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ARGENTINA

feeling developed between the two factions, that an appeal to arms became inevitable.

In the month of June 1880, President Avellaneda and his ministers left Buenos Aires, and this act was considered by the porteño leaders equivalent to a declaration of war. The national government and the twelve provinces Appeal to Arms. forming the Córdoba League, were ranged on one side; the city and province of Buenos Aires and the province of Corrientes on the other. The national troops were well armed with Remington rifles, provided with abundant ammunition, equipped with artillery and supported by the fleet. In the city and province of Buenos Aires, plenty of volunteers offered their services, and an army of some twenty-five thousand men was quickly raised, but they were armed with old-fashioned weapons and there was only a limited supply of ammunition. Feverish attempts were made to remedy the lack of warlike stores, but difficulty was experienced on account of the fleet blockading the entrance to the river. After several skirmishes, the national army commanded by General Roca, containing many troops seasoned in Indian campaigns, assaulted the porteños posted Fall of Buenos Aires. before Buenos Aires, and after two days’ hard fighting (20th and 21st July) forced its way into the town. On 23rd July the surrender of the city was demanded and obtained. The terms of the surrender were that all the leaders of the revolution should be removed from positions of authority, all government employees implicated in the movement dismissed, and the force in the province and city of Buenos Aires at once disarmed and disbanded. The power of Buenos Aires was thus completely broken and at the mercy of the Córdoba League. The porteños were no longer in a position to nominate a candidate in opposition to General Julio Roca, who was duly elected. He assumed office in October 1880.

Hitherto General Roca had been regarded only in his capacity as a soldier, and not from the point of view of an administrator. In the campaigns against the Indians in the south-west of the province of Buenos Aires and the valley of Roca president. the Rio Negro he had gained much prestige; the victory over Buenos Aires added to his fame, and secured his authority in the outlying provincial centres. One of the first notable acts of the Roca administration was to declare the city of Buenos Aires the property of the national government. This separation of the city from the province, and its federalization had been one of the chief aims of the Córdoba League, and was the natural consequence of the crushing defeat inflicted on the porteños. As a sequel to this step, in 1884 the town of La Plata was declared to be the capital of the province of Buenos Aires, and the provincial administration was moved to that place. This federalization of the capital has proved to be a most important factor in binding together the different parts of the confederation, and in promoting the evolution of an Argentine nation out of a loosely cemented union of a number of semi-independent states.

Considering the circumstances in which General Roca assumed office, it must be admitted that he showed great moderation and used the practically absolute power that he possessed to establish a strong central government, and to initiate a national policy, which aimed at furthering the prosperity and development of the whole country. He was able by the influence he exerted to keep down the internal dissensions and insurrectionary outbreaks which had so greatly impeded for many years the development of the vast natural resources of the republic. With this object he had promoted the extension of railways so as to link the provinces with the great port of Buenos Aires, and to provide at the same time facilities for the rapid despatch of military forces to disturbed districts. Unfortunately the last two years of Roca’s term of office were marked by two grave errors, which subsequently caused widespread suffering and distress throughout the country. The first of these mistakes was a measure making (January 1885) the currency inconvertible for a period of two years. This act, which was only decided upon after much hesitation, had a most deleterious effect upon the national credit. The second was the nomination of Dr Miguel Juarez Celman for the presidential term commencing in October 1886. The nomination was brought about by the Córdoba clique, and Roca lacked the moral courage to oppose the decision of this group, though he was well aware that Celman, who was his brother-in-law, was neither intellectually nor morally fitted for the post.

No sooner had President Juarez Celman come into power towards the close of 1886, than the respectable portion of the community began to feel alarmed at the methods practised by the new president in his conduct of Celman president. public affairs. At first it was hoped that the influence of General Roca would serve to check any serious extravagance on the part of Celman. This hope, however, was doomed to disappointment, and before many months had elapsed it was clear that the president would listen to no prudent counsels from Roca or from any one else. The men of the old Córdoba League became dominant in all branches of the government, and carpet-bagging politicians occupied every official post. In their hurry to obtain wealth, this crowd of office-mongers from the provinces lent themselves to all kinds of bribery and corruption. The public credit was pledged at home and abroad to fill the pockets of the adventurers, and the wildest excesses were committed under the guise of administrative acts. What followed in the second and third years of the Celman administration can only adequately be described as a debauchery of the national honour, of the national resources, of the rights of Argentines as citizens of the republic. Buenos Aires was still prostrate under the crushing blow of the misfortunes of 1880, and lacked strength and power of organization necessary to raise any effective protest against the proceedings of Celman and his friends when the true character of these proceedings was first understood. The conduct of public affairs, however, at length became so scandalous, that action on the part of the more sober-minded and conservative sections was seen to be absolutely imperative if the country was to be saved from speedy and certain ruin. In 1889 the association of the “Union Civica” The Union Civica. was founded, and the organization undertaken by Dr Leandro Alem, Dr Aristobulo del Valle, Dr Bernardo Irigoyen, Dr Vicente Lopez, Dr Lucio Lopez, Dr Oscar Lilliedale and other leading citizens. The untiring energy and zeal of Leandro Alem fitted him for being the chief organizer of a movement into which he threw himself heart and soul. Mass meetings were held in Buenos Aires, and it fell specially to the lot of Dr del Valle, who was an able orator as well as a sincere patriot, to expose the irresponsible and corrupt character of the administration, and the terrible dangers that threatened the republic through its reckless extravagance and financial improvidence. Subsidiary clubs affiliated to the central administration were formed throughout the length and breadth of the country, and millions of leaflets and pamphlets were distributed broadcast to explain the importance of the movement. President Celman underrated the strength of the new opposition, and relied upon his armed forces promptly to suppress any signs of open hostility. No change was made in official methods, and the condition of affairs drifted from bad to worse, until the temper of the people, so long and so sorely tried, showed plainly that the situation had become insufferable. The Union Civica then decided to make a bold bid for freedom by attempting forcibly to eject Celman and his clique from office.

On the night of the 26th of July 1890 the Union Civica called its members to arms. It was joined by some regiments of the regular army and received the support of the fleet. Barricades were thrown up in the principal streets, and the surrounding houses were occupied by the insurgents. Two days of desultory street fighting ensued, during which the fleet began to bombard the city, but was compelled to desist by the interference of foreign men-of-war, on the ground that the bombardment was causing unnecessary damage to the life and property of non-combatants. A suspension of hostilities then took place, and negotiations were opened between the contending parties. Celman, acting upon the advice of General Roca, who recognized the strength of public opinion in the outbreak, placed his resignation in the hands of congress on the 31st of July. A scene of