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Title: Argentina and Uruguay
Author: Ross, Gordon
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: ARGENTINA & URUGUAY]



ARGENTINA AND URUGUAY



[Illustration: A PART OF THE IGUAZÚ FALLS]



                              ARGENTINA AND
                                 URUGUAY

                                   BY
                               GORDON ROSS

        FORMERLY FINANCIAL EDITOR OF “THE STANDARD,” BUENOS AIRES
           AND OFFICIAL TRANSLATOR TO THE CONGRESS OF AMERICAN
                      REPUBLICS, BUENOS AIRES, 1910

                WITH TWELVE ILLUSTRATIONS, FOUR DIAGRAMS
                                AND A MAP

                           METHUEN & CO. LTD.
                          36 ESSEX STREET W.C.
                                 LONDON

                        _First Published in 1917_



                                   TO
                    SIR ROBERT JOHN KENNEDY, K.C.M.G.
                                THIS BOOK
                  IS DEDICATED IN GRATEFUL REMEMBRANCE
                      OF THE MANY KINDNESSES SHOWN
                         AND VALUABLE AID GIVEN
                                 BY HIM
                              TO THE AUTHOR
                                 IN HIS
                       LITERARY WORK AT MONTEVIDEO
                                 IN 1911



CONTENTS


                                                                      PAGE

                                CHAPTER I

                              INTRODUCTORY

  An allegory of the Pampa—Patriarchs and Oligarchies—National
  and local politics and administration—Patrician government—The
  landed aristocracy—Patriotism and foreign railways—The
  problem of agricultural labour—Propaganda, in theory and in
  practice—Needed and unneeded immigration—The peon of to-day
  and the _gaucho_—Urgent need of rural population—Industries in
  waiting—The INCALCULABLE future of the River Plate countries—Lack
  of Uruguayan statistics                                                1

                               CHAPTER II

                                 THE WAR

  The shock falls on existing local depression—Vigorous and
  prompt action of the River Plate governments and banks—No
  “Mañana”—Mr. C. A. Tornquist’s views—Again the need of rural
  population—Socialism from above and below—Buoyancy of national
  securities                                                            18

                               CHAPTER III

                          HISTORY AND POLITICS

  The Declaration of Independence—Subsequent chaos—Rozas and
  Artígas—Sarmiento—Mitre—Juarez Celman—The Argentine financial
  crash of 1891—Uruguay; “Whites” and “Reds”—Uruguayan patriotism
  and honesty—“State socialism gone mad”—The commencements of
  modern River Plate history—Dr. Saenz Peña—Sound financial
  policy—Future peace and prosperity—The ballot in Argentina and
  former electoral corruption—The people a new factor in Argentine
  politics                                                              29

                               CHAPTER IV

                  RACIAL ELEMENTS AND SOCIAL CONDITIONS

  The Argentine of the future (?) and of the past—Spanish
  and Italian immigration—Young patriots—Argentine and
  Uruguayan sources of immigration—River Plate Spanish and
  philology—Argentines and Uruguayans contrasted—Manners and
  characteristics—The true signification of “Mañana”—Some advice
  to immigrants—Land and the foreigner—Much learning and little
  application—Lower-class illiteracy—Argentine women, households,
  and children—_Jeunesse dorée_—Further contrast of Argentines and
  Uruguayans                                                            40

                                CHAPTER V

             NATIONAL, PROVINCIAL, AND MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT

  The constitutions of Argentina and Uruguay, advantages and
  defects of each—Dr. Figueroa Alcorta—“Revolución de arriba”—A
  “Coup d’État”—Former Argentine electoral practices—Doctrinaire
  government in Uruguay—An autocratic democrat—General strike
  and general festivities—Certified milk-cans—Provincial
  authorities—Freedom from corruption of National governments—The
  “making” of internal politics—Finance—“A fat thief better than a
  lean one”—Childish things, soon to be put away                        62

                               CHAPTER VI

                       MONTEVIDEO AND BUENOS AIRES

  History and modernity; music and verdure—Theatres
  and Bathing—The ambition of Montevideo—Carnival—The
  origins of two great fortunes—More historic buildings
  and the “Palace of Gold”—The Buenos Aires “tube”; its
  tramways—Comparative expense of living—Opera houses and
  theatres—Night and day—Ever-changing Buenos Aires—The
  Jockey Club—Palermo and the Avenida de Alvear—Fashion moves
  northwards—Corso and race-course—Gambling—The agricultural
  show—Hurlingham—The Tigre—The Recoleta—“The Bond Street of the
  South”—Hotels—Buenos Aires _not_ a hot-bed of vice—Marriage and
  mourning—“Conventillos”—Fashion in Buenos Aires and Montevideo        79

                               CHAPTER VII

                          FINANCE AND COMMERCE

  Susceptibility of South America to conditions of the European
  money markets; early fear of Balkan complications—Relatively bad
  times—Transient “crises”—August, 1914—Protective measures—“It’s
  an ill wind that blows no one any good”—Still further insistence
  on the need of agricultural population—Currencies—The Argentine
  “Conversion” Law—Former gold speculation and banks of
  issue—Golden opportunity for British trade—A South American view
  of the Monroe doctrine—The “Hustler”—British manufacturers and
  the South American trade—How to lose it—How to keep it—Uruguay’s
  creditable reputation—General commercial conditions in Argentina
  and Uruguay—The Buenos Aires Stock Exchange—Gambling—Sound
  securities: the Argentine Hypothecary Bank, and National,
  Provincial, and Municipal Debenture Bonds—The new and the old
  Buenos Aires corn exchanges—More about the “Bolza”—Fictitious
  booms—A great bear—The death of public speculation—Cedulas _and_
  Cedulas—Credito Argentino                                             93

                              CHAPTER VIII

                     RAILWAYS, PORTS AND IMMIGRATION

  An _Imperium in Imperio_—Foreign capital in River Plate
  railways—Gauges—The “Mitre” Law—Luxurious travelling—An U.S.
  Syndicate—Argentine national railways—The Transandine and Entre
  Rios lines—The projected southern transandine line—Maritime
  accessibility of the River Plate Republics—Chief ports—Spanish
  immigration                                                          122

                               CHAPTER IX

                           GENERAL STATISTICS

  Increase of trade during past two decades—United Kingdom imports
  of grain and meat—U.K. exports, showing importance of Argentina
  and Uruguay—British capital invested in Argentina during first
  half of 1914—Trade of the U.S. with S. America—U.S. exports,
  showing importance of Argentina—Argentine imports from Europe in
  1913—The rich productiveness of Uruguay—Increase of Argentine and
  Uruguayan exports—Public works and small budget surpluses—Buenos
  Aires commercial and industrial census, 1914; bread and
  smoke(!)—Italian and Spanish retail traders—Russians and Jews        127

                                CHAPTER X

    A GLANCE AT THE PROVINCES AND NATIONAL TERRITORIES OF ARGENTINA,
                       AND THE INTERIOR OF URUGUAY

  BUENOS AIRES, the “Queen” Province: Its stillborn capital—Famous
  museum and university—Bahia Blanca—Mar-del-Plata, a veritable
  round of gaiety; the new Port—Potatoes—Other chief towns of the
  province—Cereals and live stock—Great agricultural and industrial
  activity—Generally uninteresting scenery: model farms and fine
  country houses                                                       139

  SANTA FÉ: Forests, live stock and agriculture—An old-world
  capital—Busy Rosario—Other ports—Mixed agriculture and stock
  farming—Milling and other industries                                 144

  CÓRDOBA: The gaucho wars—The learned city—The Cathedral
  and university—Monks and nuns—Mediæval atmosphere—Some
  personal recollections: religion and roulette—Alta gracia—Mar
  chiquita—Chief towns—The Dique San Roque—A projected canal 145

  ENTRE RIOS: No longer the “Poor Sister”—The railway ferry
  service—City of Paraná; Urquíza and Sarmiento—Concórdia—Large
  land holdings—Extract of meat                                        150

  CORRIENTES: Where the _Diligence_ still runs—Descendants
  of the _Conquistadores_—San Juan de la Vera de las siete
  Corrientes—Other chief towns—Good possibilities but commercial
  apathy—Lake Iberá—A zoological invasion—General San Martin           153

  SAN LUIS: Alfalfa—Irrigation—Grapes and wine—Minerals—Native
  indolence                                                            156

  SANTIAGO DEL ESTERO: Irrigation and cereal
  cultivation—_Alfalfares_—_Quebracho_ and charcoal—Amenities
  of the Santiagueño—Quack doctors and wise women; a cure for
  toothache—Dangers of quackery                                        158

  TUCUMÁN: Smallest Argentine province, but important—Sugar—Former
  difficulties and present progress—The city of Tucumán—The
  Declaration of Independence—Palatial villas—The Plaza
  Independencia, theatre and casino—Irrigation—Snow-capped
  mountains and fertile valleys                                        160

  CATAMARCA: Sparse population—Irrigation and transport; a new
  government line—Minerals—_The Campo del Pucara_ and the city
  of Catamarca; a sleepy hollow—Native lethargy; a Spanish
  aristocracy—Unexploited mineral wealth                               163

  LA RIOJA: Water, labour and transport needed—Maize and tropical
  fruits—Wine—Irrigation—A new national railway—Mineral wealth; _La
  Famatina_—The city of La Rioja; arrested development—Remains of
  Inca civilization—Mountain and plain                                 165

  JUJUY: The brothers Leach—A picturesque province—The Humahuaca
  dialect—General Lavalle—The blue and white flag and the “Sun of
  May”—A primitive population                                          167

  SALTA: “The Cradle of the Republic”—Jabez Balfour—The
  gaucho—Coya Indians—Need of intelligent and energetic
  population—Ponchos—Rubber—Hot springs—No soldiery, only armed
  police                                                               169

  MENDOZA: Wine—“Entre San Juan y Mendoza”—Alfalfa—San
  Rafael—Irrigation—Earthquakes—Public gardens and the West
  Park—Wine manufacture—Table grapes—Peaches—Coal and petroleum—The
  _Puente del Inca_—Hot springs                                        174

  SAN JUAN: Former financial recalcitrance—Depreciated
  paper—Irrigation and enforced prosperity—A new railway—The defeat
  of the Buenos Aires grape ring—Old colonial charm                    178

  THE PAMPA CENTRAL: The fifteenth province?—Wheat, linseed
  and maize—Rapid development—Shifting sand-hills—Three great
  railways—Wool and hides—The latent landlord in excelsis—Need of a
  real colonization policy; _settlers_ wanted                          182

  NEUQUEN: Chilean colonies and trade—Wheat, alfalfa and
  vegetables—“Tronador”; Scandinavian scenery—Lake Nahuel Huapí
  and Victoria Island—Hot and medicinal springs—Future wealth—Vast
  irrigation—Rich, virgin soil—Deep-water ports                        185

  RIO NEGRO: Fertile soil, but no rainfall—Irrigation and the
  _Lago Pellegrini_—Regulation of the flow of the river—Former
  disastrous floods—A climatic transformation—New railway lines—San
  Blas—Copper, salt, and petroleum—Furious winds—A scheme which
  failed                                                               188

  CHUBUT: Petroleum—The Welsh colony—“Foreigners” not admitted—Lazy
  descendants of active forefathers—Sparse population—Wool and
  alfalfa—A new railway                                                193

  SANTA CRUZ: English climate, orchards and gardens; far from the
  madding crowd—Sheep—Wind!—Cold storage—Wheat, oats and alfalfa;
  apples and pears                                                     196

  TIERRA DEL FUEGO: No volcanoes in “Fire Land”—A cure for
  anarchy—Hardy sheep—Seal and whale fishing—Potatoes and table
  vegetables—The Silesian mission—Mr. Bridges’ refuge—The new
  gaol—Gold prospecting—“De Gustibus!”                                 197

  MISIONES: The “Imperio Jesuitico”—Practical
  religion—Fairyland—The Iguazú Falls—Timber—Mate—Maize, sugar
  and fruit—Granite—Neglected industries—Need of suitable
  labour—Indians then and now—A projected railway to the junction
  of three republics                                                   200

  FORMOSA: _Not_ the most beautiful—No man’s land—A
  projected railway—Quebracho—Alfalfa and maize—Again the
  _Latifundío_ question—A fiscal land scandal—Landlords and
  squatters—Smuggling—Tobacco and sugar—Timber—Pleasant memories of
  the River Plate                                                      205

  URUGUAY: General physical and climatic characteristics—Flora—The
  Uruguayan Rio Negro the dividing line of general physical
  features—Fruit and vegetables—Flour—Soil—Minerals and the Mining
  Laws                                                                 212

  THE CHACO and LOS ANDES: Timber and Minerals                         214

                               CHAPTER XI

                               AGRICULTURE

  Comparative values of agricultural exports—Railways not the only
  causes of agricultural extension—Railway policy—Ambassadorial
  managers—Intensive and extensive farming—“Secondary”
  industries—Bread versus meat—Minerals, petroleum and
  pigs—Uruguayan agriculture—River Plate cereal exports—Wheat and
  alfalfa; Agricultural _dolce far niente_—Again “population!”—An
  economic deadlock—“Colonists”—Mr. Herbert Gibson’s views—Dr.
  Francisco Latzina—Cultivable land in Argentina—_The Defensa
  Agricola_—Señor Ricardo Pillado—Tabular statistics—Latest
  Argentine harvest and cereal export estimates—Deficiency of
  official Uruguayan statistics—General soil characteristics           215

                               CHAPTER XII

                               LIVE STOCK

  The “History of Belgrano”—The first horses on the River Plate—The
  _Goes’_ cattle—The first goats and sheep—Early export trade—The
  first freezing establishment—Amazing pastoral and agricultural
  changes—The “discovery” of alfalfa—Sheep—Fine stock—Horses—Pigs
  and poultry—Tired land—Tabular statistics—Favourite
  breeds—Comparative absence of disease—British prohibition
  of import of animals on the hoof—Drought—Water supplies
  of Uruguay and Argentina—A windmill which was not
  erected—Fencing—Anglo-Saxon enterprise—The Argentine Rural
  Society; its herd and flock books—The agricultural and live
  stock show—Trees—The coming colonist and mixed farming—Tabular
  statistics—The meat trade: its history from the seventeenth to
  the present century—Market classification—Predominance of U.S.
  interests in cold storage industry—Influence of cold storage
  companies on fine breeding—Tabular statistics                        249

                              CHAPTER XIII

                                FORESTRY

  River Plate timber and fancy woods—Señor Mauduit’s lists
  and descriptions—Argentina and Uruguay considered as one
  arboricultural area—Importance of this subject—Railway coach
  building—Shelter for cattle                                          277

                               CHAPTER XIV

                           LITERATURE AND ART

  Historians and poets—Other writers—Art awaits
  development—Painting, architecture, literature and music—The
  native Drama—Oratory—Heroes and history—An Argentine
  sculptress—Wanted: an author                                         299

  INDEX                                                                303



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


  MAP                                                      _Front Endpaper_

  A PART OF THE IGUAZÚ FALLS                                 _Frontispiece_

                                                              TO FACE PAGE

  THE PLAZA LIBERTAD, MONTEVIDEO                                        80

  THE AVENIDA DE MAYO, BUENOS AIRES                                     84

  THE CATHEDRAL AND PLAZA VICTORIA, BUENOS AIRES                        86

  TRANSPORTER BRIDGE, PORT OF BUENOS AIRES                             122

  GRAIN ELEVATORS, MADERO DOCK, BUENOS AIRES                           126

  RUINS OF JESUIT BUILDINGS, MENDOZA, ARGENTINA                        174

  A BIT OF THE TRANSANDINE RAILWAY, ARGENTINA                          176

  ENTRANCE TO THE SUMMIT TUNNEL THROUGH THE ANDES (CHILEAN SIDE)       176

  PUENTE DEL INCA; MENDOZA, ARGENTINA                                  178

  VIEWS ON LAKE NAHUEL HUAPÍ, ARGENTINE NATIONAL TERRITORY
    OF NEUQUEN                                                         186

  HEAD PORTION OF THE RIO NEGRO, ARGENTINA, GREAT IRRIGATION
    AND CONTROL WORKS. (BIRD’S-EYE VIEW)                               188

  A TYPICAL SMALL “CAMP” TOWN (RIVERA, URUGUAY)                        212



LIST OF DIAGRAMS


    I. INTERNATIONAL TRADE OF ARGENTINA, BRAZIL, CHILE, AND URUGUAY    133

   II. DEVELOPMENT OF ARGENTINE AGRICULTURE                            243

  III. ARGENTINE MEAT TRADE                                            273

   IV. ARGENTINE FROZEN AND CHILLED MEAT EXPORTS                       275



ACKNOWLEDGMENTS AND THANKS


For the majority of the Statistics and Statistical Diagrams contained
in this book the Author is indebted to the Division of Commerce and
Industry of the Argentine Ministry of Agriculture and particularly to the
kindness and courtesy of Señor Ricardo Pillado, the Director-General of
that Division, for permission for their reproduction; for others to Señor
Emilio Lahitte, the Director-General of the Division of Rural Economy and
Statistics in the same Ministry. And in Uruguay to Dr. Julio M. Llamas,
Professor of Political Economy in the University of Montevideo, and Dr.
Daniel García Acevedo, of the Uruguayan Bar, eminent as an authority on
Commercial Law.

The Author’s sincere thanks are also tendered to the Buenos Aires
Great Southern, the Buenos Aires Pacific, and the Central Uruguay of
Montevideo Railway Companies, the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company,
Mitchell’s Library, Buenos Aires, and several private persons for
permission to reproduce photographs with which this book is illustrated;
to the Proprietors of _The Times_ for their consent to the embodiment
under the heading “Currency” of the material portions of an article by
the Author which appeared in the Special South American Number of that
Newspaper under date December 28th, 1909; to the Argentine Committee
for the National Agricultural and Pastoral Census taken in 1908 for
much information; to Mr. Herbert Gibson for his very kind permission to
quote portions of his pamphlet, “The Land We Live On.” And to very many
official and other friends of different Nationalities for help freely
given to the literary work of the Author in the past, much of which help
has borne fruit in this book.



ARGENTINA AND URUGUAY

BEFORE THE WAR AND AFTER



CHAPTER I

INTRODUCTORY


A tale of the Pampa[1] tells how a River Plate farmer of bygone days,
seeing his wife and child dead of pestilence and his pastures blackened
by fire, fell into a magic slumber born of the lethargy of despair.

He was awakened, many years afterwards, by the scream of a railway
engine at his boundary; to find his land fenced in, his flocks and herds
improved beyond recognition, and maize and wheat waving where only coarse
grass had been before.

This allegory is true.

It tells the whole story of the real development of the River Plate
Territories, a development in which the descendant of the original
settlers has but comparatively recently begun to take an active part.

He, the Patriarch of the soil, lived on his land while English capital
and Italian labour opened up its treasures to the world. In the
beginnings of Argentina as a nation, his property consisted of vast herds
of long-horned, bony cattle, valuable only for their hides, which roamed
the Pampa in savage freedom; untended, save for periodic slaughter and
skinning and the yearly rounding up for the marking of the calves.

Later, came the acknowledgment between neighbours, living at vast
distances from one another, of boundaries which indicated the huge areas
over which each had grazing rights. Later still came the time when the
more far-sighted of such men bought wire and, with _quebracho_ posts,
ringed in those areas as their own. The foreigner and his railway did the
rest to build up the huge fortunes of the children and grandchildren of
those far-sighted Patriarchs. For Patriarchs they were, Pastoral Kings
surrounded by half-caste _gauchos_ who lived in the familiar vassalage
of the great mud-walled, grass-thatched house, and spoke in the familiar
second person singular still in use among Argentines towards their
servants; otherwise only employed between members of the same family or
close friends. Until a very few years ago, these great Argentine families
constituted Oligarchies which ruled almost absolutely each over one of
the more distant Provinces, the people of which were the descendants of
the vassals of their forefathers. The full power of these Provincial
Oligarchies was only broken by the centralizing policy of President
Dr. Figueroa Alcorta (1906 to 1910). The curtailing of their power was
very necessary for the credit of National Finance and Justice, for that
power was often exercised with a mediæval high-handedness unsuited to
twentieth-century ideas.

The disintegration of the power of local Oligarchies, each of which
completely dominated the Congress of its province, was one of the
final but quite necessary steps towards putting the house of Argentina
into perfect political and financial order; especially as Provincial
Governors, hitherto always members of the Oligarchic families, were
also almost invariably members of the National Senate. Add to these
considerations the further one that the Provincial Courts had somehow or
other gained a reputation for not meting out justice to political friend
and foe alike, and that much complaint was heard about the difficulties
encountered by some persons in even working the way of their cases up
to the admirably impartial hearing of the Federal High Court of Appeal;
since, for instance, it is difficult to appeal from a decision which has
not been given, and which you seem to possess no means to obtain, even as
against you.

All these inconveniences and scandals had long called imperatively for
reform, but it was reserved for Dr. Figueroa Alcorta to discover the way
to successfully bell these powerful provincial cats.

The way he found (which is referred to more fully in a later chapter) was
essentially South American; but, as many things in South America which at
first sight appear strange to European eyes do, it worked very well.

It is desirable here, however, to make quite clear the fact that any
political South Americanisms which may still survive in Argentina are
strictly confined to her internal and local politics and administration.
Within that sphere it might almost be said that only the Judges of the
Federal High Court of Appeal keep themselves completely clear of any
shadow of suspicion. If you get to the Federal High Court you have the
Law of the Land administered with unflinching impartiality. The only
leaning of which that Tribunal has ever been accused (and that only
jokingly) is that of an inclination to decide against the Government.
Because, its judges, once appointed, cannot be removed unless on the
ground of gross misconduct; whereas all other functionaries in the
country are more or less liable to feel the effects of political
influence. The National foreign or commercial policy is also as
transparently pure and fair as it is possible to be. Argentina knows her
best interests much too well to seem even to offend against European
ethical standards in anything which touches external policy or Foreign
interests, however remote.

As for her internal politics, these have been, until very recently, at
all events, left by common consent of foreigner and native alike to
the sweet will of the caste of professional politicians. These people
intrigue for place and profit and have vicissitudes, triumphs and
defeats, without the real wealth-producers of the country knowing or
caring one way or another. The doings of the Ministries of Finance,
Agriculture (embracing Commerce and Industry) and Public Works and the
legislation affecting matters appertaining thereto are all that matter to
the Bankers, Traders and Agriculturists or the great Railway Companies;
and these leading Official and Commercial and Industrial Classes are
the only people of real consequence in the land; unless one adds the
Municipal Authorities of the Cities of Buenos Aires and Bahia Blanca.

The actual Government, however, is jealously kept in native patrician
hands. If one finds a foreign name in the list of high officials it may
safely be assumed that the bearer of it is connected by marriage with one
of what may be called the great ruling Argentine families, with names
recurrent in the country’s History.

These families constitute the real aristocracy of the Republic, and are
mostly possessed of very great wealth. Kind and sympathetically courteous
to the stranger as are all Argentines, one cannot but smile when one
finds writers implying that entrance into Argentine Society is easily
effected by anyone who, as I once saw it stated, could play a good hand
at bridge.

As a fact, no stranger ever becomes a member of the best Argentine
Society; he may find himself in it at brief, fleeting moments, but he is
never of it. As in the aristocracies of the old world, all its members
are connected more or less remotely by blood or marriage, usually both,
with one another. One may know intimately many men prominent in Argentine
Society, may be received by them at their houses now and again and mingle
there with other men, their kindred; but the charming conversation one
enjoys when there is not that which was going on when one entered, and
will continue after one has left again. Argentine ladies only receive
on set, formal occasions; unless in such public places as the Palermo
Race-course or the Rambla at Mar-del-Plata. Small and select dinners
take place rather at the Jockey Club than in private houses. Under a
somewhat effusive external manner, the Argentine has all the reserved
exclusiveness of his Spanish ancestors. Gold has its weight in Argentina
as elsewhere; but it has more efficacy as a key to society in many
European capitals than in Buenos Aires; notwithstanding the almost
childish fondness of Argentines for the display of their own wealth, a
characteristic which makes them (and other Americans) beloved in Hotels
and Restaurants throughout the world. The one characteristic for which
the Argentine does not get full credit from the superficial observer is
the very strong vein of common sense which underlies his more immediately
noticeable affectation of manner and behaviour. A great deception is
always in store for those who do not appreciate the fact that the most
boisterously extravagant Argentine never really loses sight of the fact
that 2 and 2 make 4 and no more and no less. Yet this should be apparent
in a nation which has known so well during the fifty or sixty years of
its real development how to let the foreigner work out that development
at a good profit for himself, of course, but at a much greater one for
them. The Argentine, while availing himself of every advantage derivable
from the influx into his country of foreign Capital and Labour, has never
really loosed his hold on his own independent Government nor the land.
His land is and has always been the source of his fortune, and to his
land he clings with unrelaxing tenacity. If there is a good bargain to be
made in real property, it is an Argentine who immediately takes advantage
of it to increase his probably already large holding.

He it is who most readily lends money on mortgage, at a high rate of
interest, on real property. He knows only of one way in which to invest
the surplus of his income—in land or the things intimately connected
with land and its immediate productivity. Agricultural enterprise he
understands and daily appreciates more and more its scientific working.
Intensive farming is already practised by him in those parts of the
country where land is most valuable. He breeds as fine cattle and sheep
as any foreign breeder or colonizing company.

But for commerce other than purely agricultural he has no bent. So he
wisely leaves it in the hands of the stranger, who thereby develops
his towns, and builds railways and tramways; all of which go to the
enhancement of the values of Argentine real property.

Now and again there is a pseudo-patriotic clamour in certain sections of
the Native Press over what is denounced as the exploitation of Argentina
by the foreigner. But all this is mere froth born of journalistic need
of “copy”: mere great-gooseberry matter for a dull season. That it is no
more was proved a few years ago by the great English Railway Companies.

They became weary of being denounced as the worst kind of exploiters
of an innocent bucolic people; and, in reply, published broadcast an
announcement that they would transfer a certain large quantity of their
shares at par (the market price being considerably higher) to Argentines
who might thereby qualify themselves not only for a share in the
Companies’ profits, but for seats on the Boards of Directors; where they
could have a voice in the management of what was being denounced as a
vast system of exploitation. To this very liberal, almost quixotic, offer
there was no response. For the simple reason that, whilst the railway
dividends did not exceed 7%, land mortgages carried 10% or 12%, and the
yield from immediate agricultural enterprise proportionately more.

Every branch line opened by the railways, often at huge expense of
expropriation, spells fortune to Argentines. If the railway gains in a
less degree who should complain? No one really does, everyone really
concerned being much too well aware on which side his own particular
bread is buttered. As I have said, the Argentine is possessed of a quite
preponderating amount of common sense.

His attitude towards the foreigner is, “I give you all liberty and
protection for any enterprise you may wish to carry out in my country, by
which you may become very rich; but the country itself and nearly all the
land in it is mine and will remain so.”

The last thing the Argentine will part with as an individual or as a
nation is land.

Grants of fiscal lands were made in the past with scandalous liberality
for political services, but to Argentines. Mighty little of such lands,
none of any, then, apparent value, went to foreigners; whatever they
might have done for the country’s development and good. Now, few grants
of such lands are made to anyone; the National and Provincial Governments
appreciating too fully the advantages of their retention as aids to power
and wealth.

In all this the Argentine is right from his natural point of view; but
his obstinate maintenance of it is gradually bringing certain economic
problems of vital importance to a stage when some way will have to be
found out of the dilemmas which they already present.

The chief of these problems is that of agricultural labour. What
inducement does Argentina offer to the class of colonist she needs most,
the man with a wife and family to aid him in his work and with, perhaps,
a small amount of Capital?

He will find plenty of work and people to employ his labour at a liberal
wage as soon as he lands. He will be taken, if he so wish, free of all
cost to himself, to one or other of the more or less distant parts of the
Republic, where he may be set to work on virgin soil at a wage, or, may
be, on a half share of profits for a period of three years. On the scene
of his industry he will find an Italian or Galician storekeeper who will
supply his every reasonable want on credit, taking as security the share
to come to him of the profits from the land to be worked. The storekeeper
will also charge a high rate of interest on prices of his own fixing,
unembarrassed by any competitors within a radius of very many miles; or,
if there be such, he and they will know well enough how to preserve a
rate of profit which would astonish an European shopkeeper.

At the end of three years the landlord will have his land in good working
order,[2] and the storekeeper will have most, if not all, of the new
colonist’s share of profits. The latter can then, if he likes, have some
more virgin land on similar terms. He is a mere labourer, a worker for
others, with no betterment on his own horizon.

There is as yet no real practically working official machinery by
which he can obtain a direct grant of land in freehold to himself;
such as exists, with other added facilities, in each of our own great
agricultural dependencies such as Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

For this reason alone, the rural population of Argentina has almost
ceased to show much more than a vegetative increase. The population of
the whole Republic is that of greater London spread over an area only a
very little less than that of Germany, Austria-Hungary, Belgium, Denmark,
France, Holland, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Sweden and Switzerland put
together.

This lack of increase in the rural population is not due to Argentina
being a country unknown to the appropriate class of people. There are
thousands of Italian peasants who go there regularly every year as
harvesters, and who return to their own country as soon as the crops
are gathered in. They know Argentina and the natural richness of her
resources as well as do born Argentines, but they also know that they
cannot get land. Only wages; the purchasing power of which is so much
greater in Italy that there they can live on them in semi-idleness for
the remainder of the year, whereas they would attain no greater pecuniary
advantage by remaining and working permanently in Argentina, where the
cost of living is relatively very great. So they remain “swallows” as
they are called, coming and going with the beginning and close of the
harvest season.

If Argentina wants settlers, and she does need them badly, she must make
up her mind to give them land.

And she must also make a thorough overhaul of the titles to all lands as
yet not under cultivation. Because many of such lands are merely traps
for the unwary who may be induced to occupy and develop them only to
find himself, after he has ploughed and planted, called upon to pay rent
to some resident in Buenos Aires or some other town whose property they
turn out to be, under some long-forgotten Government grant, and who has
not only never visited them, but has also practically lain in wait for
some innocent settler to develop them under the impression that they
were his own. Cases of this kind have happened over and over again; and
the deluded settler, who may have even purchased the land in question at
a public auction or have obtained it from some self-styled colonizing
Company, finds himself with nothing but a vista of wearisome and costly
litigation before he can hope to grasp a usually very elusive remedy for
his wrong. Generally, he gives the whole thing up in despair and becomes
a tenant of the land on which he has already spent all his small capital.
These things are also known to the Italian harvester, and the knowledge
of them acts as a further deterrent to his becoming a settler.

As Argentina is blessed with almost the best possible laws about
everything sublunary, she has, naturally, first-rate colonization
regulations. Only these are confined to her statute books and sundry
pamphlets which lie in dust-covered heaps in the Ministry of Agriculture.
But there is as yet no real working machinery for the carrying out in
practice of all these excellent embodiments of the results of experience
of farming colonization all the world over. There are no officials
whose exclusive duty it is to attend to the multiple exigencies of true
colonization, and none capable of such work if they were suddenly called
upon to do it, for lack of the necessary experience.

An intending colonist may therefore land in Buenos Aires with a small but
sufficient amount of capital for a reasonable start in, say, Australia
or Canada, and may wander about that city till, if he be foolish enough,
his money is all spent without ever having found any Government office or
official willing or in a position to put him into possession of the land
he wants.

He usually, after a few weeks of fruitless search, goes back to Australia
or New Zealand or wherever else he may have come from, disgusted with
Argentina and her ways; of which he, on getting back, gives an account
which effectually damps off any existing enthusiasm in his neighbourhood
for emigration to the River Plate for a long while to come.

The Argentine Government spends plenty of money in advertisement, and
true advertisement, of the fertility and marvellous climates of a
Republic which extends over 35 degrees of latitude, but neglects to make
provision for those who may desire to respond actively to its propaganda.
This neglect is due, really, to an inherent incapacity for detail, part
of the Argentine nature which, therefore, is terribly prone to get tired
half-way through a job. In South America, generally, a wonderful amount
of enthusiasm is always available for the planning of new schemes. The
declamatory exposition of their sovereign virtues and glory amid the
acclamations of sympathetic Board or Committee meetings is a grateful
task; as is that of the dissemination of these discourses in pamphlet
form, in which also the full list of the names of the originators and
supporters of the scheme appears. It is, however, when practice shows
unworkable flaws in splendid theories, when the drudgery of adapting
high-flown principles to plain everyday drab facts must take the place of
inaugural banquets and florid speeches, that Argentine enthusiasm has a
regrettable way of petering out. Soon, something newer and of a different
kind is started by someone else. The meetings and banquets are held in
its honour by other groups and the former scheme passes to a shadowy
land, the way to which is always kept paved with a plenitude of good
intentions.

Capital will always be forthcoming for profitable enterprise; as will
Labour if that enterprise be made profitable to the worker—a good and
useful class of whom can only be induced to emigrate by the prospect of
permanent betterment of the conditions of life. The natural ambition
of every man is to work for himself, to be the master of the results
of his own efforts and to possess those results as a provision for his
old age and his children. This a new country or colony must offer if it
would obtain the high level of intelligent labour which it needs for its
fullest and best development.

On the other hand no one need starve or go hungry for long in any of
the countries of the River Plate; unless he elects to be and to remain
a persistent loafer in one of the large towns. Even then he has only to
ask and he will receive food, at almost any restaurant or private house.
If he refuse to beg or to leave town, he may suffer hunger and thirst,
otherwise he cannot. To begin with he can always get a job at one thing
or another from any of the numerous private agencies which have standing
orders for labour, and even schoolmasters, for the “Camp,” and which are
as avid of candidates for such jobs as any crimp of the old days was for
men of any kind to sling aboard a ship.

Once in the camp any man who has had the grit to go there is sure of
finding someone wanting some kind of work which he can do in some sort
of fashion. There he will recover such of his normal health and strength
as he may have lost as a city unemployed, and will soon shake into a
capacity for, and get, something better to do than his first job.[3]

The native agricultural labourer or “peon” is a very free and easy
and light-hearted kind of person, and must be treated accordingly if
his services are to be retained. He is never rude unless in answer to
obviously intentional offence offered to himself, and will work very much
harder for an employer he likes than for one he finds unsympathetic.
Indeed he will only remain with the latter on his own tacit understanding
that he takes things easily.

When he has accumulated a few dollars of wages he will take himself
off to the nearest store or township and indulge in such dissipation
as the place affords. From thence he departs with perhaps a few cheap
handkerchiefs or other small finery, in the breast of his blouse, which
he bestows as gifts at various friendly cottages; at each of which he may
while away a day, partaking of pot luck, a shake down on the floor, and
innumerable mates and cigarettes, making himself merrily agreeable to his
hosts. When he gets tired of this, or has exhausted the immediate circle
of his friends, he will return to work on the property on which he left
off; or somewhere else should he find himself not as well received on his
return as he had hoped.

It is pretty much all one to him. An experienced native peon need never
go far begging for a job.

These men are strong and wiry, capable of spurts of very hard work
indeed; so that, even with frequent intervals for chat with everyone
available, their average day’s work is usually by no means a bad one.
Severity in an employer they will take with perfect good humour; but
any affected superiority, or “side,” on his part will meet with a very
contemptuous resentment. They are true sons of a Republic, though holding
school-learning in the deep respect observable in peasantry almost all
the world over.

The Argentine peon inherits much of the ready wit and extraordinary
gift of repartee of his immediate ancestor the GAUCHO; of whom he is
the modern representative. With whom, however, a concertina has most
unfortunately taken the place of the guitar. But as a bachelor he is the
same flirtatious, lady-killing scamp; loving often and riding away from,
most frequently instead of with, the lady of his ephemeral choice.

His wit, and hers, most frequently take the form of double entente.
An interchange of chaff has always one perfectly innocent superficial
meaning and another the realization of which would redden the ears of
a British bargee. Both parties to this skilled contest of phrases keep
perfectly immobile countenances and neither gives a sign, except by
his or her, always latent, reply, of any perception of the underlying
significance of the conversation.

This exchange of wit is a form of art derived from the gaucho _Payadores_
or minstrels, who improvised their songs in verses which, on the
face of them, were hymns to Nature in its purer forms, and contrived
simultaneously to either hugely amuse ribald company or else to convey
insult to a present rival payador who answered in like manner in his
turn; hidden insult being thus intentionally heaped on insult till a
fight with knives succeeded singing. A fight in which all present took
sides and joined.

Thus were Sundays enjoyed in the PULPERIAS (canteens) of the older times,
over a quarter of a century ago.

A now almost lost art of those days was the knife play in which the
gaucho was then an extraordinary adept. Even now gauchos may be found,
in the distant northern Provinces, who in a duel, according as it be a
serious or a playful one, can kill or just draw a pin-prick’s show of
blood at will from their adversary. In these duels the knife is kept in
constant rapid, dazzling movement, while the _poncho_ or gaucho shawl,
with a slit through which the head is passed when wearing, is wrapped
round the left arm which is used as a guard.

The gaucho was a picturesque figure in his _chiripá_[4] or festal,
wide-bottomed, lace-frilled trousers, a broad leathern girdle studded
with silver coins and his silver-mounted, high-pommelled saddle. The
_chiripá_ and girdle remain; and one may still see a camp dandy glorious
on feast-days in a saddle adorned with silver mountings.

But the cow-boy utility of the gaucho waned with the advent of scientific
farming. He had no taste nor aptitude for such new-fangled ideas; and now
his sons are mostly to be found in the army, the police, or that very
useful body of firemen and soldiers too, the corps of “Bomberos,” men
who can be relied on at any moment to quell a fire or a riot in their
own very effective way. They fear neither flames nor turbulent strikers,
and are only too ready, in the case of the latter, to shoot first and
listen to orders afterwards. Another body of men drawn almost exclusively
from gaucho sources is the “Squadron of Security”; a mounted corps of
steel-cuirassed and helmeted semi-military police, also used to clear the
streets of political or other disturbances. Three trumpet blasts sounded
in quick succession are the signal for a charge in lines extending, for
instance, over the whole breadth of the Avenida de Mayo. Such is the law
and everyone, as in England, is presumed to know it. If he do not, and
therefore fail to take prompt refuge down a side street or in a shop, so
much the worse for him. The Avenida will be cleared even if he be taken
to the Asistencia Publica as a consequence of the process, without any
valid claim for damages. He heard the “Clarion” and is assumed to have
contumaciously disregarded its warning.

It might be thought that the vegetative increase of such a hardy nucleus
of native population would suffice for the Labour needs of the country.
There are, however, many reasons for the fact that it does not. The chief
of these is the general refractoriness of the Indian to the process of
education on the lines of the white races. You cannot by any means make
a white man out of an Indian any more than you can of a Negro. And the
gaucho has usually more Indian (and Negro, from the slave days) blood in
him than he has white.

Unrivalled in the days when vast hordes of semi-savage cattle needed
rounding up and cutting out with his lazo and _boleadora_, the gaucho has
not always the patience nor the regard for detail needed for the care
of prize Durhams, Polled Angus or Herefords; nor is he at his best with
modern agricultural machinery. Neither does his character lend itself to
the dull discipline expected and necessary on a farm to-day. He can no
longer with impunity stay the extra day or two at the canteen to which
his savings entitle him; and on the farm he finds himself confined to
the more subservient work. Against all this his native pride rebels, and
he gradually drifts into the army or the police, where he is gradually
being exterminated by the disintegrating effects of idleness and lack of
the hard physical exercise which kept his ancestors in health. A greedy
meat-eater, he succumbs as often to stomach as to lung trouble.

Population! In every other way nature is most bountiful on the River
Plate. If only Argentina were more thickly peopled her wealth would be
phenomenal in the world. For it must not be thought that grain and cattle
sum up the whole extent of her possible productivity. Far from it: her
output has hitherto been confined to these commodities because they were
so obviously those which most readily yield immediate profits, without
in the first place demanding any great outlay of capital or scientific
acquirements. Cattle there have always been on the Pampa since the time
of the Goes’ cows;[5] and as for grain, the virgin soil barely needed
scratching for its growth. Thus cereal cultivation and cattle raising
naturally became the national industries, and the population has never
been sufficient to attend even to all the possibilities of these, let
alone others. Nevertheless, there are many more which Nature has in store
for these marvellous countries with their great variety of climates.

Sugar (pretty badly exploited till recently), coffee, cotton, tobacco
(already grown in the North and even, to a comparatively small extent, in
the Province of Buenos Aires) and timber of many and valuable kinds are
among the future produce of the Southern Republics; while the wool output
of Argentina could be greatly increased.

No lack of capital would be felt were there the necessary skilled
management and labour available for the production of, leaving sugar and
timber apart for the moment, let us say cotton and tobacco.

In the cultivation of both of these, much depends on selection of kinds
according to soil and climate and on the right moment for gathering. It
is owing to ignorance in these regards as well as to labour difficulties
that several attempts to cultivate these crops on a large scale have
hitherto only resulted in failure.

Given the necessary science and labour, soil and climate may well be
trusted to do the rest for assured success.

Nothing is lacking to the countries of the River Plate but population.
Given adequate human agency to exploit their evident and latent
treasures, they have before them a future prosperity which can only be
called _incalculable_ in its marvellous immensity.

    NOTE.—A fact that cannot escape observation by the reader
    of this book is that of the comparative absence of exact
    statistical information disclosed in it in regard to Uruguay
    in comparison with that which appears relating to Argentina.
    The reason of this is that while the latter country has now had
    many decades in which to put its house in order, the former
    is still so busily occupied in that necessary task that its
    officials have as yet had little time to devote to compiling
    authoritative statistics of a progress of which it must not,
    therefore, be inferred that they and their country are not very
    justly proud.

    Thus figures which are easily available through the patriotic
    ability and industry of Dr. Francisco Latzina, the chief of
    the National Argentine Statistical Department, and so clearly
    and strikingly digested by Señor Ricardo Pillado, the Director
    of the Division of Commerce and Industry in the Argentine
    Ministry of Agriculture, a Ministry the scope of whose work is
    extremely wide and all-important in the Republic, have really
    yet no counterparts in Uruguay, where one is rather left to
    guess at the general effect of such isolated agricultural trade
    statistics as alone are immediately available. Figures are to
    be had by the private courtesy of individuals connected with
    various administrations, and these, if not exact, are no doubt
    approximately so; but they do not bear the stamp nor the proof
    of comparison which should be found in authoritative figures.

    The author knows from the test of his own previous experience
    that such few figures as he has given concerning Uruguay are
    substantially correct, and must therefore, though reluctantly,
    ask the reader to take his word for it that they are so.



CHAPTER II

THE WAR

ITS PRESENT AND PROBABLE FUTURE EFFECTS ON ARGENTINA AND URUGUAY


As has been indicated elsewhere in these pages, the shock of the
commencement of the Great War found the River Plate Republics already
in a condition of considerable local depression. This was owing to
relatively poor harvests, due to a long continuance of exceptional and
ill-timed rains; a consequent collapse of land speculation and the
usually sinister effects of slump after a long period of boom; and the
condition of money markets, for some time past disturbed by the fear of
the results of political complications in the Balkans.

The Governments of Argentina and Uruguay must be most warmly
congratulated on the vigour and promptitude with which they faced the
fact that, with the declaration of war in Europe, they were suddenly left
to their own resources to an extent they had never experienced during the
few decades which really form the whole period of their true economic
history.

Lucky it was for Argentina that such a veteran statesman as Dr. Victorino
de la Plaza occupied the Presidential chair, and that he had the aid of
a man of such high intelligence and reputation as Dr. Carbó as Minister
of Finance; fortunate also for Uruguay in having Dr. Viera (since elected
President) at the head of her Ministry of Finance.

Honour is also due to the Officials of the State Banks of both nations
and to the private Banks and financiers who lent such an untiring and
efficacious aid to both Governments in the hour of pardonable alarm;
alarm which was prevented from developing into panic by the prompt and
statesmanlike measures adopted.

Really, as Mr. C. A. Tornquist justly observes in an article cited in
these pages, it cannot be said that a “crisis” exists in a country while
its vital forces are in full development.

Still, in Argentina and Uruguay these forces had not for some time been
in full operation, from causes stated above; and, therefore, panic would
not have been a surprising result from alarm falling on depression,
before cool reason had time to assert its reassuring influence.

It soon did so, however, thanks to the virile and sound handling of the
situation by the heads of Government and Finance.

Congresses assembled and their usually heterogeneous political elements
unanimously and swiftly agreed to pass the several measures of economic
defence placed before them.

During seven days’ Bank Holiday the finance of both Republics was set in
good order; not only to avoid ill consequences from the initial and any
likely future shocks, but to enable the countries to profit—as there can
now be little doubt they are doing and will do—from the political and
economic disturbance of Europe.

As Señor Carlos F. Soares, writing in _La Nacion_ (Buenos Aires) under
date January 1st, 1915, said:—

    The laws and financial and economic measures necessitated
    by the European conflagration have proved opportune and
    efficacious.

    Thanks to them, danger to the Credit Houses and Institutions
    was avoided; Internal and Foreign commercial pressure was
    lessened, the gold stock in the “Caja de Conversión,” which
    guarantees the value of the paper currency, was preserved;
    the escape of gold from the country was avoided; the lack of
    foreign bills of exchange was compensated for by deposits of
    gold at the various Argentine Legations; shortage of coal and
    dearness of wheat and flour were foreseen; and, finally, means
    of obtaining its value were assured to the natural wealth of
    the country.

Only one Buenos Aires Bank (of comparatively small importance) failed to
reopen its doors after the seven days’ holiday; a failure which there is
some reason to believe was by no means entirely due to the War.

Not one Bank and very few Commercial Houses availed themselves of the
Moratorium; a fact which is highly creditable to the Local Banking and
Commercial community.

The arrangements for the deposits of gold at the Legations constitute a
feature novel to the system of International Exchange.

After all this accomplished in so short a space of time, who will
continue to throw the reproach of “Mañana” at either Argentines or
Uruguayans? A reproach long since unjustified by the attitude of the
inhabitants of either of the River Plate Republics towards any matter the
advantages of which they grasp.

No European Statesmen and Bankers could have more promptly realized and
carried out the necessary measures for the economic protection of their
country.

The present of Argentina and Uruguay was thus assured. What of their
future?

Prophecy, which is generally counted as hazardous, is especially so
when it is about to be printed, and may still be read by the light
of the experience of several years hence. Still, some Commercial and
Financial angels have not feared to tread the ground of prophecy as to
the immediate and _post-bellum_ future of Argentina and Uruguay; and
not only has competent authority not feared to forecast results in this
regard, but there is a remarkable unanimity of influential opinion as to
the probably favourable effects of European affairs on the economy of the
River Plate Republic. Always supposing, as there seems every reason to
suppose, that these Republics continue to have the commercial and common
sense to manage their internal affairs in such manner as to be able to
derive the greatest possible pecuniary benefits from the troubles of
European nations.

One, perhaps the chief, in his courage of declaration of these prophetic
authorities is Mr. C. A. Tornquist; a man having very large financial and
commercial interests on the River Plate and enjoying a very high local
reputation for business acumen and honour. His whole life has been spent
in the higher financial circles of Argentina.

Therefore the author has thought well to cite here some portions of an
article published by him in the Argentine Press, a translation of which
appeared in _The Review of the River Plate_, under date December 25th,
1914.

In this article Mr. Tornquist says:—

    From this chaos (that of the European War) there will arise
    perhaps an Asiatic country, and, quite certainly, some American
    countries, and in the first place the Argentine Republic,
    which, on account of the class and special conditions of its
    products, is called upon to benefit from the situation more
    than any other country in the world, as even the United States
    cannot export in any quantity the noble products produced by
    Argentina as they require them for home consumption. This
    war not only does not create difficulties for our economic
    development, as will happen to nearly all the other countries
    in the world, but, on the contrary, it will stimulate it, and
    for this reason, the longer the war lasts the more our national
    economy will gain at the expense, sad as it is to say it, of
    the countries now at war. Whilst the war lasts the prices of
    the majority of our products will not decline, for many of
    the countries which produce the same goods as we do are at
    war, and on this account the demand is bound to increase. The
    first effects of this advantageous situation will bring about
    the disappearance of what we call here “crisis,” but which is
    nothing more than a “commercial indigestion,” brought about
    by excessive speculation, and which has principally affected
    speculators, and has done absolutely no harm to pastoral or
    agricultural industries, which are our principal sources of
    wealth. … It cannot be said that a country is in “crisis” when
    its vital forces are in full development. This does not mean,
    nevertheless, what many erroneously think, that if the next
    crop is good they will be able in 1915 to sell their lands
    in the vicinity of cities and summer resorts and speculative
    regions at the prices ruling when they purchased them. Nothing
    of this will occur, and only the value of revenue-producing
    property will normalize itself, and will be placed at a value
    corresponding to a return of 8 to 9 per cent per annum. On the
    other hand, I believe that several, perhaps many, years will
    pass before it will be possible to liquidate properties which
    do not give revenue at the prices which their owners desire. …
    A favourable factor which might become important, perhaps in
    the not distant future, is the immigration of the “capitalist”
    farmer from Belgium and other European countries, who prefer
    to liquidate their affairs there and come to Argentina with
    what remains to them, and so get away from the taxes which
    of necessity the Government of the conquering or conquered
    countries must impose so as to re-establish their finances. It
    is a very interesting fact for ourselves that after all large
    wars or revolutions in Europe in modern times there has been
    an enormous increase of good immigration in new countries,
    and especially to America, from which the United States has
    been the first to benefit, because in that epoch the future
    of South America was based solely on the gold mines of Peru
    and the coffee and diamonds of Brazil, whilst the Argentine
    Republic was only known by its “sterile Pampa and Patagonia,”
    and its internal revolutions. To-day these things have changed,
    and if any country is to interest the capitalist immigrant
    it will without doubt in the first place be the Argentine
    Republic, because it is in the best condition to receive them,
    especially if they are convinced that the value of property is
    not inflated. It is the duty of our Government to make all this
    known to future immigrants by means of serious propaganda. …
    Then we shall have to struggle against the lack of tonnage for
    exporting our crop, but we should not forget that whereas to
    export with regularity is for us an economic question, for the
    belligerent countries, purchasers of our produce, the matter is
    of vital importance, as it is a material question not to die of
    hunger, and of indispensable necessity to be able to carry on
    the war, so that those countries are even more interested than
    ourselves that we should be able to dispose of the necessary
    means of transport. We take as our basis of the probable
    assets of our balance of payments an exportation to the value
    of $580,000,000 gold. At first sight this figure appears high,
    but let us analyse it. Our record of exports was in 1912-13
    $513,500,000 gold, of which $306,000,000 corresponded to
    cereals and the remainder to produce not affected by locusts,
    droughts, rain or frost, that is to say, the crop of that year
    represented $306,000,000 gold for produce exported, and we will
    suppose $104,000,000 remained in the country, making a total
    of $410,000,000. If the crop of this year should be 25 per
    cent less than our “record” crop we should have “at the prices
    of that time” $307,000,000 as the value of the harvest, and
    there would remain, deducting what the country requires for
    consumption and seed, over $200,000,000 for export. But the
    actual prices and those in perspective are 25 per cent higher
    than the others, so that would give $250,000,000 for exports
    of cereals, besides which there are the other products (meat,
    wool, hides, tallow, etc.), which then represented a value
    of $207,000,000 gold, and which to-day are worth 20 per cent
    more, that is to say, $250,000,000 gold, making a total of
    $500,000,000 gold. To this we must add the value of 2,500,000
    tons of maize, the balance of last year’s crop which remained
    to be exported on October 1st, 1914; the possible value of the
    export of horses; the value of the sugar exported, which is
    more than 60,000 tons, and which will probably be duplicated;
    the export of woven goods (ponchos, cloths, etc.) and articles
    of saddlery and tanned goods for the European governments;
    alcohol and other products of lesser importance, which come
    under the heading of extraordinary exports. It would not
    therefore be at all extraordinary if we reached $600,000,000 or
    even passed that figure, which will be the case if our harvest
    exceeds our estimate. … If the crop turned out to be a “bad”
    one[6] (that is to say, that it failed in certain parts, as
    due to the great extension of area, it is not possible to-day
    for a whole crop to be lost) and it only results in 50 per
    cent of that of 1912-13, we should still obtain a total value
    of $205,000,000, and there would remain after deducting the
    necessities for home requirements $100,000,000 gold for export,
    calculated on prices of two years ago, but in this case the
    prices would rise much more than 25 per cent, and for this
    reason the consumption of cereals in the country, as well as
    imports in general, would show such a marked decrease, that
    the favourable superavit in the balance of payments would never
    completely disappear.

    I take as my starting-point the sum of $460,000,000 gold, made
    up as follows:—[7]

    (_a_) Imports $270,000,000 gold. (_b_) Service of the Public
    Debt payable abroad $50,000,000 gold. (_c_) Interest on
    Cedulas and on capital placed by foreign companies on mortgage
    $31,000,000 gold. (_d_) Interest and dividends on foreign
    capital in railways $42,000,000 gold. (_e_) Interest and
    dividends on other foreign capital $27,000,000 gold. (_f_)
    Savings of immigrants and emigrants $24,000,000 gold. (_g_)
    Expenses of Argentines abroad $6,000,000 gold.

    The sum total of all these items is $460,000,000 gold, so that
    we have

                                $ Gold.
      Assets                   580,000,000
      Liabilities              460,000,000
                               -----------
          Total balance        120,000,000

    in favour of the Argentine Republic, a sum which can be
    increased if the harvest is very good and imports are less than
    I estimated, and decreased if the harvest is bad and imports
    greater than $246,000,000 gold. From this it will be seen that
    if my calculations are confirmed Argentina will receive from
    abroad the sum of $120,000,000 gold for balance of accounts for
    the commercial year of 1914-15. To demonstrate the importance
    of this fact I will mention that for the year 1913-14 the
    balance was $185,000,000 against Argentina; in 1912-13 it was
    $200,000,000 in contra, and in 1911-12 $202,000,000 in contra,
    so that compared with the three previous years Argentina will
    have a difference in its favour in the balance of payments of
    $300,000,000 gold!

    What do these figures signify?

    $120,000,000 gold is equivalent to the service of the National
    Debt for two and a half years, and is more than half the amount
    actually deposited in bullion in the Caja de Conversión.
    It also represents the half of all that the country owes
    abroad for mortgages. On the other hand, $300,000,000 are
    three-fourths of all our national external debt, are two annual
    national budgets, as well as the total value of a good harvest.
    Practically speaking, it results that the Argentine Republic
    will receive with these $120,000,000 gold a sum which exceeds
    the average of the new foreign capital which has come to the
    country in the last few years, which will compensate for the
    absence of capital which formerly came to the country seeking
    investment, and will contribute to develop the economic forces
    of the country. Outside of this $120,000,000 gold it is logical
    to imagine that some capital will come, as some railways and
    other foreign companies have recently made issues abroad and
    others will place their profits here. There are also the
    various financial operations of the National and Provincial
    Governments and the Municipality of the capital for the payment
    of debt services or to consolidate the floating debt, for
    although money does not come to the country this will diminish
    by these operations the emigration of capital in respect of
    items _b_, _d_ and _e_ of the balance of payments, that is to
    say, the dividends and interest on foreign capital placed in
    commercial enterprises and railways, and thus also the service
    of the external debt, which otherwise would have to be remitted
    and all of which I have not taken into account. Besides, where
    will Europeans place their savings? In European bonds which
    continue to depreciate on account of the issue which will have
    to be made for the war debt and to consolidate the monetary
    situation? Assuredly more money will come here than many
    believe in search of investment. The United States with its new
    monetary law does not require as much as before. To Brazil and
    Chile it will not go for some time, neither to Mexico or the
    Balkans.

    An interesting point is the manner in which these $120,000,000
    will come into the country.

    It should come in the form of Argentine bonds (“Cedulas”
    principally), and in coined gold all that is not employed
    to cover debts payable to our commerce and industry to
    European banks and manufacturers, which sums cannot be
    very considerable, although it is difficult to fix them. …
    The reaction will bring about the investment of savings in
    Argentine revenue-producing bonds instead of in purchases of
    land on monthly payments; it will bring about a reduction
    in interest and as a consequence of this an abundance of
    money which will stubbornly withstand speculation in land.
    The movement of the Stock Exchange will reawaken—it has
    been dead since 1906—and there will be money for mortgages
    and business, replacing that which came from abroad and
    which has to be repaid. All of this will bring in time an
    immigration of Cedulas of our external debt bonds and of
    railway and industrial shares. What will probably not take
    place for several years, perhaps for many, is what I mentioned
    at the commencement, namely, that land and other objects
    of speculation which do not produce anything will rise to
    prices which their owners dream about and pretend to obtain,
    as neither banks nor capitalists will invest their money in
    such objects, neither will they stimulate speculation, all of
    which are circumstances which will contribute to develop the
    economic forces of the country and to foment its industries and
    its commerce until there arrives for the Argentine Republic
    the psychological moment of being able to produce all that
    it consumes, that is to say, become self-supporting, without
    having to fall back on European industry, a situation at which
    the United States of North America have arrived after great
    efforts.

Remains only to be added that Mr. Tornquist appears to have omitted
consideration of the possibility of money being _withdrawn_ from South
America by European investors, not on account of any lack of confidence,
but simply because such investors may under existing conditions have
actual need of all the pecuniary resources they are able to realize.

For the getting in of the 1914-15 harvests there has been sufficient
labour available; because of the stoppage of much municipal and building
work, on account of retrenchment rendered necessary by the situation. But
for the future, if, indeed, they are to occupy the prominent place in the
world’s economy for which Nature appears to have destined them, the River
Plate Republics will have to increase their agricultural populations
greatly and speedily.

The need of this is now fully realized in both countries, but, strange
to say, it is in Uruguay where there are no fiscal lands that proposals
for probably useful legislation to this end have attained the greater
maturity. It is there proposed, in effect, that the Government should
purchase, at least portions of, the present holdings of the large
landowners and colonize the land so purchased on systems similar to that
obtaining in, for instance, Canada.

Argentina still has large tracts of fiscal land, but no doubt her
large landowners will also aid towards the colonization by granting to
colonists greater fixity of tenure and greater facilities for mixed
farming than the latter have been hitherto able to obtain.

With regard to Belgian emigration to the River Plate, the fact which
cannot be lost sight of is that the Belgian, especially the Fleming, is
a person deeply attached to his own land and his own ways of living.
It seems certain that if Belgians of the agricultural class are to be
colonized in South America, such colonization will have to be effected
by means of settlements like those of the Welsh colony in Chubut and the
Swiss colony in Colonia.

A Flemish family would view with vehement disgust the ramshackle home
of an Argentine or Uruguayan CHACRERO (small farmer); a disgust which,
communicated to their friends in Europe, would effectually stop further
Belgian immigration.

The Belgian is a good worker, but he is much more “insular” than the
British in his scorn of ways of living which differ from his own. He is
not adaptable enough, in any way, to be put to live or work among the
composite Spanish-Italian-American rural classes of the River Plate.

Probably both Argentine and Uruguayan will continue to work out his own
salvation in this vital matter of attracting agricultural colonists to
his land. Already the spirit of democratic unrest menaces privilege in
Argentina, privilege which has already been destroyed in Uruguay. And the
greatest political danger which now seems to threaten Argentina and has
for some time past been the bane of Uruguay is doctrinairism; a tendency
to pursue to most unpractically illogical consequences theories which
seem to their initiators and supporters to be destined to cure all the
social and economic ills to which man is prone.

State socialism from high places in Uruguay and socialism of all kinds
and varieties from lower social spheres in Argentina are each set on the
adoption of its own empiric policy.

Like all young things, these Republics must pick themselves up again when
they fall (and, in truth, they display great capability for doing so),
but it would be well if, just at the present moment, they were to adopt
and fully carry out some provedly sound colonizing policy. Afterwards
they might experiment with single-tax, rural Banks, state ownership of
land and all upon and within it, as much as they might find themselves
able to afford to do.

Meanwhile they must work patiently, in unadventurous fashion, towards the
most soundly rapid possible development of their rich natural resources.

During 1915, all extension of activity was at a standstill in both
Republics. Little or no land changed hands, unless under practically
forced sale; city improvements and private building projects were stayed,
and no new railway extensions were put under construction.[8]

A few good harvests[9] will put these things as they were; but the lesson
of the War will have been lost for Argentina and Uruguay if they do not
see to the matter of the extension of their agricultural industries.

It seems, however, that they now are solidly determined to do so; and
that, far from the lesson of recent events being lost for them, the
finding of themselves cast on their own resources has led to a most
beneficial and self-sacrificing examination of what those resources are
in contrast with what they so easily might be.

The real vitality of these countries can be measured by the fact that the
prices of their National Securities, which fell with the world-wide shock
of July-August, 1914, were by the following September already on the high
road to the practically complete recovery they have now attained.



CHAPTER III

HISTORY AND POLITICS


The political history of the River Plate Republics begins with the wars
which made possible the great Declaration of Independence from the
dominion of Spain on the 25th of May, 1810. Their most romantic history
is that of those wars and that of the old Colonial days immediately
preceding them. As, however, the only slight pretension of the present
book is to be informative on matters of fact, romance must wait on,
perchance, the author’s more leisured moments and some outline be
presented now of the events which had most influence in making Argentina
and Uruguay what they are to-day.

Having overthrown the rule of Spain the former River Plate colonies
became involved in a long internecine struggle for supremacy of power.
For fifty years the United States of the River Plate were most disunited
by local jealousies and the rural districts were only usually unanimous
in their refusal to submit to the Government at Buenos Aires, composed
of men who, as the rural populations said with a great amount of truth,
were endeavouring to rule even more despotically than did the Viceroys
and by purely Viceregal methods. Were that submitted to, the revolution
would have been in vain as far as concerned the substitution of
democratic principles for those of tyranny. This was no doubt true, for
the politicians of Buenos Aires neither knew, nor had had any opportunity
of knowing, methods of Government other than those under which they
themselves had been brought up. Had they known it, though it is only
just to them to say that they did not in the least realize the fact, rule
under them in the way they proposed to rule, would have been merely an
exchange of King Stork for King Log. The country was, however, quick to
grasp the menace, and it is only very regrettable that rivalry between
its several contemporary would-be saviours produced so long a continuance
of political chaos, during which newly acquired Liberty and Independence
had no chance to develop the vast natural resources which had lain idle
in consequence of the Spanish policy of squeezing the life out of the
goose which would otherwise have laid so many golden eggs for Spain. In
consequence of civil war it was, as has been indicated, not much before
1860 that it began to lay any appreciable number of such eggs for itself
or anyone else. It only began to do so under two tyrants: Rozas in the
South and Artígas in the North. Both were strong men and patriots; and
both held power, in spite of opposition both open and treacherous, for,
as later history has shown, the good of the respective territories
they had brought under their sway. Harsh as were their methods, these
were suited to lawless times. Of each of them it has been said that he
permitted no thief but himself to live.

As a fact neither were thieves nor sought nor attained overmuch wealth
for themselves. Both, however, forestalled otherwise inevitable
assassination by giving their enemies no shrift at all; once these had
been ascertained. And both succeeded in establishing police systems
throughout their territories which would rival the European secret
services of to-day.

Nothing went on unknown to them; from short-lived conspiracies to petty
thefts. And the punishment for each offence inflicted by them was swift
and closely fitted to the crime.

No one has yet attempted a complete whitewashing of Rozas; though, in
every political crisis in which the Government has shown any apparent
weakness, old men have sighed for his reincarnation. Artígas, on the
other hand, whose memory not so long ago rivalled those of the most
traditionally cruel old-world potentates, is now become the Saviour and
National hero of Uruguay. The apostle of the democratic principle.

Truth about his personality probably lies somewhere between these two
views, but there is no doubt but that he and Rozas were men needed for
and suited to their times. Fearless and far-sighted, they made order
out of chaos, and individually cruel as may have been many of their
acts, it was their iron rule which laid the foundations of the admirable
constitutions of what are now the separate Republics of Argentina and
Uruguay. Rozas really founded the Argentine Republic as much as Artígas
did the “Banda Oriental,” part of which is now Uruguay. But the period
of strife which succeeded the Declaration of the Independence of the
whole of the River Plate Territories had lasted just over half a century
when General Mitre was chosen as the first President of a United Federal
Argentina.

He was succeeded by Sarmiento, who did much to develop agriculture and
was the great pioneer of education. Sarmiento had been a political
exile in Europe, where he learned much; and, being a man of exceptional
intellect, stored up his acquired knowledge and enlightenment for his
country’s subsequent great good.

Since the first Presidency of General Mitre there has only been one
political revolution which affected the whole of Argentina, the one which
in 1890 ousted President Juarez Celman and was immediately succeeded by
the financial crisis with which the name of Baring is chiefly associated
in the European mind.

Both that revolution and the crisis were the natural outcome of a disease
which would have completely ruined any country less rich in natural
resources than Argentina. That disease was complete political and
financial corruption; which then came to a head and necessitated drastic
operation. Since then the Argentine nation has advanced in political and
financial health with extraordinary and unparalleled rapidity.

The history of Uruguay has run on different lines since she emerged from
the older Banda Oriental. She has been the almost constant victim, until
very recent years, of the fervent patriotism of her rural population; in
rebellion, often with much apparent justice, against what it has from
time to time considered to be the prejudicial doctrinarianism of the
town-bred men who have directed her Government in Montevideo. In any case
the rural population has always been in a more or less declared state of
rebellion against the Government. For many years the “White” party was
in power and the “Red” in revolution. Now for a long period the “Reds”
have kept place and nominal power, from which until comparatively very
recently the “Whites” have never ceased to endeavour to oust them.

Let it not, however, be thought that either the retention of power by
one party or its attempted overthrow by the other has in Uruguay been
due to personal ambition or corrupt greed on either side; as has been,
unfortunately but very frequently, the case in other South American
Republics. To think this would be to do a cruel injustice to the national
character, the leading characteristics of which are uprightness and
honesty in thought or deed. No Uruguayan would ever have rebelled had
he not thought that the policy of the existing Government was gravely
prejudicial to the vital interests of his country, nor would an Uruguayan
statesman have ever clung to power unless he had been conscientiously
convinced that the policy of his party was the only true way to that
country’s best development and prosperity.

This may seem to many readers as yet but little acquainted with Uruguayan
political and commercial History as the mere expression of an enthusiasm
for the Uruguayan character on the part of the present writer. But a
closer examination of that History than is within the scope of the
present work will show the views just above expressed to be nothing more
than a statement of cold fact. In part proof of which stands the total
absence from Uruguayan Financial History of any repudiation or avoidance
of the National indebtedness. Long periods of Agricultural paralysis,
often almost total (in a land which depends exclusively on agricultural
products), due to civil strife and all the heavy outlay consequent on
such wars, have never led Uruguay to depart from the strictly gold basis
of her monetary system. Her paper dollar has always retained its full
face value as a token and remains the best dollar on the exchange markets
of the world. And the world-wide credit of private Uruguayan firms stands
high above that of similar firms in other, even the most prosperous South
American Republics. This is due, and due only, to the very high standard
of political and commercial morality obtaining, and which has always
obtained, in Uruguay.

Now, there is good ground for the hope that the country is persuaded
that the best way to attain the greatest possible general prosperity is
to beat the sword, once and for ever, into a ploughshare. At the same
time it cannot be hidden that “State Socialism gone mad” (to quote an
Uruguayan description of the policy introduced and pursued by Señor
Batlle y Ordoñez[10]) strained the patience of the rural population and
that of a goodly proportion of Montevideans as well, to a degree which
was perilously near to breaking point. He wished, not only to improve
all conditions of his country, but to make Uruguay an object-lesson in
State Socialism to the world. His political enemies, or rather opponents,
say that, while he has read the works of Henry George, in some confused
translation or other, neither his education nor his acquaintance with
such subjects fits him to judge of even the works of a now somewhat
discredited political economist; also that he, the ex-President, is a
potentially dangerous lunatic. But note that no one, even those who
feared most from his persistent political and financial adventures, have
ever even so much as hinted that his policy was dictated by other than
quite honestly intentioned conviction. Uruguayans are seldom corrupt and
seldom suspect venality in their fellow-countrymen.

Modern Argentina history commences with the renaissance of the country
immediately after the upheaval of 1891, and that of Uruguay a much less
number of years ago. Till these periods, political unrest was a constant
factor in both countries. Now, a National revolution has become a thing
unthinkable in Argentina; while it grows every day less likely for
responsible or influential men in Uruguay to instigate or encourage aught
that might impede her triumphal march to rivalry with the prosperity of
the great sister Republic on the Southern bank of the River Plate.

The recent death of Dr. Saenz Peña, an Argentine President whose high
personal character and statesmanlike rule fully entitled him to the
respect he received from all parties and classes throughout the Republic,
is a serious loss to his country. Fortunately, however, the Presidential
office is now held by Dr. Victorino de la Plaza, formerly Vice-President,
a man of acknowledged soundness of judgment and tact and of very many
years’ experience in Ministerial, Diplomatic and Parliamentary life.

As for Uruguay, her chief reliance must be on the deep patriotism of
her leading men and on their good sense to keep a peace which is the
only true road to the general prosperity of a country the rich natural
endowments of which cannot develop if men and horses are taken from the
plough, as they constantly were in the past by one party or the other, to
partake in the mutual destruction of civil war.

As is insisted on very often in these pages, the chief need of these new
countries is population; an end most surely defeated by conditions which
not only repelled all immigration but killed off a large proportion of
the men already there. There is good reason to believe that all this and
more is now fully appreciated by every responsible man in Uruguay; and,
once convinced of the right course to be followed for the country’s good,
there is not a Uruguayan who will not follow it with all the patriotic
doggedness which formerly caused the lamentable continuance of civil war.

Both Argentine and Uruguayan financial policies and methods are now
sound. Argentina is prosperous with great future increase of prosperity
before her, and Uruguay is now well on the high road to similar
prosperity and as brilliant a future. Both are at peace with one another
and their neighbouring Republics; all of whom are much too busy with
their own interests and too democratic in spirit to dream of aggressive
war. Added to which only Uruguay and Paraguay are small enough to need
ever to covet further territory.

Brazil does not: Argentina has more than once already in the past refused
to take Uruguay into her Federation: Paraguay, except as a constant
nuisance to herself and everyone near her, is, and will be for many years
to come, a negligible quantity in South American politics. The Andine
frontier now fixed between Chile and Argentine is never again likely to
be disturbed by either. Uruguay may possibly cast longing eyes one day at
the rich grazing lands of Southern Brazil; but she is more than unlikely
ever to attempt to acquire these by force. Their annexation by her could
only occur on the initiative of the inhabitants of those regions; who,
unless Brazil is able in the future to keep her financial and fiscal
house in better order than at present, might very conceivably prefer to
be under the Government of Montevideo rather than that of Rio de Janeiro.
Even then, the question of different languages would present a difficulty
to the assimilation of the State of Rio Grande del Sul by its Southern
neighbour.

One great step in the democratic progress of the Argentine Republic was
made three years ago on the initiative of Dr. Roque Saenz Peña. This was
the passing of a law which introduced the ballot and made the exercise
of the franchise obligatory on a universal male suffrage of native-born
Argentines and foreigners of two years’ residence.

It was a great reform made necessary by many considerations. The chief
of which were the public indifference to all matters political which did
not immediately concern Industry or Commerce and the profound discredit
into which elections, parliamentary and municipal, had fallen as a
consequence of that indifference; the whole effect of which was to leave
the internal government of the country entirely in the hands of a mostly
mercenary caste of professional politicians. This caste was habitually
guilty of electoral corruption and malpractices which, in the absence of
any interested public opinion, continued to work in a vicious circle by
causing complete abstention from any exercise of the vote on the part of
all citizens of the Republic except those forming the small gangs which
were under the orders of the “Caudillo” or political manager of each
district. These gangs went to the poll, at so much per head in cash and
many illicit privileges, in order that there should be any voting at all
to declare the due re-election of the men who wielded the political power
in the National or Provincial Legislatures or in the Councils of the
various Municipalities.

The substitution, under the new Law, of genuine for fictitious elections
has also operated as another, and, probably, final blow struck at the
Provincial Oligarchies, reference to which has been made in another
chapter.

No one outside South America would really credit the depths of corrupt
absurdity in which elections in Argentina were permitted to remain so
late in these days of her general enlightenment and prosperity. That
reform in this highly important respect was so long a-coming was due
to individual preoccupation with their own affairs of the people of a
country the material development of which was being accomplished with
bewildering rapidity.

Men had no time to occupy themselves with such a tough, and rather
dangerous, job as the dethronement of the professional politician; who,
in the higher spheres of Provincial Government, usually belonged to one
of the widely influential groups of the historically dominant native
families. Public morality had sunk to a strangely low level in comparison
with the ever-increasing commercial rectitude of the country, when the
most startling tale of electoral fraud or administrative corruption would
be received with only a shrug of the shoulders and an indulgent smile,
as of wonder why the narrator was making so much ado about such a very
ordinary occurrence.

The management of elections in the Federal Capital and in the Provinces
differed only in method; the results were uniform triumphs for the
party in power. In the Capital the authorities went to the trouble of
collecting the certificates of citizenship (the deposit of which at the
polling booths was the form of voting under the old system) of dead and
absent men and sometimes of hiring others, and with filling in blank
forms of these with fictitious names, in sufficient quantities to swamp
any attempted voting by an opposition. In the Provinces, the elections
were always stage-managed by the district commissary of Police. He led
up the necessary gang of peon voters, to whom he served out a dinner of
_carne con cuero_, wine and a $5 bill each, to celebrate the occasion
and to indemnify them for any trouble they might have been put to by
their attendance. Furthermore, the faithful electors knew that in the
case of their getting into any scrape in the future which might otherwise
cause trouble between themselves and the police, they would stand every
possible chance of dismissal with a friendly caution; while were the
case one of assaulting an enemy that enemy would stand a better chance
of imprisonment than they. These are not traveller’s tales, but facts
well known to every resident in Argentina and, I suspect, similar facts
are within the experience of everyone living in one or other of most
of the Latin American Republics. So that the quantity of ink spilt in
the European papers over the accusations brought against ex-President
Huerta, to the effect that he had improperly influenced the late Mexican
Presidential Election, reads comically to most South Americans.

Now, in Argentina, all qualified persons must vote, or be mulcted in a
penalty for not so doing. And it must be your own fault if anyone else
knows which way you have voted. Even the innate native conviction that
elections are rites instituted for the exclusive benefit of the already
elect must have suffered severe shock from Dr. Saenz Peña’s Law. It will
now be difficult to obtain a price for a mere promise the fulfilment or
otherwise of which cannot be ascertained by the purchaser.

The passing of the new Law really seems a miracle when its interference
with long-established custom is considered. It has perhaps crowned the
patrician caste with the glory of heroically complete self-sacrifice.
Certainly it heralds the twilight of the gods who have guided the
country’s destinies since their ancestors led its rough armies to victory
under the autumnal sun of May, 1810 (the sun which is blazoned in gold
on the blue and white of the National banner), who fought for or opposed
Rozas and Artígas and upheld the National prestige in the wearisome
conflict with Paraguay.

In the old days of musket or rifle and bandolier, the Argentine
patricians freely gave their lives and fortunes for the PATRIA. Now in
frock-coats and silk hats, they have given up for her the right to all
power not derived from individual merit or capacity. In doing so they
have made an offering to democratic Liberty greater by far than any
attained during the sixty years of Rebellion and Civil War which began
with the dawn of the nineteenth century.

The immediate results of this unchaining of the power of a proletariat
which has not yet attained a very high educational or intellectual level
will nevertheless be watched with interest not unmingled with anxiety by
all concerned with political economy in the abstract and the progress and
peaceful welfare of Argentina in particular.

In this connection it is perhaps remarkable that whereas the choice of
each New President has for many years been a foregone conclusion during
at least the last year or so of his predecessor’s term of office, no such
lengthy period of predestination was anywhere observable in the case of
the successor to Dr. Victorino de la Plaza, who vacates the Presidential
chair this year.



CHAPTER IV

RACIAL ELEMENTS AND SOCIAL CONDITIONS


What will be the result some generations hence of the enormous influx
of immigration from all parts of Europe to Argentina and in, as yet, a
much less degree to Uruguay? What manner of man will the Argentine of the
future be when he has completed his development as a national type? This
is a question often asked, but as to which only the most shadowy answer
can yet be given. The elements which are going to his formation are so
many and the qualities of those elements so difficult to reckon in regard
to their respectively possible likelihood of survival in the settled
type. The most that can be done here is to enumerate the chief of such
elements in their approximate quantitative values.

The true Argentine of the past is the descendant of the Spanish
conquerors with usually some admixture of native Indian blood derived
from a remote ancestress, while another less remote has perhaps given
him a tinge of black blood in remembrance of the days when African slave
labour tended his great-grandfather’s sugar canes and maize.

But Spanish blood is predominant and Spanish qualities distinguish most
of the Argentine, and all of the Uruguayan, leading families of to-day.
Ceremoniously courteous to a fault—the fault of deeming it rude ever
to refuse a favour asked; regarding it as a strange lack of _savoir
vivre_ on the part of the suppliant should the latter not understand the
granting as a mere polite formality, in no way to be taken as a serious
engagement.

An Argentine will ask a favour of another as a mere hint that he would
be very glad if the latter granted it; a stranger ignorant of Argentine
manners and ways might ask it really expecting to receive a substantial
response to his request. Both would be met with a charming if vague
assertion that nothing would give the person asked greater pleasure than
to do anything the asker desired. Each might attain his object or not, as
other considerations dictated; but whereas the demand would be credited
to the former as finesse, contempt for boorishness would be the lot of
the latter did he present himself expectant of the immediate fulfilment
of the promise. Almost as well might he turn up unexpectedly to lunch
at the home of an Argentine who on first receiving him had said with a
graciously comprehensive wave of his hand, “This house is yours.”

As a matter of fact an Argentine’s home is a very difficult castle for a
stranger to enter.

This probably for two chief reasons. For the first of these we must trace
racial elements back to the Moorish civilization of Spain and the jealous
seclusion of women from all male eyes but those of close relations. The
second is a general lack of orderliness (also an Oriental characteristic)
usually prevailing in even the richest Argentine households; which makes
it inconvenient to receive except on special and specially prepared
occasions.

We must follow up the Arab-Semitic blood brought in the veins of the
Spaniard to the new world through mingling with Native Indian and Negro
blood before we come to the heroes who fought for and won independence
from Spanish rule now over a century ago. Since then what intermarryings,
mostly with natives of Italy but also with British, French, German,
Scandinavian and Belgian men and women.

Guthries, Dumas, Murphys, Schneidewinds, Christophersens, De Bruyns,
Bunges, not to mention bearers of the historic patronymics of Brown and
O’Higgins, are now among the landed aristocracy of Argentina; though,
still, the _crème de la crème_ consists of the descendants of the
Spanish families of Colonial days. Among the middle and lower classes,
especially in the towns, the Italianate element is now overwhelming;
though recently again Spanish immigration has begun to exceed Italian.
All this goes to make a strange racial mixture; of which the first
generation born on Argentine soil knows little about and cares nothing
for the language of its parents, but grows up with a pride, comical to
the detached observer, in the glorious Wars of Independence (fought at
a period when its own ancestry were, as likely as not, peasants in one
or another corner of Europe, and wholly ignorant of the fact of the
existence of the River Plate) and patriotically devoted to the blue and
white Banner and National Anthem (an Italian composition, by the by) of
the land of their parents’ adoption.

Everyone born on Argentine or Uruguayan soil is Argentine or Uruguayan
of his own very decided will as well as legally; furiously so with the
exclusive fervour of the convert. He cannot or will not speak English,
French, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish or Flemish as the case may be;
nothing but Spanish, River Plate Spanish, that is to say, is worthy of
his tongue, and he has a truly Galician contempt for the lisping Spanish
of Castile.

Contrarily to a generally accepted but quite superficial view, an
Uruguayan differs from an Argentine almost if not quite as much as
a Portuguese does from a Spaniard; the reason being that the early
immigration to the two countries was drawn from different parts of Spain.
The first settlement of what is now Uruguay was chiefly drawn from
the Canary Islands and the Basque Provinces; the latter origin being
easily perceptible from a glance at any list of the names of prominent
Uruguayans, past or present. To this fact of early settlement and
because Uruguay has, until quite recently, offered much less attraction
to the stream of European Emigration which flowed past Montevideo to
Buenos Aires, is due the possession of the high degree of many sterling
qualities which distinguishes Uruguayans from their cousins of the other
shore of the River Plate. These qualities have sustained the National
and individual financial credit of Uruguay throughout all troubles and
political vicissitudes. She as a Nation and her individual traders have
always paid 100 cents gold to each dollar and her commercial community
has successfully negatived any attempt on the part of her Governments
to depart from the strictly gold basis of her monetary system. The
Uruguayan dollar is worth slightly more than that of the United States.
This significant fact is due to the uncontaminated preservation of racial
qualities derived through the old Colonists from the Northern parts of
Spain; especially from the Basques, than whom no honester, nor perhaps
more obstinate, people exist.


LANGUAGE

Everyone knows that Spanish is the language of the River Plate Republics;
but, while the written Spanish of South America is one with literary
Spanish all the world over, the spoken language of Argentina and Uruguay
differs from Castilian in many respects.

The first of these, and probably the most interesting, is the survival
in South America of words in common use in the days of the early
_conquistadores_ and colonists but which have long ago fallen into disuse
in Spain.

These words gave a deal of trouble a few years ago to certain Argentine
amateur philologists who made more or less ingenious endeavours to derive
them from the aboriginal Quichúa or Guaraní.

It was reserved for Mr. Paul Groussac, a Frenchman and the custodian of
the Argentine National Library, to inform these derivation hunters, in a
coldly sarcastic little pamphlet, that they would find all the words that
were puzzling them intact in the works of Cervantes and other old Spanish
authors.

So it is with many Britons not learned in philology. There are many words
and expressions commonly regarded as Americanisms which in truth went to
New England in the _Mayflower_.

There are also several striking differences between the pronunciation of
Spanish on the River Plate and in Spain. Thus the “ll” which is liquid
in pure Castilian is given in South America a sound very much like the
French “j” in _je_. This, I believe to have come to the New World with
the Galician immigration.[11]

In the beginning of historical times the various Galician dialects
prevailed over the whole Peninsula; Galician subsequently developing
into modern Portuguese and the Castilian dialect, with much more widely
divergent steps of development, becoming the accepted language of Spain.

Also the Argentine and Uruguayan disdain the lisping “θ” sound given by
Spaniards to the letter “z” and in a lighter degree to “c.” In South
American Spanish “z,” soft “c” and “s” are indistinguishable to the
ear; all three being given the same sound as an English “s.” There is
also, as might be expected, a distinct difference of intonation between
Spanish as she is spoken in South America and in Spain. Everyone who has
learned to speak Spanish in a South American country ever afterwards
carries with him oral evidence of the place of origin of that linguistic
acquirement; just as does a foreigner who has learned English in the
United States. So it is with South African Dutch; and (may it be said?)
Australian English. And all Colonists of either English, Dutch or Spanish
origin are consciously proud of their own particular fashion of speaking
and, either secretly or openly, regard the intonation of the older
country as rather effeminately affected. _De gustibus_, etc.

Really, I suppose, there is no good or bad “accent,” as these differences
of intonation are commonly called. It is like flavour, chiefly, if not
entirely, a matter of custom and taste. PRONUNCIATION, however, seems
more frequently a matter of fashion, recurrent as are other fashions in
easily dated periods.

Probably the South American pronunciation of Spanish mostly dates back to
the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries; with, perhaps, an added blunt
plainness born of generations of free rough life on the vast expanses of
the Pampa.

Modern innovations in the written or spoken language of Argentina
and Uruguay can usually be traced to the great stream of immigration
constantly flowing to these countries, chiefly from Italy and Spain.


ARGENTINES AND URUGUAYANS

The inhabitants of the two Republics of Argentina and Uruguay are only
similar in appearance and natural characteristics to the superficial or
hasty observer. There are several points in which they really differ
fundamentally, the difference being due, as has just been observed, to
the fact that the original settlements of the two parts of the River
Plate Territories were drawn from different parts of Spain and that
the later cosmopolitan stream of immigration passed by Montevideo, on
account of the constantly politically disturbed condition of Uruguay, and
disembarked only at Buenos Aires. Therefore the Uruguayan has retained
the characteristics of his Spanish ancestors in far greater purity than
has the Argentine.

It is therefore impossible to club the two peoples together in
any attempt at a description or even indication of their leading
characteristics.

By way of rough comparison it may be said that while the Argentine has
gained in polish and versatility by interbreeding with immigrants from
many European countries, chiefly from all parts of Italy, the Uruguayan
has retained a very large share of the dogged honesty, obstinacy and
capacity for sustained effort in hard work of his Basque and Galician
ancestors.

In passing from comparison to particular analysis one is at once
confronted with the difficult question, “What is an Argentine?”

According to Argentine Law, all children born on Argentine soil are
_ipso facto_ Argentines, but to attempt classification of the offspring
of mixed marriages in several degrees of remoteness of parentage would
immediately become a complex impossibility. Certain influences, however,
imposed by the life and surroundings in Argentina, affect all individuals
brought up there, no matter what may be or have been the nationality of
their immediate or remoter ancestry.

But, with this exception, any description or setting forth of the leading
characteristics of “Argentines” can only safely be submitted in regard to
the direct descendants of the Spanish Conquistadores and early settlers
and of the mixed unions between these and the aboriginal Indian women.
The further but much rarer admixture of African blood introduced by slave
labour, is almost a negligible quantity in the upper classes, though of
considerable and noticeable influence in the lower, especially in the
Northern Provinces, in which the mixture of Indian and Negro blood is
very considerable.

Nevertheless, these elements of Spanish, Indian and Negro became fused
into a national type the picturesqueness of which is now (alas!) being
rapidly absorbed and transformed in the melting-pot in which it meets
strange elements from every part of civilized Europe.

Still, the chivalrous and courteous Argentine to be found to-day not
only in the National Senate (and in the Presidential chair), but also in
the maize fields and sugar plantations of the far Western and Northern
Provinces cannot be overlooked either as very important prime material
for the coming race or as possessing many qualities the dilution of
which can only be viewed with a sincere, if partly sentimental, regret.

Are you a travelling stranger? The _gaucho_ will offer you of the very
best his humble ranch affords with the same native charm and dignity
of manner which will strike you on your arrival and welcome on the
_estancia_ of his ancestral overlord.

There are still corners of Argentina where the patriarchal system has not
yet died out, where every _peon_ and _vaquero_ considers himself a child
of the great house whose señora sees to the creature comforts and small
luxuries of his wife and children on feast-days and in the time of need.

No stately old-world courtesy could ever have surpassed that of an
Argentine host of the old school. Truly, on his estancia, all is yours,
and he will frequently make you a daily offering of fruit, chosen by
him, picked with his own hand, especially and exclusively for you, his
guest. The aristocratic Argentine of the old school is a very dignified
gentleman indeed, notwithstanding a century of democratic profession.
I say “profession,” for though I believe the leading families of the
Republic are quite sincere in a conviction that they rank among the
world’s most advanced democrats, the government of the country has
remained almost exclusively in their truly patrician hands since the days
of the Declaration of Independence. What may happen in the present newly
commenced era of compulsory exercise of a universal franchise no one can
well say, but most of the landed influence still belongs to the great
historic Argentine families; who, moreover, form a caste which keeps even
the plutocracy of more recently foreign origin at a quite respectful
distance. It will be a long time, at any rate, before the prestige of
these families ceases to make its influence felt in the capital as well
as in the districts over which they have ruled for, practically, at least
a century. The apparent familiarity which exists between them and their
dependants or humbler provincial neighbours is the outcome of the loyal
affection which at one time existed in England between squire and farmer
or villager. A feeling born of and sustained by the patriarchal system
and very widely different to the “I am as good as you are” pretensions of
new democracy.

The true Argentine, be he patrician, estanciero or gaucho peon is never
boorish even when he seeks to pick a quarrel with studied insult; and
if his humour and language would, at times, severely shock European
ears polite, he is studiously careful to keep that sort of talk for the
intimacy of his own household and associates. If you are admitted to
that intimacy, well, so much the worse for you, if you are of a prudish
disposition, but you can console yourself that your privilege is a very
special and rare one; bestowed on you by virtue of some exceptionally
sympathetic quality with which your host’s kindly imagination has endowed
you. He is a kindly, charitable man, the real Argentine: an odd mixture
of infantile vanity and strong common sense, hospitable to anyone
arriving at his house through force of circumstance or if he can find
a reasonable excuse to himself for breaking through the rule of almost
hareem-like privacy of his home and intimate family affairs. Courteous
himself, he expects courtesy, and will not brook clumsiness of speech or
manner. Leisurely in his ways, he will not be hustled over any business.
Try to hurry him, and he not only resents your lack of good manners but
also suspects that you are endeavouring to lead him into some kind of
sharp-dealing trap. Anyway, he not only will not budge an inch from his
own deliberate attitude but most probably will oppose the inertia of a
closed front door to all your further endeavours to approach him. This
Argentine characteristic is a rock on which many a Yankee hustler has
seen his best thought-out propositions founder.

In any business or other intercourse with a true Argentine you must
not expect him to keep verbally made appointments nor to apologize
subsequently for not having done so. Usually you need not trouble to
keep them yourself. Whatever you have in hand with him will prosper
better and progress just as, or even more, quickly if you are content
to take the matter up where you left it at your last interview, the
next time you happen to meet him by chance at any at all convenient
place or time. Do not talk him to death about it, he is very quick at
understanding your wishes and proposed plans from the merest hint. If
not, he will ask you very plain questions.

But _he_ must conduct the negotiations, _he_ must clothe your ideas until
they bear a respectable appearance of being of his own originating. That
is his vanity; but only then may you venture to strip them of certain new
features which on close examination will be seen to be more favourable to
his interests than your own.

During the changes which your propositions will inevitably undergo in the
course of negotiations, he may, if you are not careful, get the better
of you in the deal. That also is his vanity; a vanity to guard against
without ever committing the solecism of a too bluntly apparent discovery
of his aim. If he finds you always politely firm as a gentleman should
be, you will have gained his friendship and respect—often valuable assets
even if your original business should not go through.

In a word, in Argentina, as elsewhere, one must respect the native
customs and conventionalities unless one wishes to encounter opposition.
And the _vis inertia_ of the opposition which an Argentine can and does
offer to persons and ideas with which he is out of sympathy is invincible.

Such persons or schemes will be remitted by him to a “Mañana” which never
comes.

That is the true inward meaning in Argentina of mañana; a polite excuse
for temporarily or definitely postponing matters which have not made a
favourable impression. It is not, as is so often thought, a mere lazy
pretext for not doing to-day anything that possibly can be put off till
to-morrow.

The Argentine is not in the least lazy. On the contrary, he has reserve
stores of latent energy the sudden calling into action of which, when
he considers such action called for, is apt to astonish those who have
formed superficial and hasty judgments on his nature.

It would seem trite to say that the first step to success in a country is
intelligent study of the inhabitants were it not so constantly evident
that new arrivals, who really ought to know better, seem to bring with
them the idea that along with their business, whatever it may be,
they have brought a mission to mould Argentine methods on the latest
European or North American forms, forms which are the outcome of entirely
different racial and climatic conditions. Thus, they, at the outset,
impose upon themselves the Sisyphus task of rolling their pet stones
up the hill of customs which really are the outcome of the racial and
physical necessities of the people and country.

You cannot grow wheat in a swamp nor make much of a retriever out of a
pointer, but the swamp may yield good rice and a pointer may be a very
good dog in his way.

The sooner an immigrant, be he financier or farmer, realizes such facts
the better for his success on the River Plate or elsewhere. By not doing
so he fails in his enterprise and blames the failure on to the people
or country to which he took projects predoomed only by his own lack of
intelligent adaptability.

Another word of didactic advice to the intending emigrant to Argentina.
Always be sure, no matter what his appearance and manners may seem to
indicate to your first glance at him, that every action of an Argentine
is firmly founded on a perfectly common-sense view of circumstances and
their influence on his own best interests, although that foundation
may lie under, and, for those who do not really know him, be hidden by
various strata of personal vanity and easily aroused but ephemeral
enthusiasm. He is no fool and most emphatically not a lazy man, but only
one who is rather cynically apt to let other people work for him as much
and as often as they will. When he cannot get things done for him he can
and will do them, very effectively, for himself.

And lest, to some people, the foregoing observations and counsel might
seem so much word-embroidery on a canvas composed mostly of the author’s
imagination, the reader is humbly asked to compare it with the known
facts of Argentine economic history.

In 1810, the beginning of the country’s real development, the great River
Plate landowner was a rural patriarch, much after the fashion of the
shepherd kings of Palestine.

He ousted the Master-Stranger from his land and only afterwards permitted
him and encouraged him to return to it as the servant of himself, the
true overlord of the soil. On that soil its patriarchs extended their
proprietary rights ever more and more while foreign railways and all
kinds of other enterprise constantly enhanced the value of the land held,
always almost exclusively, by Argentines. His railway and dock-building
servants from overseas got very good wages indeed for their work, as they
still do in common with others who have made tramways and constructed
water, gas and electrical power works. But he who up to now has had the
most durable and the chief profit from all this is the Argentine or
Uruguayan; the man who holds and will hold the Government of the two
Republics and retains all the appreciated value of the much greater part
of the soil of their vast territories. Concessions of land to foreigners
made in the past by way of part wages are nowadays secretly regarded as
having been errors committed in ignorance of the real value of what was
then parted with and with such self-accusation of error goes the resolve
not to repeat it. Still it should be stated that at the time of making
such grants some such inducement was necessary in a part of the world
which had only very recently emerged from half a century of civil war.

It is, of course, self-evident that no new railway enterprise will
get a huge grant of land; as did the Central Argentine Company as an
inducement to construct. The attitude of the Argentine to-day to all
foreigners is that they may come to his country and there enjoy similar
rights and liberties with himself coupled with rather less than his own
responsibilities. They may keep the profits they make, and very good
profits are obtainable by well-conducted, necessary enterprise, after
deduction of certain percentage by way of rent for their concessions or
licences; but the real property, the value of which is constantly being
increased by the activity of foreign industry and commerce, remains in,
and even as to formerly alienated parts of it gradually tends to drift
more and more into, native hands.

The Argentine is, as I have said, not a fool, even still less is the
Uruguayan; on the contrary, he is especially wise in his appreciation
of his own natural limitations. He is by long heredity and his own
upbringing a farmer, not a commercial man nor a speculator in aught else
but land. And to land, therefore as well as for the other good reasons
already pointed out, he devotes his best attention.

He cannot, perhaps, build nor manage railways, nor has he generally a
genius for banking, but he can and does breed as fine cattle and sheep
and grow as good quality maize and wheat as any imported European farm
manager. In farming, the special subject which he does thoroughly
understand, he gives practical evidence of his judgment in assimilation
of the best farming science and of adapting it, or such part of it as is
most capable of adaptation, to the conditions and requirements of his own
particular lands.

The finest and the most up-to-date model estancias in Argentina and
Uruguay belong to and have been brought to their present state of
perfection by Argentines and Uruguayans.

Probably these facts dispose of the accusation of dilatory laziness so
often brought against him.

In this chapter I have attempted to inform intending emigrants and
not to formulate a defence of the Argentine or Uruguayan against the
ignorance of his calumniators. He needs none. With a charmingly cynical
indifference, which is all his own but which it does not at all times
suit his interests to manifest, he goes on piling up colossal fortunes
amid surroundings much more congenial to his nature than even the
European Grand Hotels or Cafés in which he likes from time to time to
disport himself and display his wealth. His estancia always remains his
home, in which he spends the best and greatest portion of his life,
surrounded by the peons whose great-grandfathers were vassals of his own.

It is rather the fashion among new arrivals in Buenos Aires and
Montevideo to laugh at the Argentines and Uruguayans and their ways of
managing their affairs, but it appears to me that this is a case of “He
laughs best who laughs last.” The native of the River Plate has contrived
to get his country developed for him while retaining the entire mastery
of it. Men of long residence in these countries have practically adopted
their manners and customs simply because experience has taught them that
such are best adapted to these countries’ natural conditions. As has been
observed earlier in this chapter, the Argentine, especially, is conscious
of his own limitations, one of the chief of which is a pretty general
incapacity for patient attention to detail in his work. His scientific
acquirements are often brilliant as far as study is concerned. He
assimilates knowledge rapidly and accurately, but in its application he
is often too apt to fail of obtaining satisfactory results just and only
because of his lack of patience and appreciation of the value of detail
in practice. That is why he prudently abandoned his own past attempts
to control certain of his railways which, financial failures under his
management, quickly became prosperous concerns in British hands. His
hospitals still show many defects due solely to the lack of attention to
necessary details on the part of the medical staff. Brilliant exceptions,
which unfortunately do not vitiate this rule, are to be found in Mr.
Lertora, the Argentine manager of the Western Railway, and Dr. Penna,
the President of the National Council of Hygiene and the creator of the
magnificently managed Asistencia Publica of Buenos Aires and of all the
great sanitary works of that city.

To sum up the average Argentine of the upper classes, in middle age and
onward he is a grave and reverend señor; a rather wild and boisterous
young gentleman until he has sown a profusion of wild oats.

Throughout his life he shows a childlike pride in his wealth and all
it can give to him and his, is lavish in largesse with occasional and
seemingly capricious moments of close-fistedness. Courteous to a fault in
manner, he has nevertheless ever a keen eye for the main chance in all
matter of sufficient magnitude to really interest him.

In fact he has many characteristics which are reminiscent of the less
objectionable qualities of mediæval nobility, in common with whom he is
quick to resent anything he deems intentional insult to or disparagement
of himself. He will forgive anyone for having got the better of him
in a deal (though it is fair to him to say that it is not often he
finds himself the victim of such an offence), but he will not for any
consideration brook clumsily bad manners. He is by no means a puritanical
moralist nor severe on the moral peccadillos of his neighbours, and he
leaves religion pretty much to his women-folk.

In the lower classes he is still always courteous, expects courtesy from
others, and resents, quickly and often fiercely, any defect in that
respect in his neighbour’s behaviour.

Neither will he brook pretentious arrogance in any man, his social
superior or his equal. Such arrogance meets immediately not only with his
quick resentment but his profound and evident disdain. Treat him as he
will treat you, and you will find him uniformly pleasant, light-hearted
and humorous. Obligatory education is slowly freeing him from the
illiteracy which until recently was very general, especially outside the
limits of the Capital or one or other of the largest towns. Even now the
lower-class Argentine is usually an exceedingly poor scholar. Therefore,
and because of his rapidly growing admixture of Italian peasant blood, he
is superstitious and still often has a deeper faith in fortune-telling
quacks than in qualified medical science. Wise men and women are still
much consulted for love-potions and cures and curses of all sorts for man
and beast in the country districts, but while mere fortune-tellers are
not interfered with by the law, penal restrictions are being more and
more stringently enforced against quack doctors; most of whose remedies
have come direct from mediæval Spain or Italy.

Argentine women? This is a subject on which one is not only tempted but
almost forced to confine oneself to the usual platitudes concerning
beauty of the Spanish type: large-eyed and opulent and at its apogee
during the decade between 15 and 25 years of age.

It is seldom that an Argentine woman of any class troubles her head with
business matters; still less with theories concerning the rights of her
sex. She is usually content to do her most apparent duty in the sphere to
which it has pleased God to call her.

She manages her household in a quasi-Oriental haphazard way; if of the
wealthier classes does little but order that household in such ways as
may correspond to her momentary caprice, if of the poorer, naturally, she
does the work herself, but in the same capricious fashion.

Saturday is the great day for domestic cleaning up throughout all
classes, Sunday a feast day whereon little work is done.

Apart from these general fixtures, household duties may be said never to
be begun and never finished. In all houses one may see the servants or
the housewife, as the case may be, besom in one hand and _mate_ in the
other at any time of day. What is not done to-day is finished to-morrow,
that is all; and what can one do more?

To newly arrived Europeans these methods give an idea of continual
discomfort, but the sooner such Europeans become accustomed to the ways
of the country in this as in other matters the better for their own peace
of mind. Of one thing they may be assured from the commencement of their
stay on the River Plate, viz. that it is not they who will change those
ways by an iota, and that therefore they may as well abandon all notions
of what they would consider as reform of good grace to begin with instead
of at the end of a more or less lengthy nerve-racking struggle.

The servant difficulty is particularly difficult in these sunny lands
where no one need, and very few do, know what it is to suffer the real
pinch of want or of hardship other than such as custom sanctions. The
European lady who worries her servants with, to them, new ideas of how
her household should be conducted will simply cause them to quit her
employ with wonderful unanimity and celerity.

They won’t stop, that is all. She may give them sleeping or other
accommodation which they may never before have enjoyed nor probably
even dreamed of. These attentions strike no sympathetic chord if they
be accompanied by what the native Argentine considers silly pettiness
of interference with the way in which he or she is accustomed to do his
or her work. Any Argentine servant would sooner sleep, as many do, on
a mattress thrown down at night in any passage way in the house of a
native Argentine family and suffer the alternate friendly familiarity and
impassioned scolding of a mistress whose ways they understand and who
leaves them to theirs, than occupy the nicest possible servant’s bedroom
in a more strictly ordered establishment. The true and main lesson of
all which is that the Argentine, to whatever social class he or she may
belong, is a child of nature to whom disciplinary fetters of any kind
are unbearable and to the freer nature of whom the monotony of much of
the punctual regularity which Europeans are apt to consider a necessary
factor of real comfort is impossibly burdensome.

On the River Plate one must live as the Rio Platenseans do if one’s stay
is not to be one continued struggle for unattainable domestic ideals. In
the best hotels, in the millionaire’s palace or the peon’s hut the same
happy-go-lucky spirit prevails and dominates domestic, as it also does
public, life, in especially, perhaps, Argentina. Everything is muddled
through somehow. But it _is_ muddled through to desired results, which,
after all, is the chief practical desideratum.

There is much of the Spanish seclusion in the better-class home life of
both Argentina and Uruguay, which adds to the obstacles in the way of
criticism or appreciation by a foreigner.

That the children are almost universally what we should call spoiled
is, however, evident from the most superficial experience of that life.
The Argentine theories, if they can be termed such, of bringing up are
largely controlled by a fear of crushing the individuality of the child
especially if he be a boy. The most usual reply of an Argentine child
to any order given to it is “No quiero” (I don’t want to), and there
the matter ends. The parents smile indulgently, the child does not do
what it did not want to do, and woe betide the governess or tutor who is
possessed of too strict disciplinary ideas. Thus, from the cradle to the
grave the male Argentine is used to his own sweet way, while his sisters
are made to feel few trammels of a purely household kind. These apart,
however, Argentine women seldom, if ever, show any symptoms of rebellion
against the domestic seclusion which is their accepted lot, especially
after marriage.

The Argentine woman is seldom disturbed by intellectual aspirations,
likes creature comforts and facilities for the standard of dress
pertaining to her station, and she is contented and happy in her home
with the theatre as a distraction. At the theatre she only favours
performances which demand intellectual effort for their appreciation if
and when fashion impels her attendance thereat; so that she may see and
be seen in the foyer and hold pleasant receptions in her box, receptions
not always confined to the _extr’actes_.

In a word, she is not intellectual and therefore feels no need for
troubling her usually handsome head with intellectuality.

She is a wife and a mother and a lady bountiful to all the feudal
dependants of her husband’s house. Childishly fond of dress and
admiration but with as little desire for liberty of action as she has for
deep thought.

As will have been gathered from the foregoing, much of the Moorish
civilization in Spain remains reincarnate in the woman of modern
Argentina.

A word may very well be said here for the much-criticized Argentine
_jeunesse dorée_. In the author’s humble opinion the real wonder about
him is that his sometimes objectionably intrusive boisterousness in
public places does not outstep its actually not very wide limitations.

In any other country, if you had a warm-blooded young scion of a sunny
land who had grown up under the almost constantly approving smiles of an
indulgent father and mother, possessed of great wealth and traditions of
spending freely on amusement and outward display and, lastly, a native
police which would almost as soon dare to rebel openly against the
Government as to lock up for anything short of serious and unconcealable
crime any son of a great ruling family, it appears to me more than
possible that you would have much more trouble with such a gilded youth,
who, moreover, would probably succumb to early physical and financial
ruin instead of developing, as has been said, into a grave and reverend
señor, capable in either Chamber of Congress or in a ministerial or
diplomatic capacity, as the Argentine _fils de famille_ eventually
does. That he does so develop and does not succumb, I attribute to his
underlying quality of common sense, coupled with his mainly open-air
upbringing in the _Camp_.

Also, the young Argentine may be and often is, exceedingly fond of sowing
a vast quantity of wild oats, but he is very seldom ill-natured or
fundamentally bad. His very vices are strongly tempered with redeemingly
generous qualities.

As good a comparison as any I can hit on between the upper-class
Argentine and his Uruguayan cousin is that of the smart Londoner and
the resident in a provincial Cathedral town. The latter is less given
to display of such wealth as he may have and much less likely to make
any pretence of greater. The Uruguayan is usually unpretentious in
his way of living and at the same time gives an impression of greater
solidity if more modest dimensions of fortune. Among both there is the
same aristocratic assuredness of social position; but whereas each
better-class Argentine seeks to outvie his immediate associates in
luxurious outward appearance, the Uruguayan is content with a more solid
if less showy all-round level of comfort. If one may use so discredited a
term, the Uruguayan is the much more “eminently respectable” of the two,
a man who derives his greatest pride from the fact that his word always
has been and is every bit as good as his bond.

He has some contempt for Argentine showiness; while on the other side of
the River Plate estuary he himself is considered as too slow-going to
be very interesting. The Argentine is certainly jealous of the sounder
general credit enjoyed by Uruguay, a jealousy not soothed by a certain
quiet assumption of superiority of a nation which has always turned a
deaf ear to any suggestions of convenient financial juggling, however
critical or difficult the times.

There can be no doubt but that while the Uruguayan is possessed of common
sense in much the same degree as is the Argentine, this quality is in the
former tempered by a large quantum of Quixotic obstinacy.

Roughly speaking—very roughly, for generalization is almost as hazardous
as prophecy—it may be said that while the Argentine is often apt to be
guided rather by opportunism than fixed principle, the Uruguayan will
only begin to listen to the voice of opportunity when he feels sure that
no one of his inflexible principles is likely to be affected by so doing.

As we have seen, both the _White_ and _Red_ political parties in Uruguay
have over and over again racked the whole country with civil war for the
defence or assertion of pure principles, in regard to which no compromise
seemed possible to one side or the other.

Argentina also had her period of Civil War brought about in a very great
measure, no doubt, by similar causes; but her politicians have during
the last fifty years learned the pecuniary value of, at least apparent,
adaptability.

The Uruguayan of to-day is just as inflexible in his convictions as he
was a century ago, and if he now chooses peace rather than civil war it
is because he has become sincerely persuaded that peace is the only real
way to his country’s best good and prosperity. Peace with honour, that is
to say. He would rather commit public or individual suicide than accept
any other.

For this reason (and for others) there is no likelihood of the Banda
Oriental ever becoming a part of Argentina. Uruguayans could never be
peacefully governed by Argentine policy, and Argentina would never wish
to be burdened by such a troublesome community as would be the Uruguayans
if they should come under her nominal rule. As historical fact, Argentina
has already refused Uruguayan territory as a gift, and acted wisely in
such refusal.

The lower classes and rural populations of Argentina and Uruguay differ,
_pari passu_, as much and in similar fashion, from one another as do
their respective social superiors, though Camp life is in many ways Camp
life in both Republics alike. But ruggedly uncompromising staunchness to
those principles which he has adopted for his own—which, however, may
differ from European standards—is as evident in the Uruguayan peon as in
his master.

Once you really know the Argentine or the Uruguayan, it is seldom
difficult to forecast what either will do in any given circumstances.
Needless, perhaps, to add that your study of them must be sympathetic;
as must all such study in order to obtain positive or any at all
satisfactory results.



CHAPTER V

NATIONAL, PROVINCIAL, AND MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT


The Constitutions of Argentina and Uruguay differ chiefly in that while
the former gives a large measure of autonomy to the Provinces (therein,
as in other respects, being closely modelled on that of the United
States), the latter does not, the whole legislative power being vested in
the National Congress.[12]

Argentina has 14 Provinces and 11 National Territories, including the
district of the Federal Capital, the city of Buenos Aires. Each of the
Provinces has a Governor and a Parliament of its own, chosen by the local
electorate, and possesses, as has been said, a very large measure of
autonomy in the management of its own fiscal and other internal affairs.
Other large areas which are not yet judged by Congress to have attained
sufficient development to be able to support the financial burdens and
status of autonomous Provinces have remained _National Territories_ under
the direct control of the National Government. The Municipal Council
of the Federal Capital has wide administrative powers, always subject,
however, to the sanction of the National Executive, and the “Lord Mayor”
(Intendente Municipal) of Buenos Aires is appointed by the National
Government.

The National Territory likely to be the first promoted to the rank of a
Province is that of the PAMPA CENTRAL; now one of the chief cereal areas
of the Republic.

The Argentine Provinces and National Territories are the following:

PROVINCES

  1. Buenos Aires.
  2. Santa Fé.
  3. Entre Rios.
  4. Corrientes.
  5. Córdoba.
  6. San Luis.
  7. Santiago del Estero.
  8. Mendoza.
  9. San Juan.
  10. La Rioja.
  11. Catamarca.
  12. Tucumán.
  13. Salta.
  14. Jujuy.

TERRITORIES

  1. Federal Capital.
  2. Misiones.
  3. Formosa.
  4. Chaco.
  5. Pampa Central.
  6. Neuquen.
  7. Rio Negro.
  8. Chubut.
  9. Santa Cruz.
  10. Tierra del Fuego.
  11. Los Andes.

It should be added that all Public Acts and Judicial Decisions of one
Province have legal effect in all the others. Sometimes, however,
conflicts of jurisdiction afford matter for the decision of the Federal
High Court.

Uruguay is divided into 19 DEPARTMENTS, each of which has a Governor
appointed by the National Executive and an administrative Council chosen
by local popular vote. The Departments of Uruguay are:

  Tucuarembo.
  Cerro Largo.
  Durazno.
  Paysandú.
  Salto.
  Minas.
  Florida.
  Artígas.
  Rocha.
  Rivera.
  Treinta y tres.
  Soriano.
  Rio Negro.
  San José.
  Colonia.
  Flores.
  Maldonado.
  Canelones.
  Montevideo.

It is perhaps not convenient here to discuss the comparative advantages
of the two systems; but it must be said that evidence of the defects
inherent to the qualities of both is not lacking. In Argentina the
Provinces and in Uruguay the National Governments have frequently shown
and still show a disposition to make ells out of the inches given them by
their respective constitutions.

In Argentina this disposition was considerably scotched though not
killed by the Centralizing policy of Dr. Figueroa Alcorta, the immediate
predecessor in the Presidential chair of the recently deceased Dr. Roque
Saenz Peña. Dr. Alcorta’s policy was fundamentally good and was carried
out by him with, doubtless, the best of motives, if the manner of its
execution was rather Gilbertian.

The evils he attacked arose from the fact that each of the more distant
Provinces was practically under the almost autocratic domination of a
great land-owning family; the descendants, usually, of the lords of the
soil in the patriarchal days of the River Plate countries.

In those Provinces these families and their nearer ramifications formed
powerful oligarchies; ruling over people who in their turn were the
descendants of those who in bygone days had been little else than the
vassals of the Great House. The head of the leading family was the
Governor of his Province by an almost acknowledged right of inheritance;
while his sons, nephews, and sons-in-law occupied the chief posts in the
Provincial Government.

It is not too much to say that these people had, in measure as the
National Government became more and more perfected in its conduct and
outlook, become an insufferable obstacle to uniformity of ordered conduct
of public affairs. Especially was this so in financial matters.

The outlying and, mostly, poorer Provinces were always needing, or
at any rate wanting, money; and at the same time not over-nice about
their lack of unpledged security when they found a European financier,
as untrammelled by scruple as they themselves, willing to engineer a
further Provincial loan under the independent borrowing powers given by
the Constitution to each Province. Some of them also wished to continue
and even increase the issue of notes the value of which was shockingly
depreciated, and which were only legal tender within the boundaries of
the particular Province. Almost in vain, the National Government issued
diplomatic and consular circulars to the effect that Provincial loans
were not Argentine National loans, and that it, the National Government,
would only hold itself responsible for the latter. The financiers who
floated new Provincial loans were well aware that the majority of those
persons whom they could induce to take up such bonds knew little or
nothing of the distinction between National and Provincial. The loan was
an Argentine one; puffed with perfectly true statistics of the progress
and prosperity of the Argentine Republic—without too much insistence on
that of the particular Province concerned. Besides, these financiers and,
possibly, some of their clients calculated on the extreme probability
of the National Government, if an awkward situation really did arise,
not allowing its Provinces to be declared defaulters in Europe, because
of the consequent slur which must inevitably, though unjustly, fall on
the name of “Argentina”; a name the credit of which the untiring and
scrupulous efforts of the National Government have built up since the
crisis of 1891.

The Provincial Oligarchies had also other ways of jockeying National
Government. They would ask for all sorts of things, and if refused would
proceed to rant shamelessly in the Senate. This was blackmail, nothing
more nor less; but frequently effective, since Provincial Governors are
practically always members of the National Senate; in which the President
must, obviously, have a majority if he is to carry on the Government.

Such situations Dr. Figueroa Alcorta determined to take in hand; and the
only way of doing this was to break up the offending Oligarchies.

Much of the humour of his doing so lay in the fact that he owed his high
post to an original miscalculation of his character as that of a pleasant
enough figure-head certain to be docile in the hands of the wire-pullers.
Therefore he was appointed Vice-President to be a negligible quantity
under the Presidency of Dr. Manuel Quintana. On whose death he, _ipso
facto_, under the Constitution, became acting President for the remainder
of Dr. Quintana’s term of office. The developments of Dr. Figueroa
Alcorta were as much a surprise to Argentine politicians as were those of
Bret Harte’s “Heathen Chinee” to his associates in “the game he did not
understand.” And realization came as late in the day in the one case as
in the other.

A veritable epidemic of local Revolutions sprang up in one after the
other of the oligarchically ruled Provinces. On each occasion an
“Interventor” was, as is provided by the Constitution for such cases,
sent down by the National Government to enquire into the causes of the
disturbance, and particularly to ascertain if the Province concerned
were being ruled “in accordance with the Constitution and democratic
principles.” If the answer to this last question were found to be in the
affirmative, National troops could be sent down to support the existing
Provincial Government; if in the negative, the ruling party, including,
of course, the Governor, could be deposed and a successor appointed by
the National Government in his stead.

As a result it gradually (but not till it was very nearly all over)
dawned on the general intelligence of the country that the Governors who
had been found to have ruled their Provinces “in accordance with the
constitution, etc.,” were faithful supporters of the Presidential policy;
whilst those who had been deposed for misrule happened, strangely enough,
to be those who had kicked over, or shown an overt disposition to kick
over, the Presidential traces.

This appealed to the public sense of humour and “Revolución de arriba”
(Revolution from above, _i.e._ instigated in high quarters[13]) became a
catch phrase. Thus were the Oligarchies brought to naught and the central
power greatly strengthened thereby.

Dr. Figueroa Alcorta’s crowning _coup d’état_ was, however, his shutting
Congress out of its own Palace in consequence of its conspired refusal to
pass one of his budgets. One fine day, the National Senators and Deputies
on reaching the Congress building found it in possession of troops who
refused them admission. Remonstrance was unavailing, and they perforce
returned home. Meanwhile, the President passed the Budget himself, as the
Constitution gives him power to do “when Congress is not sitting.”

In the result Dr. Figueroa Alcorta’s Budget (which was a perfectly
wise and necessary one) remained operative and the officer who had
commanded the troops was heavily fined for disrespect shown to the sacred
offices of Senator and Deputy. The gallant officer’s plea in defence
that the President whose orders he had obeyed on that occasion was, as
constitutional Commander-in-Chief of the Forces, his Military Superior,
availed him nothing. Nobody else was one penny the worse. Possibly, the
payment of Colonel Calazza’s fine came “de arriba” like the Revolutions.

Soon afterwards Dr. Figueroa Alcorta was the courteous and diplomatic
host of Personages (including the Infanta Isabella) at the 1910 Centenary
Festivities; and, shortly after that again, vacated the Presidential
chair in favour of Dr. Saenz Peña, his successor “by consent.” The usual
and graceful, though officially unacknowledged, custom in Argentina being
that the Presidential Election shall follow a prearranged course.[14]

With the matter of elections Dr. Saenz Peña’s name is, as has been said,
intimately and honourably associated, and it may be repeated that by his
death the Republic lost one of its most broad-minded and straightforward
statesmen.

Up to the passing of his Electoral Reform Law, no self-respecting private
citizen ever dreamed of voting: simply because if he favoured the
Government policy his doing so would be a mere work of supererogation,
while if he held opposition views it would be sheer waste of time and
trouble on his part; and if he were a provincial voter he would certainly
find himself the object of unpleasant attention by the police, whose
really chief duty was to “conduct” elections to the satisfaction of the
ruling party. Anyhow, his voting could not influence the preordained
result of the election one way or the other. Voting was done by the
mere deposit of a “Libreta” or certificate of citizenship, and libretas
deposited in favour of the ruling party were subject to little scrutiny
as to whether the persons named in them were alive or dead. They were
thrown in at the polling stations in bundles. Some were bought; though
at a low figure, because there were thousands of blank libretas at
Government House ready to be filled in by quick-writing clerks in
the very remote event of any booth being reported to have received a
disconcerting number of votes adverse to the Government.

In the Provinces the proceedings were rougher and readier; the
comparative smallness of the communities enabling the Police Commissary
to know the political views of all persons in his district. Did a
would-be opponent of the ruling powers heave in sight, he was hustled
as if to make room for others who had arrived before him, and if he
were still foolish enough to persist in trying to vote he was arrested
for making a disturbance, and locked up till the election was over. The
Provincial Police Authorities could hardly be blamed for their share in
this scandal, because the successful conduct of elections was really a
_sine qua non_ condition of their tenure of office. Failure meant for
them being almost immediately superseded.

In Uruguay, no matter whether Reds or Whites (the two great political
parties) were in power, the rural population, the true backbone of the
agricultural country, were perennially in opposition: because they found
that the atmosphere of the capital somehow or another always infected
their rulers with ideas of government which, however splendid they might
be in theory, were more often than not quite out of harmony with, and
often contradictory to, practical agricultural needs and conditions.

Thus, to cite an instance often referred to in this regard, it is not
long since a German agricultural expert, specially imported with the
best of intentions by the Government, showed them that wheat allowed to
mature for a while in stacks had a greater commercial value in Europe
than that thrashed simultaneously with reaping and shipped immediately.
This is, in itself, undeniable fact; from which, however, the Uruguayan
Government drew the conclusion that it would be well to pass a law making
it obligatory, under penalty for not doing so, on every farmer in the
country to stack all his wheat for a certain period before sending it for
export. This proposal naturally raised an outcry throughout the country.
Because a practice which presents little practical inconvenience and much
advantage in an European country, where small wheat fields and a more
or less damp climate are the rule, would be monstrously ridiculous in a
land where grain is grown by the square league, and where, accidents of
weather apart, the standing crops are well dried by the sun. Just imagine
the enormous expense involved in stacking wheat over such vast areas as
are covered by cereals in the River Plate countries. In which countries,
moreover, the greatest of all difficulties in the way of production is
the scarcity of labour! The stacking method would cost vastly more than
the difference in the value between stacked and unstacked grain.

Needless to say, this brilliantly conceived law was never passed; but
the idea of it stands as an example of the doctrinaire tendencies of
Montevidean statesmen of which the rural industries complain.

That there is a mysterious something in the air of Montevideo which
influences men in the direction of abstract idealism, and at the same
time blinds them to facts which their cherished theories will not fit,
seems undeniable. But it is unlikely that Uruguay will ever again be
plunged into the ruinous throes of Revolution.

Once the leaders of Uruguayan opinion grasped the fact that Revolution is
the greatest possible impediment to the best interests of the country,
the peaceful future of the Republic was assured; and they now seem to
have grasped it clearly and firmly.

State insurance, State railways, State tramways, water and gas works,
electrical power stations and, in fact, State everything was Señor
Batlle’s[15] plan for holding Uruguay up to the world as a splendid
object-lesson in State Socialism. Here again one sees the fire of
patriotism gleaming through a mass of practical difficulties (the
obtaining of necessary capital for the purpose, and on the necessary
conditions of the execution of such splendid plans, for instance) in the
way of the accomplishment of the President’s dream.

Equally patriotic were those who endeavoured to keep the brakes well
pressed on to the wheels of the “progressive” Presidential car; hoping
for the conclusion of Señor Batlle y Ordoñez’s term of office before too
much harm were done. But, mark this, not a sign of overt rebellion in a
situation over which only a few years ago the whole country would have
been engaged in a fratricidal struggle.

Señor Batlle y Ordoñez was an autocratic democrat; desiring and firmly,
even obstinately, determined, to rule as absolutely as any Tsar in what
he conceived to be the true interests of all classes of the population.

The present writer well remembers hearing him, on the first day of the
great general strike of 1911, addressing the strikers from the balcony of
Government House at Montevideo.

He told them that were it not for his high office he would be among them
and with them; counselled them to stand firmly for their rights; and
wound up with a warning that any acts of intimidation or violence on
their part would not only injure their just cause, but expose the guilty
parties to extremely severe punishment.

By way of underlining this last wholesome admonition, Martial Law was
immediately declared, and the next day saw the town filled with Horse,
Foot and Artillery. This move (which caused some doubt in the mind of
the extreme Labour Party as to which way the Presidential wind was
really blowing), and the fact that the flags, illuminations and firework
installations were already nailed up for the celebration of the Centenary
of Artígas, the National Hero, whose memory has of late years been
completely whitewashed by the National Historians, caused the strike to
fizzle out and all hands to join, a day or two later, in festivities the
brilliance of which confirmed the reputation of the Montevideans as past
masters of artistic illumination.

The only net result of the strike appeared to be the fining, in the
strict terms of its concession, of the Montevideo Tramways Company for
neglecting to run cars according to schedule during a period when it was
physically impossible for it to have done so. When no bread was baked
and even doctors were forced by the strike leaders to abandon the use
of their carriages; when, in fact, the whole city kept a sabbath during
which no man might do any manner of work. A state of things enforced by
patrols of strikers armed with revolvers—until the troops of their friend
the President suddenly appeared upon the scene.

Of both Argentina and Uruguay it may be said that their Constitutions,
Laws (National and Provincial) and Municipal by-laws and regulations
are as nearly perfect models of what such things should be as can well
be imagined. If they were not sometimes honoured in the breach of them
and if isolated provisions were not sometimes hauled out to meet cases
pretty obviously not exactly contemplated by their framers, all would
be even better in lands where, on the whole, Laws and Regulations, as
occasionally varied by tacit custom, generally work very well indeed.
Such custom, it should be noted here, is not, however, altogether
reliable and would be useless as a defence in the frequently recurring
event of some Authority or other, perhaps piqued by an ambition to
distinguish itself or to be revenged on a torpid liver, suddenly
insisting on the observance of the strict letter of the law. In that
case, several unsuspecting people get fined; journalists are inspired for
paragraphs and even articles; a, say, three days’ wonder is created; and
custom resumes her sway until the next temporary upheaval.

The writer once lived in a district of Argentina where, as elsewhere
in that country, all dairy farmers must, under penalty, use milk cans
duly certified and marked by the Authority appointed for that purpose,
as being according to standard measure. A fee is payable on each can
so certified. One day, being in a curious mood, one not uncommon in
journalists, he asked Authority to show him the standard measures. The
latter, a good fellow, was pleased to consider the writer as another; so
he laughed and said he had never seen nor asked to have such a thing. He
knew that all these milk-cans were turned out accurately enough by the
manufacturers. So what was the use of bothering further? He just marked
them and took the fee.

Some day, he or his successor or a colleague of some other district, will
be caught by some Higher Authority in a fit of zeal and made an example
of. Someone will get a profitable contract to furnish Standard milk-cans
throughout the Republic, these will duly get lost or be appropriated
by Authority’s wife for household purposes, and dairymen’s cans will be
certified on sight as before.

It is only just to say that this story is rather illustrative of
Argentine life than Uruguayan: the Uruguayan generally takes more strict
a view of his duties and obligations than his over-river cousin.

But to return to our subject. Generally speaking, and especially in
Argentina with its Provincial Autonomy, the further one journeys from
the National Capital the slacker and more irregular one finds the
administration of Laws and By-Laws, the greater the resemblance of the
manners and methods of Authority to that of the Kadi under a palm tree.
And the more one realizes the truth of the proverb that while one man
may steal a horse another may not look over a gate. In country districts
personal influence is wellnigh everything. If one be on good terms with
the Municipal Intendente (Mayor) or the Comisario of Police (it is
generally a case of being friendly, if at all, with both and the other
members of the official clique; all usually to be found together in the
same bar or restaurant), the law looks very indulgently on one, and at a
pinch will turn a blind eye to one’s, really only humorous, peccadillos.
If not, one must walk carefully like Agag until one has gathered
common sense enough to approach Authority in a properly friendly (and
acceptable) spirit.

Does the Comisario’s horse go lame, he will ask you to lend him one. You
do so, saying at the same time that you have no further need of it. And
the next time you have trouble with your peons, or anyone else with less
influence than yourself, send for the Comisario, he will soon straighten
the matter out for you. Even if your trouble be with an equal or superior
in influence, smiling Authority will discover a _modus vivendi_ and
drinks all round will seal the friendly compact. It is seldom one meets
anyone who is not on good terms with his Authorities. Not to be so would
remind one of the story of Carnot, who refused to stand in with Napoleon
I. The Emperor told him frankly that he who was not with him was against
him, and that he, Carnot, was much too powerful a person with the people
to be permitted to be at large in France under the latter condition. He
must be exiled, and had better see Fouché on the matter.

Carnot went; and, addressing Fouché, asked sternly, “Where must I go?
Traitor!” “Wherever you like. Imbecile!” was Fouché’s cynical retort.

So, in Argentine rural ethics, if you are not friendly with Authority
you have only your own folly to thank for the usually inconvenient
consequences.

It is wonderful how much money Authority has to spend on amusement when
it gets a day or two’s holiday in Buenos Aires; and it is great fun as
well as good policy to go round with him, if you also are in funds.
Argentine Authority seldom gives or expects anything for nothing; but
usually is a pleasant enough fellow withal, if taken the right way.

The Uruguayan, in such regards as in all others, is a less sophisticated
and, in country districts, a more primitively minded person; though
always hospitable, usually courteous in his manner, and particularly so
to strangers.

The most exalted Governmental spheres, those of the National Governments
in the Cities of Buenos Aires and Montevideo, respectively, are nowadays
almost entirely free from any suggestion of the mildest form of even
technical corruption. It certainly is easier to obtain a personal
interview with the President or a Minister if one personally knows one
of his intimate friends or subordinate officials; but that is all that
influence really amounts to as regards any question affecting overseas
Commerce, Concessions or Foreign Affairs. In regard to home politics,
doubtless a good deal of intrigue is constantly at work at Government
House in Buenos Aires, but those are matters which the foreign settler
leaves exclusively to the Argentines themselves. So long as they do
nothing which may affect trade or credit, even the representatives of
the largest foreign interests are careful to avoid any act or word which
might savour of interference in the sole management by the Argentine of
purely Argentine affairs. As has been indicated elsewhere in these pages,
such interference is the one thing regarding which the Argentine is very
jealously suspicious. He may have framed most of his Constitution on that
of the United States, but he never would have permitted the States or
anyone else to do it for him.

Apart from the transparent incorruptibility, from without, at all events,
of all members of the National Governments of both Republics, there
is a pleasant free-and-easiness about the manner of Presidential and
Ministerial receptions.

The _salons_ in which all-comers are received are large, airy and well
lighted; and are furnished with leather-covered sofas, seated on which
visitors wait their turn for the President or Minister to grant them a
few words of conversation; during which his Excellency sits down on the
sofa beside them, cigarette in hand like everyone else in the room.

At a longer, special, conference, coffee also is served, hot in winter
and iced in summer, even in the offices of subordinate officials; and
rumour has it that it is over this inexhaustible supply of Nationally
provided coffee and cigarettes that internal politics are “made.”
In Argentina politics of this kind are kaleidoscopic; groups and
individuals forming fresh combinations and antagonisms too rapidly and
from too deeply underlying motives for anyone not profoundly versed and
continually engaged in the game to be able to follow it with anything
approaching comprehension.

Much of this has doubtless disappeared under the influence of Dr. Saenz
Peña; whose fearlessly honourable nature judged, and judged rightly, that
the National Government of Argentina is now in a position to face without
apprehension any public opinion of its acts and policy.

Naturally the spirit of intrigue, the love of which, almost for itself,
has roots deep down in Argentine human nature, cannot yet be reckoned
as dead; but it is certainly in the course of being driven further and
further away from the centres of higher civilization by a superior
ethical conception of the duties of Government; even as the long-horned
native cattle have been ousted to frontier districts by the appreciation
by Estancieros of the incomparable advantages, to themselves, of
Shorthorns and Herefords.

In Uruguay there always has been much less tendency to intrigue. There,
a man was a Red or a White, a conscientious supporter of the Rural or
Urban party. While as for Finance the Commercial Community has always
and unswervingly seen to it that its realm be kept clean and untarnished
by even the breath of scandal. It may here be objected that now and
again, foreign concessionaires have made bargains with the National
Government strangely profitable to themselves. The true answer to such
an observation would be that in such cases the Government has invariably
been the quite innocent victim of greater experience and far-sightedness
in such matters than its own advisers had ever had opportunity to attain.

Uruguayans would maintain the National credit by emptying their own
private pockets if need be and, in fact, have expressed their intention
of doing so on more than one occasion when, as is mentioned in another
chapter, the Government allowed itself to be frightened into proposals
for issues of paper currency not founded on a strictly gold basis.
A proceeding which would have spelt repudiation of a portion of the
National liabilities; in the manner of the Argentine “Conversion Law.”

The proof of the pudding is in the eating. And it is no sign of bias to
give Uruguay credit for plain facts which incontrovertibly prove her
sense of the sanctity of moral as well as legal obligation.

True, she was never in quite such a financial tangle as that in which
Argentina found herself in 1891; but she has often been poverty-stricken,
and yet has always paid to the utmost centesimo.

Generally, it may be said that a similar honesty prevails in all branches
of Government and fiscal affairs throughout Uruguay.

For a glance at some small ways that are dark and tricks that are vain,
before these are entirely swept away, as they now are being, before
the healthy wind of moral improvement (healthy even though, as some
cynics assert, it has been raised only by perception of the fact that
in the long run, honesty is the best policy) one must go to distant
parts of Argentina and there grope amid the intricacies of Provincial
and Municipal Administration. There, undoubtedly, we may come across
semi-obscure corners from which a highly respectable chartered accountant
would fly horror-stricken. But we should also recognize that the whole
small fabric of intrigue and petty robbery is a Punchinello’s secret;
well known to and sympathetically approved by the whole surrounding
populace, whose attitude to the robber is that of “Good luck to him! I
should do the same if I had his chance.” Of no use to endeavour to stir
up public opinion to demand the prosecution or dismissal of Authorities
or Officials who are perfectly well known to have been defrauding the
public for years.

Not a bit of it. You would only get for an answer, “What? get rid of
him now that he’s fat and get a lean one in his place who would be far
worse!” Meaning that a needy man would steal more than a rich one. Local
opinion would hold that that way lay madness only; and the would-be
reformer would be merely regarded with pitying scorn.

No. The change is coming and coming rapidly with the spirit of the age,
and cannot be hastened in its inevitable course; and this change will
be thorough, for it will only encounter the ineffectual opposition of a
quite infantile dishonesty which has never seriously tried to keep secret
the practices which its vanity considered as so much evidence of its own
admirable cleverness.

Do you think the milk-can inspector did not delight in telling that he
had never seen a standard measure? Of course he did; and a Municipal
Intendente of a small country town gets just as much pleasure from the
knowledge that, while ten men appear on his Municipality’s monthly
wage-sheets as road-menders, there are in fact only two and the remaining
eight receipts are signed, for a consideration, per signature, by
independent persons. A proceeding which, of course, is perfectly well
known to and indeed accepted as immemorial custom by the general public.
In these cases no one ever gets caught; because those chiefly concerned
have always a pull in Provincial politics—otherwise they would never have
found themselves occupying the positions they are in.

But, as the reader can see, all these are childish things; already
vanishing and soon to be completely put away by the general and swift
advance, moral as well as material, of the Republic.



CHAPTER VI

MONTEVIDEO AND BUENOS AIRES


Montevideo, the first discovered point of the River Plate countries, is
also the first stopping-place for passenger boats from Europe; and if the
traveller from thence be in no immediate hurry to reach Buenos Aires he
might do much worse than spend, say a week, in the clean, cool, pleasant
capital of LA REPUBLICA DE LA BANDA ORIENTAL DEL URUGUAY.

Leaving his baggage to be sent for later, he will walk, or take a
convenient tram, from the harbour up the fairly steep incline of a narrow
street and find himself at a corner of the ancient Plaza of the City; the
Plaza with History represented on two of its sides, to his right and left
respectively, by the Cathedral and the old Congress buildings. Facing
him, he will see modernity embodied in the palatial CLUB URUGUAYO, while
immediately on his left hand, at his back, is a little front door and
staircase leading to the comfortable and hospitable English club.

The middle of the square is occupied by fine subtropical and other plants
surrounding a band-stand from which very sweet music indeed proceeds at
night in the summer-time; which, including Spring and Autumn, lasts for
nine months of the year.

Afterwards, he will find his way to the Plaza Independencia on one side
of which is Government House, and almost behind which is Montevideo’s
Opera House, the Soler Theatre. Later he can visit Pocitos, Ramirez and
other delightful, white-sanded bathing beaches, with which Montevideo
abounds; for this city on a hill occupies a small peninsula which juts
out just where the estuary of the River merges into the Atlantic Ocean.

All the streets leading from three sides of the old Plaza go downhill
to the sea; and up one parallel set or another of them comes a fresh
breeze at all times of the day and night and at all seasons of the year.
One seldom or never suffers in Montevideo from the stifling oppression
sometimes so painful in the dog-days of Buenos Aires.

With so many natural advantages, it can be readily understood that
Montevideo has an ambition and that that ambition should be to become
_the_ seaside resort of South America.

Towards the realization of this desire the Government and the
Municipality spare no expense at all commensurate with their means.
Fine broad motor drives and promenades run, or are being constructed to
run, all round the three water-bound sides which, by the test of school
geographies, indicate a true peninsula.

Gaily striped bathing tents can be hired by the hour, day, week or season
on what have just been said to be delightful soft, warm, sandy beaches.
To come out of the water and roll oneself dry in this fine clean sand is
an experience not to be missed and certainly to be remembered, apart from
its proclaimed virtues as a sovereign cure for rheumatism.

That malady must, however, surely be an imported article; one does not
naturally associate it with the bright dry climate of Montevideo.

Municipal bands, good operatic and dramatic companies are added lures for
holiday-makers of the wealthier class from neighbouring Republics; while
Montevideo sustains the ancient custom of keeping carnival, masked and
with illuminations, flower-throwing and costumed _corsos_, in a fashion
which entirely throws into the shade the now moribund carnival of Buenos
Aires.

[Illustration: THE PLAZA LIBERTAD, MONTEVIDEO]

At Montevideo, all is done to please and nothing to annoy, so that the
throwing of water which was a leading feature of the old-time carnival is
now strictly prohibited by authority enforced by the police; as is also
the case in Buenos Aires.

Thousands of people cross each year from Buenos Aires for the Montevideo
carnival, the whole available fleet of the company which runs luxurious
boats between the two cities are pressed into the service of this
occasion and become floating hotels; the normal hotel accommodation of
Montevideo being insufficient to meet such an influx of visitors during
these few days.

By the way, the origin of this fine steamboat service is an interesting
example of the progress made by the two countries and the fortunes which
have been amassed in them during existing lifetimes.

Before the building of the present dock system of Buenos Aires, one
of the boatmen who used to land and embark passengers from or on the
ocean-going ships was a man named Nicolas Mihanovich; evidently a very
level-headed and at that time at least, a very frugal and saving person
indeed.

With his row-boat he gained sufficient to enable him to purchase a
sailing vessel which he used for regular traffic to and fro across the
broad mouth of the River Plate. So, his enterprise grew; and only a very
few years ago he turned his own private company into a public one with
larger aims, in which latter company he nevertheless retains a very large
interest. The one-time boatman is now a multi-millionaire. The present
service leaves Buenos Aires, or Montevideo as the case may be, at about
ten o’clock each evening and lands its passengers, after a good sleep in
comfortable beds, on the other side at about seven o’clock the following
morning.

Many are the true tales of fortunes amassed, sometimes one may almost say
won, in Argentina, especially, within living memory.

Señor Santamarina, now deceased, left on his huge estate at Tandíl, one
of his many properties, the original two-wheeled high cart which was his
only fortune when he commenced life as what in other countries would be
called a transport rider. This cart is, or till recently was, preserved
in a glass house erected specially by him to house and exhibit it to all
visitors to the estancia.

Another history is that of a millionaire family whose immediate ancestor
certainly won fortune by an astuteness which may or may not be considered
commendable.

He rented a large—large even for the Argentina of those roomy days—tract
of land from a man who foresaw wealth in tree-planting. The latter was
right; but his personal calculations did not, as will be seen, turn out
as he had planned. He made it a condition that not less than a certain
number of trees should be planted on the land within the period of the
lease, and that for every tree above that number planted he should, on
the termination of the lease, pay the sum of $1 to the outgoing tenant.

The wily lessee immediately set to work to plant trees as fast as ever
he could, and at the expiration of his lease had millions of them, over
and above the stipulated number, to show for his pains. The unfortunate
lessor could not pay so many million dollars, and to end the affair was
glad to let his former lessee have full freehold possession of the land
and so call quits.

That land, still in the possession of the original lessee’s family, is
worth a huge fortune to-day, and its produce represents a very large
income indeed—forestry apart.

And now, as these stories have taken us to Argentina, the reader may
as well prepare to follow them by embarking on one of the “Mihanovich”
boats; as they still are and probably always will be called, in spite of
the longer name of the new company, and find himself in Buenos Aires next
morning.

By leaving his baggage for further consideration, as he did at
Montevideo, he can go on foot in about five minutes from the
landing-place across the gardens of the PASEO DE JULIO, which name is a
first reminiscence of the birth of the Republic, round one or the other
side of the “Casa Rosada” or pink-coloured Government House, and find
himself immediately in the Plaza Victoria with on his right the Stock
Exchange lying between the Calles 25 de Mayo and San Martin—further
reminiscences of the wars of Liberty. Keeping his back towards the Casa
Rosada, he will look straight up the broad Avenida de Mayo with the
historic old CABILDO or Town Hall on the left corner of the commencement
of the avenue and the fine new Municipality opposite.

At the far end of the avenue rises the splendid edifice of the new
Congress Building, the “Palace of Gold” as it is called in quasi-humorous
reference to its costliness. This is, however, not a new joke. Formerly
it was applied to the Casa Rosada, now become a comparatively humble
edifice. Besides, if an Argentine calls one’s attention to the scandalous
cost of a public monument or building, it does not necessarily mean that
he is really so very angry about it. On the contrary, it may well be
that he is proud of belonging to a Nation which can bravely bear such
expenditure.

Under the Avenida de Mayo is the “tube” which runs from the ONCE station
(which is situate on the western side of the town and is the terminus of
the Buenos Aires Western Railway) to the Docks. The Once marks the point
of departure of the first six miles of Railway built on the River Plate.

The new-comer will at once notice that the City of Buenos Aires is laid
out on the chessboard pattern with its streets running North and South
and East and West, a variation of the pattern being now introduced by the
new diagonal avenues converging towards the Plaza Victoria, in course of
construction.

Along almost every street, except Calle Florida, the Avenida de Mayo, and
the diagonal avenues, runs a tramline on which the cars all go in one
direction in one street and in the contrary direction in the next and so
on. Ten cents is the fare for a single journey anywhere within the length
or breadth of the Federal Capital, but one cannot take tickets entitling
one to any change of car; and for that one must buy another ten cents
ticket.

This matter of change of car may have been overlooked by the Municipality
when the concession was granted to the Anglo-Argentine Tramways Company,
of which concession the universal 10 cent fare was a _sine qua non_
condition; perhaps, on the other hand, the Company stuck out on that
point. Anyhow, if one wishes to get full value for his 10 cents on a
Buenos Aires tramline he must stick to the car in which he has begun his
ride. By doing so, he can often take a long round trip and come back to
his point of departure. This observation also applies to the Tramways in
Montevideo, but there, with due knowledge and careful selection, one can
practically get all over the place, without changing; owing to the more
erratic routes taken by the lines.

For a variety of reasons, the Buenos Aires Tramway system is considered
by authorities on such matters to be the best in the world. It is mostly
in the hands of the Anglo-Argentine Tramways Company.

Another company is the Lacroze, a private company largely interested also
in the Buenos Aires Central Railway. Its trams run through the Capital
and to the Western suburban districts.

A third company runs trams out of the Capital to the Southern Suburban
districts.

It may here be said that a good supply of taxi-cabs is to be found both
in Montevideo and Buenos Aires.

One advantage, suggested by the mention of taxi-cabs, of visiting
Montevideo before Buenos Aires, is that that way one feels richer after
the journey between the two than one would if the itinerary had been
reversed.

[Illustration: THE AVENIDA DE MAYO, BUENOS AIRES]

Living is not cheap in Buenos Aires, but its cost is a relief after
a sojourn in the Uruguayan Capital; though expense there is again as
nothing if one has experienced that of Rio de Janeiro, the dearest place,
probably, in the whole world, and the one in which, scenery apart, one
gets as little satisfaction for one’s money as anywhere.

In Montevideo one has, it is true, plenty of satisfaction of a quiet,
pleasant kind, but those (actually, although founded on a firm gold
basis) paper dollars—only four of them and 70 cents worth of mixed change
for a British Sovereign—melt quickly into inappreciable small silver
and nickel; none of which seems to be worth much, though a 50-cent bit
is really worth more than a British florin. For exchange purposes that
is; in its native land its purchasing power is strikingly small. After
Montevideo, there is some satisfaction about the feel of the bundle of
Argentine paper dollars one gets for one’s Uruguayan money. And in Buenos
Aires several quite useful things can be got for $1, National (paper)
money. Although the purchasing power of this last (its exchange value is
1s. 8¾d.) is not that of one shilling in England.

In neither country does one often see an actual gold coin, in Argentina
practically never in ordinary everyday life; most of the gold against
which the current paper is issued going, as will be seen in the Chapter
on Finance and Commerce, into the “Conversion” strong rooms and staying
there.

The passion for amusement must indeed be overpowering in anyone who
is not satisfied with what Buenos Aires provides of all kinds in that
regard. Two Opera Houses, the older one, stately and comfortable in its
interior arrangements, and the new Municipal Opera House, the COLON
Theatre, gorgeous in velvet and marble; and powdered, gold-mace bearing
lackeys to bow one in at its wide portals.

Great is the rivalry between these two houses to secure the best stars
and companies; and between them they certainly get the best that Europe
can provide. In some cases they have anticipated Europe, notably in
the instances of Caruso and Maria Gay, both of whom appeared in Buenos
Aires before Europe had even heard _of_ them. One feature is common to
the policy of both Opera Houses, viz., a scale of charges for admission
so high that it is impossible for anyone who wishes to be considered
somebody not to have his or her box at one or both of them for the season.

After the Opera House comes, in degree of prestige, perhaps, the Odeon
Theatre; most frequently devoted to the representation of classic or
serious drama. After it come many theatres; the finest among them being
the Coliseo in which good companies, chiefly Italian, give first-rate
performances of every kind from Grand Guignol to Light Opera. After
these, again, come the purely Argentine Theatres; in which drama and
comedy faithfully reflecting the true native life are performed.

Such performances should not be missed (as they too often are because
they are not fashionable in a country where fashion’s favour is almost
exclusively bestowed on imported wares) by anyone having sufficient
Argentine Spanish to appreciate the purport and point of their dialogue;
which, in true Argentine fashion, includes a liberal use of words and
phrases capable of double meanings.

Brilliantly lighted, sumptuously panelled and upholstered cafés with
tables spreading over the pavement outside them, tend to keep life in
Buenos Aires awake till the wee sma’ hours begin to grow large.

“See Naples and die” runs the Neapolitan saying. “See Buenos Aires and
stop there as long as you can” is likely to prove acceptable advice to
anyone with a taste for easy gaiety and with a disposition for not doing
to-day anything of an irksome or disagreeable nature which can possibly
be put off till the morrow. Much native encouragement will be afforded
him to postpone it till the Greek Kalends; and then to change his mind
about doing it at all.

[Illustration: THE CATHEDRAL AND PLAZA VICTORIA, BUENOS AIRES]

Till the morrow’s sun shines, that is. Then he will see the City, which
overnight he may have thought wholly absorbed by pleasure-seeking,
transformed into a quick-moving, alert commercial centre. Surely the
Argentine when in Buenos Aires burns his candle at both ends. The
well-to-do have, however, their Estancias on which to vary town life
with mentally restful, if often physically laborious, days spent in
superintending their agricultural interests.

Fine-looking new buildings are ever springing up in Buenos Aires with
such surprising suddenness and rapidity as to render any description of
the chief edifices of that city out of date almost before it can get into
print. Even the palatial home of the Jockey Club, renowned as the most
splendidly luxurious Club House in the world, is soon to be abandoned by
its members for another more gorgeously wonderful still.

One leaves the City for a few weeks in the _Camp_ wondering what the
former will look like on one’s return.

That is one did, until very recently. Just now, the War has called a
temporary halt in the commencement of many projected building operations.

One cannot, however, leave Buenos Aires without mention of the beautiful,
park-like suburb of Palermo; with the broad Avenida de Alvear leading
from the northern part of the City to it. It may here be observed that
fashion has not travelled westward in Buenos Aires; the Northern parts of
the City being the most fashionable and adorned with the most palatial
new dwellings.

A wide palm-bordered avenue leads to others winding round grassy spaces
in which backwaters of the Tigre River glint under overhanging trees;
amid all of which is a great restaurant, after the fashion of those in
the Parisian Bois de Boulogne.

That restaurant is, to the author’s mind, the one great tawdry blot on
the picture; but it is only fair to add that every afternoon and evening,
during a long season, it is crowded with gaily dressed people who all
seem happy and vociferously contented with the refreshments and music it
provides.

The Palermo Avenue is the fashionable drive, the Corso of the Élite of
Buenos Aires Society; and also of others desirous of attracting attention
to their equipages and themselves. Everyone the aspirant to social
distinction ought—and ought not—to know is to be seen at Palermo on a
fine late afternoon or evening in Spring. In Summer most of them are,
naturally, at Mar-del-Plata.

Adjoining the Park is the Palermo race-course, over which the Jockey Club
rules absolute. It should be added that the Buenos Aires Jockey Club
is not only an association of racing men, but is in reality the hub of
social intercourse in Buenos Aires.

Its large and small dining-rooms are available to members, and even to
very distinguished strangers, for private dinners; which are exquisitely
cooked and served by the numerous and highly expert staff of the Club.

In fact the Jockey Club is a very influential body indeed; quite apart
from racing matters.

There can be no manner of doubt that the gambling element in racing is
far too popular in Buenos Aires. There is a race meeting on every day
in the week, Sundays, of course, included, during a season which lasts
nearly all the year round. And these meetings are thronged by youths and
other people who most certainly should be, and would much better be, at
work.

Whatever may be thought of the system of weekly National Lotteries (these
are at least carried on with unimpeachable fairness and 10% of the
amounts subscribed to them, in payment for tickets, goes, after paying
working expenses, printing, etc., to charity) the totalizer appeals far
too sympathetically to the Latin-American natural love of gambling; and
that love, as always in a new country where so many fortunes seem to have
had their origin in luck, has developed dangerously on the right bank of
the River Plate.

Close also to Palermo Park is the scene of the annual Agricultural and
Live Stock Show; now a world-renowned Exhibition of as fine cattle and
sheep as can be seen anywhere. Horses and Poultry also are splendidly
represented at this show; which is perhaps the greatest event in the
Argentine Calendar.

Further out from the city, past and beyond Palermo, is Hurlingham; an
ever-enlarging group of English red-brick villas inhabited for the most
part by English people. These villas surround the ample grounds of the
Hurlingham Club, where polo and riding and driving competitions, etc.,
follow the lines of its English prototype. The Club house is comfortable,
the food good, and a huge swimming bath is among its many undoubted
attractions. It also has a drag hunt.

Further out again are beautiful reaches of the Tigre River, famous for
boating; and on which an annual regatta, the Henley of South America, is
held.

The Avenida de Alvear, above referred to, runs through the most
fashionable residential quarter of Buenos Aires, a quarter filled with
veritable huge palaces which with their gardens surround the Recoleta,
the fashionable cemetery. A strange city of the dead in which the coffins
are seen on shelves contained in small plate-glass fronted temples, so
that all may view the last outward casings of generations.

On “The Day of the Dead” (All Saints’ Day) the Recoleta is a blaze of
beautiful wreaths and floral tributes; afterwards too often replaced,
alas, by ugly contrivances in porcelain or, worse still, enamelled iron.

Returning to Buenos Aires proper one must not, cannot, forget CALLE
FLORIDA, “The Bond Street of the South.” So called because in it are
situate most of the finest shops in South America for the sale of what
are sometimes officially described as articles of luxury; wearing apparel
of the best and costliest, for both sexes, jewellery, stationery, etc.
It is, in fact, to Buenos Aires all Bond Street once was, and old Bond
Street to some extent still is, to London.

Needless, almost, to say, Florida deals exclusively in imported goods
and a very great majority of its shopkeepers are foreigners; among whom
the purveyors of “Modes,” “Robes” and “Lingerie” are, naturally, mostly
French.

No vehicular traffic whatever is now allowed in Calle Florida between
certain hours of the afternoon; in order not to incommode the throngs
of fashionable shoppers with whom it is usually crowded. It is the only
street in which Argentine ladies of high degree are to be seen on foot.
In bygone and less crowded times it was the scene of the afternoon Corso;
when play was made with fans and gallants ogled from the edges of the
pavement.

There is at present still a lack of Hotel accommodation suitable for
Europeans of moderate means. There are great numbers of Hotels in Buenos
Aires, but the good ones are very expensive while the cheaper ones are
not very good. That is to say, one must have got accustomed to the South
American haphazard fashion of service and general arrangements before
being able to regard the latter as in any way comfortable. Montevideo is
still worse off; having few Hotels which can be regarded as good (though
there are one or two), while prices, as in everything else, run higher
than in Buenos Aires.

A word must be said in defence of the latter City against a prevailing
impression, created, goodness knows how, of its intense immorality. This
charge simply is not true. Buenos Aires is no more immoral than and
certainly not as vicious as are most European Capitals.

True, it is not in South American human nature to be puritanical but
the lower classes in Argentina and Uruguay are but non-moral, to use a
somewhat fashionable term, with the non-morality of grown-up children,
which they are. They have not the faintest idea of the vice which abounds
in the great cities of the Northern Hemisphere. Montevideo is more staid
than cosmopolitan Buenos Aires; even at Carnival time the former City
seems to take its merrymaking seriously. Any real vice which can be
found in either Capital is an imported article.

If among the lower classes of both countries the whole advantages of
the marriage ceremony seem not to be duly appreciated, this is due, in
the vast majority of cases, to motives of economy. A religious marriage
service is a costly item in the equipment of a young couple, and a purely
civil ceremony is even less favourably looked on by neighbours than a
postponement of any ceremony at all. Later, such couples usually do marry
with due pomp and circumstance, including the invitation of all and
sundry to the humble wedding feast. After that, all is in order in the
case of the death of the husband and father; for marriage legitimatizes
previously born children. Indeed, the writer was once present at a
_fiesta_ in a rural district, not forty minutes’ run by train from the
City of Buenos Aires, organized to honour the occasion of the visit
of a Priest who in a very short space of time married the parents and
christened a whole batch of their children.

An old custom still chiefly prevailing among the humbler classes, both
urban and rural, is one which may be called the “waking” of the dead.
The news of a bereavement spreads quickly among neighbours; who do not
wait to be invited but arrive, in groups organized extemporaneously by
themselves, at the house of mourning. There, one of such groups succeeds
another, and so on throughout the night after a death; sitting silently
and only moving to partake of the necessary refreshment provided in view
of their sure coming.

As in most other countries where modernity has not yet suppressed all
local colour with its neutral tints, the lower classes in both Argentina
and Uruguay are much the most interesting. The free-and-easy Bohemian
sort of life in a _conventillo_[16] is curious. In each of its many
rooms lives a family, while the court is common to all for cooking (a
charcoal brazier usually stands at the side of each door), washing of
clothes and, last but not least, the discussion of _mate_ and gossip.
All sorts of people dwell in a single conventillo, artisans, hawkers,
washerwomen, milliners, factory hands, poor employees, etc. etc., and all
group themselves in the common courtyard of an evening when work is done,
frequently to the music of a guitar.

The upper classes, on the other hand, strive chiefly to reflect the
latest moods of European fashion in general and of that of Paris in
particular—even, since the War, to the extent of making retrenchment
in living expenses the fashion. A fashion which, if it last, will not
be the least of the good which has come to Argentina from the European
upheaval which has forced the River Plate countries to learn to rely
on their own resources and individual efforts. Gone, already, are the
battalions of motor-cars of very latest pattern with which every wealthy
Argentine family has hitherto thought it necessary to its dignity to be
provided—one each for father, mother and each son and daughter—economy
is now “De Moda” and ostentation therefore become old-fashioned and bad
taste. An immense change to have taken place, as it did, in the course of
only a few months.

Montevideo had no need of such a _volte face_ of habit. Uruguayans never
developed the love of display so characteristic of Argentine aristocracy.

With its some 1½ million inhabitants, Buenos Aires has the largest
population of any Capital City in America. Montevideo, with some 400,000
inhabitants, surpasses Washington in this respect.



CHAPTER VII

FINANCE AND COMMERCE


Owing to their dependence on the Northern Hemisphere for the Capital
necessary for the continuance of their development, the River Plate
countries, and South American countries generally, are as a barometer,
and an extremely sensitive one, in regard to the conditions of the Money
markets of the Older World.

Thus already in 1913, the fear of Balkan complications in both Argentina
and Uruguay was represented by a general fall in what previously may have
been somewhat inflated, or at least too anticipatory, land values.

This fall, coupled with and increased by relatively bad harvests, marked
the commencement of rather bad times in both Republics. In this regard
it may be well to say that comparatively bad times come easily and
swiftly on a country like Argentina, the prosperity of which depends
very largely indeed on its cereal production and in which landowners and
agriculturists from the largest _Estanciero_ to the smallest _Chacrero_
have long been encouraged by Nature to regard each coming year as
inevitably more prosperous than its predecessor. The result of this
optimism, usually justified by the event, is that when any set-back,
caused, say, by late frosts or early rains, such as farmers in less
favoured lands would take as an ordinary risk of their occupation,
does occur, the streets of Buenos Aires are immediately filled with
men with long faces running to the Banks and anxiously discussing the
ruin which, apparently, seems to them to be staring them in the face,
notwithstanding that most of them must often have been through similar
“crises” before.

One need only go “on ’Change” to be almost convinced that the whole
vaunted prosperity of the Republic is tumbling about its ears. Even
newspapers, which, by this time at least, ought to know better, join in
the panic cry.

At such times people possessed of Capital and common sense make good
investments; the Banks tide everyone else over quite comfortably enough
not to interfere with the socially obligatory summer gathering at
Mar-del-Plata; the following harvest is a bumper; and all is well again
in the best and sunniest of all possible Republics.

That is the usual course of happenings after inferior harvests but, as
is easy to imagine, the present situation is as unique in South America
as it is in all other parts of the world. On the River Plate, indeed, it
was, if one may be permitted the expression, aggravated by anticipation
consequent on the (almost miraculous for these countries) following of
yet another rainy harvest-time.

On the top of all came August with its declarations of European War,
the first result of which in the River Plate Republics was intimate
realization of the extent to which they had been dependent on Europe
since the commencement of their real commercial development.

They were thrown entirely on their own resources and ability with no
chance of any immediate help from outside.

It is to the credit of both Republics that they rose to the situation.
Seven days of Bank Holiday were at once proclaimed in Argentina; during
which time the Ministry of Finance and other Government departments were
loyally assisted by both native and foreign bankers and financiers to
devise necessary measures.

In the result Laws were summarily passed by Congress to prevent all
exportation of gold; outgoing ships might only take with them sufficient
coal to last them till they reached _the next port in South America_
(Argentina and Uruguay as yet produce no practically valuable coal, so
that they are dependent on import for their stocks of this fuel), and
provision was made that cereal exports should be limited to the surplus
of such produce after the retention of a liberal allowance for home
consumption until the next harvests.

Uruguay adopted similar protective measures.

So far so good, but the Argentine Banks, generally, were faced with the
necessity for immediate decision under conditions which, unfortunately,
are all too frequently recurrent in rapidly progressing countries. Many
of the securities held by them were obviously not worth the value that
they had been taken for, in consequence of the previous shrinkage of
values above alluded to.

This was a momentous matter for consideration during the seven days’ Bank
holiday.

In the result, all Banks adopted the policy of cutting losses even at the
risk, amounting to extreme likelihood, of letting their weaker customers
drown,[17] while mercy was only extended to those evidently strong enough
to keep afloat throughout the crisis and its after effects.

This decision taken, and enforced on the reopening of the Banks, scarcely
any credit establishment took any advantage of the Moratorium declared by
the Government.

In Uruguay the situation proved easier on account of a comparative
absence of the complication of securities based on inflated values. Here
again the Uruguayan showed his superiority in the matter of cautiously
prudent finance over his more enthusiastically volatile over-river cousin.

This observation notwithstanding, it is now clear that although a
severe financial pinch is still felt in both countries, the Argentine
and Uruguayan ships of State are both fully trimmed to enable them to
ride over bad financial weather, the first shock of which was the most
perilous to meet and needed the most prompt and intelligent handling.

In the result neither country will eventually be any worse for the moral
effects of having suddenly been left to its own resources.

Meanwhile land, especially, perhaps, in Argentina, offers an opportunity
to Capital such as, as has been said elsewhere in these pages, everyone
for humanitarian reasons must hope will never occur again.

Given knowledge of just where and what to buy, large fortunes await those
with courage and capital to purchase either town lots or agricultural and
pastoral land in either Republic; in Argentina preferably for earlier
realization.

Once peace is declared, and even before, it needs little imagination to
perceive the wealth to be secured by the agricultural and live-stock
produce on markets suddenly deprived of much of the usual output of
sources of cereal supply as Russia and Canada, through withdrawal of
labour for military purposes, and faced with an enormously increased
demand for meat and grain caused by the necessary shortage of production
over all War-infected areas.

In fact Argentina and Uruguay are likely soon to experience the truth of
the proverb, “It’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good,” and they are
among the very few countries of the world about the commercial conditions
of which, after the war, it is pretty safe to prophesy in the direction
of a prompt return, in an enhanced degree, to their normal course of
ever-growing prosperity.

Always with the factor of population and consequent sufficiency of
agricultural labour being reserved for consideration after the event. A
large and very serious reservation which cannot safely be lost sight of
by anyone desirous of land speculation in either of the two countries
under discussion.

Let the reader pardon this recurrent insistence on this question of
population, made in the hope that it may help to open the eyes of the
Authorities concerned, especially Argentine, to the crying necessity
in their country’s interests for practically workable inducements to
true colonization, as distinguished from mere partial exploitation of
necessitous wage-earners. And the eyes not only of the Authorities, but
of everyone having a pecuniary interest of any sort in either Republic,
so that their Congresses and landowners may be forced to consider the
question in the liberal and enlightened spirit which alone can remove the
greatest menace to their country’s economic progress.

If the two Governments and great landowners would only devote one-tenth
part of the admirable ingenuity and energy with which they, and the
Argentine especially, have very successfully combated locust invasions
to the attraction of small-holding proprietary agriculturalists, the
River Plate Territories would soon break into an irruption of statues of
the originators of such measures which would outrival the vast quantity
of those erected to the memories of Generals San Martin, Artígas and
Urquíza. (One could travel far in Argentina without discovering a town
which does not possess a statue of the first-named deliverer of his
country. Uruguay has also many San Martin statues, but runs preferably,
as is natural, to Urquíza and, lately, in consequence of the whitewashing
efforts of modern historians, Artígas.)

In view of the actual situation, financial and commercial statistics
relating to the ante-war era necessarily seem to savour mustily of the
back-number. This savour is, however, more due to imagination than to
actual fact, since such statistics are just as interesting as ever they
were and really show the normal trend of things economic to be resumed
and likely to be followed in even a more favourable course, as far at
least as Export is concerned. As for the Import of manufactured goods an
attempt to deal with some of the probabilities or possibilities of this
question in its future aspects is made later in this chapter.


CURRENCY

The “Caja de Conversión” (A term for which “Conversion Chest” is the
usual clumsy translation, though “Conversion Box” stands as a triumph of
the translator’s art. Perhaps “Conversion Office” sounds best, though
it does not convey a true idea of vaults filled with sacks of golden
coin and therefore “Conversion Bank” is here preferred) is an Argentine
Government Institution under the control of the National Ministry of
Finance created for the purpose of dealing with the issue, exchange, and
conversion of the currency of the country. It issues the paper currency
and must hold in reserve sufficient gold to meet the circulating paper
money; it also mints the nickel and copper coinage of the country.

Under the Conversion Law a fixed ratio was assigned as between gold and
paper. A paper dollar, instead of being theoretically equivalent in
value to a gold dollar, was declared to be worth only 44 cents gold;
thus with 44 cents gold as the fixed equivalent of one dollar paper
and, conversely, 2·27 paper dollars that of one dollar gold, and the
smallest gold coin minted the equivalent of 2½ dollars gold, the use of
paper in all the odd amounts of everyday transactions is inevitable and
consequently the major portion of the gold which reaches the country is
forced by the public need of the more convenient currency into the “Caja
de Conversión.”

The accumulation of gold in the “Caja” on December 31st, 1915, was well
over 61 millions sterling, and it must be noted that these accumulations
cannot leave the “Caja” under any consideration (unless by special
sanction of Congress), except in exchange for paper currency, until
the time when the currency shall be placed on a logically complete
metallic basis. The provisions of the Conversion Law in this regard
are exceptionally stringent; under them every official of the “Caja,”
from the highest to the lowest, is personally responsible for their
observance, and they cannot be overruled by any power in the land. So,
until Congress approves what is commonly referred to as the conversion,
the store of gold in the “Caja” will continue practically intact and will
increase.

The misuse of this term “Conversion” has given rise to much confusion
of ideas, even in Argentina. The actual conversion took place with the
above-mentioned assignment of the fixed ratio of value between gold and
paper.

It is obvious that the present is not the moment for the change in
the form of the currency, but it should be added that apart from the
immediate effects of the war the time for that change has not yet
arrived. Irresponsible projects for the change have been put forward
from time to time during recent years, but official declarations in
that regard have never yet gone further than complacent platitudes to
the effect that the time for it was fast approaching; without, however,
the faintest indications of any schemes for carrying the change out
in practice. Besides, under the Law it cannot be accomplished until a
fund or deposit in the Bank of the Nation, and to which the National
Government makes contributions out of revenue, has reached the amount
necessary to form a reserve against the paper currency in circulation
prior to the passing of the Conversion Law. For a long while past, the
amount of that fund stood at six millions sterling, but this amount (then
still insufficient for such reserve) became reduced in August last to two
millions sterling in consequence of special financial measures adopted by
the Argentine Government at the outbreak of the war and referred to more
fully in the chapter on “The War.”

On the 31st of December, 1914, the Argentine Government held gold
accumulations to the value in round figures of 63 millions sterling, of
which, as has been seen, 2 millions pertain to the Conversion Fund at the
Bank of the Nation. This fund must not be confused with the amounts in
the “Caja,” the uses of the former (apart from its constituting, as has
been said, a reserve against the paper currency in circulation previously
to the passing of the Conversion Law) being limited to the purposes of
foreign exchange, the benefit of the Fund itself and to aid the control
of the market; while the accumulations in the “Caja” can only, in normal
circumstances, leave it in exchange for paper currency.

Besides the actual gold in the “Caja” this Institution held at the end
of 1915 gold and bonds to the value of over 14 millions sterling which
had been deposited at the various Argentine Legations. These deposits
have naturally increased largely since. Besides all this the Bank of the
Nation, the Bank of the Province of Buenos Aires and the private banks
held large amounts of gold.

Uruguay has not introduced, and has always resisted the temptation to
introduce, any such complications of her currency; which is on a thorough
gold basis.

The Argentine Conversion Law was passed in 1899 and abrogated in
1901-2 by Congress (in consequence of the anticipation of possible
war with Chile, over the frontier question, the payment by the Nation
of Provincial debts and the closing of Argentine ports because of an
outbreak of bubonic plague).

Therefore the present solid financial status of the Argentine Republic
dates from only twelve, or, on the most liberal reckoning, fifteen years
ago.

Uruguay’s first surplus (of $453,110) accrued in 1905-6; though an
increased surplus has figured in each Uruguayan National Budget since
that date.

               Equivalent Values.
  Argentine $1, gold  = 3s. 11½d.
      ”     $1, paper = 1s. 8¾d.
  Uruguayan $1        = 4s. 3⅟₁₆d. ($1·3½ _cents_ U.S.A.).
            £1        = $5·05 gold, Argentine.
            £1        = $11·45 paper, Argentine.
            £1        = $4·70, Uruguayan.


THE ARGENTINE MONETARY SYSTEM

Is controlled by the Conversion law, above referred to, which fixed a
ratio between the value of the paper and gold currencies and made these
interchangeable at that ratio until the time should be judged to have
arrived for the substitution of metallic coinage for paper.

The law was passed as the only available though drastic remedy for the
state of financial chaos, nothing less, in which Argentina found herself
for some years after the crisis of 1891. For the coming of this chaos
Argentines blame the European Bankers who, at least, looked on whilst
the country floundered into it. For this view they have considerable
reason. The Bankers were men of great experience in Finance; of which
the Argentines of that day had little or none. Argentina relied on
the men who had taken her Finances in hand for the development of
her vast natural resources. She awoke to find herself in a financial
condition which would have spelt a century of ruin to any less
nature-favoured land. And it was an Argentine, Señor Ricardo Pillado, now
Director-General of the Division of Commerce and Industry in the Ministry
of Agriculture, who devised the Law which, though it in effect involved
a partial repudiation of the country’s liabilities, at any rate made
possible the financial renaissance on which her present great prosperity
was founded.

As has been seen, the Conversion Law said that a paper dollar should be
equivalent to 44 cents gold and that conversely a gold dollar should be
worth 2·27 paper dollars. This ratio was supposed to have been fixed by
taking the average ratio of value between paper and gold over a certain
period immediately prior to the passing of the Law.

This basis is now believed to have been fictitious, it being found that,
had such an average of values been struck, a paper dollar would have
become the equivalent to something much more like 60 cents gold. So that
in fact a repudiation of 40 cents liability on every paper dollar in
circulation was made to become one of 56 cents.

That, however, is past history; and the existing Law appears likely to
remain in operation for an indefinite time to come.

It has its inconveniences. Institutions and traders are obliged by Law to
keep their books in both currencies. There is no gold coin available as
an equivalent to 1 paper dollar. One needs to have a clear 50 dollars’
worth of notes before one can get gold out of the Conversion Bank; so
that all transactions involving odd amounts must be carried through with
the aid of paper. In point of fact gold is only seen in the course of
important transactions. Still, the gold is there, in the country, in
the Conversion Bank; and cannot be withdrawn from the coffers of that
Institution except as against paper dollars, nor can paper dollars be
issued except as against gold actually in the Conversion Bank. For the
absolutely strict observance of these rules everyone concerned, from the
President of the Republic down to the humblest employee of the Caja is
personally responsible under the law. By the operation of the law the
Republic holds a usually ever-increasing stock of gold; the accumulation
of which is aided by the inconvenience for practical exchange of the
figures ·44 and 2·27.

There is no doubt but that the object which the framers of the Conversion
Law originally had in view, the rehabilitation of the country’s Finance
and credit, has been fulfilled long ago; and it is for other reasons
that Foreign Capitalists and Banks, to whom Argentina must still look
for the means of her fuller development, prefer to let the dual monetary
system, with its several practical inconveniences, continue instead of
encouraging Congress to declare the purpose of the Law fulfilled, by
which declaration it would, by its terms, lapse _ipso facto_. On that
happening there would be a period, momentary only, in all probability,
but still a period, during which the coffers of the Conversion Bank would
be open through the automatic lapse of the Law of its creation. And
Capitalists and Bankers, grown very prudent indeed in their generation,
prefer that those coffers should remain closed and safeguarded as they
are; even at the cost of some few extra clerks to cope with a system
which otherwise works very satisfactorily.

Shin-plasters, as the paper dollars are called by Anglo-Argentines,
fulfil all the purposes of daily life as well as would silver or other
metallic tokens. Paper dollars, guaranteed by gold, have also other
advantages over a metal coinage which might not be so fully guaranteed.

Therefore the Conversion Law remains a live letter on the Argentine
Statute Book.

It is, however, a vulgar error to refer to the time when other tokens
might be substituted for paper as the time for “Conversion.” Conversion
really took place with the coming into operation of the law which
converted a fluctuating ratio into a fixed one.

The speculation in gold, referred to elsewhere, which had attained
disastrous dimensions just prior to the passing of the Law, was another
evil to which that Law put an end. Then as now all everyday transactions
were carried out in paper; but, then, no man could tell from hour to hour
what the paper he held was worth. Everyone was by force of circumstances
practically a gambler whether he wished to be one or not. The paper
tokens for which he had sold his wares one day might be worth much more
or less the next. Everyone had to make his own forecast of probabilities
before he could make or give a price for anything; and therefore became
a constant speculator, a gambler in futures, in fact. The bad moral
effects of such a state of things is obvious. Many other financial evils
were rife at this time, which now have only historic interest, among
them may be mentioned the Banks of Issue for which authority appears
practically to have been given by the State to anyone able to procure
and furnish offices. Stacks of the notes of these precious Institutions
still occupy space as curious lumber somewhere in the cellars and garrets
of Government House. Valueless and best forgotten by a prosperous and
enlightened nation which no longer needs any such awful examples to deter
it from lapse into irregular finance.

Uruguay has a gold, silver and nickel coinage, but, as in Argentina,
notes are the most common tokens, especially for amounts of $1 and
upwards. As will have been understood, Uruguay has no Caja de Conversión,
her currency being and always having been on a direct gold basis.


COMMERCIAL CONDITIONS

One of the immediately world-wide effects of the great War has been the
practically total elimination of German trade competition, an elimination
which may not unreasonably be calculated to last for some time to come.

This therefore is the golden opportunity for other competitors to capture
the large bulk of export trade which had gradually been absorbed and was
in course of constantly increasing absorption in the countries under
discussion by German firms.

Many Consular Reports and publications of the “Bureau of American
Republics” have respectively dealt with the consequent loss of trade to
Great Britain and the comparatively slow advance in that respect made by
the United States and these documents have insistently pointed out the
whys and wherefores of German commercial success over their chief rivals.

The writer cannot therefore lay claim to originality in the present
observations, but does claim that his persistence in the reiteration
of what he, and many greater than he, have continually urged on every
possible occasion during the past decade has been and is in what appears
to him to be the best interests of those most concerned.

Of the two nations the British still has the better opportunity to extend
its commerce in both Argentina and Uruguay. The reasons (apart from
the actual kaleidoscopic financial and industrial situation) for this
opinion are that the English (as all people hailing from the British
Isles are commonly called in South America) have already acquired in both
countries a firm reputation for straightforward dealing, founded on many
years’ experience and untainted by any suspicion of underlying political
motives, whereas the South American Republics generally harbour a latent
but constant resentment of what they rightly or wrongly consider to be
the tendency of the United States to assume a dominating influence over
both Americas. In fact to construe the Monroe doctrine as meaning, to
cite the catch-phrase which to the innermost South American mind embodies
something very closely resembling an unpleasant truth, “America for the
_North_ Americans.”

Therefore, pushing United States’ commerce is immediately met by a
seemingly dull indifference to the merits of the wares it offers, praise
it those wares never so loudly. And this observation suggests another
of almost equal truth and importance, viz. that the loud and strenuous
vaunting of an article and the _hustling_ methods so much admired in
the great Republic of the North are worse than useless in Spanish South
America. “Why so much talk and so much hurry to strike a bargain if the
thing is really good?” is the mental attitude of the average Spanish
American towards the vociferous North American traveller who usually
makes the further mistake of appearing to wish to teach his listener the
latter’s own business. This, as has been said elsewhere in these pages,
is a thing no Argentine or Uruguayan will stand. No one is a more severe
critic of himself, his methods and Institutions, no one is most enamoured
of progress and improvement than he. But _he_ must be the discoverer and
chooser of the remedies for his own defects, _he_ and he alone must be
the arbiter of his own destinies and set his own house in order. In such
matters he will brook no interference. And least of all from the United
States.

It is surprising that the commercial ability of the latter country
should not long ago have discovered and acted in harmony with this
feature of South American psychology. It seems, however, to have escaped
appreciation by “Yankee” cuteness.

Accordingly, we find, in the present writer’s opinion, two existing
obstacles (apart, as has been indicated above, from the present
financial situation) to the extension of the trade of the United States
in Argentina and Uruguay. One of these, the inappropriate method of
approach usually pursued by travellers and the other a strong and jealous
suspicion of the ulterior motives of the United States in endeavouring to
strengthen her commercial foothold in the Southern Hemisphere. The first
of these obstacles should be easily removable, unless, indeed, it be too
firmly rooted in the North American mentality. The second is a matter for
extremely delicate state diplomacy, and equally delicate behaviour of the
United States’ delegates at each future “Congress of American Republics.”

Having thus glanced at seemingly obvious defects in United States methods
we may turn to those of British manufacturers.

In their regard one can scarcely restrain the question, “Do they really
want the South American trade at all?” Because, if they do, they set
about getting it in the strangest possible ways. Their apparent attitude
can be summed up by saying that they point-blank refuse to give a
customer what he thinks he wants unless his ideas on that subject
entirely coincide with what they think is best for themselves and,
incidentally, it would seem, for him.

South American governments insist on the metrical system of weights and
measures for Customs purposes: the British manufacturer persists in a
firm refusal to contemplate anything but British Tons and Feet. This
may seem a trifling matter to anyone not engaged in the Import trade of
a metrical-system country, but in practice the rendering of British
weights and measures into their metrical equivalents involves not only a
large amount of clerical labour, but is also a frequent source of error
in the results.

A most actively patriotic Briton who is the head of a large Importing
firm in Montevideo told the present writer not long ago that in spite
of his patriotism he had been driven to deal with German firms because,
for one reason, of the constant inflictions on him of $80 fines by the
Customs Authorities, that sum being the statutory fine in Uruguay for any
misstatement of weight or bulk on a declaration.

He, in common with the generality of Importers in Argentina or Uruguay,
had found himself confronted by several very weighty reasons for
necessarily transferring the bulk of his orders from British to German
firms, the chief of which was that above summed up; namely, that British
manufacturers would not adapt themselves to his customers’ requirements.

“We are making this, that, or the other pattern” of whatever the article
in question may be, and “if you don’t like that you must go elsewhere”
is the gist of the average British manufacturer’s last word in the
discussion. And, as the Importer is not running a Commercial Museum
of articles of the highest quality or best British taste, but has to
sell what he imports to customers who have lamentably independent
ideas of what they want, he does go elsewhere, that is to say he did,
and, most frequently, to Germany. To Germany, where most things were
at all events cheaper, and where, if qualities were not so good as in
the United Kingdom, manufacturers were adaptable, and their travelling
representatives spoke Spanish and understood the ways and wishes and even
the foibles of South American customers.

As a rule, commercial travellers from either Great Britain or the United
States do not speak anything like fluent Spanish. Therefore, they are
obliged to engage interpreters to accompany them on their business calls,
while they were quite unable to take advantage of the opportunities
sought for by their Spanish-speaking German competitors of mingling in
the semi-social life of their customers. In the bar or restaurant the
German traveller was a jolly good fellow always ready to pay his share of
the wine bill and with his pockets filled with more than passable cigars
and he could enjoy and respond to the local humour and generally take
part in all the fun of a jovial evening-out; for which the Argentine,
especially, is always ready and willing to find an excuse.

Now, doing persuasive business through an interpreter is by no means
an invariably satisfactory proceeding, because the interpreter’s own
mentality inevitably intervenes and unconsciously colours both sides
of the argument with tinges of his own individuality. He says what
_he_ thinks you wish to say, and often enough replies with the best
rendering he can make, not always an entirely accurate one, of what he
conceives to be the meaning of the other party to the discussion. As
for the evening-out! One has only to imagine the effects of a laborious
translation of always very allusive wit; the point of which in Argentina
most frequently hinges on double-meaning.

The German studied the language, and, as far as he could, the tastes and
ways of the people of the country he intended visiting before he set out
on his commercial travels.

Travellers of other nationalities should do likewise if they wish
to secure a substantial share of the trade now left open to their
bidding.[18]

And British manufacturers, if so be that (I repeat the question) they
do want the South American markets for their goods, must make up their
minds to suit the requirements of those markets whatever may be their
own private opinion of South American tastes and ways. They must still
remember that although German competition has ceased and may continue
non-existent for even a very long time to come, and while Belgium is, for
the time being, hopelessly crippled, there _are_ other nations who desire
to rise, and may succeed in rising, to an occasion which, for the awful
cause of it, one can only hope will never occur again.

It is a truly great opportunity for both British and United States
Commerce, in which, as has been pointed out, the former has a very
considerable start in the political and commercial sympathies and
prejudices of South Americans. Nothing which British manufacturers cannot
remedy appears to exist to prevent them from taking extremely profitable
advantage of that start, not only for the recovery of lost ground, but
for grasping a very large share of new openings. Will they? Do they
really care enough about extending their businesses to do so?

That is the only question, and it is one which they alone can, and soon,
we hope, must answer; one way or the other. If they do not want new
business or wish that old business should come back to them, there is
no more to be said. And no more grumbling to be indulged in about the
proportionate falling back of British trade in South America.

It may be objected that the United States, the full manufacturing
activities of which remain unimpaired by the withdrawal of labour for
military purposes and the output of which is not absorbed to so great an
extent as it is with us for war material, have for that reason already a
great start of Great Britain in all foreign markets. To this objection
I would reply that the time for the struggle for the Argentine and
Uruguayan markets is hardly yet; because climatic accident still recently
produced results which, coupled with the falling on them of the shadow of
the Great Terror, suspended their purchasing power. Two very lean years
of cereal production due to weather, the occurrence of two consecutive
seasons of which is without parallel in these countries’ history,
were followed by another perilously rainy harvest time complicated by
shortage of harvest labour due to war risks, and imagined risks, of
the transport of the usual army of Italian harvesters who (like the
_Golondrinas_—swallows—after which they are nicknamed in South America)
annually go to Argentina and Uruguay[19] and return to Italy after the
harvest has been got in. These causes temporarily paralysed Argentine
and Uruguayan commercial activity by, as has been said, suspending the
purchasing powers of both.

But with the productive recovery[20] of these countries with their
enormous natural endowments and producing as they do all the foodstuffs
that the populations of poor war-trampled Europe need most, what a call
for all kinds of agricultural machinery will come from them in return
for their meat and cereals and in order that more and more land may be
laid under contribution for the production of these primarily necessary
supplies! Failing other labour sources, an augmented stream of Italian
“swallow” and permanent emigration will set out for the River Plate,
wealth will develop on both shores of that river, and with wealth the
demand for all the manufactured things to the desire for which wealth
gives rise. Hardware, cutlery, cotton and woollen cloths, electrical
appliances and material; the host of things which Britain makes and
Germany once sold will come into increasing demand in South America with
the spring of the new era on which the whole civilized world will enter
when the blackness of devastation shall have passed and the evil which
created it be rendered powerless for further ruinous crime.

Would that the millions of able-bodied men murdered by this war could
have been utilized instead as an agricultural expeditionary force on the
shores of the River Plate! They and their children and the world would
have been the richer for their labour carried out under conditions as
happy as their present, and for many (alas!) past, task is terrible. They
would have supplied that in which Argentina and Uruguay are lacking,
namely, the human element, for the development of their natural
resources. Countries in which vast areas of land yet await the plough for
cereal cultivation and the improvement of their natural rough pasturage
and other vast areas of rich alluvial soil need only irrigation to turn
them into a terrestrial paradise.

Capital never is and never will be wanting for good investment, but the
fund of human labour cannot be drawn upon by a mere signature. And the
daily waste of thousands of lives for the full activity of which there
is ample room and urgent need on behalf of the millions remaining is,
sentiment apart and from a commercial point of view alone, the saddest
thing in War.

Europe needs bread and meat not only to fulfil her normal needs but also
to replace her own interrupted production of these prime necessities of
life. The River Plate countries can produce both in practically unlimited
quantities; provided only that they can obtain the necessary labour a
ghastly wastage of which is going on daily in Europe, some parts of which
are consequently threatened with famine.

Surely if civilization be anything but a mere theoretic expression there
will never be another great war!

With this pious hope we may pass to a more concrete subject, namely,
commercial credit on both sides of the River Plate.

As has been indicated in another chapter, Uruguay enjoys a more literally
creditable reputation than her bigger sister. The causes of this have
also been already dealt with.

In practice one can but advise anyone approached by firms in either
country to do what it may be taken that any ordinarily prudent man of
business would do, viz. to make due enquiry as to his proposed new
customer. His means of doing this are really even better than if the
latter were established in London or New York, since the commercial
community in either Argentina or Uruguay is comparatively small and
consequently, to use a current phrase, almost everyone there knows
everyone else and a good deal about him and his business.

Several of the chief banks in Buenos Aires and Montevideo have their head
offices in London and all have branches or accredited correspondents
in the principal European and North American capitals and commercial
centres.[21]

The wholesale importing houses in Argentina and Uruguay usually give
ninety days’ acceptances for imported goods and in their turn give six
months’ credit to their retail customers. This arrangement has now the
sanction of long usage based on its practically being a division of the
burden of credit given to the storekeeper by the Importer between the
latter and the Exporter.

The system of banking in both Argentina and Uruguay differs little from
that obtaining in England except for a certain amount of good single-name
paper being taken on account of the usually intimate acquaintance
with the business and standing of all leading firms possessed by the
commercial community generally.

Rents and working expenses, including special traders’ taxes, in the
Capitals of both Republics are high, but the scale of profits when
calculated on anything like a reasonable turnover will in most cases be
found to leave a balance in favour of both wholesale and retail traders
which would be regarded as highly satisfactory by their European and
North American brethren. In fact, it may fairly be said that if a man in
either country does any appreciable bulk of business in any branch of
commerce or trade he is doing what elsewhere would be considered as very
good business indeed. When rumour assigns shakiness to any established
firm it may be taken as certain that such rumour is founded on tales of
speculation outside the lines on which that firm’s true business has been
built up. There seems a temptation inherent in new countries for men
who have earned money in businesses they understand to risk it in other
speculations of which they have next door to no experience. This is, of
course, a phase of the “get rich quick” fever which frequently attacks
the young inheritors of stable businesses which seem to them too slow and
sure to be interesting or indeed to require much looking after.

At one time the Buenos Aires Stock Exchange was responsible for a large
number of victims among all classes of the public, but of late years
the public has fought very shy of it indeed; so shy in fact as now to
be practically unrepresented in the share ring of that Institution.
As a consequence of this abstention the few brokers and professional
speculators who daily do what courtesy perhaps demands that one should
call business there suggests the tale of the island the inhabitants of
which lived simply by taking in each other’s washing.

Joking apart, however, the share ring in the Buenos Aires Temple of
Mammon were best avoided by the uninitiate. In this ring there is
always one, sometimes two (its strength does not run to more), media
of pure speculation in course of manipulation by one speculative group
or another. The names or nature of these media do not really seem to
matter. They vary. Sometimes they may be the shares of the Dock Company
of an inchoate Port, sometimes those of an Industrial Company with
vague expectations. Indeed, vagueness which may be tinged by rumour and
imagination with a hue dimly resembling that of impending rich surprise
is almost essential to the initiation of this kind of gamble.

The shares are bulled out of all proportion to their even possible
value for a little while and then no more is heard of them; and other
very similar ones reign in their stead in the sensational place on the
blackboard, on which all bargains during each day are chalked up as they
are called out by the parties making them.

The end of these really stillborn booms is mystery. Who are the
unfortunate last in? Strangers, doubtless, when there are any. But if
there be none, as is the case more frequently than not? One hears vague
talk of Paris and other European capitals and then silence for ever more.

Anyhow, the stranger, for whom this book is chiefly written, would, if
he took a hand in any one of these games, soon find out that though he
might see the price of the shares he had purchased mounting gaily up on
the blackboard like mercury in the tropics he could never realize to any
appreciable extent. Did he start to sell, then all the weak little bulls
of whom his co-speculators would be composed, people to whom ten dollars
a day one way or the other makes all the difference in their domestic
budget, would rush to sell also out of sheer fright, and down would go
the market on him like a guillotine. At the finish he would be left with
a very large proportion of his probably not over-valuable holding; of
which he would have little further news than notices regarding proposed
reconstruction schemes, etc.

It must not, however, be imagined that the Buenos Aires Stock Exchange
is by any means exclusively devoted to such work as that just indicated.
On the contrary, many Bank and Industrial shares are also quoted and the
other, the Securities, ring is just as genuinely serious as the gambling
part of the share ring is meretricious. The chief securities dealt in in
the former are the Bonds of the National _Cedulas_, as “gilt edged” a
security as could well be wished for.

These Cedulas are Bonds issued by the National Hypothecary Bank, an
Institution of the National Government, as against mortgages of freehold
property in the Republic; the method of their issue being, shortly, as
follows.

An intending Mortgagor lodges a proposal with the Bank; on which his
title is examined and the property offered valued by Government experts
appointed for each purpose.

The result of the examination of title being satisfactory, the Bank
states the amount for which on its valuation, fixed after leaving ample
margin for possible depreciation, it will accept the mortgage.

But the Bank has no cash funds, and therefore issues Bonds, carrying
interest at 6%, and subject to annual amortization, for the amount
agreed to be granted to the Mortgagor. The latter, if he require cash,
as is usually the case (most of such borrowings being actually effected
with the objects for which the Bank was founded, viz. improvements of
the property mortgaged, extension of holding, or purchase of stock and
implements), must take his bonds to the Stock Exchange for sale. For them
there is always a free and open market, the price obtainable usually
varying only according to ordinary accidents of supply and demand.

Many brokers hold standing orders for these Bonds, at a price, for
Europe (before the War Antwerp was always a buyer at a certain level).
The only really appreciable downward fluctuations of this security are
of very short duration, an hour or two at most, and are due to what can
only be condemned as the inconsiderate action of the Directors of the
Hypothecary Bank. That is to say, the Bank’s acceptances of Mortgages are
sometimes allowed to accumulate and then, all of a sudden, the Directors
seem to get to work and sign and issue huge batches of Bonds. Not only
do most of these find their way to the Stock Exchange, in consequence
of anticipatory orders lodged with brokers by absent or upcountry
mortgagors, but many such people leave selling orders with the Bank
itself.

The result of all this frequently is that one fine morning or afternoon
cartloads of these Bonds arrive on the Stock Exchange and flood the
market, in spite of all the market can do with the best intention of
sustaining prices.

Soon, however, the mass is absorbed by the home and foreign demand, and
the little crisis which could never have occurred except through the bad
management above described, is over and normal prices rule again.

All this relates to the current issues of these Bonds, the “Cedula
Argentina” as they are now called.

Formerly they were issued in series, each of which was distinguished by
an alphabetical letter. The last of these lettered series was “L.” This
system of series had inconveniences, inasmuch as the regulations under
which they were issued prescribed redemption in Bonds of the same series,
which interfered with entirely free dealing; some of the earlier series
being now only obtainable at a high premium on account of the buyer’s
need of them to make up a parcel.

The Securities ring also deals in debenture and other Bonds—National,
Provincial and Municipal. The only speculation in which it usually
indulges being of the very safest kind; in regard to which, indeed, the
term investment would better apply.

The side of the large Hall of the Exchange opposite to that occupied by
the Stock and Share rings is now tenanted by the “Bolsa de Cereales,”
an institution the recent creation of which was due to the necessity,
arising chiefly from the rapid developments of the milling industry, for
dealing in “futures” in cereal production.

On the old _Once_ Corn Exchange such dealings were and still are tabu, as
savouring dangerously of the Chicago “Pit,” and much heated discussion
took place before the new Exchange was at length authorized to register
transactions in futures. The discussion was useful inasmuch as it brought
about the framing of stringent regulations against the more ruinous forms
of gambling in grain. In the result, the new Institution works very
well and fulfils its ostensible purpose of assuring the miller against
produce being held against him at times when he is under obligation to
deliver flour. Thus, it has prevented instead of encouraging at least one
vicious class of operations. Formerly, when all dealing in grain futures
was illegal, the miller was continually at the mercy of operators in the
cereal markets.

The Institution of the new Market was imperatively needed on account of
the huge development and value of the milling industry.

For ordinary dealings the ONCE cereal market still holds its own.


THE BUENOS AIRES STOCK EXCHANGE

One needs some courage to write candidly about this institution, the more
especially if one hopes to enter it again.

The building itself is the property of a company from which the members
rent it. Part of it is now, as has been indicated, sublet to the members
of the new Cereal Exchange.

One side of the rotunda—the great inner Hall of the “Bolza”—is therefore
now tenanted by the dealers in stocks and shares, and the other, facing
it, by those occupied with grain. Each exchange has two large blackboards
on which prices are chalked up by attendants as deals are called by
the parties making them. These prices then become official; and their
genuineness is vouched by the fact of their having been called by members
of the Exchange, who are held responsible by the Committee for the _bona
fides_ of these announcements.

The rules are now very strict on the question of calling of _bona fide_
dealings only. At one time the announcement and consequent chalking up
of fictitious deals (called “gatos,” or, as we might say, “wild cats”)
became so scandalously frequent and unblushing that a stop had to be put
to a malpractice which deceived the public, since all prices chalked up
are published in the daily papers.

The first, usually, in regard to both the magnitude and importance of
the dealings recorded on it, of these blackboards or “slates,” as they
are called, is that reserved for transactions in Government and other
important stocks; the second being that devoted to shares.

Thus the first board is mostly filled with records of the numbers
and prices of National Cedulas dealt in, and the second with those
of whatever one or two kinds of shares may for the time being be in
fashion for what one may bluntly call gambling. For gambling, simply,
is the end of almost everything in the shape of speculation in the
ephemerally chosen media. It is in regard to this gambling that the
note of warning to the stranger already sounded may be repeated here.
The really Argentine public has long ago had its fingers sufficiently
often and severely burnt to have decided to give all Bolza speculation
a wide berth. And here one is brought face to face with a mystery which
the present writer has as yet been wholly unable to explain in any fully
satisfactory way.

This mystery is that, given the fact that the contributions of the public
to Bolza gambling have since long ago become a negligible quantity, it
seems clear that such speculation must be confined to a limited group of
Bolza operators.

How, therefore, is it worth the while of any of these operators to
survive for long as such? They are mostly, if not all, men of small
capital, very small in many cases, yet there they are, day after day,
busily occupied in attributing usually fictitious values to the shares
of one, or at most two (for the time being) companies. Up go the prices
of such shares, rising each day to giddier heights, till at last like
balloons they disappear from sight and another set of shares takes their
place as material for a boom. Who is the last man or men left with shares
at top price? And what on earth does he do with them? These be questions
the answers to which are hidden by a secrecy the completeness and
continuity of which do credit to the initiate few whose common interest
it is to maintain it.

The only protection of these people is a mutual defence against the
common enemy, similar to that adopted by professional buyers at an
ordinary auction against any innocent amateur who may stray into their
midst. On the other hand, the mere presence of a known “bear” among
these folk, completely paralyses all action on their part until his
back is turned again. The writer now has in his mind’s eye a well-known
figure, that of a powerful bear who was the terror of the speculative
markets in the golden days when the public still played the game and
all went merrily except for his malevolent influence. He alone could
frown all prices down; and he once held them down against the whole of
the furious remainder of the Exchange. It was a never-to-be-forgotten
conflict, from which he emerged victorious and with a name at which
even the puny bulls of to-day still tremble. Though be it said, he
now does little but lend money to those whom circumstances, or still,
occasionally, he himself, have forced to carry over. Few Bolza members
will fail to identify him from even this slight reference to his fame.
The heyday of the Buenos Stock Exchange was that immediately preceding
the passing of the “Conversion” law which fixed a ratio between gold and
paper and thus ended the speculation in gold which had grown all too
vigorous on wide fluctuations. After that, wild cats, resorted to as the
next best stimulant, quickly undermined the constitution of the Bolza
and frightened the public; permanently, it would still seem, from its
precincts as far as gambling speculation is concerned. Such speculation,
in any magnitude, has been dead since 1906; in consequence of the
collapse at that time of a gold fever boom of which a shoal of doomed
alluvial dredging Companies were part cause and part effect.

Nowadays, the real business, of which there is a large and constant
volume, done on the Buenos Aires Stock Exchange is in National
“Cedulas.” This business has gradually gravitated into the hands of
a few large brokers. The only drawback to these Bonds is their name,
which might lead the ignorant in matters South American to confuse them
with the _Provincial_ (Province of Buenos Aires) Cedulas, the corrupt
mismanagement of which caused a great scandal some years ago. Still
“Cedula” means a “Bond,” and it would, after all, be idle to wish to
abolish the latter word only because some English Bonds may have proved
unworthy of the prestige usually attaching to that designation.

The question has often been raised as to whether, on the wording of
the guarantee endorsed on National Cedulas, the National Government
is responsible for repayment of the principal as well as the interest
on them. This, however, amounts almost to a quibble; of little, if
any, more than abstract interest. The amortization of these Bonds is
certainly guaranteed in like manner as is the interest on them, and
only some tremendous crisis, now unimaginable, could so wreck the whole
territory of the Republic that land values throughout that territory
would simultaneously fall to an extent which could render impossible the
redemption of mortgages granted in the first place with a very liberal
margin between the actual market value of the land and the amounts of the
Bonds issued on its security. For, it should be noted in this connection,
a Cedula is not issued by the Bank on the Security of such or such
designated property, it is issued on the security, guaranteed by the Bank
after due investigation, of _all_ the mortgages held by it. So that,
in effect, even if the whole of a Province were to be engulfed by an
earthquake, the security of none of the Bank’s Cedulas would be affected
by the loss since, at the margin reserved by the Bank, all the remainder
of the lands on which it holds mortgages would still be ample security
for all its bonds.

The reader who is already well acquainted with these matters must
forgive me for thus setting them out in so obvious a way. I ask him to
believe that there are still very many holders of Argentine National
Cedulas possessed of only the vaguest ideas of how their Bonds came into
existence, and practically none as to the real nature of the security for
them, except a general sort of notion that they are Argentine Government
Bonds.

As will be seen, the facts justify my dictum of a few pages back that
these Bonds really offer as gilt-edged a security as anyone could wish
for.

Other securities most commonly dealt in in the Securities side of the
Market are “Credito Argentino,” National Internal debt, the “Premier
Security” of the Country, as it has been called; and some Provincial and
Municipal Bonds. On the share side, the shares of the various Banks are
usually the subject of the most really important quotations on the slate.

Many first-class Argentine securities and shares seldom come on the
market.



CHAPTER VIII

RAILWAYS, PORTS AND IMMIGRATION


RAILWAYS

It is often said that the foreign, mostly British, railway community on
the River Plate constitutes an _Imperium in Imperio_.

There is no denying the great influence of that community, but that
influence has been rendered inevitable and is wholly justified by the
very large amount of capital which the railway companies have at stake
in these countries; amounting in Argentina to some £200,000,000 and in
Uruguay some £12,000,000, making a total of some 212 millions sterling.
Of this total a very large proportion in Argentina and the whole in
Uruguay is British.

The total length of railway lines in Argentina is close on 21,000 miles,
and in Uruguay close on 1050 miles.

The predominant gauge in Argentina is that in use by the four “great”
railway companies of that country, viz. the Buenos Aires Western, the
Central Argentine, the Buenos Aires Great Southern and the Buenos Aires
Pacific, that is to say, the broad, 5 feet 6 inches, while in Uruguay the
great railway company of that country, the Central Uruguay of Montevideo,
and its subsidiary companies use the Standard Gauge, 4 feet 8½ inches.

[Illustration: TRANSPORTER BRIDGE, PORT OF BUENOS AIRES]

Until 1909 each of the Argentine railway companies was (as the Uruguayan
still are) controlled by the terms of its particular concession or
concessions. In that year, however, a Law was passed, usually called
the “Mitre Law,” after its initiator, the late Señor Emilio Mitre (an
eminent Argentine statesman and son of the famous General Mitre, perhaps
Argentina’s greatest President and Historian), by which all then existing
companies agreeing to be bound by its provisions should be exempt from
all National, Provincial and Municipal taxation and Import Duties on
material until the year 1947; they, on their part, to pay to the National
Government a single tax of 3% on their net earnings, the amount of such
earnings to be ascertained by deducting 10% (for working expenses) from
their gross receipts.

Only one Company was then enjoying even more favourable terms under
its original concession than those given by the Mitre Law; but as that
concession was approaching the time of its expiration it would have been
ill-judged on the part of the Company to have shown itself recalcitrant
to the evident wishes of the Argentine Government.

Therefore it exercised its option in favour of the Mitre Law, as did all
the other Companies.

Though the Argentine and Uruguayan Railway Companies rely for their
usually very handsome profits much more on haulage of Cereals and Live
Stock than on their passenger traffic, it must not be supposed that
the latter is in any way neglected by them. Quite the contrary is the
case. Possibly nowhere else in the world (except, perhaps, in Russia)
is railway travelling as comfortable as on the River Plate, either as
regards day or night accommodation or catering, the latter at moderate
prices. All is roomy, well arranged and extremely comfortable; but the
_trains de luxe_ of the River Plate are those which the Buenos Aires
Great Southern Company runs to and from Mar-del-Plata in the season,
with Pullman Drawing-room and Dining Cars. The permanent way is good
and the running smooth over almost the whole of the two Republics.
Trains going to the hotter regions are provided with baths.

Besides British, considerable French and Belgian capital is invested in
Argentine railways. The “Province of Santa Fé” and the “Province of
Buenos Aires” railways are controlled by French Companies.

Incidentally it may be mentioned that in recent years most of the shares
of the “Anglo-Argentine” Tramways Company (which owns the principal
tramway system of the Capital) had found their way to Belgium.

A short while ago a United States Syndicate, deemed powerful and feared
as menacing a monopoly, obtained control of some of the River Plate
lines, notably those of the Central Córdoba, Santa Fé and Entre Rios
Companies, under certain arrangements. This Syndicate has since, however,
been unable to command the capital necessary to fulfil its part of those
arrangements, and, practically, the control of the lines has now reverted
to the original Companies, the first and last named of which are British.

The Argentine National Government has during the past few years built and
has under construction several lines intended to develop districts which
as yet do not offer sufficient temptation to private Companies.

No fresh construction has been begun in either country since the outbreak
of the War, the Government and various Companies confining themselves
only to such construction work as is absolutely necessary for the
completion of extensions already commenced.

Railway construction in these countries does not usually offer any great
difficulties. The triumphs of River Plate railway engineering were the
line of the Buenos Aires Pacific Railway up and through the Andes and
some parts of the lines of the Entre Rios Railway Company in parts of
that Province in which for long it seemed impossible to discover a route
amid the marshy or spongy soil. Another such triumph will probably occur
when the Buenos Aires Great Southern Railway penetrates the Andes, as
it no doubt will do one day, much further south than the Buenos Aires
Pacific line.


PORTS

The River Plate Republics are very accessible to foreign Commerce;
possessing Atlantic Coasts, the River Plate and its two great navigable
tributaries, the Uruguay and the Paraná.

The Port of Buenos Aires ranks seventh among the ports of the world in
respect of the value of merchandise which enters and leaves it, and
second in America, that is to say, coming immediately after New York.
The next most important Argentine ports are those of Rosario, Bahia
Blanca and La Plata; after which come Santa Fé, San Nicholás, Campana and
Zárate, and many others on the Paraná and Rio Gallegos, Puerto Madryn,
San Antonio and others on the South Atlantic. A new Port is in course of
construction at Mar-del-Plata.

Montevideo only ranks in point of cargo values just before Bahia Blanca;
that is to say, with some £15,000,000 as against the £115,500,000 trade
of the Port of Buenos Aires.[22] Uruguay is, however, preparing in this
regard for her further development by large new port works which have
been under construction for some years past. On the Uruguay she has Fray
Bentos, Paysandú (both largely concerned with meat extract and preserved
meats export), Salto and Santa Rosa; and on the River Plate, besides
Montevideo, Colonia and Maldonado; besides several relatively unimportant
ports having as yet but scanty or no effective accommodation for vessels.
This could also have been said of many of Argentina’s minor ports not so
very long ago. Port accommodation in Uruguay will follow the increase and
demands of her export produce and the requirements of her consequently
enhanced prosperity.


IMMIGRATION

As has been noticed under the heading “Racial Elements,” most of the
immigration to the River Plate has hitherto passed Montevideo and landed
at Buenos Aires. Over 300,000 immigrants landed in Argentina in 1913;
composed chiefly, and in point of numerical importance, in the following
order, of Spaniards, Italians, “Turcos” (Syrians or Levantines), Russians
(mostly Jewish), French, Germans, Austrians, Portuguese and British.
British arrivals on the River Plate consist chiefly of the salaried
classes; who, not being classed as immigrants, do not appear on the
Government returns from which the above figures are taken. The only other
noteworthy point about Argentine immigration is that now the Spanish
element largely predominates instead of, as formerly, the Italian.

[Illustration: GRAIN ELEVATORS: MADERO DOCK, BUENOS AIRES]



CHAPTER IX

GENERAL STATISTICS


During the past twenty years the foreign trade of Argentina and Uruguay
(especially that of the former country) has developed very largely and
rapidly; its increase during the decade 1904-1913 being, in the case
of Argentina, 108½% and in that of Uruguay 104%. The increase in both
cases is considerably greater than that of the trade of any other South
American country; as will be seen from the following figures:—

                               $
  _Argentina._    1913    996,215,998
                  1904    477,985,737
                          -----------
                  gold    518,230,261    108·5% increase.
                          ===========

  _Uruguay._      1913    119,500,000
                  1904     58,481,343
                          -----------
             Uruguayan     61,018,657    104%      ”
                          ===========

  _Chile._        1913    725,828,254
                  1904    370,149,864
                          -----------
               Chilian    355,678,390     94·5%    ”
                          ===========

  _Brazil._       1913  1,976,733,388
                  1904  1,288,955,306
                        -------------
               milreis    687,778,082     54%      ”
                        =============

The figure $996,215,998 gold if divided by 7,731,257, representing the
population of Argentina, gives $129 gold, or £25 11s. 10d., value of
trade per inhabitant of that country; a very high figure indeed. The
value of the trade of Uruguay per head of her population is £21 3s. 6d.

In 1913 Argentina alone provided the markets of the United Kingdom with
cereals and meat to the value of £34,500,000 of a total of £92,300,000,
or nearly 37½% of its total supplies. During the same year Uruguay sent
meat to the United Kingdom to the value of some £202,000 sterling.


UNITED KINGDOM IMPORTS IN 1913

               _Wheat_                £           £
  1. From United States          13,953,072
  2.  ”   Canada                  8,803,949
  3.  ”   British East Indies     7,998,552
  4.  ”   ARGENTINE REPUBLIC      6,149,195
  5.  ”   Australia               4,426,629
  6.  ”   Russia                  1,984,964
      ”   Other countries           544,539  43,860,900
                                 ----------

               _Maize_
  1. From ARGENTINE REPUBLIC     10,851,874
  2.  ”   United States           1,923,321
  3.  ”   Russia                    489,993
  4.  ”   Roumania                  286,600
  5.  ”   Canada                     64,773
      ”   Other countries           153,781  13,770,342
                                 ----------

               _Linseed_
  1. From ARGENTINE REPUBLIC      2,398,629
  2.  ”   British East Indies     1,564,428
  3.  ”   Russia                    228,167
  4.  ”   United States              98,366
      ”   Other countries         2,905,803   7,195,393
                                 ----------

    _Chilled and Frozen Meat_
  1. From ARGENTINE REPUBLIC     12,815,002
  2.  ”   Australia               2,133,951
  3.  ”   URUGUAY                   706,816
  4.  ”   New Zealand               393,429
  5.  ”   United States               3,119
      ”   Other countries            11,914  16,064,231
                                 ----------

            _Frozen Mutton_
  1. From New Zealand             4,965,310
  2.  ”   Australia               3,128,439
  3.  ”   ARGENTINE REPUBLIC      1,908,255
  4.  ”   URUGUAY                   303,528
      ”   Other countries           293,133  10,598,665
                                 ----------

          _Sundry Meats Frozen_
  1. From ARGENTINE REPUBLIC        455,561
  2.  ”   United States             155,966
      ”   Other countries           216,526     828,053
                                 ----------  ----------
                     Total                   92,317,584
                                             ==========

The value of the U.K. Imports from Argentine and Uruguay was considerably
increased during 1915.

In 1913 values of the exports of the United Kingdom to the four most
commercially important countries of South America were:—

                                    £ sterling.
  To the Argentine Republic         23,430,246
   ” Brazil                         13,015,769
   ” Chile                           6,366,944
   ” Uruguay                         3,027,568

Of the total value of the sales of the United Kingdom in the whole of
South America, Argentina received 45%, amounting to £52,033,764 sterling.


POSITIONS HELD BY ARGENTINA AND URUGUAY RESPECTIVELY IN THE EXPORT TRADE
OF THE UNITED KINGDOM ACCORDING TO BRITISH OFFICIAL PUBLICATIONS, 1913.

  Value of exports from Great
        Britain to:           £
   1 East Indies          71,738,755
   2 Germany              60,573,457
   3 United States        59,536,352
   4 France               40,876,731
   5 Australasia          37,852,929
   6 Russia               27,705,660
   7 Canada               27,235,355
   8 South Africa         24,373,018
   9 ARGENTINA            23,430,246
  10 Belgium              20,667,519
  11 Holland              20,605,137
  12 Italy                15,620,393
  13 China                15,016,023
  14 Japan                14,837,948
  15 Brazil               13,015,769
  16 New Zealand          11,776,261
  17 Egypt                 9,966,948
  18 Sweden                9,241,874
  19 Spain                 8,655,196
  20 Turkey                7,992,712
  21 West Africa           7,166,222
  22 Norway                6,669,089
  23 Chile                 6,366,946
  24 Denmark               6,340,773
  25 Austria-Hungary       5,786,077
  26 Switzerland           5,106,764
  27 Portugal              3,935,802
  28 URUGUAY               3,027,568
  29 West Indies           2,716,545
  30 Greece                2,597,227
  31 Mexico                2,549,265
  32 East Africa           1,443,859
  33 Costa Rica              247,093
                         -----------
  Total including other
    countries           £635,117,134
                        ============

                                         Per
                                        capita
                           Population.    £
   1 New Zealand           1,028,160   11·45
   2 Australasia           4,802,174    7·88
   3 South Africa          5,973,394    4·08
   4 Canada                7,758,000    3·51
   5 Holland               6,114,302    3·37
   6 ARGENTINA             7,731,257    3·03
   7 Belgium               7,571,387    2·73
   8 Norway                2,437,646    2·73
   9 URUGUAY               1,112,000    2·72
  10 Denmark               2,775,076    2·29
  11 Chile                 3,505,317    1·90
  12 Sweden                5,638,583    1·62
  13 West Indies           1,709,732    1·59
  14 Switzerland           3,781,430    1·30
  15 France               39,601,509    1·03
  16 Greece                2,666,000    0·97
  17 Germany              64,925,993    0·93
  18 Egypt                11,287,359    0·88
  19 Portugal              5,960,056    0·66
  20 United States        91,972,266    0·65
  21 Costa Rica              388,266    0·63
  22 Brazil               23,070,969    0·55
  23 East Africa           2,651,892    0·54
  24 Italy                34,671,377    0·45
  25 Spain                19,639,000    0·44
  26 Turkey               21,273,900    0·38
  27 West Africa          20,176,635    0·35
  28 Japan                52,985,423    0·28
  29 East Indies         315,156,396    0·23
  30 Russia              171,059,900    0·16
  31 Mexico               15,063,207    0·16
  32 Austria-Hungary      49,458,421    0·12
  33 China               320,650,000    0·05

During the five years 1908-1912 48½% of the whole maize imported by the
United Kingdom came from Argentina; or only a little less than the total
quantity of that imported from the United States, Roumania, Russia,
India, Natal, Canada, Bulgaria and the Cape of Good Hope.

In respect of the total issue of Capital in the United Kingdom during the
first six months of 1914, Argentina ranked _first_ (with £12,809,200 as
against £12,244,100 which went to Russia) among the foreign countries for
which such issues were destined; and _third_ if British Possessions are
included in the comparison.


1913

THE TRADE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA WITH THE REPUBLICS OF SOUTH
AMERICA IS SHOWN IN THE FOLLOWING TABLES COMPILED FROM AMERICAN OFFICIAL
STATISTICS

  --------------------+------------+------------+------------------------
                      |            |            |    BALANCE OF TRADE
                      |   IMPORTS  |   EXPORTS  +-----------+------------
                      |     —      |     —      | In favour |  Against
                      |  American  |  American  | of U.S.A. |   U.S.A.
                      |   Dollars  |   Dollars  | American  |  American
                      |            |            |  Dollars  |   Dollars
  --------------------+------------+------------+-----------+------------
  ARGENTINE REPUBLIC  | 26,863,732 | 52,894,834 |26,031,102 |      —
  URUGUAY             |  2,450,697 |  7,522,145 | 5,071,448 |      —
  Guiana (British)    |    105,933 |  1,813,745 | 1,707,812 |      —
  Bolivia             |        350 |    940,744 |   940,394 |      —
  Guiana (French)     |     86,386 |    337,714 |   251,328 |      —
  Paraguay            |     58,285 |    187,867 |   129,582 |      —
  Falkland Islands    |        —   |        725 |       725 |      —
  Brazil              |120,155,855 | 42,638,467 |     —     | 77,517,388
  Chile               | 27,655,420 | 16,076,763 |     —     | 11,578,657
  Columbia            | 15,992,321 |  7,397,696 |     —     |  8,594,625
  Venezuela           | 10,852,331 |  5,737,118 |     —     |  5,115,213
  Peru                |  9,666,579 |  7,341,903 |     —     |  2,324,676
  Ecuador             |  3,037,689 |  2,553,785 |     —     |    483,904
  Guiana (Dutch)      |    821,460 |    704,487 |     —     |    116,973
                      +------------+------------+-----------+------------
                      |217,747,038 |146,147,993 |34,132,391 |105,731,436
                      ===================================================


VALUE OF MERCHANDISE EXPORTED FROM THE UNITED STATES TO THE REPUBLICS OF
SOUTH AMERICA IN THE YEAR 1913, SHOWING THE IMPORTANCE OF THE ARGENTINE
MARKET

  To the ARGENTINE REPUBLIC               —         $52,894,834
     ”   Brazil                      $42,638,467
     ”   URUGUAY                       7,522,145
     ”   Ecuador                       2,553,785
     ”   Paraguay                        187,867     52,902,264
                                    ------------
     ”   Chile                        16,076,763
     ”   Columbia                      7,397,696
     ”   Peru                          7,341,903
     ”   Venezuela                     5,737,118
     ”   Guiana (British)              1,813,745
     ”   Bolivia                         940,744
     ”   Guiana (Dutch)                  704,487
     ”   Guiana (French)                 337,714
     ”   Falkland Islands                    725     40,350,895
                                    ------------    -----------
  Total value of sales to South America.  Dollars   146,147,993
                                                    ===========

  The Argentine Republic received 36·2% of total.

Argentina and Brazil divide practically between them the South American
export trade of the United States, Argentina taking by far the larger
share, and well over one-third of the whole received by all the South
American countries put together. The value of the Argentine imports from
the United States in 1913 amounted to $52,894,834 (U.S.A.), while Uruguay
took U.S.A. goods to the value of $6,531,626 (U.S.A.).


ARGENTINE IMPORTS FROM EUROPE, 1913

During the year 1913 the Argentine Republic purchased in Europe the
following amounts:—

                                        $ gold.
  In the United Kingdom              130,886,587
   ” Germany                          71,311,628
   ” France                           38,075,811
   ” Italy                            34,789,741
   ” Belgium                          21,953,910
   ” Spain                            12,389,607
   ” Austria-Hungary                   5,933,444
   ” Holland                           4,074,104
   ” Sweden                            3,123,889
   ” Switzerland                       2,749,682
   ” Portugal                            585,975
   ” Russia                              447,845
   ” Denmark                             204,106
   ” Turkey                              127,026
   ” Roumania, Bulgaria and Greece       119,989
                                       ---------
                 £64,835,981 = gold $326,773,344
  Purchased in other parts
  of the world   £18,765,714 =   ”   $94,579,199

         Total   £83,601,695 =   ”  $421,352,543

Where will these purchases be made in the future?


GOLD (Argentina)

  Years.       Imports.         Exports.       Balance.
  1904        24,917,951       1,604,292      23,313,659
  1905        32,559,540         819,375      31,740,165
  1906        18,212,323       1,545,622      16,666,701
  1907        23,552,726       3,133,886      20,418,840
  1908        28,651,215          44,817      28,606,398
  1909        67,453,816       1,247,831      66,205,985
  1910        37,027,936       1,669,892      35,358,044
  1911        12,764,236       3,008,597       9,755,639
  1912        36,077,807         585,621      35,492,186
  1913        47,941,425      43,417,484       4,523,941
             -----------      ----------     -----------
     $ gold  329,158,975      57,077,417     272,081,558
             -----------      ----------     -----------
           = £65,309,320      11,324,884      53,984,436
             ===========      ==========     ===========

It is regrettable, from several points of view, that the National
Statistics of Uruguay are not kept and published with the same
promptitude and regularity as those of Argentina, to say nothing of
the admirable clearness of the forms in which the latter are issued.
The Uruguayan authorities should really know that the absence of any
complete scheme of statistical information regarding their country is
more than apt to preserve a very common though erroneous impression
that Uruguay can be of but little account since so little is known or
heard of it. Little indeed is known with any accuracy of its production,
outside the circle of persons directly interested in its trade; but this
obscurity is due only to indifference to and negligence of the art of
self-assertion.

[Illustration: INTERNATIONAL TRADE OF ARGENTINA, BRAZIL, CHILE, AND
URUGUAY]

In point of fact Uruguay might well be proud of the statistics of her
productivity; for, in reality, she has more cattle than and nearly
as many sheep as the Argentine Province of Buenos Aires while her
superficial area is only some two-thirds of that of that Province.
Uruguay exports wool to the average value of some £4,000,000, hides
£1,500,000, frozen and chilled meat £1,110,000, and animals on the hoof
£230,000 annually. The value of its wheat exports for the five years
ending 1910 has been stated at £730,000; flour £234,000, maize £82,000
and linseed £460,000 during the same period. As we have seen, the value
of Uruguayan trade for the year 1913 was £23,900,000, and this figure, as
well as those representing Cereal production and exports, are likely to
be rapidly increased under normal conditions.


INCREASE OF ARGENTINE CEREAL EXPORTS IN TEN YEARS

                  1904. $ gold.    1913. $ gold.
  Wheat              66,947,891      102,631,143
  Maize              44,391,196      112,292,394
  Linseed            28,359,923       49,910,201
  Oats                  541,973       20,447,278
                    -----------      -----------
                    140,240,983      285,281,016
                    ===========      ===========


INCREASE OF ARGENTINE MEAT EXPORTS IN TWENTY-NINE YEARS

                               1885. $ gold.   1913. $ gold.

  Live stock: cattle               2,345,313       6,848,830
   ”     ”    sheep                   58,552         311,991
  Chilled and frozen beef              1,680      36,622,889
  Frozen mutton                       75,323       3,674,206
  Sundry meats frozen                   —            910,311
    ”     ”    preserved                —          1,257,391
  Extract of meat                       —          1,598,136
  Powdered meat                         —          1,097,566
  Preserved tongues                     —            131,952
  Condensed soup                        —            375,392
  Jerked beef                      4,204,077         658,097
                                   ---------      ----------
                            $ gold 6,684,945      53,486,761
                                   ---------      ----------
                                =£ 1,326,378      10,612,452
                                   =========      ==========


INCREASE OF TOTAL ARGENTINE EXPORTS IN TEN YEARS

                           $ gold.
  1904: Total exports    264,157,525
  1913:   ”      ”       483,504,547
                         -----------
        Increase         219,347,022
                         ===========


INCREASE OF TOTAL URUGUAYAN EXPORTS IN EIGHT YEARS

  During 1905 $ (Uruguayan)     30,774,247
    ”    1912        ”          51,000,000
                                ----------
               Increase, say,  $20,226,000 = £4,303,000
                               ========================

Wool constitutes about nine-tenths of the exports of Uruguay.

Up to and including 1907 the Imports of Uruguay were in excess of her
Exports. In 1908, however, the balance went the other way and is likely
to remain there.

The excess of Exports over Imports in 1908 was valued at $2,840,206
(Uruguayan) and in 1909 at $7,966,658. In 1912 the Imports appear to
have risen to $49,380,000 as against exports $51,000,000. Probably these
last figures are roughly accurate; but the last year for which any full
official Statistics appear to have been published was 1911.

As has already been seen, the chief countries of destination of Argentine
Exports prior to the War were (generally in the following order): The
United Kingdom, Germany, France, Belgium, Brazil, the United States,
Holland and Italy. Those of Uruguay went chiefly to France, Belgium,
Germany, Argentina and the United Kingdom. While Argentina Imported
principally from the United Kingdom, Germany, the United States, France,
Italy, Belgium and Spain; and Uruguay from the United Kingdom, Germany,
the United States, France, Italy, Belgium and Argentina.

The Surplus of Revenue over Expenditure in both Republics may appear
to remain always so small as only just to have avoided conversion into
deficits. It should, however, be recollected that these countries are
constantly engaged in carrying out Public Works which are necessary to
the fuller development of their natural resources; such, for instance, as
the very important new Port Works of Buenos Aires and Montevideo and the
great Argentine systems of irrigation. Were the excess of Revenue greater
it would still be spent, and wisely spent, on National Public Works and
Improvements; which are the best assurance of its future which either
country could make.

An instance of the rapid Commercial progress of the River Plate Countries
is the fact that whereas in 1872 there were but four Banks in Argentina,
in 1913 there were 143.

The latest (1914) Commercial and Industrial Census of the City of Buenos
Aires shows that the number of Commercial (chiefly wholesale and retail
trading) establishments in that City has increased from 17,985, as shown
by the previous Census of 1904, to 29,600—an increase of 65%—while the
number of Factories and Manufacturing establishments which in 1904 was
8,877 was in 1914 11,132—an increase of 25%. The motive power employed in
these last-mentioned establishments has increased during the same period
from 19,458 h.p. to 194,411 h.p.—an increase of 900%—while the number of
persons employed has increased 112%.

An amusing but characteristic note is struck by comparison of the figures
representing the annual sales of flour and tobacco respectively, the
former being nearly $48,000,000 (paper) and the latter nearly £44,000,000
(paper).

Not such a great difference between the money spent in Buenos Aires on
flour, much of which is exported, and on tobacco, which is all home
consumed! Another is that nearly 1% of the whole population of the City
consists of Medical Men; Brokers and Commission Agents (clubbed together
and classed as professional men by the Census) run them very close, with
Builders a good third, and the rest, in the sporting sense, nowhere.

Most of the wholesale and retail traders are Italians, Spaniards and
Argentines, in this order; the Italians being in both cases nearly three
times and the Spaniards nearly twice as numerous as the Argentines.
After them come French, Russians (chiefly Jewish), Levantines and
Egyptians (locally known as “Turcos”), Uruguayans, German, British and
other nationalities in commerce; and French, Russians, Levantines and
Egyptians, Belgians, Danes and Portuguese and other nationalities as
Manufacturers.

A good many establishments of both classes are, however, shown to belong
to Argentines and foreigners in partnership.

It is due to the compilers of the Census to remark that they have treated
“Jews” as pertaining to a separate nationality, though therefore there is
possibly some confusion under the heading “Russians.”



CHAPTER X

A GLANCE AT THE PROVINCES AND NATIONAL TERRITORIES OF ARGENTINA, AND THE
INTERIOR OF URUGUAY


BUENOS AIRES

This is the largest and most densely populated and the most uniformly
prosperous Province of the Republic.[23] It is bounded on the North by
the Provinces of Santa Fé and Córdoba, on the West by the Territories of
the Pampa Central and Rio Negro and on the East and South by the Paraná
and Plate Rivers and the Atlantic Ocean. Its capital, La Plata, is of a
somewhat sadly monumental aspect. It is indeed as yet but a monument to
the still unrealized dreams of its modern founders and architects. It
was to have been a great city with a busy port; it is now a place where
Provincial parliamentarians, lawyers, university students and Law Court
and Police officials spend some hours each day, coming each morning and
returning each evening from and to the superior activity and attractions
of the Federal Capital.

Nevertheless, La Plata has long, wide, eucalyptus-planted avenues;
its chief Plaza, in which are the Municipality and the Cathedral, is
not much smaller than Trafalgar Square; its Museum is world-renowned
for its palæontological collections; and its Law Courts, University,
Theatre, Police Offices and the above-mentioned Municipality are huge,
magnificently solid-looking buildings. But the lack of all perceptible
movement in La Plata leads one to imagine that if its broad avenues and
noble Plazas are not grass-grown the fact is due much more to the action
of street cleaners than to that of traffic. Truly, one may often gaze
down a very long vista of pavement between tall eucalyptus trees for many
minutes without seeing one single other human being.

The Port works of Buenos Aires have drained its only source of commerce
from La Plata. Still, some day the trade of the Republic may need it also.

At the same time it is only just to add that La Plata makes out a claim
to nearly 100,000 inhabitants. Where they all get to when one visits it
is mystery. Perhaps they in their turn spend their days in Buenos Aires;
returning home to sleep in the deep stillness of the Provincial Capital.

The real chief port of the Province of Buenos Aires is Bahia Blanca.
First of all, in 1896, the National Government decided to build the
naval port and arsenal now in existence there: subsequently the Buenos
Aires Great Southern and the Buenos Aires and Pacific Railway Companies
realized the conveniences and situation of Bahia Blanca as a place of
export for the produce of their great and ever-increasing southern and
south-western zones and each company constructed a port for the almost
exclusive purposes of its own traffic.

The Great Southern Railway’s port is called INGENIERO WHITE and that of
the Pacific Railway PUERTO GALVAN. Besides these, separate and distinct
constructions, Bahia Blanca has a fourth port, CUATREROS, at the interior
end of the bay, which exports large and increasing quantities of frozen
and chilled meat.

The great railway ports of Bahia Blanca are fitted with every modern
mechanical appliance, huge cranes, electric endless belts for loading
loose grain, and immense grain warehouses and elevators. The town of
Bahia Blanca is rapidly growing in importance and influence. Its
municipal administration is largely in the hands of British exporters and
merchants.

On the Atlantic coast, between Bahia Blanca and Buenos Aires and some
400 kilometres from the latter city, is the famous seaside resort of
Mar-del-Plata, the Argentine Monte Carlo—Trouville-Biarritz-cum-Ostend
(before the War!).

During the season there (at all other times of the year it is deserted)
vast Hotels and Restaurants charge famine prices for accommodation and
food and there is always more demand than available supply of either.
Wealthy Argentine families have, of course, their palatial “Chalets,”
and the RAMBLA, as the great promenade by the sea is called, is a very
brilliant scene at all times during the weeks in which it is fashionable.

Music and dancing contribute to the nights’ amusement at the Casino,
large Hotels and private houses; and at the Club members can indulge in
those games in which chance plays a greater rôle than skill.

As one young gentleman, who had failed to get a bed at any of the Hotels
he thought worthy of his patronage, once remarked, “No matter, one can
always play Baccarat till it is bathing time again.”

The air of Mar-del-Plata, that of the wide Atlantic, would doubtless be
a powerful restorative to anyone who could resist the temptations of
amusement sufficiently to give it a chance. Some people possibly do, but
if so keep very silent about it.

Mar-del-Plata is, however, destined to show a more serious side of its
possibilities in consequence of the building of a commercial port; the
construction of which has been entrusted to a French firm, also the
constructors of the new port works of Montevideo. Potatoes which are
deemed the best in the Republic come from near Mar-del-Plata.

Other chief towns of the Province of Buenos Aires are AVELLANEDA (situate
on the Provincial side of the boundary line between the Province and the
Federal City of Buenos Aires, but to all intents and purposes a district
of the latter with which it is connected by unbroken lines of streets and
houses), CHIVILCOY, PERGAMINO, TRES ARROYOS, NUEVE DE JULIO, AZUL, the
residential suburbs (of Buenos Aires), TEMPERLEY and LOMAS DE ZAMORRA and
many smaller “camp” towns.

All these minor camp towns of the Province of Buenos Aires look much
alike and none of them are very interesting in appearance. Their stores,
however, do good business in supplying the needs of large surrounding
rural districts, and some of these towns have periodical cattle shows and
sales which are well worth visiting.

Temperley and Lomas de Zamorra consist chiefly of Villa residences, of
all sizes and styles of architecture, and some shops.

The Province of Buenos Aires, half as large again as the whole Republic
of Uruguay, possesses some of the best land in Argentina, and in it
farming has reached the highest developments as yet attained in either
Republic. In it intensive farming has already made its first appearance
in South America—as needs must when high land-values drive. The surface
of this Province is one almost unbroken level plain.

It at present produces one-third of the whole output of wheat, nearly a
similar proportion of maize, one-fifth that of linseed, 87% of that of
oats, and also contains about 37% of the live stock of the whole Republic.

Good water is obtainable nearly everywhere in practically close proximity
to the surface. This fact, combined with the comparatively few running
streams and the tendency of these to dry up in hot weather, causes
some parts of this Province to have the appearance of a forest of tall
skeleton iron windmills. These are set up over artificially sunk wells,
to draw water for animals and domestic purposes.

A detailed description of the Province of Buenos Aires would extend to
a very great length indeed; as this Province is, as far as its climatic
conditions permit, a compendium of the industrial activity, at its
best, of the whole Republic. That it is so is due to its situation on,
or always in relatively close proximity to, the estuary of the River
Plate; the cradle of the civilization and progress of the countries under
discussion.

Farming and most other industries find their highest expression within
easy reach of and in the Federal Capital.

As far as its physical aspect is concerned, the Province of Buenos
Aires has been accused with considerable justice of being generally
uninteresting. Certainly its surface is one huge flat plain, until
one gets south to the ranges of the Sierra de la Ventana and the
Tandíl hills. Past them, nothing but monotonous plain again till its
southernmost boundary, the Rio Colorado, is reached.

Its only romantic scenery, though that is delightful indeed, is on its
north-eastern frontier, along the small River Tigre and the majestic
Paraná; the banks and innumerable islands of which are clad with useful
osiers, flowering reeds, peach trees and a large riot of other beautiful
and luxuriant vegetation. Many a spring day can be passed in idyllic
enjoyment among the islands of the Tigre.

At Tandíl, on the south-eastern side of the Province, there are quarries
of fine marble and building stone, and until a year or so ago there was
a famous rocking-stone perched on another rock, the surface of which is
inclined at an angle of something like 45 degrees. To all appearances a
mere gust of wind would have toppled the upper stone down into a hollow
beneath; but the tale goes that Señor Benito Villanueva, a wealthy and
sportsmanlike Argentine, once tied a rope round the rocking-stone and
attached the other end to a double span of oxen on the plain below. The
oxen pulled; but without any other effect on the rocking-stone than
temporarily to cant it just as many centimetres as it could be moved by a
good push from a man’s hand. Now, alas for Tandíl, someone has succeeded
in dislodging the rocking-stone from its uncanny-looking eminence, so
that it has, literally, fallen from its high celebrity.

Buenos Aires is, naturally, the Province of palatial estancia houses
surrounded by model farms. The Queen Province. The most densely populated
and cultivated and the one with the largest revenues.


SANTA FÉ

This Province ranks next to that of Buenos Aires in respect of area
and population, while its output of both maize and linseed is slightly
greater than that of the Queen Province; in regard to wheat it stands
third among the Argentine Provinces, Córdoba coming immediately after
Buenos Aires, and in respect of oats it again comes second. In point
of live stock it comes only fifth, after Buenos Aires, Entre Rios,
Corrientes and Córdoba.

It is bounded on the North by the Territory of the Chaco, on the West by
the Provinces of Santiago del Estero and Córdoba, on the South by the
Province of Buenos Aires and on the East by the River Paraná.

The northern part of Santa Fé is covered with vast forests, continuations
of those of the Provinces of Santiago del Estero and the Territory of the
Chaco. These forests are rich in Quebracho wood, and from them also come
large supplies of firewood and charcoal.

The other parts of Santa Fé are devoted to stock and agriculture.

The streams of this Province, although more numerous than those of Buenos
Aires, have (with the exception of the great River Paraná) the same
tendency to dry up as have those of the Queen Province, and, therefore,
water-drawing windmills are in proportionate evidence.

Its Capital, the city from which it takes its name, is one of the oldest
in the River Plate countries. Its movement is, however, little else than
that of a merely political capital; the town of Rosario, with its port,
being the centre of most of the commercial activity of this part of the
Republic. Until the rise of Bahia Blanca, Rosario held the undisputed
rank of the second commercial centre of Argentina.

The City of Santa Fé nevertheless possesses an old-world beauty and
charm, with its palm avenues and spacious Plazas, its many churches and
its large one-storied residences. Rosario, on the other hand, is as
unsightly and uninteresting a place to the eye as could well—or, rather
badly—be conceived. It has, however, a large share of the cereal export
trade. This Province has also other important ports on the Paraná, viz.
the port of Santa Fé itself, Villa Constitution, Colastiné and several
minor ones, all of which are available for ocean-going ships.

After Buenos Aires, Santa Fé is the Province with by far the greatest and
most conveniently situated railway mileage.

Mixed agriculture and stock farming is practised in many districts;
though Santa Fé has not yet felt the economic need of other than
extensive farming. Still, land values have, until recent events
prejudicially, if only temporarily, affected all such values, followed
those in Buenos Aires on an upward course. Santa Fé sends large
quantities of potatoes to the Buenos Aires and local markets.

The milling industry of this Province ranks not only next in importance
to that of Buenos Aires, but its output of flour is very much greater
than that of Entre Rios, the next most important Province in this regard.
The Department of Reconquista, in the North of the Province, has sugar
mills, and other industries are the production of ground-nut oil, dairy
produce, tanneries, preserved meats and maize alcohol.


CÓRDOBA

This Province is bounded on the North by the Province of Santiago del
Estero, on the North-West by the Province of Catamarca, on the West by
the Province of La Rioja and San Luis, on the South by the Territory of
the Pampa Central and the Province of Buenos Aires, and on the East by
the Province of Santa Fé.

Córdoba is the second Province of the Republic in point of wheat and
linseed production, being not far behind Buenos Aires in this regard. Its
maize production, however, does not amount to one-third of that of either
Buenos Aires or Santa Fé, while in oats it about ties with the latter. In
live stock it ranks fourth among the Argentine Provinces, though it has
less than half the number possessed by Entre Rios and only about half of
that of Corrientes. In the matter of population it ranks fourth among the
Provinces of the Republic, with about one-third that of Buenos Aires.

As one travels towards the ancient capital of this Province one begins
to realize that the cosmopolitan delights of the city of Buenos Aires
do not reflect the soul of the Republic: the soul that fought for its
liberty under the blue sky and warm sun of 25th of May, now over a
hundred years ago. One begins involuntarily to dream of the Gaucho
Wars and to feel the atmosphere of wilder bygone times amid the steep
water-cut and cacti-crowned banks of the five great rivers which traverse
the land from west to east. And when one gets to “The Learned City”
the illusion is not dispelled. Only one extremely modern-looking Hotel
in a corner of the Plaza jars; the rest of old Córdoba exhales the
magnolia-scented atmosphere of Old Colonial days. The Cathedral, the
University (founded in 1613) and the innumerable churches, the bells of
which all clang incessantly on Feast-days, all help to preserve in the
old part of the City of Córdoba an atmosphere of the Middle Ages, when
monasteries and learning were indissolubly connected. And of monks and
nuns, brown-robed, black-robed, white-robed and blue-robed, many there be
in Córdoba. Wherever one looks, across the Plaza, up one street or down
another, one sees them walking in twos or small groups with a uniformly
measured step which, as one instinctively feels, nothing could hurry
nor retard. And the black-coated citizens of Córdoba walk silently with
eyes downcast. But there is fierceness behind those cast-down eyes and
quick hot blood in the veins of those men in black; as anyone would soon
find out to his cost were he suspected of too close enquiry into local
political ways and means.

The writer speaks feelingly on this subject since when, a few years
ago, he was visiting Córdoba with a quite natural but equally innocent
curiosity for the old-world corners of the City, he unfortunately
disclosed in conversation with an eminently respectable-looking,
immaculately dressed gentleman that he, the present author, was a
journalist.

Soon afterwards his adventures began. He was molested in indirect ways,
and finally invited to pay a visit to the Central Police Station. There
he was given cigarettes and coffee by the Comisario, who floridly
apologized and expressed his deep regret and shame for the treatment
an honourable stranger had received. It was, however, but a series of
regrettable accidents arising from unfortunate error of certain bad
characters who were now in durance vile in consequence.

Here he rang a bell and ordered the answering policeman to bring in the
culprits. They were duly brought in and recognized.

“Now,” said the Comisario, “you will have no more trouble. Besides,”
he added, “one of our plain-clothes men will accompany you in future
wherever you go—for your better protection.”

The plain-clothes man certainly obeyed orders; so persistently that the
whole why and wherefore at last dawned on my confused brain.

The intention was to worry me so much in a polite quasi-legitimate
fashion that I could have no ostensible cause of complaint; but, at
the same time, so that I should incontinently quit the ancient City of
Córdoba in disgust. The reason for all this was the fact that, having
nothing better to do on the evening of my arrival, I had wandered into
the basement of my Hotel and there found a person who looked like, and
indeed was, a leading local politician running a roulette to catch the
nickels of a crowd of working men. At that time the roulette was the
scarcely concealed vice of the town, rife in the back room of every bar.

It is an illegal game in Argentina, as elsewhere except Monte Carlo, and
shortly after my visit it was the cause of a great outcry and scandal in
which several Provincial High Officials were involved.

I was a journalist and, therefore, dangerous. So a course of delicate
hints to me to get out had been planned and executed.

Following the gambling scandal, a leading Opposition politician was shot
dead in his carriage on the high road a short way outside the city. When
I read this news I was glad that I had not persisted in seeming to pry
into cupboards containing Córdoba’s official skeletons, and for similar
reasons I am still somewhat shy of Córdobese gentlemen with downcast eyes
and soft, measured tread.

All that, however, belongs to OLD Córdoba. The parts of the city called
New Córdoba and Alta Córdoba are replete with palatial residences as fine
and as new as residential palaces need be.

The City of Córdoba is not only the traditional seat of learning _par
excellence_ of the Republic, it is also, as a consequence of old-time
associations no doubt, its chief centre of clerical influence.

Córdoba is intensely and, if one may be permitted to say it, intolerantly
Catholic. Were it not subject to the democratic laws of a modern and very
go-ahead Republic one would hardly be surprised to find disciplinary
institutions of an Inquisitorial type still in full swing in this
old-world city of South America. As it is, there is no doubt of the
predominance of priestly influence in Provincial politics. Much of the
best freehold property in the city is owned by Monastic Orders or by the
Society of Jesus.

Most of the Province consists of a large plain; which, naturally, is
the chief productive area. But Córdoba has hills famous for the purity
of their air and great resorts for consumptive patients. ALTA GRACIA,
with its fine hotel, golf links, etc., has of late years acquired a
very favourable reputation as a place in which anyone may spend a very
pleasant and healthful week or so.

In the North-West of the Province are great salt marshes, in and around
which only a very scanty and meagre vegetation flourishes, and in the
North-East is the MAR CHIQUITA, a large and, in parts, very deep lake,
the waters of which are salty like those of the sea. Hence its name.

Córdoba also possesses large forests, as yet chiefly exploited for
building timber and firewood.

RIO CUARTO, on the river of that name, is the next largest town in the
Province in point of population, but it is likely soon to be altogether
surpassed in importance by BELL VILLE, on the Central Argentine Railway,
a rapidly advancing centre of the cereal trade, and some day also,
probably, by MARCOS JUAREZ, comparatively close to it on the same line.

Goats abound in the North of Córdoba. Land values have increased and are
increasing; especially in the most fertile regions in the South-Eastern
parts of the Province.

Córdoba has given and continues to give much attention to irrigation
and possesses one of the largest semi-natural reservoirs in the world,
certainly in South America, in the DIQUE SAN ROQUE, which is formed by
means of a wall of masonry placed across the mouth of a mountain gorge.
Its capacity is 260,000,000 cubic metres, and its operation is completed
by a basin situated some fifteen miles from and below it, from which the
water flows through two great primary canals. The area so irrigated is
some 130,000 hectares. Other large irrigation works are in course of
construction, and more still are under consideration.

Córdoba has also a large share of industrial enterprise, of which the
chief are lime and cement works, ornamental and other tile manufactories,
potteries, sawmills and butter factories.

The hills of this Province have some practically unexploited mineral
deposits. The area between the city of Córdoba and the Provinces of Santa
Fé and Buenos Aires is covered with a close network of railway lines, in
great contrast (as may be seen by a glance at the railway map) in this
respect with the more Northern parts of the Province.

There has for a long time been talk of a canal to run from near the city
of Córdoba to a point close to the port of Rosario, utilizing the surplus
waters of the Primero, Segundo and Tercero Rivers.

There is something almost incongruously prosaic about the naming, 1st,
2nd, 3rd and 4th, of the rivers which traverse a Province in which so
much of the old romantic atmosphere lingers.

The Alfalfa fields of Córdoba are in extent second only to those of
Buenos Aires, covering an area equal to more than half that devoted to
this forage in the latter Province.


ENTRE RIOS

This Province is bounded on the North by the Province of Corrientes, on
the West and East by, respectively, the Rivers Paraná and Uruguay (hence
its name “Between Rivers”) and on the extreme South by the River Plate,
which is formed by the conjunction of the Paraná and Uruguay.

As has been seen, Entre Rios comes second among the Argentine Provinces
for production of oats; but in respect of other cereal crops it is still
far behind Buenos Aires, Santa Fé and Córdoba. It is, however, rich in
live stock, having nearly three times the quantity possessed by Córdoba.
In point of population it ranks fourth among the Argentine Provinces.

Until the accomplishment of the Entre Rios railway this Province
was known as the “Poor Sister” of Buenos Aires and Santa Fé. Now,
this disparagement cannot be thrown on her; for her prosperity is
advancing literally by leaps and bounds. This is very largely owing
to the communication and transport afforded by the Railway and its
train-carrying Ferry Boats which run between ZÁRATE on the Buenos
Aires side of the River Paraná and IBICUY on the Entre Rios side, thus
permitting of traffic without change of car between the Federal City and
the Entre Rios system—and, in fact, also, onward through the Province of
Corrientes and the Republic of Paraguay to Brazil, by several links in
the chain of railway lines one day to run the whole length from North and
South of the two Americas.

The journey by rail from Buenos Aires to Paraná, the capital of Entre
Rios, is a delightful one, not the least pleasant part of it being the
voyage in the well-appointed Ferry Boats up and across beautiful winding
reaches of the Paraná River.

From the Provincial capital one can again take a train through
interesting country across the Province to Concórdia, on the River
Uruguay, and so back to Buenos Aires by one of the fine and comfortable
River Boats. That is, if one does not first of all go further North to
the famous falls of Iguazú, further mention of which will be made when
writing of the National Territory of Misiones.

The City of Paraná is a quiet, pleasant Capital, redolent of the memory
of General Urquíza, the one-time “Tyrant” of these parts of the River
Plate Territories. One sees the old large low building which was the
head-quarters of his government, and where, as history hath it, he
contrived to have many of his political enemies put to death. On the
other hand, there is much evidence of his enlightenment in the shape
of schools, first established by him and later fostered by “The School
Master President” Sarmiento. The fact is that Urquíza, like Rozas, whom
he supplanted, and Artígas, the national hero of Uruguay, were all strong
men of good purpose according to their lights and times; times which were
turbulent and in which it was necessary for him who would govern to kill
first if he would not himself die by an assassin’s hand.

Opposition politicians had short shrift in those days. They were caught,
convicted and executed almost before the plots of which they were found
guilty had been fully formed.

Each of these tyrants had a far-reaching and minutely penetrating police
system, from which nothing was hid of the movements and meetings of other
people in those sparsely populated days; days when no man’s business was
a secret to his neighbour. As a result, order sprang out of disorder and
was maintained by iron rule.

Looking back from this distance of time one can perceive the great and
good work done by these men for their country. Their methods were of the
time; necessary.

On the cliff-like bank of the river is the really charming Urquíza Park.
The chief Plaza, “Primero de Mayo,” is gay o’ nights with electric light
shining on the tables outside the Cafés, whilst a band plays in the
midst of the garden in its centre. Paraná has trams and a theatre, and
altogether is quite a busy commercial centre. Still it is, as has been
said, quiet with the distinctive quiet of really Provincial towns all the
world over.

But the most charming place of all (to the writer’s mind, one of the
most charming in the Republic) is Concórdia. Its cobbled streets and
orange-scented gardens, its pure air, bright sun and cool breezes combine
to give one the feeling of having at last reached a true haven of rest
from the turmoil of the outer world; a haven in which one might dream
the remainder of one’s life away happy and passing rich on the Argentine
equivalent to forty pounds a year.

Yet Concórdia is busy, busy in its old Colonial way with sending produce
down the broad River Uruguay to the great noisy port of Buenos Aires.

The Entre Rios farmers do good business in cattle fattening; for which
their usually well-watered and rich pasturage is peculiarly fitted.
Yet, at times, Entre Rios has suffered from severe drought, and more
frequently from locust invasion, a plague which, however, is now already
fairly well held in check by the measures adopted and strictly carried
out by Government for the gradual elimination, as it is hoped, of these
insects from the Republic.

Entre Rios, still only just, so to speak, opened up by the railway, is
still conservative in respect of the maintenance of large land holdings.
These are, however, slowly but surely being divided up owing to demand
and in accordance with the more utilitarian spirit of the times.

Entre Rios is a chief centre of the jerked-beef industry, and the Liebig
factories are an economic feature which cannot go unmentioned. Grease
factories, for which large quantities of mares are slaughtered annually,
also constitute one of the chief industries of this Province.

Entre Rios has a very considerable acreage under barley.


CORRIENTES

Corrientes may be regarded, economically, as well as geographically, as
still being one of the outlying Provinces, inasmuch as its population and
cereal production are much less than those of the Provinces already dealt
with.

It is, however, numerically richer in Live Stock than either Córdoba or
Santa Fé[24] and has large areas under maize cultivation.

Corrientes is bounded on the North by the River Paraná, which forms the
boundary between it and the Republic of Paraguay. This river is also
its Western boundary, while on the East it is bounded by the National
Territory of Misiones and the River Uruguay, and on the South by Entre
Rios.

It is served by the Argentine North-Eastern Railway system, which links
up and is in every way closely connected with the Entre Rios Railway: and
by a small narrow-gauge industrial railway which runs through a large
area of Quebracho forest and also serves some sugar mills.

Other communication is by old-world diligences. Another railway is,
however, projected to run almost along the north boundary of the Province
from the City of Corrientes to Posadas in Misiones.

The inhabitants of Corrientes, like their Paraguayan neighbours, from
whom, especially in the more Northern parts of this Province, they differ
but slightly in racial characteristics, are the true lineal descendants
of Spanish soldiery and their native Guaraní Indian wives. They are as a
rule a pleasant enough people, good-humoured and somewhat indolent. As to
the latter quality one must, however, remember that in Corrientes one is
already among subtropical vegetation (Palms begin to rear their tufted
heads in the North of Entre Rios). One of the most beautiful examples of
this vegetation is the _Lapacho_ with its great branches of pink flowers.

One must not delay long, however, if one wish to still catch the
old-world flavour of Corrientes. Its capital, founded in 1588 with one of
the long names in which the Spanish conquerors appear to have delighted,
namely, San Juan de la Vera de las siete Corrientes (St. John of Vera
of the Seven Streams), is already provided with modern waterworks and
electric trams. Still, one yet finds many mysterious looking low houses
with vertically barred windows, and covered verandahs lining long narrow
streets. Modern buildings, however, are rapidly spoiling the attraction
of the place for those who appreciate the charm of more leisurely,
spacious times. That charm yet lingers in the city of Corrientes, but, as
has been said, is already being startled into flight by modernity.

The latter and Corrientes are, nevertheless, still fairly far apart. It
would be curious to know how many inhabitants of the Federal Capital have
even the faintest notion of what City of the Seven Streams is like (?).
Very few indeed; except those who have or have had direct interests in
the latter place. The notions of the rest would be similar to those of
the average European regarding the Pampa.

Corrientes is for the most part well watered, and has immense tracts of
excellent pasturage.

Besides its Capital, Corrientes possesses as its, even more commercially
important, centres the towns of Goya, famous for its cheeses, Ituzaingó,
Bella Vista, and Empedrado, all ports or rather possible ports on the
Paraná, Mercedes, the centre of prosperous sheep-farming districts, and
Curuzú Cuatia and Monte Caseros, with good railroad facilities.

With the necessary expenditure on wharves, etc., Corrientes could be
brought into a much greater economic activity than it shows signs of as
yet; by utilizing its great natural riparian means of communication,
although the River Uruguay is at this height difficult of navigation,
owing chiefly to the rapidity of its current and frequent floods.

The Correntino has not yet, however, developed much commercial
enterprise. His cattle still show the native long horned and limbed
characteristics of wilder days and he himself seems to find it less
trouble to get tobacco, _mate_, sugar, coffee and many other things from
Brazil or Paraguay than to grow and manufacture them himself; as he could
do easily and profitably. Much of his nature is Indian; to be modified in
time by the overwhelming forces of civilization.

One cannot leave Corrientes without mention of the lake IBERÁ in the
North of the Province, a vast natural hollow filled with water, the
surface of which is in many parts covered so solidly with interlaced
bamboos, grasses and aquatic plants as to enable one to walk on it as
if on a huge raft. There has been much talk of reclaiming the land
by draining Lake Iberá, a task which owing to the gradients of the
surrounding lands would not present great difficulties; if so be that the
lake is not connected by subterranean channels with the Rivers Paraná and
Upper Uruguay, as there are several reasons to suppose it may be.

The islands of this lake form a perfect zoological garden of animals and
reptiles long since practically extinct in the surrounding country; among
which are Jaguars, Alligators and Boa Constrictors.

The present writer remembers an interesting if somewhat terrifying
collection of such and other wild specimens being cast up a little more
than a decade ago on the river shores of the Province of Buenos Aires,
near to the Federal Capital, by the swollen waters of the Paraná during
extraordinary floods. These creatures were washed down clinging to trunks
of trees and islets of intertwined vegetation which had been torn away by
the force of the waters. It is safe to assume that they were much more
terrified than were even the peaceable inhabitants of the places where
they involuntarily landed.

The illustrious General San Martin was a Correntino, born in what was
once called Yapeyú, now an important Live Stock centre and renamed after
him.

A monument has also been erected there to his memory, a patriotic
embellishment which no Argentine township, however, is without.


SAN LUIS

This Province is bounded on the North by the Province of La Rioja, on
the West by the Provinces of San Juan and Mendoza, on the East by the
Province of Córdoba and on the South by the Territory of the Pampa
Central.

Until the coming of Alfalfa, San Luis was chiefly interesting for its
mineral possibilities. Even now, after Salta and Jujuy, it is the most
sparsely populated of the Argentine Provinces. Nevertheless, it now has
large areas under wheat; and sandy salty tracts which not long ago, in
common with similar tracts in the West of the Province of Buenos Aires
and in the Territory of the Pampa Central, were looked on as useless
deserts, are covered with an extraordinarily luxuriant growth of lucerne.
The salty nature of the soil is favourable to this valuable forage plant,
and its tap roots find their way easily through the sandy surface to the
closely adjacent damp subsoil and surface waters.

Irrigation is destined to play an important rôle in other parts of San
Luis.

At present this Province runs Santa Fé very close in point of number of
Live Stock; though the general average of quality is a good way behind
that found in the “home” Provinces or Córdoba.

San Luis cultivates an appreciable quantity of good table grapes, and, as
is noticed in another chapter, also produces some wine.

The Province is intersected in its North and Central parts by four lines
of the Buenos Aires Pacific Railway and in the South by two of the Buenos
Aires Western Railway.

It is evident that the mineral deposits of San Luis were worked in the
prehistoric days prior to the Spanish Conquest, but little has been done
to exploit them in modern times except as regards the beautiful green
marble, commonly called Brazilian Onyx, large quantities of which are
exported. Gold mining has been attempted in modern times, but without as
yet any very appreciable results. San Luis, however, produces a certain
regular supply of Wolfram.

The people of San Luis are frequently accused of indolence. Certainly
the Province is not a wealthy one, nor do its inhabitants appear over
alert to seize the opportunities which nature and modern methods combined
now offer them.


SANTIAGO DEL ESTERO

This Province is bounded on the North by the Province of Salta and the
National Territory of Formosa, on the West by the Province of Tucumán and
Catamarca, on the East by the National Territory of the Chaco and the
Province of Santa Fé and on the South by the Province of Córdoba.

Irrigation has led to a considerable development of wheat-growing in this
Province and to irrigation it must chiefly owe its future progress; for,
in its almost tropical climate, rain only falls in the summer months and
usually is absorbed almost as soon as it falls by a sandy and dusty soil.

The average temperature of Santiago del Estero is highly favourable to
maize, but, here again, the question of water supply arises, only to be
met by artificial means. Already principal and subsidiary irrigation
canals have been constructed in the areas through which pass the two
rivers of the Province, the Dulce and the Saladillo, and further works of
the kind are in active contemplation.

The salt sandy soil of much of this Province has been found as favourable
to Alfalfa as such soil is elsewhere when there is water not far down
or at least a damp subsoil. So that Santiago boasts of an already large
and an increasing number of _Alfalfares_, as lucerne-bearing lands
are called. The chief industries of the North of this Province are in
connection with its forestal products, the cutting and rough trimming
of Quebracho wood, firewood and charcoal burning. The people engaged in
these occupations are mostly totally uneducated and are unacquainted
with any of the higher developments of civilization. They are indeed in
some respects similar to the stock-riding Gaucho of the past in other
provinces, but without the intelligence he displayed within the limits
of his punctilious observance of custom.

Dancing, card-playing and drinking are the only amenities of life known
to the wood-cutters of Santiago del Estero, unless fighting be added as
a pendant to, and consequence of, the last-named pastime of alcoholic
indulgence. Like all GAUCHOS, however, they are really only dangerous to
one another in this regard, a stranger being treated by them with all the
good-humoured courtesy at their command.

The Santagueños of the forests have been singled out by one very
observant and reliable writer on South American countries, Monsieur
Paul Walle,[25] as having superstitious faith in “Curanderos” or quack
doctors, people of their own class. They do indeed show a perfectly
childlike faith in quack nostrums; but in this, leave must be taken
to say, they are by no means alone among the rural populations of the
River Plate. The present writer has known the queerest kinds of remedies
believed in implicitly and practised even in that hub of progress, the
Province of Buenos Aires.

Active official efforts have for some time been devoted to the weeding
out of CURANDEROS and CURANDERAS; but, as in the mediæval days of
England, they are still sought out, more or less secretly, by neighbours
who have infinitely more faith in their “cures” than they would have in
the treatment of whole Colleges of Physicians.

Possibly these quacks often do cure by suggestion. The writer has, for
instance, heard strong oral evidence of the efficacy for toothache of
expectorating into the mouth of a frog, caught at a certain hour of the
night. There could be no doubt about it. Many people have been entirely
relieved from pain by that simple expedient. The rather revolting rite
performed, the frog must be set at liberty and carries away the pain with
it!

Much of this quackery is relatively harmless, but much of it is also
highly dangerous, not only to the actual patient, but to the community
in general; as preventing the former from seeking orthodox treatment
which, while really curing him, would at the same time prevent the spread
of infectious and contagious disease.

To sum up, Santiago del Estero undoubtedly has a rich future before it,
dependent chiefly on irrigation.


TUCUMÁN

This Province is bounded on the North by the Province of Salta, on the
West and South by the Province of Catamarca and on the East by the
Province of Santiago del Estero.

It has the smallest superficial area of all the Argentine Provinces;
being less than one-eleventh the size of Buenos Aires and less than
one-fifth that of Santiago del Estero.

It, however, is a very important Province, because it produces over 90%
of the whole sugar output of the Republic. It also grows an appreciable
quantity of maize, but when, in Argentina, one says Tucumán one is almost
invariably thought to be about to speak of sugar.

It always has been _the_ sugar-producing area of the River Plate
Territories; from the time of the Jesuit Missionaries, say, about the
middle of the eighteenth century. The first modern sugar-manufacturing
machinery was set up in Tucumán in 1879.

The whole matter of the Argentine Sugar industry was for long hedged
about with fiscal and other questions and a great sensitiveness on the
part of the growers and refiners in regard to their discussion. That a
certain number of companies divided the whole of the industry between
them was undoubted fact, as was the equally obvious one that they carried
on business in accordance rather with their ideas of their own commercial
interests than in any larger or more philanthropic spirit. Sugar is still
much dearer for the Argentine consumer than there seems any good reason
for. Special legislature has operated until recently as an exceptional
protection to this industry, thus maintaining, as was vehemently urged in
many quarters, a monopoly, to the extent of being relieved of any foreign
competition, in the hands of the Tucumán Companies who conducted their
affairs in a mutually friendly fashion.

Their opponents throughout the country said that Tucumán (the sugar
interests there are still inseparably connected with Provincial politics
and politicians) not only waxed fat at the public expense, but did so by
means and methods opposed to the public interest. Certainly legislature
offered temptation to artificial limitation of output, and it was chiefly
in regard to this—burning of productive cane-fields and so forth—that the
sugar companies long stood accused.

On whichever side the balance of the arguments for or against the
doings of the Tucumán sugar industry may have lain it may be safely
asserted that no political influence can nowadays continue to bolster
up commercial malpractices of any magnitude in Argentina. The National
Government has already seen and will see to it that no hole-in-the-corner
Provincial politics shall interfere with the National welfare and
credit. Influence, although still powerful in minor matters, can no
longer suffice to avoid any matter of public importance being exposed to
examination by the full light of day.

Tucumán is well aware of this, and therefore can be relied on, and indeed
must be, to trim her sails to the healthy wind by which the course of the
Republic is now determined.

It is only fair to add that the Tucumán Sugar Companies’ argument in
their own defence to the suggestion of an inequitable monopoly exercised
by them is, in effect, “Well, supposing that we have been making very
large profits of late years, we have borne the brunt of hard times for
many more, before the industry had developed to its present extent and
before we were able to obtain assistance or even practical encouragement
from the State. And besides, were we wrong in making hay whilst the sun
shone? Any day may bring us competition in the shape of the rise of new
cane-fields in other Northern districts of this fertile Republic.”

This is at least sympathetic if not strictly legitimate reasoning.

In the meantime the Province of Tucumán has grown prosperous, and the
employment of more enlightened methods of conducting all branches of
its sugar industry has recently resulted in enhanced prosperity coupled
with a largely increased output. The City of Tucumán, its Capital, one
of the pleasantest and most progressive towns in Argentina, has no less
than five different railway stations pertaining to lines connecting it
with Buenos Aires (of which the Central Argentine is the most direct) and
local systems.

The vegetation of the Plazas and Boulevards of the City is subtropical
and social demands have provided Tucumán with an ornate Casino connected
with a vast modern Hotel and theatre. Electric light and tramways abound
in its orange-flower scented streets and public places, among which must
now be counted a huge Park designed to celebrate the 1910 centenary. A
special building enshrines the historic room in which the Declaration of
Independence was signed.

Buildings of the Colonial period still exist in Tucumán and its
outskirts, but the dominant tendency is towards modernity in architecture
and all else. The City is picturesquely situated in a valley among hills
which appear to surround it and give it a curious appearance of having,
with its Casino, brilliantly lit avenues and gardens and its luxuriant
vegetation, sprung into existence as a scene on some vast stage.

It has a winter season of ever-growing social importance; during which
the great Sugar Families occupy their palatial villas and display dark
beauty and grace to the music of the band in the Plaza Independencia and
at the Casino and Theatre.

Irrigation is easily attained over the most part of this Province, from
the Dulce River and its many tributaries as well as from several other
streams.

Tucumán grows some wheat, but not much, its principal crops (after, of
course, sugar) being maize and alfalfa.

It has comparatively little live stock, owing largely to the general
humidity of its soil. It has, however, an exceptionally large aggregate
of population for its size in comparison with other Provinces.

Parts of Tucumán are forest, part mountainous with peaks clad in
everlasting snow from which accumulate innumerable turbulent mountain
streams. For picturesque and varied scenery of almost every kind Tucumán
is perhaps preeminent in the Republic. Its valleys are with very few
exceptions fertile and well watered.

This Province has several fairly important towns situated on the railways
which traverse its central and southern districts.


CATAMARCA

This Province is bounded on the North by that of Salta and the National
Territory of Los Andes, on the West by Chile, on the South by the
Provinces of La Rioja and Córdoba and on the East by those of Santiago
del Estero and Tucumán. As can be imagined from its geographical
situation, it produces a certain quantity of maize and, given advantages,
to be mentioned later, undoubtedly could produce a great deal more. As
yet it is sparsely populated, and the influence of progress is only
just being forced upon it by a paternal National Government which not
only has irrigation schemes in hand, but has already constructed a
railway—the North Argentina—one of the new Government lines, to afford
transport for the future wealth of this hitherto dormant Province.
Irrigation, transport and fresh elements and methods of labour are
the three requisites for Catamarca’s advancement. She has plenty of
what is easily convertible into fertile soil; and, without doubt, rich
mineral deposits. Both of these resources would long ago have been
advantageously exploited had the population of the Argentine Republic
attained larger figures than as yet represent it.

Catamarca is mountainous over a large portion of its area, but this area
is interspersed with very fertile valleys and possesses a vast tableland,
called the CAMPO DEL PUCARA. In a hollow of this tableland is the capital
city of Catamarca.

There are plenty of mountain streams from which to irrigate the greater
portion of the soil of this Province, and also a water bed not far from
the surface from which irrigation could be obtained. At present—most
of the surface soil being extremely loose and porous—the water brought
down by the mountain streams is immediately absorbed, and the climate
generally is dry. The mean temperature naturally varies according to
altitude, but the lower valleys are very hot in summer-time.

The City of Catamarca is still a veritable sleepy hollow, poor and
indolent, but picturesque with the gardens and orange and other orchards
of Colonial times.

The population of this Province is mostly of mixed Spanish and Indian
origin; as indeed is that of practically all the northern outlying
Provinces and Territories of the Republic.

The needs of these people are few, and they continue in a lethargic
condition of conservative content. One district, however, of
Catamarca—Andalgalá—boasts of an aristocracy of pure Spanish blood,
resident since the early days of the Conquest.

At present all the best brains of Catamarca find their way to Buenos
Aires; in despair of the small scope, and even opposition to any
suggestion of innovation, offered by their native Province. Still, Nature
in Catamarca, as elsewhere throughout Argentina, only awaits the call of
man to respond with rich gifts.

There is no doubt about the existence of valuable mineral deposits,
silver, copper and especially tin, in Catamarca. The chief obstacle to
the due exploitation of these up to the present has been the difficulty
and cost of transport. The railway should soon, however, render the
working of these mines profitable on a much larger scale than hitherto
has been commercially possible.


LA RIOJA

This Province is bounded on the North and North-East by the Province
of Catamarca, on the West and South-West by Chile and the Province of
San Juan, on the South by the Province of San Luis, and on the East by
Catamarca, again, and the Province of Córdoba.

La Rioja is another outlying Province of which can be said, as of so many
as yet comparatively unproductive parts of Argentina, that water, labour
and transport alone are needed to make them rich far beyond any dreams
of avarice which have yet occupied the minds of their few and easy-going
inhabitants. Maize flourishes in this hot, dry climate, as do all manner
of subtropical and even tropical fruits, including dates, wherever water
is available. Even wheat grows splendidly in some districts, given
irrigation. And, as in many other salty and saltpetre-impregnated soils,
there are large areas in La Rioja highly favourable to the growth of
Alfalfa.

At present this Province is more sparsely populated than any other in
the Republic except Jujuy, but it boasts of a fair number of (mostly
native) cattle. As in all the Andine Provinces and Territories there is a
relatively considerable export trade of cattle on the hoof to Chile.

La Rioja produces some wine, and at some future date will, no doubt,
produce more, in view of the advantages for vine culture of its soil in
many parts and its warm, dry climate. At present the wine of La Rioja is
mostly consumed in the province itself and the immediately neighbouring
Provinces.

Large irrigating works are in progress, and more are under consideration
by the National Government for the development of the agricultural
industries of this Province.

Contemporaneously with or possibly before such development will have
been able, on account of lack of population, to assume any very notable
progress, one may reasonably expect to see a largely increased activity
in the exploitation of La Rioja’s mineral wealth (apparently much greater
than that of Catamarca) by reason of the enormously increased facilities
for transport afforded by the National North Argentine Railway. La Rioja
has rich deposits of silver, copper, nickel, tin, cobalt, topaz and many
beautiful kinds of marble.

The mining district best known at present is that of La Famatina; from
which a cable-way of 35 kilometres in length was constructed by the
National Government some years ago to connect the hillside mines with the
rail-head at Chilecito.

La Rioja has, however, many other evidently rich mineral areas, including
some containing quartz and alluvial gold. The unsystematic exploitation
of these has as yet given but small satisfactory results.

The city of La Rioja, the Capital, is still in a state of arrested
development, similarly with Catamarca, only even more so. It has not
yet experienced sufficient prosperity to enable it to recover from the
paralysing effects of the civil disturbances which raged in and around it
for very many years after the overthrow of the Spanish rule. The people,
the great majority of whom have a large admixture of native Indian
blood, are, however, of a rather more lively and energetic disposition
than their Catamarcan neighbours. This is no doubt due to a difference
in their racial origin; the Indian ancestors of the natives of La Rioja
having apparently belonged to tribes which in bygone times inhabited,
or were in close relations with those which inhabited, Peru and thus
possibly absorbed something of the Inca civilization.

The surface of La Rioja has two general aspects; one part is broken and
mountainous and the other an immense plain, needing, as has been said,
only labour and irrigation to yield rich agricultural results. The one
important river of the Province is the Bermejo. The mineral wealth of
this Province lies almost if not entirely exclusively, in its mountainous
districts.


JUJUY

Jujuy has its very special interest for the Anglo-Saxon race, since it
affords, in the history of the Leach family, a striking example of the
colonizing enterprise and patience of that race.

Look at the position of Jujuy on the map and imagine what colonizing must
have been like in the middle of last century when the brothers Leach
first settled in what has since become a Province, but then was a wild
district inhabited by native Indians.

One of the brothers, especially, Mr. Walter Leach, seems to have
exercised a peculiar and highly beneficial influence over these people,
and managed to introduce ideas of industry and gradual civilization to
tribes whose former lives had been mostly occupied with warfare one with
another.

Now we may almost say that “Leach” is synonymous with “JUJUY” and vice
versa, and enterprises initiated by this family now embrace all branches
of industry of which the Province is yet capable, including large sugar
plantations and machinery. Now, the National Central Northern Argentine
Railway connects Jujuy with the outer world, but before its advent it
was indeed a far-off land to be reached only after many weeks’ arduous
journeying. Jujuy is the most distant and, after Tucumán, the smallest
Province of the Republic.

It is bounded on the North and North-West by Bolivia, on the West by the
National Territory of Los Andes and on the South and East by the Province
of Salta.

Jujuy produces not inconsiderable quantities of wheat, maize, barley and
alfalfa and, as has been said, sugar.

In the North it has a number of salt lakes, which are exploited
commercially, as also are some deposits of borax.

The climate of Jujuy is very varied, according to altitude, but in
general is much more temperate than the actual latitude of the Province
would lead one to suppose. There is always a considerable rainfall during
hot weather. Its chief river is the Rio Grande de Humahuaca, a tributary
of the Bermejo, which coming from the North curves in a semicircle
through the Central and South-Eastern parts of the Province.

Jujuy, with its broken surface, claims rivalry with Tucumán as the most
picturesque of the Argentine Provinces. In some of its southern districts
the vegetation is tropical. In the North-West there is a high tableland
much of which is dry and practically desert, interspersed with fertile
valleys.

In the South of the Province the population is of mixed racial origin
with a very large element of native Indian blood. In the North it is
practically pure Indian. The native Humahuaca dialect is preponderant
everywhere, even in Spanish as spoken there. In the North there is little
or no pretension to speak anything but Humahuaca.

The Capital, however, the City of Jujuy, was, strangely enough, the
first Argentine town to have its streets paved. It was the scene of
the assassination of General Lavalle, one of the heroes of the Wars
of Independence, and possesses the original flag of General Belgrano,
the blue and white chosen by him for the nascent Republic, and ever
since retained by it. Later the National Colours and those of Uruguay
(a slightly different arrangement of the same blue and white) were
officially emblazoned with the golden “Sun of May”; the 25th of May,
1810, being the date of the Declaration of Independence from the rule of
Spain.

As has been mentioned above, most of such prosperity as Jujuy as yet
possesses is due to the patient energy of the Leach family. Such
administrative and fiscal discredit as attaches to the Province is, on
the other hand, due to the native element among its politicians. These
evils inevitably must soon be swept away by the advance of civilized
ideas and necessity for better management by public authority. The
mass of the population will, no doubt, continue to live in its own
long-accustomed primitive fashion.

It hardly contains the racial elements of rapid advance towards a much
higher civilization.

Future immigration must be relied on to do much to develop Jujuy’s
natural resources.

At present a certain amount of rather primitive, and some contraband,
export and import trade is done with Bolivia in the Northern parts of the
Province.

Jujuy is poor in Live Stock even of the native kinds.


SALTA

With Salta we complete the list of the less important outlying Argentine
Provinces.

Like Jujuy, it is bounded on the North by Bolivia, on the West by Jujuy
and the National Territory of Los Andes, on the South by Tucumán and
Santiago del Estero, and on the East by the National Territory of Formosa.

Salta is indeed historic ground; so full of reminiscence of the Wars of
Independence that it may almost be called the cradle of the Republic. It
was also in Salta that Jabez Balfour was at length taken into custody,
after a long struggle for an extradition treaty between Great Britain and
Argentina.

The writer is well acquainted with a gentleman, since then become a
prominent figure in the railway world of the River Plate, who “specially”
drove the engine of the train which brought Balfour down to civilization
and captivity. The prisoner had money which he had spent freely among
his new neighbours, and attempts at rescue were expected. So the train
rushed on its downward course with a velocity to which the then permanent
way and rails were totally unaccustomed, but, as all the world was soon
made aware, arrived at its destination without accident.

The prisoner had been the victim of his own luxurious habits, for he
had grown so fat that it was impossible to convey him through frontier
mountain passes into Bolivia, as his friends had intended and as would
have been possible, in point of time, to do before the expected warrant
for his arrest could have found its way into the not too willing hands of
the local authorities.

Until his recent death, the present generation had scarcely heard of
Jabez Balfour. Yet he was widely celebrated in contemporaneous popular
song as “The man who broke the Bank at Monte Carlo.”

In Salta is still to be found a much more really interesting personage
in the GAUCHO, the Cavaliere Rusticano of the River Plate and the hero
of all its earlier poetry and romance. He of the guitar-accompanied
improvised verse, of the quick flashing knife and equally quick
REBENQUE.[26] He was no small element in the victories won over the
Spanish soldiery nor in the long years of civil war which followed
Independence. He is still in Salta; one of the last parts of the
Republic in which he can be found. Comparatively uncontaminated by the
encroachments of the drab uniformity of civilization.

He remains romantic and brutal, chivalrous and treacherous, hospitable
and quick to resent the mere implication of an insult. Still a cattle
herd adept with lazo or _boleadora_,[27] a nomad ever seeking fresh
fields and pastures new within the limits of his native territory. Give
him a uniform he is a very useful soldier, and a fair military policeman,
save for his rather erratic fits of truculence. For the rest no good at
all outside of the few spheres mapped out for him by the limitation of
his own strongly marked individuality. But he will always know again an
animal he has once seen, and will track out a lost sheep across a very
maze of confused spoor.

Mr. Herbert Gibson[28] has written of the gaucho with true feeling and
appreciation in the following words:—

    Skilled in horsemanship, quick of hand and of eye; in his
    beginnings the Arab and nomad of the plains; indifferent of his
    neighbour’s life, for his own he carried in his hand to risk
    at the first hazard, yet “loyal to his own law” even in his
    most lawless exploits—the gaucho of the Pampa constitutes the
    genuine emblem of the Argentine genius. He is the materialized
    expression of the spirit of the vast and lonely plain. “Bearing
    allegiance to neither King nor thing,” as Azara writes, he
    followed the fate of the live stock of the colony; when the
    cattle escaped control he too declared himself free, running
    wild and beyond the pale of even nominal domestication. The
    Pampa was his home, and in his ears the breeze moving over the
    plains whispered to him of liberty. To colonial rule succeeded
    the new order of Independence, and the gaucho, inured by his
    style of living to the stress of weather and to the struggle
    with savage animals, became the right hand of the petty chiefs
    of party faction, ever joining the side in conflict with
    the ruling power. The words law and order signified for him
    oppression and servitude, and he became the declared enemy of
    all authority. But with all his faults the gaucho, in his own
    element, mounted on his beloved horse, with lazo secured to
    the back of his saddle and his _boleadora_ hanging from his
    waist, was the henchman beyond price for the work of the old
    estancia, knowing how to dominate and domesticate the savage
    herds and droves of wild mares. In all that he has seemingly
    been modified by the progress of the times, he has remained
    unmodified in his spirit which is the essential manifestation
    of his climate and of his habit. The nomad gaucho of the
    colonial period converted into the loyal gaucho of the
    estancia, the man with no other belongings than his horses and
    the silver clasp and buttons hanging at his belt to whom the
    breeder entrusted all his herds, and the grazier the money
    wherewith to buy the droves of bullocks, without for one
    moment thinking, either the one or the other, that he would
    neglect his charges or fail to render account to the uttermost
    farthing committed to his care. Alike loyal and venturesome in
    the fulfilment of his duties, and kindly and hospitable in his
    lowly home life, he is the hero of the rural romance of the
    Pampa. Not without regret and tender reminiscences must we take
    farewell of a period of pastoral life, from whose remembrance
    all the hardships and bitterness have disappeared, only leaving
    to us the recollection of that patriarchal and wholesome life
    which the late Hernandez has so skilfully depicted in the
    picturesque language of the gaucho who tells his story by
    the fitful light of the fire on the kitchen hearth while his
    fingers caress the melancholy strings of the guitar.

    And now approaches the new era of railways, of fenced-in
    paddocks, of ingenious drafting gates and all the mechanical
    entourage of the modern pastoral industry. The gaucho, like
    Othello, is without an occupation, but the spirit which in
    divers forms and epochs has characterized him shall not die.
    It is the native spirit of the Argentine genius which enters
    the immigrant ere for long he has settled in the land and
    which inspires the sons born to him in this country; it is the
    instinct of independence and individuality engendered by the
    free air of a rural life, and which is the antithesis of the
    dependent spirit symbolized in city life by socialism.

Salta is a large, sparsely populated Province, the inhabitants of
which outside the circle of its aristocratic families, are composed
of our friend the GAUCHO and his families and the COYA Indians. These
last, cowboys and shepherds, are much more unpleasant people; morose,
avaricious in their necessarily small way, and full of sullen duplicity.
Their only obvious virtue is their devoted attachment to the small
allotments of land they can call their own. This solitary virtue does
not, however, make them any the pleasanter to strangers; all of whom
indiscriminately they regard as possible enemies come to rob them of
their rights in some mysterious way or other.

Naturally, with such a population and on account of its distance from the
great commercial centres of the Republic, Salta is not yet very far on
the road to any great or settled prosperity.

It has some sugar plantations, cultivates some tobacco and makes some
wine, but with its many generally well-watered and easily irrigable
large areas of rich soil it could easily, and of course eventually will,
progress.

It could grow a great deal more maize and alfalfa than it does, and could
carry much more and better live stock than it yet troubles to do.

It produces some fruit and could produce all sorts of much choicer kinds
in great variety; also potatoes, cotton and, as experts affirm, excellent
coffee.

Of course there are here the old difficulties of irrigation, in some
places, cost of transport and lack of intelligent labour. The first
two are rapidly being overcome by the National Government, the last
must be looked for overseas. The Gaucho and the Coya not only are not
sufficiently numerous for Salta’s future needs, but (alas for the romance
of the former!) they must be classed amongst the doomed unfit; to be
merged in or overwhelmed by the march of modernity.

The aspect of Salta, like that of most of the northern Provinces and
Territories, is varied. Mountain and low valley, broad plain and forest,
deep river and rushing stream all alternate and give picturesqueness and
diversity of climate. Goats, mules and sufficient horses for existing
local needs are to be found here as in the neighbouring Provinces; all
of which are justly famous for products, the mention of which must on
no account be overlooked, the native cloths and PONCHOS, hand-woven of
vicuna and guanaco wool. Soft, warm and durable, these cloths are highly
and justly valued in the more civilized regions of the River Plate.

The manufacture of them dates from times which are prehistoric in America.

The forests of Salta contain a great quantity of Quebracho of excellent
quality, and there are several indigenous creepers of caoutchouc-bearing
kinds. This latter has as yet been little exploited, and then only in an
extremely primitive manner.

Salta boasts a large hydropathic establishment in connection with the hot
mineral springs of Rosario de la Frontera.

Salta, the Capital, is another of the old Colonial cities, amid the
low houses of which fine new public buildings occur incongruously;
iconoclastic. It has also a zoological garden which, wisely, contains
many interesting specimens of local fauna, fine, luxuriantly planted
public gardens and Plazas and an excellent Police Band.

In the oligarchic days of only a very few years ago the police forces of
these outlying Provinces were extremely important political instruments.
Under the Constitution the Provinces cannot raise or maintain independent
soldiery; but who could say them nay if the exigencies of an uncultured
population necessitated a large police force armed with Mausers?—to
ensure due obedience to the orders of and agreement with the policy of
the Provincial powers that were.

There are few commercial centres in Salta having populations sufficient
to give them importance as towns. Metan is the largest, and after it come
Cafayate, Campo Santo and Rosario de la Frontera, which, as has been
said, is noted for its hot springs.


MENDOZA

[Illustration: RUINS OF JESUIT BUILDINGS: MENDOZA, ARGENTINA]

This is one of the richer Provinces on account of its vines and the
large wine-making industry. Similarly with Tucumán and Sugar, one may
say that Mendoza and Wine are in Argentina practically synonymous; this
observation also applies to its neighbour, San Juan, the second great
wine-producing Province. Indeed it is quite common—very common indeed,
in fact—to say of a person who shows signs of being under alcoholic
influence that he is “Entre San Juan y Mendoza” (between San Juan and
Mendoza).

Besides those of its vines, the greatest agricultural products of Mendoza
are alfalfa, grown over very considerable areas of salt-impregnated soil,
and a much smaller proportion of maize.

The population of Mendoza is small and the number of its live stock very
little larger: although in point of superficial area Mendoza ranks third
(after Buenos Aires and Córdoba) among the Argentine Provinces. It is
only fair, however, to add that much of the Western Area of Mendoza is
very mountainous, since it includes a long stretch of the Eastern side of
the Andes.

This Province is bounded on the North by that of San Juan, on the West by
Chile, on the South by the National Territories of Neuquen and the Pampa
Central, and on the East by the Province of San Luis.

Its department of San Rafael is a very large one, larger indeed than
the whole of the rest of the Province put together; in it is found the
greatest agricultural activity, including the great alfalfa fields. The
Mendoza cattle are of all kinds and varieties, little attention having
been yet, generally, given to the science of cross-breeding. It, however,
exports numbers of cattle to Chile, either by way of mountain passes or
the Transandine Railway; but a great many of these have been bred in
neighbouring Provinces and sent to Mendoza for a fattening period before
exportation.

Irrigation is a great feature of Mendoza, which was the first Province to
receive any notable attention in this regard. Now, if we except, perhaps,
the great irrigation works and schemes already well advanced in the
National Territories of Neuquen and the Rio Negro, Mendoza has, with San
Juan, the largest and most comprehensive systems (both existing and in
advanced stages of consideration) in the whole Republic.

The fall of the mountain rivers and the eastward drop of the whole
surface of the Province makes irrigation here a comparatively easy task,
while the natural fertility of the soil quickly and richly repays the
initial cost and upkeep of reservoirs and canals. One menace there is
which hangs ever over Mendoza, that of volcanic eruptions. The whole
of its Capital was completely destroyed as recently as 1861. The city
has, however, been rebuilt on its former site, a sort of shelf of land
situated on the spring of the great Andine range. Gradually the loosely
built low adobe houses have been and are still being replaced in the New
Town by several-storied buildings of solid masonry; courage growing as
the date of the last great earthquake grows more remote. Still slight
shocks are of frequent occurrence in the Capital and elsewhere in this
Province.

The City of Mendoza is rich in public gardens and avenues filled
with luxuriantly umbrageous vegetation and has, of course (what
self-respecting Argentine town has them not?), electric light and trams;
but its just pride is the great West Park, situate on another level shelf
of land projecting from the foot of the Cordillera on a higher level than
that on which the City is built.

This Park has a sheet of water of almost a mile in length by some
seventy-five yards broad, in which are ornamental islets and on which
regattas are held. For these festal occasions there is a huge stone
grand stand at one end of the water. The Park has many magnificent
electric-lighted avenues lined with trees of majestic proportions, and
all over it are gardens of subtropical shrubs and plants. Within its
great bronze gates are also a zoological and a, specifically, botanical
garden.

[Illustration: A BIT OF THE TRANSANDINE RAILWAY, ARGENTINA]

[Illustration: ENTRANCE TO THE SUMMIT TUNNEL THROUGH THE ANDES (CHILEAN
SIDE)]

With all this, if Mendoza has drawn somewhat on the future to foot the
bill of its many embellishments, it has done no more than many other
cities of the still new South American countries, and with more immediate
prospect of justification for its expenditure than have several others.
What Mendoza has got to do now is to create an export trade for its
wines, on the condition precedent that it manufacture wines that will
keep and will improve with keeping. Otherwise with increased irrigation
it may run the risk of over-production, since the home consumption is
as yet a limited one. The increase of the population of the River Plate
countries is, as we have seen, still slow, and outside the towns very
little wine is drunk by the majority of the people except on special and
rare occasions; mate sufficing for their habits and needs.

Mendoza sends large quantities of table-grapes and other fruit to Buenos
Aires, and hopes one day to send them overseas. This latter consideration
depends greatly on the adoption of improved methods of picking and
packing, matters to which the management of the Buenos Aires Pacific
Railway has given much practical attention. Care in such details is,
however, but little in the Argentine nature generally, and even in a
less degree in that of the strong mixture of Indian blood which marks
the working classes of Mendoza, as it does in all except the littoral
Provinces. Very good canned peaches come from the Mendoza factories and
are in large demand throughout the Republic.

Coal and petroleum have both been found in the Province, but further
working tests are needed before their probable commercial value can be
ascertained.

From the City of Mendoza the Buenos Aires Pacific Railway (familiarly
B.A.P.) strikes upward to where it passes through the Transandine tunnel;
on the Mendoza side of which is the famous Puente del Inca (the Inca’s
bridge), a vast block of stone which, lying across a ravine, makes a
natural bridge, recalling the giant-built palace of the old Norse Gods.
Here are also some hot mineral springs celebrated for treatment of
rheumatism; to which treatment the dry, rarefied mountain air perhaps
contributes its less recognized quota.


SAN JUAN

This Province is bounded on the North and East by the Province of La
Rioja, on the West by Chile, and on the South and South-East by the
Provinces of Mendoza and San Luis respectively.

Of all the Argentine Provinces San Juan has shown itself, until very
recent times indeed, probably the most recalcitrant towards financial
orderliness. A repeated _non possumus_ was the only answer its inertness
returned to the many periodical fulminations and menaces of the National
Government in respect of its treasury bonds or depreciated Provincial
paper money. So depreciated, in fact, that it was worth nothing at all
outside the Province itself, and was by no means welcome, although legal,
tender within its boundaries.

San Juan pleaded that it could not call this paper in since it had
nothing with which to replace it—all the little National money it got for
its wines and other produce went immediately back to Buenos Aires again
for necessary purchases.

The National Government insisted that San Juan _must_ remove the disgrace
from its financial escutcheon or all sorts of things would happen. San
Juan regretted deeply and asked for time. In the meanwhile it contrived
to raise another of those loans, without much more than a shadow of
adequate security or provision, which long have been the nightmare of the
National Government, and it still kept on using its depreciated notes.
So, and in many other ways for long, very long, did San Juan wrestle,
successfully according to its lights, with the spirit of progress until
irrigation, fostered by the National Government, came to the aid of the
latter in a way there was no denying.

[Illustration: PUENTE DEL INCA; MENDOZA, ARGENTINA]

San Juan _had_ to become more prosperous and to begin to pay its way
in respectable fashion. It evidently did not in the least want to do
so, but it could not any longer see any way by which it could avoid
recognition of its just liabilities. Thus are the good old times of this
Province vanishing; the good old times which made sufficient provision
for an aristocratic oligarchy and in which vassals had no opportunity of
acquiring luxurious tastes.

First the railway, slow in this case, however, in its usually tonic
effects and then irrigation, which poured water on to a naturally very
fertile soil, brought it about that one day San Juan woke up to find
itself faced with financial responsibility.

People from the littoral and even from overseas came and bought land
and paid good prices in hard cash for it and then planted vines of new,
productive kinds; trimmed them in new, productive ways; and made better
wine out of them than San Juan had ever deemed at all necessary. Other
people planted wheat and alfalfa, and even troubled to grow more maize
than there had been before. In fact, if ever a Province had greatness
thrust upon it in a bewilderingly short space of time it was San Juan.
People are even prospecting and actually exploiting its long-latent
mineral wealth, looking for and finding deposits of gold, silver, copper,
iron, zinc, lead, sulphur, alum, mica, rock salt, lignite and marble.

The exploitation of many of these has not yet attained any very great
commercial importance,[29] but that of others has already done so, and
all the companies concerned have brought money into the Province and pay
wages to many native workers. All this troublesomeness tends to curtail
the daily siesta, but a consequent bundle of full-value national dollars
operates as a consolation to even the most conscientious observer of
traditional custom. The next generation of San Juan inhabitants will
doubtless be as wide awake as their neighbours, and strikes may take the
place of old-time rebellion to the orders of patriarchal overlords; while
the latter will be put to it to work their ancestral lands intelligently
in order to maintain the due measure of their proper dignity.

Not only has the National Government fostered large systems of irrigation
in and given irrigation to this Province, but it has also run a railway
connecting the City of San Juan with the Federal Capital; thus providing
another outlet for its grapes, wines and other produce.

An instance of the former commercial apathy of San Juan, and of its
neighbour Mendoza for that matter, was, not long ago, to be found in the
manner in which the growers of table-grapes allowed themselves to be
continually and methodically jockeyed by the fruit ring of Buenos Aires.

The worthies composing this ring were low-class, ignorant men, who
could only grasp the possibilities of monopoly and market rigging on a
very small scale. Their simple method was to put only a certain limited
quantity of fruit each week on the retail markets of the Federal Capital
and to charge exorbitant prices therefor. To the poor, three-quarter
Indian, ignorant people of the islands of the Paraná they said that
Buenos Aires did not care much for peaches, and so they only went there
once a week or so to fetch a few, at miserable prices, for market. The
rest of huge crops were left to rot on the trees. San Juan (and Mendoza)
were evidently given to understand that a similar situation existed in
regard to grapes.

How this could have been so is hard to understand, except on the ground
of extreme apathy on the part of the Provinces concerned, for lots of
vineyard owners live at least half the year in Buenos Aires, and could
have told of the scarcity and high price of fruit in that city.

However this may have been, the fact remained that so many kilos of
table-grapes, and no more, went down to Buenos Aires in specially
constructed trucks placed on the B.A.P. trains three days per week. Until
the General Manager, Mr. J. A. Goudge, decided to act in the better
interests of the Provinces concerned and, incidentally, also in those of
his company, by running grape trains six days a week.

He thought, perhaps, that the Buenos Aires fruit merchants would call at
his offices with illuminated testimonials. If he did so he was entirely
mistaken. They did call, but it was to curse not bless. He would ruin
them all, they said; they had comfortably arranged for such and such
supplies of grapes, but more would upset their plans and businesses
completely! They left Mr. Goudge unconvinced. So much so, indeed, that
considering the menace of the ring to boycott his new trains, he hit
on the simple but adequate expedient of running three grape trains per
week from San Juan, non-stopping at Mendoza, and three starting from
the latter place. San Juan needed its three trains, so did Mendoza, and
therefore no one could boycott either service. Result, the arrival at
Buenos Aires of six grape trains per week. The ring soon accommodated
itself to the extra supply and went on robbing the busy, light-hearted
Porteños (as people born in Buenos Aires are called) till the continued
efforts of a paternally wise Municipality at last, after a long and
bitter struggle, crushed the power of all the food rings in that formerly
ring-ridden city.

This little piece of economic history is here intended to show the depths
of somnolence and blindness to their own interests in which the grape
growers of San Juan and Mendoza reposed till, so to speak, only the other
day.

San Juan is capable of producing good quality cotton and tobacco. Its
general climate is warm, hot in summer, and in parts very dry; though the
humidity of the soil and atmosphere of the chief vine areas are greater
than in those of Mendoza. Hence the relative general superiority and
freedom from insect pests of the Mendoza vineyards.

The city of San Juan is Colonial in almost all its aspects, and its
public and private gardens, filled with mingled tropical and temperate
zone trees, shrubs and flowers, exhale the lazy atmosphere of days the
memory of which is so constantly recurrent in all distant Argentine
towns. Sleepy hollow; maybe, but its charm! A charm which will not nor
can ever be “reconstructed,” try all those of us who are afflicted with
unhappy artistic temperaments, never so hard. But that charm is still in
San Juan, in Misiones (the one-time “Jesuit Empire”), Salta and Jujuy; in
spite of new Government and Municipal Buildings, electric light and trams.

Later, we will go to the Falls of Iguazú, greater and more magnificent
than Niagara or the Victoria Falls. These wonderful Falls are in the
great up-to-date, go-ahead Argentine Republic. What proportion of our
“Man-in-the-street” has ever heard of them? And how many good intelligent
inhabitants of Buenos Aires have any clear idea of what they are really
like?


NATIONAL TERRITORIES


THE PAMPA CENTRAL

The name of the Pampa is also redolent of romance; of memories of vast
herds of wild cattle and horses, picturesque gauchos and raiding Indians;
but the PAMPA CENTRAL of to-day is a great and ever-growing cereal area,
soon, no doubt, to become in its own right the fifteenth Province of the
Republic. A Province probably destined to outstrip rapidly many of its
older compeers in the race for wealth and very modern in its utilitarian
progressiveness.

Its superficial area is approximately equal to that of Mendoza, and
though as yet it lacks population, that will come to it sooner than to
many other parts of the Republic, since it already grows much more
than double as much wheat as all the rest of the Republic put together,
after exception made of the Provinces of Buenos Aires, Santa Fé and
Córdoba, and more than double as much linseed after exception made of
the Provinces of Buenos Aires, Santa Fé, Córdoba and Entre Rios. It
also produces more maize than any Province or other Territory with the
exception of the last-mentioned four.

Its development has been the most rapid of any part of quick-moving
Argentina. No just comparison of progress can be made with Uruguay; the
conditions under which the latter country has until so recently struggled
having been adverse to rapidity of material development, whereas the
Pampa Central was freed from its only, though great, disturbing element,
nomadic hordes of native Indians, as long ago as 1884.

This Territory is bounded on the North by the Provinces of Mendoza, San
Luis and Córdoba, on the West by Mendoza and the National Territory of
Neuquen, on the South by the National Territory of Rio Negro, and on the
East by the Province of Buenos Aires.

Some parts of the Pampa Central are hilly and wooded and, as in some
parts of the Province of Buenos Aires, ever-moving sand-hills vary the
monotony of other portions of its surface, but the greater part of it is
the continuation of a vast plain, begun in the Province of Buenos Aires,
the PAMPA of the Indians, from which it takes its name. It is, in fact,
the Central Pampa; the Eastern being in the Province of Buenos Aires and
the Southern extending into Patagonia.

Though the Pampa Central boasts only two great rivers, the Rio Colorado
and the Rio Negro, the latter of which forms its southern boundary, it
has many both fresh-water and saline lakes, and water is seldom to seek
far from its surface.

The chief products of the Pampa Central are wheat, linseed, maize and
oats, but with the growth of its alfalfa fields and the planting of good
grasses in lieu of the native hard pasturage, it has also become a great
centre of the Live Stock fattening industry, especially during the winter
months.

The sandy, salty soil of much of this territory, with water near the
surface, provides, as has been said of similar tracts elsewhere, just the
conditions most favourable to lucerne; while in other parts the soil is
extremely rich in humus.

Three of the great railway systems serve the Pampa Central; viz. the
Buenos Aires Western, the Buenos Aires Pacific, and the Buenos Aires
Great Southern, carrying its produce to the ports of both Buenos Aires
and Bahia Blanca.

Santa Rosa de Toay is the Capital of this Territory; a purely commercial
town which by its rapidly grown importance supplanted the old Capital,
General Acha.

The Pampa Central has also numerous other active centres of the cereal
trade and general commerce.

On the question of its becoming a Province of the Republic there is
considerable local difference of opinion; a good many of its business men
holding that honour dear at the price of having to maintain a Provincial
Congress and various Ministries and the rest of the appanages of
autonomy. In this they are right. Direct National Government is certainly
the cheapest and it is also very far from being the worst.

The Pampa Central now exports large quantities of high-class wool and
hides. It also has some copper mines, the present output of which,
however, is not of great importance.

This territory would already, no doubt, have been much more populous
than it is had it not been the scene of one of the most glaring of the
labour-exploiting scandals referred to elsewhere in these pages.

Here the cases were sufficiently numerous and contemporaneous to render
a menace of serious disturbance possible to and partially effective
by people who had been cajoled into developing virgin land only to be
threatened with expulsion (as soon as that work had been done and before
they had been able to derive any profit from it) by owners who only
revealed their existence at what seemed to them the propitious moment for
their appearance on the scene of other people’s labours. Compromises were
arrived at by which the farmers consented to pay rent for their holdings,
but the scandal undoubtedly kept many others away from the Territory,
and even now an evil result of it continues in the shape of almost every
tenant being obviously only anxious to get the most he can out of the
land while it is his to work. Few tenant farmers in the Pampa spend much
money in buildings or other improvements.

The Pampa Central is a crying case for the adoption and insistence by
the National Government on the real practical working out of a true
colonization policy. A policy by which the small farmer could obtain the
indisputable freehold of land which he develops and on which he lives, be
he Argentine or foreigner.

In all else the foreigner actually enjoys under the Constitution the same
privileges (except eligibility for high Government office, etc.) as a
born Argentine. But land! It must go hard with an Argentine ere he part
with his ultimate rights in that. Yet, I repeat, he must make up his mind
to do so on a large scale or he will find his whole progress arrested as
surely as if the Antarctic zone had suddenly extended its icy influence
over half of his Republic. If he will not give them land the class of
colonist he most needs—the real _settler_—will continue to give the
country a wide berth and its output must remain stationary at the point
at which it fully occupies all available labour.


NEUQUEN

This is one of the least generally known parts of Argentina. Misiones
figures in the history of the Spanish Conquest and that of the Jesuit
Missionaries,[30] from which it takes its present name; the Territory
of the Rio Negro has of late years become prominent by reason of
great schemes of irrigation (these, however, also affect the Eastern
portions of Neuquen); Chubut came into notice in connection with the not
over-successful establishment of a Welsh colony; the Chaco is vaguely
associated in the general mind with Indian Reservations and occasional
real or reported disturbances caused by the aborigines confined therein;
but the Territories of Santa Cruz, Formosa, Los Andes and Neuquen are
still little more than geographical expressions to even the vast majority
of the inhabitants of the rest of the Republic.

A principal cause of this is that most of the inhabitants of Neuquen are
to be found on the Western and most distant side of it (in which the most
fertile, and almost the only really fertile parts of it, until irrigation
is an accomplished fact, are situated) and because they not only do all
their trading with Chile, but, to all intents and purposes, are Chileans.

It is quicker and easier to get backward and forward through well-known
Andine passes between Neuquen and Chile than to accomplish the journey
between the rail-head at Senillosa, a little to the West of the township
of Neuquen, and the productive and well-watered Andine valleys. The
Buenos Aires Great Southern Railway, which serves this Territory, now,
however, has under construction an extension of the Neuquen line to far
up the Andes; from whence it is intended to connect with the Chilean
Railway system.

Therefore the richest parts of Neuquen are as yet practically Chilean
colonies; from which cattle and agricultural produce find their way, some
paying and much contriving to escape payment of duty to the neighbouring
Republic, which in return sends such manufactured articles as the
colonist’s somewhat humble needs demand.

[Illustration: VIEWS ON LAKE NAHUEL HUAPÍ, ARGENTINE NATIONAL TERRITORY
OF NEUQUEN]

This Territory is bounded on the North by the Province of Mendoza, on
the West by Chile, on the South by the Territory of the Rio Negro, and on
the East by the Territory of the Pampa Central.

Neuquen, though Argentina at large knows little of it, grows more
wheat than any other National Territory, except the Pampa Central, and
more alfalfa than any except the last named and the Territory of the
Rio Negro. It also sends small quantities of potatoes and other table
vegetables to Chile. Its chief exports to that country consist of cattle
and sheep on the hoof.

The whole of the Andine side of Neuquen is extremely picturesque, and
abounds in fertile valleys well watered by mountain streams. These
streams, after their arrival at the foot of the Andine range, form a
network of ultimate tributaries of the great rivers Colorado and Negro;
after having formed a whole system of lakes of which Nahuel Huapí is the
largest. The scenery of this lake, with the great snow-covered volcanic
mountain TRONADOR (the Thunderer) on its Southern end, is Scandinavian
in its tree-clad magnificence. The superficial area of this lake is some
1000 square miles and its depth in some parts is over 700 feet.

On one of its islands, Victoria, the enormously wealthy Argentine family
of Anchorena have founded a colony to work its wealth of virgin timber,
on a 99 years’ lease from the National Government.

A number of small steam and sailing boats ply on this lake, gathering the
wood, hides and other produce of the farms on its borders and bringing to
the farmers their necessary supplies.

Neuquen is credited with alluvial goldfields and has some copper. Its
mineral wealth is as yet, however, really unascertained; the prospecting
and tentative exploitation of it having been up to the present only done
by syndicates or small companies whose resources have been too limited
for the tasks they have set themselves in, from the point of view of
transport, such inaccessible regions.

The Western and South-Western parts of this Territory are rich in timber,
and its Eastern plains should, with irrigation, repeat the prosperous
history of the Pampa Central.

It has many hot and other mineral springs, the medicinal and other
virtues of which are already known in Chile; from which country they
attract many sufferers from rheumatism and stomachic and other ailments.

In dealing with all the yet little known outlying parts of the vast
Argentine Republic one is apt to become wearisomely tautological in
one’s endeavours to give some true idea of their enormous latent natural
wealth. Yet if one set out, ever so modestly, to bring some conception of
them home to the Northern Hemisphere, one must tell the truth even at the
risk of reiteration. And the truth is that for the future wealth of all
these regions there is only one word, INCALCULABLE.

The Territories of Neuquen and the Rio Negro will soon have irrigation on
a vast scale and of most modern design. This work is being carried out
for the National Government by the Buenos Aires Great Southern Railway
Company and is already far advanced.

The virgin soil of the plains of these Territories is almost incredibly
rich in humus and alluvial deposit; and they have a wealthy Railway
Company ready to afford all necessary means of transport to deep-water
ports which nature has already provided on the Atlantic Ocean at,
comparatively, no great distance from any of, and in many instances close
to, what will be their chief centres of agricultural production (in the
widest sense of that term).


RIO NEGRO

[Illustration: HEAD PORTION OF THE RIO NEGRO (ARGENTINA) GREAT IRRIGATION
AND CURRENT CONTROL WORKS]

The most important of the general observations applicable to this
Territory have already been made immediately above; remains in their
connection only to be said that the Northern side of the valley of
the Rio Negro itself contains some of the naturally richest soil to be
found anywhere in the Republic. Anyone armed with a watering-pot can
grow any temperate-zone crop, fruit or plant and be astounded by the
brobdingnagian proportions of its yield, accomplished in a space of time
suggestive of Jack’s Beanstalk.

And this anywhere in the midst of what now is an arid desert, on which
the only vegetation is sparse, stunted, scrubby, useless bush.

The reasons for this are that these eastern regions of the South have
practically no rainfall at all and that all the water running from the
Andes to the Sea has already found its way, farther west, into one or
other of the great Rivers Colorado and Negro.

The huge irrigation scheme now being carried out will utilize an enormous
natural hollow formerly known as the CUENCA VIDAL, now rechristened
Lago Pellegrini (after a once prominent Argentine statesman) as a
natural storage reservoir. The surplus water from the lake and river
system, which makes a network over the whole of the western part of the
territories of Neuquen and the Rio Negro, at the base of the Andes, will
be utilized for the irrigation of their eastern plains. This system is
also destined to serve another necessary purpose: namely, to regulate the
flow of the Rio Negro.

This is very necessary indeed; for this river, swollen by the melting
of Andine snow and ice, which has in some years taken place in an
exceptional degree, comes down suddenly with overpowering violence,
headed by what is like a huge tidal wave, and sweeps everything within
miles of its normal, deep-cut, banks before it.

Several times during the past fifty years have settlers been tempted by
the rich alluvial soil, brought down by centuries of just such floodings,
to establish themselves near enough to the actual river to irrigate by
some one or other rough lift system, and remained there year in year
out, in the false security enjoyed by peasants on the slopes of a
volcano, till one day a thunderous roar has been the only warning of the
immediate approach of a torrential flood. Lucky the man who could catch
and mount his horse in time to gallop away and thus save his life. All
the rest, cattle, house and crops, were swept away in a second by the
great head wave and following floods of the river suddenly swollen by the
simultaneous overflowing of its innumerable tributary lakes.

Now all this will be guarded against, and, incidentally, the Rio Negro
may be rendered really navigable for a very considerable distance by
other engineering works for the removal and control of its bar.

However, and when, this last may be, there can be no doubt about the
magic change that the first partial irrigation of these present desert
plains will quickly create. Trees will soon grow on the irrigated
portions, and these trees and other vegetation will arrest the clouds
which now fly on unheedingly to the superior attractions of the Andes or
the southern hills of the Province of Buenos Aires. The very southernmost
portion of that Province is now in the same sad case as the rest of the
valley of the Rio Negro, of which it forms a part.

As the result, smiling verdure will replace arid desert; in a short
space of time, because of the natural fertility of the soil on which the
transformation will take place.

Already two dotted lines on the railway map, one between Bahia Blanca
and Carmen de Patagones, near the mouth of the Rio Negro, and the other
branching from it to San Blas, show where the Buenos Aires Pacific
Railway intends to run its first two lines through the southernmost strip
of the Province of Buenos Aires which lies between the Rios Colorado
and Negro, and other two dotted lines, one running southwards from the
township of Rio Colorado to the bay of San Antonio, in the San Matias
Gulf, and the other from the centre of the first to a junction, near
Choele Choel, with the main line to Neuquen, show the first intentions
of the Buenos Aires Great Southern line towards that portion of the
valley of the Rio Negro which falls within its agreed sphere of influence.

In agreeing to a division between them of the productive and
prospectively productive areas of the southern parts of the Republic,
these two great Railway Companies not only removed from their own paths
the disastrous temptation to cut each other’s throats by tariff war, but
also to a considerable extent precluded profitable competition by outside
enterprise.

The National Government has now a line running from the port of
San Antonio running East and West right across the Territory. The
construction of this line will soon reach Lake Nahuel Huapí.

San Blas deserves special mention as the probable future chief port of
the Rio Negro valley. On a long inlet of the Atlantic Ocean at the mouth
of which is a large projecting island and having deep water right up to
its shores, San Blas has been described by high British authority to be
the finest natural port, after Rio de Janeiro, on the Atlantic coast,
both for commercial and strategic purposes.

It formed part of a concession made many years ago by the National
Government to the late Mr. E. T. Mulhall, the Editor and, with his
brother, Mr. Michael Mulhall, the eminent statistician of his time, joint
founder of _The Buenos Aires Standard_, in recognition of services done
for the development of the Republic; which in those days of its obscurity
and distress was much aided towards a better and truer knowledge of
its possibilities in Europe by the efforts of what now is the oldest
established newspaper in America. _The Standard_ is printed, as it always
has been, in the English language.

The Rio Negro Territory already grows a good deal of wheat and oats and
has the largest area under alfalfa of any National Territory except the
Pampa Central; it also has some vineyards and many European fruit trees
grow in the fertile valleys at the foot of the Andes.

The minerals of this Territory are as yet an almost unknown quantity,
except some copper and salt. Petroleum has also been found at Bariloche,
but its commercial value is not fully ascertained.

The climate of the Rio Negro is temperate and, as has been indicated, for
the most part very dry. One disadvantage to agriculture in the flat parts
of these southern Territories is the furious winds which frequently sweep
over them. The force of these will, it is reasonably hoped, be broken by
trees in the days to come.

This reminds one of the tragi-comic history of the contemplated
exploitation of certain great salt marshes situate not very distant from
San Blas.

The brine from these was to be, and indeed on a great inaugural occasion
was, run through pipes into immense shallow basins, where it was to lie
until its moisture had been evaporated by the sun and wind. Afterwards
the salt was to be shipped at the port of San Blas to Buenos Aires or
elsewhere.

All seemed very well with this plan. The brine was duly accumulated in
the drying basins, the sun shone fiercely on it—and, then, the wind
blew and blew. So hard that it emptied the basins and distributed the
brine they had contained over the rest of the Universe. Thus was a good
scheme brought to naught by the miscalculations of its initiators. These,
however, were wealthy enough to take the matter in good part. Indeed, it
was from one of them that the present writer had the story. Still there
is plenty of good salt in the Territory.

The Rio Negro has as yet only townships of rough-and-ready architecture,
the centres of its nascent commerce. Viedma, its capital, is in a fertile
tract of land at the mouth of the Rio Negro; it was, however, almost
completely destroyed by a great flood in 1899. Its communication with
the Federal Capital is maintained by the steamers which call at Carmen de
Patagones, on the opposite bank of the river, and by ferry thereto and
coach to the head of the above-mentioned new line of the Buenos Aires
Pacific Railway which already reaches half-way between it and Bahia
Blanca. The completion of this line will greatly affect Viedma for the
better, while the regulation of the current of the Rio Negro will protect
it from repeated destruction by flood. This Territory has a fair stock of
sheep, but few cattle.


CHUBUT

Chubut has struck oil, literally. Petroleum was discovered there only a
few years ago (1907), and since the first discovery many more wells have
been sunk in greater or less proximity to the first find in the district
of Comodoro Rivadavia, situate almost on the southern boundary of this
Territory and on the Gulf of San Jorge. On this gulf of the Atlantic
Ocean, the new oil-fields enjoy an admirable commercial situation.
Remains only to prove fully their commercial value; of which the great
Argentine Railway Companies are evidently not yet fully persuaded as far
as fuel for their purposes is concerned, since they still use imported
coal.

A long continuance of this present European war might, however, give
stimulus to experiment with Chubut petroleum, which evidently has some
value, even if it need more preparation for use than the North American
and European kinds.

These oil-fields were, as has often been the case in such matters,
discovered by accident, but the discovery was made by the National
Hydrological Department in the course of a search for an available water
supply for the then new Comodoro Rivadavia port.

On these fields claims have been allotted to Companies and private
individuals and a certain area has been reserved to itself by the
National Government. Most brilliant results of tests of all kinds are
announced, the Government line of railroad from the Rio Negro port of San
Antonio to Lake Nahuel Huapí “uses no other” (fuel); and yet, and yet,
Comodoro Rivadavia petroleum is slow to make history in the markets of
the world.[31]

Still, time must be given for proof, especially in Chubut, the general
appearance of which Territory suggests that it was the last word of
creation, in one sense, after, of course, utterly desolate Tierra del
Fuego. It is only about two decades since the Argentine authorities
themselves seem to have grasped the idea that such a place did exist
in their dominions. It is only so long ago, anyhow, that the National
Government thought fit to send the first resident Government officials to
Chubut to look after whatever might need to be looked after there. Before
that, a small part of it was under the absolute control of a Colony of
Welsh people who first settled there in 1856-66. The rest of it was,
and to a great degree still is, almost exclusively inhabited by native
Patagonians.

The capital of the Territory, Rawson, was founded by the Welsh colonists
at the place of their first landing on the South Atlantic coast. It has
twice been destroyed by the flooding of the Chubut River, at the mouth of
which it stood; but it has now been rebuilt more solidly than before and
on a site rather more out of harm’s way.

The original Welsh colonists seem to have been a strangely puritanical
and narrow-minded set of persons to find themselves in such an
out-of-the-way corner of the earth as Chubut then was. So, however, it
may be observed, were certain other persons who landed in North America
a much longer while ago from a ship called the _Mayflower_. Anyhow, the
Welsh built and their descendants still maintain Protestant churches
and a stern religious spirit in their town of Rawson, a somewhat bigoted
spirit, be it added, since it forbade the inter-marriage of its flock
with anyone not of their own, or at any rate British, nationality; nor
would it, until very recently, permit their acceptance of the most
tempting offer to sell any part of the land within the colonised areas to
a “foreigner,” Argentine or otherwise. And this last restriction does not
seem to have been so much due to foresight of a future increase in land
value as to a simple objection to the admission of any stranger within
the fold.

Time will change this no doubt, and change it as soon as Chubut begins
really to advance, but all that time has as yet done for the Welsh colony
appears to have been to sap the energy of its forefathers; the men who in
the face of discouragement and deaf official ears turned to their just
grievances, struggled on, themselves constructing irrigation canals, and
changed disaster into comparative prosperity. The Chubut “Welshman” of
to-day seems as lazy as his forebears were energetic. A fresh strain of
blood is possibly needed for his case.

The superficial area of Chubut is very large. After the Territory of
Santa Cruz (to which would seem to have been allotted all that was left
over of the Republic except the Argentine half of Tierra del Fuego, after
the Government of the more populated parts had been arranged for) it is
the largest National Territory of Argentina, and much larger than any
Province except that of Buenos Aires.

Its estimated population averages scarcely more than one per ten
square miles, so that there is plenty of elbow room in Chubut. With
a superficial area approximately equal to that of Italy, the total
estimated number of its inhabitants is but 31,000.

However, no doubt there are good times coming for Chubut as elsewhere
in Argentina, though, petroleum and its general effects apart, there is
relatively little in Chubut to hasten their coming, except its fertile
Andine valleys. Sheep certainly thrive on its rough, scanty vegetation,
and seem to find just sufficient shelter on its wind-swept plains; but
Chubut has little rainfall and its available fresh waters are few and far
between at any practicable distance beneath the surface. It has only one
great river, the Chubut, from which it takes its name, and this runs very
shallow in the summer, while many of the lakes dry up altogether. In the
West, the Andine region, however, there is ample rainfall, and this is as
yet the only really productive part.

Chubut grows and exports some alfalfa and sends some cattle to Chile,
but its chief product is wool. Its wheat, however, though still small in
quantity, fetches very good prices. A railway is projected to run East
and West across this Territory. It already reaches from Puerto Madryn to
Gainam, on the River Chubut, a little west of Rawson.


SANTA CRUZ

This Territory is bounded on the North by Chubut, on the West and South
by Chile, and on the East by the Atlantic Ocean.

Santa Cruz is not by any means so desolate, on the whole, as Chubut. It
is the land of the sheep, and its large, very large, estancias, either
on the Andine side of it or on the banks of its rivers, mostly belong to
British settlers, who have brought their own architecture, orchards and
gardens with them to this really out-of-the-way spot. Anyone weary of the
crowded world and its busy ways might live and die under the shadow of
the ever-lessening, as one gets south, heights of the Andine range, in
some snug, sheltered valley through which a rippling stream runs close to
where he would sit on a green sward in the shade of his own orchard.

This is no fancy picture. As has been indicated elsewhere in these pages,
nothing is so English, temperature, vegetation, the very breeds of sheep
(Romeny March largely predominating), in America than some favoured spots
in Santa Cruz. Only the climate is different in being drier, the rain
mostly falling in blustering showers.

There is, of course, a contrast when one emerges from among the Andine
valleys, rivers and lakes out on to the dry, wind-swept, desert-looking
plains. Still, even there one comes at times to oases, on the banks of
one or other of the several considerable rivers. Shelter from the furious
winds which seem to blow eternally over Patagonia is the one necessity
for man, beast and crops in Santa Cruz. Transport also is lacking. Even
the railway which the National Government has partly constructed to run
from Puerto Deseado, and for the rest has under advanced consideration,
is apparently to strike almost immediately Northwards up into Chubut;
leaving Santa Cruz, as it is now; almost a world of itself apart, as
far at least as communication with the rest of Argentina is concerned.
Its most fertile parts, like those of all these western and southern
territories, are much more get-at-able from Chile than from their
Atlantic sides.

However, a cold-storage establishment has been built at Gallegos, the
chief port and the capital of this Territory; so that Santa Cruz may
become a centre of the frozen and chilled mutton industry instead of, as
formerly, exporting only wool and slaughtering sheep merely for their fat
and skins. It is a good sheep country in the regions at all suitable for
grazing, since disease is extremely rare in, if not entirely absent from,
flocks reared in its cold dry climate. In respect of cattle and cereals
the outlook is not so promising. Still, one cannot have everything even
in Argentina. And one can grow wheat, oats and alfalfa, besides apples
and pears in Santa Cruz.


TIERRA DEL FUEGO

First of all it may be said that there are no active volcanoes in Tierra
del Fuego nor have been within the memory of man. Mr. Paul Walle, in
his excellent work, already mentioned, _L’Argentine telle qu’elle est_,
suggests that its name may have been given it by early explorers who
observed burning on it grass fires lit by the natives for the purpose of
improving the growth of certain shrubs the leaves of which they use for
food.

Be this as it may, the name “Fire Land,” as my friend the Government
official translator naively has it in the English edition of the
Monographs attached to the latest Argentine agricultural census, is
anything but a warm spot; as certain demagogues who long troubled the
industrial peace of Buenos Aires have shown that they are well aware.

These people were at one time periodically deported for inciting to
commit or committing overt violence in connection with labour strikes.
They were mostly anarchists of the type which tyrannical Governments all
the world over persist in regarding as criminal. These men were put on
board boats bound for their native countries, the police of which were
telegraphically advised of their departure and intended destination.
Needless to say, the anarchists took good care to contrive to leave the
boat before she reached what was for them a danger zone. Usually they got
out at Montevideo and soon were back again at their old work of stirring
up strife in Buenos Aires.

At last the National Government had enough of this procedure and Congress
passed a law whereby any person having been sentenced to deportation
is, on being subsequently found in the Republic, liable to a term of
penal servitude; and the fact that Tierra del Fuego would be the penal
settlement to which recalcitrant anarchists would be sent was duly
and insistently made public. This had a very beneficial effect for
the Government and peaceable citizens at large. Dangerous anarchists
thenceforth ceased to return to Argentina after deportation. They knew,
or at least had read or heard, what the climate of Tierra del Fuego
is; and that for people like them, used to fairly comfortable living,
confinement there most likely meant burial there also.

Not quite half of this charming island, over which the winds blow
straight from the South Pole, belongs to Argentina and forms the
National Territory under discussion. The other half of it belongs to
Chile. Geologically most of this island is a prolongation of the Andes.
On the Atlantic side of its forest-clad hills are sloping plains, the
continuation of the Pampean formation. On these a peculiarly hardy breed
of sheep graze, finding some shelter in valleys and hollows, and give a
wool which fetches a good price in European markets. Grazing of a rough
kind does also maintain cattle and horses on the Northern parts of the
island. Fish and shell-fish of a multitude of kinds and good quality
abound on the coast and afford material for a profitable industry, as
also do the seal and whale fisheries, and penguins are hunted for their
oil. All these fisheries are supposed to be under Government supervision,
regulated by special laws; but, in fact, the practical difficulties of
adequate supervision result in an enormous amount of highly destructive
poaching.

The official estimate of the total cultivated area of Argentine Tierra
del Fuego is 110 hectares, of which 90 are stated to be planted with
potatoes and other table vegetables. The number of sheep is given by the
same authority (Señor Emilio Lahitte, Director of the Department of Rural
Economy and Statistics in the National Ministry of Agriculture) as over
2,500,000 and cattle at about 15,000.

The Roman Catholic Silesian Brothers have a mission, schools and an
estancia on the island; and a Protestant clergyman, the late Mr. Bridges,
during his lifetime did a great deal towards civilizing and bettering the
condition of the native Indians and also kept a self-supporting refuge
home for the victims of the shipwrecks of small craft which are still too
numerous on this wild storm-beaten coast. This good work is now being
carried on by his son, the first child of European parentage born in
Tierra del Fuego.

Ushuaia, the Capital, is chiefly notable for the penal gaol above alluded
to. Formerly convicts were kept, but not often for long before death
overtook them, on an island which forms the very southernmost point of
South America. It is a terribly cold, damp region where rain falls on
an average 280 days in the year. On consideration, perhaps it is the
reputation of this place which has so effectually damped the ardour of
deported anarchists; as the Ushuaia gaol is a modern structure, said
to be furnished with all the latest requirements for the well-being
of prisoners. Still, even it, in Tierra del Fuego, can provide but
uncomfortably cold lodging.

Tierra del Fuego is not lonely for it has many fishing ports and all
navigation must pass it on the way through the Magellan Straits. For all
that, one cannot but wonder why any but prisoners and prison and other
officials go there (except, of course, fishermen and the adventurous
spirits who are ever hunting in every accessible nook and cranny of
it for alluvial gold) when there are so many much pleasanter and more
profitable places, with, between them, all varieties of climates to
choose from in the wide latitudes of the River Plate Republics. _De
gustibus_, etc., one must suppose—and yield obedience to the final words
of the saying.


MISIONES

If one has sufficient Spanish, one should read Leopoldo Lugones’ _Imperio
Jesuitico_, and also the same author’s _Guerras Gauchas_, before going to
Misiones. If not, one should go there all the same.

This territory is bounded on the North-East and South by Brazil, and on
the West by Paraguay and the Province of Corrientes. It is sandwiched in
between the rivers Paraná and Uruguay, but a very much smaller Paraná and
Uruguay than we have seen further south.

Many parts of Argentina have been described as “The Garden of the
Republic,” and many as its most picturesque region, but the latter
description can surely only truthfully apply to Misiones. If not
sufficiently trim and cultivated to be called a garden, its superlative
beauty and its crowning marvel the Iguazú Falls must leave even the most
callous visitor pleasurably astounded; and not a little awestruck with
its ruins and reminiscences of the dawn of South American civilization,
which was heralded in these parts by the Jesuit Fathers. These
Missionaries made most practical Christians of the surrounding tribes;
teaching them the arts of architecture, carpentry, and such-like; not
forgetting humility and obedience.

If one wants proof of all this one need but look on the ruins of
monastery and church now half hidden amid an ever-encroaching luxuriant
vegetation.

The descendants of those same Indians can hardly be got to do as much
work in a lifetime now as they must have done in a week under the mild
but very firm rule of the Jesuit Fathers. Eventually, the power these
Missionaries had attained over the surrounding tribes became such as to
label them dangerous to even Catholic Spain; and an order was given, and
enforced, for their expulsion. They were scattered: and but the ruins of
their solid, sculptured masonry, gardens and orange and olive groves now
mark the places where once white-clad natives kept fast and feast days
with as much solemn orderliness as ever so many timid monastic novices
could do.

Nowadays, one can get from Buenos Aires to Misiones either by rail
(North-East Argentine Railway) or by the Mihanovich company’s boats. Both
ways furnish delightful travelling through interesting and picturesque
country, though for pure scenery the river way is the best. The best of
all, however, is to go up by rail and down again by boat and to see all
there is, and there is a very great deal worth seeing, to be seen.

By either route one can stop at Posadas, the capital, evidently from its
name an ancient resting-place for travellers (Posada being Spanish for an
inn).

But people who are bent on reaching San Ignacio, a small river port, or
rather clearance on the Upper Paraná, near which are the chief of the
ruined Jesuit Missions, and the Iguazú Falls will probably leave Posadas
for closer inspection if need be, on the return journey.

Once again we board a Mihanovich boat and go up a seeming river of
fairyland.

An adequate description of the majestic splendour and beauty of the
Iguazú Falls is far beyond the pen of the present writer. One is
gradually prepared for the great sight by a series of smaller cascades
and cataracts of other converging rivers which one passes on the way to
where the Iguazú hurls its large volume of water in downward jumps or
in one horseshoe-shaped, thundering, frothy mass. Where it falls one is
face to face with the greatest waterfalls in the whole world,[32] as the
following comparative figures will show:

                       Volume cubic
                       per minute.[33]   Breadth.        Height.

  Iguazú                 28,000 ft.    13,133 ft.    196 to 220 ft.
  Victoria (S. Africa)   18,000 ft.     5,580 ft.    350 to 360 ft.
  Niagara                18,000 ft.     5,249 ft.    150 to 164 ft.

The only point of advantage of the Victoria Falls is their height.

The present chief source of wealth in Misiones is the various kinds of
timber and valuable cabinet-maker’s woods found in its virgin forests.
One day Misiones will doubtless export its rosewood and other beautiful
and valuable products of its forests, which also produce pine and other
building timber of superior quality to that which Argentina now imports
from Europe. Transport of timber is effected by means of tying it into
huge rafts which go down river as far as Corrientes. The timber supply
of Misiones will long continue rich, since the tendency of the forest is
ever to encroach on the surrounding land.

A growing industry on which great expectations are based is the
cultivation of the Ilex Paraguayensis, or mate shrub. The consumption of
mate or Paraguayan tea, as it is sometimes called in Europe, is enormous
throughout both of the River Plate Republics, which now import very large
quantities annually from Paraguay and Brazil, while no sort of good
reason seems to exist why the northern districts of Argentina should not
grow sufficient to meet the home consumption.

The Jesuits evidently appreciated and cultivated this shrub, but they had
the secret of growing it from seed, a secret the true re-discovery of
which by modern horticulturists is not yet quite proved.[34]

Up till quite recently all Misiones mate yerba has been gathered from
the abundant virgin growth of the shrub. Once Misiones produced larger
quantities of sugar than it does now; and there is no reason why this
industry should not revive from the almost total paralysis which it at
present suffers; nor why one day the wine output of Misiones should not
be improved in both quality and quantity.

Maize naturally grows well (it yields in six months) in Misiones; which
Territory with the general warmth of its climate, sufficient rainfall and
heavy dews, is most favourable to tropical and subtropical vegetation.
Oranges, of course, bananas, pineapples, and guavas grow practically,
if not quite, wild and ground nuts and the castor-oil plant are among
its many valuable products. The whole of Misiones is well watered by a
network of very numerous streams, and if its atmosphere by day is rather
reminiscent of a hothouse, the nights are usually cool and refreshing.

The unevenness of its surface, while precluding much idea of extensive
cultivation, is admirably suited for the shelter and care of the best
natural produce of this exotically picturesque region.

Misiones has quarries of valuable granite at San Ignacio; close to the
river as if they had been placed there for facility of transport.
These quarries furnished the Jesuits with the material for their famous
buildings; though that they persuaded the natives, who before their
coming had little ambition for anything save inter-tribal warfare,
to quarry, transport and build up solid masonry is nothing short of
marvellous. Truly Jesuit “influence” was a very real and concrete thing
in the Misiones of those days.

One must not forget tobacco, or cotton, as other of Misiones’ hitherto
greatly neglected industries.

One cannot insist too much upon the fact that no one who does not himself
visit the River Plate Republics in all their length and breadth can
really grasp even a faint idea of their diversified latent wealth. One is
apt to suppose that because Misiones, for instance, does not produce much
tobacco or sugar,[35] there is some pretty solid obstacle at the bottom
of its relative non-productiveness. People naturally think, “Well, it’s
all very well to chant dithyrambics of the marvellous might be’s of what
evidently are your pet countries, but why does all this wonderful wealth
of them continue latent, why does not one see, or at least hear, a great
deal more about it, if all you say is true?”

The reply for this is, “Give me sufficient capital and sufficient
suitable labour (especially the latter) and I will very speedily prove my
every word.”

The River Plate Republics have not yet (again I say it) sufficient
population to exploit even a part of their possible cereal industry,
the one which naturally gets first attention because it combines the
attractions of rich profit and comparatively little care or labour, under
the almost primitive conditions under which most of it is still carried
on.

When there is a surplus of labour after grain and cattle have been duly
provided for, all sorts of other things will be attended to. But it is
no good expecting ordinary people, without the many more or less occult
advantages of early Jesuit Fathers, to get any constantly careful work,
such as cotton, tobacco and many other valuable crops require, out of
native South American Indians. They can’t or won’t do it, anyway, they
don’t; and it is probably easier to rediscover how to grow mate yerba
from seed than how to rediscipline for practical purposes the race which
built and gardened in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

The North Argentine Railway has in project a branch from its Santo
Tomé-Posadas line to run through the centre of Misiones to the North-West
corner where the frontiers of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay join.


FORMOSA

This, the northernmost of the Argentine National Territories, does not
merit the superlative of its name; especially it does not do so when
compared with Misiones. Geographically and in its general superficial
characteristics Formosa is a continuation of the Chaco, by which it is
bounded on the South. On the North and East it is bounded by Paraguay
except at its South-Eastern corner, where its boundary is the river
Paraguay, with the Province of Corrientes on the other bank. On the West
it is bounded by the Province of Salta.

Much of Formosa is almost unknown land as far as really scientific
exploration is concerned; and some tribes of its TOBA Indians still
appear to have an inconveniently violent dislike of official explorers,
several having been murdered by natives in recent times.

The real exploration of the interior of Formosa is done by squatters
who, when turned off one holding, move on to a new one further from
the civilisation which, such as it is, is mostly to be found on the
River Paraguay, or near to it on the banks of its chief affluents, the
Pilcolmayo (which forms the Northern boundary between this territory and
Paraguay) and the Bermejo. The clearance of the rocks, sunken logs and
masses of vegetation from the beds of these rivers as a preliminary to
the carrying out of other works for the purpose of making them navigable
is under consideration by the National Government, which also proposes to
build a railway line from Embarcación, in the Province of Salta, across
the centre, almost, of Formosa, in a South-Easterly direction, to its
capital, a town of the same name and, doubtless, the first to bear it. At
present Formosa has no railroad at all.

This Territory has several other considerable rivers and streams all
running nearly parallel to one another and to the Pilcolmayo and Bermejo,
in South-Easterly direction, to the River Paraguay.

Almost the whole of its surface is a vast plain gently inclined; its
South-Eastern part is largely covered with forests and dotted with many
shallow swamp-like lakes—“Esteros,” as they are called.

The forests are very rich in various valuable woods; of which the chief
object of present commerce is the QUEBRACHO, which here, as elsewhere
in the Republic, is found in two varieties, the red and the white. The
former is the richest in tannin. Quebracho extract (for tanning purposes)
will be seen to figure prominently in the tables relating to Argentine
exports.[36] Quebracho logs are in constant demand for railway sleepers.

The wide glades and open spaces in the forest afford excellent pasturage,
and are all eminently suitable for agriculture. Some parts of this
territory are destined to become rich alfalfa fields, and already
relatively considerable areas are under this forage. There is plenty of
salt, sandy soil with water near the surface. Maize also, on account of
climatic conditions and the nature of the soil in parts (where a rich
layer of humus is superimposed on a moist, sandy subsoil), should form a
valuable crop in this Territory.

Formosa, with its Northern situation and therefore almost tropical
climate, has few sheep; but cattle, still of the native breed, thrive
well in many parts.

Also, in Formosa, and in Misiones, a large proportion of traction
bullocks must be reckoned among the numerical value of their cattle.

In Formosa the summer or rainy season lasts for about seven months of
the year; little or no rain falls in the winter or dry season—as in the
tropics. In the wet season many of the rivers overflow their banks and
such, likely, inundations should be taken into account by any would-be
purchaser of land in Formosa.

He should also keep his eyes open for dangers other than floods; for
if scientific exploration cannot yet be said to have obtained any firm
grasp of Formosa, how much less can measurements and boundaries be
hoped to be in order. They are not so in most of this Territory, and a
purchasing settler might eventually find himself with little for his
trouble and money but the costs of a lawsuit forced upon him by some
owner of an historic grant made by a grateful Republic in bygone days to
the grandfather of such owner for distinguished service of one kind or
another.

_Latifundíos_, these low-lying Argentine landowners are called; and it is
not too much to say, as has been indicated elsewhere in these pages, that
their existence is a pest and a menace to proper colonisation.

Every such absentee landlord should be forced by law to declare himself
and his claims, and to furnish measurements and situation of the land,
the subject of the latter to be checked by the Government surveyors and
lawyers; and to do this within a fixed reasonable period from the date of
the passing of such laws. His claim to lapse absolutely _ipso facto_ in
default of his doing so.

Then the National Government should proceed to allot fiscal lands to all
desirable comers, and afford these the aids to starting their farms and
plantations usual in other countries having unoccupied land awaiting
development, as still is by far the greater part of the territory of the
Argentine Republic.

Every educated Argentine is just as well aware of all this as the writer
or you, the reader; but just think what a flutter in aristocratic
dovecotes on the mere suggestion of the putting in practice of such Laws
(they or drafts of them probably exist in the pigeon-holes of Government
House in Buenos Aires)! What a fluttering in those dovecotes there was a
few years ago when the discovery was made, and most imprudently revealed,
that vast tracts of land supposed to belong to the Nation had in fact
got, in one way or another, into the possession of private individuals.

The then President, Dr. Figueroa Alcorta, declared vehemently (and caused
the declaration to be published far and wide) that whomsoever were found
to be responsible for such a scandalous state of things would be dealt
with without mercy, whoever he or they might be.

That was all.

The sentence was like those of the Queen of Hearts in _Alice in
Wonderland_. No one really ever was executed. Nor, as far as the public
ever knew, even called to account. Possibly someone was told not to do it
again; it must be hoped so.

In Formosa, latent absentee landlord and squatter would almost appear to
work on a mutually beneficial, if tacit, understanding. The former does
not in the least mind his land being developed by the latter (there is
no foolish worry about such things as prescriptive rights) and generally
lets him be; until such time as he, the landlord, wants to occupy himself
or sell.

Meanwhile the squatter has accumulated cattle and money by selling stock
(contraband, if possible, or covered by a few duty-paying animals) in
Paraguay, and need only move on a few leagues or so, when told to, with
his herds. His house and furniture are usually negligible quantities.

Formosa does as much trade as the total of its general products (except
timber, which goes South) allows of, because Paraguay is generally too
much overrun by revolutionary, or momentarily constitutional, forces
to have much time or space free for industrial occupations. At the same
time Paraguay does manage to produce large quantities of tobacco and mate
yerba which Argentina takes, although, as has already been observed, her
own lands could perfectly well produce them, given suitable labour.

As has been rather more than hinted at, the official Returns of Imports
and Exports as between Bolivia, Paraguay and Brazil and Argentina give
but a faint idea of the actual trade between the last-named and her
northern neighbours; and the present writer would be much surprised to
learn that the upper reaches of the River Uruguay could tell no tales of
systematic smuggling between the two River Plate Republics, or the Andes
none of similar practices between Argentina and Chile.

The fact is that adequate guard of these enormous and sparsely populated
lengths of upcountry frontier would cost more than the results of it
would pay for. And why make a fuss while such prime necessities of life
as mate and cigarettes are comparatively so cheap?

Formosa produces tobacco and sugar; the latter, as in Misiones, being
chiefly used for the production of alcohol.

A great deal of foreign capital is now invested in timber cutting and
exporting companies. Native labour is suitable for this work, but it is
desirable in the interests of the companies concerned that the native
overseers or gangers be controlled by whites conversant with native ways
and also having the gift of forest topography.

This last consideration is suggested by the undoubted fact that many
a pile of logs has been solemnly measured up and the felling paid for
several times over by the white gentleman who has failed—in consequence
of a slight rearrangement of the pile, no doubt—to recognise them on
successive visits to glades and clearings which all look very much alike
except to particularly experienced eyes.

Thus does the untutored Indian or half-caste sometimes laugh at
civilization.

Formosa, although sparsely inhabited, boasts a large proportion of
pure whites of various nationalities among its settlers and the timber
companies’ employees. There are several Franciscan Mission Stations in
the Territory.

       *       *       *       *       *

This hasty run over the Argentine Republic has stirred many pleasant
memories in the heart of the writer, and set him hoping that, perchance,
some one reader may be tempted to take passage to the River Plate; at
less cost than, and quite as luxuriously as, if he made his usual sojourn
on the Mediterranean Riviera.

Would I could take him—an intelligently enthusiastic person he, of
course, would be—on a personally conducted tour of my own designing.

We would go first to Buenos Aires, reserving the restful charm of
Montevideo for after our journeyings. Then down South; where I should
quite disabuse my gentle companion of any ideas he might have that the
owners of square miles of wheat and thousands of cattle live in top boots
and shirt sleeves in one-storied, corrugated-iron verandahed houses
in the foreground of threshing machines. I would get him invited—and
myself as well—to stay a day or two at an English estancia; the large,
well-appointed two or three storied red-brick house of which, surrounded
by lawns and spreading cedar trees, would make him rub his eyes several
times before he were convinced that he had sailed out of England. He
would surely find a house party from Buenos Aires or neighbouring—a wide
term meaning, probably, many leagues away—estancias in possession; all
the members of which would retain their old habits of dressing for dinner
and breakfasting off a choice of several hot dishes and a tempting array
of cold things on the sideboard. An English country house, in fact, with
hall and magazines and illustrated papers complete.

Then we should make plans for the following, and, probably, many other
morrows; plans which would almost inevitably include a neighbourly race
meeting or polo match.

Amid all this he could dree his own weird for as long as might please
him. I should not disturb any of his promised projects.

But one day I should take him North again; and still further North, to
Córdoba, “The Learned City,” show him the Cathedral, the University and
its Library, and let him breathe the monastically mediæval atmosphere of
it all. And, outside the city, the wildness of cactus growth and gaucho
life.

Back eastward to Rosario, merely to change train for Santa Fé, and
across the Uruguay to Paraná. From thence to Concórdia; where at least
one tranquil orange-scented morning must be spent before one crossed the
Province of Entre Rios to where the Argentine North-East Railway should
take us to Misiones.

After San Ignacio, the Iguazú Falls and the trip thereto and therefrom
up and down the Upper Paraná, I should ask him if he ever wanted to go
anywhere else again? Whether he has ever even dreamed of anything so
beautiful? Then by river all the way back to Buenos Aires; and, one
night, across to Montevideo. There we would sit awhile in the evening and
listen to the band in the square where the little coloured lamps swing in
the fresh sea breeze; and bathe next morning and roll ourselves in the
hot dry sand of Pocitos or Ramirez.

Then we would take railway trips in Uruguay. Over billowy pasturage and
through waves of wheat; not flat expanses such as those we shall have
seen on the Pampa, but seas of corn-covered, undulating ground.

Then he could go back to Europe, if he liked. I should stay.


URUGUAY

If a detailed sketch of each of the Departments of Uruguay be not given
here it is not because they are altogether uniform in their landscapes;
but rather because, apart from the hilly rockiness of some of the
northern parts, the scenery of Uruguay does repeat itself. While the
climatic differences are relatively slight in a country which barely
extends over, from the point of its extreme northern angle to its most
southerly point, five degrees of latitude; in comparison with those of
Argentina, which extends over thirty-five degrees.

Uruguay, therefore, has no striking variety of climates; and except that
the surface of the Northern Provinces is more broken with jagged mountain
ranges and that in the neighbourhood of the River Uruguay and its
affluents the country is more thickly wooded, there is not much change
to be noted anywhere from its general character of an undulating grassy
plain, with here and there a mount, or clump of low wood and brushwood,
and an abundance of running streams.

Its indigenous flora comprises a rich wealth of rosemary, acacia, myrtle,
laurel, mimosa, and the scarlet-flowered CEIBO; while its natural
pasturage is gay with red and white verbena and other brilliantly
coloured wild flowers. The best natural grasses are to be found in
the Departments of Soriano and Durazno and in parts of Paysandú and
Tacuarembó. That is to say where what is known as the “PAMPA MUD” of the
soil is mingled with calcareous and siliceous matter and contains less
aluminium, which last ingredient imparts cold and damp qualities.

[Illustration: A TYPICAL SMALL “CAMP” TOWN (RIVERA, URUGUAY)]

It should not be assumed from the above short general description that
the scenery of Uruguay is monotonously uninteresting. It is not; on the
contrary, it is often very beautiful indeed, with sudden and delightfully
surprising changes as the train speeds along. But these changes are on a
small scale, if one may so express oneself, compared with those which one
experiences when passing from one distant Argentine Province or National
Territory to another.

Indeed, as a glance at the map will show, geographically, Uruguay and the
Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul can almost be considered as parts of
Argentina; as, politically, they once very nearly were.

The real great division of the nature of the surface of Uruguay is
practically formed by the course of its Rio Negro; on each side of which
are vast rolling plains, the northern of which, however, are, as has been
said, traversed by ranges of indented rocky hills.

The whole of Uruguay is subject to abrupt changes of temperature and
frequent strong winds of which the PAMPERO, from the South-West, is the
most violent.

Generally, the climate is pleasantly mild. For while the summer suns
are hot, especially in the North, sea breezes and winds from the
snow-capped Andes modify the temperature. It is, however, from these
conflicting elements of sun and wind that Uruguay gets her quick changes
of temperature and frequent storms. The whole country is subject to
alternate overflowing of its rivers and drought.

Uruguay is rich in table fruits. Grapes, oranges, lemons, apples, pears,
quinces, melons, passion-flower fruit, peaches, apricots, cherries,
medlars, figs, chestnuts, almonds and, in the North, olives, dates
and bananas, grow in abundance. The list of her flora also includes
sarsaparilla (very abundant), quinine, camomile and many other valuable
medicinal plants. Uruguayans have also given themselves the trouble to
produce relatively much larger quantities, and, generally speaking,
better qualities of ordinary table vegetables than have the, perhaps
busier, inhabitants of the larger Republic across the river; to which,
however, Uruguay daily sends large quantities of such produce.

Uruguay has several large flour mills and exports flour, chiefly to
Brazil.

Most of the soil consists of one composition or another of the Pampa mud
before alluded to. This mud is really ancient alluvial deposit.

Of the latent mineral wealth of Uruguay there can be little doubt. The
Department of MINAS, as its name indicates, is one of the richest in
this respect. Gold, in quartz formation, silver, copper, iron, lead,
some coal, marble of various kinds, slate, rock crystal, agates, jasper,
graphite, alabaster, black limestone and other minerals of commercial
and industrial value are to be found in this Department and in other
parts of the Republic. Fine building limestone is found in the Department
of Maldonado. The Department of Colonia is rich in granite and other
building stone, as well as other minerals. Rocha, Soriano, San José,
Florida and Canelones are other Departments rich in mineral wealth.

This wealth has, however, as yet been little exploited. The old trouble
here, as in Argentina, being that of insufficient labour to attend to
more than the primary industries of Live Stock and Cereal production.
Also the Uruguayan Mining Laws, though steps have recently been taken to
amend them, have hitherto proved but a poor protection for capital.

    _Note._—The wealth of the Argentine National Territories of
    THE CHACO and LOS ANDES is, as to the former still practically
    confined to the valuable forestal products, full mention of
    which has been made elsewhere in these pages. The future of
    Los Andes can only be concerned with the exploitation of its,
    probably rich, mineral deposits; this Mountainous Territory
    being so cold and arid as to be almost uninhabitable.



CHAPTER XI

AGRICULTURE


The figures representing the progress of Agriculture in the River Plate
Republics, especially in Argentina, which has had the advantage of
freedom from Civil War during by far the longer period, during the last
few decades are truly astounding.

In 1875 the value of the principal Argentine Agricultural Exports was but
114,557 gold dollars; in 1913 the value of these exports was 307,520,854
gold dollars. In 1892 the total of the cultivated areas of the Republic
was only 580,008 hectares; in 1912 there were 22,987,726 hectares under
cultivation, this figure not including the pasturage improved with
foreign grasses. The first ten kilometres of railway line in the River
Plate Territories were laid in Argentina in 1857, now the extent of lines
in that Republic is over 21,000 miles, and that in Uruguay over 1590
miles, making a total for both Republics of over 22,500 miles, or rather
less than the total length (23,350 miles) of the lines in Great Britain.
And new lines and extensions are projected in all directions and will
prove profitable.

It must not, however, be taken for granted by the above juxtaposition
that the railroad has been the whole and direct cause of agricultural
extension. That many other causes have been at work is evident since
River Plate agriculture and export flourished long before the railway
was dreamed of anywhere. During the early years of its life in the River
Plate Republics the railroad was busily enough occupied in the endeavour
to serve districts already under cultivation; and it is only in very
recent times that one of the great English Companies adopted the, even
then much criticized, policy of extensions to secure in advance a sphere
of future cultivation. It may be added that no adverse criticism of this
policy (but only approving admiration) came from anyone practically
capable of forming an opinion of the agricultural prospects on which it
was soundly based.

Still, Argentine railway enterprise in general is conservative in that
it rather waits on than seeks to create a demand for its services; so
that the rule in these matters on the River Plate continues to be that
the railway very cautiously follows the lead of other progress and
enterprise, and much rich land in the more distant Provinces and National
Territories lies fallow waiting for the railway, while the railway is
waiting till actual production guarantees the immediate profit of new
lines at handsome rates.

Time will solve this sort of deadlock as it does other things; but
to most people, other than railway directors, its existence seems to
indicate a lack of commercial courage and energy. They manage some of
these things, in some respects, better in the United States.

At the same time it must be owned that the existing railway policy
protects the countries now under discussion from many of the greater
evils of local land booms and speculation in Town lots; which in early
North American days often left little but disillusionment as the share
of inexperienced speculators and paved the way for equally disastrous
railway competition.

In Argentina and Uruguay, particularly in the former Republic, the
great Railway Companies form something really very like the _Imperium
in Imperio_ that the Argentines say they do. Their General Managers are
quite as much diplomatic Ministers Plenipotentiary as they are actual
Managers of railroads; and, consequently, require qualifications of
which the chiefs of even our greatest British systems have no need. The
work of a General Manager of a great River Plate railway system lies a
good deal at Government House and with the leading men and politicians
of the country. He must know how best to protect the vested interests
of his Company and to pave the way for new developments in competition
with newly arrived applicants and existing competitors. For such purposes
he must combine firmness, serenity in protest if need be, with urbanity
and the power to be all pleasant things to all men whose good-will is
or may possibly be of use to his Company. The slight diversion of a
projected new line is a small price to pay for the easy passage through
Congress of the scheme of a whole important extension. A scheme which may
menace the aspirations of an existing competitor or an expectant rival
concessionnaire; either of whom may also command some “influence.”

All this, however, however true, is a digression from the question under
immediate discussion, namely, to what extent the railway has been a cause
or an effect of the spread of agriculture in the River Plate. The real
answer to this question appears to be that both the railway in these
countries and the agriculture have inter-aided and are inter-dependent on
one another in the inevitable development of a prosperity fore-ordained
by a prodigality of natural endowment.

Comparing the figures representing the cultivable area of these Republics
with those relating to the parts already under cultivation, one can see
why extensive farming is only just now giving way to intensive systems
in those districts the situation of which, in relatively close proximity
to the great port of Buenos Aires, combined with the natural fertility
of their soil, has rendered them the most valuable of all the lands in
the Argentine and Uruguayan Republics. The capital valuation of these
lands is now so high, especially in the Province of Buenos Aires, that
all means must be adopted which will enhance their annual productivity.
In other parts it is often cheaper to put more land under cultivation
than to lay out capital in improved working of that already in hand. As
facilities for transport and the population grow, so will the need for
intensive farming, in gradually increasing complexity, be more and more
felt and complied with throughout both Republics.

Contemporaneous with such advance will be the gradual development of
those products, other than wheat, linseed, maize and alfalfa (to which
the whole available agricultural energies of these countries have till
now been almost exclusively confined), for which the natural conditions
of one part or another of the two Republics are eminently favourable—such
as Cotton, Tobacco, Timber, Rice, Sugar and, perhaps, Coffee.

To quote a pamphlet recently issued by the Argentine Government:—

    There are vast tracts of land available for the cultivation of
    sugar cane. … With the investment of large amounts of money and
    an increase in the area cultivated this industry will no doubt
    in a few years be able to supply fully the demand and have a
    surplus of 50 per cent over for exportation.

This statement, notwithstanding the rather quaint English of the official
translator, has already nearly been proved true, and might have become
so in actual practice several years ago. To quote again from the same
pamphlet and with a similar endorsement of its statements:—

    In the extensive regions existing in Salta, Jujuy, the Chaco,
    Formosa, Misiones, Corrientes and Tucumán (the last-named with
    300,000 hectares admirably adapted for sowing sugar cane) the
    area cultivated will gradually increase.

It should and certainly will do so at some future time. When, depends
chiefly, as do many, if not most, other agricultural developments on the
River Plate, on increase of population.

In the meantime the Argentine National Ministry of Agriculture has done
much good work towards stimulating interest in the undoubtedly great
possibilities of cotton, tobacco and rice cultivation. The cultivation
of cotton is no new idea on the River Plate. It could hardly be so when
there are large districts so evidently and admirably adapted for this
crop. The reasons why several former well-meant attempts at cotton
growing in Argentina were unsuccessful were the difficulties of obtaining
and keeping adequate labour, and a too great reliance on the bounty of
nature unaided by much human science. Selection and just appreciation
of the time for gathering were matters which did not receive sufficient
attention, and a great obstacle certainly was the difficulty of obtaining
labour in sparsely populated districts, in which the necessities of life
are procurable by all with a minimum of effort. The natives fancied they
were being exploited if they did not get commercially impossible rates
of wages for what appeared to them extremely arduous and unwontedly
continuous and careful work. Work of the satisfactory execution of which,
moreover, their primitive mentality was not really capable.

Even now River Plate cotton growing will need to be largely aided by
imported or colonist labour. Given that and due scientific management
and care, applied in the first place to the selection of the seed most
suitable to the soil and climate, there is no sort of reason why River
Plate cotton should not occupy a highly remunerative place in the world’s
markets, where cotton is always in increasingly large demand.

Many districts in the Argentine Provinces of Corrientes, Santa Fé,
Salta, Tucumán, Catamarca and La Rioja and in the National Territories
of Misiones, Formosa and the Chaco are eminently suited for cotton
cultivation.

It will be observed that Argentina alone is almost always here referred
to in connection with these secondary (as they still are) products of the
River Plate countries. The reason for this is that, while many parts of
Uruguay are equally well suited for their growth, the latter Republic is,
owing to her later continuance of civil disturbance, in a less advanced
condition than Argentina in regard to extensive development of the great
primary industries of cereal cultivation and stock breeding.

Tentative and apparently successful cultivation of better classes of
tobacco has already been commenced in the Province of Buenos Aires and
official drying sheds have been erected in each of the Provinces of
Tucumán, Salta and Corrientes and the National Territory of Misiones.
These facilities should greatly stimulate the increase of production
and improvement of quality of the leaf in those, the most climatically
appropriate, districts. Even if they should not confer on the growers the
“moral and intellectual” benefits explicitly expected from them by the
aforementioned translator.

As for rice, even if the question of export be reserved for future
consideration, there is an enormous local demand which could very well
and profitably be supplied locally.

Experimental cultivation of this crop in large and suitably watered areas
of the Provinces of Buenos Aires, Entre Rios and Córdoba has proved the
ease with which it could be grown in them.

Another crop in universal demand in both Argentina and Uruguay is MATE,
or “Paraguayan Tea,” the leaf of the ILEX PARAGUAYENSIS. This shrub grows
wild in the Territory of Misiones and in the Republics of Paraguay and
Brazil; and Argentina and Uruguay import it from the latter countries
to annual values of several millions of gold dollars. The cultivation
of mate yerba only presents difficulty and risk of loss during the very
earliest periods of its growth; but study has now shown how to avoid
most, at any rate, of such risks, so that it has become an absurdity
that such an article of universal daily, indeed hourly, consumption in
both of the countries under consideration should not be grown by them
in districts so suited for the cultivation of this shrub that they have
become its home in a perfectly wild condition.

Wherever one goes in Argentina and Uruguay the MATE (as the small gourd
in which the infusion of the dust-like YERBA—“herb”—is made, and from
which it is sucked up through a special tube called the “bombilla” from
its perforated, bulb-shaped end) is omnipresent and usually in working
evidence in the hands of one or other member of the household throughout
the livelong day.

Mate is a stimulant of great sustaining and stomachic qualities; and its
use is not followed by the depression which follows excessive tea and
coffee drinking. A River Plate _peon_ will go from daybreak to midday,
riding or doing physically hard work the whole while, on nothing more
than a hunch of bread or a “biscuit” (a hard, dry maize-flour roll) and
a few small _mates_. With sugar, mate is very palatable and the taste
soon develops into a habit, but in the camp it is usually drunk “bitter,”
that is, without sugar, both from motives of economy and because it is
popularly supposed to be healthier and more sustaining when taken in that
way.

At any rate, there can be no doubt that mate growing must one day become
a very large and profitable industry in the Northern parts, where the
climate is suitably mild, of the two Republics.

The Jesuit Fathers, from whom the Territory of Misiones derives its name,
were well aware of the wholesome qualities of mate yerba, and it is
possible that the now wild growth of the shrub in that Territory owes its
existence to their cultivation.

In connection with their primarily great agricultural industries, the
wheat, maize and linseed crops which will always remain a chief pillar of
their prosperity (even if stock-raising on the present huge scale should
be reduced by the encroachment of agricultural or, as is most likely,
mixed farming; or if the Andine regions prove as rich in minerals as some
people would have us believe), the River Plate Republics must always
occupy positions of ever-increasing weight and importance on the cereal
markets of the world.

The world wants meat, but it must have bread, the true staff of human
life. Signs are not wanting of the coming of a day when the majority of
the human race will be forced into vegetarianism by the growing scarcity
of meat; but the time when wheat shall be no longer obtainable by the
multitude is so much farther off on the speculative horizon as to be a
negligible factor in any but abstract contemplation. As for live stock,
most middle-aged people to-day can retrace in their own memories the
decline of the meat exports of the United States; where a rapid growth
of population and spread of agriculture have so increased the local
consumption and diminished the supply that the States not only now eat
all their own meat, but already import from Argentina and Uruguay.

When the latter countries arrive at a similar stage of their development,
as they must do one day, from whence will they and the rest of the world
get meat supplies? Even the greatest and most terrible war the world has
ever known has not reduced the population of the globe to an extent which
will do more than very temporarily, if practically at all, affect the
question of its future food supplies.

Recently the reproductive capacities of the existing Argentine and
Uruguayan flocks and herds were brought almost to a standstill in respect
of the increase of their numerical value; chiefly on account of the
ever-increasing demands and high prices paid by the Cold Storage Export
Companies.[37] And purely economic reasons cause more and more land
each year to be put under cereal cultivation while numerically large
flocks and herds are pushed further into less accessible regions of the
Republics, on the boundaries of which vast quantities of finely bred
animals already graze.

More transport (and labour), more cereals; more cereals, less live stock:
will be the rule of these Countries’ progress, following that of the
great Northern Republic. A rule which mixed and intensive farming will
only modify in a degree quite incommensurate with the experiences of an
ever and rapidly increasing demand.

The future of both Argentina and (later on) Uruguay appears to be bound
up in their cereal production (of which wheat, maize, linseed and oats
are now the chief elements).

I say _appears_, because the Andes may yet yield marvellous mineral
treasure; good coal may yet be discovered; it and the petroleum
deposits of Comodoro Rivadavia and elsewhere may yet provide fuel for
manufacturing industry; and the River Plate Republics may yet become the
great pig-producing countries of the world, as a United States expert
once prophesied to the present writer that one day they would be. But all
these things, even if the future do hold them in store, are beyond the
perceptibly practical horizon; while the already preponderating influence
of cereal production on the destinies of Argentina is immediately
evident. Argentina practically supplies the world with linseed.

Uruguay is still in the infancy of its agriculture. It has as yet but
some two million acres of cultivated land as against some thirty million
acres of pasturage. But the world’s demands will doubtless lead it on the
same course as that imposed on the United States and Argentina; modified,
perhaps, to some extent by the more undulating nature of its lands as
compared with the flat Pampa. Again, Uruguay is much richer in running
streams than is Argentina; which latter country is but sparsely provided
with water courses, especially in dry weather.

During the course of the last decade the value of the cereals exported
from the River Plate tripled.

The great areas of cereal cultivation are the Provinces of Buenos Aires,
Santa Fé, Córdoba and Entre Rios and the National Territory of the Pampa
Central. Cereal growing in Uruguay is still chiefly confined to the
Southern Departments of that country.

Nevertheless, Uruguayan wheat has received special quotations as the
highest quality of any in the European markets; and “Montevideo wheat,”
as it is called, is much purchased by Argentine exporters to mix with
their own grain. The cultivation of alfalfa (lucerne) is also increasing
with enormous rapidity, both for home consumption and export; and
is likely to show still greater proportionate increase as mixed and
intensive farming grow in favour.

Economic necessity may also soon increase the cultivation of this
valuable plant as an alternate crop on, and restorative for, the
exhausted soil of many districts where wheat has been grown on wheat
since, one might almost say, time immemorial.

Wheat, as all the agricultural world knows, absorbs the nitrogen from
the soil on which it is grown; while alfalfa, on the other hand,
absorbs nitrogen from the air and deposits it in the soil. These two
crops are therefore, as was found out long ago in North America,
naturally complementary. And a course of alfalfa prepares ground for the
replanting of wheat in a way unequalled by the most expensive artificial
fertilizers. The time will therefore doubtless come when Argentine
farmers will plough up such of their alfalfa as may be on suitable ground
and plant wheat thereon; and, contrariwise, will plough up their wheat
and give the ground two or three years of alfalfa before putting wheat on
it again.

But this is still, to the vast majority of Argentine farmers, an absurdly
impracticable counsel of perfection. Since, does one think, he asks,
that he is going to spoil his alfalfa fields, soon after seeing them
pass through the critical stage of their tap-roots reaching water, and
break his ploughs into the bargain by cutting those thick, tough roots up
again? Not he. Alfalfa it is now and alfalfa it is going to remain; to
yield him four or even more cuttings annually. Only time and ever-growing
land values will force this kind of reasoning out of his mind. He, in the
more distant parts of the country at all events, is still in the stage
of mentality when what were good enough methods for his forefathers are
good enough for him. Nature has been kind to him. He has always reaped
much benefit from little labour or capital outlay; and this state of
things suits his nature so well that he is altogether disinclined to vary
it by following theories which do not appeal to him, be they preached
never so wisely by the ambulant Agricultural Instructors employed by the
Government to travel about the country and teach improved methods to its
rural inhabitants. The deaf ear which even the very well-to-do among
what may be called the peasant proprietors, the little-educated rural
classes, that is to say, turn to the teachings of modern science is due
to the fact that these people have long been too much spoilt by nature’s
gifts of highly fertile soil and favourable climate to perceive any very
pressing need to bestir themselves to unaccustomed expenditure of energy
or money.

Thus, as is told elsewhere in these pages, thousands of head of cattle
and sheep die each time a drought occurs simply because their owners will
not go to the trouble and expense of boring for water (seldom far from
the surface) and putting up windmills to draw it.

Education and economic pressure will in due course end this era of _dolce
far niente_; which is doomed to disappear from even the most outlying
of rural districts as surely as the traditional MAÑANA has from the
business communities of the great cities. Nowadays, a denizen of Buenos
Aires who scents a good stroke of business will pursue and capture it
with a rapidity and real vigour which would not shame a citizen of the
United States. Only, the Argentine will always conceal his haste under an
affected outburst of boisterous humour or an equally assumed dilatoriness
of manner. He will, in fact, be politer about it than the Northerner.
But he will get there all the same. So will the agriculturist,
comparatively untutored as he still often is, once he realizes his own
advantage in the matter; as circumstances eventually will force him to do.

Just now the River Plate countries are faced with an exceptionally acute
phase of the problem of their increased agricultural expansion; the
governing factor of that problem, indeed the whole cause of it, being
their lack of adequate rural population.

To appreciate this inadequacy one must realize that the Argentine
Republic alone is only a very little smaller than Germany,
Austro-Hungary, Belgium, Denmark, France, Holland, Italy, Norway, Sweden,
Portugal and Switzerland put together; while her population is only some
7,500,000. Of this over a million is in the city of Buenos Aires; and the
other cities such as Rosario, Bahia Blanca and the Provincial capitals
account for another.

Even were the whole 7,500,000 equally spread over the Republic, we
should only get an average of 6·5 per square mile, as against some 193
per square mile as the average of the other countries named above for
comparison of area. Uruguay has a considerably larger population (and,
it may be added, railway mileage), to the square mile than Argentina;
but even then it has only some 1,200,000 inhabitants, or about half the
number possessed by the Province of Buenos Aires.

Unless this state of things be remedied, it would appear as if the
hitherto rapid advance of both agriculture and stock-breeding in these
countries must soon reach a point beyond which they can no further go
for want of hands to sow, reap and carry crops and rear and tend cattle
and sheep! This situation is not a perfectly new one in modern economic
history; but it may safely be called new in degree when it is found in
countries where all other natural conditions are normally so entirely
favourable to uninterrupted rural production. In countries not (as yet at
all events) directly involved in Armageddon; and while so much of the
rest of the world urgently needs every grain of wheat and every ounce of
meat they can possibly send out.

Great irrigation works now in progress will open up further vast and
almost unprecedentedly fertile areas for cultivation; which areas railway
lines are practically ready and waiting to serve with transport and for
which new ports are in course of construction while existing ones are
being enlarged and improved. New agricultural laws have been passed to
meet difficulties which have arisen with already increased production and
land values; everything in fact has been done and is being done to second
and enhance nature’s gifts.

But the question, “Where are the human beings necessary to an
advantageous result of and to benefit by all these preparations?” still
remains unanswered; except by the apparently very stubborn fact that they
have not yet appeared on the River Plate and show no signs of doing so.

At the present moment the outlook from this state of things reveals only
a tangled problem, in view of the awful wastage of human life now going
on in Europe. But for its occurrence and continuance before the war the
Governments of Argentina and Uruguay are almost wholly to blame, and
that of the former country in much the greater degree. This because,
while Uruguay may be said to have only just emerged from a long period of
internal political disturbance which necessarily absorbed all the time
and energies of her statesmen, Argentine politics long ago reached their
destined haven of sunlit, calm waters.

Argentina _has_ spent much trouble and money in propaganda; in all
sorts of publications giving true and therefore favourable statistics
of her ever-increasing rural industries, trade and prosperity. But—and
this cannot be insisted on too often for her own good and for Uruguay’s
example—she has never even seemed to trouble herself about suitable
people who might be attracted by the perusal of her statistics and
pamphlets to wish to know more of her and of their exact individual
prospects did they decide to set sail for her shores.

Like so many of the good laws and schemes in which this country abounds,
everything concerning prospective colonists is excellently arranged and
set down on paper; but nothing is yet in really practical working order
for the reception and assignment of land to the real colonist, the man
most needed in new countries, bringing with him a small capital which he
wishes to invest in a holding which will be the future home of himself
and his family.

It seems a hard saying, but I hold it truth that the only provision yet
made has been, and is, for the reception and despatch upcountry of the
very poorest class of immigrants; glad to get a job at manual labour of
any kind, and therefore at the mercy of the landowners who still really
govern this pretendedly ultra-democratic Republic.

It is—whether accidentally or of set purpose is needless to discuss
here—in point of fact through the influence of landed proprietors, and
through their influence alone, that the elaboration and putting into
practice of existing colonization schemes and laws lie fallow; while
poor immigrants, by a seemingly cynical courtesy, called “Colonists,”
are granted the privilege of a share in any immediate profits to be
derived from breaking up virgin soil from which they will be turned off
practically as soon as it begins to yield—to commence a similar operation
elsewhere if they care to—under conditions which leave them little choice.

Congress and the National Provincial Governments are to blame for this,
really suicidal, scandal; resulting from a condition of things so patent
that the Italian labourers who come for the harvest return back home
again to an existence of probably considerable hardship in Italy, in
preference to remaining as “Colonists” under the blue and white banner of
Liberty.

The root of all this is that the Argentine _cannot_ bring himself to
part with the ownership in land, and the fact of his having done so in
the past still rankles bitterly in his mind; forgetful of the fact that
then that was the only way to interest foreign capital in the development
of his country.

The conclusion is that, if he will not and does not give land to
colonists, he will find that his prosperity has reached sticking point
for want of labour to advance it any further.

That is to say, the agricultural production of Argentina has almost,
if not quite, reached the limits of the power of the Republic’s seven
million inhabitants.

“The case for the Colonist” has been put with such admirable accuracy by
Mr. Herbert Gibson, in a recent pamphlet by him called _The Land we Live
on_, that the present writer has been unable to resist the temptation
to cite some passages from it at length. A temptation enhanced by Mr.
Gibson’s faculty for hitting exactly the right nails on the head coupled
with his command of a vividly virile style.

Mr. Gibson is a member of a family of very large landowners in Argentina;
a man of exceptionally high moral and intellectual qualities, and an
accepted and respected authority on all matters concerning Argentine
rural industry; the best interests of which he has done much to advance,
often at his own considerable pecuniary cost.

A born Argentine, he can lay bare to the public eye the weaknesses and
faults of the agricultural systems of the Republic in a way and to an
extent impossible to a foreigner without a strong likelihood of the
latter doing much more harm than good to the cause of reform by what
would probably be deemed by Argentines a gratuitously offensive advocacy.

    It should rather befall the man who cries to the shoeblacks and
    hotel waiters of the city, than to us who are of the land, to
    plead the cause of the colonist. But let us state his case for
    him.

    An examination of the meteorological conditions, the
    constitution of the soil, the economy of inland collection,
    and the average proximity of the radial point of export to
    the site of production has usually convinced the intelligent
    traveller, very especially if his intelligence is engaged in
    ocean or land transport, that the Argentine is the garden of
    the world.

    A closer examination of the abruptness of the thermographical
    curves and their relation to soil foods and the growth and
    harvest of its products; the difficulty of collecting from
    units of large area, and at the precise moment of their maximum
    yield and maturity, the seeds of annuals; the yet unbridged
    gulf between the field of production and the main channels of
    its collection;—might well lead the intelligent traveller to a
    contrary conclusion. When he ceased to generalize he would find
    the lot of the agriculturist was not as easy as it looked.

    Burmeister no doubt overstated the case if he said that wheat
    would never prosper in the Pampa soil. If he said that wheat
    cultivation would not prosper in the Pampa except under
    skilled husbandry we could find it easy, after twenty years’
    experience, to agree with him.

    Meantime the best has been done to make it unsuccessful. The
    agriculturist, if we are to call him one, is let loose on a
    five hundred acre pitch of the prairie. In so many cases that
    one is entitled to generalize, he set out on borrowed land with
    borrowed implements to scratch the soil for three, four or five
    years and sow wheat on it.

    If he is asked whether he sows winter or spring wheat he does
    not know. If he is asked how many tons of straw he harvests, he
    neither knows nor cares. If he is asked what calcium carbonate
    and nitrate are, he thinks they are sheep dips, but is not
    quite sure. If he is questioned on rotation, he waves his hand
    to the rolling Russian thistle that gathers like a snowdrift
    against every obstacle.

    His house is, at best, an enlarged sardine tin. He has neither
    barn, byre nor pigsty. He has no enclosures for cattle, sheep
    or poultry. He has no garden. He has not a single tree to
    shelter him from the sun. With land suited for every form of
    live stock and field farming he is enslaved to the deadly
    monotony of wheat growing.

    There may be countries with a soil and climate such that
    white straw crops can be grown for a large number of years
    in succession without exhausting the land or setting up soil
    sickness. We know it is done at experimental farms such as
    Rothamsted. But we know too that the efficiency of soil culture
    in pursuit of these experiments is beyond the practical
    ability of the colonist; nor is the economy of the farm an item
    that is taken into consideration. We know, because we have
    witnessed it, that in this country after the colonist’s term of
    four or five years, during which he has collected an average
    crop of eight bushels per acre, is ended, what remains is a
    five hundred acre field of weeds.

    We can grow weeds. Whatever other merits may be denied to us
    we have achieved the production of a garden of weeds without
    equal in the world. Some of them are good plants for animal
    food, but out of place, for the colonist has not the means to
    make use of them for that purpose. Others are weeds of the
    most useless and noxious description. If it be true that the
    scabby Argentine sheep has been a source of wealth to European
    chemical manufacturers, the day must surely come when still
    greater fortunes will be made out of weed-spraying nostrums.

    Until this agricultural arab whom we call a colonist is
    replaced by an occupant with permanent or sufficiently long
    fixity of tenure; until he has adequate barns, byres, sties,
    water sweet and cheap, a garden and a homestead; and until he
    is possessed of cattle, sheep, swine and poultry he will remain
    as economically lean and weak as the muzzled ox. We have talked
    much of rural banks to enable him to borrow more money; but we
    have not begun to put into practice the rural economy that will
    be followed by the rural bank as sure as summer follows spring.
    When the agriculturist profits, instead of loses, on the year’s
    overturn, he will build up the bank on his own thrift.

    Within the economy of soil cultivation there is room for two
    alternatives only. Either the landowner must himself farm his
    land, or he must lease it with sufficient fixity of tenure and
    farming equipment to secure to his tenant the prospect of being
    able to pay a fair rent.

    Agriculture in this country has very largely failed through
    an attempt to drive a middle course between these two
    alternatives. The landowner, usually one possessing a large
    area and hitherto a pastoralist, has seen, or has thought
    he saw, a larger profit to be earned by turning his soil to
    agriculture. Instead of putting it to the test by turning
    agriculturist, he has paid his intelligence the sorry
    compliment of believing that an illiterate Italian, spewed up
    on our shores may be a year since, could earn this large profit
    if he were let loose upon the prairie without further capital
    or assistance than the right to plough the soil, in exchange
    for a share of the harvest, to be delivered threshed and bagged
    to his landlord.

    The benefits the landlord has derived from this, in a great
    majority of cases, have been to collect a smaller rent than
    he could have earned if he had depastured or farmed the land
    himself; and to receive back at the end of three or four
    years his pasture land converted into a garden of weeds. The
    process is termed “improving the land by the plough.” Not long
    since properties in the market were advertised as especially
    attractive if they were “all under agriculture.”

    Having sowed the wind the landlord is reaping the whirlwind.
    He has not only failed to profit by agriculture, but he has
    pledged the land and squandered the proceeds. The matter
    is not that such silly methods of rack-renting, bonanza
    farming, land gutting and money lending have wrought their own
    confusion. It is the loss to the industrial community, to the
    rural population, and to the national thrift that lays bare
    the defects of the system. These are the fruits. We have to
    look into the ordering of our agricultural industry, not as
    determined by a “good year” or “bad year,” a “dry” or “wet”
    year, but by such a readjustment of our rural economy that the
    soil shall be no longer cultivated at a loss. It is necessary
    to unmuzzle the ox. Without the aid of domestic live stock the
    colonist can neither profit from the by-products and fallow of
    the land, nor can he restore to the soil the factors necessary
    to yield crops that are of themselves profitable.

    Neither have we been careful to conserve and stimulate the
    settlement of a truly agricultural population on the land. We
    have exported the cult of sterility from the old world to the
    new. We have measured in this new world a field of production,
    not for the labourers, but for their European mandatories. It
    was said in the days of the Spanish dominion that America was
    the “factoria” of the mother country. She has seemingly not yet
    ceased to be regarded as a “factoria.”

    We take pride that we export so much and need so little. We
    call it a favourable “balance of trade.” We spread abroad
    pamphlets and graphic charts and dreary columns of ciphers
    to show how successfully we have gutted the land we live on
    to fill alien mouths. We display pictures of train loads of
    labour-saving machinery, glorying in the fact that one man
    aided by Pittsburg steel and Cardiff coal can fend off twenty
    families from a thousand acres, and garner the yield for the
    contentment of fat-handed brokers eating lobsters in a distant
    city.

    Had the matter been understood rightly by the “estanciero” of
    a generation or two ago, nay, even by this present generation,
    he would have put a premium on fecundity. His business was to
    encourage population; but while he drowsed in siesta hour over
    the newspaper proclaiming the arrival of alien immigration and
    smiling unctuously at the intelligence, he condemned his own
    men to celibacy, unwilling to spend the price of five bullocks
    on a mud hut to cradle the generation on his own land of a race
    of lusty yeomen. He took pride in the number of calves and
    lambs born on his estate. It would have beseemed him better to
    take pride in the number of _babies_ born there.

    Such a consummation would be vastly upsetting to Malthusian
    economists who view with jealousy the peopling of new fields
    of production. They would have us believe that it is only here
    by the overflowing of the Nile, and there by the discovery of
    the New World, that the human race has been saved from famine.
    If we can no longer send 350,000 tons of meat and five million
    tons of cereals to the Old World our usefulness has passed away
    and our mission ended.

    Fiddlesticks! Had the Pampas of South America, the pasture
    lands of Australia, and the wheat fields of Canada remained
    virgin there would have been ere now thousands of acres in
    Great Britain under glass and harnessing the solar spectrum
    and the electric currents of air to manufacture food for
    the people. Feminists, instead of rending other people’s
    garments to bewail the departure of their mankind, would be
    conjuring out of four-inch potsherds fruit rich and rare for
    the household. If among the social economists of the present
    generation there is a disposition to revert to the Malthusian
    creed; in this spacious country, and as far as the vegetative
    population is concerned, there is no need to raise the voice of
    alarm. National progress and thrift will be soonest achieved
    by the increase of the national population; and, without
    closing the doors to useful alien immigration, the welfare of
    the community should be dependent rather upon the increase
    of the family than upon the overflow population from other
    lands. … Under our present system of agriculture the domestic
    requirements of the country are sacrificed to foreign demand.
    We measure our progress by our export trade of raw produce.
    When we speak of agriculture what we really mean is the
    production of maize, wheat and linseed for shipment abroad.

    It is to this end that so much has been heard of warrants,
    elevators and other devices to enable the farmer to dispose of
    his crop. They are in some degree devices for his own security;
    but they are in a much greater degree devices to secure for the
    export of cereals a more regular flow from the sources that
    supply it. The time is no doubt distant when this country shall
    have a population sufficient to consume the raw produce of its
    soil; but by turning our eyes constantly to its export trade
    as the sole source of its production we have not only limited
    the lines of our agricultural production, but we have neglected
    complementary lines that would have increased that export trade
    by maintaining soil values.

    The cereal that gives the best return from a large area of our
    Pampa soil and climate is barley. Being shallow-rooted our
    indifferent tilth suffices for its seed bed; and being short
    lived it can be sown late and harvested early, reducing the
    risks from frost and drought. The “chacarero” who produces 8
    fanegas of wheat could produce on averages from the same soil
    and with no better husbandry 18 fanegas of barley per hectare.
    In food equivalents that is equal to 280 kilogrammes of pork.

    The “chacarero” does not grow barley for the same reason that
    he neglects or ignores almost every branch of agriculture
    except wheat, maize and linseed. For the same reason that he
    neglects rotation, fallow and weeds; vegetables and small
    fruits; live-stock breeding and feeding; poultry, dairy,
    and bee-hiving, tree planting; and the greatest of all
    cultures—home culture. He has no fixity of tenure. There is no
    other reason.

    It is said of the Argentine “chacarero” that he is ignorant and
    incapable of good husbandry. When he first began, of course, he
    was ignorant. The gold medallist from an Agricultural College
    is ignorant when he begins to practise farming. Though the
    farmer’s craft engages the whole cyclopædia of science, and
    there is no limit to the knowledge it demands, its practice
    is essentially one of observation and local experience. To
    those the “chacarero” comes as well equipped as another. His
    ignorance is but the reflection of his environment.

    It is also said of him that he is greedy, and undertakes a
    larger area than he can cultivate. Again, his greed is but the
    reflection of the landowner’s. He is called to the land on
    terms that exclude all fixity of tenure, maintenance of soil
    values, small farming, rotation or live-stock values; terms
    that merely bind him to plough as best he can a given area, to
    seed it in cereals that will enable his landlord to collect
    without inconvenience his rent in kind, delivered “dry, sound
    and bagged” at the foot of the threshing mill; to continue this
    process for three or more years; and at the end of his term to
    go to the devil if his unsuccess has not already landed him in
    that quarter.

    In a scheme of agriculture that was to take no heed of the
    permanent thrift of the land and the man who tilled it we
    have failed; as we deserved to fail, most miserably. We have
    built upon this most uncertain apex as a base, an inverted
    pyramid by which ocean and land carriers, merchants, brokers,
    speculators, and every branch of parasite commerce were to
    wax lustily. We may devise as we will rural credits, schools
    of agriculture, prophets of agrarian science, bellowing from
    the tail-end of peripatetic railway coaches, grants of seed,
    warrants, elevators, labour-saving machinery, and every other
    panacea to nurse the sick field labourer. Until we give him
    fixity of tenure he will continue to be a sick man. There has
    been no other solution to agricultural problems of the past.
    There can be no other solution. Our present rural population,
    concentrated on less than the present area they are engaged in
    cultivating, with continuity of usufruct or compensation for
    improvements secured to them, would produce a larger cereal
    harvest than they now do, and add to the wealth of our animal
    produce, and still more to the accumulation of our national
    thrift.

In Uruguay progress is still possible to the existing population; since
the consequences of the civil disturbances which until recently paralysed
the production of this country, by the constant commandeering of men,
horses and supplies by one or other of the combatant parties, have not
yet been overcome by the existing settlers who, therefore, still have
work ready to their hands. Nevertheless, for Uruguay also it is a case
of the more the merrier; more available labour, more rapidly increased
agricultural output. Once means are found for an appreciable and constant
increase of the population of these countries, immediate results of such
increase may be expected not only from their production of Cereals,
Live Stock and the “Secondary” products already enumerated, but also
from coffee, chicory, tea, arrowroot, sugar-beet, sweet sorghum, hops,
cinnamon, vanilla and very many others, for the cultivation of all of
which favourable conditions are to be found in one or other of the
various climates found between the many degrees of latitude traversed by
the length of Argentina and the various altitudes between the Argentine
Andine frontier line and the sea.

At the same time much could be done for their own comfort and prosperity
by farmers, in the ample time which their chief occupations necessarily
leave them, by the cultivation of some of these secondary products for
their and their neighbours’ use. At present their almost unaccountable
neglect to do so justifies an _obiter dictum_ of the great Argentine
statistician, Dr. Francisco Latzina, in a Monograph by him attached to
the last Argentine agricultural Census.

“It seems to me,” Dr. Latzina says, “that the Ministry of Agriculture
ought to take a decided initiative in encouraging horticulture which, as
we see, does not supply the National demand. To add to the climax, even
eggs are imported in this year of grace. If this goes on, the day will
come, perhaps, when bread and milk shall be imported in order to be able
to export all the wheat, flour and butter produced in the country.” (By
“horticulture” Dr. Latzina means, in this connection, the produce of the
Kitchen garden.)

It is a fact that, as he says elsewhere in the same Monograph, garlic and
onions, peas and beans figure among the imports of a country possessing
millions of acres of fertile land! While the farmer frequently buys his
potatoes at the Store. This neglect on his part of everything which does
not savour of export is one of the factors of dear living in Argentina.
Uruguay is on a somewhat different footing in this regard, her rural
population having, as has already been indicated, still about as much as
it can do in making good the ravages of past Revolutions.

Still Uruguay sends vegetables to Buenos Aires, and Uruguayan housewives
complain of the high prices of Kitchen stuff which, consequently, now
rule in the Montevidean markets.

A very large proportion indeed of the whole of the Republic of Uruguay
may be considered as cultivable. In Argentina the question of how much of
the whole area of that country may be so considered is yet without exact
solution.

In this regard therefore it may be well again to quote Dr. Latzina, who
says:—[38]

    It is difficult to determine even approximately the cultivable
    area of Argentina, because hitherto, and yet for some time to
    come, the extent covered by mountains, deserts, salt marshes,
    sand-hills, swamps, moors and lagoons, and the Patagonian
    table-lands, which are almost entirely uncultivable—not so much
    so on account of the poor soil, but on account of the want
    of water and the boisterous and continuous winds which blow
    incessantly day and night in those parts. A calculation such
    as I wish to make can only be roughly made, and I may say that
    I doubt if the cultivatable area of Argentina be greater than
    half its total area—in round numbers, 150,000,000 hectares.

Dr. Latzina then suggests the reservation of two-thirds of that area for
stock-breeding, leaving only 50,000,000 hectares for pure agriculture.

However, hardly one-half of this last-mentioned area is as yet under
cultivation; leaving plenty of room for the present for the extension of
agriculture.

This fact of very large areas within the Territory of the Argentine
Republic being, chiefly for climatic reasons (e.g. the more southern and
the mountainous parts of Patagonia), unfit for either cultivation or
pasturage, except in the latter regard for goats and perhaps the very
roughest kinds of sheep, should not be lost sight of when comparing
Argentina with Uruguayan statistics. One eminent Uruguayan Agricultural
Authority, for instance, has triumphantly referred (in, it must be
considered, a more patriotic than strictly scientific spirit) to the
fact, as stated by him, that the value of the Exports of Uruguay, per
square mile of that Republic’s territory, are double those, similarly
reckoned, of Argentina. Even accepting his figures as correct, which
Argentine statisticians do not, the deduction he obviously suggests is
certainly based on fallacious reasoning; indeed, the very comparison
itself is misleading.

Uruguay is a small, compact country not two-thirds the size of the
Province of Buenos Aires, containing practically no exclusively
mountainous or arid or otherwise desert large areas and none of the
obstacles, of distance, or other kinds, encountered by transport in
Argentina.

Truly some statistics suggest that their compilers believe that “Figures
can be made to prove anything.”

In connection with Agriculture, locusts still unfortunately succeed
in not letting themselves be forgotten. From time to time vast swarms
of these rapacious insects appear, covering and darkening the sky for
leagues. They come from their breeding centres, undoubtedly somewhere in
the huge virgin tracts in the western tropical regions of Brazil. Many
well-meaning persons have counselled measures for their extermination
there. A counsel of perfection, alas! Those who have preached have never
been even on the frontiers of the thousands of square leagues of tropical
forest and undergrowth which yet have scarcely ever heard the voice of
man. To dream of exterminating locusts there is as if one proposed to
empty a running stream with a bucket. An impossibility.

All that can be done is to attack and destroy the swarms when they have
arrived. For this purpose special and, it should at once be said, very
successful organization have been brought into existence by the Argentine
National Government with the loyal concurrence and aid of the Provincial
Governments and by the Uruguayan Government.

At first the DEFENSA AGRICOLA, as this organization is called,
encountered a good deal of passive resistance from rural landowners
who, doubting its efficacy and seeing in it or affecting to see in it,
rather a means of affording remunerative jobs for Government hangers-on,
declared that its officials who pervaded the country requisitioning
labour and supplies were a worse nuisance than the locusts themselves.

The Defensa Agricola continued its work, however, unheeding of such
protests; and now, for some time past, may be said to have fully
justified its existence and its methods by results in both countries.

It has its centres of observation, like any other force prepared to repel
invasion, and, on the coming of a swarm being signalled, every human
being in its course is called upon to aid in the defence.

The plan of this defence consists, briefly, in driving and sweeping the
insects into trenches backed with long lines of sheets of corrugated
iron, placed together end to end. Once gathered into these trenches the
locusts are burned; and by the untiring continuance of this process they
are gradually destroyed before much damage (very small indeed compared
with the ravages of pre-Defensa Agricola days) has been done.

The sweeping-up process can be usefully employed for the extermination of
settled swarms otherwise its members will quickly proceed to deposit eggs
which later would hatch into young “hoppers” born with infinitely more
voracious appetites than even their parents had.[39]

Locusts, as has been seen, come from the North and in the normal course
of their nature would disappear again in that direction, leaving bare
fields and their hungry young behind them in memory of their visit. Still
in recent years, before the full development of the Defensa Agricola, it
appeared that locusts had actually become acclimatized in some regions of
both Republics, notably in the Southern part of the Province of Buenos
Aires and in the Territory of the Rio Negro, and therefore did not return
North but managed to survive frost.

This last menace may now, however, be considered as past.

The Defensa Agricola does not only devote its attention to locusts. It
possesses a highly trained scientific staff which combats the invasions
of all the other insect pests which from time to time threaten the crops,
vines or fruit and other trees and useful vegetation. It issues clear
instructions as to the treatment to be applied in each case and punishes
noncompliance with its orders by fines which it is empowered to inflict.

Agriculture has much for which to thank this Institution in respect of
protection against pests; the danger from which was increasing with the
importation of vines and fruit trees from other countries.

The Argentine organization is under the direct control of the Ministry
of Agriculture[40]; an indefatigable Government Department the immensely
wide sphere of whose work is ever increasing; Division being added to
Division as need arises from the ever-increasing number of the branches
of National Industry, whether agricultural or not. For instance, it
is only quite lately that anything like complete official statistics
have been obtainable in relation to internal manufactures. The country
regarded itself, as it was regarded abroad, as purely agricultural in the
broad sense including Live Stock production. Now these statistics are
regularly issued by the “Division of Commerce and Industry” so admirably
directed and watched over by Señor Ricardo Pillado; a veteran the list of
whose valuable economic services to the State dates from the financial
renaissance which followed the disastrous year 1891; in which renaissance
he played a very leading part.

Señor Pillado was largely instrumental in the devising and carrying
into execution of the drastic financial remedies rendered necessary by
the culminating abuses of the Juarez Celman regime; and it is to his
practical and patriotic genius that the Argentine statistical diagrams
and many other statistics of that country reproduced in this book owe
their existence and annual reappearances in the simple and striking forms
which is their very salient feature.


THE DEVELOPMENT OF ARGENTINE AGRICULTURE, 1896-1913

CULTIVATED AREAS IN HECTARES[41]

  ------+---------+---------+---------+---------+-------------+----------
  Years.|  Wheat. | Linseed.|  Maize. | Lucerne.|    Other    |  Total.
        |         |         |         |         |cultivations.|
  ------+---------+---------+---------+---------+-------------+----------
   1896 |2,500,000|  360,000|1,400,000|  800,000|    510,000  | 5,570,000
   1897 |2,600,000|  350,000|1,000,000|  900,000|    522,000  | 5,372,000
   1898 |3,200,000|  332,788|  850,000|1,067,983|    533,000  | 5,983,771
   1899 |3,250,000|  355,329|1,009,000|1,268,088|    545,000  | 6,427,417
   1900 |3,379,749|  607,352|1,255,346|1,511,601|    557,000  | 7,311,048
   1901 |3,296,066|  782,880|1,405,796|1,631,733|    567,000  | 7,638,475
   1902 |3,695,343|1,307,196|1,801,644|1,730,163|    580,270  | 9,114,616
   1903 |4,320,000|1,487,000|2,100,000|2,172,511|    606,000  |10,685,511
   1904 |4,903,124|1,082,890|2,287,040|2,503,384|    648,000  |11,424,438
   1905 |5,675,293|1,022,782|2,717,300|2,983,643|    682,443  |13,081,461
   1906 |5,692,268|1,020,715|2,851,300|3,537,211|    796,099  |13,897,593
   1907 |5,759,987|1,391,467|2,719,260|3,612,000|  1,129,078  |14,612,792
   1908 |6,063,100|1,534,300|2,973,900|3,687,200|  1,572,063  |15,830,563
   1909 |5,836,500|1,455,600|3,005,000|4,706,530|  3,772,042  |18,775,672
   1910 |6,253,180|1,503,820|3,215,350|5,400,580|  3,994,152  |20,367,082
   1911 |5,897,000|1,630,000|3,422,000|5,630,100|  4,304,589  |21,883,689
   1912 |6,918,450|1,733,330|3,830,000|5,955,000|  4,550,946  |22,987,726
   1913 |6,573,540|1,779,350|4,152,000|6,690,100|  4,896,736  |24,091,726
  ------+---------+---------+---------+---------+-------------+-----------


EXPORTS OF PRINCIPAL ARGENTINE AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS, 1875-1913

  --------+-----------+------------+------------+-----------+-------------
   Years. |   Oats.   |   Linseed. |    Maize.  |     Hay.  |    Wheat.
          |  $ gold.  |   $ gold.  |   $ gold.  |   $ gold. |   $ gold.
  --------+-----------+------------+------------+-----------+-------------
    1875  |      —    |       —    |      3,714 |   107,517 |      —
    1876  |      —    |       —    |    136,986 |   105,496 |          997
    1877  |      —    |       —    |    166,889 |   219,570 |        7,335
    1878  |      —    |      7,107 |    290,088 |   130,648 |      105,350
    1879  |      —    |     20,338 |    501,857 |   105,625 |    1,328,692
    1880  |      —    |     95,485 |    288,275 |   184,695 |       46,747
    1881  |      —    |    604,387 |    541,058 |    37,283 |       11,111
    1882  |      —    |  1,650,043 |  2,141,135 |   132,683 |       66,864
    1883  |      —    |  1,153,087 |    372,804 |   137,531 |    2,430,184
    1884  |      —    |  1,699,582 |  2,274,201 |   142,153 |    4,339,970
    1885  |      —    |  3,471,305 |  3,957,191 |   165,587 |    3,139,736
    1886  |      —    |  1,825,199 |  4,653,421 |   149,414 |    1,510,378
    1887  |      —    |  4,066,409 |  7,236,886 |   148,506 |    9,514,635
    1888  |      —    |  2,131,813 |  5,444,464 |   238,308 |    8,248,614
    1889  |      —    |  1,607,162 | 12,977,721 |   572,153 |    1,596,446
    1890  |      —    |  1,228,825 | 14,145,639 |   198,866 |    9,836,824
    1891  |      —    |    732,798 |  1,384,088 |   420,058 |   23,733,312
    1892  |      —    |  2,546,220 |  8,561,231 |   374,428 |   14,696,089
    1893  |    19,504 |  2,887,975 |  1,578,545 |   638,640 |   23,459,926
    1894  |    29,489 |  3,583,459 |  1,046,007 |   456,386 |   27,118,142
    1895  |   228,875 |  8,287,112 | 10,193,338 |   432,657 |   19,471,652
    1896  |    38,389 |  6,856,106 | 15,994,556 |   899,781 |   12,830,027
    1897  |    18,110 |  4,996,288 |  5,478,718 |   933,716 |    3,470,351
    1898  |    20,929 |  5,420,031 |  9,274,197 | 1,246,849 |   22,368,900
    1899  |    88,493 |  7,402,488 | 13,042,983 | 1,158,825 |   38,078,343
    1900  |   127,249 | 10,674,011 | 11,933,747 | 1,282,620 |   48,627,653
    1901  |    47,139 | 16,513,263 | 18,887,397 |   961,576 |   26,240,733
    1902  |   503,465 | 17,840,952 | 22,994,060 | 1,004,133 |   18,584,894
    1903  |   514,267 | 21,239,894 | 33,147,249 | 1,033,244 |   41,323,099
    1904  |   541,973 | 28,359,923 | 44,391,196 |   616,287 |   66,947,891
    1905  |   334,349 | 26,233,851 | 46,536,402 |   801,219 |   85,883,141
    1906  | 1,117,184 | 25,915,861 | 53,365,687 | 1,169,089 |   66,561,181
    1907  | 3,593,397 | 36,081,221 | 29,653,979 |   769,505 |   82,727,747
    1908  | 9,697,716 | 49,004,704 | 41,556,865 |   599,937 |  128,842,610
    1909  |10,115,161 | 43,713,358 | 58,374,430 |   580,853 |  106,038,940
    1910  | 8,142,575 | 44,604,395 | 60,260,804 |   478,228 |   72,202,260
    1911  |11,666,291 | 33,579,990 |  2,766,597 |   679,425 |   80,675,066
    1912  |21,858,517 | 34,213,565 |108,908,193 |   307,112 |   97,835,174
    1913  |20,447,278 | 49,910,201 |112,292,394 |   312,590 |  102,631,143
  --------+-----------+------------+------------+-----------+-------------
   Totals |89,150,350 |500,158,408 |766,754,992 |19,933,193 |1,252,532,157
  --------+-----------+------------+------------+-----------+-------------
       £  |17,688,561 | 99,237,780 |152,133,927 | 3,955,000 |  248,518,285
  --------+-----------+------------+------------+-----------+-------------

  --------+------------+-----------+-----------+-----------+--------------
          |            |           |       QUEBRACHO.      |
          |Wheat Flour.|  Bran.    +-----------+-----------+   Totals.
   Years. |  $ gold.   | $ gold    | Extract.  |   Logs.   |   $ gold.
          |            |           | $ gold.   |  $ gold.  |
  --------+------------+-----------+-----------+-----------+--------------
    1875  |      1,188 |     2,138 |     —     |     —     |      114,557
    1876  |     33,069 |     4,928 |     —     |     —     |      281,476
    1877  |     20,419 |     —     |     —     |     —     |      414,213
    1878  |    300,282 |    63,802 |     —     |     —     |      897,277
    1879  |    160,304 |    58,070 |     —     |     —     |    2,174,886
    1880  |    100,695 |    44,353 |     —     |    10,121 |      770,371
    1881  |    105,832 |    37,439 |     —     |    11,016 |    1,348,126
    1882  |     39,188 |    28,320 |     —     |     —     |    4,058,233
    1883  |    343,099 |    43,647 |     —     |     —     |    4,480,352
    1884  |    261,406 |    58,948 |     —     |     —     |    8,776,260
    1885  |    521,295 |    87,482 |     —     |     —     |   11,342,596
    1886  |    362,807 |    40,105 |     —     |     —     |    8,541,324
    1887  |    378,076 |    62,921 |     —     |     5,095 |   21,412,528
    1888  |    639,244 |    33,132 |     —     |   172,700 |   16,908,275
    1889  |    510,853 |    69,082 |     —     |   485,357 |   17,818,774
    1890  |    600,894 |    28,337 |     —     |   826,508 |   26,865,893
    1891  |    361,230 |   110,929 |     —     | 1,245,628 |   27,988,043
    1892  |  1,024,041 |   290,849 |     —     |   617,811 |   28,110,669
    1893  |  1,318,590 |   243,403 |     —     | 1,265,942 |   31,412,525
    1894  |  1,019,931 |   211,551 |     —     |   962,687 |   34,427,652
    1895  |  1,882,366 |   249,830 |    40,167 | 1,778,814 |   42,564,811
    1896  |  1,949,556 |   708,738 |    68,419 |   832,718 |   40,178,290
    1897  |  2,411,719 |   747,551 |   120,474 | 1,356,744 |   19,533,671
    1898  |  1,592,495 |   767,972 |   119,224 | 1,882,604 |   42,693,201
    1899  |  1,938,281 |   922,916 |   317,156 | 1,593,761 |   64,543,246
    1900  |  1,718,085 | 1,163,120 |   595,701 | 2,398,362 |   78,520,548
    1901  |  2,711,298 | 1,454,428 |   431,004 | 1,989,195 |   69,236,033
    1902  |  1,603,568 | 1,726,562 |   909,904 | 2,477,233 |   67,644,771
    1903  |  3,128,525 | 1,894,693 | 1,204,049 | 2,002,010 |  105,487,030
    1904  |  4,757,248 | 2,409,250 | 2,011,130 | 2,527,227 |  152,562,125
    1905  |  5,373,699 | 3,051,155 | 2,427,772 | 4,275,164 |  174,916,752
    1906  |  4,477,964 | 3,249,888 | 2,162,949 | 3,425,101 |  161,444,904
    1907  |  4,696,934 | 4,552,332 | 1,811,878 | 3,132,493 |  167,019,486
    1908  |  5,133,335 | 4,698,879 | 2,994,922 | 2,962,184 |  245,491,152
    1909  |  5,594,852 | 4,483,317 | 4,226,333 | 4,380,033 |  237,507,277
    1910  |  4,947,137 | 4,521,783 | 4,429,357 | 5,604,430 |  205,190,969
    1911  |  4,739,421 | 4,612,292 | 4,980,027 | 6,897,435 |  150,596,544
    1912  |  6,926,280 | 5,940,579 | 4,836,860 | 3,568,557 |  284,394,837
    1913  |  7,224,029 | 4,740,184 | 4,974,686 | 4,988,349 |  307,520,854
  --------+------------+-----------+-----------+-----------+--------------
   Totals | 80,909,235 |53,414,905 |38,662,012 |63,675,279 |2,865,190,531
  --------+------------+-----------+-----------+-----------+--------------
       £  | 16,053,419 |10,598,195 | 7,671,034 |12,633,983 |  568,490,184
  --------+------------+-----------+-----------+-----------+--------------

[Illustration: DEVELOPMENT OF ARGENTINE AGRICULTURE]

The total value of the Agricultural Exports during 1914 was some
$200,000,000 (gold), but recovery was made in 1915 to some $320,000,000
(gold) during the latter year.

The Argentine harvests of 1915-16 are estimated in round figures at:

  Wheat          5,500,000 tons
  Linseed        1,300,000  ”
  Oats           1,360,000  ”

The Maize crop is as yet unascertained at the time of writing.

The corresponding Uruguayan figures are as yet unobtainable. The
Statistical Department of this Republic was reorganized in 1912, but, no
doubt, has had to cope with enormous arrears. Still it is regrettable
that authoritative statistics regarding this country are difficult, when
not impossible, to obtain.

In 1913 Uruguay exported agricultural products of the value of
$(Uruguayan) 1,857,000. 400,000 hectares in Uruguay were under wheat, a
slightly less area under maize; the cultivation of oats was increasing
rapidly, and that of barley slowly.

As has already been mentioned, the present (1915-16) harvests are
reported as generally splendid in both countries though labour presents
a serious problem, as do freights and scarcity of ships for export. Such
complications have been prevalent and are likely to prevail throughout
the war.


THE SOIL

Naturally, the soil of such a vast area as that covered by the two
Republics of Argentina and Uruguay is varied to an extent with which a
book like the present cannot attempt to deal adequately. The greatest
feature is, however, the celebrated Pampean formation which obtains
over the whole of the Province of Buenos Aires, the greater parts of
the Provinces of Santa Fé, Córdoba, San Luis and Mendoza, the National
Territory of the Pampa Central, the Republic of Uruguay, and extends
southwards beyond the Argentine Rio Negro. In many places on this
formation there are also later alluvial deposits.

The lightest soils, those with the smallest proportion of clay and
consequently the loosest, are found in the West, near the Andes.

Starting from the most sandy western region, the soil grows more and
more compact towards the east, along the River Paraná, the South of
the Province of Santa Fé and most of the Republic of Uruguay, the
Northern part of the Province of Buenos Aires (where rather heavy soils
predominate); while in the South and South-West, that is to say the
southern portion of the Province of Córdoba, the National Territory of
the Pampa Central and the central and southern part of the Province of
Buenos Aires, the soil is of lighter, though firmer consistency, than
that of the western part.

The generally salient qualities of the Pampean soil are richness in
humus, deficiency in lime and good proportions of nitrogen and phosphoric
acid. A characteristic feature of the subsoil is stratified layers of
more or less calcareous concretions known as TOSCA (tufa or tophos
stone). This layer is sometimes deep down; but in the southern region of
the Province of Buenos Aires, beginning at Tandíl and Azul, it reaches
nearly to the surface, so as to appear immediately under the soil, thus
forming a waterproof subsoil impenetrable by roots.

The present writer has seen wheat growing on less than an inch of soil
above the tosca; the roots spreading out at right angles to the stalks.

These layers of tosca or, in other parts, clay, are of great importance
for holding water; seldom at any great distance from the surface.

On low and level plains when the soil is light or loose, chains of
sand-hills are formed by the prevailing winds. Some of these are kept
stationary by quick-growing vegetation, while others are constantly
shifting. The shifting sandhill is, however, fast disappearing in
consequence of the advances of pastoral industry; for, and by, which they
are becoming fixed by herbaceous growth.

The tosca and clay subsoils have in many parts occasioned the formation
of lagoons and swamps; the waters of which are, usually, at least
brackish and often salt. A white or grey efflorescence seen in these
swamps is locally called saltpetre, but in fact it only contains slight
traces of nitre.

Towards the extreme North of the Province of Entre Rios and the Republic
of Uruguay red soil heralds one’s approach to subtropical or tropical
vegetation.



CHAPTER XII

LIVE STOCK


General Mitre, in his _History of Belgrano_, has said of the River Plate
Territories:—

    The natural pastures invited the inhabitants to the pastoral
    industry. The vast littoral placed the country in contact
    with the rest of the world by means of fluvial and maritime
    navigation. Its salubrious and temperate climate rendered
    life more pleasant and work more reproductive. It was indeed
    a territory prepared for live-stock breeding, constituted for
    commercial prosperity, and predestined by acclimatization to
    be peopled by all the races of the earth. Thus we see that the
    profitable occupation of its soil commences to be realized by
    means of live stock brought overland from Peru and from Brazil;
    that the commercial currents of the interior converge little by
    little towards the River Plate; that abundance and well-being
    are spread by this means; and that the first external act of
    the colonists after the foundation of Buenos Aires in 1580 is
    the exportation of a shipload of the fruits of their own work
    (hides and sugar), which awakens immigration and the commerce
    of importation.

This reference to the “commerce of importation” is an indication of the
limitations under which the colonists laboured under Spanish rule. They
might import from Spain as much as they could, but a very jealous guard
was put on their exports lest these might compete with the industries of
the Mother Country.

Seventy-two horses and mares were landed by Pedro de Mendoza when he
founded the first settlement of Santa Maria de los Buenos Aires in 1535.
Many of his followers were killed by the native Indians, but when Juan
de Garay coming down through Paraguay laid the real foundations of
the present capital of the Argentine Republic, he and those with him
were surprised to find wild horses grazing on the Pampa. These were the
descendants of those brought by Mendoza and the ancestors of the present
equine stock of the River Plate countries, a stock which has, however,
in common with all the live stock of these countries, been improved out
of all recognition in the course of the last half-century by imported
European strains. Still the wild descendants of Mendoza’s animals,
acclimatized through countless generations and become hardy in their free
life, were no bad raw material to improve upon.

The first appearance of cattle on the River Plate Pampa is, as has
already been mentioned, credited to seven cows and a bull said to
have been brought from Brazil, through Paraguay, by two Portuguese,
the brothers Cipriano and Vicente Goes, early in the last half of the
sixteenth century, but other cattle were introduced in far larger
quantities about the same time or a little later under the conditions of
the appointment of Juan de Galazary Espinoza as Treasurer of the River
Plate. To Nunflo de Chaves is credited the honour of the introduction of
the first goats and sheep in 1550.

Evidently large numbers of horses, cattle and sheep afterwards strayed in
a semi-wild condition down south from Peru and Brazil, attracted by the
wealth of pasturage.

The early history of the export trade of the River Plate colonists in
hides, tallow, wool and jerked beef, is one of smuggling and bribery of
officials. Nevertheless, even under such difficult circumstances and
costly methods many settlers contrived, by also trading in European
merchandise, to amass great wealth, the fortunes of many of them, says
Mr. Gibson, amounting to over £60,000 sterling.

Meanwhile the increase of cattle was astounding if one did not consider
the difficulties in the way of its utilization. In the middle of the
seventeenth century anyone could take all he wanted from the wild herds
up to 10,000 or 12,000 head, or more by obtaining licence to do so from
the Governor.

The rights of free export of animal produce from Buenos Aires to Spain
and open trade with the interior were first granted to the River Plate
Colonies in 1778, under the Vice-Regal rule. But it was the Independence
of the Colonies in 1810 which freed them from all commercial trammels
and was the real commencement of their present agricultural and pastoral
prosperity. Since then no events (except, of course, the advent of the
railway in 1857) in the annals of the export commerce of the River Plate
have been of greater importance than the founding of the Argentine Rural
Society in 1866, and the discovery by Tellier of the preservation of meat
at freezing point submitted to the Paris Academy of Science in 1872, and
of Ferdinand Carré’s improvements for the transport of _chilled_ meat.

The first freezing establishment in the River Plate was that erected by
Señor Eugenio Terrasson at San Nicolás, in the Province of Buenos Aires,
in 1883, and in the following year the legislature exempted frozen and
chilled meat from the payment of export duty.

Over 99% of the whole exports of frozen and chilled meat from Argentina
comes direct to the United Kingdom,[42] and we get quite one-half of the
whole of our overseas meat and grain supplies from the two River Plate
Republics.

The past half-century has seen amazing changes on the vast pasture
lands of Argentina and Uruguay. The first of these was the invasion of
what had formerly been the exclusive domains of cattle and sheep by
agriculture. Little by little, wheat, especially, ousted the flocks and
herds from an ever-increasing radius from the port of Buenos Aires.
Land values increased as agriculture flourished till the time came when
stock-breeders found themselves outbidden by wheat-growers or, rather,
landowners found it more profitable to grow wheat or maize on lands which
were economically accessible to transport. As the railways grew so did
this almost exclusively cereal area.

This tendency continued until what may almost be termed the “discovery”
in the River Plate Territories of the qualities of Alfalfa (Lucerne).

The double value of this crop as fodder and for improving the land by
collecting and depositing atmospheric nitrogen, caused it to be planted
by every intelligent estanciero, and brought back much of the cattle
to properties which had seemed for ever given over to wheat-growing.
Other contemporary reasons for the reappearance of cattle on the home
lands were the increased demand for good slaughter animals initiated
by the newly established cold-storage and export business and dawning
appreciation of the fact that one cannot for ever go on growing
immediately successive crops of wheat on the same land.

Thus were laid some foundations of scientific farming on more civilized
lines, in which stock-raising and agriculture combine for the profit of
the farmer. The cattle industry and horse-breeding also, gained fresh
impetus from the abundance of alfalfa now grown everywhere on a large
scale and on brackish land formerly considered valueless.

Sheep only, with their nomadic nature which demands large areas on which
to roam, their close-cropping manner of grazing and their faculty for
quickly ruining alfalfa fields on which they may be allowed to graze,
are still only found in comparatively small numbers on the high-priced
lands of the East-Central parts of Argentina and the South of Uruguay,
being chiefly relegated to outlying districts in which land is still of
comparatively small value and particularly, in Argentina, to those parts
of Patagonia the inclement climate of which suits them as it does little
else.

Nevertheless, the finest breeds of sheep are chiefly to be found on the
“model” estancias, where as good live stock as any in the world is bred
and intensive farming has begun to be appreciated for its own sake and
on account of the normally ever-increasing value of land in all the most
fertile and accessible rural districts of the River Plate Republics.

Durhams and Lincolns are the favourite breeds of cattle and sheep, though
many fine strains of Herefords, Polled Angus, Merinos, Romney Marsh and
Shropshires abound. No price is too high for the Argentine estanciero
to pay for imported animals for the still greater perfection of his
stock, and the great Show held under the auspices of the Rural Society
at Palermo, a park-like suburb of the city of Buenos Aires, comes as a
revelation to each expert breeder who travels, as many do every year,
from Europe to the River Plate to see it. Money and care can do no better
anywhere in the production of animals of the very highest quality. It may
be noted that the prizes (always awarded by impartial foreign, usually
British, judges) are more frequently gained by native Argentine breeders.

River Plate live stock suffers very little indeed from any of the
diseases which are the breeder’s dread in most other countries; with the
exception of sheep and pigs, the former being greatly subject to “fluke”
and the latter to fever. Horse-breeding is carried on very successfully.
The carriage horses exported by Señor Martinez de Hoz and others are
now well known in Europe and the race-courses of Argentina and Uruguay
are the constant scenes of the display of very fine horse-flesh indeed.
That Argentine-bred race-horses are more successful in South America
than freshly imported ones is no doubt due to climatic causes. Argentine
race-horses are here specified because horse-breeding has been brought to
a higher pitch of perfection in Argentina than has yet been attained in
Uruguay.

Poultry and pig farming may yet be said to be in their infancy in both
Republics, simply because both countries are still quite fully occupied
with the two great established industries of producing grain and meat for
export.

Given adequate population (how often must one ring the changes on this
phrase!) very many rich sources of prosperity would quickly be disclosed
to now almost unsuspecting European eyes. Poultry and pigs are two of
the richest, and the most obvious for mention, in this chapter, of such
almost latent sources.

The cold-storage establishment at Zárate, in the Province of Buenos
Aires, some years ago erected a scientifically equipped plant for the
curing of hams and bacon. But the difficulty is yet to obtain sufficient
pigs of first quality to make the curing industry a success. Throughout
the temperate zone of South America the climatic conditions are quite
favourable to pig-raising; and food in the shape of maize and alfalfa
is abundant at relatively small cost. When pigs and poultry receive the
care which is now acknowledged to be necessary to, and given for, the
best results from cattle, horses and sheep, River Plate poultry and pig
produce will loom large on the markets of the world, besides supplying a
daily increasing local demand.

What has been called the Alfalfa region because of the astounding yield
of that forage given by its brackish, saltpetre-impregnated waters and
sandy soil, lies to the West of the Province of Buenos Aires. Almost
the whole of the two Republics are now, however, largely planted with
alfalfa, the spread of which has grown rapidly since the several valuable
qualities of that crop have come to be understood.

In many districts wheat has been sown on wheat year after year ever since
the booming times of South American cereal export began. So that in many
parts of such districts the soil can do no more, and in consequence the
wheat yield has become unsatisfactory.

When these districts cease entirely to be able to yield any wheat at all,
someone will lay down alfalfa as an alternate crop and will find the
cost of having done so, and of reploughing, say, three years afterwards,
insignificant compared with the value of the quantity and quality of
wheat the same land will yield after that process of alternation; not to
mention the value of the three years’ three or quite likely four, annual
crops of alfalfa taken off it during that period.

This form of intensive farming will probably be the first to become
obligatory, for economic reasons, on the generality of owners of land
situated in the chief cereal areas.

Till to-day, landowners in these large favoured tracts have grown
wealthy with little trouble and no thought as far as purely agricultural
enterprise, as apart from stock-breeding, is concerned.

All this is, however, a digression from our present consideration of
stock-raising, except as regards the increasingly intimate connection
between stock-raising and agriculture in the most thickly populated
districts; for the Argentine Rural Statistics (more availably complete
than those of Uruguay) show that the much greater proportion of cattle is
in the Provinces of Buenos Aires, Santa Fé, Córdoba and Entre Rios which
are four of the chief cereal areas. And though there are more cattle
in the province of Corrientes than in either of the three last-named
Provinces, the vast herds of one of the largest meat-extract companies
account for much of this. So that it may be taken that the Provinces of
Buenos Aires (represented by a long way by the highest figures), Santa
Fé, Córdoba and Entre Rios, with the Territory of the Pampa Central in
respect of cereals, are the regions which, together, are the richest in
Live Stock and cereals in Argentina.[43]

The following interesting table of the difference in numbers of cattle,
sheep, and horses in 1895 and 1908 is taken from the Argentine National
Census taken in the latter year, the latest census of the kind taken
throughout the Republic.


DIFFERENCE BETWEEN 1895 AND 1908

More (+), less (-) in 1908

  ------------------------------+---------------------------------------
                                |                SPECIES
     PROVINCES AND TERRITORIES  +------------+-------------+------------
                                |   CATTLE   |    SHEEP    |   HORSES
  ------------------------------+------------+-------------+------------
  Federal Capital and the       |            |             |
    Island of M. García         |-    11,538 |-      7,072 |+     7,367
  Buenos Aires                  |+ 2,605,339 |- 18,025,479 |+   844,568
  Santa Fé                      |+ 1,098,439 |-  1,019,371 |+   509,609
  Corrientes                    |+ 1,382,639 |+  1,733,462 |+   187,039
  Córdoba                       |+   754,554 |-    602,552 |+   579,080
  San Luis                      |-    98,925 |+    314,439 |+    67,290
  Tucumán                       |-    23,058 |+     25,134 |+    57,151
  Entre Rios                    |+   360,829 |+    795,284 |+   132,510
  Salta                         |+     9,398 |+     63,670 |+    26,115
  Catamarca                     |-     7,357 |+     28,899 |+    19,050
  Jujuy                         |-    16,337 |-     62,830 |+     8,673
  Mendoza                       |+    61,252 |+    120,186 |+    51,268
  La Rioja                      |+   170,603 |+     60,025 |+    22,986
  Santiago del Estero           |+    37,350 |+    316,978 |+    96,668
  San Juan                      |+    12,629 |+     37,237 |+     3,458
  Central Pampa                 |+    65,517 |-    486,100 |+    52,534
  Rio Negro                     |+   197,409 |+  3,715,067 |+   142,875
  Neuquen                       |+    20,022 |+    315,528 |+    47,680
  Chubut                        |+   305,051 |+  2,076,322 |+   152,925
  Santa Cruz                    |+    14,778 |+  2,018,302 |+    28,524
  Fireland                      |+    11,055 |+  1,335,186 |+     9,910
  Chaco                         |+   181,327 |+      2,318 |+    13,163
  Misiones                      |+    24,102 |+      3,382 |+    10,895
  Formosa                       |+   192,300 |+     20,044 |+    13,058
  The Andes                     |+       905 |+     54,133 |+       121
  ------------------------------+------------+-------------+------------
           Republic at large    |+ 7,415,099 |-  7,167,808 |+ 3,084,517
  ------------------------------+------------+-------------+------------

The result of the comparison is to show that in the provinces and
territories of the Republic, the number of cattle has increased by
7,415,099 head, and that of horses by 3,084,517 head, whereas sheep have
fallen off by 7,167,808.

The following are the figures for Cattle and Sheep respectively as
calculated by Señor Emilio Lahitte, Director of the Division of
Rural Economy and Statistics in the Argentine National Ministry of
Agriculture, existing in each Province and Territory of that Republic on
the 31st December, 1911.

  -----------------------------------------+------------+------------
                                           |   CATTLE   |    SHEEP
  -----------------------------------------+------------+------------
  Federal Capital                          |     14,338 |      1,222
  Province of Buenos Aires                 |  7,045,523 | 28,934,475
      ”       Santa Fé                     |  4,055,624 |  1,612,799
      ”       Córdoba                      |  2,251,744 |  2,753,773
      ”       Entre Rios                   |  2,260,078 |  6,721,976
      ”       Corrientes                   |  5,030,396 |  5,937,432
      ”       San Luis                     |    861,831 |  1,565,326
      ”       Santiago del Estero          |  1,121,374 |  1,344,024
      ”       Mendoza                      |    395,327 |    745,701
      ”       San Juan                     |    174,835 |    191,752
      ”       La Rioja                     |    600,582 |    234,587
      ”       Catamarca                    |    382,108 |    230,201
      ”       Tucumán                      |    653,458 |    234,591
      ”       Salta                        |    892,248 |    630,681
      ”       Jujuy                        |    172,387 |  1,128,321
  National Territory of Pampa Central      |    399,460 |  5,751,856
      ”        ”        Misiones           |    154,328 |     24,761
      ”        ”        Formosa            |    359,139 |     46,397
      ”        ”        Chaco              |    562,412 |     25,052
      ”        ”        Los Andes          |      2,057 |    108,523
      ”        ”        Rio Negro          |    379,312 |  8,476,993
      ”        ”        Neuquen            |    295,770 |  1,099,161
      ”        ”        Chubut             |    651,511 |  5,091,132
      ”        ”        Santa Cruz         |     55,442 |  4,946,677
      ”        ”        Tierra del Fuego   |     14,726 |  2,564,073
      ”        ”        Isla Martín García |        218 |     —
  -----------------------------------------+------------+------------
          Totals                           | 28,786,168 | 80,401,486
  -----------------------------------------+------------+------------

The 1908 Census showed that more than one-fourth of the whole cattle of
the Republic were Durhams, rather less than one-sixth Herefords and the
remainder made up of very much smaller quantities of Polled Angus, Dutch,
Red Polled, Jerseys, Flemish and Swiss, their numerical importance being
according to the order in which they are here stated, from a total of
125,829 Polled Angus to 3401 Swiss.

As has been said, Lincolns are still in most favour among sheep, followed
by Romney Marsh and other long-wool breeds, Shropshire, Hampshire and
Oxford Downs, Southdowns and Rambouillets and Merinos.

The reason for the great preference shown for Durhams is their reputation
for combined meat-carrying and milking qualities, in which latter
Herefords are relatively deficient. The dairy industries are already
developing on an important scale.

There are practically no parts of the River Plate Territories except
their forests, mountains and certain as yet unirrigated tracts, such as
the Valley of the Rio Negro, which are not naturally adapted to cattle
or sheep raising, or both, and at present Live Stock is to be found
in almost exclusive occupation of close on 96,000,000 hectares out of
the calculated total of 300 million hectares of cultivable land in the
Argentine Republic. These figures are taken from the 1908 Argentine
Census, above referred to.

The parallel figures for Uruguay are not available in such exact form
of statement, but it may be taken that there are very few parts of that
country in which cattle or sheep or both are not found.

Diseases of live stock are, as has been said, very conspicuous by their
relative total absence in both Republics, and farmers in both Argentina
and Uruguay are very sore about the sustained attitude of the British
Government which refuses to permit the entrance of River Plate live
stock on the hoof into British ports. The farmers are convinced that
this refusal is due to the influence of British breeders who, while
thus preventing what would otherwise be a serious menace to their own
industry, yet benefit by the South American acceptance of very high
priced animals imported from Great Britain for stud purposes. The weak
point of this argument is, of course, that such importation of prize
animals is in no way authoritatively enforced on the Argentine or
Uruguayan, his obligation to purchase such animals arising only from his
necessity to do so in his own best interests. The danger on his side
arises from the possibility of latent tuberculosis and other disease, but
this he now guards very effectually against, often at much pecuniary
loss to himself, by severe tests carried out by competent veterinary
surgeons on all imported animals and the unhesitating sacrifice of any
found to be infected.

The present writer is inclined to venture the opinion that the British
Government might rely with safety on the certificates of Argentine and
Uruguayan Government experts of the immunity of all cattle and sheep
leaving either Republic on the hoof. It does, in effect, accept such
certificates in regard to the condition of frozen or chilled carcases;
and, morality apart, it may safely be taken that every Argentine and
Uruguayan interested is much too fully aware of the importance to himself
individually of the countries’ export trade to risk the slightest laxity
in connection with the sure ascertainment of perfect immunity from
disease or contagion of all animals shipped from his Ports.

As this matter now stands, the British authorities refuse to permit the
importation of live cattle or sheep until such time as the Argentine
or Uruguayan Governments can give assurance of the _total absence_ of
disease in _every_ part of their Republics.

It can easily be understood that this practically postpones such
permission to the Millennium, since it is most highly improbable that
the whole of such vast areas of pasturage and the millions of head of
live stock in Argentina and Uruguay should ever be without one beast
affected in more or less degree by any contagious disease. One day,
probably (before the Millennium), other counsels will prevail with the
British Government and the whole people of Great Britain, as well as
Argentine and Uruguayan estancieros benefit by the removal of the present
comprehensive prohibition.

For his stock, the Argentine and Uruguayan farmer does not fear disease,
that he and his Governments can and do very efficiently guard against,
but he does fear drought which he yet has only inadequate means to combat.

The streams of the huge Pampean flat are few and far between, and are
apt to dry up in exceptionally dry seasons. Almost everywhere now the
sky-line is dotted with corrugated-iron windmills which draw water
from surface or artesian wells. But vast and costly irrigation (and
drainage) works are needed before the whole available pasturage of the
two Republics can defy the recurrence of times of drought which sometimes
much more than decimate the live stock of enormous districts. Uruguay is,
however, infinitely better provided with running rivers and streams than
Argentina.

It was a long time before the native Argentine small farmer could be got
to see the real economy of outlay on artesian wells and still in the more
illiterate outlying Provinces are to be found men as yet unconvinced in
that regard.

One of the agricultural instructors which the Argentine Government keeps
travelling all over the country to give advice and instruction to farmers
told the present writer not so very long ago that he had tried very hard
but without success to persuade a man in a remote corner of Argentina,
whose stock was daily dying of drought, to sink at least one artesian
well on his property, and even offered to erect a windmill for him free
of all cost except that of the actual mill.

At last, one evening, the farmer consented to this proposal, but the
following morning brought a cloudy sky. Pointing dramatically to this
he said, “Why should I sink wells? See! Rain is coming.” After that,
my friend, the expert, gave the matter up in disgust. It was of no use
telling the farmer that drought might come again. Sufficient for the day
had been the evil thereof; and, as for future troubles, why meet them
half-way?

Uruguay is relatively very rich in sheep, which thrive well on her
undulating lands, and exports wool to the annual value of well over
£4,000,000.

The value of Argentine annual wool exports now totals over £9,000,000.

The real commencement of the pastoral as well as the agricultural
industries of the River Plate in systematized form was the introduction
of fences by a landowner named Olivera, in 1838. As may be conjectured,
the erection of boundaries where none had ever been before, on properties
the titles to and limits of which were of the vaguest description, mostly
partook of the nature of an arbitrary proceeding. So evidently thought
Manuel Rozas, the tyrant; who summarily prevented Olivera from continuing
the fencing the latter had begun on his estancia “Los Remedios,” although
Olivera’s new boundaries were but ditches crowned with quick-set hedges
of “Añapinday” (_Acacias affinis_).

After the death of Rozas, however, in 1844, an English estanciero,
Richard Newton, first employed iron wire for some of the enclosures of
his property; and, later, another landowner, named Halbach, completely
enclosed the whole of his estancia.

The founder of the Argentine Rural Society, Dr. Eduardo Olivera, says in
one of his agricultural essays:—

    To these three men (Olivera, Newton and Halbach) the Republic
    owes the transformation of its pastoral and agricultural
    industries.

It was only after the enclosing of lands that refining of stock became
possible. Previously, a stock-owner was always subject to invasion by
stray animals (often in large numbers) belonging to his neighbours.

Thus, as we have seen, the first step, the introduction of wire fencing,
towards the present development of the Live Stock industry of the River
Plate was initiated by an Englishman, and it was another Englishman, Mr.
John Miller, who, in 1848, imported from England, for a Mr. White, the
owner of the estancia “La Campana,” _Tarquin_, the first shorthorn bull
ever seen on the River Plate.

Therefore the River Plate Territories really owe their pastoral
development as well as their railways to the Anglo-Saxon race.

Some ten years later it became the fashion to import stallions of the
carriage and riding kinds; it not being foreseen that the heavier breeds
would also prove useful.

Then came the turn of sheep-breeding; first from imported Merinos. Later,
Rambouillets were introduced and a little later again the Lincoln began
to assert its right to the predominance it has since attained.

In 1866 the Argentine Rural Society was founded by a few leading
estancieros. Still a private society, its admirable and constantly
progressive efforts, usually crowned with success, have given it a status
which is practically official.

The Society has a Registration Office which keeps authoritative Herd and
Flock Books in which are entered the pedigrees of all the pure-breed
cattle, sheep and horses in the country whose owners have applied for
such registration; except thoroughbred horses and merino sheep, the
breeders of which last have not yet arrived at the definition of the
purity of that class of sheep. The walls of this Office are lined with
the Herd and Flock Books of the Breeding Societies of Great Britain and
her Colonies, and, as Mr. Herbert Gibson, himself a prominent member of
the Society, tells us, “there is not in the whole world an analogous
office which covers so diverse and numerous a registration.”

The latest (1908) official Argentine live stock Census gives the
following tables of, respectively, the importation of pedigree bulls and
cows and pedigree rams and ewes, from 1880 to 1907.


PEDIGREE BULLS AND COWS

                                            Official
                               No. of        values.
                                Head.        $ gold.
  From the United Kingdom      14,624       3,770,031
    ”  France                     583         120,724
    ”  Belgium                    325          75,235
    ”  the United States          169          41,200
    ”  Germany                    153          27,770
    ”  Chile                      113          27,034
    ”  Italy                       62           9,553
    ”  Holland                     50           5,300
    ”  Spain                       40           5,700
    ”  Other countries             40          13,870
                               ------       ---------
                               16,156       4,492,372
                               ------       ---------


PEDIGREE RAMS AND EWES

                                            Official
                               No. of        values.
                                Head.        $ gold.
  From the United Kingdom      65,724       3,141,971
    ”  Germany                  3,327         207,833
    ”  France                   1,184          60,154
    ”  the United States          502          33,250
    ”  British Possessions        223          15,500
    ”  Belgium                    209          19,829
    ”  Australia                  125           5,100
    ”  Spain                      128           8,165
    ”  Italy                       56             540
    ”  Holland                     10              30
                               ------       ---------
                               71,488       3,492,372
                               ------       ---------

Total value of cattle and sheep imported for breeding purposes during the
above indicated period $7,588,780 gold—£1,517,756. These animals have
proved worth vastly more than the prices paid for them.

Prior to this, in 1858, the first Rural Show was organized at Palermo.
It was not a success. As Dr. Zeballos has written, “It was held in the
midst of public indifference and passed utterly unnoticed by the press.”
However, it seems to have only been a sort of fair at which all kinds of
other wares jostled some rural produce. In face of this fiasco it is not
surprising that no other Rural Show was held until thirteen years later;
when a really Rural Show was held in the City of Córdoba. This appears to
have had as much success as was to be expected after taking difficulties
of transport into consideration.

The real commencement, however, of the series of great annual shows now
held at Palermo was made by the Rural Society in 1875.

The chief live stock exhibits at these shows consists of—

  HORSES.  “Criollos” (native breed).
           Saddle and race horses.
           Light draught.
           Heavy draught (now in the majority).

  CATTLE.  Shorthorn (in a very large majority).
           Hereford.
           Polled Angus.
           Dairy breeds.

  SHEEP.   Merino.
           Lincoln-Merino crossbreds.
           Lincoln.
           Romney Marsh.
           Shropshire Down.
           Oxford Down.
           Hampshire Down.
           Leicester.

The majority of the sheep exhibits are Lincolns and Merinos.

Fine Pigs and Poultry of all kinds are also to be seen at these shows,
but they are chiefly contributed by the wealthier estancieros. As has
been indicated, the day of pig and poultry farming on a large practical
scale has not yet dawned on the River Plate.

Mr. Herbert Gibson shows us, in his valuable Monograph attached to the
Argentine National Agricultural and Live Stock Census of 1908, that the
coming of Cold Storage establishments, as well as the increase of the
export trade for animals on the hoof, was very largely instrumental in
securing the predominance of the Lincoln breed, most frequently crossed
with merino.

Merino for wool and Lincoln for mutton; and the cross which preserves the
best qualities of both is in effect the guiding rule of the River Plate
sheep-breeder of to-day. However, with the coming of alfalfa came also
the various black-faced or Down breeds which mature quickly into fine
meat carcases.

It may be said that barbed wire, iron water-drawing windmills and cold
storage establishments are the chief inanimate supports of the River
Plate Live Stock industries. Another should be trees; the prime necessity
of which to afford shade for animals which know no other roof but the
heavens, from which a very hot sun shines on the Pampa in summer time, is
not yet as generally appreciated as it should be. Still the planting of
trees on pasture lands began some years ago, and only could be wished to
spread more quickly and universally than it has yet done.

One is all too apt in dealing with the River Plate Republics to confine
one’s ideas regarding them to industries of a magnitude commensurate with
the huge extent of their Territories; but with the coming of the real
colonist, when he does come, the mixed farming which, necessarily for his
own comfort, he will bring with him will greatly enhance the importance
of milch breeds of cattle, pigs, poultry and the produce of the kitchen
garden in the rural economy of the River Plate.


ARGENTINE LIVE STOCK

(LAST CENSUS, 30TH MAY, 1908)

  -------+------------+----------------------------------
         |            |       OFFICIAL VALUATION.
         |  Number of |----------------------------------
         |     Head.  |  $ currency.  | Equivalent in £.
  -------+------------+---------------+------------------
  Cattle | 29,116,625 |   938,685,834 |  81,981,295
  Sheep  | 67,211,758 |   287,359,076 |  25,096,863
  Horses |  7,531,376 |   205,826,834 |  17,976,143
  Mules  |    465,037 |    22,561,075 |   1,970,399
  Swine  |  1,403,591 |    15,672,637 |   1,368,789
  Goats  |  3,945,086 |     8,321,839 |     726,798
  Asses  |    285,088 |     2,854,950 |     249,341
                      +---------------+------------------
                      | 1,481,282,245 | 129,369,628
                      +---------------+------------------


EXPORTS OF PRINCIPAL ARGENTINE ANIMAL PRODUCTS, 1885 TO 1913

  ------+----------+---------+----------+----------+-----------+-----------
        |  Salted  |         |          |          |   Salted  |
        |  Horse   |Dry Horse|Goatskins.| Kidskins.|   Ox and  |Dry Ox and
  YEARS.|  Hides.  |  Hides. | $ gold.  |  $ gold. | Cow Hides.|Cow Hides.
        |  $ gold. | $ gold. |          |          |  $ gold.  |  $ gold.
  ------+----------+---------+----------+----------+-----------+-----------
   1885 |   682,260|   65,651| 1,081,762|   641,050|  4,488,204|  7,511,919
   1886 |   587,271|   86,178|   306,577|   502,040|  3,649,287|  6,267,592
   1887 |   523,128|  231,236|   460,140|   699,569|  3,639,095|  8,408,742
   1888 |   815,840|   84,745|   585,478|   864,111|  4,584,728| 10,046,281
   1889 |   759,588|   77,487|   821,590|   598,677|  5,260,945|  8,448,069
   1890 |   519,483|   82,074| 1,023,478|   754,295|  5,171,473|  5,759,745
   1891 |   908,912|  146,275|   676,329|   687,851|  3,782,143|  5,049,556
   1892 |   380,274|  142,278|   493,647|   593,111|  3,901,454|  6,056,865
   1893 |   673,936|  205,186|   392,958|   607,019|  3,073,310|  5,869,157
   1894 |   758,393|  287,769|   588,458|   819,045|  3,553,198|  7,045,877
   1895 | 1,381,719|  203,652|   648,600|   765,702|  6,332,204|  8,940,950
   1896 |   360,109|  141,847|   689,031|   687,928|  4,598,515|  6,600,005
   1897 |   515,708|  240,763|   779,750|   652,331|  4,605,572|  8,596,344
   1898 |   522,368|  288,734| 1,282,816|   439,546|  5,171,440|  6,887,596
   1899 |   459,824|  233,484| 1,211,087|   541,632|  4,334,832|  8,001,132
   1900 |   389,625|  274,428|   770,499|   260,119|  5,285,819|  8,159,542
   1901 |   390,826|  293,405|   791,745|   304,494|  5,281,756|  8,848,438
   1902 |   406,794|  460,906|   823,328|   292,704|  6,384,955|  8,822,302
   1903 |   453,237|  424,616|   847,465|   221,996|  5,360,748|  7,787,819
   1904 |   507,450|  368,450| 1,078,196|   285,630|  5,367,610|  8,256,351
   1905 |   160,799|  444,027| 1,080,305|   264,462|  9,147,153|  9,929,391
   1906 |    68,933|  507,738| 1,116,762|   256,976|  8,458,664| 10,570,124
   1907 |    51,691|  261,721|   574,204|   237,055|  8,345,410|  8,175,722
   1908 |    18,740|  248,077|   934,174|   184,276|  7,232,842|  8,452,819
   1909 |    28,026|  657,009| 1,124,524|   335,735| 14,214,746| 14,763,693
   1910 |    15,526|  484,893| 1,001,824|   310,694| 16,953,372| 13,758,036
   1911 |    33,374|  591,748|   998,631|   285,114| 19,642,362| 14,797,653
   1912 |    23,112|  356,305| 1,231,906|   228,604| 24,844,075| 17,285,501
   1913 |    20,394|  375,253| 1,162,878|   270,857| 24,543,795| 13,988,905
        +----------+---------+----------+----------+-----------+-----------
  Totals|12,417,340|8,265,934|24,578,142|13,592,623|228,209,707|263,086,126
        +----------+---------+----------+----------+-----------+-----------
   = £  | 2,463,757|1,640,066| 4,876,615| 2,696,954| 45,279,703| 52,199,628
  ------+----------+---------+----------+----------+-----------+-----------

  ------+-----------+-------------+----------+-----------+----------
        |           |             |   Horse  |           |
  YEARS.|Sheepskins.|    Wool.    |   hair.  |  Tallow.  |  Butter.
        |  $ gold.  |   $ gold.   | $ gold.  |  $ gold.  |  $ gold.
  ------+-----------+-------------+----------+-----------+----------
   1885 |  6,267,377|   35,950,111| 1,004,649|  3,489,169|     —
   1886 |  6,350,671|   31,711,604|   775,977|  1,715,158|     —
   1887 |  6,698,408|   32,749,315|   998,643|    788,777|     —
   1888 |  5,610,923|   44,858,606| 1,257,970|  2,140,393|     —
   1889 | 11,386,593|   56,709,774| 1,157,525|  3,297,471|     1,618
   1890 |  6,787,108|   35,521,681|   929,686|  1,996,629|     9,608
   1891 |  4,833,991|   36,037,518|   936,470|  2,391,388|       660
   1892 |  9,618,175|   44,326,060|   790,227|  2,263,729|     3,045
   1893 |  4,158,777|   25,006,348|   829,762|  2,549,763|     8,347
   1894 |  4,915,384|   28,948,933|   996,468|  2,809,450|     5,850
   1895 |  3,711,966|   31,029,522| 1,070,770|  3,807,751|   123,600
   1896 |  4,061,055|   33,516,049|   902,441|  3,179,326|   225,771
   1897 |  4,094,640|   37,450,244|   980,650|  2,656,048|   249,928
   1898 |  6,194,267|   45,584,603| 1,099,465|  2,862,512|   231,626
   1899 |  9,308,535|   71,283,619| 1,129,912|  2,205,593|   294,872
   1900 |  7,472,988|   27,991,561| 1,136,107|  2,803,327|   263,939
   1901 |  7,339,811|   44,666,483| 1,004,677|  3,902,715|   377,545
   1902 |  8,487,078|   45,810,749| 1,064,646|  6,209,038| 1,277,969
   1903 | 10,132,065|   50,424,168| 1,147,879|  4,755,579| 2,132,056
   1904 |  8,676,025|   48,355,002| 1,025,580|  4,012,083| 2,117,761
   1905 |  9,483,396|   64,312,927| 1,245,788|  5,321,099| 2,157,294
   1906 |  8,513,910|   58,402,771| 1,243,812|  3,482,526| 1,762,130
   1907 |  8,458,030|   59,252,948| 1,280,122|  4,806,835| 1,214,173
   1908 |  5,626,416|   47,246,183| 1,143,615|  6,030,601| 1,419,867
   1909 |  8,483,993|   59,921,151| 1,368,724|  7,573,230| 2,597,089
   1910 |  8,623,922|   58,847,699| 1,335,160|  9,536,681| 1,150,610
   1911 |  7,724,872|   50,494,027| 1,581,710| 11,768,900|   558,253
   1912 |  7,657,157|   58,148,664| 2,111,177| 11,314,728| 1,470,682
   1913 |  5,586,253|   45,270,016| 2,681,723|  9,944,642| 1,513,758
        +-----------+-------------+----------+-----------+----------
  Totals|206,263,786|1,309,828,336|34,221,335|129,617,141|21,068,053
        +-----------+-------------+----------+-----------+----------
    = £ | 40,925,354|  259,886,575| 6,789,947| 25,717,686| 4,180,169
  ------+-----------+-------------+----------+-----------+----------

  ------+-------------
        |
  YEARS.|   Totals.
        |   $ gold.
  ------+-------------
   1885 |   61,182,152
   1886 |   51,952,355
   1887 |   55,187,053
   1888 |   70,849,074
   1889 |   88,519,337
   1890 |   58,555,260
   1891 |   55,451,093
   1892 |   68,568,865
   1893 |   43,374,563
   1894 |   50,728,825
   1895 |   58,016,456
   1896 |   54,962,077
   1897 |   60,721,978
   1898 |   70,564,973
   1899 |  100,004,524
   1900 |   54,809,954
   1901 |   73,201,895
   1902 |   80,040,469
   1903 |   83,687,628
   1904 |   80,050,138
   1905 |  103,546,641
   1906 |   94,384,346
   1907 |   92,657,911
   1908 |   78,537,610
   1909 |  111,067,920
   1910 |  112,018,417
   1911 |  108,476,644
   1912 |  124,671,911
   1913 |  105,358,474
        +-------------
  Totals|2,251,148,523
        +-------------
    = £ | £446,656,453
  ------+-------------

The average annual value of the Live Stock products of Uruguay during
the five years ending 1913 was $39,682,850 (Uruguayan) = £8,443,315.
Similarly with Cereal Exports, Live Stock Exports dropped in 1914, but
have more than recovered during 1915. Evidently, however, no War-time
Export Statistics can be taken as indications of the true productiveness
of the countries concerned.


THE MEAT TRADE

The export of Meat from the River Plate Territories is no new thing; the
first of such exports being authorized by Philip III of Spain in 1602.

The export under this edict was entirely confined to jerked beef; the
salting industry only obtaining important development considerably later.
It was not until 1793 that we find another Royal Edict which granted
freedom from Export and Import duties for the salted meat and tallow of
Buenos Aires.

About three-fourths of the exports under these Edicts usually went to
Havana and the remainder to Spain.

The next development of this industry was begun when in 1841 a certain
Hipolito Doinnel established a salting factory at the foot of the Cerro
at Montevideo; at which he also manufactured soap, candles and sulphuric
acid.

During all this period the export of hides was constantly much greater
than that of meat.

The first mention of the export of horse hair relates to the year 1585,
when from 300 to 400 mares were ordered to be killed so that their tails
might be sent to the Guinea coast to be bartered for slaves.

The first privilege or patent granted in the now already independent
River Plate Territories for meat preservation was granted by the Congress
at Paraná, in 1854, to one Samuel Laffone Quevedo for the exclusive use
of a machine invented by him for the preparation and pressing of salted
beef.

Further experiment in preservation, by either heat, cold or in a vacuum,
led to many local patents being granted for various processes from the
year 1867 onward, to the present day in fact; in respect of alternative
systems or suggested improvements of those generally in use.

The historic beginning, however, of the present River Plate Meat Industry
was made in the year 1877 in the spring of which _La Frigorifique_ and in
the autumn of which _La Paraguay_, specially fitted boats, sailed from
Buenos Aires with cargoes of meat preserved by the freezing and chilling
systems discovered by Mr. Charles Tellier.

Thus, while in the past the River Plate Territories exported only
sun-dried meat for the slaves on the Brazilian and Havana sugar
plantations, now they supply meat to the most highly civilized and
exacting countries of the world.

The free export of frozen meat was sanctioned by the Argentine Congress
in 1884, two years after the first of the existing cold storage
establishments in Argentina had been started by Mr. Alfred Drabble. An
establishment which still continues to carry on business successfully
under the control of “The River Plate Fresh Meat Company.”

Other large companies which exploit this industry are the Sansinena
“La Negra” (est. 1883), the “Las Palmas Produce Co.” (est. 1892), the
“La Plata Cold Storage Co.” (est. 1902), the “La Blanca” Cold Storage
(est. 1902), the Sansinena “Cuatreros” (est. 1903), “The Smithfield and
Argentine Meat Co.” (est. 1905), and the “Frigorifico” (est. 1905).

The Meat Trade recognizes an average difference of weight between
Argentine and Uruguayan beef and between Argentine, Uruguayan and
“Patagonian” mutton. Argentine quarters of beef run about 12 to the ton
and Uruguayan about 14 to the ton. Argentine mutton carcases run about
40, Uruguayan about 45 to the ton, and mutton carcases from Patagonia (in
Argentina) some 2 or 3 lbs. lighter than Uruguayan.

Already in March, 1915, British Trade Reports showed that the meat trade
in Great Britain was particularly dull on account of the extremely
high prices ruling and the impossibility of retailers being able to
get an equivalent in their shops. Since then, through the fact of the
Governments of the belligerent powers being, as they are and are expected
to be, large buyers, the conditions of the British Trade have been
completely, if temporarily, changed by the War.[44]


MEAT TRADE EXPORTS FROM 1885 TO 1913

  ------+-----------+-----------+---------+----------+----------+----------
        |   Frozen  |           |  Sundry |          |          |
        | & chilled |  Frozen   |  frozen |Preserved |Extract of| Powder of
        |   beef    |  mutton   |  meats  |  meats   |   beef   |   meat
  YEARS |           |           |         |          |          |
        |   $ gold  |  $ gold   | $ gold  |  $ gold  |  $ gold  |   $ gold
  ------+-----------+-----------+---------+----------+----------+----------
   1885 |      1,680|     75,323|     —   |     —    |     —    |    —
   1886 |     12,800|    360,508|    1,876|     —    |   169,991|    —
   1887 |       —   |    963,112|    8,837|     —    |    75,888|    15,250
   1888 |      3,326|  1,459,839|   38,343|    13,809|   128,080|   117,457
   1889 |     58,742|  1,322,604|   17,930|   101,714|   105,668|    19,830
   1890 |     53,029|  1,633,105|     —   |    42,661|   375,132|    19,175
   1891 |      5,902|  1,862,247|   31,211|   258,926|   389,454|    62,116
   1892 |     22,695|  2,034,898|   49,217|   633,601|   520,892|   226,288
   1893 |    222,279|  2,003,254|   34,324|   196,080|   198,070|    75,497
   1894 |     12,400|  1,864,110|   59,645|    65,250|   134,393|    21,562
   1895 |     63,482|  1,675,273|   16,120|    92,325|   208,399|    21,217
   1896 |    119,863|  1,804,205|   24,204|   204,315|   683,487|    13,551
   1897 |    169,644|  2,035,778|   27,903|   115,127|   257,772|     5,582
   1898 |    234,681|  2,393,358|   38,839|   162,294|   605,522|    58,034
   1899 |    363,141|  2,265,069|   36,863|   181,600|   765,504|    —
   1900 |  2,458,957|  4,512,973|   70,797|   140,480|   230,416|    —
   1901 |  4,490,447|  5,041,023|   91,648|    94,717|   433,590|    —
   1902 |  7,001,833|  6,405,804|  163,820|   164,404|   592,696|    —
   1903 |  8,151,956|  6,251,959|  203,973|   374,154|   693,174|    —
   1904 |  9,774,354|  7,089,287|  272,308|   242,861|   414,188|     4,885
   1905 | 15,285,693|  6,268,059|  356,299|   248,826|   870,950|   599,460
   1906 | 15,380,897|  5,391,055|  400,275|   125,908|   842,142|   959,203
   1907 | 13,822,162|  5,582,781|  450,198|   159,477| 1,791,574| 1,536,828
   1908 | 18,081,443|  6,307,688|  740,421|   178,057| 1,379,952| 1,239,918
   1909 | 21,065,747|  5,319,612|  649,206|   639,013| 2,702,988| 1,057,675
   1910 | 25,370,815|  6,008,133|  721,618| 1,215,370| 3,046,680| 1,267,964
   1911 | 31,283,396|  6,873,285|  946,859| 1,541,333| 1,031,154|   904,730
   1912 | 34,285,076|  5,613,971|1,017,992| 1,769,882| 1,223,860| 1,349,557
   1913 | 36,622,889|  3,674,206|  910,311| 1,257,391| 1,598,136| 1,097,566
        +-----------+-----------+---------+----------+----------+----------
  Totals|244,419,329|104,092,519|7,381,037|10,219,575|21,469,752|10,673,945
        +-----------+-----------+---------+----------+----------+----------
     = £| 48,495,900| 20,653,277|1,464,480| 2,027,693| 4,259,871| 2,117,846
  ------+-----------+-----------+---------+----------+----------+----------

  ------+---------+----------------------+---------+----------+-----------
        |Preserved|      LIVE STOCK      |Condensed|  Jerked  |  Totals
  YEARS | tongues |----------------------|  soup   |   beef   |
        |         |  Cattle   |  Sheep   |         |          |
        | $ gold  |  $ gold   |  $ gold  | $ gold  |  $ gold  |  $ gold
  ------+---------+----------------------+---------+----------+-----------
   1885 |    —    |  2,345,313|    58,552|    —    | 4,204,077|  6,684,945
   1886 |   27,267|  2,203,150|    41,557|    —    | 3,738,820|  6,555,969
   1887 |   20,990|  1,415,625|    42,884|    8,257| 2,398,424|  4,949,267
   1888 |   56,668|  1,798 251|    34,685|    —    | 3,456,787|  7,107,245
   1889 |   58,706|  3,194,113|    66,526|    6,889| 6,139,875| 11,092,597
   1890 |  185,412|  3,579,456|   159,428|   10,547| 3,913,304|  9,971,249
   1891 |  195,753|  3,997,270|   387,545|    7,728| 3,566,854| 10,765,006
   1892 |  198,813|  2,264,675|   170,422|    6,455| 4,100,488| 10,589,044
   1893 |  171,584|  4,433,944|   362,904|    —    | 4,115,134| 11,813,070
   1894 |  266,144|  4,540,160|   448,678|    —    | 4,564,447| 11,976,789
   1895 |  158,911|  7,003,230| 1,292,527|   12,069| 4,225,419| 14,768,972
   1896 |  127,980|  6,543,550| 1,536,056|   61,964| 3,217,541| 14,336,716
   1897 |  112,270|  5,018,222| 1,512,684|   22,941| 2,466,313| 11,744,236
   1898 |  112,044|  7,690,450| 1,733,963|   32,447| 2,116,468| 15,178,100
   1899 |  116,439|  6,824,010| 1,631,041|   29,342| 2,038,413| 14,251,422
   1900 |  204,196|  3,678,150|   594,675|   24,005| 1,979,557| 13,894,206
   1901 |  205,525|  1,980,372|    78,248|   16,217| 2,879,455| 15,311,242
   1902 |  167,854|  2,848,445|   368,656|   11,769| 2,647,450| 20,372,731
   1903 |  142,170|  4,437,420|   503,241|  100,599| 1,542,018| 22,400,664
   1904 |  189,400|  2,852,820|    85,219|  114,044| 1,391,931| 22,431,297
   1905 |  155,615|  5,160,483|   364,209|  122,066| 3,738,444| 33,170,104
   1906 |   91,200|  1,676,145|   315,359|   70,614|   596,643| 25,849,441
   1907 |  227,119|  2,062,390|   331,701|  107,789| 1,178,056| 27,250,075
   1908 |  262,058|  1,876,820|   311,376|  115,822|   772,819| 31,266,374
   1909 |  360,444|  4,087,820|   265,908|  188,735| 1,325,053| 37,662,201
   1910 |  284,352|  4,056,450|   231,540|  204,293| 1,033,020| 43,440,235
   1911 |  214,150|  8,202,750|   332,070|  175,744| 1,661,615| 53,167,086
   1912 |  189,523|  9,140,089|   314,694|  197,433| 1,400,748| 56,502,816
   1913 |  131,952|  6,848,830|   311,991|  375,392|   658,097| 53,486,761
        +---------+----------------------+---------+----------+-----------
  Totals|4,634,539|122,120,394|13,888,339|2,023,161|77,067,270|617,989,860
        +---------+----------------------+---------+----------+-----------
       £|  919,551| 24,230,236| 2,755,622|  401,421|15,291,125|122,617,022
  ------+---------+----------------------+---------+----------+-----------

During 1914 the meat producers and importers were alarmed by the purchase
of most of the chief River Plate cold storage establishments by United
States companies, who were credited with the intention of forming a
“combine” to monopolize the industry. Certainly at the commencement of
1914 they were paying high prices to estancieros and selling considerably
increased exports at low prices in the British markets. It would appear,
however, as if matters were in the course of adjustment between all the
River Plate Cold Storage companies when the War came and, as has just
been indicated, altered all the conditions of the meat markets.

For all the above causes it is difficult to assign a _value_[45] to
recent River Plate Meat Exports. Exports which it must be remembered
leave no record as having paid _ad valorem_ export duty, since they are
duty-free exports.

As for the future of this trade there can be little doubt but that it
will continue to increase commensurately with the available quantity of
live stock of high quality. The Cold Storage Companies will buy no other
and thus have constantly encouraged and advanced scientific breeding on
the River Plate. It may safely be assumed that this trade is not likely
to lose by the occurrence or effects of the War.

Recently, in view of what seemed a threatened shortage of cattle for
export demands, producers commenced breeding from one-year-old cows;
instead of beginning only at two years of age, as formerly was the South
American custom.

Not only do the Cold Storage Companies export Meat but they also work
up into marketable forms the various by-products of the animals they
slaughter.

[Illustration: ARGENTINE MEAT TRADE 1888-1913

Progress of Exports in the last 26 years

NOTE.—As will be noticed from the subjoined tables, the decrease for 1913
was due to a falling off of the exports of frozen mutton and of cattle on
the hoof.]

[Illustration: FROZEN AND CHILLED BEEF

Progress of Argentine Exports compared with the principal exporting
countries]



CHAPTER XIII

FORESTRY


Did anyone ever hear of Argentine timber? Few people indeed; though a
good many more know that both of the River Plate Republics are large
importers of wood from the North of Europe. That they need not be so,
because they have all they, and a good many other countries besides,
can possibly need already growing in their own territories (and as much
more as may be wanted, only for the trouble of planting under highly
favourable natural conditions), will come as a surprise even to some
Argentines and Uruguayans; so accustomed are they to import all their
building timber and furniture. Yet the above are facts.[46]

The only well-known forestal products of the River Plate are the logs of
and extract from the QUEBRACHO (_Aspidosperma Quebracho_, Schlet). The
wood of this tree is very hard—hence its name quebra-hacha, break-axe—and
is valuable for cabinet-making, fine carving, and engraving, etc.; but it
rots quickly when exposed to the influences of weather. Notwithstanding
this, on account of its hardness, it is in large demand for railway
sleepers. The extract is very largely used for tanning.

The following lists and descriptions given by Señor Fernando Mauduit in
his erudite Monograph on “Arboriculture in Argentina,” attached to the
Argentine National Census, 1908, cannot, certainly, be improved on by the
present author. These lists, although confined to the enumeration of the
chief classes of trees only, are at the same time fully indicative of
the general nature of forest vegetation not only in Argentina but also in
Uruguay.

A glance at the map of both Republics will show that, from geographic and
climatic distribution, they may practically be reckoned as one country
in this regard. Indeed, as will be seen, Señor Mauduit specifically
includes Uruguay in what he terms the Riparian Region. He says that the
configuration of the different zones and the fertility of their soil
allow of the cultivation of every product of the two Americas, Asia,
Europe and Australia, with the exception of those of the torrid zone.

The following enumeration of “regions” and of the chief kinds of trees
found and capable of being grown in the River Plate countries, with the
respective descriptions, are taken from the Monograph above referred to:—

    1. SUBTROPICAL, comprising the plains of Santiago del Estero
    and the Chaco, the lowlands of Tucumán, Salta and Jujuy, North
    Corrientes and Misiones.

    2. NORTHERN ANDEAN, stretching along the Andes, from San Juan
    to the Bolivian frontier, comprising Catamarca, Salta, Jujuy,
    Los Andes and part of Tucumán.

    3. SOUTHERN ANDEAN, from San Juan to Neuquen.

    4. NORTHERN PAMPEAN, from Santiago del Estero to Buenos Aires,
    wherein the eucalyptus trees do not suffer from frost, and
    comprising Córdoba, San Luis, part of Santa Fé and Buenos Aires.

    5. SOUTHERN PAMPEAN, comprising Córdoba and San Luis, where the
    eucalyptus freezes, Southern Buenos Aires and the Pampas.

    6. AUSTRAL, composed of the territories of Rio Negro, Chubut
    and Santa Cruz.

    7. RIPARIAN, comprising the islands of the Paraná, Entre Rios
    and the shores of the rivers Plate, Paraná and Uruguay.

    8. MARITIME, stretching along the Atlantic coast in a
    belt three leagues wide, more or less, according to the
    configuration of the soil.

    9. STRAITS, consisting of the shores of the Straits of Magellan
    and Tierra del Fuego.

    The confines of all these regions cross and merge into one
    another, at times, on account of the altitude in their
    different zones. The vegetation typical of one zone is often
    scattered through one or more neighbouring ones, so that they
    cannot be exactly defined. The greater or lesser altitude of a
    place often goes towards modifying the uniform character of the
    vegetation.

    In the first region the forests contain the best timber in the
    Republic, cedar or hardwood, so-called (cedrela) quebracho
    white and red, lapacho, algarrobo (carob), acacia, ibirá,
    molle, ñandubay, different woods, Misiones pine, Brazilian
    araucaria, tarco, urunday, aguaribay, cebil, timbó, palm
    trees, etc., and the fruit trees of the region, orange, lemon,
    pomegranate, guava, chirimoyas (custard apple) and pantas.

    Fruit tree planting, though seldom, is more carefully done
    than formerly, and its products inundate the markets of Buenos
    Aires, Rosario and Santa Fé.

    The Paraguayan tea tree, or rather bush (mate), is grown in
    many places and cultivated rationally. Mr. Thays’ experiments
    give room for hoping that this precious bush may become a
    certain source of future wealth, whereas the old system of
    cultivation was bound to entail, early or late, the total
    extinction of the product.

    All kinds of eucalyptus trees grow well, and the extensive
    planting of these trees in the Chaco, Misiones, in Tucumán,
    Corrientes and Santiago del Estero is a consummation devoutly
    to be wished for.

    The same trees are found in the second region, but fewer in
    number and smaller in size, orange, lemon, fig, plum, peach and
    pomegranate trees, also the vine can be successfully grown,
    and in the valleys guayavos, chirimoyas, pantas, avocados and
    persimmons. Plantations of mate and eucalyptus could also be
    tried.

    The third region is warmer and partly covered with vineyards.
    Here the vine is in its native element.

    On the slopes of the Andes the soil is admirably suited for the
    planting of forest trees, such as pines, firs, beeches, and
    all others peculiar to mild, dry climates; as well as for that
    of fruit trees, such as the walnut, chestnut, apple, cherry,
    pear and peach trees … the vine where late frosts are not very
    frequent.

    In the Northern Pampas, or the fourth region, all kinds of
    fruit trees can be grown, soil permitting, orange, fig,
    persimmon, vines, mulberry, almond, peach, apricot, plum,
    cherry, walnut, chestnut, pear and quince trees. This is the
    forest tree region of the plains: hardwood, native willows, the
    paradise tree, ombú, laurel, sequoia, cypress, sycamore, maple
    and many others. The caldén tree covers immense stretches,
    likewise the carob tree.

    The fifth or Southern Pampean region differs from the preceding
    one in the cooler and even colder climate in its southern part.
    Apart from the trees which suffer from frosts this is the most
    favourable zone for tree cultivation in general. All forest
    trees which resist 10° below zero grow well here, the oak,
    beech, ash, maple, pine, fir, spruce, poplar, elm, sycamore and
    such fruit trees as the peach, cherry, plum, apricot, quince,
    pear and apple tree.

    These two regions are those containing the largest plantations
    of trees of all kinds, millions of eucalyptus trees, farms,
    parks and gardens, richly stocked, representing millions of
    dollars, and ever-increasing and multiplying orchards and
    groves which bring in thousands, but whose output could be
    increased tenfold without succeeding in ousting the preserved
    fruit imported from Europe and North America.

    The sixth or Austral region, as its name indicates, is exposed
    to the south winds. It is the cold region which excludes the
    eucalyptus, the Californian pine, and peach tree, the vine,
    etc., but where in sheltered spots the cherry, plum, pear and
    apple tree can be grown, the last especially. This, once known,
    would make the fortune of this region. Cider manufacture would
    furnish a wholesome, pleasant beverage, much cheaper than wine.

    Moreover, the preparation of apple preserves of every kind will
    one day be like that of North America. The man who plants apple
    trees, beginning from 38° S. latitude to the south, secures for
    himself and his children returns proportionate to the outlay
    made.

    The seventh region is very fertile and suited for the planting
    of willows, poplars, alders, cryptomerias, cypresses,
    sycamores, magnolias, palm trees, orange trees, tangerines,
    persimmons, etc. Peach and quince trees are grown here on a
    large scale to supply the markets of the capital. It has been
    the cradle of fruit-growing, and as it has been endowed with
    a mild climate and a generally humid soil everything grows
    luxuriantly and produces abundantly, though the general quality
    of its products is not equal to that of the fruit grown in the
    fifth region.

    The eighth region is arid in certain places, and always
    exposed to the winds and sea fogs which are so harmful to the
    growth of the trees. The winds from the south blow throughout
    the year on nearly all our sea coast. The only trees that can
    be grown successfully are the eucalyptus (_E. globulus_), the
    Canadian and other poplars, the tamarisk, cypress, lambertiana,
    maritime pine, _Pinus insignis_, and all must be planted very
    thickly in order to resist the impetuous attack of the winds
    and the fogs.

    In the ninth and last region we have included the shores of the
    Straits of Magellan as far as Gallegos, and inland as far as
    the hills; and on the other shore Fireland (Tierra del Fuego).
    Fruit tree planting cannot be thought of there for the present,
    the only thing to be done is to propagate largely the native
    growths, and where the climate permits it to plant spruces,
    pines, firs, birches, beeches, hazels, currant bushes, yews,
    all of which are sturdy growths of the colder countries.


    CHIEF INDIGENOUS SPECIES OF FOREST TREES

    QUEBRACHO, _Aspidosperma Quebracho_, Schlet.—A tree 20 metres
    in height by 1 metre in diameter, with very hard wood, greatly
    valued for certain purposes. Does not resist exposure to
    the elements, however, and rots easily. Greatly prized for
    engraving and cabinet-making and for fine wood carving, etc.
    The bark and leaves are rich in tannin. It appears that there
    are some varieties which do not possess so large a percentage
    of tannin.

    It grows easily from seed which is sown in beds when ripe,
    where it must be nursed before sowing in beds. Its growth is
    slow at first, but once the roots have taken well in a soil
    rich in humus it attains a great size. It multiplies naturally
    from its seeds and should form a third as a stock tree in the
    afforestation of the subtropical regions.

    BOLDU, _Boldu chilanum_, Nees.—Grows to a height of 15 metres
    in the Andean regions, where its timber is used for various
    purposes. It multiplies from seed and should be sown in beds in
    holes. Can be utilized as an auxiliary in afforestation of its
    native region.

    LIGNUM VITÆ (Palo Santo), _Bulnesia Sarmienti_, Grisb.—20
    metres in height by 0·75 metre in diameter. Grows plentifully
    in the Chaco and Misiones, Tucumán, Salta and Jujuy, gives a
    timber, heavier than water, which is used for cabinet-making
    and various ornaments. Multiplies easily from seed as an
    auxiliary in subtropical woods.

    PALO BLANCO, _Calycophyllum multiflorum_, Grisb.—About 15
    metres in height, gives very fine timber, yellow in colour,
    used for different joinery purposes. Multiplies from seed like
    the preceding tree and used also as an auxiliary in the same
    regions.

    HORCO MOLLE, _Bumelia obtusiolia_, Roem and Schlet.—12 metres
    in height by O·50 metre in diameter. Furnishes excellent timber
    for cabinet-making and coach-building. Multiplies from seed
    sown in rows as soon as ripe. In mixed subtropical woods, it
    serves as an auxiliary for afforestation and reafforestation.

    GUAICUM, _Cesalpina melanocarpa_, Grisb.—From 10 to 15 metres
    in height. Gives nice veined timber, used for cabinet-making
    and ornaments. Its bark, as well as the seed pods, contains a
    large percentage of tannin. It multiplies from seed and is a
    secondary tree throughout the subtropical zone.

    RED CEDAR, _Cedrela brasiliensis_, A. Juss.—30 metres in height
    by O·75 metre in diameter, and sometimes more. Furnishes very
    fine light timber of a nice colour and easy to work. Much
    used for joinery work. One of the best stock trees in the
    subtropical zone, where it should be used for reafforestation
    in the existing woods, and afforestation throughout the
    subtropical region. To be sown in rows as far as possible and
    with seeds in layers.

    TALA, _Celtis tola_, Gill, _Celtis sellowiana_, Miq.—From 10
    to 15 metres in height. This tree is of slight importance
    for afforestation, although its timber is good for posts,
    cart-trees, handles for tools, etc. Grows in the first, second
    and third regions. Multiplies from seeds in layers as an
    auxiliary in mixed woods and woodlands.

    PALO DE LANZA AMARILLA (Yellow Lancewood), _Chuncoa trifolia_,
    Grisb.—Same height and regions as the preceding tree. To be
    planted in the same woods. The timber is useful for joinery
    work.

    LAUREL, _Emmotum apogon_, Grisb.—One of the finest trees of the
    subtropical region; over 25 metres in height by O·50 metre in
    diameter. The timber is very fine and good, and is useful for
    carpentry work. One of the best kinds for reafforestation and
    as stock for afforestation. Sown in rows in little holes with
    seeds in layers as far as possible.

    WHITE OR YELLOW LAUREL, _Oreodaphne suaveolens_, Meissn.—30
    metres in height by 0·50 metre in diameter. Furnishes light
    timber, aromatic, easily worked and suitable for joinery. Is a
    good auxiliary for reafforestation and for afforestation in the
    first region. Sown like the preceding one.

    BLACK LAUREL or MOUNTAIN LAUREL, _Nectandra porphyria_,
    Grisb.—Same height as the preceding trees and 1 metre in
    diameter. Gives fine yellow timber with a black grain like
    walnut, but requiring a long time to become seasoned, and
    splitting when worked before being quite seasoned. Employed in
    hydraulic works, as it keeps well in water. A good auxiliary
    kind for afforestation in the first, second and fourth regions,
    the seed to be sown in little holes, in rows and in layers.

    TIMBÓ PACARÁ, _Enterolobium timbouva_, Mart.—A very leafy tree
    of the subtropical region, from 15 to 25 metres in height by 1
    to 1·50 metres in diameter. Furnishes timber used for carpentry
    and different household purposes, for boats, casks, etc. The
    bark contains tannin, and the sawdust of the dry wood causes
    sneezing. This is a good auxiliary kind for woods in the first,
    second and fourth regions. Multiplies from seeds sown in holes
    in rows. It can also be grown from twigs to be planted at the
    end of May, a metre apart, in rows of from 1 to 3 metres apart.

    BEECH, _Fagus antarctica_, Mirb., _F. betuloides_, Mirb., _F.
    oblicua_, Mirb.—A tree of 20 to 30 metres in height, peculiar
    to the austral regions, where it forms forests and woods.
    Its timber does not resist damp greatly, but is much prized
    for box-making and internal woodwork. Multiplies easily from
    its seeds, which grow naturally in its shade. When they are
    gathered to be used for afforestation they must be sown at
    once in layers, or in little holes, as their germinative
    power is soon lost. Is one of the best kinds of stock
    trees for afforestation in the 6th and 9th regions and for
    reafforestation where it already grows.

    LARCH, _Fitz-roya patagonica_, Hook.—This conifer of the woods
    of the south attains a height of 30 metres, and the timber
    given by it is equal to pinewood and used for similar purposes.
    Is very suitable for afforestation intermingled with wild pines
    in the austral region, and with spruce in that of the straits.
    It might also be added to the araucaria in the extreme south of
    the Southern Andean region.

    QUILLAY (Soap Bark), _Garugandra amorphoides_, Grisb.—This
    is a very thorny tree and can be used as a protective belt
    round large orchards or plantations for industrial purposes,
    in places where animals trespass, and there is no other way to
    prevent it. It attains a height of 15 metres by 0·75 metre in
    diameter and multiplies naturally from seed. Its timber seems
    to be of good quality, and its bark is used as soap in cleaning
    woollen and cotton fabrics.

    It can be planted as indicated above in regions first, second
    and third; and, should it become a nuisance, it may be rooted
    out when the plantations are strong against trespass.

    CHAÑAR, _Gourlien decorticans_, Gill.—Whole woods of these
    trees are to be found in regions 1, 2, 3 and 4. Its fruit is
    edible and animals crave for it. Its timber is used for various
    household purposes.

    WALNUT (Cayuri), _Juglans australis_, Grisb.—15 metres in
    height by 1 metre in diameter, with timber equal to European
    walnut. This valuable tree, which ought to be cultivated on
    a large scale, is gradually vanishing from our woods without
    any attempt at reafforestation. We shall become aware of its
    industrial value only when it has completely disappeared. It is
    suitable as a stock tree in afforestation and as an auxiliary
    in reafforestation.

    RED QUEBRACHO, _Loxopterigium Lorentzii_, Grisb.—A valuable
    tree, 15 metres in height by 2 metres in diameter, its timber
    is greatly prized for building purposes, and possesses so much
    tannin that it is largely exploited in the Chaco forests. It is
    slow of growth, and, therefore, measures for its multiplication
    are indispensable, so as to avoid exhausting this source of
    wealth. It is one of the best stock kinds for reafforestation,
    a third being planted with species of a more rapid growth.
    It multiplies naturally if care is taken to prevent forest
    fires and to leave always a few full-grown trees standing. Red
    Quebracho timber is hard, heavy, and not easily worked. It is
    used especially for railway sleepers, posts, columns, frames,
    etc. It is nicely veined, and heavy furniture can be made from
    it. Buried or in water it keeps for many years.

    TIPA (Hardwood), _Machærium Tipa_, Benth.—A tree from 20 to 25
    metres in height, very leafy. Its timber is used for different
    household purposes. A splendid avenue tree, but very third-rate
    as a forest tree. The seeds are sown in rows, once ripe: 1st
    and 4th regions.

    MORA (Mulberry), _Maclura Mora_, Grisb.—From 15 to 20 metres
    in height by 1 metre in diameter. Furnishes yellowish,
    fine-grained timber, which is used for the manufacture of
    elegant furniture. Well seasoned, the wood is the colour of
    mahogany. An excellent auxiliary tree in the subtropical,
    Pampean and Northern Andean regions. In mixed woods it may be
    stock or prevailing tree, according to the kinds grown with it.
    It may also be used for woodland cutting. It is sown in rows,
    or grown in nurseries for two years, when the young plants are
    transplanted.

    PALO DE SAN ANTONIO, _Myrsine floribunda_.—15 metres in height
    by 0·75 metre in diameter, with a straight trunk and springy
    wood, which is used principally for making staves. To be sown
    in rows as an auxiliary, in mixed woods, in the 1st, 2nd and
    4th regions.

    CEBIL, _Piptadenia Cebil_, Grisb., _P. communis_, Benth.—A
    tree of 20 to 25 metres in height by over 1 metre in diameter.
    Grows in the subtropical Andean and Northern Pampean regions.
    Excellent timber, but can only be utilized when quite seasoned,
    and is used principally for joinery. To be sown as stock trees
    in furrows or small holes.

    ALGARROBO (Carob Tree), _Prosopis alba_, Grisb.—From 15 to 20
    metres in height by 1 metre in diameter, with timber much used
    in carpentry, and bark possessing a large percentage of tannin.
    A good kind for afforestation in regions 1, 2 and 4; to be sown
    as stock trees in furrows or small holes.

    ÑANDUBAY, _Prosopis algarrobilo_, Grisb.—About 10 metres in
    height, with hard timber, generally used for large stakes and
    posts. Grows well throughout the northern and even in the third
    region. To be sown as an auxiliary in mixed woods.

    IRIRARÚ, VIRARÚ, PALO DE LANZA (Lancewood), _Ruprechtia
    excelsa_, Grisb.—10 to 15 metres in height by 0·75 metre
    in diameter; giving excellent timber for various household
    purposes. To be sown as an auxiliary in woods of the northern
    regions, predominating among timber for cutting.

    LAPACHO, _Tabebuia Avellanedæ_, LORENTZ, _Tabebuia flavescens_,
    Benth.—This beautiful tree is covered with blossoms in spring
    time, the former with pinky mauve and the latter with yellow
    blossoms. In the northern forests it grows to a height of 25
    metres, its wood is very fine-grained and very much prized for
    all sorts of fine carpentry. Two excellent kinds for stock in
    tall mixed woods, 1st and 2nd regions. To be sown in rows, in
    furrows or small holes.

    COCO (Cocoanut Tree), _Zanthoxylum Coco_, Gill.—From 10 to 12
    metres in height by 0·75 metre in diameter. The wood is very
    pretty and fine, valued for elegant furniture. To be sown in
    rows, furrows or small holes as an auxiliary in mixed woods and
    plantations in the 1st and 2nd regions.

    URUNDAY, _Astronium juglandifolium_, Grisb.—A splendid tree
    from 25 to 30 metres in height by 1·50 metres in diameter,
    common in the Chaco. Its timber is very hard and richly
    coloured, it is used for furniture, ship-building, etc. One
    of the best kinds for stock and reafforestation in the first
    region. Multiplies naturally from seed if care be taken to
    leave a few trees standing at suitable distances for producing
    seeds, which scatter easily. In the warm valleys of the 4th
    region, as well as in the 2nd, to be sown in furrows with other
    auxiliary species for afforestation.

    ALDER TREE, _Alnus ferruginea_, Kth.—From the Northern Andean
    region, where it grows to a height of 15 metres by 0·75 metre
    in diameter. Gives white, very easily worked, damp-resisting
    timber, used for joinery work. A good auxiliary kind for
    afforestation in 1st, 2nd, 4th and 7th regions. To be sown in
    rows, in furrows or in plots with other species, one being the
    stock tree.

    NATIVE or RED WILLOW, _Salix Humboldtiana_, Witti.—15 metres in
    height by 1 metre in diameter. Grows well in all regions where
    the eucalyptus does not freeze, gives timber for carpentry
    and multiplies from seed. A good auxiliary in mixed woods and
    timber for cutting, and for reafforestation on damp soil, where
    it is planted from twigs towards the end of the winter. For
    afforestation it is sown in plots when the seeds are ripe, in
    regions 4 and 7 and the more temperate part of region 3.

    SOUTHERN PINE, _Araucaria imbricata_, R. and P.—A tree 50
    metres in height of our southern forests. Its timber is equal
    to the best pine, and it is one of the best stock kinds in the
    6th region. To be sown in rows or in little holes when the
    seeds drop naturally in the 5th and 6th regions.

    MISIONES PINE, _Araucaria brasiliensis_, A. Rich.—This conifer
    grows to a height of 50 metres by 1 metre in diameter in
    certain valleys of the northern regions 1, 2, and part of 3, 4,
    7 and 8, as far as Mar del Plata. Its timber is equal to that
    of the pine, it is used for joinery and building. Sown like
    the preceding tree.

    CYPRESS, _Libocedras chilensis_, Endl.—From the Andes, where it
    grows to a height of 25 to 30 metres by 0·70 metre in diameter.
    Its wood is fine and excels for furniture and veneering. A good
    auxiliary kind for the dense woods of the south.


    CHIEF SPECIES OF EXOTIC FOREST TREES GROWN IN THE COUNTRY

    FIR, _Abies Nordmanniana_, Spach.—From Asia Minor, where it
    grows to a height of 40 metres by 1·50 metres in diameter at
    least, 5th and 6th regions, in tall woods consisting of firs
    alone.

    ACACIA OLIVE, _Acacia melanoxylon_, R. Br.—From Australia,
    where it attains a height of 15 to 20 metres by 1 metre in
    diameter; very branchy, and giving very hard wood known as iron
    wood. A good stock kind in acacia, mimosa and laurel groves in
    regions 4, 5, 7 and 8, as far as Mar del Plata. To be sown in
    rows or in furrows.

    FRENCH MIMOSA, _Acacia dealbata_, Link.—Likewise from
    Australia; it attains a height of 20 metres by 0·50 metre in
    diameter, but breaks easily. A good predominating species and
    for reafforestation of timber for cutting, in regions 4, 5, 7
    and 8, as far as 38° S. latitude.

    MAPLE TREE, _Acer pseudo platanus_, L.—A European tree 20 to 30
    metres in height by 0·75 metre in diameter, growing as rapidly
    as the sycamore maple. An excellent auxiliary kind for tall
    woods of trees with deciduous leaves, in regions 4, 5, 6 and
    7. To be sown in rows, in furrows or one-year-old saplings 2
    metres apart.

    HEAVENLY TREE, _Ailanthus glandulosa_, Desf.—From China, from
    25 to 30 metres in height by 1 metre in diameter; very sturdy,
    and multiplying on all sides from the numberless saplings which
    grow from its roots; furnishes fine, hard, well-veined timber.
    A good kind for mixed woods and for stock timber in regions 4,
    5, 6, 7 and 8. To be sown in rows or planted from saplings.

    ALDER TREE, _Alnus glutinosa_, Gaertn.—From Europe and Western
    Asia. From 20 to 30 metres in height by 1 metre in diameter.
    Grows well in the riparian region, and its wood is useful for
    carpentry. Sown in rows, in furrows or in plots.

    SPANISH CHESTNUT, _Castanea vesca_, Gaertn.—From Europe, Asia
    and Northern Africa. It grows here as a fruit tree, but may be
    grown also as a forest stock tree in tall and mixed woods, and
    as an auxiliary in timber for cutting in regions 3, 4, 5, 6
    and 7. Its wood is principally used for staves, casks, etc. To
    be sown in rows as soon as it falls, as the germinative power
    is of short duration. It may also be sown in nursery beds, for
    transplanting when two or three years old.

    CASUARINA (She Oak).—Various species are grown here, chief are
    _C. quadrivalvis_, Labill., _C. equisetifolia_, Forst., and _C.
    glauca_, Sieb. Herb. We ignore the height to which they may
    grow, but many specimens we have are from 20 to 30 metres high.
    The mode of reproduction and cultivation is the same as for
    eucalyptus. The wood is excellent. Suitable for high woods in
    the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th regions.

    CEDARS.—Although not yet grown on a very large scale, the
    specimens we have of _C. Atlantica_, _C. libani_ and _C.
    deodara_, natives of Mounts Atlas, Lebanon and the Himalayas,
    are hardy, cold-resisting, and everything points to our
    being able to grow them well in high woods intermingled with
    cypresses, in the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th regions. Its
    timber is first class, and useful for many purposes.

    SWEET CHERRY, _Cerasus avium_, Moench.—From Europe, where it
    grows to a height of 20 to 25 metres, gives splendid wood,
    greatly prized for furniture. The few specimens we have
    scattered through the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th regions. To be
    sown in nursery beds after gathering the seeds, or in layers in
    furrows or small holes. The nurslings are transplanted when a
    year or two old.

    CRYPTOMERIA JAPONICA, Don.—From Japan. Grows very well here,
    easily attaining the same height as in its native land, which
    varies from 30 to 40 metres. A good kind for tall woods on
    rich soil. Multiplication and cultivation like that of the
    eucalyptus in the 4th, 5th and 7th regions. Trials in the 8th.

    DAMMARA AUSTRALIS, Lumb.—From New Zealand. The few specimens we
    have in the environs of Buenos Aires show a species quite as
    hardy as in its native land, where it attains a height of 50
    metres by 2 metres in diameter. Grown like the eucalyptus in
    compact groves and in the same region.

    EUCALYPTUS.—Native of Australia. We reckon our specimens of
    this gigantic tree by the thousand, of several different
    kinds. The first known specimens of _E. globulus_ were planted
    more than half a century ago, and now it would take a long time
    to enumerate all our progressive citizens who have devoted
    large tracts of land to forming dense groves of these trees,
    which, besides giving them good returns in the sums represented
    by the present eucalyptus groves, have also contributed to
    increase the value of the land, directly or indirectly.
    Directly, thanks to the amount of vegetable mould which these
    trees originate, and indirectly for the shelter afforded by
    them for growing certain kinds of plants and rearing delicate
    breeds of cattle which would not have thriven in the open
    country. It would be difficult to estimate the share of the
    eucalyptus in the increased value of the lands, flocks and
    herds. In order to form an idea on the subject one must imagine
    what estancias were sixty years ago, with the sheltering ombú
    and the peach grove, enclosed by paradise trees and willows.
    How long it took to grow a tiny grove of willows, paradise tree
    and black wattle, which barely furnished sufficient wood to
    heat the water for brewing mate or Paraguayan tea. Different
    kinds of Eucalyptus are grown under apocryphal specific
    designations, and therefore we abstain from giving them lest we
    lead planters into temptation.

    The best among them are the following:—

    _E. Amygdalina_, Labill.—From Australia and Tasmania, 140
    metres in height by 4 or 5 metres in diameter.

    _E. Botrioydes_, Smith.—From Southern Queensland, where it
    attains a height of 60 metres by 2 metres in diameter.

    _E. diversicolor_, F. v. M.—From Southern Australia, 140 metres
    in height, over 2 metres in diameter.

    _E. cornuta_, Labill.—From the same place as the preceding one,
    60 metres in height by 2 metres in diameter.

    _E. hemiphloia_, F. v. M.—From New South Wales, where it
    attains a height of 60 metres by 2 metres in diameter. The best
    wood of all.

    _E. leucoxylon_, F. v. M.—From New South Wales and Victoria.
    This is the famous “iron bark”; it is only 30 metres in height
    by 2 metres in diameter.

    _E. melliodora_, Cunningh.—New South Wales and Victoria. Gives
    very fine timber and grows to a height of 60 metres by 1·50
    metres in diameter. Its blossoms are much visited by bees.

    _E. occidentalis_, Smith.—From Western Australia. Like E.
    globulus, can be grown near the sea coast. Generally it does
    not exceed 40 metres in height by 1 metre in diameter.

    _E. pauciflora_, Sieb.—Southern Australia and Tasmania. From
    50 to 60 metres in height by 2 metres in diameter, wood of
    excellent quality. One of the best cold-resisting species.

    _E. Pilularis_, Smith.—Southern Queensland and New South
    Wales, 100 metres in height and 4 metres in diameter; wood of
    excellent quality.

    _E. viminalis_, Labill.—Southern Australia, where it grows to a
    height of 100 metres by 3 or 4 metres in diameter.

    All these species have been imported and planted in different
    places. Some, on the one hand, and others, on the other,
    probably have been lost, the remainder are mixed to such a
    degree that at present no information can be given about them
    without falling into error.

    All the species mentioned and some others were planted in “3
    de Febrero” Park, about the year 1875-76, in the clump which
    shaded the guanacos’ corral. At first they bore distinguishing
    numbers, but now nothing remains to designate them. Another
    nursery had been started on the other side of the railway to
    the Tigre, beside the avenue of palms, of which also we believe
    not a vestige remains. There also was a nursery of ombús, one
    of hardwood trees and a collection of American grape vines.

    ASH TREE, _Fraxinus excelsior_, L.—Europe. From 25 to 30 metres
    in height by 1 metre in diameter. Gives very elastic, white
    or yellow timber, greatly prized in carriage-building. Grows
    well in the 5th, 6th and 7th regions. The seeds are laid down
    as they ripen, sometimes they take two years to germinate, but
    when they fall naturally to the ground and are covered over by
    leaves in autumn they sprout well. On this account and that
    of its intrinsic value this tree is one of the best kinds for
    stocking tall and mixed woods. The best plan for afforestation
    is to sow the seeds in nursery beds and plant out the following
    year.

    BLACK ACACIA, _Gleditschia triacanthos_.—A thorny North
    American tree; here growing to a height of 25 metres by 0·70
    metre in diameter. Its wood is excellent for cabinet-making.
    Sown in rows as an auxiliary—on account of its thorns. It gives
    a quantity of edible pods like that of the carob tree. It grows
    well in the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th regions.

    WALNUT, _Juglans regia_, L.—From Europe and Asia. Does not
    exceed 25 metres in height, but is a metre and more in
    diameter. Grows as a forest tree, but is very suitable for
    stocking mixed woods in the 2nd, 3rd, 5th and 6th regions. To
    be sown in rows, in holes or in nursery beds and planted out
    when a year old. As the seeds keep their germinative power
    for a month only, they must be sown immediately or placed in
    layers. The wood, which is greatly prized, is one of the best
    known and valued.

    PARADISE TREE, _Melia azedarach_, L.—Southern Asia. 15 metres
    in height by 0·60 metre in diameter. A good auxiliary species
    for mixed woods and timber for cutting in the 3rd, 4th, 6th and
    7th regions, where the eucalyptus does not freeze.

    NEGUNDO FRAXINIFOLIUM, Nutt.—From North America, growing well
    in the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th regions, where it attains a
    height of 10 to 15 metres by 0·50 metre in diameter. It is a
    good kind for mixed woods and timber for cutting. The seeds are
    sown immediately on ripening. It is also grown from grafting
    twigs.

    FIR, _Picea excelsa_, Linck.—From Europe, where it attains a
    height of 40 metres. The few specimens we know do not allow
    of our expressing any opinion, based on practical experience,
    about the possible merit of this splendid tree in our woods in
    the 3rd, 5th, 6th and 9th regions, though its origin and growth
    give reason for hope. In Europe, in all the plantations we know
    of in Germany, England and France, the fir is one of the best
    cold, storm and drought-resisting trees.

    It is sown in rows, in furrows 2·50 to 3 metres apart,
    according to the soil. It may be planted alone or alternately
    with birch trees.

    PINES.—The kind best known and cultivated here are the
    _Pinus austriaca_, _P. insignis_ and _P. Pinaster_. Without
    questioning the specific designation applied to certain kinds
    of pine trees, we may say that _P. insignis_ grows luxuriantly
    in the 4th, 5th and 7th regions, forming dense woods; the
    _P. Canariensis_, not quite so hardy, does not flourish so
    far south, the other kinds may be grown in those as well as
    in the Riparian austral and maritime regions, where they may
    prove very useful, as well as the varieties _P. maritima_, _P.
    laricio_, etc.

    PLANE TREE, _Platanus orientalis_, L.—From Europe and Asia
    Minor. It grows to 40 metres in height by 1 or 2 metres in
    diameter. It is the favourite for avenues; grows taller in the
    woods, but its foliage is not so luxuriant. Propagated from
    grafting twigs to be planted 50 centimetres apart in rows 2·50
    metres apart. To be thinned out when two years old, leaving the
    latter distance between them and filling up the gaps with those
    taken out. Its wood is useful for many purposes, though not
    first class.

    POPLAR, _Populus_.—We have many large plantations of the
    Lombardy poplar, _P. Nigra_, L., Canadian poplar, _O.
    Canadensis_, Michx., and the Swiss, Virginian and some of
    the Carolina poplar, which is the male plant of the same
    species. Some plantations of the silver poplar, _P. alba_, _P.
    euphratica_ and _P. simoni_, have also been planted.

    All may be utilized as auxiliaries in planting mixed woods and
    timber for cutting. They are very hardy, and the wood is used
    for packing-cases, boxes, etc. They are planted from grafting
    twigs 50 centimetres apart, in rows of 2 metres, to be thinned
    out when necessary.

    WHITE ACACIA, _Robinia pseudo-acacia_.—North American. Grows
    to a height of 25 metres by 0·60 metre in diameter; when
    dry, the wood is excellent, and is used for coach-building,
    cabinet-making, etc. It grows well, especially in mixed woods,
    as the saplings are utilized. In timber plantations it must be
    planted singly as it overruns the ground in a short time. To
    be sown in rows 25 or 30 kilogs. to the hectare, without any
    mixture. From the strongest and straightest specimens stock
    trees are chosen, the others are cut down to the ground every
    two, twelve or eighteen years.

    WILLOW, _Salix_.—The willow is very useful for planting woods
    in damp or low-lying places in the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th,
    8th and 9th regions. It is grown from grafting twigs, a metre
    apart, anywhere. The weeping willow, _S. babylonica_, gives
    fuel which sells well. The osier willow, _S. purpurea_, _S.
    rubra_, _S. vitellina_, _S. viminalis_ and _S. amygdalina_,
    furnish fine and common osiers, which are so much used in
    basket-making of every kind, and for light wicker furniture for
    the garden and the beach. It is one of the chief products of
    the Paraná Islands and others.

    ELM TREE, _Ulmus_.—The elms we possess belong to the species
    _U. campestris_, L., and _U. montana_, Burch, both from Europe.
    They attain a height of 40 metres by 1 metre in diameter, and
    grow well on cool gravelly soil. The elm in general is more
    suited to the hills or declivities than to the plains. It
    is very hardy and long-lived. Its timber is excellent for
    coach-building, and some parts of it for cabinet-making. It is
    a good species for stock, in suitable places, in the 3rd, 5th,
    6th and 7th and some parts of the 9th region. It is sown as
    soon as the seeds ripen on well-tilled soil, either in furrows
    or plots.


    EXOTIC FOREST TREES WHICH IT WOULD BE WELL TO INTRODUCE

    FIR TREE.—The most interesting species are:—

    _A. amabilis_ and _A. balsamea_, from North America, grows from
    30 to 40 metres high by 1 to 1·50 metres in diameter. Suitable
    for the 3rd, 5th and 6th regions.

    _A. bifida_, _A. brachyphylla_, from Japan, attain a height of
    40 or 50 metres, 4th, 5th and 7th regions.

    _A. bracteata_, Hook and Arn.—From the mountains of Santa
    Lucia. 50 metres in height by 1 metre in diameter.

    _A. concolor_, Lindl.—From the Rocky Mountains, where they grow
    to 30 or 40 metres in height by 1 metre in diameter. These two
    species should be tried in the 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th regions.

    _A. grandis_, Lindl.—From the northern states of the Union.
    Attains a height of 90 metres by 1 or 2 metres in diameter,
    3rd, 4th and 6th.

    _A. magnifice_, Murr., and _A. mobilis_, Lindl.—From California
    and Oregon, where it grows to a height of 70 to 80 metres by 2
    or 3 metres in diameter; 2nd and 3rd regions, and the hills in
    the 4th and 5th.

    _A. pectinata_, D. C.—From Europe. 40 metres in height by 1
    metre and sometimes more in diameter; 3rd, 5th, 6th and 9th
    regions.

    _A. religiosa_, Lindl.—From Mexico. Attains 40 to 50 metres in
    height by 1 or 2 metres in diameter; 2nd and 3rd regions.

    All fir trees require hilly ground already stocked with trees.
    It is useless to plant them on the open plain. Other conifers,
    known also as firs, belong to the genera _Picea_ and _Tsuga_.

    MAPLE TREE.—The _Acer campestre_ and _A. platanoides_.—From
    Europe, appear to be suited for our 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th
    regions, the latter as a stock species. Thirty feet high.

    The _A. eriocarpum_, Michx., and _A. rubrum_, Michx., are two
    handsome species from North America, where they grow to a
    height of 20 to 35 metres by 1 metre in diameter.

    To be essayed in the same regions as the preceding trees. They
    require deep soil and are cultivated like the sycamore maple.

    ALDERS. The _Alnus cordifolia_, Ten.—From Europe, and _A.
    orientalis_, Dcne., from Asia. Would grow well in the 7th
    region and on the shores of the 5th, 6th and 9th.

    ARAUCARIAS. The _Araucaria Bidwilli_, Hook, and _A.
    Cunninghami_, Ait., both from Eastern Australia. Grow to a
    height of 50 to 60 metres and give excellent timber; 2nd, 3rd
    and 4th regions.

    _A. excelsa_, R. Br.—From Norfolk Island. Attains a height of
    70 metres by 1 metre and over in diameter; 2nd, 3rd and 4th
    regions.

    _A. Cookii_, E. Br., and _A. mulleri_, R. Br.—From New
    Caledonia; 40 metres in height; 1st, 2nd and 4th regions.

    All grow on deep, humid soil, rich in vegetable mould, like
    certain parts of the Chaco and of the 1st and 2nd regions.

    BIRCHES.—Valuable trees for the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and 9th
    regions. Do not exceed 30 metres in height on the best soil,
    but very hardy and reach a metre in diameter. The best species
    are _Betula alba_, _B. nigra_, _B. lenta_ and _B. pubescens_.

    AMERICAN WALNUT TREES.—All give excellent timber, strong and
    hardier than the European kinds. Could be planted and sown in
    regions 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7. The best species for woods are _Carya
    alba_, Nut., and _C. amara_, from Canada. _C. olivæformis_
    and _C. porcina_ from the central states of North America.
    _C. tomentosa_, Nutt., is popularly known in North America as
    Hickory.

    Tall trees, generally very leafy, and suitable for stock in
    mixed woods and for special wood planting, together with
    European and Asiatic species, cultivated like the common
    walnut, _J. regia_.

    CEDARS.—All cedars give very fine wood known as cedar-wood,
    whence the confusion with real cedar belonging to the conifera
    family.

    The Red Cedar of Australia, _Cedrela australis_, Muell., grows
    to 60 metres in height. May be planted in the 1st and 2nd
    regions together with the one we have, _C. brasiliensis_. _C.
    sinensis_, A. Juss, seems more suitable for the 3rd and 5th
    regions.

    CHAMÆYPARIS.—This resinous tree gives excellent timber in the
    United States, where it grows to a height of 25 to 30 metres
    by 0·60 metre in diameter. The species _C. Lawsoniana_ and _C.
    Nutkænsis_, from North America, as well as _C. obtusa_, Endl.,
    from Japan, appear to be suitable for dense woods in regions 4,
    5 and 6.

    DACRYDIUM.—Indigenous to Tasmania and New Zealand. The forest
    species furnish good carpentry timber. From some descriptions
    of Chilian conifers it would seem that some of these are very
    like Dacrydium.

    The most interesting species are _D. cupressinum_, Soland, _D.
    Franklinii_ and _D. Kirkii_, F. v. M.

    These trees grow to a height of 40 to 60 metres and require
    very generous soil, rather damp and warm, like that of the
    1st and 2nd regions in our country. To be cultivated as the
    _Araucaria brasiliensis_ or Misiones pine.

    DIOSPYROS.—The _D. lotus_, from Italy, and _D. Virginiana_
    furnish valuable timber know as ebony. They do not exceed 20
    to 25 metres in height. A trial might be made in the 2nd, 3rd,
    4th, 5th and 7th regions.

    DRIMYS, _D. Winter_, Forst.—A Chilian tree 15 to 20 metres in
    height, gives winter bark, used in medicine. To be tried for
    mixed woods in the 3rd, 4th and 5th regions.

    BEECH, _Fagus sylvatica_, L.—A European tree 30 metres in
    height by half a metre in diameter; gives excellent wood for
    boxes and wooden partitions or anything not exposed to the
    weather. A first-class species for the 3rd, 5th, 6th and 9th
    regions as a stock tree in tall woods.

    ASH TREE.—The _Fraxinus americana_, L., _F. quadrangularis_,
    Michx., _F. sambucifolia_, Lam.—From North America, are trees
    of 30 to 35 metres in height by 0·60 to 1 metre in diameter.
    The timber is highly prized for coach-building and other
    special work. It appears suitable for mixed woods in 5th, 6th
    and 7th regions, where it may be grown like the common ash tree.

    BLACK WALNUT TREE, _Juglans nigra_, L.—From North America,
    where it attains 40 metres in height by 1 metre in diameter.
    Though its wood is not so valuable as common walnut, it is very
    pretty and fine-grained. It might be planted and grown in the
    same regions as the other kinds of walnut.

    JUNIPER TREE, _Juniperus virginiana_, L.—From 25 to 30 metres
    high by 1 metre in diameter, growing in North American
    forests. The wood is very nice, and used by cabinet-makers,
    etc. This conifer appears suitable for dense woods in the 3rd,
    5th and 6th regions, with Lambertiana and other cypresses, and
    is grown in the same way.

    LARCH TREE.—The European _Larix europea_, L., and the American
    _L. microcarpa_ are hardy species of 25 to 40 metres in height
    by 1 metre in diameter, with deciduous leaves, which makes its
    transport easy; 5th, 6th and 8th regions; in tall woods with
    other conifers. Grown like the Spruce.

    SPRUCES.—Great conifers of the cold regions of North America.
    The most suitable species for woods, besides the _P. excelsa_,
    Linck., which we already grow, are the _P. alba_, Linck., from
    Canada, _P. Engelmanii_, Car., from the Rocky Mountains, _P.
    morinda_, Linck., from the Himalayas, and _P. nigra_, Linck.,
    from Northern America. The latter species is suitable for the
    6th and 9th regions; the others for the 5th and 6th, grown as
    firs.

    LIBOCEDRUS DECURRENS, Torr.—From California, where it grows to
    40 metres in height, over a metre in diameter, is very strong
    and gives excellent timber. Appears suitable for afforestation
    together with the Chilian variety in the 3rd, 4th, 5th and 7th
    regions.

    To be sown and cultivated like the Lambertiana cypress.

    TULIP TREE, or WHITEWOOD, _Liriodendrum tulipifera_, L.—From
    North America, where it attains a height of 60 metres by 3 and
    4 metres in diameter. Gives good wood and appears suitable for
    growing in tall woods on deep and humid soil in regions 4, 5, 6
    and 7.

    To be sown thickly in furrows or in beds for transplanting when
    a year old.

    PINE TREES.—We already have different kinds of pine trees which
    flourish in woods. It would be well to introduce the better
    species, because we lack such as _Pinus australis_, Michx.,
    from Carolina and Florida, where it grows to 35 to 40 metres
    in height. This is the species which gives the timber known as
    pitchpine.

    _P. Benthamiana_, Hartw.—From California. 70 metres in height
    by 2 metres in diameter. Good timber.

    _P. excelsa_, Wall.—From the Himalayas. 40 metres in height.

    _P. Jeffreyana_, V. H.; _P. Lambertiana_, Doug.; _P.
    Sabiniana_, Doug.; and _P. Torreyana_, all from California.

    _P. Strobus_, L.—From North America. A hardy tree 40 metres in
    height by 1 metre in diameter.

    The Californian species might be tried in the 4th, 5th, 6th
    and 8th regions. The Himalayan species on the mountain ranges
    of the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th, and the last-named species in
    the 5th, 6th and 8th. That from the Carolinas might be grown
    together with _P. insignis_.

    To be grown in woods of the same kind in the same regions and
    in the same way as those we have.

    PLANERA CRENATA, Desf.—A tree from the Caucasians; excellent
    timber and very hardy.

    Grown like the elm and in the same regions.

    CAUCASIAN WALNUT TREE, _Pterocarya caucasica_ and _P.
    Spachiand_.—Trees 20 metres in height, magnificent timber and
    suitable for intermingling with other walnut trees, especially
    Carya species.

    SEQUOIA.—From California, where it grows to 80 or 100 metres in
    height by 5 or 6 metres in diameter. The species _S. gigantea_
    is that which attains the greatest size; the _S. sempervirens_
    is more modest and less exacting about the nature of the soil
    and its situation. The former requires porous, deep and rather
    clayey soil, situated on hills or in ravines. To be tried in
    the 3rd and 6th regions and on the mountains in the 4th and
    5th. Grown as the pine.

    LIME TREE.—The different European and North American species,
    _Tilia argentea_, Desf., _T. nigra_, Burk, and _T. silvestris_
    from Europe, might be planted in the 5th, 6th and 7th regions
    in heavy, porous, clay soil.

    _Tsuga douglasi_ (Fir).—From Colorado State, North America.
    Attains a height of 50 metres and furnishes excellent timber.
    Suitable for planting woods together with spruces and firs, and
    grown in the same way.

    AMERICAN ELM TREE, _Ulmus americanus_, L.—This is a very hardy
    species at least 30 metres high. Its timber, though not so very
    good, is yet used in carriage-building and the like. Grown like
    other elm species and in the same regions.

Lest it should be thought that a disproportionate amount of space has
been allotted here to this matter of forestry it must be pointed out
that timber of all kinds constitutes one of the greatest of the still
latent treasures of the River Plate. A treasure which could be easily
realized but which has hitherto been extraordinarily neglected not only
in practice but even by most writers on the countries in question.

Argentina will one day export timber and ornamental woods instead
of importing them as she has done hitherto; and perhaps the present
difficulties of maritime transport will help to turn the eyes of both
Republics to the wealth of building and other timber and fine woods they
have at hand.

A visit to the coach-making works of those of the River Plate Railway
Companies which manufacture their own luxurious saloon and sleeping cars,
would alone suffice to astonish many people by the beauty and value of
the native woods there used, both in the cabinet-maker’s art and in the
most solid portions of construction destined to resist exceptional strain.

Señor Mauduit has already been quoted on the subject of the need of shade
for cattle. A need which estancieros now pretty fully appreciate.



CHAPTER XIV

LITERATURE AND ART


As in most young countries, the Muses have in Argentina and Uruguay had
to be content chiefly with the imported offerings of foreign writers,
artists and composers; while native science has principally been confined
to medicine and surgery and various branches of rural productiveness.
Still the River Plate Territories have always had their historians and
poets, and recent generations have produced some painters, sculptors and
composers.

The Histories of Mitre and Araújo are admirable literary monuments to the
glory of the River Plate Territories and the memory of their authors.
The poetry of the lately deceased Guido y Spano and of the still living
Zorrilla de San Martin occupies a deservedly high place in modern
literature; while the names of Juan Cruz Varela, José Mármol and José
Hernandez (the author of the Lyrics of Gaucho life published under the
title of “Martin Fierro”) will ever remain household words on the River
Plate.

Godofredo Daireaux and Leopoldo Lugones are typical and delightful
writers whose sketches are faithful vignettes of the manners and customs,
landscapes and sentiment of a century and half a century ago, of times
of heroic battles and early peaceful progress. For the rest, one must,
with the Muses, wait with such patience as one may for the appearance
of National types of literature and art; types probably only to be
formed when the National types of men and women have reached their fully
distinct development out of existing cosmopolitan chaos. At present
Argentine and Uruguayan Art and Literature[47] are chiefly imitative;
music, painting and novels being mostly exaggerations of, often not the
best, ephemeral European taste and fashions, while architecture usually
alternates fidelity to stucco with trivially fantastic French “Villa” and
“Château” styles.

Novelists seek to make one’s flesh creep; Painters to outvie either
incomprehensibility or banality; Architects achieve futility and
Musicians are reminiscent of everything except the sad charm of melody
which is their natural inheritance, through the _Payadores_, from Moorish
Spain. The old intervals and harmonies are carefully eschewed in favour
of anything, no matter what, which may seem to have a piquant flavour of
“art nouveau.”

Nevertheless, nature sometimes will out and the old-time moods now and
again penetrate the covering of pseudo-Viennese melody and modern Italian
harmonies under which the composer has sought to hide his natural gifts
and atavistic inspiration.

It is only in the theatre that the true native genius is allowed full
play. Some of the real Argentine dramas and comedies are refreshingly
delightful in their truth of characterization, sentiment and humour. All
is of the soil, true to type and racy. But such things are only played at
minor houses and in rural districts. Fashion knows them not, nor desires
to know them, while Italian and French operatic and dramatic companies
hold the boards of the leading theatres at prices which make it quite
obligatory for all the best people to be seen frequently in their boxes
or stalls. Still the minor theatre is the casket of the one true jewel in
Argentine Art which shines with its inherent native brilliance.

Unless, perhaps, florid oratory may be termed an Art. If so, it is one
which has a wide vogue throughout South America. Few events are there
allowed to pass without lengthy and vigorous “Discursos”; the real or
simulated passion of which rings strangely false in Anglo-Saxon ears.
Much virtue, however, lies in accepted convention, and the South American
sees nothing comic or discordant in a frock-coated orator doing his best
to turn over a sheaf of manuscript with one hand whilst he indulges in
what to us is painfully exaggerated gesticulation with the rest of his
body. On the contrary, the bravas of the audience which punctuate the
barn-storming enunciation of the most high-flown sentiments are evidently
and whole-heartedly sincere expressions of admiration for, at least,
the speaker’s mastery of the declamatory art. Discursos are, in South
America, the inevitable accompaniment of every event of any mark, from a
funeral to the announcement of a dividend.

It is part of the Hero Worship which has so large a place in the Latin
nature. A worship none the less fervent because the enjoyment of it
by its living object is frequently as brief as it must be sweet. Once
dead, of course, a hero is one for ever if he have attained his niche at
some prominent period of his country’s history. Great Presidents live
perennially in the knowledge of every school child, and one bad one is
still honoured by reference to his name and attributes in the comic
journals whenever an unflattering comparison to a living politician is
sought. Rozas and Artígas have their true meed of mingled praise and
blame.

But all this digresses from the heading of this chapter; through,
perhaps, an unconscious effort on the author’s part to eke out an as yet
somewhat barren subject.

The truth is that no country nor individual has ever produced much
art of any account during its or his infancy. And Argentina and
Uruguay are still in the barely adolescent stage of their economic and
political development. The many sympathetic, though often contrasted,
characteristics of the true Argentine and Uruguayan hold out, however,
good hope for artistic achievement in the future. The facts that
Argentina has already one truly native sculptress of more than mediocre
talent in Lola Mora, and one master of the art of word-painting in
illustration of the old-world charm of some of the people and scenery
of various distant parts of the Republic in Leopoldo Lugunes must not
be lost sight of. Nor must the further one that the poetic spirit of
the past which still broods over the wide Pampa has been caught and
crystallized by Godofredo Daireaux in his _Tipos y Paisages Argentinos_
and other delicate allegories and sketches. The River Plate awaits a
native W. C. Cable to write a rosary of tales of the Old Colonial Days
of the Puerto de Santa Maria de los Buenos Aires, of Vice-Regal balls,
of high-combed, mantilla-coifed and beflounced belles in seringa and
orange blossom scented gardens; of sighs and vows breathed between window
bars; of times the politely veneered roughness of which has been softened
for us by the haze of remoteness; a haze which soon will have produced
complete obliteration if some living, understanding brain does not
quickly record their outlines and fill these in with appropriate tints.

Someone will, must, do this. But no stranger. Only a native genius,
daintily contemplative, can, as a labour of love, bring back to life the
_dolce far niente_ days of South America before its Colonists awakened to
the shrill call of Liberty and Independence.



FOOTNOTES


[1] _Tipos y Paisajes Argentinos_, by Godofredo Daireaux.

[2] Though see Mr. Herbert Gibson’s opinion, quoted later.

[3] Still the following words, which occur in an anonymous work on
Uruguay issued by authority of the Consulate-General of that country in
London in 1883, are as essentially true to-day as they were then.

“It cannot too often be repeated that only two classes of emigrants are
fitted for the New World: those who are accustomed to manual labour … and
those who have capital to invest. Clerks and penmen should know to whom
and in what capacity they are going.”

Argentines and Uruguayans can themselves supply all the book-learning and
clerkly devices as yet needed on the River Plate.

[4] The _chiripá_, or primitive native substitute for trousers, is formed
of a shawl-like blanket. This is wrapped round the loins, kilt-fashion;
after which it is brought up between the legs, from back to front, and
the end tucked through the girdle, to hang again down in front.

[5] The first cattle on the River Plate Territories were seven cows and
a bull, brought down through Paraguay from Brazil by two Portuguese, the
brothers Cipriano and Vicente Goes.

[6] The crop has been a good one as regards wheat. As regards maize, it
is uncertain at the time of writing owing to some early rains.

[7] In the case of each of these items Mr. Tornquist gives the facts and
reasons on which his calculation has been based.

[8] With the commencement of 1916, however, capital is flowing into
both countries from the United States for both public works and private
enterprise.

[9] The 1915-16 harvests are reported excellent.

[10] Who concluded his term of office as President of the Republic in
March, 1915.

[11] See, e.g. Spanish, _Llegar_: Portuguese, _Chegar_.

[12] In both countries Congress consists of a Senate and Chamber of
Deputies. In Argentina the term of office of the President of the
Republic is six years, in Uruguay four years.

[13] Dr. Leopoldo del Campo, a high authority on Argentine Constitutional
Law, once publicly stated that Provincial revolutions were sometimes
stimulated by superior influences, with the idea of provoking the
Presidential intervention.

[14] A present breach of this custom has already been referred to.

[15] Señor Batlle has now been succeeded in the Presidential chair by Dr.
Viera, formerly his very able Minister of Finance.

[16] A long, narrow, stone-paved court with the doors of single
dwelling-rooms leading into it and a portal opening on to the street.

[17] One immediate result of this in Argentina was a crop of private
failures. The occurrence of these has since, however, steadily decreased
in number. None at all were recorded during December, 1915. The year
1916 has begun in both countries with a good financial situation and a
promising outlook.

[18] The substance of this advice has recently been embodied in a Foreign
Office Report.

[19] The entry of Italy into the war has stopped this.

[20] Already well begun. As will be seen from the latest statistics,
given in another chapter.

[21] United States Banks have recently opened and are opening branches in
Buenos Aires and Montevideo.

[22] These approximate figures relate to the three years immediately
preceding the commencement of the war.

[23] If the Province has lately found difficulty in paying the interest
on its debt, this has been on account of large expenditure on Public
Works; coupled with mismanagement of its large revenues.

[24] In regard to the outlying Provinces it should always be borne in
mind that the _number_ of head of Live Stock possessed by them need not
and usually does not afford any indication of _value_, for the farther
one gets from Buenos Aires the less careful breeding one finds, and
therefore the greater predominance of native cattle and sheep.

[25] _L’Argentine telle qu’elle est._

[26] Native riding whip of solid hide, straight and tapering.

[27] The _boleadora_ consists of two or of three round stones encased
in hide and attached, each by an independent thong, to the end of a
lasso. The thongs with the stones are swung round the head and, suddenly
released, twine themselves round the legs of the animal to be caught;
which is thrown down by the jerk of the tightened lasso.

[28] Monograph attached to Argentine Agricultural and Live Stock Census,
1908.

[29] This is largely due to the heavy cost of transport even from the
mines to the railway head at the City of San Juan.

[30] The Jesuits also had settlements in Neuquen.

[31] The National Government is now taking active steps to put Rivadavia
petroleum on a sound commercial footing and has recently issued 5% Bonds
to the value of 1¼ millions sterling for that purpose.

[32] Those of Guayra, in Brazil, are rather _rapids_ than falls.

[33] This volume is subject to great fluctuations.

[34] Mate seed must either be picked while it is very young and soft or
else be chemically treated to soften it before planting.

[35] Most of the sugar produced in these Northern Territories goes to
make CAÑA, or native rum.

[36] Prior to the War, Germany imported large quantities of Quebracho
logs for extract-manufacturing and other tanning purposes.

[37] The alarm caused by the realization of this menace has been fruitful
of measures taken by breeders to maintain the increase of stock: and it
is just to add that these measures are already showing good results.

[38] Monograph attached to National Census, 1909.

[39] It is to these newly born “hoppers” that the most rigorous sweeping
and burning is usually applied. They present the greater facilities for
this treatment, and are, as has been indicated, more destructive than
their parents, who may be said to be at the end of life’s span when they
arrive.

[40] In Uruguay, the Ministry of Industries is concerned with all
agricultural matters.

[41] 1000 hectares = 3861 square miles, and 1 hectare = 2·4711 (or a
little less than 2½) acres.

[42] At present most of these supplies go direct to Havre for the use of
the allied troops.

[43] Uruguay can still be roughly divided into two parts by drawing an
almost straight line from, say, Mercedes on the River Uruguay to San
Vicente on the Atlantic, the chief cereal areas lying south of this line,
while the land north of it chiefly carries live stock.

[44] At the moment of writing (February, 1916) the demand by the Allied
Governments has become less.

[45] A letter, received by the author during the preparation of this
book, from one of the great Cold Storage Companies, says: “Much regret
that we cannot give you any reliable information in regard to the Export
Value (for 1914), and do not even care about hazarding a guess.”

[46] It is only fair to add that lack of transport from the chief
forestal areas at present offers economic difficulties.

[47] Uruguayan literature is the less open to adverse criticism in this
regard.



INDEX


  Agricultural instructors, 225, 260

  Agricultural Show, 89

  Agriculture, Argentine, Development of, 241

  Agriculture, Cultivable area, 217, 237

  Agriculture (Exports), 215, 242, 245

  Alcorta, Dr. Figueroa, 2, 3, 64, 65, 66, 67, 208

  Alfalfa and wheat, Alternation of, 224, 225, 254, 255

  Alfalfares, 158

  Alta Gracia, 149

  Americanisms, 44

  Anarchists, recalcitrant, 198

  Anchorena (family), 187

  Andalgalá, 164

  Andes tunnel, 124

  Arab-Semitic blood, 41

  Araújo, 299

  Argentines and Uruguayans contrasted, 42, 45, 59, 60

  Aristocracy, Argentine, 4

  Armageddon, 227

  Arrowroot, 236

  Artígas (general), 30, 31, 38, 71, 152, 301

  Artígas (Department), 63

  Asistencia Publica, 14, 54

  August, 1914, 94, 95

  Avellaneda, 141

  Avenida de Mayo, 14

  Azul, 142


  Bahia Blanca, 140

  Balfour, Jabez, 169, 170

  Ballot, 36

  Banda Oriental, 30, 31, 60

  Bank Holiday, 19, 94, 95

  Banks, 18, 112, 137

  Banks of Issue, 103

  Baring, 31

  Batlle y Ordoñez, Señor, 33, 70

  “Bear” (a famous), 118, 119

  Belgians, 27

  Belgrano (General), 168

  Belle Ville, 149

  Bella Vista, 155

  Bermejo (River), 168, 205, 206

  Boleadora, 15, 170

  Bolza (Buenos Aires), 117, 118

  Bolza de Cereales (Buenos Aires), 116

  Bomberos, 14

  Borax, 168

  Brazil, 35

  Bread and meat, 222

  Bridges, The late Mr., 199

  Britain, 259

  British railway management, 53

  British trade methods, 106, 107

  Buenos Aires (Province of), 63, 139-44

  Buenos Aires (Province), Chief products of, 142

  Buenos Aires (City), 82, 83, 90, 92


  Cafayate, 174

  Caja de Conversión, 19, 98, 99

  “Camp,” 11, 60

  Campo, Dr. L. del, 67

  Campo Santo, 174

  Canelones (Department), 63, 214

  Capital, 11

  Capital, Federal, 63

  Carbó, Dr., 18

  Carmen de Patagones, 190, 193

  Carnot, 74

  Carré, Ferdinand, 251

  Castilian language, 43, 44

  Catamarca (Province of), 63, 163, 164, 165

  Catamarca (Province), Chief products of, 163

  Catamarca, City of, 164

  Cedulas, Argentine National, 114, 115, 119, 120

  Cedulas, Provincial, 119

  Census (Commercial and industrial of city of Buenos Aires), 137

  Centenary, Argentine, 67

  Cereal cultivation, Chief areas of, 223, 224

  Cereals (export), 246

  Cerro Largo (Department), 63

  Cervantes, 43

  Chaco, The (Territory), 63, 214

  Chacrero, 27

  Chaves, Nunflo de, 250

  Chicory, 236

  Children, 57

  Chile, 35

  Chilled meat, 251

  Chiripá, 14

  Chivilcoy, 142

  Choele Choel, 190

  Chubut (Territory), 63, 193, 194, 195, 196

  Chubut (Territory), Chief products of, 196

  Cinnamon, 236

  Club Uruguayo, 79

  Coffee, 173, 218, 236

  Colastiné, 145

  Cold storage, 254, 265

  Cold storage companies, 222, 269, 272

  Colon Theatre, 85

  Colonia (Department), 63, 214

  Colonist-s, 7, 10, 27, 228, 265

  Colonist, The case for, 229

  Colonization, 10, 27, 97

  Commissary, Police, 68, 73

  Common sense, 5, 7, 50, 59

  Comodoro Rivadavia, 193, 194

  Comparative movement, in Ports, 125

  Concessions, 51, 52

  Concórdia, 152, 153

  Congress-es, 62

  Conquistadores, 43, 46

  Constitution-s, 62, 65, 72, 75, 174

  Conventillo, 91

  Conversion Fund, 99

  Conversion Law, 76, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102, 103

  Copper, 164, 166, 179, 184, 192, 214

  Córdoba, Province of, 63, 145

  Córdoba (Province), Chief products of, 146

  Córdoba, City of, 146, 147, 148

  Corn Exchange (Buenos Aires), 116

  Corrientes, Province of, 63, 153

  Corrientes (Province), Chief products of, 153, 155

  Corrientes, City of, 154, 155

  Cost of living, Comparative, 84, 85

  Cotton, 2, 8, 16, 181, 219

  Coya Indians, 172, 173

  Credit, Commercial, 111

  Credit, Customary trade, 112

  Credit, National, 76

  Credito Argentino, 120

  Crisis of 1890, 31

  Cuenca Vidal, 189

  Curanderas, 159

  Curanderos, 159

  Curuzú Cuatia, 155


  Daireaux, Godofredo, 1, 299, 302

  Defensa Agricola, 239, 240

  Departments, 63

  Deputies, Chamber of, 63, 67

  Development of River Plate territories, 1

  Dique San Roque, 149

  Doctrinairism, 27, 69, 70

  Doinnel, Hipolito, 268

  Dollar, Uruguayan, 43

  Drabble, Mr. Alfred, 269

  Drama, Native, 86, 300

  Drought, 225, 259

  Dulce, River, 158, 163

  Durazno (Department), 63, 212


  Earthquakes, 176

  Elections, Corrupt, 36, 68

  Emigrants, 12

  Empedrado, 155

  Entre Rios, Province of, 63, 150

  Entre Rios (Province), Chief products of, 150, 151

  Espinoza, Juan de Galazary, 250

  Estancia-s, 52, 53

  Estanciero-s, 48, 76

  Exports, 128, 130, 135, 136

  Exports, Cereal, 135, 242, 245

  Exports, Live stock and products of, 135, 266, 267


  Farming, 52

  Fashion, 92

  Ferry boats, Train carrying, 151

  Fisheries, 199

  Flores (Department), 63

  Florida (Department), 163, 214

  Formosa (Territory), 63, 205, 206, 207, 208, 209, 210

  Fortune-tellers, 55

  Frozen meat, 251

  Frozen and chilled meat (exports), 275

  Futures, Grain, 116


  Galician language, 44

  Gallegos Port, 197

  Garay, Juan de, 249

  “Gatos,” 117

  Gaucho-s, 2, 13, 47, 48, 158, 159, 170, 171, 172, 173

  German trade methods, 104

  Gibson, Mr. Herbert, 171, 229, 250, 262, 264

  Goes, Brothers, 16, 250

  Gold, 157, 179, 187, 200, 214

  Gold speculation, 103

  Golondrinas, 109

  Government, 4, 5, 62, 64, 74, 75, 76, 77

  Government, Provincial, 64, 65, 77

  Government, Municipal, 77

  Granite, 203

  Grapes, 177, 180, 181

  Groussac, Mr. Paul, 43

  Guanaco, 173

  Guaraní, 43

  Guayra Falls, 202

  Guido y Spano, 299


  Halbach, Mr., 261

  Harvesters, 8

  Harvests, 26

  Harvests, Recent, 245, 246

  Havre, 251

  Hernandez, José, 299

  High Court, Argentine Federal, 2, 3, 63

  “History of Belgrano,” 249

  Hops, 236

  Horse breeding, 253

  Hospitals, 53

  Hot springs, 174, 188

  Hotels, 90

  Huerta, President, 38

  Humahuaca, 168

  Hurlingham, 89

  Hustling, 105

  Hypothecary Bank, Argentine National, 114, 115


  Iberá, Lake, 156

  Ibicuy, 151

  Iguazú Falls, 151, 182, 201, 202

  Ilex Paraguayensis, 220

  Immigrants, 228

  Immigration, 42, 126

  Immigration (Comparative returns), 126

  “Imperio in Imperium,” Railway, 216

  Imports, 129, 130, 131, 132

  Independence, Declaration of, 29, 47, 162, 168

  Indian-s, 15, 41, 46

  Intendente Municipal, 62, 64

  Intensive farming, 6, 255

  Intermarriage, 41

  Interpreter, 108

  Interventor, 66

  Iron, 214

  Irrigation, 137, 149, 150, 158, 160, 162, 163, 166, 167, 175, 177,
     180, 186, 188, 189, 190, 227

  Italianate population, 42

  Ituzaingó, 155


  Jesuits, 160, 185, 201, 202, 203, 204, 205, 221

  Jeunesse dorée, 58

  Jockey Club, Argentine, 5, 88

  Juarez Celman, 31

  Jujuy, Province of, 63, 167, 168, 169

  Jujuy (Province), Chief products of, 168

  Jujuy, City of, 168


  _La Frigorifique_, 268

  _La Paraguay_, 268

  La Plata, City of, 139, 140

  La Rioja, Province of, 63, 165, 166, 167

  La Rioja (Province), Chief products of, 165

  La Rioja, Province of, 165, 167

  La Rioja, City of, 166

  Labour, 7, 11

  Lago Pellegrini, 189

  Land, 5, 7, 51

  Lands, Fiscal, 7

  Language, 42, 43, 44

  Latent landlords (Latifundíos), 9

  Latifundíos, 207

  Latzina, Dr. Francisco, 17, 236, 237

  Lavalle, General, 168

  Laws, 72

  Leach family, 167, 169

  Lead, 179, 214

  Lertora, Mr., 54

  Liebig factories, 153

  Linseed (export), 242

  Live Stock, Chief areas of, 255

  Live Stock Disease, Comparative absence of, 258

  Live Stock Disease, Precautions against, 258, 259

  Live Stock Products (exports), 266, 267

  Live Stock on Hoof, Prohibited importation into Great Britain, 258, 259

  Live Stock (statistics), 256, 257, 262, 263, 264, 265

  Loans, National, 114, 115, 119, 120

  Loans, Provincial, 65

  Locusts, 238, 239, 240

  Los Andes (Territory), 63, 214

  “Los Remedios” Estancia, 261

  Lotteries, National, 88

  Lugones, Leopoldo, 299, 302


  Maize (export), 242

  Maldonado (Department), 63, 214

  “Mañana,” 20, 49, 225

  Marble, 166, 179

  Mar Chiquita, 149

  Marcos Juarez (town), 149

  Mar-del-Plata, 5, 88, 123, 141

  Mármol, José, 299

  “Martin Fierro,” 299

  Martinez de Hoz, Señor, 253

  Mate, 56, 220, 221

  Mate Yerba, 202, 203

  Mauduit, Señor Fernando, 277, 278, 298

  _Mayflower, The_, 44, 194

  Meat, Early export of, 268

  Meat trade (exports), 270, 271, 272, 273

  Meat trade, Recent, 269, 272

  Mendoza, Pedro de, 249, 250

  Mendoza, Province of, 63, 174, 175, 176, 177, 178

  Mendoza (Province), Chief products of, 175

  Mendoza, City of, 176, 177

  Mercedes (Corrientes), 155

  Metan, 174

  Metric measurements, 106, 107

  Mihanovich (boats), 201, 202

  Mihanovich, Nicolas, 81

  Miller, Mr. John, 261

  Milling industry, 116, 145, 213

  Minas (Department), 63

  Minerals, 157, 163, 164, 166, 187, 192, 214

  Misiones (Territory), 63, 200, 201, 202, 203, 204, 205

  Misiones (Territory), Chief products of, 203, 204

  Mitre, General, 31, 123, 249, 299

  Mitre, The late Señor Emilio, 122

  Mitre Law, The, 122, 123

  Monetary system, Argentine, 101

  Monetary system, Uruguayan, 33, 104

  Monetary values, Equivalent, 100

  Money Markets, 93

  Monroe Doctrine, 105

  Montevideo (City), 32, 45, 53, 79, 80

  Montevideo (Department), 63

  Moorish civilization, 41, 58

  Mora, Lola, 301

  Morals, 90, 91

  Moratorium, 20

  Mulhall, The late Mr. E. T., 191

  Mulhall, The late Mr. Michael, 191

  Nahuel Huapí, Lake, 187, 191, 194


  National Territories, 62, 63

  Negro blood, 40, 41, 46

  Negro race, 15

  Neuquen (Territory), 63, 185, 186, 187, 188

  Neuquen (Territory), Chief products of, 187

  Newton, Mr. Richard, 261

  Nueve de Julio, 142


  Old Colonial days, 29

  Oligarchies, Provincial, 2, 64, 65, 66, 67

  Olivera, Señor, 261

  Once cereal market, 116

  Onyx, “Brazilian,” 157

  Oratory, 300


  Palermo, 5, 87, 88

  Palermo Agricultural Show, 253, 263, 264

  Palermo race-course, 5

  Pampa, A tale of the, 1, 44

  Pampa Central (Territory), 62, 63, 182

  Pampa Central, Chief products of, 183, 184

  Paraguay, 35

  Paraguay, River, 205, 206

  Paraná, City of, 151, 152

  Paraná Congress, 268

  Paraná, River, 123, 143, 144, 145, 150, 151, 154, 155

  Paraná, River, Upper, 202

  Patriarchs, 1, 2, 48, 51

  Payadores, 13, 299

  Paysandú (Department), 63, 212

  Peaches, 177, 180

  Penna, Dr., 54

  Peon, 12, 47, 48

  Pergamino, 142

  Petroleum, 193, 194

  Philology, 43

  Pig farming, 253, 254

  Pilcolmayo, River, 205, 206

  Pillado, Señor Ricardo, 17, 101, 241

  Plaza, Dr. Victorino de la, 18, 34, 39

  Pocitos, 79

  Politics, Argentine (foreign or commercial), 3

  Politics, Argentine internal, 3, 4, 75

  Ponchos, 14, 173

  Population, 8, 15, 96, 97, 254

  Population, Problem of, 226, 227, 228

  Ports, 125

  Posadas, 201

  Poultry farming, 253, 254

  Protective economic measures (War), 94, 95

  Provinces, 62, 63

  Public works, 137

  Puente del Inca, 177

  Puerto Deseado, 197


  Quack doctors, 55, 159

  Quebracho, 2, 144, 154, 158, 206, 277

  Quevedo, 268

  Quichúa, 43

  Quintana, Dr. Manuel, 66


  Railway enterprise, 215, 216, 217

  Railway “Imperium in Imperio,” 122

  Railways, 215, 216

  Railways, Foreign, 6

  Railways, Foreign capital invested in, 122

  Railways (total lengths of lines), 122

  Railways (gauges in use), 122

  Railways, The Buenos Aires Western, 122, 184

  Railways, The Central Argentine, 52, 122, 149

  Railways, The Buenos Aires Great Southern, 122, 124, 140, 184, 186, 191

  Railways, The Buenos Aires Pacific, 122, 124, 140, 177, 184, 190, 193

  Railways, The Central Córdoba, 124

  Railways, The Entre Rios, 124

  Railways, The Province of Santa Fé, 123, 124

  Railways, The Province of Buenos Aires, 124

  Railways, The N. E. Argentine, 201, 205

  Railways, The Central Uruguay of Montevideo, 122

  Railways, Argentine National, 124, 163, 167

  Railways, An U.S. Syndicate, 124

  Railways, travelling comforts, 123

  Ramirez, 79

  Rawson (town), 194

  “Reds,” 32, 60, 69, 76

  Rebenque, 170

  Recoleta, 89

  Regulations, 72

  Retail traders, Nationalities of, 138

  Revenue, Surplus, 136, 137

  “Revolución de Arriba,” 67

  Rice, 218, 219

  Rio Colorado, 143, 183, 187, 189

  Rio Cuarto (town), 149

  Rio Grande do Sul, State of, 35, 213

  Rio Negro (Argentina), 183, 187, 189, 190

  Rio Negro (Uruguay), 213

  Rio Negro (Territory), 63, 188, 189, 190, 191, 192, 193

  Rio Negro (Territory), Chief products of, 191, 192

  Rio Negro (Department), 63

  River Plate Spanish (language), 42, 43, 44

  Rivera (Department), 63

  Rocha (Department), 63, 214

  Rosario (de la Frontera), 174

  Rosario (de Santa Fé), 145

  Rozas, Juan Manuel de, 30, 31, 38, 152, 261, 301

  Rural banks, 28

  Rural Society (Argentine), 251, 262


  Saenz Peña, Dr., 34, 36, 64, 67, 68, 76

  Saladillo, River, 158

  Salta, Province of, 63, 169, 170, 172, 173, 174

  Salta, City of, 174

  Salto (Department), 63

  San Antonio, Bay, 190, 191

  San Blas, 191, 192

  San Ignacio, 202, 203

  San Jorge (gulf), 193

  San José (Department), 63, 214

  San Juan, Province of, 63, 178, 179, 180, 181, 182

  San Juan (Province), Former finances of, 178, 179

  San Juan, City of, 182

  San Luis, Province of, 63, 156

  San Luis (Province), Chief products of, 157, 158

  San Martin, General, 156

  San Martin, Zorrilla de, 299

  San Matias (gulf), 190

  San Rafael, 175

  Sandhills, Shifting, 248

  Santa Cruz (Territory), 63, 195, 196, 197

  Santa Cruz (Territory), Chief products of, 197

  Santa Fé, Province of, 63, 144

  Santa Fé (Province), Chief products of, 144

  Santa Fé, City of, 144, 145

  Santa Marina, Señor, 81

  Santa Rosa de Toay, 184

  Santiago del Estero, Province of, 63, 158, 159, 160

  Santiago del Estero (Province), Chief products of, 158

  Sarmiento, President, 31, 152

  Securities, 28

  Securities (investment), 116

  Senate, Senators, 63, 65, 67

  Servants, 56

  Settlers, 9, 185

  Sierra de la Ventana, 143

  Silesian Brothers, 199

  Silver, 164, 166, 179, 214

  Single-tax, 28

  Smuggling, overland, 209

  Socialism, 28, 70

  Society, Argentine, 4

  Soil, The nature of, 246, 247, 248

  Spain, 29, 30

  Spanish blood, 40, 46

  Spanish-speaking commercial travellers, 107

  Speculative shares, 113, 118

  Squadron of Security, 14

  Soler Theatre, 79

  “Soriano” (Department), 63, 212, 214

  “Standard,” The Buenos Aires, 191

  Statistics, Foreign trade, 127, 128, 129, 130, 131, 132, 133

  Statistics, Uruguayan, Deficiencies of, 132

  Stock Exchange, Buenos Aires, 113, 114

  Storekeeper, 8

  Sugar, 16, 160, 161, 162, 167, 218

  Sugar-beet, 236

  Sulphur, 179

  “Sun of May,” 168

  “Swallows” (Golondrinas), 9

  Sweet Sorghum, 236

  Swiss colony, 27


  Tandíl, 82, 143, 144

  Tarquin (bull), 261

  Tea, 236

  Tellier, Charles, 251, 269

  Terrasson, Eugenio, 251

  Theatre, 58

  “The Land we Live on,” 229

  Tierra del Fuego, 63, 194, 195, 197, 198, 199, 200

  Tigre River, 87, 89, 143

  Timber, 16, 187, 202, 209, 277, 298

  Tin, 164, 166

  Tobacco, 16, 181, 218, 219, 220

  Tornquist, Mr. C. A., 19, 21-26

  Tosca, 247, 248

  Tramways, Buenos Aires, 84

  Tramways, Montevideo, 71, 85

  Transandine Railway, 175, 177

  Traps for the unwary, 9

  Treinta y Tres (Department), 63

  Tres Arroyos, 142

  Tronador (mountain), 187

  Tucuarembo (Department), 63, 212

  Tucumán, Province of, 63, 160, 161, 162, 163

  Tucumán (Province), Chief products of, 160


  United States, 44, 105

  United States, trade methods, 105, 106

  Urquíza, General, 151, 152

  Uruguay, 212, 213, 214

  Uruguay, River, 123, 155, 156

  Ushuaia, 199


  Vanilla, 236

  Varela, Juan Cruz, 299

  Viceroys, Viceregal, 29

  Victoria Island, 187

  Vicuna, 173

  Viedma, 192

  Viera, Dr., 18

  Villa Constitución, 145

  Villanueva, Señor Benito, 143

  Voting, Obligatory, 36


  Walle, Paul, 159, 197

  War, The, 18, 28

  Welsh colony, 27, 194, 195

  Wheat (chief areas of production), 223, 224

  Wheat (export), 135, 242, 246

  Wheat and lucerne, Alternation of, 254, 255

  White, Mr., 261

  “Whites,” 32, 60, 69, 76

  Windmills, Water-drawing, 142, 225, 260

  Wine, 157, 165, 174, 175, 177, 180

  Wit, Native, 13

  Wolfram, 157

  Women, 55, 57

  Wool exports, 136, 260, 267


  Yankee, 48, 106


  Zárate, 151, 254

  Zeballos, Dr., 263

  Zinc, 179

PRINTED BY WILLIAM BRENDON AND SON, LTD. PLYMOUTH, ENGLAND



Transcriber’s Note


List of changes made to the text to correct suspected printing errors:

Page 5 “Is there a good bargain to be made” changed to “If there is a
good bargain to be made”

Page 17 “the latter is still” changed to “the former is still”

Page 43 “certain Argentine amateur philogists” changed to “certain
Argentine amateur philologists”

Page 65 “would proceed to rat shamelessly” changed to “would proceed to
rant shamelessly”

Page 79 “take convenient tram” changed to “take a convenient tram”

Page 151 “take train” changed to “take a train”

Page 221 “the Adine regions” changed to “the Andine regions”

Page 255 “Buenos Aires, Sante Fé, Córdoba” changed to “Buenos Aires,
Santa Fé, Córdoba”

Page 270 (table header) “Power of meat” changed to “Powder of meat”

Page 294 “_C. sineusis_” changed to “_C. sinensis_”

Page 295 “A first-cless species” changed to “A first-class species”

Page 297 “especially Csrya species” changed to “especially Carya species”

Page 297 “_Tsuga doglasi_” changed to “_Tsuga douglasi_”

Page 302 “Godefredo Daireaux” changed to “Godofredo Daireaux”

Page 308 (index entry) “Spanish-speaking commercial travvellers” changed
to “Spanish-speaking commercial travellers”

Corrections to accents, punctuation and the publisher’s catalogue which
follows have been made without note.



A SELECTION OF BOOKS PUBLISHED BY METHUEN AND CO. LTD. LONDON

36 ESSEX STREET W.C.


CONTENTS

                                      PAGE

  General Literature                     2

  Ancient Cities                        12

  Antiquary’s Books                     12

  Arden Shakespeare                     13

  Classics of Art                       13

  ‘Complete’ Series                     14

  Connoisseur’s Library                 14

  Handbooks of English Church History   15

  Handbooks of Theology                 15

  Health Series                         15

  ‘Home Life’ Series                    15

  Leaders of Religion                   16

  Library of Devotion                   16

  Little Books on Art                   17

  Little Guides                         17

  Little Library                        18

  Little Quarto Shakespeare             19

  Miniature Library                     19

  New Library of Medicine               19

  New Library of Music                  20

  Oxford Biographies                    20

  Seven Plays                           20

  Sport Series                          20

  States of Italy                       20

  Westminster Commentaries              20

  ‘Young’ Series                        21

  Shilling Library                      21

  Books for Travellers                  22

  Some Books on Art                     22

  Some Books on Italy                   23

  Fiction                               24

  Books for Boys and Girls              29

  Shilling Novels                       29

  Sevenpenny Novels                     30


A SELECTION OF MESSRS. METHUEN’S PUBLICATIONS

In this Catalogue the order is according to authors. An asterisk denotes
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    MINIATURES. C. Davenport, V.D., F.S.A. _Second Edition._

    OUR LADY IN ART. Mrs. H. Jenner.

    RAPHAEL. A. R. Dryhurst. _Second Edition._

    RODIN. Muriel Ciolkowska.

    TURNER. F. Tyrrell-Gill.

    VANDYCK. M. G. Smallwood.

    VELAZQUEZ. W. Wilberforce and A. R. Gilbert.

    WATTS. R. E. D. Sketchley. _Second Edition._


The Little Guides

With many Illustrations by E. H. NEW and other artists, and from
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The main features of these Guides are (1) a handy and charming form;
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    CAMBRIDGE AND ITS COLLEGES. A. H. Thompson. _Third Edition,
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    CHANNEL ISLANDS, THE. E. E. Bicknell.

    ENGLISH LAKES, THE. F. G. Brabant.

    ISLE OF WIGHT, THE. G. Clinch.

    LONDON. G. Clinch.

    MALVERN COUNTRY, THE. Sir B. C. A. Windle. _Second Edition._

    NORTH WALES. A. T. Story.

    OXFORD AND ITS COLLEGES. J. Wells. _Tenth Edition._

    ST. PAUL’S CATHEDRAL. G. Clinch.

    SHAKESPEARE’S COUNTRY. Sir B. C. A. Windle. _Fifth Edition._

    SOUTH WALES. G. W. and J. H. Wade.

    TEMPLE, THE. H. H. L. Bellot.

    WESTMINSTER ABBEY. G. E. Troutbeck. _Second Edition._

    BERKSHIRE. F. G. Brabant.

    BUCKINGHAMSHIRE. E. S. Roscoe. _Second Edition, Revised._

    CAMBRIDGESHIRE. J. C. Cox.

    CHESHIRE.. W. M. Gallichan.

    CORNWALL. A. L. Salmon. _Second Edition._

    DERBYSHIRE. J. C. Cox. _Second Edition._

    DEVON. S. Baring-Gould. _Third Edition._

    DORSET. F. R. Heath. _Fourth Edition._

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    ESSEX. J. C. Cox. _Second Edition._

    GLOUCESTERSHIRE. J. C. Cox.

    HAMPSHIRE. J. C. Cox. _Second Edition._

    HERTFORDSHIRE. H. W. Tompkins.

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    MIDDLESEX. J. B. Firth.

    MONMOUTHSHIRE. G. W. and J. H. Wade.

    NORFOLK. W. A. Dutt. _Third Edition, Revised._

    NORTHAMPTONSHIRE. W. Dry. _Second Edition, Revised._

    *NORTHUMBERLAND. J. E. Morris.

    NOTTINGHAMSHIRE. L. Guilford.

    OXFORDSHIRE. F. G. Brabant. _Second Edition._

    SHROPSHIRE. J. E. Auden.

    SOMERSET. G. W. and J. H. Wade. _Third Edition._

    STAFFORDSHIRE. C. Masefield.

    SUFFOLK. W. A. Dutt.

    SURREY. J. C. Cox. _Second Edition, Rewritten._

    SUSSEX. F. G. Brabant. _Fourth Edition._

    WARWICKSHIRE. J. C. Cox.

    WILTSHIRE. F. R. Heath. _Second Edition._

    YORKSHIRE, THE EAST RIDING. J. E. Morris.

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    BRITTANY. S. Baring-Gould. _Second Edition._

    NORMANDY. C. Scudamore. _Second Edition._

    ROME. C. G. Ellaby.

    SICILY. F. H. Jackson.


The Little Library

With Introduction, Notes, and Photogravure Frontispieces

_Small Pott 8vo. Each Volume, cloth, 1s. 6d. net_

    =Anon.= A LITTLE BOOK OF ENGLISH LYRICS. _Second Edition_.

    =Austen (Jane).= PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. _Two Volumes._

    NORTHANGER ABBEY.

    =Bacon (Francis).= THE ESSAYS OF LORD BACON.

    =Barham (R. H.).= THE INGOLDSBY LEGENDS. _Two Volumes._

    =Barnett (Annie).= A LITTLE BOOK OF ENGLISH PROSE. _Third
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    =Beckford (William).= THE HISTORY OF THE CALIPH VATHEK.

    =Blake (William).= SELECTIONS FROM THE WORKS OF WILLIAM BLAKE.

    =Borrow (George).= LAVENGRO. _Two Volumes._

    THE ROMANY RYE.

    =Browning (Robert).= SELECTIONS FROM THE EARLY POEMS OF ROBERT
    BROWNING.

    =Canning (George).= SELECTIONS FROM THE ANTI-JACOBIN: With some
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    =Cowley (Abraham).= THE ESSAYS OF ABRAHAM COWLEY.

    =Crabbe (George).= SELECTIONS FROM THE POEMS OF GEORGE CRABBE.

    =Crashaw (Richard).= THE ENGLISH POEMS OF RICHARD CRASHAW.

    =Dante Alighieri.= PURGATORY.

    PARADISE.

    =Darley (George).= SELECTIONS FROM THE POEMS OF GEORGE DARLEY.

    =Dickens (Charles).= CHRISTMAS BOOKS. _Two Volumes._

    =Gaskell (Mrs.).= CRANFORD. _Second Edition._

    =Hawthorne (Nathaniel).= THE SCARLET LETTER.

    =Kinglake (A. W.).= EOTHEN. _Second Edition._

    =Locker (F.).= LONDON LYRICS.

    =Marvell (Andrew).= THE POEMS OF ANDREW MARVELL.

    =Milton (John).= THE MINOR POEMS OF JOHN MILTON.

    =Moir (D. M.).= MANSIE WAUCH.

    =Nichols (Bowyer).= A LITTLE BOOK OF ENGLISH SONNETS.

    =Smith (Horace and James).= REJECTED ADDRESSES.

    =Sterne (Laurence).= A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY.

    =Tennyson (Alfred, Lord).= THE EARLY POEMS OF ALFRED, LORD
    TENNYSON.

    IN MEMORIAM.

    THE PRINCESS.

    MAUD.

    =Vaughan (Henry).= THE POEMS OF HENRY VAUGHAN.

    =Waterhouse (Elizabeth).= A LITTLE BOOK OF LIFE AND DEATH.
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    =Wordsworth (W.).= SELECTIONS FROM THE POEMS OF WILLIAM
    WORDSWORTH.

    =Wordsworth (W.)= and =Coleridge (S. T.)=. LYRICAL BALLADS.
    _Third Edition._


The Little Quarto Shakespeare

Edited by W. J. CRAIG. With Introductions and Notes

_Pott 16mo. 40 Volumes. Leather, price 1s. net each volume_ _Mahogany
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Miniature Library

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    EUPHRANOR: A Dialogue on Youth. Edward FitzGerald.

    EDWARD, LORD HERBERT OF CHERBURY, THE LIFE OF. Written by
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    HANDEL. R. A. Streatfeild. _Second Edition._

    HUGO WOLF. Ernest Newman.


Oxford Biographies

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    JOHN HOWARD. E. C. S. Gibson.

    SIR WALTER RALEIGH. I. A. Taylor.

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    FRANÇOIS DE FÉNELON. Viscount St. Cyres.


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Sport Series

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    SWIM, HOW TO. H. R. Austin.

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The States of Italy

Edited by E. ARMSTRONG and R. LANGTON DOUGLAS

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    MILAN UNDER THE SFORZA, A HISTORY OF. Cecilia M. Ady. _10s. 6d.
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    BEST OF LAMB, THE. Edited by E. V. Lucas.

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    CHARMIDES, AND OTHER POEMS. Oscar Wilde.

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    CONDITION OF ENGLAND, THE. G. F. G. Masterman.

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    FAMOUS WITS, A BOOK OF. W. Jerrold.

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    HILLS AND THE SEA. Hilaire Belloc.

    HOME LIFE IN FRANCE. M. Betham-Edwards.

    HUXLEY, THOMAS HENRY. P. Chalmers-Mitchell.

    IDEAL HUSBAND, AN. Oscar Wilde.

    IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST, THE. Oscar Wilde.

    INTENTIONS. Oscar Wilde.

    JOHN BOYES, KING OF THE WA-KIKUYU. John Boyes.

    LADY WINDERMERE’S FAN. Oscar Wilde.

    LETTERS FROM A SELF-MADE MERCHANT TO HIS SON. George Horace
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    LIFE OF JOHN RUSKIN, THE. W. G. Collingwood.

    LIFE OF ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON, THE. Graham Balfour.

    LITTLE OF EVERYTHING, A. E. V. Lucas.

    LORD ARTHUR SAVILE’S CRIME. Oscar Wilde.

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    MARY MAGDALENE. Maurice Maeterlinck.

    MIRROR OF THE SEA, THE. J. Conrad.

    OLD COUNTRY LIFE. S. Baring-Gould.

    OSCAR WILDE: A CRITICAL STUDY. Arthur Ransome.

    PARISH CLERK, THE. P. H. Ditchfield.

    PICKED COMPANY, A. Hilaire Belloc.

    REASON AND BELIEF. Sir Oliver Lodge.

    SELECTED POEMS. Oscar Wilde.

    SEVASTOPOL, AND OTHER STORIES. Leo Tolstoy.

    SOCIAL EVILS AND THEIR REMEDY. Leo Tolstoy.

    SOME LETTERS OF R. L. STEVENSON. Selected by Lloyd Osbourne.

    SUBSTANCE OF FAITH, THE. Sir Oliver Lodge.

    TENNYSON. A. C. Benson.

    TOWER OF LONDON, THE. K. Davey.

    TWO ADMIRALS. Admiral John Moresby.

    UNDER FIVE REIGNS. Lady Dorothy Nevill.

    VAILIMA LETTERS. Robert Louis Stevenson.

    VICAR OF MORWENSTOW, THE. S. Baring-Gould.


Books for Travellers

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    CITIES OF LOMBARDY, THE. Edward Hutton.

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    NORFOLK BROADS, THE. W. A. Dutt.

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    ART, ANCIENT AND MEDIEVAL. M. H. Bulley. Illustrated. _Crown
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    OLD PASTE. A. Beresford Ryley. Illustrated. _Royal 4to. £2 2s.
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    ROMNEY FOLIO, A. With an Essay by A. B. Chamberlain. _Imperial
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    CELTIC ART IN PAGAN AND CHRISTIAN TIMES. J. R. Allen.
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    ‘THE CONNOISSEUR’S LIBRARY.’ See page 14.

    ‘LITTLE BOOKS ON ART.’ See page 17.


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    PROFIT AND LOSS. John Oxenham.

    RED DERELICT, THE. Bertram Mitford.

    RED HOUSE, THE. E. Nesbit.

    SIGN OF THE SPIDER, THE. Bertram Mitford.

    SON OF THE STATE, A. W. Pett Ridge.

_Printed by MORRISON & GIBB LIMITED, Edinburgh_

5/1/16





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