd yelled, and matadors posed at different parts of
the ring--ten of them--and the two horsemen pretended to get ready for
the fray. The bull looked up, the only frightened being in the entire
multitude. The posters described him as “a valiant and arrogant animal.”
He was a fine piece of beef, but he didn’t want to fight. Somebody
behind spurred him, and he ran into the ring. The doors were closed
behind him, and there was no way of escape. He plunged one way, but was
met by three matadors, who flapped their cloaks in his eyes; he turned
in the other direction, but was met by three more; then he made a bolt
between them, and darting towards the other side of the ring, gave a
great leap, as if he would go over the eight-foot wall. Of course he
failed, but he struck the planks with tremendous force, tumbling forty
or fifty fellows who were perched on the top into a heap on the other
side. It was the only amusing feature of the whole show. There was a
grand crash, a loud howl, forty or fifty pairs of legs were in the air,
and the audience shouted with laughter. The bull turned around
frightened at the noise, ran to the other side of the ring, and sought
in vain for a place to get out. Then one of the horsemen rode up in
front of the animal and jammed a spear into his face. The bull plunged
at his assailant, bellowing with pain, lifted the poor horse upon his
horns, raised him from the ground, and threw him with great force
against the side of the arena.

The rider, expecting the attack, was prepared for it, and leaped with
great agility from the saddle just as the two animals came in contact.
There was very little left of the horse. There was not much of him when
he was dragged into the ring, but the long horns of the bull penetrated
his bowels and tore them out. The bull jams the horse against the
planks, two, three, four times, and then withdraws. The horse lies a
bleeding, disembowelled mass, and the crowd cheers the dreadful

The bull having given up all idea of escape, plunges at everything he
sees, and the second horse is ridden up before him. No attempt is made
to get the animal out of the way. He was brought there to be
slaughtered, and took his turn. Both horses having been disposed of, and
the bull being completely exhausted, the bugle gives the signal, the
matadors enter the arena, and tease him with their scarlet cloaks. At
frequent intervals around the ring are placed heavy planks, behind which
the matadors run for protection when they were pursued. The bull had no
chance at all; he was there simply to be teased and killed by slow
degrees. One matador more agile than the rest baits the animal with his
lance, and when the bull turns upon him, vaults over the down-turned
horns by resting his lance upon the ground. Then they bring out the
ornamented darts, and thrust them into the bull’s hide. The animal jumps
and plunges with pain, and tries to shake them off, but the barbs cling
to the hide, and the more he struggles the farther they penetrate the
flesh. His shoulders are covered with them, and the crimson blood
trickles down his sides. He stands panting with distress, his tongue
hanging out, and is thoroughly exhausted.

[Illustration: MEXICAN BEGGAR.]

The Governor’s trumpet sounds the bull’s death-warrant. It means that
the cruel sport has lasted long enough, and the chief matador comes
forward with a red blanket and a sword. He approaches the bull, and
flaps the blanket in his eyes; the animal plunges at him, and with great
dexterity the matador whirls and thrusts the sword into the animal’s
heart. The bull plunges with pain, and throws the sword out of his body
into the air. He staggers and falls upon the ground, the chief matador
runs up, pierces his brain with a poniard, and the mules are brought in
to drag the dead animals out. The band plays, the crowd cheers, and the
first act is over. The matadors bow to the Governor, bow to the crowd,
and rest, while a clown dances in the ring to amuse the people in the
interim. Pretty soon the trumpet blows again, two more old crow-baits
are ridden in, and another bull is brought from the corral. The same
scenes recur; the horses are always killed, but the men are seldom
injured. Four bulls are usually disposed of each Sunday afternoon before
the appetite for blood is satiated.

This cruel sport in Mexico is in its decadence. It grew out of the lack
of other entertainment. Until two years ago there was no horse-racing in
Mexico, and this class of sport is unknown outside of the capital. The
young men are not allowed to visit the girls, are not permitted to walk
with them in the parks, and have, in short, no amusements but billiards,
cock-fighting, and bull-baiting. The exodus of foreigners into the
Republic will break many of the barriers down. While the “Gringos,” as
foreigners are called, generally conform to the customs of the country,
they refuse to accept all of them, and the Mexican people are gradually
tending towards a more modern civilization.

The ancient volcano, Popocatepetl, has got into the courts. Not that it
has been bodily transported into the halls of litigation, but it is the
subject of a novel suit at law. For many years General Ochoa has been
the owner of the volcano, the highest point of land in North America,
together with all its appurtenances. The crater contains a fine quality
of sulphur, which the general has been extracting, giving employment to
Indians who cared to stay down in the vaporous old crater. The property
was at one time fairly profitable; the volcano was, some time ago,
mortgaged to Mr. Carlos Recamier, who brings suit of foreclosure. The
papers have been joking about the matter, some asking what Mr. Recamier
intends to do with his volcano when he gets legal possession. He has
been solemnly warned that the law forbids the carrying out of the
country ancient monuments and objects of historical interest.

Good-Friday is observed as a sort of May festival. The _Paseo de las
Flores_ (Flower Promenade) is held along the Viga, the picturesque canal
which stretches away between willows and poplars to the far-famed
Floating Gardens of the ancient Aztecs. The scene along the historic
causeway is astonishing to foreigners, and as charmingly peculiar as it
is typical of a poetic and pleasure-loving people. For miles along the
tree-lined avenue a constant procession of vehicles, horsemen, and
pedestrians pack the space between green booths on either side, while
the canal is crowded with canoes and Venetian-like gondolas. Everything
imaginable on wheels is seen--the stately closed carriage of the Mexican
millionaire, open barouches, coupés, victorias, dog-carts, wagonettes,
even velocipedes and tricycles, while thousands of horsemen gallop gayly

The festivities are kept up, though in diminishing scale, until late
Sunday night. During all these days the shrill, discordant rattle of ten
thousand _matracas_ rises above the babel of human voices. These little
instruments of torture are made of tin, iron, ivory, wood, even of gold
and silver, and in all imaginable shapes. Some are in the form of
humming-birds, birds-of-paradise, chickens, parrots; others are like
gridirons, frying-pans, musical instruments, fruits, flowers, or
reptiles. Everybody must have one, from the dignified grandparent to the
baby in arms, and by twirling them rapidly a most unearthly, rasping,
grinding sound is produced by wooden springs inside. The noise is
intended to typify and ridicule the cries of the Jews, “Crucify him!
crucify him!” as they followed Christ to His death.

On Easter-Sunday the strangest of all Mexican ceremonies takes place in
the burning of the traitor. During all Holy-week men are continually
perambulating the streets, holding high above the heads of the multitude
long poles encircled by hoops, upon which are suspended the most
grotesque figures, in every conceivable color, shape, and degree of
deformity, and all with horns and crooked backs and twisted limbs. These
are filled with fire-crackers, the mustache forming the fuse, and
millions of them are annually exploded. Many are life-size, some having
faces to represent politicians who are unpopular at the time. Some are
hung by the neck to wires stretched across the streets, or to the
balconies of houses. Every horse-car and railroad engine and donkey-cart
is decked with one, and even every mule-driver has one or more tied on
his breast. At ten o’clock on Easter-Sunday, when the cathedral bells
peal forth in commemoration of Christ’s resurrection, they are all
touched off at once, and the air is filled with flying traitors
everywhere over the length and breadth of Mexico.

[Illustration: ON MARKET-DAY.]

[Illustration: SUNDAY AT SANTA ANITA.]

An American who is married in Mexico finds that he must be three times
married: twice in Spanish and once more in Spanish or English, as he
prefers, besides having a public notice of his intention of marriage
placed on a bulletin-board for twenty days before the ceremony. This is
the law. The public notice can be avoided by the payment of a sum of
money, but a residence of one month is necessary. The three ceremonies
are the contract of marriage, the civil marriage--the only marriage
recognized by law since 1858--and the usual, but not obligatory, Church
service. The first two must take place before a judge, and in the
presence of at least four witnesses and the American consul. The
contract of marriage is a statement of names, ages, lineage, business,
and residence of contracting parties. The civil marriage is the legal
form of marriage. These ceremonies are necessarily in Spanish. Most
weddings are confirmed by a church-service.

[Illustration: A MEXICAN BELLE.]

At a Mexican church wedding it is the custom for the groom to pass coins
through the hand of the bride, as typical of the fact that she is to
keep the money of the household. A very pretty feature, as the couple
kneel at the altar with lighted candles in their hands--an emblem of the
light of the Christian faith--is the placing of a silken scarf around
the shoulders of the bridal couple, and then the binding them together
with a yoke of silver cord placed around the necks of both. That “thy
people shall be my people” is an accepted fact, for it is a common thing
for members of the bride’s family to take up their permanent residence
with the husband, and make it their home.

One of the most singular, and, to the foreigner, most interesting of the
institutions of Mexico is the _Monte de Piedad_. The phrase means “The
Mountain of Mercy.” It is the name given to what is in reality a great
national pawnshop, which has branches in all the cities of the country,
is exclusively under Government control, and is not managed, as in the
United States, by guileless Hebrew children. The central office of the
Monte de Piedad occupies the building known as the Palace of Cortez,
which stands on the site of the ancient Palace of Montezuma, on the
Plaza Mayor. It was founded in 1775 by Conde de Regla, the owner of very


mines, who endowed it in the sum of three hundred thousand dollars. His
charitable purpose was to enable the poor of the city of Mexico to
obtain loans on pledges of all kinds of articles, and for very low rates
of interest. He thus relieved the poorer classes from usurious rates of
interest which had been previously charged them by rapacious private
pawnbrokers. At first no interest was charged, the borrower only being
asked, when he redeemed his pledge, to give something for the carrying
on of the charitable work which the institution had in hand. But as this
benevolence was greatly abused, it was found necessary to charge a rate
of interest which was very low, and yet sufficient to yield a revenue
equal to necessary expenses. The affairs of this institution have been
wisely managed, and it has been kept true to the purpose of its
benevolent founder. When pledges come to be sold, if they bring a price
greater than the original valuation, the difference is given back to the
original owners. The Monte de Piedad has survived all revolutions, and
its ministry of relief to the sufferers by these revolutions and other
misfortunes has been incalculably great and blessed. Its average general
loans on pledges amount to nearly a million dollars, and the borrowers
whom it yearly accommodates number from forty to fifty thousand. From
the time when it was founded, in 1775, down to 1886--a little more than
the first century of its existence--it made loans to 2,232,611 persons,
amounting in the aggregate to nearly $32,000,000, and during the same
period it gave away nearly $150,000 in charity.

There is nothing in which the Mexican character appears to better
advantage than in the provisions made for the sick and unfortunate.
There are in the city of Mexico alone ten or a dozen hospitals, some of
which are large, well endowed and equipped, and managed in a way to
compare favorably with the best appointed hospitals in any country. This
for a city of three hundred thousand inhabitants is a more liberal
provision than many larger cities in our own country have. A lying-in
hospital was founded by the Empress Carlotta, who, after her return to
Europe, sent the sum of six thousand dollars for its support. Besides
the hospitals there is a foundling asylum capable of accommodating two
hundred inmates: an asylum for the poor, which is a very large and
important charity; a correctional school; an industrial school for
orphans, having thirteen hundred scholars; an industrial school for
women; another for men; schools for deaf-mutes and for the blind; and an
asylum for beggars.

The Church of England has been established in Mexico for twelve or
fifteen years, having been induced to hold services there by the large
number of English residents in the city; but no missionary work has been
done by that denomination. The Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions
several years ago commenced to labor in the Republic under the patronage
of Diaz, who was then President, and who gave them substantial


encouragement. Among other things, he presented the American Board with
an old Catholic church, where the school is now held daily, and a
printing-office, for the purpose of the publication of a weekly
newspaper and religious literature, is carried on. There are now at work
in Mexico six Protestant clergymen and two lady missionaries from the
United States, twenty-four regularly ordained Mexican ministers, six
native licentiates, and three native helpers. Seventy-five congregations
have been organized, and meet for worship every Sunday, and the number
of native members is about three thousand. There is also a Theological
Seminary, with two professors from the United States and one native
instructor, having a total attendance of twenty-seven young men
preparing for the ministry. Fourteen of these are studying theology,
and thirteen are in the preparatory department. There is also a school
for girls, with two American and one native lady teacher, which has a
large attendance. A missionary paper called _El Faro_ (The Light-house)
is conducted at the Theological Seminary. The work is rapidly
increasing, seven churches having been organized in 1885 and as many
more in 1886.


The missionaries are very often interfered with by the country people,
instigated by the priests, and several of the native preachers have been
shot or injured. These attacks have usually been attributed to
highwaymen, but after investigation have proven to be the work of
assassins employed by the priests. One white missionary was murdered
some two years ago while passing along the road at night, but his
assassins were brought to speedy justice, and wholesome examples made of

In July, 1885, the Romanists of a small town in the interior entered a
Protestant church, carried off all of the valuables, smashed the organ
into fragments, emptied kerosene oil upon the benches, and set the place
on fire. The furniture of the interior was destroyed, but the walls of
the building, being of adobe, and the roof of tiles, the house was not
destroyed. For some weeks afterwards several shots were fired at people
who were on their way to evening service, and a missionary was attacked
in the dark by armed assassins who would have been murdered but for the
courageous use of his revolver. Subsequently all the other churches in
the neighborhood were similarly treated, and when appeals were made to
the local authorities for protection, and for the punishment of those
who had committed the outrages, it was decided that it was the work of
highwaymen, and a reward was offered for the arrest of the perpetrators.
This opinion was thought to be a subterfuge, and it is believed that the
authorities were in sympathy with the acts.

The matter was carried to President Diaz, who ordered an investigation,
and promised an effectual protection to the missionaries wherever there
was need of it. Several days after he issued a proclamation which was
addressed to the commandants of the several departments of the Republic,
and ordered that it should be read before the troops on parade, and kept
posted in conspicuous places for the information of the public. In this
proclamation, among other things, President Diaz said: “These acts of
intolerance, apart from their injustice, are the data by which people of
other lands judge of the nature and degree of our civilization, and for
this reason especially I command that you give especial attention to
prevent such outrages, and to secure to all believers in any religion
the liberty which the constitution and laws concede to them. Catholics
shall be protected in the same way as Protestants, and those who attempt
to interfere with the exercise of any religious ceremony shall be
punished severely. If troops are needed to carry this order into effect,
they will be supplied upon request.”




Guatemala has had three capitals, all called Guatemala City, since the
Conquest. The first was founded by Alvarado in 1524, and buried under a
flood of sand and water in 1541. The second capital was founded the same
year, a few miles eastward of the old site, and was destroyed by an
earthquake in 1773. The present capital is the largest and by far the
finest city in Central America, and is more modern in its appearance
than any other. It is situated in what is called the _tierra templada_,
or temperate zone, about forty-five hundred feet above the level of the
sea, at the northern extremity of an extensive and beautiful plain, and
has a climate that is very attractive. The plain upon which it stands is
by no means as fertile as many other portions of the country, and is
deficient in water. The supply which is used by the people is brought
for a distance of fifteen miles in an aqueduct, which has the honor of
having been described by Charles Dickens in his sketch of “The Flying
Dutchman.” These water-works were commenced as far back as 1832, and
involved an expenditure of over two million dollars, but without them
the city could not have prospered.

Guatemala City is not favorably situated for commerce, as it is a
considerable distance from both seas, and is shut out from the most
productive portions of the country by walls of mountains. The city is
laid out in quadrilateral form, and formerly was surrounded by a great
wall through which it was entered by gates opening in various
directions. It covers a vast area of territory for a place of its
population, as the houses, like those of other Central American cities,
are very


large, and enclose attractive gardens. During the last twelve years,
under the presidency of General Barrios, Guatemala has made rapid
progress, and but for the low and commonplace appearance of the houses
would resemble the more modern cities of Europe. All the streets are
paved, with gutters in the centre, and have broad paths of flag-stones
on each side for foot-passengers.

Antigua Guatemala, the old capital, thirty miles to the westward of the
new, is still a place of considerable importance, and in its time was
far superior to the present capital in size and appearance. Previous to
its destruction in 1773 there were but two cities on the American
hemisphere which compared with it in population, wealth, and
magnificence. These were the City of Mexico, and Lima, Peru. New York
was then a commercial infant, Boston a mere village, and Chicago yet
unknown. But here was a city in which were centred the ecclesiastical
and political interests of the Central American colonies, where millions
of dollars were spent in erecting churches, convents, and monasteries,
which covered acres of ground, and beautiful residences whose shattered
portals still bear the escutcheons of the noble families who ruled the
city and cultivated the plantations of coffee, sugar, and cochineal.

Antigua, as it is now called (properly old Guatemala), was not only the
scene of wealth and influence, and the commercial metropolis of the
country, but the home of the most learned men of all Spanish America,
the seat of great schools of theology, science, and art, for two hundred
years the Athens and Rome of the New World, the residence of the
university, as well as the Inquisition, and the headquarters of those
untiring apostles of evil, the Jesuits. The population is said to have
been about one hundred and fifty thousand. It is not known that a census
was ever taken, and this estimate is based upon the size of the city and
number of inhabitants its ruined walls could have contained. It is
situated in the centre of a great valley, between the twin volcanoes
Agua and Fuego; and as the old Spanish chroniclers used to say, had
Paradise on one side and the Inferno on the other. The beauty of its
position and the richness of the adjacent country, the grandeur of the
scenery that surrounds it, have called forth the most extravagant
admiration from travellers, and have made it the theme of the native
poets. Mr. Stephens, who wrote the most elaborate sketch of Central
America we have, some forty years ago, says that Antigua Guatemala is
surrounded by more natural beauty than any location he had ever seen
during the whole course of his travels. The city is watered by a stream
bearing the poetical name of El Rio Pensativo, which encircles the
mountains and winds about through the plain in most graceful curves. It
has for its tributaries many rivulets that water the plain, and finally
falls over a cataract and flows through the valley below to the sea.

This valley was formerly famous for the culture of cochineal, and much
wealth was derived from this source before aniline dyes drove it out of
the market. The cochineal is a little insect which clings to the leaves
of a species of the cactus, known as the nopal, and in the natural state
the white hair upon its body causes the leaves to look as if they were
covered with hoar-frost. Before the rainy season sets in the leaves of
the nopal are cut close to the ground and hung up under a shed for
protection. Then they are scraped with a dull knife, and the insects are
killed by being baked in a hot oven or dipped into boiling water. If the
first process is used, the insects become a brownish color, and furnish
a scarlet or crimson dye. Those killed by baking are black, and are used
for blue and purple dyes. They are then packed up in little casks,
covered with hides to keep out the moisture, and sent to market, being
valued at several dollars a pound. The great part of the expense is due
to the time and trouble required to detach the insects from the nopal,
two ounces being considered a fair result of a day’s labor; and it is
said that it requires seventy thousand to make a pound. When they are
dried they look like coarse powder.

The first capital was founded by Alvarado, the Conqueror. The exploits
of Cortez in Mexico had become known among


the Indian tribes in the south, and the native kings sent an embassy to
him offering their allegiance to the crown of Spain. Cortez received the
embassy with distinction, and sent Alvarado back with them to take
possession of the country. In 1523 Alvarado left the City of Mexico with
three hundred Spanish soldiers and a large body of natives, and nearly a
year later arrived at a place at the foot of the volcano Antigua, called
by the Indians Almolonga, meaning in their language “a spring of water.”
On the 25th of July, 1524, the festival of St. James, the patron saint
of Spain, Alvarado, under a tree which is still standing, assembled his
horsemen, the Mexican Indians who had accompanied him, and as many of
the natives of the country as could crowd around, when the chaplain,
Juan Godinez, said mass, invoking the protection of the apostle, and
christening the city he intended to build there with the name of San
Diego de los Cabeleleros--the City of St. James, the Gentleman. After
these religious services, Alvarado assumed authority as governor, and
appointed his subordinates.

For fifteen years thousands of Indians were kept at work building the
city. A church was the first structure raised; but in September, 1541,
there came a calamity which entirely destroyed the place, and buried
more than half the inhabitants under the ruins, among whom was the Donna
Beatrice de la Queba, the wife of Alvarado. It had rained incessantly
for three days, and on the fourth the fury of the wind, the incessant
lightning and dreadful thunder, were indescribable. At two o’clock in
the morning the earthquake shocks became so violent that the people were
unable to stand. Shortly after an enormous body of water rushed down
from the mountain, forcing with it large pieces of rock, trees, and
entirely overwhelming the town with an avalanche of earth and ashes.

It has generally been assumed, and is believed by the people, that this
flow of water was a real eruption, and for that reason the volcano was
named Agua. The theory of some scientists is, that the water flowed from
an accumulation of rain and snow in the extinct crater, the walls of
which were broken through by the pressure during the earthquake. Such a
thing is not only doubtful, but almost impossible; and unless the
situation of the crater has changed, there is no evidence of it. Any
torrent of water cast from the crater would have gone down on the other
side of the mountain, and there are ashes upon the slope near the summit
which must have lain there for hundreds of years. About three thousand
feet from the summit there is evidence of a terrible struggle between a
storm and the earth. Great trees were uprooted, rocks were hurled from
their places, and a vast fissure is seen, fifteen or sixteen hundred
feet deep, extending directly to the buried city, growing in depth and
width until it reaches the valley. From this gorge came the mass of
ashes and sand which buried the first Guatemala, like Sodom and Pompeii,
and it must have been carried down by a water-spout or some agent of
that sort.

The cathedral was buried to the roof; but years afterwards, when the
sand was dug away, it was found uninjured, with all its contents
preserved, because of the interposition of St. James. The palace, being
in the immediate path of the torrent, was undermined and overthrown by
its force. The ruins, half covered by sand, are the only remaining
evidences of the massive grandeur of the building, one of whose angles
points in the direction from which the water came. Many excavations have
been made in search of treasure, as Alvarado had the reputation of
keeping there stores of silver and gold. They have resulted in no
remunerative discovery, but have disclosed some fine carvings, wonderful
frescos, and other evidences of the beauty which the place is said to
have possessed. Over its ruins to-day stands a low-browed house, with an
inscription over its door reading, “_Complimetaria Escula Para
Ninos_”--A Free School for Girls.

The tree under which tradition says Alvarado and his soldiers first
camped, and where Padre Godinez sanctified the city by religious
services, is still standing. When I visited it, the most noticeable
things about the place were a wagon made by the Studebaker Brothers, of
South Bend, Indiana, and several empty beer bottles, bearing the brand
of a Chicago brewer.

[Illustration: ALVARADO’S TREE.]

The fountain of Almolonga, which first induced Alvarado to select this
spot as the site of his capital, is a large natural basin of clear and
beautiful water shaded by trees. It has been walled up and divided off
into apartments for bathing purposes and laundry work; and here all the
women of the town come to wash their clothing. The old church was dug
out of the sand, and is still standing. In one corner is a chamber
filled with the skulls and bones that were excavated from the ruins. The
old priest who was responsible for the spiritual welfare of the people
showed us over the ruins, and told us stories of Alvarado and his piety.
He said that the pictures, hangings, and altar ornaments in the church
were the same that were placed there in Alvarado’s time, and unlocking a
great iron chest he showed us communion vessels, incense urns, crosses,
and banners of solid gold and silver. Among other things was a
magnificent crown of gold, which was presented to the church by one of
the Philips of Spain. It was originally studded with diamonds, emeralds,
and other jewels, but they have been removed, and the settings are now
empty. Yankee-like, we tried to buy some of these treasures, for they
were the richest I had seen at any place, but the old priest refused all
pecuniary temptations, and crossed himself reverently as he put the
sacred vessels away. The only people who patronize this church are the
Indians, who, to the number of two or three thousand, live in the
neighborhood, and the ancient vessels are never used in these days, but
are kept as curiosities.

[Illustration: ANCIENT ARCHES.]

The second city of Guatemala was built about three miles

[Illustration: THE OLD AND THE NEW.]

from the original one, a little farther down, and nearly at the foot of
the volcano Fuego. Both of these ruined cities offer the greatest
attractions to the antiquarian, but few have ever visited them, and
very little has been written of either place. In Antigua, as the second
Guatemala is called, is the most extensive collection of ruins that can
be found in this hemisphere. From a tower of the cathedral one can see
on either side the ruins of many churches, monasteries, convents, and
miles of public and private residences, large and costly; some with
walls still standing, liberally ornamented with stucco or carved stone,
but roofless, without doors or windows, and trees growing within them.

The ruins of forty-five churches can be counted, and nearly every one of
them had a convent or monastery attached. Some cover several acres, and
have cells for five or six hundred monks or nuns. Several of the
churches are as large as the cathedral in New York. They are not so much
ruined but that their outlines can be traced, showing the noble
architecture and costly work by which they were built. The force of the
earthquake can be seen by broken pillars of solid stone five or six feet
in diameter; walls of ten or fifteen feet thickness were shaken into
fragments, and buildings with foundations of stone as deep and solid as
those of the Capitol at Washington were crumbled into dust. About ten
per cent. of the houses have been rebuilt, but the remainder are still
in ruins. The inhabitants occupy the old residences that have been
restored, but appear to know little of the place as it was before the
earthquake. They have forgotten what their fathers told them, and no
attempt has ever been made to secure a permanent and accurate record of
the antique conditions.

In the centre of the town is a great plaza, which, as usual in all of
the Central American capitals, is surrounded by public buildings and the
cathedral. In the centre stands a noble fountain, which is surrounded
every morning by market-women selling the fruit and vegetables of the
country. The old palace has been partially restored, and displays upon
its front the armorial bearing granted by the Emperor Charles the Fifth
to the loyal and noble capital in which the Viceroy of Central America
lived. Upon the crest of the building is a statue of the Apostle St.
James on horseback, clad in armor, and brandishing a sword. The
majestic cathedral, 300 feet long, 120 feet broad, 110 feet high, and
lighted by fifty windows, has been restored, and within it services are
held every morning, the faithful being called to mass by a peon pounding
upon a large and resonant gong.


Without warning, on a Sunday night in 1773, the disaster came, and the
proudest city in the New World was forever humbled. The roof of the
cathedral fell; all the other churches were shaken to pieces; the great
monasteries, which had been standing for centuries, and were thought to
be useful for many centuries more, crumbled in an instant. The dead were
never counted, and the wounded died from lack of relief. Those who
escaped fled to the mountains, and the earthquake continued so violent
that few returned to the ruins for many days. The volcano, whose single
shudder shook down the accumulated grandeur of two hundred and fifty
years, has since been almost idle, but is smoking constantly, and
emitting sulphurous vapors which tell of the furnace beneath. As if
satisfied with its moment’s work, it stands at rest, tempting man to try
again to build another magnificent city, as firm as he can make it, for
another test of strength. The people, like the dwellers over the buried
Herculaneum, seem to have no fear of ruin or disaster, because, as very
respectable citizens will tell you, the volcano which did the damage has
since been blessed by a priest.


In one of the old monasteries, established by the Franciscan Friars, is
a tree from which four different kinds of fruit may be plucked at one
time--the orange, lemon, lime, and a sweet fruit called by the Spanish
the limone. It was a horticultural experiment of the Friars many hundred
years ago, and still stands as a monument of their experimental
industry. It was they who first introduced the cultivation of coffee
from Arabia into these countries, and who discovered the use of that
curious insect the cochineal. The latter used to be an extensive article
of commerce, but the cheapness of the aniline dyes has driven it out of
the market. Now it is cultivated only for local consumption, and is
extensively used by the natives, whose cotton and woollen fabrics are
gayly dyed in colors that will endure any amount of water or sunshine.
Thirty years ago two million tons were exported annually, but now very
little goes out of the country.

[Illustration: JOSÉ RUFINO BARRIOS.]

The progress of Guatemala during the last twelve years, and the
advancement of the country towards a modern standard of civilization,
has been very rapid, and it is due to the energy and determination of
one man, José Rufino Barrios, who stands next, if not equal, to Morazan
as a patriot and benefactor of his country. President Barrios studied
the conditions of social and political economy in the United States and
European nations, and used a remarkable amount of energy to introduce
them among his own people. There has been no man in Central or South
America with more progressive ideas or more ardent ambition for the
advancement of his countrymen.

The prevailing opinion of President Barrios is that he was a brutal
ruffian. He drove out of the country many political opponents who
occupied themselves by telling stories of his cruelty, some of which
were doubtless true. The methods which he habitually used to keep the
people in order would not be tolerated in the more civilized lands. But
in estimating his true character, the good he accomplished should be
considered as well as the evil. Until the history of Central America
shall be written years hence, when the mind can reflect calmly and
impartially upon the scenes of this decade, when public benefits can be
accurately measured with individual errors, and the strides of progress
in material development can be justly estimated, the true character of
General Barrios will not be understood or appreciated even by his own
countrymen. Like all vigorous and progressive men, like all men of
strong character and forcible measures, he had bitter, vindictive
enemies, who would have assassinated him had they been able to do so,
and repeatedly tried it. There was nothing too harsh for them to say of
him, living or dead, no cruelties too barbarous for them to accuse him
of, no revenge too severe for them to visit upon him or his memory. But,
on the other hand, people who did not cherish a spirit of revenge, who
had no political ambition, and no schemes to be disconcerted, who are
interested in the development of Central America, and are enjoying the
benefits of the progress Guatemala has made, regard Barrios as the best
friend and ablest leader, the wisest ruler his country ever had, and
would have been glad if his life could have been prolonged and his power
extended over the entire continent. They are willing to concede to him
not only honorable motives, but the worthy ambition of trying to lift
his country to the level with the most advanced nations of the earth.
Ten more years of the same progress that Guatemala made under Barrios
would place her upon a par with any of the States of Europe, or those
of the United States. While he did not furnish a government of the
people, by the people, it was a government for the people, provided and
administered by a man of remarkable ability, independence, ambition, and
extraordinary pride. While his iron hand crushed all opposition, and
held a power that yielded to nothing, he was, nevertheless, generous to
the poor, lenient to those who would submit to him, and ready to do
anything to improve the condition of the people or promote their

[Illustration: FRANCISCO MORAZAN.]

That a man of his ancestry and early associations should have brought
this republic to the condition in which he left it when he died is
remarkable. Without education himself, he enacted a law requiring the
attendance at school of all children between the ages of eight and
fourteen years, and rigorously enforced it. People who refused to obey
this law, or sent their children to private schools, or educated them at
home, were compelled to pay a heavy fine for the privilege. He
established a university at Guatemala City and free schools in every
city of the republic, to the support of which a larger proportion of the
public revenues were appropriated than in any one of the United States
or the nations of Europe. He founded hospitals, asylums, and other
institutions of charity with his own means, or supported them by
appropriations from the public treasury. He compelled physicians to be
educated properly before they were allowed to practise; he punished
crime so severely that it was almost unknown; he regulated the sale of
liquors, so that a drunken man was never seen upon the streets; he
enforced the observance of the Sabbath by closing the stores and
market-places, which in other Spanish-American republics are always
open, and was active for the material as for the moral welfare of the
people. During the twelve years he was in power the country made greater
progress, and the citizens enjoyed greater prosperity, than during any
period of all the three centuries and a half of previous history.

His ambition to reunite the five Central American republics in a
confederacy was not successful; but it was inspired by a desire to do
for the neighboring States what he had done for Guatemala. His ambition
was for the advancement and development of Central America; and while
the means he used cannot be entirely approved, his purpose should be
applauded. His crusade was quite as important in the civilization of
this continent as the bloody work England attempted to accomplish in
Egypt and the Soudan. He was better than his race, was far in advance of
his generation, and while he did not succeed in lifting his people
entirely out of the ignorance and degradation in which they were kept by
the priests, what he did do cannot but result in the permanent good,
not only of Guatemala, but of the nations which surround that republic.


After the independence of the Central American colonies the priests
ruled the country. Their excesses awakened a spirit of opposition, which
finally culminated in a revolution. The famous Morazan became dictator,
and might have been successful but for a decree he issued abolishing the
convents and monasteries, and confiscating the entire property of the
Church. This was in 1843. Led by the priests, the people rose in
rebellion; but Morazan retained his power until an unknown man, tall,
dark, and blood-thirsty, came out of the mountains--an Indian without a
name, who could neither read nor write, whose occupation had been that
of a swineherd, like Pizarro, who had graduated in the profession of a
bandit, and led a gang of murderous outlaws in the mountains. Urged by a
greed for plunder, this remarkable man, Rafael Carera, came out from his
stronghold and joined the Church party in their war against the

His successes as a guerilla were so great that what was a small,
independent band became the main army of the opposition, and he led a
horde of disorganized plunderers towards the capital. The priests called
him the Chosen of God, and attributed to him the divinely inspired
mission of restoring the Church to power. The pious churchmen rushed to
his standard, and fought by the side and under the command of the
savage, whose only motive was plunder. He drove Morazan into Costa Rica,
and proclaimed himself Dictator. The Church party were amazed at the
arrogance of the bandit, but had to submit, and he soon developed into a
full-fledged tyrant, ruling over Guatemala until his death for a period
of thirty years.

When Carera died there was no man to take his place, and the Church
party began to decay. The Liberals gathered force and began a
revolution. In their ranks was an obscure young man from the borders of
Mexico, from a valley which produced Juarez, the liberator of Mexico,
Diaz, the president of that republic, and other famous men. He began to
show military skill and force of character, and when the Church party
was overthrown and the Liberal leader was proclaimed President, Rufino
Barrios became the general of the army. He soon resigned, however, and
returned to his coffee plantation on the borders of Mexico. But the
revival of the Church party shortly after caused him to return to
military life, and when the Liberal president died, he was, in 1873,
chosen his successor.


From that date until 1885 there was but one man in Guatemala, and he was
Barrios. He began his career by adopting the policy that Morazan had
failed to enforce. He expelled the monks and nuns from the country,
confiscated the Church property, robbed the priests of their power, and,
like Juarez in Mexico, liberated the people from a servitude under
which they had suffered since the original settlement of the colonies.
Then he visited the United States and Europe to study the science of
government; sent men abroad to be educated, at Government expense, in
the arts and sciences and political economy, and upon their return
placed them in subordinate positions under him. He offered the most
generous inducements to immigrants, and the country filled up with
agricultural settlers, merchants, and mechanics. The population
increased, and the country began to grow in prosperity with the
development of its natural resources, and there was a “boom” in
Guatemala the like of which was never before witnessed on that

Although he found Guatemala in a condition of moral degradation and
commercial stagnation, he educated the people in a remarkable degree to
an appreciation of his own ideas, and by introducing many modern
improvements succeeded in inspiring them with his own ambition, so that
they co-operated with him in any measure for the welfare of the country.
He secured the enactment of laws which have been of great benefit, and
compelled the natives to submit to what they first regarded as hardships
but now accept as blessings. Roadways were constructed from the
sea-coast to the interior, so that produce could get to market;
diligence lines were established at Government expense; liberal railroad
contracts were made, telegraph lines were erected, and all the modern
facilities were introduced. The credit of the country was restored by a
careful readjustment of its finances, and encouragement from the
Government brought in a large amount of European capital. So that
to-day, while the other Central American States are still in the
condition that they were one hundred years ago, or have retrograded,
Guatemala has stepped to the front, rich, powerful, progressive, and but
for the peculiar appearance of the houses, the language of the people,
and the customs they have inherited from their ancestors, Guatemala is
not different from the new States of our great West.

Under a compulsory education law free public-schools have

[Illustration: FAÇADE OF AN OLD CHURCH.]

been established in every department of the republic, at an expense
aggregating one-tenth of the entire revenues of the Government, an
amount larger in proportion than is paid by any of the United States.
Not only is tuition free, but textbooks are furnished by the Government.
In 1884 the total number of schools in the republic was 934, with an
attendance of 42,549 pupils, supported at a cost of $451,809, being an
average cost to the public treasury of about ten dollars per pupil. Of
this aggregate 850 were public graded schools with 39,642 pupils, 55
were private schools with 1780 pupils, 20 were academies for the
education of teachers and others desiring education in the higher
branches. In addition to these the Government supports a university,
with a faculty of high reputation, some of them imported from Germany
and Spain, who are paid salaries of four thousand dollars a year each, a
compensation greater than is received by instructors in the colleges of
the United States, except in rare instances. Under this university are
two law-schools with fifty-two pupils, one school of engineering with
eleven pupils, a music-school with sixty-six pupils, a school of arts
and drawing with one hundred and seventeen pupils, and a commercial
college with fifty pupils, besides a deaf and dumb asylum with nine
inmates. It is required that students in this university shall study the
English language, and in a female college adjacent to it nothing but
American textbooks are used. No language but English is spoken by the
pupils residing in the institution, and the teachers as well as the
principal are from the United States. This system of education was
established about ten years ago, but has gradually improved until it has
reached its present importance, and cannot but have a wholesome
influence in the elevation of the people and the development of the

Having overthrown the religion in which the people had been reared,
Barrios recognized the necessity of providing some better substitute. He
therefore, through the British minister, invited the Established Church
of England to send missionaries to Guatemala; but owing to the disturbed
condition of the country it was not considered advisable to commence
work at that time, and the opportunity was neglected. In 1883 President
Barrios visited New York, where he had conferences with the officers of
the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions, which resulted in diverting
the Rev. John C. Hill, of Chicago, who was _en route_ to China, into
this field of labor. Mr. Hill returned with the President to Guatemala,
receiving a cordial welcome, and the President not only paid the
travelling expenses of himself and family from his own pocket, but the
freight charges upon his furniture, and purchased the equipment
necessary for the establishment of a mission and school.

[Illustration: A REMNANT.]

The reception of the President on his return to the country after an
absence of nearly two years was a royal one, and the journey from San
José, the Pacific seaport, to the capital of Guatemala was a triumphal
march. Of all the honors, of all the attentions General Barrios
received, he insisted that Mr. Hill should have a share, and the
blushing young parson found himself again and again on public platforms,
with the President of Guatemala leaning upon his shoulder and
introducing him to the people as his friend. This demonstration had its
purpose, and resulted precisely as General Barrios intended it should.
He meant that the people should know that he had taken the missionary
and the cause he represented under the patronage of the Government, and
expected them to show the same respect and honor he bestowed himself. He
went still further. He placed Mr. Hill in one of his own houses, and
there the school and chapel were opened. He sent his own children to the
new Sunday-school, and notified members of his Cabinet to follow his
example. He issued a decree to the Collectors of Customs to admit free
of duty all articles which Mr. Hill desired to import, and in every
possible manner showed his interest in the success of the work. The
Protestant Mission became fashionable, and was known as the President’s

The encouragement President Barrios gave to the Presbyterian Mission was
an example the people were glad to follow, and the mission met with
nothing but the most cordial and respectful treatment. The Catholics
looked very sour at the rapidity with which the breach was widened in
the walls they were nearly four hundred years in erecting, but they
dared not utter even a remonstrance against those favored by the potent
force behind the military guard. They saw the monks and nuns expelled,
the churches sold at public auction for the benefit of the public
treasury, and with a muttered curse against the power by which all these
things were done, submitted servilely to his will for fear of losing
what they had been able to retain.

Mrs. Barrios was the loveliest woman in Guatemala; beautiful in
character as well as person, socially brilliant and graceful, charitable
beyond all precedent in a country where the poor are usually permitted
to take care of themselves, generous and hospitable, a good mother to a
fine family of children, and a devoted wife, loyal to all the
President’s ambitions, and an enthusiastic supporter of all his schemes.
Like a wise man who knows the perils which constantly surround him, and
the uncertainty of the head which wears a crown in these countries, he
had made ample provision for his family by purchasing for Mrs. Barrios
a handsome residence in Fifth Avenue near Sixty-fifth Street, New York,
and investing about a million dollars in her name in other New York real
estate. His life was also insured for two hundred and fifty thousand
dollars in New York companies, which, it must be said, carried a
hazardous risk, as there were hundreds of men who lived only to see
Barrios buried. Very few of them were in Guatemala, however, during his
lifetime. They did not find the atmosphere agreeable there. They were
exiles in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Mexico, California, or elsewhere,
waiting for a chance to give him a dose of dynamite or prick him with a


Mrs. Barrios and her children talk English as well as if they had always
lived in New York. While the President himself could not speak the
language fluently, he could understand what was said to him, and
apologized for what he called a misfortune, on the ground that he did
not have the opportunity to learn it until he was too old to master its
intricacies. But he required English to be taught in all the
common-schools, and the children use nothing but American text-books. I
talked with him one day, with his little girl as an interpreter. She was
a beautiful child, about ten years of age, and when she said she was an
American (which means a citizen of the United States) the President
patted her fondly upon the head and cried “bueno” (good).

Several years ago there was a conspiracy to assassinate the President. A
woman, who was the Mrs. Surratt of the plot, and at whose house the
conspirators were in the habit of meeting, did not like the arrangement,
and on the afternoon of the night on which the plan was to be carried
into execution revealed the whole thing to the President. He had the
conspirators arrested, and ordered the men shot who proposed to ravish
his wife, but he pardoned his treacherous private secretary. The latter
rewarded the President’s generosity by forging an order to the
commandant of the prison to release the condemned men. He was arrested
again, confessed his crime, even boasted of it, and was shot also.
Several other attempts were made to assassinate Barrios. The last came
very near being successful. He was on his way to the theatre, when three
men, who had been employed by an ambitious politician for the purpose,
threw a bomb at him. He coolly stepped on the fuse, extinguished it,
picked up the dose of death that had been prepared for him, and remarked
to his companion,

“The rascals don’t know how to kill me!”

The leader of the plot was sent into exile, but his tools were pardoned,
and are walking the streets of the city of Guatemala to-day.

The prettiest and most picturesque of the native costumes to be found in
Spanish America is worn by the women of Guatemala, who are of a dark
complexion, nearly that of the mulatto type, but are famous for their
beauty of form. A Guatemala girl in her native costume makes as pretty a
picture as one can find anywhere. Her face is bright and pretty, her
figure as perfect as nature unaided by art can be, and her movements
show a supple grace and elasticity that cannot be imitated by those of
her sex who are encumbered by modern articles of feminine apparel. Her
head is usually bare, in-doors and out, and her thick black tresses hang
in braids often reaching to her heels.


Her garments are only two--a _guipil_ and a _sabana_. The first is a
square piece of cotton of coarse texture, covered with embroidery of
brilliant colors and simple but artistic designs. In the centre of the
_guipil_ is an aperture like that in the ordinary poncho, through which
her head goes, and it is usually wide enough to constitute, when worn, a
low-neck waist. The ends are tucked in her skirts at the belt. Her bare
arms come through the open folds of her _guipil_, and when she raises
them her side is exposed. Her skirt is a straight piece of plaid cotton
of brilliant colors, like the Scotch plaids, and is wound tightly around
her limbs. It is secured at the waist by a sash, usually of scarlet,
woven by her own hands of the fibres of the _pita_ grass, and executed
in the most skilful manner. These belts in their texture resemble the
Persian camel’s-hair shawl, and often cost months of labor. Very often
the name of the owner, and sometimes mottoes, are woven into the
texture, and they are brought away from the country as curiosities by

Every article the Guatemala girl wears she makes with her own hands, and
the natives of that country are as ingenious, industrious, and
intelligent as are found in Spanish America. Even her sandals are
home-made, and her little stockingless feet look very pretty in them.
The small size of the hands and feet of the men and women is always
noticed by those who visit Guatemala, and they are usually very shapely
and delicately formed.

The costume which has been described is worn only by the peasants. The
upper classes dress just as they would in New York, and the fashions are
followed quite as closely. The women are very pretty, but have the habit
of plastering their faces over with a paste or rouge that makes them
look as if they had been poking their heads into a flour-barrel. This
cosmetic is made of magnesia and the whites of eggs, stirred into a
thick paste, and plastered on without regard to quantity. The natural
beauty of complexion is thus concealed, and in time totally ruined.
There is a Swiss lady at the head of a large seminary in Guatemala City
to which the daughters of the aristocracy are sent. She has forbidden
the use of this plaster by the young ladies under her charge to prevent
the boarding pupils from destroying their fair skins, but over the
day-scholars she has no control out of school-hours. Every morning she
stands at the entrance with a basin of water, a sponge, and a towel, and
puts the girls through a system of scrubbing that arouses their

The natives are fond of bright colors, and have a remarkable deftness in
their fingers, which hold the embroidery-needle as well as the hoe and
machete. The _guipils_ are embroidered in gay tints and artistic
patterns, and a group of peons

[Illustration: A VOLCANIC LAKE.]

returning from or going to market looks as quaint and picturesque as the
peasants of Normandy or Switzerland. The women are short, squarely
built, and very muscular, and carry as much load as a mule. Their cargo
is always borne upon their heads in a large basket, and they seldom
walk, but move in a jog-trot, with a swaying, graceful motion, swinging
their arms and carrying their shoulders as erect as a West Point cadet.
They travel up hill and down without changing this gait, and make about
six miles an hour, being able to outstrip any ordinary horse or mule not
only in speed but in endurance. It is a common thing to see a woman not
more than twenty-five or twenty-eight years of age coming to town with a
hundred pounds of meat or vegetables upon her head, a baby slung in a
_reboso_ or blanket fastened around her hips, and several children from
six to twelve years of age, each heavily laden, trotting along by her
side. Almost as soon as they are able to walk, the children receive
loads to carry, and the little ones come seven, eight, and ten miles to
market every day or so, thinking nothing of bearing on their heads a
weight that would be a burden to the ordinary man of North America.

The men do not carry their loads upon their heads, but upon their backs
in a pannier, which is held by bands around the shoulders and across the
forehead. They are wonderfully strong and fleet of foot. “If you are
going to buy wood or hay,” said a friend who has lived long in the
country, “always take the man’s load. You will get more than if you
bought the load of a mule.” These men come into town driving ahead of
them three or four pack-mules loaded with coffee, sugar, corn, hay, or
wood, which they sell to the commission merchants or at the market. When
they return at night to their homes in the country they never ride, but
drive the unladen mules ahead of them, and many of them are so
accustomed to a weight upon their backs that they place a great stone in
the pannier to give them a proper balance.

Some are very fleet of foot. Barrios had a runner attached to his
retinue of whom some tall stories are told. He was sent as a courier
into the country with messages, and his average speed was ten miles an
hour. This runner was kept pretty busy in war times, and was constantly
in motion. Once he carried a despatch thirty-five leagues into the
interior and returned with the answer in thirty-six hours, making the
two hundred and ten miles over the mountains at six miles an hour,
including detentions and delays for food and sleep.

These men wear short trousers, like bathing-trunks, and a white cotton
shirt, with sandals made of cowhide. The shirt is kept for occasions of
ceremony, and is worn only in town. While on the road they are naked
except for the trunks.

When Barrios issued his decree that the peasants should wear clothing
the country narrowly escaped a revolution; but policemen were stationed
on all the roads leading into the city, and confiscated all the cargoes
borne by those who did


not comply with the regulations and put on a shirt or a _guipil_. The
peons pleaded poverty, when Barrios, who was as generous as he was
tyrannical, furnished the cloth to make the garments.

It is a novel sight to see a native policeman wearing a uniform like
that worn by the policemen of New York--helmet, club, badge, and all.
Here extremes meet. Quite as significant and striking a contrast is
often furnished in the picture of one of these peons, laden down with
his pannier, leaning for a moment’s rest upon a letter-box like those
used in the United States, attached to a telephone-pole; or one of the
gayly dressed women, with a load of vegetables upon her head, dodging a
still more gayly painted mail-wagon, the exact counterpart of those used
in our postal service, except that the coat of arms of Guatemala appears
in the place of the American eagle.

Barrios imported a sergeant of the New York police force two years ago,
bought a lot of uniforms, and organized a patrol system that is
remarkably successful. He put letter-boxes on nearly every
street-corner, and had the mail carried to and from the railroad-station
in wagons made by the same man and after the same pattern as those in
use in the United States. He introduced the letter-carrier system also.
It is not successful, because the natives object to have their
correspondence carried through the streets, preferring to send for it

The military law of Guatemala requires the enrolment in the militia of
every able-bodied man between the ages of eighteen and forty, and when
Barrios issued his pronunciamento they were all called out for service.
Even the hotels were stripped of servants, the business houses of
porters, and all industries of laborers. Jesus Maria was the name of a
male chamber-maid at the Grand Hotel, where all the work is done by men.
Jesus was very patriotic, and made many vows, he said, for the success
of Barrios, but he did not want to go to war, and appealed to all the
boarders who had influence with the Government to secure him an
exemption-paper. He could say a few words of English, and expressed his
sentiments concerning the pending struggle in the words, “La union much
grande; la guerra no good.” That exactly describes the attitude the
United States took in the contest.

When the conscripts come in from the country, rag-tag and bob-tail, in
all kinds of costumes, and usually barefooted, they are sent to the
garrison, where each receives a uniform made of white drilling from the
United States. About every twelfth one bears across the seat of his
trousers or between his shoulders the legend, “Best Massachusetts
Drillings XXXX Mills.” This rather adds to the beauty of the uniform,
and there is quite a strife among the volunteers to secure trousers or
blouses so marked. Each is given a straw hat, a cartridge-box, a gun,
and a blanket, with which they were marched to the front at the rate of
five or six hundred a day, while the streets were lined with tearful
women giving parting words to sons, husbands, and sweethearts. The
Guatemalatacos, as the inhabitants are called, are said to be the best
fighters in Central America, and were inspired with an intense
admiration for Barrios, who had never shown anything but a fatherly
solicitude for the welfare of the common people. He may have been cruel
to his political enemies, and arbitrary in his treatment of aspiring
rivals, but to the masses, the poor, he was always generous and kind.
Much of his strength came from the fact that he always shared the
shelter and food of the common soldier. He never took any camp equipage
with him, but slept on the ground, and ate beans and tortillas
(corn-cakes), which constitute the ordinary soldier’s rations.

Although the hotels are clean, and have better beds and food than are
found elsewhere in Spanish America, there is one peculiarity which is
decidedly objectionable--the bill of fare is never changed. One gets the
same dinner and the same breakfast every day. There is enough and a
variety at both tables, but there is always the same amount and the same
variety. First, at breakfast, there is always soup; there is an
omelette, or eggs cooked as you want them; next comes cold beef or
mutton left from the previous day; then beefsteak, usually with onions;
then beans and fritters. For dinner, soup is first served; second, rice
with curry; next, boiled beef with cabbage; then turkey or chicken; then
roast beef, salad, fruit, and cheese in order. All the native food
(beef, fowls, fruit, and vegetables) is cheap, but flour and other
imported products are very expensive. The hotel-keepers are usually
Frenchmen or Germans. You seldom find a native keeping a hotel, but if
you do, avoid it.

The people of Guatemala have a peculiar way of preparing their coffee
for the table. Every week or so a quantity of the berry is ground and
roasted, and hot water is poured upon it. The black liquid is allowed to
drip through a porous jar, and when cool is bottled up and set upon the
table like vinegar or Worcestershire sauce. Pots of hot water or milk,
with which the coffee-drinker can dilute the cold, black syrup to such a
weakness as he likes, are set before him. This plan has its advantages,
but it takes a long time to become accustomed to it.

The laundry work of the city is never done at home, but always at the
public fountains, which are scattered over the city, and have basins of
stone for the purpose. The wet clothes are placed in a basket and
carried home on the head of the laundress to be dried. Every morning and
evening, Sundays included, there is a long procession of washer-women
going to and from these fountains, with baskets of soiled or wet
garments upon their heads.

Sunday is observed in Guatemala more than in any other Spanish-American
city. Usually, in all these nations, Sunday is the great market-day of
the week, when all the denizens of the country dress in their best suits
to come to town to trade and have a little recreation; but in Guatemala
there is a law, which is respected and generally enforced, requiring the
market and all other places of business to remain closed on the Sabbath.
Sometimes a cigar shop or a saloon will be found open, and the hotel
bar-rooms, or “canteens,” as they are called, do more business than on
any other day but there is no more general business done on Sunday than
in the cities of the United States.

All the city stores sell what is known in the slang of trade as “general
merchandise;” that is, they keep all sorts of goods. You buy your canned
fruit or sardines where you get your shoes or hat, and can fill an order
for every variety of edible or apparel in the same establishment. An
exception should be made of drugs, for the apothecary shops are usually
kept by the physicians, who compound their own prescriptions, and the
drug-stores in Guatemala, as in every other city of Central and South
America, are usually fine establishments. But when you send for a
“doctor” a lawyer comes. If you are sick, always ask for an apothecary
or a physician. When you see a man alluded to as Dr. Don So-and-so, you
may know that he is an attorney of distinction. The notaries draw all
legal documents, as in Europe. Nobody ever asks a lawyer to draw a
contract or a will.

The photographers of Central and South America are almost invariably
from the United States, and there is usually one in every town of
importance. The people are vain of their personal appearance, hence
photography is a lucrative business. But customs differ. In Venezuela,
or Havana, or the Argentine Republic, if a gentleman possesses the
photograph of a lady, he is either a near relative or is engaged to
marry her. Otherwise her brother or father has good cause to thrash him,
or challenge him to fight a duel. If the photographer sold the picture,
or gave it away, he is liable to be punished by fine and imprisonment.

In Guatemala, on the other hand, as in Peru, the pictures of the belles
of the city, whether married or maidens, can be purchased by any one who
wants them at the photographers’, and often at the shops, and the rank
and popularity of the subject is usually estimated by the number of her
portraits so disposed of. Codfish is a luxury. It is served at
fashionable dinners in the form of a stew or patties, or a salad, and is
considered a rare and dainty dish. They call it _bacalao_ (pronounced
“backalowoh”), and the shop-windows contain handsomely illuminated
signs announcing that it is for sale within. It costs about forty cents
a pound, and is therefore used exclusively by the aristocracy.

[Illustration: TILED HOUSE-TOPS.]

The railroads in Guatemala are run on the credit system. Freight charges
are seldom paid upon the delivery of the goods, but merchants and others
expect three or four months’ time, and sometimes more. If a package
arrives with your address upon it, the railroad company is expected to
deliver it at your residence, unless it happens to be very bulky, and a
few weeks after a collector comes around for the freight money.

The cars came into Guatemala for the first time in August, 1884, and
have not yet ceased to be a novelty. There is always a large crowd of
spectators at the station upon the arrival and departure of every train,
and among these are the best people of the place. Twice a week, at train
time, the National Band plays in the plaza fronting the station, to
entertain the people who are waiting.

The Government owns the telegraph line, and charges low tariffs, the
cost being twenty-five cents for a message to any part of the republic.
But the cable rates are very high--$1.15 per word to the United States,
and $1.50 per word to Europe.

The literary people here always spell general with a “J.” Barrios was
the “Jeneral Presidente,” but after his pronunciamento “Supremissimo
Jefe Militar”--Most Supreme Military Chief.

When a letter is addressed to a person of distinction the envelope
reads, “Exmo y’ Illustra Señor Don John Smith”--The Most Excellent, or
His Excellency, the Illustrious Señor Don, etc. One is apt to feel very
highly complimented when he gets a letter bearing this inscription.

Everybody is named after some saint, usually the one whose anniversary
is nearest the hour of their birth, and the saint is expected to look
after them. When a man comes here who doesn’t happen to be christened
after a saint, the ignorant people express their surprise, and ask, “Who
takes care of him? Who preserves him from evil?”

General Barrios was always dramatic. He was dramatic in the simplicity
and frugality of his private life, as he was in the displays he was
constantly making for the diversion of the people. In striking contrast
with the customs of the country where the garments and the manners of
men are the objects of the most fastidious attention, he was careless in
his clothing, brusque in his manner, and frank in his declarations.


It is said that the Spanish language was framed to conceal thoughts, but
Barrios used none of its honeyed phrases, and had the candor of an
American frontiersman. He was incapable of duplicity, but naturally
secretive. He had no confidants, made his own plans without consulting
any one, and when he was ready to announce them he used language that
could not be misunderstood. In disposition he was sympathetic and
affectionate, and when he liked a man he showered favors upon him; when
he distrusted, he was cold and repelling; and when he hated, his
vengeance was swift and sure. To be detected in an intrigue against his
life, or the stability of the Government, which was the same thing, was
death or exile, and his natural powers of perception seemed almost
miraculous. The last time his assassination was attempted he pardoned
the men whose hands threw the bomb at him,

[Illustration: IN THE RAINY SEASON.]

but those who hired them saved their lives by flight from the country.
If caught, they would have been shot without trial. He was the most
industrious man in Central America; slept little, ate little, and never
indulged in the siesta that is as much a part of the daily life of the
people as breakfast and dinner. He did everything with a nervous
impetuosity, thought rapidly, and acted instantly. The ambition of his
life was to reunite the republics of Central America in a confederacy
such as existed a few years after independence. The benefits of such a
union are apparent to all who understand the political, geographical,
and commercial conditions of the continent, and are acknowledged by the
thinking men of the five States, but the consummation of the plan is
prevented by the selfish ambition of local leaders. Each is willing to
join the union if he can be Dictator, but none will permit a union with
any other man as chief.

[Illustration: MAGUEY PLANT.]

Diplomatic negotiations looking to a consolidation of the five Central
American republics extended over a period of several years, but were
fruitless because of local jealousies. The leading politicians in the
several States feared they would lose their prominence and power, and
distrusted Barrios, although he assured them that he was not ambitious
to be Dictator. He thought he was the right man to carry out the plan,
but as soon as it was consummated he proposed to retire and permit the
people to frame their Constitution and elect their Executive, promising
that he would not be a candidate. As he told me shortly after his
_coup-d’état_, he desired to retire from public life and reside in the
United States, which he considered the paradise of nations. He had
already purchased a residence in New York, and invested money there, and
was educating his children with that intention.

Sending emissaries into the several States to study public sentiment, he
became assured that the time was ripe for the consummation of his plans.
He believed that the masses of the people were ready to join in a
reunion of the republics, and had the assurance of Zaldivar, the
President of San Salvador, and Bogran, the President of Honduras, that
they would consent to his temporary dictatorship. He determined upon a
_coup-d’état_. Moral suasion had failed, so he decided to try force,
with the co-operation of San Salvador and Honduras, which with Guatemala
represented five-sixths of the population of Central America. He
believed he could persuade Nicaragua and Costa Rica to accept a manifest
destiny and voluntarily join the union.

Realizing how impressionable the people he governed were, and knowing
their love for excitement, he always introduced his reforms in some
novel way, with a blast of trumpets and a gorgeous background.

The union of Central America was announced in the same way, and came
upon the people like a shock of earthquake. On the evening of Sunday,
the 28th of February, 1885, the aristocracy of Guatemala were gathered
as usual at the National Theatre to witness the performance of
“Boccaccio” by a French opera company. In the midst of the play one of
the most exciting situations was interrupted by the appearance of a
uniformed officer upon the stage, who motioned the performers back from
the foot-lights, and read the proclamation issued by Rufino Barrios, the
President of Guatemala, who declared himself Dictator and Supreme
Commander of all Central America, and called upon the citizens of the
five republics to acknowledge his authority and take the oath of
allegiance. The people were accustomed to earthquakes, but no
terrestrial commotion ever created so much excitement as the eruption of
this political volcano. The actresses and ballet-dancers fled in
surprise to their dressing-rooms, while the audience at once organized
into an impromptu mass-meeting to ratify the audacity of their

Few eyes were closed that night in Guatemala. Those who attempted to
sleep were kept awake by the explosion of fireworks, the firing of
cannon, the music of bands, and shouts of the populace, who, crazy with
excitement, thronged the streets, and forming processions marched up and
down the principal thoroughfares, rending the air with shouts of “Long
live Dictator Barrios!” “Vive la Union!” A people naturally
enthusiastic, and as inflammable as powder, to whom excitement was
recreation and repose distress, suddenly and unexpectedly confronted
with the greatest sensation of their lives, became almost insane, and
turned the town into a bedlam. Although every one knew that Barrios
aspired to restore the old Union of the Republic, no one seemed to be
prepared for the _coup-d’état_, and the announcement fell with a force
that made the whole country tremble. Next morning, as if by magic, the
town seemed filled with soldiers. Where they came from or how they got
there so suddenly the people did not seem to comprehend. And when the
doors of great warehouses opened to disclose large supplies of
ammunition and arms, the public eye was distended with amazement. All
these preparations were made so silently and secretly that the surprise
was complete. But for three or four years Barrios had been preparing for
this day, and his plans were laid with a success that challenged even
his own admiration. He ordered all the soldiers in the republic to be at
Guatemala City on the 1st of March; the commands were given secretly,
and the captain of one company was not aware that another was expected.
It was not done by the wand of a magician, as the superstitious people
are given to believing, but was the result of a long and carefully
studied plan by one who was born a dictator, and knew how to perform the

But the commotion was even greater in the other republics over which
Barrios had assumed uninvited control. The same night that the official
announcement was made, telegrams were sent to the Presidents of
Honduras, San Salvador, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica, calling upon them to
acknowledge the temporary supremacy of Dictator Barrios, and to sign
articles of confederation which should form the constitution of the
Central American Union. Messengers had been sent in advance bearing
printed official copies of the proclamation, in which the reasons for
the step were set forth, and they were told to withhold these documents
from the Presidents of the neighboring republics until notified by
telegram to present them.

The President of Honduras accepted the dictatorship with great
readiness, having been in close conference with Barrios on the subject
previous to the announcement. The President of San Salvador, Dr.
Zaldivar, who was also aware of the intentions of Barrios, and was
expected to fall into the plan as readily as President Bogran, created
some surprise by asking time to consider. As far as he was personally
concerned, he said, there was nothing that would please him more than to
comply with the wishes of the Dictator, but he must consult the people.
He promised to call the Congress together at once, and after due
consideration they would take such action as they thought proper.
Nicaragua boldly and emphatically refused to recognize the authority of
Barrios, and rejected the plan of the union. Costa Rica replied in the
same manner. Her President telegraphed Barrios that she wanted no union
with the other Central American States, was satisfied with her own
independence, and recognized no dictator. Her people would protect their
soil and defend their liberty, and would appeal to the civilized world
for protection against any unwarranted attack upon her freedom.

The policy of Nicaragua was governed by the influence of a firm of
British merchants in Leon with which President Cardenas has a pecuniary
interest, and by whom his official acts are controlled. The policy of
Costa Rica was governed by a conservative sentiment that has always
prevailed in that country, while the influence of Mexico was felt
throughout the entire group of nations. As soon as the proclamation of
Barrios was announced at the capital of the latter republic, President
Diaz ordered an army into the field, and telegraphed offers of
assistance to Nicaragua, San Salvador, and Costa Rica, with threats of
violence to Honduras if she yielded submission to Barrios. Mexico was
always jealous of Guatemala. The boundary-line between the two nations
is unsettled, and a rich tract of country is in dispute. Feeling a
natural distrust of the power below her, strengthened by consolidation
with the other States, Mexico was prepared to resist the plans of
Barrios to the last degree, and sent him a declaration of war.

[Illustration: A NATIVE SANDAL.]

In the mean time Barrios appealed for the approval of the United States
and the nations of Europe. During the brief administration of President
Garfield he visited Washington, and there received assurances of
encouragement from Mr. Blaine in his plan to reorganize the Central
American Confederacy. Their personal interviews were followed by an
extended correspondence, and no one was so fully informed of the plans
of Barrios as Mr. Henry C. Hall, the United States minister at

Unfortunately the cable to Europe and the United States was under the
control of San Salvador, landing at La Libertad, the principal port of
that republic. Here was the greatest obstacle in the way of Barrios’s
success. All his messages to foreign governments were sent by telegraph
overland to La Libertad for transmission by cable from that place, but
none of them reached their destination. The commandant of the port,
under orders from Zaldivar, seized the office and suppressed the
messages. Barrios took pains to inform the foreign powers fully of his
plans, and the motives which prompted them, and to each he repeated the
assurance that he was not inspired by personal ambition, and would
accept only a temporary dictatorship. As soon as a constitutional
convention of delegates from the several republics could assemble he
would retire, and permit the choice of a President of the consolidated
republics by a popular election, he himself under no circumstances to be
a candidate. But these messages were never sent. In place of them
Zaldivar transmitted a series of despatches misrepresenting the
situation, and appealing for protection against the tyranny of Barrios.
Thus the Old World was not informed of the motives and intentions of the
man and the situation of the republics.

The replies of foreign nations and the comments of the press, based upon
the falsehoods of Zaldivar, had a very depressing effect upon the
people. They were more or less doctored before publication, and bogus
bulletins were posted for the purpose of deceiving the people. The
inhabitants of San Salvador were led to believe that naval fleets were
on their way from the United States and Europe to forcibly prevent the
consolidation of the republics, that an army was on its way from Mexico
overland to attack Guatemala on the north, and that several transports
loaded with troops had left New Orleans for the east coast of Nicaragua
and Honduras.

The United States Coast Survey ship _Ranger_, carrying four small guns,
happening to enter at La Union, Nicaragua, engaged in its regular
duties, was magnified into a fleet of hundreds of thousands of tons; and
when the people of San Salvador and Nicaragua were convinced that
submission to Barrios would require them to engage the combined forces
of Europe and the United States, they rose in resistance and supported
Zaldivar in his treachery.

The effect in Guatemala was similar, although not so pronounced. There
was a reversion of feeling against the Government. The moneyed men, who
in their original enthusiasm tendered their funds to the President,
withdrew their promises; the common people were nervous, and lost their
confidence in their hero; while the Diplomatic Corps, representing every
nation of importance on the globe, were in a state of panic because
they received no instructions from home. The German and French
ministers, like the minister from the United States, were favorable to
the plans of Barrios; the Spanish minister was outspoken in opposition;
the English and Italian ministers non-committal; but none of them knew
what to say or how to act in the absence of instructions. They
telegraphed to their home governments repeatedly, but could obtain no
replies, and suspected that the troubles might be in San Salvador. Mr.
Hall, the American minister, transmitted a full description of the
situation every evening, and begged for instructions, but did not
receive a word.

[Illustration: ORNAMENTAL, BUT NOISY.]

The Government at Washington had informed Mr. Hall by mail that its
policy in relation to the plan to reunite the republics was one of
non-interference, but advised that the spirit of the century was
contrary to the use of force to accomplish such an end; and acting upon
this information, Mr. Hall had frequent and cordial conferences with the
President, and received from him a promise that he would not invade
either of the neighboring republics with an army unless required to do
so. If Guatemala was invaded he would retaliate, but otherwise would not
cross the border. In the mean time the forces of Guatemala, forty
thousand strong, were massed at the capital, the streets were full of
marching soldiers, and the air was filled with martial music, while
Zaldivar was raising an army by conscription in San Salvador, and money
by forced loans. His Government daily announced the arrival of so many
“volunteers” at the capital, but the volunteering was a very transparent
myth. A current anecdote was of a conscript officer who wrote to the
Secretary of War from the Interior: “I send you forty more volunteers.
Please return me the ropes with which their hands and legs are tied, as
I shall need to bind the quota from the next town.”

In the city of San Salvador many of the merchants closed their stores,
and concealed themselves to avoid the payment of forced loans. The
Government called a “Junta,” or meeting of the wealthy residents, each
one being personally notified by an officer that his attendance was
required, and there the Secretary of War announced that a million
dollars for the equipment of troops must be raised instantly. The
Government, he said, was assured of the aid of foreign powers to defeat
the plans of Barrios, but until the armies and navies of Europe and the
United States could reach the coast the republic must protect itself.
Each merchant and _estancianado_ was assessed a certain amount, to make
the total required, and was required to pay it into the Treasury within
twenty-four hours. Some responded promptly, others procrastinated, and a
few flatly refused. The latter were thrust into jail, and the
confiscation of their property threatened unless they paid. In one or
two cases the threat was executed; but, with cold sarcasm, the day after
the meeting the _Official Gazette_ announced that the patriotic citizens
of San Salvador had voluntarily come to the assistance of the Government
with their arms and means, and had tendered financial aid to the amount
of one million dollars, the acceptance of which the President was now

Barrios, knowing that the army of Salvador would invade Guatemala and
commence an offensive campaign, so as to occupy the attention of the
people, ordered a detachment of troops to the frontier, and decided to
accompany them. The evening before he started there was what is called
“a grand _funcion_” at the National Theatre. All of the military bands
assembled at the capital--a dozen or more--were consolidated for the
occasion, and between the acts performed a march composed by a local
musician in honor of the Union of Central America, and dedicated to
General Barrios. A large screen of sheeting was elaborately painted with
the inscription,

    “_All hail the Union of the Republic!_”
    “_Long live the Dictator and the Generalissimo,_”
    “_J. Rufino Barrios!_”

This was attached to heavy rollers, to be dropped in front of the stage
instead of the regular curtain at the end of the second act of the play,
for the purpose of creating a sensation; and a sensation it did
create--an unexpected and frightful one.

As the orchestra commenced to play the new march the curtain was lowered
slowly, and the audience greeted it with tremendous applause, rising to
their feet, shouting, and waving their hats and handkerchiefs. But
through the blunder of the stage carpenter the weights were too heavy
for the cotton sheeting; the banner split, and the heavy rollers at the
bottom fell over into the orchestra, severely wounding several of the
musicians. As fate would have it, the rent was directly through the name
of Barrios. The people, naturally superstitious, were horrified, and
stood aghast at this omen of disaster. The cheering ceased instantly,
and a dead silence prevailed, broken only by the noise of the musicians
under the wreck struggling to recover their feet. A few of the more
courageous friends of the President attempted to revive the applause,
but met with a miserable failure. Strong men shuddered, women fainted,
and Mrs. Barrios left the theatre, unable to control her emotion. The
play was suspended; the audience departed to discuss the omen, and
everybody agreed that Barrios’s _coup-d’état_ would fail.

The President left the city at the head of his army for the frontier of
San Salvador, his wife accompanying him a few miles on the way. A few
days later a small detachment of the Guatemala army, commanded by a son
of Barrios, started out on a scouting expedition, and were attacked by
an overwhelming force of Salvadorians. The young captain was killed by
the first volley, and his company were stampeded. Leaving his body on
the field, they retreated in confusion to headquarters. When Barrios
heard of the disaster he leaped upon his horse, called upon his men to
follow him, and started in pursuit of the men who had killed his son.
The Salvadorians, expecting to be pursued, lay in ambush, and the
Dictator, while galloping down the road at the head of a squadron of
cavalry, was picked off by a sharpshooter and died instantly. His men
took his body and that of his son, which was found by the roadside, and
carried them back to camp. A courier was despatched to the nearest
telegraph station with a message to the capital conveying the sad news.
It was not unexpected; since the omen at the theatre, no one supposed
the Dictator would return alive. All but himself had lost confidence,
and it transpired that even he went to the front with a presentiment of
disaster, for among his papers was found this peculiar will, written by
himself a few moments before his departure.


     “I am in full campaign, and make my declaration as a soldier.

     “My legitimate wife is Donna Francisca Apaucio vel Vecusidario de

     “During our marriage we have had seven children, as follows:
     Elaine, Luz, José, Maria, Carlos, Rufino, and Francisca.

     “Donna Francisca is the sole owner of all my properties and
     interest whatsoever. She will know how much to give our children
     when they arrive at maturity, and I have full confidence in her.

     “She may give to my nephew, Luciano Barrios, in two or three
     instalments, $25,000, for the kindness which this nephew has
     rendered to me, and which I doubt not he will continue to render to
     my wife Donna Francisca.

     “She will continue to provide for the education of Antonio Barrios,
     who is now in the United States of America.

     “She is empowered to demand and collect all debts due to me in this
     country and abroad. The overseers and administrators of my
     properties, wherever they may be, shall account only to Donna
     Francisca or the person whom she may name.

     “It is five o’clock in the morning. At this moment I start forth to
     Jutiapa, where the army is.


     “MONDAY, _March 23, 1885_.”

The attempt to reunite the republic ended with the death of the
Dictator, and the whole country was thrown into confusion. In Guatemala
City anarchy prevailed. The enemies of Barrios did not fear a dead lion,
and kicked his body. They came out in force, stoned his house, and his
beautiful wife was forced to seek the protection of the United States
minister, whose secretary escorted her to San José, where she took a
steamer for San Francisco, and has since resided in New York.

Señor Sinibaldi, the Vice-president of the republic, called the Congress
together, and a new election was ordered, at which Señor Barrillas, a
man of excellent ability and wise discretion, was chosen President of
the republic.



In 1540 Cortez, the Conqueror of Mexico, directed Alonzo Caceres, one of
his lieutenants, to proceed with an army of one thousand men to the
Province of Honduras, which had been subdued by Alvarado a few years
before, and select a suitable site for a city midway between the two
oceans. Caceres was a pioneer of most excellent discretion, and so good
a judge of distance was he that if a straight line were drawn from the
Atlantic to the Pacific, the centre would be just three miles north of
the plaza of Comayagua. A modern engineer, with all the scientific
appliances at his disposal, could not have obeyed instructions more
accurately; and as for location, there are few finer sites in the world
than the elevated plain upon which the little capital of Honduras
stands. A semicircle of mountains enclose it, with a wall of peaks six
and seven thousand feet high upon one side, while upon the other a great
plain stretches away nearly forty miles, gradually sloping to the
eastward. The altitude of the city is about twenty-three hundred feet
above the sea, and the climate is a perpetual June, the thermometer
seldom varying more than twenty degrees during the entire year, and
averaging about 75° Fahrenheit. The soil is deep, rich, and fertile, and
the productions of the plain are tropical; but beyond the city, in the
foothills of the mountains and upon their slopes, corn, wheat, and other
staples of the temperate zones can be raised in enormous quantities with
a minimum of labor. The pineapple and the palm tree are growing within
two hours’ ride of waving wheat-fields, while orange and apple orchards
stand within sight of each other.


Comayagua is said to have at one time contained nearly thirty thousand
inhabitants, but at present it has no more than one-fifth of that
number; for, like all of the Central American cities, its population has
been reduced since the independence of the country, and, like the most
of them, it is in a state of decay. Everything is dilapidated, and
nothing is ever repaired. No sign of prosperity appears anywhere.
Commercial stagnation has been its normal condition for sixty years, and
the indolence and indifference of the people has not been disturbed for
that period, except by political insurrections. No one seems to have
anything to do. The aristocrats swing lazily in their hammocks, or
discuss politics over the counters of the _tiendas_, or at the club,
while the poor beg in the streets, and manage to sustain life upon the
fruits which Nature has so profligately showered upon them. Nowhere
upon the earth’s surface exist greater inducements to labor, nowhere can
so much be produced with so little effort; and the vast resources of the
country present the most tempting opportunity for capital and
enterprise, for nearly every acre of the land is susceptible to some
sort of profitable development.


The area of Honduras is about the same as that of Ohio, and the
inhabitants number from three to four hundred thousand, according to the
guess of the well informed, but no census has been taken for a quarter
of a century, and the last enumeration was so inaccurate as to discredit
itself. In ancient times the population must have been very dense.

It is as difficult and as long a journey to reach the capital of
Honduras from New York as the capital of Siam or Siberia. One must go by
steamer to Truxillo, the chief Atlantic port, or to Amapala, on the Bay
of Fonseca, on the Pacific side--a voyage of from fifteen to twenty days
by either route--and then ride for twelve days on mule-back over the
mountains, without any of the accommodations or comforts known to modern
travel, and not even one clean or comfortable inn. When the capital is
reached there is no hotel to stop at, and one must trespass upon the
hospitality of the citizens, or seek some boarding-place through the aid
of a local merchant or priest.


The President is General Bogran, a man who came into power by a peaceful
revolution in 1885, to succeed Marco A. Soto, who fled that year to San
Francisco, and from there sent his resignation to Congress. Bogran is a
man of brains and progressive ideas, possessing more of the modern

[Illustration: VIEW OF THE CAPITAL.]

and broader views than most of his contemporaries, and if he is
permitted to carry out his plans Honduras will make rapid speed in the
development of her great natural resources. He is offering tempting
inducements to foreign capital and immigration, has given liberal
concessions to Americans who desire to enter the country, and is wisely
endeavoring to induce some one to construct the Interoceanic Railway,
which was surveyed fifty years ago, and twenty-seven miles of which has
already been built and at intervals operated. But the discontented
element in the country, in league with his predecessor, who now lives in
New York, are surrounding him with obstacles and harassing him with all
sorts of embarrassments, so that his success is made doubtful. Bogran
spends very little of his time at Comayagua, and the seat of government
has been removed to Tegucigalpa, the largest town in the country, as
well as its commercial metropolis. Here the Congress sits also, and the
place is to all intents and purposes the capital.


The cathedral of Comayagua is by far the finest building in the country,
being an excellent specimen of the semimoresque style, which was so
popular among the Spanish provinces. Its walls and roof are of the most
solid masonry, but are considerably marred by the revolutions through
which the country has passed, for in nearly all of them the cathedral
has been used as a fortress and subjected to a shower of lead. Near the
cathedral stands a monument originally intended to honor one of the
Spanish kings, but after the independence of the country was established
the royal symbols were erased by the order of one of the Presidents,
the inscription was chiselled off, and the obelisk now stands to
commemorate independence. This monument is the place of public
execution, and criminals sentenced to death are made to sit blindfolded
at its base, where they are shot by the soldiers.


In November, 1886, General Delgrado, the leader of a revolution, with
four of his comrades, was executed here. It was the desire of President
Bogran to spare Delgrado’s life, and any pretext would have been adopted
to save him if the honor of the country could have been vindicated, but
he was convicted of treason, and sentenced by the courts to die. The
President offered to pardon him if he would take the oath of allegiance
and swear never to engage in revolutionary proceedings again; but the
old soldier would not even accept life on these terms, and much to the
regret of the President,

[Illustration: RUBBER HUNTERS.]

against whom he had conspired, and the better portion of the people, the
sentence had to be executed. On the morning of the day fixed by the
courts, the five men were led from the prison to the Church of La
Merced, where the last rites were administered to them, and were then
conducted to the Peace Monument, where a file of soldiers was drawn up
with loaded rifles. The last word of Delgrado was a request that he
might give the command to fire, and he did so as coolly as if he had
been on dress parade.

[Illustration: THE PITA PLANT.]

The residents of Comayagua are chiefly the owners of haciendas situated
in the neighborhood, or small tradesmen, with four or five thousand lazy
and worthless half-breeds, who live upon _tortillas_, or corn-cakes, and
the fruits in which the country abounds. The most conspicuous feature of
their life is the filth that surrounds them, and the freedom with which
their pigs and chickens enjoy the shelter of the dwelling. A few stone
jars of native make, a few rude calabashes, a couple of hammocks, and a
few broken articles of furniture, constitute the equipment of a peon’s
house. The man of the house swings in a hammock while his spouse brings
water from the stream in a large stone jar upon her head, and the pigs
and chickens and children lie upon the floor indiscriminately mixed. The
pigs take the tortillas out of the mouths of the children, and the
compliment is returned, while the chickens forage upon every article of
food within their reach.

Both cotton and silk grow upon trees, the vegetable silk being of very
fine and soft fibre, and frequently used by the natives in the
manufacture of robosas, serapas, and other articles of wear, while the
product of the cotton-tree is utilized in a similar manner.


There is said to be a greater variety of medicinal plants in Honduras
than in any country on the globe, and the botany of the country contains
nearly every tree and shrub and flower that is known to man. They are
all of spontaneous growth, and might be made a prolific source of
wealth, but are entirely neglected. There is one famous weed, called by
the natives _el agrio_, which is a certain cure for sunstroke, or for
prostration from exposure to the sun or over-exertion, and is used for
both men and animals. As it is excessively bitter, the leaf of the plant
is wound about the bit of the bridle of a sunstruck horse, and the
animal gradually sucks the juice from it. The leaves are dried in the
shade, and a tea made of them by the natives to cure sunstroke and other
diseases of the brain or blood.

The interior of the country is beyond the reach of markets, because of
the absence of transportation facilities. In this respect the people are
no further advanced than they were two hundred years ago. The only
wagon-roads in the country are one built by a party of Americans near
San Pedro, in the west, and a few miles of a national highway that a
century ago was begun for the purpose of connecting Amapala, the Pacific
port, with Tegucigalpa.


Honduras has the finest fluvial system in Central America. There are few
countries with such available water facilities, both for transportation
and manufacturing powers, and it has the finest harbors on both
coasts--all wasted because of the indolence of the people. The
Government has given several liberal concessions in timber and
agricultural lands to secure the opening of its rivers to navigation,
and for the construction of railways from the coast to the interior.
Some of these grants are in the hands of responsible and capable
companies, and if the peace of the country is assured, and immigrants
can be induced to settle there, a rapid development of its resources is

Ten years ago the telegraph was unknown, and there was no postal system
in the interior. All communications were transmitted from place to place
by messengers, who were famous for their endurance and swiftness of
foot. The letter or package to be conveyed was first wrapped in cloth
and then fastened around the loins of the carrier. This system is still
in vogue for the transmission of letters, packages, and money. The
couriers, or _cozeos_, are noted for being trusty and courageous; they
travel long distances over the mountains and through the forest,
generally by routes known only to themselves.


Within the last eight years every town of importance has been connected
with the capital by lines of telegraph. Before its construction
information of the utmost importance could not reach the capital from
the remote points in less than ten or twelve days. The Government saw
the necessity of some better and quicker method for transmitting
information, and constructed these lines. They are owned and operated
entirely by the Government, and from them a considerable revenue is
realized. For the purpose of sending a message, you must first purchase
of the proper Government officer a stamped telegraphic blank, which
varies in price from one real (twelve and a half cents) to one or two
dollars, in proportion to the number of words which it is to contain.
The distance the message is to travel makes no difference in the price,
provided its destination is within any of the republics of Central
America. When the message is written on the blank it is taken to the
telegraph-office, and if the charge for the number of words contained in
the message corresponds with the stamped blank it is forwarded.

[Illustration: A MODERN TOWN.]

Every department of Honduras possesses more or less mineral wealth, and
within the limits of the country almost every metal known to man is
found. The discoveries of gold and silver were made by the aborigines,
who possessed much treasure when the Spaniards conquered them, and ever
since the Conquest the mines have been worked with great profit; but
their development was greater under the viceroys than since the
independence of the republic, as this branch of industry has suffered
more from civil wars than any other. As a consequence, mine after mine
has been abandoned, and the districts where the best mineral deposits
exist are marked with depopulated towns and villages.

[Illustration: UP THE RIVER.]

The lack of roads renders it impossible to transport machinery to the
mining districts. The mines are seldom worked to any depth, and the
waste is enormous. But even under this system, rude and primitive as it
is, much wealth has been acquired, and millions of dollars in silver and
gold have been taken out annually for hundreds of years. Of late a good
deal of attention has been given to the Honduras mines by American
experts, and much capital has been invested in purchasing and
prospecting them, but the hope of realizing upon the investment lies in
the improvement of transportation facilities, for nothing that cannot be
carried on the back of a mule can either reach the mines or come from
them. And imported labor is quite as necessary, as the native of
Honduras cannot be induced to do anything in other than the way to which
he has been accustomed, and looks upon labor-saving machinery as the
invention of the evil one.

[Illustration: A MINING SETTLEMENT.]

The city of Tegucigalpa, the commercial metropolis and the actual
capital of the country, stands upon both banks of the Rio Cholutica in
an amphitheatre of mountains, and has twelve thousand inhabitants. The
river is spanned and the two divisions of the town connected by an
ancient bridge with some fine arches of stone. The suburb is called
Comayaguaita (Little Comayagua). The streets are well paved, in the same
manner as other Spanish American cities, with a gutter in the centre, to
which they slope from both sides. This gutter is always full of weeds
and dust and filth, but seldom of water; and although the hills which
half surround the city are full of running streams, with a fall
sufficient to force water to the tower of the cathedral, it has never
occurred to the inhabitants to utilize them. Every drop of water used
for any purpose in the city is carried, in an earthen jar on the top of
some woman’s head, from the river at the bottom of a gorge a hundred
feet deep.

[Illustration: VIEW IN NICARAGUA.]

The houses in Tegucigalpa show much more evidence of prosperity than
those of Comayagua, and are kept more tidy and in better repair. They
are usually painted either a dead white or pink, blue, yellow, green, or
some other very pronounced color, while often a native amateur artist
tries his hand at exterior decoration, and endeavors to make the walls
of adobe look as if they were made of marble.

[Illustration: AN INTERIOR PLAIN.]

Somehow or another Tegucigalpa always looks new. The grass is growing in
the streets, and there are many other indications of commercial
stagnation, but the people do not let their houses show how poor and
indolent they are. These two national characteristics, moreover, do not
appear in any form in the city. It is not only the present headquarters
of the Government and of commercial affairs, but it is the centre of
fashionable life and the residence of the aristocracy of Honduras.
Two-thirds of the white people in the republic live here, and the other
third come here to get their clothes, so that the city is by comparison

The numerous farms surrounding the city are capable of enormous
production, and some of them are still profitably operated, while many
have gone to waste. The staples are sugar, coffee, cocoa, and other
tropical products, which require and receive little attention. The
buildings upon these plantations are all very old, but are still in good
condition. The chief dwelling is commonly large and comfortable, built
of adobe and roofed with imported tiles, and located where it can secure
a good natural water supply. There is usually but one floor, no ceiling,
nor glass in the windows, for the climate does not require it, and glass
is expensive. The windows are protected with iron bars and heavy
mahogany shutters. As little timber as possible is used, because all dry
wood is subject to destruction from a little insect called the
_comojeu_, which honey-combs every rafter, joist, and beam in a building
as soon as the sap is exhausted, and the interiors of the houses have to
be restored at intervals of a few years.

Most of the churches are in a dilapidated condition, and have been
divested of their former ornaments and riches by the hands of vandals
during revolutions. The cathedral was erected at the expense of a devout
and wealthy padre, and was once a fine building, but is now in a sad
state of decay.

What will impress the traveller at once in Tegucigalpa is the entire
absence of carriages. I do not believe there is one in the country, any
more than there is a chimney or an overcoat, and for the same
reason--the people do not need them. All roads, it was said, lead to
Rome, but no roads lead to the capital of Honduras except a few short
ones, narrow and stony, like the way of salvation, and hedged about with
divers trials and pitfalls, from the neighboring plantations, and are
used only by rude ox-carts. Everybody goes on horseback, and all the
transportation is done on the backs of mules and men. Long caravans of
pack animals are coming and going to and from the sea-coast daily over
the mountain trails, and there is a class of Indians called Cargadors
who carry a cargo of a hundred pounds or so upon their backs, and run
at a jog-trot for hours at a time, making the same journey twice as
rapidly as a mule. Their loads are strapped to their backs on a wicker
frame, and by a broad band passing around the forehead.

[Illustration: ONE OF THE BACK STREETS.]

At breakfast chocolate often takes the place of coffee, and it is
prepared from the cocoa-bean in a manner different from that in use in
other countries. A handful or two of cocoa-beans, with a few
vanilla-beans or sticks of cinnamon, and a much larger amount of raw
sugar, are ground up together by the _matete_--that is, by being rubbed
between two stones--and moistened until it is reduced to paste; then it
is rolled out in little balls as large as a chocolate cream, and allowed
to harden. A plate of these is placed upon the table, each member of the
family takes as many as he or she chooses, drops them in a cup, and
pours boiling milk upon them. They soon dissolve, and are very

The shops, or _tiendas_, of Tegucigalpa display very few goods that are
pretty or costly, and are usually “general merchandise” stores, such as
are found in the country villages of the United States--a few drugs and
dry goods, a little hardware, patent-leather boots and elaborately
stitched kid shoes for ladies--often white or pink or blue, for the
ladies affect bright-colored foot-gear--some cutlery and crockery, and
other household articles. Nearly all sales are on credit, even if the
purchaser have the money in his pocket, for the custom of the country is
not to do anything to-day that can be postponed.


The ladies usually do their shopping in the morning before breakfast,
which is served at eleven o’clock, for the afternoons are given up to
siestas. Most of the business of the city is done before breakfast, and
from eleven o’clock until four in the afternoon the streets are empty
and most of the stores are closed. Activity is resumed at the latter
hour, and continues until eight or nine o’clock in the evening.

[Illustration: MAKING TORTILLAS.]

Every woman goes to mass at seven in the morning, but a man is seldom
seen to enter a church except on feast-day or to attend a funeral. All
their religion is crammed into Holy-week, when they are very pious.

The schools of the republic are nominally free, but there are few of
them; education is compulsory, but the law is not enforced. The school
funds have usually been stolen, or diverted to other purposes, and only
in the cities, where public sentiment demands it, are schools
sustained. There is a university at Tegucigalpa which is said to have
been once an institution of some importance, but is such no longer. It
has a few students and a small faculty, but those who can afford it, and
who are anxious to secure an education, go to Guatemala or to Europe.

[Illustration: INDIGO WORKS.]

Tegucigalpa is famous for having been the birthplace of Morazan, the
Washington of Central America, and his descendants still reside there.
He was undoubtedly the greatest man any of these republics ever
produced, and had the broadest vision as well as the broadest views as
to the nature of a republic. The fires of liberty were enkindled by him,
and he led the fight against Spain which resulted in the overthrow of
the Viceroys and the establishment of the confederacy. He was born in
1799; his father was a native of Porto Rico and his mother a lady of
Tegucigalpa. He prided himself on the fact that his ancestors came from
the birthplace of Napoleon, and his descendants, to whom strangers are
usually introduced, seldom fail to forget that circumstance

[Illustration: THE TLACHIGUERO.]

in conversation. Before Morazan was of age he was prominent in Honduras,
and became the governor of the city in 1824, when he was but
twenty-five. For fourteen years thereafter his career was one of
singular activity and success, and the people of the entire continent
followed him with feelings akin to idolatry. He was so far ahead of them
in ideas and enterprise that his counsels were not followed, and he was
overthrown by a combination of priests, who took up a cruel Indian of
Guatemala named Rafael Carera, and succeeded in overthrowing the power
of Morazan, not only in Honduras, but throughout the entire confederacy.
The patriot and liberator was afterwards assassinated at Cartago, Costa
Rica, by men whom he trusted as his friends.



A stranger landing at the port of Corinto, Nicaragua, asked the men who
were taking him ashore in a _bongoe_ the name of the capital of the
republic. There were three of them. The quickest of wit answered
promptly, “Grenada;” both the others disputed it, one of them contending
for the city of Managua, and the other for Leon. So animated did the
controversy become that all three dropped their oars, and nearly upset
the boat by their gesticulations. This question is, and always has been,
a dangerous one, and thousands of lives and hundreds of thousands of
money have been wasted in repeated attempts to determine it. If it were
the only excuse for the blood that has been shed in the little republic
during the last sixty-five years, its history would be a nobler and a
prouder one; for bitter wars have been waged for less, and brother has
fought brother to settle questions not only involving a preference for
cities but for men. There is no spot of equal area upon the globe in
which so much human blood has been wasted in civil war, or so much
wanton destruction committed. Nature has blessed it with wonderful
resources, and a few years of peace and industry would make the country
prosperous beyond comparison; but so much attention has been paid to
politics that little is left for anything else. Scarcely a year has
passed without a revolution, and during its sixty-five years of
independence the republic has known more than five times as many rulers
as it had during the three centuries it was under the dominion of Spain.
It was seldom a question of principle or policy that brought the
inhabitants to war, but usually the intrigue of some ambitious man. It
is a land of volcanic disturbance, physical, moral, and political, and
the mountains and men have between them contrived to almost compass its


For sixty years the country has been going backward. Its population is
less than when independence was declared, and its wealth has decreased
even more rapidly. Its cities are heaps of ruins, and its commerce is
not so great as it was at the beginning of the century. There is,
however, a commercial elasticity, owing to the extreme productiveness of
the fields and the ease with which wealth is acquired, that has kept the
little republic from bankruptcy, and promises great prosperity if
political order can be preserved.

Most of the people live in towns, and waste much time in going and
coming between their homes and the plantations upon which they labor.
This is owing to the frequency of revolutions and the milder forms of
destruction and murder that are practised by highwaymen and other
robbers. None but the very poor live along the roadside, and they have
nothing to tempt assault.

[Illustration: CORINTO.]

Everybody rides on horseback, and the animals are plenty and fine. The
horses of Nicaragua resemble those of Arabia, being small but fleet,
spirited, and capable of much endurance. Great care is taken in training
them, and they are taught an easy gait, half trotting and half pacing,
called the _paso-trote_. A well-broken animal will take this as soon as
the reins are loosened, and continue it all day without fatigue to
himself or his rider, making five or six miles an hour. The motion is so
gentle that an experienced rider can carry a cup of water for miles in
his hand without spilling a drop.

There is only one road in the country suitable for carriages, and that
is seldom used except by carts. It runs from Grenada, the easternmost
city of importance on the shore of Lake Nicaragua, to Realjo, or
Corinto, the principal seaport; and over this road, which was built
three hundred years ago by the Spaniards, all the commerce of the
country passes. There is now a railroad along this highway; the
Government has several times made loans to construct it, but the money
was wasted in revolutions, and the track was not completed till
recently. The road belongs to the Government, and is managed by a
citizen of the United States. The cart road passes through Managua, and
thus unites the three principal cities of the land. Over it have passed
hundreds of armies and no end of insurgent forces, and the whole
distance has been washed with blood, shed in public and private
quarrels. Wherever a man has been slain a rude cross is usually erected,
and it is common to see wreaths of flowers hanging upon it, placed there
by some interested or, mayhap, loving hand. At these places pious
passengers breathe a prayer for the soul that has been released, and
they are so numerous that it keeps them praying from one end of a
journey to the other.

[Illustration: HIDE-COVERED CART.]

The carts which furnish transportation are rude contrivances of native
manufacture, and the design has not been improved upon since the
conquest. The body consists of a very heavy framework of wood, and the
wheels are solid sections cut from some large tree, usually of mahogany.
They are not sawed, but chopped into shape, and are generally about
eight or ten inches thick and five feet in diameter, and weigh several
hundred pounds. The oxen do not wear yokes, but the pole of the cart is
fastened to a bar of tough wood, usually lignum vitæ, which is lashed by
cowhide thongs to the horns. There are always two pair of oxen--one to
haul the cart and the other to haul the load, for the vehicle is twice
the weight of its cargo. Two men are required to navigate the craft; one
goes ahead armed with a gun or a machete, which is a long knife, and
answers for many purposes--a weapon as well as an agricultural
implement--and the oxen are supposed to follow him, while the other sits
on the load and yells as he prods the animals with an iron-pointed goad
long enough to reach the leaders. The man ahead assists his colleague by
uttering constant admonitions to the oxen without turning his face, and
between the two, and the squeaking of the cart-wheels, which are never
greased, there is noise enough to deafen the whole neighborhood. The
approach of one of these vehicles can be anticipated half an hour.

Each cart contains five or six days’ forage for the animals, as well as
rations for the _carreteros_. They camp whenever night overtakes them,
even if it is only a mile from the end of their journey. The oxen are
fastened to the cart and given their fodder, while the men light a fire,
make their coffee, and either lie under the cart or upon it to sleep.
Most of the carts have covers or awnings of cured hides, which are
lashed over boughs to protect the loads in the rainy season. The average
rate of speed is about a mile an hour over a good road, but ten miles a
day is fast travelling, owing to the amount of time wasted by the

The cartmen are invariably honest in dealing with their employers, and
always render a strict account of their cargoes, whether they are
composed of silver or coffee, but

[Illustration: AN INTERIOR TOWN.]

consider it a privilege, which they have inherited from their ancestors,
to plunder along the road. Nothing is too hot or too heavy for them to
carry away, and accordingly precautions are taken for the protection of
whatever is likely to tempt them. They have an unorganized union to
protect themselves, and permit no impositions to be practised upon any
of their number, or underbidding or other irregularities among
themselves. They charge so much a journey, no matter what their load is,
and persons having small parcels to be carried have to club together to
make up a cargo, or pay a high rate for transportation. Many of the
carts and oxen are owned by those who drive them, but others are leased
to the carreteros by capitalists who possess a large number. The cattle
come from the savannas in the south-western portion of the republic,
where there are immense and nutritious pastures extending over the line
into Costa Rica.

[Illustration: THE INDIGO PLANT.]


Although the mineral resources of the country are undoubtedly rich, its
future wealth will come, if peace can ever be made permanent, from the
development of the agricultural and timber lands. Beyond the mining
district down to the Mosquito coast there extends a forest of immense
area, filled with the finest woods, and it has scarcely been touched.
The most useful timber is the mahogany, although there are kindred
varieties quite as good, but not so popular or well known. It is more
easily obtained too, as it grows upon the ridges and keeps out of the
swamps, which are full of miasma and mosquitoes. The tree is one of the
most beautiful, as well as one of the largest, that are found in
tropical lands, commonly reaching a height of sixty or seventy feet, and
being from twenty-five to forty feet in circumference. Timbers forty
feet long and eight feet square are frequent, although so heavy that
they are difficult to handle; and the only way fine timber can be
obtained is by taking saw-mills into the forest and cutting up the
timber into sizes suitable for transportation. This is difficult,
however, owing to the lack of roads. Logs five and six feet in diameter
are common, and it is said that the largest trees have the finest color
and grain.

The mahogany is one of the few trees in the tropical forests whose
leaves change color with the season, and the Carrib Indians, who are
employed to cut them, discover their presence by this peculiarity. They
climb the highest tree they can find, sight the mahoganies, locate their
position with great skill, and lead the choppers to them with unerring
accuracy. When the tree is found, the underbrush around it and the lower
limbs are first cleared away before the trunk is attacked. When it
falls, the branches are chopped off; then the log is hewn into shape,
after which it is dragged by oxen--sometimes a hundred yoke being
employed--to the nearest water-course, the choppers going ahead and
clearing away with their machetes the underbrush and small trees to make
a road. When the timber is rolled into the river, it is branded and
allowed to lie there until the rainy season, when the waters rise and
carry it down to the sea.

There are other trees of great value in the forests, and not for timber
alone. The caoutchouc, or rubber-tree--a name which when properly
pronounced sounds like the plunge of a frog into the water--kachunk--is
very plentiful in the Nicaragua forests, although this resource, like
most of the others, is comparatively idle. The Mosquito Indians gather
some, however, which is shipped from Blewfields and Greytown in small
quantities. The quality is not so good as that which comes from Brazil,
as the sap is not reduced with any skill or care.

The average North American supposes that the rubber is obtained like
pitch, and comes from the exuded gums of the tree, but the process is
altogether different, resembling our method of making maple sugar. When
the sap begins to rise from the roots to the branches of the tree,
expeditions of thirty or forty men are organized, who are furnished by
the exporting merchants with an outfit of buckets, axes, machetes, pans,
and provisions, and start into the woods. The _uleros_, as the
rubbermen are called, from the term _ule_, which is the native name for
the tree, are always paid a small sum in advance, ostensibly for the
support of their families during their absence, but which is always
exhausted in debauchery before they start. When they reach the forest of
the ule-trees they build a shanty of palms and brush, if there is not
one already standing, on the bank of some stream, as a great deal of
water is required for the manufacture of the gum. There they distribute
their large cans and buckets through the forest at convenient intervals
and proceed to business. When the _ulero_ selects his tree, he clears
the trunk of vines and creepers and climbs it to the branches. Then he
descends, cutting diagonal channels through the bark with a single blow
of his machete, or knife, left and right, left and right, all meeting at
the angle. At the bottom of the lowest cut an iron trough about six
inches long and four inches wide is driven into the tree, which catches
the milk as it flows from the wound, and conducts it into a bucket on
the ground below. This is done with great speed and skill by an expert;
and necessarily so, to prevent waste, as the sap springs out instantly,
and by the time the spout is driven into the tree is flowing at the rate
of four gallons an hour. A large tree will produce twenty gallons of
sap, and will run dry in a single day. The _ulero_ having tapped a dozen
or eighteen trees has all the work he can attend to emptying the buckets
into the ten-gallon cans that are provided for the purpose. In the
evening the cans are carried to the camp, and the sap strained through
sieves into barrels. In Brazil it is boiled, but in Nicaragua the
natives have a peculiar system of reducing it. There is a plant or vine
called the Achuna, whose sap when mixed with that of the rubber-tree has
the singular property of coagulating it in a few minutes. By whom, or
how, or where this process was discovered no one can tell. Undoubtedly
it was an accident, for the vine hangs from all the trees in the _ule_
forest, and probably a cutting dropped into a bucket of sap some time or
another produced the result for which it is now used. Having their
barrels full, the _uleros_ cut short

[Illustration: A MAHOGANY SWAMP.]

pieces of this vine, soak it in water, and small bunches are thrown into
pans upon which the sap is poured. In the morning the rubber has turned
to gum--about two pounds to every gallon of sap. At the top of the pan
is a quantity of dark brown liquid, like a weak solution of licorice.
This is poured off, and then the gum is rolled under heavy weights of
wood into long flat strips called tortillas, which are hung over poles
under the shed to drip and dry. At first they are white, like the
vulcanized rubber, but with exposure they turn black and become hard
after a few days. Then the tortillas are stacked up under cover until
the end of the season, and shipped to market.

[Illustration: INTERNAL COMMERCE.]

The cocoa or chocolate tree grows wild in the forests of Nicaragua, and
when cultivated yields the most profitable crop that can be produced;
but the republic furnishes but little, comparatively, for export,
although its possibilities in this direction are almost unlimited. The
most of the world’s supply of cocoa comes from Ecuador and Venezuela.

There always has been a prejudice in Nicaragua against foreign
immigration, inspired and stimulated by the priests, who inveterately
oppose all progress and every innovation. A number of German families
are settled throughout the country, engaged in mercantile pursuits. Most
of the large commission houses and exporters are English, while the
hotel or posada keepers are Frenchmen. England furnishes most of the
money to move the crops, as the natives are impoverished by wars or
their own extravagance. The country will never be prosperous until its
peace is assured and its population increased by the introduction of
foreign labor and capital.

[Illustration: HOW THE PEONS LIVE.]

Like other Spanish-American countries, the national vices are indolence
and extravagance. The common people never get ahead, and have no need of
purses, much less of savings-banks. They might make good wages, as they
are naturally good producers, but they always spend their earnings
before they receive them, and are encouraged to keep in debt to those
who employ them, as, under the law, no laborer can leave a job upon
which he is employed as long as he owes his employer a penny. This
system of credit, although it amounts to only a few dollars in each
case, is equivalent to slavery, a peonage which is permanent; for if
the laborer really aspires to be a free man, he is persuaded or
threatened or swindled into renewing the obligation under which his life
is spent.

The aristocracy are equally extravagant. It is a part of their religion,
apparently, to spend their incomes, even if they do not anticipate them;
and the latter is generally the case. Nearly every crop is mortgaged to
the commission man before it is harvested, and the planter is compelled
to take the price that is offered. The peon is in debt to the planter,
the planter to the merchant, the merchant to the commission-house, and
the latter conducts his business on borrowed money; and so it goes on,
year after year, without cessation, each person involved spending as
much or more than he makes, and conducting his business on paper, like
speculators in the stock market, the country growing poorer each year,
with no possible hope of redemption except by an influx of fresh blood
and capital. The climate is delightful, the land is wonderfully
productive, and the products always in active demand in the markets of
the world.

The chief cities are pictures of desolation, and along the roads in the
country are the ruins of _estancias_ that were the abode of wealthy
planters years ago. Much of the destruction was caused by earthquakes,
but more by civil war. The population in 1846 was 257,000; in 1870 it
had been reduced to less than 200,000, and since then there have been
disturbances in which thousands of men were slaughtered or driven into
exile by fear or force. The whites, or those of pure Spanish blood,
number about 30,000; the negroes about half as many; the mixed races,
Mestizos and Ladinos--the former of Spanish and Indian and the latter
Negro and Indian blood--are probably 8,000; and there are supposed to be
about as many pure-blooded Indians upon the Atlantic coast and scattered
throughout the republic. The education of the common people is neglected
and left to the priests, who teach them nothing but superstition and
their obligations to the Church. In 1868 a decree was passed making
education compulsory and free, and providing for the diversion of a
liberal amount of the public revenue each year for the support of the
schools; but the law is a dead letter, and in no year has the amount
assigned to the Department of Education been appropriated. At present
there are but sixty schools, with a normal attendance of twenty-five
hundred, or an average of forty pupils to thirty thousand inhabitants.
There is a university at Leon, with an average of fifty students, and
another at Grenada, with a few more, at which law, medicine, and
theology are taught, under the direction of the bishop; but most of the
sons of wealthy families are sent to Europe to be educated.

[Illustration: A FAMILIAR SCENE.]

The city of Leon is the commercial metropolis, and was the ancient
capital. In 1854 the seat of government was removed to Grenada, during
the great revolution, which lasted for five years, and in which our
famous filibuster, Walker, figured; and the people of the latter city
would not permit its return to the capital of the viceroys. After
fighting over the question for several years, shedding much blood and
destroying much property, a compromise was effected by locating the
headquarters temporarily at Managua, a smaller place half way between
the two, where, since 1863, the President has resided, and the Congress
has assembled every year. The public buildings in Leon remain as they
were at the time of the removal of the capital, and most of the archives
are there, the expectations of the citizens being that they will be
needed for the Government again in the near future; but Grenada keeps a
threatening look in that direction, and any attempt to disturb the
present situation would result in another war, so bitter is the rivalry.

[Illustration: A COUNTRY CHAPEL.]

Leon is one of the oldest cities in America, having been founded in
1523 by Fernandez Cordova. Two years before, Pedrarias Divilla, who was
Governor at Panama, sent to Leon, on a tour of exploration, a lusty old
buccaneer, named Gil Gonzalez, with a few hundred men. He landed at
about the centre of the Pacific coast, and marched across to the present
city of Rivas. Here he found on the borders of the lake a vast
population of Indians under a cacique named Nicaro, and called the
country in his reports _Nicaro’s Agua_, or waters; hence the name. The
Indians regarded the Spaniards with awe and amazement. They had heard of
their appearance at Panama and on the Atlantic coast, but believed that
the stories of their presence, which came from their ancient enemies,
the Carribs, were false and intended to frighten them. Seeing the chief
surrounded by such a multitude of savages, Gonzalez approached with
great caution, and having captured a native, sent him to Nicaro with
this bombastic message:


“Tell your chief,” said Gonzalez, “that a valiant captain cometh,
commissioned to these parts by the greatest king on earth, to inform all
the lords of these lands that there is in the heavens, higher than the
sun, one Lord, Maker of all


things, and that those believing on Him shall at death ascend to that
loftiness, while disbelievers shall descend into the everlasting fire
that burns in the bottomless pit. Tell your chief that I am coming, and
that he must be ready upon my arrival at his camp to accept these truths
and be baptized, or prepare for battle.”

The cacique surrendered, and, with all his warriors and their women, to
the number of nine thousand, was baptized. In his report to the King of
Spain, the pious old Bombastes Furioso claimed the credit of having
converted more heathens than any other man that had ever lived.

In the days of the Spaniards Leon was a splendid city, and there are
still existing numerous monuments of its opulence and grandeur. The
public buildings are constructed upon a magnificent scale and without
regard to cost, and the private dwellings are built in imitation of
them, being of imposing exteriors and luxurious in their equipment and
adornment. There were seventeen fine churches to a population of fifty
thousand, chief of which was the Cathedral of St. Peter, which cost five
millions of dollars, and was over thirty-seven years in course of
erection. It was finished in 1743, and is still in a good state of
preservation, being built of most substantial masonry, with walls of
stone eighteen or twenty feet thick. It is of the Moorish style of
architecture, resembling the great cathedral at Seville, Spain, and is
by far the largest and finest church in Central America. During the
frequent revolutions it has always been used as a fortress, and its
walls, although still firm and enduring, are much battered by the
assaults that have been made upon it.

In 1823, during the first revolution after independence between the
aristocrats and the Indians, there was a fire at Leon which destroyed
more than a thousand of the finest buildings; and the flames were aided
in the work of devastation by thousands of Indian soldiers, who
plundered and murdered the inhabitants. This part of the city has never
been restored, and long streets, whose pavements are overgrown with
weeds and underbrush, are still lined with ruined walls that disclose
rich marble columns and artistic carvings. In mockery of the former
magnificence which their ancestors destroyed, the Indian peons are
living in bamboo huts, enclosed by cactus hedges, on the sites where
once lived the proudest hidalgos in Central America. There is a
tradition that the town was once cursed by the Pope, because of the
murder of an archbishop there, and this accounts for the succession of
calamities from which it has suffered.


The ladies of the aristocracy are in youth usually pretty, and at
whatever age are always proud. For some reason or other they consider
their country far above and beyond criticism, and themselves superior to
the rest of Adam’s race. Ancestral pride is so conspicuous as to be
ofttimes offensive, and the fact that a person born out of Nicaragua
seems to them to have been a misfortune for which no other
circumstances can compensate. This is true among both sexes of the
upper caste, but more especially among the ladies, whose exalted opinion
of their own importance in the universe has never been tarnished by
travel. This feeling has gone far to excite the existing prejudice
against foreigners, and while the tourists are always most hospitably
received, the fact that their stay is only temporary adds to the
pleasure of entertaining them. The most rigid restrictions prevent the
social intercourse of the sexes, and nowhere in the world is a woman’s
honor protected with such great precaution; and for excellent reasons.
No lady of caste would think of receiving a call from a gentleman alone,
except a priest; and the clergy make the most of their privileges,
according to common report.

[Illustration: ANTICS ON THE BRIDGE.]

The ladies are always idle. To do any sort of work other than embroidery
is beneath them, and the number of servants they employ is regulated not
by their necessities but by their means. They are all uneducated, the
privilege of a few years in a convent only being allowed them; and
those are spent in learning the lives of the saints, a little
embroidery, to drum on the piano, and to dance. There is no distinctive
national costume. The aristocracy imitate the Parisian fashions, while
the common masses wear whatever they can get. The Nicaraguans are much
more social in disposition than the citizens of the other Central
American countries. They have _tertulias_, which is a near relation of a
“high tea,” and balls more frequently, and are much more given to
dinner-parties, at which one of the greatest of imported luxuries is

The great annual holiday of the people is known as _El Paseo al Mar_,
(the Excursion to the Sea), but is often alluded to as the festival of
St. Venus, because of the excesses that are committed there by the
people, who are most discreet when at home. But as nobody cares what
occurs at the carnivals at Rome, so can a party of fashionable
Nicaraguans be allowed liberties at their watering-places. In the latter
part of March, when the dry season is far advanced and everything is
buried in dust, after the harvests are gathered and the crops are sold
and carried to Corinto, the seaport, everybody feels like taking a
little relaxation. Preparations are made long in advance, but as soon as
the March moon comes carts are packed with a little furniture and a good
many trunks, and the exodus begins. It is only about fifteen miles to
the beach, but the journey occasions as much planning and preparation,
and is anticipated with as much pleasure, as a tour through Europe.
Everybody goes, the peon as well as the hidalgo, and for two weeks
during the full moon the city is deserted. There are no hotels, but each
family takes a tent or builds a hut of bamboo, and lives _à négligé_
under the shade of the forest trees, which extend almost to the ocean.
The Government sends down a battalion of troops, ostensibly to keep
order and do police duty, but really as an excuse for giving the
officers and soldiers a holiday. Social laws are very much relaxed
during the _Paseo_, and it is really the only time when lovers can do
their billing and cooing without the interfering presence of a duenna.
Flirtations are the order of the day, and Cupid is king.

[Illustration: IN THE UPPER ZONE.]

There are no bathing-houses, and no bathing-dresses are worn. The people
go into the surf as Nature equipped them--the women and the girls on one
side of a long spit of land that reaches into the sea, and the men and
boys on the other. This annual Paseo is the perpetuation of a
semi-religious Indian custom.

Another peculiar Nicaraguan religious custom is the baptism of the
volcanoes, a ceremony which is believed by the superstitious to be very
effective in keeping them in subjection and making them observe the
proprieties of life. This observance is said to be as old as the
Conquest, having originated after the first eruption succeeding the
invasion of Nicaragua by the Spaniards, and is repeated on the
anniversary of the last disturbance caused by each particular volcano.
The priests of the nearest city take the affair in charge, and, followed
by a large company of the faithful, ascend to the crater, and with great
ceremony sprinkle holy water into it. Each of the volcanic peaks in
Nicaragua has been repeatedly sanctified in this way except Momotombo,
the grandest but most unregenerate of them all, who has never permitted
a human foot to reach his summit or a human eye to look into his crater.
Two hundred years ago, after old Tombo, as the master is familiarly
called, had been acting very badly, three brave monks determined to try
the effect of holy water upon him, and started for the summit with a
large cross which they proposed to erect there; but they were never
heard of again, and the people look upon the mountain with greater



From the tower of St. Peter’s Cathedral in the city of Leon thirteen
volcanoes can be seen, several of which are active. There are eighteen
standing in a solemn procession around the lakes of Nicaragua and
Managua. They are not so high as certain peaks in Guatemala or Costa
Rica, but look higher from the fact that they rise immediately from the
level of tide-water, and can be seen from the sea in their full
grandeur, old Tombo looking to be about the height of Pike’s Peak as
seen from Colorado Springs. This gigantic mountain rises boldly out of
the waters of Lake Nicaragua, its bare and blackened summit, which has
forbidden all attempts to scale its sides, being always crowned with a
light wreath of smoke, attesting the perpetual existence of the internal
fires which now and then break forth and cover its sides with burning
floods. At its base are several hot sulphur springs, and at frequent
intervals heavy rumbling sounds can be heard from within its walls. In
the middle of the lake, only a few miles away, is an exact duplicate of
the mountain; in miniature, however, being but one-fourth its size. This
is called Momotombita, the three last letters expressing the
diminutive. It forms an island, from which its peak rises a perfect
cone. Its crater has been extinct for hundreds of years; but the island
was a sacred place to the aborigines. In the forests which now cover it
are the ruins of vast temples and gigantic idols hewn out of the solid
rock. The last serious earthquake, in 1867, occurred without much damage
to the city, whose walls have been several times shaken down in the
three centuries and a half since it was founded.


The most fearful eruption on record in Nicaragua, and one of the most
serious the world ever saw, was that of the volcano Cosequina, near
Grenada, in 1835. It continued for four days, and covered the country
for hundreds of miles around with ashes and lava, causing a panic from
which the people did not recover for many years, and resulting in great
destruction of life and property. The explosions were of such force that
ashes fell in the city of Bogota, Colombia, fifteen hundred miles away
in a direct line, and at an altitude eleven thousand feet above the sea.
Ashes fell in the West India islands, also far in the interior of
Mexico, and showers of them that obscured the sun caused great
consternation in Guatemala and the neighboring republics, while the
people in Nicaragua thought the end of the world had come. Vessels
sailing in the Pacific had their decks covered with lava and ashes, and
several sailors were injured by falling stones; while the ocean for a
hundred and fifty miles was so strewn with floating ashes and
pumice-stone that the surface of the water was concealed. The
anniversary of this horrible catastrophe is always observed by the
people as a great fast-day, business being suspended throughout the
whole republic, and the people gathering in the churches to pray for
deliverance from further eruptions. Since that date the volcano has
continued active, but has caused no damage.

A great part of the surface of the country is covered with beds of lava
and scoria, lakes of bitter water that have no bottom, yawning craters
surrounded with blistered rocks, and pits from which sulphurous vapors
are constantly rising that the people appropriately call _infernillos_.


The city of Grenada stands at the eastern end of the inhabited valley of
Nicaragua, as Leon does at the western end, the two rival cities being
about seventy miles apart. Until its almost total destruction by Walker
and his filibusters in 1857, it was a beautiful town, filled with fine
mansions, and proud of its appearance. The population was reduced during
the civil war, in which the American adventurers played so conspicuous
a part, from thirty-five thousand to fifteen thousand; and although
that was nearly thirty years ago it has scarcely begun to recover.
Grenada was the seat of the “aristocratic” government which Walker and
his allied Nicaraguans overthrew, and was besieged for two years, during
which time the inhabitants endured not only great hardships, many dying
of starvation and epidemics which broke out among them, but suffered the
destruction of almost their entire property. During the days of Spanish
dominion it was one of the most wealthy and prosperous cities in Central
America, and its commerce was enormous. The old chronicles relate that
nearly every day caravans of eighteen hundred mules laden with bullion
and merchandise arrived from the surrounding country, and carried away
European goods in exchange.

One of the largest monasteries on the continent was situated here,
erected and occupied by the Franciscan Friars, who owned extensive
estates in the surrounding country, and continued to acquire great
wealth until they were expelled and their property confiscated in 1829.
It is still standing in a good state of preservation.

The actual capital of Nicaragua, the city of Managua, sits on the
southern shore of the lake of the same name, about sixty miles from the
Pacific Ocean, and is reached by an overland journey of three days from
Leon, which is connected with Corinto, the chief seaport, by a railroad.
The population of Managua is about eight or ten thousand, at a guess,
for no census has been taken since 1870. It has increased since that
date, when the inhabitants numbered six thousand seven hundred. The rich
residents are mostly planters who have estancias in the neighborhood,
and live in houses of one or two stories without any pretension to
architectural beauty or elegance. They are more modern in construction
than those of Leon and Grenada, for it is only since the seat of
government was located at Managua that it has been of any commercial or
political importance. A large portion of the standing army of the
republic, consisting of two thousand men, is stationed at Managua,
occupying an old monastery as a barracks, and the streets are always
crowded with military men in resplendent uniforms. There are about three
officers to every ten privates in the army, and positions in the
military service are actively sought by the sons of the aristocratic
families, who prefer them to professional or commercial careers. The
privates are exclusively Indians or half-breed peons, who wear a uniform
of dirty white cotton drilling with a blue cap. They are supposed to be
voluntarily enlisted, but when troops are needed they are secured by
sending squads of impressarios into the country, who seize as many peons
as they want, bring them, bound with ropes, to the capital, and then
compel them to sign the enlistment rolls.


The National Palace is a low, square edifice, with balconies of the
ordinary Spanish styles, and was formerly the home of one of the
religious orders. The only handsome rooms are the headquarters of the
President and the chambers in which the two Houses of Congress meet
annually. They are fitted up with fine imported furniture, and the walls
are covered with portraits of men distinguished in the history of the

The peons live in the outskirts of the city, in huts of bamboo thatched
with palm-leaves and straw, surrounded with curious-looking fences or
hedges of cactus. They are apparently very poor, and are surrounded with
filth and squalor; but the real, which is worth twelve and a half cents,
will sustain a whole family for a week, for they need little more than
nature has supplied them with--the plantains and yams that grow
profusely in their little gardens. They seldom eat meat, and never wash
themselves. They appear to be perfectly happy, and sit at the doors of
their huts, women and men, both nearly naked, smoking cigarettes, and
chatting as contentedly as if all their wants in life were fully
supplied. Densely ignorant and superstitious, they know nothing of the
world beyond their own surroundings, and care less.

[Illustration: THE QUESAL.]

The environs of Managua are very picturesque. On one side is the
beautiful lake, sixty miles long and thirty miles wide, surrounded by
volcanoes, and on the other are fertile slopes, on which are coffee
plantations and cocoa groves, both yielding prodigious crops. The peons
of the city work upon the estancias when there is anything to be done,
travelling five or six miles each day in going to and returning from the
scene of their labor. The country about Managua must have been densely
populated by the aborigines, and is full of most curious and puzzling
relics of a prehistoric race, which the natives regard with great
veneration. The geologist, as well as the ethnologist and antiquarian,
finds here one of the most abundant fields for investigation, which was
explored and described by Stephens, Squier, and many earlier writers.

The Government consists of a President, who receives a salary of two
thousand five hundred dollars, and is elected for four years, during
which time, if he is not overpowered by some political rival, he usually
manages to amass an immense fortune. A common argument in favor of
re-electing presidents is that they are able to steal all they want
during their first term. There are two Vice-Presidents, generally the
President of the Senate and the Speaker of the Lower House, and either
of them may be designated to perform the duties of the Executive when he
so elects. There is a cabinet, or council, of four ministers. One has
the finances in charge; another foreign affairs, agriculture, and
commerce; a third military affairs and public works; and a fourth
justice, public instruction, and ecclesiastical affairs.

The Senate is composed of fourteen members, two from each of the
Departments, or Provinces, elected for four years; and the House of
Deputies of twenty-four members, or one for each ten thousand of
population, elected for two years. They are paid one dollar and fifty
cents per diem during the sessions of Congress. No Senator or Deputy can
be elected more than two consecutive terms, and no official of the
Government or member of Congress can be a candidate for election or
appointment to any other office during his constitutional term of
service. Ecclesiastics are ineligible for civil positions, and all
candidates for every post of honor under the Government must have proper
qualifications; while all persons accepting pensions from the
Government, and performing the duty of house or body servants, are
denied the right of suffrage or of holding office. There are three
courts, State or Department judges being elected by the people. District
Federal judges and members of the Supreme Court being appointed by the
House of Representatives and confirmed by the Senate, to serve during
life unless impeached and convicted by the Deputies before the Senate
for malfeasance in office. It requires a two-thirds vote in the House to
enact legislation, but only a majority vote in the Senate. The President
has the power of issuing decrees during the recess of Congress, which
decrees have the force of law, but must be affirmed or reversed by
Congress at its next session.

Since the charter of the Interoceanic Canal Company by the Congress of
the United States, and the actual commencement of work upon the
long-projected enterprise, under the direction of Chief-engineer
Menocal, the republic of Nicaragua assumes a position of more prominence
among nations, and of greater interest to the public at large, than it
has ever had before. The failure of the Panama Canal Company, and the
apparent impossibility of piercing the Isthmus at its narrowest part,
has also given the Nicaragua Company increased importance, but Mr.
Menocal and the company of capitalists who stand behind him feel no
doubt of ultimate success.



Whoever visits the little republic of San Salvador, and lands at La
Libertad, its principal seaport, must expect to undergo a novel and
alarming experience. There is no harbor in the country, although it has
one hundred and fifty-seven miles of sea-coast. The shore of the Pacific
is a line of bluffs, with a fringe of beach at the bottom, and upon the
sand a mighty surf is always beating. Ships anchor several miles off the
coast, to avoid being driven ashore by the winds that sometimes rise
very suddenly, and no boat can survive the breakers. An iron pier, or
mole, twice as long and twice as high as the famous pier at Coney
Island, extends from the bluff for three-quarters of a mile into the
sea. A tramway runs from the town of La Libertad, connecting its monster
warehouses with the pier, and cars loaded with coffee, sugar, and other
products of the country are shoved out by peons or drawn by mules. The
freight is piled upon the pier until the steamer arrives, when it is
carried out to the anchorage in large lighters rowed by a dozen naked
boatmen. The cargo is hoisted and lowered by means of a huge iron crane
and derrick, operated by a small steam-engine. Bags and boxes are
tumbled into great nets of cordage holding two tons or more, which are
jerked up into the air by the derrick, swung around to be clear of the
pier, and then dropped into the lighter.

Live cattle are hoisted and lowered by the horns, a lasso being thrown,
one end of which is attached to the derrick, and the animal finds
himself suddenly jerked into the air, and hangs kicking and struggling
until his feet touch the bottom of the lighter, when he shakes himself
to see if he is still alive. It is a wicked way to treat beasts, but
under the circumstances there seems to be no other method. Sometimes,
when the rope is carelessly adjusted, and the animal is young and heavy,
his horns are torn out by the roots, and he falls sixty or seventy feet
into the lighter, breaking his neck or legs, when one of the boatmen,
drawing a knife from his belt, severs the jugular, and hangs his head
over the side of the boat to let his life-blood run into the sea.

Horses are lifted and lowered with greater care by means of a strong
harness of wide leather, with an iron ring in the saddle to which a
rope’s end is hooked.

Humankind are treated with less consideration. When passengers arrive by
a vessel they come to the pier on a lighter with freight, which rises
and sinks with the heavy swell in a manner that is not only very
alarming, but is almost certain to cause sea-sickness. One may have come
all the way from New York or Europe to Aspinwall, and then from Panama
up the coast, without a symptom of the distressing malady, but he is
pretty sure to succumb to the rocking of the lighter at La Libertad, as
it rubs and pounds against the iron trestle of the pier, while he is
awaiting his turn to land. The officers of the vessels, accustomed to
the motion, spring from the gunwales of the boat to the rounds of
ladders that hang down the sides of the mole, and climb them as the
boatmen do; but ladies and gentlemen unacquainted with this method, and
untrained to clamber among the rigging of a ship, are treated to a
sensation that is apt to make a timid person apprehensive.

An iron cage, capable of holding six persons, is lowered to the lighter,
and you are invited to step in. As soon as it is full a boatman shuts
the door and gives a signal to the engineer above. There is a sudden,
startling jerk, you shut your eyes, cling to the bars of the cage, and
feel your heart in your throat. The cage stops as suddenly as it
started, whirls around swiftly for an instant or two, then swings over
the pier, and drops with a thump. The door is opened, you step out,


uninjured, but trembling like a frightened bird, and register an
unuttered vow that you will never land at La Libertad again. But this
feeling leaves you when you enjoy a laugh at the demonstrations of alarm
made by your fellow-passengers who have to follow you, and when you are
assured, as people always are, that thousands have landed and embarked
in the same manner without receiving a bruise or having a bone broken.
It is not so pleasant, but quite as safe, as scrambling up a gangway
from a dock to the deck of a vessel.


Although San Salvador is the smallest in area of the group of republics,
and only a little larger than Connecticut, it is the most prosperous,
the most enterprising, and the most densely populated, having even a
greater number of inhabitants than the land of wooden nutmegs. The
population averages about eighty to the square mile--almost twenty
times that of its neighbors. The natives are inclined to civilized
pursuits, being engaged not only in agriculture, but quite extensively
in manufacture. They are more energetic and industrious than the people
in other parts of Central America, work harder, and accomplish more,
gain wealth rapidly, and are frugal, but the constantly recurring
earthquakes and political disturbances keep the country poor. When the
towns are destroyed by volcanic eruptions, they are not allowed to lie
in ruins, as those of other countries are, but the inhabitants at once
clear away the rubbish and begin to rebuild. The city of San Salvador
has been twice rebuilt since Leon of Nicaragua was laid in ruins, but
the débris in the latter city has never been disturbed.

San Salvador has always taken the lead in the political affairs of
Central America. It was the first to throw off the yoke of Spain, and
uttered the first cry of liberty, as Venezuela did among the nations of
the southern continent. The patriots of San Salvador received the
cordial co-operation of the liberal element in the cities of Grenada,
Nicaragua, and San José of Costa Rica, but were suppressed by the
Imperial power. Its provisional congress was driven from place to place,
but remained intact; it had the sympathy and support of the people, and
defied the invaders of the country. Finally, as a last resort, the
congress, by a solemn act passed on the 2d of December, 1822, resolved
to annex their little province to the United States, and provided for
the appointment of commissioners to proceed to Washington and ask its
incorporation in the body politic of “La Grande Republica.” Before the
commissioners could leave the country the revolution in the other
Central American States had become too formidable to suppress, as the
example of San Salvador had spread like an epidemic among the people,
and its demand for liberty had found an echo from every valley and from
every hill, from the Rio Grande to the Chagres. The five States joined
in a confederacy one year after the act of annexation to the United
States was passed, and the resolution was never officially submitted to
our government. This was before the days of the Monroe Doctrine, and if
the rise of Liberalism in Central America had not been so rapid, the
political divisions of the North American continent might have been
different now, and the destiny of several nations changed.


Some time before the organization of the confederacy the people of San
Salvador had adopted a constitution and formed a State government, being
always foremost, and their example was followed seven months later by
Costa Rica, then by Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua in succession.
Salvador was the first of the republics also to throw off the shackles
of the Church. Indignant at the interference of the archbishop of
Guatemala, who had charge of the Church in Central America, they defied
his authority and elected a liberal bishop of their own. The archbishop
denounced the act and appealed to the Pope, who threatened to
excommunicate the entire population. But the threat was received with
indifference, and the example of the Salvadorians was shortly after
imitated by the people of Costa Pica, in like disregard of the will of
the successor of St. Peter.

The President is elected for four years, the members of the Senate for
three, and of the House of Deputies for one, all of them directly by the
people. There is a senator for every thirty thousand of the population,
and a deputy for every fifteen thousand. The exercise of suffrage is
guarded by some wholesome restrictions. All married men can vote, except
those who are engaged in domestic service, those who are without stated
occupation, those who refuse to pay their legal debts, those who owe
money past due to the Government, those who have accepted pay for any
service from foreign powers, and those who have been convicted of
felony. Unmarried men, to exercise the right of citizens, must be
property owners, and be able to read and write. All voters have to show
receipts for the payment of taxes the year previous if they are property
owners, and bankrupts are entirely disfranchised, the idea being that
none but a producer--one who adds to the wealth of the State or pays
taxes--shall have a voice in its government. None but property owners
are eligible to office.

The President has a cabinet of four ministers. They have in charge the
Departments of Finance, War, and Public Works, Internal Affairs and
Public Instruction, and Foreign Affairs. The Judiciary are appointed by
the Deputies and confirmed by the Senate. Education is free and
compulsory. There is a school for every two thousand inhabitants,
supported by the general government, and a University at the capital
with three hundred and fifty students, studying law, medicine, and the
applied sciences, and one hundred and forty pursuing a classical course.

The standing army consists of twelve hundred men, but all able-bodied
citizens between the ages of eighteen and forty are organized as a
militia, and are subject to be called upon for service at the will of
the President.

The capital, San Salvador (“The City of our Saviour”), is

[Illustration: THE PLAZA.]

eighteen miles from the sea-coast, and has an elevation of 2800 feet. It
is surrounded by a group of volcanoes, two of which are active, one,
Yzalco, discharging immense volumes of smoke, ashes, and lava at regular
intervals of seven minutes from one year’s end to the other. San
Salvador is reached by coaches over a picturesque mountain-road, but the
journey is not pleasant in the dry season on account of the dust, nor in
the rainy season on account of the mud. The city was founded in 1528 by
George Alvarado, a brother of the renowned lieutenant of Cortez, who was
the discoverer, conqueror, and the first viceroy of Central America. The
situation it occupies is one of the most beautiful that can be imagined,
being in the midst of an elevated _mesa_, or tableland, which overlooks
the sea to the southward, and is surrounded by mountains upon its three
other sides. As the prevailing winds are from the ocean, the climate is
always cool and healthful, and the mountain streams are so abundant
that the foliage is fresh during the entire year. Through each street
runs an _asequia_, or irrigating ditch, which is always filled with
water. Pipes lead from it into the gardens of the people, and supply
hydrants for their use.


There is very little architectural taste shown in the construction of
the dwellings or of the public buildings. This is because of the
frequency of earthquakes. The walls are of thick adobe, with scarcely
any ornamentation, and the streets are dull and unattractive; but
within the houses are gardens of wonderful beauty, in which the people
spend the greater portion of the time, more often sleeping in a hammock
among the trees in the dry season than under the roofs of their houses.

The public buildings are of insignificant appearance, and even the
cathedral and the other churches are painfully plain and commonplace
compared with those of other cities of its size. All this is owing to
the fact, as has been stated, that the danger of their destruction at
any moment forbids a lavish expenditure in construction or unnecessary

The women of San Salvador are neater in appearance, more careful in
their dress, and are therefore more attractive than their sisters in
Nicaragua, where, if there is any difference between the sexes, they are
less tidy than the men. The girls in the rural districts always bathe in
the _asequias_ every morning at daylight, and the traveller who starts
out early generally surprises groups of Naiads disporting in the
streams. They plunge into the bushes or keep their bodies under the
water until the intruder passes by, but do not hesitate to exchange a
few words of banter with him, and good-naturedly bid him godspeed.

There is more freedom between the sexes in San Salvador than in the
sister republics; and it is not at the cost of morals, for, as a rule,
in countries where social restrictions are the most severe there is the
greatest amount of licentiousness. The education of the masses has
proved to be the greatest safeguard, and the number of illegitimate
births is reduced as the standard of intelligence is elevated. The
constitutional provision in San Salvador which confers superior
advantages upon married men, together with a law limiting the marriage
fees of the priests, have proven to be wise and effective policy. The
girls marry at fifteen and over, and very few peons reach their majority
without taking a lawful wife.

There is a public theatre, subsidized by the Government, at which
frequent entertainments are given, and nearly every season an opera
company comes from Italy or France. The performances are liberally
patronized, at high prices of

[Illustration: A HACIENDA.]

admission. But the most popular _funcions_, as they are called, are by
local amateurs, the programmes being made up of vocal and instrumental
music, recitations, and original poems and orations. The latter are
always the popular features of the occasion, and the _funcions_ are
usually arranged to give some young orator an opportunity to show his
talents before the foot-lights. There is a great deal of rivalry, too,
among the local poets, each aspirant for honors having his clique of
admirers, or _faccions_, who feel it their duty to applaud no one else,
however meritorious, and to hiss all others down. When two of these
popular idols appear upon the platform on the same evening, as they
often do, there are scenes of sensational excitement and sometimes mob
violence. The subjects of all the orations and poems are usually
patriotic--the praise of San Salvador--for the love of country is a
theme of which the people never tire. The programmes of all public
entertainments are mostly composed of local compositions, national
airs, and patriotic songs. The musicians prefer the scores of their own
composers, and everything foreign is to a degree offensive, to be
tolerated only as a matter of variety.


The Salvadorians have a dozen or more “Fourths of July”--memorial
days--sometimes two patriotic celebrations occurring in a month, on the
anniversary of historical events. All classes of people join in the
demonstrations, closing their places of business, decorating the
streets, attending high-mass in the morning, engaging in processions and
hearing patriotic orations during the day, and in the evening closing
the festivities with fireworks, banquets, and balls. But the two great
days of the year are Christmas and the Feast of San Miguel (St.
Michael), the patron saint of the republic. The latter is celebrated
very much like our Independence Day was in ancient times, except that
the hours from sunrise to noon are devoted to solemn religious services
in all the churches, the bishop himself officiating at the cathedral,
and the rest of the time to the next morning to holiday festivities.
There is much powder wasted in fire-crackers, or _bombas_, as they are
called, fireworks, and salutes by the artillery.

The annual fair of St. Miguel, which is held in February, is always a
notable event, being not only a national anniversary, but the greatest
market season of the year, and the occasion of general and prolonged
festivities. It lasts about two weeks, and is attended by buyers and
sellers from all parts of Central America. The importing houses always
have their representatives present on such occasions. The days are
occupied with trading, and the nights with balls, concerts, theatrical
performances, and gambling. Everybody plays cards, and no one, man or
woman, ever sits down to a game without stakes. Women play at their
residences with or without their gentlemen friends, and large sums of
money often pass across the table. At the fairs, and in fact on all
occasions which bring people together, the peons are entertained with
cock-fights and bull-fights, although the latter cruel sport is
nominally forbidden by law. The bull-rings and cock-pits are invariably
crowded every Sunday afternoon, and always on saints’ days, and often
the best people are found among the spectators, particularly the young
men, who ruin themselves with reckless betting. It is the fashion for
the swells to keep gamebirds, and employ professional cock-fighters to
train and handle them.

The Christmas festivities commence about midnight, and the explosions of
cannon and fireworks always begin as soon as the clock in the cathedral
tower strikes twelve. Everybody is up and dressed before daylight to
attend early mass, and when the sun rises the streets are full of people
saluting each other by exchanging the compliments of the day, and
throwing egg-shells filled with perfumed water. From morning till night
the air is full of the noise of fireworks, cannonades, the shouts of
people, and the music of military bands, while processions are
continually passing through the principal streets. In nearly every house
preparations have been going on for weeks, not for the exhibition of
Christmas-trees or the exchange of gifts, but for the representation of
the _naciamiento_, or birth of Christ. The best room in the house is
often fitted up to resemble a manger, asses being brought in from the
stable to make the scene more realistic. Several incidents in the life
of the Saviour are portrayed in a like manner. In other residences are
different representations. Sometimes the parlor is arranged like a
bower, filled with tropical plants and flowers, moss-covered stones and
sea-shells, and draped with vines. Within the bower are figures of the
Virgin and Child, surrounded by the kneeling Magi and the members of the
Holy Family.

[Illustration: A TYPICAL TOWN.]

It is the ambition of the mistress of the house to surpass all her
friends and neighbors in the realism of her representation and in the
elegance with which the puppets are dressed. During the day there is a
general interchange of calls to see the displays, to criticise them, and
make comparisons. The grandest display is always made in the cathedral,
the cost often amounting to many thousands of dollars, while the
subordinate churches enter into an active and expensive rivalry, raising
funds for the purpose by soliciting subscriptions in the parish. The
ceremonies usually begin before daylight, and last for a couple of
hours, high-mass being sung by the leading vocalists of the country,
assisted by orchestras and military bands.


The favorite incident for portrayal is the Adoration of the Magi, and
human figures are usually trained by the priests to play the various
characters. The most beautiful woman in the city is selected to act the
part of the Virgin, and some young infant is volunteered to represent
the baby Christ. The church is always crowded, and illuminated by
thousands of candles. At the proper moment the curtain is drawn, and the
choir breaks out in a glorious anthem; the bells of the churches ring,
and the vast audience, rising to their feet, join in the exultant song,
“Jubilate! jubilate! Christ is born!” Processions of priests enter, and
at the close of the anthem the bishop sings high-mass to a living
representation of the Virgin and Child.

The people are not so priestridden as those of some of the
Spanish-American countries, being naturally more self-reliant and
independent. They know what liberty is, and insist upon being allowed to
enjoy it, both civil and religious. They choose their own priests, and
the latter elect their own bishop, without regard to the Pope or the
College of Cardinals. The clerical party in politics, or the Serviles,
as they were called, because of their slavery to the Church, has long
been extinct in San Salvador, and the political struggles are more
personal than over abstract issues. There is a considerable degree of
superstition among the people, and they believe in all sorts of signs
and omens, but the priests do not attempt to humbug them with bogus
miracles or wonder-working images.

Much of this superstition relates to the earthquakes and volcanic
disturbances to which the country is so subject. Within view of the
capital are eleven great volcanoes, two of which are unceasingly active,
while the others are subject to occasional eruptions. The nearest is the
mountain of San Salvador, about eight thousand feet high, and showing to
great advantage because it rises so abruptly from the plain. It is only
three miles from the city, to the westward, very steep, and its sides
are broken by monstrous gorges, immense rocky declivities, and
projecting cliffs. The summit is crowned by a cone of ashes and scoriæ
that have been thrown out in centuries past, but since 1856, subsequent
to the greatest earthquake the country has known, the crater has been
extinct, and is now filled with a bottomless lake. Very few people have
ever ascended to the summit, because of the extreme difficulty and peril
of making the climb, while even a smaller number have entered the chasm
in which the crater lies. Some years ago a couple of venturesome French
scientists went down, but became exhausted in their attempts to return.
Their companions who remained at the top lowered them food and blankets
by lines, and they were finally rescued, after several days of
confinement in their rocky prison, by a detachment of soldiers, who
hauled them up the precipice by ropes.

The two active volcanoes, or _vivos_, as the people call them, are San
Miguel and Yzalco, and there are none more violent on the face of the
globe. They present a magnificent display to the passengers of steamers
sailing by the coast, or anchored in the harbor of La Libertad and
Acajutla, constantly discharging masses of lava which flow down their
sides in blazing torrents, and illuminating the sky with the flames that
issue from the craters at regular intervals. Yzalco is as regular as a
clock, the eruption occurring like the beating of a mighty pulse every
seven minutes.

It is impossible to conceive of a grander spectacle than this monster.
It rises seven thousand feet, almost directly from the sea, and an
immense volume of smoke, like a plume, is continually pouring out of its
summit, broken with such regularity by masses of flame that rise a
thousand feet that it has been named _El Faro del Salvador_--“The
Light-house of Salvador.” Around the base of the mountain are fertile
plantations, while above them, covering about two-thirds of its surface,
is an almost impenetrable forest, whose foliage is perpetual and of the
darkest green. Then beyond the forest is a ring of reddish scoriæ, while
above it the live ashes and lava that are cast from the crater so
regularly are constantly changing from livid yellow, when they are
heated, to a silver gray as they cool.

Yzalco is in many respects the most remarkable volcano on earth; first,
because its discharges have continued so long and


with such great regularity; again, because the tumult in the earth’s
bowels is always to be heard, as the rumblings and explosions are
constant, being audible for a hundred miles, and sounding like the
noises which Rip van Winkle heard when he awakened from his sleep in the
Catskills; and, finally, it is the only volcano that has originated on
this continent since the discovery by Columbus.

It arose suddenly from the plain in the spring of 1770, in the midst of
what had been for nearly a hundred years the profitable estate of Señor
Don Balthazar Erazo, who was absent from the country at the time, and
was greatly amazed upon his return to discover that his magnificent
coffee and indigo plantation had, without his knowledge or consent, been
exchanged for a first-class volcano. In December, 1769, the peons on the
hacienda were alarmed by terrific rumblings under the ground, constant
tremblings of the earth, and frequent earthquakes, which did not extend
over the country as usual, but seemed to be confined to that particular
locality. They left the place in terror when the tremblings and noises
continued, and returning a week or two after, found that all the
buildings had been shaken down, trees uprooted, and large craters opened
in the fields which had been level earth before. From these craters
smoke and steam issued, and occasionally flames were seen to come out of
the ground. Some brave _vaqueros_, or herdsmen, remained near by to
watch developments, and on the 23d of February, 1770, they were
entertained by a spectacle that no other men have been permitted to
witness, for about ten o’clock on the morning of that day the grand
upheaval took place, and it seemed to them, as they fled in terror, that
the whole universe was being turned upside down.

First there were a series of terrific explosions, which lifted the crust
of the earth several hundred feet, and out of the cracks issued flames
and lava, and immense volumes of smoke. An hour or two afterwards there
was another and a grander convulsion, which shook and startled the
country for a hundred miles around. Rocks weighing thousands of tons
were hurled into the air, and fell several leagues distant. The surface
of the earth was elevated about three thousand feet, and the internal
recesses were purged of masses of lava and blistered stone, which fell
in a heap around the hole from which they issued. These discharges
continued for several days

[Illustration: YZALCO.]

at irregular intervals, accompanied by loud explosions and earthquakes,
which did much damage throughout the entire republic; the disturbance
was perceptible in Nicaragua and Honduras. In this manner was a volcano
born, and it has proved to be a healthy and vigorous child. In less than
two months from a level field arose a mountain more than four thousand
feet high, and the constant discharges from the crater which opened then
have accumulated around its edges until its elevation has increased two
thousand feet more. Unfortunately, the growth of the monster has not
been scientifically observed or accurately measured, but the cone of
lava and ashes, which is now twenty-five hundred feet from the
foundation of earth upon which it rests, is constantly growing in bulk
and height by the incessant discharges of lava, ashes, and other
volcanic matter upon it.

The capital of San Salvador has been thrice almost entirely, and eleven
times in its history partially, destroyed by earthquakes and volcanic
eruptions coming together. These catastrophies occurred in 1575, 1593,
1625, 1656, 1770, 1773, 1798, 1839, 1854, 1873, and 1882. The most
serious convulsions took place in 1773 and 1854, when not only the City
of Our Saviour, but several other towns were entirely ruined, and nearly
every place suffered to a greater or less degree; but the restoration
was rapid and complete.

The chief products of the country are coffee, cocoa, sugar, indigo, and
other agricultural staples, which are raised by the same process that
prevails in other States, with the addition of a balsam that is very
valuable, and is grown exclusively on a little strip of land lying along
the coast between the two principal seaports, La Libertad and Acajutla.
Lying to the seaward of the volcanic range is a forest about six hundred
square miles in extent that is composed almost exclusively of
balsam-trees, and is known as the “Costa del Balsimo.” It is populated
by a remnant of the aboriginal Indian race, who are supported by the
product of their forest, and are permitted to remain there undisturbed,
and very little altered from their original condition.

The forest is traversed only by foot-paths, so intricate as to baffle
the stranger who attempts to enter it; and it is not safe to make such
an attempt, as the Indians, peaceful enough when they come out to mingle
with the other inhabitants of the country, violently resent any
intrusion into their

[Illustration: IN THE INTERIOR.]

strong-hold. They live as a community, all their earnings being
intrusted to the care of _ahuales_--old men who exercise both civil and
religious offices, and keep the common funds in a treasure-box, to be
distributed among the families as their necessities require. There is a
prevailing impression that the tribe has an enormous sum of money in its
possession, as their earnings are large and their wants are few. The
surplus existing at the end of each year is supposed to be buried in a
sacred spot with religious ceremonies. Both men and women go entirely
naked, except for a breech-clout, but when they come to town they assume
the ordinary cotton garments worn by the peons. They are darker in
color, larger in stature, more taciturn and morose, than the other
Indians of the country, but are temperate, industrious, and adhere to
their ancient rites with great tenacity. They are known to history as
the Nahuatls, but are commonly spoken of as “Balsimos.”

[Illustration: HAULING SUGAR-CANE.]

Agriculture is carried on by them only to an extent sufficient to supply
their own wants, and usually by the women, while the men are engaged in
gathering the balsam, of which they sell about twenty thousand dollars’
worth each year. They number about two thousand people, and including
what they spend at their festivals, which are more like bacchanalian
riots than religious ceremonies, and are accompanied by scenes of
revolting bestiality, their annual expenses cannot be more than one half
of their incomes.

The balsam is obtained by making an incision in the tree, from which the
sap exudes, and is absorbed by bunches of raw cotton. These, when
thoroughly saturated, are thrown into vats of boiling water and replaced
by others. The balsam leaves the cotton, rises to the surface of the
water, and at intervals is skimmed off and placed in wooden bowls or
gourds, where it hardens, and then is wrapped in the leaves of the tree
and sent to market. In commerce it is known as Peruvian balsam, because
in early times Callao was the great market for its sale, but the product
comes exclusively from San Salvador.

There is one railroad in San Salvador, extending from Acajutla to the
city of Sonsonate, the centre of the sugar district, and it is being
extended to Santa Ana, the chief town of the Northern Province. It is
owned by a native capitalist, and operated under the management of an
American engineer. The plan is to extend the track parallel with the sea
through the entire republic, in the valley back of the mountain range,
with branches through the passes to the principal cities. It now passes
two-thirds of the distance around the base of the volcano Yzalco, and
from the cars is furnished a most remarkable view of that sublime
spectacle. The entire system when completed will not consist of more
than two hundred and fifty miles of track, and the work of construction
is neither difficult nor expensive.



Nearly four hundred years ago an old sailor coasted along the eastern
shore of Costa Rica in a bark not much bigger than a canal-boat,
searching for a passage to the western sea. He had a bunk built in the
bows of his little vessel where he could rest his weary bones and look
out upon the world he had discovered. There was little left of him but
his will. He had explored the whole coast from Yucatan to Trinidad, and
found it an unbroken line of continent, a contradiction of all his
reasoning, a defiance of all his theories, and an impassable obstacle to
the hopes he had cherished for thirty years. The geography of the New
World was clear enough in his mind. The earth was a globe, there was no
doubt of it, and there must be a navigable belt of water around. So he
groped along, seeking the passage he felt should be there, cruising into
each river, and following the shorelines of each gulf and bay.
Instinctively he hovered around the narrowest portion of the continent,
where was but a slender strip of land, upheaved by some mighty
convulsion, to shatter his theories and defy his dreams. It was the most
pathetic picture in all history. Finally, overcome by age and infirmity,
he had to abandon the attempt, and fearing to return to Spain without
something to satisfy the avarice of his sovereign, surrendered the
command of his little fleet to his brother Bartholomew, and wept while
the carnival of murder and plunder, that was to last three centuries,
was begun.

Among other points visited for barter with the Indians was a little
harbor in which were islands covered with limes, and Columbus marked the
place upon his chart “Puerto de

[Illustration: CRATER OF A VOLCANO.]

Limon.” To-day it is a collection of cheap wooden houses and bamboo
huts, with wharves, warehouses, and railway shops, surrounded by the
most luxurious tropical vegetation, alive with birds of gorgeous
plumage, venomous reptiles, and beautiful tiger-cats. Here and there
about the place are patches of sugar-cane and groups of cocoa-nut trees,
with the wide-spreading bread-fruit that God gave to the tropical savage
as He gave rice and maize to his Northern brother, and the slender,
graceful rubber-tree, whose frosty-colored mottled trunk looks like the
neck of a giraffe. It scarcely casts a shadow; but the banana, with its
long pale green plumes, furnishes plenty of shelter for the
palm-thatched cabins, the naked babies that play around them, and the
half-dressed women who seem always to be dozing in the sun.

Surrounding the city for a radius of threescore miles is a jungle full
of patriarchal trees, stately and venerable, draped with long moss and
slender vines that look like the rigging of a ship. Their limbs are
covered with wonderful orchids as bright and radiant as the plumage of
the birds, the Espiritu Santo and other rare plants being as plentiful
as the daisies in a New England meadow. There is another flower,
elsewhere unknown, called the “turn-sol,” which in the morning is white
and wax-like, resembling the camellia, but at noon has turned to the
most vivid scarlet, and at sunset drops off its stem. This picture is
seen from shipboard through a veil of mist--miasmatic vapor--in which
the lungs of men find poison, but the air plants food. It reaches from
the breasts of the mountains to the foam-fringed shore, broken only by
the fleecy clouds that hang low and motionless in the atmosphere, as if
they, with all the rest of nature, had sniffed the fragrance of the
poppy and sunk to sleep.

But in the mornings and the evenings, when the air is cool, Limon is a
busy place. Dwarfish engines with long trains of cars wind down from the
interior, laden with coffee and bananas. Half-naked roustabouts file
back and forth across the gangplanks, loading steamers for Liverpool,
New York, and New Orleans. The coffee is allowed to accumulate in the
warehouses until the vessels come, but the bananas must not be picked
till the last moment, at telegraphic notice, the morning the steamer
sails. Trains of cars are sent to the side-tracks of every plantation,
and are loaded with the half-ripe fruit still glistening with the dew.
There are often as many as fifty thousand bunches on a single steamer,
representing six million bananas, but they are so perishable that more
than half the cargo goes overboard before its destination is reached.
The shipments of bananas from Costa Rica are something new in trade.
Only a few years since all our supply came from Honduras and the West
Indies, but the development of the plantations around Limon has given
that port almost a monopoly. This is due to the construction of a
railway seventy miles into the interior, intended to connect the capital
of the country and its populous valley with the Atlantic Ocean. The road
was begun by the Government, but before its completion passed into the
hands of Minor C. Keith, of Brooklyn, who has a perpetual lease, and is
attempting to extend it to San José, from and to which freight is
transported in ox-carts, a distance of thirty miles.

[Illustration: RUBBER-TREES.]

Along the track many plantations have been opened in the jungle, and
produce prolifically. Numbers of the settlers are from the United
States, from the South particularly, and it being the fashion to
christen the plantations, the traveller finds over the entrances
sign-boards that bear familiar names. Over the gate-way to one of the
finest haciendas, as they are called, is the inscription “Johnny Reb’s
Last Ditch,” a forlorn and almost hopeless ex-Confederate having drifted
there, after much buffeting by fortune, and taken up Government land, on
which he now is in a fair way to make a fortune.

From the terminus of the railway the ride to the capital is over
picturesque mountain passes and through deep gorges and cañons whose
mighty walls never admit the sun. There are no coaches, but the ride
must be made on mule-back, starting before sunrise so as to reach the
city by dark. San José is found in a pretty valley between the two
ranges of the Cordilleras, and surrounded by an entertaining group of
volcanoes, not less than eight being in sight from any of the housetops.
Ordinarily they behave very well, and sleep as quietly as the prophets,
but now and then their slumbers are disturbed by indigestion, when they
get restless, yawn a little, breathe forth fire and smoke, and vomit
sulphur, lava, and ashes. One would think that people living continually
in the midst of danger from earthquakes and eruptions would soon become
accustomed to them; but it is not so. The interval since the last
calamity, when the city of Cartago was destroyed, has been forty
years--so long that the next entertainment is expected to be one of
unusual interest; and as no announcements are made in the newspapers,
the people are always in a solemn state of uncertainty whether they will
awake in a pile of brimstone and ashes or under their ponchos as usual.
This gives life a zest the superstitious do not enjoy.

It is the theory of the local scientists that there is a subterranean
connection between the group of volcanoes, and that prodigious fires are
constantly burning beneath. Therefore it is necessary for at least one
of them to be always doing business, to permit the smoke and gases to
escape through its crater, for if all should suspend operations the
gases would gather in the vaults below, and when they reached the fires


would shake the earth by their explosion. It is said to be a fact that
the total cessation of all the volcanoes is followed by an earthquake,
and if Tierra Alba, which is active now, should cease to show its cloud
of smoke by day and its pillar of fire by night, the people would leave
their houses and take to the fields in anticipation of the impending
calamity. All the buildings in the country are built for earthquake
service, being seldom more than one story in elevation, and never more
than two, of thick adobe walls, which are light and elastic.

[Illustration: A PEON.]

The city has about thirty thousand inhabitants--nearly one-seventh of
the entire population of the republic--and seems quaint and queer to
the North American traveller because of its unlikeness to anything he
has seen at home. The climate is a perpetual spring. The flowers are
perennial; the foliage fades and falls in autumn, dying from exhaustion,
but never from frost. The days are always warm and delightful, and the
nights cool and favorable to sweet rest. Winter is not so agreeable as
summer, for when it is not raining the winds blow dust in your eyes, and
you miss the foliage and fruits. There is not such a thing as an
overcoat in the place--the storekeepers do not sell them--and the
natives never heard of stoves. One can look over the roofs of the town
from the tower of the cathedral and not see a chimney anywhere. The
mercury seldom goes above eighty, and never below sixty, Fahrenheit. The
thick walls of the houses make an even temperature within, scarcely
varying five degrees from one year to another, and it never rains long
enough for the dampness to penetrate them. There is no architectural
taste displayed, and a never-ending sameness marks the streets. It is
only in the country that picturesque dwellings are found, and usually
Nature, not man, has made them so. The shops differ from the residences
only in having wider doors and larger rooms, while the warehouses are
usually abandoned monasteries or discarded dwellings.

The merchants are mostly foreigners--Frenchmen or Germans; the
professional men and laborers are natives. The people are more peaceful
and industrious than in the other Central American States, and have the
reputation for greater honesty, but less ingenuity, than their
neighbors. They take no interest in politics, seldom vote, and do not
seem to care who governs them. There has not been a revolution in Costa
Rica since 1872, and that grew out of the rivalry of two English banking
houses in securing a government loan. The prisons are empty; the doors
of the houses are seldom locked; the people are temperate and amiable,
and live at peace with one another. The national vice is
indolence--_mañana_ (pronounced manyannah), a word that is spoken
oftener than any other in the language, and means “some other time.” It
is a proverb that the Costa-Rican is “always lying under the
mañana-tree,” and that is why the people are poor and the nation
bankrupt. The resources of the country, agricultural, mineral, pastoral,
and timber, are immense, but have not even been explored. Ninety per
cent. of the natives have never been outside the little valley in which
they were born; while the Government has done little to invite
immigration and encourage development. There are two railroads, both
unfinished, and the money that was borrowed to build them was wasted in
the most ludicrous way.

In 1872 it was decided that the future prosperity of the country
demanded the construction of railways connecting the one inhabited
valley with the two oceans, and the Congress ordered a survey. It was
made by English engineers, who submitted profiles of the most
practicable routes and estimates of the cost of construction. There
being no wealth in the country, a loan was necessary, and the two
banking houses, both operated by Englishmen upon English capital, sought
the privilege of negotiating it. The President made his selection. The
disappointed banker decided to overthrow the Government and set up a new
one that would cancel the contract and recognize his claims. Down on the
plains of Guanacasta was a cow-boy, Tomas Guardia by name, who had won
reputation as the commander of a squad of cavalry in a war with
Nicaragua, and was known over all Central America for his native
ability, soldierly qualities, and desperate valor.

The banker who had failed to get his spoon into the pudding called into
the conspiracy a number of disappointed politicians and discontented
adherents of the existing Government, and it was decided to send for
Guardia to come to the capital and lead the revolution. By offering him
pecuniary inducements and a promise of being made commander-in-chief of
the Federal army if the revolution was a success, the services of the
cow-boy were secured. He called together about one hundred men of his
own class, made a rendezvous at a plantation just outside of the city
limits, and one moonlight

[Illustration: A BANANA PLANTATION.]

night rode into town, surprised the guard at the military garrison,
captured the commander of the army and all his troops, took possession
of the Government offices, and proclaimed martial law. As the
Costa-Rican army consisted of but two hundred and fifty men, accustomed
only to police duty and parades, this was not a difficult or a daring
undertaking. Those of the officials who were captured were locked up,
and those who escaped fled to the woods and then left the country.
Among the latter class was the “Constitutional President,” as the
regularly elected rulers in Spanish America are always called, to
distinguish them from the frequent “Pronunciamento Presidents” and
“Jefes de Militar,” or military dictators.

Having thus dethroned the legitimate ruler, Guardia proclaimed himself
Military Dictator, and called a Junta, composed of the men who had
employed him to overthrow the Government. They met, with great
formality, and solemnly issued a proclamation, reciting that the
Constitutional President having absented himself from the country
without designating any one to act in his place, it became necessary to
choose a new Chief Magistrate. In the mean time the Junta declared
Guardia Provisional President until an election could be held. The
latter took possession of the Executive Mansion, called all the people
into the plaza, swore them to support him, reorganized the bureaus of
the Government and the army, placing the cow-boys who had come up from
Guanacasta with him in charge. The father-in-law of the English banker
who suggested the revolution was announced as the candidate for the
Presidency, and it was expected that he would be chosen without
opposition. But General Guardia, having had a taste of power, thought
more of the same would be agreeable, and passed the word quietly around
among his officers that he was a candidate himself. As they constituted
the judges of election and the returning board, this hint was
sufficient, and when the returns began to come in after ejection day,
the banker and his co-conspirators found, to their surprise and chagrin,
that their tool had become their master, and General Guardia was
declared Constitutional President by a unanimous vote, only two thousand
ballots having been cast by a population of two hundred thousand.

This cow-boy, when he took his seat, could neither read nor write. He
was, however, a man of extraordinary natural ability, gifted with brains
and a laudable ambition. He sprang from a mixture of the Spanish and
native races, had energy, shrewdness, a cool head, and a fair idea of
government: in all respects the most remarkable, and in many respects
the greatest man the little republic ever produced. He learned rapidly,
and selected the wisest and ablest men in the country for his advisers.
Under his administration the nation showed greater development than it
has enjoyed before or since, and, so far as lay in his power, he
introduced and encouraged a spirit of moral, intellectual, and
commercial advancement, established free schools and a university,
overthrew the domination of the priests, sent young men abroad to study
the science of government, and preserved the peace as he aided the
progress of the people. If he had been as wise as he was progressive,
Costa Rica would have made rapid strides towards the standard of modern
civilization, but in his mistaken zeal for the development of the
country he left it bankrupt.

The two railroads were commenced by him. Under the estimates of the
engineers the cost of construction and equipment for two narrow-gauge
lines, from San José to Port Limon, on the Atlantic coast, and Punta
Arenas, on the Pacific, a total distance of one hundred and sixty miles,
was placed at $6,000,000--$37,500 per mile. The line from Port Limon was
constructed under the direction of a brother of Henry Meiggs, the famous
fugitive from California (who fled to Peru, and lived there like a
second Monte Cristo), but the shorter line, from San José to Punta
Arenas, was attempted under the personal supervision of the President
himself, who went at it in a very queer way.

All the necessary material and supplies to build and equip the road were
purchased in England, sent by sailing-vessels around the Horn, and
landed at Punta Arenas. But instead of commencing work there, the
President, who had never seen a locomotive in his life, repudiated all
advice, rejected all suggestions, and ordered the whole outfit to be
carried seventy-five miles over the mountains on carts and mule-back, so
as to begin at the other end. This undertaking was more difficult and
expensive than the construction of the road. But

[Illustration: PICKING COFFEE.]

Guardia’s extraordinary departure from the conventional was not without
reason. It was based upon a mixture of motives, not only ignorance and
inexperience, but pride and precaution. The conservative element of the
population, the Bourbon hidalgos, and the ignorant and the superstitious
peons, were opposed to all departures from the past, and saw in every
improvement and innovation a dangerous disturbance of existing
conditions. The methods their fathers used were good enough for them.
There was also a large amount of capital and labor engaged in
transporting freight by ox-carts, which had always been the “common
carriers” of the republic, and those interested recognized that the
construction of the railway would make their cattle useless, and leave
the peon carters unemployed. To resist the construction of the railroad
they organized a revolution, threatening to tear up the tracks and
destroy the machinery. To mollify this sentiment, and furnish employment
for the cartmen to keep them out of mischief, was the controlling idea
in Guardia’s mind, so with great labor and difficulty, and at an
enormous expense, the locomotives and cars were taken to pieces and
hauled over the mountains to San José. The first rails were laid at the
capital by the President himself, with a great demonstration, and the
work continued until the money was exhausted; and the Government, having
destroyed its credit by this remarkable proceeding, was unable to borrow
more. The loan, which under ordinary circumstances would have been
sufficient to complete the enterprise, was all expended before forty
miles of track were laid, ten miles of which extend between Punta
Arenas, the Pacific seaport, and Esparza, the next town, and thirty
miles between San José and Alajuela, at the western end of the valley.
This road is now operated by the Government, under the direction of a
native engineer, who was never outside the boundaries of the republic,
and never saw any railway but this. He is, however, a man of genius and
practical ability, and if he were allowed to have his way the road might
be a paying enterprise. But the Government uses it as a political
machine, employs a great many superfluous and incompetent men--mostly
the relatives and dependents of influential politicians--carries freight
and passengers on credit, and does many other foolish things that make
profits impossible, and cause a large deficiency to be made up by
taxation each year. On every train of three cars--one for baggage and
two for passengers--are thirteen men. First a manager or conductor who
has general supervision, a locomotive engineer and stoker, two ticket
takers, two brakemen for each car, and two men to handle baggage and
express packages--all of them being arrayed in the most resplendent
uniforms, the conductor having the appearance of a major-general on
dress parade. Freight trains are run upon the same system and at a
similar expense. Shippers are allowed thirty and sixty days after the
goods are delivered to pay their freight charges, and passengers who are
known to the station agents can get tickets on credit and have the bill
sent them upon their return--a concession to a public sentiment that
justifies the postponement of everything until to-morrow--the mañana
policy that keeps the nation poor.

Thousands of ox-carts are still employed between the towns of Esparza
and Alajuela, the termini of the railway, carrying freight over the
mountains; and it usually takes a week for them to make the journey of
thirty-five miles, often longer, for on religious festivals, which occur
with surprising frequency, all the transportation business is suspended.
A traveller who intends to take a steamer at Punta Arenas must send his
baggage on a week in advance. He leaves the train at Alajuela, mounts a
mule, rides over the mountain to the town of Atenas, where he spends the
night. The next morning at daybreak he resumes his journey, and rides
fifteen miles to San Mateo, breakfasts at eleven, takes his siesta in a
hammock until four or five in the afternoon, then mounting his mule
again, covers the ten miles to Esparza by sunset, where he dines and
spends the night, usually remaining there, to avoid the heat of Punta
Arenas, until a few hours before the steamer leaves; and then, if the
ox-carts have come with his baggage, makes the rest of his trip by

The journey is not an unpleasant one. The scenery is wild and
picturesque. The roads are usually good, except in the dry season, when
they become very dusty, and after heavy rains, when the mud is deep. But
under the tropic sun and in the dry air moisture evaporates rapidly, and
in six hours after a rainfall the roads are hard and good. The
uncertainty as to whether his trunks will arrive in time makes the
inexperienced traveller nervous.

The Costa-Rican cartmen are the most irresponsible and indifferent
beings on earth. They travel in long caravans or processions, often with
two or three hundred teams in a line. When one chooses to stop, or meets
with an accident, all the rest wait for him if it wastes a week. None
will start until each of his companions is ready, and sometimes the road
is blocked for miles, awaiting the repair of some damage. The oxen are
large white patient beasts, and are yoked by the horns, and not by the
neck, as in modern style, lashings of raw cowhide being used to make
them fast. They wear the yokes continually. The union is as permanent as
matrimony in a land where divorce laws are unknown. The cartmen are as
courteous as they are indifferent. They always lift their hats to a
_caballero_ as he passes them, and say, “May the Virgin guard you on
your journey!” Thousands of dollars in gold are often intrusted to them,
and never was a penny lost. A banker of San José told me that he usually
received thirty thousand dollars in coin each week during coffee season
by these ox-carts, and considered it safer than if he carried it
himself, although the caravan stands in the open air by the roadside
every night. Highway robbery is unknown, and the cartmen, with their
wages of thirty cents a day, would not know what use to make of the
money if they should steal it. Nevertheless they always feel at liberty
to rob the traveller of the straps on his trunks, and no piece of
baggage ever arrives at its destination so protected unless the strap is
securely nailed, and then it is usually cut to pieces by the cartmen as
revenge for being deprived of what they consider their perquisite.

At sunset the oxen are released from their burdens at the nearest
_tambo_, or resting-place, upon the way, and are kept overnight in sheds
provided for them. At these places are drinking and gambling booths,
with usually a number of dissolute women to tempt and entertain the
cartmen. The evenings are spent in carousal, in dancing, and singing the
peculiar native songs to the accompaniment of the “marimba,” the
national instrument, which is, I believe, found in no other land.

The marimba is constructed of twenty-one pieces of split bamboo of
graded lengths, strung upon two bars of the same wood according to
harmonic sequence, thus furnishing three octaves. Underneath each strip
of bamboo is a gourd, strung upon a wire, which takes the place of a
sounding-board, and adds strength and sweetness to the tones. The
performer takes the instrument upon his knees and strikes the bamboo
strips with little hammers of padded leather, usually taking two between
the fingers of each hand, so as to strike a chord of four notes, which
he does with great dexterity. I have seen men play with three hammers in
each hand, and use them as rapidly and skilfully as a pianist touches
his keys. The tones of the marimba resemble those of the xylophone,
which has recently become so popular, except that they are louder and
more resonant. The instrument is peculiarly adapted to the native airs,
which are plaintive but melodious. At all of the tambos where the
cartmen stop marimbas are kept, and in every caravan are those who can
handle them skilfully. Tourists generally travel in the cool hours of
the morning and evening to avoid the blistering sun, and it is a welcome
diversion to stop at the _bodegas_ to listen to the songs of the
cartmen, and watch them dancing with darkeyed, barefooted señoritas.

The women of the lower classes do not wear either shoes or sandals, but
go barefooted from infancy to old age; yet their feet are always small
and shapely, and look very pretty under the short skirts that reach just
below the knees. The native girls are comely and coquettish in the
national dress,

[Illustration: THE MARIMBA.]

which consists of nothing but a skirt and a chemise of white cotton,
with a brilliantly colored scarf, or “reboza,” as they call it, thrown
over their heads and shoulders, and serving the double purpose of a
shawl and bonnet. The features of the women are small and even, and
their teeth are perfect. Their forms, untrammelled by skirts and
corsets, are slender and supple in girlhood, and the scanty garments,
sleeveless, and reaching only from the shoulders to the knees, disclose
every outline of their figures, and are worn without a suggestion of
immodesty. Such a costume in the United States would call for police
interference; but one soon becomes accustomed to bare arms and necks and
legs, and learns that these innocent creatures are quite as jealous of
their chastity as their sisters in the land where the standard of
civilization forbids the disclosure of personal charms outside the
ball-room or the bathing beach. The ladies of the aristocracy imitate
the Parisian fashions, except that hats and bonnets are almost unknown.
They seldom leave their homes except to go to mass, and at the entrance
of a church every head must be uncovered.

There is not a millinery store in the land. Every woman wears a “reboza”
of a texture suitable to her rank and wealth, and as it is not
considered proper to expose their faces in public, the scarf is
generally drawn over the features so as to conceal all but their
ravishing eyes. And it is well that this is so, for they plaster their
faces with a composition of magnesia and the whites of eggs that gives
them a ghastly appearance, and effectually conceals, as it ultimately
destroys, the freshness and purity of their complexions. This stuff is
renewed at frequent intervals, and is never washed off.

There is a popular prejudice against bathing. A man who has been on a
journey will not wash the dust off his face for several days after
arrival, particularly if he has come from a lower to a higher altitude,
as it is believed that the opening of the pores of the skin is certain
to bring on a fever.

While passing over a dusty road upon a hot, sultry day I dismounted at a
foaming brook, rolled up my sleeves, and commenced to bathe my head and
face and arms. The guide who was with me cried “Caramba!” in
astonishment, and tried to pull me away. When I demanded an explanation
of his extraordinary behavior he begged me for the love of the Virgin
not to wash my face, for I would certainly come down with the fever the
next day. I smiled at this remonstrance, and gave myself a refreshing
bath, while he looked on as solemnlv as if I intended to commit suicide.
For an hour after, as we travelled on, he muttered prayers to the
Virgin and his patron saint to protect me from the fever, and to-day no
doubt believes that I was saved by the interposition of Divine power in
answer to his petitions. He afterwards reproached me for not having made
a vow because of my remarkable deliverance.

[Illustration: COFFEE-DRYING.]

However, if anybody supposes that the inhabitants of the little republic
are uncouth, unmannerly, or uneducated, he makes a great mistake. They
are quite up to our standard of intelligence, and although education is
not so universal as in this country, the leading families of Costa Rica
are as cultivated as our own. They surpass us in social graces, in
conversational powers, in linguistic and other accomplishments. They
have keener perceptions than we, are more carefully observant of the
nicer proprieties, can usually speak one or two languages besides their
own fluently, and have a cultivated taste for music and the arts. No
Costa-Rican lady or gentleman is ever embarrassed; they always know how
to do and say the proper thing, and while in many cases their
sympathetic interest in your welfare may be only skin-deep, and their
affectionate phrases insincere, they are nevertheless the most
hospitable of hosts and the most charming of companions. In commerce as
well as in society this deportment is universal; in their stores and
offices they are as polite as in their parlors, and the same manners are
found in every caste. No laborer ever passes a lady in the street
without lifting his hat; every gentleman is respectfully saluted,
whether he be a stranger or an acquaintance, and in the rural districts
whoever you meet says, “May the Virgin prosper you!” or “May Heaven
smile upon your errand!” or “May your patron saint protect you from all
harm!” He may not care a straw whether you reach the end of your journey
or not, and may not have any more regard for your welfare than the fleas
on his coat, and if you ask him how far it is to the next place he will
tell you a falsehood, but he recognizes and practises the beautiful
custom of the country, and says, “God be with you!” as if he intended it
as a blessing.

The Government supports a good university at San José, under the
direction of Dr. Juan F. Ferras, and a system of free graded schools,
managed by the Minister of Education, who is a member of the cabinet.
Education is compulsory, the law requiring the attendance of all
children between the ages of eight and fourteen; and it is enforced,
except in the sparsely settled districts where the schools are
infrequent. Those who send their children to private schools, or do not
send them at all, are subject to a heavy fine, which goes into the
school fund. There is also a poll-tax for the support of the educational
system. The schools are entirely free from sectarian influences. In
fact, both the Minister of Education and the Director of the University
belong to the German school of materialists, towards which all men of
education in these countries drift when they leave the Mother Church.
There is no other place for them to go. The Protestants in San José have
a little chapel where the Church of England service is recited, hymns
are sung, and usually Sabbath mornings a selected sermon from some
published volume is read by a lay member; but the flock is too small to
support a pastor, and none of the missionary societies in England or
America appear to care to enter the field. During the administration of
President Guardia there was a constitutional amendment adopted
separating the Church and the State. The monks and nuns were expelled
from the country, the monasteries and nunneries confiscated, and by
legislation the priests were deprived of much of their power and
perquisites. In 1884, a few months before his death, the late President
Fernandez expelled the archbishop from the country. The latter went to
him demanding a voice in the management of the university, and a share
of the public funds for the use of the Catholic Theological Seminary.
The controversy was heated, and when the archbishop departed from the
Presidential mansion he left the curse of Rome behind him. Fernandez,
hearing that his Grace was talking about a revolution, sent him a
passport and a file of soldiers to escort him out of the country, to
which he has not been allowed to return.

The confessional is open and public by law, and the priests are
forbidden to wear their vestments in the streets. But these statutes are
not enforced, and, regardless of the offensive attitude of the
Government, the devotion of the masses to the Church is quite as marked
as in any of the Catholic countries. The intelligent families, however,
are gradually growing unmindful of their ancestral religion, and the
next generation will see a more rapid decline of the power of the
priests. Business and professional men never attend mass, leaving that
duty to their wives and daughters and servants. They are seldom seen
inside a church, except upon occasions of ceremony or at funerals. But
the women invariably attend mass each morning.

A familiar sight in Costa Rica is a death procession. When some one is
dying the friends send for a priest to shrive him. The latter comes, not
silently and solemnly, a minister of grace and consolation, but
accompanied by a brass band, if the family are rich enough to pay for it
(the priest receiving a liberal commission on the business), or, if they
are poor, by a number of boys ringing bells and chanting hymns. Behind
the band or bell-boys are two acolytes, one bearing a crucifix and the
other swinging an incense urn. Then follows the priest in a wooden box
or chair, covered by a canopy, and carried by four men wearing the
sacramental vestments, and holding in his hand, covered with a napkin,
the Host--the emblem of the body of Christ. People upon the streets
kneel as the procession passes, and then follow it. Reaching the house
of the dying, the band or bell-ringers stand outside, making all the
disturbance they can, while the priest, followed by a motley rabble,
enters the death-chamber, administers the sacrament, and confesses the
dying soul. Then the procession returns to the church as it came. Going
and coming, and while at the house, the band plays or the bells are rung
constantly, and all the men, women, and children within hearing fall
upon their knees, whether in the street or at their labor, and pray for
the repose of the departing spirit.

Funerals are occasions of great ceremony. Notices, or _avisos_, as they
are called, are printed and posted upon all of the dead-walls, like
announcements of an auction or an opera, and printed invitations are
sent to all the acquaintances of the deceased. The priests charge a
large fee for attendance, proportionate to the means of the family, and
when they are poor it is common for some one to solicit contributions to
pay it. The spectacle of a beggar sitting at a street corner asking alms
to pay the burial fee of his wife or child is a very common one, and
quite as often one can see a father carrying in his arms to the cemetery
the coffin of a little one, not being able to pay for a priest and a
carriage too.

The number of illegitimate births in the country is accounted for, not
so much by a low state of morals; as by the enormous fees exacted by the
priests for performing marriage ceremonies. Unfortunately the Government
has not yet established the civil rite, as is the case in several of the
Spanish-American States. It takes all a peon can earn in three months to
pay the priest that officiates at his nuptials.

The Government of Costa Rica consists of a President, two
Vice-Presidents, who are named by the President, and are called
Designado Primero and Designado Segundo (the first and second
designated). They have authority to act in the place of the President in
case of his absence from the seat of government, or in the event of his
death or disability, and he is responsible for their official conduct.

There is a Congress, consisting of a Senate of twelve members and a
Chamber of Deputies of twenty-four, elected biennially, as in the United
States. Also a Council of six men, selected from the Congress by the
President, who act as a sort of cabinet and Supreme Court combined. They
are continually in session, have power to review the decisions of the
courts, to reverse or affirm them, to issue decrees which have the force
of law until the next session of the Congress, to audit the accounts of
the Treasury, and perform various other acts. This Council is confirmed
by the Congress, and is supposed to act as a check upon the President
and the judiciary. The President has a cabinet of two members, appointed
by himself, and they are usually the two Vice-Presidents, or Designados.
To one he will assign the duty of looking after foreign affairs and the
finances of the Government, while the other will have the army, the
educational system, and other internal affairs to manage.

The successor of the famous cow-boy President, Guardia, was his
brother-in-law, General Prospero Fernandez, one of his lieutenants in
the revolution by which he came into power,


and who was made commander-in-chief of the army of two hundred and fifty
men when Guardia took the Executive chair. He was a man of fine
appearance, but of dull and slow mental powers, spending most of his
time upon his hacienda, or plantation, and leaving the affairs of the
State to his secretaries, Don Jesus Maria Castro and Don Bernardo de
Soto. Fernandez died before the expiration of his term, in the spring of
1885, and was succeeded by De Soto, a young man of whom much is
expected. He was a pet and protégé of the great Guardia, and after
graduating at the University of San José was sent to Europe to complete
his education, and by a study of the world as well as books to qualify
himself to succeed his patron in the Presidential chair. Guardia died,
however, before De Soto had reached the age that made him eligible to
the Presidency, and Fernandez stepped in to fill the interim. He
conscientiously acted as a sort of trustee or executor of Guardia’s
will, and made the young man, then only twenty-seven, his Minister of
War, Education, and Public Works. When Fernandez died De Soto assumed
the Presidency, just as if he had inherited a crown, there being no
other candidate. The President has just passed his thirtieth birthday,
and commands the respect and confidence of the people.

Costa Rica was the first discovered of all the countries on this
Continent, but of its resources the least is known. The Cordilleras of
the Andes pass through the republic from the south-east to the
north-west. South of Cartago they divide into two ranges, one running up
the Pacific coast, and the other tending towards the Atlantic until it
is broken off at Lake Nicaragua. These ranges not only enclose rich
valleys, in the chief of which is San José, but along their slopes on
either side are extensive tracts of land already cleared and abounding
in fertility. Along the coast are large areas of jungle and plains of
more or less extent, only slightly developed because of the malarious
atmosphere. The Pacific coast is healthier and more thickly settled. A
large prairie covers the northern part of the republic, upon which many
cattle are grazed, and it extends over the Nicaragua boundary. In the
north-eastern corner is an extensive forest, inhabited by bands of
roaming Indians, and full of the most valuable timber.

What the country needs is enterprise and capital, and these it must
secure by immigration. The population has increased somewhat during the
last half century, but entirely from natural causes, as more people have
moved away than have come in to settle. No attempt has been made by the
Government to attract immigrants until recently, for years ago the
conservative element of the population were opposed to inviting
strangers into their midst. This sentiment has, however, died out, and
there is an increasing desire to do something to call in capital and

The staple products of the country are coffee, corn, sugar, cocoa,
bananas, and other tropical fruits, but only coffee and bananas are
exported in any quantity. The increase in the coffee crop has been very
large, the product in 1850 being fourteen million pounds, while in 1884
it was over forty million. The quality is said to be superior to that
grown elsewhere, and the yield greater in proportion to the number of
trees. England and France take the greater share of the crop, the
exports to the United States reaching only eight million five hundred
thousand pounds in 1884. The land is practically free, for the
Government sells it at a nominal price per acre, and allows long time
for payment. Quite a number of settlers from the United States and the
West Indies have come in recently and located on the line of the eastern
road, which is to connect Port Limon, on the Atlantic, with the

     NOTE TO SECOND EDITION.--On the 29th and 30th of December, 1888,
     Costa Rica was visited by the most destructive earthquake ever
     known there. Nearly all the cities and settlements suffered more or
     less, but San José was almost entirely destroyed. Three-fourths of
     the buildings were either shaken down or shattered beyond repair,
     including all the official structures, the Capitol, the President’s
     residence, and the Cathedral. The loss to the Government alone is
     estimated at $2,000,000, while that suffered by private individuals
     was several times that amount. No official report upon the loss of
     life has been made, and the estimates vary from three hundred to
     seven hundred and fifty.



Although geographically one of our nearest neighbors, Bogota, the
capital of the United States of Colombia, is almost as far distant by
days, if not by miles, from New York as the interior of India, and quite
as difficult to reach. Until recently there has been no direct
communication by steam between the ports of Colombia and those of our
own country. Within the last three years an English company has
established a line of steamships between New York and the mouth of the
Magdalena River. Two trips a month are made, the vessels touching at
several of the West India ports en route, and making the voyage to
Barranquilla in fifteen days. Three times a month the Pacific Mail
steamers leave New York for Aspinwall, where a steamer for the Colombian
ports and Europe sails almost every day, under the flag of England,
Germany, France, Spain, Italy, or the Netherlands. The voyage _via_
Aspinwall requires about the same time as the other, fifteen days. There
ought to be direct communication not only from New York, but from the
Gulf ports, as the demands of commerce require it; and a much larger
trade might be obtained if conveniences of transportation existed. But
the policy of the United Stated Congress in refusing to aid steamship
lines, even by the payment of reasonable compensation for the carriage
of mails, prohibits capitalists from investing money in such
enterprises, as they would be compelled to compete with the subsidized
companies of Europe.

Excepting Aspinwall, which is a cosmopolitan place, the city of
Barranquilla is the principal port of Colombia, and to it all
merchandise and passengers bound for Bogota and the interior of the
country must go. In the old Spanish colony times Carthagena was the
greatest commercial metropolis of Colombia, or New Granada, as it was
then called; and it is one of the quaintest, as it is one of the oldest,
cities in South America. In the time of Philip the Second it was the
most strongly fortified place on the continent, and the headquarters of
the Spanish naval forces in the New World. It was the rendezvous of the
Spanish galleons which came to South America for treasure. There are
many rich mines in the mountains back of the city, which have produced
millions in silver and gold. Here came the pirates to plunder. They
committed so much damage that the King of Spain thought it worth his
while to build a wall around the entire city, on the top of which forty
horses can walk abreast, and which is said to have cost ninety million

[Illustration: BARRANQUILLA.]

Carthagena was the seat of the Inquisition, and in Charles Kingsley’s
novel, “Westward Ho!” its readers will find a charming description of
the place. It was here that Frank and the Rose of Devon were imprisoned
by the priests, and the old Inquisition building in which they were
tortured and burned is still standing. But it is no longer used for the
confinement and crucifixion of heretics. For nearly sixty years after
the overthrow of the Catholic Church it stood empty, but it is now
occupied as a tobacco factory. There is an underground passage between
the old Inquisition building and an ancient fortress upon a hill
overlooking Carthagena, through which prisoners used to be conducted,
and communication maintained in time of siege; but, like everything else
about the place, it has long been in a state of decay. Some years ago a
party of American naval officers attempted to explore the passage, but
found it filled with obstructions, and were compelled to abandon the
enterprise. The old castle is obsolete now, and in a state of ruin,
being used only as a signal station. When a vessel enters the harbor a
flag is run up by a man on guard to notify the Captain of the Port and
the merchants of its arrival.

[Illustration: CARTHAGENA.]

There are some fine old churches and palaces in Carthagena constructed
of stone, which show the magnificence in which the old grandees lived
when the city was a commercial metropolis. Many of them are empty now,
and others are used as tenement-houses. In the cathedral, which is one
of the largest and most elaborate to be found on the hemisphere, is a
curious object of interest. It is a magnificent marble pulpit covered
with exquisite carvings. It ranks among the most beautiful specimens of
the sculptor’s art in the world. The people of Carthagena think there is
nothing under the sun to equal it, and the story of its origin adds
greatly to its value and interest. Two or three hundred years ago the
Pope, wishing to show a mark of favor to the devout people of Colombia,
ordered the construction of a marble pulpit for the decoration of the
grand cathedral at Carthagena. It was designed and carved by the
foremost artists of the day at Rome, and when completed was with great
ceremony placed on board a Spanish galley bound for the New World. While
en route the vessel was captured by pirates, and when the boxes
containing the pulpit were broken open, and their contents found to be
of no value as plunder, they were tipped overboard. But by the
interposition of the Virgin, none of the pieces sank; and the English
pirates, becoming alarmed at the miracle of the heavy marble floating on
the water, fled from the ship, leaving their booty. The Spanish sailors
got the precious cargo aboard their vessel again with great difficulty,
and started on their way; but before they reached Carthagena they
encountered a second lot of pirates, who plundered them of all the
valuables they had aboard, and burned their ship. But the saints still
preserved the pulpit; for, as the vessel and the remainder of the cargo
were destroyed, the carved marble floated away upon the surface of the
water, and, being guided by an invisible hand, went ashore on the beach
outside the city to which it was destined.

There it lay for many years, unknown and unnoticed. Finally, however, it
was discovered by a party of explorers, who recognized the value of the
carvings and took it aboard their ship en route for Spain, intending to
sell it when they reached home. But the saints still kept their eyes
upon the Pope’s offering, and sent the vessel such bad weather that the
captain was compelled to put into the port of Carthagena for repairs.
There he told the story of the marble pulpit found upon the beach, and
it reached the ears of the Archbishop. His Grace sent for the captain,
informed him that the pulpit was intended for the decoration of the
cathedral, and related the story of its construction and disappearance.
The captain was an ungodly man, and intimated that the Archbishop was
attempting to humbug him. He offered to sell the marble, and would not
leave it otherwise. Having repaired the damage of the storm, the captain
started for Europe, but he was scarcely out of the harbor when a most
frightful gale struck him and wrecked his vessel, which went to the
bottom with all on board; but the pulpit, the subject of so many divine
interpositions, rose from the wreck, and one morning came floating into
the harbor of Carthagena, where it was taken in charge by the Archbishop
and placed in the cathedral for which it was intended, and where it now

Near the miraculous pulpit, in the same church, is the preserved body of
a famous saint. I forget what his name was, but he is in an excellent
state of preservation--a skeleton with dried flesh and skin hanging to
the bones. He did something hundreds of years ago which made him very
sacred to the people of Carthagena, and by the special permission of the
Pope his body was disinterred, placed in a glass case, and shipped from
Rome to ornament the cathedral of the former city, along with the
miraculous pulpit. The body is usually covered with a black pall, and is
exposed only upon occasions of great ceremony, but any one can see the
preserved saint by paying a fee to the priests. I purchased that
privilege, and was shown the glass coffin standing upon a marble
pedestal. The bones are bare, except where the brown skin, looking like
jerked beef, covers them, and are a ghastly spectacle. During a
revolution at Carthagena some impious soldiers upset the coffin and
destroyed it. In the _melée_ one of the saint’s legs was lost, or at
least the lower half of it from the knee down; but the priests replaced
it with a wax leg, plump and pink, which, lying beside the original,
gives the saint a very comical appearance.


There is much of interest to see at Carthagena, and the place has had a
most romantic and exciting history, being described at length in
“Thomson’s Seasons.” Again and again has it been sacked by the pirates,
as it was formerly the shipping-point for the product of the gold and
silver mines for which the mountains south of it have been so famous.
Tons and tons of gold and silver have been sent thence to Spain. In the
times of the viceroys the mines were worked under the direction of the
Government. One-fifth of the net product went to the King, another fifth
to the Church, while the miner was permitted to keep the remainder. The
old records show that the share of the King was several millions a year
for two hundred years or more, and that indicates how enormous the
profit must have been; for the miners and officials were no more honest
in those days than now, and it is not entirely certain that the share to
which his Majesty was entitled always reached him.

The fortifications of Carthagena surpass in extent and solidity those of
any city in the New World, and are still in good condition, although not
occupied, having been constructed without regard to expense and for all
time. The massive walls of the city are to all appearance impregnable,
and the ancient subterranean passages leading outward to the foot of the
adjacent mountains are still visible. The entrance to the magnificent
harbor is studded with ancient fortifications, which, though now unused
for more than half a century, seem almost as good as new. Formerly the
city was connected by ship-channel with the river Magdalena, at a point
many leagues above the delta, and was, therefore, in easy communication
with the fertile valleys and plateaux of the interior--the gate of
commerce in time of peace, and secure alike from protracted siege or
successful assault in time of war.

The decline of Carthagena seems to have commenced with the present
century, and to have steadily continued to within the past fifteen
years, when the commerce of the country began to revive. In the mean
time the ship-canal connecting the port with the great fluvial highway
of the interior having fallen into disuse, became filled up and
overgrown with tropical jungle; so that the few foreign trading-vessels
visiting the coast sought harborage farther up, at a place called
Barranquilla, near the mouth of the Magdalena. Barranquilla has become
the chief city of commercial importance within the United States of
Colombia, and is the residence of many of the principal merchants of the
republic. It is a growing city, and from a few houses twenty years ago
it now has a population of upwards of twenty-five thousand. Situated as
it is, so near the outlet of the Magdalena River, it is destined to
increase in size and commerce, and to become to Colombia what New York
is to the United States--the great commercial emporium of the republic;
Aspinwall and Panama, free ports, being more a highway of nations than a
part of this country. To this end Barranquilla has many things in its
favor. The custom-house is located there. All the river steamers and
sailing-vessels on the Magdalena, conveying from the vast back-lying
interior to the coast the multitudinous products of the country, start
from and return to this place.

But Barranquilla has its drawbacks. As soon as it secured a little
commerce a large bar began to form at the mouth of the river, and has
grown until it has become a sand-spit which prevents the entrance of
steamers. Then a new town, called Sabanilla, was started on the spit,
which is connected with Barranquilla by a railway fourteen miles long,
owned and operated by a German company. But the harbor of Sabanilla,
though now the principal one of the republic, is neither convenient nor
safe. It is shallow, full of shifting sand-bars, and exposed to furious
wind-storms; while the new port of Barranquilla is quite inaccessible
from the delta, by reason of its treacherous sand-bars. So with the
opening of the ancient _dique_, or ship-channel, between Carthagena and
Calamar, or the construction of a railway between the first-named point
and Barranquilla (both of which enterprises are being agitated),
Carthagena may regain her ancient prestige and become the chief port of
the republic.

Sabanilla is a most desolate place, nothing but sand, filth, and
poverty; and were it not for the sea-breeze that constantly sweeps
across the barren peninsula upon which it stands, the inhabitants could
not survive. No one lives there except a colony of _cargadors_, boatmen,
and roustabouts, who swarm, like so many animals, in filthy huts built
of palm-leaves, and a few saloon-keepers, who give them wine in exchange
for the money they earn. The men and women are almost naked, and the
children entirely so. Perhaps the reason for the nastiness of the place
is because there is no fresh water; but the inhabitants ought not to be
excused on this account, as the beach furnishes as fine bathing as can
be found in the world, and is at their very doors. All the fresh water
used has to be brought in canoes from a point eight miles up the river,
and is sold by the dipperful: but only a moderate quantity is necessary
for consumption. Most of the inhabitants are Canary Islanders, who
monopolize the boating business along this coast; but sprinkled among
them are many Italians, and nearly every nation on earth is represented,
even China. The only laundry is run by a Chinaman, and another is cook
at a place that is used as a substitute for a hotel. The boatmen are
drunken, quarrelsome, desperate wretches; murder is frequent among them,
and fighting the chief amusement.


Barranquilla is the most modern town in Colombia except Aspinwall, which
it resembles somewhat. It has some fine houses and quite a large foreign
colony, many of its merchants being Germans, who live in good style, and
enjoy many comforts at an enormous cost; for flour is twenty-five
dollars a barrel and meat twenty-five cents a pound, beer twenty-five
cents a glass, and everything else in proportion. There is nothing in
plenty but fruits and flies. The town is the capital of the State of
Sabanilla, and has a considerable military garrison, which is important
in keeping down insurrections. During the revolution of 1885
Barranquilla was the headquarters of the insurrectionary army, and,
commanding the only outlet from the interior, is naturally a place of
consequence, from a military as well as from a commercial standpoint.

The great valley of the Magdalena, extending from the Caribbean coast to
the equatorial line, is one of inexhaustible resources. Its width varies
from one hundred to one hundred and fifty miles before gradually sloping
to a point in the northern borders of the equator. At the mouth of the
river Cauca this valley branches off into another of less general width
but of greater elevation, and consequently possesses a more equable and
temperate climate. The river Cauca is itself navigable by a
light-draught steamer as far as Cali, a point less than eighty miles
from the port of Buenaventura on the Pacific coast. The lower valley of
the Magdalena is one vast alluvial plain, a large portion of which is
subject to periodical overflow. In fact, during the rainy season the
greater portion of it is usually under water. This, however, might be
prevented, and the fertile lands reclaimed, by a system of dikes far
less expensive than those of the lower Mississippi. But in a country
where population is sparse, and Nature lavish in her bounties, such
enterprises are not usually undertaken.

The distance from Barranquilla to Honda, the head of navigation on the
Magdalena, is seven hundred and eighty miles, following the course of
the river, but in a direct line is only about one-third of that
distance. The journey by boat requires from ten to thirty days,
according to the condition of the river. In the rainy season the banks
are full, and the current so strong that the little steamers cannot make
much progress; but if the moon is bright enough to show the course, they
are kept in motion night and day. In the dry season the river is
shallow, and the boats have to tie up at dark, and remain so till
daylight. Then, on nearly every voyage they run aground, and often stick
for a day or two, sometimes a week, before they can be got off.

The boats are similar to those used upon the Ohio and other rivers, with
a paddle-wheel behind, and draw only a foot or two of water even when
heavily laden, so that they can go over the bars. There are two
steamboat companies, both with United States capital; one is managed by
a Mr. Joy, and the other by a Mr. Cisneros, a naturalized Italian.
During the revolution all the boats were seized by the insurgents. Their
sides were covered with corrugated iron, so as to make them
bullet-proof, a small cannon or two mounted upon the decks, and the
cabins filled with sharp-shooters. So prepared, they were used as
gun-boats, and were quite effective. Many of them were destroyed, so
that transportation facilities upon the Magdalena are not so good as
they were.

[Illustration: ON THE MAGDALENA.]

The first two hundred miles is a continuous swamp; the next three
hundred miles is a vast plain, which is under water about two months in
the year, during the floods that follow the rainy season, but at other
times is covered with cattle, which are driven into the mountains before
the floods come.

The banks along the river were formerly occupied with profitable
plantations, which were worked by negro slaves, as neither the Spaniards
nor the native Indians could endure the climate and the mosquitoes. But
when the emancipation of the slaves took place, in 1824, the plantations
were abandoned, and have since been so overgrown with tropical
vegetation that no traces of their former cultivation exist. The
negroes, who have descended from the former slaves, have relapsed into a
condition of semi-barbarism, and while they still occupy the old
estancias, lead a lazy, shiftless, degraded life, subsisting upon fish
and the fruits which grow everywhere in wonderful profusion. Nature
provides for them, and no amount of wages can tempt them to work. A few
small villages have sprung up along the river, which are trading
stations, and furnish some freight for the steamers in the shape of
fruit, poultry, eggs, cocoa-nuts, and similar articles, which are
attended to by the women of the country.

The river itself is a great natural curiosity. It flows almost directly
northward, and drains an enormous area of mountains which are constantly
covered with snow. The current is as swift as that of the Mississippi,
which it resembles, and the water, always muddy, is so full of sediment
that one can hear it striking the sides of the boat. The water will not
mix with that of the sea, and for fifty miles into the ocean it can be
distinguished. In some places it is seven or eight miles wide, at others
it is scarcely more than a hundred yards, where it has cut its way
through the rolling earth. The channel, which has never been cleared, is
full of treacherous bars and snags, which are continually shifting, and
make it necessary to tie up the steamer every night, except in times of
high water during the rainy season. The mosquitoes are monumental in
size, and at some seasons of the year, when the winds are strong and
blow them from the jungles, it is almost impossible to endure them. The
officers and deck hands of the boat all wear thick veils over their
faces, and heavy buckskin gloves, awake or asleep; and the passengers,
unless similarly protected, are subject to the most intense torment.
Often the swarms are so thick that they obscure the sky, and the sound
of humming is so loud that it resembles the murmur of an approaching

[Illustration: COLOMBIAN ’GATORS.]

Some ludicrous stories are told about adventures with the mosquitoes. I
have been solemnly assured that oftentimes when they have attacked a
boat and driven its captain and crew below, they have broken the windows
of the cabin by plunging in swarms against them, and have attempted to
burst in the doors. Although this may be somewhat of an exaggeration, it
is nevertheless true that frequently horses and cattle, after the most
frightful sufferings, have died from mosquito bites on board the
vessels. Not long ago a herd of valuable cattle were being taken from
the United States to a ranch up the Magdalena River, and became so
desperate under the attacks of the mosquitoes that they broke from their
stalls, jumped into the water, and were all drowned. Passengers
intending to make the voyage always provide themselves with protection
in the shape of mosquito-bars, head-nets, and thick gloves, and when on
deck are compelled to tie their sleeves around their wrists and their
pantaloons around their ankles.

The alligators are so numerous along the banks that the same
story-tellers assert that you could step from the back of one to
another, and thus walk for miles without touching ground. They are
playful creatures, and not at all timid, but bask quietly in the sun
until disturbed, when they plunge into the river. The steamboats are
always followed by schools of them, and the passengers amuse themselves
by firing at them from the deck. No attempt has been made to kill them
for profit, but if some enterprising hunters should go to the Magdalena
country and make a business of curing and shipping alligator hides, they
would find it a profitable venture.

Once or twice a day the steamboats stop for freight or fuel, which is
supplied them by the settlers, and brought on board by naked negroes.

The town of Honda, at the head of navigation, is a place of considerable
importance, and at intervals for the last quarter of a century American
companies have undertaken the construction of a railroad from it to
Bogota--a distance of seventy miles through mountains. About ten leagues
of track have been built, but those in charge have been compelled again
and again to abandon it because of the revolutions and the impossibility
of securing labor. The natives cannot be induced to work, and no wages
that the company can pay will induce immigration. But the enterprise is
being slowly extended, with the encouragement of the Government in the
shape of a concession of money and lands, and ultimately the
perseverance which conquers all things will succeed. There is also a
liberal concession from the Government to another syndicate of New York
capitalists for the construction of a railway into the Cauca valley,
where are supposed to be the richest goldmines in the world, from which
the hundreds of millions taken away by the Spaniards came.

From Honda to Bogota the journey must be made on mule-back, and it
requires four days to cover the seventy miles. Recently there has been a
line of stagecoaches established between Bogota and the town of
Agrialarge, which shortens the time a day, and the distance by saddle
thirty miles. In describing the journey Mr. Scruggs, recently United
States Minister to Colombia, says:


“After perfecting all necessary arrangements the day previous, the
traveller rises at six, takes a light breakfast of chocolate and bread,
and hopes to be on the way by seven. But people here take life easily.
Servants and guides and muleteers make no note of time, and it is quite
useless to try to hurry them, so that if he gets fairly under way by
noon he is fortunate. Just beyond the deep, broad valley of the
Magdalena are the snow-capped mountains of Tolima. They seem
marvellously near, and yet they are more than one hundred miles distant,
so very clear and transparent is the pure ethereal atmosphere of this
elevated region. In the opposite direction is the dish-shaped valley of
Guaduas, fringed with luxuriant foliage of the coffee plantations and
the virgin forests of emerald green. In the centre of this valley
reposes the parochial village, with its church steeples reaching upward
as if in feeble imitation of the adjacent mountain-peaks.

“The valley is watered by the Rio Negro; justly so named, for its waters
are as black as ink, so rendered by their passage through the coal and
mineral deposits along the foothills of the Sierra. Near by are a noted
sulphur spring and the extinct volcano which Humboldt describes as
likely, one day, to break out afresh and destroy this beautiful valley.
Though quite hot, the atmosphere is singularly dry and sanitary, and the
place is often resorted to by invalids from Bogota and the more elevated

“Up to this point our journey has been alternating between deep valleys
and dizzy mountain-peaks. We cross one only to encounter another. Such
is the Camino Real, or ‘Royal Highway,’ the only available route between
the Colombian capital and the outside world. Within the past few years
it has been much improved, it is true, and at great expense to the
Government; but it is still little else than a mere mule trail, not wide
enough in many places for two mules to walk abreast, and so tortuous and
precipitous as to be impassable except on the backs of animals trained
to the road. When we reflect that this is the overland highway of an
immense commerce, and that it has been in constant use since the Spanish
conquest, we naturally marvel that it is no better. It seems to have
been constructed without any previous survey whatever, and without the
least regard for

[Illustration: EN ROUTE TO BOGOTA.]

comfort or convenience, making short curves where curves are quite
unnecessary, or going straight over some mountain spur or peak, when the
ascent might have been rendered less difficult by easy curves. But, to
the observant traveller, the inconveniences and hardships of the journey
are, in some measure, compensated by the varied and captivating scenery.
He passes through a variety of climates within a few hours’ ride. At one
time he is ascending a dizzy steep by a sort of rustic stairway hewn
into the rock-ribbed mountain, where the air reminds him of a chilly
November morning; a few hours later he is descending to the region of
the plantain and the banana, where the summer never ends, and the rank
crops of fruits and flowers chase each other in unbroken circle from
January to December. On the bleak crests of the paramos he encounters
neither tree nor shrub, where a few blades of sedge and the flitting of
a few sparrows give the only evidences of vegetable or animal life;
while in the deep valley just below, the dense groves of palm and
cottonwood are alive with birds of rich and varied plumage, and the air
seems loaded with floral perfumes until the senses fairly ache with
their sweetness.

“This plain is the traditional elysium of the ancient Chibchas, and
their imperial capital was near the site of the present capital of
Colombia; and perhaps around no one spot on the American continent
cluster so many legends of the aborigines, or quite so many improbable
stories illustrative of the ancient civilization. Here one can almost
imagine himself in the north temperate zone, and in a country inhabited
by a race wholly different from the people heretofore seen in the
republic. Agriculture and the useful arts seem at least a century ahead
of those on the coast and in the torrid valleys of the great rivers. The
ox-cart and plantation-wagon have supplanted the traditional pack-mule
and ground-sled; the neat iron spade and patent plough have taken the
place of wooden shovels and clumsy forked sticks; the enclosures are of
substantial stone or adobe, and the spacious farmhouse, or quinta, has
an air of palatial elegance compared with the mud and bamboo hut of the
Magdalena. The people have a clear, ruddy complexion, at least compared
with those heretofore seen in the country, and their dialect is a near
approach to the rich and sonorous Castilian, once so liquid and
harmonious in poetry and song, so majestic and persuasive on the forum.
None of these agricultural implements, and none of these commodious
coaches and omnibuses, were manufactured here nor elsewhere in Colombia.
They have all been imported from the United States or England. They were
brought to Honda by the river steamers, packed in small sections, and
thence lugged over the mountains piece by piece.

“One peon will carry a wheel, another an axle, a third a coupling-pole
or single-tree, and the screws and bolts are packed in small boxes on
cargo mules. The upper part or body of the vehicle is likewise taken to
pieces and packed in sections. One man will sometimes be a month in
carrying a wagon-wheel from Honda to the plain. His method is to carry
it some fifty or a hundred paces and then rest, making sometimes less
than two miles a day.

[Illustration: SABANA OF BOGOTA.]

“When the vehicle finally reaches the plain, the pieces are collected
and put together by some smithy who may have learned the art from an
American or English mechanic. One scarcely knows which ought to be the
greatest marvel, the failure to manufacture all these things in a
country where woods and coal and iron ore are so abundant, or the
obstacles that are overcome in their successful importation from foreign

“At the time of the Spanish conquest, in 1537, the inhabitants of this
region were the Chibchas, who, according to Quesada, numbered about
three-quarters of a million. Their form of government was essentially
patriarchal, and their habits were those of an agricultural people given
to the arts of peaceful industry. Their religion contained much to
remind us of the ancient Buddhists. It imposed none of those revolting
sacrifices of human victims which marked the rituals of the Aztecs. They
had their divine Mediata in Bohica, or Deity of Mercy. Their Chibchacum
corresponded to the Buddhist god of Agriculture. Their god of Science,
as represented by earthen images which I have examined, was almost
identical with the Buddhist god of Wisdom, as represented by the images
in some of the Chinese temples. They had also a traditional Spirit of
Evil, corresponding to Neawatha of the ancient Mexicans and to the Satan
of the Hebrews. And connected with their flood myth was a character
corresponding to the Hebrew Noah, the Greek Ducalaine, and the Mexican

“The capital of the Chibchan empire was Bocata, of which Bogota is
manifestly a mere corruption. It was situated near the site of the
present Colombian capital. But their most ancient political capital was
Mangueta, near the site of the present village of Funza, on the opposite
side of the plain. Near the site of the present grand cathedral, in the
heart of the present city of Bogota, was a temple consecrated to the god
of Agriculture. Here the Emperor and his cacique, accompanied by the
chief men of the country, were wont to assemble twice a year and offer
oblations to the deity who was supposed to preside over the harvests--a
ceremony not unlike the ‘moon feasts’ celebrated to-day in many of the
interior districts of China.

“The altitude of the plain above the sea-level is 8750 feet, and its
mean temperature is about 59° Fahrenheit. The atmosphere is thin, pure,
and exhilarating, but it is perhaps not conducive either to longevity or
great mental activity. A man, for instance, accustomed to eight hours’
daily mental labor in New York or Washington will here find it
impossible to apply himself closely for more than five hours each day.
If he exceeds that limit ominous symptoms of nervous prostration will be
almost sure to follow.”

[Illustration: SANTA FÉ DE BOGOTA.]

Bogota has a population of one hundred thousand, and is in some respects
quite modern, but in others two centuries behind the times. It is built
chiefly with adobe houses that have a very unprepossessing appearance on
the exterior. But the interiors of many of the houses are elegantly
furnished. It costs one thousand dollars to pay the freight on a piano
to the city, yet nearly all the well-to-do people have them. From Honda
to Bogota they have to be carried on the backs of mules. There are few
carriages, because the roads will not allow of them; but there is an
extensive system of street-car lines, every bit of material used in
their construction being brought in the same manner over the mountains.
The cars were shipped in sections not too heavy for a man to carry, and
the rails were borne upon the shoulders of a dozen persons. Yet,
notwithstanding this enormous expense, the roads, which are owned by New
York capitalists, are very profitable investments, the fare charged
being twelve and a half cents in Colombian coin, which is equivalent to
ten cents in our currency. The street-car drivers carry horns, which
they blow constantly, so as to notify the people in the houses of their
approach. The streets are narrow, paved with stone, and in the centre of
each is a gutter, through which a stream of water is constantly flowing.


The streets, as in other Spanish-American cities, are named after the
saints, battle-fields, and famous generals; but the houses are not
numbered, and it is difficult for a stranger to find one that he happens
to want to visit.


The police do duty only at night. During the day the citizens take care
of themselves. Four policemen are stationed at the four corners of a
plaza. Every fifteen minutes a bell rings, which causes the guardians of
the city to blow their whistles and change posts. By this system it is
impossible for them to sleep on their beats. They are armed with lassos,
and by the dexterous use of this formidable weapon they pinion the
prowling thief when he is trying to escape. They also have a short
bayonet as an additional weapon. Petty thefts are the thief crimes. The
natives are not quarrelsome nor dishonest. They will steal a little
thing; but as messengers you can easily trust them with three thousand
or twenty thousand dollars. When they work they go at it in earnest, but
they are not fond of exertion. It is a curious sight to see cargadors
going about with loads. They generally go in pairs, one behind the
other, with a stretcher. The natives of the lower class are fond of
drinking and gambling. They have a beverage called chica, which has a
vile smell. It does not intoxicate as quickly as whiskey, but it

Society is very exclusive, and strangers call first. If the visit is
returned the doors of society are opened. The predominating language is
Spanish, but all the upper classes speak French. They get everything
from France, too, in the way of dress and luxuries. It is absolutely
necessary to speak French to get along. The city is a city of
paradoxes--of great wealth, of great poverty, and a peculiar mixture of
customs that often puzzle the stranger. The foremost men in the
mercantile, political, and literary circles are from the old Castilian
families, but so changed by intermarriage that all bloods run in their

The ruling class are the politicians, but they are more under the
control of the military than is generally the case elsewhere. Out of
thirty-three Presidents that have ruled the republic seventeen have been
generals in the army. Among the leading minds are highly educated men
who can converse and write fluently in several languages, who can
demonstrate the most difficult problems in astronomical or mathematical
formulas, who can dictate a learned philosophical discourse, or dispute
with any the influence of intricate history. Their constitution, laws,
and government are modelled after those of the United States; their
financial policies after England; their fashions, manners, and customs
after the French; their literature, verbosity, and suavity after the
Spaniards. Patriotic eloquence is their ideal, and well it is realized
in some of their orators.

Until the ratification of the “concordat” with the Pope, in 1888,
education was free and compulsory, sectarian schools were prohibited,
and all orders of religious seclusion suppressed; but under that
document the ancient relations between the Church and State were
restored, the school laws

[Illustration: GOING TO THE MARKET.]

were repealed, the education of the children was intrusted again to the
priests, and the monks and nuns were permitted to return to the country
and reoccupy the cloisters from which they were expelled by the Liberal
party several years before. The monasteries, convents, and valuable
productive estates which had been confiscated by the Government from
time to time since 1825 were restored to the religious orders; and all
the educational institutions, including the university, themedical, law,
and other scientific schools, the learned societies, the observatory,
the libraries, and museums, were removed from the charge of the civil
minister of education, placed under the care of the archbishop, with a
liberal subsidy from the public treasury for their maintenance, and by
the terms of the “concordat” devoted forever “to the glorification and
advancement of the Holy Catholic Church.” In one or two of the seaports
Protestant missionaries are getting a foothold, but very slowly, as
everything is against them. The unconquered Indian tribes retain their
peculiar religious rites.

[Illustration: A CABALLERO.]

Lately banks and bankers have multiplied to a great extent. Paper-money,
heretofore almost unknown, is fast supplanting the coin of the country.
This places a great power in the hands of the bankers. They are allowed
to issue bills far above their specie reserve, charging from
three-fourths to one and a half per cent. a month for loans. The profits
are very large, some banks paying dividends as high as thirty per cent.
per annum. The wholesale and commission merchants comprise a large
class. They buy from the lowest-selling market giving the largest
credits, and sell to the small tradesmen of their individual section,
often supplying these individuals with goods in advance on the coming
crop. This gives them control of the produce a long time ahead.

The non-producers are the gamblers and beggars. The people are given to
games of chance. Lotteries and raffles find many devotees. Beggars are
very plentiful, owing to the peculiar diseases that scourge the country.
Saturday is their day; then every merchant places on his table a
quantity of small change, and delivers it as the mendicants call. There
are a number of hospitals, cared for by the Sisters of Charity.

[Illustration: AN ORCHID.]

The Colombians are musicians, and spend a great amount of time and money
in gaining this accomplishment. The German piano is found in almost
every house, and many young people gain their living teaching this art,
while extravagant figures are paid to foreign professors. There are few
actors or actresses. The taste of the people is favorable to the growth
of this art, and when a really good artist passes through the country he
reaps a rich harvest.

Collectors of orchids are often sent out by European houses. They
establish themselves at the most convenient place, and send out native
runners, paying them from one to thirty cents a plant, according to the
kind and condition of the parasites. They are worth from £5 to £100 in
Europe. All the lower classes work indiscriminately. Indeed, the women
do the heaviest part of the work, carrying over the mountains burdens
equal to those of the men, and one or two children besides. Travellers
are carried over the mountain-passes in “sillas” upon the backs of
natives. These carriers are sure-footed, and capable of great endurance,
usually making better time than mules. The sillas are nothing more than
rude bamboo chairs, fastened to the backs of the silleros by two belts
crossing over the chest and a third passing over the forehead. On a
level road these silleros have a gentle trot that does not jar the
rider, keeping a pace of four miles an hour for half a day. When they
are climbing in the mountains they seldom slip or fall, and very few
accidents ever occur unless they happen to get too much agendiente
(rum). But it requires time and patience to accustom one to human-back
riding, although the natives of the country prefer the silla to the

Bogota is half a mile nearer the stars than the summit of Mount
Washington and at this elevation the climate is delightful, although it
is only a few degrees from the equator. The tropical fruits are here
found in abundance, as well as the products of the temperate zones.

The streams are full of fish, and the mountains are full of game; but
nevertheless the people prefer bacon and codfish to the natural luxuries
of their country, and even these cannot be found cooked in any palatable
way. Indians will walk for three days--men and women together, and each
woman usually carrying a child besides--having heavy loads of produce or
long strings of fish upon their backs. The woman will sit all day in the
marketplace peddling off her stuff to customers, while the man is
patronizing the gambling booths; and at night, if there is any money
left, they will both get drunk together, and then spend two or three
more days on the road, walking home with empty pockets.


There are no hotels worth mentioning in Bogota, only a few _fondas_ (or
restaurants) and _tambos_, at which the peons stop. There are very few
strangers travelling in the country, and they generally carry letters of
introduction, and usually packages, to the acquaintances of their
friends, who entertain them hospitably. The few who visit the county
from the United States stop at a boarding-house kept by a lady from New
Hampshire, whose late husband was engaged in business at Bogota. There
are probably half a dozen other citizens of the United States at the

The original name of the city was Santa Fé de Bogota (Bogota of the Holy
Faith). The plan of the city is irregular, and it lies upon sloping
ground, with three or four streams running through it. The houses are
never more than two stories in height, built of adobe and whitewashed.
The ground-floor has no windows, and the rooms fronting the streets are
usually occupied as shops, the proprietors living up-stairs. There is
never more than one entrance, which is through a passage into the patio,
or court, upon which all the rooms open. The second story is furnished
with balconies, upon which the women spend most of their lives.

The cathedral stands, as in all Spanish-American cities, upon the main
plaza, and is quite large and imposing as to its exterior; but the
interior is bare, damp, and cold, and barren of decoration, except a few
tawdry wax or wooden images of the saints. The pulpit is quite an
elegant affair, being handsomely inlaid with tortoise-shell and embossed
silver. There are two rows of seats, one on either side, which are
occupied exclusively by men. The women all kneel through the entire
service, or squat upon little pieces of carpet which they bring with

A half-century or more ago the erection of a very beautiful capitol of
white marble, and of the pure Grecian order of architecture, was
commenced, but the building still stands unfinished and unoccupied, a
monument to procrastination. There have been several spasmodic attempts
to complete it, but they have been interrupted by revolutions, and the
money diverted or stolen. The President resides in a dilapidated
structure, and the several executive departments of the Government
occupy confiscated monasteries and convents, which, under the recent
“concordat” with Rome, must be restored to the monks and nuns. There is
a fine university, a museum containing many valuable and venerated
historical relics, a national library which is composed mostly of
ancient tomes, eighty or ninety thousand in number, an observatory,
said to be nearer the stars than any other in the world, and a military
academy, organized by Lieutenant Lemly, of the United States army, and
considered the best on the Southern Continent.


Bogota was once a city famous for its learned societies and literary
culture, but during the last decade the entire population have been
devoting themselves to politics and war. The revolution of 1884-5 was
prolonged and disastrous, and there has been little, if any, improvement
in political or commercial conditions since. The Liberal party,
representing the young and progressive element, elected as President in
1884 Dr. Rafael Nuñez, and then attempted to overthrow him because of
his reactionary tendencies. Nuñez was sustained by the clerical, or
Bourbon element; and having a well-organized army behind him, succeeded
not only in maintaining his power, but in re-electing himself for a
second term with a Congress unanimously in sympathy with his policy. The
Constitution was so amended as to transform the Federation into an
inseparable union of States like our own, the name was changed from “The
United States of Colombia” to “The Republic of Colombia,” and the
President was endowed with most extraordinary powers, little short of
those exercised by the Shah of Persia or the Czar of Russia. Then a
treaty, or “concordat,” was entered into with the Vatican, under which
the civil as well as the ecclesiastical authority of the Pope is
recognized, and all that the Liberal party had accomplished during its
struggles for thirty years was wiped out by a single stroke of the pen.


The extreme ultramontanism of Dr. Nuñez awakened a series of
revolutions, and resulted in his abdication of the Presidency; his
successor being Dr. Holguin, one of the most prominent and learned
leaders of the Clerical party, who has spent his life in Congress, in
the executive departments of the Government, and in the diplomatic



The voyage from New York to Venezuela is one of the most delightful in
the world, and gives the traveller not only a nine days’ taste of the
sea, but shows him a glimpse of tropical America, and affords him an
opportunity to study the peculiar life and customs of our
Spanish-American neighbors. A splendid fleet of steamers--the “Red D”
line, owned by Messrs. Boulton, Bliss & Dallett, of New York, and
sailing under the American flag--furnish as comfortable transportation
facilities as can be found on any ocean, and the journey can be made in
thirty days, eighteen of which will be spent at sea and at the ports of
the Antilles, and the remainder at the capital and chief cities of

If the whole coast of South America had been explored for the worst
place in twenty thousand miles to build a city, there could not have
been found one with greater natural disadvantages, which human ingenuity
cannot overcome, than La Guayra, the seaport of Caracas, capital of
Venezuela. It is a town of about six thousand inhabitants, stretched
along a rocky beach for about two miles. Five hundred feet from the
water the Venezuelan range of the Andes Mountains begins, and rises
almost perpendicularly to the height of five and six thousand feet. One
hundred feet from the houses the bottom of the sea slopes off into a
hundred fathoms of water, and a mile out it is said to be two thousand
feet deep. There is not the slightest excuse for a harbor, nor the
slightest protection for vessels, which always lift their anchors and
get out of the way when indications of a storm are seen. The anchor lies
on the sloping rock at the bottom of the sea, but it has to be lifted
every few hours, or the shifting sand will bury it beyond recovery. The
surf always runs very high when a strong breeze is blowing, and under
these circumstances vessels are expected to load and unload. Two
wharves, or moles, have been built at an acute angle, with the narrow
point open, and into this the lighters are steered, where they are
comparatively easy while shifting cargoes. The vessels always stay out
far enough to avoid the surf, but rise and fall, tip and rock with the
swells that go under them with the motion that the billows of the ocean

Clinging to the little ledge between the surf and the foot of the rocks
the town stands. There is only one street along which the warehouses are
situated, with a rather imposing custom-house and the invariable plaza,
or park, in which stands an equestrian statue of Guzman Blanco, the
“boss” of Venezuela. There is said to be a statue of Guzman in every
town in the republic, erected by his orders, but at the expense of the
Government, while he was President. There are three of them at the

The guide-books and geographies say that La Guayra is the hottest and
most unhealthy place in the world; that it is hotter than Cairo, or
Madras, or Abushar, or Aden, or Yuma; but the United States consul says
that this is an absurd and inexcusable falsehood, and represents the
city as being a most attractive summer resort. Humboldt says
yellow-fever is born there, and that it is the chief distributing point
for the plague; the consul says that there is only occasionally a case
of fever of a mild type, which is often mistaken for genuine
yellow-jack, and people ordinarily recover from it. Humboldt says, too,
that in his time this was a famous place for tidal waves; that a lookout
was always stationed at the fort, which sits in a crevice in the
mountains above the town, to watch for them, and when one was seen
coming a gun was fired to warn the vessels, which pulled in their
anchors and put out to sea to escape being dashed against the mountains.
He also says that it was the worst place for barnacles (_teredo
navalis_) in the world, and that vessels were totally ruined by lying
at anchor there; but Mr. Bird says these stories are all humbug, and
while it might have been so in Humboldt’s time, the conditions are
totally different now.


Above the city, among the rocks, are the ruins of old Spanish forts
which have been the scenes of the most terrific conflicts, and the
ravines have run with blood from the carnage until the sea has been as
red as a sunset. In the days of the buccaneers La Guayra was a favorite
place for fighting, and there being no harbor, the pirate kings were
always cruising after the galleons which came there to load with
treasures for the King of Spain. Upon the top of a high bluff
overlooking the town is an immense castle, which was at one time the
residence of the Captain-general of the Spanish colonies, and is
haunted by all sorts of legends and romantic traditions. It is now in
ruins, and the underground tunnel which formerly connected it with the
Military Barracks, four miles away, has caved in at many places.

To readers of that remarkable novel, “Westward, Ho!” by Charles
Kingsley, this castle has a romantic interest, as it was here where the
Rose of Devon was carried by her Spanish lover, and where she was sought
and found by Aymas and Frank Leigh. But things are different nowadays.
The great American house of Boulton, Bliss & Dallett have their
headquarters there, control the trade, send vessels to New York every
ten days without molestation laden with coffee, and the only blood that
flows is shed by the fleas.

I have thus far neglected to give due credit to the tropical flea, to
whose industry, enterprise, and assiduous solicitude all travellers in
Spanish-America are indebted for a great deal of diversion. At first his
attentions are somewhat annoying, and there is a general disposition to
conceal acquaintance with him; but when every man, woman, and child in a
company is constantly scratching, it becomes difficult to ignore
conditions that are common and conspicuous, and everybody admits, first
with blushes and then with brazen shamelessness, that he’s got ’em.
There is no use of trying to conceal the fact. They are as common and as
plenty as flies in the basement kitchen of a city boarding-house, and
the Venezuela coat-of-arms would more truly represent the condition of
the country if it showed a man vainly trying to scratch in seven places
at once instead of a wild horse dashing over the pampas. They are little
black insects, which will get into your clothing in the most
unaccountable manner. You find them in your shoes and under your
shirt-collar; you wake up in the night and think you have somehow
wandered into a plantation of nettles; or, when you become a little more
accustomed to it, dream regularly that you are lying on the prickly side
of a cactus. To rub the flesh with brandy does some good, but the better
way is to grin and bear it. The pests are bad enough in Mexico; they
are worse in the West Indies; but in Venezuela--the less said the


Between La Guayra and Caracas rises a mountain called La Silla (The
Saddle), from the shape of its summit, eight thousand six hundred feet
above the sea, and there are three roads between the two cities. The
shortest is a trail nine miles long, through a ravine, which was used by
the Indians at the time of the discovery by Columbus, but it is
impassable for quadrupeds, and dangerous for any but expert and
experienced mountaineers. Then there is an old wagon-road, steep and
rough, for twenty-two miles, which was constructed by the Spaniards
after the Conquest. The third is a tramway, narrow gauge, built along
shelves which have been excavated in the side of the mountains by
English engineers and English capital. The train goes slowly, and there
is almost always a track-walker with a spade upon his shoulder in sight.
It would not do to run up or down the grades in the night, or at a speed
greater than ten miles an hour; hence it requires two hours and a half
to make the journey, than which there is no more interesting in the
world. The grade averages one hundred and ninety-seven feet to the mile,
the highest altitude passed being four thousand six hundred feet; and
one does not know which to admire the most--the difficulties nature has
placed in the way of man, or the manner in which man has overcome them.

Humboldt, who came up the wagon-road, which runs almost parallel with
the tramway for most of the distance, said that the only mountain
scenery which equals it is that of the Island of Teneriffe, where a
fragment of the alpine grandeur rises from the bosom of the sea. But one
can scarcely imagine a picture more imposing or impressive than is
represented here. Almost under the equator, with the ocean continually
in view, and the mountains rising into the clouds all around you, the
little engine puffs and pants like a restless stallion as it climbs
around in the crevice that has been dug for the track. The road is
solidly constructed, as English railways always are, has all the modern
appliances for safety, and has been running so far without an accident;
but if anything should break, if the engineer should lose control of the
train for an instant, there would be no need of an inquest--there would
be nothing for a coroner’s jury to sit upon.

Two hundred and fifty years ago that king of buccaneers, Sir Francis
Drake, paid a visit to Caracas under circumstances worthy of notice. It
was before the forts had been built around La Guayra; in fact, it was
owing to the adventure of Sir Francis that the Spaniards put them there.
This Mr. Drake, as all know who are familiar with the doings of Queen
Elizabeth’s time, was a Britain bold, and had a little affair with the
Spanish Armada. Having disposed of the enemies of the virgin Queen in
the waters around home, he started

[Illustration: STILL MORE SUBURBAN.]

out on a cruise for gold and glory, with “Westward, Ho!” inscribed upon
the pennant that flew at the royal top-gallant of his main-mast. Mr.
Drake was a gentleman of great valor, and his antipathy to the Spaniards
and Catholics was pronounced. He started out from Plymouth with a
gallant fleet, and when he came across a Spanish galleon or a Spanish
town in the colonies he “went for it then and there.” The Rev. Charles
Kingsley has described the voyage, which continued around the globe, in
a most fascinating manner. He followed in the wake of Sir Francis two
hundred years after, and his descriptions of South American scenes and
scenery are unsurpassed.

Drake’s capture of Caracas was considered the boldest of all his
achievements. It was in 1595 that he stood in with his squadron at La
Guayra, and the inhabitants, when they realized the presence of the man
who had devastated the West Indies, abandoned their homes and fled to
the mountains, carrying the news of the arrival of the terrible
Englishman. The Alcaldes of Caracas assembled all the men in the country
who could carry arms, from the ages of sixteen to seventy, and marched
down the wagon-road along which the railway runs, to stay the invader.
Half way down they prepared an ambush and lay in wait to annihilate him.
Drake landed at La Guayra with seventy men, captured a fellow named
Villalpando, who, by gifts of treasure, agreed to guide him up the old,
dangerous, and abandoned Indian trail. So, while the gallant Alcaldes
with all the men of Caracas were marching down one road Sir Francis was
marching up another, which they thought he would not dare to climb.
Neither met an enemy, and while the Spaniards were lying in ambush Sir
Francis was hanging the traitorous Villalpando in what is now the Plaza
Bolivar, drinking the wine from the Spanish cellars, ravishing the
women, and plundering the houses of the citizens. But one old hidalgo,
named Alonzo de Ledeoma, who remained behind, denounced the invaders
from the threshold of his plundered house, declared them to be cravens,
and dared the bravest of the Englishmen to meet him in single combat.
Sir Francis and his crew jeered at the brave old man, and told him to
send for his fellow-citizens who had gone down the mountain-road; but he
insisted on fighting them alone, and was accommodated. They killed him
as tenderly as they could, set fire to the city, and then, laden with
all the portable property of value in Caracas, marched down the ravine
to La Guayra again, and sailed away with a million dollars’ worth of
treasure, captured without the loss of a single man.

The city of Caracas, the capital of Venezuela, as well as its
metropolis, and according to geographies one of the most delightful
places of residence in the world, lies in a narrow valley between two
high ranges of mountains, which lift their heads nearly nine thousand
feet on one side, and something over six thousand on the other. To one
standing in the centre of the city it seems to be entirely surrounded by
peaks, to lie in a pocket or deep depression; but from the top of
“Calvary,” a hill which used to be a cemetery, but is now a park, one
can see two roads that lead out, two passes through the mountains whence
the river comes and whither it flows. The natural beauties of the place
are very marked, and make it plain why Venezuelans are proud of their
chief city. There is an old gentleman at Caracas, Mr. Middleton by name,
who for over fifty years has been in the diplomatic service of Great
Britain. He has served at Paris, at Madrid, at Mexico, at Buenos Ayres,
at Brazil, and his last station was as Minister to Venezuela. When the
age came which required him to be placed upon the retired list he would
not go back to England, but wished to remain there, where, he says, it
is but a step to Paradise. “I have been here since 1869,” he remarked;
“I have seen this country in war and in peace, and have experienced two
earthquakes, the last of which killed three hundred people, but there is
no place on earth possessing so many natural and climatic attractions.
All I ask is to end my days in this eternal spring.”

But, speaking of earthquakes, Caracas is a favorite place for them. The
town was entirely destroyed in 1812, and more or less of it has been
shaken down at intervals since. The residents are quite sensitive on the
subject, and insist that more lives are lost in the United States by
fires and cyclones and railroad accidents than in Venezuela by
earthquakes. They talk of the great fires in Boston and Chicago as being
infinitely more to be dreaded than the earthquake of 1812, which shook
every building from its foundation, and buried twenty thousand people in
the ruins. There is no doubt a constant danger from volcanic fires, but
the people are not subjected to some of the ills we are heir to.

The present Government, under the inspiration of Guzman Blanco, is
making earnest efforts to secure immigrants, and is offering the most
alluring inducements to settlers upon the public lands. Venezuela is not
thickly populated. It has more territory than France, Spain, and
Portugal together, and is about one-seventh as large as the United
States. The population in 1884 was 2,121,000, with only a slight
increase for ten years. The country could sustain a population of
100,000,000, for the soil is exceedingly rich, and produces two crops a
year without fertilization or irrigation.

There are three zones, three climates within the limits of
Venezuela--from cold too intense to be endured by man to the greatest
degree of heat known to the earth’s surface. Although the capital is
only ten degrees north of the equator, the temperature is delightful,
and it is easy to realize the truth of the statement that Caracas enjoys
a perpetual spring. The thermometer, which stands about sixty degrees at
midnight, rises to seventy-five or eighty at noon, but there is always a
fresh breeze blowing either from the ocean or from the snow-capped Andes
to the south-west.

There was no printing-press in Venezuela until after the triumph of
Bolivar, and the colonies were not encouraged in the arts or the
sciences or any form of industry. The most profitable crops of sugar and
coffee were kept a monopoly for the crown of Spain, and the people found
it to their advantage to produce no more than they needed for their own
sustenance, as every ounce of surplus was seized by the Government.
Then, after independence was established, the rulers of the country
imitated their former oppressors and kept the people down, robbing them
in every possible way, until revolution after revolution was the result,
and local wars followed each other so rapidly that the country was
deluged with blood. Discontent was universal, and discontent always
results in conspiracies and revolutions. Bolivar the Liberator
(pronounced Bo-leè-var), the Washington of the country, was driven into
exile, and died in poverty in a neighboring country. But Bolivar is
honored there now, and the public


veneration is even greater, if possible, than that shown for Washington
and Lincoln in the United States. He died of a broken heart in Santa
Marta, Colombia, and was originally buried there, but ten years after
his death Paez, the man who overthrew the Liberator and drove him into
exile, thought it would be a popular thing to bring his bones home. This
was done with great ceremony, and they were buried in the cathedral
fronting Plaza Bolivar, upon which his equestrian statue stands. But his
heart is in Colombia still. It was removed from the body, and remains in
an urn in the Santa Marta cathedral.

In the museum of the University, in a beautiful room kept as sacred as
the Holiest of Holies, is a collection of relics as precious to the
people as fragments of the true cross. There are Bolivar’s clothing, his
saddle, his spurs, his boots, and books, and every little memento of him
that could be gathered up, including the coffin in which his remains
were originally buried. There are paintings representing his past
achievements on earth and his present glory in heaven, where he is
surrounded by cherubim and seraphim covering his head with laurels. The
most precious of all the relics is a portrait of Washington, sent to
Bolivar in 1828 by George Washington Parke Custis, with this
inscription: “This picture of the Liberator of North America is sent by
his adopted son to him who acquired equal glory in South America.”

When Guzman Blanco turned an old cathedral into a pantheon for the
burial of distinguished dead, the remains of Bolivar were for a third
time removed, and finally deposited in a beautiful marble tomb. Upon it
is a statue of the hero, represented as standing with a military cloak
around him--a noble and dignified face. On one side is a statue of
“Plenty,” scattering corn from a tray; on the other a representation of
“Justice.” The inscription on the monument is:


     Cineres hic condit; honorat grata et memor patria.


There is another, an equestrian statue to Bolivar, in the centre of the
city, surrounded by a park called by his name, upon which fronts “The
Yellow House,” as the residence of the President is called, and several
of the Federal palaces. The standard coin of the country is called by
his name, and is of a value equal to the franc of France. The coins and
paper-money bear his portrait as well as his name, and a pathetic
attempt is made by the people to show after his death the gratitude they
should have paid to the starving exile.

Not far from the statue of Bolivar stands a heroic figure in bronze,
with no inscription upon its pedestal but the name “Washington.” It was
erected to celebrate the centenary of Bolivar’s birth, and its
dedication was accompanied by a ceremony which has never been equalled
in magnificence on the southern continent--a tribute to the man who
“filled one world with his benefits and all worlds with his name.” There
are shops and stores, hotels and streets named after Washington, and his
memory is reverenced as much as at home. But this people, so
instinctively republican, so patriotic and appreciative of freedom,
never knew what liberty was until within the last ten years. Since then
the priests have been dethroned and the schools have been made free.

[Illustration: ON A BACK STREET.]

Guzman Blanco may be a tyrant, but he has produced results which are
blessing the people. Until he became President the Church ruled the
people as it formerly ruled Mexico, but, like Juarez in the latter
country, he went to radical and excessive measures to overthrow its
tyranny. He confiscated Church property, drove out the nuns and
Jesuits, seized the convents, turned them into hospitals and schools,
and made the most venerable monastery a pest-house for lepers and
small-pox. He deprived the Church of the right to hold or acquire
property, seized the cemeteries, and opened them to the burial of the
dead of whatever faith. He even went so far as to expel the archbishop
because the latter refused to sing a Te Deum when a monument to the man
who did all this was erected. With such audacity and by such means has
Guzman Blanco deprived the Church of its former power and prestige. His
opponents, like those of Juarez and Diaz in Mexico, are chiefly
Churchmen (Bourbons), but as he exercises no mercy when his will is
violated, they are in a state of the most abject submission.

The schools of Venezuela are supported by the Federal Government from
the revenues of the Post-office and a trade license system. Formerly the
mails now handled by the railroads were carried by Indian runners over
the mountains from the coast, and so from Caracas inland still farther,
as is the case yet where there are no railroads. A runner carries a
package weighing about sixteen pounds strapped upon his back. His
clothing is sufficient, as he leaves a city, to preserve the last
requirement of decency. When he gets alone, however, he deposits his
fig-leaf in some convenient place, and rapidly “walks in maiden
meditation, garment free,” until he approaches his destination, when he
finds the uniform belonging to that end of the post-route, and dons it
for remaining courtesies. These runners are faithful, prompt,
serviceable, and of great endurance.

At the post-office you can get two sorts of stamps. The proceeds from
foreign postage go into the general treasury. Another stamp is used for
local postage, for letters addressed to persons within the town or
State, and is required upon commercial paper, upon all deeds, mortgages,
leases, contracts, notes, receipts, certificates, etc. The proceeds of
its sale are devoted to the support of the schools, which are free to
all, but are usually attended by the children of the lower classes. The
negroes are particularly eager to learn, and the average attendance of
the blacks is very much greater than that of white children, and out of
proportion of the population. The ratio of illiteracy is greater among
the whites than among the negroes, and people are beginning to complain
that servants and laborers are being spoiled by education.

There is a Telephone Exchange, with four hundred and seventy-five
subscribers, with branch lines to La Guayra and other cities. The
instrument is very popular in all the tropical countries, where any
method by which physical exertion may be avoided receives both public
and private approbation. The Spaniard shouts “_Oyez, oyez!_” (Hear ye,
hear ye!) when he goes to the telephone, the same words that are used by
bailiffs to open courts of law in the United States, and it sounds quite
odd not to hear the familiar “Holloa!” after the bell jingles. The
telephone is extensively used in private houses; and as the etiquette of
the country prohibits ladies from shopping or going upon the streets
without an escort, they find Mr. Bell’s invention a great convenience.
They visit with their friends and gossip over the wire, order their
meats and groceries from the market, and direct the storekeepers to send
up samples of the goods they want to buy. The electric light is quite
common also, the Opera-house being illuminated by it, as well as the
President’s palace, or “Yellow House,” as it is called, in imitation of
our President’s mansion at Washington, and other public buildings. The
Opera-house is subsidized by the Government during the season. There is
always a good company here. Performances are given twice a week, and the
subsidy received by the present management is forty thousand dollars for
the season, with free use of the house and scenery, which belongs to the
Government. We attended a presentation of “Robert le Diable,” and it was
as well rendered as the average operatic performance in the United
States. The theatre is a magnificent building of stone, standing in a
plaza or park; and although the interior is rather bare of decorations,
and the attempt to secure the greatest amount of coolness gives it a
barn-like air, in its equipments and arrangement the house is equal to
any in New York. The attendance was rather small, or looked so in the
great auditorium, which seats two thousand five hundred people, and the
President, who is said to be a constant devotee of the opera, was

When Guzman Blanco drove out the nuns and monks he made good use of
their property. One monstrous Carmelite monastery, covering an entire
block, was confiscated, remodelled, and turned into a university, which
is supported by the Government and attended by the youth of Venezuela
professionally inclined. Science, law, medicine, and all the ologies but
theology are taught here, and the schools are well managed and of a high
grade. Attached to the university is a public library and museum, under
the care of Professor Ernst, a distinguished German scientist. This
institution is supported by the revenues of a coffee plantation
confiscated from the monks and now belonging to the Government.

Across a small park from the university, in which stands the inevitable
statue of Guzman Blanco, is what is known as the “Palacio Federal,”
bearing the inevitable marble tablet to keep before the minds of the
people that it was erected by that “illustrious American.” It is the
largest, handsomest, and most useless building in Caracas, and one of
the finest in South America. Like all the rest of the improvements it
stands upon confiscated ground, where once was a convent, the oldest and
largest in the country, whose massive walls were stanch enough to endure
the great earthquake of 1812. Guzman had a great time pulling it down,
but he is a man of enormous will and energy, and when he resolves upon
anything it is as good as done.

The Palacio Federal is the Capitol of Venezuela. It covers an entire
square of about two acres, built around a circular park in which are
fountains, statuary, and beautiful flowers, and which is reached by
grand archways on either side. Owing to an earthquake tendency in these
parts the buildings in Caracas are never more than two stories high,


seldom more that one. This is the tallest structure in the city, having
two full stories, with a wide balcony stretching around the interior
walls. At one end is a lofty elliptical-shaped room, two hundred feet
long, and from forty to one hundred in width, without a pillar. This is
the place where official balls and receptions are held, and the
Venezuelans are much given to that sort of thing. There is no carpet,
the floor being of inlaid woods of different colors, and there has been
no attempt at frescoing, and the walls and ceilings are of the most
ghastly white, so that the furniture of gilt, and upholstered in the
most gorgeous brocades and satins, has a somewhat startling effect. It
is arranged, as all Venezuelan furniture is, in rows along the walls.
This room is used as a national portrait-gallery also, and there is a
collection of about sixty pieces, as good as one often finds and better
than we have at Washington, representing the notable men in the history
of the republic. On one side is a heroic portrait of Bolivar, and on the
other one of Guzman Blanco, looking as grand and proud as if he had made
the world. Guzman was the author and creator of this gorgeousness, and
the people are not apt to forget it; but he was strictly impartial in
making the collection of portraits, and if the men whose faces look down
upon us were to meet in the room where their portraits face each other
with fraternal cordiality, there would be such a carnival of blood and
bruises as has never been seen since the celebrated encounter of the
Kilkenny cats.

In one of the wings of the Palacio Federal sits the Supreme Court of the
country, and in the other are the offices of the Interior and War
Departments, while at the opposite end of the building are the halls of
the National Legislature, the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies--two
lofty, barn-like rooms, each about sixty feet square, and entirely
destitute of decoration, except the never-ending portraits of Bolivar
and Guzman. The members sit in ordinary cane-seated office-chairs,
without desks or tables, the presiding officers being placed in little
coops perched very high up on the walls, with a shelf for the tribune on
one side, and another for the clerk on the other.

Congress meets on the 20th of February of each year. The Upper House is
composed of two senators from each State, elected by a direct vote of
the people, and serving for four years. The Lower House has one
representative for each twenty-five thousand population, elected for two
years, also by a direct vote of the people. The first duty of Congress
when it assembles is to elect from its own members a council of sixteen,
and this council selects a President of the republic, with two
Vice-Presidents from its members, by ballot. The Council is perpetual,
and supposed to be always in session, their constitutional duty being to
serve as a check upon the President. They can veto his acts, but he
cannot veto theirs. They have power to enact legislation during the
Congressional recess, which is known as Decrees of the Council, and is
supposed to be reviewed by Congress at the following session. The
Council elects the Federal judiciary and confirms the appointments of
the President, thus sharing in the executive as well as the legislative
power of the Government, and, to a certain extent, in the judicial, as
they have the authority to remove as well as appoint judges.

Such is the constitutional form of government in Venezuela; but if
common rumor is worthy of belief, its exercise is somewhat mythical.
Guzman Blanco is supposed to carry Congress, Council, President, and
courts all under his own hat. He nominates senators and members of
Congress, and his candidates are invariably elected. He makes out a list
of candidates for the Council, and they are chosen. Then the man whom he
names is made President. There is a constitutional provision prohibiting
the re-election of a President, so that Guzman can serve in that
capacity every alternate two years, the intervening time being filled by
some friend of his choice, who is said to be entirely subject to his

The official residence of the President faces the central plaza, or
Plaza Bolivar, and is known as the Yellow House, but is not at present
occupied, being too small to contain the family of General Crespo, who
has seven children. Guzman Blanco never occupied it, for the same
reason, as he has nine children. The Yellow House is a gaudy affair of
two stories, with only twelve rooms, including four official parlors, a
magnificent state dining-room, servants’ quarters, and all that sort of
thing. Official dinners are given there nowadays, and occasionally the
President receives foreign ambassadors in the parlors.

The city of Caracas is a Federal district, like the city of Washington,
with a governor appointed by the President. His office is in a memorable
room, corresponding to Independence Hall in Philadelphia. It was
formerly the chapel of an old convent, confiscated like the rest, and
the remainder of the building is used for the police headquarters, the
municipal court, and other local authorities.


This narrow little room which the Governor occupies is the same in which
the Declaration of Venezuelan Independence was signed, and upon its
walls hangs a picture commemorating the event. Strangely enough, beside
this painting of the decree of Liberty hangs a heavy gilt frame
containing the banner Pizarro carried in the conquest of Peru--the
rarest and most interesting relic in all South America. It is about four
feet square, of heavy pink silk, faded almost to white, embroidered with
gold by the fair hands of Queen Isabella herself, the design being the
combined escutcheons of Aragon and Castile, and it is still in an
excellent state of preservation. It is with the keenest irony of
contrast that this age-begrimed banner should hang in the room where the
first voice was raised against the tyranny it represented; here, beside
the voice, scarcely legible now to the eye, but to the mind speaking
with mighty force the long story of Spanish oppression, and illustrating
the first feeble and unsuccessful protest. This banner was the emblem of
cruelty, avarice, and lust, and under its dainty folds more crimes were
committed in the name of Christ and civilization than an eternity of
perdition could adequately punish.


Of equally striking significance in the room where this banner hangs
exists a permanent rebuke and protest against the religion in whose name
these crimes were committed. The Government refuses to recognize the
authority of the Romish Church even in the sanctity of marriage, and a
civil ceremony is essential to legitimate wedlock. The bride and groom
may go to the church afterwards, but they must come here first, and in
the presence of the civil magistrate make the vows to love, honor, and
obey until death do them part, or their issue will have no right of
inheritance. The Church has threatened to excommunicate, but the decree
of Congress is inexorable, and the archbishop has finally yielded
submission. When a couple want to be married, the groom goes to the
Governor or his deputy and secures a license, notice of which is given
for two weeks in a printed form, which is tacked upon a bulletin-board
beside the entrance to the office. Banns are also required to be
published for the same period in the official newspaper. Then, if no one
appears with cause by which the two should not be united, the
bridal-party comes to the office of the Governor, and there make their
vows and sign the contract which makes them man and wife.

The following is the form of marriage contract:

“PARISH TRIBUNAL, Caracas, Ja. 18th, 1885.

     “This day have appeared before me, presiding over this tribunal,
     Serapio Antonio Gutierez and Felipa Rivas, and declared that they
     are unmarried: that he is twenty-five years of age and that she is
     fifteen; that she is a resident of this parish, and that he is a
     resident also; that his occupation is that of a merchant, and that
     her occupation is that peculiar to the home. They declare that they
     have not changed their places of residence during the last six
     months, and that they desire to enter into marriage.

     “In performance of the foregoing announcement, which has been
     advertised for fifteen days, as the law directs, in the most public
     places of this city, and no one having appeared to deny their right
     to become husband and wife, they therefore on this day agree to
     become such, and have taken upon them the vows required and
     recognized by the law. Therefore, this day, at seven o’clock in the
     evening, assembled with them in the municipal palace, I, General
     Basidio Gabante, President of the Eastern Federal District, by
     order of the Governor and President of the Municipal Council, in
     the presence of Felipe Aguerra, an engineer, citizen of this
     Republic, and Luis R. Tores, merchant and citizen of the Republic,
     have declared the evidence of their free will and right to
     matrimony sufficient under the law.

     “Then was read to them, as above named, section thirteen of the law
     of the Republic, which explains and sets forth the reciprocal
     rights and duties of the husband and wife. Immediately thereafter I
     asked Serapio Antonio Gutierez the question, ‘Do you wish to take
     Felipa Rivas as your wife?’ who then answered in a distinct voice,
     ‘Yes; I want her, and take her thus.’ Then I asked Felipa Rivas,
     ‘Do you take Serapio Antonio Gutierez to be your husband?’ who in
     the same manner answered, ‘Yes; I want him, and take him thus.’

     “Addressing myself to both, I said, ‘You are now joined in
     matrimony, perpetual and indissoluble, and you are required to
     support and assist each other, and provide each other, and the
     children that may be born to you, with the necessaries of the home,
     and be to each other a comfort and a blessing.

     “The above, having been properly witnessed, was signed by the
     married couple in my presence, and immediately entered in the book
     of civil registry.


“FELIPE AGUERRA, _Engineer_. } _Witnesses._
“LUIS R. TORES.              }

     “JULIO BAEZ PUMAR, _Clerk_. BASIDIO GABANTE, _Prefect_.”

[Illustration: A BODEGA.]

Under a glass cylinder, on a stand beneath the banner of Pizarro, is a
large book bound in scarlet plush, with heavy gold clasps and hinges, in
which the contracts are kept and the record of Venezuelan wedlock
preserved. All the Catholics go at once to the church from the municipal
palace, and repeat their vows, with the benediction of the priest, but
this is not essential. At this same office the record of births and
deaths is also kept in the strictest manner. Formerly, as in Cuba, the
legitimacy of a child and permission to bury the dead could be
acknowledged by the Church alone, but the republic has confiscated all
the cemeteries, and opened the gates to those of every faith, Jew or
Gentile, Protestant or Catholic.

The Government is very exacting in many respects. One day a little boy
was stolen. The only clew was given by some children, who saw their
playmate seized by a man who drove away with him in a hack. Every
hackman in the city was arrested and thrown into prison; every coach was
seized, with its horses and harness, and notice given by the police
authorities that not a wheel should be turned in the streets until the
child was found. These summary measures made every coach-owner a
detective, and finally the hackman who was engaged in the abduction
confessed, and the child was recovered without the payment of the ransom

The police arrangements in Caracas are excellent; there are no robberies
or murders, and one seldom sees an intoxicated man upon the streets.
Liquor is sold at nearly all the groceries, or bodegas, as they are
called, and the _aguardiente_ which the common people use is the most
vicious sort of fire-water; but the punishment of offenders is extreme,
and those who have not sufficient self-control to drink moderately are
taken in charge by their friends at the first sign of intoxication.
There are several street-car lines in Caracas, and the conductors carry
a horn, which they blow upon approaching a street-crossing, as is the
practice in Mexico. The cars are all open, and are small, being capable
of holding not more than twelve or fourteen people.

The burial of prominent men is attended with great pomp and ceremony,
and it is customary to have those who are present at the funeral sign a
testimonial to the worth of the dead, or pass a series of resolutions
setting forth their merits and distinguished traits. These tributes are
placed in the coffin, in order that in case the remains should ever be
disinterred, posterity would know the character of him whose bones they
handled. When a member of the family dies, it is customary to drape the
furniture and pictures of the parlor in mourning, and to let it remain
so for a full year.


The etiquette governing the habits of the ladies is the same that exists
in Mexico and other Spanish-American countries, it not being proper for
them to appear alone upon the streetsor in public places. They go to
mass accompanied by a colored woman as a duenna, who carries a chair for
her mistress to sit upon during service, there being no seats or pews in
the churches. In the evening women are seen in large numbers upon the
streets, and at the plaza where the band plays they swarm in gayly
dressed crowds. The ladies of Venezuela are said by travellers to rank
next to those of Peru for beauty, although it would be as much as a
man’s life is worth to intimate such a thing to the brothers and lovers
of Caracas, who very naturally and properly concede nothing in this
respect to “the daughters of the sun,” as the Peruvians are called. The
Venezuela girl has more animation, more vivacity than her sister across
the Cordilleras, and perhaps more intelligence, for she possesses more
liberty of thought and action than the ladies in other countries of
Spanish America, and more attention is paid to her education. The
climate of Caracas is similar to that of Lima, and although the city is
almost under the equator, it has an altitude of eight thousand feet, and
is surrounded by snow-clad mountains which temper the heat of the
tropics and make a temperature like that of June the whole year round.
The ladies have therefore the same clear, rich complexion of an olive
tint, and the same great “melting eyes.” Their features are usually of
artistic perfection and their figures Venus-like. They have no national
costume, but dress in the latest Paris styles. The milliners and
modistes of Caracas go to Paris twice a year, and the wives and
daughters of the rich men of the country order their dresses there.
There is more society than in Peru, and during the winter season Caracas
is very gay. At the opera the boxes are invariably filled with ladies as
handsomely dressed and as highly bejewelled as can be seen at the
Metropolitan Opera House or the Academy of Music in New York.

There are a large number of American families in Caracas, and several
Venezuelan gentlemen have married in the United States. One of the
loveliest girls in Venezuela is the granddaughter of “Josh
Billings”--the late Henry W. Shaw. Twenty years ago or more a merchant
at Caracas named Señor Don Santana sent his son to Poughkeepsie to be
educated, and while he was there he met and married the daughter of Mr.
Shaw. The young man has succeeded to the business of his father, and is
now at the head of one of the largest mercantile houses in the republic.

Mrs. Guzman Blanco is the handsomest woman in the

[Illustration: A VENEZUELA BELLE.]

country. She is a tall, slender brunette, with brilliant eyes and
complexion and a sylph-like figure. Her husband worships her, and she is
said to be the only person in the land to whom the Dictator’s iron will
has ever yielded. She is quite as famous for her loveliness of
disposition as for her personal attractions, and her charity and
generosity are proverbial. Every artist in Venezuela has painted her
portrait a number of times, and in the room which Guzman Blanco uses as
an office there are seven pictures of her, in various costumes and
attitudes, and two busts in marble. Mrs. Guzman Blanco is the leader in
fashion as well as society, and all her dresses are made by Worth. Each
spring and fall, when they are received from Paris, the ladies of
Caracas are invited to examine them. In a room adjoining the chamber are
a number of large glass-cases, like those in a modiste’s shop, in which
her treasures always hang; and whenever a reception is given by the
Dictator this wardrobe is open to visitors--a new and novel idea, but
one which gives the ladies of Venezuela great pleasure. Mrs. Guzman
Blanco was in New York with her husband a couple of years ago, where her
beauty attracted much attention.

The Venezuelans are the most courteous people that can be imagined.
Impoliteness is unpardonable. The clerk with whom you deal over his
counter expresses his wish that you may live long and prosper, and
thanks you gratefully for giving him the pleasure of showing his goods,
whether you purchase anything or not. When a gentleman meets a lady, be
she his sweetheart or his grandmother, he always says he “is lying at
her feet,” and he would rather be shot than pass before her. They are
not the semi-barbarians some people in the northern continent suppose.
They have accomplishments which ought to make the rest of America
ashamed. Usually they are able to speak three or four different
languages, have refined tastes in art and music, and, while they lack
ingenuity, and usually do things in the hardest way, are nevertheless
possessed of the keenest perceptive faculties, and seem almost to read
your thoughts. It is not difficult to make known your wants, even if you
cannot understand a word of their language. They do not allow smoking in
the street-cars and public places, as in Mexico and Havana, and although
it is the privilege of the masculine gender to stare at the feminine
with all the eyes they have, the men are never rude, and ask the pardon
of a beggar when they refuse to give him alms.

But the people always put the locks upon the wrong door, and wrong side
up. When they build a house, it seems as if they studied the most
difficult mode of construction. They erect solid walls first, and then
chisel out cavities for the timbers to rest in. There are no stoves or
chimneys, and charcoal is the only fuel. Gas is produced at four dollars
and a half per thousand feet, from American coal which costs twenty
dollars a ton. There is no glass in the windows, but a grating of iron
bars keeps out intruders, and heavy wooden shutters shut out the air and
light. Such blinds as are common in North America would be the most
admirable protection, but no one has ever introduced them, and the
people will continue to swelter behind solid shutters until the end of


The rooms of houses are not plastered, but the joists are all exposed.
The floors are of tile, and paper is pasted upon the walls, which are of
cement and stone. In the court of every house are the most beautiful
flowers. Tuberoses grow on great trees, and the oleander is as common as
the lilac in New England. The parks look like the botanical gardens of
the North, and in the evening are always thronged with gentlemen and
ladies until a late hour.

Guzman Blanco, the uncrowned king of Venezuela, the man whose authority
is more absolute in this republic than is that of any king in Europe in
his own dominions, is a native of Caracas, where he was born fifty-five
years ago. His father was the private secretary of Bolivar, and at one
time a member of his cabinet. He died only a short time since, and his
funeral was a pageant which was surpassed in the history of the country
only by the demonstration at the removal of Bolivar’s remains. He was
active in the affairs of State almost until his death; now an exile, now
a minister, vibrating between the extremes of power and poverty, as the
party to which he was attached was up or down; and under this confusion,
in the atmosphere of revolution, young Guzman was educated. He added the
name of Blanco--that of his mother--to his baptismal name, to
distinguish him from his father, and became Guzman Blanco; but he is
more often called General Guzman by the people nowadays. When a mere boy
he became a soldier, and had his ups and downs until the year 1874, when
he led a successful revolution against the existing authority and became
President. Since that year several attempts have been made to overturn
him, but none has succeeded, and being a man to win friends as well as
to acquire power, his political strength has grown with years until his
authority is now absolute.

There is, and always will be, a difference in opinion as to his personal
character and motives. That he is vain and imperious is admitted, and
that many of his acts would not be tolerated by such a people as those
who live in the United States cannot be questioned; but, conceding
everything his enemies may say as true, it is nevertheless a fact that
since Guzman Blanco has been ruler over this republic it has prospered
and had peace--something it never had before. There have been varied and
extensive improvements; the people have made rapid strides in progress;
they have been given free schools and released from the bondage of the
Church; the credit of the Government has been improved, its debts
reduced, and the interest to its creditors is for the first time in
history paid promptly, in full and in advance. The moral as well as the
mental and commercial improvement of the people has been the result of
his acts, and as long as he lives their lives and property will be safe.

A man under whose influence such progress has been made can be pardoned
for the delinquencies of which Guzman Blanco is accused; and while his
vanity is amusing, it nevertheless, in the forms it takes, illustrates
the pride he feels in his achievements, and the realization of the
importance of his career in the history of his republic.

Upon the pedestal of one of the five statues he has erected to his own
memory appear the words:




In these words the purpose and ambition of the man appear. To be the
“Pacificator and Regenerator” where Bolivar was the Liberator is worthy
the ambition of any man; and he who will erect a statue of Washington as
the ideal his people should carry in their minds cannot be without a
good motive somewhere in his consciousness. Future historians, when they
look back upon the career of Guzman Blanco, will be more generous than
contemporaneous critics, and will forget that he erected these statues
to himself.

There are three statues to Guzman now standing in Caracas, but nobody
would believe it if the number of tablets erected in his honor were
told. You can scarcely look in any direction without being officially
informed in letters carved in enduring marble that this, that, or the
other thing was done by the order of, or under the administration of,
that illustrious American, etc.

One night all these statues and many of the tablets were pulled down. It
is a curious story, and the United States has what the play-bills call a
contemporaneous human interest in the affair, for the _casus belli_ was
a Boston girl.

Guzman, when he was President, had a nephew of whom he was very fond,
and who was made by him the commander-in-chief of the Venezuelan army.
He was engaged to an American girl, whose parents lived in Caracas then,
but now in Boston. For some reason the girl’s father and the President
had a violent quarrel, and the former was notified that it would be to
his welfare to leave the country. In these Spanish-American countries a
man who values his life never awaits a second invitation of this sort,
and the Boston gentleman, with his family, took the next steamer. They
were accompanied to La Guayra by the young general, who made no secret
of his sympathy with the father of his _fiancée_, and expressed his
views of the President’s tyranny in a very emphatic manner. Guzman sent
for the young man, and advised him to hold his tongue and let the girl
go. The passionate lover gave his uncle some very plain words, which
ended in his being offered a choice between his commission in the army
and his North American sweetheart. He broke his sword over his knees,
threw the severed blade at Guzman’s feet, and tore off his epaulettes.
That night all the statues of Guzman fell down. It was discovered that
the bronze had been sawed where the feet met the pedestals, and a rope
used to tumble them over. Of course the young general was suspected, and
he followed his girl to Boston to escape his uncle’s wrath. The romance
ended in a marriage, as all good love stories do, and after residing in
Boston the couple returned to Caracas, where they now live--she one of
the most attractive and accomplished ladies in the city, and he an
exporter of coffee and chocolate. Guzman has never forgiven him, and
some of his friends think his life is not safe there, but he laughs at
their timidity.

[Illustration: AN OLD PATIO.]

Guzman’s private residence is the finest in Venezuela, and a full-length
portrait of James G. Blaine adorns his parlor. That apartment is very
handsomely decorated and upholstered, the work having been done by
artists imported from Paris; but there is such a vivid brilliancy in the
frescoing, the fabrics, and the furniture that one wishes these tropical
people who have so much money had a little more refinement of taste.

One of the most striking incidents in the career of this extraordinary
man was his defiance of the Pope. To realize its full significance, it
must be understood that Venezuela has always been a Catholic country;
that there was not a Protestant church in the whole country; that Guzman
was himself born and baptized a Catholic, and that under the
Constitution the archbishop was a member of the National Council. Guzman
first suppressed all the monasteries and nunneries of the country, and
confiscated their property, which was converted into houses of useful
education. Then, in 1876, he sent to Congress a message, in which he

     “I have taken upon myself the responsibility of declaring the
     Church of Venezuela independent of the Roman Episcopate, and ask
     that you further order that parish priests shall be elected by the
     people, the bishop by the rector of the parish, and the archbishops
     by Congress, returning to the uses of the primitive Church founded
     by Jesus Christ and His apostles. Such a law will not only resolve
     the clerical question, but will be besides a grand example for the
     Christian Church of republican America, hindered in her march
     towards liberty, order, and progress by the policy, always
     retrograde, of the Roman Church, and the civilized world will see
     in this act the most characteristic and palpable sign of advance in
     the regeneration of Venezuela.


To this the Congress replied:

     “Faithful to our duties, faithful to our convictions, and faithful
     to the holy dogmas of the religion of Jesus Christ, of that great
     Being who conserved the world’s freedom with His blood, we do not
     hesitate to emancipate the Church of Venezuela from that Episcopacy
     which pretends, as an infallible and omnipotent power, to absorb
     from Rome the vitality of a free people, the beliefs of our
     consciences, and the noble aspirations and destinies which pertain
     to us as component parts of the great human family. Congress offers
     to your Excellency and will give you all the aid you seek to
     preserve the honor and the right of our nation, and announces now
     with patriotic pleasure that it has already begun to elaborate the
     law which your Excellency asks it to frame.”

This declaration of independence caused a great sensation in the
Catholic Church, and excommunication was threatened to all who failed in
their allegiance to the Vatican; but neither the Government nor the
people were to be intimidated, and the Pope has since tried diplomatic
measures to restore union with the Mother Church. There has been a
nuncio there for several years, and he resides there still, but is
making no progress.

Macuto is the Newport of Venezuela--the summer, or rather the winter
resort of the wealthy and aristocratic, who find the temperature of
Caracas trying upon their constitutions, and seek sea-air, sea-bathing,
and flirtations under the palms. It is six miles from La Guayra, and is
reached by a tramway, over which a little dummy engine goes shrieking
every half hour, and by a broad boulevard which would furnish as
delightful a drive as that upon the beach at Long Branch were it not for
the dust, which is almost hub-deep, and nearly suffocates one. La
Guayra, as I have stated, has the blissful reputation of being the
hottest place on earth, shut in as it is by mountains on all sides but
the west, and blistering not only in the direct heat but in that
reflected from the rocks, which is a great deal more oppressive--a
pocket which no air except the west wind, the hottest of all, can reach.
But Macuto is around the corner, one might say--around a point of rocks,
and upon a little peninsula that stretches out from the beach, where it
can catch not only all the breezes that ruffle the sea, but the winds
that come from the mountains, down a ravine through which flows a
beautiful stream as cool as one in the Adirondacks.

It was Guzman Blanco, of course, who found out this little settlement of
fishermen, built the seawall to protect the peninsula, made the
boulevard from the city, built the railroad, brought plenty of fresh
water from the mountains, and built bath-houses there; so that the
people of La Guayra can in twelve minutes leave the hottest place on
earth for one where the air is always fresh and cool, where yellow-fever
never comes, and where a good salt-water bath can be had for the sum of
six cents in Venezuela money.

The bathing arrangements are quite odd. The sharks are so numerous that
it is dangerous to bathe in the surf, and nobody cares to have his legs
bitten off; so a semicircular pen of piling has been erected, at
government expense, reaching about a hundred feet into the sea. Through
this piling the surf beats fiercely. The pen is divided in the centre by
a high wall, one side being for the ladies and the other for the
gentlemen. At the shore end is a miniature castle of stone, likewise
divided into two rooms, with a row of benches around the wall, and hooks
over them on which to hang clothes. Everybody bathes _au naturel_;
bathing-dresses are unknown. You pay five cents for a ticket, and ten
cents for a sheet, which is used as drapery and as a towel, and then
undress. The attendant hands you the sheet when you are stripped, and,
concealing your nakedness with that protection, you climb down the stone
stair-way, hang your sheet over the railing, and plunge in. The water is
glorious, warm and salty, so dense that it will almost bear you on the
surface, and deep enough to swim and dive. When you have had enough of
it, you climb up the stairs, seize your sheet and throw it around you,
and sit on the bench until you are dry enough to resume your clothes.
Some of the more modest ladies, or, they say, those who have no charms
to display, wear in the water a sort of night-dress made of towelling,
but the pretty ones wear nothing but smiles--not even a blush.

During the day everybody stays in-doors after the bathing-hour, which is
about nine o’clock in the morning. The fashionable get up about eight
o’clock, drink a cup of coffee, eat a roll, go to mass, saunter down to
the bath, and return in time to dress for breakfast, the most elaborate
meal of the day, which is served about eleven o’clock. The menu offers
soup, fish, game, steaks, sweetmeats, and wine. Then the people loll
around till dinner, which comes after five o’clock in the afternoon, and
is a repetition of the breakfast, except that roasts are served instead
of steaks. After dinner everybody goes to the grand promenade along the
beach. The band plays, the ladies are gayly dressed, the gentlemen twirl
their canes, admire their small feet in the moonlight, and chatter like
a lot of magpies. The promenading and gossiping are kept up until
midnight, except twice a week, on Thursdays and Sundays, when there is
dancing at the hotel or at some one of the private residences. The
season lasts from October, when the rainy period ends, until April, when
it begins; but families from Caracas and other cities seldom remain at
Macuto more than three or four weeks. The charge at the hotel is four
dollars per day--about three dollars and a quarter in American money. If
some one would build a first-class American hotel here, and provide the
comforts that are found in the States, it would be a paying investment;
and I would not wonder if a subsidy would be paid by the Government.


The coffee plantations, or _quintas_, as they are called, extend from
the coast far up into the mountains, and are very prolific. The people
here claim to raise the best coffee in the world; and it is a singular
fact asserted by the exporters that only the poorer grades go to the
United States, while all of the better quality is sent to France and
Germany. Just why this is so no one explains, further than repeating the
remark so often made that the Americans do not like good coffee.


Another curious fact is that chocolate costs more here than it does in
New York--here where it is grown and manufactured, for very little of
the genuine article is sold in our market. When the cocoa-beans are
thoroughly dried in the sun they are shipped in gunny sacks to market,
where the chocolate manufacturer gets hold of them. He grinds them into
a fine powder of a gray color that looks like Graham flour, mixes it
with the pure juice of the sugar-cane, called _papillon_, and flavors
the mixture with the juice of the vanilla-bean. After being boiled for a
certain length of time, this is poured into moulds and allowed to
harden, when it becomes the chocolate of commerce. The Caracas
chocolate, as all the product of Venezuela is termed, is considered the
best in the world. It costs sixty-five cents per pound at the factories
there, but can be purchased for forty-five or fifty cents a pound in
New York. The best cocoa-beans are forty cents a pound here, but the
Yankee manufacturer has a way of increasing their weight and reducing
their value by adulteration. Pipe-clay is cheap and heavy, and it is
supposed to be harmless. It weighs five times as much as cocoa, and as
the profit in lager-beer is in the foam, so is the profit in chocolate
in the pipe-clay, or whatever substance it may be mixed with.

Puerto Cabello and Maracaibo are the two great exporting markets of
Venezuela, from which the greater part of the coffee and chocolate is
shipped. The former place is famous for being one of the most
unhealthful in the world, and the bay upon which it is situated is
called Golfe Triste (the gulf of tears), because of the terrible
scourges which are born in its miasmas. The bottom of the bay is said to
be literally covered with the bones of those who have been heaved
overboard for the lack of a better place to bury them. The ghost of that
most famous of all freebooters, Sir Francis Drake, haunts the place, for
he died here of yellow-fever, and his body lies in a leaden coffin
thirty fathoms deep in the sea. The place is called Puerto Cabello (the
port of the hair), on the pretence that ships are so safe in its harbors
that they might be tied to their moorings with a single hair. This is
something of an exaggeration, but nevertheless the harbor is the best on
the Spanish Main, and has such abrupt banks that a vessel can be run up
against the shore anywhere to take her cargo.

Off the coast of Puerto Cabello lies the island of Curaçoa, the
quaintest, most novel, and altogether most interesting place on the
Spanish Main. It is a fragment of Amsterdam, set upon a coral rock in
the middle of the sea. It has always been a colony of Holland, with all
the picturesque quaintness, stupidity, and wooden-shoe-oddity of the
fatherland. Leaving the tropic scenes of Spanish America at bedtime and
waking up in Holland in the morning makes you feel like one of Plato’s
troglodytes, who were raised in a cavern and then suddenly dropped into
the world. You cannot quite allay the feeling that something has been
done to you; the appearance of things has changed so suddenly and
completely that you do not feel quite right about it.

[Illustration: PUERTO CABELLO.]

Curaçoa looks like a toy town built by a child of uncommonly incoherent
mind, by taking blocks out of a box and setting them up in irregular
rows regardless of size, shape, or color. The general effect is a
nightmare of gable-ends and dormer-windows painted a bright yellow.
Immense warehouses with great gaping doors and windows stand beside
quaint little Dutch cottages surrounded by beautiful gardens, and stores
several stories high, of the most elaborate architecture, rise beside
low structures as flat fronted and as square cornered as a dry-goods box
with a Dutch oven on top of it. Quaint dormer-windows stare at you from
the most unexpected places; hideous yellow towers, like the legs of some
petrified monster sticking up into the air, meet your view in all
directions; and great prison-like fortresses, with port-holes like the
eyes of needles, and ponderous doors lapping over like the covers of a
banker’s ledger, appear with surprising frequency. The streets are
narrow, crooked, and rough. They begin in the most unreasonable places
and go nowhere. Some of them start broadly, but wind around like the
track of a serpent, growing narrower and narrower until they suddenly
end, like the edge of a wedge, against a stone wall.

Curaçoa is a great place for business, although it is so quiet and
sleepy that one might think the whole town had taken a dose of laudanum.
It is the distributing point of a large amount of commerce, a harbor of
refuge for vessels in distress, the haven of political exiles from South
America, and the hotbed of conspiracies and revolutions against
neighboring republics.

South of Curaçoa is Maracaibo, with its curious lake, in which are towns
built upon stilts, that give the name of Venezuela, or Little Venice, to
this land. The explorers, like tourists of modern times, were given to
tracing resemblances in America to what they were familiar with in
Europe, and they imagined these huts rising on piles above the water
looked like the city of canals and gondolas. But there is no more
resemblance to Venice than to Chicago, and the name of Venezuela, like
that of the continent, is a falsehood which the world has allowed to
stand uncontradicted.



On the west coast of South America is found the perfection of
sea-travel--fine ships, fair weather, and a still sea. Although one
floats under, or rather over, the equator, the atmosphere is cool, the
breezes delicious, and the water as smooth as a duck-pond. The Pacific
Navigation Company is a British institution, founded by an American, Mr.
William Wheelwright, of New York, which has been sending vessels from
Panama to Liverpool, through the Straits of Magellan, for over forty
years, and has not only a monopoly of transportation on the coast, but
subsidies from the British Government and the various South American
States whose ports it enters. It charges enormous rates for freight and
passengers, the tariff from Valparaiso being forty dollars per ton for
freight and two hundred and ninety-seven dollars per head for passengers
for a distance about as great as from New York to Liverpool; but the
company gives its patrons the best the country affords, and until the
recent steam greyhounds were turned out to race across the ocean, had
the finest and largest ships afloat. One set of vessels run from Panama
to Valparaiso, where a change is made to another set, built for heavy
seas, which go through the Straits of Magellan, via Rio de Janeiro, to

Those which ply along the west coast from Panama southward are built for
fair weather and tropical seas, with open decks and airy state-rooms,
through which the breezes bring refreshing coolness. Such vessels would
not live long in the Atlantic nor in the Caribbean Sea, but find no
heavy weather

[Illustration: ALONG THE COAST.]

on the Pacific, where the wind is “never strong enough to ruffle the fur
on a cat’s back,” as the sailors say, and ships sail in a perpetual
calm. The trip to Chili, however, is long and tiresome, lasting
twenty-five days. Less than half the time is spent at sea, as there are
thirty-eight ports at which the vessels, under the company’s contracts,
are obliged to call. Guayaquil, the commercial metropolis of Ecuador,
and next to Callao, Peru, and Valparaiso, Chili, the most important
place on the coast, is the first stopping-place, four days from Panama.
Although the westernmost city of South America, Guayaquil has about the
same longitude as Washington, and is only two degrees south of the
equator. It is sixty miles from the sea, on a river which looks like the
Mississippi at New Orleans, and stretches along the low banks for more
than two miles.

One’s first impression, if he arrives at night, is that the ship has
anchored in front of a South American Paris, so brilliant are the
terraces of gas-lamps, rising one after the other, as the town slopes up
towards the mountains. When morning dawns the deception is renewed, and
one has a picture of Venice before him, with long lines of white
buildings, whose curtained balconies look down upon gayly clad men and
women floating upon the river in quaint-looking, narrow gondolas and
broad-bosomed rafts. Unless he is warned in time, the traveller meets
with a sudden and disgusting surprise upon disembarking, for the
gondolas are nothing but “dug-outs” bringing pineapples and bananas from
up the river; the rafts are balsam-logs lashed together with vines, and
the houses are dilapidated skeletons of bamboo, whitewashed, which look
as if they had been erected by an architectural lunatic, and would
tumble into the river with the first gust of wind. The streets are dirty
and have a repulsive smell, and the half-naked Indians which throng them
are continually scratching their bodies for fleas and their heads for
lice. Half the filth that festers under the tropic sun in Guayaquil
would breed a sudden pestilence in New York or Chicago, yet the
inhabitants say it is a healthy city, where yellow-fever or cholera
never comes.

A narrow-gauge street railway, or _tramvia_, as they call it, reaches
from the docks a couple of miles to the edge of the city, and upon its
cars the products of the plantations are brought to the docks and loaded
by lighters upon outgoing vessels. Like all Spanish ports, this one has
no wharfage, but ships of whatever tonnage have to anchor in the river a
mile or so from shore, and release or receive freight upon barges, which
are towed, not by tugs, for there is not such a thing in all that
region, but by oarsmen in a row-boat. Passengers have to reach the
steamers in a similar way.

When we arrived there we were immediately surrounded by a crowd of
boatmen, who clambered up the sides of the vessel, screaming with all
the strength of their lungs the merits of their boats. Their
vociferousness and persistency would make the Niagara Falls hackmen
green with jealousy; and the fact that most of them were bare up to
their thighs, and entirely shirtless, made the scene picturesque,
although somewhat alarming to a timid person. The costume of the Ecuador
boatmen is equivalent to a pair of cotton bathing-trunks, and they are
as much at home in the water as in their canoes.


With twenty-five or thirty of these naked black men surrounding him,
shoving and pushing one another, screaming, gesticulating, and
performing a war-dance of the most extraordinary description, a timid
man is apt to be deceived by appearances, and imagine that he has fallen
into the hands of a tribe of hungry cannibals, instead of a party of
innocent Sambos who wish to promote his welfare. As soon as these
maniacs discovered we were Americans, they were smart enough to
introduce into the bedlam as much of our mother-tongue as they could
command, making the scene all the more amusing. One big fellow, black as
midnight, with only about half a yard of muslin and a dilapidated panama
hat to protect his person from the elements, jumped up and down, yelling
at the top of his lungs, “Me Americano! me Americano! Me been to
Baltimoore!” Becoming interested in the fellow, we learned that he had
been a sailor on a Spanish man-of-war which several years ago visited
that city.

Among the crowd of howling dervises was a pleasant-looking fellow with a
whole pair of pantaloons and a linen duster on. He was not so noisy as
the rest, and could speak a little English. Taking him aside, I told him
how large our party was, and where we wanted to go. He agreed to take us
and our luggage ashore for two dollars, and was at once engaged;
whereupon, instead of going off and minding their own business, the
crowd began to abuse Pepe--for that, he said, was his name--and the rest
of us in the most violent manner; and when the baggage was brought up
they seized upon it, and each man attempted to carry a piece into his
own boat. But the mate of the steamer was equal to the occasion, and
laid about him with so much energy that the deck was soon cleared.

The street railway only extends to the limits of the city, but a short
walk beyond it gives one a glimpse of the rural tropics. At one end of
the main street, which runs along the river front, is a fortress-crowned
hill, from the summit of which a charming view of the surrounding
country can be obtained, but the better plan is to take a carriage and
drive out a few miles. The road is rough and dusty, but passes among
cocoa-nut groves and sugar plantations, through forests fairly blazing
with the wondrous passion-flower, so scarlet as to make the trees look
like living fire; with pineapple-plants and banana-trees bending under
the enormous loads of fruit they carry. The rickety old carriage passed
along until our senses were almost bewildered by visions none of us had
ever seen. Nowhere can one find a more beautiful scene of tropical
vegetation in its full glory, and no artist ever mingled colors that
could convey an adequate idea of nature’s gorgeousness here.

The most beautiful thing in the tropics is a young palm-tree. The old
ones are more graceful than any of our foliage plants, but they all show
signs of decay. The young ones, so supple as to bend before the winds,
are the ideal of grace and loveliness, as picturesque in repose as they
are in motion. The long, spreading leaves, of a vivid green, bend and
sway with the breeze, and nod in the sunlight with a beauty which cannot
be described.


There is considerable business done in Guayaquil, and some of the
merchants carry stocks of imported goods valued at half a million
dollars, with an annual trade of double that amount. It is the only town
in Ecuador worth speaking of in a commercial point of view, and its
tradesmen do the entire wholesale business of that republic. The
shipments of cocoa, rubber, hides, coffee, ivory, nuts, and cinchona
(quinine) bark amount to about $6,000,000 a year, and the imports, the
President of Ecuador told us, amount annually to $10,000,000. There is
no way to ascertain the truth of his Excellency’s statements, as the
Government keeps no statistics of its commerce, and he admitted that it
was only an estimate based upon the amount of duties collected; but one
may be allowed to doubt that a country like Ecuador, the most backward,
ignorant, and impoverished in all America, can purchase for many years
in succession twice as much as it sells.

[Illustration: AN AVERAGE DWELLING.]

Founded in 1535 by one of the lieutenants of Pizarro, Guayaquil has been
the market for five hundred miles of coast ever since, but now it is
almost destitute of native capital, nearly all the merchants being
foreigners, mostly English and German, with one or two from the United
States. It is the only place in Ecuador in which modern civilization
exists; the rest of the country is a century behind the times. Since its
foundation Guayaquil has been burned several times, and often plundered
by pirates; now its commercial condition seems secure from all dangers
except revolutions, which are epidemic in Ecuador. In fact, the country
would feel queer without one. Earthquakes are frequent, but the elastic
bamboo houses only shiver--they never fall. To the torch of the
revolutionist, however, they are like tinder, and the blocks that have
been burned over testify to its effectiveness as a weapon of

[Illustration: GUAYAQUIL.]

Over the entrances to the houses are tin signs, each of which represents
the flag of the country of which the dweller within is a citizen; and
upon these signs are painted warnings to revolutionary looters or
incendiaries--“This is the property of a citizen of Great Britain;” or,
“This is the property of a citizen of Germany;” or, “This is the
property of a citizen of the United States”--and the robber and
torch-bearer are expected to respect them as such, but seldom do.

Bolivar freed Ecuador from the Spanish yoke, as he did Colombia,
Venezuela, Bolivia, and Peru, and it was one of the five States which
formed the United States of Colombia under his presidency; but the
priests had such a hold upon the people that liberty could not live in
an atmosphere they polluted, and the country lapsed into a state of
anarchy which has continued ever since. The struggle has been between
the progressive element and the priests, and the latter have usually
triumphed. It is the only country in America in which the Romish Church
survives as the Spaniards left it. In other countries popish influence
has been destroyed, and the rule which prevails everywhere--that the
less a people are under the control of that Church the greater their
prosperity, enlightenment, and progress--is illustrated in Ecuador with
striking force.

[Illustration: A PERSON OF INFLUENCE.]

One-fourth of all the property in Ecuador belongs to the bishop. There
is a Catholic church for every one hundred and fifty inhabitants: of the
population of the country ten per cent. are priests, monks, or nuns; and
two hundred and seventy-two of the three hundred and sixty-five days of
the year are observed as feast or fast days.

The priests control the Government in all its branches, dictate its laws
and govern their enforcement, and rule the country as absolutely as if
the Pope were its king. As a result seventy-five per cent. of the
children born are illegitimate. There is not a penitentiary, house of
correction, reformatory, or benevolent institution outside of Quito and
Guayaquil; there is not a railroad or stage-coach in the entire country,
and until recently there was not a telegraph wire. Laborers get from two
to ten dollars a month, and men are paid two dollars and a quarter for
carrying one hundred pounds of merchandise on their backs two hundred
and eighty-five miles. There is not a wagon in the republic outside of
Guayaquil, and not a road over which a wagon could pass. The people know
nothing but what the priests tell them; they have no amusements but
cock-fights and bullfights; no literature; no mail-routes, except from
Guayaquil to the capital (Quito), and nothing is common among the masses
that was not in use by them two hundred years ago. If one-tenth of the
money that has been expended in building monasteries had been devoted to
the construction of cartroads, Ecuador, which is naturally rich, would
be one of the most wealthy nations, in proportion to its area, on the

[Illustration: A FAMILY CIRCLE.]

There once was a steam railroad in Ecuador. During the time when Henry
Meiggs was creating such an excitement by the improvements he was making
in the transportation facilities of Peru, the contagion spread to
Ecuador, and some ambitious English capitalists attempted to lay a road
from Guayaquil to the interior. A track seventeen miles long was built,
which represents the railway system of Ecuador in all the geographies,
gazetteers, and books of statistics; but no wheels ever passed over this
track, and the tropical vegetation has grown so luxuriantly about the
place where it lies that it would now be difficult to find it. Last year
a telegraph line was built connecting Guayaquil with Quito, the highest
city in the world; but there is only one wire, and this is practically
useless, as not more than seven days out of the month can a message be
sent over it. The people chop down the poles for firewood, and cut out
pieces of the wire to repair broken harness whenever they feel so
disposed. Then it often takes a week for the line-man to find the break,
and another week to repair it. In the Government telegraph office I saw
an operator with a ball and chain attached to his leg--a convict who had
been sent back to his post because no one else could be found to work
the instrument. A young lady took the message and the money. There is a
cable belonging to a New York company connecting Guayaquil with the
outside world, but rates are extremely high, the tariff to the United
States being three dollars a word, and to other places in proportion.


Although almost directly under the equator, the temperature of Guayaquil
seldom rises above ninety, and after two o’clock in the day it is always
as cool as a pleasant summer morning in New England. A fresh breeze
called the _chandny_ blows over the ice-capped mountains, and brings
health to a city which would otherwise be uninhabitable. On clear
afternoons Mount Chimborazo, or “Chimbo” as they call it for short,
until recently supposed to be the highest in the hemisphere, can be
seen--white, jagged, and silently impressive--against the clear sky.


The road to Quito is a mountain-path around the base of Chimbo,
traversed only on foot or mule-back, and then only during six months of
the year; for in the rainy season it is impassable, except to
experienced mountaineers.

During the rainy seasons the recent President, Don Jesus


Maria Caamaño, resided in Guayaquil, in a barracks guarded by soldiers,
where he could watch the collection of customs and see to the
suppression of revolutions. He was the representative of the Church
party, and the people of the interior were loyal to him; but the liberal
element, which mostly exists on the coast, where a knowledge of the
world has come, was in a perpetual state of revolt, and required
constant attention. A fortress overlooking the town of Guayaquil, and a
gun-boat in the harbor, keep the people in subjection. We called upon
the President at his headquarters, and found him swinging in a hammock
and smoking a cigarette. He is a man of slight frame, with noticeably
small hands and feet, which he appeared quite anxious should not escape
our observation. He has a pleasant and intelligent face, but seemed to
be bewildered when we drew him into conversation about the commerce of
his country. He was educated in Europe, and has the reputation of being
a man of culture, although the abject tool of the priests.


Notwithstanding the rest of the country is still in the middle ages,
Guayaquil shows symptoms of becoming a modern town. It has gas,
street-cars, ice-factories, and other improvements, all introduced by
citizens of the United States. The custom-house is built of pine from
Maine and corrugated iron from Pennsylvania, and a citizen of New York
erected it. An American company has a line of paddle-wheel steamers,
constructed in Baltimore, on the river, and the only gun-boat the
Government owns is a discarded merchant-ship which plied between New
York and Norfolk. Some of the houses, although built of split bamboo and
plaster, are very elegantly furnished, and the stores show fine stocks
of goods. But the rear portion of the city is so filthy that one has to
hold his nose as he passes through it. The people live in miserable dirt
hovels, and the buzzard is the only industrious biped to be seen.


There is no fresh water in town, but all that the people use is brought
on rafts from twenty miles up the river, and is peddled about the place
in casks carried upon the backs of donkeys or men. It looks very funny
to see the donkeys all wearing pantalettes--not, however, from motives
of modesty, as the native children go entirely naked, and the men and
women nearly so, but to protect their legs and bellies from the gadfly,
which bites fiercely here. Bread as well as water is peddled about the
town in the same way, and vegetables are brought down the river on rafts
and in dug-outs, which are hauled upon the beach in long rows, and
present a busy and interesting scene. Guayaquil is famous for the finest
pineapples in the world--great juicy fruits, as white as snow and as
sweet as honey. It is also famous for its hats and hammocks made of the
pita fibre from a sort of cactus. The well-known Panama hats are all
made in Guayaquil and the towns along that coast, but get their name
because Panama merchants formerly controlled the trade.

[Illustration: A PINEAPPLE FARM.]

One afternoon, at Guayaquil, I witnessed a singular ceremony, which is,
however, very common there. One of the churches had been destroyed by an
earthquake, and funds were needed to repair it. So the priest took the
image of the Virgin from the altar, and the holy sacrament, and carried
them about the city under a canopy, clad in his sacerdotal vestments. He
was preceded by a brass band, a number of boys carrying lighted candles
and swinging incense urns, and followed by a long procession of men,
women, and children. The assemblage passed up and down the principal
street, stopping in front of each house. While the band played, priests
with contribution plates entered the houses, soliciting subscriptions,
and the people in the procession kneeled in the dust and prayed that the
same might be given with liberality. Where money was obtained a blessing
was bestowed; where none was offered a curse was pronounced, with a
notice that a contribution was expected at once, or the curse would be
daily repeated.

[Illustration: A WATER MERCHANT.]

All imported goods are first brought to Guayaquil, and from that point
distributed. Those destined for Quito are conveyed by steamboat up the
rivers for a distance of sixty miles. From the termination of the
steamboat route the distance to Quito is two hundred and sixty miles,
making the


total distance from Guayaquil three hundred and twenty miles. Between
the upper end of the steamboat route and Quito all packages of
merchandise that do not weigh more than two hundred pounds are conveyed
on the backs of horses, mules, or donkeys. The average cost in United
States currency--in which all values are stated--is four dollars per one
hundred pounds between Guayaquil and Quito. Pianos, organs, safes,
carriage-bodies, large mirrors, and some other articles too heavy or too
bulky to be carried on a single horse are placed on a frame of bamboo
poles and carried on the shoulders of men the entire land portion of the
journey. A piano weighing about six hundred pounds can be carried by
twenty-four men in two divisions, one half serving as a relay to the
other half. Although labor is very low-priced, the man-carriage is quite
expensive. A cart-road, or railroad, both of which are feasible and
practicable, would greatly reduce the expense of transportation, and
would materially influence domestic manufactures, as well as the
introduction of foreign manufactured products. It seems almost
impossible that any American goods could, after undergoing such a
tremendous carriage, compete with native manufactures, however crude, in
Quito, and yet they do. Nearly all the furniture in use in that city is
brought from the United States in separate parts and put together on
arrival; and in that, the highest and oldest city in America, many
people sleep on Grand Rapids beds. The twelve breweries running in Quito
import their hops from the United States and Europe, and with railroad
facilities American beer, as well as hops, could be liberally sold in
Quito. American refined sugars are largely consumed, although the
native products are very good.

[Illustration: A PASSENGER TRAIN.]

Ecuador, with about one million inhabitants, has only forty-seven
post-offices, but they are so widely distributed that it requires a mail
carriage of 5389 miles to reach them all; seventy-two miles by canoes
and 5317 by horses and mules. About five hundred miles of the seaboard
service is also covered by foreign steamship mail service. Between Quito
and Guayaquil there are two mails each way per week by couriers--the
usual time one way, travelling day and night, being six days. Other
sections of the country are less favored by mail service, the receipt
and departure of mails ranging from once a week to once a month, as
people happen to be going.

During the year 1885 there were carried within the country 2,989,885
letters, and 50,700 letters were sent to foreign countries, eighty per
cent. of them being between Guayaquil and the neighboring towns. No
interior postage is charged on newspapers, whether of domestic or
foreign publication. Interior letter postage is five cents each
one-fourth ounce. The postage on letters to foreign countries is twelve
cents each half ounce and one cent per ounce on newspapers.

[Illustration: THE COMMON CARRIER.]

The social and political condition of Ecuador presents a picture of the
dark ages. There is not a newspaper printed outside of the city of
Guayaquil, and the only information the people have of what is going on
in the world is gained from the strangers who now and then visit the
country, and from a class of peddlers who make periodical trips,
traversing the whole hemisphere from Guatemala to Patagonia. These
peddlers are curious fellows, and there seems to be a regular
organization of them. They are like the old minstrels that we read of in
the novels of Sir Walter Scott. They practise medicine, sing songs, cure
diseased cattle, mend clocks, carry letters and messages from place to
place, and peddle such little articles as are used in the households of
the natives. It often takes them three or four years to make a round
trip, going invariably on foot, and carrying packs upon their backs.
When their stock is exhausted they replenish it at the nearest source of
supply, and are ever welcome visitors at the homes of the natives. This
internal trade does not amount to much in dollars and cents, but
supplies the lack of retail establishments and newspapers.


The capital and the productive regions of Ecuador are accessible only by
a mule-path, which is impassable for six months in the year during the
rainy season, and in the dry season it requires eight or nine days to
traverse it, with no resting-places where a man can find a decent bed,
or food fit for human consumption. This is the only means of
communication between Quito and the outside world, except along the
mountains southward into Bolivia and Peru, where the Incas constructed
beautiful highways which the Spaniards have permitted to decay until
they are now practically useless. They were so well built, however, as
to stand the wear and tear of three centuries, and the slightest attempt
at repair would have kept them in order.

Although the journey from Guayaquil to Quito takes nine days, Garcia
Moreno, a former President of Ecuador, once made it in thirty-six
hours. He heard of a revolution, and springing upon his horse went to
the capital, had twenty-two conspirators shot, and was back at Guayaquil
in less than a week. Moreno was President for twelve years, and was one
of the fiercest and most cruel rulers South America has ever seen. He
shot men who would not take off their hats to him in the streets, and
had a drunken priest impaled in the principal plaza of Quito, as a
warning to the clergy to observe habits of sobriety or conceal their
intemperance. There was nothing too brutal for this man to do, and
nothing too sacred to escape his grasp. Yet he compelled Congress to
pass an act declaring that the republic of Ecuador “existed wholly and
alone devoted to the services of the Holy Church,” and forbidding the
importation of books and periodicals which did not receive the sanction
of the Jesuits. He divided his army into four divisions, called
respectively “The Division of the Blessed Virgin,” “The Division of the
Son of God,” “The Division of the Holy Ghost,” and “The Division of the
Body and Blood of Christ.” He made the “Sacred Heart of Jesus” the
national emblem, and called his bodyguard the “Holy Lancers of Santa
Maria.” He died in 1875 by assassination, and the country has been in a
state of political eruption ever since.


Although the road to Quito is over an almost untrodden wilderness, it
presents the grandest scenic panorama in the world. Directly beneath the
equator, surrounding the city whose origin is lost in the mist of
centuries, rise twenty volcanoes, presided over by the princely
Chimborazo, the lowest being 15,922 feet in height, and the highest
reaching an altitude of 22,500 feet. Three of these volcanoes are
active, five are dormant, and twelve extinct. Nowhere else on the
earth’s surface is such a cluster of peaks, such a grand assemblage of
giants. Eighteen of the twenty are covered with perpetual snow, and the
summits of eleven have never been reached by a living creature except
the condor, whose flight surpasses that of any other bird. At noon the
vertical sun throws a profusion of light upon the snow-crowned summits,
when they appear like a group of pyramids cut in spotless marble.

[Illustration: EN ROUTE TO THE SEA.]

Cotopaxi is the loftiest of active volcanoes, but it is slumbering now.
The only evidence of action is the frequent rumblings, which can be
heard for a hundred miles, and the cloud of smoke by day and the pillar
of fire by night, which constantly arises from a crater that is more
than three thousand feet beyond the reach of man. Many have attempted to
scale it, but the walls are so steep and the snow is so deep that ascent
is impossible even with scaling-ladders. On the south side of Cotopaxi
is a great rock, more than two


thousand feet high, called the “Inca’s Head.” Tradition says that it was
once the summit of the volcano, and fell on the day when Atahaulpa was
strangled by the Spaniards. Those who have seen Vesuvius can judge of
the grandeur of Cotopaxi if they can imagine a volcano fifteen thousand
feet higher shooting forth its fire from a crest covered by three
thousand feet of snow, with a voice that has been heard six hundred
miles. And one can judge of the grandeur of the road to Quito if he can
imagine twenty of the highest mountains in America, three of them active
volcanoes, standing along the road from Washington to New York.

[Illustration: THE ALTAR.]

The city of Quito lies upon the breast of a very uncertain and
treacherous mother, the volcano Pichincha, which rises to an altitude of
sixteen thousand feet, or about four thousand five hundred feet above
the plaza. Since the Conquest the volcano has had three notable
eruptions--in 1575, 1587, and 1660, when the city was almost entirely
destroyed. In 1859 there was a severe earthquake followed by an
eruption, which, while it did not do much damage in the city itself,
caused great destruction and loss of life in the surrounding towns and
villages. In 1868 the great convulsion which extended along the entire
South Pacific coast was severely felt in Ecuador, where, it is stated,
seventy-two towns were destroyed and thirty thousand people killed.

[Illustration: A STREET IN QUITO.]

There was a great scare in Ecuador in the summer of 1868 because of the
violent eruption of the volcano Tunguragua, one of the largest in the
group, rising nearly two thousand feet above the line of perpetual
snow; but after a few days of agitation, in which immense masses of lava
and ashes were thrown out of the crater, the eruption subsided without
doing much damage.


Here in these mountains, until the Spaniards came, in 1534, existed a
civilization that was old when Christ was crucified; a civilization
whose arts were equal to those of Egypt; which had temples four times
the size of the Capitol at Washington, from a single one of which the
Spaniards drew twenty-two thousand ounces of solid silver nails; whose
rulers had palaces from which the Spaniards gathered ninety thousand
ounces of gold and an unmeasured quantity of silver. Here was an empire
stretching from the equator to the antarctic circle, walled in by the
grandest groups of mountains in the world; whose people knew all the
arts of their time but those of war, and were conquered by two hundred
and thirteen men under the leadership of a Spanish swineherd who could
neither read nor write.

The age of Quito is unknown. The present city was built by the Spaniards
after the Conquest, but it stands upon the foundations of a city they
destroyed, which was older than the knowledge of men. The history of the
ancient place dates back only a few years before the arrival of the
Spaniards in the country; for they, ignorant men, interested in nothing
but plunder, destroyed every means by which its antiquity could have
been traced.

Ecuador was the scene of the first conquest. The Spaniards, under
Pizarro, landed first on the island of Puna, at the mouth of the harbor
of Guayaquil, and first stepped upon the main coast at Tumbez, in Peru,
a few miles southward. Here they found that the Incas, for the first
time in the history of that remarkable race, were at war. Huayna-Capac,
the greatest of the Incas, made Quito his capital, and there lived in a
splendor unsurpassed in ancient or modern times. At his death he divided
his kingdom into two parts, giving Atahualpa the northern half, and
Huscar what is now Bolivia and the southern part of Peru. The two
brothers went to war, and while they were engaged in it Pizarro came.
Everybody who has read Prescott’s fascinating volumes knows what
followed. With the aid of the Spaniards Atahualpa conquered his brother,
and then the Spaniards conquered him. When he lay a prisoner in the
hands of the guests he had treated so hospitably, he offered to fill his
prison with gold if they would release him. They agreed, and his willing
subjects brought the treasure; but the greedy Spaniards, always
treacherous, demanded more, and Atahualpa sent for it. Runners were
hurried all over the country, and the simple, unselfish people
surrendered all their wealth to save their king. But Pizarro became
tired of waiting for the treasure to come, and the men in charge of it,
being met by the news that Atahualpa had been strangled, buried the gold
and silver in the Llanganati, where the Spaniards have been searching
for it ever since.

No amount of persuasion, temptation, or torture could wring from the
Indians the secret of the buried gold. Two men of modern times are
supposed to have known its hidingplace. One of them, an Indian, became
mysteriously rich, and built the Church of San Francisco, in Quito. On
his deathbed he is said to have revealed to the priest who confessed him
that his wealth came from the hidden Inca treasure, but he died without
imparting the knowledge of its location.


Another man, Valverde by name, a Spaniard, married an Inca woman, and is
supposed to have learned the secret from her, for he sprang from abject
poverty to the summit of wealth almost in a single night, “without
visible means of support.” Valverde, when he died, left as a legacy to
the King of Spain a guide to the buried treasure. Hundreds of fortunes
have been wasted, and hundreds of lives have been lost, in vain attempts
to follow Valverde’s directions. They are perfectly plain to a certain
point, where the trail ends, and cannot be followed farther because of a
deep ravine, which the credulous assert has been opened by an earthquake
since Valverde died. These searches have been prosecuted by the
Government as well as by private individuals; and if all the money that
has been spent in the search for Atahualpa’s ransom had been expended
on roads and other internal improvements, the country would be much
richer, and the people much more prosperous than they are.

The devotion of the Indians to the memory of their king, who was
strangled three hundred and fifty years ago, is very touching. When “the
last of the Incas” fell, he left his people in perpetual mourning, and
the women wear nothing but black to-day. It is a pathetic custom of the
race not to show upon their costumes the slightest hint of color. Over a
short black skirt they wear a sort of mantle, which resembles in its
appearance, as well as in its use, the _manta_ that is worn by the
ladies of Peru, and the _mantilla_ of Spain. It is drawn over their
foreheads and across their chins, and pinned between the shoulders. This
sombre costume gives them a nun-like appearance, which is heightened by
the stealthy, silent way in which they dart through the streets. The
cloth is woven on their own native looms, of the wool of the llama and
the vicuna, and is a soft, fine fabric.

While the Indians are under the despotic rule of the priests, and have
accepted the Catholic religion, three hundred and fifty years of
submission have not entirely divorced them from the ancient rites they
practised under their original civilization. Several times a year they
have feasts or celebrations to commemorate some event in the Inca
history. They never laugh, and scarcely ever smile; they have no songs
and no amusements; their only semblance to music is a mournful chant
which they give in unison at the feasts which are intended to keep alive
the memories of the Incas. They cling to the traditions and the customs
of their ancestors. They remember the ancient glory of their race, and
look to its restoration as the Aztecs of Mexico look for the coming of
Montezuma. They have relics which they guard with the most sacred care,
and two great secrets which no tortures at the hands of the Spaniards
have been able to wring from them. These are the art of tempering copper
so as to give it as keen and enduring an edge as steel, and the
burial-place of the Incarial treasures.

[Illustration: THE OLD INCA TRAIL.]

The Spaniards are the aristocracy, poor but proud--very proud. The mixed
race furnishes the mechanics and artisans; while the Indians till the
soil and do the drudgery. A cook gets two dollars a month in a
depreciated currency, but the employer is expected to board her entire
family. A laborer gets four or six dollars a month and boards himself,
except when he is fortunate to have a wife out at service. The Indians
never marry, because they cannot afford to do so. The law compels them
to pay the priest a fee of six dollars--more money than most of them can
ever accumulate. When a Spaniard marries, the fee is paid by
contributions from his relatives.

It is a peculiarity of the Indian that he will sell nothing at
wholesale, nor will he trade anywhere but in the marketplace, on the
spot where he and his forefathers have sold garden-truck for three
centuries. Although travellers on the highways meet whole armies of
Indians bearing upon their backs heavy burdens of vegetables and other
supplies, they can purchase nothing from them, as the native will not
sell his goods until he gets to the place where he is in the habit of
selling them. He will carry them ten miles, and dispose of them for less
than he was offered at home. An old woman was trudging along one day
with a heavy basket of pineapples and other fruits, and we tried to
relieve her of part of her load, offering ten cents for pineapples which
could be had for a quartillo, or two and a half cents, in market. She
was polite but firm, and declined to sell anything until she got to
town, although there was a weary, dusty journey of two leagues ahead of
her. The guide explained that she was suspicious of the high price we
offered, and imagined that pineapples must be very scarce in market, or
we would not pay so much on the road; but it is a common rule for them
to refuse to sell except at their regular stand. A gentleman who lives
some distance from town said that for the last four years he had been
trying to get the Indians, who passed every morning with packs of
alfalfa (the tropical clover), to sell him some at his gate, but they
invariably refused to do so; consequently he was compelled to go into
town to buy what was carried past his own door. Nor will the natives
sell at wholesale. They will give you a gourdful of potatoes for a penny
as often as you like, but will not sell their stock in a lump. They will
give you a dozen eggs for a real (ten cents), but will not sell you five
dozen for a dollar. This dogged adherence to custom cannot be accounted
for, except on the supposition that their suspicions are excited by an
attempt to depart from it.

In Ecuador there are no smaller coins than the quartillo, and change is
therefore made by the use of bread. On his way to market the purchaser
stops at the bakery and gets a dozen or twenty breakfast-rolls, which
cost about one cent each, and the market-women receive them and give
them as change for small purchases. If you buy a cent’s worth of
anything and offer a quartillo in payment, you get a breakfast-roll for
the balance due you. The landlord at the hotel requires you to pay your
board in advance, because he has no money to buy food and no credit with
the market-men; the muleteers ask for their fees before starting,
because their experience teaches them wisdom. There is scarcely a
building in the whole republic in process of construction or even
undergoing repairs. Death seems to have settled upon everything
artificial, but Nature is in her grandest glory.


Architecturally, Quito is not unlike other Spanish-American towns,
except that it is dirtier and a little more dilapidated. There is not
even an excuse for a hotel, and private hospitality is restricted by the
poverty of the people. Few people ever go there--only those who are
compelled--and the demand for a hotel is not sufficient to justify the
establishment of one. One-fourth of the entire city is covered with
convents, and every fourth person you meet is a priest, or a monk, or a
nun. There are monks in gray, monks in blue, monks in white, monks in
black, and orders that no one ever heard of before. There are all sorts
of priests, also, in all sorts of rigs, wearing the outlandish hats
which are seen elsewhere only upon the theatrical stage. Some of the
holy fathers look as if they had just been “making up” for a comic
opera, and the jolly or grim old fellows one sees in Vibert’s pictures
are found on almost every corner in Quito.

[Illustration: A WAYSIDE SHRINE.]

At the entrance to many dwellings may be seen the figure of a saint with
candles burning around it, and the people appear to be continually
coming from or going to church. The bells are constantly clanging, and
it seems to a stranger as if the entire city were given up to perpetual
devotions. The next most noticeable thing is the filthiness. The streets
are used as water-closets, in daylight as well as in the dark, and are
never cleaned from one year’s end to another. There are no wagons or
carriages, and only seldom can a cart be seen, the backs of mules, men,
and women being the only vehicles of transportation. There is an
unaccountable prejudice against water in every form, the natives
believing that its frequent use will cause fevers and other diseases.
When they have returned from a journey they never think of washing their
faces for several days, for fear of taking a fever, but wipe off the
flesh with a dry towel. I do not believe a Quito woman ever washes her
face. She keeps it constantly covered with chalk, and looks as if some
one had been trying to whitewash her. I do not know how she would look
_al fresco_, but she has beautiful eyes, lips, and teeth, and a perfect
figure till she reaches the age of thirty-five or thereabouts, after
which she becomes either very fat or very lean.

[Illustration: CHARCOAL PEDDLER.]

If it were not for the climate, Quito would be in the midst of a
perpetual pestilence; but notwithstanding the prevailing filthiness,
there is very little sickness, and pulmonary diseases are unknown.
Mountain fever, produced by cold and a torpid liver, is the commonest
type of disease. The population of the city, however, is gradually
decreasing, and is said to be now about sixty thousand. There were five
hundred thousand people at Quito when the Spaniards came, and a hundred
years ago the population was reckoned at double what it now is. Half the
houses in the town are empty, and to see a new family moving in would
be the sensation of the decade. Most of the finest residences are locked
and barred, and have remained so for years. The owners are usually
political exiles, who are living elsewhere, and can neither sell or rent
their property. Political revolutions are so common, and the results are
always so disastrous to the unsuccessful, that there is a constant
stream of fugitives leaving the State.

Although Ecuador is set down in the geographies as a republic, it is
simply a popish colony, and the power of the Vatican is nowhere felt so
completely as here. The return of a priest from a visit to Rome is as
great an event as the declaration of independence; and so subordinated
is the State to the Church that the latter elects the President, the
Congress, and the judges. Not long ago a law was in force prohibiting
the importation of any books, periodicals, or newspapers without the
sanction of the Jesuits. A crucifix sits in the audience-chamber of the
President and on the desk of the presiding officer of Congress. All the
schools are controlled by the Church, and the children know more about
the lives of the saints than about the geography of their own country.
There is not even a good map of Ecuador.

No lady ever goes to mass (and all go once a day) without a small Indian
boy or a maid-servant following her with a strip of carpet or hassock,
upon which she kneels during service. There are no pews in the churches,
but the floors are marked off like a chess-board, and each square
numbered. These squares, about two or three feet in dimensions, are
rented to those who belong to the parish, and when a man goes to church
he hunts for his place on the floor and kneels down within the narrow

As in Mexico, servants go in droves. Families seldom have less than four
or five, and each adult brings along all his or her kin, who are
expected to lodge and feed with the father’s or mother’s employer. But
it does not cost much to keep them, and the wages of my lady’s maid in
New York or Chicago would support a whole village. They want nothing
but black beans, called frijoles, and tortillas. Meat and bread are
unknown luxuries.


The Spaniards are famous for their politeness, and in Ecuador, as in all
other parts of South America, courtesy is a part of their religion. The
lowest, meanest man in Quito is politeness personified, but it is all on
the surface. He will stab you or rob you as soon as your back is turned.
The Ecuadorian gentleman will promise you the earth, but will not give
you even a pebble. This hypocrisy results in mutual distrust. No one
ever believes what is said to him; partnerships in business are seldom
formed, and corporations are unknown. If a man gets a little cash he
never invests it in public enterprises, but keeps it in a stocking for
fear he may be swindled--and the fear is well founded. Only the Indians
keep faith, and that exclusively among themselves. To steal from a
Spaniard they consider not only proper but justifiable. The Spaniards
stole all they have from them. They never rob, swindle, or betray one
another. They are as faithful as death to their own race.


Once upon a time there was a revolutionary conspiracy among the Indians.
An uprising was to occur simultaneously all over the republic. As the
natives could neither read nor write, they were given bundles of sticks,
each bundle containing the same number. One was to be burned each day,
and the night after the last was burned was to see the uprising. None
betrayed the secret. Of the many thousands who were admitted to the
conspiracy not one violated faith.

All sorts of labor are done in the most primitive manner. The
agriculturists do not plough, but plant the seed by poking a hole in the
ground with a stick. Threshing and corn-shelling are done by driving
horses over the grain. The hair is removed from hogs, not by hot water
and scraping, but by burning. Everything is done in the slowest and most
difficult way. For that reason, and because the interior is so isolated
from the rest of mankind, the country does not know the meaning of the
words progress and prosperity. Until the influence of the Romish Church
is destroyed, until immigration is invited and secured, Ecuador will be
a desert rich in undeveloped resources. With plenty of natural wealth,
it has neither peace nor industry, and such a thing as a surplus of any
character is unknown. One of the richest of the South American
republics, and the oldest of them all, it is the poorest and most

On the south-west side of Quito, within half a mile of the city’s
centre, flows the Machangari River, a small, rapid, and never-failing
stream. The rapid fall of the water provides mill-sites every few rods,
which are utilized by six small flour-mills and a small manufactory of
woollen blankets. The six flour-mills, having a total of eighteen run of
stone, give employment to twenty-four men, whose daily wages range from
twelve to twenty-five cents. In the whole woollen blanket manufactory
forty persons are employed, at average daily wages of twelve cents.
Aside from the water-motors mentioned, the only motor in use is a small
steam-engine in a suburban village, used in a sugar refinery where
twelve persons work for wages ranging from twelve to twenty cents per
day. The manufacture of adobe, hard brick, and roofing-tile is carried
on more or less in conjunction, and gives employment to about three
hundred men and women, the women exercising the right of doing any kind
of work


performed by the men. No machinery is used, the brick and tile being
moulded by hand in a box. These workers receive each twelve cents a day.
The making of pottery is carried on in a small way at about fifty
places, furnishing work for about one hundred persons, who when hired
earn twelve cents a day. There is one manufactory of silk and high hats
at which twelve men are employed, at twenty-five cents a day. There are
also about fifty places at which Indian felt hats are made, a total of
one hundred persons being employed, with wages at twelve cents a day.
Matting manufacturing is carried on at three places, at which hand-looms
only are used. The material employed is the fibre of the cactus, which
is very serviceable. Thirty persons at this pursuit earn from eighteen
to twenty cents per day wages. There is no foundery in Quito, and all of
the iron-working is restricted to what is done in a few blacksmith
shops. There is one combined cart and blacksmith shop, at which carts
are made and general repairing is done, employing ten men at twenty-five
cents a day. The industries mentioned have long been established. There
are also numerous tailor shops, shoe-shops, tin-shops, and carpenter
shops. At the latter are made sofas, bureaus, tables, and all other
articles of furniture difficult of transportation by pack-animals.
Nearly all the chairs in use were brought from the United States, packed
in parts, and were put together when sold. Coffins also are made at the
carpenter shops. All of the work done at these shops is done by hand.


The only industry that has sprung up in recent years is that of
beer-making, which has been inspired and promoted by the German element.
There have been established twelve breweries, which employ a total of
one hundred and twenty men, at average daily wages of twenty cents. The
barley used is of native growth, and is bought at a low price. The hops
are imported from the United States and Europe, and by reason of
expensive transportation are very costly.

[Illustration: AN ECUADOR BELLE.]

Though Quito has a population of about sixty thousand, it has had for a
long period considerable note as a place of art in sculpture and
painting, and has several public-schools of ordinary grade, and three
universities, in charge of the priests, yet it has never been a field in
which literature thrived, or the business of printing flourished. It
contains no newspaper, and but one weekly journal is issued. This is the
oficial paper, and is devoted solely to the publication of official
documents. Its circulation is about one thousand copies, exclusively
among government and foreign officials, and is gratuitous. The principal
printing establishment is owned and managed by the Government, in which
twenty persons are employed. Among its material are one rotary press (on
which the official paper is printed), five hand-lever presses, and a
good assortment of type. No work is done except for government use.
There are five other small printing concerns, each employing from two to
six persons, at which is done the miscellaneous printing of the public.
They use nothing but hand-lever presses. The presses and type were
purchased, in the United States.

Revolutions in Ecuador are frequent, and they usually begin by an
attempt to assassinate the President. The plan of procedure is usually
for the discontented political faction to create a mutiny in the army,
either by bribes to the officers or promises of promotion. As the
private soldiers always obey their officers, like so many automatons,
and are as willing to fight on one side as the other, to secure the
officers is to secure the army. The next step is to seize the barracks
and arsenal, put the President to death, proclaim some one else
provisional dictator, and then call a junta, or convention, to nominate
“a constitutional Executive.” Señor Caamaño seems to bear a charmed
life, for during his term of four years as President he had numerous
remarkable escapes. The last attempt to assassinate him was in January,
1886, while he was journeying from Guayaquil to Quito. He was riding, as
travellers usually do, by night, to escape the heat of the sun, when his
small escort was attacked by a band of mountaineers, and fled, leaving
the President to look out for himself. He jumped from his horse, ran
into the forest which lines the road, and creeping through the trees to
the river, swam to the other side, and made his way, thirty miles on
foot, to the hacienda of a friend, where he knew he would find refuge.
For two days and nights he was in the forest without food, and when he
finally reached a safe haven was totally exhausted. For a week or ten
days he lay ill with a fever, but couriers were sent to Guayaquil and
Quito who arrived there before the reports of his assassination, and
assured the officials of the Government of his safety. At the same time
a mutiny broke out at the military garrisons in both cities, but was
quelled, and the leaders summarily shot.

Since the inauguration of Don Antonio Flores as President, in 1888,
Ecuador has been at peace, and shows bright promises for the future. He
is the foremost statesman of the republic; has ability, wealth,
knowledge, and experience surpassing most of his fellow-citizens, and,
what is equally effectual among the Spanish-American people, the
prestige of a venerated name. His father was a Venezuelan, and at one
time represented New Grenada in the Cortes at Madrid. General Flores
stood with Bolivar at the head of the Revolution for Independence,
organized the Republic of Ecuador, and was its first President. The son
has inherited his father’s ability, his patriotism and zeal, and has
spent his life in the civil, diplomatic, judicial, and military service.
He did not seek the presidency, and therefore entered upon the duties of
his office free of all entanglements, and with the one purpose, to
modernize this Hermit of Republics, and bring its people to the standard
of nineteenth century civilization.

From Guayaquil to Callao, and in fact to the end of the continent, the
western coast of South America presents an unbroken line of mountains,
with a strip of desert between them and the sea. Occasionally some
stream from the mountains brings down the melted snow and opens an
oasis. These oases have been utilized by the planters as far back as the
Conquest, when the industrious Jesuits made as vigorous a war upon the
desert as upon the Incas, and conquered one as easily as they conquered
the other. Wherever this barren strip has been irrigated it produces
enormous crops of sugar, coffee, and other tropical products, and the
whole of it might be redeemed by the introduction of a little capital
and industry. If the money that has been wasted in revolutions had been
expended in the development of its mines, and the soldiers had dug
irrigating ditches with as much ardor as they have fought each other,
there would be no richer country on the globe. Wherever the Incas
touched the earth it produced in profusion, and their wealth was
fabulous. Their empire extended three thousand miles north and south,
and about four hundred miles east and west, from the Pacific to the
great forests of the Amazon, which their simple tools were unable to

In no part of the world does nature assume more imposing forms. Deserts
as repulsive as Sahara alternate with valleys as rich and luxuriant as
those of Italy. Eternal summer smiles under the frown of eternal snow.
The rainless region--this desert strip which lies between the Andes and
the sea--is

[Illustration: A HOTEL ON THE COAST.]

about forty miles in width, and the panorama presented to the voyager is
a constant succession of bare and repulsive wastes of sand and rocks,
uninhabited, whose silence is broken only by the incessant surf, the
bark of the sea-lions, and the screams of the water-birds which haunt
its wave-worn and forbidding shore. The coast is dotted with small rocky
islands, which have been the roost of myriads of birds for ages, and
furnish guano for commerce. The steamers seem to furnish them their
only entertainment, and they surround every vessel which passes, soaring
about and above the masts, screaming defiance to the invaders of their
resorts. The water, too, is full of animal life. Nowhere does the sea
offer science so many curious forms of animate nature; monsters unknown
to northern waters can be seen from the decks of the steamers, and at
night their movements about the vessel are shown by a line of fire which
always follows their fins. The water is so strongly impregnated with
phosphorus that every wave is tipped with silver, and every fish that
darts about leaves a brilliant trail like that of a comet. The larger
fishes, the sharks and porpoises, find great sport in swimming races
with the ship, and under the bowsprit a small army of them are to be
seen every evening, sailing along beside the vessel, darting back and
forth before its bows, leaping and plunging over one another. Their
every motion is apparent, and the outlines of their bodies are as
distinct as if drawn with a pencil of fire. Nowhere is this phenomenon
so conspicuous.

The first point beyond Guayaquil is the island of Puna, where Pizarro
first landed, and where he waited with a squad of thirteen men while the
deserters from his expedition went back to Panama in his ships,
promising to send reinforcements, which afterwards came. Beside Puna is
the famous Isle del Muerto (dead man’s island), which looks like a
corpse floating in the water. Just below, and the northernmost town of
Peru, is Tumbez, where Pizarro met the messengers from Atahualpa’s army
who came to ask the object of his visit.

Behind Tumbez are the petroleum deposits of Peru, which have been known
to the natives ever since the times of the Incas, but they were ignorant
of the character or the value of the oil. A Yankee by the name of
Larkin, from Western New York, came down here to sell kerosene, and
recognized the material which the Indians used for lubricating and
coloring purposes as the same stuff he was peddling. An attempt has been
made to utilize the deposits, which are very extensive, but so far they
have not been successful in producing a burning fluid that is either
safe or agreeable.

At each of the little ports on the Peruvian coast the steamer stops and
takes on produce for shipment to Liverpool or Germany. These towns are
simply collections of mud huts, inhabited by fishermen or the employés
of the steamship company, dreary, dusty, and dirty. Back in the country,
along the streams which bring fertility and water down from the
mountains, are places of commercial importance, the residences of rich
hacienda owners, and the scenes of historic events as well as
prehistoric civilization. The products of the country are sugar, coffee,
cocoa, and cotton, while those of the town are “Panama” hats and fleas.
In each one of the ports the natives are busy braiding hats from
vegetable fibres, and the results of their labor find a market at Panama
and in the cities of the coast, where, as in Mexico, a man’s character
is judged by what he wears on his head. The hats are usually made of
_toquilla_, or _pita_, an arborescent plant of the cactus family, the
leaves of which are often several yards long. When cut, the leaf is
dried, and then whipped into shreds almost as fine and tough as silk.
Some of these hats are made of single fibres, with not a splice or an
end from the centre of the crown to the rim. It often requires two or
three months to make them, and the best ones are braided under water, so
as to make the fibre more pliable. They sometimes cost as much as two
hundred and fifty dollars, but last a lifetime, and can be packed away
in a vest-pocket, turned inside out, and worn that way, the inside being
as smooth and well finished as the other. The natives make beautiful
cigar-cases too; but it is difficult for a stranger to purchase either
them or their hats, because they have an idea that all strangers are
rich, and will pay any price that is asked. One old lady offered me a
cigar-case of straw, such as is sold in Japanese stores for one or two
dollars, and politely agreed to sell it for twenty dollars. When I told
her I could get a silver one for that price, she came down to eighteen
dollars, then to twelve dollars, and finally to one dollar. They have
no idea of the value of money, and are habitually imposed upon by local
traders, who exchange food for their straw-work at merely nominal rates,
and then sell the hats at enormous figures.

At each of the ports where the steamer stops an army of officials come
aboard to get a good dinner or breakfast and a cocktail or two at the
expense of the steamship company. They wear gay uniforms and swords, and
there is usually one inspector, or official, for every ten packages of
merchandise. First, there is the “captain of the port,” with his
retinue; then the governor of the district, with his staff; then the
collector of customs, with a battalion of inspectors; and, finally, the
commandante of the military garrison and all his subordinates. The deck
of the vessel fairly swarms with them, and as the steamer’s arrival is
the only event to give variety to the monotony of their lives, they
celebrate it for all it is worth. It is little wonder that the
governments of these South American countries are poor, with all these
tax-eaters at every little town of four or five hundred inhabitants.

[Illustration: CUSTOMS OFFICERS.]

There are a great many more railroads in Peru than is generally
supposed. Nearly all of the coast towns have a line connecting them
with the plantations of the interior; and as there are no harbors, but
only open roadsteads, expensive iron piers have been constructed through
the surf from which merchandise is lifted into barges or lighters and
taken to the ships, which anchor a mile or so from the shore. Where
there are no piers the lighters are run through the surf when the tide
is high, are loaded at low tide, and then floated off to buoys to await
the arrival of vessels.

[Illustration: A HOME ON THE COAST.]

All along the coast there is a system of “deck trading” carried on by
the people of the country. Men and women come on board with market
produce, fruits, and other articles, which are strewn about the deck,
and are sold to people who visit the vessel at each port for the purpose
of buying. These traders are charged passage-money and freight by the
steamship companies, but are a nuisance to the other passengers. Each
female trader brings a mattress to sleep upon, a chair to use during the
day, her own cooking and chamber utensils, and spends a greater part of
her life abroad, sailing from one port to another.

At Payta we took on a battalion of Peruvian soldiers, with one
brass-mounted officer to every seven men. The Peruvian soldier always
has his wife with him; at least there is a woman who maintains such a
relation. The ceremony of marriage is not observed, nor is it to any
great extent in civil life, for the expense of matrimony is so great
that among the _cholos_, as the peasants are called, men and women live
their lives together without any formality, and with the sanction of
public sentiment, even if they lack the sanction of the law. For this
the Catholic Church is responsible, and to it can be traced the cause of
the illegitimacy of more than half of the population. The fee charged by
the priests for performing the ceremony of marriage is so excessive that
the poor cannot pay it; hence marriage is practically placed under what
may be called a prohibitory tariff. This prevails in all of the South
American countries where the Church still holds its power, but in those
which are now under the control of the Liberal party the rite of civil
marriage has been established by law, and the ceremony now costs from
twenty-five cents to a dollar.

With each company of Peruvian troops is a squad of women called
_rabonas_, generally one to every three or four men, volunteers who
serve without pay but receive rations, and are given transportation by
the Government. They are always with the men--in camp, on the march, and
in battle. In camp they do the cooking and other necessary work; on the
march they share the exposure and fatigue, being treated exactly as the
men are, and do most of the foraging for the messes to which they
belong. In battle they nurse their own wounded, rob the dead, cut the
throats of enemies whom they find lying alive on the field, carry water
and ammunition, and perform other brutal or useful services. They are
always enumerated in the rosters of troops and in the reports of
casualties, which read: so many men and so many rabonas killed and
wounded; for they share the soldier’s death as well as his privations.

Some of these wives of the regiment have children with them, and there
is scarcely a company without a dozen or so little youngsters, without
any clew to their paternity, following their mothers’ heels. They are
poor, miserable, degraded creatures, just one degree above the dogs with


they sleep. Their powers of endurance are extraordinary. Often it is the
case that they will march twenty or thirty miles over a dusty road,
carrying a child on their back, without water or food. When the latter
is scarce they eat leaves of the coca-tree, which when mixed with lime
are said to be very palatable and nourishing. Each woman carries a
little bag of lime round her neck, into which she dips her fingers and
draws out a few grains of powder to leaven a lump of leaves she is
constantly chewing. The poor children have the hardest time, for they
are always without rest or shelter, and often without food. But it is
the experience they are born into, and they know nothing of a better
life. The officers told me that the children often die on the march,
when their mothers strip the clothes from them, and throw the bodies
into the sand or woods, without even a burial or a tear, glad to be
relieved of an encumbrance by death.

With the battalion which boarded our steamer at Payta were two women and
thirty children. They were quartered upon the hurricane-deck, without
any shelter but the starlit tropic sky, and were packed in, men and
women together, like steers in a cattle-car. Water and food were
furnished them, the latter consisting only of frijoles and tortillas.
Instead of complaining of their beds upon the surface of the shelterless
deck, the soldiers told me that it was the most comfortable place they
had found for months, and would be glad to stay there always; but the
passengers and officers of the ship would have objected, as the stench
that came from them was something horrible, resembling that which is
usually noticed in a crowded emigrant-car.

One night, on the unsheltered deck of the vessel, without surgical
assistance or even the knowledge of the officers or crew, a child was
born. The mother wrapped it in an old blanket and laid it down upon the
boards. Thirty-six hours afterwards she, with the rest of the party,
climbed down th ship’s side on a ladder, got into a launch in which
there was scarcely standing-room, and was towed to shore, where a long
and tiresome march into the mountains was to be begun the same night. On
her arms was the baby, and on her back was a bag which looked as if it
weighed fifty or sixty pounds. She was a mere girl, perhaps sixteen or
seventeen years of age, and they said it was her first baby, of which
she, like all young mothers, was uncommonly proud. This appeared to be a
commonplace occurrence, for it was scarcely noticed by the other women
or men of the crowd, and when I asked an officer which of his company
was the father of the child, he replied, “_Dios sabe_” (God knows). He
said there had been four similar accouchements in his company within six
months, and that he thought the mothers and babies were all doing well.

“Will the child live?” I asked the surgeon.

“Live? yes; you couldn’t drown it.”

The custom of having rabonas with the army grew out of the habit the
Indians had of taking their wives to war, and the marital ties became
slackened by common consent. The Government not only licenses but
encourages the practice, as it makes the men more contented, and, as a
sanitary measure, the surgeons say, is beneficial. The ratio of disease
is very small in the armies where the rabonas are allowed, as compared
with that in others, and any experienced surgeon can see why this is so.

All the private soldiers in South America, at least upon the west coast,
are Indians or negroes, and all the officers white. A white man, a
Spaniard, whatever be his station in life, cannot be forced or persuaded
to carry a musket. During the defence of Lima against the army of Chili,
however, lawyers, merchants, clerks, and everybody, regardless of caste
or condition, served in the ranks as they did during our war, but
without uniform. They would fight in defence of their homes, but were
too proud to wear the uniform of a common soldier. Hence the rank and
file is composed chiefly of Indians, or _cholos_, a term which is used
to designate the mixed race descended from the ancient and aboriginal
Inca and his conqueror the Spaniard. There are very few full-blooded
Indians in the country, for during the three hundred and fifty years of
Spanish supremacy the original inhabitants were almost entirely
exterminated. There are a good many negroes and Chinamen in Peru who are
mixed with the natives indiscriminately, and they all go to compose the

There are military schools for the education of officers, and the line
and staff of the armies are made up of the sons of the aristocracy, as
in Germany and England. They wear a very gaudy uniform, and always
appear in it, whether on duty or not. Officers are never seen in
anything but full military dress, with plenty of gold lace and

The soldiers are all “volunteers.” Conscription is forbidden by the
constitution of most of the republics, and a “volunteer” is an Indian
who is captured on the highway, or in a saloon, or at his home, and
locked up until there are enough to send to headquarters, where he is
taken before a recruiting-officer, and made to sign a statement setting
forth that he “volunteered” to serve his country as long as his services
are needed. Then his hands are tied behind him, and he is lashed to a
dozen or more other “volunteers,” who are driven down to the garrison,
where uniforms are put on them, muskets furnished, and they are turned
over to a drill-sergeant, who puts them through the simple tactics until
they know how to carry a gun and fire it. I saw a drove of about one
hundred and fifty of these “volunteers” come into Lima one day, tied up
like chickens or turkeys in bunches of ten each, with an escort of
twenty men, who had probably gone through the same process of
“volunteering” a year or so before, and rather enjoyed the remonstrances
of the conscripts. Behind the column came seventy-five or so women,
weeping and chattering, and some of them had children tugging at their
hands and skirts. The women could stay with their husbands if they
liked, and become rabonas, and probably most of them did. With such
material composing its army did Peru attempt to defend its coast and
cities, with their enormous wealth, against assault by Chili.

[Illustration: LOOKING SEAWARD.]

The soldiers of Chili are of an entirely different sort. They are
naturally belligerent, and in the late war with Peru were promised free
license to plunder. The soldiers of Peru were peaceable, quiet,
inoffensive cholos, a silent, suffering race of people who had served
under a system of peonage all their lives, had no idea what they were
fighting for, and made as weak a defence as possible. Whenever they met
the Chillanos in battle they always fled, even when they outnumbered the
enemy; for the Chillano, reckless, daring, and combative, never remained
in line of battle, but always fought with a charge and a whoop, carrying
everything before him, taking no prisoners, but cutting the throat of
every man he could reach.

The battle of Arica is a good example of all the engagements of the war
between Chili and Peru. South of that town, which lies upon the Pacific
coast, rises a great hill or promontory twelve hundred feet, and almost
perpendicular, out of the sea, and then slopes off at a steep grade to
the plain behind it. Upon the peak of this precipice the Peruvians
placed a heavy battery for the protection of the city, manned by about
twelve hundred soldiers. The Chillano men-of-war came in one day and
engaged this fort in an artillery duel at long range which lasted until
nightfall. During the darkness about two thousand soldiers were landed
above the town; they flanked it, and creeping carefully to the foot of
the hill, lay until daylight, when they dashed up the slope with a
fearful charge. The cannon were all turned seaward, and were useless;
the men were surprised in their sleep, and the demoralization among the
Peruvians was so great that scarcely a shot was fired. Being shut off
from escape, they jumped over the precipices into the sea, preferring
drowning to having their throats cut with the knives of the Chillanos,
who always carry them for that purpose. This was known, and always will
be known, as the Arica massacre, for nearly three-fourths of the
Peruvians were slaughtered.

The island of San Lorenzo, which was once the seat of a powerful
fortress, protects the harbor of Callao, the second port on the Pacific
coast of South America in population and commercial importance. It is
the headquarters of the steamship lines and of the great mercantile
houses, and the population is about one-half of foreign birth. One can
hear all the languages of the earth spoken at Callao, and when we

[Illustration: A BOATMAN ON THE COAST.]

arrived upon the dock there was a group to illustrate the cosmopolitan
character of the citizens. A Chinaman, an Arab, a negro, and a Frenchman
were sitting upon a box, while around them were clustered Spaniards,
Englishmen, Irishmen, Germans, and Italians. The city is irregular and
shabby-looking, but has been a place of great wealth. Millions after
millions of dollars’ worth of silver have been shipped from here by the
Spaniards--silver stolen from the temples of the Incas, or dug from the
mines which they operated before the Spaniards came. It was here that
the old buccaneers used to rendezvous and waylay the galleons on their
way to Spain. Of recent years the importance of Callao has very much
decreased. A constant succession of wars and revolutions in Peru has
destroyed its commerce; and although there is usually a great deal of
shipping in the harbor, the present amount of trade is below that of the
past. There are two lines of railroad to Lima, the capital of the
republic, which lies six miles up in the foot-hills of the Andes.



Although the glory of Lima has long since faded, it is easy to see how
grand and beautiful the place was in the days of its ancient prosperity,
when it was called “The City of the Kings.” Few places possess such
historical or romantic interest as this old vice-regal, bigoted,
corrupt, licentious capital of Peru, the second city founded by the
Spaniards in South America, and the seat of Spanish power for more than
three centuries. Pizarro selected the location, and founded the city on
the 6th of January, 1535, that being the anniversary of the
manifestation of the Saviour to the wise men, the Magi. The pious old
cutthroat called it “The City of the Kings”--_Ciudad de los Reyes_. The
Emperor gave the infant capital a coat of arms of his own design, being
three golden crowns upon an azure field, with a star above them. But the
name Lima, which was an Inca term to denote the presence of an oracle
near where the city stood, was at once applied to the place by the
natives, and being so much easier to pronounce, soon forced itself into
common usage in spite of Pizarro and the King, and is now alone

The population of Lima is about one hundred and twenty-five thousand. It
has been much larger, for during the last twelve years war and decay
have been the rule, and peace and growth the exception. Before that time
there had been quite a “boom,” owing to the energy of Henry Meiggs, the
California fugitive, and to the introduction of railroads; but the
devastation of foreign invaders and the havoc of domestic revolutionists
have made Lima only a pitiful shadow of its former greatness.

[Illustration: LIMA AND ITS ENVIRONS.]

The churches and convents and monasteries of Lima are the finest and
most expensive in America, while the architecture of private structures
surpasses that of any other Spanish-American city except Santiago. The
old palace of Pizarro, which was erected by him when the city was
founded, and in which he was assassinated, is still used for the offices
of the Government; while the Senate occupies the council-chamber of the
old Inquisition building, which is famous for its ceiling of carved
work, and infamous for the cruel and bloody work that has been done
within its walls. This ceiling was imported from Spain in the year 1560,
and was carved by the monks of the mother-country as a gift to the
Inquisition council of the new. Here sat the most extensive and
important dependency of the Church of Rome, extending its jurisdiction
over the whole of the New World, roasting heretics upon live coals or
stretching them upon the rack, long after the Inquisition in Europe had
ceased to exist. The torture-room, which adjoined the council-chamber,
is now a retiring-room for the Senate, while the dark pockets in the
walls, in which heretics were sealed up until they were smothered, are
used as closets and wardrobes.

The Chamber of Deputies occupies the ancient home of the College of St.
Marcas, the oldest institution of learning in America, founded by the
Society of Jesus in 1551, sixty-nine years before the Pilgrims landed at

The San Franciscan convent and church are two of the most extensive
structures in the whole of America, and cost as much as the Capitol at
Washington, if not more. The whole interior is covered with the most
beautiful tiles, which have stood the test of three centuries, and still
surpass the best that modern genius can produce. These tiles are
celebrated all over Europe, not only for the enormous quantity of
them--for they cover many acres of surface--but for the beauty of their
design and perfect finish. In this convent is shown the bed on which St.
Francis died, the sack-cloth robe that he wore, his sandals, his rosary,
and the coffin in which his body was taken to Rome. The monk who acted
as our cicerone insisted that the founder of his order died in the room
in which these relics were, and pointed out the exact spot where he
breathed his last; but a brief cross-examination brought him up to an
explanation that he meant that this room was modelled upon the one in
which St. Francis died.

Lima did produce a saint, however--Santa Rosa, a woman who was famous
for her wealth, her beauty, her self-abnegation, and her devotion to
the Church, and was canonized by Pope Clement X. in 1671. Her remains
lie in the Church of Santo Domingo, and an extensive convent has been
erected in her honor. She was the only American ever canonized, and the
fact that a Peruvian received this exclusive honor has made her not only
the patron saint, but one of the great figures in the history of the
Catholic Church on this continent. The anniversary of her birth is
always celebrated throughout South America, and the third centennial,
which occurred in April, 1886, was the occasion of one of the grandest
demonstrations ever seen on the coast of the South Pacific.

[Illustration: A PERUVIAN INTERIOR.]

Six months before, the most reverend archbishop at Lima, the dean of the
Catholic hierarchy in Spanish America, issued an eloquent pastoral,
calling upon his flock to unite with him in honoring the memory of Santa
Rosa, the only American saint and the patroness of two continents. The
invitation was generously responded to. The Government immediately made
as liberal an appropriation of money as was possible in the depleted
condition of the treasury; private citizens and corporations contributed
to the funds, and a commission of distinguished persons was appointed to
form a programme of the festivities. A cordial invitation was sent by
the archbishop to the principal religious dignitaries in South and
Central America and Mexico to visit Lima on this memorable occasion, and
to accept the national hospitality.

On the 20th the ceremonies were commenced. The body of Santa Rosa was
taken from its resting-place in the Church of Santo Domingo, and borne
in solemn procession to the church erected in her honor. The day was
declared a holiday. From every housetop flags and streamers were
floating; the different legations and consulates hoisted their national
emblems; flowers were strewn in the streets through which the cortege
was to pass; and from the windows and balconies hung superb drapery of
silk and velvet. The remains of the saint, deposited in a beautifully
ornamented urn, were carried on the shoulders of the Dominican monks,
and the mayor and municipality of the city, with the few remaining
survivors of the War of Independence, acted as the guard of honor. The
municipal and private schools of both sexes followed, the little girls
charmingly dressed in white and blue, the favorite colors of Santa Rosa,
and with garlands of roses in their hands. Along the route the different
fire brigades had erected artistic arches from their ladders and
apparatus, and as the procession passed, white doves were loosened from
their fastenings, and flew gracefully amid the banners and canopies
overhanging the streets. In some of the streets traversed carpets were
laid down and covered with roses. Arriving at the Church of Santa Rosa
of the Fathers, the precious urn was deposited on the altar, surrounded
by a dazzling blaze of light, and was watched over during the night by a
special guard of honor.

The next day the same ceremony was repeated, the object being to carry
the remains of the saint to those places with which her life was most
intimately associated. Thus the Convent of Santa Catalina, the Church of
Santa Rosa of the Mine--establishments founded by the intercession of
the Rose of Peru--were visited, and the final ceremonies were performed
at the cathedral. The interior of the cathedral, larger than the
cathedral in New York, was handsomely decorated with hangings of scarlet
velvet bound with gold; the superb altar, with its pillars cased in
silver, covered with lights and flowers; and the venerable archbishop,
with his numerous retinue of monsignori, canons, and friars, officiated
at the solemn high-mass, with the votive offering especially permitted
by the Holy Father, in reply to a request from the Lima ecclesiastics.

The square without was filled by troops from the citadel of Santa
Catalina, national salutes were fired, and all Lima in gala dress was in
the streets. The Ministers of State, the Justices of the Supreme and
Superior courts, and all of the principal authorities, joined in the
procession, which, after the conclusion of the ceremony at the
cathedral, proceeded to Santo Domingo to deposit the remains underneath
the grand altar, where for nearly three centuries they have rested.

Santa Rosa was born at Lima in the year 1586. She was of humble parents,
her father being a matchlock man in the escort of the viceroy, and her
mother a woman of the lower class. She was christened under the name of
Isabel, but while yet an infant the beautiful color appearing on her
cheeks caused her to be called Rosa. From her earliest years she
manifested a deep religious spirit, and although poor in the world’s
goods, her extraordinary charity and self-sacrifice for the poor and
sick brought her into the notice of the people. Refusing all the
inducements and invitations to enter upon a monastic life, she steadily
dedicated her efforts towards doing good. Many miraculous cures are
attributed to her. She died in 1617. Shortly after her death the
authorities of Lima petitioned the archbishop that the necessary
investigation be initiated to establish her sanctity, and when the
proofs were obtained they were laid before Pope Urban VIII. at Rome, who
in 1625 sent a commission to Lima to conclude the investigation. After
due consideration of the facts presented to the Holy College at Rome,
Pope Clement IX., in 1668, ordered the canonization of Rosa under the
title of St. Rosa of Lima.

In Lima, for a population of about one hundred and twenty thousand,
there are one hundred and twenty-six Catholic churches and twelve
monasteries and convents; and the same religious privileges extend all
over Peru. There are two Protestant churches in the republic. One of
them is in Lima, and is usually without a pastor, being of the Church of
England school, and supported by the English-speaking residents; the
other is at Callao, and an active young Protestant, Rev. Mr. Thompson,
formerly of Philadelphia, is its pastor. The church is unsectarian, and
is largely sustained by the Pacific Steam Navigation Company, a British
corporation which has a monopoly of commerce on the west coast, and
keeps its headquarters at Callao. No attempt at Protestant missionary
work has ever been made in Peru, although Mr. Thompson says the field is
very inviting. His time is spent mostly among the sailors who haunt
Callao by the hundreds, and in looking after the English-speaking
congregation under his charge. There is no Sunday in Peru. The shops are
open on that day as usual, and in the afternoon bull-fights,
cock-fights, and similar entertainments are always held. The women
invariably go to mass in the morning, and represent the entire family,
as very few men are ever seen in the churches. Under President Prado,
from 1869 to 1876, the Catholic Church was subjected to the same sort of
treatment it has received in the other republics, but his successors
were more hospitable towards the priests, and the Church is regaining
much of its ancient influence. Some of the confiscated monasteries have
been restored, and a bishop presides over the lower branch of the
national legislature, having been elected by a popular vote in one of
the interior cities. He is a jolly-looking old padre, rosy and rotund,
and has not the appearance of suffering much mortification of the flesh.

The bones of Pizarro, the Indian butcher, lie in the crypt of the grand
cathedral which he built in 1540, and which is still the most imposing
ecclesiastical edifice in all America. It is said to have cost nine
million dollars; and that amount may have been spent upon it, but the
money came from the old Inca temples, which were robbed of their gold
and silver ornaments and stripped of their carved timbers by the
Spaniards. The latter never produced anything in Peru by their own
efforts. They simply expended their plunder for the benefit of
themselves and the Church. Of the ninety millions of dollars in silver
and gold which Pizarro is said to have realized from his evangelical
work among the Indians, the King of Spain got one-fifth and the Church
even a larger share, so that it could afford to build cathedrals and
convents as fine as those of Europe, and endow them with fabulous
wealth. Prescott says that from a single Inca temple Pizarro took 24,800
pounds of gold and 82,000 pounds of silver. One of his lieutenants asked
for the nails which supported the ornaments in this temple, and got
22,000 ounces of silver. It was this money that erected the magnificent
churches which Lima has to-day, and which made the capital of the New
World the most luxurious and profligate known to history.

Later, the marvellous products of the mines of Potosi and Cerro de Pasco
added to the fabulous wealth of Peru. In 1661 La Palata, the viceroy,
rode from the palace to the cathedral on a horse every hair of whose
mane and tail was strung with pearls, whose hoofs were shod with shoes
of solid gold, and whose path was paved with ingots of solid silver. It
was during this time that the galleons from the East, “from far Cathay,”
laden with gems and silks and spices, went to Callao to exchange them
for the products of Potosi and Pasco; while, out of sight, on the verge
of the horizon, Sir Francis Drake and the bold John Hawkins and other
buccaneers lay-to in their swift-sailing cruisers to snatch the

[Illustration: GRAND PLAZA, LIMA.]

treasure-ships as they came around the island of San Lorenzo, and carry
home the booty to lay it at the feet of Elizabeth, the virgin queen of

But all this grandeur is gone, and the last traces of it are now to be
found in the pawn-shops of Lima, which are full of rare old silver,
paintings, china, and lace. The people are so poor that they are
compelled to sell their jewels to get bread and meat. The stagnation of
business has deprived them of their ordinary incomes from real estate,
and the war has taken off the laborers, so that the sugar haciendas and
the mills are idle. I met people whose incomes were formerly hundreds of
thousands of dollars, from rentals and interest on investments, who are
now compelled to patronize the pawn-shops, because their tenants cannot
pay rent and their investments no longer produce a profit. The
paper-money of the country is as valueless as the Confederate bills were
during our civil war. One issue, the Incas, is entirely worthless. The
Government tried to enforce its circulation by locking up men who
refused to accept it as legal tender; but the merchants marked up the
prices of their goods, and charged two thousand dollars a yard for
calico, when the Treasury surrendered, and issued another loan which is
almost as bad as the first. You give a twenty-dollar bill to your
bootblack and two hundred and fifty dollars an hour for a hack. It costs
about six hundred dollars a day for board at the hotel, and fifty
dollars for a bunch of cigarettes.

House-owners who have leased their property for a term of years without
specifying in what sort of money the rent shall be paid are compelled to
accept this worthless paper at par. I met a lady whose income from rents
ten years ago was more than a thousand dollars a week in gold, but now
it is only the same amount in paper--scarcely enough to pay the
servants--and she is selling her bric-à-brac to live. The haciendas and
farms are no longer tilled, because for several years past all the
laborers have been pressed into the army; and the sugar plantations are
useless, for the machinery by which they were operated was destroyed by
the Chilians during the recent war.

[Illustration: A PERUVIAN CHAMBER.]

The devastation which the Chilian army created was almost equal to that
caused by Pizarro when he invaded the homes of the peaceful Incas. The
lines of march of the Chilians are shown by the complete destruction of
everything they could break down or burn. Whole cities, villages, farms,
factories, were swept away by a malicious desire to do as much injury as
possible, regardless of the rights of non-combatants, and in violation
of all the laws of civilized war. The beautiful winter resorts of Peru,
Milleflores (its Newport) and Chorillos (its Long Branch), the
residence-places of the wealthy people and the haunts of those who
sought rest--where there were palaces as beautiful as those of Paris,
and parks like the legendary gardens of Babylon--were entirely
destroyed, not by accident, but by dynamite and other explosives.
Exquisite marble statues now lie in fragments upon the ground, artistic
fountains were shattered, trees were girdled, irrigating ditches
destroyed, and every possible vandalism was committed, not only on the
property of Peruvians, but upon that of foreigners, whose claims for
damages will amount to more than Chili can ever pay.

The magnificent trees in the parks, along the boulevards, and even in
the botanical garden, were cut down for fuel by the soldiers of Chili;
the entire museum of Peruvian curiosities, one of the largest and finest
in the world, was packed up and shipped to Santiago; the books in the
National Library were thrown into sacks and sent after the museum, and
historical paintings were cut from their frames as private plunder. The
greatest painting of Peru--Marini’s “Burial of Atahualpa, the last of
the Incas”--was stolen from the wall where it hung, but the protests of
the diplomatic corps induced the Chilians to return it. The churches and
private houses were stripped in a similar manner, and what could not be
stolen was burned. Nothing was sacred in the eyes of these modern
vandals, whose purpose was to deprive the Peruvians of everything they

The evidence of a refined taste in art and music is everywhere apparent
in Peru. There is scarcely a home without a piano, and the city of Lima
once rivalled Madrid in its treasures of art. There remain but two
notable statues--that of Columbus, in marble, representing him in the
act of handing a crucifix to an Indian girl; and that of Bolivar the
Liberator, upon a rearing horse, in bronze (like the statue of Jackson
in Washington), which stands in front of the old Inquisition building,
on the spot where heretics were burned two hundred years ago. The
famous arch over the old bridge, which was erected in 1610, has been
destroyed, and many other artistic ornaments of the city which have been
written of again and again are gone.


The President occupies the former residence of Henry Meiggs, the
Californian, who did so much for Peru. It is a magnificent structure,
erected and furnished when money had no value to the owner; but, like
everything else in Lima, it is only a relic of its original beauty, and
as a measure of economy a corner of the lower floor is rented for a

Those who have travelled everywhere say that the women of Lima are the
most beautiful in the world. There is something about the climate of the
country, where rain never falls,

[Illustration: A PERUVIAN PALACE.]

and where decay is almost unknown, that gives them a brilliancy of
complexion that women of other lands do not possess. Perhaps their
national costume does much to heighten their beauty, for any woman not
positively ugly would look well in the embroidered manta that the ladies
of Lima always wear. This manta is a shawl of black China crape, and the
amount of silk embroidery upon it indicates the wealth of the wearer.
Some of them are extremely beautiful and cost as much as five hundred
dollars; but ordinary mantas, such as the majority wear, can be bought
for fifteen or twenty dollars in Peruvian money, which is worth
twenty-five per cent. less than American gold. A very common article of
dyed cotton is imported from England at a cost of three or four dollars,
for the use of the negro and Indian women. The manta is worn by every
woman, regardless of her rank or wealth, whenever she appears on the
street; but in their homes, at the opera, and when they go out to
afternoon receptions or evening balls, the ladies adopt the Parisian
styles, and dress with a great deal of taste.

[Illustration: A PERUVIAN BELLE.]

The manta is square in shape and about two yards in size. It is folded
so as to be triangular, and the centre of the fold is placed upon the
forehead, where there is usually a bit of lace that hangs down to the
eyes. One end of the manta falls down the front of the dress as far as
the knee, while the other is thrown around the shoulders and fastened at
the breast with an ornamental pin. Thus, usually only the face is shown;
and when a maiden or a matron wishes to disguise herself, she draws the
shawl up so as to cover her mouth and nose, and permit only her great
black, roguish eyes to be seen. And such eyes! Always large, age never
seems to dim them, and no degree of self-discipline can rob them of or
subdue their coquettish appearance. The poet who wrote

                      “Of that dark queen
    For whose mere smile a world was bartered,”

described a Lima lady. The manta is usually drawn so closely about the
figure as to show its outlines with the most conspicuous distinctness,
and the young women of Lima are as famous for their beauty of form as
for their beauty of face.


They are always slender, generally short of stature, and as graceful as
sylphs; but they lose their beauty of figure with maternity, and one
seldom finds a married woman more than thirty or thirty-five years of
age, if she is the mother of children, who retains the statuesque grace
of maidenhood. They ripen early, reach their prime at sixteen or
seventeen, and generally marry at that age. At twenty-five they are fat,
but they never lose the radiance of their eyes or their complexion.
Their stoutness comes from the lack of exercise and the excessive use of
sweetmeats, for they spend their lives in rocking-chairs, munching
_dulces_, as they call confectionery.

There is a romantic story about the manta which explains the reason that
it is always black. The Peruvian women never wear colors in the street,
and this custom is observed by the aristocracy as well as by the
peasantry; nor do they ever wear bonnets except at an opera, and there
very seldom. The same is true of the women of Ecuador and Chili,
although in the city of Valparaiso, which is the most modern in its
customs and in the style of living of any place on the west coast, the
use of the manta is gradually dying out, and it is worn only at church.
No woman with a bonnet on will be admitted to any Catholic church on the
west coast. Sometimes strangers wear them in, but the sextons and ushers
invariably ask that they be removed. Mrs. Admiral Dahlgren, of
Washington, in her book called “South Sea Sketches,” relates that she
was ordered out of a church because she was wearing a bonnet, and
misunderstanding what was said to her, took no notice of the command
until quite a commotion was raised, when some lady explained its cause.
A bonnet is called a _gorra_ in Spanish, and Mrs. Dahlgren was very much
amused at its similarity to the familiar Irish ejaculation.

It is said that the custom of wearing the manta originated among the
Incas, but that they wore colors until the assassination of Atahualpa,
their king, by the Spaniards under Pizarro. Then every woman in the
great empire, which stretched from the Isthmus of Panama to the Strait
of Magellan, abandoned colors and put on a black manta, and it has since
been worn as perpetual mourning for “the last of the Incas.” There is
probably some truth in this story, for in the graves of the Incas that
have been destroyed by scientific resurrectionists, have been found
female mummies with mantas of brilliant colors wrapped around them, and


with pins very much like those worn at the present day. It is also true
that the natives, the peons of Peru and Ecuador, the descendants of the
Incas, never wear anything except black, and still celebrate with
impressive and appropriate ceremonies the anniversary of the day on
which Atahualpa was strangled. In Chili the custom has died out, for the
Inca empire was never able to sustain itself there against the savage
Araucanian tribes of Indians who inhabited the southern range of the

The Inca women in Peru and Ecuador are not at all pretty. They are
dwarfish in stature, broad across the shoulders, and resemble in feature
the squaws of the North American tribes, except that they have the
almond-shaped eyes of the Mongolians; and it is probably true, as urged
by the antiquarians, that the Incas were of the same origin as the
Chinese, for their customs, their adeptness at all sorts of ingenious
work, and their manner of living bear a striking resemblance to those of
the interior provinces of the Chinese empire. The Incas have had their
blood diluted by intermarriage with the lower grades of the Spanish
race, and it is very difficult to find pure natives now. The people of
the mixed race are called cholos.

It is the transplanted Spanish rose, the pure Castilian type, that
blooms with the greatest beauty in the gardens of Peru. The climate has
refined it, and has clarified the dark olive tint that is found in
Castile. The greatest beauties in Lima are the descendants of the oldest
families--those of the longest residence in the country--and their
loveliness appears not only to have been transmitted from generation to
generation, but to have been enhanced thereby. This is true not alone of
the aristocrats, for some of the loveliest girls belong to the humbler
families, and are found in the tenement-houses, clothed in the shabbiest
garments, which serve only to heighten their loveliness, and to make
them fair prey for the wolves that prowl around in Lima as they do
everywhere else. The fate of these girls, if described, would make a
chapter more horrible to contemplate than the disclosures recently made
in London. Their beauty is a fatal gift, and their poverty and ignorance
make them an easy prey to the tempter. Seldom are they allowed to remain
at home after the age of fourteen or fifteen, when they become the
mistresses of the haughty dons. But the social laws of Spanish America
are so liberal that these women are treated much better than in lands of
higher civilization, for it is not only expected that every

[Illustration: RUINS OF THE WAR.]

man who can support a mistress will do so, but his reputation will
suffer among his fellows if he does not.

Just now the country is prostrated, the effect of a long series of wars
during which it was robbed of everything that the army of Chili could
carry away; so that there is very little gayety and not much display of
dress. But the people retain the relics of their former prosperity, and
the ladies of the present generation have inherited the treasures their
mothers bought and wore at the time when money was so plenty. Much of
this finery--the jewels and laces--has gone to the pawnbrokers, and many
of the most aristocratic families in the republic are now living upon
its proceeds. The women are, like the French, very skilful in
dress-making, and everything they wear is becoming. They imitate the
Parisian styles with the greatest ingenuity, and have remarkable taste
in making over old clothes.

The pawnshops are full of beautiful things. Here are toilet sets of
solid silver, beautifully chased, including the meaner vessels of the
bedroom, which betoken the luxury and extravagance of an age when the
mines of the Andes were pouring out silver, and the guano-beds of the
sea were being turned into gold. Similar reminiscences of ancient glory
can be seen to-day in the toilets of the ladies, in the heirlooms which
they wear on their wrists, on their breasts, and in their ears, as well
as in the rich, old-fashioned fabrics which their grandmothers wore
before them, made in the days when people did not intend things to wear

It is very difficult to secure admission to the aristocratic circles of
Peru. They are as exclusive as any such circle in the world, and social
laws are rigid. But an American who goes to Lima with good letters of
introduction will be received with cordial hospitality, and be admitted
to circles which the resident, however rich and respectable, can never
enter. American naval officers are especially welcome, and the Peruvian
belles are as strongly attracted by the glitter of brass buttons as are
their sisters in the United States. Since the war there have been few
public balls and few receptions, as the people are living from hand to
mouth, with little hope to brighten the commercial horizon; but when you
bring a letter to a Peruvian gentleman, his house and all his belongings
“are at your disposition, señor,” and he is offended unless you accept
his hospitality, although you may be aware that he has to pawn some
heirloom to pay for the dinner he gives you.


The ancient social restrictions which make it a breach of decorum for a
gentleman to meet a lady alone until after marriage, still exist in
Peru. If you call at the residence of Señor Bustamente you must ask for
him, and if he is not at home you may leave your compliments for the
ladies of the family, but under no circumstances ask to see them. If he


at home your welcome will be cordial, and you will be asked to a seat
upon the sofa, which is always reserved for guests, and is the place of
honor. You will be entertained by him until the ladies appear one by
one, for they always stop to dress. No Spanish-American lady is ever
ready to receive a caller. The lady of the house and her daughters will
chat with you about the opera and the bull-fight and the latest scandal,
and will perform brilliantly upon the piano, but beyond that her powers
of entertainment do not go. If you can get Señorita Dolores over in the
corner--and she will be delighted with a _tête-à-tête_--you will find
that she knows nothing whatever about the world beyond her own limited
circle of acquaintance. She has not the vaguest idea of the United
States, and does not know whether Paris is in America, or New York in
England. She will look at you with her great eyes with the most childish
innocence, and ask if the bullfights in New York are as exciting as
those of Lima, and if there is as agile a picador in the States as Señor
Rubio. When you tell her that bull-fighting is not recognized as a
legitimate amusement in New York, she will exclaim “Santa Maria!” and
ask what entertainment you have when the opera-house is closed. Then,
when you say that eight or ten theatres are always open, she will cry
out to papa across the room to take her to New York by the next steamer.

The señorita got her education at a convent, has learned to embroider,
to play the piano, to dance, and has committed to memory the lives of
the saints; and there her accomplishments end. She is so beautiful that
you are sorry you explored her mind; you feel guilty of having exposed
her ignorance; you wish that you could simply sit and look at her, a
picture of loveliness, forever; but when you ask her to dance, and she
moves away with you in a waltz or mazourka, you discover that however
empty her head may be, the education of her feet has not been neglected.
No one who has ever waltzed with a Peruvian girl will wish for another
partner. She is simply animated gracefulness, and her endurance is
remarkable. She clings a little closer than our girls would consider
consistent with propriety, and dances with an abandon that would call
out a remonstrance from a watchful mamma in the States. She gives her
whole mind and soul to it, regardless of consequences, and sighs when
the music ceases, as if there were nothing more in life to enjoy.


The air and light of Lima are very favorable for photography, and the
city has galleries as fine as any in New York. The reception-rooms,
corridors, show-windows, and even the ceilings, are lined with portraits
of belles of the town, which are on sale not only there but at the
news-stands and printshops. In Havana and Venezuela, to have the
photograph of a young lady is equivalent to the announcement of an
engagement, but in Peru it signifies nothing. You can buy the portraits
of your neighbors’ daughters anywhere in town, and their popularity is
estimated by the number sold. Lima girls, with their great black eyes
and shapely figures, make fine subjects for a photographer, and
strangers usually take home collections of the pictures of beauties.
The photograph dealers have their portraits put up in covers ready for
the market, like views of Niagara Falls or Coney Island.

Milk is peddled about Lima by women, who sit astride a horse or a mule,
with a big can hanging on either side of the saddle. When they ride up
to a door-way they give a peculiar shrill scream, which the servants
within recognize.

Most of the embroidery and other similar work in Lima is done by the
nuns, who are very expert at it. They make the finest sort of lace,
embroider towels, napkins, handkerchiefs, and skirt-fronts for dresses
on silk and velvet. At some of the shops you can buy dress patterns;
that is, skirt-fronts, sleeves, collar, cuffs, belt, etc., embroidered
in the finest possible style, and ready to make up. It is one of the
ancient customs handed down from the days of the viceroys. The nuns make
most of the confectionery sold in the city, moulding the unrefined sugar
into artistic shapes, coloring it to imitate nature, and flavoring it to
suit the palate.

The fashionable entertainment in Peru is bull-baiting. The bull is not
killed, as in Spain and Mexico and other countries, and no horses are
slaughtered in the ring. The animal is simply teased and tortured to
make a Liman holiday. The young men of the city do the baiting, and it
is regarded as a very high-toned sort of athletic sport, like polo at
Newport. The young ladies take darts made of tin, decorate them with
ribboned lace and rosettes, and give them to their lovers to stick into
the hide of the bull. The great feat is to cast these darts so as to
strike the bull in the fore-shoulder or in the face, and in order to do
it he who throws them must stand before the animal’s horns. Active young
fellows perform very dexterously, but it takes nerve and agility, and at
times fair señoritas have seen their lovers badly gored.

Another form of entertainment is what is called _Buena Noche_, or “Good
Night.” Then the band plays in the principal plaza, fireworks are
exploded at the expense of the shopkeepers and saloon-men, whose profits
are increased,

[Illustration: MINDLESS OF CARE.]

hucksters surround the place with tables, selling cakes, candies,
ice-cream, and peanuts, and all the populace come out to gossip and
flirt. These festivals furnish about the only opportunity for Vilkins to
get a word alone with his Dinah, for on a “Buena Noche” he can offer her
his arm, and promenade up and down the plaza, murmuring soft nothings in
her ear as long as she will hear them, or until the great bell of San
Pedro strikes midnight, when there are a hustle and a bustle, and
everybody goes home.

Some of the largest and finest stores in Lima are owned and managed by
Chinese merchants, who have the monopoly of the trade in mantas and silk
dress-goods. Italians usually keep the bodegas and eating-houses. There
are half a dozen large American mercantile establishments, and the house
of Grace Brothers, of which Mr. William R. Grace, ex-mayor of New York,
is the head, practically monopolizes the foreign trade of Peru. Much of
the business in the interior is done by itinerant peddlers, who carry
their wares on their backs, and tramp over the whole continent from the
Isthmus to Patagonia. There is also a class of itinerant doctors of
Indian blood, called _collahuayas_, who travel on foot from Bogota, in
Colombia, to Buenos Ayres, carrying the news from place to place, and
practising a sort of voodoo system over the sick. They are well known
throughout the country, and exercise a remarkable influence among the
natives, who entertain them as guests of distinction wherever they go.

All the benevolent institutions of Lima are supported by a “Sociedad de
Beneficencia,” an organization of citizens who raise money by private
subscriptions, and by bull-fights, cock-fights, and lotteries. The
Penitentiary is a noble building, erected on the plan of the
Philadelphia House of Correction, by a Philadelphia architect, the
prisoners in which are engaged in making uniforms, shoes, and other
equipments for the army. Capital punishment is abolished in Peru, but
political offenders are tried by military courts, and shot when found
guilty of conspiracy or treason. There are in the prison one hundred and
thirty-five unhanged murderers serving out life sentences.

There are four daily newspapers in Lima, in which are published
cablegrams from all parts of the world. They are edited with ability,
but their writers indulge in the grandiose, florid style that sounds
very funny to the plain-spoken American. One of the editors was sent to
jail and fined five hundred dollars, besides having his paper
suppressed, for making some reflections upon the acts of Congress; but
as soon as he got out of prison he started another paper, and he is now
blazing away in the most fearless manner, just as if the penitentiary
were not half empty and the Government in need of convict labor. The
papers make their appearance on the street about ten o’clock at night,
and are cried by newsboys, who make as much racket as our own. In the
morning carriers deliver copies to regular subscribers. Advertising
patronage seems to be pretty good in Lima, for the newspapers have about
two pages of display “ads.” to every one of reading matter; but they do
not get good rates, and times are so hard that the merchants give very
little cash, but require the editors to “trade it out” in the country
fashion. Advertising is always an index to commerce, and the condition
of Peru is illustrated by the fact that almost every merchant in Lima is
selling out at cost--_gran realization_, they call it. Credit is not
given at the stores except to the Government, and that is compulsory.
The foreign merchants will not sell to the authorities except for cash,
and the native merchants do not want to, for only in one instance in a
hundred are they ever paid.

All the houses in Lima are built on the earthquake plan--either of great
thick walls of adobe, or mere shacks of bamboo reeds, lashed together by
thongs of rawhide, and plastered within and without with thick layers of
mud. This style of architecture will answer in a country where it never
rains, and where cyclones never come, but if a good pour should fall in
Lima, much of the town would be washed into the river Rimac and carried
out to sea. There is never more than one entrance to a house, and that
is protected first by a great iron grating, and then by solid doors. The
windows are covered with bars. This was done as a precaution against
bandits in early times, and against revolutionists in later days; and a
very essential precaution it has been, for during the time of the
viceroy bands of robbers came down from the mountains, and hordes of
pirates from the sea. Through the single entrance passes every one who
comes and goes--the butcher, the baker, the priest who comes to shrive
the dying, and the young man to whom Mercedes is engaged.

The roofs of the dwellings are always perfectly flat, and among the
common people are used as barn-yards and henneries. In many cases a cow
spends all her days on the roof of her owner’s residence, being taken up
when a calf, and taken down at the end of life as fresh beef. In the
mean time she is fed on alfalfa, and the slops from the kitchen.
Chicken-coops are still more common on the roofs of dwellings, and in
the thickly populated portions of the town your neighbors’ cocks waken
you at daylight with reminders of St. Peter.

Lima is a poor place to sell umbrellas, for along the coast from the
northern boundary of Peru, far south-west to the end of the Chilian
desert, rain never falls. There is a disagreeable, dismal, sticky,
rheumatic dew, however, which is worse than a shower; for during the
winter season, beginning in April and ending in October, it penetrates
the thickest clothing, and gives one the sensation described by
Mantilini as “demnition moist.” The thermometer is pretty regular,
however, and ranges from sixty to eighty degrees Fahrenheit during the
year, January being the hottest month, and July the coolest. Pulmonary
complaints are unknown, but fevers are very common, and the mortality
among infants is pitiable. At Callao yellow-fever is usually endemic,
and there are three or four deaths every week among the marine
population, as the sanitary regulations are not well enforced, and the
city is dirty.

The chamber occupied by the Peruvian House of Deputies is a long, narrow
apartment in what was formerly the University of St. Mark, the oldest
institution of learning in America, having been founded in 1551, and
confiscated by the Government from the Church in 1869. The spectators
sit in a very high, narrow gallery over the heads of the
representatives, who are arranged in two rows of chairs, without desks,
around the three walls of the chamber, the presiding officer and clerks
having the fourth wall at their back. The centre of the room is occupied
by a long table, at one end of which sits the presiding officer, who is
a priest (with an appearance of having lived on the fat of the land),
and at the other end a crucifix is placed, upon which the members of
Congress are sworn to support the Constitution. When a formal speech is
made, the orator stands upon a platform, with a desk or table before
him, and a running debate is participated in by members from their

The Senate Chamber is in the old Inquisition building, just across the
Plaza de Bolivar, in which one hundred heretics are said to have been
burned to death, and thousands publicly scourged.

The people of Peru entertain the most cordial sentiments towards the
United States, which is the more remarkable because of the feeling
prevalent in all classes that the administration of President Garfield
was the cause of many of the losses and much of the misery which they
suffered during the war with Chili. They cannot be convinced that they
were not trifled with and betrayed at the most critical period of their
history, and that Mr. Blaine was not responsible. Without entering into
the controversy as to whether Mr. Blaine authorized General Hurlbut to
interfere, or whether General Hurlbut’s action was voluntary, it is
nevertheless true that the moment he stepped in Chili held back, and the
moment he withdrew she renewed the devastation of her sister republic
with a hundred-fold more energy than before. If our Government had taken
the same stand in the war between Chili and Peru that she occupied
regarding the troubles in the Central American States, thousands of
lives, property worth millions of dollars, and the richest resources of
Peru might have been saved. Mr. Blaine’s original attitude was that the


United States would not tolerate the dismemberment of Peru, and that was
clearly and plainly announced, with a wholesome effect. All at once the
protest was withdrawn, without warning, without any premonition, and
then, with a knife at her throat and a revolver at her heart, Peru
consented to surrender the coveted provinces.

General Hurlbut had been condemned for acting imprudently, for getting
our Government into a scrape without excuse, for committing it to a
policy that was not tenable; but no one can visit Peru and see the
results of the war without respecting the memory of General Hurlbut. He
acted from the noblest impulses, in behalf of humanity, in defence of
civilization. Whether he tried to put a stop to the war with or without
authority, he was justified in doing so--justified in trying to prevent
the burning of defenceless cities, the murder of non-combatants, the
robbery of homes, and the despoliation of everything that was sacred.

Peru was overcome, conquered, and resistless. Her army was destroyed,
and her citizens, who had attempted to defend her capital with what
weapons they could gather, were smitten down like grass before the
scythe. There was scarcely a voice to be raised in defence of the women
and children. Then the pillage commenced. Dynamite and petroleum were
the weapons of Chili, and millions of dollars’ worth of private property
was swept away daily, until the Chilians got tired of murder, of rapine,
of pillage and devastation. It was these which General Hurlbut tried to
prevent, and had our Government supported him, or at least had not
interfered, he would have been successful. As it is, the Chilians laugh
and the Peruvians mutter curses, when “the foreign policy of the United
States” is mentioned. It is said that Hurlbut exceeded his instructions,
and much of the blame of failure was thrown upon him. He was a proud and
sensitive man, and felt censure keenly. His disgrace, and the neglect of
his Government to sustain him in the attitude he had taken, not only
shortened but ended his life, and he died in Lima a broken-hearted man.
But he has been canonized by the people of Peru as a political saint,
and they worship his memory as they do that of Bolivar--the Washington
of South America, the man who gave liberty to five republics. They
regard Hurlbut as the noblest of all Americans. His portrait hangs in
their parlors, and is still for sale at the photograph galleries and
picture stores. His funeral was attended by the greatest demonstration
Peru has ever witnessed, and the grateful people would erect a statue to
him if they had money enough left to pay the expense.

When Chili conquered Peru, Admiral Lynch, the Irishman who commanded the
Chilian army, set up General Iglesias as “provisional President until
the pacification of the country.” General Caceres, who commanded a
division of _montañes_, or mountaineers, refused to surrender, and
rejected the terms of peace dictated by Chili. He retired to the Andes,
and carried on a guerilla warfare as long as the Chilian army was in
Peru. When Lynch and his legions retired, Caceres turned his attention
to the government with the alliterative title which the Chilians left in
Lima, and for three years kept Iglesias busy defending the coast and the
capital from his assaults. Business was almost entirely suspended;
commerce was stagnant, because Peruvians were producing nothing, and had
no money to pay for imported goods. The people lived on the pawn-shops,
and the Government, deprived of its revenues, resorted to extreme
conscription and confiscation measures. Caceres hovered around Lima for
three years with his army of Indian guerillas, doing little fighting,
but producing terror everywhere. Iglesias had no force to suppress his
rival, and could only defend the capital and chief seaports against

In the centre of Lima, as in all Spanish-American towns, is a plaza, or
public square, with a fountain and statuary in the centre, and the
palace, the cathedral, the archbishop’s residence, the municipal
offices, and other public institutions facing it on the four sides. Into
this plaza, the very heart of the city, in August, 1885, the Government
troops permitted Caceres and his mountaineers to come; but they had


sufficient notice of his approach to enable them to place sharp-shooters
in the towers of the churches, cannon on the roof of the palace, and
musketeers on the roofs of all the buildings around it. The buildings
are two stories high, with the front walls reaching two or three feet
above the roof, so that those who participated in this novel defence of
the city had good breastworks to protect them. When Caceres came into
the plaza he was met with volleys from all sides, and the pavements were
strewn with the dead. He made a desperate struggle, but his Indians, few
of whom had ever been in a city before, and none of whom had ever been
under fire, scattered and were lost in the labyrinth of narrow streets,
where they were pursued and killed by cavalrymen, who plunged out of the
palace at full gallop when it was seen that the forces of Caceres were
wavering. Of the three thousand men who came with the mountain general,
two thousand lay dead or wounded upon the pavements of Lima before the
battle was two hours old, and with the rest, who were called together by
trumpeters, Caceres retired to Arequipa to prepare for another campaign.

On the last day of December, 1885, he repeated the attack with better
success, and captured the city, ending a seven years’ war in Peru. A
provisional government was organized until April, when Caceres was
elected constitutional President, and has since, in a thorough, wise,
and patriotic way, been trying to restore a crushed and devastated

General Andres Caceres, the successful leader, the chosen President of
Peru for a term ending April, 1890, is a man about fifty years of age, a
native of the ancient town of Ayacucho, and the son of a colonel of the
army of Chili. His mother was a Peruvian, and his father spent the later
years of his life in Peru. The mother had Indian blood in her veins, and
from her Caceres has inherited much of the Indian disposition and
character which have given him his popularity among the montañes who
followed his standard in the struggle. At an early age Caceres entered
the army, and having by his daring energy and military skill won the
confidence and admiration of President Castilla, was sent to Europe to
learn the art of war in the French and German military schools. Upon his
return he was detailed for duty as an engineer, but when the war with
Chili broke out he was made a general of division, and was perhaps the
most successful officer in the Peruvian army.

Don Miguel Iglesias, the head of the government which Caceres tried so
long to overthrow, is a descendant of one of the oldest and most
aristocratic families of Peru, and before the war with Chili he occupied
several posts of eminence and honor, having been Secretary of the
Treasury, and afterwards Secretary of War. He is a _plantador_, or
planter, and lives at the old town of Caxamarca, which the readers of
Prescott’s story of the Conquest will remember as the seat of Atahualpa.
During the war with Chili General Iglesias also took a prominent part,
but was not considered a successful military leader, having no taste or
inclination in that direction. After the downfall of the Calderon
government Iglesias was made provisional President, and continued to
exercise power for four years, but lacked the energy and ability
necessary to meet the crisis; and although the people generally regarded
him as an honest and patriotic man, he lost their confidence, and the
victory of Caceres was welcomed.

Another of the leading men of Peru is Don Nicolas Pierola, who has been
a conspicuous figure in the political dramas and military tragedies that
have been enacted during the last ten years, and will continue to be
heard from in the future. He has had a most remarkable career, having
been four times banished from the republic. Pierola is a son-in-law of
the ill-starred Emperor Iturbide of Mexico, whose daughter he met while
a student in Paris. His life has been a romantic one, and illustrates
the ups and downs of South American politics. Pierola _père_ was a
famous scientist and _littérateur_, and was the intimate friend and
co-worker of Humboldt, Sir Humphry Davy, Doctor Von Tschudi, the
Austrian philosopher, and other men of that age. He was for a long time
a professor of natural sciences at the University of Madrid, and
returned to Peru, his native country, to pursue his inquiries into the
traditions of the Incas, and to preside over the university at Arequipa,
the second city in Peru. He had something to do with politics too, and
was the Peruvian Minister of Finance for several years.

[Illustration: A WARRIOR AT REST.]

Pierola the younger, who was educated in Europe, is one of the most
accomplished and able men in South America. He commenced life as an
editor, and in 1864 became the manager of _El Tiempo_, the organ of
President Pezot, who was overthrown by a revolutionary army under
General Prado. The latter banished the young and ardent editor until he
was himself overthrown. Then Pierola returned to Peru, and became the
Minister of Finance under President Balta, being the ruling spirit of
the administration, and inaugurating the vast system of public
improvements under Henry Meiggs. Prado again led a successful
revolution, and in 1878 Pierola was banished for the second time. When
the war with Chili broke out he returned to Peru, and tendered his
allegiance and his sword to the man who had driven him into exile. His
services were accepted, and he became the commander of a regiment, and
afterwards a general of division.

In December, 1879, President Prado deserted his post and secretly fled
from the country, leaving a proclamation on his desk which authorized
the Vice-President to exercise the duties of the office “until he had
returned from the transaction of some very urgent and important business
which demanded his presence abroad.” The army of Chili had been
successful in several battles, and was marching upon the capital. The
army of Peru had been practically destroyed; its ports were blockaded,
its treasury was empty, and the President, Prado, had fled from the
results of his blundering imbecility. He has never returned, and is
understood to be in Europe.

There was a mere gleam of hope left for Peru, and the people called on
Pierola to become their leader. A junta or convention of leading men was
quickly called, and the power of military and political chief, which is
the polite way of describing a dictator, was conferred upon Pierola. He
had no money, no ammunition, and only the frightened remnants of a
demoralized army; but he made the best fight he could, and compelled the
Chilian army to stop the carnival of devastation they had begun. When
Peru was conquered the Chilian Government would not recognize Pierola as
dictator, and in the absence of Prado, the constitutional President, set
up a dummy administration of their own choice, with which terms of peace
were made, forfeiting the strip of territory containing the deposits of
guano and nitrate of soda. This was what

[Illustration: GATE-WAY TO THE ANDES.]

Chili desired, and for this she made the war. Her Government knew that
Pierola would never consent to sacrifice the richest portion of the
republic, hence it refused to treat with him, and caused his banishment
for the third time.

Pierola went to France again, and remained in exile until May, 1885,
when he was sent for by the business men of Lima, who endeavored to
secure a suspension of hostilities between Caceres and Iglesias, the
leaders of the rival factions of Peru, and to place Pierola in power, in
order to restore peace to the country and revive its paralyzed trade and
industries. He returned reluctantly, and his friends arranged to have
him proclaimed President, but the Iglesias Government hearing of the
plot, banished him for a fourth time, shortly before Caceres captured
the city. Pierola is now in France, but expects to return to Peru, and
do his share towards restoring the country. This can be done only by the
introduction of foreign capital and labor, as the land-owners and
merchants of Peru are bankrupt, and the native laboring element largely
reduced by the casualties of almost thirteen years of constant warfare.
A large amount of English and American capital is already going into the
country, and will tempt labor to follow. The most important act of the
Government has been to contract with Mr. Michael P. Grace, of New York,
recently, for the completion of the famous Oroya railroad, and the
development of the Cerro del Pasco mines.

A quarter of a century ago an unknown man, a fugitive from justice,
arrived at the port of Callao, and appeared among the Spaniards, as
Manco Capac, at once the Adam and the Christ of the Incas, appeared to
the Indians two thousand years before. As the mysterious and deified
Manco Capac taught the Indians a knowledge of the agricultural and
mechanical arts, this unknown man taught their successors to build
railroads, and stands to-day as the ideal of Yankee enterprise and
engineering genius. He plunged the Government of Peru into a debt that
will never be paid, but laid the foundations for a system of internal
development that would bring the republic great wealth if peace could be
only secured.

[Illustration: HENRY MEIGGS.]

Everybody has heard of Henry Meiggs, the partner of Ralston, the
California banker, who drowned himself in the Golden Gate, the friend of
Flood, O’Brien, Mackey, Sharon, and one of the princes of the golden era
of ’49. Bret Harte has written of him, and Mark Twain has used him as a
text. He committed forgeries in San Francisco years ago, and when his
crime was discovered he took a boat and rowed out into the bay; but
instead of jumping overboard, as Ralston did twenty years afterwards, he
climbed upon the deck of a schooner, purchased her, and sailed away from
the scene of his remarkable career. He went to Peru, bringing much of
his wealth and all of his irresistible energy with him. These he applied
to the difficulties that had staggered that country, and overcame them.
He sent back money to California to reimburse with good interest those
who lost by his forgeries, but remained away till he died, one of the
richest, most influential, and famous men on the coast. From Ecuador to
Patagonia, through Peru, Bolivia, and Chili, Meiggs’s enterprises
extended, and the result is a series of railroads at right angles with
the coast, connecting the interior of the country with the seaports, and
giving the estates, and the mines in the mountains, the sugar haciendas,
and the nitrate beds, easy outlets to the ocean. Nearly every port on
the west coast has its little railroad, from twenty to two hundred and
fifty miles in length, some of them reaching into the very heart of the
Andes, the arteries of the continent’s commerce, and intended to make
profitable possessions which would otherwise have no worth.

The Oroya road, which Meiggs left incomplete, has been counted as the
eighth wonder of the world, for there is nothing in the Rocky Mountains
or the Alps which compares with it as an example of engineering science,
or presents more sublime scenery. But neither scenic grandeur nor
engineering genius can alone make a railroad pay, particularly if it
goes nowhere. In this instance the money gave out, and Meiggs died when
the road was only partially completed, there remaining fifty miles
between the present terminus (Chicla) and the point which was aimed
at--the mines of Cerro del Pasco, one of the richest and most extensive
silver deposits in the world. Most of the grading and tunnelling between
Chicla and the mines has been completed, and it only remains to lay the
ties and rails and put in the bridges to send a locomotive over the
Andes into the great valley which stretches north and south between the
two Cordilleras. This Mr. Grace has agreed to do. The completion of the
line to the mining regions will cost ten million dollars, but that
portion already constructed and in operation, with all its rolling
stock, station-houses, and equipments of every sort, he gets for
practically nothing, as under the conditions of a ninety-nine years’
lease he has the use of the railroad and all that belongs with

[Illustration: THE HEART OF THE ANDES.]

it free for the first seven years, and pays but twenty-five thousand
dollars per year rental for the property during the remainder of the
term. In other words, Mr. Grace gets a property which cost twenty-seven
million six hundred thousand dollars, eighty-six miles of railroad
already equipped and in operation, fifty miles of the most expensive
tunnelling and grading in the world for nothing, provided he will
complete the line. And more than this, he gets the Cerro del Pasco
silver mines, which were worked for centuries by the Jesuits, and have
yielded hundreds of millions of dollars even under the primitive system
of working which was applied to them by the monks and the native
Indians. They were discovered by a native, who while watching sheep on
the hills was overtaken by night. He piled together a few stones, under
the lee of which he built a fire. In the morning he noticed that the
heat had split some of the stones, and he was attracted by something
shining from what had been the interior of one of them. He picked up the
stone, and took it home to show to his friends. The bright substance was
found to be silver, and the great mines of the Cerro del Pasco were

From 1630 to 1824 the mines of the Cerro del Pasco are said to have
produced nearly twenty-seven thousand two hundred tons of pure silver.
The ore is not in fissure veins, but in an enormous mass, similar to the
carbonates of Leadville, and yields from forty to one hundred dollars
per ton. It is worked at a cost of three dollars per ton. Even the
tailings, which the priests and Indians have left during the two and a
half centuries they have been digging away in their rude manner, can be
shipped to New York at a profit, and they amount to millions of tons,
with silver enough in them, it is estimated, to pay the cost of
constructing the road, and to afford it a business that will pay the
expense of operating.


About ten per cent. of the Cerro del Pasco district is now occupied by
native miners, who are pegging along in the old-fashioned way, losing
more silver than they gain in their operations, and securing about
one-quarter of the profit they could obtain by the use of improved
machinery. Their mines are constantly flooded with water, and have to be
abandoned for the greater part of the year. There are also a number of
old mines, which were worked first by the Jesuits and then by the
Government, but which have been given up long since and allowed to fill
with water. These abandoned mines Mr. Grace agrees to pump and place in
working order, and when they are cleared he has the privilege of working
them to his own profit for ninety-nine years. The local miners have
agreed to give him twenty per cent. of their gross product for
introducing pumping machinery and operating it. The same set of pumps
will serve the whole district, and the revenue which will be derived
from the native miners will pay the expense of keeping in order the
mines which Mr. Grace will operate. It is estimated that seven hundred
and fifty thousand dollars will clean up the property and pay for the
necessary machinery to do thorough work, and the profits cannot be
overestimated if all that is told of the mines is true.

I will not repeat the fables and tradition about these mines, of which
the air is full. The El Dorado for which the world was hunting two
centuries ago was but a shadow of the substance said to have been found
here. Away in the heart of the Andes, almost beyond the reach of men,
involving an enormous cost for transportation, and an expense of
operation which miners of modern times would consider unprofitable, the
priests and monks in past centuries found untold tons of treasure. The
one-fifth which was always set apart for the King of Spain, and of which
a record was scrupulously kept by the viceroys, reached into the
millions, and the tithes which were paid to the Church amounted to
millions more. During the last few decades the mines have scarcely been
worked, for as large a product of silver as Peru could consume was found
in more convenient localities.


The railroad was begun by Mr. Meiggs in 1870. Starting from the sea, it
ascends the narrow valley of the once sacred Rimac, rising five thousand
feet in the first forty-six miles to a beautiful valley, where the
people of Lima have found an attractive summer resort; then it follows a
winding, giddy pathway along the edge of precipices and over bridges
that seem suspended in the air, tunnels the Andes at an altitude of
fifteen thousand six hundred and forty-five feet--the most elevated spot
in the world where a piston-rod is moved by steam--and ends at Oroya,
twelve thousand one hundred and seventy-eight feet above the sea.
Between the coast and the summit there is not an inch of down grade, and
the track has been forced through the mountains by a series of
sixty-three tunnels, whose aggregate length is twenty-one thousand feet.
The great tunnel of Galera, by which the pinnacle of the Andes is
pierced, will be, when completed, three thousand eight hundred feet
long, and will be the highest elevation on the earth’s surface where any
such work has been undertaken. Besides boring the mountains of granite
and blasting clefts along their sides to rest the track upon, deep
cuttings and superb bridges, the system of reverse tangents had to be
adopted in cañons that were too narrow for a curve. So the track zigzags
up the mountain side on the switch and back-up principle, the trains
taking one leap forward, and after being switched on to another track,
another leap backward, until the summit is won; so that often there are
four or five lines of track parallel to each other, one above another,
on the mountain side. Almost the entire length of the road was made by
blasting. There is no earth in sight except what was carted for use in
ballasting, and the work of grading was done, not by the pick and
shovel, but with the drill and hundreds of thousands of pounds of


It is estimated that the construction of this road cost Peru seven
thousand lives. Pestilence and accident, landslides, falling boulders,
premature explosions, _sirroche_--a disease which attacks those who are
not accustomed to the rare air of the high latitudes--fevers due to the
deposits of rotten granite, and other causes resulted in a frightful
mortality during the seven years the road was under construction; but
the project was pushed on until the funds gave out. The cost in human
life was no obstacle. At several points it was necessary to lower men by
ropes over the edges of precipices to drill holes in rocks and put in
charges of blasting-powder, and this reckless mode of construction was
attended by frequent fatalities. A curious accident occurred at one
point on the line, where a plumber was soldering a leak in a water-pipe.
A train of mules, loaded with cans of powder, was being driven up the
trail. One of them rubbed against the plumber, who struck at the animal
with his red-hot soldering-iron, which in some way came in contact with
the powder, and caused an explosion that blew the whole train of mules,
the gang of workmen, the plumber, and everybody who was by, over the
precipices, the sides and bottom of which were strewn with fragments of
men and mules for a mile.


The scenic grandeur of the Andes is presented nowhere more impressively
than along the cañon of the Rimac River, which this railroad follows.
The mountains are entirely bare of vegetation, and are monster masses of
rock, torn and twisted, rent and shattered by tremendous volcanic
upheavals. At


the bottom of the cañon, and where it occasionally spreads out into a
valley of minute dimensions, are the remains of towns and cities, whose
origin is hidden in the mists of fable, and whose history is unknown.
This region bears no resemblance to any other picture of nature--lifted
above the rest of the world, as coldly and calmly silent, as
impenetrable, as the arctic stars. Here was developed a civilization
which left memorials of its advancement, genius, and industry carved in
massive stone, and written upon the everlasting hills in symbols which
even the earthquakes have been unable to erase. Here are the ruins of
cities which were more populous than any that have existed in Peru
since--evidences of industry which their destroyers were too indolent to
imitate, and of a skill which could cope with everything but the
destructive weapons of the invaders. A survey of their remains justifies
the estimates given of their enormous population, which are that the
people once herded in these narrow valleys were as numerous as those now
spread over the United States. The struggle which they had to sustain
themselves is shown in the traces of their industry and patience. They
built their dwellings upon rocks, and buried their dead in caves, in
order to utilize what soil there was for agriculture. They excavated
great areas in the desert until they reached moisture enough for
vegetation, and then brought guano from the islands of the sea to fill
these sunken gardens. They terraced every hill and mountain side, and
placed soil in the crevices of the rocks, until not an inch of surface
that could grow a stalk of maize was left unproductive.

The steep mountains along the Rimac are terraced up to the very summit,
these terraces being often as narrow as the steps of a stairway, and
many of them are walled up with stone. They are veritable
hanging-gardens, and lie on such slopes that they look as if it were
impossible for any one to get foothold to cultivate them, or even for
the roots of what was planted there to sustain the mighty winds which
sometimes sweep down the valley.


The irrigation system of the Incas was perfect, their ditches extending
for hundreds of miles, and curving around the hills, here sustained by
high walls of masonry, and there cut through the living rock. They were
carried over narrow valleys upon enormous embankments, and show evidence
of engineering skill as great as that which lifted the Meiggs railroad


the clouds into the mountains. Massive dams and reservoirs were erected
to collect the floods that came from the melting snows, and the water
was taken to localities which were rainless. Under these conditions, in
this great struggle for existence, the Incas established and sustained a
Government--the first in which the equal rights of every human being
were recognized--and worshipped a being whose attributes were similar to
those of the Christian God. The great sea, breaking with ceaseless
thunder upon the rocky coast, impressed the dweller in the desert with
reverence and awe, and he recognized by an equally natural logic that
the sun was the source of light and happiness. Hence these two objects,
the sun and the sea, were personified, and were seated upon the thrones
in the magnificent pantheons of the Incas. The race which conquered them
came with dripping swords and lust for plunder. Skilled in the arts of
peace, but powerless in war, there was no adequate resistance, and the
blood-and-gold-thirsty Pizarro rode up this valley on a mission of
murder, rapine, and destruction. The towns stand as he left them, with
not even an echo to break the silence. Occasionally the Spaniards built
new places of residence to utilize the improvements of the Incas, but in
1882 the Chilian army came down the valley, and treated the Peruvians as
Pizarro had treated the race which he found here.


A visit to the Incas’ cemeteries, where millions of bodies are buried in
the drifting sand, gives a clew to the extent of the original
population, as well as to their arts, religion, and customs. The dead
were preserved after the custom of ancient Egypt, and a few moments’
toil with a shovel will disclose mummies whose features are perfectly
preserved, whose eyes are petrified, whose fingers are clasped with
rings, and who are surrounded with such implements and utensils as those
who buried them thought they would need in the other world. As the
soldier takes his blanket and the cooking-kit, his food and his
portable treasures, so did the doctrine of future life cause the dead
Incas to be equipped for their departure from one world to another. In
this rainless region, protected by the magnetic sand, nothing can decay,
and the contents of the Inca graves are as well preserved as if their
age were counted by days instead of centuries. Wood, vegetable, and
flesh petrify, fabrics and articles of stone and clay are preserved.
There is no moisture to produce decay of the bodies, and there are no
insects to consume them. The contents of the sand-hills are protected
from every form of destruction, and their extent has never been

[Illustration: AN OLD SETTLER.]

[Illustration: FRESH FROM THE TOMB.]

It is still fashionable to go on resurrection expeditions to the Inca
burying-grounds for mummies, and for the articles that were placed in
their graves. In each grave are found articles of decoration, as well as
the utensils required by the spirits to set up house-keeping in the
happy land--rings and other ornaments of gold and silver, cups and
platters of both metals made in quaint designs, copper articles, strings
of beads, weaving and cooking apparatus, water-jugs, weapons of war, and
other curiosities that interest antiquarians nowadays. Professor
Ramondi, a distinguished French scientist in Lima, has a collection of
Inca relics for which he was offered two hundred thousand dollars in
gold by the British Museum. Under the patronage of the Government he is
writing a voluminous work on the antiquities of Peru, three volumes of
which have been published, and five more are yet to come.

The most curious things in Peru are the mummies’ eyes--petrified
eyeballs--which are usually to be found in the graves, if one is careful
in digging. The Incas had a way of preserving the eyes of the dead from
decay, some process which modern science cannot comprehend, and the
eyeballs make very pretty settings for pins. They are yellow, and hold
light like an opal. It is an accepted theory among scientists, however,
that before the burial of their mummies the Incas replaced the natural
eye with that of the squid, or cuttle-fish, and that these beautiful
things are shams.



“The Callao painter” is something that skippers dread. Its brush is the
breeze, and its pigments are in the air. It comes and goes without
premonition, and its work is usually done in the night. A vessel will
enter the harbor of Callao with its timbers as white as the virgin snow,
and its planking as clean as holy-stone and elbow-grease can make them.
The disgusted sailors may awaken in the morning and find everything
covered with a brown, nasty film, which penetrates the cabin, and even
the battened hatchways of the vessel, filling the air with a repulsive
odor, and clinging to the wood-work until it is scraped off. It looks
like a chocolate-colored frost, but does not melt in the sun. When it is
damp one can remove it easily, but if it once dries it sticks like
paint, and its tenacity is not easily overcome. The origin and source of
this mysterious and aggravating artist is unknown, but it is peculiar to
that harbor. Nowhere else is the phenomenon noticed, or at least
ship-masters who have sailed the world over say that Callao is the only
place where a ship can be painted inside and outside in a single night.
Of course there are theories about it which may or may not hold good,
and over them scientific minds have argued, and will argue interminably.
Some say that the guano is forced up by vapors into the atmosphere,
while others assert that it is a species of volcanic dust driven through
the water by subterranean forces. However, the only point on which all
agree is that it is a repulsive phenomenon, and has been the cause of
more profanity than anything else which seamen encounter on the west
coast. It is never noticed on land, but only in the harbor, and for a
few miles up and down the shore.

The glory of Callao as a shipping centre has departed. Where formerly
there were a hundred vessels in the harbor, there are only half a dozen
now. The lack of trade in Peru, the poverty of the people, the enormous
tariffs imposed by the Government, and the exorbitant port dues charged,
have driven commerce away. Two years ago the Government in its poverty
and need of funds was willing to dispose of everything it could control
for spot cash, and practically sold the harbor at Callao to a French
company, to whom the docks and anchorage have been leased for a term of
years at two hundred thousand dollars a year. This company has the right
to tax shipping to any extent it pleases, and has established a system
of rules so oppressive as to drive most of the vessels away.


From Callao to Valparaiso the coast is a panorama of desolation--a
constant succession of bleak and barren cliffs, with not a green or
lovely thing for fifteen hundred miles. On one side is the Pacific
Ocean, with its great swells sweeping almost around the globe, as
regular and constant as the throbbings of the human pulse. On the other
side rise the impenetrable Andes in a range whose altitude averages
fifteen thousand feet, and whose peaks tower twenty and twenty-two
thousand feet above the sea. Between the ocean and the mountains for a
thousand miles, with a varying width from twenty to fifty miles, lies a
strip of drifting sand, which no rivers water, and where rain never
falls. All the water used by the inhabitants is taken from the ocean,
that for mechanical purposes being used in its natural condition, and
that for food being condensed into steam, and purged of its salt by
machinery. There is not a well or a spring along the coast, and
drinking-water is an article of merchandise, like ice or flour, costing
about seven cents a gallon to the consumers.

Some distance below Callao, upon a great rock which rises from the sea,
and shows an unbroken surface to the western sun, is carved the image of
a candelabra--an eight-horned candlestick--about one hundred feet long
and fifty feet across from end to end of the lower arms. The execution
is perfect, and it is said to be carved in lines about a foot deep and a
yard wide. When and how the picture came there no one can tell. The
oldest sailor on the coast says that the oldest man he knew when a boy
could tell nothing of its origin. They call it “The Miraculous
Candlestick,” and pious Catholics say that St. James dropped it when he
came to Peru and placed himself at the head of the Spaniards, at the
time they were driving the Incas out of their ancient homes.

In the interior of Peru, upon a similar rock, is the imprint of a human
foot as long as a pikestaff, which is supposed to mark where the Apostle
alighted when he dropped down from heaven to aid in the subjugation of
the heathen and the triumph of the Cross. At any rate, like the foot of
St. James, this image of the Holy Candlestick, if made by human labor,
must have cost months and months of toil at a time when such things were
needed to impress the Indians with a reverence for the Church of Rome
and the doctrines it taught. Sometimes, if the wind blows seaward, the
carving is covered by the drifting sand, when the padre of the nearest
village goes down with a lot of Indians to dig it out.

[Illustration: A PERUVIAN PORT.]

The first port of importance on the coast south of Callao is the town of
Mollendo (pronounced _Molyendo_), the western terminus of the railway
that furnishes means of communication for Bolivia and the interior of
Peru to the sea. It was built in 1876 by Henry Meiggs for the Peruvian
Government, at a cost of forty-four million dollars--an enormous average
of one hundred and thirty-five thousand dollars per mile; for it is only
three hundred and twenty-five miles long. Its western terminus is the
highest point now reached by steam, being something over fourteen
thousand five hundred feet above the sea, although the Oroya road will
be higher when it reaches the Cerro del Pasco mines. No other railway in
the world can show an equal amount of excavation or such massive
embankments, but the Oroya road has more tunnels. The line is now under
the management of a Boston man, Mr. Thorndike, and everything is
conducted upon the United States plan. Along the side of the track, for
a distance of eighty-five miles, is an eight-inch iron pipe, for the
purpose of supplying the stations with water, as there is none on the
coast; and it is the longest aqueduct in the world, coming from springs
in the mountains, seven thousand feet above the sea, to the port of

[Illustration: THE OLD TRAIL.]

Across a hot, lifeless, desolate desert the railway runs one hundred and
seven miles to the city of Arequipa--the name appropriately signifying
“a place of rest;” and it is one of the oldest, most celebrated, and
beautiful towns in Peru, situated in a small oasis in the desert, rich
in its agricultural resources, and surrounded by valuable mines. Just
behind the city is as magnificent and imposing a mountain as can be
found anywhere in the world--the volcano Misti, 18,538 feet high, and
covered with eternal snow. The city was founded by Pizarro in 1540, and
has always been second to Lima in size and importance, being the
political as well as the commercial capital of the Southern provinces,
and the seat of a university which for nearly three hundred years has
been the most famous upon the west coast in South America, and has

[Illustration: AREQUIPA.]

graduated the most eminent scholars and statesmen in the history of

Crossing the Paso de Arricroo between the greatest cluster of peaks in
the Andes, south of Quito, the railway reaches Vuicarrago, one hundred
miles from Arequipa, the highest town in the world, where the barometer
in the plaza shows an elevation of 14,443 feet. The ascent to it is
usually made by stages, the traveller taking two or three days for it,
so as to accustom himself gradually to the altitude; for the sudden
change from tide-water to this enormous elevation--a distance of only
two hundred and seven miles--generally brings on that distressing
disease sirroche. It is always painful, and often dangerous. The first
symptom is numbness of the limbs, then dizziness and nausea; the blood
bursts from the ears and nose, the lips crack and bleed, a feeling of
faintness makes it impossible to stand, and there is no cure but
absolute quiet or a return to a lower altitude. During the construction
of the railway a great many men died from the effects of the dreaded
sirroche, which is often followed by a sudden and quickly fatal mountain
fever. Few people escape the ailment, and no animal but the llama and
others of that species native to the mountain regions can survive. At
every town along the road droves of llamas can be seen which have been
driven in from the mountain settlements laden with furs and skins, or
with ore from the mines. The llama is the only beast of burden in the
Upper Andes, and is docile, patient, sure-footed, and speedy. It can
carry a burden of one hundred pounds, which is fastened to a
pack-saddle, and when that weight is exceeded will lie down and refuse
to move until the surplus is removed. The llama is about as large as a
one-year-old colt or a good-sized black-tail buck. It has a heavy coat
of wool; but those that are used for transportation purposes are seldom

The vicuña, a sort of gazelle, a gentle, timid animal, is found in large
numbers in the interior of the Andes, particularly in Bolivia. It is
fawn-colored, has long, soft, silken hair, with a peculiar gloss that
resembles what are known as “changeable

[Illustration: THE VICUÑA.]

silks,” and changes color in different lights. In the old Inca days,
before the Spanish invasion, centuries ago, the vicuña was the royal
ermine of the Inca kings, and no one but the Imperial family and nobles
of a certain rank was allowed to wear it. The animal was also protected
by some sacred tradition, and was allowed to go unharmed in the forests,
where it accumulated in great numbers; but the Spanish invaders,
regardless of all rights, human and divine, hunted it down, and
slaughtered it for food. The Indians expected that some severe penalty
would be visited upon the invaders for destroying and eating the sacred
animal, and lost faith when they escaped divine retribution. Now vicuña
skins are very scarce and are expensive, and the natives attempt to

[Illustration: LAKE TITICACA.]

impose upon strangers who seek them robes made of the skins of guanaco
kids, killed and skinned the moment they are born.

The guanaco is supposed to be a cross of the vicuña and the llama, and
is next in value and beauty to the vicuña. If the kid is killed the
moment it is born the hair has the same color, and is about as fine as
the genuine vicuña, but is not so long or so luscious. This animal is
numerous, easily domesticated, and breeds rapidly. It is almost as
plentiful in South America as the goat, and is valuable for its skin and
flesh. The body is deep at the breast, but narrow at the loins, and is
covered with long, soft, very fine hair, which is usually a pale yellow,
except under the belly, where it is a beautiful snowy white. It has many
of the characteristics of the North American deer, being very
swift-footed and graceful, combined with the strength and endurance of
the llama, being able to carry a load of from seventy-five to one
hundred and twenty-five pounds for a long distance. The flesh resembles
that of the antelope, but is not as juicy as venison. The skin is
invaluable to the Indians, as it furnishes the material of which their
garments are made. Occasionally in the stomach of a guanaco is found
what is called a “bezoar” stone, a magical sort of affair, which will
cure any kind of disease if carried in the pocket. Large numbers of
guanaco skins are sent to Europe, where they are used for carriage
robes, for lining coats and cloaks, for trimming, and for other purposes
to which fine fur is adapted. Large quantities of alpaca and also llama
wool are exported from Chili and Peru; some of it comes to the United

The alpaca is a sort of cross between the llama and the sheep. The
llamas, alpacas, and guanacos have a peculiar way of defending
themselves. If abused or made angry by teasing, they will turn upon
their assailants, and squirt a pint or so of saliva, like a shower-bath,
from between their teeth, being able to throw it with great force five
or six feet. If this saliva gets into the mouth or eyes, or upon any
place on the flesh where the skin is broken, it is poisonous, and
inflammation sets in at once. It is said that men frequently die of
blood-poisoning from this cause, and a native will keep clear of the
nose of a vicious guanaco as a colored person will avoid the heels of an
Irish mule.

[Illustration: A STREET IN CUZCO.]

Traversing the pass of Alto del Crucero, 14,660 feet above the level of
the sea, and the highest altitude reached by any railway in the world,
the road descends into the great basin of Titicaca, the heart of the
Andes, stretching northward and southward between the two great chains
of the Cordilleras for fifteen hundred miles, almost level, and twelve
thousand feet above the ocean. Here in majestic splendor lies Lake
Titicaca, one of whose islands was the Eden of the Incas, the birthplace
of that prehistoric empire whose civilization has been the wonder and
mystery of centuries. Here Manco

[Illustration: RUINS OF AN INCA TEMPLE.]

Capac (the Adam) and Mama Ocllo (the Eve) of Inca tradition, the
Children of the Sun, arose like Aphrodite, and bearing a golden rod,
marched down the valley until they reached the place where Cuzco now
stands, and there commanded the Indians to erect a city, the seat of an
Imperial dynasty which lasted a thousand years, and possessed a wealth
and an industry that had no measure. Around the lake stand the mighty
temples and palaces, erected of blocks of stone as large as those of the
Pyramids, quarried and conveyed by means that still remain a mystery,
and will never be known. These monuments of an extinct civilization,
these evidences of art and industry that surpass any prehistoric
architecture on the earth, are standing now in mute impressiveness,
mocking decay, as they taunted the conquistadors who tried to overthrow
them. But the Spaniards stripped them of their treasures, murdered their
inmates, and destroyed everything that could not withstand their power.


The riches of Peru and Bolivia have been their curse from the time when
Pizarro invaded the continent to the plunder of their nitrate deposits
by Chili. It is true that few countries have suffered from such an evil,
but it is nevertheless a fact that the wealth of these republics has
been the cause of their disasters. For three hundred years the people
sat with folded hands, and enjoyed the profits of the development of
their natural resources by foreigners, and now, stripped of them, sit
impoverished, mourning the departure of their prosperity.

Just how much plunder Pizarro got in his raids upon the Incas is not
known, and cannot be estimated, but millions went to the King of Spain
as his twenty per cent.; the Catholic Church got millions more as her
share; Sir Francis Drake, John Hawkins, and other pirates got away with
an immense amount of gold and silver; and the quantity expended in the
erection of churches, convents, monasteries, and palaces by the viceroys
is incalculable. History asserts that ninety millions of dollars’ worth
of precious metals was torn from the Inca temples, and the faithful
subjects of Atahualpa filled the room in which he was imprisoned with
gold, in their endeavor to satisfy the avarice of the invaders. Prescott
and Robertson and other historians tell fabulous stories of the wealth
of the Incas, and we know it was enough to restore financial prosperity
to Spain, and to give every cutthroat who came to the coast a fortune.


The amount of money made by Peru from her guano deposits cannot be
estimated any more accurately than by the plunder stolen from the Incas.
The exports have continued from 1846 to the present day, and the annual
shipments have amounted to millions of tons, valued between twenty and
thirty million dollars, and this to the benefit of a State whose
population has never reached two millions, and three-fourths of which
were Indians who had no share in its profits. The exhausted lands of the
Old World required this manure to revive them, and their owners paid
high prices for what cost Peru nothing. The result of this revenue was
the continuation of the extravagance among the people which was
practised by their forefathers when the mountains poured out streams of
silver. It was an epidemic of riches, and the Government of Peru,
instead of wisely hoarding its source of wealth and protecting it,
plunged into a system of reckless expenditure, until the end of the war
found its revenues cut off and the country burdened with a debt of two
hundred and fifty million dollars which it never can pay.

[Illustration: WHERE THE GUANO LIES.]

But even if Peru and Bolivia have been robbed of all their guano, the
deposits of nitrate of soda in the deserts along their coasts would have
made them rich again; but Chili has stolen these also. The whole coast,
from the twenty-third to the twenty-fifth parallel of latitude, appears
to be one solid mass of this valuable mineral, fit for a hundred
different uses, and worth in the market from forty to sixty dollars a
ton. It was discovered in 1833 by an accident, the hero of the
discovery being a forlorn old Englishman by the name of George Smith.
There is no telling how much lies in the mines, but it is the opinion of
those who have explored the country that at the present rate of
excavation it will take eight or ten centuries to dig it away.

[Illustration: A NITRATE MINING TOWN.]

Under the sand of this desert, which drifts before the wind like snow,
nature has laid the bed of nitrate. No one knows how it was formed, and
man has not attempted to measure its extent. The sand is first shovelled
off, and then a crust of sun-baked clay from four to twelve inches thick
is removed. This discloses a bed of white material that looks like
melting marble, full of moisture, and is as soft as cheese. The strata
is often four or five feet thick, and averages two or three feet. It is
broken up by crow-bars and shovelled into carts, then taken to crushers,
which grind it up into particles as large as pebbles. These are lifted
by elevators into great vats, where it is boiled until dissolved in
ordinary sea-water. Then the solution is run off into a series of
shallow iron vats exposed to the air, which, being moistureless, and
heated by constant sunshine, causes rapid evaporation. The salt from the
water mixed with the nitrate causes crystallization, and after a
certain period of exposure to the air and sun the vats are found to be
covered upon the bottom and sides with white sparkling crystals, like
alabaster, under a yellowish liquor. This liquor is carefully drawn off,
for it is even more valuable than the saltpetre, and is conducted by
pipes to another crucible, where it is boiled and chemically treated
until it produces the iodine of commerce, useful for a hundred medical
and chemical purposes, and costing as much per ounce as the saltpetre
brings per hundred-weight. The liquor having been withdrawn, the
saltpetre is shovelled upon drying-boards, where it is exposed to the
sun for a while, then put into bags and shipped to Europe and America.
It is graded like wheat and corn, according to quality. The highest
grade goes to the powder-mills, the next to the chemical works, and the
third to the fertilizer factories, where it is made into manure. The
iodine is packed in little casks, and covered with green hides, which
shrink with drying until they are as tight as a drum-head, and keep out
moisture. It was these nitrate of soda deposits that caused the late war
between Chili and Peru.

After the independence of South America, when the several republics were
being divided, Bolivia was given a little strip of land between Peru and
Chili in order that she might have a pathway to the sea. It lay between
the twenty-third and the twenty-fifth parallels, and was so recognized
on all the maps of Chili, as well as those of other nations. It was a
barren, waterless desert, worthless in every respect, as was originally
supposed, but some years ago the rich deposits of silver and nitrate of
soda were discovered. When their value became known, Chili suddenly
ascertained that under some ancient right this strip of territory
belonged to her, and kindly offered to divide it with Bolivia in such a
way as to leave the silver and soda on the Chilian side. Bolivia of
course resisted, and having a treaty of offence and defence with Peru,
called upon the latter nation to assist in the defence of her rights.
This was the real cause of the war. The ostensible excuse for it was
that Bolivia charged an export duty of ten cents a hundred-weight on
nitrate exported. This the Chilians deemed excessive, and sent a fleet
to defend her citizens in refusing to pay it. Now that she has secured
the territory and the mines, she charges one dollar and twenty-five
cents a hundred-weight export duty on the same article at the same
place, and thinks people impertinent when they complain. The results of
the war are that Bolivia has not only lost her seaports and her nitrate,
but Peru has lost all her guano and a large portion of her richest
territory, while Chili is so much the richer.

[Illustration: GUANO ISLANDS.]

At one time Peru might have prevented the invasion of her territory, and
caused the entire army of Chili to perish, but the instincts of noble
generosity and the unwritten law of common humanity were observed. If
Peru had been as merciless as Chili the struggle would have been
shortened and the result would have been different. Along the coast from
Guayaquil, Ecuador, to Coquimbo, Chili, a distance of more than two
thousand miles, stretches a desert on which a drop of rain never fell.
Occasionally a stream, born of a union between the burning sun and the
eternal snows of the Andes, finds its way to the sea, bringing
nourishment to the soil and making a little oasis where men can live.
But unless the water-supply is very great--and it is only so
occasionally--the stream is swallowed by the thirsty sands and absorbed
by the atmosphere, which is so dry that nothing ever decays, and causes
more rapid evaporation than is known elsewhere. In this desert lie the
nitrate mines, and towns have sprung up around them the inhabitants of
which are supplied with water by artificial means. Salt water is turned
into fresh by means of enormous condensers, and a supply is kept in vast
iron reservoirs, from which it is sold to the people at a price about
the same as we pay for beer. At the saloons one can get a glass of
filtered ice-water for five cents; at the reservoirs a bucket of warm,
nasty stuff is sold for ten.

If you ask a learned man why it never rains there, he will say that the
clouds are deprived of all their moisture when they cross the mountains
from the eastward, and when they come up from the westward ocean are at
once sucked dry by the heat that radiates from the sun-baked sands.
Occasionally along the coast are found immense cemeteries in which the
Incas buried their dead; and the contents of the graves are as well
preserved as if their age were counted by weeks instead of centuries.
The most interesting and extensive of the burial grounds is at
Pachacamac, south of Lima, in Peru, where millions of bodies lie, often
in three stratas, and very generally in two. Near this place was the
famous temple dedicated to Pachacamac, the chief divinity of the Incas,
and whom they acknowledged as the creator of the world. It was the Mecca
of that day, and each believer was expected to visit it at least once in
his life. The pilgrims came from all parts of the empire, bringing
votive-offerings, which made the temple very rich; and Pizarro is said
to have obtained a vast quantity of plunder from it. Around the temple
arose a large city of monasteries to accommodate the priests and
devotees, and inns to shelter the pilgrims; but the place is in ruins


At one of these towns the whole army of Chili was concentrated--forty
thousand men--preparing for the invasion of Peru. The Peruvian gun-boat
_Huascar_ (pronounced _Wascar_) came into the harbor, and with a few
shots might have destroyed the reservoirs and the condensing
establishments, and left these forty thousand men to die of thirst, for
there was no fresh water within two hundred and fifty miles of them. But
the commander of the _Huascar_ had a heart. He was a noble, generous
German--Admiral Grau--and he sent word to the Chillano commander that he
presented his army with their lives. He said he would not attack
defenceless men, and sailed off in pursuit of some Chillano gun-boats
which had run away when they saw the _Huascar_ coming.

[Illustration: A STATION ON THE ROAD.]

The present terminus of the Bolivia railroad is at Puno, a little town
of five thousand inhabitants, at an elevation of twelve thousand five
hundred feet; but it is proposed to extend it farther up the valley,
through another pass of the Andes, and then down the eastern slopes to
the head of navigation on the Amazon--neither a difficult nor an
expensive undertaking. An expedition has recently started from Buenos
Ayres to make an exploration from the head of navigation on the Paraguay
River into the mountains of Bolivia, for the purpose of constructing a
cart-road, and ultimately a railroad to connect the mining regions of
the latter republic with the Atlantic ports of the continent, and great
hopes are entertained of its success. The little town of Puno owes its
origin to the rich mines that surround it, and some of them are
producing generously. It has a small amount of other commerce in hides
and wool, coca-leaves, and cinchona. It is the centre of the alpaca wool
trade, and considerable is exported.

To reach La Paz, the capital of Bolivia, from Puno one must cross Lake
Titicaca, sailing its full length, and, reaching its southern shores,
mount a mule and ride twenty-five miles along the ancient highway of the
Incas, a wonderful road, nearly four thousand miles long, built eight
hundred years or more ago, and still in a good state of preservation,
notwithstanding the neglect of the Spaniards to keep it in repair.

Perhaps the most glorious monuments of the civilization of the Incas
were the public or royal roads, extending from the capital to the
remotest parts of the empire. Their remains are still most impressive,
both from their extent and the amount of labor necessarily involved in
their construction, and in contemplating them we know not which to
admire most--the scope of their projectors, the power and constancy of
the Incas who carried them to a completion, or the patience of the
people who constructed them under all the obstacles resulting from the
topography of the country and from imperfect means of execution. They
built these roads in deserts, among moving sands reflecting the fierce
rays of a tropical sun; they broke down rocks, graded precipices,
levelled hills, and filled up valleys without the assistance of powder
or of instruments of iron; they crossed lakes, marshes, and rivers, and
without the aid of the compass followed direct courses in forests of
eternal shade. They did, in short, what even now, with all of modern
knowledge and means of action, would be worthy of the most powerful
nations of the globe. One of the principal of these roads extended from
Cuzco to the sea, and the other, which is followed to La Paz, ran along
the crest of the Cordilleras from one end of the empire to the other,
their aggregate lengths, with their branches, being about four thousand
miles. Modern travellers compare them, in respect of structure, to the
best works of the kind in any part of the world. In ascending mountains
too steep to admit of grading, broad steps were cut in the solid rocks,
while the ravines and hollows were filled with heavy embankments,
flanked with parapets, and planted with shade-trees and fragrant shrubs.
They were from eighteen to twenty-five Castilian feet broad, and were
paved with immense blocks of

[Illustration: CHASQUIS AT REST.]

stone. At regular distances on these roads tambos--buildings for the
accommodation of travellers--were erected. To these conveniences were
added the establishment of a system of posts, by which messages could be
transmitted from one extremity of the Incas’ dominions to the other in
an incredibly short time. The service of the posts was performed by
runners--for the Peruvians possessed no domestic animals swifter of foot
than man--stationed in small buildings, likewise erected at easy
distances from each other all along the principal roads. These
messengers, or _chasquis_, as they were termed, wore a peculiar uniform,
and were trained to their particular vocation. Each had his allotted
station, between which and the next it was his duty to speed along at a
certain pace with the message, dispatch, or parcel intrusted to his
care. On drawing near to the station at which he had to transmit the
message to the next courier, who was then to carry it farther, he was to
give a signal of his approach, in order that the other might be in
readiness to receive the missive and no time be lost; and thus it is
said that messages were forwarded at the rate of one hundred and fifty
miles a day.


The bridges constructed by the Peruvians were exceedingly simple, but
were well adapted for crossing those rapid streams which rush down from
the Andes and defy the skill of the modern engineer. They consisted of
strong cables of the cabuya, or of twisted rawhide stretched from one
bank to the other, something after the style of the suspension-bridges
of our times. Poles were lashed across transversely, covered with
branches, and these were again covered with earth and stones, so as to
form a solid floor. Other cables extended along the sides, which were
interwoven with limbs of trees, forming a kind of wicker balustrade. In
some cases the mode of transit was in a species of basket or car,
suspended on a single cable, and drawn from side to side with ropes. It
would appear at first glance that bridges of this description could not
be very lasting, yet a few still exist which are said to have been
constructed by the Incas more than four hundred years ago. The modern
inhabitants of some parts of Peru, Bolivia, and Chili still use the same
means of crossing their torrent rivers.

[Illustration: A BIT OF LA PAZ.]

The city of La Paz has about seventy thousand inhabitants, mostly Aymara
Indians, poor, degraded, and ignorant. The full name of the place is La
Paz de Ayacucho, and it means “the peace of Ayacucho,” being so
christened in 1825, to commemorate the victory which established the
independence of Bolivia from the hated crown of Spain. At that time the
republic was a part of the old Province of Peru, and a separate State
was founded by Bolivar, the Venezuelan Liberator of the Continent, who
gave freedom to these people as he did

[Illustration: THE CATHEDRAL AT LA PAZ.]

to his own countrymen, and the new republic was christened in his honor.
La Paz was originally called Nuestra Señora de la Paz--“the peace of the
Virgin”--by Alonzo de Mendoza, who founded it in 1548. It is thirteen
thousand feet above tide-water, and is surrounded by a group of gigantic
mountains, the most notable of which is the volcano Illiniani,
twenty-one thousand three hundred feet high. Through the city runs the
river Chiquiapo, a noble mountain-stream, which is crossed by a number
of fine old bridges. The streets are narrow, irregular, and uneven,
being paved with stone, and having narrow sidewalks, scarcely broad
enough for two people to pass. The town resembles all others of Spanish
construction, except that the houses are mostly built of stone instead
of adobe, the walls being massive and enduring, and in some instances
ornamented with carved stone or stucco-work. The cathedral is large and
grand, the front being handsomely carved, and in a niche over the
entrance stands a marble image of the Virgin, which was presented to the
city by Charles of Spain, and transported from the seaboard at an
enormous cost. The cathedral is built entirely of stone, and was over
forty years in course of erection, hundreds of men being constantly
employed. No derricks or other machinery were used in its construction,
but the walls were built in a curious way. As fast as a tier of stone
was laid, the earth was banked up against it inside and outside, and
upon this inclined plane the stones for the next tier were rolled into
their places. Then more earth was thrown on, and the process repeated
until, when the walls were finished, the whole building was immersed in
a mountain of dirt. This was allowed to remain until the roof was laid,
when the earth was carried away upon the backs of llamas and men. It is
said to have taken thirteen years to clear out the inside of the
building, as the earth could only be taken away through the narrow
windows and doors. There are fourteen other churches of considerable
size, and several large monasteries, which are now used for military
barracks and schools. A university is sustained by the Government, and
there is a nominal free-school system, but education is at a low ebb.

In the centre of the city runs the Alameda, a public promenade which is
frequented by all classes of citizens, and during the twilight hours is
quite gay. The cemetery is very extensive, and one of the finest in
South America. There are few stores or shops, most of the trading being
done in the market-places, where all things are sold, and by peddlers
who go through the city with baskets of provisions and notions upon
their heads, crying their wares. The way customers call street-venders
is worth noticing and imitating. They step to the door or open a window,
and give utterance to a short sound resembling shir-r-r-r-r--something
between a hiss and the exclamation used to chase away fowls--and it is
singular what a distance it can be heard. If the peddler is in sight,
his attention is at once arrested; he turns, and comes direct to the
caller, now guided by a signal addressed to his eyes--closing the
fingers of the right hand two or three times, with the palm downward, as
if grasping something--a sign in universal use, and signifying “Come.”
There is here no bawling after people in the streets, for in this quiet
and ingenious way all classes communicate with passing friends or others
with whom they wish to speak. The practice dates, I believe, from
classical times. A curious custom is the peddling of fuel through the
streets. Llamas are loaded with their own excrement, which when dried in
the sun is called _taquia_, and sold by the basketful. It is used by all
classes for cooking.


The mineral wealth of Bolivia has been proverbial almost from time
immemorial. The silver-mines of Potosi have long been celebrated as
perhaps the richest deposit of silver ore in the world. From the year
1545, when they were discovered, to the year 1864, these mines,
according to official data, produced the enormous sum of $2,904,902,690
of our money. Besides Potosi there are other rich silver-mines, and many
large deposits of gold. The great want of these mines is skilled labor
and improved modern machinery. In early days the Indians were forced to
work them against their will, and were treated with great harshness and
cruelty. The historical student will call to mind the efforts of
philanthropists to mitigate their sufferings. When their labor could no
longer be controlled, the mines fell into comparative decay. The
Indians will not work them with energy and industry to-day. They
doubtless hold in memory through their traditions the wrongs inflicted
on their ancestors by merciless taskmasters. If worked by experienced
miners, with all the improved modern machinery, the gold and silver
deposits would yield as abundant returns, perhaps, as in the days of
their early history. Recently a party of Californians have gone into the
country and taken charge of a gold-mine. If a good many others would
follow them, mining in Bolivia would experience a renaissance that would
remind the Bolivians of the El Dorado of the olden time.

[Illustration: A BOLIVIAN ELEVATOR.]

The most useful to mankind of all the natural products of South America
was quinine, the drug made from the bark of the cinchona-tree, which was
discovered in Bolivia by a Franciscan friar in the early days of the
Conquest, and was called cinchona in honor of the Countess of Conchona,
whose husband was the Viceroy of Peru. She introduced it into Spain as a
remedy for fevers, and there is no drug in the catalogue that has been
used in such quantities or with such success by suffering mankind. The
entire supply formerly came from Peru and Bolivia, and it was known as
Peruvian bark, but afterwards the forests along the entire chain of the
Andes were found to contain it, and it furnished one of the chief
articles of export from South America for three centuries. The supply
has been greatly diminished by the destruction of the trees, as it was
the habit formerly to cut down the trunk, and strip it as well as the
branches of the bark. Nowadays the forests are protected by law, and the
trees are allowed to stand, a portion of the bark being stripped off
each year, which nature replaces again.


England, with that provident foresight which characterizes much of her
political economy, several years ago sent agents into Ecuador, Peru, and
Bolivia, under the direction of the celebrated botanist Mr. Spruce, and
made a collection of cinchona plants, which were taken to Java, Ceylon,
and India, and there have been transplanted and cultivated with great
success and profit. It is found that under proper treatment the tree
produces a very much greater amount of quinine, of a much superior
quality, and at less cost than the bark can be gathered in the mountains
of South America, so that shipments have almost entirely ceased, and the
market receives its supply from the British possessions.

[Illustration: A HOME IN THE ANDES.]

Another plant is coming into prominence, and its export has very largely
increased within the last few years. This is the coca, from which
cocoaine and other medicinal and nerve stimulants are made. In the
valleys of the Andes there are, and have been from time immemorial,
extensive plantations of the coca shrub. It is indigenous in these
regions, but the natives of Peru and Bolivia cultivate the plant in
terraces which are likened to the vineyards of Tuscany and the Holy
Land. _Erythroxylon coca_ is allied to the common flax, and forms, says
Dr. Johnston, a shrub of six or eight feet, resembling our blackthorn,
with small white flowers and bright green leaves. The leaves, of which
there may be three or four crops in the year, are collected by the
women and children, and dried in the sun, after which they are ready for
use, and form the usual money exchange in some districts, the workmen
being paid in coca-leaves. Among the Peruvians and Bolivians the
coca-leaves are rolled with a little unslaked lime into a ball
(_acullico_) and chewed in the mouth. Coca-chewing resembles in some
respects the smoking of opium. Both must be taken apart, and with
deliberation. The coca chewer, three or four times in the day, retires
to a secluded spot, lays down his burden, and stretches himself perhaps
beneath a tree. Slowly from the _chuspa_, or little pouch, which is ever
at his girdle, the leaves and the lime are brought forth. The ball is
formed and chewed for perhaps fifteen or thirty minutes, and then the
toiler rises refreshed as quietly as he lay down, and returns to that
monotonous round of labor in which the coca is his only and much-prized
distraction. Some take it to excess, and to these the name of _coquero_
is given. This is particularly common among white Peruvians of good
family, and hence the name “Blanco Coquero” in that country is a term of
reproach equivalent to our “habitual drunkard.” The Indians regard the
coca with extreme reverence. Von Tschudi, the Austrian scientist, who
made the most thorough study of the ancient customs of the Incas, says,
“During divine worship the priests chewed coca-leaves, and unless they
were supplied with them it was believed that the favor of the gods could
not be propitiated. It was also deemed necessary that the supplicator
for Divine grace should approach the priests with an acullico in his
mouth. It is believed that any business undertaken without the
benediction of coca-leaves could not prosper, and to the shrub itself
worship was rendered. During an interval of more than three hundred
years Christianity has not been able to subdue this deep-rooted
idolatry, for everywhere we find traces of belief in the mysterious
powers of this plant. The excavators in the mines of Cerro del Pasco
throw chewed coca upon hard veins of metal, in the belief that it
softens the ore and renders it more easy to work. The Indians even at
the present time put coca-leaves into the mouths of dead persons, in
order to secure them a favorable reception on their entrance into
another world, and when a Peruvian on a journey falls in with a mummy,
he, with timid reverence, presents to it some coca-leaves as his pious

[Illustration: JUAN FERNANDEZ.]

The coca-plant resembles tea and hops in the nature of its active
principles, although differing entirely from them in its effects. In the
coqueros the latter are not inviting. “They are,” says Dr. Von Tschudi,
“a bad breath, pale lips and gums, greenish and stumpy teeth, and an
ugly black mark at the angles of the mouth. The inveterate coquero is
known at the first glance; his unsteady gait, his yellow skin, his dim
and sunken eyes encircled by a purple ring, his quivering lips, and his
general apathy all bear evidence of the baneful effect of the coca-juice
when taken in excess.” The general influence of moderate doses is gently
soothing and stimulating; but coca has in addition a special and
remarkable power in enabling those who consume it to endure sustained
labor in the absence of other food.

[Illustration: CUMBERLAND BAY.]

Down the coast, just before reaching the city of Valparaiso, is an
island which possesses an interest for every one who has been a boy.
Occasionally an excursion visits the place, and the Englishmen, who
constitute a large fraction of the population of Valparaiso, with what
few Americans there are, go over to spend a day or two, and renew their
youth. It is the island of Juan Fernandez, where Robinson Crusoe and his
man Friday, “who kept things tidy,” had the experience that has given
the world of boys as much enjoyment as any that ever came from a book.
There was a Robinson Crusoe--there is not a doubt of it--and there was a
man Friday too, and the island stands to-day exactly as it is described
in the narrative; but the surprising adventures of Mr. Crusoe as
therein related do not correspond exactly with the local traditions of
the story. The island was a favorite stopping-place for vessels in the
South Seas, as it has good ship-timber, plenty of excellent water,
abounds in fruits, goats, rabbits, and other flesh for food, and the
rocks on the coast are covered with lobsters, shrimps, and crayfish. It
was a popular resort for buccaneers also, who ran into a well-protected
harbor to repair damages and get provisions. Juan Fernandez, a famous
Spanish navigator, discovered it in 1563, and the King of Spain gave him
a patent to the island, but as he never occupied it his title lapsed. In
1709 the Scotchman Selkirk, or Selcraig, became mutinous on board the
ship _Cinque Ports_, and had to choose between being hung at the
yard-arm or put ashore at Juan Fernandez alone. He took the latter
alternative, and was left on the rocks with his sailor’s kit and a small
supply of provisions. To his surprise, after he had been on the island a
few days, he found a companion in an Indian from the Mosquito Coast of
Central America, who some years before had come down on the pirate
_Damphier_, and going ashore on a hunting expedition, was lost and
abandoned by his comrades. This was the man Friday. Some years after,
Selkirk and the Indian were rescued by Captain Rogers, of an English
merchant-ship, and taken to Southampton, where the Scotchman told his
story to Daniel Defoe, and it got into print, with some romantic

The island is accurately described in the story, and the visitor who is
familiar with “Robinson Crusoe” can find the cave, the mountain-paths,
and other haunts of the hero without difficulty; but Defoe has located
it in the wrong geographical position, having placed it on the other
side of the continent, and mixed up Montevideo with Valparaiso. It is
about twenty-three miles long and ten miles wide in the broadest part,
and is covered with beautiful hills and lovely valleys, the highest peak
reaching an elevation of nearly three thousand feet. A hundred years ago
the Spaniards introduced blood-hounds to kill off the goats and rabbits,
and to keep the pirates away, but the scheme did not work. Upon her
independence, in 1821, Chili made Juan Fernandez a penal colony, but
thirty years after the prisoners mutinied, slaughtered the guards, and
escaped. Then it was leased to a cattle company, which has now thirty
thousand head of horned cattle and as many sheep grazing upon the hills.
There are fifty or sixty inhabitants, mostly ranchmen and their
families, who tend the herds and raise vegetables for the Valparaiso

Great care has been taken to preserve the relics of Alexander Selkirk’s
stay upon the island, and his cave and huts remain just as he left them.
In 1868 the officers of the British man-of-war _Topaz_ erected a marble
tablet to mark the famous lookout from which Mr. Crusoe, like the
Ancient Mariner, used to watch for a sail, “and yet no sail from day to
day.” The inscription reads: “In memory of Alexander Selkirk, mariner, a
native of Largo, county of Fife, Scotland; who lived upon this island in
complete solitude for four years and four months. He was landed from the
_Cinque Ports_ galley, 96 tons, 16 guns, A.D. 1704, and was taken off in
the _Duke_, privateer, on February 12th, 1709. He died Lieutenant of
H.B.M.S. _Weymouth_: 47 years. This tablet is erected upon Selkirk’s
lookout by Commodore Powell and the officers of H.B.M.S. _Topaz_, A.D.


No one ever goes to Juan Fernandez without bringing away rocks and
sticks as relics of the place. There is a very fine sort of wood
peculiar to the island which makes beautiful canes, as it has a rare
grain and polishes well.



Nature never intended there should be a city where Valparaiso stands,
but the enterprise of the Chillanos, aided by English and German
capital, has built there the finest port on the west coast of South
America, and the only one with all the modern improvements. The harbor
is spacious and beautiful, and ten months in the year it is perfectly
safe for shipping, but during the remaining two months, when northern
gales are frequent, vessels are often driven from their anchorage, and
compelled to cruise about to avoid being dashed upon the rocks on which
the city is built. The harbor is circular in form, with an entrance a
mile or so wide facing the north. A breakwater built across the entrance
would give the shipping perfect protection, but the sea is so deep--more
than a hundred fathoms--that such a work is considered impracticable. In
this harbor, drawn up in lines like men-of-war ready for review, are
hundreds of vessels, bearing the flags of almost every nation on the
earth except that of our own. Occasionally the Stars and Stripes are
seen, but so seldom that, as an American resident expressed it, “they
cure all the sore eyes in town.” Trade is practically controlled by
Englishmen, all commercial transactions are calculated in pounds
sterling, and the English language is almost exclusively spoken upon the
street and in the shops. An English paper is printed there, English
goods are almost exclusively sold, and this city is nothing more than an
English colony.

In Valparaiso, as everywhere else in Chili, there is an intense
prejudice against the United States, growing out of the attitude assumed
by our Government during the late war with Peru. The prejudice has been
aggravated and stimulated by the English residents. This, with the
natural arrogance of the Chillanos, who think they have the finest
country on earth, and that the United States is their only rival, makes
it rather disagreeable sometimes for Americans who go there to reside.
For this and other reasons our commerce with Chili has fallen off from
millions to hundreds of thousands, and it will be difficult to increase
it as long as the prejudice of the people exists, and lines of English,
French, German, and Italian vessels connect Valparaiso with the markets
of Europe.


There is no steam communication with the United States, and all freight
is sent in sailing-vessels around the Horn or by way of Hamburg or
Havre. The freight charges from Valparaiso to New York by way of the
Isthmus are more than double those to the European ports, and it is
about thirty per cent. cheaper to ship goods from New York to Europe,
and from there to South America, than by way of Aspinwall and Panama.
Passenger fares as well as freight are subject to this discrimination.
One can go from Valparaiso to Europe _via_ the Strait of Magellan--a
voyage of forty-one days--cheaper than to Panama--a voyage of twenty
days, which ought to be made in ten. It costs about ten cents per mile
on a steamer from Valparaiso to the Isthmus, to California, or to New
York, and about two cents a mile to Europe. As if this were not enough,
the steamship company, a British corporation which controls navigation
on the west coast, arranges its time-tables so as not to connect with
the New York steamers at the Isthmus, and its steamers usually arrive at
Panama the day after the Pacific Mail ship leaves Aspinwall, so as to
subject the traveller to the expense and annoyance of ten days’ delay on
the fever-haunted Chagres. Freight and mails receive the same treatment,
and every possible obstacle is raised to divert trade from the United
States to Europe.

Valparaiso means “the Vale of Paradise,” but somehow or other there was
a misconception in this particular, for there is no vale and no symptoms
of Paradise. An almost perpendicular mountain ridge forms a crescent
around the bay, towards the shores of which descend steep, rocky
escarpments. Here and there watercourses have furrowed ravines, or
barancas, as they are called, which offer the only means of reaching the
outer world. Along the narrow strip of sand which lies between the sea
and the cliffs the town stretches three or four miles. In some places
there is width enough for only a single street, at others for three or
four running parallel to each other, but they only extend a few blocks.
The one street, the only artery of commerce in Valparaiso, is “the Calle
Victoria,” stretching around the entire harbor, and skirted by all the
banks and hotels, the counting-houses of the wholesale firms, the shops
of the retailers, the Government buildings, and the fine private
residences. The rocky cliffs have been terraced as the town has grown,
and the city now extends back upon the hills a long distance, one man’s
house being above another’s, and reached by stairways, winding roads,
and steam “lifts,” which carry passengers up inclined planes, like those
at Niagara and Pittsburg. What roads there are were laid out by the
goats that formerly fed upon the mountain side, and these twist about in
the most confusing and circuitous fashion. One has to stop and pant for
breath as he climbs them, and an alpenstock is needed in coming down.
The hacks in Valparaiso have three horses attached to them, and the
teaming is done in carts drawn by four oxen.

An evening view of Valparaiso from a steamer in the bay is quite novel,
as the lines of lights, one above the other, give the appearance of a
city turned up on end. Electric lamps are placed upon the crests of the
cliffs, throwing their rays over into the streets and upon the terraces
below with the effect of moonlight. During the day, however, the
irregular rows of houses, of different shapes and elevations, clinging
to the precipices, look as if a strong wind might blow them overboard,
or an earthquake shake them off into the bay.

The business portion of Valparaiso along the beach shows some fine
architecture, more elaborate than is to be seen elsewhere in Central and
South America, there being a rivalry in handsomely carved façades and
other adornments. The shops and stores are as large, and contain as
complete an assortment of goods, as those in any city in the world.
There is no city in the United States having the population of
Valparaiso (125,000) with so many fine shops, and such a display of
costly and luxurious articles. The people are wealthy and prosperous,
the foreign element is large and rich, and the place is famous, as is
Santiago, the capital, for the extravagance of its citizens. Some of the
private residences are palatial in their proportions and equipments, and
millions of dollars are represented under the roofs of bankers and
merchants. There are clubs as fine as the average in New York or London,
public reading-rooms, libraries, picture-galleries, and all the elements
which go to make up modern civilization. The parks and plazas are filled
with beautiful fountains, and with statuary of bronze and marble, much
of which, to the shame of Chili, was stolen from the public and private
gardens of Peru during the late war. The Custom-house is being torn away
to give place to a magnificent monument to Arthur Pratt, an Irish hero
of that struggle. Pratt’s reckless courage made him the ideal of all
that is great and noble in the mind of the Chillanos, who have erected a
monument to his memory in nearly every town. Streets and shops, saloons,
mines, opera-houses, and even lotteries are named in his honor, and the
greatest national tribute is to destroy the old custom-house in order to
erect his monument in the most conspicuous place in the principal city.

The oddest thing to be seen in Valparaiso is the female street-car
conductors. The street-car managers of Chili have added another
occupation to the list of those in which women may engage. The
experiment was first tried during the war with Peru, when all the
able-bodied men were sent to the army, and proved so successful that
their employment has become permanent, to the advantage, it is said, of
the companies, the women, and the public. The first impression one forms
of a woman with a bell-punch taking up fares is not favorable, but the
stranger soon becomes accustomed to this as to all other novelties, and
concludes that it is not such a bad idea after all. The street-cars are
double-deckers, with seats upon the roof as well as within, and the
driver occupies a perch on the rear platform, taking the fare as the
passenger enters. The Chillano is a rough individual; he is haughty,
arrogant, impertinent, and abusive. There is more intemperance in Chili
than in any other of the South American States, and consequently more
quarrels and murders, but the female conductors are seldom disturbed in
the discharge of their duties, and when they are, the rule is to call
upon the policemen,


who stand at every corner, to eject the obstreperous passenger.

Street-car riding is a popular amusement with the young men about town.
Those who make a business of flirting with the conductors are called
“mosquitoes” in local parlance, because they swarm so thickly around the
cars, and are so great a nuisance. Not long ago a comic paper printed a
cartoon in which some of the best-known faces of the swells of
Valparaiso appeared on the bodies of mosquitoes swarming around the car
of “Conductor 97,” who had the reputation of being the prettiest girl on
the line. This put a stop to the practice for a while, and caused some
of the fashionable young men to retire to the country, but it was soon
resumed again. The conductors, or conductresses, are usually young, and
sometimes quite pretty, being commonly of the mixed race--of Spanish and
Indian blood. They wear a neat uniform of blue flannel, with a jaunty
Panama hat, and a many-pocketed white pinafore, reaching from the breast
to the ankles, and trimmed with dainty frills. In these pockets they
carry small change and tickets, while hanging to a strap over their
shoulders is a little shopping-bag, in which is a lunch, a
pocket-handkerchief, and surplus money and tickets. Each passenger, when
paying his fare, receives a yellow paper ticket, numbered, which he is
expected to destroy. The girls are charged with so many tickets, and
when they report at headquarters are expected to return money for all
that are missing, any deficit being deducted from their wages, which are
twenty-five dollars per month.

The women of Chili are not so pretty as their sisters in Peru. They are
generally larger in feature and figure, have not the dainty feet and
supple grace of the Lima belles, and lack their voluptuous languor. In
Valparaiso half the ladies are of the Saxon type, and blonde hair looks
grateful when one has seen nothing but midnight tresses for months.
Here, too, modern costumes are worn more generally than in other South
American countries, and the shops are full of Paris bonnets. But the
black manta, with its fringe of lace, is still common enough to be
considered the costume of the country, and is always worn to mass in the
morning. The manta is becoming to almost everybody. It hides the defects
of homely forms and figures, and heightens grace and beauty. It makes an
old woman look young, a stout woman appears more slender under its
graceful folds, and even a skeleton would look coquettish when wrapped
in the rich embroidery which some bear.

In Chili mantas and skirts of white flannel are worn by
_penitentas_--women who have committed sin, and thus advertise their
penitence, or those who have taken some holy vow to get a measure nearer
heaven, and who go about the street with downcast eyes, looking at
nothing and recognizing no one. They hover around the churches, and sit
for hours crouched before some saint or crucifix. In the great cathedral
at Santiago and in the smaller churches everywhere these penitentas, in
their snow-white garments, are always to be seen on their knees, or
posing in other uncomfortable postures, looking like statues. They
cluster in groups around the confessionals, waiting to receive
absolution from some fat and burly father, that they may rid their
bodies of the mark of penitence they carry, and their souls of sin.
Ladies of high social position and great wealth are commonly found among
the penitentas, as well as young girls of beauty and winning grace. The
women of Chili are as pious as the men are proud, and this method of
securing absolution is quite fashionable. Souls that cannot be purged by
this penitential dress retire to a convent in the outskirts of the city,
called the Convent of the Penitentes, where they scourge themselves with
whips, mortify the flesh with sackcloth, sleep in ashes and upon stone
floors, and feed themselves on mouldy crusts, until the priests by whose
advice they go give them absolution. They are usually women who have
been unfaithful to their marriage vows, or girls who have yielded to
temptation. After the society season and the carnivals, at the end of
the summer, when people return from the fashionable resorts, and at the
beginning of Lent, these places are full. For those whose sins have
been too great to be washed out by this process, whose shame has been
published to the world, and who are unfitted under social laws to
associate with the pure, other convents are open as a refuge. Young
mothers without husbands are here cared for, and their babes are taken
to an orphan asylum in the neighborhood, to be reared by the nuns for
the priesthood and other religious orders.

It was from one of these places that the famous Henry Meiggs got his
second wife, and the adventure is still related with great gusto by the
gossips of Chili. An American dentist named Robinson lived in the same
block on which the convent was situated, and from the roof of his house
the garden of the nuns was plainly visible. Boccaccio never told a more
romantic tale, for it involved notes tied to stones and thrown into the
garden, rope-ladders, excited nuns, infuriated parents, and an outraged
Church. But the adventure was followed by forgiveness and marriage, and
the widow now lives in Santiago, in the luxury which her legacy from the
great railroad contractor provides.

In the orphan asylum at Santiago there are said to be two thousand
children of unknown parentage, supported by the Church, and this in a
city of two hundred thousand people. There is a very convenient mode for
the disposition of foundlings. In the rear wall surrounding the place is
an aperture, with a wooden box or cradle which swings out and in. A
mother who has no use for her baby goes there at night, places the
little one in the cradle, swings it inside, and the nuns on guard
hearing a bell that rings automatically, take the infant to the nursery.
The next morning the mother, if she has no occupation to detain her,
applies for employment as a wetnurse. However this plan may be regarded
by stern moralists, it is certainly an improvement on infanticide, a
crime almost unknown in Chili. But one may hunt the country over to find
a house of correction for men. Sin, shame, and penitence appear to be
the exclusive attributes of the weaker sex. Men are never seen at the
confessional; they never wear white wrappings to advertise their guilt;
and at mass in the morning the average attendance is about one man to
every hundred women.

Santiago is reached from Valparaiso by a railway which is run on the
English plan, and is similar in its equipment and system of management
to those of Europe. The scenery along the line is picturesque, the
snow-caps of the Andean peaks being constantly in view, and Aconcagua,
the highest mountain on this hemisphere, can be seen nearly the entire
distance. A few miles from Valparaiso, and the first station on the
road, is Vin del Mar, the Long Branch of Chili, where many of the
wealthy residents of the country have fine establishments, and usually
spend the summer. It is by far the most modern and elegant fashionable
resort in South America, and reminds one of the popular haunts along the
Mediterranean. The journey to Santiago is made in about five hours, and
one is agreeably surprised when he arrives to find in the capital of
Chili one of the finest cities on the continent.

Although the climate of Santiago is similar to that of Washington or St.
Louis, the people have a notion that fires in their houses are
unhealthful, and, except in those built by English or American
residents, there is nothing like a grate or a stove to be found.
Everybody wears the warmest sort of underclothing, and heavy wraps
in-doors and out. The people spend six months of the year in a perpetual
shiver, and the remainder in a perpetual perspiration. It looks rather
odd to see civilized people sitting in a parlor, surrounded by every
possible luxury that wealth can bring (except fire) wrapped in furs and
rugs, with blue noses and chattering teeth, when coal is cheap, and the
mountains are covered with timber. But nothing can convince a Chillano
that artificial heat is healthful, and during the winter, which is the
rainy season, he has not the wit to warm his chilled body. It is odd,
too, to see in the streets men wearing fur caps, and with their throats
wrapped in heavy mufflers, while the women who walk beside them have
nothing on their heads at all. During the morning, while on the way from
mass, or while shopping, the women wear the manta, as they do in Peru,
but in the afternoons, on the promenade, or when riding, they go
bareheaded. Although the prevailing diseases are pneumonia and other
throat and lung complaints, and during the winter the mortality from
these causes is immense, the Chillano persists in believing that
artificial heat poisons the atmosphere; and when he visits the home of a
foreigner, and finds a fire, he will ask that the door be left ajar, so
that he may be as chilly as usual. At fashionable gatherings,
dinner-parties, and that sort of thing, I have seen women in full
evening-dress with bare arms and shoulders, with the temperature of the
room between forty and fifty Fahrenheit. They often carry into the
_salon_ or dining-room their fur wraps, and wear them at the table,
while at every chair is a foot-warmer of thick llama wool, into which
they poke their dainty slippered toes. These foot-warmers are ornamental
as well as useful, have embroidered cases, and are manufactured at home,
or can be purchased of the nuns, who spend much of their time in

Every lady seen on the street in the morning carries a prayer-rug, often
handsomely embroidered, which she kneels upon at mass to protect her
limbs from the damp stone floors of the churches, in which there are
never any pews. It used to be the proper thing to have a servant follow
my lady, bearing her rug and prayer-book, but that fashion has now
become obsolete.

The shops do not open until nine or ten o’clock in the morning, close
from five to seven to allow the proprietors and clerks to dine, and are
then open again until midnight, as between eight and eleven o’clock at
night most of the retail trading is done. The finest shops are in the
arcades or _portales_, like the Palais Royal in Paris, and are
brilliantly lighted with electricity. Here the ladies gather, swarming
around the pretty goods like bees around the flowers, and of course the
haughty and impertinent dons come also to stare at them. It seems to be
considered a compliment, a mark of admiration, to stare at a woman, for
she never turns away. To these nightly gatherings come all who have
nothing serious to detain them, and the flirtations begun at the
portales are the curse of the women of Santiago. It is not rude to
address a lady who has returned your glance, and while she may repulse
her admirer, she will nevertheless boast of the attention as a
pronounced form of flattery.

The shops are full of the prettiest sorts of goods, the most expensive
diamonds, jewellery, and laces. The Santiagoans boast that everything
that can be found in Paris can be purchased there, and one easily
believes it to be true. There is plenty of money in Chili; the people
have a refined taste and luxurious habits. Many of the private houses
are palatial, and the toilets of the women are superb. The equipages to
be seen in Santiago are equal to those of New York or London, and the
Alameda, on pleasant afternoons, is crowded with handsome carriages,
with liveried coachmen and footmen, like Central Park or Rotten Row.

The Alameda is six hundred feet in width, broken by four rows of
poplar-trees, and stretches the full length of the city--four
miles--from “Santa Lucia” to the Exposition Park and Horticultural
Gardens. In the centre is a promenade, while on either side is a
drive-way one hundred feet wide. The promenade is dotted with a line of
statues representing the famous men or commemorating the famous events
in the history of Chili, a country which has assassinated or sent into
exile some of her noblest sons, but never fails to perpetuate their
memory in bronze or marble. On the Alameda, from three to five o’clock
every afternoon during the season, several military bands are placed at
intervals of half a mile or so, and the music calls out all the
population to walk or drive. During the summer the music is given in the
evening instead of the afternoon, when the portales are deserted for the
out-door promenade.

Fronting the Alameda are the finest palaces in the city, magnificent
dwellings of carved sandstone often one or two hundred feet square, with
the invariable patio and its fountains and flowers in the centre. Houses
which cost half a million dollars to build and a quarter of a million to

[Illustration: SANTA LUCIA.]

are common; and there are some even more expensive. The former residence
of the late Henry Meiggs, surrounded by a forest of foliage and a
beautiful garden, stands in the centre of a park eight hundred feet
square. It is a conspicuous example of extravagance, having cost a mint
of money, every timber and brick and tile being imported at enormous
expense. It is at present unoccupied, and in a state of decay, there
being no one, since the death of Meiggs, with the courage or the means
to sustain such grandeur. But though the nabobs seek the boulevard of
the city to display their wealth and architectural taste, some of the
side streets have residences quite as grand, and even more aristocratic.
These more retired quarters have an air of gentility which the Alameda
has not acquired--a sort of established aristocratic repose--a riper,
richer, and more honorable quiet, that suggests something of social
distinction and haughty exclusiveness, venerable solitude and commercial
solidity. Another monument to the extravagance of men is known as
“O’Brien’s Folly.” It is a magnificent structure, modelled after a
Turkish palace, and its cost was fabulous. The owner was an Irish
adventurer, who discovered one of the richest silver mines in Chili, and
who lived like a prince until his money was gone. His castle is now
unoccupied, and he is again in the mountains prospecting for another

“Santa Lucia” is the most beautiful place I have seen in South America.
It is a pile of rocks six hundred feet high, cast by some volcanic
agency into the centre of the great plain on which the city stands. It
was here that the United States Astronomical Expedition of 1852, under
Lieutenant Gillis, made observations. Before that time, and as far back
as the Spanish Invasion, it was a magnificent fortress, commanding the
entire valley with its guns. Tradition has it that the King of the
Araucanians had a stronghold here before the Spaniards came. After the
departure of the United States expedition Vicunæ McCenna, a
public-spirited man of wealth in Santiago, undertook the work of
beautifying the place. By the aid of private subscriptions, and much of
his own means, he sought all the resources that taste could suggest and
money reach to improve on nature’s grandeur. His success was complete.
Winding walks and stairways, parapets and balconies, grottoes and
flower-beds, groves of trees and vine-hung arbors, follow one another
from the base to the summit; while upon the west, at the edge of a
precipice eight hundred feet high, are a miniature castle and a lovely
little chapel, in whose crypt Vicunæ McCenna has asked that his bones be
laid. Below the chapel, three or four hundred feet on the opposite side
of the hill, is a level place on which a restaurant and an out-door
theatre have been erected. Here, on summer nights, come the population
of the city to eat ices, drink beer, and laugh at the farces played upon
the stage, while bands of music and dancing make the people merry. This
is the resort of the aristocracy. The poor people go to Cousino Park, at
the other end of the Alameda, drink _chicha_, and dance the _cuaca_
(pronounced _quaker_), the Chillano national dance.

[Illustration: THE ZAMA-CUACA.]

The cuaca is a sort of can-can, except that it is decent, and the men
instead of the girls do the high kicking. But when the dancers are under
the influence of chicha--that liquor which tastes like hard cider, but
is ninety per cent. alcohol--skirts and modesty are no impediments to
the success of the dance. The couples pair off and face each other,
while on benches near by are women thrumming guitars and singing a wild
barbaric air in polka time. Each woman and man has a handkerchief which
he or she waves in the air, and they sway around in postures that are
intended to show the grace and suppleness of the performer, and often
do. The dance usually ends with a wild carousal, in which men and women
mingle promiscuously, embrace each other, and then go off to the chicha
bars to get stimulants for the next. It is common in fashionable society
to end the tertulias with the cuaca, as in the United States with the
ancient “Virginia reel;” and if the young people are unusually
hilarious, scenes occur which watchful dowagers desire to prevent.
School-girls at the convents dance the cuaca when the nuns will allow
them; and although in its ordinary form it is not nearly so immodest as
some of our dances, license has been taken so often as to bring it into
disrepute. One evening at the opera a pretty married woman was pointed
out as the most graceful and agile cuaca dancer in Chili, and it was
asserted that she could throw her heels higher than her head.

At the other end of the Alameda are the Exposition grounds and
Horticultural gardens, laid out in good style, and improved to the
highest degree of landscape architecture. There is a fine stone and
glass building, a miniature copy of the Crystal Palace in London, used
as the National Museum of Chili, whose contents were mostly stolen from
Peru during the late war. A zoological garden has been added, to exhibit
the animals brought from Peru, like the curiosities of the museum, as
contraband of war. The elephant died from the severity of the climate,
two of the lions are missing from the same cause, and the rest of the
menagerie are suffering from exposure and cold to which they are

The opera-house at Santiago is owned by the city, and is claimed to be
the finest structure of the sort in all America. It certainly surpasses
in size, arrangement, and gorgeousness any we have in the United States.
It is built upon the European plan, with four balconies, three of which
are divided off into boxes upholstered in the most luxurious manner. The
balconies are supported by brackets, so that there are no pillars to
obstruct the view. Under the direction of the mayor, each year, the
boxes are sold at auction for the season, and the receipts given, in
whole or in part, as a subsidy to the opera management.


Everywhere one goes in Santiago and other cities in Chili are to be seen
the ornaments of which Peru was so mercilessly plundered--statuary and
fountains, ornamental street-lamps, benches of carved stone in the parks
and the Alameda, and almost everything that beautifies the streets.
Transports that were sent up to Callao with troops brought back cargoes
of pianos, pictures, furniture, books, and articles of household
decoration stolen from the homes of the Peruvians. Lampposts torn up
from their foundations, pretty iron fences and images from the
cemeteries, altar equipments of silver from the churches, statuary from
the parks and streets, and everything that the hands of thieves and
vandals could reach, were stolen. Clocks--one of which now gives time to
the marketplace of Santiago--were taken from the steeples of the
churches, and even the effigies of saints were lifted from the altars
and stripped of the embroideries and jewels they had received from their
devotees. In the courtyard of the post-office at Santiago are two
statues of marble which cause the American tourist to start in surprise,
for George Washington and Abraham Lincoln stand like unexpected ghosts
before him. Their presence is not announced in any of the guide-books,
which is accounted for by the fact that they, like most everything else
of the kind in Chili, were brought from Peru.

The new hotel, in the eyes of foreigners who have been compelled to stop
at the old ones, is the finest ornament in Santiago. It is a magnificent
structure, with three hundred thousand dollars’ worth of furniture from
Paris, and a five thousand dollar cook from the same place. All the
rooms have grates for fires--which is an innovation--and are furnished
as handsomely as any of the hotels in New York, while the restaurant is
as good as Delmonico’s. Of course there must be some oddity about the
place--it would not be suited to the country if there were not--and here
it is that the bar is placed in the café where the ladies lunch. It is
the only hotel bar in South America; and the proprietor, who wanted to
introduce all the modern improvements, was rather bewildered in
selecting the location of this one. It is a gorgeous affair of silver
and crystal, and the ladies admire it as much as do the men. At first
they were disposed to walk up and say, “The same for me, if you please,”
with their brothers and husbands, but have been convinced that the
proper form is to sit at the tables and take their drinks there. To see
a lady drinking a cocktail in the bar-room of the Grand Central of
Santiago may startle the prohibitionist who goes there, but it is quite
as much the fashion as is the sucking of mint-juleps through a straw on
the balconies of a Long Branch hotel.

The Chillano is the Yankee of South America--the most active,
enterprising, ingenious, and thrifty of the Spanish-American
race--aggressive, audacious, and arrogant, quick to perceive, quick to
resent, fierce in disposition, cold-blooded, and cruel as a cannibal. He
dreams of conquest. He has only a strip of country along the Pacific
coast, so narrow that there is scarcely room enough to write its name
upon the map, hemmed in on the one side by the eternal snows that crown
the Cordilleras, and on the other side by six thousand miles of sea. He
has been stretching himself northward until he has stolen all the
sea-coast of Bolivia, with her valuable nitrate deposits, all the guano
that belonged to Peru, and contemplates soon taking actual possession of
both those republics. He has been reaching southward by diplomacy as he
did northward by war; and under a recent treaty with the Argentine
Republic he has divided Patagonia with that nation, taking to himself
the control of that valuable international highway, the Strait of
Magellan, and the unexplored country between the Andes and the ocean,
with thousands of islands along the Pacific coast whose resources are
unknown. By securing the strait, Chili acquired control of steam
navigation in the South Pacific, and has established a colony and
fortress at Punta Arenas by which all vessels must pass.

Reposing tranquilly now in the enjoyment of the newly acquired territory
along the Bolivian and Peruvian border, and deriving an enormous revenue
from the export tax upon nitrate, the Chillano contemplates the internal
dissensions of Peru, and waits anxiously for the time when he can step
in as arbitrator and, like the lawyer, take the estate that the heirs
are silly enough to quarrel over. It is but a question of years when not
only Peru but Bolivia will become a part of Chili; when the aggressive
nation will want to push her eastern boundary back of the Andes, and
secure control of the sources of the Amazon, as she has of the
navigation of the strait.

On the beautiful Alameda of Santiago stands a marble monument erected
several years ago, after the partition of Patagonia, to commemorate the
generosity of the Argentine Republic. That statue will some day be
pulled down by a mob. The people are already regretting the impulsive
cordiality which suggested it, and are looking with jealous eyes at the
progress and prosperity of their eastern neighbor. But Chili will find
in the Argentines a more formidable foe than the nation has yet met, and
her generals will have some of the conceit taken out of them if the
armies of the two ever come into collision. Although the Argentine
Republic is making more rapid strides towards national greatness, there
is no


doubt that at present, in all the conditions of modern civilization,
Chili leads the Southern Continent, and is the most powerful of all the
republics in America except our own. Her statesmen are wise and able,
her people are industrious and progressive, and have that strength of
mind and muscle which is given only to the men of temperate zones. There
is a strong similarity between the Chillanos and the Irish. Both have
the same wit and reckless courage, the same love of country and
patriotic pride; and wherever a Chillano goes he carries his opinion
that there never was and never can be a better land than that in which
he was born; and although he may be a refugee or an exile, he will fight
in defence of Chili at the drop of the hat. There is something
refreshing in his patriotism, even if it be the most arrogant vanity.
Our people are becoming ashamed of their Fourth of July, and the
Declaration of Independence is the butt of professional jokers. The
Chillano will cut the throat of a man who will not celebrate with him
the 18th of September, his Independence Day; and there is a law in the
country requiring every house to have a flag-staff, and every flag-staff
to bear the national colors--a banner by day and a lantern by night--on
the anniversaries of the republic. All the schools must use text-books
by native authors, all the bands play the compositions of native
composers, and visiting opera and concert singers are compelled to vary
their performances by introducing the songs of the country. It is said
that a Frenchman can never be denationalized. The same is true of the
Chillano. There has not been a successful revolution in Chili since
1839; and although there is nowhere a more unruly and discordant people,
nowhere so much murder and other serious crimes, in their love of
country the haughty don and the patient peon, the hunted bandit and the
cruel soldier, are one.

[Illustration: PATRICK LYNCH.]

Many of the leading men of Chili are and have been of Irish descent.
Barney O’Higgins was the liberator, the George Washington of the
republic, and Patrick Lynch was the foremost soldier of Chili in the
late war. The O’Learys and McGarrys and other Chillano-Irish families
are prominent in politics and war and trade. There is a sympathetic
bond between the shamrock and the condor, and nowhere in South America
does the Irish emigrant so prosperously thrive. Chillano wit is
proverbial. The jolly, care-for-nothing peasant is the same there as
upon the old sod, and the turgid, grandiloquent style of literature
which prevails in other portions of Spanish-America in Chili finds a
substitute in the soul-stirring, fervid oratory which is one of the
gifts of the Irish race. A Chillano driver who was beating a mule was
remonstrated with. The man looked up and remarked that it was the most
obstinate animal he ever drove. “The beast thinks he ought to have been
a bishop,” he said.

The vanity of the Chillano passes all comprehension. The officers of the
army and navy actually offered their services, through the British
minister, to England when there was a rumor of war with Russia; and with
the slightest encouragement they would be willing to take the domestic
as well as the international complications off the hands of the British
cabinet. One day the English paper at Valparaiso published a satire,
announcing that the Lords of the Admiralty had selected three leading
Chillano naval officers to command the Bosporus, the Baltic, and the
North Atlantic fleets. The officers as well as the people would not
accept the bogus cablegram as a joke until the next issue of the paper,
in which it was explained; and the former were actually polishing up
their swords and uniforms to take their new commands.

The Chillano is not only vain but cruel--as cruel as death. He carries a
long curved knife, called a _curvo_, as the Italian carries a stiletto
and the negro a razor, and uses it to cut throats. He never fights with
his fists, and knows not the use of the shillalah; he never carries a
revolver, and is nothing of a thug; but as a robber or bandit, in a
private quarrel or a public mob, he always uses this deadly knife, and
springs at the throat of his enemy like a blood-hound. There is scarcely
an issue of a daily paper without one or two throat-cutting incidents,
and in the publications succeeding feast-days or carnivals their bloody
annals fill columns.

[Illustration: PEONS OF CHILI.]

As a soldier the Chillano is brave to recklessness, and a sense of fear
is unknown to him. He will not endure a siege, nor can he be made to
fight at long range; but as soon as he sees the enemy he fires one
volley, drops his gun, and rushes in with his curvo. His endurance is as
great as his courage, and no North American Indian can travel so far
without rest or go so long without food and water as the Chillano peon,
or _roto_, as the mixed race is called. As the cholo in Peru is the
descendant of the Spaniards and the Incas, so is the roto in Chili the
child of the Spaniards and the Araucanian Indians, the race of giants
with which the early explorers reported that Patagonia was
peopled--“Menne of that bigginess,” as Sir Francis Drake reported, “that
it seemed the trees of the forests were uprooted and were moving away.”
They have the Spanish tenacity of purpose, the Indian endurance, and the
cruelty of both. Each soldier, in the mountains or the desert, carries
on his breast two buckskin bags. In one are the leaves of the
coca-plant, in the other powdered lime made of the ashes of
potato-skins. The coca is the strongest sort of a tonic, and by chewing
it the Chillano soldier can abstain from food or drink for a week or ten
days at a stretch. He takes a bunch of leaves as big as a quid of
tobacco in his mouth, and occasionally mixes the potato-ashes with the
saliva to give the juice a relish. Canon Kingsley, in that remarkable
novel, “Westward Ho!” describes two of the band of Amyas Leigh as
deserting their companions at the sources of the Amazon, and takes them
into a beautiful bower with two Dianas of the Indian type. There they
chew coca-leaves with the girls, sink into a voluptuous stupor, and give
themselves up to love, like the lotos-eaters, until Amyas comes to
remonstrate. The men recommend him to follow their example with the
Venus who has been found in an Indian queen and admires the young
commander; and the Puritan is on the point of yielding to the
fascination of the scene, when a reptile comes, strangles one of the
girls, and revives the moral instincts of the men. The reverend
word-painter was misinformed as to the peculiar influence of the drug,
as it does not produce a stupor in those who use it. It is not a
narcotic, but a stimulant.

The Chillano soldier is not easily subjected to discipline, and
outvandals the Vandals in the destruction of property, as the present
condition of Peru will prove. He burns and destroys everything within
his reach that has sheltered an enemy. No authority can restrain his
hand. The awful scenes of devastation that took place have nothing to
parallel them in the annals of modern warfare. On the battle-fields
nine-tenths of the dead were found with their throats cut, and the
Chillanos took no prisoners except when a whole army capitulated. They
ask no quarter and give none. The knowledge of this characteristic, and
the fear of the Chillano knife, were powerful factors in the subjugation
of the more humane Peruvians.

The Chillanos are cruel to beasts as well as to men. Horses are very
cheap in Chili. A good native broncho can be purchased for five dollars,
and his owner knows no mercy. The beasts are driven until they drop, and
then new ones are sought and subjected to the same treatment. No care is
taken to protect or make the animals comfortable. Although the weather
is usually cold, stables for horses or cattle are almost unknown. When
their labor is over they are turned into a corral, or a pasture, or the
street, to seek their own food.

The Chillanos are also careless of machinery. While they are quick to
learn, and have much native mechanical ingenuity, they cannot be trusted
as machinists. The magnificent cruiser _Esmeralda_, one of the finest
ships-of-war afloat, was built in England for the Chillian Government at
a cost of one and a half million dollars, but she had not been in the
hands of native engineers six weeks before her engines needed repairs
and her boilers were ruined. In 1885, during the troubles between
England and Russia, she was chartered by the British Government, but
afterwards returned to Chili. The Chillanos have a line of steamers
running from Valparaiso up and down the coast. They are the finest ships
on the Pacific, built on the Clyde, with all modern improvements, but
the engineers and captains are Englishmen or Scotchmen. The Government
owns and manages the railroads in the republic, but the locomotive
drivers are foreigners. Every three or four years--usually before a
Presidential election--these men are discharged and natives employed in
their stead; but until election is over, and the old engineers are
restored to their places, there is a carnival of accidents, and
passenger travel is practically suspended. On all railroads are heavy
grades and dangerous curves, requiring the greatest care on the part of
locomotive drivers. The reckless Chillano thinks it great fun to run a
train down a grade at full speed, and a collision is his delight. He
enjoys seeing things smashed up, and knows nothing of the necessity of
operating trains on schedule time.

[Illustration: THE “ESMERALDA.”]

In trade the Chillano is a Yankee. At market or in the native shops the
buyer is not expected to pay the price first asked. He is expected to
enter into a _negotio_, and the seller is disappointed if he loses an
opportunity to show his shrewdness in the barter. There is no regularly
established price for any article. A market-woman will ask two dollars
for a basket of fruit for which she expects to get fifty cents. She
will haggle and chatter, plead and remonstrate, and if you start towards
another stall, will abandon half a dozen other customers and follow you
around, until she finally “splits the difference,” and goes away smiling
at her success. The traveller meets with this experience everywhere,
particularly at the posadas; and the only safe way to avoid being
mercilessly swindled is to make a bargain in writing beforehand.

Most of the hotel-keepers are women, whose husbands are engaged in other
occupations; but all the servants, including the cooks and
chamber-“maids,” are men. There are better cooks and better classes of
food than in other South American countries, and one seldom fails to
find a good inn even in the country villages. The markets of Chili, too,
are better. The beef, mutton, and other meats have the flavor that is
found only in temperate climates; the fish are not so rank and coarse as
those caught in tropical waters; and while vegetation is not so
prolific, the fruits of the earth have a finer taste. There are oysters
equal to those of New Orleans or Mobile, clams and lobsters, and plenty
of shrimps, called _camarons_.

Another oddity is the milk stations. At distances of a few blocks on all
but the principal business streets is a platform where a cow is tied,
which is milked to order by a dairy-maid whenever a customer calls. On a
table near by are found measures, cans, and glasses, and often a bottle
of brandy, so that a thirsty man can mix a glass of punch if he chooses.
In the morning these stands are surrounded by servants from the
aristocratic houses, women and children, with cups and buckets, awaiting
their turn; and as fast as one cow is exhausted another is driven upon
the platform.

The scarcity of lumber has caused the poorer classes to use corrugated
sheet-iron as a building material, while the rich use stone for exterior
walls, and sun-dried brick or adobe for partitions. There are whole
blocks in Valparaiso in which nothing but corrugated-iron houses can be
seen, both roof and walls being of the same material. It is said to bear
the effects of earthquakes well. People expect an earthquake about once
in ten days the year round, and more frequently during the changes of
season; but great damage is seldom done. There are two kinds of
earthquake, the _terremoto_ and the _temblor_. The latter is only a
quivering or shaking of the ground, and is quite common; the other
describes the convulsions of the earth when it cracks and rolls like the
swell of the sea, overthrows cities, and buries towns in their own
ruins. Valparaiso and Santiago have never known any of the latter sort,
which are confined to the mountain districts and the neighborhood of

There are more comforts among the people than elsewhere upon the
continent, and a higher degree of taste, as is shown by the articles
offered for sale in the shops as well as in the houses of the residents,
which is owing in a great degree to the example of the large foreign
population. The Rev. Dr. Trumbull, who has been in Chili forty-five
years, says that he has noticed a marked change in this respect within
the last decade, and has seen a gradual and permanent growth in
refinement and honesty.

In Chili, as in all the Spanish-American countries, every man and woman
is named after the saint whose anniversary is nearest the day on which
he or she was born, and that saint is expected to look after the welfare
of those christened in his or her honor. These names sound well in
Spanish, but when they come to be translated into unpoetic English there
is an oddity, and often something comical, about them. For example, the
name of the recent President of Chili is Domingo Santa Maria--which,
being interpreted, means Sunday St. Mary. The name of the President of
Ecuador is Jesus Mary Caamaño (apple), and that of the Governor of the
Province of Valparaiso is Domingo Torres (Sunday Bull). A waiter at the
hotel happened to be a Christmas gift to his parents, whose family name
was Vaca (cow), and in honor of the day they called him Jesu Christo
Vaca. Such blasphemy would not be tolerated in any other country; but
the use of the Saviour’s name is very common, even upon the signs of
stores and saloons in cities, and in the nomenclature of the streets. I
met a girl once whose name was Dolores Digerier (sorrowful stomach).

In Chili women are employed not only as street-car conductors, but they
do all the street-cleaning, and gangs of them with willow brooms
sweeping the dirt into the ditches can be seen by any one who has
curiosity enough to get up at daylight. They occupy the markets, too,
selling meats as well as vegetables. On the streets they keep
fruit-stands, and have canvas awnings under which, if you choose, you
can sit and eat watermelons, a fruit much esteemed in Chili. Outside of
the cities the women keep the shops and the drinking-places, and do all
the garden work. The laundry work is done at public fountains, as in
other of the Spanish-American countries; but the washer-women of Chili
do not go almost naked, as some of their neighbors do.

The native Peruvian, the descendant of the ancient Incas, has learned
nothing since the Conquest, and has forgotten most of the arts his
fathers knew, among them being the process by which the ancient race
rendered copper as hard as steel. Thousands of dollars have been offered
for that secret by modern bidders, but it is lost forever, and the
ingenuity and knowledge of modern chemists cannot discover the process.
The modern Inca wears the same blanket, or poncho, made of vicuña hair,
that his fathers did, and the same shoes made of raw hide. He has
rougher roads to travel than has the native of Central America, hence
his shoe is made to curl over on the sides and behind, so as to protect
the toes and the heel from contact with the rocks. It is cut in a single
piece from hide when green, and is made to curl by stretching it over a
primitive sort of last and keeping it in position until dry. The shoe is
attached to the foot by a thong, which passes along the entire top of
the shoe, laced through holes cut in the hide, and ending at the heel in
two strips, which are secured around the ankle. The evolution of the
native shoe is found in Chili; and although it lacks the maturity and
sanctity of age, which the Peruvian article enjoys, is a rather more


affair. The sole is made of wood, rudely cut by hand with a knife, and
over the instep passes a piece of patent leather reaching from the toes
to the ankle, which is nailed to the sole by rows of brass-headed tacks.
The toes and heel are entirely without protection, and it requires a
great deal of experience to keep the shoe on. It is worn in the coldest
weather, over a very heavy and thick stocking knit of llama wool, and an
uglier pair of feet and legs than are shown by the short-skirted peasant
women of Chili were never seen. The men wear the same sort of shoe--not
quite so fancy in design nor of such fine materials, however; but as
they spend most of their time in the saddle it is not so bad.

The Crœsus of South America is a woman, Donna Isadora Cousino, of
Santiago, Chili, and there are few men or women in the world richer than
she. There is no end to her money and no limit to her extravagance, and
the people call her the Countess of Monte Cristo. She traces her
ancestry back to the days of the Conquest, and has the record of the
first of her fathers who landed early on the shores of the New World.
His family was already famous, for his sire fought under the ensign of
the Arragons before the alliance with Castile. But the branch of the
family that remained in Spain was lost in the world’s great shuffle two
or three centuries ago, and none of them distinguished themselves
sufficiently to get their portraits into the collection which Señora
Cousino has made of the lineage she claims.

Like her own, the ancestors of her late husband came over in the early
days, and in the partition of the lands and spoils of the Conquest both
got a large share, which they kept and increased by adding the portions
given to their less thrifty and less enterprising associates, until the
two estates became the largest, most productive, and most valuable of
all the haciendas of Chili, and were finally united into one by the
marriage, twenty-four years ago, of the late Don and his surviving
widow. While he lived he was considered the richest man in Chili, and
she the richest woman, for their property was kept separate, the husband
managing his estate and the wife her own, and the people say that she
was altogether the better “administrator” of the two. This fact he
acknowledged in his will when he bequeathed all of his possessions to
her, and piled his Pelion upon her Ossa; so that she has millions of
acres of land, millions of money; flocks and herds that are numbered by
the hundreds of thousands; coal, copper, and silver mines; acres of real
estate in the cities of Santiago and Valparaiso; a fleet of iron
steamships, smelting-works, a railroad, and various other trifles in the
way of productive property, which yield her an income of several
millions a year that she tries very hard to spend, and under the
circumstances succeeds as well as could be expected. From her coal-mines
alone Señora Cousino has an income of eighty thousand dollars a month;
and there is no reason why this should not be perpetual, as they are the
only source in all South America from which fuel can be obtained, and
those who do not buy of her have to import their coal from Great
Britain. She has a fleet of eight iron steamships, of capacities varying
from two thousand to three thousand six hundred tons, which were built
in England, and are used to carry the coal up the coast as far as
Panama, and around the Strait of Magellan to Buenos Ayres and
Montevideo. At Lota she has copper and silver smelting-works, besides
coal-mines, and her coaling ships bring ore down the coast as a return
cargo from upper Chili, Peru, and Ecuador; while those that go to Buenos
Ayres bring back beef and flour and merchandise for the consumption of
her people.

Although Lota is only a mining town, as dirty and smoky as any of its
counterparts in Pennsylvania, it is the widow’s favorite place of
residence, and she is now building a mansion that will cost at least a
million dollars. The architect and the chief builder are Frenchmen, whom
she imported from Paris, and much of the material is also imported. Not
long ago she shipped a cargo of hides and wool in one of her own
steamers to Bordeaux, and it is to return laden with building supplies
for this mansion. She herself has no time to go across the sea, but the
captain of her ship will bring with him decorators and designers and
upholstery men, who will finish the interior of her mansion regardless
of expense.

The structure stands in the centre of what is undoubtedly the finest
private park in the world--an area of two hundred and fifty acres of
land laid out in the most elaborate manner, containing statuary,
fountains, caves, cascades, and no end of beautiful trees and plants.
The improvement of the natural beauty of the place is said to have cost
Señora Cousino nearly a million dollars, and she has a force of thirty
gardeners constantly at work. The superintendent is a Scotchman, and he
informed me that his orders were to make the place a paradise, without
regard to cost. In this park there are many wild animals and
domesticated pets, some of which are natives of the country, others
imported; and the flowers are something wonderful.

Señora Cousino has another park and palace an hour’s drive from
Santiago, the finest estancia in Chili, perhaps in all South America;
nor do I know of one in North America or Europe that will equal it. This
is “Macul,” and the estate stretches from the boundaries of the city of
Santiago far into the Cordilleras, whose glittering caps of everlasting
snow mark the limit of her lands. In the valleys are her fields of
grain, her orchards, and her vineyards, while in the foot-hills of the
mountains her flocks of sheep and herds of cattle feed. Here she gives
employment to three or four hundred men, all organized under the
direction of superintendents, most of whom are Scotchmen. She has in her
employ at “Macul” one American, whose business is that of a general
farmer; but his time is mostly occupied in teaching the natives how to
operate labor-saving agricultural machinery.

Farming in Chili is conducted very much as it was in Europe in old
feudal times, each estate having its retainers, who are given houses or
tenements, and are paid for the amount of labor they perform. It is said
that Señora Cousino can marshal a thousand men from her two farms if she
needs them. The vineyard of “Macul” supplies nearly all the markets of
Chili with claret and sherry wines, and the cellar of the place, an
enormous building five hundred feet long by one hundred wide, is kept
constantly full. Señora Cousino makes her own bottles, but imports her
labels from France. On this farm she has some very valuable imported
stock, both cattle and horses, and her racing stable is the most
extensive and successful in South America. She takes great interest in
the turf, attends every racing meeting in Chili, and always bets very
heavily on her own horses. At the last meeting her winnings are reported
to have been over one hundred thousand dollars outside of the purses won
by her horses, which are always divided among the employés of the

In addition to “Macul” Señora Cousino has another large estate about
thirty miles from Santiago; but she gives it very little attention, and
has not been there for a number of years. In the city she has two large
and fine houses, one of them being the former residence of Henry
Meiggs--the finest in Santiago at the time it was built. All the timber
and other materials used in its erection was brought from California. It
is built mostly of red cedar. The construction and architecture are
after the American plan, and in appearance and arrangement it resembles
the villas of Newport.

The other city residence of Señora Cousino is a stone mansion erected on
the Spanish plan, with a court in the centre, and is ornamented with
some very elaborate carving. The interior was decorated and furnished
many years ago by Parisian artists at an enormous cost, and the house is
fitting for a king. There is no more elaborate or extensive residence in
America, and the money expended upon it would build as fine a house as
that of W. H. Vanderbilt in New York. The widow, however, spends but
very little time within its walls, as she prefers her home at Lota,
where most of her business is.

Her ability as a manager is remarkable, and she directs every detail,
receiving weekly reports from ten or twelve superintendents who have
immediate charge of affairs. While she is generous to profligacy, she
requires a strict account of every dollar earned or spent upon her vast
estates, and is very sharp at driving a bargain. One of her Scotch
superintendents told me that there was no use in trying to get ahead of
the señora. “You cannot move a stone or a stick but she knows it,” he
said. In addition to her landed property and her mines she owns much
city real estate, from which her rentals amount to several hundred
thousand dollars a year. She is also the principal stockholder in the
largest bank in Santiago. Not long ago she presented the people of that
city with a park of one hundred acres, and a race-course adjoining it.

[Illustration: SEÑORA COUSINO.]

Fabulous stories of the señora’s extravagance are told. A million of
dollars is a trifle to a woman whose income is so enormous, and there is
nothing in the world that she will not buy if she happens to want it.
She does not care much for art, but has a collection of diamonds that is
very large and valuable, and she sometimes appears loaded down with
them. Usually she looks quite shabby, as she has no taste or ambition
for dress, and her party toilets, which are ordered from Paris, are
seldom worn. Of late she has been a sufferer from sciatica, which has
not only destroyed the señora’s own pleasure, but has seriously impaired
the comfort of those who have relations with her. Although a
comparatively young woman, being somewhere between forty-five and fifty
years of age, she declares that she will never marry again; and there is
not a man in Chili who has the courage to ask her. Not long since she
took a fancy to a young German with a very blond beard and hair, and
insisted that he should give up his business and make his home with her.
The inducements she offered were sufficient, and for several months the
young man has been tied to her apron-strings, having the ostensible
employment of a private secretary. But the señora is very fickle, and
will probably throw him overboard, as she has many others, when the whim
seizes her.

Señora Cousino has two daughters and one son. Neither of the girls
inherits her mother’s business ability, or at least has not developed
it; but they are very popular in society. Señorita Isadora, the elder,
has a great deal of musical talent, and performs on the violin and
piano. Both are bright and pretty. One is about seventeen, and the other
nineteen years of age. Their brother, a young man of twenty-three or
twenty-four, will share the property with them. It is quite an unusual
thing for a youth with so much money to develop the business capacity
and industry which he shows. He looks after the estancia at “Macul,” and
spends from six to eight hours a day in the saddle, riding about the
place. He seldom joins in the festivities that his mother enjoys so
much, and is quite pronounced in his disapproval of her extravagance.
He is to marry a young lady of rather humble station, and it is
expected that the Meiggs mansion, which has been previously described,
will be presented to the bride by his mother as a wedding-gift.

The struggle between the Catholic Church and the liberal progressive
element in Chili, which has been going on for a number of years, is now
at its height. In all of the nations of Central and South America a
similar struggle has occurred. In Mexico and all Central America, in
Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, Chili, the Argentine Republic, and Uruguay
the Liberals are uppermost, and have control of the State. Ecuador and
Bolivia are still in the hands of the priests, and are ruled at Rome.
But even in these republics there is a growing tendency towards
liberalism, and the day will soon arrive when the power of the Church in
politics will be overcome, and its authority over temporal affairs
denied. The Clerical party is growing in Peru. It has revived during the
prostration of that republic, and although the liberal element is still
in power, the Government is so weak that it cannot defy the Church as it
once could. Therefore, the priests and monks and Jesuits, who were
driven out years ago, are returning in large numbers to resume their
authority over the common people and intrigue for an administration
favorable to them.

In Chili there has been no confiscation of church property, as in some
of the other States, and at the capital there are still over two
thousand monks and as many nuns. The Jesuits have been expelled for
engaging in conspiracy against the Government, but the outer orders of
friars are permitted to remain. A dispute between the archbishop and the
President some years ago caused the former to retire from Chili, and the
Pope sent over a nuncio to try and arrange matters; but this legate
criticised the Government so severely from the pulpit that he was given
a passport and an escort of military, and now there are no relations
whatever between the Pope and Chili, although the Catholic faith is
still recognized by the Constitution as the established religion of the
republic. The radical element of the Liberal party favors extreme
measures, but the Conservative faction, of which Ex-President Santa
Maria is the leader, wisely prefers to take steps slowly, and avoid

The Liberal party has a majority in Congress, and has passed several
laws by which the authority and influence of the Church has been greatly
crippled. The Liberal majority in Congress has placed the appointment of
bishops in the hands of the President of the republic instead of the
Pope; it has declared civil marriage to be the only legal one; it has
opened the cemeteries to Jew and Gentile; taken the registers of births,
marriages, and deaths out of the hands of the Church, and given them to
civil magistrates; established non-sectarian schools, and passed a
compulsory education law, under which all citizens who send their
children to the priests and nuns to be taught have to pay a tax or fine
to the State. These measures have all been bitterly fought by the
clergy, but they have been compelled to yield in every instance. Just
now the last act of Congress in this direction, establishing civil
marriage, and recognizing the legitimacy of only those children born of
parents wedded in this way, is the bone of contention, and has caused
the bitterest struggle which the State has seen.

It formerly cost twenty-five dollars to be married by the Church, and a
large part of its revenues came from that source. The peons, who
scarcely ever are able to accumulate so much money, therefore lived in a
state of concubinage, and more than half the children born in Chili were
illegitimate. Now a marriage certificate can be secured from a civil
magistrate for twenty-five cents, and persons cohabiting without it are
subject to fine and imprisonment. The archbishop has issued a decree
excommunicating from the Church all persons who are married by the civil
right, and the Catholics of the country, comprising ninety-nine per
cent. of the population, are in a serious dilemma. They are compelled to
choose between excommunication and imprisonment, and therefore in the
upper classes weddings are no longer fashionable. Some people go first
to the church and then to the magistrate, and run the risk of
excommunication; but the more conscientious prefer to remain single.

Just now in Santiago there is a young man of brilliant attainments, a
member of Congress and a leader of the Liberal party, who wants to marry
the daughter of a prominent merchant. The engagement has been existing
for several years, and both parties are willing to fulfil it according
to a civil law; but the girl’s mother is a devout Catholic, and will not
consent to a wedding without the blessing of a priest. The young man is
willing to go to the church as well as to the magistrate, but the
archbishop has forbidden any priest to marry him without a full
retraction by him of his political record. This he refuses to make, and
the couple are preparing to go to the United States or some European
country to have the ceremony performed.

Not long ago there was a marriage in high life in one of the southern
provinces of Chili, which attracted wide attention from the fact that it
was the first defiance of the Church in that part of the country. On the
Sunday following the wedding the couple were denounced by the bishop
from the pulpit of the cathedral, and the Catholic newspaper published
some brutal comments to the effect that the young couple had placed
themselves on the level of beasts by cohabiting without the blessing of
the Church. The bride’s brother belabored the editor so that he will be
a cripple for life, and would have given the bishop a similar
chastisement had not the latter kept out of the way.

At the last Presidential election, which occurred in June, 1886, Señor
Balmaceda, the Liberal candidate, was elected to succeed President Santa
Maria, who had served his full term of four years. He was bitterly
opposed by the priests, who realized that his success would be their
permanent discomfiture, and there were several serious riots, in which
many were killed and wounded. But Balmaceda was peacefully inaugurated
in September, and the Congress which assembled at the same time has an
overwhelming majority in sympathy with the Administration. The issue at
the election was the enforcement of the civil marriage statute, and
some measures will be taken to reduce the Church to subjection. A law to
expel from the country priests who intimidate citizens from obeying the
civil marriage act has already been proposed. This will be open war; but
priests who threaten to excommunicate will be sent into exile, where
they will shortly be followed by the monks and nuns, and a general
confiscation of church property will be the next step. It is estimated
that one-third of the entire property in Chili is owned by the Church.
Much of this property is held in trust for certain saints, to whom it
has been bequeathed by devout persons, or purchased by the gifts of the
people. Saint Dominic, for example, is one of the largest
property-holders in South America, and has an income of more than a
million dollars a year from his estates, which are ably managed by the
Dominican friars. It is proposed to assess a tax upon these estates,
which now pay nothing towards the support of the Government; and if the
monks refuse to pay, the property will be confiscated.

Protestantism is making rapid progress in Chili. There are several
missions under the care of the Presbyterian Board of the United States,
and a number of self-supporting churches and schools. There is also a
Presbyterian College and Theological Seminary, and a Young Ladies’
Seminary with about one hundred and fifty boarding scholars; but the
common people still cling to the superstitions and practices of the
past. Crucifixes upon which the bodies of bleeding Christs are
displayed, with all the symbols of the Crucifixion--the sponge, hammer,
nails, spear, and other implements--are erected in the public streets.
They are accompanied by an announcement from the archbishop that whoever
says a certain number of prayers at these places will receive total
absolution for all past sins.

A beautiful marble monument has been erected on the site of the church
which was burned about twenty years ago on the Feast of the Virgins. As
usual on that day, high mass was celebrated by the bishop, and at this
particular church, which was that of the patron saint of maidens, there
was a


very large attendance of girls from all classes of society. The church
was handsomely draped, and cords to which candles were hung were
stretched between the pillars. Being insecurely placed, these burning
candles fell into the crowd below and set the clothing of the girls on
fire. There was a panic, and the entire crowd became jammed against the
doors, which, folding inward, could not be opened. The roof caught fire
and, burning, fell with crushing destruction upon the heads of those
below. The priests took no means to rescue the worshippers, but managed
to get out unharmed themselves, carrying with them all the plate and
other valuable contents of the altar. Their cowardice and neglect were
universally condemned, and they were compelled to leave the country.

It is not known how many lives were lost, and the inscription upon the
monument--which stands in the centre of a plaza occupying the site of
the church--gives no clew; but it is estimated that at least three
thousand young ladies perished, and there was mourning in almost every
house in Santiago. After the fire the bodies were found packed in a
solid mass of flesh, the heads and upper portions of the forms being
destroyed, while the limbs and lower portions of the bodies were
uninjured. Since that calamity the Feast of the Virgins has been
celebrated with mourning in Chili.

It is one of the rules of the Church that no women shall participate in
the services except as silent worshippers. All the music and singing is
given by men, usually monks, who are well trained. Sometimes, as on
Easter or Christmas, when mass is celebrated with more than usual
magnificence, opera-singers of both sexes are introduced into the choir
to assist in the performance; but the women are compelled to dress in
the clothes of men, for fear of offending St. Paul or some other
anti-woman’s rights potentate by wearing petticoats.

At the beginning of the fishing season at Valparaiso it is customary to
take the image of St. Peter, the patron of fishermen, in a boat and row
it over the bay, in order to bless the fish; and those who expect to
reap the reward of this patronage are highly taxed to pay for this
performance. Every method by which money may be extorted from the
people, every pretence which their ingenuity can invent, is practised by
the priests to enrich the Church, and the funds are wasted by them in
riotous living. Their looks are sufficient to convict them of the
gluttony and libertinism of which they are accused, and it is a common
thing to see them reeling through the streets in a state of

In the wall of one of the handsomest residences, by the side of the main
entrance, is a niche in which a statue of the Mother of Christ has been
placed--a gaudy, tinsel-covered figure, with a halo of gas-jets and a
mantle of gilt-embroidered satin. An iron grating protects the image
from the street, but through the bars have been thrust garlands of
flowers and gifts of various sorts--votive offerings from people in
bodily distress or mental disorder. The lady who lives in this house,
the wife of a wealthy native merchant, some years ago became very ill,
and made a vow to the Virgin that if her health was restored she would
show her gratitude in this manner; and there the statue stands to
illustrate the woman’s piety. Almost daily people who are ill, as its
owner was, and others in distress of mind from some cause or another,
come to it with such offerings as their condition permits them to make,
and trustfully appeal to the Holy Mother for relief. It is said that
many miraculous cures have resulted from faith in the power of this
image, and people always lift their hats and reverently cross themselves
as they pass it by.

The 13th of May is the anniversary of the most destructive earthquake
Santiago has ever seen, which occurred about forty years ago. The
responsibility for the calamity lay with a woman who had a private
saint, a household idol, to whom she offered prayers. This image deemed
fit to withhold from her some favor she had asked, and she, angry, cast
it violently into the street. This caused the earthquake! and it did not
cease until the fear-stricken people took the image to the Church of St.
Augustine, near by, where it was placed in a niche of honor, and has
since been devoutly worshipped by them as the patron or preventer of
earthquakes. For the lack of a better name, and because the image bears
no resemblance to any saint that was ever known or told of, the people
call him “Señor May.” Originally he was “Señor Thirteenth of May,” but
now plain “Señor May,” for short. Each year, as the 13th of May comes
round--the anniversary of his “martyrdom,” as the people call it--the
entire population assemble to pay honor to the saint, and appeal for his
intercession in preventing a recurrence of the earthquake, and, as
everybody knows, these appeals have never been denied. “Señor May”
protects the city at least one day in the year. As the church is not
large enough to accommodate the multitude, the saint is taken out into
the street and carried at the head of a procession, in which the bishop,
the municipal authorities, companies of military, religious orders, and
others march. The occasion is recognized by the Government and the
municipality, and by commercial circles. Business houses are closed, and
factories dismiss their workmen to take part in the ceremonies. The day
is celebrated as universally as Thanksgiving Day in the United States,
and the saint receives rich gifts from people who are grateful that
their houses have not been shaken to pieces.

I was present at the celebration in 1885. First in the procession came a
squad of policemen to clear the way, for the entire population was
jammed into the streets; and in the windows and upon the roofs of houses
the nobility and gentry of the city stood, watching the performance as
eagerly as the gamins of the streets, and throwing garlands and bunches
of flowers into the path over which “Señor May” was to pass. Men fought
and cursed, struck and stabbed each other in the struggle to do homage
to the image, and all the police in the city were present to preserve
order and arrest disturbers of the solemn scene. The Government offices
were closed, and the President himself, the leader of the anti-Church
party, did not go to the palace.

Following the policemen came a line of monks in cowls and frocks of all
colors. There were monks in white, monks in black, monks in gray, and
monks in brown--Carmelites, Capuchins, Franciscans, and every order
being represented. Then came a procession of priests in their vestments,
with novitiates, each bearing a lighted candle and chanting some
monotonous service. Behind them were a dozen altar-boys, some with
incense-lamps which perfumed the air, and others with trays of flowers,
which were scattered in the street for the bishop, who came next, to
tread upon. He walked under a crimson canopy, wearing his most
resplendent vestments, and bearing in his hands the Host--the Holy
Sacrament--the body and blood of the Redeemer. Behind him were other
incense-burners, and more boys with flowers. Then came, borne upon the
shoulders of twenty men, the image of “Señor May”--an ugly and
repulsive-looking effigy, draped with the most fantastic garments, rich
embroideries, and much gold lace. Upon the pedestal were packages and
caskets containing the offerings received that day; and as he passed
along one and another would be added, handed from the houses or the
crowd to the priests of St. Augustine’s Church, who surrounded the image
to collect them.

The crowd fell upon their knees as this ghastly feature of fanaticism
passed by. Every head was uncovered, and every reverent tongue murmured
a prayer. Men pushed and struggled, women screamed, and the policemen
struck forward and backward with their swords to prevent the people from
surging into the streets. Then came more chanting priests, and another
battalion of monks, then more incense-bearers, and a spectacle of even
greater repulsiveness--an image of a bleeding Christ upon a crucifix,
naked, with the drapery of a ballet-dancer about his loins! More priests
and more monks, and then a band of music and a regiment of infantry in
parade uniforms, followed by a long line of bareheaded men, each with a
lighted candle in his hand. This part of the procession received large
and continual additions. People from the crowd fell into line at the
rear, and were furnished with candles by attendants, who carried boxes
of them in a cart, until the line reached out for a mile or more. After
the parade the images were returned to the Church of St. Augustine,
where high mass was celebrated by the bishop, to which admission was
secured only by ticket.

The next morning the newspapers contained long descriptions of the
procession. The contest then, as now, going on between the Liberal party
and the clerical element for political control gives the utterances of
the official organ of the Government (Liberal) peculiar significance. I
quote the brief paragraphs in which reference was made to the event of
the month:

“The procession of ‘Señor May’ took place yesterday, accompanied by many
religious festivities in the temple of St. Augustine. The people and the
municipality joined with the church to give a transcendent recognition
in a most solemn and impressive manner of the historic ‘Señor May.’ From
the early hours of the day the surroundings of the temple of St.
Augustine were occupied by great throngs of the faithful, who awaited
the inauguration of the parade. A little before four o’clock there
arrived the forces of the army, with the national band at their head,
and took position in front of the church in accordance with the orders
from the commander-in-chief of the army.

“Having been put in motion, the procession filed with difficulty through
the great number of people who crowded the streets and followed with
many prayers and significant rejoicing. The pedestals of the saints were
beautifully adorned and covered with many valuable and votive offerings,
the tender gifts of piety from the faithful. A committee from the
municipal authorities, appointed to contribute to the solemnity of the
occasion, participated in the ceremonies. The bands of music played
various sentimental airs during the march.

“To resume, the acts of recognition to the most potent ‘Señor May,’ made
in compliance with the vows of the year 1847, after the terrible
catastrophe of the 13th of the present month, have been perfectly
carried out by the Catholic capital of Chili.”

Farming in Chili is conducted on the old feudal system, very much as it
is in Ireland. The country is divided into great estates owned by people
who live in the cities, and seldom visit the haciendas. There are only
two classes of people, the very rich and the very poor, the landlords
and the tenants. On each estate are a number of cottages with garden
patches around them, which are occupied by the tenants, and in payment
for which the landlord is entitled to so many days’ labor each year at
his option. Should more labor than is due be required of the tenant, he
is paid for it, not in money, but in orders upon the supply store or
commissary of the estate, where he can get clothing or food or
rum--especially rum. Tenants are usually given small credits at these
stores, and are kept in debt to the landlords. As the law prohibits them
from leaving a landlord to whom they owe money, the poor are kept in
perpetual slavery, like the party in mythology who was always rolling a
stone uphill. Even under this cruel system of peonage master and slave
usually get along pretty well together, but old-fashioned feudal wars
are kept up between estates, as was the case in England centuries ago.
The peon will always fight for his landlord, and bloody encounters are
constantly occurring. There are in Chili to-day the same old family
feuds that existed in the Middle Ages of Europe between the Montagues
and the Capulets. Somebody stepped upon the coat-tails of somebody else,
or kicked his poodle dog, away back in the early history of the country,
and the two families have been slashing and hacking at each other ever
since, while nobody can explain what it is all about. The tenant will
always cut a throat in his master’s honor, but he can never get any
richer in Chili than he is to-day.

Everybody goes on horseback; even the beggars ride. The gear of the
Chili saddle-horse--and horses are seldom broken to harness, all the
teaming being done with oxen--is a most curious and complicated affair.
The bit is a long, heavy, flat piece of iron, which rests on the horse’s
tongue, and presses against the roof of his mouth. At each end is a
hole, through which is passed a large iron ring about four inches in
diameter, which encircles the lower jaw. At each side of the mouth is
placed another iron ring to which the reins are fastened. The whole
affair weighs about five pounds, and is sufficiently powerful to break a
horse’s jaw if suddenly jerked. The reins are made of fine-plaited hide
or horse-hair, about the thickness of the forefinger, and are joined
together when they reach the pommel of the saddle, terminating in a long
lash called a _chicote_, at the end of which is either a handsome tassel
or a small piece of lead. When not in use the chicote hangs down the
flank of the horse, often dragging on the ground. Sometimes the load of
lead is heavy, and furnishes a weapon of offence and defence as
formidable as a slung-shot, and the poor horse is often beaten with it
without mercy. Fancy bits are made of plated or solid silver, and
bridles plated with gold, with reins made of golden wire, can be found
in the larger cities. I saw a bridle in Chili, belonging to Señora
Cousino, that is said to have cost two thousand five hundred dollars;
and one often hears of gifts of this sort that are worth one thousand
dollars or more.

The Chili saddle is even more queer and complicated than the bridle.
First, six or seven sheepskins are placed upon the horse’s back, one on
top of the other; a leather strap is passed around them and firmly
secured; a skeleton saddle, or rather a piece of wood cut in the shape
of a saddle-tree, with a cantle at each end, comes next, and on top of
this any number of sheepskins; or, if the owner is rich, rare furs
furnish a seat, which is called the _montura_. The four corners are
fastened down by broad leather straps, ornamented with silver or brass
buckles, to enable the rider to wedge himself in, and the whole is bound
around the horse’s belly with a broad band of leather or canvas.
Sometimes aristocratic and wealthy riders have a high pommel like that
of the Mexican saddle, which is covered with silver, and stamped on the
top with his family coat of arms. The amount of silver on a man’s riding
equipment is understood to indicate his wealth and station in life, and
there is a great deal of competition in this direction among the swell
caballeros. The stirrups of the ordinary citizen are made of two huge
pieces of wood, with a hole cut through for the foot, while those of the
aristocrat are brass or silver slippers. The wooden affair, the poor
man’s stirrup, is rudely cut out of oak, or other hard wood, by hand,
and usually weighs as much as four or five pounds. The brass one is
quite as heavy, but much more ornamental.

[Illustration: A SOLID SILVER SPUR.]

When the rider is seated in the saddle his legs are entirely concealed
by the furs and sheepskins, which add to his warmth, and on his back he
wears the _poncho_ of the country, which is the most comfortable and
convenient garment that human ingenuity has ever produced. It is about
the size of the rubber poncho used in the United States, but is woven of
vicuña hair or lamb’s-wool, and keeps the wearer cool by day, as the
rays of the sun cannot penetrate it, and warm by night. It answers as
well for an umbrella as for an overcoat, and sheds the rain better than
rubber, for the oil is not extracted from the wool of which it is made.
The vicuña is the mountain-goat of the Andes, but is becoming scarce,
and nowadays a vicuña poncho is as rare and expensive as a camel’s-hair
shawl, which it very much resembles, being worth from one hundred and
fifty to five hundred dollars. A fully equipped saddle-horse of a
caballero, or gentleman, with vicuña poncho and spurs of silver, with
saddle and bridle mounted with the same metal, often represents an
investment of four or five thousand dollars. Very often the stirrup is
made of solid silver, beautifully chased, and those used by ladies are
generally so. The English manufacturers are able to produce the
ornaments and stirrups so much cheaper than the native workmen, who have
no labor-saving machinery, that nearly all are now imported, and they
have succeeded in imitating the poncho very well too. But among the
aristocrats it is considered the height of vulgarity to use modern
English saddlery or the imitation poncho, for these articles have been
handed down from generation to generation, and the older they are the
more valuable, no sort of usage wearing them out.

In Guatemala I was presented with a pair of stirrups which had been worn
by the cavalry of Cortez when they made their raid into Central America
and conquered that continent in 1535. This pair was handed down from
generation to generation, in the family of Mr. Sanchez, the “Minister of
Hacienda,” or Finance, of the Guatemala Government: they are made of
iron, with wide flanges to protect the feet and legs of the cavalier
from the high grass and brambles of the country through which he had to
ride. This style was long ago abandoned, and is now only seen in

[Illustration: OVER THE ANDES.]

He who wishes to make the journey from the Chilian to the Argentine
Republic and the east coast of South America has a choice of routes. He
may go by sea, around through the Strait of Magellan, which will cost
him fifteen days’ time and two hundred dollars in money, or he may climb
over the Andes on the back of a mule, a journey of five days, three of
which only are spent in the saddle amid some

[Illustration: MOUNT ACONCAGUA.]

[Illustration: USPALLATA PASS.]

of the grandest scenery in the world. The highest mountain in the
Western Hemisphere is Aconcagua, which rises 22,415 feet above the sea
to the northward from Valparaiso and Santiago, and in plain view from
both cities when the weather is clear. Chimborazo was for a long time
supposed to be the king of the Andes, and in the geographies published
twenty years ago it is described as the highest summit in the world. No
one has ever reached the peak of either mountain, owing to the depth of
snow and impassable gorges, but recent measurements, taken by means of
triangulation, give Aconcagua an excess of about 2000 feet over old
“Chimbo.” Scientists have reached an altitude higher than the summit of
either in the Himalaya Mountains of India, where Mount Everest is
claimed to rise between 27,000 and 30,000 feet. Humboldt made Chimborazo
famous, and very few travellers have gone beyond the point he reached;
but no serious attempt has ever been made to explore the summit of
Aconcagua, as the Chillanos do not often go where their horses cannot
carry them. In mountain gloom and glory Chimborazo is said to surpass
all rivals, standing as it does within sight of the sea, and surrounded
by a cluster of twenty peaks, like a king and his counsellors. But
Aconcagua is grand enough, and has nothing near it to dwarf its size.
The latitude in which it stands brings the snow line much lower than
upon Chimborazo and the other peaks of Ecuador, which are almost upon
the line of the equator, and the purity of the atmosphere gives the
spectator an opportunity to see its picturesqueness at a long distance.

From Santiago, Chili, there is a Government railway as far as the town
of Santa Rosa, which passes around the base of Aconcagua, and furnishes
the traveller with a most sublime panorama of mountain scenery. There
mules and men are hired for the ride over the Cumbre Pass to Mendoza, on
the eastern slope of the Andes, to which a railroad has been recently
opened by the Argentine Government. Here one can take a Pullman sleeper,
and ride to Buenos Ayres as comfortably as he can go from New York to
St. Louis, the distance being about the same.

This railroad was opened in May, 1885, with a grand celebration, in
which the Presidents of Chili and the Argentine Republic, with retinues
of officials, participated. The event was as important to the commercial
development of Argentine as was the first Pacific Railway to the United
States, as it opened to settlement millions of square miles of the best
territory in the republic, and furnished a highway between the two seas.

[Illustration: CAUGHT IN THE SNOW.]

The people of the United States have very little conception of what is
going on down in that part of the world. They do not realize that there
is in Argentine a republic which some day is to rival our own--a country
with immense resources, similar to those of the United States, situated
in a corresponding latitude, prepared to furnish the world with beef and
mutton and bread, and stretching a net-work of railways over its area
that will bring the products of the pampas to market. Geographers do not
keep pace with the development of this part of South America, and to
present accurate accounts of its condition should be rewritten every
year. Who knows, for instance, except those who have been there, that a
man can ride from Buenos Ayres across the pampas to the foot-hills of
the Andes in a Pullman car?

[Illustration: ROAD CUT IN THE ROCKS.]

The late war between Peru and Chili robbed Bolivia of all her sea-coast,
and the ports from which her produce was shipped, and at which her
imports were received, now belong to the Chillanos, who charge heavy
export and import duties. The opening of this railroad has caused the
trade of Bolivia to be diverted to the Atlantic, and the extension of
the line to the northward, which is already in progress, will make
Buenos Ayres and other cities on the river La Plata the _entrepots_ for
Bolivian commerce. It is not much farther now from the centre of Bolivia
to the Argentine Railway than to the Pacific coast, and the feeling of
resentment towards Chili


makes the difference exceeding small. Long trains of mules are passing
up and down the mountains, and their numbers will constantly increase
until the Pacific sea-ports will see nothing that is grown or used in
the country which Chili so ruthlessly robbed. One great difficulty,
however, lies in the fact that from April to November the mountain
passes are blockaded with snow, and it is always dangerous, and often
impossible, to make the journey. Native couriers, who use snow-shoes,
and find refuge in “casuchas,” or hollows of the rocks, during storms,
cross them the year round, carrying the mails. Sometimes, indeed often,
they perish from exposure or starvation, or perhaps are buried under
avalanches. The passes are about thirteen thousand feet high, and are
swept by winds that human endurance cannot survive. During the summer
the journey is delightful, and though attended by many discomforts, has
its compensations to those who are willing to rough it, and who are fond
of mountain scenery. Ladies often venture, and enjoy it. Not long since
a party of thirteen school-ma’ams from the United States, who are
teaching under contract with the Argentine Government, crossed the
mountains to Chili, and had “a lovely time.” Plenty of mules and good
guides can be secured at the termini of the railways, but travellers
have to carry their own food and bedding. There are no hotels on the
way, but only “schacks,” or log houses, which furnish nothing but
shelter. Very often people who are not accustomed to high altitudes are
attacked with sirroche, from which they sometimes suffer severely.

The road over the mountains is always dangerous, clinging as it does to
the edge of mighty precipices and upon the sides of mountain cliffs, and
only trained mules can be used on the journey. During the winter season
the winds are often so strong as to blow the mules with their burdens
over the precipices, and leave them as food for the condors that are
always soaring around. These birds know the dangerous passes, and keep
guard with the expectation of seeing some traveller or mule go tumbling
over the cliffs. Cowhide bridges, the construction of which is not
satisfactory to nervous men, stretch across the ravines after the manner
of modern suspension-bridges, and a floor or path, made of the branches
of trees lashed together with hides, and just wide enough for a mule to
pass, is laid. Travellers usually dismount and lead their mules when
they cross these fragile structures, for the hide ropes which are
intended to keep people from stepping off do not look very secure. The
oscillation of these bridges is very great, and a man who is accustomed
to giddiness will want to lie down before he gets half-way over. It is
remarkable that so few accidents happen, and when they do occur it is
usually because a traveller is reckless or a mule is green. The foxes
sometimes gnaw the hides, but no accidents have occurred from this cause
for many years.

[Illustration: THE CONDOR.]

The journey on mule-back usually takes five days of travel, at the rate
of twenty or thirty miles a day, but good riders, with relays of mules,
often make it in three days. The whole route is historical, as it has
been in use for centuries. There is scarcely a mile without some
romantic association, not a rock without its incident; and tradition,
incident, and romance line the path from end to end. The Incas used the
path before the Spaniards conquered the country, and Don Diego de
Almagro crossed it in 1535 as he passed southward to Chili after the
conquest of Peru.


The spinal column of the hemisphere, extending from the Arctic to the
Antarctic Sea, and called the Cordilleras, breaks suddenly at the foot
of the Southern continent, and is divided by a narrow and deep ravine
called the Strait of Magellan. Before the strait is reached, along the
western coast of South America are numberless islands, cast into the sea
by some convulsion of nature, like sparks flung from hammered iron. Few
of these islands have ever been explored, but they all bear a close
resemblance to the main-land in their geological formation, and it is
believed that deposits of copper, silver, and other minerals, as well as
coal, exist under their surfaces. On Chiloe, the largest of the Chili
archipelago, mining companies are already operating to a small extent,
but of the resources of the other islands little or nothing is known.
They rise in picturesque outlines from the water, some of them to an
elevation of several thousand feet, and the panorama presented to
voyagers in what is known as Smythe’s Channel is beautiful and grand.
This is a narrow fiord, named from its first explorer, scooped out, the
geologists say, by the action of ice during the glacial epoch, running
along the main coast, and protected against the violence of the ocean by
the numerous fragmentary formations that line the shore. A glance at the
map of Patagonia will show how many of these islands there are, and how
slender is the thread of sea which separates them from the continent.

The water in the channel is deep and smooth, but the passage is avoided
by navigators because of the powerful currents and the frequency of
snow-storms, which prevail at all seasons of the year. Vessels that take
this course are compelled to anchor at night, unless there is a very
bright moon, and always lie up when the snow falls, because of the
circuitous turns, and the danger of collisions with ships and icebergs.
Smythe’s Channel is so narrow in places that two steamers cannot pass
between the mighty rocks which rise on either side. Most of the
steamships prefer to risk the storms which rage outside, where they can
have plenty of sea-room, and shorten their voyages by sailing at night
as well as by day. There is no more dangerous sailing in the world than
off the west coast of Patagonia and around the Horn, and vessels bound
southward from Valparaiso are very lucky if they enter the Strait of
Magellan without catching a gale of wind.


The glaciers of Switzerland and Norway are insignificant beside those
which can be seen from ships passing the Strait of Magellan. Mountains
of green and blue ice, with crests of the purest snow, stretch fifteen
and twenty miles along the channel in some parts of the strait. They
are by no means as lofty as those of Europe, but appear more grand,
rising as they do from the surface of the water in a land where winter
always lingers, and where the sun sets at three o’clock in the
afternoon. The line of perpetual snow begins at an elevation of only two
thousand feet, and water always freezes at night, even in the
summer-time. The highest mountains in Terra del Fuego are supposed to
reach an altitude of seven thousand or eight thousand feet, but the eye
of man has seldom seen them, covered as they are with an almost
perpetual haze or mist, and presenting difficulties which the most
ardent and experienced climber cannot surmount. The highest mountain
known in this region is Mount Sarmiento, one of the most imposing of the
Andean peaks, which rears a cone of spotless snow nearly seven thousand
feet, almost abruptly from the water at its feet. It stands in what is
known as Cockburn Channel, not far from the Pacific, and on clear days
its summit can be distinguished from the decks of passing ships. The
beauty of this peak is much enhanced by numerous blue-tinted glaciers,
which descend from the snowy cap to the sea, and look, as Darwin the
naturalist, who once saw it, said, “Like a hundred frozen Niagaras.”
There are other mountains quite as beautiful, but they sit in an
atmosphere which is seldom so clear as that which surrounds Sarmiento,
and cannot often be seen by voyagers.

The Terra del Fuego Indians, the ugliest mortals that ever breathed, are
always on the lookout for passing vessels, and come out in canoes to beg
and to trade skins for whiskey and tobacco. The Fuegians, or “Canoe
Indians,” as they are commonly called, to distinguish them from the
Patagonians, who dislike the water, and prefer to navigate on horseback,
have no settled habitation. They have a dirty and bloated appearance,
and faces that would scare a mule--broad features, low foreheads, over
which the hair hangs in tangled lumps, high cheek-bones, flat noses,
enormous chins and jaws, and mouths like crocodiles’, with teeth that
add to their repulsiveness. Their skin is said to be of a copper color,
but is seldom seen, as they consider it unhealthy to bathe. They are
short in stature, round-shouldered, squatty, and swelled, a physical
deformity said to be due to the fact that most of their lives is spent
in canoes. The women are even more repulsive in their appearance than
the men, and the children, who are uncommonly numerous, look like young
baboons. Their intelligence seems to be confined to a knowledge of
boating and fishing, and they exercise great skill in both pursuits.
Scientists who have investigated them say that they are of the very
lowest order of the human kind, many degrees below the Digger Indians.


Although these people are in a perpetual winter, where it freezes every
night, and always snows when the clouds shed moisture, they go almost
stark naked! The skins of the otter and guanaco are used for blankets,
which are worn about the shoulders and afford some protection; but under
these neither women nor men wear anything whatever except shoes and
leggings made of the same material, which protect the feet from the
rocks. There is some little attempt at adornment made by both sexes in
the way of necklaces, bracelets, and ear-rings made of fish-bones and
sea-shells, which are often ingeniously joined together. The women will
sell the skin blankets that cover their backs for tobacco, standing
meantime as nude as a statue of Venus!

Their food consists of mussels, fish, sea animals, and similar sorts,
which they catch with the rudest kind of implements. Their fishing-lines
are made of grass, and their hooks of fish-bones. For weapons they have
bows and spears, the former having strings made of the entrails of
animals, and the latter being long, slender poles, with tips of
sharpened bone. They also use slings with great dexterity, which are
made of woven grass, and are said to bring down animals at long range.
During the day they are always on the water in canoes or dugouts made of
the trunks of trees, the whole family going together, and usually
consisting of a man, two or three wives, and as many urchins as can be
crowded into the boat. When night falls they go ashore and build a fire
upon the rocks, to temper the frigid atmosphere. Around this fire they
cuddle in a most affectionate way. The name of the islands upon which
they live came from these fires. The early navigators, when passing
through the strait, were amazed to see them spring up as if by magic all
over the islands every night at sundown, and so they called them Terra
del Fuego, or the Land of Fire. The English shorten the appellation, and
thus the place is known as “Fireland.”

No one has ever been able to ascertain whether these people possess any
sort of religious belief or have religious ceremonies. Across the strait
the Patagonians, or Horse Indians, are of a higher order of creation,
and perform sacred rites to propitiate the evil and good spirits, in
which, like the North

[Illustration: A FUEGIAN FEAST.]

American savages, they believe; but the Fuegians are too degraded to
contemplate anything but the necessity of ministering to their passions
and appetites. They eat fish and flesh uncooked, and appreciate as
dainties the least attractive morsels. Their language is an irregular
and meaningless jargon, apparently derived from the Patagonians, with
whom they were, some time in the distant past, connected. Bishop
Sterling, of the Church of England, a devoted and energetic man, who has
charge of missionary work in South America, with headquarters on the
Falkland Islands, has made some attempt to benefit these creatures, but
with no great success. He has a little schooner in which he sails
around, and has succeeded in ingratiating himself among the Fuegians by
giving them presents of beads and twine, blankets and clothing. They use
the first for ornaments, the second for fishing gear, but trade off the
other things for rum and tobacco the first chance they get. As long as
his gifts hold out he will be kindly received, no doubt, and his
devotion will meet with encouragement, but if he should land among them
without the usual plunder they would probably kill him at breakfasttime
and pick his ribs for lunch. Towards the Atlantic coast the savages are
of a higher order, and the bishop has established a missionary station
in a little town in which they live. His assistants have succeeded in
persuading the inhabitants of this village to wear clothing, and they
run a primary school from which much good may come.

The Falkland Islands lie off the coast of Terra del Fuego about two
hundred and fifty miles, and belong to the British crown. There is a
town of about eight hundred inhabitants called St. Louis, where the
Governor lives, and a coaling station is maintained for the benefit of
English men-of-war. The chief use of the islands otherwise is
sheep-raising, and the wool exports are becoming quite large. Nothing
else grows there, however, because of the low temperature and the
barrenness of the soil. One line of steamers touches at the Falklands
once a month or so, carrying provisions to the colony and bringing away
the wool.

One of the curious things about the Strait of Magellan is the
Post-office. In a sheltered place, easy of access from the channel, but
secluded from the Indians, is a tin box, known to every seaman who
navigates this part of the world. Every passing skipper places in this
box letters and newspapers for other vessels that are expected this way,
and takes out whatever is found to belong to him or his men. All the
newspapers and books that seamen are done with are deposited here, and
are afterwards picked up by the next vessel to arrive, and replaced with
a new lot. It is a sort of international postal clearing-house, and
sailors say that the advantages it offers have never been abused during
the half century the system has existed.

Every time a vessel passes through the strait the Fuegian Indians come
out in their canoes to show their sociability,


and trade what property they are fortunate enough to be possessed of for
tobacco and rum. The steamer we were on ran through several fleets of
dugouts, greatly to the danger of those who occupied them, as they
paddled across our course in the most reckless manner. In each of the
frail canoes were three or four people and several children, who
screamed and gesticulated in the most violent manner. They came so near
the ship that we could distinguish their features and hear their words,
which were clamors for _tabac_ (tobacco) and _galleta_ (food). In one
canoe stood an old hag with long gray hair, and a face that reminded me
of Meg Merriles. A more weird and witchlike being never presented itself
to human eye, and she did not have a thread upon her dirty skin from
head to foot. Stark, staring naked she stood in the group around her,
with the thermometer about forty degrees above zero, and, as she saw the
vessel did not propose to stop, shook her wrinkled arms at us, and
uttered curses loud and deep. There was a fire in the boat in which she
stood, and around it huddled another woman, naked, but with a guanaco
robe over her shoulders, and several children, while the father sat in
the stern and paddled his own canoe, leaving the wife or mother,
whichever she was, to do all the talking.

In another canoe stood a repulsive-looking man, who had taken off his
guanaco robe, and stood naked, flapping it at us, and yelling like a
lunatic. His companions were two naked women and several youngsters, and
they all joined in the chorus with a vigor that we expected would split
their throats, leaving the canoe to drift as it would, finally coming
into collision with another, at which there was a good deal of
scrambling, and an exchange of Fuegian compliments, the nature of which
we could not understand. What they wanted was rum and tobacco, having
acquired a taste for this pernicious weed from the sailors. For a plug
of “Navy” they would exchange a guanaco blanket that could not be bought
in New York for seventy-five dollars, as the guanaco is one of the
rarest and finest of skins. The anger and disgust that was pictured upon
the faces of these creatures when they found that the vessel was not
slackening her speed would have furnished a model for the expressions on
the souls that are lost. The passengers were about as much disappointed
as the Fuegians, for having all read and heard of them, we anticipated
much gusto, as the Spaniards say, in making their acquaintance.

Scientists have long differed as to whether the Firelanders were
cannibals, but this point has been recently settled by a practical
demonstration, and there is no doubt that they actually eat human flesh
when they can get it, and pick the bones very clean. In October, 1884,
during a snow-storm, the steamer _Cordillera_, of the Pacific Steam
Navigation Company’s line, struck a rock in the Strait of Magellan,
about forty miles west of Punta Arenas, and to save as much as possible
of the ship and cargo the captain drove her upon the beach, where she
now lies, almost within a stone’s-throw of passing vessels. The wreck
was soon after abandoned by all but two men, who were left in charge
until wrecking machinery could be brought from Valparaiso. One of these
men was William Taylor, a quartermaster or petty officer of the ship,
and his companion, an ordinary seaman. They were well armed, and it was
supposed were capable of protecting themselves, but it turned out that
they were not. One night I was sitting upon the rickety old dock at
Punta Arenas, waiting for the purser of our ship to take me on board,
when Taylor was introduced to me, and told his story in a most graphic

He said that when he and his partner were left in charge of the vessel,
it was with the understanding that they were to be relieved on the 21st
of December, and they were given food enough to last until that time.
After the captain and crew had gone, and the two men were alone on the
ship, the Indians made their appearance nearly every day, and bits of
food were thrown over the side of the vessel into their canoes. Taylor
and his companion each carried two revolvers, and were not at all
alarmed, as the vessel lay very high on the sand, and it did not seem
possible that the Indians could climb up its iron sides. Although
several canoes hovered around the place daily, the savages made no
unfriendly demonstrations, and no notice was taken of them further than
to exchange salutations, and give them meat and bread now and then. One
day the Indians traded them a string of fresh fish for a plug of
tobacco, and at other times gave them furs for the same consideration.
About noon on the 15th of December, while the sailor was cooking dinner
in the galley, Taylor, who was at work below, heard several shots fired
from a revolver on deck, with shrieks and other sounds, which proved
that a fight was going on there. He drew both of his pistols, and
rushing up-stairs, saw the bleeding body of his companion lying upon the
deck, and one of the savages hacking at it with the cook’s knife. About
twenty or twenty-five others were performing a war-dance around one of
their number who lay dead, and a single glance at the scene convinced
Mr. Taylor that he could find no pleasure in attending the

[Illustration: PORT FAMINE.]

circus. The Indians did not see him, and he crept quickly below and
stowed himself in a large coil of rope in the forward part of the hold.
The space in the centre of the coil was large enough to contain his body
in a stooping position, and making the hatchway as fast as he could, he
piled bags of beans around the sides and on the top of the rope, so as
to entirely conceal it. For two days he hid himself here, feeding upon
dry uncooked beans and a box of sea-biscuits, which he fortunately found
in the hold; but he was entirely without water. The third day, fearing
that he would die of thirst, he crept out and drew a bucket of water
from a cask on the second deck, which he carried back to his place of
concealment. On this excursion he neither heard nor saw signs of the
Indians, and after two days more had passed, screwed his courage up to
the point of making an exploration. Arranging everything so that he
could make a hasty retreat if necessary, and using bean-bags to make a
rifle-pit from which he could defend himself if pursued, he crept
quietly into the saloon of the vessel, where he found that the Indians
had been indulging in “a high old time.” Glasses and crockery were
smashed, mattresses were dragged from the cabin, and everything that
was movable lay scattered helter-skelter over the dining-tables and
floor. It was evident that a search had been made for him, as doors
which were locked had been broken open, although no attempt had been
made to remove the coverings from the hatchways which led into the hold.
Only one deck presented signs of a search, and above all was perfectly
quiet. Going up-stairs, Taylor found human bones, picked clean,
scattered around the galley. He did not touch them, because to look at
them gave him the “shivers,” he said, but he saw enough to convince him
that not only had the body of his companion been eaten, but also that of
the savage who had been killed in the fray. It was evident that the
savages had enjoyed a long and lively picnic, for there were several
places on the deck where fires had been built. It was a wonder to him
that the vessel had not been burned to the water’s edge. While hunting
around for food, he found the head of his companion with the neck
chopped off close to the jaws, the eyes punched out, and the fleshy part
of the cheeks cut off. The sight of this was so horrible that he
abandoned further exploration, and returned to his place of confinement
so faint and bewildered that he could scarcely find his way. That night
he crept out again, and finding some canned meat and fruit, lowered
himself overboard and swam ashore, concluding that the Indians would
return to the vessel, and that he would be safer in the rocks and
bushes. Here he concealed himself for several days, awaiting the vessel
that was to arrive from Valparaiso on the 21st of the month. The 25th
passed without any sign of relief, and on the morning of the 26th he
started on foot for Punta Arenas, where he arrived two days after. Here
he told his story, and instead of being welcomed with hospitality, was
arrested and thrown into jail, charged with the murder of his companion.
A boat was sent down to the wreck, and such evidence was found there as
to convince every one of the truth of his statement; whereupon he was
released, and is now at Punta Arenas, in the employment of the Steamship
Company, on an old hulk which lies in the harbor and is used for the
storage of coal.

I have not told the story in as graphic a manner as it was related to me
by William Taylor that night under the antarctic stars, but have given
only the facts of his narrative, without embellishment of sailors’ slang
and oaths. He lives in the hope of “steering within hailing distance of
some of the savages, when he proposes to give them something worse than
a rope’s-end.”

It is believed there is much gold in Terra del Fuego, as nuggets have
been discovered by the missionaries in the streams. The Argentine
Government proposes to make an exploration soon, and sanguine people
think the time is not far distant when the islands of the archipelago
will be filled with successful prospectors. Seals and other fur-bearing
animals are plenty, but many skins are not sent to market for the reason
that supplies can be obtained cheaper elsewhere.

There used to be a State called Patagonia, and one can still find it
referred to in old geographies, but by the combined efforts of Chili and
the Argentine Republic it has been wiped off the modern maps of the
world. The United States ministers at the capitals of the two republics
named assisted in dissecting the territory, and were presented with
beautiful and costly testimonials as tokens of the artistic manner in
which it was done. It was agreed that the boundary-line of Chili should
be extended down the coast and then run eastward, just north of the
Strait of Magellan, so that the Argentines should have the pampas, or
prairies, and Chili the strait and the islands. The map of Chili now
looks like the leg of a tall man, long and lean, with a very high instep
and several conspicuous bunions.

It was a diplomatic stroke on the part of Chili to get control of the
Strait of Magellan, that great international highway through which all
steamers must go; and the archipelago along the western coast,
comprising thousands of islands which have never been explored, and
which are believed to be rich in what the world holds valuable, also
fell to her share; but the Argentines got the best of the bargain in
broad plains, rich in agricultural resources, rising in regular terraces
from the Atlantic seaboard to the summits of the Cordilleras, whose
snowy crests stand like an army of silent sentinels, marking the line
upon which the two republics divide--plains as broad and useful as those
which stretch between the Mississippi River and the ranges of Colorado,
and as good for cattle as they are for corn.

[Illustration: STARVATION BEACH.]

It was a rather unusual proceeding, this partition of the Patagonian
estates. It is commonly the custom to divide property after the owner’s
death; but in this instance the inheritance was first shared by the
heirs, and then the owner was mercilessly slaughtered. They called it a
grand triumph of the genius of civilization over the barbarians, and the
success of the scheme certainly deserved such a designation; but in this
case as in many others the impediment to civilization was swept away in
a cataract of blood. General Roca, the recent President of the Argentine
Republic, was the author and executor of the plan of civilizing
Patagonia, and he did it as the early Spanish Conquistadors introduced
Christianity into America, with the keen edge of a sword. His success
won him military glory and political honors, and made him what he is
to-day, the greatest of the Argentinians.

There were originally two great nations of Indians in what was known as
Patagonia, but the Spaniards called them all Patagonians, because of the
enormous footprints they found upon the sand. The early explorers
reported them to be a race of giants. The first white man that
interviewed these people was Magellan, the great navigator who
discovered the strait which bears his name, and who was the first to
enter the Pacific Ocean. He had with him a romancer by the name of
Pigafetta, who gave the world a great amount of interesting information
without regard to accuracy. All the navigators who followed Magellan
felt in duty bound to see and describe as amazing things as their
predecessor had witnessed, and even went much further in their endeavors
to keep up the European interest in the New World. Hence, in the
sixteenth century, fables which are still repeated, but have no more
foundation than the tales of the warrior woman who gave a name to the
greatest stream on earth, found their way into history.

This man Pigafetta, for example, says that the Patagonia Indians “were
of that biggeness that our menne of meane stature could reach up to
their waysts, and they had bigg voyces, so that their talk seemed lyke
unto the roar of a beaste.” In order to secure credit for courage, the
early navigators told astonishing yarns about the fierceness of these
Indians, who still have a reputation for fighting which, no doubt, is
well founded. Rum and disease have, however, made sad work among the
race, which is in its decadence; and the ambition of the Patagonian now
is only equal to that of the North American Indian--that is, to get
enough to eat with the least possible labor. They hang around the
ranches to pick up what is thrown to them in the way of food, stealing
and begging, and occasionally they bring in skins to the settlements to
exchange for fire-water.

[Illustration: USE OF LASSO AND BOLAS.]

Later explorers discovered that there were two distinct races among the
aborigines: first, the canoe Indians of the coast; and, second, the
hunters of the interior, who are expert horsemen, raise cattle, and
resemble the Sioux of the United States or the Apaches of the Mexican
border. The two nations spoke languages entirely different, and had no
resemblance in their manner or habits of life. Those of the south, who
extended over into the curious islands of Terra del Fuego, are uglier in
appearance, fiercer in disposition, and are believed to be cannibals. In
fact, there is a recent instance of man-eating in the Strait of Magellan
which appears to be authentically reported. The canoe Indians are called
_Tehueiche_, and the horsemen of the north--the plains or pampa
Indians--are called _Chenna_. The latter appear to be closely allied to
the Araucanians of Chili, a race which the Spaniards were never able to
subdue, but with which they have intermarried extensively, and produced
the present peon of Chili, who has all the vivacity and impulsiveness of
the Spaniard united with the muscular development, the courage, and the
endurance of the Indian. The frontier of the Argentine Republic, until a
few years since, was constantly harassed by the Chennas--murder, arson,
and pillage were the rule--and the development of the nation was
seriously checked, until General Roca was sent out with an army to
exterminate them.


The dividing line between the Argentine Republic and what was known as
Patagonia was the river Negro, which flows along the forty-first
parallel, about nine hundred miles north of the Strait of Magellan. The
greater portion of this country is well-watered pampas, or prairies,
that extend in plainly marked terraces, rising one after the other from
the Atlantic to the Andes; but towards the south the land becomes more
bleak and barren, the soil being a bed of shale, with thorny shrubs and
tufts of coarse grass, upon which nothing but the ostrich can exist. The
winters are very severe, fierce winds sweeping from the mountains to the
sea, with nothing to obstruct their course. These winds are called
_pamperos_, and are the dread of those who navigate the South Atlantic.
During the winter months the Indians were in the habit of driving their
cattle northward into the foot-hills of the Andes for protection; and,
leaving them there, they made raids upon the settlements on the
Argentine frontier, killing, burning, and stealing cattle and horses.
Terror-stricken, the ranchmen fled to the cities for protection; so that
year by year the frontier line receded towards Buenos Ayres, instead of
extending farther upon the plains.

[Illustration: A PATAGONIAN BELLE.]

President Roca was then a general of cavalry, and had won renown in the
war against Lopez, the tyrant of Paraguay. He was sent with two or three
regiments to discipline the Indians, and he did it in a way that was as
effective as it was novel. While the Indians were in the mountains with
their cattle he set his soldiers at work, several thousands of them, and
dug a great ditch, twelve feet wide and fifteen feet deep, from the
mountains to the Rio Negro, scattering the earth from the excavation
over the ground with such care as to leave nothing to excite the
savages’ suspicions. Then, when the ditch was completed, he flanked the
Indians with his cavalry and drove them southward on the run. Being
ignorant of the trap set for them, the savages galloped carelessly along
until thousands of them were piled into the ditch, one on top of the
other--a maimed, struggling, screaming mass of men, women, children, and
horses. Many were killed by the fall, others were crushed by those who
fell upon them, while those who crawled out were despatched by the
sabres of the cavalrymen.

Those who were not driven into the ditch fled to the eastward hunting
for a crossing, which the soldiers allowed them no time to make, even if
they had had the tools. Shovels and picks and spades were unknown among
the Patagonians, and as they are the wards of no nation, muskets and
ammunition had never been furnished them to do their fighting with. It
was very much such a chase as Chief Joseph of the Nez Perces gave
General Howard in the North-west a few years ago, and finally ended in
General Roca’s driving the Indians into a corner, with the impassable
Rio Negro behind them, where the slaughter was continued until most of
the warriors fell. The remainder were made prisoners and distributed
around among the several regiments of the Argentine army, in which they
have proven excellent soldiers. The women and children were sent to the
Argentine cities, where they have since been held in a state of
semi-slavery by families of officials and men of influence. The dead
were never counted, but were buried in the ditch which encompassed their

Northern Patagonia was thus cleared of savages, and civilization
stretched out its arms to embrace the pampas, which are now being
rapidly populated with ranchmen. The grass is very similar to that of
our own great plains, but water is more plentiful and regular than in
the South-west Territories of the United States. Towards the Andes there
is some timber, and the foot-hills are well wooded. Grazing land in this
country is sold at a nominal price by the Argentine Government, or is
leased to tenants for a term of eight years, in lots of six thousand
acres, at a rental of one hundred dollars per year. Locations nearer the
cities, of course, cost more money, and are hard to get, as they are
already occupied by people who secured titles to the land years ago by
“concessions” from Congress or other means.

Not long ago the United States Consul at Buenos Ayres received a letter
from a New York capitalist, in which the latter proposed that they
should pool their issues and secure a “concession” from the Argentine
Government to gather up the wild cattle on the pampas. The capitalist,
who had been overhauling his geography, discovered that “immense herds
of wild horses and cattle are roaming ownerless upon the pampas of the
Argentine Republic and Patagonia,” and thought it would be a good scheme
to take a lot of Texas cow-boys down and corral them, if the permission
of the Government could be obtained. He proposed that the consul should
obtain such permission, while he would furnish the cow-boys and the
necessary capital, and the two would become partners in the Patagonia
cattle trade on an extensive scale.

The astonished consul did not answer the letter. It was a tempting
scheme, but there were several obstacles in the way of its success, the
first being that there were no wild cattle on the pampas, and never had
been. The Indians had large herds, which were “absorbed” by prominent
officials when General Roca concluded his scheme of extermination; but
it would be quite as reasonable to make such a proposition to the
Governor of Colorado. There are about thirty million cows, five million
horses, and one hundred million sheep grazing on the pampas of the
Argentine Republic and Patagonia, but they are all properly branded, and
valued at something like four hundred millions of dollars. The annual
number of beeves slaughtered reaches nearly four millions, and about ten
million sheep are turned into mutton each year.

The Argentinians think that their country is to be the greatest of all
the world in cattle and wool production, and the figures loom up very
much like it, as the increase within the last twenty years has been
about four hundred per cent. At present the Argentine Republic has more
sheep than any other nation, but the value of the wool product is less
by one-third than that of Australia, because the fleece is so much
lighter. The clip per animal in Australia is worth about one dollar,
while in the Argentine Republic it sells for about fifty cents.

The capital of Patagonia, if the territory of that name may be said to
have a capital, as there is only one town within its limits, is Punta
Arenas, or Sandy Point, located about one-third of the distance from the
Atlantic to the Pacific, in the Strait of Magellan. It belongs to Chili,
and was formerly a penal colony; but one look at it is enough to
convince the most incredulous that whoever located it did not intend the
convict’s life to be a happy one. It lies on a long spit which stretches
out into the strait, and the English call it Sandy Point, but a better
name would be Cape Desolation. Convicts are sent there no longer, but
some of those who were sent thither when Chili kept the seeds and
harvests of her revolutions still remain there. There used to be a
military guard, but that was withdrawn during the war with Peru, and all
the prisoners who would consent to enter the army got a ticket of leave.
The Governor resides in what was once the barracks, and horses are kept
in what was used as a stockade. Hunger, decay, and dreariness are
inscribed upon everything--on the faces of the men as well as on the
houses they live in--and the people look as discouraging as the mud.

They say it rains in Punta Arenas every day. That is a
mistake--sometimes it snows. Another misrepresentation is the published
announcement that ships passing the strait always touch there. Doubtless
they desire to, and it is one of the delusions of the owners that they
do; but as the wind never ceases except for a few hours at a time, and
the bay on which the place is located is shallow, it is only about once
a week or so that a boat can land, because of the violent surf. Our
arrival happened to be opportune, for the water was smooth, and we
landed without great difficulty, the only drawbacks being a pouring rain
and mud that seemed bottomless.

The town is interesting, because it is the only settlement in Patagonia,
and of course the only one in the strait. It is about four thousand
miles from the southernmost town on the west coast of South America to
the first port on the eastern coast--a voyage which ordinarily requires
fifteen days; and as Punta Arenas is in about the middle of the way, it
possesses some attractions. Spread out in the mud are two hundred and
fifty houses, more or less, which shelter from the ceaseless storms a
community of eight hundred or one thousand people, representing all
sorts and conditions of men, from the primeval Indian type to the pure
Caucasian--convicts, traders, fugitives, wrecked seamen, deserters from
all the navies in the world, Chinamen, negroes, Poles, Italians,
Sandwich Islanders, wandering Jews, and human drift-wood of every tongue
and clime cast up by the sea and absorbed in a community scarcely one of
which would be willing to tell why he came there, or would stay if he
could get away. It is said that in Punta Arenas an interpreter for every
language known to the modern world can be found, but although the place
belongs to Chili, English is most generally spoken. There are a few
women in the settlement, some of them faithful mothers and wives, no
doubt, but the most of them have defective antecedents, and are noted
for a disregard of matrimonial obligations.

There are some decent people here--ship agents and traders who came for
business reasons, a consul or two, and among others an Irish physician,
Dr. Fenton, who is the host and oracle sought for by every stranger who
arrives. Occasionally some yachting party stops here on a voyage around
the world, or a man-of-war cruising from one ocean to the other, and
steamers bound from Europe to the South Pacific ports, or returning
thence, pass every day or two; so that communication is kept up with the
rest of the universe, and the people who live at this antipodes, where
the sun is seen in the north, and the Fourth of July comes in the depth
of winter, are pretty well informed as to affairs at the other end of
the globe. The latitude corresponds to about that of Greenland, and if
you tip the globe over you will see that it is the southernmost town in
the world, farther south than the Cape of Good Hope or any of the
inhabited islands. The emotions that come with the contemplation of the
fact that you are about as far away from anywhere as one can go are
quite novel; but in the midst of them you are summoned to confront the
fact that the world is not as large as it looks to be, for here is a man
who used to live where you came from, and another who once worked in an
office where you are employed. There is a news-stand where you can
purchase London and New York papers, often three or four months old, but
still fresh to the long voyager, and shops at which Paris confectionery
and the luxuries of life can be had at Patagonia prices.

There is a curiosity-shop near the landing, which is kept by an old
fellow who was once a sailor in the United States navy, and fought under
Admiral Farragut at Mobile--at least he says he did, and he speaks like
a truthful man. Here are to be purchased many interesting relics; and
passengers who are fortunate enough to get ashore, go back to their ship
loaded down with Indian trifles, shells and flying fish, tusks of
sea-lions, serpent-skins, agates from Cape Horn, turtle-shells, and the
curious tails of the armadillo, in which the Indians carry their
war-paint. But the prettiest things to be bought at Punta Arenas are the
ostrich rugs, which are made of the breasts of the young birds, and are
as soft as down and as beautiful as plumage can be.

The plumes of the ostrich are plucked from the wings and tail while the
bird is alive, but to make a rug the little ones are killed and skinned,
and the soft fluffy breasts are sewed together until they reach the size
of a blanket. Those of a brown color and those of the purest white are
alternated, and the combination produces a very fine artistic effect.
They are too dainty and beautiful to be spread upon the floor, but can
be used as carriage robes, or to throw over the back of a couch or
chair. Sometimes ladies use them as panels for the front of dress
skirts, and thus they are more striking than any fabric a loom can
produce. Opera cloaks have been made of them also, to the gratification
of the æsthetic. They are too rare to be common, and too beautiful to
ever tire the eye.

This town of Sandy Point is quite a market for other sorts of furs,
which are brought in by the Indians of Patagonia from the mountains.
Several large houses in Valparaiso and Buenos Ayres have agents there,
and the shipments to Europe are quite large. The chief articles of
export in this line are ostrich feathers and guanaco (pronounced
_wanacko_) skins.

[Illustration: THE GUANACO.]

The fur-bearing animals of South America are numerous, and some of them
are very fine. The mountains of the lower half of the continent abound
with vicuñas, guanacos, alpacas, and chinchillas, while the archipelago
of Chili and Terra del Fuego, with its thousands of islands, fairly
swarm with seals. Very many furs are shipped to Europe, but the seals
are seldom touched except by the native Indians, who use their flesh for
food and their skins for garments. The supply of seals is practically
inexhaustible. They are found in large numbers as far north as
Guayaquil, on the west coast, and the passengers on the steamships
passing up and down are entertained by their antics. The seals have
helped the sea-birds to create the supply of guano upon the Peruvian
coast, and this valuable fertilizing material is largely composed of
decayed seal flesh and bones, as well as the remnants of the fishes they
have dined upon for thousands of years.

The skins of the northern seals are worthless, but farther south, as the
archipelago is reached, a colder climate exists, the fur is thicker, and
the skins have value. If the reader will take the map of South America,
and examine the configuration of the continent south of the fortieth
parallel, he will see how numerous these islands are, and every one of
them is swarming with seals. There have been some attempts at
seal-fishing in Terra del Fuego, but the Indians are so fierce as to
make it dangerous for small parties to visit the islands, and only a few
skins are shipped from Punta Arenas.

The guanaco skins are considered very fine. These are the wearing
apparel of the Indians, and with the ostrich rugs constitute the chief
results of their chase. In Patagonia ostriches are not bred, as at the
Cape of Good Hope, but run wild, and are getting exterminated rapidly.
The Indians chase them on horseback, and catch them with _bolas_--two
heavy balls attached to the ends of a rope. Galloping after the ostrich,
they grasp one ball in the hand, and whirl the other around their heads
like a lasso coil. When near enough to the bird, they let go, and the
two balls, still revolving in the air if skilfully directed, will wind
around the long legs of the ostrich, and send him turning somersaults
upon the sand. The Indians then leap from the saddle, and if scarce of
meat they will cut the throat of the bird and carry the carcass to camp.
If they have no need of food, they will pull the long plumes from the
tail and wings, and let him go again to gather fresh plumage for the
coming season.

The bolas are handled very dexterously, and well trained Indians are
said to be able to bring down an ostrich at a range of two or three
hundred yards. But it is not often necessary to draw at that distance.
Horses accustomed to the chase can overtake a bird on an unobstructed
plain; but the


birds have the advantage of being “artful dodgers,” and as they carry so
much less weight, can turn and reverse quite suddenly. The usual mode of
hunting them is for a dozen or so Indians to surround a herd and charge
upon it suddenly. In this way several are usually brought down before
they can scatter, and those that get away are pursued. As they dodge
from one hunter they usually run afoul of another, and before they are
aware they are tripped by the entangling bolas. People who are passing
through the strait often stop over and await another steamer at Punta
Arenas to enjoy an ostrich chase. They can secure trained horses and
guides at moderate rates. One who has never thrown the bolas will be
amazed, the first time he tries it, to find how difficult it is to do a
trick that looks so easy.




The Chillanos claim to be the Yankees of South America, and it is their
proudest boast, but the Argentinians are more entitled to that
distinction. Chili, commercially and in her political affinities, is to
all intents and purposes an English colony. She reckons her transactions
in pounds, shillings, and pence, and her statute-books bear the law of
entail. There is no democracy outside her constitution, and a peon can
never be anything else. The poor may not acquire land, but must be the
retainers of the rich and the tenants of the great estates which are
tied up forever from them. In the Argentine Republic, on the contrary,
the pampas are divided like the prairies of our own great West. Any man
may acquire an estancia by location upon the public lands and the
payment of a nominal price per acre; so the country is settling up with
those who have fled from the conditions that exist in Chili, free
thought, free speech, free air, and free land being their inducement.
The city of Buenos Ayres is the only one of the South American capitals
in which modern ideas and manners of life prevail. The town is of
mushroom growth, like Chicago. There were no old prejudices to uproot,
no antiquated bigotry to tear down. It looks less like Spain than any of
the other capitals, and more like a modern American community.

The first impressions of the traveller are unfavorable, and you wonder
what possessed the Spaniards to locate this capital where it stands. But
Buenos Ayres is like Topsy--it simply “growed.” The first man who came
was Juan Diaz de Solis, in 1515. He discovered the Rio de la Plata, and
was murdered by the Indians. Then came the famous Sebastian Cabot, who
explored the country as far up the river as Paraguay ten years later,
and was followed by Pedro de Mendoza in 1535, who obtained permission
from the Spanish Government to equip an expedition to subdue the
country, provided--as was always the rule in the Pickwick Club--he did
the same at his own expense. Mendoza came with eleven hundred men, went
ashore where he first saw land, established a camp as a basis of
operations, and from the purity of the atmosphere called it Buenos
Ayres, or “good air.” He had no intention of founding a city at this
location; his purpose was to rest there a while and keep a base of
supplies, until he had found a path to the mythical El Dorado, which was
supposed to lie somewhere in the interior of South America.

The approach to Buenos Ayres, which stands about one hundred miles above
the mouth of the Rio Plata--or “the river Plate,” as it is more commonly
called by English writers--is perplexing to navigators, as the mouth of
the river is beset with mud-banks and sand-bars--accumulations that come
down from the interior of the continent upon the swift waters, and, like
the shoals in the Mississippi, are constantly shifting. The voyage from
the Strait of Magellan to the place is not a comfortable one, and the
captain is always glum and anxious. When it is calm weather he is
nervous, and keeps his eye on the barometer for fear of a gale; and
when the gale comes, as it does about three or four days in a week, the
jokes of the passengers do not appear to entertain him. These gales are
called _pamperos_, and sweep across the pampas of Patagonia with the
violence of a tornado. Many a brave ship has gone down a victim of their
fierceness, and the sailors are as much afraid of them as of the
tempests which haunt Cape Horn.

Our captain was unusually anxious, because we had a priest on board.
Ever since the days of Jonah there has been a superstition among sailors
that clergymen always bring bad luck, particularly a Catholic priest. In
trying to discover why the forebodings over a priest should be greater
than those over a Protestant parson, the conclusion is reached that it
is because the priest wears the sign of his office in his apparel, and
is thus more conspicuous. Many captains of sailing-vessels will not take
clergymen as passengers under any circumstances, always protesting, of
course, that they do not share the common superstition, but basing their
objections upon the ground that it would demoralize the sailors. A
missionary to one of the South American countries waited in New York for
over three months to get passage by a sailing-vessel, and although
several started in the mean time for the port he wanted to reach, he was
finally obliged to go on a steamer by way of England. The steamer was
lost in a storm off the coast of British Guiana. He and other of the
passengers were saved in the life-boats, but the chief mate and several
of the seamen were drowned. This superstition prevails among sailors of
all races, but the Spaniards are the most sensitive to it, as they are
to omens of all kinds. The Spanish seamen believe that if the decks are
wet by the sea the first day out, they will have fine weather for the
rest of the voyage, and for this reason they often leave their moorings
in a storm when skippers of other countries would wait for fair weather.
There is scarcely a tar in the Spanish service who cannot find some
significance in every incident.

Through the Strait of Magellan and up the east coast of


South America vessels are followed by myriads of sea-birds--albatrosses,
Mother Carey’s chickens, and a beautiful species of the gull variety not
found elsewhere, known as the “cape pigeon.” Their plumage is beautiful,
of the purest white, mixed with the most intense black, and nature has
clothed them so warmly for the severe climate in which they live that
their skin is as thick as fur, and is used for the manufacture of robes
and rugs. More than a hundred breasts of these birds are needed for an
ordinary sized robe, however, so that they are a luxury few can afford.
I saw in Montevideo a mass of tiny feathers, black and white, as fine
and soft as eider-down, that was lined with scarlet silk, and cost two
hundred and fifty dollars. Nothing more beautiful could be imagined.
Robes made of the breasts of ostriches are lovely enough, but one of
cape-pigeons’ breasts is passing lovely.

The sailors catch them by throwing overboard a long piece of coarse
twine and trailing it in the wake of the ship. As hundreds of the birds
are constantly sailing along the surface of the water, they get tangled
in the cord and are drawn in, but it requires as much dexterity to get
them aboard as to land a lively trout. Sometimes brass or tin tags are
tied to their necks, with names and dates scratched upon them, when they
are released. The officers of our ship reported that upon a previous
voyage they got a bird with one of these tags on, bearing inscriptions
showing that it had been caught twice before. They gave the little
stranger another indorsement and let him go. The albatrosses of the
southern hemisphere are very large, sometimes measuring ten and twelve
feet from wing to wing; but they are worthless, and are stupid, awkward
birds, that often dash themselves against the side of a ship from pure

There is no port of importance between Punta Arenas, in the Strait, and
the river Plate except Bahia Blanca (White Bay), near where the United
States astronomical expedition made its observations at the last transit
of Venus. The entire coast for fifteen hundred miles is barren of
civilization, except the cabin of some hardy frontiersman, who has set
up a ranch and is waiting for the country to grow down to him.


Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay, lies a few miles below Buenos Ayres,
on the other side of the river, and vessels usually touch there, for it
is a place of great commercial importance, more accessible to shipping
and more favorably located in every respect than the latter city, which
lies stretched along a low sandy bank seven or eight miles beyond the
anchorage of ships. There is no harbor at Buenos Ayres--not even an
excuse for one--and it is beyond the power of human genius to give
vessels direct access to the city. The water is so shallow that they
anchor seven, eight, and ten miles out, and are loaded and unloaded by
means of flat-bottomed lighters, which are towed back and forth. Two or
three times a week during the winter, when a pampero is blowing, the
water is carried out to sea by force of the wind, and these lighters are
left high and dry upon a beach over which they were floating a few hours
before. Then they have to be unloaded by means of carts on wheels eight
to ten feet in diameter, which are driven into the water until nothing
can be seen of the mules that draw them but their indignant noses and
nodding ears. It is amusing to see the heads of these mules sticking out
of the water at an elevation which must be very uncomfortable, but one
they are used to. Passengers who arrive on these occasions are
transferred from the ship to a lighter, then to a mule-cart, and
sometimes are carried ashore on the back of a stormy Italian, who never
fails to swear by all the saints and the Virgin that the man on his back
is the heaviest he has ever carried, and demands more than the regular
fee for extra baggage, so to speak. Lacking confidence in the sincerity
of the cargador, the passenger will promise him heaven and earth and the
sea if he will not drop him into the water, and then fights it out when
he gets safely ashore.


Notwithstanding the commercial disadvantages of Buenos Ayres, it is the
most enterprising, prosperous, and wealthy city in South America--a
regular Chicago--the only place on the whole continent where people seem
to be in a hurry, and where everybody you meet appears to be trying to
overtake the man ahead of him. It is all bustle and life night and day,
and is so different from the rest of South America that the traveller is
more impressed than he would be if he came direct from the United
States. Elsewhere people always put off till to-morrow what they are
absolutely not compelled to do to-day. In the other countries mañana
(manyana) is king, and mañana means to-morrow, but in Buenos Ayres the
idea seems to be that the liveliest turkey gets the most grasshoppers,
and everybody is trying to get as many as he can. Merchants do not shut
up shop to go to dinner, as is the rule elsewhere in Spanish-America,
and morning newspapers are not printed on the afternoon of the previous
day. To do as much as possible this week, and a good deal more, is the
motto, and that accounts for the progress of the republic.

And it is a republic, not only in name but in fact. There is no bossism
there, as in other Spanish-American countries. Every man is a sovereign,
and he will not permit the soldiers to count the votes. There is always
a good deal of a rumpus during election times, and the defeated party
often raises a revolution, but since the tyrant Rosas was overthrown, no
man has attempted to bully or oppress the Argentine people.

Our knowledge of the Argentine Republic amounts to little more than we
know of the Congo State, and the man who goes there from the United
States is kept in a state of astonishment until he leaves. Then, as he
sits on shipboard and reflects over what he has seen, he cannot find an
exclamation point big enough to do justice to his description of the
country. The Argentinians think it is wicked indifference on our part to
know so little about them, for the surprise of the few American visitors
wounds their self-esteem. They are a proud people, like all the rest of
the Spanish race, and, unlike some nations, have many things to be proud
of. They know all about us. There are many men in the Argentine Republic
who can tell you the percentage of increase in population, industry, and
progress in the United States, as shown by the latest statistics, but
how many people in the United States are aware that that country is
growing twice as fast as ours? How many members of the Senate or the
House of Representatives at Washington, how many members of the Cabinet
or Justices of the Supreme Court, know that the increase of population
in the Argentine Republic during the last twenty-five years has been one
hundred and fifty-four per cent., while in the United States it has been
only seventy-nine per cent., and that Buenos Ayres is growing as fast as
Denver or Minneapolis?

The people are right when they assert that their country is the United
States of South America, and there is nothing else that they are so
proud of. They study and imitate our institutions and our methods, and
in some cases improve upon them. You can buy the New York dailies and
illustrated papers at any of the news-stands in Buenos Ayres, although
they are six weeks old, and the people purchase and read them. They
understand the significance of the cartoons in _Puck_, and read
_Harper’s Magazine_ and the _Century_. Blaine’s book and Grant’s Memoirs
are on sale, and the issues of our Presidential campaigns are as well
understood as their own local squabbles.

The greatest benefit to be derived by a traveller in the countries of
South America is to make him think well of his own; but, nevertheless,
his vanity receives a severe shock when he comes to the Argentine
Republic, and discovers how little he knows of what is going on in the

The succession of surprises that greet one on either hand keep him
reminded of his own ignorance. It is perfectly natural, however, because
we have no communication with the Argentine Republic, and have not had
since the day when steam was substituted for canvas as a motive power on
the sea. There was a time when we almost monopolized the commerce of
that country, but during our civil war the ships were withdrawn, and the
sailors went into the navy. Then when peace came all hands were called
to the development of our own resources, and we were so busily engaged
in building railroads, opening up farms, establishing ranches, working
mines, and erecting new towns and cities in the great West, that we
forgot that there was anybody to be looked after in South America.
Twenty-five years ago our knowledge of the continent was pretty good,
but we have learned nothing since. Our geographies read as they did
then, our histories have not been rewritten, and our maps remain
unaltered. But in the mean time mighty changes have been taking place
among our neighbors that have escaped our attention. They have been
growing as we have grown, and instead of a few half-civilized,
ill-governed people upon the pampas of the Argentine Republic, a great
nation has sprung up, as enterprising, progressive, and intelligent as
ours, with “all the modern improvements,” as house agents say, and an
ambition to stand beside the United States in the front rank of modern
civilization. While we have been occupied with our own internal
development, the European nations have gone in and taken the commerce to
which we by the logic of political and geographical considerations are

Twenty-three lines of steamships connect the Argentine Republic with the
markets of Europe, and from forty to sixty vessels are sailing back and
forth each month. In the harbor of Buenos Ayres, or in what they call
the harbor, are dozens of steamships and scores of sailing-vessels,
showing every flag but that of the United States; for an American
steamer never goes there, and only occasionally a bark or brigantine,
chartered at New York or Philadelphia, with a cargo of lumber or railway
supplies. Nearly all the goods these people buy of us are sent by way of
Europe, as mails and passengers usually go, and very little is bought in
the United States that can be purchased elsewhere. The reason for this
is very plain--we have no transportation facilities, while those
afforded for trade in Europe are as regular and convenient as exist
between Liverpool and New York.


And this trade is worth having. The Argentine Republic imports nearly
one hundred million dollars’ worth of manufactured merchandise every
year, of which about one-third is from England, one-fifth from France,
one-fifth from Germany, while the United States comes in at the
tail-end of the list, along with Sweden, Denmark, and Chili. While
England sent $35,375,628 worth there in 1885, we sent $7,000,000 worth,
mostly lumber, railway locomotives and cars, and agricultural
implements. While she sent $7,000,000 worth of cotton goods, we sent
$600,000 worth; while she sent nearly $7,000,000 worth of hardware and
other manufactures of iron and steel, we sent about $500,000 worth; and
so on, down through the list of manufactured articles in which we, with
equal transportation facilities, can compete with any nation on the
globe. Our goods are more popular there, as everywhere in South America,
so popular that the manufacturers at Manchester and Birmingham imitate
our trade-marks, and send cargoes of merchandise which appears to have
been produced in the United States, but never got nearer to Yankeeland
than Liverpool.

There is not a country in all the world so deserving of attention as
this, and particularly of our attention, for the time is drawing near
when we must confront the results of its enterprise in the markets of
the world. In its resources as well as in the character of its people it
resembles the United States. Here are found pampas like our prairies,
rich and fertile in the lowlands, and covered with fine ranges as they
rise in mighty terraces from the Atlantic to the Andes; while in the
foot-hills of the mountains are deposits of gold and silver similar to
those of Colorado, whose wealth is yet untold. In the north is a soil
that will produce cotton, rice, and sugar, like Louisiana and Texas;
then come tobacco lands, like those of Virginia and Tennessee; then, as
the temperature grows colder towards the south, are wheat and corn
fields, as yet a tithe of them untilled, but suggesting Iowa, Nebraska,
and Kansas. This vast area, as vast as that which lies between Indiana
and the Rocky Mountains, is furnished with natural highways even more
tempting to navigation than the Mississippi, the Ohio, and the Missouri
rivers, and which find their sources in forests as extensive as those
that shelter our great lakes.

Already the pampas produce wheat enough for domestic consumption and
9,000,000 bushels for export, and the production is increasing with the
greatest rapidity. Nearly 100,000,000 sheep--more than are owned in any
country of the world--are grazing on the ranges, and producing
200,000,000 pounds of wool for export; already beef and mutton are sent
to England in refrigerator ships at prices cheaper than we can compete
with, and few of our people know it.


A mistaken notion prevails everywhere among the American people about
the social and political condition of the Argentine Republic, as well as
about its commerce. There are banks at Buenos Ayres with capital greater
than any in the United States, and occupying buildings finer than any
banking-house in New York, palaces of marble and glass and iron. The
Provincial Bank has a capital of $33,000,000, and $67,000,000 of
deposits. It does more business than any one of our banks, and more than
the Imperial Bank of Germany, being exceeded by but two banks in the
world. The National Bank has a capital of $40,000,000, another has
$8,000,000, another has $7,000,000, and several have $5,000,000. If we
compare the banking capital and deposits of the Argentine Republic with
those of the United States we find that they amount to $64 per capita of
population there, and only $49 per capita with us. They have a Board of
Trade and a Stock Exchange, where business is conducted upon the same
plan as in New York or Chicago, and with as great an amount of

There are more daily papers in Buenos Ayres than in New York or
London--twenty-three in all. Two of the dailies are published in the
English language, one in French, one in German, and one in Italian; the
rest are in Spanish. There are two illustrated weeklies, one of them
comic, and three monthly literary magazines. The leading daily, _La
Nacion_, is a great blanket-sheet larger than the New York _Evening
Post_, and has a circulation of thirty thousand copies. The expression
of opinion in the newspapers is as free as with us, and the editors are
not under such restrictions as in other of the South American republics.
There is a peculiar law of libel, and editors charged with this offence
are tried by what is called a jury of honor, a sort of arbitrating
committee, who decide upon the justice of the facts stated. Sometimes
they compel the publisher to apologize, but more often console the
complainant with advice “to grin and bear it.” The telephone and
electric light are used extensively as in the United States, there being
two telephone companies, and the manager of one told me that the number
of instruments engaged is larger in proportion to population than any
city in the world.

There are nine prominent theatres in Buenos Ayres, giving performances
every night in the week, including Sunday, a permanent Italian opera,
and a permanent French opera bouffe. One of the theatres is English,
with all the plays given in that language, another is French, and a
third is Italian; the rest are Spanish. There is a curious innovation
in theatre and opera management in Buenos Ayres, which might be imitated
by managers in the United States. The first gallery, or what we call the
“dress circle,” is reserved exclusively for ladies, and no gentlemen are
admitted. There is a separate box-office and entrance, and ladies who
desire to attend but have no escorts are thus given an opportunity
without being subjected to the annoyances suffered if they go in the
usual way. They can ride to the private entrance in street-car or cab,
and be as safe from the impertinence of loafers as if they had a dozen
brothers or husbands around them. These galleries are almost always
filled, which is the best evidence of their popularity and the success
of the system.

Buenos Ayres has its parks, boulevards, and race-courses, like other
modern cities; in fact, there is nothing in the line of civilized
amusements that it is without. Everybody keeps a carriage and nearly
everybody rides. Nowhere in the world are horses so cheap, and the stock
as well as the equipages are very fine. A good pair of carriage-horses,
the very best, can be had for one hundred and fifty dollars, and
saddle-horses that are equal to any in the world can be purchased for
thirty or forty dollars. The Argentine horseman invests his money in
silver-mounted saddles and bridles, and a riding-gear with solid-silver
stirrups, heavily mounted saddle, etc., is worth between four and five
hundred dollars. All the swells have them, and the ladies who ride are
similarly mounted, having a beautiful stirrup in the form of a slipper,
often of solid silver. The parks and boulevards are crowded with haughty
dons and ravishing señoritas during driving hours, and present a very
brilliant and attractive scene.

The two Argentine Universities, under the patronage of the Government,
are among the best in America, and rank with Yale or Harvard in
curriculum and standard of education. They have large and able
faculties, many of them Germans, with four branches, namely, law,
medicine, engineering, and scientific, and the ordinary classical
course. The library has about sixty thousand volumes, representing the
literature of all languages, and the museum is quite extensive. The
public-school system is also under the patronage of the Government,
under a compulsory education law, and includes all grades from the
kindergarten to the normal school. The distinguished ex-President of the
Republic, Dr. Sarmiento, who was formerly Minister to the United States,
is the especial patron of education, and it is his ambition to make the
school system of the Argentine Republic the finest in the world. He
studied the educational systems of all our States, and finally adopted
that of Michigan for his own country.

Ex-President Sarmiento is the leading advocate of the higher education
of women in South America, having gained his advanced ideas while
Minister to the United States. He was an intimate friend and regular
correspondent of Mrs. Horace Mann, Mrs. Julia Ward Howe, Mrs. Elizabeth
Cady Stanton, and other prominent women in the United States, and
imbibed from them the theories of the equality of the sex which their
lives have been spent in demonstrating. Through his instrumentality some
forty American girls, graduates of Vassar, Wellesley, Mount Holyoke, and
Western institutions, have been employed under liberal contracts by the
Argentine Government in the normal schools and female seminaries of the
country, and their success has been phenomenal. These teachers receive
salaries varying from one hundred to one hundred and sixty dollars per
month, and are placed in positions, social as well as professional,
which they could not hope to acquire at home. In every instance they
have conducted themselves with the most commendable dignity; and
although some of the economists in Congress and in the newspapers are
grumbling over the large salaries they receive, they are treated with
the greatest distinction, and are entertained by the Government in a
manner that our own educational authorities might well imitate.

One of them had a misunderstanding with the Papal Nuncio not long ago,
which caused an immense amount of excitement. He attempted to interfere
with the management of her school, on the ground that she was
proselyting the children to Protestantism. She gave the envoy of his
Holiness the Pope to understand that she was running that institution,
and when he brought the case to the attention of the Government she
defended herself with such success that the President of the Argentine
Republic sent him his passport and advised him to take the next steamer
for Rome. The archbishop interfered, and he was summarily banished also.
Since then the Pope has been without an ambassador in the republic, but
the Yankee school-ma’am is solid with the Government and the people, and
goes on teaching heresy.

A Brazilian who went to Cornell University for an education married an
Ithaca girl, and took her back to Brazil, where he is engaged as a civil
engineer. There are a good many young Spanish-Americans with English
wives. More of the men go to England than to the United States for
collegiate training, for the reason that the English universities
advertise down there, while the American colleges do not. There is no
necessity for the Argentinians to send their sons away for learning, as
their educational system is as good as our own, and the most expensive
in the world, with the exception of Australia. The amount expended by
the Government for educational purposes is $10.20 per pupil annually,
while in the United States it averages only $8.70, in Germany $6.00, and
in England $9.10. There are thirty colleges and normal schools for the
higher education of men and women in the republic, with 430 teachers and
6710 students, and 2726 public schools with 6214 teachers and 201,329
pupils, in a total population of less than 4,000,000.

The Government of Chili, which attempts a close competition with the
Argentine Republic in matters of education as well as other modern
improvements, has contracted with fifty young ladies from Germany to
manage its female seminaries and normal schools at much lower salaries
than the Yankee school-ma’ams receive.

The Argentinians have made as rapid advancement in the way of charity
and philanthropy as in education, and one finds throughout the country
as many benevolent institutions as in New York or other cities of the
United States in proportion to the population. There are hospitals,
dispensaries, homes for the indigent aged, orphan asylums, blind, and
deaf and dumb asylums, insane asylums, public libraries, free art
schools, and all sorts of institutions founded by benevolence and
liberally endowed. There is a Board of Health enforcing strict sanitary
regulations, the streets are swept every night, the police are admirably
organized, the public buildings and parks are lighted by electricity,
and all the features of modern civilization have been introduced into
the political and domestic economy. The plantation owners mostly reside
in Buenos Ayres, and have telephonic wires between their offices and
estancias. Instead of yelling “ Hello!” into a telephone, they say
“Oyez, oyez!” as our bailiffs do when they open court.

The post-office of Buenos Ayres handled 20,000,000 packages in 1885,
which is pretty good for a city of 434,000 inhabitants, and its progress
is no better illustrated than by the increase of mails. In 1865 only
1,000,000 pieces were handled by this office, and in 1875 only
7,000,000, while during the first six months of 1887 over 16,000,000
pieces passed through the office. There is a mail leaving and arriving
for and from Europe nearly every day, but all mail for the United States
goes and comes by way of Great Britain, because of the lack of direct
steamship communication.

There are three gas companies with 240 miles of pipe, lighting 26,000
houses or stores, with 3300 street-lamps. There are 32 miles of paved
streets, 40 miles of sewers, some of which are large enough for a
railway-train to pass through. There are 1100 licensed hacks, and 2715
licensed express-wagons; five street-railway companies, with 93 miles of
track, carrying 1,850,000 passengers monthly. Between tramways and
public carriages the inhabitants of Buenos Ayres spent an average of
$8.00 per capita for city locomotion in 1885.

Throughout South America all the dentists and many of the photographers
are immigrants from the United States, and if there is any one among
them who is not getting rich he has nobody but himself to find fault
with, because the natives give both professions plenty to do. Nowhere in
the world is so large an amount of confectionery consumed in proportion
to the population as in Spanish America, and as a natural consequence
the teeth of the people require a great deal of attention. As a usual
thing Spaniards have good teeth, as they always have beautiful eyes, and
are very particular in keeping them in condition. Hence the dentists are
kept busy, and as they charge twice as much as they do in the United
States, the profits are very large. In these countries it is the custom
to serve sweetmeats at every meal--dulces, as they are called--preserved
fruits of the richest sort, jellies, and confections of every variety
and description. Many of these are made by the nuns in the convents, and
are sold to the public either through the confectionery stores or by
private application. A South American housewife, instead of ordering
jams and preserves and jellies from her grocer, or putting up a supply
in her own kitchen during the fruit season, patronizes the nuns, and
gets a better article at a lower price. The nuns are very ingenious in
this work, and prepare forms of delicacies which are unknown to our

At a dinner-party I attended dessert was brought in in a novel form. A
tray which appeared to be filled with hard-boiled eggs was placed before
the hostess, who gave each guest a couple, and poured over them some
sort of a syrup or dressing. In a strange country the tourist is always
on the lookout for odd things; but this seemed to cap the
climax--hard-boiled eggs for dessert at a swell dinner-party. But it was
soon discovered that the white of this bogus egg was _blanc-mange_, and
the yolk was made of quince jelly, egg-shells being used for moulds.
This was an idea of the nuns, and one of their ingenious fixings.

The atmosphere is so clear as to be admirable for photography. The
Spanish-American belle has her photograph taken every time she gets a
new dress, and that is very often. The Paris styles reach here as soon
as they do the North American cities, and where the national costumes
are not still worn there is a great deal of elaborate dressing. The
Argentine Republic is one of the few countries in which photographs of
ladies are not sold in the shops. Elsewhere there is a craze for
portraits of reigning beauties, and the young men have their rooms
filled with photographs of the girls they admire taken in all sorts of
costumes and attitudes.

There are in South America a great many physicians and surgeons from the
United States, and they usually, if worthy, have a more extensive
practice than the natives. There is an excellent field for female
physicians here, and it is at present unoccupied. In most of the
countries of South America a physician is not permitted to see a lady
patient except in the presence of her husband, and many women die for
lack of attention. The social laws are inflexible in this respect, and
many women will suffer torments rather than expose themselves to
criticism by receiving treatment from male practitioners. No woman,
except she be of the common laboring class, will visit the office of a
physician, and as fees for attendance at their homes are very high, many
suffer and die from neglect based upon motives of modesty and economy.
There is only one lady physician that I know of in South America, and
she is practising with great success in Guatemala. Others might secure
equal advantages in Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Chili, the Argentine
Republic, Uruguay, and Brazil; but it would be necessary for them to
acquire a thorough knowledge of the Spanish language, and secure
favorable introductions before hanging out their shingles. These
introductions might be obtained through the American consuls and
legations, or from merchants of social and commercial standing. There is
a strong prejudice against the professional employment of native women,
but the American ladies who have come to South America as teachers have
not only been cordially received but in many cases have been lionized.
In many of the aristocratic families American girls are employed as
governesses, and are treated with great deference. Mrs. Barrios, the
widow of the late President of Guatemala, had three New York ladies in
her family--one as a companion for herself, and the other two employed
in the nursery. In Peru, Chili, the Argentine Republic, and other
countries French and English governesses are common, and in fact there
are few others employed, as the native girls who would accept such
positions lack the necessary education.

There are two notable Boston men in Buenos Ayres--notable, however, for
different reasons. One is Samuel B. Hale, the most prominent merchant
and capitalist in the country; and the other is D. Warren Lowe, _alias_
Winslow, editor of the _Buenos Ayres Daily Herald_. There is no man in
all South America more respected and beloved, or who possesses the
confidence of the people to a greater degree than Samuel B. Hale. He
came in 1829 from Boston to do a little trading, and has since remained,
amassing an immense fortune, and now, at the age of eighty-two, looks
back upon such a career as few men are permitted to contemplate.

Although we of the United States have very little to do with the
Argentine Republic nowadays, the pioneers of that country were
Americans. In 1826 William Wheelwright, of Pennsylvania, was wrecked
upon this coast, and found his way to a small town named Quilmes,
barefooted, hatless, and starving. He remained in the country, and forty
years later built the first railroad in the Argentine Republic--from
Buenos Ayres to Quilmes. But in the mean time he had done still greater
service in establishing the first steamship line between Europe and
South America--the Pacific Steam Navigation Company--which now has a
monopoly of the traffic on the west coast, and sails vessels from Panama
through the Strait of Magellan to Liverpool. In 1839 Mr. Wheelwright
foresaw the immense trade these countries were capable of developing,
and went to New York to present his scheme to Aspinwall, Garrison,
Astor, Vanderbilt, and other capitalists, but they rejected it. He then
went to England, where he secured the necessary capital, established his
line, and turned the whole course of South American commerce from its
natural channel. Every one connected with the company has made a
fortune, and dividends of fourteen and fifteen per cent. are still paid.
In 1852 there were in the harbor of Buenos Ayres six hundred vessels
from the United States--more than double the number from all other
nations combined. Now only two per cent. of the shipping annually
reaching that harbor belongs to the United States. Both Chili and the
Argentine Republic have erected fine monuments to Mr. Wheelwright, the
father of their foreign commerce and their internal improvements, for he
built the first railway in Chili as he did in the Argentine Republic.

Another citizen of the United States, Thomas Lloyd Halsey of New Jersey,
introduced sheep and cattle. The Spaniards had a few domestic animals
before the independence of the republic, but Mr. Halsey established the
first ranch. Now there are over ninety million sheep and thirty million
cattle in the country. Both Wheelwright and Halsey are dead; but Mr.
Hale, who was contemporary with them, and was the pioneer commission
merchant and importer, still lives. His immense business interests are
now in the hands of Mr. Pierson, his son-in-law, also a Boston man, who
went out as a clerk thirty years ago; and the husband of another
daughter represents the London banking-house of Baring Brothers in
Buenos Ayres.

In the old days Mr. Hale bought wool and hides and furs in the Argentine
Republic and in Uruguay, and shipped them to Boston. The vessels
returned loaded with cotton goods and Yankee notions of all sorts, which
were exchanged for the produce; and this system of barter went on until
the War of the Rebellion, when most of the vessels were withdrawn, and
the tariff on wool made it unprofitable to ship the chief product of the
republic to the United States. Then Mr. Hale turned his attention to the
European trade, and did a very large business in exporting and importing
until about 1880, when he sold out to Mr. C. S. Bowers, also a Boston
man, and retired from the market. He still purchases large quantities


of wool and hides for shipment to Europe, but does not import any
longer, and he devotes most of his attention to loaning money and
dealing in standard securities. In addition to his commercial business,
Mr. Hale owns and manages some of the largest estancias in the Argentine
Republic, having several hundred thousand sheep and sixty thousand
cattle. He is famous for his hospitality and generosity, and many of the
philanthropic institutions of the country have enjoyed with him the
financial results of his successful career. He has also been active in
the promotion of public enterprises and in encouraging steamship lines,
and is not only the oldest and most prominent merchant, but is regarded
as the leading public benefactor.

The social condition of the Argentine Republic is as much advanced as
its commerce, and the old customs are rapidly dying out. The education
of girls has become popular, and the young ladies are no longer
restricted in their association with men, as in other Spanish-American
countries. Formerly, if a young man fell in love with a girl, he told
her father or grandmother about it, which was about as satisfactory as
kissing through a telephone. Under the new regime etiquette gives him
the privilege of telling the old, old story into the girl’s own ear, and
it appears to work just as well for all concerned.

It is the only country in South America in which girls can go out riding
with their lovers, or receive them at home as they do in the United
States. The supposition that it is unsafe to leave a woman alone with
any man but her husband or father does not exist in the Argentine
Republic, except among some of the families of the ancient Spanish
aristocracy which still adhere to the old tradition.

One finds a good deal of club life in Buenos Ayres, there being as many
as seven fine club-houses, most of which have all the modern
improvements, with reading-rooms attached, in which are found newspapers
from all parts of the world.

Their restaurants and cafés are as good as the average in New York and
London, and the people being epicurean in their tastes, caterers import
delicacies from all parts of the world. Lobsters and Spanish mackerel
are brought in refrigerator ships, and Southdown mutton from England,
with all sorts of delicacies from France. One day I saw a negro going
through the streets with a large tray on his head, containing a leg of
mutton, a haunch of venison, Spanish mackerel, lobsters, shrimps, and
oysters, and a printed placard upon his back announcing that dishes of
this sort were served daily at the Maison de Paris.

The hotels are not good. They are up to the average in South American
cities, but do not correspond with the other evidences of advancement in
Buenos Ayres. They have no regular rates, but charge each guest as much
as his appearance and manners suggest he can afford to pay. When they
get hold of an American, as citizens of the United States are always
called, they bleed him to the last drop. “I thought you Americans never
disputed a hotel-bill,” a Boniface said to me one day, when I had
expressed my indignation at his charges. “We always expect Englishmen
to, but Americans never,” and he shrugged his shoulders as if my conduct
was a disgrace to my country.

The steamers which run from Buenos Ayres to Montevideo and up the river
to Paraguay are, to the surprise of every traveller, as fine and
gorgeous as those on Long Island Sound--great, splendid palaces with no
end of gilt and gingerbreadwork, with stewards and cabin-boys in livery,
wine-rooms, smoking-rooms, bands of music, and all that sort of thing.
There are two lines in active rivalry, and they are trying to see which
can set the finer table. The bill of fare is as good as that of a
first-class hotel in New York, and two kinds of wine, claret and Rhine
wine, are served without extra charge. On each steamer are three or four
swell cabins, called bridal chambers, each being fitted up without
regard to expense, and containing all the flub-dubs that can be crowded
into them, including pianos and sideboards, with well-filled bottles of
wine and brandy in the rack, all included in the price of passage, which
is double that of the ordinary cabin. The swells always take these
cabins when they start off on a bridal tour.

The finest church in Buenos Ayres is called the “Church of the
Recolletta” (remembrance). It is of pure Roman architecture, in Italian
marble, beautifully carved, and cost about $250,000. It is the property
of Señor Don Carlos Guerrero, a wealthy citizen, who erected it as a
memorial to his daughter, who was murdered by a rejected lover about ten
years ago. She is buried under the altar, and the magnificent stained
glass window imported from Florence represents incidents from her life.

The cathedral is a very large and costly building, but it looks more
like a bank or Government palace than a church. Within the walls is the
mausoleum of General Saint-Martin,


the George Washington of the Argentine Republic, who liberated the
country from the Spanish yoke and was then turned out to die in exile
and poverty. In 1880 the remains of the Liberator were brought with
great pomp from France, where he had died in 1850, in banishment, and
were entombed under a costly and imposing sepulchre, which, however,
looks very little like a tomb, and is entirely without sacred emblems.
Four statues in marble guard the grave; not Faith, Hope, and Charity,
but “Agriculture,” “Industry,” “Justice,” and “Liberty.” It looks rather
queer to see the emblem of Industry with hammer and saw over a tomb in a
church, but the Argentines evidently have not noticed the incongruity.

Besides the twenty-four churches belonging to the Catholics, the
Protestant community is pretty well supplied with religious advantages.
There are a Church of England society, a Scotch Presbyterian, an
American Presbyterian, a German Evangelical, three Methodist churches,
and a Jewish synagogue--the only one in all Spanish America. Jews are
not allowed to live in some of the countries; but in the Argentine
Republic, where religious as well as civil liberty is protected, they
are numerous, and worship every Saturday. In 1884 the Methodists
celebrated the twenty-fifth anniversary of their missionary work in the
country, and it was emphasized by an incident which attracted a great
deal of comment, and was significant as showing the religious toleration
that exists. Formal invitations were sent as a mark of courtesy to the
President and all the prominent officials, but there was no expectation
that they would attend, as the great majority of the people are
Catholics and the public men are naturally politic. Just as the services
were about to commence, however, the managers of the affair were
astonished to see the President, followed by his Cabinet, walk into the
church. Conspicuous seats were given them, and they seemed to take great
interest in the exercises. After the Rev. Dr. Wood, the Superintendent
of Missions, had concluded his address, in which he reviewed the history
of Protestantism in the Argentine Republic, he invited President Roca to
speak. The latter promptly responded; and as every one knew he had been
born and reared in the Catholic Church, the audience were amazed at the
eulogy he pronounced upon the Protestant missionaries, and the
enthusiasm with which he complimented the work they had done. To their
influence he attributed much of the progress of the republic, and urged
them to enlarge their fields and increase their zeal. The President’s
speech was commented upon in the newspapers the next day with a great
deal of vigor, the Liberal press approving it, but the Conservative
editors censuring what they considered an attack upon the prevailing
religion of the people.

There is a peculiar order of monks in the Argentine Republic which is
not found elsewhere. Its members are known as “Lazarists” (from
Lazarus), and they live, as he is said to have done, on the crumbs that
fall from the rich man’s table. They travel about the country like
tramps, having no apparent aim or purpose, barefooted and bareheaded,
eat what they beg from door to door, and sleep wherever night overtakes
them. They are supposed to be members of the other orders of friars, who
have sinned and are doing penance as Lazarists.

There is a place called Washington and another called Lincoln in the
Argentine Republic, but the newest thing in the way of towns is La
Plata, the capital of the province of Buenos Ayres. Until within a few
years that province, having more than half the population of the entire
country, has considered itself entitled to rule the rest, as far as the
Government was concerned, and the outlying provinces have had nothing to
say about it, being regarded as insignificant dependencies of the city
and State of Buenos Ayres. They tried to secede, but were whipped into
the Union; but as immigration has come into the country the population
of other provinces outnumbers Buenos Ayres, and often in Presidential
campaigns the contest depends upon a geographical issue. Roca, the
recent President, is an outside man, and the Buenos Ayrians determined
to prevent his inauguration or overthrow his government; but to mollify
them he announced a great scheme of building a new capital at Government
expense. There was no time to lay out a town site and let it grow up in
the ordinary way, so the President sent to the United States and had
five hundred houses manufactured to order and shipped down here, like a
box of toys, all ready to put up. A location was selected on the pampas,
all the revolutionary leaders were let into the speculation, war was
averted, and a brand-new city sprang up on the prairie, like a bed of
mushrooms, almost in a single night. Two or three millions of dollars
were spent by the Government, but the President considered that the cost
of the town was much less than would have been the cost of the war that
was averted; plenty of money was put into circulation, all the laboring
men in the country got lucrative employment, and, as in the
old-fashioned storybooks, everything came out happily in the end. These
houses were made in Brooklyn and Chicago: a New York firm got the
contract. There was so much haste and carelessness in their construction
that they do not wear very well, and are no credit to their builders.

[Illustration: THE GAUCHO.]

The gaucho (_gowcho_) of South America is the most interesting character
on the continent, and if the writers of tales of adventure could get at
him, he would afford them as much material as the Crusader of the Middle
Ages or the North American savage. The Spanish colonies have produced no
Fenimore Cooper or Mayne Reid, and such a writer as Ned Buntline is
unknown to South American literature. Buffalo Bill and Texas Jack would
die of mortification if their horsemanship and endurance were placed in
comparison with that of the genuine gaucho of the pampas, and even the
centaur of mythology would blush with envy.

The gauchos are the descendants of the aristocratic Spanish dons and
Indian women; for the grandees and hidalgos who once ruled these
colonies did not hesitate to seek the society of the Pocahontases of the
Guarani race. They are at once the most indolent and the most active of
human beings; for when they are not in the saddle, devouring space on
the back of a tireless broncho, they are sleeping in apathetic indolence
among their mistresses or gambling with their chums. Half savage and
half courtier, the gaucho is as polite as he is cruel, and will make a
bow like a dancing-master or thrum an air on the native mandolin with
the same ease and nonchalance as he will murder a fellow-being or
slaughter a steer. He recognizes no law but his own will and the
unwritten code of the cattle-range, and all violations of this code are
punished by banishment or death. Whoever offends him must fight or fly,
and his vengeance is as enduring as it is vigilant. The statute of
limitations is not recognized by him, and he will kill an enemy he has
not seen for a quarter of a century. He never shoots or strikes with his
fist, and his only weapons are the short knife, which is never absent
from his hand or his belt and is used at short range, and the lasso,
which is not only an implement of his trade but an instrument offensive
and defensive.

A fight between gauchos always means murder, and it is the duty of him
who kills to see that his victim is decently buried and the widow and
orphans cared for. The widow, if she pleases him, becomes his wife or
his mistress, and the orphans grow up to be gauchos under his tutelage.
He is as superstitious as a Hindoo, and an inveterate gambler. When he
is not asleep or in the saddle he is always engaged at quaint games of
chance that are his own invention, and are known to no other race in the
world. He is peaceable when sober, but a reckless dare-devil, regardless
of God and man. When he is drunk he is a fiend incarnate, for a howling
savage is like a prattling child when compared to a drunken gaucho. As
brave as a lion, as active as a panther, with an endurance equal to any
test, faithful to his friends, as implacable as fate to any one who
offends him, he has exercised a powerful influence upon the destiny of
the Argentine Republic, and kept that nation back in civilization until
his influence was overcome by an increased immigration of foreigners.
The gaucho has never taken any part in politics except as a soldier, and
as such, under a leader that he will obey, he is without an equal in
either civilized or savage fighting.

The Argentinians once had a gaucho President, Don Manuel Rosas, who
ruled the country with a despotism of iron and blood for twenty-two
years (from 1830 to 1852), and even now is seldom referred to without a
shudder, for the marks of his cruel hand are still visible, and the
ancient aristocracy still feel the sting of blows he inflicted upon
them. He was the son of a wealthy Spaniard of the same name, who
exercised a patriarchal sway over the peons that looked after his flocks
and herds; and as the young Rosas grew up, the old man gradually yielded
to the stronger will of the son, until the latter became a sort of
gaucho leader, and commanded a regiment of them in the war of 1829
against the Indians. So powerful did he become that it was an easy step
from the chieftainship of the gauchos to the Presidency of the
Republic--a self-appointed Dictator, the head of an absolute despotism
which existed for nearly a quarter of a century, in defiance of the
constitution and the laws.

Rosas was a compound of the arrogance and stubborn superstition of the
Spanish race and the cruelty and craft of the Guarani Indians, whose
blood he inherited through his mother. He maintained his power by the
loyalty of the gauchos, of whom the people of the towns lived in terror.
With an inflexible will, with the cunning of a fox and the courage of a
lion, with egregious vanity and arrogance, and a perpetual distrust of
every living being except his daughter Mannileta--the only person to
whose influence he ever

[Illustration: GENERAL ROSAS.]

submitted or for whom he ever showed any affection--he ruled like a
savage chieftain over the entire southern half of the continent, from
Paraguay to the Strait of Magellan, relying solely upon the terror which
his own cruelty and that of his gaucho lieutenants had inspired among
the people. Blood flowed by his command as freely as water, and the
extermination of those who opposed him was the policy under which he
perpetuated his power. No citizen of the Argentine Republic or Uruguay
felt himself safe. No man went to bed at night with any confidence that
he would be alive in the morning; for neither friendship, relationship,
nor even obscurity, was a shield from assassination. Rosas only ceased
to murder when the great fear he had inspired paralyzed the people and
rendered them absolutely prostrate to his will. He spared neither age
nor sex. Even his oldest friend, a man who had been more than a father
to him, and was supposed to be his confidential adviser, was murdered in
cold blood by the _masorqueros_, the secret assassins or Danites on whom
he relied to execute his atrocious designs. The official history of
Buenos Ayres gives the following estimate of the numbers who died
through the caprice or vengeance of the tyrant Rosas: poisoned, 4;
executed by the sword, 3765; shot, 1393; assassinated, 722; total, 5884.
Add to this the number slain in the constant struggle to overthrow his
despotism, 16,520, and we have an aggregate of 22,404 victims to the
ambition of a gaucho chief.

An idea of the arrogance and conceit of the man can be formed from the
fact that the money coined during his administration was stamped with
his portrait and the inscription “Eternal Rosas.” But he was not
eternal, and was overthrown in 1852 by General Urquiza, escaping from
the country with his daughter at night, both in the disguise of English
sailors, and finding refuge on board the _Centaur_, an English

But the day of the gaucho is passing. Immigration and civilization have
driven him to the extreme frontier, where nowadays he can only be found
in his full glory. Like the North American Indian, he decays when
domesticated, and a tame gaucho is always a drunkard, a loafer, and a
thief. Civilization saps his vitality, quenches his spirit, and lowers
his standard of morals. In his native element he will not steal nor do a
mean act, but when he becomes a resident of a town he will rob a dog,
and there is no end to his maliciousness. Few of the race have ever
acquired land, and even at the present day he despises the _estanciaro_,
who will not depend upon the public domain for pasturage. So the gaucho
has to keep moving, faster and faster, to get out of the way of barbed
wire fences and the restraints of civilization. A few years hence he
will disappear or assume more of the character of the North American
cow-boy. Even now, in the more settled portions of the country, the word
gaucho has become a word of reproach, and is applied to worthless
characters who live by cattle-stealing, and correspond to the rustlers
of the United States.


The language of the genuine gaucho is a mixture of Spanish and the
Guarani Indian tongue, and his food is beef and _yerba mate_. At every
_rodeo_, or “round up,” there is a great feast, at which many good
things are set forth; but the ordinary diet of the race consists of ribs
of beef roasted on a spit before the fire, and eaten without salt or
bread, while the ordinary drink is the Paraguayan tea, which is sucked
through a tube. The gaucho lives like the Indian--gorges himself when he
has plenty of food, or goes for days without eating; but he always has
his mate cup with him, and the yerba contains a great amount of
nutrition. He usually has a habitation in a hut at the headquarters of
the estancia upon which he is employed, and there he keeps his family
and goes on feast-days, for he is enough of a Catholic to keep as close
a reckoning of the ecclesiastical calendar as the archbishop himself. He
has no regard for the Sabbath, but recognizes every religious
anniversary of the Church by leaving his cattle on the range and going
to headquarters, where he spends the day in drinking, dancing,
gambling, confessing his sins to the padre, cock-fighting, and testing
horsemanship with his companions. These feast-days never end without a
murder, and often more than one.

When dressed in his full regalia the gaucho’s appearance is picturesque;
with his swarthy face, long hair, and long mustaches, he would create a
sensation in any guise, for his physique is perfect, and his swagger as
bold as that of a buccaneer or a bandit chief. The gaucho woman is said
to be beautiful when young, but at twenty-five or thirty she is a dirty,
unkempt slattern, with bleared eyes and tangled hair, and wears nothing
but a soiled and faded gown, and perhaps a pair of brass or silver
ear-rings. When she is a maiden the gauchos will kill each other out of
jealousy, but when she becomes a wife or a mistress she is kicked about
the camp, beaten, and abandoned at her master’s will.

All the finery in the family goes on the husband’s back and saddle. In
place of trousers he wears a chiropa and calconcillas. The former is a
square piece of cloth, drawn about the thighs and fastened around the
waist with a belt. It descends as far as the knee, from which the rest
of the leg is covered with the calconcillas--a wide pair of cotton
drawers, handsomely and gaudily embroidered, and ornamented with two or
three wide frills. The feet are incased in a pair of _botas de potro_,
made of the skin of the leg of a colt rubbed until it is as soft as
buckskin. The heels are decorated with a pair of immense iron or silver
spurs weighing a pound or so each.

Instead of the sombrero and velvet jacket of the Mexican cavalier, the
gaucho wears a hat of pita fibre--such as is commonly known as a Panama
hat, and which may have cost him as much as would a dozen cattle--and a
poncho. But in his saddle lies his wealth, for all his savings and
gambling gains go to decorate that emblem of his trade. Silver ornaments
for bridle and saddle are legal tender in exchange for anything salable
wherever the gaucho goes, and what is his seat by day and his pillow by
night he always uses as a sort of savings-bank. I have seen saddles
worth a thousand dollars, with solid silver stirrups, pommels, and
ornaments weighing as much as a man. A pair of silver spurs are worth
anywhere from fifty to one hundred dollars, according to their size and
the workmanship upon them. Stirrups of solid silver, made in the form of
a heelless slipper, are very common, and the belles of the cities of the
Argentine Republic consider them essential to a riding costume. Stirrups
are often made of brass, and when highly polished add a unique feature
to the accoutrements of an Argentine caballero. His belt is usually
covered with a string of silver dollars, and all his buttons are of

The Argentine poncho is a great institution, and if some fashionable
swell in New York would set the style by wearing one, it would add
greatly to the comfort of our people, as well as to their convenience.
There never was a garment better adapted for out-of-door use, and
particularly for plainsmen or those who are much in the saddle. It is a
blanket of ordinary size, with a slit in the centre through which the
head goes. It rests upon the shoulders, and its folds hang down as far
as the knee, allowing free use of the arms, but always furnishing them
and the rest of the body with protection. In summer it shields the
wearer from the heat of the sun, while in winter it is as warm as an
ulster, and in rainy days takes the place of an umbrella. The native is
never without it, summer or winter, afoot or on horseback, at home or
abroad. It stays by him like his shadow, and serves him as an overcoat
by day and as a blanket by night.

Ponchos were formerly made of the hair of the vicuña, an animal which is
a sort of cross between the camel and the antelope, and is found in the
Bolivian Andes. Before the Conquest vicuña skin was the royal ermine of
the Incas, and none but persons of princely blood were allowed to wear
it. A vicuña poncho is as soft as velvet, and as durable as steel. You
can find plenty of them in the Argentine Republic and in Chili that have
been, like grandfather’s clock, in the old families for two centuries or
more, and have been handed down with the family jewels as heirlooms.
They never wear out, and, like lace, improve with age. But genuine
vicuña ponchos are hard to get, and very expensive, costing often as
much as a camel’s-hair shawl, as the animal is becoming scarce. The
color is a delicate fawn, and will not change when wet, which is a sure
test of its genuineness. Most of the fine ponchos worn nowadays are made
of lamb’s-wool in Manchester, England, and cannot be distinguished from
vicuña except by experts; but tons after tons of a common sort, made of
cotton and wool, of gaudy colors, are now imported annually, and answer
the purpose of the gaucho just as well, while the bright tints please
his taste better.

The gaucho always carries tobacco, cigarette paper, flint, and steel. He
is an inveterate smoker, but confines himself to cigarettes, which he
rolls at full gallop. He does everything on horseback, when he
chooses--eats and sleeps, catches fish, carries water from the well in a
pitcher or urn on his head, and even attends mass on horseback--at
least, the nearest he ever gets to the altar is to ride up to the door
of a church and sit in the saddle while the service is being celebrated.

A gaucho child is put into the saddle at as early an age as an American
child is put into breeches. When he is eight or ten years old he will
ride anything less than a tornado; and after he reaches his growth, if
he is thrown from a horse he is disgraced forever; nothing he can do
will recover for him the respect of the community. He is an ostracized
and despised creature, as hopelessly lost as a fallen star.

The animals the gauchos ride are splendid native stallions, as swift as
the wind and as enduring as time. Fifty or sixty miles a day is a gentle
jaunt, for a well-bred pampa horse will gallop from sunrise to sunset
without throwing a fleck of foam. During the recent war against the
Patagonian Indians a gaucho courier made six hundred miles in
forty-eight hours with only four changes of horses.

One of the sports of the gauchos is “breaking horses,” cruel and
dangerous, like all their amusements. Two gauchos mount, and taking
positions forty or fifty yards apart, at a given signal start at a full
run and come together breast to breast, like two battering-rams, with a
shock that often kills the animals, and nearly always unseats one or
both of the riders. Another is called “crowding horses.” Two mounted
gauchos place their stallions side by side, and crowd them against each
other to see which will yield. A third game is to place across the
entrance to a corral or other enclosure a bar about as high as a horse’s
head. The gaucho mounts, retires to a distance of forty rods or so,
rushes to the entrance at full gallop, and, without checking the speed
of his horse, leaps out of the saddle when the bar is reached, throws
himself under it, and regains his seat, passing under the bar without
touching the ground.

The skill with which the gaucho handles the lasso is an everlasting
source of wonder. While at full gallop he can throw a coil of raw-hide
with as much accuracy as an expert rifleman can crack a glass ball, and
will catch a running cow or sheep or hog, lassoing the horn or foot or
head at will. Duels with the lasso are often fought, the contestants
throwing nooses at the heads of each other, sparring and dodging like
pugilists, until one or the other is caught and dragged out of the
saddle. If the duel is an earnest one, as often occurs, and the gauchos
are determined, the man who is caught is often dragged, with a noose
around his neck, behind a galloping horse until the life is choked and
pounded out of his body.

The Argentine Republic will some day become a formidable rival of the
United States. It has vast natural resources similar to ours, and is
developing them rapidly. It has a magnificent fluvial system like that
of the Mississippi, fertile plains like those of Illinois and Iowa,
boundless pampas stretching for twelve hundred miles to the mountains,
and affording pasturage for millions of cattle, horses, and sheep, like
the prairies of Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska, and New Mexico. Towards the
north, into Paraguay, which, although an


independent State, is a tributary to the Argentine Republic, are lands
that will produce sugar, cotton, rice, and other semi-tropical staples
like those of our own sunny South. There is also an almost unlimited
supply of timber, hard and soft woods, easy of access, within reach of
mighty streams; and the forests are greater than man knows, for they
have never been measured. The latitude of the Argentine Republic
corresponds with that of the United States; its climate is similar to
that of our great West, and the people have an activity, an enterprise,
and a patriotism that remind the North American of home.

Where rivers do not run the people are pushing railroads, and in a few
years they will have a railway system second only to that of the United
States. They are offering tempting inducements to settlers, and
immigration is very large. The increase in population during the last
fifteen years was one hundred and fifty-four per cent., while that of
the United States was seventy-nine per cent. From Germany, Norway, and
Switzerland, but especially from Italy, come ship-loads of hardy,
thrifty, industrious men every week, and the passenger mole at Buenos
Ayres resembles Castle Garden. The Government aids and encourages
immigration more than does ours. The immigrant vessel that arrives at
New York is required to pay “head-money” on every passenger it brings.
At Buenos Ayres the vessel receives “head-money” from the Government as
an inducement to bring passengers. The fare from Europe to the river
Plate, or the Rio Plata, that great stream which divides the continent,
is about the same as to the United States; and although I do not believe
that the class of immigrants which arrives there is equal in
intelligence and the other qualities that constitute good citizens to
that which comes to the United States, every family arriving means so
many more acres developed and an increase of population. They do not at
once become citizens, as in this country. This is particularly the case
with the Italians, who seldom take out naturalization papers. Foreigners
are allowed to vote at municipal elections, and therefore the temptation
to citizenship is not so strong; but nevertheless they go to make up the
body politic, and as they are exempt from military service, the country
is always sure of having its fields tilled and its crops gathered,
whether there is a war or not.

In 1882, 51,503 immigrants arrived at Buenos Ayres from Europe; in 1883
the number increased to 63,242; in 1884, to 92,700; in 1887, to
138,000. In 1888 it was estimated that over 600,000 foreigners had
settled in the country during the preceding ten years, and it is known
that the population of the city of Buenos Ayres has doubled since 1872.

The greater portion of these immigrants are Italians, who go directly
into the agricultural regions, take up land, and cultivate small but
increasing farms. Some are Germans and Scandinavians, but more are
French. The latter usually settle in the cities, and become small
tradesmen or servants. Large numbers of English, Scotch, and Irish
capitalists are securing estancias, and raising sheep and cattle upon a
large scale. It is estimated that ten million dollars have been invested
in this way within the last three years, and one Englishman alone has
expended a million. The usual plan, as in the United States, is to
organize companies, with headquarters in London, Glasgow, and other
large cities, and send out capable superintendents. The cattle interests
of the Argentine Republic, like those in our country, will ultimately be
controlled by a few large corporations.

The colonization plan is popular there, and so far quite successful.
Within the last five years 1,126,000 acres of land have been taken up by
colonies, representing a population of 82,000 souls, mostly Italians and
Swiss. The English and German immigrants will not colonize. The railroad
development of the country is very rapid, and lines are now being
constructed in various directions from Buenos Ayres and other commercial

The result of the internal improvements made under this policy is plain
to be seen. Within the last five years the cattle have been driven back
gradually upon the pampas, towns have sprung up, and farms have been
opened in territory that was inaccessible before the railroad
improvements began. There is a natural tendency to overbuild, as has
been the case in this country; but so far only the needs of the present
have been met, and the roads have become at once self-sustaining. The
prospective roads, however, are very numerous, and concessions for
thousands of miles have already been granted on the most liberal terms.
Two of these concessions are held by citizens of the United States.

Five years ago the Argentine Republic was importing wheat and flour from
Chili and the United States, and Uruguay only raised enough for her own
consumption. The wheat crop of Uruguay in 1878 was 2,000,000 bushels; in
1880, 2,600,000 bushels; in 1882, 3,000,000 bushels; in 1884, 4,000,000
bushels; and the increase in the corn product was equally rapid. In 1854
only 375,000 acres were under cultivation in the Argentine Republic; in
1864 the cultivated area was 506,000 acres; in 1874 it was 825,000
acres. In 1879 the boom commenced, and in 1884 there were 4,260,000
acres under cultivation--an increase of 3,435,000 acres in ten years. In
1874 there were 271,000 acres in wheat; in 1884, 1,717,000 acres--an
increase of 533 per cent. In 1874 there were 554,000 acres in other
crops; in 1884 the area jumped to 2,543,000 acres--an increase of 360
per cent. The average yield of wheat throughout the republic in 1884 was
eight and one-half bushels to the acre, and the total crop was nearly
eleven million bushels. It was in 1880 that the importation of wheat
ceased, the amount purchased of Chili that year being 11,330 bushels. It
is estimated that the area in wheat the present year is as large as
5,000,000 acres, but no official returns have been received.

Wheat and flour are not the only agricultural products exported by the
Argentine Republic. In 1884 the exports of corn were 1,160,000 bushels;
of barley, 70,000 bushels; of baled hay, 11,460,000 kilograms; of
linseed, 23,061,000 kilograms; of peanuts, 2,617,292 kilograms; of
potatoes, 100,000 bushels. The production of sugar is becoming a very
important industry, and is now almost sufficient to supply the domestic
demand, the yield last year amounting to nearly 50,000,000 pounds. The
increased area under cultivation and the improved methods of reducing
the cane will soon make sugar an article of export. There are a number
of Cuban exiles in the northern provinces and in Paraguay cultivating
sugar and tobacco on the Cuban system with marked success.


It is estimated that the extent of agricultural land in the Argentine
Republic equals six hundred thousand square miles--an area equal to
Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Arkansas, Kentucky,
Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Missouri, Iowa, and Wisconsin, and capable of
producing every crop in those States; and if the increase of population
continues at its present rate they will hold a population of seven
millions by the close of the century. The market which we shall first
lose by Argentine competition in breadstuffs will be Brazil, where we
now sell about $5,000,000 worth of flour annually. The Argentine
Republic will also become our rival in the West India trade, which now
absorbs most of its meat product; and we will soon feel the effect of
the cheapness of Argentine products in the European market, where
considerable beef, mutton, and grain, is now sent in exchange for
manufactured merchandise. But in pork, lard, and dairy products the
Argentinians cannot compete with us. The country does not seem to be
adapted to hog-raising, and while there is always fresh pork to be had,
the supply of bacon, hams, and lard is included in the imports. Nearly
all the cured pork comes from the United States, but most of the hams
and bacons are disguised under English trade-marks. The merchants here
say that American packers do not prepare their meats in a proper way to
get this market, and that our cured pork first goes to England, and
there receives some treatment and a particular style of wrapping which
make it salable in the River Plate country. There is some native butter
made, but none is exported, the climate not being suitable to the dairy
business. Most of the imported butter, as well as the cheese, comes from
Holland and Copenhagen. The butter is packed in one-pound tins,
hermetically sealed, and will keep any length of time if properly
handled. There is no American butter or cheese to be had there, not even
oleomargarine, an article that is unknown to the people. A comparatively
small amount of lard and butter is consumed, however, as oil is commonly
used for cooking. Most of the cooks are French and Italian, in both
private and public houses, and use the same methods they were accustomed
to in their respective countries.

The wool product of the Argentine Republic is not so valuable as that of
Australia, although larger, because it is coarser, and contains a much
greater percentage of dirt and grease. The people complain that our duty
on wool, being levied by weight, is an unjust discrimination against
their product, and in favor of the product of Australia, which is true.
The only shipments to this country are of the coarser varieties, to be
used in the manufacture of carpets, and we take annually about a million
dollars’ worth. The great bulk of the product goes to Belgium, and is
consumed in the Brussels carpet mills, the export to that country in
1883 amounting to $12,148,000. Some attempt is being made to improve the
quality of the wool by grading up the flocks with imported bucks, but
the judgment of the sheep-growers is generally against it, as the
present quality is in demand for carpet manufacture.

The sheepskins go to Germany and France, but many of the hides come to
the United States, being our largest item of import from the Argentine
Republic. The same objection that is made to improving the sheep is made
against the improvement of the breeds of cattle, as the native hides are
heavier, and command a better price than the Durhams, Herefords, and
Jerseys that have been introduced. The imported breeds yield a better
quality of beef, but a less valuable hide, leaving the profit from the
animal about the same. The number of hides exported in 1885 was less
than usual, because of the demand for stock for new ranches; and the
amount of jerked beef was smaller.

This jerked beef is the flesh of the animal cut into thin strips and
dried in the sun, a weak brine being commonly used to hasten evaporation
and arrest decay. It is packed in large bales, and sent to Brazil and
the West Indies, where it is the staple food of the slaves and the
laboring classes. We have nothing to compare with it in the United
States except the jerked buffalo meat of the Indians, which is prepared
in a similar manner. Of this product $1,710,000 worth was sent to Brazil
last year, and $1,143,000 worth to Cuba.

No attempt has ever been made by our beef-producers to compete with the
Argentine Republic and Uruguay--the only exporters of jerked beef--and
it would undoubtedly be difficult for them to do so, as the cost of the
cattle is so much greater in this country. Their transportation
facilities to the West Indies are better than ours, notwithstanding the
difference in distance, and a steamer leaves Buenos Ayres for the
Brazilian ports every day. Various endeavors to introduce jerked beef
into Europe have proved unsuccessful, but the attempt has not been
abandoned. Samples are prepared with more than ordinary care, and the
article is sold for five cents a pound, but it does not seem to be

The Argentinians are beginning to ship large quantities of fresh beef to
Europe in refrigerator ships, one or more leaving


Buenos Ayres every week, and the new steamers of the English and French
lines contain compartments built especially for this purpose. They do
not use ice, but have a cooling process similar to that adopted on
transatlantic steamers. Companies are already formed to slaughter and
ship beef in this way, and the business is growing so rapidly that it
will soon be felt by our exporters. The whole carcass is shipped, and
only choice beef is selected. They cannot now compete with us in
quality, but their cattle are so much cheaper, and are being graded up
by the introduction of improved stock from England. Their cattle are not
sold by weight, but by the head, being graded according to size and
condition, prime steers bringing only fourteen or fifteen dollars, the
next quality twelve dollars, and the poorest ones ten dollars per head.
Within a radius of fifty miles from Buenos Ayres are ranches larger than
any in Texas, and cattle can be driven almost on the steamers in the
harbor, so that the cost of transportation and shrinkage is merely
nominal, while our ranches are from two to four thousand miles from the

Fat steers can be set down at the slaughter-houses, not fifty miles from
the harbor of Buenos Ayres, at a maximum price of fifteen dollars a
head, and they are high now because of the demand for cattle to stock
new ranches. The cost of transportation from the ranches in the
Argentine Republic to Covent Garden market in London is never greater,
and often less, than from Kansas City to New York; so that our
producers, in addition to the difference in the price of beef, will have
the freight from New York to Liverpool against them.

Sheep are also killed and frozen for exportation to Europe, a single
_saldero_ or slaughter-house, at Campana, fifty miles from Buenos Ayres,
shipping five hundred carcasses daily. They are hung for an hour after
killing, and then removed to a chilling-room, where the temperature is
slightly above the freezing-point; from this they are taken to a still
colder chamber, where they are left until as hard as stone. Then they
are packed in canvas bags, and sent to the steamer in refrigerator cans.
Live sheep in condition for killing are worth only three or four dollars
for the best quality, and ordinary mutton is sold in the city market for
seven cents a pound. In 1879 we exported ninety million pounds of
dressed beef. In 1884 this total had been nearly doubled, with a fair
prospect of continued increase. In 1884 the Argentine Republic exported
sixty-five million pounds of dressed beef, with an increase quite as
rapid as ours. In 1884 there were 49,000,000 head of cattle in the
United States, and 30,000,000 in the Argentine Republic. The single
province of Buenos Ayres has just twice as many cattle as Texas, and as
many as Texas and all the territories of the United States combined.
Then across the River Plata is the little republic of Uruguay, about as
large as Iowa, with 500,000 people and 8,000,000 cattle, and presenting
about the same ratio of increase.

The cattlemen of the Argentine Republic and Uruguay are going into the
business of canning meats, and will soon compete with us in that line.
It is not generally known that Liebig’s extract of beef, so largely used
in hospitals as a tonic, is made in Uruguay, for the jars in which the
tonic reaches the market bear trademarks to make it appear to come from
England. The extract was invented by Dr. Liebig, the celebrated chemist,
nearly half a century ago, but its process passed into the hands of an
English company in 1866, which then removed the establishment from
Antwerp to Fray Bentos, Uruguay. This company is now erecting buildings
for the purpose of canning meats, and have Chicago men in charge of the

Although horses are very cheap, there is a good deal of profit in
raising them, and the stock is being improved very rapidly by the
introduction of thorough-bred English stallions. The native Argentine
horse is almost the counterpart of the North American broncho, tough,
swift, and enduring, and when crossed with better blood loses none of
his good qualities, but improves in size and appearance. They are
usually kept in droves of five hundred, and run wild the year round, the
stallions being turned loose among them at the proper season--about one
to twenty mares. When the colts are two years old they are taken from
the drove and kept separate until three or four years old, when the
fillies are turned back with the mares, and the stallions broken for
service. Mares are never broken, but run wild on the range from the time
they are foaled until they are driven to the saldero at the age of
twelve or fifteen years. A three-year-old mare is worth seven or eight
dollars for breeding purposes--not as much as a heifer--while a
fifteen-year-old brings three or four dollars at the saldero. Her hide
is shipped to Europe, her bones turned into bone ash, and her hoofs sent
to the glue factory.

The best kind of an improved saddle-horse, such as would bring two
hundred and fifty or three hundred dollars in the States, can be bought
in the Argentine Republic for seventy-five dollars, fine carriage-horses
for fifty dollars each, and work-horses for twenty or twenty-five
dollars. The street-car companies pay about ten dollars a head for their
stock. Everybody rides; even the old adage about a beggar on horseback
is realized there.

There is a curious story about an island in the River Plata which was a
horse ranch in early Spanish times. The animals became so numerous that
there was not grass enough to feed them, and no demand for their export.
The owners decided to reduce their stock in a barbarous way, and when
the grass was dry they set fire to it. Every horse on the island was
burned to death except those that ran into the river and were drowned.
The stench was so great that navigation was almost entirely suspended on
the river. The result of this method of reducing stock was a little more
complete than the owners anticipated, so when the grass grew up again
they had to buy stallions and mares and start anew. Singularly enough,
every animal placed on the island since that fire has died of a
mysterious disease, and no colt has been foaled there for one hundred
and fifty years. Various breeds of stock have been tried, but never a
hoof has left the island alive. Three months there finishes them. The
island was unoccupied for fifty or sixty years, but is now used as a
cattle ranch, and horned stock do not appear to be subject to the
mysterious malady.



Soon after General Garfield became President, an ex-member of Congress,
since the governor of a western State, came into a correspondent’s
office in Washington, and sitting down with a discouraged and disgusted
air, asked, “Where in Tophet is Uruguay? I have been offered the honor
of representing the United States in that country, and before I accept I
would like to find out where it is.”


Not three out of four men in the Congress of the United States could
have answered the question correctly; and if the embryonic diplomatist
had entered into an inquiry about the resources of the country, and the
number and character of the people, he could not have found a man in our
National Legislature, on the Supreme Bench, or in the Cabinet, who could
have given him the information correctly, and he might have sought in
vain for it in our modern school geographies. Yet Uruguay is one of the
most enterprising, progressive, and prosperous nations on this
hemisphere, growing faster in proportion to its area and population than
the United States, and is beginning to be a formidable competitor of
ours in the provision markets of Europe.

The country which appears on the map as Uruguay is known in South
America as “the Banda Oriental,” with a strong accent upon the last
syllable, which, being interpreted, means “the Eastern Strip,” as it was
once a part of the Argentine Republic, which in those days was known as
“the Banda Occidental.” Uruguay is the old Indian name, and the legal
one, being recognized by the Constitution. The inhabitants are known as
“Orientals,” with a strong accent on the “tals.” Uruguay is the smallest
independent State in South America, and in its agricultural and pastoral
resources the richest, with undiscovered possibilities in the mineral
way. In the good old colony times the Viceroy of Spain and the Jesuits
used to get a great deal of gold and silver--placer washings--from the
interior of Uruguay, but during the long struggle for independence, and
the sixty years of revolution that followed, the operation of the mines
was suspended, and their localities forgotten or obliterated by the
people, who were mercilessly robbed of the wealth they gathered in that
way. They found it economical to do nothing, for as fast as they
accumulated a few dollars they were robbed of it, and those who were
suspected of knowing where the gold and silver came from were persecuted
until they disclosed the secret, or else died with it concealed in their

No country ever suffered more from war than Uruguay, as for almost a
hundred years a struggle of arms, under one excuse or another, has been
going on within her borders, and until the present despotism--which
makes only a mask of the nominal democracy it pretends--came into power,
there was a change of government, or an attempt to secure one, under
almost every new moon. Although Uruguay is as much of an absolute
monarchy to-day as exists on the face of the earth, her people have
peace and prosperity, her development is being hastened by large works
of internal improvement, her population is increasing rapidly, her
commerce is assuming immense proportions, and she is making more rapid
strides towards greatness than any other country in South America,
except her neighbor across the River Plate. With a republican form of
government guaranteed by the constitution, with civil and religious
freedom as the foundation-stone of the nation, the will of the President
has been usually as absolute as was that of the ex-King Thebaw.


Maximo Santos, who was for many years to Uruguay what Guzman Blanco has
been to Venezuela, and Rufino Barrios to Guatemala--its nominal
President, but its _de facto_ dictator--was a man of immense energy,
broad views, and an ambition to lift his nation to the standard of
modern civilization. Although an autocrat, to a certain degree he was a
wise one, and as long as a citizen did not interfere with his management
of the Government, nor criticise with too great freedom his disbursement
of the public revenues, Santos gave him every encouragement and all
reasonable concessions. His methods were rude, cruel, and arbitrary; his
ministers were the instruments of his will, the Congress simply one of
the fingers of his right hand, and the army his weapon of offence and
defence, without regard to the Constitution, the laws, or the rights of
the people, while the courts were puppets to perform at his pleasure.
Occasionally he went through the form of holding an election, but the
soldiers always had charge of the polls and counted the votes. No
candidates but those favored of the President were ever elected in
Uruguay, and whenever any public expression was called for by him the
leaders of public opinion were always careful to discover his
preferences and anticipate them. If a true and complete history of his
administration, and his military career preceding his assumption of the
Presidency, could be written, it would be as remarkable a document as
the events of the nineteenth century in any land could justify.

Santos was what they call “a barrack dog.” That is, his father was a
soldier, his mother a rabona--one of that class of homeless women who
are encouraged by the Government to follow the army--and he was born in
a barracks. From birth until he was able to bear arms he was kicked
about without care or education, generally housed and fed in a military
garrison or camp. He entered the army as a private when not more than
fourteen or fifteen years of age, and within twenty years, by reason of
his brains and force of character, became its commander-in-chief. It was
a short step to a dictatorship, during one of the revolutions that were
epidemic in Uruguay, and then after a form of an election

[Illustration: MAXIMO SANTOS.

(President of Uruguay from March 1, 1882, to November, 1886.)]

he was declared “constitutional” President. When he came into power
Uruguay was going backward, and had been for several years; the country
was gradually becoming depopulated, property was greatly depreciated in
value, everybody was living from hand to mouth, and there was no
commerce of consequence. Although Santos was a brutal tyrant, the
magnificent results of his progressive policy are to be seen on every
hand, and he should be judged accordingly. The results he accomplished
should be permitted to obscure his methods. It was in 1887 that Santos
was finally overthrown, and to “let him down easy,” as the saying is,
his successor in the Presidency gave him credentials as an Envoy
Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to all the courts of Europe,
where he has since remained. Twice he has attempted to return to
Montevideo, and once got as far as the harbor, but was not permitted to
land. After spending a few months in Buenos Ayres, he became convinced
that his power was broken, and he returned to Europe to remain the rest
of his days and draw a salary or pension that is paid him by the
Government as the price of his absence.

The President of Uruguay in 1889 is Gen. Maximo Tajes, a man of
education, culture, and liberal tendencies, but not so much of an
autocrat as Santos.

The country is enjoying great prosperity and much-needed peace.
Immigration is very large and increasing, the newcomers being mostly
from Italy and the Basque provinces of Spain--a frugal, industrious, and
law-abiding people. They bring a good deal of property with them; in
fact, according to the statistics during the last ten years, only 1335
people were lodged and fed at the expense of the Government even for a
day. There are some German, Swedish, and Swiss colonies which are small
but immensely prosperous; but the Government has not encouraged the
formation of colonies, preferring individual immigrants.

It is said that there is not an acre of unproductive land in all
Uruguay, and that its area of seven thousand square leagues--a little
more than that of England--is capable of sustaining as large a
population as England, Scotland, and Wales together. The soil and
climate are of such a character that any grain or fruit known in the
list of the world’s product can be produced in abundance. Coffee will
grow beside corn, and bananas and pineapples beside wheat; sugar and
potatoes, apples and oranges, in fact all things that man requires for
food or clothing, are capable of being raised within the boundaries of
the republic at the minimum of

[Illustration: ONE OF THE OLD STREETS.]

labor. There are medicinal plants, and forests of useful timber, plenty
of grass of the most nutritious quality for cattle, and so abundant that
ten times more can be fed upon the same area than in the Argentine
Republic. There is plenty of water for mechanical purposes, and the
geologists say that much of the surface of the northern provinces is
underlaid by coal-beds. Nearly all sections of the republic may be
reached by navigable rivers, and natural harbors are frequent along the
coast. Besides coal and silver and gold, there are said to be many other
rich mineral deposits, and the report of a Geological Commission,
recently intrusted with an examination of these resources, reads like a
fable of Eldorado. Even if these glowing recitals are exaggerated, there
is no doubt of the agricultural and pastoral possibilities of the
country, and all Uruguay needs is permanent peace to become a rich and
powerful nation. Her population has doubled within the last few years,
not only by immigration, but from natural causes, and her statistics
show a larger birth-rate and a smaller mortality than any country on the
globe. The vital tables show a net increase of births over deaths of
eighteen in a thousand of population, the birth-rate averaging
forty-five and the death-rate twenty-seven per thousand during the last
five years.

It is quite remarkable, and the facts deserve the study of scientists,
that the excess of males born in Uruguay is so great, the statistics
showing that of every 1000 births 561 are males and only 439 are
females. In the United States the ratio is 506 males to 494 females; in
England, 485 to 515; and on the Continent of Europe, 402 to 508. Another
remarkable fact, which is attributed to the climate, is that there is
less insanity in Uruguay than in any other country, the ratio of insane
being only 95 per 100,000 of population, while in the United States it
is 329, in Great Britain 322, in France 248, and in other countries
equally large in comparison.

It is said, too, that living is cheaper in Uruguay than anywhere else.
Beef is three to five cents a pound, mutton and other meats about the
same price, fish five cents a pound, partridges and similar birds ten
cents each, chickens and ducks fifteen cents each, and vegetables are
sold at proportionate prices. Labor is scarce and wages are high,
consequently the public wealth is increasing very rapidly, being
estimated in 1884 at $580 per capita of population. Taking the foreign
commerce of Montevideo alone, the statistics show a ratio of $240 for
each citizen, and the increase is very rapid. But a still greater
increase is shown in the agricultural and pastoral development of the
country. With a population of 500,000 Uruguay produces 5,000,000 bushels
of grain annually, or an average of ten bushels per inhabitant, and this
with only 540,000 acres of ground under cultivation, including vegetable
gardens as well as wheat and corn fields. It is claimed there that no
other country can show so high an average.

The increase in cattle, sheep, and horses is astonishing, there being
now 7,000,000 cattle, 700,000 horses, and 11,000,000 sheep in Uruguay,
valued at $86,000,000. This valuation is very small when considered by
the side of the estimate placed upon such stock in the United States,
being less than five dollars per head for sheep, horses, and cattle, all
taken together. The horses alone, if estimated at the average value of
$100, would be worth $70,000,000, and if the cattle were valued at only
twelve dollars each, which is a low estimate in the United States, the
7,000,000 head owned in Uruguay would be worth alone the amount at which
the whole livestock interest of the country is valued.

A large proportion of the wealth of Uruguay is in the hands of
foreigners. The aborigines are totally exterminated. It is the only
country in South America where “civilization” has been thorough and
complete in this respect, and it might be searched from end to end
without discovering a single representative of the Indian race which
originally occupied the land. The descendants of the Spanish
Conquistadors are called natives, or Orientals, while foreigners are
those who were not born in the country. Of the 500,000 population,
166,000 are said to be of foreign nativity, and most of them have come
in within the last ten years. This class holds about $237,000,000 of
property, or $1440 per capita.

The interior of Uruguay is being rapidly developed by the construction
of railways under the control of the Government, and representing an
investment of about $12,000,000. Besides the lines already in operation,
extensions are in progress which, when completed, will give the country
a system of about 1500 miles of road, at a cost of something like
$50,000,000! Railroad building is cheap in Uruguay, as grades are light
and easy, and ties are plenty and accessible. The commerce of the
country now amounts to $58,000,000 annually, with $29,500,000 of imports
and $28,500,000 of exports. The imports are unusually large of late
years, because of the vast amount of railway supplies and other
merchandise used by the Government. The bulk of the trade is with
England and France, the United States having but a very small share,
which consists chiefly of lumber, kerosene-oil, and agricultural
implements. Uruguay ships to Europe annually about $4,300,000 worth of
hides, $7,000,000 in wool, and $6,000,000 in beef. There are twenty-one
lines of steamers connecting Uruguay with Europe, and sending from forty
to sixty vessels each way every month, while there is no direct
communication with the United States except by occasional

The foreign commerce of the country is increasing with great rapidity.
In 1875 it was $25,000,000; in 1878, $33,000,000; in 1880, $39,000,000;
in 1881, $38,000,000; in 1882, $40,000,000; in 1883, $45,000,000; in
1884, $51,000,000; in 1885, $52,000,000; in 1886, $55,000,000; and in
1887, $58,000,000, having increased $33,000,000 in thirteen years,
during which time the exports have run up from $12,000,000 to
$28,500,000, and the imports from $12,000,000 to 29,500,000.

The great wealth of Uruguay is at present in cattle and sheep, and its
chief exports are wool and beef, but the agricultural resources of the
country will be the basis of its future greatness, and it will enter
into competition with the United States in supplying the world with
breadstuffs and provisions. When a total population of only five hundred
thousand, including men, women, and children, carries on a foreign
commerce of nearly sixty million dollars annually, it can be inferred
that there is energy and industry at work, and a productive field for it
to engage in. It is claimed that Uruguay has greater natural resources
than any other South American country, and it is probably true. It is
also claimed that the profits on labor and capital are greater there
than elsewhere on the continent, which the statistics demonstrate.

The largest export of Uruguay is wool, 20,000,000 sheep making a clip
worth over $10,000,000 for exportation. The increase in sheep has been
310 per cent. in ten years. The next article of export is beef, valued
at about $6,000,000, being the product of about 8,000,000 cattle, which
are also rapidly increasing. The third export in value is hides, of
which $5,000,000 worth are annually shipped. Then come about $4,500,000
worth of wheat, $1,000,000 worth of corn, and $2,500,000 worth of other
agricultural products. All of these have more than doubled within the
last ten years, and are now increasing like compound interest.

We are accustomed to regard Uruguay as an obscure and insignificant
country, worth not even a thought, but the commercial strides she is
making show that she means competition with the United States in the
near future. Chili has taken the flour market of the west coast of South
America away from California, and Uruguay and the Argentine Republic are
soon to meet our Dakota, Illinois, and Kansas wheat in the markets of
Europe, while they threaten an even greater danger to our cattle
interests. With 100,000,000 sheep in the Argentine Republic, and
20,000,000 sheep in Uruguay; with 30,000,000 cattle in one country and
8,000,000 in the other, and only about 4,000,000 people to furnish
domestic consumers between them, it is easy to see what the supply of
beef and wool and mutton will soon be for exportation. There is more
cause for alarm in the ranches of Uruguay and the Argentine Republic
than in the manufactures of England and Germany. We can compete with
foreign industries in the quality and price of mechanical products, but
we cannot compete with ranchmen who can put beef cattle into the market
at ten and twelve dollars per head.

One of the greatest advantages the cattle producers of Uruguay and the
Argentine Republic will always have over those of the United States is
the nearness of their ranges to the sea. The present supply of beef in
both these countries for the export market comes from within a radius of
one hundred miles from an ocean harbor in which can be found the
steamers of every maritime nation on earth except our own. Ocean vessels
can go two thousand miles up the River Plate and five hundred miles up
the Uruguay River into the heart of the cattle country, and almost tie
up to the trees on the ranches, while our cattle have to be carried
fifteen hundred to four thousand miles on the cars. The geographical and
navigable conditions of these countries are such that ours would only
equal them if ocean steamers could visit Denver and Fort Dodge. Any man
of business can calculate the difference in the value of the product and
the difference in profits. It is claimed that the cattle companies of
the countries of which I have been speaking can sell marketable steers
at ten and twelve dollars a head, and declare thirty per cent.
dividends. We will not have the native Spanish population to compete
with, but Englishmen, Irishmen, and Scotchmen, who are going in large
numbers and with an immense amount of capital into the River Plate
countries to establish ranches and raise beef for the European market.

Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay, lies upon a tongue of land which
stretches out into the River Plate, nearly the shape of Manhattan
Island, on which New York City stands, except that it has the Atlantic
Ocean on one side and a river sixty-five miles wide on the other. This
strip is of limestone formation, with very little soil on the surface,
and rises in the centre to an apex like a whale’s back or the roof of a
house, so that the streets running northward and southward are like a
series of terraces rising one above the other, not only affording
perfect natural drainage, but giving almost every house in town a vista
of the river or the sea from the upper windows. As you approach
Montevideo the city seems much larger than it really is, and Yankee
Doodle could not complain of it as he did of Boston when he said he
could not see the town because there were so many houses.


There is no city more delightfully situated than the capital of Uruguay,
and viewed from any direction the prospect of Montevideo is a lovely
one. Were it not for those dreadful pamperos, which during the winter
season sweep the whole southern half of the continent from the Andes to
the sea, searching every nook and crevice for dust to cast into the
faces of the people, and parching the skin, this place might be made an
earthly type of Paradise. But nothing can afford shelter from these
searching winds, and even strawberries the year round are no

The old Spaniards had a queer way of naming places. When the catalogue
of saints was exhausted and duplicated and triplicated, and all the holy
fasts and feasts had served to christen colonies and towns, they
“dropped into poetry,” as it were, and gave their imaginations a chance
at nomenclature. For example, the Rio de la Plata means the “silver
river,” so called, I suppose, because its waters have not the slightest
resemblance to silver, but are of the color of weak chocolate, like our
own Missouri. Then, again, the Argentine Republic means the “land of
silver,” and was so called, not because mines were found there, but to
attract colonists in the expectation of finding wealth.

The real name of Montevideo is San Felipe de Montevideo, which does not
sound quite so poetical when translated into English, for it means “I
see the hill of St. Philip.” The name of the saint has been dropped, and
now the place is known as “I see the Hill.” The hill which the
discoverer saw used to be called after the Apostle, but now is called
the “Cerro.” It has a picturesque old fortress on its crest, which is
innocently supposed to afford protection to the capital and the harbor.
If the place were ever attacked, the guns of the fort would furnish no
more protection than so many pop-guns, as it stands back so far behind
the city that half of the balls would fall on the roofs of the houses,
and an assaulting force be landed under the shelter they would give. As
the location of a light-house the Cerro does very well, and the fortress
is useful now only as an arsenal and prison. The old city formerly
surrounded the fortress, and it was closely besieged for nine years,
from 1842 to 1851. In those hard years a new city sprung up around the
besieging encampments, with shops and stores and churches and factories.
After the coming of peace the intermediate space was laid out by French
engineers, and the two cities rapidly grew into one, on the best ground
and after the most approved models of modern times. This space is now
the most beautiful and desirable part of the consolidated city.

It is claimed that Montevideo is the most healthy city in the world, and
there is no reason why it should not be, as the natural drainage is
perfect, and the climate is about like that of Tennessee, the cold
weather of winter being moderated by the Gulf Stream from the ocean,
and the heat of summer by the sea-breeze that seldom fails to perform
its grateful service. When it is not June in Uruguay, it is
October--never too hot and never too cold. There is not such a thing as
a stove in the whole country, but some of the foreigners have fireplaces
in their houses, to temper the winds for the tender feet. What
Montevideo most needs, like Buenos Ayres, is a harbor, for during a
pampero the ships at anchor in the river are without protection, and at
all times the landing and the shipping of merchandise are conducted with
great difficulty in lighters, as at the latter place. A contract has
been made with a French company to construct two breakwaters or piers in
triangular form, and the work, already commenced, is expected to be
completed in 1890.

Around the curve of the bay, fronting the water, are a series of
beautiful villas, or “quintas,” as they are called (pronounced
_kintas_), the suburban residences of wealthy men, built in the ancient
Italian style, with all the luxury and lavish display of modern
extravagance, and reminding one of the Pompeian palaces, or the Roman
villas in the golden age which Horace pictured in his Odes. These
residences are of the most picturesque architecture, and would be
attractive anywhere, but here they are surrounded by a perpetual garden,
and by thousands of flowers which preserve their color and their
fragrance winter and summer, and give the place an appearance of
everlasting spring.

One of these beautiful retreats belongs to a Philadelphian, Mr. W. D.
Evans, who has a romantic history, and is the friend of every naval
officer and every skipper that enters the port. Thirty years ago Mr.
Evans shipped as mate on a sailing-vessel bound for Uruguay. She was
wrecked off the coast by one of the ill winds which seamen meet, and he
was cast ashore, penniless and friendless. All the property he had in
the world were an ordinary ship’s boat, which he had saved from the
wreck, and the clothing which he wore. But he had a strong reserve in
the form of muscle, courage, and manliness, and with his boat he
commenced life as a _cargador_--that is, a longshoreman--and offered
his services to the public to convey passengers and baggage to and from
the ships in the harbor. About a week after he had entered his new
employment he was caught in a gale outside the harbor. His boat was
capsized, and he floated around for four hours clinging to her keel,
until rescued by the crew of a steamer which happened to be coming in.
He thanked his saviors graciously, but declined their invitation to go
on board the steamer, only asking assistance to right his boat, in order
that he might sail back to town. He was jeered at, and advised to let
the old tub drift, as it was worthless; but he told the sailors that
while it was not much of a boat, it was all the property he owned in the
world, and he intended to make a fortune out of it yet. They liked the
spirit of the man, and helped him put his boat in sailing trim, wishing
him goodluck as he started back to Montevideo.

In the centre of the finest private park in the River Plate country is a
handsome bronze fountain which must have cost several thousand dollars.
In its basin, casting a shadow over myriads of gold-fish and speckled
trout, floats Mr. Evans’s old boat, the most precious piece of property
he owns, and he is said to be worth millions. He never allows a day to
pass without visiting the fountain, and no guest ever comes to the Evans
_quinta_ who is not brought to bow to the idol. There is something
pathetic in the affection and reverence which the millionaire shows for
the rotten old tub. “She has saved my life twice,” says Mr. Evans to
everybody, “and when I was flat broke she was my only friend. You
gentlemen may not notice anything pretty about her, but she is the most
beautiful thing I ever saw.”

There never comes to Montevideo a distressed seaman of any race, worthy
or unworthy, who does not find a snug harbor through Mr. Evans’s
bountiful generosity, and there is not a man in all the valley of the
River Plate who does not feel a pleasure in grasping his hand.

There are many beautiful residences and fine stores in Montevideo, and
everything that can be bought in Paris can be found there. There are
three theatres and an Italian opera, a race-course and any number of
clubs, a university, a public library, a museum, and all the etceteras
of modern civilization. The ladies dress in the most stylish of Paris
fashions, and among the aristocracy the social life is very gay. The
people are highly educated, are making money quickly, and spend it like
princes. The Hotel Oriental is the best in South America, being built of
Italian marble, and luxuriously furnished. There are hospitals, asylums,
and other benevolent institutions supported by public and private
charity; two Protestant churches, Protestant schools, fifty-five miles
of street railways, carrying nine million passengers a year--which is a
remarkably high average for a city of one hundred and twenty thousand
population--boulevards and parks, gas and electric lights, telephones
without number, and only now and then does something occur to remind a
tourist that he is not in one of the most modern cities of Europe.

The vestibules of the tenement-houses, and the _patios_, or courts, in
the centre of each, which invariably furnish a cool loafing-place, are
commonly paved with the knuckle-bones of sheep, arranged in fantastic
designs like mosaic-work. They always attract the attention of
strangers, and it is a standing joke to tell the gullible that they are
the knuckle-bones of human beings who were killed during the many
revolutions which occurred in that country.

The ladies of Uruguay are considered to rank next to their sisters of
Peru in beauty, and there is something about the atmosphere which gives
their complexion a purity and clearness that is not found among ladies
of any other country. But, like all Spanish ladies, when they reach
maturity they lose their grace and symmetry of form, and usually become
very stout. This is undoubtedly owing in a great degree to their lack of
exercise; for they never walk, but spend their entire lives in a
carriage or a rocking-chair. Native ladies who have married foreigners,
and gone abroad to France or England, and there adopted the custom of
those countries, preserve their beauty much longer than their sisters
who live indolent lives at home.

[Illustration: SCENE IN MONTEVIDEO.]

The Government offices occupy a rather plain and insignificant
structure, which does not compare in architectural beauty with the
private residences and business blocks. Most of the merchants reside in
the upper floors of their business houses, so that there are but few
exclusively residence streets. The best houses are three and four
stories high, and are quite ornamental in their exterior decorations,
resembling those of Italy, and naturally, as most of the architects and
builders are Italians.

In the centre of the city are two large public squares. One, the Plaza
Constitution, is a military parade-ground, and upon it fronts the
Government building and military barracks. The other is the Plaza
Washington, named in honor of the Father of American Liberty. Crossing
Calle de Washington, and going north a block, one comes to “Calle Veinte
y Cinco de Mayo” (the Twenty-fifth of May Street). This seems odd at
first, but it is sanctified in the minds of the Uruguayans by the story
of their valor and patriotism. It commemorates the national
independence. Turning west on this street towards the point of the
promontory on which the city is built, the traveller stands before one
of the best buildings in the city--the Hospital de Caridad (Charity
Hospital). It is three stories high and three hundred feet long. It
covers an acre of ground, and has accommodations, or beds, for three
hundred patients. Of course the Sisters of Charity are supreme in these
wards, and large numbers of patients are treated here every year.

The Hospital de Caridad has become popular by the manner in which the
money is raised for its maintenance. It is supported by a public
lottery. This finds favor everywhere. One meets many men, women, and
boys on the streets of South American cities selling lottery tickets, as
he would see newsboys selling papers in North American cities. Not far
from Charity Hospital is the British Hospital. It is a fine, substantial
building, and worthy of the people who built it. It cost nearly forty
thousand dollars, and can accommodate sixty patients.

The cemetery is a long way off, around on the south side of the city,
and is a place of beauty. The entrance is tasteful, and much more
elaborate and expensive than any cemetery entrance in the United States.
The chapel down the walk in front of the entrance, with its ornamental
dome and marble floors and ornaments, is worth seeing. The ground is
occupied with private or family vaults much more elaborate and expensive
than those one sees in North America. There are individual tombs in
North American cemeteries far more elegant than any in Uruguay; but,
taken as a whole, this city of the dead is of a higher order. The
streets are too narrow, and the surface is nearly all utilized. It is
common to have glass doors back of the iron gates, so one can look into
the little rooms above the vaults. The walls of these are covered with
pictures and curious wire and bead work ornaments. There are crucifixes
and candles everywhere. In one tomb is to be seen a picture of Mary
seated on an island or floating raft, pulling souls out of the flames of
purgatory. The poor things are stretching up their hands pleading for
help, and Mary is watching the prayers on earth and choosing
accordingly. Back of these tombs, and forming a high wall twenty or
twenty-five feet high, is a long series of vaults one above another,
each with an opening large enough to receive a casket shoved in endwise.
These vaults are either owned, or rented for a term of years, or as long
as the friends pay the rent. In case of default, the remains are taken
out and dropped into deep pits, and the vaults rented to the next comer.

The standing army of Uruguay consists of five thousand men, mostly
concentrated at the capital. Their uniform, with the exception of that
of the President’s bodyguard--a battalion of three or four hundred men,
dressed in a novel and striking costume of leopard-skins--is of the
zouave pattern. There are connected with the army several fine bands,
which on alternate evenings give concerts in the plazas. These concerts
are attended by all classes of people, and furnish good opportunities
for flirtation.

Everybody rides; no one thinks of walking. Each family has its carriage,
saddle, and other horses, and even the beggars go about the streets on
horseback. It is a common thing for a person to be stopped on the street
by a horseman and asked for a centavo, which is worth two and a half
cents of our money. These incidents are somewhat alarming at first, and
suggest highway robbery; but the appeal is made in such a humble,
pitiful tone that the feeling of alarm soon vanishes. “For the love of
Jesus, señor, give a poor sick man a centavo. I’ve had no bread or
coffee to-day;” and receiving the pittance, the beggar will gallop off
like a cow-boy to the nearest drinking-place.

The national drink is called _caña_, and is made of the fermented juice
of the sugar-cane. It contains about ninety per cent. of alcohol, and is
sold at two cents a goblet; so that a spree in Uruguay is within the
reach of the poorest man. But there is very little intemperance in
comparison with that in our own country. On ordinary days drunken men
are seldom seen on the streets, but on the evening of a religious
feast-day the common people usually engage in a glorious carousal.

The policemen in Montevideo are detailed from the army, and carry sabres
instead of clubs, which they use with telling effect upon offenders who
resist arrest. A few years ago there was no safety for people who were
out late at night either in the city or country; robberies and murders
were of frequent occurrence, and yet the prisons were empty. But
President Santos rules with an iron hand, and after a few highwaymen and
murderers were hanged, there was a noticeable change in the condition of
affairs, and now a woman or a child is as safe upon the streets or
highways of the country as in their own homes.

One of the curious customs of Uruguay is the method of making butter.
The dairy-man pours the milk, warm from the cow, into an inflated pig or
goat skin, hitches it to his saddle by a long lasso, and gallops five or
six miles into town with the milk-sack pounding along on the road behind
him. When he reaches the city his churning is over, the butter is made,
and he peddles it from door to door, dipping out with a long wooden
spoon the quantity desired by each family. Though all sorts of modern
agricultural machinery are used on the farms of Uruguay, the natives
cannot be induced to adopt the wooden churn. Some of the foreigners use
it, but the butter is said to be not so good as that made in the curious
primitive fashion. Fresh milk is sold by driving cows from door to door
along the principal streets, and milking them into the jars of the

During the last year religious and political circles have been in a
state of the greatest agitation, owing to the resistance of the priests
to the arbitrary policy of the Government. For several years the Church
has seen itself stripped of its ancient prerogatives, and its occupation
and income gradually restricted by the enactment of laws conferring upon
the civil magistrates duties which were formerly within the jurisdiction
of the priests alone. Under the constitution, the established religion
of the country is the Roman Catholic, and the archbishop was formerly a
greater man than the President, being the final authority in matters
political as well as spiritual.

The Romish Church, like the Spanish kings, ruled very unwisely in the
South American dominions, and instead of keeping pace with the progress
of the people, endeavored to enforce fifteenth century dogmas and
practices in the nineteenth. The result is the same everywhere. The
Liberal element, representing the progressive and educated, have denied
the authority of the Church, and defied its mandates. The Liberals have
been growing stronger and the Church growing weaker each year, until the
former are in power everywhere except in Ecuador, and have given the
priests repeated and bitter doses of their own medicine. Santos, the
President of Uruguay, cares no more for the curse of Rome than for the
bleating of the sheep upon his estancia, and has been arbitrary and
merciless, carrying on a war in which the Clerical party has been driven
to the wall, the parish schools closed, the monks and nuns expelled, and
the pulpits silenced. The first step was to take the education of the
children out of the hands of the Church by establishing free schools and
a compulsory education law, under which the parish schools were not
recognized in the national system of education. The money which formerly
had been given to the Church is devoted to the school fund. Then the
registration of births and deaths was taken from the parish clergy and
placed in the hands of the civil officials. Formerly the legitimacy of a
child could not be established without a certificate from the priest in
whose parish it was born; and the cemeteries were closed to heretics.
The next thing was the passage of the civil marriage law, similar to
that of France, which required every couple to be married by a
magistrate, in order that the legitimacy of their offspring might be
established. This was a serious blow at the revenues of the Church, as
its income from marriage fees was very large. It formerly cost
twenty-five dollars to get married, and very few of the peons, or
laboring classes, could afford the luxury. Now it costs but one dollar.
The Church submitted to all assaults upon it until the marriage law was
passed, and then it openly defied the civil authorities, and threatened
to excommunicate all members who obeyed the statute.

President Santos is not a man to quietly endure defiance of his
authority. He ordered the police to arrest and imprison every priest who
preached such doctrine. Three or four arrests were made, when the
archbishop addressed a letter to the President declaring that the Church
could not and would not recognize marriages formed without its
benediction, and that the police authorities had no right to determine
what subjects should be discussed in the pulpit. The President took no
notice of the protest, further than to direct the police to carry out
their previous orders. The Papal Nuncio, legate from the Holy See,
interfered and entered his remonstrance, whereupon he was given
forty-eight hours to leave the country. The archbishop then instructed
the priests not to preach any sermons whatever, but to confine their
spiritual offices to the celebration of the mass. Then a law was passed
abolishing all houses of religious seclusion, and forbidding secret
religious orders within the territory of Uruguay. The excuse for this
was that the monasteries were the hot-beds of political conspiracy,
which was probably true. An edict was issued expelling all monks and
nuns from Uruguay, and many of them at once left the monasteries, some
taking refuge in private families, others going into hospitals and
almshouses, but more left the country.

On the first of August, 1885, all the convents, except one, were
closed. This one had for its Mother Superior a sister of President Santa
Maria, of Chili. She was a woman of pluck, and determined to defy the
law. When the first of August arrived, the inspectors of police went to
her place, called “The House of the Good Shepherd,” and being denied
admittance, burst in the doors. The Mother Superior was found alone, and
when asked what had become of the Sisters, refused to answer the
question. A search was made, and forty-five terror-stricken women were
discovered concealed in the loft of the chapel and under the altar. They
cried pitifully, and falling before the cross of Christ, begged for His
protection; but the police dragged them out and gave them orders to
leave the country at once. Some of them took refuge in private houses,
and the Mother Superior, who, it was supposed, would be imprisoned,
found an asylum in the house of an Irish Roman Catholic named Jackson,
who raised the English flag over his roof. They soon after disappeared,
however, and quietly left the country.

This ended the supremacy of the Roman Catholic Church in Uruguay. The
next movement of Santos towards its extermination will undoubtedly be
the confiscation of its property; but as yet no steps have been taken in
that direction. Except among the women, there is very little sympathy
for the priests. Men are seldom seen in a church except on notable
feast-days, but the women go to mass every morning, and perform the
duties of their religion with ardent devotion. Protestantism is making
considerable progress in Uruguay under the direction of the Rev. Thomas
Wood, formerly of Indiana, who has been superintendent of Methodist
missions in the River Plate valley for many years. There are in
Montevideo two Protestant churches, and several schools for ordinary as
well as religious instruction. One of the churches is under the care of
the Established Church of England, and is the fashionable place of
worship for foreigners. No mission work is done by it, but it has a
Sabbath-school, and there is regular preaching on Sundays. The success
of Mr. Wood’s labors is very marked, particularly among the natives. He
receives encouragement, but no financial aid, from the Government. His
work is supported by the Missionary Board of the Methodist Church of New
York, and all he asks of the Government is its non-interference. This it
agrees to, and gives him full protection besides. Mr. Wood is an active,
energetic, and enthusiastic man, and the Methodists could not have
placed their work under a better superintendent.

Standing on the Plaza Constitution, one sees towering up, one hundred
and thirty-three feet above, the great cathedral, a large, plain, and
somewhat imposing structure. It was dedicated eighty-two years ago, but
time and the fortunes of war have dealt kindly with it. On entering this
building, at first the visitor wonders at its tawdriness; next he feels
its coldness, and then he is impressed by the dominating importance
given to the Virgin Mother, and the inferior position assigned to the
Son. This is so in all the Catholic churches of South America. Over the
great altars always may be seen some huge and coarse representation of
Mary. She is dressed after the modern style, in some rich material and
an abundance of lace. The stiff wax form and awkward wax hands would
make a sad appearance in a collection of wax-figures like the moral show
of Artemus Ward. The form of the Saviour is pushed away off to one side
in some obscure alcove. The supremacy of Mary in these papal lands is
wrought into all the life of the people. She has every sort of name.
Every conceivable relation in the Virgin’s life is named, and that name
bestowed upon men and women alike. There is “Maria Remedia”--that is,
Mary of Remedies; “Maria Dolores,” Mary of Griefs; “Maria Angustos,”
Mary of Anguish; “Maria Concepcion,” Mary of the Conception; “Maria
Mercedes,” Mary of Mercy; “Maria Anunciacion,” Mary of Annunciation;
“Maria Presentacion,” Mary of the Presentation; “Maria Carmen,” Mary of
Blood; “Maria Purificacion,” Mary of Purification; “Maria Trinidad,”
Mary of the Trinity; “Maria Asuncion,” Mary taken from earth; “Maria
Transitu,” Mary going into heaven--and so on indefinitely. In the
Montevideo cathedral, and in many others, stands a statue of a black
saint--St. Baltazar--among many classes of people, one of the important
saints of the catalogue.

Montevideo, with a population of one hundred and twenty-five thousand,
has twenty-three daily papers--more, in proportion to its population,
than any other city in the world; three times as many as London, and
nearly twice as many as New York. Buenos Ayres has twenty-one daily
papers for a population of four hundred thousand. Other cities in South
America are equally blessed; but in those of the republics of Ecuador,
Bolivia, and Paraguay no daily papers are issued. The South American
papers are not published so much for the dissemination of news as for
the propagation of ideas. They give about six columns of editorial to
one of intelligence, and publish all sorts of communications on
political subjects, furnish a story in each issue, and often run
histories and biographies as serials. One frequently takes up a daily
paper and finds in it everything but the news, so that last week’s issue
is just as good reading as yesterday’s.

The principal reason and necessity for having so many newspapers is that
every public man requires an organ in order to get his views before the
people. The editors are ordinarily politicians or publicists, who devote
their entire time to the discussion of political questions, and expect
the party or faction to which they belong to furnish them with the means
of living while they are so employed. Each of the papers has a director,
who holds the relation of editor-in-chief, and a sub-editor, who is a
man-of-all-work, edits copy, looks after the news, reads proof, and
stays around the place to see that the printers are kept busy. There is
never a staff of editors or reporters as in the United States, and
seldom more than two men in an office. The director usually has some
other occupation. He may be a lawyer, or a judge, or a member of
Congress, and he expects his political sympathizers to assist him in
furnishing editorials.

At the capital of each of the republics in Central and South America
there are usually one or more publications supported by the Government
for the promulgation of decrees, decisions of the courts, laws of
Congress, and official reports; and usually the paper which sustains the
Administration that happens to be in power expects and receives
financial assistance, or a “subvention,” as it is called, from the
Government. This comes in the form of sinecures to the editors, who
receive generous salaries from the public treasury for their political
and professional services. Every president or cabinet minister, every
political leader, every governor of a province, every _jefe politico_
(mayor of a city), and often a collector of customs, has his organ, and,
if he is not the editor himself, sees that whoever acts in that capacity
is paid by the tax-payers.

Except in Montevideo, Buenos Ayres, Santiago, Valparaiso, Rio de
Janeiro, and other of the larger and more enterprising cities, there are
no regular hours of publication; but papers are issued at any time, from
eight o’clock in the morning until ten at night, whenever they happen to
be ready to go to press. It seems odd to have yesterday’s paper
delivered to you in the afternoon of to-day, but it often occurs. As
soon as enough matter to fill the forms is in type, the edition goes to
press. In the cities mentioned and some others there is a good deal of
journalistic enterprise and ability; news is gathered by the
editors--there is no reporter in all Spanish America. Telegraphic
despatches are received and published, including cablegrams from Europe
furnished by the Havas News Agency; news correspondence regarding
current events comes from the interior towns and cities; meetings are
reported, fights and frolics are written up in graphic style, and even
interviews have been introduced to a limited extent. The newspapers of
Valparaiso and Buenos Ayres are the most enterprising and ably
conducted, _El Comercio_, of the former city, and _La Nacion_, of the
latter, ranking well beside the provincial papers of Europe.

The editors of papers in the tropics are seldom called upon to report
fires, as they are of rare occurrence. The houses are practically
fire-proof, being built of adobe, and roofed with tiles. No stoves are
used, and as there are no chimneys such a thing as a defective flue is
unknown. All the cooking is done upon an arrangement like a
blacksmith’s forge, and charcoal is the only fuel used. The delight of
the South American editor is a street fight, and although an account of
it may not appear for several days after the occurrence, the writer
gives his whole soul to its description. It is always recorded in the
most elaborate and flamboyant manner. The following is a literal
translation of the opening of one of these articles:

“A personal encounter of the most transcendent and painful interest
occurred day before yesterday in the street of the Twenty-fifth of May,
near the palatial residence of the most excellent and illustrious Señor
Don Comana, member of the Chamber of Deputies, and was witnessed by a
grand concourse of people, whose excitement and demonstrations it is
impossible to adequately describe.”

A dog-fight or any other event of interest would be treated in the same
manner. Everything is “transcendent,” everything is “surpassing.” The
grandiloquent style of writing, which appears everywhere, is not
confined to newspapers, nor to orations, but you find it in the most
unsuspected places. For example, in a bath-room at a hotel I once found
an _aviso_ which, literally translated, read as follows:

“In consequence of the grand concourse of distinguished guests who
entreat a bath in the morning, and with the profound consideration for
the convenience of all, it is humbly and respectfully requested by the
management that the gentlemen will be so courteous and urbane as to
occupy the shortest possible time for their ablutions, and that they
will be so condescending as to pull out the plug while they are resuming
their garments.”

Papers often quote from one another. They select their news as
ship-builders select their timber--when it is old and tough. Compositors
are not paid by the thousand ems, as in the United States, but receive
weekly wages, which are seldom more than eight or ten dollars. Six or
seven compositors are a sufficient force for the largest office, as the
type used is seldom smaller than brevier, and more often long primer.
The printers are mostly natives, although a few Germans are to be found.
There are no typographical unions or trade organizations in South
America. The laborers and mechanics are called peons, and are in a state
of bondage, although not so recognized by law. In the larger cities the
papers are delivered by carriers, and sold by newsboys on the streets;
but in the smaller towns they are sent to the _correo_, or post-office,
to be called for, like other mail, by the subscribers. The price of
subscription is inordinately large, being seldom less than twelve
dollars per year, and often double that amount; and single copies cost
ten cents in native money, which will average about seven and a half
cents in American gold. The paper which has the largest circulation in
South America is _La Nacion_, of Buenos Ayres, which is said to
circulate thirty thousand copies; but twelve or fifteen hundred copies
is considered a fair circulation for the ordinary daily.

Most of the offices are very cheaply fitted up. A dress of type lasts
many years, and stereotyping is almost unknown. The presses used are the
old-fashioned elbow-joint kind, such as were in vogue in the United
States forty years ago. In Chili and the Argentine Republic there are
some cylinder presses run by steam; but the people generally through the
continent are very far behind the times in the typographic art. Modern
equipments might be introduced very easily, but the printers down there
know nothing about them, and when a perfecting press that cuts and folds
is described to them, they are apt to accept the story as a North
American exaggeration.

The advertising patronage is very good nearly everywhere, particularly
that of the Government organs; but small rates are paid, and the rural
system of “trading out” is practised to a considerable extent. The same
patent medicine “ads.” that are familiar to the readers of the
newspapers in the United States appear in the South American journals,
and are eagerly scanned by homesick travellers, although they look very
odd in Spanish, and usually can only be recognized by trademarks and
other well-known signs. Most of the advertising in South America is
done through the newspapers. Very few posters or dodgers or almanacs are
used, and the patent medicine fiend has not used his brush so
extensively upon the fences and dead walls as in the United States. Not
long ago the manufacturers of a popular specific sent their agent in
Peru a box of handsomely illuminated advertising cards. The custom
officers seized them, and the druggist to whom they were consigned was
obliged to pay a heavy penalty for trying to smuggle in works of art.

The South American editor is not allowed the same liberty to criticise
public men that is enjoyed by his contemporary in the United States. He
speaks with moderation during political excitement, and uses great
precaution in his comments upon public affairs. Last winter the
Secretary of the Treasury of one of the Spanish-American republics
absconded with every dollar in the vaults at the expiration of his term
of office. The Administration organs contained no allusion to the event,
while the Opposition paper announced it in this innocent language: “The
Treasury on Saturday last was the scene of a violent raid on the part of
Minister Pena, of the Treasury Department. He entered the cashier’s
office late in the afternoon, and demanded all the money that was in the
vaults. In spite of the protest of the cashier, he carried away what is
said to have amounted to nine thousand dollars. It was the last act of
the retiring Minister of Finance. The motives that prompted the
procedure are unknown, and the disposition of the money has not been

In some of the republics there is a censor of the press, to whom a copy
of each edition is submitted before it is published. This causes some
inconvenience and delay at times, for if the censor happens to be out of
town, or at a dinner-party, or otherwise engaged, the issue is withheld
until his august signature and rubric are placed upon each page of the
copy submitted to him. This copy is filed away for the protection of the
editor, in case any article creates trouble. In 1885 the editor of _El
Campeon_, of Lima, Peru, published an attack upon the Congress of that
republic, which was very mild compared with articles that are frequently
directed at our law-makers; but it was considered a sufficient reason
for his imprisonment for six months, and the confiscation of his
machinery, type, etc., which were sold for the benefit of the

The most popular names for the newspapers in South America are _La
Revista_ (The Review), _La Nacion_ (The Nation), _La Republica_ (The
Republic), _La Tribuna_ (The Tribune), _La Libertad_ (The Liberty), _La
Voce_ (The Voice), _La Union_ (The Union), _El Tempo_ (The Times), _El
Diario_ (The Diary), _El Eco_ (The Echo), _El Correo_ (The Post), _El
Puebla_ (The People), _La Verdad_ (The Truth). There is a habit of
naming streets and parks and towns in honor of great events, and this
sometimes includes newspapers. For example, there is a daily in
Montevideo called _The Twenty-fifth of May_, which corresponds to our
Fourth of July--the Independence-day of that republic. There are only
three dailies printed in the English language in all Central and South
America. Two of them are published in Buenos Ayres--_The Herald_ and
_The Standard_--the other at Panama--_The Star and Herald_. There is a
weekly printed in English at Valparaiso, and there was formerly one at
Callao, Peru, but it was suspended during the war and its publication
has not been resumed.

It is not generally known that “Liebig’s Extract of Beef,” which, like
quinine, is a standard tonic throughout the world, and is used by every
physician, in every hospital, on every ship, and in every army, is a
product of Uruguay. The cans in which it comes are labelled as if their
contents were manufactured at Antwerp, where the original extract was
invented by Professor Liebig, the famous German chemist, and the
preparation was formerly made there; but in 1866, the patent having
passed into the control of an English company, the works were removed to
Uruguay, where cattle are cheaper than elsewhere, and the entire supply
is now produced at a place called Fray Bentos, about one hundred and
seventy miles above Montevideo, on the Uruguay River, whence it is
shipped in bulk to London and Antwerp, where it is packed in small tins
for the market. An attempt was made to do the packing in Uruguay, but
the Government of that republic imposed so high a tariff upon the tins
that the scheme was abandoned. The chemical process by which the juice
of the beef is extracted and mixed with the blood of the animal is
supposed to be a secret, but as the patent has long since expired, it
could be easily discovered, and thus the manufacture of an almost
necessary article would become general.



The population of Paraguay and its products to-day are less than they
were one hundred years ago, when the present half-ruined city was the
capital of the southern half of the continent, and from it had been
issued the ecclesiastical and vice-regal edicts for over two centuries.
Then Asuncion was a gay and busy capital, and Buenos Ayres, with the
rest of the continent, paid tribute to the viceroy there. After the war
of independence, a Jesuit by the name of Francia secured control of the
Government, and nothing but death was ever able to loosen his grip.
Although the constitution was republican, Francia established himself as
“Perpetual President,” maintained a despotism as absolute and cruel as
any that ever existed, and erected around the country a wall that
prevented immigration and kept the people in ignorance. Foreign commerce
was monopolized by the President, and he exacted in the shape of tribute
from the people the products he shipped away. The revenues of the
Government went into his pocket, and public expenditures were made at
his will. His policy seemed to be to isolate Paraguay from the rest of
the world, for the good of its people; and being a religious fanatic, he
taught them nothing but obedience to the will of the Church. For
thirty-two years he ruled peacefully, and when he died, in 1840, he was
sincerely mourned.

His successor was Lopez I., a man who had all the bad qualities of
Francia, but none of his good ones. Selfish, lustful, brutal, his only
motive was to perpetuate his power, and enjoy the opportunities it gave
for the gratification of his passions. He continued the policy of
exclusion which Francia inaugurated, but for entirely different
reasons, considering it necessary for his own safety that the people
should be kept ignorant and isolated, lest they might learn that there
were justice and liberty elsewhere in the world. He ruled twenty-two
years, until death took the sceptre from him and gave it to his son.

[Illustration: GASPAR FRANCIA,

First President of Paraguay.]

If the father was bad, the son was worse, and Lopez II. seemed to be
inspired with an ambition to excel his sire in every crime the latter
had been guilty of. Filled with passion and lust, there was no form of
cruelty he did not practise, and no act of brutality that he did not
commit. He murdered his mother and brother, like King Thebaw, lest they
might conspire against his authority. He had men pulled to pieces by
horses, and invented a form of capital punishment before unknown to the
catalogue of horrors. People who offended him were sewed up in green
hides, which were hung up before a fire to dry. As the hides dried they
shrunk, and the victim was slowly crushed to death by a pressure that
human bones and flesh could not resist. The wives and daughters of his
subjects were his playthings, and his agents were busy in all parts of
the country collecting beautiful maidens to sacrifice to his lust. He
resisted immigration, and, like his two predecessors, kept the foreign
commerce of the country in his own hands. When steamers began to ascend
the Parana River, he chained logs together and obstructed navigation,
and when foreigners entered the country he drove them out.

[Illustration: STREET IN ASUNCION.]

The only outlet for the interior provinces of Southern Brazil is through
Paraguay, and the people of Brazil resented the obstruction to their
commerce. The Argentine Republic and Uruguay also had grievances, and in
1868 the three great nations, representing about half the population of
South America, called the tyrant Lopez to account. Then began a war
which has no parallel in history. For six long years the little State of
Paraguay held at bay the three combined nations whose territory
surrounded it. The war did not end until the population of Paraguay was
wellnigh exterminated, the country laid waste, and the tyrant Lopez
driven to the mountains, where he was finally killed in a cave in which
he sought refuge. The war cost Brazil, the Argentine Republic, and
Uruguay two hundred and fifty million dollars and twenty thousand lives,
while it cost Paraguay everything. There were scarcely enough survivors
to bury the dead. The entire country was practically destroyed and

[Illustration: LOPEZ, THE TYRANT.]

[Illustration: AFTER THE WAR.]

During the reign of the two Lopezes, father and son, the most
intelligent and the best men in the country were banished. Exile was the
penalty of all whose views differed from those of the tyrant, and who
would not submit to his exactions. More were murdered than banished, and
their families fled from the country. On the downfall of the despot the
exiles returned with enlarged intelligence, broader views, and an
education received in foreign lands which fitted them to restore their
almost ruined country, and to establish something like a liberal and
wise government. After the death of Lopez and the occupation of the
country by the allied armies, a junta was formed, consisting of three
citizens of Paraguay, two of whom had returned from banishment, and had
taken part in the war against the tyrant. Their powers were provisional,
and similar to those of the consuls of old Rome. These men called a
constitutional convention, which organized a permanent government, based
upon the plan of that of the United States. The constitution guarantees
religious and civil liberty, security of person and property, prohibits
the re-election of Presidents, endows the Congress with authority much
more extended than that of ours, and in every possible manner provides
against the repetition of the old dictatorships.

[Illustration: ASUNCION, FROM THE WEST.]

One of the first steps taken by Congress was to encourage immigration,
and agents were sent to Europe to organize colonies and offer
inducements to settlers. There was a strong effort made to secure German
colonies, but it was difficult to divert them from the United States. In
Italy and the Basque provinces of Spain the emigrant agents were more
successful, and about twenty thousand people from these countries have
settled in Paraguay during the last four years. Their prosperity and the
treatment they have received have been so encouraging that a steady
stream of immigration is now flowing from all the European States


Paraguay; and the German Government has lately sent a commission to
explore the territory and report upon its advantages for the
establishment of colonies. Liberal inducements are offered to all
immigrants. The lands of the republic have been resurveyed and divided
into three classes--timber, pastoral, agricultural. At the end of five
years’ residence, each adult immigrant is entitled to a deed of eighty
acres of the latter class as a gift from the Government, and is
reimbursed from the public revenues to an amount equal to the cost of
his passage to Asuncion, the necessary farming implements, and a yoke of
cattle. In addition to these he has also the right to purchase not more
than four extra lots of agricultural lands of forty acres each. The
grazing lands are not given away, but are sold by the Government at the
price of eight, twelve, and fifteen hundred dollars per square league,
according to location, or are leased for a term of years at a nominal
rental. The timber lands are sold at higher rates, but as yet there is
little demand for them. The emigrants from Continental Europe usually
settle upon the agricultural lands, but large areas of the pampas are
being taken up by English, Irish, and Scotch, some of whom purchase upon
their own account, while others represent companies of considerable
capital. The British will soon monopolize the pastoral industries of the
La Plata countries, and Paraguay will be full of their cattle.

An enumeration made of his subjects by Lopez in 1857 showed the
population of Paraguay to be 1,337,439; at the close of the war in 1873,
a census demonstrated that this number had been reduced to 221,079
souls, of whom only 28,746 were men, 106,254 were women over fifteen
years of age, and 86,079 were children, the enormous disproportion
between the sexes, as well as the vast decrease of population, telling
the results of the war. In 1876 there were 293,844 inhabitants, showing
an increase of 72,765 in three years; and in 1879 the total was
increased to 318,018, two-thirds of the adults being women. It is said
that there are but three citizens of the United States in Paraguay--one
white man who keeps a drug store, and two negroes, both of whom are
reported to be fugitives from justice.

The Rio de la Plata, or the River Plate, as it is better known, is the
widest stream in the world, and, with the exception of the Amazon,
empties more water into the ocean than any other, draining a region of
1,560,000 square miles. With its tributaries, it affords more miles of
navigation than all the rivers of Europe combined, and more than the
Mississippi and its branches. The tide from the Atlantic reaches up a
distance of two hundred and fifty-eight miles, and there is a depth of
water sufficient to carry vessels of twenty-four feet draught one
thousand miles into the interior.

Above the mouth of the Uruguay River, which forms the


boundary line between the republic of that name and the Argentine
Republic, the River Plate is known as the Parana, and is so called as
far as its source, which lies not far from that of the Amazon in the
interior of Brazil, and is fed through a thousand channels by the rains
of the tropics and the melting snows of the Cordilleras. The Parana
flows for one thousand two hundred miles through a country--the interior
of Brazil--that has never been explored, and is inhabited by a race of
savages who have so far resisted all attempts to invade their domain. As
far as the river has been explored it is deep enough for navigation,
although at present the steamers only run to Cuyabá, a distance of 2500
miles. At Corrientes the Paraguay River enters the Parana, and the two
great streams form the western and eastern boundaries of the republic.
At Asuncion the Paraguay divides again, the main stream flowing through
the centre of the State, and the Pilcomayo continuing as its western
boundary. The Paraguay River is navigable for 1200 miles, and the
Pilcomayo for nearly as great a distance, almost to the mountains of
Bolivia. The chief affluents of the Pilcomayo are the Pilaya and
Paspaya; and the only city on its banks is Chuquisaca. With the removal
of obstructions which offer no obstacles to engineering skill, it is
said that the Pilcomayo might be put in such shape as to afford an easy
and convenient outlet for the products of Bolivia to the Atlantic ports,
and investigations are already in progress looking to that end.

Whoever obtains control of these natural lines of communication, and
supplements them by railways, will hold the key to the treasures of the
heart of South America, whose value has furnished food for three
centuries of fable. A section of country as large as that which lies
between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains lies there
practically unexplored. On its borders are rich agricultural lands, fine
ranges, unmeasured resources of timber, the diamond-fields of Brazil,
and the gold and silver mines of Bolivia and Peru. What exists in the
unknown region is a matter of speculation, but the farther man has gone
the greater has been his wonder. The tales of explorers who have
attempted to penetrate it sound like a recital of the old romances of
Golconda and El Dorado; but the swamps and the mountains, the rivers
that cannot be forded, and the jungles which forbid its search, the
absence of food, and the difficulty of carrying supplies, with the
other obstacles which now prevent exploration, will be overcome
eventually, and the secret which has tantalized the world for three
centuries will be disclosed by scientists. Almost every year expeditions
are sent into the wilderness by the Government of the Argentine
Republic, and each one goes farther than the last, so that the prospect
of a thorough exploration is encouraging.


The commerce of Paraguay is small, although rapidly increasing, and at
present is absorbed in that of Uruguay and the Argentine Republic. There
is one railroad in the country, which was built by Lopez II. for the
transportation of troops, and runs a distance of forty-five miles, from
Asuncion to Paraguay, an interior town of some importance. In 1877 the
railroad was sold to an English corporation for a million dollars, but
has not been well maintained. A street-car line connects the
railway-station with the steamboat landing at Asuncion. There are two
lines of steamers to Asuncion, one from Buenos Ayres and one from
Montevideo. It is a journey of 1700 miles, and usually requires about
fifteen days, as the stops along the route are numerous, and a great
deal of time is taken up in loading and unloading. The steamers on this
route are as good as any that ever floated upon the Mississippi River,
and are fitted up in the most elegant style. They compete actively for
passengers and furnish excellent meals and accommodations. One line
sails under the French flag, and the other belongs to an Argentine

[Illustration: A VISIT TO THE SPRING.]

The Government is making an honest and patient effort to educate and
enlighten the people, and in comparison with its poverty and scanty
revenues, is expending a large amount of money in maintaining a system
of free schools; but until teachers are imported from abroad little
progress will be made, as the native instructors are incompetent.

The change from the tyranny of Lopez to the present liberal,
enlightened, and progressive administration was as sudden and radical as
a change from darkness to light. The people have accepted the blessings
with a genuine appreciation of their value, and have devoted themselves
assiduously to the restoration of their country, and are happy in the
enjoyment of peace.

The President of the republic is Dr. Caballaro, a man of education and
broad intellect. He has travelled in Europe, and during the reign of
Lopez II. was an exile, spending most of his time in the Argentine
Republic. He has a Cabinet of three ministers, and his Secretary of
State was educated in the Methodist Mission at Buenos Ayres. The latter
gentleman is a Protestant, understands English well, and is a man of the
most progressive ideas. It is largely owing to his efforts that Paraguay
is making such rapid progress; and as he is the ruling spirit of the
Government, he will probably be the next President.


The people are quiet, submissive, and industrious, having a mixture of
Spanish blood and that of the Guarani Indians, who were the aboriginal
settlers of the country. Their kinsmen across the Paraguay River, in the
Argentine Republic, were a nomadic, savage tribe; but the tyranny of
Lopez, father and son, took the spirit out of the Paraguay Indians, and
they are now domesticated, and live in bamboo huts, cultivate the soil,
and raise cattle. There is said to be less crime in Paraguay than in any
other of the South American countries, and in 1883 there were but one
hundred and twenty-five criminal trials in the entire republic,
twenty-one of the defendants being foreigners. But for the tyranny of
its rulers in past years Paraguay might have been an Arcadia, for the
simple habits, the few wants, and the peaceable disposition of the
people made them contented and well disposed towards each other. As
nature has provided for all their wants, they have no great incentive to
labor, and the enterprise and thrift of the country is generally found
among the foreigners, from whom the people are, however, rapidly
learning the ways of the world and the value of money. The men and women
are of small stature, and the latter are usually very pretty when young,
but lose their beauty of feature and figure after maternity. They are
innocent, and childish in their amusements, are fond of dancing and
singing, and have native dances that are as graceful, and native songs
that are as melodious, as are the dances and music of the negroes of the
United States.


Asuncion, the capital of the republic, is the oldest settlement in what
is known as the valley of the River Plate. There were a considerable
number of people there, and it was the seat of civil and religious
authority, before the city of Buenos Ayres or the city of Rio de Janeiro
was founded. There was a time when Asuncion was the greatest city in
that part of the world, being the seat of the viceroys of Spain and the
centre of a great commercial business. But after the independence of the
republic, and during the reign of the despots Francia and Lopez, father
and son, who for sixty years exercised despotic sway over the country,
all immigration was shut out, and the people of the country were not
permitted to leave it lest they should learn ideas of civilization and
liberty that would excite them to revolution. At that time Asuncion was
a city of seventy-five thousand inhabitants, but during the war it was
almost depopulated, and three-fourths of the buildings are now in ruins.


In all tropical countries nature soon repairs or conceals the traces of
man’s wanton devastation. Fields corpse-strewn and blood-bathed,
blackened with fire and trampled by the hoofs of cavalry horses, within
six months’ time wave in the golden luxuriance of a harvest; and the
villages of the peasants, built of bamboo and palm-leaves, are quite as
soon restored. Paraguay’s rural territory shows no signs of the nine
years’ war and devastation; but in Asuncion and other cities the case is
different. Its spacious edifices, costly churches, and public buildings
are in ruins. Some which still stand are disused and deserted, more are
only partially occupied, and are in a state of half neglect, too large
for the shrunken populace; others, sad monuments of the vanity of the
Dictators, are shattered and shamefully defaced. Whole streets are lined
by empty shells of what were once costly dwellings, with here and there
open gaps that tell of the pillage and devastation that follow war.

The most conspicuous object in Asuncion is the immense palace of Lopez,
which covered four acres, and was completed at an enormous cost of money
and labor, wrung from an unwilling people shortly before the fall of the
tyrant. It is now an empty, roofless shell, towering, like one of the
ruined castles in Europe, over the river. With its long rows of
dismantled windows and black, ragged holes, it is as ghastly as the
eye-sockets in a decaying skull. Its shattered towers, shivering
cornices, and broken parapets disclose the results of a three weeks’
bombardment, and the destruction that followed its capture. The
Brazilian plunderers carried off all that was portable; what they could
not take away was burned, and what fire would not consume was defaced.
The palace is said to have cost two million dollars, and was built
exclusively by native workmen. The men are very skilful in the use of
tools, and in the manufacture of gold and silver ornaments, and the
women make a very fine lace which is called _nanduty_. The lace-making
art was taught the women by the Spanish nuns. They do not use cotton
thread, but the very fine fibres of a native tree, which are as soft and
lustrous as silk. Some of their designs are very beautiful, and the
fabric is indestructible. Lopez had his chamber walls hung with this
lace, on a background of crimson satin, and the pattern was an imitation
of the finest cobweb. It is said to have required the work of two
hundred women for several years to cover the walls, and that every one
of those women was a discarded mistress of the despot. The lace is
fastened to the wall by clamps of solid gold of the most unique
workmanship. There are four hundred of these clamps, each worth from
twelve to fifteen dollars.


Near by the palace are the roofless walls of a spacious unfinished
theatre, an example of Lopez’s extravagance. The cathedral, and the
Church of the Incarnacion, where Francia sought, but did not find, a
final resting-place, are heavy, ungraceful constructions of Spanish
times. Nor have the Government buildings--many of which sheltered the
terrible Dictator, for he continually shifted from one to another, for
fear, it is said, of assassination--any pretension to beauty. Neither
are the remains of the old Jesuit college, now converted into a
barrack, anyway remarkable. The streets, wide and regular, are ill paved
and deep in sand, while the public squares are undecorated and bare. On
the other hand, the dwelling-houses--at least such of them as are
constructed on the old Spanish plan, so admirably adapted to the
requirements of the climate--are solidly built and not devoid of beauty.
They have cool courts, thick walls, deeply recessed doors and windows,
projecting eaves, and heavy, protected roofs.


The furniture of the dwelling-houses is of native wood-work, solid, and
tastefully carved. The pavement is generally of marble local or
imported. The hard woods of the native forests are susceptible of high
polish and delicate work, and the marbles, of various kinds and colors,
are not inferior in beauty to any that Italy herself can boast of; and
these will, when Paraguay is herself once more, take a high place on the
list of her productions and merchandise.


The majority of the houses are one-storied; but in some localities,
where a mania for European imitation, encouraged by Lopez, prevailed,
some uncomfortable and ill-seeming dwellings of two or three stories,
flimsy, pretentious, and at variance alike with the climate and the
habits of the people of Paraguay, have been erected.

The most cheerful, and almost the only active part of

[Illustration: A PARAGUAY HORSEMAN.]

Asuncion is the market-place, which is situated near the centre of the
town. It is a large square block of open arcades and pillared roofs, to
which the natives from the suburbs daily bring their produce, intermixed
with other wares of cheap price and of every-day consumption, the
vendors being almost exclusively women. Maize, watermelons, gourds,
pumpkins, oranges, mandioca flour, sweet potatoes, half-baked bread,
cakes, biscuits, and sweets--the chief articles of food--are here
offered for sale, together with tobacco of dark color and strong flavor,
and yerba, the dried and pulverized leaf of the Paraguayan tea.
Alongside of these are displayed a medley of cheap articles, for use or
ornament, mostly of European manufacture; and here may be found matches,
combs, cigarette paper, pots and pans, water-jars, rope, knives,
hatchets, small looking-glasses, handkerchiefs, ponchos, and native
saddles much resembling Turkish ones, which are very comfortable for
riding, and are loaded with coarse silver ornaments. But the chief
interest of the scene is the study of the buyers and sellers themselves.
The men, who mostly belong to the former class, are from the villages
round about, and come mounted on small, rough-coated horses, which are
unclipped of mane or tail. The rider’s dress consists of a pair of loose
cotton drawers, coarsely embroidered or fringed with lace, and over
them and around the waist are many-folded loin-cloths, generally of
white; or it may consist of a pair of loose, baggy trousers, much like
those worn by the Turkish peasants, and girt by a leather belt of
generous width. These, with a white shirt often loaded with lace, and
over all a striped or flowered poncho, complete the dress. Boots are
rarely worn, and the bare feet are sometimes equipped with immense
silver-plated spurs. The features and build of the riders present every
variety of type, from the light-complexioned, brown-haired, red-bearded,
honest manliness of the ancestral Basque, to the copper-hued, straight
black-haired, narrow dark eyed, beardless chinned, flattened nosed, and
small wiry framed aboriginal Guarani.

[Illustration: PARAGUAY BELLES.]

The women are scantily, and in more civilized countries would be
considered immodestly, clad, wearing nothing but a white tunic of native
cotton, tied around the waist with a girdle of some gay color, often
handsomely embroidered. These tunics are usually fringed at the top and
bottom with native lace, and are always scrupulously clean. Cleanliness
is the rule in Paraguay, and it extends to everything--dwellings,
furniture, clothes, and person. Each house in the country has behind it
a garden, small or large, as the case may be, in which flowers are
sedulously cultivated. Flowers are a decoration that a Paraguayan girl
or woman is rarely without. The women are pretty and often handsome.
Dark eyes, long, wavy, dark hair, and a brunette complexion most
prevail; but the blond


type, with blue eyes and golden curls, indicative of Basque descent, is
by no means rare. Their hands and feet are almost universally delicate
and small, and their forms, at least till frequent maternity has
sacrificed beauty to usefulness, are simply perfect. The people seem to
be always good-natured, the women particularly, who laugh, chat, and
joke among themselves and with their customers, and are courteous and
generous. Unlike many of their South American neighbors, they are as
honest as they are gentle. A brighter, kinder, truer, more affectionate,
and more devotedly faithful person than the Paraguayan girl exists
nowhere. The women are more regardful of their beauty than in other
countries, and the Paraguayan girl is never without a bit of decoration,
ear-rings, a necklace, a bunch of flowers, or something of that sort;
but they all smoke, young and old.

[Illustration: AN INTERIOR TOWN.]

Some of the native ceremonies are peculiar and beautiful. When a couple
are married, the bridal bed is always covered with flowers, and each
neighbor contributes something towards giving them an outfit, even if it
is nothing but a wooden spoon or a gourd cup. Their funerals are
conducted after the ordinary formula of the Roman Catholic Church, but
it is customary to hold a sort of wake over the dead, as in Ireland.
Their market-days occur twice a week, and on Sunday there is the largest
gathering and the greatest display, the people coming together after
mass in the morning, and remaining about the plaza all day, enjoying a
sort of festival which invariably closes in the evening with a dance.
The dances are usually of the European kind--quadrilles, waltzes,
polkas, mazourkas, and lanciers, interspersed with Paraguayan
figures--the _cielo_, the _media caña_ (a great favorite, and very
lively), the _Montenero_, and some variations which were inherited from
the aboriginal races. Cigars, cigarettes, sweets, refreshments,
drinks--among which last _caña_, the rum of the country, comes
foremost--are freely distributed in the intervals of the dances, and the
ball is kept up till morning light. The women, seated around the room,
each waiting her turn to dance, while the men gossip in groups outside
the door, are dressed in Paraguayan fashion, with the long white
_tupoi_, or tunic, which is deeply embroidered around the borders, and
is often fringed with the beautiful home-made lace of the country;
sometimes with silk skirts or brightly colored petticoats, and a broad
colored sash; some of them wearing slippers, others barefooted.

[Illustration: HOME, SWEET HOME.]

[Illustration: THE MANDIOCA.]

The country about Asuncion is the very perfection of quiet rural beauty.
The scenery resembles the prettiest parts of New England, enhanced by
the richness of the verdure of the palm-trees with which the whole
country is studded. The cultivated land is divided into fenced fields,
wherein grow maize, mandioca, and sugar-cane, and the cottages dotted
about complete the pleasantness of the picture. There are roads in every
direction--not kept in first-rate condition, but still good; the
cross-roads, which are not so much worked, are beautiful green lanes of
considerable width, and for the most part perfectly straight. In some
places the country presents the appearance of a splendid park.

The attractions of Paraguay are its agricultural and pastoral resources;
and the timber-lands are said to be the finest in the world, the forests
being situated in the northern part of the republic, and reaching an
unmeasured distance into the heart of Brazil--as far as the Amazon River
to the northward, and far into the mountain regions of Bolivia to the

Between Paraguay and the Andes stretches a vast country known as “El
Gran Chaco,” a region almost unexplored, and which offers fine grazing
land and excellent pasture for cattle, besides the timber along the
streams which water it profusely. Several enterprising colonists,
English and German, have gone in there and opened sugar plantations,
producing enormous crops; and the time will soon come when a large
portion of the sugar supply of South America will be derived from this
source. The land of Paraguay is said to be unusually good for sugar, but
the chief products nowadays are mandioca, mate, and fruit. During the
war with Uruguay, Brazil, and the Argentine Republic, nearly all the
cattle were slaughtered; but new stock has been introduced, and very
large droves are now being pastured upon the ranges. The fruits comprise
nearly everything that is grown in the tropical or semi-tropical zones.
The oranges are said to be the finest in the world, and the pineapples
compare with those of Ecuador, which surpass anything raised upon the
western coast of South America. There are other very rich and wholesome
fruits, but the country is so far inland that they will never be

The mandioca is a root resembling the yam, from which is produced the
tapioca of commerce. Life and death are blended in the plant, but every
part of it is useful if properly treated, and is as essential to the
domestic economy of Brazil and Paraguay as rice is to China, or as
potatoes are to Ireland. It is served at every meal, from that taken
from the dinner-pail of the laborer to the banquet of the grandees, just
as bread is with us, and is made into as many forms of food as our
flour. There are four species of mandioca, but they differ

[Illustration: OX CART ON THE PAMPAS.]

only as one kind of apple differs from another, all serving the same
general purpose. The plant grows about four feet in height, and
resembles the tomato in its foliage. The stalk and leaves are excellent
fodder for cattle, and are often dried and used for their medicinal
properties by the old women of Paraguay. When eaten raw the root is a
deadly poison. Thirty-five drops of the juice were once administered as
an experiment to a negro who was under sentence of death, causing speedy
dissolution after five minutes of horrible convulsions. This poison is
mysteriously removed or neutralized by the application of heat, and the
root can be boiled or baked like a yam or sweet-potato. When cooked it
is almost pure starch, and contains ninety-five per cent. of nutritious
properties, being in fact as well as in fancy the staff of life of the
people. The roots are boiled, and are then ground in rude mills,
producing a powder about the color of buckwheat flour. Tapioca is a
refined mandioca, and is produced by a modern process, the flour being
reduced to a paste by boiling, and then allowed to crystallize. Very
little tapioca is manufactured in the country, but the raw product is
shipped to other parts of the world where the tapioca of commerce is

[Illustration: CURING YERBA MATE.]

A drink called _chicha_ is also made of mandioca by soaking the flour in
water and letting it ferment. It has a taste very much like malt or
yeast, and one glassful of it will last a lifetime for an American,
although the native will drink it by the quart without injury. It is a
rapid intoxicant, but leaves no deleterious effect, and the man who goes
upon a chicha spree will not wake up with a headache the next morning.
The chicha of Peru is made of the juice of the sugar-cane, and the
chicha of Chili of the juice of the grape. All these drinks have a
similar taste and a similar effect.

[Illustration: A SIESTA.]

Although the Paraguayans use considerable chicha, they are not an
intemperate people. This is largely due to their excessive fondness for
their native tea, the yerba mate, which they prefer to any alcoholic
drink, usually taking from ten to fifteen cups of it daily. It is a mild
stimulant, but is not intoxicating. The yerba mate is drunk all over the
southern half of South America, and is well adapted to the climate and
the requirements of the people, having a cool effect in the warm
weather, and a warm effect in the cold. The taste is very much like that
of catnip tea, as it has a bitter herbal flavor that is disagreeable at
first, but one comes to like it very soon. The South American would no
more refuse a cup of yerba mate than a German would a glass of beer.
Whenever he travels in foreign countries he always takes a supply along,
for it cannot be obtained in the United States or in Europe. In the
markets, by the road-side, in the gardens, and in the door-ways of their
homes, as commonly as the Cuban with his cigarette or the Irishman with
his dudeen, men and women can be seen at all hours of the day and night
with a mate cup in their hands. Instead of having beer-gardens or
wine-rooms, the people sit around the public places in Paraguay
drinking mate; and it is one of the few cases in existence where a
national habit of drinking improves the mental and physical condition of
the people.

Yerba mate grows wild in Paraguay in great copses, like hazel or
cranberries, but its quality improves under cultivation. Its uses were
originally discovered by the Jesuits, those inquisitive fellows who were
always prying into the secrets of nature as well as the secrets of State
and the souls of men. They were the best mining prospectors in South
America, and were constantly exercising their botanical and chemical
knowledge for the advantage of the people. The sappy twigs are picked
from the bushes, and are hung on frames over a fire to dry. When they
become crisp they are reduced to powder by being rubbed between the
hands. This powder is packed for export in green hides, which shrink
when exposed to the sun, and press the mate into a compact, solid mass.
Everybody carries a mate-cup and a tube called a _bombilla_. The cups
are usually ordinary gourds, but they are often made of cocoa-nut shells
and the shells of other nuts, and are sometimes beautifully carved. The
bombillas of the common people are bamboo stems with the pith punched
out; but the wealthy people have them made of silver, and often of gold.
The bamboo tubes are the most agreeable to use, as they do not conduct
the heat so rapidly, and never scald the lips, as the silver ones do.
The cups are half filled with powdered yerba mate, then boiling water is
poured in. Delicate drinkers always throw away this water, and fill the
cup again, as it is too bitter for their taste; but the habitual users
of the weed consider the first water as the best, and keep pouring in
water and sucking it through the tube until the strength of the powder
is exhausted, when the refuse is thrown out and the cup is refilled.

The _yerbales_, or mate fields, of Paraguay are said to cover three
million acres in their present state, and to produce an annual crop of
thirty thousand tons. During the reign of the tyrants Francia and Lopez
the exportation of mate was monopolized by the Government, and every
citizen was

[Illustration: A PARAGUAY HOTEL.]

compelled to pay as tribute-money a certain amount each year for the
benefit of the despots, being driven to it by taskmasters, as were the
children of Israel to the making of bricks in Egypt. But under the new
regime the tea-forests have been leased to an Argentine firm, which pays
a royalty of one dollar a ton to the Government. This concession was
given when the Treasury was empty and the Government was greatly in need
of money, so that what might have been a very productive source of
income was sacrificed for a little cash in hand.


The export goes to the Argentine Republic, Uruguay, and Chili. Several
attempts have been made to send it to Europe, but they were not
successful. During early times the Queen of Spain prohibited the
importation of yerba mate by her subjects, on the ground that it was
productive of barrenness in women, but the rapidly increasing population
of the River Plate countries, where it is used to the greatest extent,
seems to prove the fallacy of her Majesty’s theory. In Uruguay, where
the women are scarcely ever seen without a mate-cup in their hands, the
vital statistics show a larger percentage of births than in any other
country in the world; and there is something curious in the fact
before-mentioned, that the number of males born in that country is so
much greater than the number of females. No attempt has ever been made
to introduce mate into this country, and the consumption of the article
will probably always be confined to South America.

Paraguay tobacco is used all over South America. It is rank, black, and
full of nicotine, but it makes a very good cigarette, being about as
strong as the blackest Turkish tobacco, or “perique.” Everybody in
Paraguay smokes--men, women, and children--and their cigarettes are
made of the native tobacco and corn-husks. During the last few years
several political refugees from Cuba have found a resting-place in
Paraguay, and have experimented with native tobacco on the Cuban plan.
These experiments have shown that, where properly cultivated and
properly cured, this tobacco is as good as any raised in the West
Indies; but the natives let it grow wild, and take no pains either in
its cultivation or in the treatment of the leaves.

[Illustration: A HACIENDA.]

The timber of Paraguay is very fine, and includes almost every variety
known to arboriculture, from the finest light woods that may replace
those of China and Japan to the heavy and tough varieties that sink in
water like iron, and are indestructible. For lack of energy and
saw-mills, the forests, so far, are almost untouched. The dwellings and
other buildings of the country are made of adobe, and the small quantity
of dressed lumber used there comes from Canada or from the United
States. Two American saw-mills have recently been introduced, and the
water-power is sufficient to operate them at a small expense. The timber
regions are full of streams, which can be utilized for floating logs and
rafts, and nature seems to have provided every facility for the
development of their extensive resources.

[Illustration: PEOPLE OF “EL GRAN CHACO.”]

Along the western border of Paraguay lies an immense territory, in some
parts reported to be arid and waste for want of water, but in others
filled with a succession of rivers, and destined in time to be one of
the most valuable portions of the Argentine Republic. It is called “El

[Illustration: AN ARMADILLO.]

Chaco.” It extends from the Parana River to Bolivia, and is separated on
the east from Paraguay by the river of the same name. It is divided by
the river Vermijo into two almost equal parts, one called the “Chaco
Austral” and the other “Chaco Boreal,” the latter extending to latitude
20° south, and bounded on the north by the Bolivian province of
Chiquitos. The “Chaco Boreal” is an uninterrupted plain, elevated about
four thousand feet above the level of the sea, and divided into the most
beautiful forests, with intervening meadows, as if made purposely for
the raising of cattle. The Austral or Southern Chaco lies between the
Vermijo on the north, the Parana on the east, and the province of Santa
Fé on the south. It is completely level, and is richly endowed by
nature, not only with a deep soil, but with most magnificent forests. As
yet these vast regions are almost exclusively occupied by wild Indians.
A large portion has never been explored, and hence but little is yet
known of the interior, or of its treasures of vegetable wealth. Only
where it skirts along the Parana and Paraguay rivers, with here and
there a small clearing and settlement, the nucleus of a number of
agricultural colonies, has anything been scientifically determined in
reference to its timber resources. The region possesses an immense
advantage in great water-courses flowing along its eastern borders, and
the smaller streams which penetrate its interior, and are navigable for
many hundreds of miles. Thus all its vast wealth of precious woods and
valuable timber is rendered accessible not only to Buenos Ayres, but as
ocean ships can load along its banks, it is also accessible to the
markets of the world, without the necessity of transshipment. The
wood-choppers are at work, and the quantities of all kinds of precious
woods shipped down the rivers are becoming greater and greater every

[Illustration: A RANCH ON EL GRAN CHACO.]

The number of horned cattle in Paraguay is now estimated at six hundred
thousand, and there is said to be pasturage for several million within
the limits of the republic, and an unlimited area in El Gran Chaco
beyond the timber regions on a plain similar to New Mexico, rising in
great terraces or steppes to the foot-hills of the Andes. The elevation
of this area above the sea is from four to eight thousand feet, and
although it borders upon the tropics, it is said to be an excellent
range, and the ranchmen of the Argentine Republic are contemplating it
with covetous eyes. No industry pays so well in Paraguay as
cattle-raising. The severe frosts and droughts which at times annoy the
ranchmen of the Argentine Republic are unknown there; the streams are
numerous and perennial, the cattle fatten quicker, attain greater
weight, and afford a better quality of beef, owing to the nutritious
grass and abundance of water. Young cattle, as before stated, may be
bought in the Argentine Republic and transported by river steamer to
Paraguay for twelve or thirteen dollars per head, and land can be
purchased at about twenty cents an acre from the Government.



The name of the capital of Brazil means “River of January,” and in the
native tongue is pronounced _Reeo-day-Hay-nay-ray-oh_. When the ancient
mariners who discovered the Brazilian coast passed through the narrow
gate-way to the harbor, and saw the beautiful bay in the amphitheatre of
mountains surrounded by eternal verdure, they supposed they were
entering the mouth of a river that would lead them to the Enchanted
Land; and when they found out their mistake they despised the place so
much that they did not even have the good-nature to christen it after a
saint, but marked it on their charts simply the river discovered in

The bay around which the city lies is famous for its beauty, and rivals
that of Naples or the Golden Horn. The panorama is ever changing with
the shifting clouds, and in this country everything is intense. Nowhere
is the contrast between sunshine and shadow so strong, and the outlines
of the clouds lie distinctly upon the landscape where their shadows
fall, changing the tint of the foliage and flowers. The mountains, which
furnish a noble background for the picture, are so steep, so rugged, and
so high as to exaggerate the peace of the water, and furnish another
striking contrast in their dark and frowning lines to the white
buildings of the city and its countless towers. These mountains seem to
enclose the town and the bay like a wall, and leave no passage in or out
except at the entrance to the harbor, which is scarcely wide enough for
two vessels to pass. Along their base lies the city, like a lazy white
monster, sleeping under the shade of imperial palms in a garden of
never-failing colors and eternal loveliness.

[Illustration: BAY OF RIO DE JANEIRO.]

Viewed from the deck of a ship in the harbor, the city of Rio looks like
a fragment of fairy-land--a cluster of alabaster castles decorated with
vines; but the illusion is instantly dispelled upon landing, for the
streets are narrow, damp, dirty, reeking with repulsive odors, and
filled with vermin-covered beggars and wolfish-looking dogs. The whole
town seems to be in a continual perspiration, and the atmosphere is so
enervating that the stranger feels an almost irresistible tendency to
lie down. There is now and then a lovely little spot where Nature has
displayed her beauties unhindered, and the environs of the city are
filled with the luxury of tropical vegetation; but there are only a few
fine residences, a few pleasant promenades, and a few clusters of regal
palms, which look down upon the filth and squalor of the town with
dainty indifference. The palm is the peacock of trees. Nothing can
degrade it, and the filth in which it often grows only serves to
heighten its beauty. Behind some of the residences of the better classes
are gardens in which grow flowers that baffle the painter’s skill, and
foliage that is the ideal of luxuriance and gracefulness. They are
little glimpses of green and gold in a desert of misery and dirt. A few
years ago there was not even a sewer in Rio, and all the garbage and
offal of the city was carried through the streets on the heads of men,
and dumped into the sea. Now there are drains under the principal
streets, but they seem to be of little use, as the main thoroughfares
are abominable, and one wonders what the less pretentious ones may be.
The pavements are of the roughest cobble-stone, the streets are so
narrow that scarcely a breath of air can enter them, and the sunshine
cannot reach the pools of filth that steam and fester in the gutters,
breeding plagues.

[Illustration: A STREET IN RIO.]

The city is in the shape of a narrow crescent, lying between the
mountains and the bay, nowhere more than half a mile wide, and
stretching for a distance of nine or ten miles. It can never be any
wider, but grows at either end. The chief residence street lies along
the edge of the water, but the business houses are crowded into the
lower portion of the town, damp, gloomy, and dismal, the streets being
so narrow that carriages are forbidden to enter them during the busy
hours of the day. A fire that would burn out the older portion of the
city would be a blessing, and might redeem Rio from some of its filth
and ugliness.


The public buildings are quite as ugly and unpretentious as the
commercial houses. The city palace of the Emperor fronts the
market-place, in which donkeys and carts are unloaded daily, and where
the fish-boats land. It is impregnated by the stench of decaying
vegetation, and has an ancient and fish-like smell. The structure looks
more like a warehouse than the shelter of imperial power, and Dom Pedro
will not live in it. He has two beautiful palaces in the country, in
which he resides, and only comes to the city palace on occasions of
public importance. The only presentable Government buildings are the
post-office and printing-house, and many of the private residences are
superior in every respect to anything the Government owns. The building
in which Congress sits is a gloomy old pile, without a single redeeming
feature, and a great empire like Brazil ought to be ashamed to house its
Parliament in such a place.

The Rue Dineta is the Wall Street of Rio de Janeiro, and during the
morning hours, while the Coffee Exchange is open, presents quite an
animated appearance. Brokers and commission men, merchants, planters,
agents of transportation lines, speculators, men of all ages and
nationalities, assemble there to trade and gamble; and one can hear a
dozen different languages in half as many groups. Most of the
speculation is done in coffee, and in the buying and selling of exchange
on London.

Nothing in Rio strikes an American as more singular than the
nomenclature of the streets. Many of them, such as the “Seventh of
September” and the “First of March,” are named after days on which
something (no one seems to know exactly what) has taken place. There is
one thoroughfare called the “Street of Good Jesus,” and the names of the
saints are freely used. It seems a trifle queer to be directed to “No.
20 First of March Street,” or for a man to live at the corner of “St.
John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist Streets,” but the
Brazilians do not mind it.

The principal street in Rio is the celebrated Rua do Ouvidor. It is a
narrow little alley-way, in which two carriages could not pass each
other. In fact I never saw a carriage in

[Illustration: AQUEDUCT AT RIO.]

the street, and doubt if a driver would be bold enough to venture there.
Here are the shops of the principal merchants, and the gorgeous stores
of the artificers of feather flowers, and the dealers in gold and silver
and precious stones. The street, from one end to the other, is filled at
night with people, not on the narrow sidewalks only, but completely
filling the thoroughfare from wall to wall. Officers of the army and
navy, and soldiers and sailors, all in uniform, mingle with the crowd,
and flash their gold lace in the bright light that floods the street.
Everywhere, too, are the elaborate mulatto gendarmes, the police of the
city. From the _cafés chantants_ come the sounds of music and the
clinking of glasses. At little tables in the cafés the Brazilians sit,
drinking strong coffee or other beverages, talking, gesticulating, and
never for a moment completely at rest. Catching a weasel asleep is easy
compared with that of catching a Brazilian when some portion of his body
is not in motion. This is owing to the amount of strong black coffee
they drink. A Brazilian proverb says that coffee, to be good, must be
“black as night, as bitter as death, and hot as sheol.”


The total abstinence cause has few if any supporters in Brazil.
Everybody drinks--men, women, and children. The police records show that
men do get drunk here, but they are very seldom seen. The laboring
classes drink a vile beverage called _casasch_, which is made of the
juice of the sugar-cane in the regular distillery fashion. But moderate
as the Brazilians are in the use of liquors, they are decidedly
immoderate in the use of coffee. It is coffee the first thing in the
morning and the last thing at night, coffee at meals and coffee between
meals, and all of it made according to the proverb.

Rio is a succession of disappointments. The only really pretty place is
the Botanical Garden, which serves to illustrate what the whole city
might be with the exercise of a little taste and the expenditure of a
trifling sum of money. Here are colonnades of palms which surpass
anything on the globe, and which are worth a journey to Brazil to see.
Here are all the plants and trees that the country produces, and no land
is so rich in vegetation as Brazil. Flowers of the most gorgeous hues,
orchids that are wonders of color, and a representation of the virgin
forests of the Amazon, a tangled mass of wild, luxuriant vegetation,
full of birds of the most brilliant plumage, bugs that look like
animated gems, and flowers of scarlet, purple, and yellow, that make the
forest appear as if it were ablaze. Every color is intense.


There are no delicate tints and no gentle hues. The flowers have no
perfume, and the birds no songs. The whole country seems to be painted
yellow and red.

Strangers always visit the fish-market, where all sorts of shiny
creatures are to be found, most of them peculiar to the waters of
Brazil. The whole business is conducted by auction, and the fish are
sold by the basket to the highest-bidder men, who have retail places
throughout the city, or who peddle them in the streets. All varieties
of food are peddled about the town, and the venders attract attention by
clapping pieces of wood together and uttering peculiar cries. There are
drinking-booths along the street at which all sorts of beverages can be
obtained, from goats’ milk to brandy, and casasch is sold by the
bucketful. There are plenty of street-car lines, and all the population
ride. The cars are always crowded, and everybody reads a morning paper
as he goes down-town, and an evening paper on his way home.

Foreigners are generally puzzled to know why the horse-cars in Rio are
called “bonds.” It happened in this way: When the first horse railroad
was built in Rio bonds were issued to pay for it. There was a great talk
about these bonds, and the uneducated were at a loss to know what the
English word meant. When they saw the first car they thought they had
found a solution of the question, and all exclaimed, “There is one of
those much-talked-of bonds.” So all over Brazil a horse-car is a “bond”
to this day.

It is noticed that every ox-cart in Brazil creaks with the most
soul-reaching sounds. I asked a cartman why he did not grease its
wheels. He replied that the creaking stimulated the animals, and they
would not work without it.

Humming-birds are plenty as flies about Rio, and the natives call them
_be aflores_ (kiss flowers). At night the air is full of myriads of
fire-flies that look like a shower of stars. To one who makes a tour of
South America before going to Brazil, it seems as if all of the homely
women on the continent had emigrated there, for pretty ones are
extremely scarce. Their complexions are sallow, and they all have a
bilious look. Another oddity is that the women are invariably fat and
the men are invariably lean. Their complexions are ruined by the
climate, and the lives of indolence they lead give them a tendency to
obesity, which is augmented by the excessive use of sweetmeats. The
women are munching confectionery from morning till night, and scarcely
eat anything else, and their time is divided between dozing in a


rocking-chair or peeking through the blinds to see the people on the
streets. One can ride about Rio all day without seeing a Brazilian lady,
and the only glimpse a man ever gets of them is during the evenings at
the cafés or at the playhouses, unless he gets out early in the morning
and sees them on the way to mass.

At six o’clock every morning the streets are full of women on their way
to church, at seven o’clock they are on their way to their homes, and at
half-past seven there is not one to be seen. In the evening, when the
gas is lighted, they pour from the houses into the streets, the parks,
the ice-cream booths, and the theatres. There they appear in their Paris
finery, overloaded with jewellery, munching candy, nibbling ices, and

Next to her complexion, the ugliest thing about a Brazilian woman is her
voice. It sounds as if the parrots had taught her to speak, and when you
hear it behind the blinds, as one often does, it is always a matter of
doubt whether “Polly” or her mistress is talking. But the Brazilians do
not call their parrots Polly, as we do. The common name is “Loreta.”

A Brazilian woman never goes shopping. Servants are sent for samples;
and if it is a bonnet the señorita wants to buy, a box or basket
containing all the latest Parisian styles is sent up for her inspection.
Most of the purchasing is done in this way, and a woman is seldom seen
in a shop. But in all of these remarks the negroes are excepted. The
streets swarm day and night with gorgeously dressed Dinahs, wearing
turbans that would shame a passion-flower for color, and usually yellow
or red gowns. They chatter like magpies, and seldom seem to be going
anywhere or to have any object in life beyond gossiping with the friends
they meet.

More attention is now paid to female education in Brazil than formerly.
At one time it was only necessary for a señorita to know how to read her
prayer-book and to embroider, but of late seminaries for females have
been established, and the nuns compelled to enlarge the curriculum of
convent study. The Brazilian woman is now beginning to receive the
respect that modern civilization demands for her, and is no longer kept
as a plaything for man. She is intelligent, learns readily, and has
considerable wit, but never reads anything except the fashion papers and
translations of French novels. A bookseller told me that the demand for
the last named was increasing largely, and that where he sold only one
ten years ago he sells a hundred nowadays. Education in music and the
lighter arts is also becoming popular, as the increased sales in music
and painting and drawing materials show. The Brazilian woman has always
been famous for her embroidery, and her house is full of the most
beautiful work, the doing of which she has learned from the nuns.

[Illustration: THE OLD CITY PALACE.]

In Rio social restrictions are being removed, the two sexes are allowed
to mingle with greater freedom than formerly, and society is beginning
to assume a new phase. Occasionally grand balls are given, and within
the last few years the natives have acquired the habit of occasionally
visiting one another’s houses socially with their wives--something that
was unknown a few years ago. The etiquette of modern society was
reversed in Brazil not many years ago. If a man bowed to a female
acquaintance, or addressed her, except in the presence of her husband,
father, or brother, it was considered an insult, to be punished with a
blow, but now it is considered entirely proper for ladies and gentlemen
to converse together. There remains, however, the old system of formal
calling or exchanging visits. Ladies never go out alone to call on their
friends, and no gentleman will be received at a house when the husband
or father is absent.

[Illustration: IN THE SUBURBS.]

The theatres of Rio are numerous and well attended, but are neither
handsome nor well arranged. There are French, Spanish, and Portuguese
performances, and during the winter season an Italian opera two or three
times a week, which is liberally patronized by the upper classes. The
performances at the opera as well as at the theatres are considered only
an adjunct to social conversation, however, and because of the talking
going on around him during the play, one can scarcely hear what is said
by the performers. Connected with every theatre is a garden and café,
and between the acts the people repair to these places. Ice-cream and
all sorts of beverages are served, and confectionery of course. They
have recently built the great Theatre Dom Pedro Segundo, larger than La
Scala or San Carlo, and said to have a seating capacity of eleven
thousand. In building this theatre the matter of size has rather been
overdone, for a large portion of the audience is unable to hear the
opera. The Emperor has two boxes in the opera-house--one a small private
box, and one a great and gorgeous box of state. When the venerable
gentleman is out spending the evening somewhere, and wishes to visit the
opera quietly for a moment, he goes into his private box, and sits there
without causing unusual attention; but when he goes in state he occupies
the large box. Then he dashes up to the theatre with his guards,
equerries, and gentlemen-in-waiting. As he enters the box the orchestra
strikes up the stirring imperial hymn, the people rise, and shout, “Viva
Dom Pedro Segundo!” the Emperor bows, smiles, takes his seat, and the
opera proceeds.


The hotels in Brazil are very bad. There are two or three small ones,
which furnish tolerably good rooms and good living, but they are usually
crowded, and a stranger coming to the city finds it difficult to procure
rooms. The city might support a very fine hotel, such as is found in
Montevideo and Santiago, but at present there is nothing to compare with
the accommodations found in those cities. Rio is about as badly off for
hotels as any city in the world. The meats and fish served are usually
of a poor quality, but the fruits are excellent. There is no such fruit
to be found anywhere, either for variety or for deliciousness of flavor,
and the wines are usually good. Good wine can always be procured
throughout Spanish America. If a Spaniard were limited to a crumb of
bread and a drop of water per day, he would always expect a bottle of
wine to go with it. The strawberries and grapes of Brazil are unusually
fine, and are grown the whole year round. The peaches are also very
good; but the principal fruits are bananas, oranges, pineapples,
chirimoyas, sapotes, and some other things that we do not find in
temperate climates.

So far it has been found impossible to raise good cattle in Brazil,
although the province of Rio Grande de Sul, being the most southerly,
has a cooler temperature, and ranchmen have been utilizing the ranches
to be found in the interior on the border of Uruguay. Cattle-breeding is
chiefly in the hands of the natives, and the horses come over the
Uruguay border. The stock cattle sell for from five to six dollars a
head, while fat cattle are worth about twelve dollars. The larger amount
of the beef and mutton supply of Rio de Janeiro comes by steamer from
the Argentine Republic.

The native dishes are peculiar, and are not palatable to those who do
not care for an unlimited amount of garlic. In fact, a stranger going
into the interior cannot find anything to eat but boiled eggs, for these
are the only articles the native Brazilian cook cannot spoil. Grease and
garlic do not penetrate the shells; but even eggs are unreliable, for
the natives seem to have no idea of any difference in them, and use them
in all conditions of age, and often in the transition stage of being.

Among the important articles used for the table is jerked beef. Immense
quantities of it are imported from the Argentine Republic and Uruguay,
and it is shipped here by the ton. It is said that thirty thousand tons
of it are annually imported into Brazil, and it furnishes the staple
food for the slaves on the plantations and the common people in the
cities. Jerked beef and beans are always to be found on the table, and
both mixed in a stew with plenty of garlic compose the omnipresent
national dish. _Bacalao_, or codfish, is considered a great delicacy,
and about seventy-five thousand tubs are annually imported from Nova
Scotia and the United States. The people in Brazil are so fond of it
that they will use it at any time in preference to the fresh fish of
their own waters; but the Yankee would not recognize either the codfish
or the beans in this country, mixed up as they usually are in an _olla
podrida_ of yam, cabbage, and garlic.

[Illustration: THE IGUANA.]

The foreign commerce of Brazil is in the hands of the English, and the
retail commerce in the hands of the French and German. In fact, nearly
nine-tenths of the commercial community of Rio de Janeiro is composed of
foreigners. There are very few Americans there, however, and that is one
reason why our trade with that country is so small. The native
Portuguese are usually the land-owners, the planters, and professional
men; and there is a very large body of officials, composed to a great
extent of the decayed aristocracy.

At all the public gatherings in Rio these people appear in uniforms or
court dresses, decorated with stars and crosses so numerously and
inappropriately bestowed as to border on the ridiculous. Many boys,
apparently not more than fourteen or fifteen years of age, can be seen
at these gatherings, wearing tawdry silk and velvet dresses, and stars
which have been obtained by inheritance or by purchase. There used to be
a custom under which patents of nobility, with stars and crosses, and
“the insignia of the order of Christ,” which was the highest decoration,
could be obtained by purchase, and the rage for these decorations
attained a greater height in Brazil probably than in any other country.
At one time almost every petty shopkeeper in the empire might be seen on
the streets on holidays with a “habito de Christo” on his breast. These
purchased honors were worn by the dignitaries of the Church as well as
by civilians of all degrees, and being handed down from the generation
that lived when such

[Illustration: A BRAZILIAN LAUNDRY.]

things could be procured by purchase, still exist in great numbers among
the people of the country. In the present generation the decorations of
the empire are given to those only who have performed some service for
the State, and cannot be secured by purchase.

[Illustration: A COUNTRY SCHOOL.]

The prevailing costume of the people in the country is just as it was a
hundred years ago. They wear broad-brimmed hats with low crowns, tied
with a ribbon under the chin; velveteen jackets, and waistcoats of gay
colors, with metal buttons; linen or cotton drawers; high black gaiters
buttoning up to the knee, and a sort of mantle similar to that used in
Portugal, generally lined with red, thrown negligently over the
shoulders; but on the sea-coast people dress in the European style. In
Rio there is a great deal of rivalry in toilets among the ladies. As in
other cities of South America, the gentlemen usually dress in broadcloth
suits, patent-leather boots, and black silk hats, or in white duck or

The school system is very meagre, but is improving. There are in the
empire 2000 public schools for a population of 12,000,000 people, and
the State expends annually $8,000,000 for public instruction. During the
last few years, at nearly every session of Parliament, the Government
introduced a compulsory education bill; but the bill has never become a
law. The upper classes have an inclination for education; but nothing is
ever done by the Government towards educating the slaves. The little
learning which they acquire is received from the priests.

There are several institutions for higher education, several schools of
medicine, of law, civil engineering, and mining; a normal school for the
education of teachers, a conservatory of music, a school of fine arts,
an institute for the blind, and another for the deaf and dumb, several
reformatory schools, and an Imperial Industrial School founded by Dom
Pedro upon the plan of the Cooper Institute of New York, the suggestion
for it having been derived from his visit to that place while in the
United States. There is also a bureau of colonization and immigration in
the Department of Agriculture, and as an inducement to settlers, the
Government offers them free subsistence and shelter at the
boarding-house in Rio de Janeiro during the time that it is necessary
for them to wait, as well as free transportation for themselves and
baggage from Rio to any part of the country. They can purchase land on
credit, the first payment to be made at the end of the second year, and
four payments during the succeeding four years, and for cash they
receive a discount of twenty per cent. For the first season the
Agricultural Department gives them a donation of necessary implements
and seeds, and an allowance of twenty-five cents a day for each adult,
and ten cents for each child, during the first six months after
settlement, until the land they occupy can be made to produce. The cost
of the land is now from eight to sixteen dollars an acre. There are
under the care of the Department of Agriculture twelve colonies,
comprising a population of sixty-two thousand people, mostly German. The
number of immigrants arriving in the country amounts to from forty to
fifty thousand a year.


The immense area of Brazil, stretching as it does from 4° 30´ north to
33° south latitude, and from the thirty-fifth to the seventy-third
degree of west longitude, affords almost as great a variety of climate
and soil as can be found in the United States, and the two countries are
of very nearly the same area. A glance at the map will show the
extensive fluvial system of Brazil. The many large rivers that traverse
the interior in all directions are navigable, and afford unequalled
facilities for commerce.

Independent of the agricultural resources which the climate, situation,
and productiveness of the soil afford, the mineral treasures which
nature has stored in the interior are very abundant. Gold, together with
diamonds and various other precious stones, is found in many localities,
and the resources of the interior of the country, which has never been
explored, are only a subject of speculation. The population now consists
of about twelve million people; and it has not increased any during the
last twenty-five years. Of this population there are about two million
slaves and five hundred thousand Indians; but neither the moral
character, social habits, nor intellectual attainments of this class
afford material of value wherewith to build up an enlightened and
progressive government. The natives are neither enterprising, thrifty,
nor industrious. The system of slavery has taught them idleness, and the
fact that they have gained their living without work has taught them
habits of extravagance. There are a few men of wealth among them who
have earned by their own efforts the money which they have, but nearly
all have either inherited it or secured it as the result of slave labor.
Brazil will never be a great or prosperous country until its population
is increased by immigration.

Considerable progress has been made, and great interest taken, in
railroad development. There are now about 2500 miles in operation, 800
of which are owned and operated by the Government, and 1700 by private
corporations. In addition to this, about 1400 miles are under
construction, and there are many prospective enterprises. The Government
guarantees an annual income of seven per cent. upon the construction
bonds of all railroads, and has so far paid this guarantee promptly.
Recently a loan of thirty-four million dollars has been made in London
for the construction of additional railways, and this is also secured by
the Government. The rails are all imported from England, but a part of
the rolling stock is brought from the United States. The roads are

[Illustration: UP THE RIVER.]

and built by Brazilian engineers, but the principal machinists and
locomotive drivers are Scotchmen. The principal railroad in Brazil is
the one named in honor of the present Emperor, Dom Pedro II., and it is
familiarly known as the “Pedro Segundo” road. This line runs from Rio
Janeiro to the most important towns, and through a country which
produces coffee, corn, and cattle. There are now about 500 miles of
track in operation. It is a favorite route for tourists, and affords a
view of the finest mountain scenery in the empire.

[Illustration: DOM PEDRO II.]

The prevailing opinion among the practical men of Brazil is that Dom
Pedro II. is a lovable old humbug. Everybody regards the Emperor with a
feeling of reverence, and his character and motives are universally
respected; but he leaves the cares of State entirely to the direction of
his ministers and his half-brother, the Baron de Capanema, who has more
influence with the Cabinet than the Emperor himself. The old man is
wrapped up in philanthropic movements, and is


constantly engaged in doing something for the amelioration of his
fellow-men; but he is so easily imposed upon, and his ideas are so
impracticable, that not only are his efforts wasted, but a large amount
of money with which a great deal of good might be accomplished is
expended upon chimerical projects; and the only result is the
gratification that the Emperor enjoys in performing what he considers to
be a duty. He is credulous, ingenuous, and trustful, and no matter what
the reputation of the men who come to him with schemes is, he never
fails to be interested in anything that will tend to the improvement or
welfare of his people. He devotes almost his entire time to entertaining
impostors and developing schemes that are suggested to him by the people
who take advantage of his philanthropic disposition to accomplish their
own ends.

A little beyond the city of Petropolis is the imperial hacienda, which
is known as Santa Cruz. Here Dom Pedro II. used to live, but his
first-born and only son died in the palace, and since that time, which
was many years ago, neither he nor the Empress has ever entered its
walls. Some twenty years ago he devoted this hacienda, as he does almost
everything else, to philanthropy, and attempted a grand philanthropic
experiment which has demonstrated nothing but the Emperor’s own lack of
ability as a manager.

The Princess of Brazil has three children, two sons and a daughter; and
besides these the Emperor has three other grandchildren, orphans of a
deceased daughter, who live with their grandparents and are a great
source of comfort to the Emperor, who is very fond of children.

The Empress is a woman of rare traits, being noted for her womanliness,
her charity, and her lovely character; and those who became acquainted
with her while she was in the United States will remember her with the
greatest affection. There is nowhere in the world a couple more devoted
to each other, or with a kindlier disposition towards their
fellow-creatures, or having a more earnest desire to accomplish
something for the good of mankind, than Dom Pedro and the Empress. She
is much more practical in her charity than he, and it is said that she
frequently chides the Emperor for being so easily humbugged. The Empress
is a fine-looking old lady, with white hair and a kindly face. She has
not the force

[Illustration: THE EMPRESS OF BRAZIL.]

and energy of her daughter, but is of a more retiring disposition, and
prefers to interest herself in the affairs of the household rather than
in matters of State. Every week or so the Emperor gives a reception,
which is attended by all the nobility and by such strangers of
sufficient dignity to receive royal attention as happen to be in the
country. The Emperor is particularly fond of Americans, and he
considers the United States the model country of the world. He has
introduced into Brazil a great many ideas that he received during his
visit to this country, and has organized an Agricultural Department and
a Geological Survey, and several other branches of the Government, in
imitation of what he found in the United States.

The Emperor had a great friend in Dr. Gunning, who left a high place in
the medical college in Edinburgh about twenty years ago, and came to
Brazil for his health. He had an ample fortune, and determined to devote
his time and money to the abolition of slavery. With this object in view
he bought thirty-five or forty slaves and a tract of land. The negroes
for miles around him were earning large wages for their owners, but the
doctor had a theory that they would pay for themselves, and buy their
own emancipation, if they had an opportunity. So he commenced a system
of bookkeeping, charging each slave with his original cost and the
expense of his maintenance, and crediting him with the amount of labor
he performed. When the accounts balanced, the slave was to be set free.
But they never balanced.

Dr. Gunning impressed the Emperor with the great benefits of this
system, and succeeded in inducing him to adopt it on his plantation. But
the negroes are not fools. They understand very well that they are
better off with such masters as Dr. Gunning and the Emperor than they
would be in the condition of freedom, and they work so unprofitably, and
make the expenses of their maintenance so great, that they never yet
made enough in any one year to pay for their keeping.

The Emperor spends most of his time at Petropolis, and the only thing
that can induce him to visit the city of Rio is a debate in Congress on
the slavery question. It is nearly four centuries since Brazil was
discovered, and it has always been governed by the same family. This
part of the continent was given to the Portuguese by the Pope. When they
began to quarrel with the Spaniards over the possession of the
discoveries in America, the Pope drew a line along the sixty-fifth
parallel of longitude and decided that the Portuguese should have all
that part of the world lying east, and the Spaniards all that part lying
west of it. Therefore Brazil became a viceroyalty of Portugal, and
remained so until 1807, when the two countries changed relations, Brazil
becoming the seat of government and Portugal becoming a colony. Portugal
temporized with Napoleon, and when he made a raid upon that nation the
royal family of Briganza took a step which astonished all Europe. In
order to save the nation from the bloodshed and devastation that
followed Napoleon’s avarice, Dom Joao fled from Lisbon to Rio, and left
Napoleon in peaceable possession of Portugal.


For many years Joao preferred to remain in Rio de Janeiro, and govern
his subjects with delegated power. Finally, Napoleon having vanished
from the face of Europe, the Emperor returned to Lisbon, leaving his
son, Dom Pedro I., upon the throne of Brazil; but the people were ill
satisfied with this, and a bloodless revolution soon after occurred, in
which Dom Pedro I. was compelled to abdicate, and in 1831 he fled to
Portugal, leaving his son, Dom Pedro II., then a boy of fifteen, as
Emperor, who governed through a regency until he became of age. His
authority has been recognized in Brazil ever since, and he is loved by
the people as few monarchs have ever been.

The Emperor’s power is limited, and is infinitely less than that of any
of the Presidents of the South American republics. He has the right to
veto acts of the national legislature, but it requires only a majority
vote to override it, so that it practically amounts to nothing. The
senators are elected for life, are endowed with titles, and their duties
are similar to those of the peers of Great Britain. The Emperor receives
from the State an income of four hundred thousand dollars per annum, but
he is a poor economist, and spends it all, the greater part in mistaken

There is a small party called Republican, which proposes to unseat the
Emperor, do away with all the titles and all insignia of royalty and
nobility, and to take, as the rest of the South Americans have done,
“the great republic of the north” for its example. In theory they are
for upsetting the throne and tumbling the Emperor off, but they
recognize his goodness and benevolence, and have the wisdom to see that
they are a great deal better off under the administration of such a man
than under a President who would be an autocrat. When the Emperor dies
Brazil will become a republic. The Liberal party believe in republican
principles; and the ideas of civil and religious liberty have so
permeated the people, from the nobles to the slaves, that it will be
impossible to continue the empire under the daughter of Dom Pedro when
she comes to inherit the throne.

The Emperor had but one son, and his only living child is the Princess
Isabella, wife of the Count D’Eu, a grandson of Louis Philippe, a cousin
of the Count of Paris, and a Prince of the House of Orleans. This French
husband of the Brazilian princess is said to be an uncommonly good
fellow, and a man of considerable ability. He holds the rank of
major-general in the army, and is an aide-de-camp, or grand marshall,
under the Emperor. The princess and her husband live in the city of Rio
de Janeiro in a very ordinary way, the palace they occupy and their
style of living being a great deal inferior to that of many merchants
and foreign residents of the country. They have a plantation near
Petropolis, and spend the unhealthy seasons of the year at that place.

The princess is now about thirty-five or forty years of age, and takes a
great deal more interest in the affairs of State than her distinguished
father. She is far from being good-looking, and is rather masculine in
disposition. She has intelligence and firmness, and is often compared to
Queen Elizabeth. During the absence of the Emperor in the United States
and Europe in 1876 and 1877, she assumed his authority, and upset
matters so generally that she brought on a revolution that would have
overturned the empire entirely had it not been suppressed in time.

In dealing with this outbreak she showed an ability and determination
that gave her a great reputation among political leaders; but the
condition of Brazil is changing so rapidly that by the time the princess
comes to the throne by the death of her father, the Liberal element will
be so large and powerful that they will prevent her from assuming
authority. If her character and disposition were other than they are she
might be tolerated on the throne; but their experience with her during
her father’s absence has taught the people that she is not such a ruler
as they want, and the contrast between her rigorous rule and the
political indifference of the Emperor is so great as to aggravate the
dislike of the people for her. In addition to this, the princess is a
great Church-woman, and attends mass every morning in her house, spends
a great deal of time in religious devotion, supports a large retinue of
priests and friars, who are said to be the only people who have any
influence with her, and does a great deal to strengthen the Catholic
Church in Brazil.

The Emperor does not seem to know of the unpopularity of his daughter.
He does not seem to be aware that she possesses traits and a disposition
in striking contrast with his own. With that generous charity with which
he regards all human beings, he believes that she is as liberal-minded
and as philanthropic as himself, and his dreams are never disturbed by
any thought of what may occur after his death.

As everywhere else in South America, the Liberal element in Brazil has
been making an active war against the Roman Catholic Church, and as long
ago as 1870 a law was passed abolishing monastic institutions in the
empire; but that legislation was more liberal than that passed and
carried out in other South American countries, for it gave the religious
orders ten years in which to dispose of their property and close up
their affairs. This period expired in 1880, and very little has been
done by the monks and nuns towards complying with the law. In 1881 an
attempt was made to forcibly close their institutions, but an appeal was
made to the courts, and it was only recently that a decision was
rendered sustaining the constitutionality of the act of Congress and
imposing a tax upon all real estate owned by the religious orders, and
proceedings were commenced to confiscate and sell their property for the
non-payment of taxes.

The religious orders refused to recognize the right of the civil power
to dispose of their property. They claim that the Pope alone has
authority over it; and their writers fill the papers with thrilling
accounts of what terrible visitations have fallen upon all those who
have taken the property of the Church, or in any way acquired real
estate which once belonged to it, in other lands.

It may be said, however, that the general public takes very little
interest in the dispute. There is no affection or respect felt for the
monastic orders, which are in a condition of

[Illustration: THE COLORED SAINT.]

decay, and their approaching extinction by the death of the few monks
and nuns remaining is viewed with indifference; but the clergy take a
different view of the case. They expect to inherit the revenues derived
from the Church property, and they do not want to see it pass into the
hands of private parties. Until ten or twelve years ago the political
leaders encouraged the superstitious observances of the Church in order
to secure the loyalty of the priesthood, but the growth of Liberal
sentiment has been so great that the Church has been robbed of the
terror it formerly inspired and of the influence which it possessed, and
there has been much encouragement given to Protestants who have come
into the country and engaged in missionary work.

One of the great holidays in Brazil is the feast of St. George, the
patron of the empire. Each city and province has a sort of deputy
patron, whose worship is duly celebrated on a particular day. Saint
Sebastian has charge of the city of Rio de Janeiro, and in his honor a
celebration is held once a year; but when the annual feast of St. George
returns, every town and village from the northern to the southern
boundary of the country has the grandest procession and demonstration of
the season. This is not the same St. George who is supposed to have
formerly had England under his protection, but an entirely different
individual. Formerly this saint held the rank of colonel in the army,
and was entitled to a yearly pay of thirty-five thousand dollars, which
the priests drew for him and pretended to invest in jewels and dresses.
A few years ago he used to be taken through the streets on horseback on
his anniversary day, surrounded by a bodyguard--a regiment composed of
the greatest swells of Rio de Janeiro, who acknowledged him as their
commander, and were known as the “Imperial Order of St. George.” An old
resident told me about an instance that occurred some years ago, when
the attendant who had charge of the image buckled Colonel St. George’s
sword on so carelessly that it dropped from his belt and wounded a
priest. The aide-de-camp and the saint were both tried for the offence,
and both found guilty. The officer was punished with imprisonment, and
the saint fined a large portion of his salary.

The anniversary of Corpus Christi is always celebrated with great pomp
in Rio, and with a procession which marches through the principal
streets. At its head is usually carried an effigy of the Saviour,
preceded by bands of singing priests and bearers of incense, and covered
with a canopy carried by the Emperor and the Count D’Eu, his son-in-law,
and the principal ministers of state. The participation of the

[Illustration: STATUE OF DOM PEDRO I.]

Emperor in this ceremony has existed from time immemorial, and is
supposed to illustrate the obedience of the civil to the ecclesiastical
power; but Dom Pedro hates the nonsense, and last year he declined to

The money used in Brazil is liable to give a stranger the nightmare.
Imagine yourself presented with a bill for thirty thousand reis after
eating a dinner and drinking a bottle of wine at a café. One is apt to
indulge in some expressions of astonishment, even if he is too honest to
attempt an escape by the back door. But composure is restored when it is
discovered that a “reis” is worth only the twentieth part of a cent, and
at the present discount of Brazilian money such a bill amounts only to
about seven dollars.

The book-keepers of Brazil have a hard time of it, however, as the reis
is the standard value, and the long lines of figures which represent the
commercial transactions of the ordinary mercantile or banking house each
day are a severe tax upon the mathematical accuracy and ability of the
people. For example, $1,000,000 equals about 4,000,000,000 reis, and the
paper currency of Brazil represents 488,000,000,000 reis. The commercial
statistics of Brazil look very formidable; but the people simplify
matters somewhat by using the term millreis, which means a thousand

The currency of the country consists of irredeemable paper shinplasters,
the smallest denomination being five hundred reis, which is equal to
about thirteen cents in gold. Nickel and copper coins are used for
change below that sum, the reis being a very minute disk of copper.
There is no gold or silver in circulation; and as the balance of trade
has been largely against Brazil of recent years, there is not coin
enough in the country to pay the interest on the public debt, and the
bondholders are given bills on London.

There is no wharfage at any of the Brazilian ports; vessels are
compelled to anchor out in the harbors, which are usually good, and be
loaded and unloaded by means of lighters. Passengers are carried to and
fro in _bongoes_, managed by a noisy and naked boatman, who inspires
alarm in the breast of the nervous passenger, who imagines this gang of
savage-looking maniacs are cannibals howling for his blood. The wardrobe
of a bongo usually consists of a dilapidated straw hat and a pair of
cotton drawers amputated at the thighs. These drawers are a degree
farther from decency than the bathing-trunks small boys wear at the
sea-side. The bongoes are shrewd fellows, and make bargains easily, but
are hard to settle with when the work is done. They agree to take you
and your trunk ashore for a dollar, but when you reach the custom-house
they demand twice as much, with an additional dollar for Pippo, who
helped carry the trunk down the gangway. People who remain on the vessel
amuse themselves by throwing small coins into the water for the boatmen
to dive after. If you toss a silver quarter overboard, a dozen or more
will plunge after it, and one of them will have it in his mouth before
it reaches the bottom.



The most noticeable thing that strikes one when he lands at one of the
Brazilian ports is the extraordinary economy observed in the matter of
wearing apparel. The children in the streets up to eight or ten years
are usually entirely naked, playing in groups around the door-ways, and
in the corners sheltered from the sun. Nearly every woman you meet has a
big basket of something or other on her head, or a naked baby in her
arms; the number of babies to be seen at the windows or in the streets
is astonishing. The yellow-fever and other epidemics carry off a large
percentage of the population every summer, but the increase from natural
causes more than keeps pace with the mortality. When the girls get to be
eight or ten years of age they put on a white cotton tunic, which hangs
loosely from the shoulders, and the women wear a plain white chemise,
with the arms and shoulders bare. The boys and men have cotton trousers
or drawers, and, if they are prosperous, add a speckled shirt to their
wardrobe, which hangs loosely over the pantaloons, and flaps in the
breeze with cheerful _négligé_. A society for the encouragement of
modesty among the men, women, and children of Brazil would find a
fruitful field for missionary work. They act and live like animals; but
the younger women show some sense of shame, and gather their scanty
drapery around them as the stranger passes. Among their own kind they
are as regardless of the proprieties of civilization as the mangy dogs
which stretch out in the sun at their feet. The priests, under whose
control they yield an absolute submission, and whose authority here is
even greater than in Rome, are said to teach no lessons of chastity or
modesty, but to practise a licentiousness which makes one shudder when
he hears common anecdotes told.

The sun always rises and sets very suddenly in the tropics. There is no
“rosy blush of morn to herald the coming of a newborn day,” and so on,
nor is there a gorgeous glow in the west when the twilight comes; but
old Sol gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night without any
ceremony, and with a startling suddenness. You awaken at the noise of
carts in the street, find it dark as midnight, with the stars more
brilliant than you ever saw them at home, turn over, doze a little, and
in a few moments jump up, supposing it to be noonday. The sun jumps into
the air out of the darkness and drops below the horizon as if he had
been shot. There are only two periods in the twenty-four hours--midnight
and high noon. There is gas in most of the large towns, but it is seldom
used in any except the finest modern residences. Candles or kerosene
lamps throw light upon domestic circles, but there are always plenty of
gas-lamps in the streets, and they light them in an odd way. One fellow
goes ahead with a long stick and turns on the gas; another follows him
with a torch and gives it light. Sometimes the latter stops to gossip on
the corner, and the consequence is a strong odor of gas all over the

On every block is a policeman or watchman, whose business

[Illustration: “SERENO-O-O-O-O-O! SERENO-O-O-O-O-O!”]

is to sing out at certain intervals to inform the inhabitants what
o’clock it is, and that all is well. Like the fakirs in the streets
during the day, they have a most melancholy tone in their voices, and to
the stranger their announcements sound like the cry of a lost
soul--“Sereno-o-o-o-o-o; Sereno-o-o-o-o-o; Las diez y media y

The text-books on oratory that were used in old times gave the statement
that Demosthenes could make an audience weep or laugh at will by simply
uttering “Mesopotamia,” but he could not have put more pathos, more
lingering agony, than the tropical policemen in these simple
words--“All’s serene; all’s serene! It is a day and a half-midnight, and
all’s serene!”

The stranger never fails to hear these announcements, for two very good
reasons; first, because his bed is as hard as the racks upon which the
Roman tyrants used to torture early Christians; and, second, it is
always occupied by a colony of the most vigorous pests that ever drank
human blood. At the hotels all the servants are men. They do the work of
chamber-maids, cooks, porters, and dining-room waiters, wash the dishes,
and everything but washing and ironing.

The Brazilian rises early in the morning, to do the greater part of his
work in the cool of the day. He drinks a cup of strong coffee, eats a
roll, and perhaps an egg, and then goes to his store or office, from
which he returns at twelve to his breakfast--the most elaborate meal of
the day. It begins with soup and ends with cheese, dulces, and coffee,
like the dinner of the temperate zone. He has a fish, a chop or steak,
an omelette, and a salad, but no vegetables. Then he lies down for a
nap, after which, about four o’clock, he returns to business, and
remains often as late as eight or nine o’clock. His dinner is a
repetition of his breakfast, except that he has vegetables and a roast
or fowl. He takes a walk in the plaza with his family after dinner and
retires early, if he does not go to the club or gaming-table. The people
are inveterate gamblers. There is no more disgrace attached to
attendance upon the faro-table or the roulette-board than attends stock
gambling in New York. He calls upon the Holy Mother when he tosses his
chips upon the cards, and says an “Ave Maria” when he wins a stake. At
every religious festival the cathedrals and churches are surrounded by
gambling-booths, and the priests always go to the cock-fights after high
mass on Sunday. Some of them breed game chickens, and carry them to the
pit under their priestly robes.


The great problem for Brazil to solve in the future is that of labor.
With the gradual emancipation of the slave the labor system of the
country is becoming disorganized and demoralized. It has been
demonstrated beyond a doubt, even in the minds of the most radical
abolitionists, that the emancipated negroes are neither disposed nor
competent to take care of themselves. They are different in this respect
from the freedmen of the United States because their ignorance is much
greater. Their dependence is much more absolute, and they never received
the kind treatment and instruction that was enjoyed by so many of the
slaves in the United States. From one end of Brazil to the other there
is scarcely a negro slave, or one who has ever been enslaved, that can
read and write. Their ignorance is so dense that they scarcely know
anything of the work outside of the cabin in which they live; and the
policy of the slave-holders, aided by the priests, has been to keep them
in this condition as far as possible. As long as they have attended
mass, and said so many prayers a day, the priests have been satisfied
with their condition, and their owners and masters have never thought of
anything but to get as much work out of them as was consistent with
their strength.


The political issue in Brazil to-day, as has been the case for many
years, is the abolition of slavery. Ten years ago the two political
parties were as wide apart on this question as the Abolitionists and
Democrats were in the United States in 1860; but the emancipation policy
has been rapidly growing in favor, the necessity and justness of the
movement have become almost universally recognized, and the two
political parties differ only upon the measures by which the result
shall be accomplished. There are very few people in Brazil to-day who,
when asked the direct question, will advocate the perpetuation of human
slavery; but those who have property in slaves naturally resist any
movement that will deprive them of its value without some compensation.

A law was passed in 1881 which declared free all negroes and their
children who should be imported into the empire after that date; but it
was never executed, and in spite of it the slave-trade increased,
reaching prior to 1851 enormous proportions. Fifty thousand negro slaves
were imported in a single year when the trade was at its height. The
effective intervention of the British Government in 1851 broke up the
foreign trade, and from that time the friends of the slave in Brazil
were able to make some headway against their opponents.

The first legislation enforced towards the abolition of slavery was
enacted in 1871, in what was known as the “Free Birth Law,” which was
framed by the Emperor himself, and adopted by Congress largely through
his own personal efforts. This laid the axe at the root of the tree, and
provided that human bondage in Brazil should end with the present
generation. Every child born since the passage of the act is free, but
the owner of its mother is required to educate and support it until
twenty-one years old, being entitled to the results of its labor during
the same time. The law also provided that slaves should be credited with
their labor, and all service performed over and above a given maximum
should be considered as a surplus and credited against the value of the
slave, in order that those who had energy and ambition might in this
manner earn or purchase their own freedom; and by a further provision
all slaves reaching the age of sixty-five were free, but could look to
their old masters for support in case they were in a condition of

This law, however well intended, proved impracticable, and could not be
generally enforced. Forgeries were committed upon the records of birth,
both by the slaves and their masters. The latter refused, or fixed so
high a valuation that very few were able to earn their freedom; they
neglected to educate the children as required by law, so that even if a
young man gained his freedom he was not fitted to enjoy it or exercise
the right of citizenship. The old men and women were turned off the
plantations to beg or find refuge in the public almshouses; and the
planters, feeling no longer any interest in the health and welfare of
their slaves, neglected their sanitary condition and ill-treated them.
The result of the law was to demoralize the laboring element. It proved
a disaster to the slaves as well as to their masters, and disturbed the
political condition of the country.

There is no slave-market in Rio Janeiro, nor has there been one for
several years, all the transactions in human flesh being conducted
privately; but there are agents who buy and sell on commission, like the
real estate or cattle dealers of the United States.

[Illustration: MILITARY MEN.]

There is a small number of negroes in Brazil from Minas, a territory on
the west coast of Africa, who differ from all other blacks. They are of
immense frame, capable of great endurance, display a remarkable degree
of intelligence, are very clannish, speaking a language among themselves
unintelligible to others, and practising religious rites similar to
those of Mohammedanism, from which they have never been allured by the
tempting ceremonies of the Catholic Church.

As slaves the Minas natives are valued at more than double the price of
ordinary negroes, and as freedmen they are useful, industrious, and
excellent citizens, and will work of their own accord. No other blacks
exercise the regular Yankee thrift in saving their earnings and in
economizing their resources. They are ingenious as well as intelligent,
and make first-class mechanics as well as laborers. These Minas have
frequently purchased their freedom and returned to Africa, but those
that go invariably come back to Brazil. Several instances are reported
in which they have chartered vessels for this purpose, and have even
brought over friends and kinsmen of their own across the Atlantic to
settle in Brazil. The wisest thinkers of the country advocate the
organization of immigration companies for the purpose of bringing
cargoes of these people from Africa, not as slaves, but as freemen, to
supply the demand for labor in the country. They are much preferable to
the Chinese or the coolies as