Letters from the Battlefields of Paraguay/Letters 1-4

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LETTEE I.

FEOM RIO DE JANEIRO TO MONTE VIDi^O.

Monte Video, August 11, 1868.

My dear Z J

You directed me, remember, to proceed

straight to the seat of war, in the " seld seen land,^^ Paraguay, and there to constitute myself your Military Correspondent/^ You were weary of reading for more than three years a succession of reliable details published by one newspaper and directly contradicted by another. You pitied the public when I was asked for articles upon that interesting if not important subject by a certain Editor who, knowing me to be at Santos, Sao Paulo, inferred that places and persons distant a thousand miles or so, were therefore necessarily familiar to me. You asked with P. Pilate " What is truth ? You were " dying to know something about that unspoiled Arcadia which deaf Mr. Mansfield, after a ten-months^ sojourn on the soil, pronounced to be the most interesting, loveliest, plea- santest country in the world -/' about the " Nestor of the war,^^ Marshal Caxias; about Madame Lynch; about the battles and the massacres, and the rumours of massacres, and remembering the ladies of Sienna in the Livre de Montluc, about the Amazonian army whose " uniform was white, with white-fringed caps ; their arms a lance with pennant, and their grades eflfeminized into Commandanta, Capi- tana, Alfereza, Sargenta."

To hear was to obey. I at once girded up my loins for the task. With a stoicism not less rare than commendable.


FROM RIO BE JANEIRO TO MONTE VIDEO. SI

and au epicurean zest to leave tliose old familiar scenes and faces, whose many charms had begun to pall upon the traveller's palate, I descended for the last time the tre- mendous inclined planes of the Santos and Jundiahy railway, and still shuddering, bade farewell to a three years' home. We embarked for the last of so many times at Santos, that Weston-super-mud of the Far West, peculiarly fatal to the genus European, species Consul, and with ses triplex about the cardiac region, we affronted the risks of fire and water on board a Brazilian steamer, northward bound to the capital.

After a rapid fortnight amongst the hospitalities of Rio de Janeiro, which our countrymen will call '^ Rye -oh, you delivered me (August 6, 1868), duly labelled, Monte Video — this side up — fragile — with care,^' on board the R.M.S.S. Arno, Captain Bruce. You preferred for me the " Slow-coach line, as it was called by a testy editor who, holding himself aggrieved, planted his little sting in the tenderest part — when will English take example from Anglo- American Companies, and learn how much may be made, or how much may not be lost, by a little timely expenditure of " dead-heading ? " The choice of steamers had for object, personal comfort and a zoological study of the pas- sengers ; upon which I cumulated observation of the mani- fold and manifest antediluvianisms of the Great Company. Why should the outward-bound public be delayed four or five days at Rio, awaiting the arrival of the inter-colonial" Arno ? Why treat the River " to an " inter- colonial " at all, when the big steamer should make it her terminus? Why retain the Arno of 757 tons register, which daily con- sumes from /thirty to thirty-two tons of coal, when the improved engines of the new Pacific steamer Magellan make twenty-five do the work of 3500 tons ? Again, why should the Buenos Aires mails, and the homeward- bounds

6


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be kept waiting two days at Monte Video ? Lastly, why should the mail-bags be shipped from Buenos Aires in a sailing-boatj often delaying Arno two hours, and demanding full speed with an increased expenditure of coal ! Arrange- ments for embarking and disembarking upon the Platine shores are imperfect all, but the Royal Mail simply makes none. New and immense sources of profit, such as touch- ing at Santos in S. Paulo, have been proposed even by myself. During the affair of Federals versus Confederates, when the Royal Mail had virtually a monopoly of transport, a noble service might have been organized had they not preferred distributing bonuses. My proposals were re- jected, and the profits were made over to the French and to a rival line, the '^'^ Astronomicals,^^ by the incapacity of certain superannuateds, who have done nothing but mangle the fair proportions of the company. Yet, when the last yearns West Indian typhoon lost four steamers, the Royal Mail, which has on board every ship begging-boxes for widows and orphans, could not afford to pay pensions, and was compelled to pass round the ignoble hat. Beware O ex-Great Company, and bestir thyself! We will not be made to go backwards. There is a Lamport and Holt — although that coach is even slower — there is a Tait^s London line, and, to say nothing of the French, Italians, and Belgians, there are fine brand-new Pacific steamers through Magellan Strait, which may presently claim a fat slice from the Mail contract.

You must not think that in making these remarks, my object is to grumble or to blame : it is rather to suggest the mode of preventing discontent. Personally I — let us say we — have ever met with the most kindly treatment on board the many vessels of the Royal Mail that conveyed us. It is still the line which will be preferred by families, and where the unprotected one is safe from the attentions


FROM RIO DE JANEIRO TO MOxNTE VIDEO. 83

of delirium tremens^ and I show my gratitude by pointing out what is required to perfect it.

Meanwhile the Royal Mail has made two moves in the right direction. Freights were frightful; they have now been reduced from 10/. to 3/. \0s. Ocl. per ton. The lowest first class between Buenos Aires and London, including five days at Rio_, costs 35/., decidedly cheap locomotion for thirty-six days. The highest fare is 80/., which hires a single cabin upon the upper deck. It is a good principle to make the necessaries of travel as cheap as possible, and the luxuries dear to those who can afford them. The details, however, may be improved. For instance, 35/. is too little : it crowds the saloons with wild bipeds who should be shipped forwards. Nothing but first and second class should be allowed, and so forth. I would also advise the purser, when there are 300 passengers on board, to have breakfast on the table from 8 to 11 a.m., as is the custom of the English country house.

That Thursday when Blue Peter came down, was a grey day, and the beautiful face of Rio Bay gave me a parting scowl which I did not deserve. As we started at 8 a.m. no jollity was there. You should see the contrast at Buenos Aires when an old habitue leaves. Then Englishmen and Germans congregate : then is consumed an intolerable deal of pale sherry — four shillings on board and ten on shore : then national anthems are sung, and bravos and vivas, hoorays ^' and hurrahs are howled, and then are prodi- gious kissings, embracings, and tear-sheddings, not unac- companied by bonnetings.

Before us lay five dreary days to cover 1040 miles, which may, at this season, afford a rough passage. August 30 is the anniversary of Santa Rosa, a young person who, per- haps you do not know, patronizes South America, and the fete of the fair Limena — she was not like St. Catherine of

6—2


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Sienna — is expected to bring from the south-east a gale which tosses up mountains of sand^ and which has thrown ships amongst and over the house-tops. Consulting the register for the last few years, I find the Saintess unpunc- tual as Saint S within : in fact the phenomenon must be reduced to a mere equinoctial disturbance. Arno is in luck as long as she keeps this cold,, raw north-easter which holds up the rain. If the breeze falls, and the sea is lulled, she must look out for the Pampero or Prairie wind, a Harmattan, a Khamsin, whose very name makes the flesh of the timid chilly creep, and which whizzes, they say, through their bones.

You will accept a few words about this meteor, the only health officer of Platine cities, the maintainer of atmo- spheric circulation, and, according to M. Bravard, the great builder of the Pampas. The Pampero, which ranges from south-west to south- south-west, is as usual more felt in countries towards which it blows than in the regions where it rises. It is of two kinds — clean and dirty. The ^' Lim- pio,^ after threatening rain, sweeps the sky bright and clear. The rheumatic gale is cutting as a Kent-coast black caster, and sailors complain that the Plate appears to them after the relaxing heat of Kio, the bitterest place they know. But it is a true relief in the seething summer ; it forms a break of invigorating freshness : cold and consequently dry, it renders even Buenos Aires of the fetid airs inhabitable. The Pampero Sucio comes out from a horizontal line of sable cloud, like the arch of the West-African tornado down-flattened; and whilst the curtain creeps up to the zenith, the storm-wind with a rush and a roar swoops down upon the world of waters. It brings thunder closely fol- lowing the flash, which is peculiarly tremulous and persistent, whilst ascending balls are common : such lightning is dangerous on the Pampas, as on the North American Prairies.


FROM Rro DE JANEIRO TO MONTE VIDEO. 85

Azara calculates that " thunderbolts '^ fall about ten times more often in Paraguay than in Spain. I do not speak of the dust^ being at sea ; the rain begins by " spitting sixpences/' and ends in emptying bucketsful : the gale sleeps at night, and raves sometimes for two and even for three days, making all wretchedly uncomfortable till it has blown itself dead.

It has been remarked that the wind ending in the Pampero should traverse fi'om north to west, and thus from south-south-west to south-west. If it pass round eastward, or with the sun, it will not last. Sailors exaggerate its effects : blowing offshore, it is therefore not so bad as the " Northern'^ of Valparaiso, and the ill-famed " Norte**' of the Mexican Gulf. But it is frigid with Andine snows, and dry as a Simoom after coursing over the naked south- temperate plains. It extends to Rio Grande, the southern- most province of the Brazil, but there it is comparatively innocuous, and the Temporal de Polvo shows to best ad- vantage, speaking of it as a curiosity, on the Pampas and where the soil is poorest. The spelF' from Rio to Monte Video is held by seamen the worst of the six acts which represent the total voyage-drama from England to Plate- land. Our wind veers during five days almost round the compass, and becomes notably rawer as we advance. Heavy showers — rain being here almost inevitable — drench the feet; and once cooled on board, feet do not wax warm throughout the day. The fogs, or rather the Scotch mists, of the calm nights are heavy, and as we are upon the beaten track of ships, our steam-whistle is not silent. At times the water is smooth as oil, a Pacific, not a moaning and misty Atlantic. The half-knot current sets at present to the south-west, the direction by which it doubles the Horn, but a southerly gale will drive it two knots per hour to the north. About


86 FROM RIO DE JANEIRO TO MONTE VIDEO.

the Abrolhos Islands, infames scopulos, soundings even of fifty fathoms cannot be told by the colour. Here the tints shift from light blue^ showing a sandy floor^, to dark blue and sombre brown ; this is the effect of a muddy bottom, the deposit of the Plata following the wind, now sweeping up, then floating down coast.

Happily for the traveller's repose, steam has given old science the go-by. At this rapid pace we are no longer bound in duty to catch gulf- weed and acalephs ; to observe and register the temperature of the atmosphere and the oscillations of the ship; to speculate on the existence of phosphorus in our water, or narrowly to observe the flight of the flying-fish. We may, sound in conscience, eat, drink, and sleep, smoking between whiles pectoral cigarettes, playing ^^ bulF^ or maritime quoits, sleepily watching the companionable gull, or recognising by the parrot-like thrill of their barred wings one's old world friends the Cape pigeons. And the style of the outward-bound companion is here better than that which lands in the Brazil. Our staple consists of '^ gentle shepherds,-" as the slang is ; simple young fellows fi-om the country, many of them Scotch, coming out to become Magyar Esterhazys and Cokes of Holkham, or rather going to the bad in the pursuit of sheep. Some are putting in a first appearance ; others, older hands, are returning to their muttons. With us is a Plenipo., accompanied by Mrs. P. ; there is a gentle- manly person in knickerbockers and poor health; there is the " Mail abroad, wending home to Argentine- land, with a remarkably pretty and pleasing " Mail-ess," who admirably "ryles up;" and there are some nondescripts, many Germans, and a few French, the latter a race that never feels thoroughly at home on board English steamers. Unfortunately, my bete noire is also there — a loud, brassy, bumptious, bellowing, blatant manner of being — the thing.


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in fact, that begat our modern and English Anglophobia. This typical 10/. householder had waxed fat on River hide and tallow, and upon his mental toe I had unconsciously trodden by mistaking him for a gentleman's valet. He is characteristically servile to his superiors, pert, contradictory, and offensive to his peers, insolent to his inferiors. His beau ideal of a man is an anything married by the daughter of Lady Jones, and wedded to 180,000/. — of such, we are told, is the Kingdom of Heaven.

The return lot is not so pleasant. There are many Teutons, who form a distinct class. There are a few Bra- zilians, wild as Kafirs : the men argue, gesticulate, thump fists on table, take places that are not their own, and seem strange to the appliances of civilization as might have been the Tupis ; the women are invariably sea-sick, wear calicos, wag the forefinger, and use bottines that never knew Paris. The Portuguese are Brazilians Europeanized, and personally not so clean : you easily know them, their talk is about nothing but dollars and the other sex. Dictator Rosas allowed them and them only to congregate in the streets. " Yov said he, " when two Portuguese meet, the talk will always be about * p'^'^^'^'^a,' in fact —

" To chatter loose and ribald brothelry."

All nationalities will be first class. I should suggest the example of a certain Argentine railway, where the ticket-clerk, glancing at the customer, determines his class — the larger the spurs the lower goes the wearer. The Creole English muster strong ; they speak Spanish amongst the English, English amongst the Spaniards ; their voices are curiously harsh and metallic ; they open the lips widely when pro- nouncing their English, as though it were Spanish, and the result nearly approaches to what we call the " Chichi boli, or Mulatto dialect of Bengal^ with not a little of the New


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England and the Australian nasalization. Here and there is a civilized Englishman ; the staple, however, comes from the bush, haggard with toil and discomfort, dressed in home-made clothes, and bringing half-a-dozen cubs, who, fresh out of a cattle-breeding ground, want breaking like wild colts. Truly terrible is this small infantry warred on by nurses, it is worse than the juvenile Anglo-Indian. Misther T'him O^Brien, for instance, rising six years, is requested by a polite Mail officer not to thrash his sister. He raises eyes blazing fiery green out of a freckled face, and briefly ejaculates —

" You go to h " Ending with Spanish which even

dashes will not make decent. If the officer add a word, his shins will feel the thickness of Mr. Tim^s double-soled highlows; and his mother will express the profoundest astonishment — she has always found her T^him such a " dear good little boy.^"*

You will want to hear something about colonizing in the River Plate, emigration to those lands being still believed in by a benighted public* At the present moment, whatever it may have been, sheep-farming is a snare and a delusion. The industry was introduced by foreigners, especially by Messrs. Sheridan and Harratt, in 1825 ; they greatly im- proved upon the Pampas breed, which in 1550 came with the goat from Peru. It was the third stage of progress, the first being the wild ^^ Indian^^ that killed out the


  • It is only fair for me to refer to the favourable side of the question

as developed in " Letters Concerning the Country of the Argentine Re- public (South America) being Suitable for Emigrants and Capitalists to Settle in." (1869. Second issue. London : Waterlow and Sons.) The able and energetic author and compiler, Mr. William Perkins, Secretary National Commission of Immigration, kindly sent me a copy. For my part I agree with Messrs. Jessop and " Old Scotchman," rather than with Mr. Purdie and Mr. Henly ; and my opinion is not valueless, as I have seen three times more of the country than any of them.


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Megatheroicl ; and the second, horses and black cattle, the former brought by Mendoza in 1536, and the latter intro- duced in 1553, by the Spaniards of Asuncion from the Brazil. The turnip must follow the mutton, and the fourth step will of course be agriculture : the latter should be combined with "pastoral pursuits^^ as soon as possible.

Twenty years ago sheep farmers throve. They led for a few years jolly lives of savage exile, and then they went home rich " for good.^^ Presently increased wages, and the higher prices of campo-land, once so cheajJ, combined with a more expensive style of establishment, with the in- security of life and property, and with the perpetual ^•' pro- nouncings^^ of the native population, changed the face of affairs. The United States, formerly the best customer, came into the wool market, and the Morrill tariff imposed a protective duty prohibitory to all but the cheapest articles, these paying only six cents per pound. The last straw was the export duty of 10 per cent. (Mr. Ross Johnson says 15) levied by the Argentine Government — 5 in ready money, and 5 after fouv months. The Platines have reason to say, " The English are the only people who come here with money, and who go away without.^^ Certainly, Spaniards and Italians, Portuguese and Basques, Brazilians and Germans do not. But they are mostly " hands^^ as opposed to capital.

The oldsters on board told many a popular tale that shows which way the wind sets. One professed himself ready to walk a mile in order to kick a sheep. Another related how an emigrant had cut the throats of all his flock, and lastly his own — the best way to get rid of the business. Apparently all were eager to sell, none to buy : they were ready to sell for $1 what they had bought for $4; and some have taken \s. 'iOd., and even 1^. Qd. They asserted roundly that give a man three leagues of land and 20,000 sheep.


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he must be ruined in five or six years if not permitted to trade them off. Every tongue spoke harshly of those agents at home and abroad whose business it is to attract as many emigrants as possible. Mr. David Robertson^ M.P., "vvas accused of having deluded many a wretch to his doom, and of keeping up the lure. Dr. Juan M'Coll — Huan is more Spanish than John — a broker, especially of estates, alias a " Titan in Monte Videan progress," was charged with having written the " Republic of Uruguay and Life in the River Plate,^^* alliteratively characterized as " all rot and rubbish/^ whilst his "â– sheep farmer^s paradise^^ was defined to be a limbo of fools. Mr. Wilfred Latham was soundly rated for his calculation of 75 per cent, profits : this may once have been the case, but the repetition of it calls for contradiction. As harsh-judged were all the handbooks, the guides, and other publications which Messrs. Drabble, Maua, and others have cast broad- scattered upon the w^aters of emigration. Some, it is true, opined the present to be the crisis preceding the cure : they believed their own hopes, that the industry, like tobacco, cotton and sugar growing in the Southern States of the Union, where the great landlord has been " wiped out,"*^ will gain a new term of life by spreading to the masses. Others would establish '^^ Anonymous Companions'^ (Limited Liability) with capitals of at least 60,000/., combining grease-melting with cattle-slaughtering, and with the latest improvements for utilizing everything, even the blood of the slain. All, however, agreed that in the actual status there are many poor to very few rich, and that those who send their " young friends — and gentle- men with small capitals, to make fortunes on the Plate are cruelly unkind. I afterwards heard of a widow who, blessed with an overstocked quiver, including a son of six-


  • Effingham Wilson. London: 1862.


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teen, Tvitli an annual income of 30/. to cease after five years, had determined upon despatching him in quest of fortune to Buenos Aires. Such a step woukl entail ruina- tion of body and mind. The unfortunate would not die of starvation, but — man cannot live upon mutton and hard bread alone — he could aspire to little beyond the situation of a puretero (shepherd), or a peon (wool-farmer^s flock- tender) under the Capataz or Majordomo of the estate. His sole occupation would be to drive out the sheep every morning, and to drive in the sheep every evening. His food would be raw rum and the contents of a cutty pipe, tough meat and old biscuit. His home would be a hovel, gar- nished at best with a Chi nit a, or whitey-yellow girl : a hide would be his bed, and his raiment flannel shirt and overalls, the former generally worn till it falls ofi". He would have no time to do anything, yet he would have nothing to do : here the English settler learns to excel all others in the art and mystery of loafing and dawdling. It is not wonderful that after a few years of such ignoble dis- comfort — such fatal monotony — the man becomes brutalized, and that his fellows detect in his features and expression a shade of approach to those of his rams. I have myself seen the ovine countenance, and it is curious to trace the same degradation in the faces of Schwein Konigs and pig- drivers, menagerie servants, and attendants upon the insane. Briefly to conclude, the end of our victim, commenced by the dreariest of isolation, would most probably be, unless he fled robbing the till, drunkenness — here the more drink the more honour — and debauchery, disease, and death.

Such are the present prospects for the gentleman-adven- turer become a multi pastor odoris^^ in these regions. But sheep-farming and cattle-breeding, low as the industry now is, may possibly improve. A Russian war would, after


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a time_, create a demand for tallow ; the removal of the tariff and the export duties should make wool pay. " Those wonderful Chinese sheep which have six lambs yearly'^ might, as the guidebook says, be imported, instead of the ewe of six lambings which now satisfies the breeder. Still, how- ever, would remain the necessity of leading a half-savage life; the depressing conviction of being at the mercy of a government which taxes everything exportable — wheat, for instance, even before there is any wheat to export — and the daily danger of revolution, of battle, of murder, and of sudden death. And if stabbed or shot upon your own threshold, under your own roof-tree, you die without feeling the poor satisfaction that justice will be done to you upon the cowardly assassin who, bloodthirsty as a Shoho Dankali, offers a bowl of milk with one hand and knifes you with the other. In these fair lands the slaughterer of a stranger, even if seized red-handed, is never punished. Moreover, where almost all ^' Gauchos^' are murderers in posse if not in esse, detected or undetected, if the foreigner take a life in the extremity of absolute self-defence, he is visited with the severest penalty of the ridiculous law, or no law. Justice is in abeyance; there is neither the code of the Revolver, nor of Judge Lynch, nor of the Juiz de Paz. And so will the state be, until the afore-mentioned Judge comes to exercise the jus fori throughout the length and breadth of the Confederation.

We made our landfall at Cape Castillos Grande, where ships from Europe bend westward and prepare to enter ^^ the River.^-* We wondered at not finding a lighthouse upon the steep, round, black islet that outlies the low shore. Presently we steamed past the historic Cabo de Santa Maria — a strip, however, not a cape — where, in the days of Fernandez de Enciso, South America, like Africa in the Ptolemsean age, was shorn of its tail. According to some.


FROM RIO DE JANEIRO TO MONTE VIDEO. 93

the next projection, the Punto del Este, is the true portal

of that river,

" to whose dread expanse, Continuous depth, and wondrous length of course. Our floods are rills."

The fixed white light of Maldonado, dim as that of any coaler, has been compared with a sentinel placed to plunder the poor : here begin the perils which caused the old navigators to call its river " Boca," " hell of pilots/^ Evidently the Phare should be at the danger^s end, and this is certainly Gorriti of the Indians," alias Isla de Lobos, a rookery of seals and sea-lions. The Oriental Government having farmed out the hunting, on March 26, 1866, removed the light, because it injured a valuable trade. Mr. Buckley- Matliew, Minister Plenipotentiary to the Argentine Confede- ration, worked manfully to restore the " Lobos Light," and failed. The saintly owner of the rocky islet, an English- man well known from Monte Video to Tucuman, will, let us not doubt, embrace in turn the opportunity of wrecking fewer ships and losing fewer lives at the risk of catching fewer seals.

As we run along the coast, I recognise the country to be geographically the Brazil ; the hillocks, in fact, are the toe- tips of the gigantic Serra do Mar, eastern ghauts of the empire of the Southern Cross, whose stony wall has so long donjon'd us. Since 1806 it has been occupied alternately by English and Spanish, Portuguese and Brazilian troops. The latter have had it twice, and will have it again — as a Russian patriot, I would give my life for Stamboul ; as a Persian for Herat ; as a Brazilian, for the Banda Oriental. And we Englishmen do not forget that the incapacity of a genei'al of the Great Georgian epoch lost to us a colony which now would have been the grand depot of Eastern South America, and the brightest jewel of the British crown.


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Uruguay, double the size of Ireland, would have been the best of termini for the Hibernian exodus ; with all due allowance for head-breaking and hedge-shooting, the popu- lation would now have numbered 1,000,000, not 300,000 souls, mostly Celts, and assuredly there would not have been, as there is now, a Fenian club at Buenos Aires.

The next remarkable point is the Isla de las Flores, which Davie and other old travellers found bright with rainbow blossoms, and fragrant with wild vegetation. Backed by the usual terra firma of tawny and tree-scattered points, it is now single, then double, according to the height of the water ; and whilst part of it supports rabbits and a revolving light, the rest is in its season a gull-fair. Buceo, loved by bathers, with its bonny sands and outlying quintas nestling under the tree-clumps that speckle the raised and rolling grasslands of the northern bank, and the Plaza de Ramirez, that glistening patch whereon cari'iages from the town stand, both point the way to a pleasing view. A crystal- clear, diaphonous atmosphere sets forth every feature of the approach to Sea^s End ; over the ocean horizon of the river in front the sun-glow is tempered by the cool crisp wind before which race up the white dots of sails, and the broad lights and shades of the shore and of the smokeless city are distributed with a charming picturesqueness.

At 2 '30 P.M. we sight to the north-west a forest of masts lying under the " Town of the Mount,^ backed by its Cerro, a splay-backed and high- shouldered hill, which, only 465 feet high, towers like a giant above the ridgy and peakless coast line. We know that we have reached our destination, and a classical person exclaims with the classical look-out man of yore, —

Montem Video !

Adieu.


LETTER II.

MONTE VIDEO — THE MURDER OF GENERAL FLORES.

Monte Video, August 11, 1868.

My dear Z ,

You ordered me to report to you in these letters more about men and modernisms tlian concerning cities and antiquities. I will therefore sketch the capital of this wee Republic, a South American Monaco, a dwarfish abortion amongst the Giants, with the very broadest touches.

Monte Video (not Video) has little of history, but " en revanche '* an awful name, " Cidade de San Filipe y Sant- iago de Monte Video.^ The Sjfaniards and Portuguese, whilst fighting for the Colonia and the Islet rock of Martin Garcia, mere wards, wholly neglected this, the true key of the vast Platine valley, and allowed the hide huts of pauper fishermen to occupy the only good port at the mouth of the Southern Mississippi. Presently it was fixed upon by the Brazilo-Portugiiese as a smuggling station, a fibre con- nected with the heart of the great Viceroyalty further inland. As late as 1726 the Governor of Buenos Aires, D. Bruno Mauricio de Zabala, described as a man of '^'^bizarra y arrogante presencia,^^ received the orders to crush the contraband, then worth to the Portuguese two annual mil- lions of dollars ; to drive the interlopers from their forts into the pauper land, now called the Province of Sao Pedro do Bio Grande do Sul, and with money supplied by the Viceroy of Potosi (not Potosi), and by the corvee of en- slaved aborigines, to found, in 1726, the settlements of


96 MONTE VIDEO.

Monte Video and Maldonado. The colonists were mostly Canarians and Andalusians^ a tall and handsome^ brave and adventurous race^ hard-working and not readily conquered. The Montevidians^ as opposed to the Orientals^ are still called " Canarios/^ and their pretty women^ I regret to say, '^ Sapatos rastrados " — slipshods. There is much small but malignant jealousy between them and their rivals the Portenos_, more classically termed Bonaerenses_, and qualified by the smaller city as " Zaraziras/^ or wearers of striped clothes — once servile gear. In 1751 a Lieutenant-Governor was appointed to Monte Video, which_, till then, had obeyed the commands of Buenos Aires, and from that date the progress of the place has been rapid and regular.

The protoplasm, the original expression of all these new Iberian settlements from Monte Video to Asuncion is a cell, the Plaza, a central hollow square. It dwarfed by its- vastness the surrounding of mean dwellings, amongst which were the Communal, such as the church or chapel, in those times also Cemetery ; the Cabildo, a town-house above and common jail below, replaced in 1825 by the "Municipality;-'^ the barracks or police-office, and perhaps the theatre. Presently cool shady trees were planted round it, and brick or stone -paved bands of walk were run along and athwart it, the rest remaining weedy or muddy. After the " glorious days,^^ a solitary pillar — a built-up obelisk or some other such unarchitectural, unornamental monument, with or without railing, was erected about the middle region, in memory of something or somebody, more or less memorial. Often the centrepiece is capped by Liberty, a lass of Amazonian sem- blance and proportions, in foolscap or Phrygian bonnet, and bathing-house drapery, armed with shield and spear, or as at Monte Video, directing at your breast — O Gringo ! — a sword, with the gesture of a knife thrust. At the corners of the pedestal, around the column base, will stand busts in


MONTE VIDEO. 97

kitcat, of white plaster, blue ribbons (Argentine colours) and gamboge epaulets. These caricature the revolutionary- generals and heroes, such as S. Martin, Bolivar (not Bolivar), Eelgrano, Alvear, Lavallot, and others. The inscriptions embody some eventful date, of course differing in the several Republics ; and the pleiad of South American Common- wealths " makes epochs of almost every day in the year. Thus, "25 de Maio (1810), is the local 4th of July com- memorating Argentine independence ; whereas, " 18 de Julio,^ (1829), establishes the Constitution of Uruguay, alias the Banda Oriental. This " Eastern Side" of the Uruguay river — popularly the " Banda " — is often erroneously called Monte Video, even as Utah Territory has been merged into Salt Lake City.

Upon the Plaza debouch the long streets, whose bisections suggest to every traveller a chessboard ; they change names at the square, and thus each has two, a useless luxury of nomenclature serving only to confuse. The settlement is further divided into cuadras (solid) squares or cubes, whose dimensions everywhere vaiy. As a rule, however, the further inland they are, the larger they grow. Here we have the cuadra of 100 varas (each 34, or to be more exact 33-750 inches), and at Buenos Ayres the more normal 150 "yards." The distance is counted from the mid-street, which, at the latter city is 16 feet wide, whereas, as President Sarmiento informs us (p. 114), in old Monte Video it is only 14. The " Cuadra cuadrada," or squared square, is also called a " Manzana," or block. You would think it easy to find your way through streets per- fectly straight and " distractingly regular thoroughfares," as the Britisher grumbles, liking irregularity, except in his home or his ledger. Such is, however, by no means the case, especially at night, when strangers cannot thread the maze except by aid of some remarkable building in each street.

7


98 MONTE VIDEO.

Plans^ however, are everywhere published^ and these may he printed even on the backs of Almanacks and Ayers Sar- saparilla.

There are two views of the little capital where she best shows her peculiarities. The first is that seen as you skirt the southern end of the eastern or new town. The thorough- fares facing west-south-west, and abutting upon the water, open as you run by them : after the gorgeous growth of Rio de Janeiro, they look bald and stony, treeless and barren as lanes in a burrow. The sky-line is fi^etted with miradores, gazebos, steeples, and here and there towers a gaunt factory chimney. Successively rise high into the air a huge-flanked religious house ; a Dutch-tiled cupola, over whose ochred walls peep cypresses and black rows of empty niches declaring it to be a cemetery ; the English ^' temple '* resembling a shed to stable bathing machines, or a reformed powder magazine sulkily turning back upon the bay -, the new hospital (de Caridad), three storied, yellow tinted, and dwarfing as it should the churches ; the big brick barn — also seen in reverse — known as the Solis Theatre, and the Hotel Oriental, which, like a tall bully, lifts its head and lies. Then comes the substantial stone Matriz of SS. Philip and James, the " womV^ whence have issued other places of worship. The whole aff'air is a mistake ; the dome springing from the flat roof suggests a pepper castor upon a thick book : it is too small and too distant from the towers, and these are absurdly far apart : fantastic as to terminals, the minaret-shaped belfries are evidently crooked, diverging like asses' ears. All three protuberances are capped with azulejos, blue and white Dutch tiles, fancifully disposed, which glisten like the gilt cupolas of Moscow, and whose eye-pleasing power suggests that you might imi- tate it to advantage at home. This is everywhere the practice of Argentine land, and whenever the dome is


MONTE VIDEO. 99

dingy we know that money has run out, and that the

  • ^ cura waits to collect more from his little flock of

" beatas and pious seniors.

Round the heel of the boot, the eastern Punto de S. Jose projecting into the bay, we find the old Spanish castle '^ S. Joseph," whose fifteen saluting guns are supposed to command us. The once considerable outwork has now been levelled, and the " fort " is reduced to a small stone affair with two artless bastions on the land side, and sea- wards a double curtain fancifully whitewashed. Beyond it is the Mercado del Puerto, a new market-place, with a fine zinc dome of engineer architecture, built in Manchester, to shelter the stalls of butchers and fruiterers ; in the centre is a fountain which at present, curious to say, plays.

AYe now enter the bay or port, and the first glance at the semicircular inlet forcibly suggests the extinct crater punch-bowl of S. Vicente, whilst the dashes, sheets, and dunelets of yellow sand in the centre of the bight confirm the likeness. The larger ships of war lie in the outer roads, two or three miles distant; they want to up sail, and be off readily in case of a sudden and damaging Pampero. The half square-mile of watery sui'face in the basin, crowded as it is with ships in utter disorder, not aligned as at Valparaiso, urgently requires a breakwater : this has been proposed, and if it be soon thrown up, Monte Video will take the wind out of her big neighbour's sails, and will reign, for a time at least, the Queen City of the River Plate.

The Bay is lively enough on a fine day, when steam-tugs puff up and down amongst the swarm of boats, not civi- lized gigs, " yoles," or wherries, but heavy old tubs shaped like calabashes elongated fore and aft. They mostly bear the Uruguayan national flag, a washed-out, changed- coloured copy of the Stars and Stripes. The only star,

7—2


100 MONTE VIDEO.

however, is a broad, good-humoured yellow face, with hair apostolically parted in the centre, and subtended by a huge glory : this is Dan Sol, and it has some mystical allusion to " Oriental/^ It contrasts strongly with the Brazilian colours, which wash badly, and which when old, look like a cross between the Irish flag and a Bandanna pocket- handkerchief. The arms of the Orientals are quaint as their flag, quarterings of ox and horse, a hill-like loaf of sugar, and a balance in which the Bepublic has been weighed, but has ever been found sadly wanting.

Flanking the port ride the gunboats of various nations. Amongst them is the Lima Barros, a well-dented Brazilian ironclad fresh from the Paraguayan war : properly handled, she would blow all our united squadrons,^^ as they are pom- pously called, out of the water, and she contrasts even with the Kansas and the Pawnee unfavourably for the '^'^ citizens. ^^ The English cruisers are known by their cleanliness, and by their being the worst of the lot ; floating coflins equally vile for living in as for fighting. Detached upon river- work they carry Armstrongs which throw three miles, and which drill mere holelets at 300 yards, whilst their pivot guns heel them over 4° to 5°, the angle of the deck being apparently intended to warn the enemy whence to expect and how to avoid the broadside. It is a shame to call such trash ships of war.

The other and by far the prettier view of Monte Video^ is to be had by crossing the bay and ascending the Cerro. On the way is a granatoid patch, properly the " Isle of Rats,^"* and now baptized ^' Island of Liberty,^^ because, I presume, men are in this jail imprisoned to do quarantine on pickles and sweetmeats. The surface of the Cerro is in spring bright green below and grey stone above, whilst its base lines of horizontal white houses, and its volcanic shape, an irregular flattened cone, remind you of a section of Ve-


MONTE VIDEO. 101

suvius. The top is a new lighthouse, represented by a per- pendicular knob, and a red nipple rising from the straight walls of an old fort, and giving at a distance an imposing semblance to what is called by picnickers " the Mountain/' We shall presently end with the systematic series of mis- nomers which begins in the Brazil. The " Orientals '^ are not Easterns. The Argentines are, if aught of silver, German silver. The Plate River has nothing Platine, and for Buenos Aires the local Joe Miller reads Malos Aires. The Cerro is no more a mountain than is " Roseberry Top- ping," the " highest hill in all Yorkshire. '^

The rocks of the Cerro, like the rest of the Banda, are mostly volcanic and secondary ; thus the country boasts to excel her rival in the phosphates and alkaline silicates which develop meat and corn. Turning to the left of the dwarf pier men have found columnar basalt, the last sign of igneous action so strikingly displayed in the grand Brazilian Man- tiqueira. Amongst the granites, gneisses, and sandstones are scatters of quartz which still give gold ; and the rusty waters trickling down the hillside, and clothing it with grass and blossoms, red, white, and blue, betray the presence of iron.

From the summit, looking east, you have a bird's-eye view of the city, which, set after a fashion upon a hill, cannot be hid. The site is a boot-shaped ridge, admirable for drainage, and everywhere commanding a broad view. This hog's back of stone forms, on the eastern part of the bay, a peninsula about one mile and a quarter long from south- west to north-east, with half a mile of average breadth. The regular outline of the narrow chine is broken by the towers of the Matriz and of the Vascos and Cordon churches. As New York is bounded by the East and Hudson rivers, so Monte Video has water on both sides, here the bay, there the sea-like stream, which you can hardly call river, a Yang- tse-kiang, a yellow flood, a muddy Mediterranean. Eor-


102 MONTE VIDEO.

merly a wall crossed the neck of the ridge_, running about one mile from the sea outside to the port inside. This was in due time knocked down, the old citadel being converted into a market ; whilst the new town, which bends to a due east and west direction, stretches far out into the country over a clay soil resting npon stone. The houses seem battlemented even to the turrets, which are of every shape; they are mostly coloured, especially with all the yellows from drab- yellow to gamboge ; many are white, a few are red with sloping tiled roofs, and dark chocolate tints are not unknown.

We may not land until duly permitted by the health officer and the captain of the port. The latter, a normal Iberian pest, is a King Stork, a personage of great and ar- bitrary power. His duty is to settle disputes, to point out anchorage ground, to prevent smuggling, to make ships pay their debts, and to ascertain that dues are not shirked. Harbour- master must show his importance, will obtrude his personality, no matter what may result to the public service ; he can forward little but he can obstruct much, and he cer- tainly will obstruct until he has recalled to the suitor's common sense the words addressed to Zaccheus. The doctor is as usual an elderly King Log, in white hair and black clothes, serious as a mute, grave as an undertaker, possibly toothless. His boat wants paint, his flagstaflP is evidently a curtain-rod — the wee Republic shows signs of impecu- niosity.

Knowing nothing of the land I follow a young leader, whose two sheep-dogs engross all his thoughts, and are voted by his friends precious bores. He asks me to visit his estancia or cattle estate, distant a few leagues. After due inquiry, I determine not. In this liberty -land the honoured guest may bear a hand at shearing sheep, or in tiling the gaipon-shed, but it is not pleasant when he is


MONTE VID^O. 103

expected to clean out the offices. The single boatman who plies sculls and sail, charges us a " lira esterlina^' — not lira Toscana, the pund Scots — for a few minutes^ row, when he should land us from the outer Road for a dollar, and for half a dollar from the Bay. We now begin to realize the ex- tortions of Monte Video, and to learn something about the currency : why do travellers so persistently neglect to lecture their readers upon this important subject ?

The safest plan here, as in most parts of South America, is to carry sovs. — British or Brazilian, the latter popularly known as " Pedrinhos.^^ If you take the utterly unre- deemable local paper into the next-door Republic, you lose an arbitrary sum. Gold and silver are never coined by Orientals /"* at times the government sends to France for a ton or so of one-cent, two- cent, and four-cent pieces, copper blended with zinc. The money is paper, following, not to speak of the United States and the Brazil, the example of Kussia^ Austria, and Italy, which has, or had, about two thousand banks of emission. The material is made by Messrs. Bradbury or by the American Bank-note Paper Company, and the notes are distinguished by dif- ferent tints and sizes : as a rule, the larger the format the higher the value. After a certain percentage has been surely falsified, the whole issue is called in ; and the banks, to save trouble, will always pay the first forgeries presented to them.

The unit of value at Monte Video is the Patacon, Peso, Piastre, or old Piece of Eight, formerly worth 4^. 6c?., and now somewhat less. This is decimally divided into 100 centesimos or centimes. The " Peso" is, however, a doubtful word, meaning either silver or paper — that repre- senting 45. 2d. ; the latter the pence minus the shillings. The former is denoted in Buenos Aires by f " {i.e. fuertes) ; the latter by " m/c " (moneda corriente) ; and both by $.


104 MONTE VIDEO.

New arrivals gasp when asked seventy dollars for what is worth, perhaps, the same number of pence.

Now we run at a flight of steps between two dwarf un- imposing wooden piers — what can the guidebook mean by " commanding quays T' Of these incipient moles, one is attached to each warehouse, and they are mostly garnished with puffing steam-cranes — a whole generation ahead of Folkestone. Similarly I have seen a steam stone-crusher under the shade of the Brazilian virgin-forest, and four lumber- ing dray-horses dragging an obsolete roller up and down Baker Street, London, W. We are received by a crowd of porters, white, black, and brown, who run and push to garnish the steps ; the villain faces are, it is evident, mostly from Italy. These emigrants utterly reject peasant labour ; they remind us of hungry Leghorn^s rascaldom, the facchini in cacciatoras and cotton velvets, reeking with sweat and garlic, rude in look, word, and gest ; savages fresh from the Old World, and not yet tamed by the ease and comfort of the New World — this Paradise of Labour, this Purgatory of Capital. Of late the police has been obliged to regulate porterage amongst the foreign gentry ; the charge has been fixed at $0 50c. (2^. Id.) per package. In old times the Austrian Conqueror at once acknowledged the Argentine Republic, and used it as a healthy outlet for his disaffected Lombardo- Venetians. Then came the Genoese, and lastly, worst of all, the Neapolitan, a word insulting to the northern races and despised by the owners of the land, because their country has been made a Botany Bay for the lazzaroni, now almost extinct at home. Of late years, the Kingdom of Italy has naturally enough opposed the exodus of its sturdy limbs and hands fit to pull a trigger.

The other remarkable element is the Basque or Biscayan, who in 1717 began emigrating to Potosi. He is known at once by his alpargatas (spartelles), and by his pancake


MONTE VIDEO. 105

bonnet of blue or scarlet wool ; by his fleshy nose, his thin compressed lips_, his well-made bust, and his thin wiry legs, to say nothing of his harsh antediluvian tongue. He is, however, a favourite in the country ; he adopts the native costume and he spends his coin freely, which his rival does not. Foreigners mostly complain that he is ignorant of cattle breeding, and, moreover, that compared with an Argentine, he is exceedingly duuderhended.

A goods tramway leads us through an open shed to the Custom-house, a big three- storied building, tinted slightly drab-yellow, with the inner windows of the upper-floor offices broken, like an Irish railway station after a Fenian row. The officers are mostly civil, they do not take douceurs, at least upon small matters — so far a great improvement upon the Brazil ; but they always insist upon opening your boxes, possibly from curiosity, and they sometimes rob. A companion and I here imprudently deposited a keg of Mendoza brandy which we had brought over the Andes and round by Magellan ; when Mr. Cecil A. Edye obligingly bottled it for us, he found that thirty-six had dwindled to sixteen.

After the Custom-house comes the Hotel, the lodging- house of Buenos Aires being here unknown. Hotels swarm as at Boulogne ; practically, however, there are^ or rather there were, three — the Blin, the Oriental, and the Gran Hotel Americano. The first is a kind of restaurant famed for feeding ; the closeness of its box-like rooms is frightful. The Oriental is kept by Ramon and Thomaz Fernandez, Spaniards and quondam cooks or valets to a certain Hebrseo- Teutonico- Iberian capitalist, here well known. Being the best, it is always crowded when money is not dear. I w^ould not lodge there, as during the cholera days it made the mistake of refusing to admit the wife of the British Minister, although a surgeon of the United States squadron


106 MONTE VIDEO.

certified that she was not attacked by the epidemic. This barbarity cost the house much and should cost it more. The United States officers at once deserted the Oriental, despite its ready baths and marble courts. I regret to say that English gentlemen did not ; with a little more esprit de corps and public spirit we should do much good to our travelling fellows and to our travelling selves.

Remained for m^the Gran Hotel Americano, built in 1865 for a company. It is imposing outside, with its four brand-new Caryatides, and fronted in prints by crowds of equipages. Inside all is white and black marble brought from Italy or Marseille : the hall columns and pavement equal those of the Grand Opera, and heavy slabs form the staircase even to the highest floor. For this grandeur we shall suff"er in purse and flesh : we shall find it the regular French hotel of the bad old stamp — all show and no comfort. The bedroom is a stone jug, a tall square hole, with a light- hole in the ceiling. On both floors " baths^" appear in huge type, but you cannot have one before 6 p.m., and a tub is represented by a pie-dish full of lukewarm fluid. Your washerwoman will take your linen, but not return it — mine at least all disappeared, nor could any extent of energy recover it. The eating-room is a coffin with one end knocked out, a long, low-ceilinged box ; dingy, frowsy, and ill-ventilated, with a single street-window perpetually kept under persiannes, and with mirrors craped against the flies. The waiters attempt to serve twenty-seven people scattered at diff'erent tables : no wonder that the former are late risers, and that milk and butter cannot be had before 9 a.m. The feeding is atrocious ; the soup is ever lukewarm. You must dine at 4 p.m. or the fish is finished. The flesh is fatless — all the adipose tissue having been re- moved for tallow. The fowls have each three wing-bones and as many necks and drumsticks. There is no ice to


MONTE VIDEO. 107

make the champagne drinkable : the only really cold thing is your plate. As in the English inn, there is no saloon — no public apartment ; you must turn, on wet days, your bedroom into a drawing-room. The offices, abominably foul, reminded me of Abbeville during the days when the waiter exclaimed, " Mais, monsieur, vous avez des bottes." The Oriental is certainly more airy and less unpleasant. Why did the owners turn from their doors that charming woman ?

After some difficulty in finding room even to stow away a few trunks, we will walk ^^ up town^^ and prospect. The lower part is Thames Bank, a succession of doggeries and groggeries yclept " Free and Easy,^' " Cafe de la Alcanze,^^

  • ' First and Last Wine and Spirit Store," with the usual

aspect of a seaport, and swarming with pertinacious flies. Drainage is everywhere unknown, and the pavement is especially vile : in the rain muddy, under the sun dusty, and the thoroughfares are less like streets than " channels worn by the after currents of the deluge." This may be said of all the city, except a single dwarf bit subtending the cathedral fi'ont. The place is large, but practically it is bounded for foreigners by the Bay west, east by the main square and the Calle del Rincon — the neighbour of " 25 de Mayo,^' its Regent Street. The northern limit is the Calle de Misiones, where is the Gran Hotel Americano, and to the south Solis Street contains the Hotel Oriental. Within these limits is the Calle de Zabala, where, in 1854, was opened the new Bolsa or Exchange, and its adjoining American saloon for drinks. Thus are epitomized long drawn out ways of abominable weariness.

Some of the old Spanish houses still remain, especially in the Calle Misiones and the " 25 de Augusto." Near and parallel with the water most of the hovels have been pulled down to make place for huge stores, and others have


1C8 MONTE VIDEO.

sunk into low taverns. They are mostly cottages, humble as the beginnings of Imperial Rome^ with one door and one window^ the "porta e janella of the Brazil, or with two doors and without a window. The sloping roof of tiles is well grown with tropical vegetation. The smallest represent a door, a room on both sides of it, and a little patio or court behind. The better sort are low and long tenements, with tall solid entrances, which remind you of private chapels. Now a superior style has been introduced by the Italian masons, and we shall presently see it better developed at Buenos Aires. The tenements have mostly a headless impoverished look, as if awaiting another story, which in fact they do. The azoteas (corrupted from the Ai'abic El Sat'h) are flat terraces, which not only collect rain, they also form good lounging places, and they supply, as we know to our cost, means of defence, every house becoming a castle. You stare at the number of banks and barbers; the former are accounted for by the curso for90so, the forced paper currency ; the latter, by every man requiring his own Truefitt, hired by the year. The population in 1865 was 50,000, it is now 75,000, which we may reduce to 60,000. And it will presently rise to 100,000.

The first glance at Monte A^ideo sets it down as a town rather than a city, what would be called over the water a one-horse place, a single-barrelled affair. You can hardly believe that it has or ever had as much behind it as Buenos Aires. The streets appear narrow, the squares are small and mean, whilst the public buildings are utterly undeserving of description. Moreover, they are all carefully photo^d by the enterprising Messrs. MulhalFs (M. G. and E. T.) " New Handl)ook of the River Plate, called in County Dublin jocose way ^^ Handbook, because the two volumes ai^e about as handy as a Post-office Directory. The work, in which the veteran sojourner of exact turn of mind detects a variety


MONTE VIDEO. 109

of small blemishes, is invaluable to the tourist, and is owed principally to the energy and industry of Mr. M. Mulhall, who has, I trust, escaped the ruin with which his brother declared it threatened them. It has already enabled a cer- tain traveller, who came out by one mail and went home by the next, to produce a book about Argentine-cum- Oriental land. The third edition* will doubtless justify authors in writing without the trouble of leaving their firesides. Finally, the work amply deserves from the native Government that patronage which as yet they have not dealt to it. I shall often cite it with a view of " differinsr in opinion.^^ Such, in fact, is the main use of guide- books.

A single walk through the place suffices : one palazzo at Rome or Naples contains, I believe, far more of art than the combined treasures of South America. The cathedral, dedicated to the Purisima, and to the two patron saints, is grotesque outside and inside, plain to ugliness. It fronts the main square, a poor small place of recreation, at times crowded ; in a street behind it, a house of moderate size combines Post-office with National Library and Museum ; and in face, a tall flagstaff and a quaint sentry-box, like an office tent in wood, denote the Representacion Nacional — the Chambers. Further on to the right rises the Solis Theatre, a heavy, sturdy mass of masonry, in which Mr. M. M. detects an '^ aerial appearance." Below it lies the grand new market, ready to be opened, and far too grand for the place ; lower still the British " templum,^ very aggressive, hideous, and Protestant. At the top of the Calle Sarandi, and soon to be swept away, stands the solid Spanish citadel, lately a market, and till 1840 the


  • The first edition, in 1863, was of one volume and 300 pages ; the

second is in two, 12001'; and the third will be in four — say 3500 pages.


110 MONTE VIDEO.

limit of the town. Its entrance reminded me of the old main gate of Tilbnry Fort. Beyond it is the new town, turning to the east and spreading up the ridge. The " Calle 18 de Julio has a graceful vista^ with its two rows of trees flanking a civilized thoroughfare^ ninety feet broad, and ending in a column and statue. Here is laid a single line of tramway running out to La Union, where the bull- fights are held, about one league and a half distant. On the way can be seen the Plaza de Cagancha with its mur- derous-looking statue of Liberty, the Cementerio Inglez — called de los Protestantes, to distinguish it from the Ce- menterio Cristiano of the Catholics — and mistaken by me for a humbler sort of Jardin des Plantes. Beyond it the Capilla del Cordon shows where General Oribe, a Lieutenant of the Dictator Rosas, established his vanguard, subjected Monte Video to a Trojan siege of nine years, and like a modern Hindu Rajah investing his enemy^s hill fort, built a rival capital, La Union. Here a scaffolding lately fell, with a mass of masonry, injuring sundry of the workmen. Mr. Adams, the Protestant minister, passing at the time, rushed, with a British energy, regardless where he trod, to assist the hurt. Whereupon came forth the sturdy old genius loci, the Padre, and in peremptory accents warned his heretic brother against harming the bricks. On the right of the Tramway is to be seen the Catholic Cemetery, near the large new Chapel and Convent Nuestra Senora del Huerto, where Sisters of Charity distort the young idea, and go forth to heal or to console the sick. To the left is the unfinished Capilla de los Vascos, a Chapel built by and for the Basque population.

You were curious to know about the Revolution of 1868, and where, how, and why ex-President Flore s was murdered, an event which raised so much excitement in the Brazil. We must, then, turn back and place ourselves in the street


THE MURDER OF GENERAL FLORES. Ill

leading from his house to the Government House. The shops and the names have been altered. Men, however, still show the spot where the gallant old man lay foully- butchered, with his head to the wall and his feet projecting over the trottoir.

The how is easily explained. General Flores hearing that the normal revolution had broken out, or according to others, being summoned by a forged signature of D. Pedro Varela, President of the Senate, drove to the Government House accompanied by three friends — M. Flangini, Minister of Foreign Affairs ; M. Marquez, Minister of Finance ; and Mr. Secretary Errecart. Some desperate act was known to be intended : the shopkeepers began to close their doors as the carriage approached the Plaza Principal. Presently it reached the north-east corner of the Calle Juncal, where it meets the Calle del Rincon. A house was then buildina: here ; heaps of rubbish cumbered the ground, and, according to some, carts had been thrown down in order to stop the vehicle. Suddenly a body of men, variously stated to be twelve, eight, or four, rushed out of the neighbouring houses, and evidently acting in concert, began firing their pistols. The coachman and one horse were shot, which had the effect of overturning the carriage. General Flores drew his revolver as he struggled out, but he was killed before he could use it, by a ball in the mouth, and with eleven stabs by the long knives of the assassins. His friends were slightly wounded ; twenty or thirty shots were fired, and the murderers escaped. One of them is said to have been taken and put to death after the usual drum-head court-martial. But of this, as of many other details, nothing certain is known ; the man may have made off, or he may have been murdered by his employers.

The crime which made the fate of the gallant Flores curiously resemble that of Abraham Lincoln, took place


112 THE MURDER OF GENERAL FLORES.

on February 19, 1868, when the Brazilian ironclads were triumphantly steaming past the batteries of Humaita.

The why is not so readily answered. It necessitates a certain explanation of parties and politics in " the Banda." This I will make as curt as possible : for none but a pro- fessional can the subject have an atom of interest.

The Republic of Uruguay — double the size of Ireland — represents three distinct and hostile parties — Blancos, Colo- radoSj Conservadores.

The Blancos are the " outs/^ They represent our Tories and the old Democrats of the United States : they are locally known as " Gauchos^^ — backwoodsmen — and when rising to the importance of an Artigas, as " Caudillos/^ or guerilla leaders. They are Conservative, retrograde, and '^ know- nothing.-'^ Yet they are preferred by strangers as being men of honour, education, and property, and they greatly outnumber, some say four or five to one, their rivals. Their name comes from wearing round their caps a white ribbon, bearing the inscription, Defend the Law ;" others say it was originally blue, but washed out.

The Colorados, Colora^'os, or reds, are still the '4ns/ They correspond with our Liberals and the former Republicans of the Union : they wear around their caps the red ribbon of Federalism, and their motto was, and is, '^ Constitution.-'^

^' Outs" also are the Conservadores. These men must not be confounded with our Conservatives; they are ad- vanced Colorados — in fact. Radicals. It is a small, but turbulent and violent party, ever aspiring to power — furiously hating both their rivals — crying for European civilization, and yet obstructing it by extra taxation and various diffi- culties. It is chiefly recruited from the Doctores — pro- nounce Dotores — mathematici sine mathesi : men who love to discuss Liberty, Congress, Education, Constitution. These professional politicians have, as a rule, no principle


THE MURDER OF GENERAL ELORES. 113

but personality. With tlicm the question narrows itself to — " Is Jack or is Jim to be or not to be ?^^ When their party is in office, all are of the party and in ; vice versd being of course also the rule.

The storm that ended in the murder of Flores began to growl about the middle of 1867. On Sunday, June 30, of that year, the Chief of Police, D. Jose Candido Bustamente, discovered a mine which, passing under the Calle de Maio, had nearly reached the cellars of the Forte or Government House. " Blowings-up^^ appear to be growing into fashion. Here had been placed an infernal machine — a RuhmkorfF^s "electric multiplier^' — ready to explode two barrels (250 lbs.) of gunpowder. This plot purposing to blow up Flores and his Ministry is said to have been organized, doubtless under higher inspiration, by one Eduardo Beltan the ringleader, who bought the houses through which the mine was to pass : under him were Paul Nieumayer, a land surveyor, and Jules Gassen, an Austrian engineer. It is reported that all these men were allowed to escape punish- ment.

After the meeting of the Chambers on February 15, 1858, the Provisional President of the Republic, General D. Venancio Flores, would cease to hold office. D. Pedro Varela, to the great discontent of the many, would thus become ex-officio, as President of the Senate, acting Presi- dent of the Republic ; and D. Hector Varela was expected to be his Minister of Government and for foreign affairs. Meanwhile, on February 6, D. Fortunato Flores, the eldest of the ex-President^s three sons, a man tres repandu at Buenos Aires, and who vastly enjoyed a little murder, had a violent altercation with his father, insisting upon the latter re-offering himself for the chief magistracy. Instigated by his mother, D. Maria G. de Flores, who has been mildly de- scribed as a " tigress/' and who, if truth be told about her,

8


114 THE MURDER OE GENERAL FLORES.

must be steeped to her lips in blood_, D. Fortunato slapped the paternal face, and running to the barracks called out the corps of which he was colonel. Having made all safe with the officers, he seized Colonel Batlle (pronounce Bailie), then Minister of War, and by threatening to shoot him obtained an order upon the officer on guard to sur- render the Fort of S. Jose. D. Fortunato then tried a ruse de guerre^ hoping to get possession of his father's person, but the brave " General-in-Chief of the Vanguard " had disappeared from La Union, where he had been com- pelled to fly. The " Pronunciamento^ was presently crushed, and a decree of February 8 banished D. Fortunato and fourteen officers of his corps, with four other partisans* It also dismissed for revolting against his father, but did not banish, the cadet D. Eduardo Flores — a man who can thoroughly well lose his money at billiards, but who is not equally fond of paying his losses. Both these officers em- barked on the same day (February 8) under promise to quit the country, and landed again after a few hours.

Meanwhile, another complication declared itself. The Blancos who had lost power after the invasion of the Banda Oriental by General Flores in 1863, and who were hope- lessly reduced by the storming of Paysandu in 1864, rose in arms against the Colorados. The former were headed by ex-President D. Bernardo P. Berro, a favourite with foreigners and highly respected by all classes. The tragical affair had its comic side. Berro, a fine tall figure with flowing white hair, is described as rushing about in a black hammer-claw coat and starched evening tie, spear and re- volver in hand, shouting " Liberty.^'

At this conjuncture General Flores was foully assassi- nated.

Meanwhile ex-President Berro, accompanied by Sr Bar- bot and some forty-five friends, seized the Government


THE MURDER OF GENERAL FLORES. 115

House, and called upon the people to put down the existing Executive. But no one was moved by the revolutionary proclamation,, and soon D. Hector Varela, D. Segundo Flores, the third son, and other Colorados, broke into the house, seized D. Bernardo Berro, and his friends, and hurry- ing them to the Cabildo, put them to death. Some say that the ex-President was shot, others that he was run through with a sword ; some that his throat was cut, others that he was thrown out of the window.

Thus the attempt at a revolution had proved futile, and fatal to the leaders of both the contending parties. During five days military and mob law struggled for supremacy. Flags were hoisted half-mast high. A body of a hundred men found in arms were cut down. Citizens were compelled to prove themselves Floristas by wearing red ribbons, and the lives of strangers were in serious danger. Captain Mariette, a retired officer of our Rifles, was arrested in the streets by black fellows, calling themselves soldiers, upon the charge of having jostled one of their number, and he luckily escaped with unsplit weazand.

Meanwhile, D. Pedro Varela becoming acting President, proceeded to appoint D. Hector Varela, associating with him D. Jose C. Bustamente, as Minister of War and Ma- rine, and D. Eureterio Rigunaga, Minister of Finance. The National Guard was mustered, and ordered to take charge of the city. The territory of the Republic was divided into three military departments, with the view of suppressing any intended movements of the '^whites,^^ and all the Blanco officers were cashiered. M. Varela applied to the British Admiral for a force of ma- rines to guard the Custom House ; the gunboats of other foreign powers also joined them, while all prepared to pro- tect their respective fellow-subjects.

On February 21, Adjutant-Major D. Segundo Flores, a

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116 THE MURDER OF GENERAL FLORES.

youth of sixteen, assisted it is suspected by liis brother, D. Eduardo, and accompanied by a small party, went to the house of two Spanish subjects, the Maurigons, father and son, gargottiers, who kept a guingette, where his father^s assassins had been drinking before the murder, and whom he suspected to have been in the plot. Under pretence of requiring their depositions, D. Segundo led them to the river side, and there directed Sergeant Laprecute to cut their throats. The Spanish Minister indignantly demanded an investigation, but the Oriental Government, after using all decent expressions of horror, not only neglected to arrest the persons inculpated, it even promoted to the rank of colonel the dismissed Major D. Eduardo, and as he had proved himself a man of action, employed him upon a con- fidential mission. Colorados are not yet so cheap that they can be sacrificed for the peccadillo of cutting a " Gringo^s^^ throat.

Ensued new complications. D. Manuel Flores, brother of the murdered General, and some twenty of his friends and relations, died suddenly on Feb. 23 ; and a report that they had been poisoned by the Blancos drove the people to fury. Others explained the accident by the exhalations of a cistern, others by the fact that all had been present at the embalm- ing of General Floras^ corpse. A regular practitioner having demanded 100/., the body, which had become decomposed, was given over to an Italian bird-stuffer; and this artist did his work by sewing the collar of a uniform around the neck, the face being still in a tolerable state of preservation.

General D. Lorenzo Batlle, a moderate Colorado, was constitutionally elected on April 1, and thus the Floristas kept their ascendancy. He was opposed by General D. Gregorio (vulgo Gojo) Suarez, a violent Radical (Conser- vador), personally hostile to Flores : this officer's conduct^


THE MURDER OF GENERAL FLORES. 117

after the capture of Paysandii, rendered him the hatred and horror of the Blancos. He was soon persuaded to be Minister of War — a fine post for making money, as indeed all connected with the portfolio here are. The three sons of General Flores were banished to Rio de Janeiro, and presently had to leave it in consequence of an after-dinner " row at the '^ Cas^^ or Alcazar. Returning home they found their own party in power, and thus all their little pec- cadilloes were forgiven and forgotten.

The Flores murder you will agree with me is one of the most remarkable. Every one knows that it originated from the temporary combination of the Blancos and Conservadores for the purpose of expelling the successful Colorados. Every one knows the instigator of the murder, and all who care for so doing can know who are the actual murderers. Yet with the exception of a little innocent blood and a few lives remotely accessory to the fact, no one has been punished. Justice has been cheated, and Nemesis frowns at her victims in vain.

Since February, 1868, there has been no movement, strange to say, in this home of revolutions. It was, how- ever, expected every time I visited Monte Video, and once it was opportunely stopped by a shower of rain.

Ever yours.

P.S. — The " pronunciamento ^^ did break out almost im- mediately after 1 reached England, June 1, 1869 : the ex- Minister of War, Gojo Suarez, and the General Manduca Carbajal had combined versus General Batlle.


LETTER III.

MONTEVID]^ANS NATIVES AND rOREIGNERS.

Monte Video, August 14, 1868.

My dear Z ,

The aspect of a Montevidean street is not displeasing. Building and repairing are almost as active as in Paris and London. The centre^ however^ instead of being homhey is a gutter, towards which the sides shelve ; the trottoirs are narrow and high above the sole, as opposite Whitehall Place. There is no excuse for such barbarism here, although the older towns of Europe still abound in it. The fact is, many of these New World settlements are in point of comfort and civilization far nearer London and Paris than many an Old World city within five hours by rail. Their only fault is the absolute distance, and in this age of the world it is not to be remedied.

Shops, mostly French, and full of glitter and attractions, everywhere catch the eye. In days gone by I avoided them, but Free Trade has done away with the sturdy, homely, lasting, and expensive, yet economical English article ; so I go to France for something just as durable as, and far more sightly than, the work you do over the water. Strangers remark that all the house doors are open, here no churl dares to sport his oak. A lady, hearing that European entrances are kept closed, justly remarked that it must be " muy tristej' For the first time since some years, I saw at the doorsteps the servant gal, pure and simple ; there will be none further East, and in the Great Empire all women in white skins are ladies. The unmarried Monte-


MONTEVIDEANS — NATIVES AND FOREIGNERS. 119

videana is allowed to walk the town alone, a civilized sight as yet impossible in the Brazil. All understand the word " pretty/' but from unwelcome lips it will sometimes elicit a " Que bestia V These ladies are extreme politicians. I was shown near the Matriz a Confiteria y Cafe, underneath whose balcony the Brazilian officers used to congregate, and whence they were once driven, ejaculating " Diabo do Diabo V^ by some Blanco^' girls, who maltreated them more than ever New Orleans did the hated Yank.'

The upper class here is the best looking that 1 have seen in South America, excepting only the Limena and her sister of Guayaquil ; we shall not fare better in the Argen- tine Republic as we go further from the sea. The cause is partly that which operates in the familiar capitals of Europe — the handsomest of both sexes meet, and thus there is selection of species. Partly it is the effect of climate. The Creole or country-born daughters of British parents — Lan- cashire carpenters or Cheshire farmers — remind me of what I remarked at Salt Lake City, and was duly derided for recording my remark. This pure, clean, hot, '^ Orientar' air, burning away adipose tissue, refines form and feature, and fines down hands and feet. The outlines become more regular and the colours wax tenderer. Here for the mechanic's family — unless it be murdered — there is physical and moral improvement : it suffers from none of the penury which chilled the parents' blood, it is not frozen by the cold shade of its own bourgeois aristocracy ; the produce, there- fore, already born more delicate, gracieuses, and " ladylike,'"' because of a more nervous temperament, have their tempers better in hand and become more susceptible of civilization.

You easily learn after a few days the peculiar aspect of the " camp" man. He is not military, but from the country ; " camp" being one of the many curious Anglicisms for campo, the pampa or prairie, opposed to the city. Similarly


120 MONTEVIDEANS :

cuesta, a hill slope, becomes a ^^coast/^ and the orange " mount^^ of Mr. Mulhall is " monte/^ a grove, a bush, a low forest. Of course, many Spanish words are pulled in by the ears — thus to " sinch up^^ is to tighten the sincha or girth, and to " sinch out'"* is to tow out a beast stuck in the mud by throwing over it a lasso which is made fast to the surcingle.

" Camp'^ and City agree like Town and Gown, cat and dog. Camp is, or was, often, let me say generally, a man of family, education, and refinement, pastoral, landed, and aristocratic. City is commercial, monied, democratic, and in a society that ignores the gentleman by profession capital becomes a manner of rank, and la fortune claims to be la mesure de Vintelligence. This alto Comercio-Britanico — why cannot we expunge our double consonants as these neo-Spaniards do? — will gain empire as it courses westwards. At Valparaiso it will become an oligarchy, which, despite all Aristotle, claims nobility, and meditates a speedy and decided reform in the small matter of a national precedence- table.

City and Camp here mix, but not, unless connected, with a will. City is neat, prim, clean, respectable, his manners are staid, and his costume is the work of a London tailor, possibly Mr. Poole. Camp is readily recognised by hair preternaturally long or marvellously short ; by skin bronzed or freckled ; by " biled-rag^' shirt ; by nails still in a state of slight but apparently perpetual mourning ; by attire splendid but creased, crumpled, and camphory, and by French boots, where English cannot be procured. He is jolly, and perhaps at first somewhat loud, the effect of excitement at seeing once more his kind ; he is, however, a general favourite ; he flirts like a naval officer at Malta, he waltzes, he plays, and he runs up a bill like a man. Fearful is the growling when the quart d^heure de Rabelais brings


NATIVES AND FOREIGNERS. 121

the " addition ;" still the pay is safe^ and the hotel-keeper is sure to keep a good room ready for Camp.

Here and there you see, as they lean against a wall because too lazy to stand upright, a few creechurs in long hair and the ridiculous chiripa or poncho — don^t say " puncho^' — turned into a kilt. Local colour, however, is on the wane, and the costume is not so barbarous as that of the milkwoman or the billycock hat and smockfrock wearer in the streets of London. Some Englishmen, doomed to the outer districts, affect it because good for riding ; they are looked upon by the true Gaucho as Compadritos,^^ or proselytes of the gate. The wild native shows far better lounging on horseback than on foot. Here the equine is the only comfortable locomotion, and strangers wonder how the animals keep their footing as they gallop down the slippery hill-pavement. The beasts, hobbled with " maneas,^^ as the law, under pain of line, directs, stand champing before the doors, or hop on and off the pavement, or attempt to gambade down the street ; they are said not to kick, and if you believe it you will be kicked. The advanced native looks forward to the day when never a saddled quadruped will be seen in the streets, even as the Brazilian sighs for the disappearance of the slave and the burro." Mean- while, the baker's boy, known by his leather-covered pannier, rides, so do the milk and the waterman with his tin cans, so does the washerwoman with her bundles.

At each corner of the Montevidean street there is usually a post, formerly represented by a gun, whose open mouth was fall of rain, cigar-ends, and pebbles. These weapons have been mostly sold to Marshal-President Lopez. Here porters gather, lottery boys tempt you, and Basques jabber guttural discordance. Of the few native gentry met in the streets, most have some anecdote appended to them. An Arab poet sings : —


122 MONTEVIDEANS :

" The tale of the world is nought but this, In such a year died such a one, another and another."

At Moute Video the refrain is_, " in 18 — sucli a body shot or stabbed such a body/' Higher up stream it will be such a body (feminine) lives with such a body (masculine), or M. un tel is master to Mdme. une telle. Everywhere, however, bloodthirstiness is the rule. Even Creole children, all except the usual good boy who talks theology or philoso- phy, revel in chat about wounds and death ; and these sons of Europe are said to be worse, to degenerate better even than the Gaucho. An acquaintance pointed out to me an officer of rank, who, during the last affair, meeting a friend on the other side of politics, answered the outstretched hand by a sword through the body, and wiped the blade upon his victim's coat-tails. Another tall personage walks about with impunity, although he directed the murder of Colonel Leandro Gomez at Paysandu, and he is more than sus- pected of having aided to assassinate General Flores. These things are told to me by Englishmen, in a painful whisper, as if they were talking politics in Rome or in Paraguay. It makes me blush to see them so cowed, but the fact is man's life is never safe, at the best of times, and in troublous times it is eminently unsafe.

Another imminent danger is from the soldier. You know him by his dark -blue kepi, tunic, and pants, the whole with red facings. He is almost always a negro ; the Orientals and Argentines got rid of the " irrepressible by enlisting him to fight their civil wars, and the Brazil is being driven by philanthropists to adopt a similar system of extirpation. Approaching barracks, even by day, you must stand and ask leave to advance, or the anthropoid will charge bayonet blindly as a mad bull. And on all occasions it is his great delight to shoot or stab a white man, especially a foreigner, whom he calls ^' Gringo animal." The Brazil, you will


NATIVES AND FOREIGNERS. 123

remember, has no such term ; there we were simply " fo- rastieros/^

The policemen are like their brethren in certain other lands, offenders rather by omission than commission. Not so the vigilantes, nicknamed " Serenos/^ the Charleys or watchmen that remind us of the old German song,

" Hort, ihr Herrn, last euch sagen," etc.

As the policeman is the chief do-nothing, and the soldier is the head bandit, so is the Sereno head-thief, an accomplice in almost every robbery. The combined result is, that five stabbings in three days distinguish as an average the 90,000 souls of Buenos Aires — the sum would represent 10,000 murders per annum in London. The Sereno uses his weapon freely, and is " death upon " the stranger. If you happen to bump him as you turn the corner, your case will be that of a certain Marquis of Waterford and the morning-star. During my first week at Monte Video, an Englishman was carried to the Police Hospital with his head laid open by one of these vicious fathers of the Bobbies.^'

Monte Video amuses herself much more heartily than does her big rival ; the former cultivates, the latter neglects her theatre and amusements. The pianist, M. Gottschalk, prefers the smaller city. La Codazzi, the diva, receives 400/. per mensem, and others in proportion. Ristori would not disdain such inducements. Besides the Solis Theatre for the opera, there is the San Felipe, generally taken by the Compania de Zarzuela, a Spanish buffo, as yet little known to the world. I greatly admire this purely Iberian style, which will come over to England when the national ear shall be refined into enjoying simplicity. Much of the music is in the minor key, and from the beginning to the end there is a recurrence of motive, of dominant expression, and


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an echo of half-forgotten melody, which gently caress the senses. There is also a Bouffes Company, which oscillates between Monte Video and Buenos Aires. Other theatres are the Teatro de Titens, the Teatro Franco- Oriental, and the Great American Circus.

The bull-ring, I told you, is outside the city, and the fights are always on fetes and Sundays. The sport is pro- vided by the Sociedad de la Plata, and the beef is from Pando, near Maldonaro. The toreros are two first swords, including El Tuerto, two picadors and four capas, chulos, or bandilleros. The aspect of these bulldogs is peculiar as that of the English fighting-man ; they are known even in mufti by the little pigtail springing lank from the close- cut blue- black hair behind, the thin thighs, and the short, trim, compact figure, with the bullet-head and square jowl, which show that they are bred, like the English jockey, to their work. The fair sex of Monte Video begin to like bull- fighting. On November 9, one of the fullest houses collected $11,000 from 7600 spectators. Men are frequently killed, and the sacrifice of horseflesh is excessive. Here, as in Spain, garrons are supplied by contract to be gored. The lower, that is to say, the uneducated classes, everywhere brutal rather than cruel, enjoy the spectacle of a tortured animal rushing about the ring, and this is the only un- pleasant part of the noble sport. It is thoroughly enjoyable at Lima, where the most valuable animals are lent, for the purpose of being displayed, to the best and safest riders. Everywhere it would be possible to defend the horse^s belly with a padded jerkin of stifi" leather.

The Cockpit is still a favourite with some classes, especially with the gentleman of the old school, the army man, and the priest. All go armed with a knife at least — more often with a revolver. The building is here called Rinadero de Gallos, at Corrientes Circo de los Gallos, at Lima Coliseo,


NATIVES AND FOREIGNERS. 125

and at other places Aranadal de Gallos. It is usually a loosely made wooden circus^ with three or four tiers of benches, rising from a sawdusted arena. The latter is shaped like a bath, fifteen feet in diameter, with walls sixteen inches high, made sloping or perpendicular, of tin, wood, or matting. The two lower tiers are mostly ticketed, showing that they are private. Those on the ground floor are boxes, each containing its trained bird, the cocks not wanted at the time are tied by the leg and dispersed about the building, which resounds with their pugnacious cro wings. They are small compared with our English blood; the usual food is wheat and cooked meat, and they are trained by shampooing and occasional sparring. The Argentines in this matter are far behind the Spaniards, and the Moslems of India are a century in advance of both, being able to train a cock to fly at man or dog. The spur is not so artificial as ours or as that of Hindustan ; it is of metal, and made hollow to fit over the natural weapon, whose slope it imitates. There is scant art shown in choosing the angle, and the birds instead of being lifted are simply thrown into the pit. The pas- time is very slow, hours being often wasted till a good bargain is secured. As a rule to strangers, ^^back the Colorado^' or red bird, and if there be two reds back the redder.

Prize-fighting, expelled from the old, seems likely to find a home in the New World. Lately a " set-to for $2000 a side took place on the Cerro between a Manchester man and a so-called American. Many natives witnessed it with great engouement ; they were prepared by hearsay to find the spectacle more brutal than it is, and they were charmed by its fair play. Before I left the Plate another fight was talked of between Professor Cox and Mr. Jack Turner, terms 200/., and place " between â– 'ome and ^ome.^ Per- haps prizefighting is prettier sport than the "pronuncia- mento.'^


126 MONTEVIDEANS :

Curious to say, with all this public spirit Monte Video owns no English club. The last attempt at this first sign of civilization came to grief — ^' Camp was allowed to run up bills for breakfasts and dinners. At present there is only a Sala di lectura in the Calle del Cerrito, where a slow senior fumbles over the newspapers — at the Commercial Rooms of Lima a Yankee rowdy is kept for the purpose. There is a native Circle in the Regent-street, " 25 de Maio/' and Argentines, a clubbable people, have the sense to keep up such places even in the country towns. Foreigners must meet in drinking-honses, hence about Christmas time or Midsummer there is a portentous diffusion of stimu- lants. In fact Camp at that season mostly comes to town for cocktails and billiards. Everywhere you see Cafe y Helados, and billiard-rooms are the rage, all allowing high play.

Amongst other institutions Monte Video rejoiced in a '* Gormandizing Club,^^ as did Rio Grande do Sul in her " Gluttons '/' both resemble our " Sublime Society of Beef- steaks,^^ which the vulgar would call a Beefsteak Club. This and sundry kindred institutions were kiUed by slack- ness of business. The forced currency, and the failure of the banks are subjects well known. The Fomentos Montevideano, a Credit Mobiher to buy up lands for sale, proved to be here as elsewhere mere moonshine. The tramway running to La Union is or might be a success : the Central Uruguayan Railway is not. The first sod was turned by General Flores on April 25, 1867 ; it has reached Las Piedras, some nine miles off, and no one now living ex- pects to hear the whistle at Durazno. Stone, brick, lime, and splendid timber, all are forthcoming save money alone ; no company has confidence in it, and we cannot wonder that such should be the case where revolutions are not the exceptions but the rule.


NATIVES AND FOREIGNERS. 127

I paid two short visits to Monte Video. During my first, on August 13, 1868, at about 10 p.m., burst a terrific storm of thunder and lightning, wind and rain, till the sluice- gates above seemed to run dry. The inhabitants compared it with the great S. Joseph hurricane of March, 1866, and at Buenos Aires some thirty people were drowned. In due time the post brought us the intelligence of that earthquake, perhaps the most terrible recorded in history, which, be- ginning at 5 to 6 P.M., laid waste the west coast of South America, and the interior of Peru and Ecuador. As always happens, the effects of the atmospheric wave outran the water wave, even more than this did the earth wave. The remnant of the year, and part of 1869, both at Buenos Aires and at Monte Video — to mention no other places — were unusually cold, hot and rainy, the citi- zens did not remember such captiousness of climate for ten years. Similarly, in August, 1868, the earthquake of Hawaii was followed by a storm, the air felt like steam, and white streams of lightning ran along the ground. During the same year deluges of summer rain, with thunder and lightning, extending from April to September, accompanied throughout Naples the eruption of Vesuvius.

My second was in 1869, at the end of the Holy Week, a " Great Juju,^' wherein the " cold intellectuality of the advanced Protestant finds the death and resurrection of Adonai, the sun-god. The crossed yards of ships showed Good Friday ; during Long Gospel and the Adoration of the Cross, the cathedral was crowded, and the Negro sen- tinels and policemen were as troublesome as they are wont to be when they can. On Holy Saturday, bells, squibs, and all kinds of noises accompanied the " toca da gloria." The four piers of the cathedral, generally white and blue, with gilt capitals, were hung with red silk, the gilt pulpit sent forth muffled thunder, crowds worshipped before the


128 MONTEVIDEANS :

Lady Chapel to the right of the entrance, and a well- dressed mob pressed towards an especially vile daub repre- senting the Resurrection. At the entrance stood an avenue of male humanity to admire the small pufiy clouds of pink, green, and sulphur-yellow which formed the Sortie de Messe : we awarded the palm of beauty to the daughters of an old compagnon de voyage, M. Cibil, a wealthy Spanish landowner. The rainy south-easter prevented the bull- fight of Easter Sunday, and there were no signs of ball or feast.

Wishing to hear his impressions of Paraguay, I called upon Admiral C. N. Davis, an old and experienced officer commanding the United States squadron, and not likely to be imposed upon by mere " amiability and plausibility.^^ Marshal-President Lopez had affected him favom'ably, as^ indeed seems to be his fate with naval men — for instance. Captains Kirkland, Mitchell, and Parsons. He believed that the " atrocities of Lopez" — another popular heading — had been grossly exaggerated, and he remarked that the Marshal-President had killed one brother nine times in three or four different ways. The Honourable Mr. Wash- burn had assured me that Marshal- President Lopez was too fat to ride, and could not engage in guerilla warfare. Admiral Davis saw him mount a fiery horse and dash away through a violent storm.

The history of the AdmiraFs mission is curious. Mr. G. F. Masterman, an English apothecary, with local rank as lieutenant, became doctor to the United States Legation, and the secretaryship was given to Mr. Porter C. Eliss. The latter, the son of a Reverend in the State of New York, was aged about thirty-two, a linguist, especially a student of " Indian"^ dialects, and a man of some education, but mostly superficial. He had been tutor in the family of General Webb, United States Minister at Rio de Janeiro,


NATIVES AND FOREIGNERS. 129

and after editing tlic River Plate Magazine, he had drifted up, like other ne'er-do-weels, into Paraguay. When Mr. Wasliburn, demanding his passports in high dudgeon, left Asuncion, these two employes were violently and illegally arrested in the streets, put in irons, sent to the army for judgment, and otherwise maltreated, upon the " not proven charge of having conspired, in company with Colonel Benigno Lopez, Vice-President Sanchez, and others, against the Marshal-President's life.

Mr. Bliss, presently after his detention, published against his employer a pamphlet entitled, ^' Historia Secreta de la Mision del Ciudadano Norte-Americano, Charles Amos Washburne, cerca del Gobierno de la Republica del Para- guay, por el Ciudadano Americano, Traductor Titular (in partibus) de la Mesma Mision, Porter Cornelio Bliss, B.A. ;" and bearing for motto the venerable " Quousque tandem Catalina abutere patientia nostra ?" (Cicero). The unfinished volume, which is vilely printed, extends over 168 pages. It is a mass of undigested nonsense, dragging in Mesdames Harris and Partington, quoting all the languages of Europe, and citing evry poet from Gray to Tennyson ; its sole object is to abuse Mr„ Washburn, describing his "blind spite against the Marshal-President," his '^'^deep libations of cocktails of sherry," and of sudden deaths" (matados a cinco pasos) ; and finally it crushes him with —

" Man being reasonable must get drunk."

This " Anti-Washburnianism" was duly forwarded to all the powers of Europe — 1 saw a list of them in the Marshal- President's own writing. Nothing could be more simple, more ostrich-like, than thus to accuse oneself by a document bearing upon its face the signs of compulsion. But the Paraguayans are, like all Indians, an eminently childish race ; when they could not shake their enemies' nerves with

9


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gunpowder they made them miserable by concerts of tuturiitus, or cowborns pierced with blowholes at the sides. It will remind you of the Chinese, who frightened us by holding up and shaking their shields painted with tigers.

The arrest of the two employes caused some excitement at Washington; at Rio de Janeiro General Webb would have had an armed demonstration against everybody,, even against the Brazilians, if they had refused passage to the squadron, and he evidently did not believe that Imperial iron-clads could resist Republican wooden-walls. General M^Mahon, an officer who had distinguished himself in the Secession wars, was sent to Paraguay as new Minister, and Admiral Davis was directed to escort him with the squadron, and to demand the unconditional release of Messrs. Bliss and Masterman.

About the end of November, 1868, the squadron^ steamed up stream, leaving at Monte Video only the GuejTiere, flag- ship, that drew too much water. Happily things passed without trouble. The Brazilians and Allies, who had ques- tioned the AdmiraFs right to break the blockade, were startled at the aspect of the squadron, which practised as it advanced, and they knew that torpedos level differences. The Kansas grounded near Angostura and was got off, but not without delay and difficulty. It is fortunate that our home authorities did not send up what is called magnilo- quently the South-Eastern Coast of South America Squadron. Such things as Spider, Doterel, and Beacon are not a national


  • The squadron consisted of —

The U.S.S. Pawnee, Captain Urban, 900 tons, 11 guns. „ Quineberg, Captain Burritt, 750 tons, 7 guns. „ Kansas, Captain Wheeler, 600 tons, 5 guns. „ Wasp, Captain Kirkland, 550 tons, 3 guns.

The first mentioned was the most effective vessel j the Wasp acted flag- ship.


NATIVES AND FOllEIGNERS. 131

honour, and a single battery of Paraguayans would easily have sunk the " British fleet/-* This would have been more amusing than even the adventure of the cruiser which was nearly captured by negroes on the west coast of Africa.

After some pourparlers, Messrs. Bliss and Masterman were given up, not unconditionally as had been demanded, but as political prisoners to be tried in the United States ; they were not allowed to communicate with any one on board, and accusations in sealed envelopes accompanied them. The captives embarked at 11 p.m.; they complained of torture, whereas the surgeon who examined them found no marks, and calling for supper they showed a healthy appetite. This is from high authority ; an equally high authority declares that Dr. Duval did find scars on Mr. Masterman. General M'Mahon was landed on December 12, 1868, and on the next day the JVasp left.

The Government of the United States was still more aggrieved. Mr. Washburn^'s brother had become Chief Secretary to the new President Grant, and it was deter- mined to support him. Admiral Davis was greatly blamed for taking on board an American ship of war the political prisoners of Marshal-President Lopez, for placing them under a guard of marines, and for allowing them to land and pass three days at Rio de Janeiro before they left for the United States. The charge is rather specious than real. M. Libertat, Chancellier of the Consulat de France, was sent as a prisoner on board a French cruiser despatched to bring him down ; and he also had been accused only of conspiracy. Doubtless, Admiral Davis, as would any other brave man, stretched a point in favour of the hapless little Republic which is fighting single-handed against three, and avoided everything that might have driven him to the disgrace of firing a shot. But public opinion most wrongfully con- demned General M'^Mahon for taking the place of the

9-2


132 MONTEVIDEANS :

Honourable Mr. Washburn. Men said that lie should have awaited fresh orders from home^ as Marshal-President Lopezj being a fugitive, had no regular capital. This was an error. The transfers from Asuncion to Luque, and from Luque to Paraguary, were officially announced in the Semanario gazette, and they were effected with all due formalities.

Meanwhile, Mr. Bliss, returning to New York, retracted in the New York Tribune (February 27, 1869) all that he had written, and declared that he had done so under penalty of the Cepo Uruguayana. There are sundry kinds of Cepos or stocks in Paraguay. The Cepo de laso is when a cord fastened to two stakes is rove round the patient's ankles. The Uruguayana, a slang name, is the " bucking^' of Negro overseers : the arms are tied round the knees, under which a stick is thrust, and the man is thus made into a bundle — it is the position in which children play at cock-fighting. The Cepo Columbia is the worst of all : it is " bundling,^' with the addition of hea'vy weights, muskets, and other things placed upon the back of the neck, and pro- ducing dangerous wounds. We read of such things in a Car- melite convent near Cracow, where the penitents must carry crosses weighing eighty kilogs. Mr. Masterman also lost no time in publishing an '^ interesting narrative,^' which sounds like the dropping of tears — a true " pleurnicherie bour- geoise.^'

After this you will wonder why the foreigners who, when much less numerous, prevented the ^' savage Oribe^' from bombarding Monte Video, do not combine to put down the revolutionary native politician — why, in fact, they do not take the government into their own hands.


  • Mr. Masterman has since that time published a book which reads far

better than his letter.


NATIVES AND FOREIGNERS. 133

At present, however, they are like Hindus, divided into a score of castes which cannot co-operate. But a time shall come when the Gauchada, the Jacquerie, will die an unna- tural death, after the fashion of Kilkenny cats. In parts of the country there are four women to one man, and yet, mar- vellous to record, polygamy — or, if you prefer the term, patriarchal marriage, has not been made the law of the land. Presently this little Uruguay — this true key of the vast and wealthy Platine valley — which belongs geographically, if not politically, to the Brazil ; which has twice been held by the Empire, and which has indirectly caused the present war, must come to its manifest destiny. It is rich in metals. Petroleum and coal suitable for gas-making have lately been found about Maldonado and the Department of Minas, thus prolonging the coal-field and completing the maritime system from the mouth of the La Plata to that of the Amazons — amazing wealth stored up for those to be. Finally, it is the only spot where the vast Empire of the Southern Cross — one-third of the whole Columbian con- tinent — is easily vulnerable. At present the people of the Brazil, though generally credited with the far-seeing Ma- chiavellian policy which the last generation of Europe attributed to the purely egotistical and commercial views of England, does not pay much attention to the Banda Oriental. But in time it must, and the sensible foreigner will, if not his own master, prefer Imperial to Republican rule.

You have doubtless gathered from these pages that I do not think highly of present Uruguay as an emigration ground for Englishmen — for emigrants who somewhat respect life and property, whose laws are more or less executed, and whose faith in the stability of their constitu- tion is a creed. It is, however, very difficult to give you anything like a clear idea of the state of things in the Banda.


134 MONTEVIDEANS — NATIVES AND FOREIGNERS.

The mixed population, Spanish and Portuguese, Brazilian and Italian, French and English, with a dash of Yankee in political matters, retains all the vices and few of the virtues that characterized its ancestors. Here nobody expects justice — nobody has any confidence in the honour of the Government, or in the honesty of the individual. The miserable administration of justice in the outstations secures impunity to the murderer, and executions, frightfully common in revenge for political misdemeanours, are unknown when the offence is taking life. The ridiculous authorities object strongly to any measure of self-defence. No one forgets the case of Mr. Flowers, who, to save himself, shot a ruffian and thereby secured nine months of public gaol. I saw the wife of an English colonist, who, being remarkably handsome, requires as much protection as a twenty-carat diamond. Sundry Gauchos have sworn to carry her off a Vlrlandaise, and if they can they will.

Nor do foreigners, especially Englishmen of the better class, thrive physically or morally, in the present state of society. They come out full of life and energy, ready to work hard, fond of riding, travelling, and field sports. By degrees they drop all energy ; they cease to take exer- cise ; they cling to hut and hammock — more poetically, ^^ pensile bed f then they give up reading anything but newspapers, and presently even these. Letters are far too much for them, and they can do nothing but drink, smoke, and eat. I purposely put the first before the last, where- with adieu.


LETTEE IV.

TO THE COLONIA AND BUENOS AIRES.

Buenos Aires, August 15, 1868. My dear Z ,

Happily for me a passenger steamer had been told off to run between Monte Video and Humaita — you "will remember a word so frequently repeated till it nauseated us. The ship was the Yi (pronounce Ji^ so- called after an influent of the Rio Negro), 1300 tons, said to average ten to twelve knots an hour, and costing 30,000/., here a marvel, but in the United States some ten years behind the age. Built like her consort the America, by Messrs. M'^Kay and Alders, of Boston, E.U., she is — rather she was — the usual two, or properly three-storied floating hotel, with the normal walking- beam engine. Poor Yi ! the last time I saw her the walking-beam barely projected above the muddy brown river off Buenos Aires. She was burnt for over-success to the water^s edge, and the suspected foul play might have been brought home, but was not.

I paid $70 (say 14/.) for the " go to Humaita, $120 being the price of the " go and come — heavy price, but cheap. We embarked on Saturday, August 15, at nightfall, and were received by Mr. Crawford, New Englander and engineer. I say we," my fellow passenger was D. Carlos M'Kinnon, F.R.G.S., an old resident on the river, full of information, and right ready to " rip himself up." There was confusion on board ; the cook had bolted in fear of enlistment ; the steward had also fled, having locked up the pantry ; in fact, the party of pleasure began, as usual, pam-


136 TO THE COLONIA AND BUENOS AIRES.

fully. On board also came Mr. William C. Maxwell^ in whose pleasant society I was fated afterwards to see the glories of the Andes_, the Pacific Coast, and Magellan. Finally, we carried with us the three political creeds, and especially a party of Blancos hastening to gloat over the messes of their rival Colorados. Amongst these gentlemen were some whose professions were to be millionaires, and whatever one of them told me for my " carnet," to that another whispered the flattest contradiction — audi alteram partem therefore became a necessity.

We were fortunate in travelling by day, so as to see what is to be seen ; usually the Holyhead-Kingston trip of 150 miles is done by night. My business, I repeat, is now rather with men and manners, with events and politics, than with geography or topography ; yet, without a sketch of the route, you will barely be able to follow me.

The confusion of starting over, we cast a friendly look upon the dwindling scene — those big Montevidean ware- houses yellow and stone-tinted, the tall Concordia hospital near the San Jose Point, the forest of masts crowding the punchbowl bay, the houses a mixture of Spanish and Por- tuguese with a dash of Italian, and the bleached spars of wrecks protruding lightless from the silty wave. As we turn the Punta del Rodeo, slow sinks into the Sweet Sea the Guardsd Mount, here the Grand Vision, and our glances dwell lovingly upon the little crooked cone, the last that we shall see for nearly a thousand miles.

The Yi, being new and badly loaded, makes a kind of circular progress, and we have little to prospect save the river : that, however, is suggestive enough. The northern steeple of the great gate is the Cape St. Mary, which we passed in the Arm, and the southern is Cape St. Anthony, a triiie of 155 miles to the south-west, thus making the embouchure one of the broadest in the world. Some swell


TO THE COLONIA AND BUENOS AIRES. 137

the size to 170 miles, and travellers dispute whether it be sea or river. Equally respectable is its length, 2150 miles, 3368 being the stature of the Amazons ; and some day both will be connected by canals with the mouth of the Orinoco. What we enter now is the first of four distinct sections — namely, the Grand Estuary, between the true mouth whose lips are Monte Video and the Punto de las Piedas (seventy- flve miles), and Buenos Aires, distant only thirty miles to La Colonia. In succession we shall ascend the Minor Estuary, the Riverine Delta, and lastly, the River Proper.

The Guarani name dating from prehistoric ages was Parana, or sea-like.* You must pronounce this word '^ Parana,^^ and not with Southey,

" Thou too, Parana, thy sad witness bear."

Par parenthese it is curious that that walking encyclopaedia never took the trouble to learn the pronunciation of words which he wrote and pronounced a hundred times. For in- stance, for " Guarani^' we read in the tale of Quiara and

Monnema —

" A feeble native of Guarani race,"

which is hideous.

D. Juan Diaz de Solis, the discoverer of the Parana in 1515, ti'uly and picturesquely called it "Mar Dulce;"' after his murder it became Rio de Solis. The magnificent misnomer Rio de la Plata, where no such metal exists, was given they say by Cabot, who higher up stream found silver ornaments worn by the savages. Of course the term is disputed. M. C. Beck Bernard opines that it was so called by the crew of De Solis, who saw spangles of mica floating


  • Para, the sea, and na, for ana, comparative affix, "like." Some

wrongly translate it "powerful as the sea;" and others '* Paraanaraa, pariente del mar," Para is one of those general Guarani words that extend throughout the eastern moiety of the Columbian continent.


138 TO THE COLONIA AND BUENOS AIRES.

on the waters; perhaps he means the crystals of selenitethat are washed out from the clay banks of the river Paraguay.

To-day, rarely enough, the distant hue of this grand re- servoir of a thousand streams looks tenderly blue, somewhat like the Mediterranean in cloudy weather. The colour is generally that of grey mud, and our paddles churn up yellow and thick brown water, which reminds us of the Brazilian streams. Full of vegetable matter, it never strains clear and colourless; some say it is good to drink, others, myself included, that it causes trouble. On board we drink the produce of Monte Video tapped by Norton^s American system of tube-pumps, published to the world by the Abyssinian campaign. Here men are not slow to import improvements ; the invention was at once tried, it succeeded in the Banda Oriental, but it failed in the province of Buenos Aires — where blessed with all the gifts of Plutus shall be the wight that invents water.

The proportion of silt in the estuary has never been ac- curately measured, but the element we can see is heavily charged. We may, then, assume the discharge of the Indus, whose proportions vary from 17 to 43-60 per cent, in time of flood. The average would be 217,250,000 of cubic feet per annum, or seventy square miles of surface one foot thick. The stream is felt at an offing of ninety miles, but its great specific gravity prevents the Plate from being a tidal river. In Maldonado Bay the water is so fresh that it makes a difi'erence of three inches in a ship^s draught. Off Monte Video there is said to be an under- current of salt water, as at Gibraltar Gut and Bab el Mandab ; the limit of the ebb and flow is laid down at the mouth of the little Sta. Lucia Biver, some nine to ten miles to westward of the city. Like the Mediterranean and the Caspian, it is subject to wind tides ; thus also the Suez Gulf being depressed by northerly winds for nine


TO THE eOLONIA AND BUENOS AIRES. 139

months^ whilst during the rest of the year southerly gales raise it to three and sometimes to five feet_, caused the world since 1798 to believe that the Red Sea is 32^ feet above the Mediterranean. Here we shall find the same phe- nomenon regularly repeated. The Plate heaped up by eastern and south-eastern winds, gains even when not at flood an elevation of four to eight feet : the western and northern gales depress it by driving the current. When the Pampero, that Euroclydon of the Austral hemi- sphere, ceases to course over the Pampas, the accumulated discharge rushes out like a sluice, especially round the Point S. Jose. And everywhere on the Lower Plate the weather, like the water, depends not upon seasons, but upon the force and direction of the wind.

Thus much " de Argenteo flumine quod vulgo Rio de la Plata nuncupatur.^^ Wars, it has been said, teach the na- tions their geography. Lord Palmerston, when reproached about the Affghan afi'air, told the House of Commons that it had introduced to public knowledge Central Asia. " Admiralty seamanship,^ it is true, still telegrams to iron- clads that they must run for refuge into Dover Harbour, whose poor ten feet of water are fit only for the fishing- smack. But we, the instructed public, no longer recognise the old facetiae of a fleet being sent up to Frankfort on the Maine, or of a frigate being moored, as Sir Charles Napier was reproved for not doing, off Sindian Hyderabad, in the Indus five feet deep.

And the British Admiral — who shall teach him ? What shall modify his omniscient ignorance ? The last specimen (let us hope) of the '^ Commodore Trunnions," a fossilized remnant of the days of grog and double damns, one who heartily hates the civilian, and who thinks the blue blood of Europe to run through veins descended from a Scotch cattle-lifter, hearing that one of his squadron had lost an


140 TO THE COLONIA AND BUENOS AIRES.

anchor some 500 miles up the Parana head-waters of the Plate^ sent solemn peremptory orders to steam^ with slack cable, round the missing mud-hook, " water and tide serv- ing.'* Impossible ! you will exclaim. Yet it is textually true, although methinks I hear Rear-Admiral Jock Trun- nion exclaiming, as he often has exclaimed upon his quarter- deck, that it is a " dom' lee."

Midway we pass the huge Ortiz Bank, which occupies more than half the river's breadth, and which is separated from the northern shore by a string of deep pools. In the excellent map of Captain Mouchez', it projects an angle to the south-east ; the Hydrographical survey makes it a long oval disposed north-west to south-east. The formation is sand upon tosca, in Spanish a generic term meaning any imperfect stone. Here it is a rotten friable sandstone, with nodules of hardened and compacted clay. Sometimes it is applied to these nodules only ; at others it is a layer of tufa, or sand mixed with comminuted shells, and effervescing kindly under acids. The latter is useful as a compost to correct the huraic and ulmic " sourness of a virgin soil in a subtropical climate. Presently we shall see the " Piano toscoso" below the Meseta or table-land upon which the city of Buenos Aires is built.

As the even shadow lengthens, a small white patch on a promontory pushing out to starboard proves to be the Nova Colonia do Sacramento, where the Major Estuary ends, and whence the Minor section stretches to the mouths of the rivers Parana and Uruguay. When mirage upraises it, and Fata Morgana upturns it, Colonia is visible from Buenos Aires ; but the big port must look out for squalls.

A strange, eventful history has that tiny white sheet, again and again stained with streams of man's life blood, tepid and impure. The " endless question" of the Colonia was pretty familiar to Englishmen between the days of Swift and Southey ; now it is utterly forgotten. Very


TO THE rOLONIA AND BUENOS AIRES. 141

valuable too was the now pauper village in times when Spain limited her three vast inland viceroyalties to three ships per annum, and when Portugal and England — such then was the precedence — did all the contraband trade of half a New World. Even in 1729 the port of S. Gabriel Island sheltered a score of English, Portuguese, and French interlopers.

Muratori ("A Relation of the Missions of Paraguay, now done into English from the French translation. Lon- don : 1759. 8vo, pp. 166—7) tells in quaint language how the Portuguese, under D. Emanuel de Lobos, seized (1679) the port where Colonia afterwards arose, and building a fort, duped D. Joseph de Barro (Jose de Barros) Governor of Buenos Aires. The latter receiving orders to dislodge the enemy, summoned from the Reductions, 600 miles distant, the Corregidores of Indians, and the latter in eleven days mustered 3300 men, 4000 horses, 4000 mules, and 200 oxen for dragging the guns. The Spanish General D. Jose de Vera, with 300 regulars, invested the land side, and proposed when the enemy showed fight to trample them under foot by a stampede of riderless horses : the farcical project was deprecated probably by some savage with common sense, possibly by some one who remembered the Carthaginians and their elephants. The walls, however, were scaled, and the place was captured by dint of num- bers, the Spaniards losing only six men and thirty Indians. Lobos was made prisoner, and 200 of the Mamelukes were slain by the Redskins, who did not understand prayers for quarter. D. Emilio Galban (Galvao), the Portuguese Commander, fell, and men " saw with wonder and surprise his lady fighting sword in hand by his side -." she also re- fused to surrender, and was duly killed.

This only began the history of Colonia. In 1681 it again hoisted the Quinas, and it was evacuated in 1705. Again it was secured to Portugal by the Treaty of Utrecht (March 26, 1713), the same which gave peace to Europe, and


142 TO THE COLONIA AND BUENOS AIRES.

to England the Asiento or slave importing contract, and thus built Liverpool and Bristol. In 1720 the Governor and Captain-General of Buenos Aires^ D. Bruno Mauricio de Zabala, was ordered by his crown to keep the Portuguese within certain limits, which were exceedingly uncertain. His successor Salcedo also threw himself heart and soul into the cause; and the result was the stubborn investment of 1736. It was ceded to Spain by the Treaty of Limits (January 13, 1750), a convention so upright as to be an era in the annals of diplomacy, and to cause an uncontemplated amount of misery. The melancholy result, the Guaranitic or Jesuit war, is admirably described in the Brazilian epic poem par excellence, "O Uruguay" of Jose Basilio da Gama. To the great joy of the Portuguese the treaty was annulled by Charles III. in 1761, enabling them to keep "The Colony. Then came the desperate siege (Oct. 30, 1762) by the Viceroy Lieut.- General D. Pedro de Zeballos, when the Portuguese squadron was destroyed despite the efforts of Captain Macnamara, of the Lord Clive, and of Penrose the poet, who went forth, not

  • ' To sail triumphant o'er La Plata's tide."

The capitulation of the place, and the razing of the fortifi- cations, caused the death of the purest and the most pa- triotic of Portugal's many patriots. Gomes Freyre de Andrade, first Viceroy of Bio de Janeiro. The hero, however, broke his heart prematurely, for the new colony was in 1763 restored, by the Treaty of Paris, to Portugal. She yielded it up by the Second Treaty of Limits (S. Ildefonso, 1777), and she then finally retired from the Banda Oriental.

The "endless question" of La Colonia stiU has significance. Like the present war it was a chronic struggle between the two great branches of the Ibero- American family. With your permission, therefore, I will throw overboard the


TO THE COLONIA AND BUENOS AIRES. 143

chronology of my journey^ and will here introduce a short description of the most modern Colonia, which I visited later, in 1868.

The Department of La Colonia, rich in pastoral English- men, has generally a steamer from Buenos Aires, which makes her passage in three to four hours. I went in the Beauly^ a little red and black yacht-built thing, commanded by a rough and ready German. The Colony, like Monte Video, oc- cupies a long narrow-necked land-tongue, with a fine slope for drainage, and forming the port which is emphatically not, as Southey states, a very commodious harbour . The point, composed mostly of gneiss, trends from north- east to south-west, and therefore the roads, for such they are, lie open to the Pampero, that intolerably heaps up the sand. Westward of the point is a scatter of islets : the old Hydrographic chart^ names them,beginning from the south- west, I. Farallon, S. Gabriel, del Inglez, and de Hornos. The native pilots divide del Inglez into two — viz., " Lopez East '^ and '^ Lopez West,^ with its outliers. They also assign three islets to the group of Hornos, the smallest of the little Archipelago, lying opposite the Arroyo de S. Pedro. Here, in some twenty-one feet of water, 1 saw a single hulk : it lay north of S. Gabriel, the largest feature, where Salcedo mounted his batteries ; here also a ship was wrecked carrying a certain missionary —

    • And Dobrizhoffer was the good man's honoured name."

We land at the little mole, leaving to the right a dwarf dock and a slip for schooner building. Our destination is the Hotel Oriental, the best, but bad and therefore dear, with prices rivalling Paris and New York. The houses, whitewashed against cholera, and rising abrupt from the


  • The names are correctly given by the new Hydrographic Office map,

by C. H. Dillon, Master R.N., 1847, with additions by Lieut. Sidney, 1856.


144 TO THE COLON I A. AND BUENOS AIRES.

unpaved thorouglifare, are better than you would expect ; the material is quarried from the old fortifications, which in their day cost $10_,000 to level. The church, with the white belfries and burnt roof, is a conspicuous object, and the old lines of defence are still in places visible.

The Colony was once walled on all sides except the north : it mounted eighty pieces of artillery, and was gar- risoned by 935 men. Beyond the south-eastern end of the Plaza are the remains of two bastions, one for a single gun, the other for three bouches a feu : near them the tall pharol, white-bodied and red-headed, towers over the solidly built, time-shattered bulwark wall. Further south is the sea ; dyked in by lines of gneiss stained with yellow lichen, and often snowy with the washerwoman's work. The land approach was once imperfectly defended by thirty- two guns, in a curtain with four bastions, of which two were at the angles — they are now supplanted by a hedge of cactus and aloes. North-west of the main square are the remains of a bastion and its old " Aljibe, or rain cistern : ground has waxed valuable, much of the relic has been broken up for building materials during the last three years, and in a few more it will completely disappear. It was in this place that Galvao and his gallant wife fought to the death.

Even during the present century there have been troubles at the Colonia, and there will be more — men wish that they had a gold ounce for every throat that has been cut in the place. Outside the village they show on the road to the muddy river a cottage and its Ombu tree, where Moreno, a pet ruffian of General Urquiza, when sent to kill off the men seized a wretch, and by way of " renowning it, cut out sundry of his ribs and made them into an Asado or r^ti — a cotelette funeste, as the French play says of Eve. The sons of the Colonia are reported to be lazy and


TO THE COLONIA AND BUENOS AIRES. 145

roguish : you certaiuly here will hear, in an hour, more scurrility and cursing with omne quod exit in — ajo," than in a whole day elsewhere.

The land is truly Uruguayan, and one of the most charming known to me. The rolling surface of green turf, varied here and there with outcrops of grey stone, dips in gentle undulations which become horizontal as they near the soft hazy horizon ; and your only guides are an occasional Estancia house topping its prim lines of artificial " moute,^' or a thick-headed, gouty-footed Ombu, under which the cattle find rest and shade. Nothing can be more amene or gracious than this modified Pampa form in fine weather. Our modern poets have been charged with too exclusive a homage of colour. We travellers must bow even more lowly to the great diflPerentiator between beauty and deformity.

There is, however, with all its loveliness, a serious dis- advantage in living along this coast of the wee Republic. It is the flooding of the streams which rise at the least pretext, and which may keep you and your friends prisoners for a week, unless you prefer risking life by spurring your horse into the broad muddy torrents. The visitor who wishes thoroughly to enjoy the country about the Colonia has only to secure a letter of introduction for my most hospitable and agreeable host, Mr. William White, of Es- tanzuela. He will then see a most civilized style of shooting out of a four-in-hand waggonette, with a boy or two by way of retriever to bag the lesser partridge and the Cholo- plover. I wonder if my friend remembers how we sat in committee over the nettlestalk salad, and the salmi of prairie owls, which we pronounced to be well cooked and thoroughly detestable ? .

Nearly opposite the Colonia is " Quilmes '^ of the Red- skins, driven down in 1618 from the valleys of Santiago

10


146 TO THE COLONIA AND BUENOS AIRES.

del Estero. Its two steeples of warm colour stand out from a goodly company of white houses and green trees. Distant three leagues south of the capital, it will, when the railroad reaches it, become a charming place for villeggiatura. The site is good, being the raised bank of the riverine valley, whose main drain is the Riachuelo or rivulet. Do not write with old travellers R. or Rio Chuelo, a funny form, re- appearing even in modern maps ; nor translate as does the gallant Sir Home Popham, River Chuelo/"^

Looms ahead a forest of masts, with here and there a spread sail inland, overshadowing the scrubby vegetation of greyish metallic green. Then we sight the white houses of the Boca (de Riachuelo,) the mouth of the said rivulet. This is a dredge-demanding Styx, some 160 feet wide, a sluggish drain of black mud, that often runs red with the produce of a dozen Saladeros. The air is then heavy with meat, tainted as well as fresh; you turn pale, you feel at sea, you call for a ^^ uip,"' and all around you declare the atmosphere to be exceptionally health-breeding. Perhaps on the same principle Frenchmen used to take, and perhaps still take, their baths in an abattoir. The salting-houses are not salting now. December, when the animals are fat from grass, will open the season. The Boca is a hard-working suburb of Italians, occupying themselves, as we see, with stores and shipbuilding. Piles of North American pine line the quays. The native growths, especially the Quebracho (or Quebrahacho, the axe-breaker), and the Urunday Mimosa, whose short and crooked, but exceedingly hard gnarlings fit them for wheel-tires and boat-knees, are not so common but more valuable. Around the Boca is a swampy flat where the lumber-houses must perch high upon piers and stilts ; a few of yesterday^s build are of brick, but the walls sag and split. The Boca is connected with Buenos Aires by a branch railway in the good old style, chair and sleepers.


TO THE COLON lA AND BUENOS AIRES. 147

here perhaps the best. Its rails are looted Paraguayan, found in the Custom-house, and duly confiscated.

Inland of the Boca is Las Barracas, the " stores " (for goods-housing), northern and southern ; a settlement about double the size of its neighbour; and a congeries of sheds and courts, commanded by rf two-steepled church. Thi.» dead flat, a prolongation of the estuary bay is the spou where " Que buenos Ayres se respiran en esta tierra V exclaimed stout Captain Sancho Garcia, and where D. Pedro de Mendoza, the Grandee,laid the foundation-stone of nuestra Senora de Buenos Aires. The date, (February 2, 1535), was only three years after the establishment of San Vicente^ the Portuguese proto-colony in the Brazil, and two years and a half before the building of Paraguayan Asuncion (August 15, 1537). The once charming stream is now foul with mud and offal, and there is a dreadful perfume of tallow and liquid meat, mixed with the essence of calcined bones. The population is evidently Basque, and iron wirings are required, as in Egypt, to keep out the flies, which haunt the streets by myriads. There is trade in Las Barracas, we see an inn with a Russian inscription, and the beggars do not, as in the city, confine themselves to Saturdays. Here the Saladero may be studied to advantage by the amateur butcher, and described by those who would add another description to the scores published. I will only say that the salting-houses at Buenos Aires will presently run short of work if they continue slaughtering 390,000 head of cattle, as happened between October 1, 1868, and April 1. 1869.

And here, for your benefit, I shall shortly dispose of the normal stock subjects in Argentine-land : " Let all such history/^ says the old Styrian, "be consigned to the spice shop to wrap paper, yea, to a meaner office.^^ Such is the Gaucho, who has been hopelessly vulgarized by the last

10—3


148 TO THE COLONIA AND BUENOS AIRES.

Great Exhibition. Such are the fierce dogs, the breaking of horses and mules, the poncho, the cart being placed before the horse, the terrible dust storm, the Pordiosero or beggar on horseback, the big aerolite, and the Quemazon or prairie fire. Of such themes it is easy to say what others have said, but it is exceedingly difficult to say something more, something new. Of the bolas, the " bowls" of old English travellers, I have only to tell you that it was an improvement upon the simple sling of the natives, a stone tied to a cord. The Recado, pronounced Reca'o (not Ricow), is the country saddle, the bed on horseback borrowed from Asia. The lasso (lazo, in Portuguese la90, a slip-knot) was originally used in Italy to catch wild cattle. A good man is sure of his cast with twenty to thirty yards of open ground before him ; in underwood he must approach within twenty to thirty feet. If a noose be thrown at you, lie down before it reaches the mark, with legs and arms flat on the ground, so that the rope may find no purchase. Do not trust a knife, except the sharpest, to cut the lasso, and remember that anything is better than being bumped to death behind a galloping horse. Do not pronounce the written Mate "Mate, but "Mate," nor confound Mate, the tea-gourd in the Incan or Quichua tongue, with Yerba or Yerba Mate, the Paraguayan tea, which will some day reach England. And if you would know the last news con- cerning the "Caa," consult Mr. John Miers, F.R.S., &c., "On the different species of ilex employed in the preparation of the ' Yerba de Mate' or Paraguay tea" (" The Technologist," vol. iv. 1864).

Before landing, I may warn you that much has been written about Monte Video and the adjoining Republics. The " South American Pilot" tells all it knows about the river. The new handbook has already been quoted. By far the best account of the small Republic — her sons are


TO THE COLONIA AND BUENOS AIRES. 149

called by the Brazilians" Republiquitas^' — is the "Descripciou Geographica del Territorio Oriental del Uruguay, &c. Por el General de Ingenieros D. Jose Maria Reyes^^ (2 vols. 8vo Monte Video. 1859). This sound geographical work, re duced to a single volume, deserves translation into English Of the older authors you have Alderic Schmidel (1 534) , Ruy Diaz de Guzman ; Centinera ; Fernandez ; Herrera : Techo ; Mr. R. M.;^ Charlevoix ; Muratori ; Aguirre (1788) . Lozano ; Guevara; Helms ;t Azara ; and the Jesuit F Thomas Faulkner. In the present century are Davie ;J Wilcocke ;§ Dean Funes ; Pedro de Angelis; the Brothers Robertson (two sets) ; Sir Francis Head ; Colonel Arenales (1833) ; Rengger and Longchamps (1835) ; Charles Empson (1836) ; Parish ; Darwin ; D'Orbigny (1845) ; Castelnau (1850) ; Weddell (1851) ; Mansfield (1852) ; President Sarmiento (1853) ; Captain Page ; Arsene Isabelle ; Amedee Jacques; II Demersay (1860-64); HinchclifF; Hadfield (two publications) ; Colonel du Graty (1862) ; Dr. Martin de Moussy ; M. Charles Beck Bernard ;1[ Mr. Consul Hutchin- son; and Mr. Ross Johnson.** Those best known in England are Head and Parish, Page, Mansfield, and Hutchinson. I have perused all my list,tt and it will be my care to avoid vain repetitions.

  • *' A Relation of Mr. R. M.'s Voyage to Buenos Ayres." London :

John Darby. MDCCXYI.

t "Travels from Buenos Ayres by Potosi to Lima (1789-93)." By Anthony Z. Helms (Mining Engineer). London : Richard Phillips. 1806.

X " Letters from Paraguay." By J. Constance Davie, Esq. London : Robinson. 1805.

§ " History of the Viceroyalty of Buenos Ayres," &c. By Samuel Hull Wilcocke. London : Symonds and Co. 1807.

II " Excursions au Rio Salado." Par Amedee Jacques. Paris : Pillet. 1857.

^ " La Republique Argentine " Lausanne. 1865.

    • " A Long Vacation in the Argentine Alps." 1868,

ft Pamphlets are. not mentioned ; of these each house, I have said, seems to publish one for itself.


150 TO THE COLONIA AND BUENOS AIRES.

Las Barracas has its curio, an artesian well which, despite the predictions of the learned Dr. Burmeister, suc- ceeded, the water rising four metres above the soil, which it ought not to have done. Another attempt made in Calle Piedade of the city obligingly failed ; the boring tool had reached the granite gneiss, or whatever the floor rock may be, when the funds gave out.* From Las Barracas, Mr. William Wheelwright, of whom more presently, is laying down rails to Ensenada, the " Bay,^^ heir apparent to Buenos Aires, and distant thirty-eight miles. The present line begins perilously near the washing, splashing river, through


  • Section of the Barracas artesian well (June 1, 1862), sunk by MM.

Bordeaux and Lyons : —

Metres.

1. Sand 4 33

2. Clay (very sandy) 8-02

3. Clay (muddy) 1-05

4. Clay (plastic dark blue) 2-90

5. Tosca (with calcareous nodules) 2*30

6. Yellow sand fine and fluid, quartz, pebbles, and fluviatile

shells 28-60

7. Green clay, more or less plastic and calcareous, iron py-

rites, sea shells, nodules of lithographic limestone, part

of glyptodon's shell 20*30

8. Greensand, shells, and quartz 0"80

9. Calcareous shell stratum 0'45

10. Calcareous argile ........ 2*00

11. /Shelly grit 025

12. Green clay (sandy) 2*00

13. J Shelly grit 0-30

14. I White sandy grit 0*70

15. Very compact sandy clay 2*25

16. VCommon grit 1*40

17. Green clay, fine and fluid, shells, and quartz . . . 2*35

Total . . 80 metres. Section of the artesian well in Buenos Aires : —

1. Humus.

2. Argillaceous sand.

3. Compact sand.

4. Plastic clay.


6. "Tosca.


6. Fluid sand.

7. Plastic clay.

8. A mixture of several rocks.

9. Red clay to 180 metres.


TO THE COLONIA AND BUENOS AIRES. 151

swampy land, willow-clothed and provided with seats for those aspiring to rheumatism. It will presently run to and from the Custom-house.

The proper left " barranca^^ or raised river-bank of the Riachuelo Valley, is twenty feet high, and forms a verdant slope crowned by the Alto or Southern City. The roads which run down it must have metalling, consequently here, as in the Brazil, the railway will be the first step, and men perforce run before they walk. Yon large building is the British Hospital, under the charge of the amiable and benevolent Dr. Reid. Close in front of it is the establish- ment of M. Lezica (of the Commissariat), with steeple-like Belvidere and tall dead wall surrounding French gardens of various trees. Beyond it swells to a flattened dome the two mile long and well frilled ridge-line of the city, which looks better in nature than in counterfeit. The white belfries, the clock tower of the Cabildo, and the pottery-clad cupolas flash back the sun, and the colours are mostly Argentine — silver and azure. The site is evidently the old " barranca^^ of the Plate River, which bends away at the northern ex- tremity, and the water-line is a long plantation of green willows, whose foreground is a mile and a half of white, brown, and black Nausicaas.

Here we are in fine at the grand commercial centre of the Platine basin ; the port and outpost of a rapidly de- veloping and enormously improveable country ;"^ it was succinctly named the " very noble and very loyal city, the Puerto de Santa Maria, Ciudad de la Santisima Trinidad — this new town built by the gallant de Garay on the Day of the Holy Trinity (June 11) 1580.

  • According to M. Thiers the Brazilian trade has doubled in ten years

(30,000,000 iraucs having become 60,000,000) ; whilst in twelve years that of La Plata has risen from 4,000,000 or 5,000,000 to 40,000,000.